Unlocking the Observatory: The Life and Times of Humanity

Where were we? We’re in the middle of discussing the obscure Telescope of Zoroaster (ZT), a manual of divination and spirituality originally published in French in 1796 (FZT) at the close of the French Revolution, which was later translated into German in 1797 (GZT) and then again in an abridged form as part of Johann Scheible’s 1846 Das Kloster (vol. 3, part II, chapter VII) (KZT), with Scheible’s work then translated into English in 2013 as released by Ouroboros Press (OZT).  Although OZT is how most people nowadays tend to encounter this system, I put out my own English translation of FZT out a bit ago as part of my research, and while that translation was just part of the work I’ve been up to, there’s so much more to review, consider, and discover when it comes to this fascinating form of divination.  Last time, we talked about other aspects of divinatory practice we can clean from Karl Kern’s 1933 book on ZT. If you need a refresher on what we talked about last time, go read the last post!

※ For those following along with their own copy of ZT (get yours here!), the relevant chapters from ZT are the “Fifth Step” and “Third Supplement”.

Something I’ve mentioned a few times now, and which some of my readers have picked up on otherwise, is that ZT doesn’t just provide a divination system.  Sure, that is the focus of the text itself being an introductory manual to the core fundamental aspects of the art, but the actual scope of ZT is much broader than just a form of numerological sortilege with an astrological flair.

Consider Karl Kern’s case study of a Great Mirror composed for a middle-aged man; if you remember, around the edge of the Mirror in the outer belt, he labeled the years of life for each house, each house being one “luster”, or a period of five years.

I brought this up originally when we talked about the Great Dial and how the outer belt is also called the “lustral belt” when talking about the Great Dial in concentric movement, which also ties into how ZT uses the signs of the Zodiac to talk about different phases of life.  We even see this in the list of house significations when we talked about the houses of the Great Mirror, too, starting with house 20.  I’ve bolded the explicit phase-of-life bits in the list below, but note how the whole of the outer (zodiacal) belt of the Great Mirror kinda illustrates an ideal life, from birth to ascendance to descendance to death:

  1. Birth, candor, inaction.
  2. Infancy, playfulness or mischief.
  3. Puberty, turbulence, quarrels or squabbles.
  4. Adolescence, sympathy.
  5. Intense or violent passions and senses.
  6. Debauchery, infidelity.
  7. Tenacious passions, constancy.
  8. Celibacy, marital fidelity.
  9. Moral perfection, maturity.
  10. Prudence or caution, good philosophy.
  11. Bad faith, decline.
  12. Illicit and perilous fortunes.
  13. Travel, hectic life.
  14. Inconstancy, wasted or lost time.
  15. Ancestors, old age.
  16. Apathy, waning of fortune.
  17. Infirmity, indigence.
  18. Ruin, death.

At this point in our exploration of ZT, we have touched on almost every chapter in some way or another except for the “Fifth Step”.  This is positioned between the “Fourth Step” (which talks about the Great Mirror, i.e. the large hexangular figure read in the astronomical regime, as a whole and how to read it according to its tiles and ideal subfigures) and the “Sixth Step” (which talks about the Great Dial, i.e. the large hexangular figure read in the temporal regime).  Linking the two together is how the two consider the outer band to be effectively the same between them: in the Great Mirror, the outer band is zodiacal, while in the Great Dial, it’s lustral—but for ZT, the two are effectively the same thing.

I’ve mentioned before how ZT has lots of acrimony towards all other forms of divination, with chiromancy and geomancy and cartomancy all getting explicit mentions, but none gets more condemnation than astrology.  While astrology has its origins in the Great Cabala of ZT, it was still astrologers who corrupted and degraded it into being something that only charlatans nowadays use to ensnare people with mystical mumbo-jumbo.  All the same, the truth preserved by the Great Cabala still lives on, and can be accessed all the same by those who know what to look for and how to access it.  ZT is just one such approach, and in the “Fifth Step”, ZT focuses on correcting how we should understand the Zodiac.  ZT (and, by extension, the rest of the Great Cabala) makes use of the same twelve signs of the Zodiac as ever, and in the same order, but that’s basically where the similarities end.  Instead of being an invention of the ancient Babylonians, ZT claims that the invention of the Zodiac is to be given to Zoroaster instead, and is representative of “the essence of the wisdom of this divine Legislator that is his Cabala”.

In astrology, the signs of the Zodiac are the twelve equal divisions of the ecliptic, the path that the Sun (and, similarly though to slightly different angles, all the rest of the planets) traces in the sky against the background of the fixed stars.  As the planets move through the signs up there, they indicate different things to happen in our lives down here.  At least for Western astrology, the signs of the Zodiac start with the first degree of Aries aligned to the eastern point of the ecliptic, the intersection of the ecliptic with the celestial equator where the Sun’s path enters northern declinations.  At this point, the so-called “vernal equinox”, astrological spring (for the northern hemisphere of the Earth) is said to begin.  This is why the zodiacal system used in Western astrology is called a “tropical zodiac”, coming from the Greek word τρόπος trópos “turning”, because the signs of the Zodiac are tied to the turning-points of the ecliptic (the intersections of the ecliptic with the celestial equator making the equinoxes, or the maximum/minimum points of the ecliptic making the solstices).

To all of that, ZT says “nah”:

We make the farmer’s year (like the year of the ancient Romans) begin with Aries, which also opens our astronomical spring. In the same way the Great Cabala subordinates to Aries the beginning of the existence of humanity, but it does not place, like our calendars, Aries in the springy and vivacious orbit of Mars. See Plate III: it pushes this sign back into the wintry and funereal orbit of Saturn, to the last box in the orbit of Saturn (box 20) in the zodiacal zone, immediately following the seat of death (box 37). This emblem, as philosophical as it is true, recalls that the moment when life begins also touches nihility, and that the human creature, already breathing but enjoying no physical faculties or moral privileges, must, for some time, remain suspended between life and death—in the uncertainty of its preservation—and be held in the bonds of weakness. Saturn is still there to devour his children.

For ZT and its Great Cabala, rather than the signs of the Zodiac dictating anything about our lives, it is rather our lives that dictate what the Zodiac is and should be:

The profoundly philosophical spirit of a production that is claimed to go back to Zoroaster, and to be only an essence of the wisdom of this divine Legislator that is his Cabala, should rather subordinate the signs of the Zodiac to the different periods of human life. On this footing, according to the distribution which we will make known, the object of the Great Cabala is perfectly fulfilled.

What ZT is saying is that the Zodiac is not a means by which we can predict things recklessly with the stars as like some sortilege of random positions of planets, but rather that we can (and should) use the Zodiac as a means to understand the flow of human life in terms of human life itself.  It is this goal—the understanding of human life—that ZT claims here to be the “object of the Great Cabala”, a sort of anthroposophy of its own, where by coming to know oneself one can more effectively attune themselves to the harmony of the spiritual cosmos.

To this end, what ZT does is it breaks life out into six overall periods, as demonstrated by the houses on the Great Mirror.  Each period is represented by one of the edges of the Great Mirror, proceeding counterclockwise starting with Aries in house 20 and lasting three houses each.  Thus, each period starts with a house assigned to one of the fire or air signs of the Zodiac, and ends with a corner house on the Mirror.

In short, the six periods of life are:

  1. Childhood
    1. Houses 20, 21, 22
    2. Aries and Taurus
    3. Starts in the orbit of Saturn, ends in the orbit of Mars
  2. Youth
    1. Houses 23, 24, 25
    2. Gemini and Cancer
    3. Starts in the orbit of Mars, ends in the orbit of Venus
    4. Period most susceptible to the harm of Senamira
  3. Maturity
    1. Houses 26, 27, 28
    2. Leo and Virgo
    3. Starts in the orbit of Venus, ends in the orbit of Jupiter
  4. Adulthood
    1. Houses 29, 30, 31
    2. Libra and Scorpio
    3. Starts in the orbit of Jupiter, ends in the orbit of Mercury
  5. Old age
    1. Houses 32, 33, 34
    2. Sagittarius and Capricorn
    3. Starts in the orbit of Mercury, ends in the orbit of the Moon
    4. Period most inclined to the influence of Sisamoro
  6. Senility
    1. Houses 35, 36, 37
    2. Aquarius and Pisces
    3. Starts in the orbit of the Moon, ends in the orbit of Saturn

ZT goes on to explain what each period is like, relying on the symbolism of the signs of the Zodiac (sometimes in innovative ways unique to how they’re positioned on the Great Mirror) and on the orbits of the planets that one moves through as one goes from period to period.  What is interesting to note is how ZT explicitly calls out the second period as being especially susceptible to the damaging, harmful influence of Senamira, the Evil Principle, even quoting part of 1 Peter 5:8 to illustrate its point: “Be alert and sober of mind; for your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

This is how ZT describes the six periods of life:

First Period
We already noted the birth of the human in box 20 (Aries), next to the whirlwind of Death (box 37). We now see them emerging from the cold and gloomy orbit of Saturn passing…through Taurus into the orbit of Mars, the planet of heat and vigor. The child grows there; their moral soul develops there. By completing…box 22, they have completely reached the age of puberty, and the first period of life is finished.

Second Period
Early in the igneous orbit of Mars, the passions of existing were kindled…they enjoy an intoxicating existence that is perfumed above all by the sensuous breath of Erosia, the most magical of the Intelligences and the most lavish of true delights. But, below a road strewn with flowers, Senamira erodes and gnaws away tamquam leo rugiens, circuitu quærens quem devoret. Happy are they who can travel through candid Gemini and burning Cancer without having succumbed to the tireless efforts of their own passions. These are themselves this Protean Senamira, caressing and corroding by turns; but they manage to evade such tricks and repel such attacks if they are on their guard, and especially if they have the heavenly support of Sisamoro who does not permit themselves to be called upon in vain. Box 25 closes out one’s fiery youth and the second period of life.

Third Period
Here begins the age of energy and virtue, where one acquires all their development, so well characterized here by Leo and Virgo. They must find themselves skilled in everything that can be fulfilled into perfection. Arriving at box 28, they have become, without a doubt, everything they could aspire to be, or at least everything is well-prepared for the infallible fulfillment of reasonable wishes. They are at the apex of the mountain, they enjoy the richest period of their existence—if they have not previously abused it. This ends the third period, that of maturity.

Fourth Period
Woe to the one who has not yet contemplated their knowledge, consolidated their fortune, and confirmed their considerations to which they agreed to aspire; woe to the one who has not yet amassed enough, for they will remain poor in all that they have neglected to acquire. If one is not worthy to hold the Balance (Libra) where their experience should enable them to appreciate everything, then it is they  themselves who will be weighed, and if they are not worthy or if they are of bad character, then public blame will punish them for the bad use they have made of their best years. They will then only have the perilous means that intrigue and illicit speculation take from stupidity; for, on leaving the pure and luminous domain of Algaé, they have fallen into the mists and labyrinth of Panurgio. There easily strays whoever does not bring with faith the lantern and thread of Wisdom; therein lies the creeping restlessness, shame, and remorse, so well-figured by Scorpio, stinging and poisoning himself. There, in other words, remain ready all the punishments that the deceiver and disturber of social order deserve. Such is the insidious orbit of Panurgio, the plot of the scoundrel, while the honest person traverses it without fear of anything and continues instead to collect the fruit of their previous tiresome efforts. Such a one legitimately reaps where others can only pillage at the risk of their honor and lives. Summer has ended during the last luster of this period. Leaving box 31…gives the signal for the withering away of moral and physical forces, and now one enters the time of decrepitude.

Fifth Period
Even should the resilience of body be weakened, the sharpness of understanding blunted, and industry threaten to slowly languish, at least one has made peace with their passions, for they now cease to torment them unless they allow themselves to be overcome by avarice or intemperance. They might tire themselves out from the pursuit of material goods, like the Hunter (Sagittarius) who chases doubtful prey all day, or they might throw themselves into stupefaction under the regime of crass Seleno, whose lunar orbit opens by way of the filthy stable of Capricorn. But if one is pure and remain master of themselves, they will not participate in the contagion of these orbits; rather, they will feel the rays warmed by the beneficences of Sisamoro, who shines in full upon this road, purifies it, and spreads the foretaste of bliss which the blameless person experiences, one who is delirious about nothing they leave behind, their wish being nothing else than for a new and better order of things. At the end of this fifth period, the person, having grown old, feels a cold hand bend them and force them to pass through the narrow gate of senility. With this…ends the fifth fragment of life.

Sixth and Final Period
Like all those they have already passed through, the last door has closed on them, too. Thrown onto a dark, barren, and icy road, the person yet drags themselves along for a long time, constantly fighting against the infirmities expressed by the frosts of Aquarius. Finally, on the threshold of the funereal domain of Lethophoro, they find a small boat—their tomb—and there lies down to sleep, overwhelmed and exhausted, putting themselves at the mercy of the black waves of Lethe, designated by Pisces. Cradled by such waves, whether smoothly or stormily, they finally arrive at the all-consuming harbor where each being must come to strip themselves of their material elements. Thus ends, in box 37, the sixth and last period of life.

As a note on that last period, it’s now clear where the Intelligence of Saturn gets the name “Lethophoro”; although a bad construction of what should rightfully be Ληθηφορος Lēthēphoros, the meaning here isn’t so much “forgetting-inducer” as it is “he who bears one to Lethe“.

When we look at the overall “wheel of life” that ZT draws out for us along the outer belt of the Great Mirror, we can consider it kinda like the image of the Wheel of Fortune.  The only thing is that the “bottom” that we start at is the leftmost point in the orbit of Saturn, that liminal period between life and death, and the “top” is the opposite rightmost point in the orbit of Jupiter, the height of our joy and satisfaction in all things.  Consider, after all, how the Great Mirror doesn’t have a corner at the top or bottom of its design, but rather has flat edges; for this reason, we cannot consider the second and fifth periods of life to be “turning points”, but rather periods of increase and decrease, respectively.  This is why ZT makes a note of how the second period is most dangerous because it’s closest to the influence of Senamira: the time of development is rough, and it’s during this period that patterns are set up for the rest of one’s life, so any bad habits that get established now can threaten one’s well-being later in long-lasting ways.  Likewise, the fifth period is closest to the influence is Sisamoro; while one can always lose one’s balance, this is the period of life where one generally begins to turn more inward and clear-minded as worldly concerns begin to fall away and fade into the background (ideally, at least).

It’s a neat system, I have to admit, and it kinda reminds me of a sixfold system of reckoning seasonal changes in mid-latitude oceanic areas (like where I live), but isn’t unlike other six-season systems, either:

  1. Prevernal (early spring)
  2. Vernal (spring)
  3. Estival (high summer)
  4. Serotinal (late summer)
  5. Autumnal (fall)
  6. Hibernal (winer)

So, ZT breaks up a human life into six periods, and consider each period to last three “houses”.  It is in this light that ZT establishes the “luster” (or “lustral period”), where every luster is five years, leading to each period of life lasting 15 years long (because 3 lusters × 5 years/luster = 15 years).  Because of this, a maximum human lifespan is 6 periods × 3 lusters/period × 5 years/luster = 90 years—at least back in the days when humans were “of better stock and more economical in their facilities”, but nowadays, most people don’t live to see past their fifth period (15 lusters, 75 years).  This is all easy and straightforward enough, I suppose, but the issue is that this only really applies for men, where every luster is worth five years flat.  In ZT’s system, the amount of years a luster consists of differs for women based on their age: while a woman goes through the same six periods of life as men do, during the first four periods a luster is only four years long, while during the last two periods a luster is seven years long.  In the end, both lustral systems yield a total of 90 years, but women effectively “age” faster than men do at first: at the end of the fourth period, men are at 60 years, while women are at 48.

Period Man Woman
Lustrality Ages Lustrality Ages
1 5 0—15 4 0–12
2 5 15—30 4 12—24
3 5 30—45 4 24—36
4 5 45—60 4 36—48
5 5 60—75 7 48—69
6 5 75—90 7 69—90

ZT sets up this system to account for menopause, which roughly occurs at or a little after age 48, which is (as ZT says) “when Nature ceases to regard her as useful for her main purpose, and therefore is the true point at which her decrepitude begins”.  To rub some more salt in the womb wound, ZT laments:

How much the woman, to whom the social order has the injustice to refuse most of the consolations accorded to men in their respective advanced ages, must find the decline of her premature winter long and painful if she must endure it until decrepitude. Such is an extremity a thousand times more deadly than death for the degraded being who has not lost the memory of the altars erected to her during the magical reign of her charms.

…on the one hand, at least it’s nice for the author of ZT to notice how poorly older (or at least post-menopausal) women are treated by society at large.  On the other, well, yikes.  I’ll leave it to modern practitioners to decide whether such a model continues to be reasonable today, whether or not one buys into the physical or social aspects of what it’s like to be a woman, and whether they choose to use the standard luster for all people regardless of sex or gender, or whether they choose to use the varying luster for particular needs.

Anyway, to take a turn back to the periods of life: if a human life starts in the orbit of Saturn and ends in the orbit of Saturn, what does this mean for us as human beings, besides noting the dangerous act of childbirth itself?  Does this propose or imply a theory of reincarnation, where one sloughs off one’s flesh at death and enters into a new body at birth?  Not really; bearing in mind that this book was still written by a Christian (or Christian-adjacent) for a Christian (or Christian-cultured) audiences, such a notion would likely have gotten even more on the bad side of religious institutions than just one upset Jesuit monarchist, but there’s nothing spoken either way on what happens after death.  We do, however, get an intriguing account of how humans come to be in the “Third Supplement”, which talks about how human souls come into being (and also why some humans can become “prodigies of perfection or perversity”):

An Angel presides at the moment of birth (see the Table of Natal Stars). However, two Intelligences, for most people, combine to animate in the mother the individual who is to be born. For this, the Angels involved each unleash a spark of fire which is their own, and this explosion is made by the material vehicle of the two terrestrial individuals who cooperate in the creation ex nihilo of a third. Unlucky is the creature whose two evil Angels provided the spiritual element, and happy is the one who will have been animated by two Angels of the opposite nature; but fights, storms, and changes in fortune are in store for the being in whom good and bad spiritual influences are in conflict.

This is actually a really fascinating idea of how humans come to be ensouled.  During sexual procreation, just as the mother and father are getting busy to create the physical embryo that will one day become a child, a similar thing can be said to occur between the mother’s and father’s own presiding angels (who come to have one based on their own birthdays), who combine their essences (“unleash a spark of fire which is their own”) to form the spiritual essence of the human-to-be.  Consider what this also suggests: a person is not just under the influence of their own natal angel, but also has a lifelong influence from the two other angels that respectively belong to their parents.  This is why (in the system of ZT) two people roughly sharing the same birth period of 13-ish days can turn out so wildly different, because it’s not just a matter of their own births, but also those of their respective parents, too.  While there’s no guarantee that these three angels (mother, father, and child) would actually form an ideal triangle in the Great Mirror according to what houses they’re associated with, ZT does subtly frame such a familial relationship as one.

Further, consider some of the more puzzling significations of the tiles of Adamasto and Lethophoro.  If you take a look at the tile meanings, the Intelligence tiles often have some sort of cosmological element to them.  We’ll get to that more in another post, but note how Adamasto (being the Intelligence of Mars) has the element of Fire associated with it, while Lethophoro (being the Intelligence of Saturn) has the element of Water associated with it.  At birth, we are composed of a spark of angelic fire that catches and sets alight onto the body in the orbit of Mars; at death, the heat of our bodies become quenched in the waters of Lethe and dissolves away like ash in a stream in the orbit of Saturn.  It’s a system that ties itself together, I have to admit, but beyond death, it’s hard to say what happens; there’s no explicit mention of an afterlife, salvation, reincarnation, or anything in ZT.  Despite a potential cyclical structure implicit in the zodiacal belt of the Great Mirror, this is a matter left unspoken in this key.

Perhaps we can figure that out a bit more when we talk about the cosmology and spirituality laden throughout ZT, which we’ll get to next time.

When God Says No: On True Will and the Will of God

Yesterday, we started talking about a number of questions from Curious Cat that focused on the role of angels in magical work, and what happens when they don’t show up or don’t do what we ask, command, or commission them to do for us.  This is a really complex topic, at least so complex that I can’t really answer it in the 3000 character limit that Curious Cat sets for question replies, but I’m trying to flesh it out as best as I can here on my blog.  Again, I’m approaching this from a Hermetic monist-yet-polytheist standpoint that takes in the existence of both angels and gods under God in the same creation that we’re in.  What we ended up with so far is this idea that we can’t really command angels to do anything; all we can do is pray that they do something for us, whether it’s appearing in a crystal for a conjuration or fulfilling some task or teaching us some mystery.  And when we make such prayers, we’re directing those prayers to God, because angels exist solely to fulfill the will of God; that’s their nature.  Angels don’t have free will; their will is the will of God, or they just constantly and forever want the exact same thing God wants in the exact same way, and will act in their capacities to fulfill the will of God.  This means that it’s our prayers to God that matter more than the presence or help of the angels, and there are lots of reasons why prayers might not be answered: sometimes it’s because we’re not asking for what’s possible according to the will of God, and sometimes it’s best we don’t get what we want because it’s not for us or because we’re not ready for it yet.

What it all comes down to is this: we, as human beings, are blessed with quite a lot of power, but it’s not infinite power.  We’re actually quite small and insignificant in the grander scope of the cosmos, but we still have some significance.  That significance plays through our True Will, which is a fancy modern way to describe “our path in life”, the purpose and plan of God that God has established for us as individuals as written in his Book of Life.  Everything we do in life, in order to be successful, has to be either in explicit accordance with our True Will or at least tolerated and permissible within the bounds of what our True Will necessitates; to give a mundane example, it’s necessary that I leave my house at 7:20 am to go get to the train station on time, but that doesn’t mean I have to wake up at 6 am in order to be sufficiently ready, because I have the freedom to wake up earlier or later so long as I’m out the door by 7:20 am.  Likewise, we have to live according to our True Will, whether or not we’re consciously aware of it, but we also have leeway to do things explicitly outside it because it doesn’t fundamentally matter one way or another, so long as we’re not doing things that actively go against our True Will.

When we act in accordance with our True Will, then we’re acting in accordance with the will of God, and we effectively become his angels for as long as our will is his will, and so long as that synchronization is maintained, there is nothing that can stop us; we might be delayed, slowed down, or face other difficulties in accomplishing it according to the usual vicissitudes of life and the struggles we face against the ignorant actions of ourselves or other human beings or the inimical actions of malevolent spirits, but God will not bar us or deny us from it, because it is his will that we should do the thing we’re doing.  When we act within the permissibility of our True Will, then what we’re doing may not be explicitly necessitated or mandated by God, but we have the license to act on it anyway because it doesn’t fundamentally matter one way or another so long as we get the right things done in the right way.  But when we act outside the permissibility of our True Will, then we go against the will of God, and there is nothing we can do that will change that, and we’re off-track from the proper path for ourselves in life.

The topic of True Will is one that I’ve talked about time and again on my blog in the past, and I think I’ve made some really important points on this before:

When we follow and carry out our True Wills, things generally go easier for us, since they’re increasingly tied into the things we’re doing.  We encounter fewer and fewer difficulties, since we’re effectively carrying out our roles to play in the cosmos, and “if God is for us, who can be against us”?  Sure, we might still attract haters (who will, after all, continue to hate on ‘choo), but when we work our Will on the cosmos, people who would interfere with us are either brought over to our side and begin helping us instead, or are drowned out, burned up, or otherwise silenced and made powerless to counteract or contradict us.  Plus, the more we work our True Will, the more we begin to find and associate with those who are also carrying out their Will, and since they’re doing what they must for the cosmos, it’ll naturally fall in line and correlate with what we must do for the cosmos, as two players on opposite sides of an orchestra play harmoniously in the whole.

It’s only when someone else messes up their part and trashes their Will so badly that it ends up careening into yours that can cause problems, like a planet that suddenly shifts out of orbit and collides into other planets, or a player in an orchestra that decides to start playing a march when everyone else is playing a waltz just to confuse others.  Sometimes this is out of earnest confusion and spiritual flailing, sometimes this is out of deliberate spite and (mis- or ab-)use of their power and Will.  This can certainly cause issues, and can even put a cold damper or shut down the flame of one who’s actually working their Will as they should.  All it needs is a bit of correction on both our part and the parts of others to get everything singing harmoniously again, and then we’ll all be aweseome again as we should.

In a way, the idea of True Will is starting to sound a lot like Grace to me: just as Grace is not a reward, neither is True Will, but they’re both the state and result of being doing the highest Good, of becoming properly Godly, and coming to truly know yourself, your origins, and your duty. (January 31, 2013)

So too is the wand of the magician not used as a blasting rod or an offensive weapon, but it’s used as a mark of divine right and being rightly divine.  The wand should be used to remind the magician and guide them to their True Will, not used to enforce their temporary will onto others.  After all, if one is following their True Will, then pretty much all else will fall into place accordingly (except in dire or unusual circumstances when other work must be applied).  The image of control that the wand bestows is just that, an illusory image; it’s the obedience of entities to their proper stations in the cosmos that the wand reminds them of, and helps them fall into place when in the presence of one who is effectively sent from on high.  To use  the wand to simply force or bind something to the whimsy of the magician is to abuse the authority given to the magician, and when abused enough, the magician incurs punishment just as Chinese emperors might lose the Mandate of Heaven. (October 11, 2013)

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. (November 2, 2013)

This ties in tightly to notions of True Will and divine providence, too, and the ideas are similar.  When we do what God wants us to do, carrying out and serving our divine purpose, that’s our True Will, the will we are meant to fulfill which we ourselves can know once we can see ourselves clearly enough.  To do that, however, we have to carry out the Great Work, which helps us prepare ourselves across the four parts of the world and begin to hear and use Logos.  This allows our sensible, material bodies to better heed and serve our souls, which can then develop properly into a fully-knowledgeable and divine soul with Nous.  With Nous being known to ourselves, we then can carry out what it is we’re supposed to do; at that point, any distinction between what we want and what God wants is meaningless, because our wills have become God’s will and vice versa. (December 8, 2013)

I’ve brought up the idea before that, if we envision the whole grand scheme of things, the Cosmos, as a giant machine, then everyone is a gear in that machine. So long as we keep on doing what we need to do, every part works in harmony with every other part, and the machine works well. If even one part, however, gets out of sync or decides to revolt, then much of the rest of the system we find ourselves in can malfunction or break down, and other parts have to accommodate the malfunction until things get into proper working order again. (This is why life isn’t perfect, I suppose.) Kalagni of Blue Flame Magick once described this to me (in a discussion on True Will) as how a solar system works: the planets don’t need to think or plan or consciously strive towards orbiting the Sun, they just do it naturally as an expression of their selves and their purpose. But imagine, dear reader, if a rogue planet suddenly whipped itself into our solar system, or worse, imagine if one of our own planets suddenly got a wild hare up its axis of rotation and jumped out of its orbit. What happens? The other planets get knocked out of their own orbits, potentially colliding with other planets or celestial bodies, and the whole system gets out of whack until it finds a new equilibrium to settle down in. There’s no guarantee that this equilibrium will be equivalent to the previous one, or that the solar system as a whole will survive such an accident, but hey, shit happens. The Cosmos will do what it needs to do in order to work out its own problems, and its our job to make sure that we do our own Work accordingly to handle our Will, regardless of what the vicissitudes of fate throw at us. (February 12, 2017)

When you seek to work against your True Will, you cause problems, and the only solution is to get back in line with your True Will; there is no other option or alternative, and as I said earlier, no angel, demon, ghost, or god will make what you seek permissible without them going against their own True Wills.  Yes, other entities have their own True Wills.  It stands to reason that if we have a particular purpose in the creation of the Creator, then so does everyone and everything else, too, with the same kinds of boundaries and limits, just on different scales and with different scopes.  I brought this up in my answer to that last question from Curious Cat, since the question referenced other deities as examples of ones one might go to when God himself says “no”, one of which was the orisha Yemaya:

Since you bring up Yemaya, my mother in Ocha who’s extraordinarily dear to my heart (though my father and crown is Ogun), I can phrase this in a more Ocha-centric way. In Ocha theology, there are all these orisha, the divinities of the world, but there’s a hierarchy among them, with Obatala as king of the orisha. But Obatala is not the almighty all-ruler of the cosmos; that role goes to Olodumare (or Olorun or Olofi, they’re all basically the same), the divine creator of the whole cosmos. All things exist to carry out the will of Olodumare, including the orisha; as oloshas, we don’t interact with Olodumare because ey’s so far distant and removed from our day-to-day life, but instead, we interact with eir’s emissaries, stewards, and regents: the orisha. They cannot go against the will of Olodumare, who sets the laws for everything and everyone, but within their own domains, they have the power to work and act. So long as Olodumare grants them license to do so, they can do what they want.

Heck, even in orisha religion, there’s a notion that “no orisha can bless you if your own Ori does not accept it”.  Ori, in this case, is a special kind of head spirit that we all have, initiated or not, and is a kind of notion of “higher self” as well as our own “spirit of destiny”.  In many ways, if I were to translate it in to Western Hermtic terms, it’s essentially the spirit of our True Will.  If we ask for something but our Ori says “nope”, then it’s not part of your destiny to receive it, and no orisha will be able to give it to you, even if they want to give it to you or if you want to get it from them.  But if your Ori says “yup”, then it doesn’t matter whether we want the thing or not, because it’s part of our destiny to have it; we might delay on it or we might speed up towards it, but we can’t avoid it, and no orisha will be able to stop it, no matter how hard they try.  There might be ways to ameliorate or “fix” one’s destiny, but it’s limited, and even then, defaults back to the will of Olodumare (i.e. the will of God).

Even in Hellenic traditional religion, there’s a notion that Zeus is not just the king of Olympos, but the king of truly the entire cosmos whose power and rule is absolute, and whose will must be obeyed by all.  I dimly recall a scene from the Iliad (I forget where) where Zeus proclaims his own power, saying that if all the other gods and goddesses and spirits held on to the end of an unbreakable rope and if Zeus alone had it wrapped around his little finger, he could still yank the rope with such force as to fling all the other deities to the far ends of the world with just a nudge.  The will of Zeus is absolute, and no things can go against that supreme will; though Zeus is not necessarily a creator deity, he is still a cosmocrator all the same; he just happens to go along with his own designs and plans and will when he “obeys” the powers of other deities such as Anankē (Necessity) or the Moirai (Fates), because he does not permit himself to break the rules that he himself has set in conjunction with the other deities that establish the purpose and path of all things.

Consider it this way: in order to get around mental blocks about fighting against God when God says “no”, replace the word “God” (or “Olodumare” or “Zeus” or any other cosmocrator/creator deity) with the phrase “the fundamental nature of the cosmos”.  Thus, when the fundamental nature of the cosmos says “yes”, there’s nothing that can stop it from happening, and when the fundamental nature of the cosmos says “no”, there’s nothing that can make it happen.  Likewise, to get around the mental blocks when angels or any particular deity or divinity say “no”, replace the word “angels” or “other gods” with the phrase “the fundamental forces of the cosmos”.  When the fundamental forces of the cosmos say “yes”, that’s because the fundamental nature of the cosmos necessitates that those forces act in a certain way in order for the cosmos to maintain its nature; when the fundamental forces of the cosmos say “no”, that’s because the fundamental nature of the cosmos cannot allow those forces to function in that way in accordance with the rules that the fundamental nature of the cosmos set up and plays by.  However, those same fundamental forces of the cosmos may function in ways that produce interesting and perhaps unexpected side effects or which produce emergent properties that arise from particular combinations or edge-cases of forces interacting; these don’t go against the fundamental nature of the cosmos, but are still part of the cosmos because of how those forces work.  A force will do whatever it will do, and given the proper setting and context, it can and will do a lot, especially if there’s nothing stopping it, but it cannot do what it was not designed to do nor can it do anything when it has no power in a particular situation or context.

This is essentially where fate and destiny come into play, because “fate” is essentially “the course that the fundamental nature of the cosmos will take”, and it’s up to us to live our lives in accordance with fate, just as one can’t really go upstream down a torrentially-flowing river.  The thing is that we can go with it or fight against it; whether we’re successful or not is, ultimately, up whether what we’re doing is in accordance with that destiny and whether it plays a role in accomplishing it.  It sounds like, in the debate between fate vs. free will, all the above argues against free will and for the undeniable power of fate.  And yes!  That’s true.  But it’s also true that, from our point of view, we have freedom of choice and freedom of will, to be sure.  We don’t have to go along with the the fundamental nature of the cosmos, but it probably won’t end well, and even within the boundaries of the fundamental nature of the cosmos, we can still do a lot that the fundamental nature of the cosmos hasn’t explicitly mandated, often including how we do what we need to do.  After a certain point in the cosmos, the distinction between fate and free will becomes moot; you just do what you’re supposed to do, not because you don’t have a choice, but because you capital-W Want to.

For as important and wonderful and powerful as we are as human beings, we are still so small and weak.  The cosmos is filled with things far bigger, older, smarter, cleverer, and stronger than us.  Sometimes we can fight against them, and on occasion, we might even win.  In general, though, issues with authority will only cause you problems, and issues with the underlying authority of all of creation itself won’t get you very far at all.  When we appeal to God for help, we might get it, or we might not; it’s not up to us to demand it, because quite frankly, the cosmos owes you nothing at all.  You were made to fulfill some purpose or role; strive for that, because all else is meaningless in the end!  If you want something and you’re both meant to have it and capable of having it, then it will be yours; if you want something and you’re meant to have it but you’re not capable of having it, then start working on being capable of having it so that it can be yours; if you  want something and you’re not meant to have it, then accept it and move on to the things that you’re meant to have.  This is not an easy lesson to learn, because this is fundamentally the lesson of humility before God: “be it done unto me according to your word”.  We might be kings of our spheres and worlds, but there are still higher powers that we, too, must obey in order for our kingdoms to survive.  We are both ruler of that which is below and within and servant to that which is above and without.

This is essentially the whole point of our Great Work, our Magnum Opus, our True Will: we must learn what is appropriate and best for us, then work towards accomplishing it.  It’s not a one-and-done event that you can spend a month studying for then doing a simple ritual one night and going to bed and partying for the rest of your life; it’s literally the constant work of lifetimes, the most important and the most difficult thing we can ever do and ever be doing.  By that very same token, it’s also the most worthy, worthwhile, valuable, and precious thing we can ever hope to accomplish, and there is nothing we can do that is truly worthy of such a blessing and reward except to simply do it.  That we have the means and capability of fulfilling our fate is, in a sense, true grace from God.  We just need to keep our eyes on the target, keep facing towards God, and keep learning about our True Will so that we can fulfill it, day by day, step by step, stone by stone, breath by breath, bite by bite.  One day, we’ll get there.  There is nothing else in all of creation that is as worthy, or as difficult, than for us to fulfill what we were meant to do.

Whether we get what we want doesn’t ultimately matter, regardless whether or not we get it.  It’s whether we get what we Want that matters.

My View on the Modern Planets (and Human Nature, Too)

Last night on social media was kinda interesting.  Not too long ago, one of my favorite traditional/Hellenic astrologers Chris Brennan whom I follow on Twitter retweeted the following:

To which I replied publicly that simplicity is the highest form of elegance, with this simple diagram I made for my geomancy book:

Even if I made this specific image, the diagram itself is a traditional one that’s been in use for hundreds of years in Europe and the Middle East as a teaching aide to demonstrate the balance and symmetry of how the planets are assigned to the twelve signs of the Zodiac: the luminaries go to the brightest times of the year (in the Northern hemisphere), then the planets are assigned in their usual solar system order outwards, such that dark Saturn is given to the signs Capricorn and Aquarius, the darkest times of the year (again, in the Northern hemisphere).  All this diagram shows is exactly what @dahlia_anara posted in a graphical format.  Growing up, it was a mystery as to why the planets were given to the signs, but then, this sort of diagram seems to have been all but forgotten in modern texts; had I known about it in my early baby-ccultist days, this would have made everything make a lot more sense a lot earlier on.

For some reason, my sharing this image turned kinda viral, and some people were even put at peace by just seeing it; while it’s nothing more than a teaching diagram, it does reflect an underlying balance of the astrological cosmos, so I can get it.  Of course, with it being shared and favorited by so many, it did spark a few discussions and conversations, one of which was about why Saturn is the planet that gets that last position and not, you know, any of the planets that have since been discovered in modern times past Saturn.  This, of course, touches on an important, lively, and active debate (which doesn’t always remain good-hearted) on the approaches of modern astrology versus traditional astrology, and of course, I know you know that when I have Thoughts and Opinions, I let them be known.

Before I continue, let me preface this with the following disclaimer: what follows is my own personal view of astrology and its symbols that reflect my own practice and understanding of the cosmos, as informed by my studies, experiences, and works in astrology, geomancy, and other subjects.  Because I recognize that my practice is not your practice, and that my views are not necessarily representative of universal truths, you’re still free to hold any well-reasoned, well-researched, informed, and sound opinion, research methods, or approaches to astrology you want.  Understood?  We good?  Good.

Simply put, I don’t think the use of the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) and asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Chiron, etc.) are necessary to the practice of astrology, and while they may have some use, they’re by no means of large importance to me for several reasons.  The most physics-based of these is that many of these objects move so slowly through the Zodiac that they’re not of incredible importance for individual persons.  While the Moon changes her signs every two or three days, and Saturn just over every two-ish years, the trans-Saturnians shift their degrees and signs so much more slowly that two people born in the same seven- or twenty-year period will have identical or similar locations.  For mundane astrology, this is potentially useful, because these slow-moving planets are more helpful in defining whole generations of people or zeitgeists rather than how individual people form in their own individual lives; once the zeitgeist established by the slow-moving planets is understood, one can inspect the relationships that the planets from Saturn on down with the slow-moving ones to see how one relates to such a zeitgeist.  In both a phyiscal and spiritual sense, the slow-moving trans-Saturnian planets occupy a place between the planets proper and the fixed stars; yes, they still shift like planets do, but slowly enough to be imperceptible on a reasonable timeframe, much like the light of the fixed stars.

Of course, this is all on top of a more fundamental astrological reason why I don’t find the use of these modern planets particularly helpful: astrology was already complete before the formal discovery of Uranus in the late 17th century ce.  In the seven thousand or more years that astrology has been practiced since the earliest foundations of Egypt and Sumer were laid, we’ve had more than a little time to see, plot, experiment, test, and record our observations and theories with the stars, and though refinement and elaboration, astrology became as complete an art of science (in the old sense of “knowing things”) as anything ever could.  The methods of astrology that have been passed on down to us are elegant, balanced, and established on numerological and divine harmonies that together form a complete, interlocking system.  The system already works, so as the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Writing this post also reminds me of a similar post I wrote from the very earliest days on this blog, back from when I was still in college.  The points in there are basically the ones I’m raising in the present post, but there’s one bit I wanted to highlight as well:

We’ve had 6,000 years to build up our knowledge of the intra-Saturnians, while we’ve had just over 200 for Uranus, 150 for Neptune, and not even a full century for Pluto. Finding the full meanings for these planets will take a lot more time than we’ve given it, and finding appropriate uses for them will take even longer. I’m not arguing for a static and legalistic school of astrology, but I don’t think that astrologers have been doing the right thing for their art for the past two centuries. We should be using traditional astrology as a stronger foundation than we are, but instead we’re assigning meanings to the planets “because it feels right” or “because it’s intuitive”. What happened the last time you tried to prove an answer on a test, or a fact to a judge, with “because it feels right”?

Bear in mind that these planets are only very recently discovered and, while we can tap into our millennia’s experience of astrology to more quickly divine and refine the significations of these outer planets or asteroids, what we do know about them pales in comparison to what we know of the older symbols we’ve been using from the start.  Again, from my older post:

However, even until the early 20thcentury astrologers had not reached a consensus; Alan Leo wrote in 1909 that “Uranus has been given no sign by astrologers, though Aquarius has often been suggested”. As for Raphael, there is evidence to believe that he may have been writing just to get published: he wasn’t a good astrologer by anybody’s measure, and was more of a magician selling charms than an astrologer. He often didn’t provide reasoning or logic for his claims, and what he argues against is often borne out instead in practice (like the use of terms).

So, even over a century after Uranus’ firm discovery that it was a planet, astrologers still hadn’t figured out what to do with it in its entirety.  Trying to incorporate new symbols into an ancient system is difficult and time-consuming, especially for the first few introductions when the process of incorporation is still poorly understood, but at the same time, it bears remembering that the occult community wanted to keep up-to-date and “scientific” by bringing in whatever theories and discoveries they could from modern science to make their own arts seem more respectable and well-grounded.  Trying to bring in Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, the asteroids, and everything else modern science says exists into the art of astrology was an attempt at doing just that, but they ended up shattering some of the symmetries and balances that kept the system in check and functional in the process.

Plus, like I said before, astrology was already a complete system long before what we know as “modern astrology” came onto the scene.  Consider: while modern astrologers often give Uranus the ownership of electricity, computers, astrology, and change, all these things already had ownerships in the old system: Mercury ruled all sciences and arts of the mind, including astrology and alchemy, as well as devices and means of communication, like computers; Mars would have ruled over power generally, and Jupiter (through his mythological connections with thunderbolt-throwing Zeus) would have been a natural fit for electricity generally, with Mercury (again) for circuitry and wiring; the Moon rules over changes in general, along with the flighty nature of Mercury.  To shuffle these things from the old planets to the new doesn’t really do much except introduce duplication into the system generally; at best, we can use the outer planets for very specific needs, like specifically giving Neptune to the seas and to seafaring specifically even if these would have been naturally ruled over by the Moon and Mercury, but at worst, this serves to bring confusion into the system of correspondences and obscures the logic of why certain planets have domains over the things they do.

This points to my last, and most fundamental, complaint about modern astrology, and especially the viewpoints of many who use it (badly).  Many often say that, as humanity has continued in its existence, we have undergone processes of spiritual evolution, and so need more and newer planets to reflect that, being such progressed, evolved beings now than we were.  The only evidence I can see that agrees with that is the development of what John Michael Greer calls the “civic religion of progress”, which is a very modern, very peculiar cultural notion that humanity can only change in one way: onwards, upwards, and strictly for the better, that all change is inherently better than what we had before.  As JMG points out, consider smartphones: they may get more complex and support more functionalities, but they get more costly and damaging to make, often more fragile, with more restrictions and burdens on them than what we had in the past.  This isn’t progress, even if it is change.  I look around at the world generally, and I see that a lot has changed: we have more and more accessible and cheaply-made clothing, more cars and means to move, more weapons and more explosive or damaging types of them, more means of communication, and so forth, but underlying all that?  I see the same humans underneath it all that have been around since the first human could be recognized as such.

Yes, we have developed elegant, complex, and abstract philosophies, governments, civilizations, technologies, but these are all window decorations to the real humans who, after all these countless myriads of years, still need to breathe, eat, sleep, shit, fuck, love, fight, kill, speak, learn, wonder, wander, live, and die.  I read ancient Greek, Chinese, and Mesoamerican philosophers, historians, and graffiti artists who bicker and complain about the same damn things that we bicker and complain about nowadays on the Internet about our fellow man.  The names and places we know, the media and languages we use, the projectiles we use to kill and hunt, the clothes we wear and rip and mend may have all changed over the years, but our underlying understanding of the human condition and what it means to experience humanity has been relatively unchanged the world over.  In short, humanity has remained more-or-less unchanged since we first came around, changing on the whole neither for the better nor worse.  That’s why, even in our modern and “evolved” time, we still turn time and again to the help and wisdom of our ancestors and to traditional, indigenous, and truly ancestral systems of knowledge, because not only have all those who have gone before us experienced everything we do now, they also had more time to process, understand, and correlate everything, and have since joined all the others who have done just that.

Spiritually evolved as a species my sedentary ass; individuals can certainly get to the point of spiritual development where they undergo such fundamental changes, but by that point, they’re no longer human and no longer bound to this mortal coil of humanity (cf. Buddha, Christ, spirit guides, orisha, etc.).  Plus, consider that, biologically speaking, sea sponges are just as evolved as humans are; trying to claim that humans as a whole are now “spiritually evolved” in a way we weren’t before is just forcing the notion of progress onto humanity simply because time has elapsed, ignoring what it is we are, what it is we do, and where it is we live.  But, yanno, if all you do is sit in a classroom all day without paying attention to the teacher or doing the classwork, you’re not going to get better grades by virtue of just sitting at your desk longer than anyone else.  It takes Work to get better, and not everyone does that Work, much less our entire species, and much less than that in an automatic process.

In that light, it makes even more sense how complete the system of astrology really is without having to bring in the modern planets and points in the sky.  If humanity hasn’t appreciably changed, as I claim and see that it hasn’t, then why should we need to change the models and systems of our realities to reflect some misguided sense of progress and evolution that hasn’t happened?  Astrologers have gotten along fine and have gotten accurate results in prediction and understanding people for thousands of years without incorporating them, so I see no reason to change the system, break its balances, and introduce needless confusion into the mix.  There’s plenty that can be innovated, discovered, or invented in the systems of traditional astrology without having to make it “modern”, just as how geomancy can be extended in its techniques and skills and understanding without bringing in new figures or elements into the mix.

Now.  All that said, do I think the modern planets and asteroids have no use at all?  No, I don’t.  I don’t think they’re necessary to practice astrology or magic, since everything they could represent is already represented by the main seven planets, but they can offer insights and specific details that can be helpful.  When I look at a horoscope, I treat the outer planets and the asteroids like I do fixed stars: I give them a very tight orb, and I don’t consider aspects unless they’re exact or approaching an exact degree.  When I interpret them, I first use the main seven planets to get an idea of what the chart as a whole is about, then I look at the outer planets and asteroids (when they matter!) to get a deeper idea of what the seven main planets are talking about.  I don’t look at an aspect between, say, Mars and Neptune and go off about this relationship willy-nilly; I first look at how Mars, Venus, and the Moon act, and see what such a relationship between Mars and Neptune clarifies amongst all that to see what specifically is meant.  That, I feel, is a more responsible way of using the modern planets, but again, the only benefit it affords is a specific insight to a specific detail to other factors already present and more clearly visible in the horoscope.  Helpful?  At times, sure.  Necessary?  By no means.

And, of course, don’t forget that “more evolved” or “newer” doesn’t necessarily mean “better”, and that the more things change, the more too do things stay the same.  Just as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says: “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

On Supporting People Spiritually

Note: this post was written a few months ago during a bit of a chaotic period in my life.  I was angry and hurt, as were several others around me, and I don’t consider that to be the best time to write, so I shelved the post.  However, I wanted to get the message out, and I figured I may as well post it now that I’ve cooled off, because this is something I want people to know.

When you become good enough at magic, spirituality, or whatever, you will often get the urge to spread what you’ve learned and done.  Not everyone, granted; not everyone has a parenting instinct, and not everyone is meant to be a parent physically or spiritually.  That’s fine.  But some people are meant to do just that.  Some people are meant to initiate others, to guide others, to teach others, and depending on one’s own spiritual tradition and practice, that urge can be realized into action in different ways.  Some people start online classes while others write books, while still others will spiritually adopt people into a godfamily of sorts, making them part of their spiritual house.

This is not something to be taken lightly.  People who give birth to real children make that relationship for life.  People who initiate people into being their godchildren make a lifetime bond of another kind, one that can’t be reneged upon.

Yes, I’ve heard the arguments that a mother eagle will, once its chicks are old enough, push them out of the nest so that they can fly off and do their own thing.  Eagles, after all, don’t permit freeloaders.  Wolves, too, once they grow old enough will eventually split off from their litter and form their own pack or form part of a small one, but usually leaving to make their own if they’re strong enough.  Many animals need that time on their own to develop and become independent, strong, and fierce to the point of beautifully savage.

We are not birds.
We are not dogs.
We are humans.

Human.  Fucking.  Beings.

Animals might survive on their own in the wild.  Humans do not.  Humans build families, houses, tribes.  We move together.  We fight together.  We watch each other’s backs.  We trust each other.  If everything fails, then we either die together or we split up to make new tribes.  What we don’t do is kick someone out to make them do better on their own.  We do better by being better together.  If we fight, we fight together; if we fight amongst ourselves, we work it out.  The Bedouin, one of the world’s most famous nomadic tribes, encapsulates this all: I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against strangers.  You uphold the sanctity, power, protection, and preservation of your in-group (house, clan, coven, order, whatever) against all others.  That’s how this shit works.  When you have a follower or godchild, you support them forever unless they leave on their own for their reasons or unless they are directly attacking you; that bond, however strained, cannot be broken.  You do not decide to rescind support for someone you spiritually get involved with like that.  You coach them, you teach them, you instruct them, you chew them out, you bitch them out, you smack them, but you do not forsake them.

If you have a problem with that, then you shouldn’t bother supporting others.  If you can’t uphold that, then you’re not ready to support others.  Be careful and be absolutely sure of yourself when you take on the responsibility of having a follower or godchild.  Once you make that commitment, you can’t go back on it.  If you turn your back on your spiritual family, you have more problems than just earning my ire or losing my respect.