Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strive for Perfection

The essence of the occult is one thing and one thing alone: the Perfection of the Soul. It is for this reason that we study the Qabalah, classical Alchemy, long dead and forgotten languages, and even the ethereal structure and ranks of the Angels of Heaven its-self. Perfection drives us to study Pentagrams and Hexagrams and Septagrams and whatnot, and learn their measurements, correspondences, and favorite foods.

Should we not, if Perfection is the ultimate goal, strive for Perfection in the manner of reaching that goal? Should we not, when performing the daunting tasks of calling forth Enochian, Goetic, Transdimensional, and Subdimensional intelligences, do so proud and tall and with a level of attempted Perfection that honors those beings (and out own soon-to-be-Perfected souls)?

So why, God why, are so many Ceremonial Magicians and Ritual Occultists sloppy?

Exihbit A:

This Ceremonial Magician is performing the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. He even teaches us how to draw each Hexagram. But his drawing of the Hexagrams, his stance in the Signs, and even his 'lines,' are not only rushed but sloppy. So sloppy that after watching it several times I cannot even tell which Hexagram is which without listening to his narration. The edges of his hexagrams even seem to bow in on themselves and never meet. I would be embarrassed to welcome the Universal Intelligences called forth by this rite with such a sloppy and haphazard performance.

Exhibit B:
I wish I could embed this video, but the maker has deleted the embedding code (good move really, I'd be embarrassed about this one too).
I particularly love the robe that barely fits, riding up his arms far enough to reveal his... um... watch(?), and the ritual implements which seem to consist of a blade (dagger, athame, whatever) that is smaller than the ones my childhood G.I. Joe figure had, and a wand that looks like it may be a ball point pen (or I might be exaggerating that). The performance (which is the real subject here) is not only rushed, sloppy, and read from a script (something that plagues lots of modern "magicians"), but also is performed with the bravado and vigor of a bored high school student reading Shakespeare out loud in class while he doodles on his sneakers. I am willing to overlook lack of proper tools (after all, we are in a recession, and even a butter knife can focus the will in theory), but as my theater class used to teach: "even if your crown is made of paper, you sword of tin foil, and your mantle of Mrs. M's butchered tablecloth; by God deliver you lines as though your were in the presence of the Pope himself."

Now, maybe I'm just a sucker for sharp lines and crisp delivery, or maybe I'm just a Military Cadet with a fetish bordering on sexual deviancy for white glove inspections. But I kind of feel that a proper ritual should look something like this:
Exhibit C:

"The Magician walks into the CIRCLE, dressed in the pressed, bleached, and fitted vestments of his office, adorned with the symbols of his practice; and sharply raises his polished and cared for ceremonial BLADE with purpose. He turns to the EAST and in a voice of command, which mimics the Lord's own upon creation of cosmos, gives the EVOCATION and calls forth the spirits, who respond to his obvious authority with prompt obedience. He circles around the ritual space, back straight and head held high, and advances into the midst of the spirits' trials and tribulations proud and never flinching. His movements are crisp and measured, and when he needs not move his posture exudes confidence and command..."
I jest, but you get the idea.

Admittedly, this guy seems to know what's going on.
Exhibit D:

He's serious, he takes his time, his Pentagrams are sharp and well defined, his arms are raised and his head held high. Bravo. Gold Star.

But in the end, I suppose it doesn't really matter. As I ask whether or not we should be serious about our work and strive for perfection I am filled with the immortal answer of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: "Hell no! You're a Chicken Qabalist. Don't worry about it!"

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