The Magical Paradigm of Choice
by A. C. George
After all these twenty years of unstructured magic study and practice- not including an additional decade and a half of other esoteric explorations- I am not quite ready with the form of magic I find is my “thing”, as it were. It appears, on the other hand, that what inner guidance I do have insists I be more systematic about things. Not for the first time, that insistence involves revisiting square one, as it were.
I notice- with some exceptions- practitioners of esoteric process (mystical, psychic, magic and of all occult varieties) abide by the notion of either/or categorization of preference. There is, for example the alleged view of magic that insists that all paradigms are tools and can be altered at will. Another notion claims that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Instead, study the “tried and true” methods and once you master those, maybe you can perhaps build on something.
We can view such categorizations in terms of intimate relationships. You have, for instance, the occult polygamists, and the polyamorists. The former sport a harem of mates through which they cycle according to need. The latter play the field and hook up with whatever is most convenient at the time. I am not quite an occult monogamist, and certainly not a purist in even a loose sense. Even so, the varieties of my approach tend to fall under the same umbrella of interconnected meaning, as it were. Innovation, furthermore, has nothing to do with anything being broken and improvement does not imply reinventing the wheel or anything else for that matter.
My understanding of the magical paradigm of choice is that it is the mythology of one’s sense of existential meaning. That kind of thing is anchored to ones very soul, although it is not immune to alteration, transformation and/or the forces of evolution. The design and practice of magic, and the comprehension and expression of mysticism and they are who I am, and perhaps what I am. As such, my understanding is rooted in my adherence to the notion of integration, integrity and liberation based on value fulfillment and existential coherence. This is expressed in and through self, the structuring of our environment and the interaction with such as the dynamics of all our relations.
In my years of study and application, growth and seeming reversal in magic, I have come across a wide variety of paradigms. These were practically like living beings themselves; sometimes an extension of the one holding them, and sometimes as if they were of a different origin and in possession of the holder. As in all interactions, I related to these over a broad spectrum. Once upon a time I was more aggressive in response to the paradigms found not only distasteful but downright dangerous in their unhealthy promotions.
I am in the process of consolidating my knowledge into a systemic application. That means streamlining it, and condensing what works so that I may fertilize it with the necessary attention to detail and committed practice. My process is ongoing and extended because it isn’t systematic so much as guided by punctuated inspiration, as well as need. That is on the one hand. On the other hand, I have requirements corresponding to my sense of existential meaning that cause me to take the harder road in many respects. Yet that road, to me at least, is the more meaningful one as well as healthier overall.
I do not ascribe to cynical reasoning, such as the world is random, it’s all meaningless, humans are a blight on creation etc. I do not ascribe to antagonistic dualism, although I believe creation works via polarity. I am not into absolute monism either, and do not consider manifestation “dirty” or the material plane less meaningful than the proverbial expanses of life force and spirit. I won’t treat the body as a beast of burden, just as I cannot see the layers of manifest becoming as shells to cover and adorn some idealized and idolized god center. Manifestation is an organic outgrowth of essence, and essence is the distillation of manifestations variety and meaningful potential.
In a similar vein, good and evil are contrived notions to me. Yet to say everything is relative and that one view is as good as another, is- aside from the occasional convenience of stroking ruffled feathers- just as short-sighted. Then we have this misunderstanding of the phrase “the truth shall set you free”. A disturbing “fact” that demolishes hope and the faith in human potential is swallowed against all instinct because it is “true” whether we like it or not.
That makes sense on the surface, and yet how come the only ones served by this are those who get off on others losing hope and faith and becoming compromised cynics like them? To me we often base truth on the evaluations of what we call “reason”, while rarely considering that our sense of reason can be based on assumptions, most of which have been mated to us. Incessant repetition and a liberal dose of the carrot and the stick have been the matchmakers of our mental bed chambers more often than we would like. Many react defensively, even violently, at the idea of reason so tainted. How could then consider then to put it on the back burner of cognition and reality evaluation- at least where deeper nuances of existential meaning are concerned?
Because it can be conditioned, and because founding assumptions can vary, reason is indeed relative. What is good for the goose is unreasonable for the gander, in other words, and your word is as good as mine. Yet if we seek to clean ourselves up, and dare to trust that our wishful thinking may in fact be the sense of what is healthy for us- however warped along the way- we may cultivate a sense of discernment that is both health and founded on solid existential ground. As such, I do not deny the that our deep sense of existential meaning is the touchstone of the truth that sets us free. Being in tune with that sense of meaning is my version of self-knowledge. It which includes all those dispositions assuming identity without truth, while they urge a divorcing from it.
I am not bound by that meaning, however, and even though my sense of purpose may give me a hard time, I do not consider myself bound by that either. It is simply the way of integrity for me, and integrity is the way of meaningful health and purposeful and evolving wellbeing. It is a well-being that I feel is meaningful when it vibrates the world and into the world as it can. Integrity isn’t about following rules of conduct for me. It is about being coherent and real to yourself, which is my way of saying: “free of deep-layer conflict”. That is what I would call a strong and committed relationship with one’s being, and that is the premise of my magical paradigm.