Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughts on Theurgy and Thaumaturgy

I came across this article the other day from back in July. I consider myself a pretty serious thaumaturgist, so what particularly struck me was this comment:

I am now of the opinion that the work leads the ego to pull out all of the stops. It starts to lay at your feet whatever it is that you think you want. Sex, money, accolades, acceptance... whatever you WANT. If your universe is in balance and your link with your HGA is firmly made, then you take what you want and keep walking. If not this trap of satisfying your lower needs becomes the Hotel California. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave..."

So what is the big deal? I mean isn't that a PERK of the work? I would say yes and no. When that perk becomes a driving force then you realize that you are no longer a Theurgist but have suddenly become a full time Thamaturgist. So what is the big deal? The big deal is that you stop. You graze from the field of plenty and forget that this is just a small lawn in a much larger area. Inertia is the trap.

This is all true as far as it goes, but what it fails to acknowledge is that theurgy and thaumaturgy are fully complimentary disciplines. It's not just thaumaturgy that can become a trap - theurgy can as well. I can't count the number of self-proclaimed "theurgists" that I've met who seem to think there's something wrong with doing practical magick. And you know what else? None of them could actually do much of anything besides rituals that maybe felt good, but produced no lasting positive effects on their lives or the lives of the people around them.

The truth is that obsession with either outlook to the exclusion of the other is a problem. In thaumaturgic work, you first unite your consciousness with that of the divine and then from that foundational position send forth a current of will to accomplish your practical goals. In theurgic work, you should see practical, measurable changes for the better start to happen in your life as your consciousness becomes more attuned to the divine. Thaumaturgy without divine union is much less effective, and theurgy without any noticeable practical results probably means that you're doing it wrong.

I approach magical work from both perspectives. From a thaumaturgic standpoint, I do whatever practical work that I have to do to keep my life going the way I want it to be - and I do a lot. I figure that if I have the power I should use it. In my daily practice, my statement of intent includes "set my True Will in motion and bring me to the accomplishment of the Great Work," an essentially Theurgic goal. These practices support each other - the better I am about doing my daily practices, the more effective my practical work becomes. And the more successful my life becomes, the more opportunities I have to practice.

Finally, I do believe that thaumaturgy, even on its own, can accomplish theurgic goals so long as union with the divine is a preliminary part of the ritual form. Conveniently, that's also the best and most effective way to get thaumaturgic results. Magick is nice that way sometimes.

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