Recently, I made a Table of Practice for a new magician; this isn’t that uncommon a thing, and I do enjoy making them (and for a pretty economical price, hint hint). For this specific Table, he requested I add the symbols of the 12 signs of the Zodiac on the outside bevel, much as I made one for my sister a ways back. For comparison, the one for my sister turned out like this:
And for the dude who recently commissioned me, the Table turned out like this (his photo):
The two Tables are essentially identical (the one for the recent commission has Tetragrammaton around the triangle, but that’s basically it), but the big issue here is the orientation of the Zodiac signs. For some bizarre reason, I unthinkingly drew the signs of the Zodiac onto this recently-commissioned Table clockwise instead of counterclockwise. The counterclockwise depiction is the most common, since it represents the view of the ecliptical Zodiac constellations from our point of view down here on Earth; so, for instance, if you look up into the night sky when Aries is at the midheaven, Pisces will be on the right of Aries and Taurus will be on the left. I’ve made several Tables with this pattern, but this recent commission is the only one I’ve goofed on. It’s weird, and I’m both embarrassed and confused at how this happened. That said, for some reason it also doesn’t strike me as “wrong”, despite the weird orientation of it.
Now, I don’t want the rest of this to sound like some justification for my design mistake, but the orientation of the Zodiac here led me to some thoughts on the role of the magician or conjurer in a conjuration. Consider that if we as humans view the Zodiac as going in a counterclockwise direction around the celestial sphere, then having them situated clockwise indicates that we’re viewing the Zodiac from the other side. The Zodiac is part of the eighth sphere, the sphere of the fixed stars, and the only thing higher than the eighth sphere is the ninth, the sphere of the Prime Mover, also referred to as Kether or God. By using a Table where the Zodiac is present in a clockwise pattern, we’re essentially viewing the spirits positioned within the Table from the same viewpoint that God perceives the cosmos and all within it. And that’s where this gets interesting.
What do we, as conjurers and magicians and magi, do? We take our divine birthright as children of the Most High and join with him in the ever-continuing act of creation of the cosmos. We ask for the blessing of God to do what is Right and to enact our True Wills, thereby rejoining God in his infinite Grace. We step into the role as agents of the Divine, of the Most Divine, to work with the spirits who are our relatives, who are our brothers and sisters from the same Source, and who endeavor to aid us as they aid the Divine themselves. We, essentially, become a consciously direct extension of God and join with God. I’m going to stop this little poetic waxing short of saying “we become God”, because we already are essentially part of the Prime Mover down in this little ass-end of the cosmos, but we come closest to it consciously when we do our Work.
There are points when working with the spirits simply does not work; as Fr. Rufus Opus has said, the general idea is “move this or move me”, where either a thing desired is changed or made in the world or where we ourselves are changed if nothing else can be changed. God, clearly, can change everything, since that’s pretty much his thing; nothing disobeys God, since everything is a part of God and works as part of the One, the cohesive Whole. But, that said, by moving ourselves, we partake in that same action, and bring ourselves closer to becoming what we need to Be and do what we need to Do; in these cases, we bring ourselves closer to attaining and carrying out our True Wills. This is also the same in all other instances when working with the spirits gets us results in the external world.
Being a magician can be a scary thing. It puts you in control, and therefore gives you responsibility, over your life, your station in life, and what happens in your life. These all have their own caveats and asterisks and conditions, of course, but generally speaking, being a magician raises you to the point of Divinity. In that sense, why shouldn’t we view the cosmos as the Divine would? Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t attaining Kether and bringing more Light down here the objective of working with Hermetic Qabbalah? Isn’t purifying and rarefying ourselves the end goal of the Great Work? Isn’t understanding things as they are without human ignorance clouding them the result of fulfilling the Oath of the Abyss? Isn’t attaining eventual power, reunion, unity with the Divine the point of all this crap we’re doing?
Maybe drawing on the Zodiac backwards wasn’t that bad an idea from a philosophical standpoint, after all. I certainly didn’t have it, but then, where do all Ideas come from, anyway?
I think the Gnostic Bishop Marcus did it that way in his Somasophia system. Everything was based on a God’s-eye view.
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