I have recently returned from the excellent Occult Conference at Glastonbury where I had the good fortune to be co-presenting with Andrew Phillip Smith (http://www.andrewphillipsmith.com/) on “Gnosticism in Theory and Practice: Gnosticism as a path of spiritual Free-thinking”. In pursuit of an engaging format, Andrew and I decided that we would pose to each other a series of questions about this theme in the hope that we could provide some interesting and erudite responses. While I will leave the assessment of our success to the audience, one of the most intriguing questions that Andrew asked was whether I had encountered any interesting spiritual beings during my gnostic explorations.
While sadly time did not allow for us to explore this question together during our actual presentation, musing on it did trigger an interesting process of self-reflection and insight. In short my most memorable experiences to date have been with Holy Wisdom (Sophia) and with my future magical self.
I have already written on this blog about my work with Sophia and while I have engaged with a number of god-forms in my magical work, I have been struck by the depth of her impact on me. I had long been acquainted with the personification of Wisdom as female within Biblical literature, but by engaging with her magically via Gnostic myth, I felt as though I have been given a new lens through which to view with the female divine across a number of intersecting traditions. For me this has these have led me to deep waters of Bhakti (devotional) yoga that I have found profoundly helpful. I rarely feel comfortable talking about the deeply personal dimensions of my magical work in that I find language often struggles to capture nuance without risking cliché, but I would encourage you, dear reader, to explore for yourself the connections between Wisdom and the divine feminine in whichever path you follow.
It is perhaps slightly comical that as a Gnostic explorer I continue to be shocked by the direct challenge that this work poses, but I guess we are all prone to forgetfulness. In exploring the process of my own waking up, I have been aware of my own spark of awareness being embodied by a figure dwelling at the threshold of my consciousness. I have already written about being haunted by my memory of the Jesus I had encountered during my Christian past but this unease has a different quality. Differing schools may seek to describe this as an etheric double or the daemonic aspect of the self, but my own encounter seemed quite strongly connected to my own future self. This sense of personified aspiration or what Assagioli would call the Super-Conscious self might be explored mythically via figures such as the androgynous Adam Kadmon from the Jewish tradition or Balder “the shining one” from Norse lore. Whatever figure we might connect to, perhaps more critical is that we draw inspiration from the sense of becoming or unfolding they represent.
For me this is the path of aspiration, guarded futurism and teleological endeavour. Magical work that has no aspiration or no real longing that it is seeking to fulfill is unlikely to sustain focus. Most of us who seek to follow an initiatory or magical path do so because we want more. We aspire to understand our past and who we are today so that we might maximize our being, and pull-in gnosis from our future magical selves.
Nema in her excellent Maat Magick locates such work in the figure of “N’Aton”, an androgynous future Self that holds within it both our individual and collective genius: “In N’Aton’s home line (i.e. the version of the future in which they are most fully realised), we’ve controlled our mutation into a species of double consciousness: the familiar one of individuality and the new telepathic connection amongst us that constitutes N’Aton” (Ma’at Magick pg. 65). Personally I love this perception of awakening as holding both individual and collective dimensions. Each of us will have our own unique challenge in either making more connections or establishing individual ego-strength, but N’Aton reminds us that both must be held in Ma’at’s balancing scales.
My own ongoing explorations of N’Aton as a concept/being feel fruitful in that such workings can provide rich illustration regarding what we aspire to be, and the challenges that might limit such becoming. Such work can be quite edgy and disorientating (time-travel often can be!) and I would recommend thorough grounding at the conclusion of your ritual working i.e. banish, eat and preferably have contact with others.
In conclusion I will provide a snapshot from a recent invocation to N’Aton that took place as part of a ritual exploring our hopes and longings from the future:
Who dwells on the Threshold.
Holy Guardian Angel,
Speak to us and support us.
Pull us forward
Come dwell with us now!