So, your favorite Maternal Jackal has been reading up on matters occultish and spiritual, lately. It's been pretty interesting and - revelation time here, kids - I've sort of been shopping around to see if I can upgrade from guilt-ridden-agnostic to guilt-ridden-believer-in-something-beyond-mortal-ken. What the hell, I figured it was time to get around to it...
Thanks to a friend, who has loaned me a significant chunk of his library, the past month has been dedicated to reading about Wicca, Hermetic Magick (mostly of the Golden Dawn variety) and vodoun. I've already done enough reading on Christiany, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism to answer my immediate questions in those areas. The questions I'll spare you, but the answer is this:
They're all unsatisfying.
Let's start with Wicca. Generally, I like it. I like the self-empowering aspects of it, I like its emphasis on balance in all things, and it's generally positive outlook. But Wicca has been deeply fucked up for me by a variety of fantasy authors. I'm not going to name names, but I think my regular readers have an idea. I admit that now I've read of real Wicca, my opinion of it has improved considerably - but the sugar-coated Wiccan ideas that have been popping up in fantasy novels for over a decade now have left me with an inability to take the real religion seriously. Whenever I'm contemplating Wicca, I keep seeing dragons, impossibly noble heroes and all that silliness. It's a damn shame and maybe I'll get past that some time, but, at the moment, Wicca has been put aside.
The Order of The Golden Dawn seems to be what happened to Wicca when bureaucrats got their hands on it. Overeducated male bureaucrats, at that. If I want to study the Qabbala and call on Archangels, I'll skip over Alistair Crowley and convert to Judaism. The trappings are all very pretty and the Egypt-centric Golden Dawn looks very cool, but I'm not looking for something cool - not this month.
(A brief aside - I've examined Egyptian theology, also, and actually came very close to joining a temple in San Francisco but, once again, modern media has managed to ruin it for me...)
Whoa! Time out! One of my far more educated friends (Hi, Terry!) has just pointed out to me that most modern Wicca derives from the writings of Gerald Gardner whom, it seems was heavily influenced by Hermetic magic. So maybe Wicca is what happens to Hermetic Magick when suffragettes and romantics get their hands on it... It just goes to show that it's impossible to know everything, the chicken may come before the egg and I'm going to end this paragraph before my head hurts any more.
Vodoun is damn interesting, but of intellectual curiousity only. I have no intention of becoming an initiate in that particular system as my temper is way too short. If I had the ability to judge and punish my peers in the vodoun manner, half of my acquaintances would be falling into a coma every time I had a cranky day. Vodoun is powerful shit, kids, don't fuck with it. Well, all spirituality, when wielded by a believer, is powerful, but vodoun uses some very specifically toxic things from Mother Nature and they will kill a dabbler terribly quickly...
Ditto for Chaos Magick, by the way. But I'll leave that to you to find out about.
Next on my list is Native American shamanism. Stop laughing! I'm about as American as a kangeroo, I know, but my research into that subject is more in the way of looking over my fiance's shoulder - he's one quarter Blackfoot - as he's researching the subject. If nothing else, I'd like to be able to understand his interests.
Pictish spirtuality is on the list, too - again, mostly because of curiousity - but my initial research indicates that it was fundamentally changed by the arrival of the Celts and, given the nasty-brutish-and-short lifestyle of any Bronze Age society, I suspect that their beliefs might have more emphasis on killing enemies and escaping rabid predators than I'm looking for - and there's not much material on the subject as it is. If anybody has any recommendations, feel free to e-mail me.
So, I'm still looking. I don't mind, I'm enjoying the search.
I understand that there is now a pool going as to precisely when I'm going to be struck by lightening. Feel free to chip in.
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