Cosmos, Chaos, and Eros

 

wp-23_columnists09-01Eros is the driving power behind all magic.

In ancient Greek magic and metaphysics, everything was underpinned by Cosmos and Chaos; in our revival of magic today, it still is. In some sources, the first power appearing from Chaos was Eros; not the eros of popular entertainment, but a universal Eros, the primal movement from Chaos to Cosmos, commanding even the gods themselves. (A far cry from a chubby cherub wielding a bow, or a suggestive pole-dance!) Yet, as all practitioners of magic know, Eros, the power that moves, is essential to successful rituals. Eros — which includes sexuality, but is greater than personal gratification — is the driving power behind the laws of magic. Hence all magic is “sex magic.”

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Making Magic Real - The Magic of Age

head_Isaac-Bonewits

How old you are does affect your magic.

There’s a lot going on when you cast a spell, do a divination, or talk with spirits. Most of it consists of “variables,” things that change from time to time and situation to situation:What’s the weather like? Is that advancing high-pressure zone giving you a headache? How are you feeling — zippy, confident, and clear-minded? Or are you coming down with the flu? Are you at peace with the world, or are you mad at your parents, spouse, and/or children? Are you depressed, happy, or confused? Are you in a cabin in the woods or in the middle of a busy city? What’s going on with (or around) the target of your spell? What’s their physical, psychic, psychological, or social situation?

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Neurotransmitters: a Path to Heaven -- or Hell?

head_Kenaz-Filan_wp-24Mystics and addicts are more alike than we’d like to think.

For the past fifty years scholars have explored the role of hallucinogenic substances in religious rituals. Some have presented their work as proof that God/dess is just a pleasant drug/chemical-induced delusion; others have advocated psychedelics as potent tools to cleanse the doors of perception and make us all mystics. Psilocybin and muscimol (Psilocybe and Amanita spp. mushrooms), mescaline (Lophophora spp. cacti), and DMT/ MAOI compounds (Ayahuasca) are just a few of the mind-altering substances that have been studied in historical and contemporary accounts.

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Connection and Causation

head_Isaac-BonewitsDualism is nonsense — and incompatible with magic.

As I mentioned in the last column, the idea that magic and the “real” (physical) world are incompatible is rooted in Western Dualism. The belief that spiritual/ magical/ artistic matters and physical/ fleshly/ worldly ones are so distinct from one another as to have nothing in common is nonsense, but has nonetheless been the dominant paradigm for over 2,500 years. Zoroaster started it, Gnosticism (which was essentially the pre- and early-Christian “new age” movement), Christianity, and Islam continued it; and it then infected Judaism, and the modern philosophy of Scientistic Materialism is perhaps its ultimate triumph. Through the lens of dualism, the “debunking” of all things paradigm-challenging continues to this very day.

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Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred

Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred
Brendan Myers, O Books, 2010

4/5 broomsticks

Loneliness and Revelation is comprised of forty-five thought-provoking meditations on loneliness; Myers takes a close look at what it is and what it means for the individual as an existential condition.

More intense than just solitude or isolation, loneliness gives rise to the thought that one’s life may be “utterly insignificant and meaningless.” Myers believes that we combat this anomie through what he calls Revelation: ways of being in the world that assert our presence. He explores this theme through descriptions of conversations with friends, the writings of philosophers, and teachings of world religions both major and minor, referencing a broad swath of myth and literature.

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