The Ego (as Rob Dickins pointed out in his brilliant presentation at Breaking Convention) often gets to be the villain of the piece. It’s something to be smashed, to be transcended – it’s a psychic structure that gets us caught up in petty social processes and leaves us grasping at attachments.
Yellow/Gold magick – the bright light of Midsummer time, encourages us to engage with this aspect of ourselves. What does it mean to be who we are? For this season, rather than trying to go beyond the self, let’s have a respectful look at what it means to be us – right here, right now.
Eight people were present at our meeting, including a new participant who had predominately worked within the Ordo Templi Orientis. His presence mirrored delightfully the nature of the Work during this meeting. The Illuminates of Thanateros and OTO are quite different beasts in structural terms, but they are both, to use a rather lovely analogy, ‘Organs in the body of God’. There are things the OTO structure (let alone anything to do with magic itself) allows it to do (hold public liability insurance for example) which, in certain settings can be really helpful. Meanwhile the IOT approach means that some things are trickier for that group whereas other processes (eg not requiring any payment of membership fees and therefore being accessible to people irrespective of their financial situation) may have benefits in other respects. So these two Orders (as structures), unsurprisingly, just like individual people, have things they are well suited to, and things they find more challenging. The same is true of us as people, we’re social beings and therefore while we might want a broad base of education and experience, we don’t all need to be or do the same thing. And, assuming our social relations with many others suggest that we’re successfully part of society as a whole – there are undoubtedly things that, as individuals, we should be proud of. (We’re also really lucky with our group in that not only do we have contributors from the IOT and OTO but also folk who are not part of those structures but come from Wiccan, Zen and other backgrounds.)
Celebrating our individuality, our uniqueness, is what our Midsummer meeting was all about. This was done using a variety of techniques such as this; the ‘Yellow Magick Chaos Craft Ritual by me, Nikki‘.
Sitting in a circle Nikki laid a packet of cigarette rolling papers and a gold pen neatly in front of her. The purpose of the ritual, she explained, was to explore our own magical names. Each person took a paper and wrote their name in gold on it. Licking the gummed edge of the paper it was then stuck on the forehead, so that each person could see each others name.
Participants were then given the opportunity to speak to another person about the meaning of their chosen name. Each person also had a chance to listen (to a different person than the one they explained their name to).
Following this process of explaining the naming of ourselves, and listening to the story behind the name of another, it was time to seek out a new insight from our name. To achieve this we simply take the rolling paper and crumple it up, swallowing it with a few mouthfuls of the lemon barley water from the ceremonial chalice (the sacrament used in our earlier round of introductions at the start of the meeting).
In doing this, in the style of ancient Egyptian magic, we are absorbing our name and asking for a new insight into its meaning. We sit together each person silently repeating their own name until trance and then insight happen, guided gently by a few words from Nikki.
A simple practice like this, framed perhaps with a banishing practice and maybe a formal Statement of Intent, is sometimes all you need. The magic is in the attention the participants bring to the practice (our group members are all experienced magicians) and the skill of the ritual leader (which in the case of Ms Wyrd, having done ritual magick for quarter of a century, is considerable).
But some rituals are more about ‘bells and smells’, and require other paraphernalia. Other items used during this meeting included a vacuum cleaner (an underused ritual tool in my opinion, after all what do you actually use to banish stuff you don’t want hanging around?), a Yellow Troll Zen teacher and internet connection to the teachers’ wisdom HERE, a composite ‘exquisite corpse’ creation made from three of our ‘subpersonalities’ (or other egos), a smoke machine, lasers, strobe lighting and the brilliant ritual music used by The Temple of Set HERE.
For the final rite we invoked Set, the principle of the isolate intelligence, the separate sense of self and of being-in-the-world (see p133 HERE). Then, emerging from the darkness into the light of the sun god Ra, we each put on an outfit we’d brought especially for the purpose. There were sharp suits, feathered masks, leopard print high heels, gold body paint and much more besides! There was dancing, mutual admiration and a photoshoot!
Celebrating our unique individuality and ourselves is something that, particularly perhaps in Britain, people get uneasy about. We don’t want to seem big headed which is fair enough. However we need to recognise that it’s okay to celebrate in this way, and that to big ourselves up doesn’t mean we have to put someone else down. Quite the reverse – in fact, for as my OTO Brother might remark; ‘Every man and every woman is a star’.
Picture of the gold chaosphere pendant owned by Nikki Wyrd courtesy of the artist Russell Lownsbrough @ http://www.whaleandsmith.co.uk/