"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
This Shakespeare quote (King John) might be used to describe the writings of many magicians, my own included! But what is this spirit of the word which descends upon so many magicians? Certainly we've been influenced by Thoth or tickled by Hermes to construct our word palaces; to build metaphysical definitions of this thing we do: magic. It may seem "ridiculous" at times, but it is a common phenomena of magic practice.
The word is essential to our work. We study the texts; we chant words of power, we sing the divine names. We rename ourselves in ancient languages, taking inspiring mottoes or borrowing names of the deities we love. We design verbal rites and spells, composing mantras for devotion and to seek the presence of spirits. Given the gap between ancient magical practices and the modern resurgence, I think we need more words, more magical texts. We certainly could use more descriptive terms for the interior processes of concentration and contemplation.
It feels good to write about magic. It feels good to concentrate upon the concepts related to magical practices. Perhaps this is a joke of Hermes, his tricky wand poking us in the ribs. Its a trick because so many words often languish in our mystical records and diaries. It is a joke because Hermes is the lively imagination of the Word and yet he is inaudible. His trick is to inspire the writing of magical philosophies and new theories and histories. But these semantic vehicles attempt to explain what an essentially non-verbal experience!
Silent experience vs. the written word is an example of the opposites at work upon the blank page of magical texts. Surrounding every letter is emptiness. The total volume of space seems much greater than that of all the letters on a page. So the Silence of the One Spirit is much more vast than our symbolic letter shapes which form into words and sentences and pages. We couldn't have a book without that expansive background; nor could have manifest creation without the limitless One Spirit from which all (words) emerge.
It is fun and feels good to write about magic. The visual effect of seeing words appear upon the blank page becomes a ceremonial act. Magical writing celebrates the creation of the cosmos by the power of the word at the beginning - "Let there be light." We text and email all day long and because the content is banal we forget that ancient ceremony lying at the root of our typing.
But writing about magic awakens something in the soul that remembers the primordial vibration of the Logos! Thoth recorded those creative Words, deities at the beginning uttering forth all that is. He stands as the ancient image of the Word of Creation, the joy of writing the words of making - in hieroglyphs, in cuneiform and alphabets. Writing about magic contributes to the syllable-by- syllable sonic drip of divinity into the worlds. Inaudible utterances from Universal Being are received by listening Intelligences, elaborated by Archangel contemplaters of divine thought, formulated by speaking choirs of Angels into the shapes and forms of our sensory world and carved and hammered into matter by myriad Elementals.
Shakespeare in his quote above seems to make fun of those who overdo, trying to improve upon natures perfections. If magic is a naturally occurring process of creation out of True Being, then perhaps writing about it is "wasteful and ridiculous excess." How could formalizing an ideology of magic in words improve upon a process that seems built into the pre-consciousness of nature? Of course, it cannot.
But I think writing about magic is most useful when it describes the fluid processes associated with with its workings. What are the phenomena of magic? What are the qualities which depict magic in activity? How can we qualify the states of mind and soul, the functions of desire and the role of feeling which will lead a human being into a magical world? This isn't wasteful verbiage of excess. It is an appreciation of the joy of Thoth in our own lives.
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