I've been reading more of Dion Fortune's book 'The Training And Work Of An Initiate' today and have been presented, once again, with her charge to be free of the 'desires of the flesh' and to rise above the senses. She calls for us to see the body simply as a vehicle for our Higher Self to use and that really is the only purpose it serves. When she calls for us to do these things she quotes biblical scripture, and I am really confused by this, seeing as my past is steeped in biblical charismatic Christianity. I am free of that now, but breaking free wasn't easy. It was a very long time before I felt able to continue my spiritual quest, and it is that quest that has bought me to where I am today. She talks about 'Christ Energy' and 'Christ Rays', and this is something that I really can't enter into. I am not a Christian, of any kind!
However, I'm wondering how others see the body and the desires of the flesh?
I can see where she is coming from in part. If we allow the desires of our body to rule us, then we become tied into the mundane world. If we are rooted in the mundane world, then we cannot travel to other planes, we cannot explore the higher and lower worlds. However, it is here, in the mundane world, that our present body lives, and it is this body that enables our Spirit to make sense of this world, and we have lives in this mundane world, and we want to be of use in this mundane world, so we cannot lose our place in it altogether. Where is the balance, and is there a balance to be had? Do we accept that this world is an illusion? A shadow cast by a greater reality, and should we long to shake off this mortal existence for the promise of a greater reality?
Yet as a Pagan I know that all I see is the Divine manifest, Nature is my scripture, it's where the Lord and Lady write their holy writ, and it is with the mystery of Nature that I connect. So I struggle to see it as illusion, but I can see it as a mirror, showing me something of what lies beyond, showing me the mystery of life, death and rebirth and the fact that I do not only have to observe Nature, but I am part of it, I too am part of the mystery. Yet I experience nature through my own human senses, and it is these very senses that Dion calls for us to break free from.
Is there balance to be had here? Is it a matter of experiencing this world through this body, and this world presents as a microcosm of what can be and what truly is? As I learn to travel beyond the limitations and restrictions of this body, of this vehicle, it is then I begin to experience the macrocosm of what really is - the other realms and planes that exist beyond this one. If this is so, then there is still a level of freedom that needs to be found, and it's probably here where I need to move forward, into a greater degree of freedom that relies less on this world and that responds less to the demands and desires of my body. Is this about bringing the body under Will? I don't think the desires of the body are wrong, surely sex, food, love, nature, all the rest of it are to be enjoyed, but are not to enslave? Is that the balance?
I think Dion would probably label me a Mystic and not an Occultist. There are many pages that I need to go back and re-read, and although I am not reading this book as one that will totally inform my path, I have been reading it as I recognise her as a leading Occultist and know that I can learn from her. It's just a matter of what I need to take with me that's confusing me at the moment, I think!