Summing Up My Magical Menagerie

by A. C. George

I have been going through a minor “crisis”. I place the word in quotation marks and refrain from capitalizing it because it isn’t even an apt description of what was going on. Namely, I was wondering what I should be doing with this blog, if anything. The question was one of structure vs. lack thereof; of planning vs. off-the-cuff ranting and of purpose vs. play.

Even as I was writing down the above conceptual pairs, however, I realized they too were not accurate, and that I was not experiencing a conflict between polarized concepts, but a challenge of embracing their working synthesis. The latter isn’t as simple or easy as mixing and matching or even squishing ingredients together. The conditions and of synthesis carry a lot of weight even when the scenario is one of abstract conception.

I have been writing about the various aspects and facets of my magical menagerie- at least have begun something akin to that process. The long and short of it is that it just isn’t what I want to do here. That’s fine, since the blog itself is something of an experiment in expressing these arcane interests of mine. It’s not as easy as just saying what I know. Many speak of the same things, but with different context and there is some debate regarding what this or that esoteric ideal implies and how useful it is for this that or the other.

So once again I take several steps back, add a few deep breaths and take it from the top, as it were. Assumptions can be more thoroughly discarded for one, especially the limiting ones. Worrying about getting the expression right can also be- more thoroughly- discarded. At the same time, I want to express clearly what does not come easy to translate from experience in combination with the prominent conceptual conventions about it.

For starters, instead of going on about the particular “exhibits” of my proverbial magical menagerie, it might be more economical and useful, as well as more interesting for yours truly to some it all up. In other words, let me address the query of WTF am I doing with occultism. Not so much, why am I doing it, but what I am doing. Specifically, I want to detail the options and elements of arcane application that I am bringing together while filtering, interpreting and redesigning the input. I intend, moreover, to elaborate regarding my motivation for the apparent rearranging of the deck chairs of existing esoteric approaches to come to my own conception.

Given what I expressed above, I have already summed up my magical menagerie as one that I reluctantly would label as revisionist esoteric exposition. Even with the shady reputation of all things “revisionist”, my work involves dynamics of great esoteric potential and meeting the various challenges of the times in which we find ourselves. To put it more plainly, I am forging my own system of magic via the revising of various traditional themes of arcane wisdom.

I am motivated to elaborate because misunderstanding is all too easy when encountering such claims. Those of a more traditionally inclined disposition are suspicious of any sort of revision or adaptation. On the other hand, diversified occultists might not realize how much goes into redesigning the systemics of one’s occult practice because the trend is modern and notorious for being mired in mass marketed pop culture subject matter, in the view of yours truly.

To reiterate, I am engaged in a process of redesigning some traditional elements of occultism and adapting them toward application in the world today. The process has been ongoing for the last fifteen years, whereas I have been exploring western occultism for a decade before that, in addition to eastern (Asian) metaphysics, as well as astrology, tarot, psychic phenomena and trance states for fifteen years before that.

I am currently engaged in a process of formalizing, testing and reformulating esoteric subjects of interest to condense the working principles into a map that can successfully navigate selected territories of esoteric application in a manner meaningful to the one undertaking the journey.

There are those who would reject the idea of revising or adapting perfectly functional systems of esoteric knowledge into a more modern context. Granted, many claims to the effect can be accurately deemed wanting. That does not mean the need is a fabrication.

A simple example would be that of western occult systems using astrological symbolism. Using astronomical data for esoteric applications is a tried and true practice- at least for those of an occult disposition. The planets, for example, are truly potent symbols of deeper truths when interpreted and conceptually concentrated (as archetypes) toward that purpose. The traditional Western astrological bodies known as planets include the sun, the moon and five astronomical planets of this solar system, all visible to the naked eye.

Today the face of the solar system has expanded, meaning the arcane possibilities would be best brought to useful fruition by reflecting the solar system more accurately. And yet, the old system of seven planetary principles has been a powerful map of occult possibility, coinciding with the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet, the seven days of the week as well as other iterations of that sacred number.

Existing revisions have added planets updating at least to the mid to late twentieth century. However, the astronomical face of the solar system has since undergone changes at a pace that far outstrips any occultist capacity to reliably formalize things in addition to thoroughly testing the proposed “upgrade”. Suffice it to say that simply slapping on more variables and shaving off the rough edges might only replace the tried and true (limitations notwithstanding) with a rickety construct held together with snappy jargon and a lot of wishful thinking.

My magical menagerie is, therefore, a collection of esoteric themes and potentials adapted to sustain interlocking parts, or at least mutually supportive and complementary elements. Designing and testing in this manner has been and continues to be an experience beyond measurable value to me. It has shown what works and what doesn’t work as well as what might work if one only invests more than most would be willing to give in terms of time, energy and commitment. Life, after all, is too short to waste on futility.

It is also true, however, that just because two stones slapped together can crack a spark doesn’t guarantee one can light a fire. A certain amount of skill and the correct conditions are needed as well, a combination of nature and nurture in the proper proportions. Even so, anyone clever enough can claim success in occult matters regardless of where the truth lies. Placebo effects and the trickster nature of human consciousness are easy to manipulate even when the perpetrator and victim are one and the same person.

My current minor “crisis” has only been one of many, and quite mild compared to some prior versions. One can say that the elements of the menagerie in mention have been progressively integrating, from “crisis” to “crisis”, just as they have been mutating purposefully for that purpose. I intend to describe some of the process of my evolving understanding, to focus on something that is closer to home for me than the more speculative expressions that have dominated my writings here so far. I might even start teaching the “system” at some point. That, certainly, is a topic for another day.

I have been going through a minor “crisis”. I place the word in quotation marks and refrain from capitalizing it because it isn’t even an apt description of what was going on. Namely, I was wondering what I should be doing with this blog, if anything. The question was one of structure vs. lack thereof; of planning vs. off-the-cuff ranting and of purpose vs. play.

Even as I was writing down the above conceptual pairs, however, I realized they too were not accurate, and that I was not experiencing a conflict between polarized concepts, but a challenge of embracing their working synthesis. The latter isn’t as simple or easy as mixing and matching or even squishing ingredients together. The conditions and of synthesis carry a lot of weight even when the scenario is one of abstract conception.

I have been writing about the various aspects and facets of my magical menagerie- at least have begun something akin to that process. The long and short of it, however, is that it just isn’t what I want to do here. That’s fine, since the blog itself is something of an experiment in expressing these arcane interests of mine. It’s not as easy as just saying what I know. Many speak of the same things, but with different context and there is some debate regarding what this or that esoteric ideal implies and how useful it is for this that or the other.

So once again I take several steps back, add a few deep breaths and take it from the top, as it were. Assumptions can be more thoroughly discarded for one, especially the limiting ones. Worrying about getting the expression right can also be- more thoroughly- discarded. At the same time, I want to express clearly what does not come easy to translate from experience in combination with the prominent conceptual conventions about it.

For starters, instead of going on about the particular “exhibits” of my proverbial magical menagerie, it might be more economical and useful, as well as more interesting for yours truly to some it all up. In other words, let me address the query of WTF am I doing with occultism. Not so much, why am I doing it, but what I am doing. Specifically, I want to detail the options and elements of arcane application that I am bringing together while filtering, interpreting and redesigning the input. I intend, moreover, to elaborate regarding my motivation for the apparent rearranging of the deck chairs of existing esoteric approaches to come to my own conception.

Given what I expressed above, I have already summed up my magical menagerie as one that I reluctantly would label as revisionist esoteric exposition. Even with the shady reputation of all things “revisionist”, my work involves dynamics of great esoteric potential and meeting the various challenges of the times in which we find ourselves. To put it more plainly, I am forging my own system of magic via the revising of various traditional themes of arcane wisdom.

I am motivated to elaborate because misunderstanding is all too easy when encountering such claims. Those of a more traditionally inclined disposition are suspicious of any sort of revision or adaptation. On the other hand, diversified occultists might not realize how much goes into redesigning the systemics of one’s occult practice because the trend is modern and notorious for being mired in mass marketed pop culture subject matter, in the view of yours truly.

To reiterate, I am engaged in a process of redesigning some traditional elements of occultism and adapting them toward application in the world today. The process has been ongoing for the last fifteen years, whereas I have been exploring western occultism for a decade before that, in addition to eastern (Asian) metaphysics, as well as astrology, tarot, psychic phenomena and trance states for fifteen years before that.

I am currently engaged in a process of formalizing, testing and reformulating esoteric subjects of interest to condense the working principles into a map that can successfully navigate selected territories of esoteric application in a manner meaningful to the one undertaking the journey.

There are those who would reject the idea of revising or adapting perfectly functional systems of esoteric knowledge into a more modern context. Granted, many claims to the effect can be accurately deemed wanting. That does not mean the need is a fabrication.

A simple example would be that of western occult systems using astrological symbolism. Using astronomical data for esoteric applications is a tried and true practice- at least for those of an occult disposition. The planets, for example, are truly potent symbols of deeper truths when interpreted and conceptually concentrated (as archetypes) toward that purpose. The traditional Western astrological bodies known as planets include the sun, the moon and five astronomical planets of this solar system, all visible to the naked eye.

Today the face of the solar system has expanded, meaning the arcane possibilities would be best brought to useful fruition by reflecting the solar system more accurately. And yet, the old system of seven planetary principles has been a powerful map of occult possibility, coinciding with the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet, the seven days of the week as well as other iterations of that sacred number.

Existing revisions have added planets updating at least to the mid to late twentieth century. However, the astronomical face of the solar system has since undergone changes at a pace that far outstrips any occultist capacity to reliably formalize things in addition to thoroughly testing the proposed “upgrade”. Suffice it to say that simply slapping on more variables and shaving off the rough edges might only replace the tried and true (limitations notwithstanding) with a rickety construct held together with snappy jargon and a lot of wishful thinking.

My magical menagerie is, therefore, a collection of esoteric themes and potentials adapted to sustain interlocking parts, or at least mutually supportive and complementary elements. Designing and testing in this manner has been and continues to be an experience beyond measurable value to me. It has shown what works and what doesn’t work as well as what might work if one only invests more than most would be willing to give in terms of time, energy and commitment. Life, after all, is too short to waste on futility.

It is also true, however, that just because two stones slapped together can crack a spark doesn’t guarantee one can light a fire. A certain amount of skill and the correct conditions are needed as well, a combination of nature and nurture in the proper proportions. Even so, anyone clever enough can claim success in occult matters regardless of where the truth lies. Placebo effects and the trickster nature of human consciousness are easy to manipulate even when the perpetrator and victim are one and the same person.

My current minor “crisis” has only been one of many, and quite mild compared to some prior versions. One can say that the elements of the menagerie in mention have been progressively integrating, from “crisis” to “crisis”, just as they have been mutating purposefully for that purpose. I intend to describe some of the process of my evolving understanding, to focus on something that is closer to home for me than the more speculative expressions that have dominated my writings here so far. I might even start teaching the “system” at some point. That, certainly, is a topic for another day.