Sitting in a cafe at lunchtime across the street from my office yesterday, munching on a salad while reading the latest lesson in the Strategic Sorcery Course, my attention kept being caught by the scenes of political upheaval flashing on a muted TV tuned to CNN International. A restless spirit is stirring in the streets of Lebanon, Egypt and Tunesia. There are rumblings of imminent change in the southern Mediterranean. Reading about magic while being regularly reminded of the turbulent times we live in got me to reflecting on a subject that periodically occupies my thoughts: the relationship between esotericism and politics.
There are a number of authors in the occult field and a number of bloggers who feel the two don’t mix. Why does the juxtaposition of these two realms of endeavor makes people nervous?
First, I suppose, there’s the masonic-illuminati world domination conspiracy theory. People get uncomfortable at the thought of someone with the skills acquired from arcane schools occupying any sort position of power. And if they owe allegiance to some order or other, certainly they must be carrying out a dark secret agenda! Once people start to talk in this vein, the opera ain’t over ‘til everyone has trotted out their favorite CIA MK-Ultra/UFO/Kennedy assassination/trilateral commission/Federal Reserve/whatever story, and makes it sing. It’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach, really. And the truth is that these shaggy-dog stories all started as a smear campaign by the aristocracy against the Freemasons in 19th century, because the powers-that-were feared any organization that treated all men as equals. And they were still pissed off about the French Revolution.
Then there’s the whole occultism-fascism connection. I won’t bore the well-read frequenters of this blog with stories they’ve already heard about the Nazi party growing out of a lodge of the Thule Society. And many esotericists with democratic/egalitarian convictions break out in hives at the mention of Julius Evola.
I also think attitudes toward politics are similar to people’s attitudes towards money: nice people don’t touch that stuff. It’s an extension of the outmoded idea that you have to be withdrawn from the world, like a monk, to be spiritual. In the Anlgo-Saxon world, and especially in America, this is partially a legacy of the sixties and seventies.
|Things got a little intense in the 60s|
In the sixties, everything was political. Everything. How you saw things and what you did was largely dependent on whether you were for or against the Vietnam war. And Nixon. It took so much upheaval to finally get the government to withdraw from the war and to get Nixon out of the White House, that once it was over with, the vast majority was just tired to death of it all. Nobody wanted to hear about politics. After the 1968 presidential election (which elected Nixon to his first term), voter turnout dropped from over 60% to just slightly over 50%, and did not hit 60% percent again until the last election that made Obama president.
So, yes, I think politics is an issue to magicians similar to money. Much has been made in this corner of the blogosphere about the fact that being a magician means taking control of your life. And that means, among other things, just getting over your money-related neuroses and dealing with your finances, because until you have your money trip together, you’re not gonna get much done in this world.
I think the same goes for politics. Politics is about power relationships: in your family, in your workplace, in your neighborhood, in your town, in you lodge, in your professional organization, in your internet forum, in your classroom… in any place you find more than two people interacting, there is politics. Get over it. If you don’t look at the big picture and take part in deciding what happens in the world, you will be a passive object that just gets pushed around by those with political power.
I don’t mean that you need to run for political office, or become involved in political campaigns. But you should be clear about how you see the various agendas and policies operating in the world. And when you see trends you think are either bad for society in general, or for your interests specifically, you should tell people about it, and support those people and organizations working to promote those interests.
An example. There’s a woman in Hungary, Agnes Gereb, who has been tirelessly working for women’s right to have children at home, since the early 1990s. She was present at the birth of four of my five children. The struggle to legalize home birth in Hungary is a political struggle, because its all about wresting power from the College of Physicians, who have exclusive authority when it comes to the birthing process in Hungary. They have used every lever of state power they could muster for many years, eventually stripping her of her licence to practice medicine, which she thwarted by earning a degree as a midwife. When there were some complications with a few births in recent years (although her rate of complications, both for mother and baby, are far below that of physicians who deliver in the hospital), the authorities jumped at the chance to charge her with malpractice and manslaughter. Finally, one night in November she was arrested.
A lightning protest was organized through social media the very next afternoon. The authorities were shocked to see several thousand people (with their home-born children!) gathered in front of the ministry in less than twenty four hours. Despite the fact that I suspected the police might be video-taping from a dark office across the street to identify people later, my wife, my children and I were there. People have to have the guts to stand up and be counted when there is something important at stake. We participated in several more demonstration during the subsequent weeks.
During her incarceration (she was released into house arrest at Christmas), I sent her prana every morning. This is a technique I have practiced every morning for many years now. I have a short list of people I support this way every day. I replace people on the list after a few weeks or months, depending on how serious their need is. The results have been miraculous at times. I have seen the lives of people aided this way transformed in unmistakable ways. It’s happened too many times and with too great an intensity to be a coincidence.
My point here is that my action was to a great degree political. This woman was a figure at the center of a movement. Yes, she is my friend, but I also did it for all of the people who look to her for spiritual leadership.
I’m sure this sort of thing goes on all the time. Don’t you think it makes a lot of difference when people “pray” for someone in jail? When people give a leader or a key figure in some group endeavor a boost of life force? Don’t you think magicians have been working behind the scenes throughout the ages to aid people who are working for the common good?
I occasionally do spells to help “promote” projects I am involved with. In Hungary, it occasionally helps to use a bit of behind-the-scenes-mojo to overcome bureaucrats who have their own political agenda, and are blocking approval of your group’s application for that reason.
Let’s go back to the similarity between the politics taboo and the money taboo. I’ll admit that politics is scary. Like money, it’s all about power. People’s issues around money often have to do with their own doubts about their capacity to handle wealth. That’s why lots of prosperity advisers recommend working your way up to a multiple of your current wealth gradually. Everyone knows (or should know by now) that people who win huge jackpots in the lottery are almost always ruined by it. Their life, their personality isn’t capable of handling that kind of monetary power. It’s like taking a circuit designed to handle 50 amps and suddenly running 100 amps on it. It’ll burn out. So a person has to upgrade his life, his “circuits” to handle more money.
Same with political clout. When I was much younger, I experienced the not-too-pretty phenomenon of being appointed to a position with a little more authority than I’d had before and not handling it well. It went to my head and inflated my ego, and I acted like an asshole. It affects people in different ways. They become greedy, or pushy, or cruel, or exhibit other aberrations of the human character. It takes a balanced and mature person to handle power well. The kind of materialist, greedy, quick-fix society we have nowadays doesn’t tend to cultivate balance and maturity. So, there are lots of people running around who can’t handle the power they have.
But that’s still not reason to put politics out of bounds for people pursuing magic and mysticism. Someone has to take the reins of power an run things, and it doesn’t make sense to me to leave that to men and women with little insight into the purpose of life in this universe.
In a recent interview on The Occult of Personality podcast series, Neil Kramer stated a view on the nature of public political events that I, frankly, had a hard time accepting. And after reflecting on that opinion, considering many of the things I’ve said above, I have to say that I don’t agree with him, although I don’t totally disagree with him either.
Kramer is concerned with exploring consensus reality, and equates enlightenment with liberation from the consensus reality. He posits that the power structure employs “systems of control” to keep us beholden to the consensus reality. Around the 59th minute of that interview he talks in kind of paranoid terms of the “empire” that has existed throughout all time and kept the masses suppressed by denying them certain kinds of knowledge. I realize, when listening to this, how silly I must sound when I am in my more paranoid conspiracy-mongering states of mind. You know: when you talk about “them” and “those people” who are controlling everything. But, be that as it may, he makes the statement, “You see these public pantomimes that are just socially engineered things to give the appearance of change, but at a higher level, nothing is changing. And what the empire is doing is just changing its robes, changing its language, changing its religion to accommodate the next evolutionary stage of its domination.”
If I understand correctly, he’s saying that all outward action is useless, and it’s only liberation of consciousness that makes and difference. But the powers in control, such as repressive governments, aren’t trying to control what people can have access to because they are afraid of their thoughts (though I can appreciate that transformation of consciousness already begins the process of loosening the consensus reality), they are afraid of what those “new” thoughts will motivate people to DO! Like, defy the police. Like, gather and make unauthorised plans. Like, organize themselves. Like, try to get outside help. Why is our mythology filled with all these stories of heroes if we aren’t meant to show our courage in battle at some point in our life’s journey?
I refuse to believe the Velvet Revolution of 1989 was just a “pantomime”. There are genuine political triumphs in this world for the struggle for freedom that occur when brave men and women seize the moment and stamp reality with their collective wills. Sometimes their triumph is fleeting, but it was worth fighting for.
If your consciousness is transformed, it should motivate you to do things. And acting in the material world on the level of society, requires politics. Whether you like it or not.