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Archive for March, 2015

I’ve been thinking on and considering the idea of so-called “ego-destruction” lately, and I have come to the conclusion that this idea and its frame is actually very, very flawed and destructive in itself.

In occult circles, there is this very modern idea that is predicated on the frame that there is a part of us that is non-essential, often discussed as our “ego” or the matrix of our identities, and it is often claimed that this part of us needs to be “destroyed” or “dismantled”, or given away in some manner. I find this theory to be very much a disservice to seekers of occult Wisdom. One of the admonishments that I hold to, as taught by Victor Anderson who propagated the branch of witchery that I practice, is: “Submit your life-force to no one and no thing.” It’s also often stated as, “Never give away your power.”

This framework buys into the split between mind and body, between some spooky “essence” and our lived, embodied experience in the World-As-It-Is. And I want my money back.

Rather, I understand the world to be a Grand Story, and each of us are a smaller Story within this great, woven arc of narrative unfolding from every moment. The World is Story, and we are Story. All beings and forces are Story. And Stories are Real.

Our identities are even smaller stories we tell about ourselves—with some limiting, some powerful, but they do belong to us. I’ve become very interested in the practice of claiming power-stories, and in taking a cue from the Cunning Serpent himself, the folkloric Devil/Witchfather who is the Master Turnskin (He who cannot be “trapped” in any one ultimate form or Name or identity). It is for this reason He is said to be called the Father of Lies, for any time you think you “have” Him pinned down, He shape-shifts. Likewise, as those who seek Wisdom, we can still claim powerful Stories to live by, realizing that ultimately identity-stories are like the Serpent’s skin—useful for a time, but they need to be shed when that skin is too worn, when they no longer do what skin is meant to. “Skins,” in both the esoteric and exoteric sense, serve as a container, an *embodiment* of the “Power” that is us in this life. Witches know that our bodies of flesh and our Second Skins in the Otherworld grant us the ability to be in relationship with the world and its denizens, whatever “world” we find ourselves in.

We know we should never give up our hard-won identities or power-stories at the insistence of others—unless and until they no longer serve the greater Story that is our personal arc within the Grand Story that is the World-As-It-Is. Stories are empowering. I relate it to the deed of Coming Out, of claiming the Story of being Queer, which even to this day is a great act of will, a counter-cultural happening. And there is still the power of taboo in this, just as claiming the title Witch for oneself is powerful, a being “Cleft from the Herd” as one of my teachers called it.

I still agree with the queer theory maxim that “Identity is not self-identical;” that the boxes we place ourselves in are not identical to “who we are.” They don’t sum us up, as I believe that there is *much* more to us, that each of us are, in truth, a reflection of the underlying Wholeness of the world and that much of that Wholeness is Unseen. And I believe that all things are such a reflection. I believe in a “holographic” cosmos. And yet there are still Stories that we will carry with us, woven to us, for the length of our human lives. Stories that are born of the watery currents of our Free Soul carried deep in our blood and DNA, and the airy currents that comprise our Breath Soul, shaped from how this soul must bend and twist and curl through the narrative of our well-lived lives. The World-Story etches into us as much as we etch into it.

For me, to be a seeker of Wisdom is to be both fluid and fierce, in constant relationship to the seen and Unseen worlds, and to ultimately unite them in my person. To embody the Wholeness—for it is here, in this place of being Whole and Complete unto myself that my personal Story and the Story of the World are found to be unbroken from one another. This is to be “Justified,” which is one of the great “Goals” of the Faery Faith and the Orphic Mysteries alike. Here burns the pure Fire of the Daimonic Soul, whose Truth is rapture.

This is not to say, however, that there is no sacrifice of Story, no surrender of Self to the Mystery. The journey into the Underworld, and to the Witches’ Sabbat, always contains a payment of a debt or tithe; Charon’s Obol, the Devil’s Coin. We must pay for what we dare and do, power is always moving, transferred from one state to the next. There is dismemberment, but then renewal and rebirth. Story is transformed, but nothing is truly lost, only re-membered.

I, simply or not, wish to live the Story of my life so well, so passionately, that I live on as this Story after my flesh has gone to the grave. This, I believe, is the henosis that unfolds into apotheosis, and it is not distinct from the skins I wear.

My thoughts leave me with these two quotes, the first from my teacher and apprentice, Fio Santika Akheron:

“A Deity (God/dess) is a Spirit that is so self-aware of Its Self-Caused Origins that It, like the First Mother/Great Goddess, is so intoxicated by Its own Image and Reflection caused by the Dance of Light (the Stuff of Stars) that the Phenomenal Edges of ‘Personhood’ dissolve and settle in such a way that the God becomes (Pro)Active Story; an Altar of Myth. All of this is Most Profoundly Real.”

Or, as Roger Zelazny wrote:

“Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extent that your passions correspond to the forces of the universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken. Some ancient poet said that the world is full of echoes and correspondences. Another wrote a long poem of an inferno, wherein each man suffered a torture which coincided in nature with those forces which had ruled his life. Being a god is being able to recognize within one’s self these things that are important, and then to strike the single note to bring them into alignment with everything else that exists. Then, beyond morals or logic or aesthetics, one is wind or fire, the sea, the mountains, rain, the sun or the stars, the flight of an arrow, the end of a day, the clasp of love. One rules through one’s ruling passions. Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, ‘He is Fire, She is Dance, He is Destruction, She is Love.’”

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