Animals have been a vital element in the development of mythological systems throughout history, across virtually every culture imaginable. In Western societies of the Middle Ages, in particular, animals represented specific traits and could therefore be utilized as symbols to convey moral and religious lessons in works of art. Animals can represent victims of technology, industrialization, or war. Also, animals sometimes equate with the concept of “purity,” existing in a wild, natural state and therefore utterly free from man’s sins and vices. Some passion plays and other didactic forms of theater utilized animal imagery to represent specific modes of behavior, including human vices.
Most of the world’s economy is based on the appetites of the ego, and nowhere is this more starkly pronounced than in spiritual communities. People truly believe that spending hundreds of dollars for yoga pants, meditation cushions, malas, retreats, and crystals—or just putting lots of cash on the donation plate—is somehow correlated with increased spirituality. They believe they can actually buy their way into becoming a better person. Of course, this is just another ploy of the ego, which very much wants you to think of yourself as a better person. The magick community isn’t exempt from this way of thinking. Most people who claim to practice magick are only going through the motions; it’s just a fashion statement on their part, a way to rebel against their constrained, traditional upbringing. They’re far more concerned with how witchy their clothes and jewelry look than they are in developing self-discipline and wisdom.
Our task, then, is to work for our liberation from this sphere, severing ourselves from all that has gathered about us; the total man is to be something better than a body ensouled—the bodily element dominant with a trace of Soul running through it and a resultant life-course mainly of the body—for in such a combination all is, in fact, bodily. There is another life, emancipated, whose quality is progression towards the higher realm, towards the good and divine, towards the Principle which no one possesses except by deliberate usage but so may appropriate, becoming, each personally, the higher, the beautiful, the Godlike, and living, remote, in and by It—
Enlightenment (or awakening) means to emerge from a state of unconsciousness—a state of ignorance. The world isn’t anything like what most people think it is, and nearly everything we perceive on this side of the abyss is an illusion—or, more accurately, layers upon layers of illusion. Some of that perception is due to the limitations of our physical senses, but much of it is based on lies and misdirection crafted by people with vested interest in keeping humanity unaware or even unconscious. When we cross the abyss, we see through all of this and look upon reality with the clear sight of our infinite, true nature. It’s not an intellectual process. It’s not something we can get by reading or thinking about it. We experience enlightenment directly, and only because we have completely refined our consciousness.
You, who make eloquent the tongues of infants, refine my speech and pour forth upon my lips the goodness of your blessing. Grant me keenness of mind, capacity to remember, skill in learning, subtlety to interpret, and eloquence in speech. May you guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to completion. You who are true God and true Man, who live and reign, world without end. Amen.
Saint Thomas Aquinas. Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer. Craughwell, Thomas J., ed.
Often I, too, am overcome by the hatred, the jealousy and envy, the wars, all the ugliness that is a part of our world. I try to live in beauty and goodness; I seek out all that has a quality of inner beauty, and I am immediately repulsed by anything ugly that sends out bad vibrations. Over the years, with the help of my guru, I have tried very hard to create and build up within me a kind of beauty and spiritual strength, so that I always have this to turn to when the harshness of the world becomes too depressing. It is this inner beauty that I have worked so long to create that I try to reveal through my music and share with all my listeners.
Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish. Amen.
W.E.B. Du Bois. Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer. Craughwell, Thomas J., ed.
The more you advance in the practice of magick, the more you see that it’s actually all about transcending our enslavement to the ego and ultimately freeing ourselves from the endless cycles of incarnation.