Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Western Esoteric Tradition

My spiritual development of recent weeks has led me back to the Western Esoteric Tradition, and I find this keeps happening. It’s interesting, because although I feel led here, in a very strong way, I still struggle with certain aspects of it, such as the heavy Christian leaning. I think that this may perhaps have more to do with my lack of understanding at this present time, as opposed to anything about the Western Esoteric Tradition itself. Having a fundamental Christian background, it’s almost guaranteed that I would struggle when I see biblical quotes popping up in the books I’ve been reading by Dion Fortune and W.E. Butler recently.

However, all that to one side for the moment, I have to say that when I am reading the books that talk of the Western Esoteric Tradition, the quickening I feel in my spirit is incredible. I feel it rising up in my solar plexus and at times it is all I can do to contain it. It’s more than a feeling of excitement, although I definitely feel excited, it’s more like a spiral of energy pulsating from within me, working its way outward. It’s a tangible feeling and one that seems to not only come from within me, but also surrounds me. That sounds so fluffy it’s almost laughable, but I can’t deny the reality of the sensation. It’s like something of a homecoming and I have a genuine sense that at last I have found a tradition that I can finally hang all the things that make sense to me upon. This is not to say that I understand it all, necessarily, I am acutely aware that the vast majority of all this is very new to me indeed, but at the same time, the little that I have read and meditated upon is starting to make sense to me. There is a real and genuine resonance and it’s something that isn’t leaving me, it’s not a passing thing, there is something real here and it’s very clear to me that my future explorations, however tentative they may be, need to be in this direction.

I’ve gone mad today and purchased a number of books by Dion Fortune. It’s no accident that I have just joined a reading group who are exploring the works of this amazing woman and I am so excited to be part of this group. I have such a sense that we are on the periphery of such a time of discovery and I know that things are going to open up for me from here-on-in. It’s like the months leading up to today have been a time of preparation, a real tilling of the soil. What it leads to, obviously, is yet more preparation for the next stage! I am not claiming any kind of revelation as such, just a real and powerful sense of ‘this is it!’ this is where I need to be for the next part of my present incarnation. My intellectual and spiritual teaching will come via the books of Dion Fortune through the reading group and will inform my spiritual practice in the months ahead. I also see the New Moon Ceremonies that I run as a place where some group ritual work will begin to implement the things that I learn. It’s all coming together in a very real and exciting way, but I am also terrified!

Is ‘terrified’ the right word? Probably not, that’s probably too strong a word. I think I mean apprehensive, and I mean this because I know that I am about to venture into a new phase of my journey. I have a real sense of stepping out of the old and into the new, and I will use Samhain to ritualise this. I don’t fully know or understand where I am going, I never seem to know that, but I do have such a sense of this being the right step for me. I feel that I am about to launch into a new seat of learning and I am being led by Spirit. I also know that this is going to lead to a real time of personal challenge as I lay down aspects of personality that need to come under the subjection of Higher Self. This won’t be easy, but I know it needs to happen.

My Higher Self is starting to expand within me. It’s like I’ve created just enough room, brought down just enough pillars, cleared enough personal debris, for my Higher Self, that immortal spirit of man, to begin to radiate within me. I’m not being egotistical here, I’m claiming nothing huge, I am more than aware that I am still, very much, fallible man, but I am aware of things shifting and moving and changing. I am changing. I actually don’t feel the same. I’m stronger, I’m clearer, I’m more in tune with myself and with Source and I have a sense of destiny about me. It all sounds very grand, but it’s true, and if all this sounds like a load of tosh to you, to me it sounds and feels very real indeed.

The Death card that has been following me around over recent months is also coming back to my mind and focus. I think there is an ending here, but one that is signalling a new beginning. Dion calls very clearly for sacrifice, leading to death and new birth. She talks about sacrificing our preoccupation with our human senses, and through this to allow the Higher Self to manifest. “An appreciable clearance has to be made” she says, and I can attest to this. I also don’t think I’m anywhere near that ‘appreciable clearance’ as yet! I think all I’ve managed to do is just about clear out a very dusty corner, but it’s enough for my Higher Self to just about begin to radiate. I feel it, and I feel and sense it in my own meditations and ritual activity to know that things are genuinely shifting for me. It’s also starting to be reflected back from those I work with in ritual, and for that I am terrible excited.

When I was interviewed on the radio recently the interviewer said “your job and your spiritual path seem to be at odds with each other.” This threw me, momentarily, because it’s also something that has been on my mind a great deal. Managing people, services, budgets and the future, especially for the Local Authority, isn’t easy and there are times when I feel a genuine inner conflict and that’s not comfortable for me. I want to move away from this falsification of self. What I want and what I am seeking now is a way of bringing into my daily life, in a greater way, a more transparent way, a way that causes people to encounter Source when they encounter me. It’s a goal, a long term goal at that, but I once read about someone who aimed at nothing, and guess what? They hit it! I’d rather aim at something lofty and at least get half way there!


Anonymous said...

Your newly emerging path sounds wonderful and very much 'you' if you see what I mean! Fluffy? No, you're being honest about how you feel.

The apparent disparity between work and spiritual life needn't be emphasised. We are humans with jobs; our jobs don't always reflect our spiritual leanings but they do reflect real life, a place where we all have to be and to perform adequately.

If we hold responsible jobs and places in the community, so much the better for us and for paganism at large. You work with integrity and understanding and try to dovetail the difficult aspects both of your worship and your work. I admire you. I know it's not easy - I'm in the same sort of a boat - but it is necessary so that we remember what we're doing it all for.

Keep us posted on your work and that book group sounds wonderful - !

Blessings, Andy x

Andy said...

It's great to hear from you again, GW! Yes, I agree with you, it's something like being in this world, although we may not be part of it. Having said that, I think we need to be part of it if we want to affect any kind of positive change, so there's a dichotomy there.

I'm not so sure that I have an emerging new path, in a way it feels like an expansion and progression of the path I have always been on - something like a natural evolution, really. It just feels 'right' but don't ask me to explain it at the moment, as I don't think I understand all that's happening!

I wish you well GW, as ever, xx

Anonymous said...

I agree on the job front. I think unless you're wearing head-scarf asking for someone to cross your palm with silver, you will feel a discrepancy between spirituality and work :-) I have a shrine to Seshat in my office. I make offerings to her and ask her to manifest her excellence through my work. This way I can bring my gods into everything.
Goddess protect us from pagan drop-outs who don't work and avoid the mundane because they feel it is beneath them and not part of their 'path'. The world needs more executive pagans to counterbalance the fluffy wooliness of kids who party in a field and say that makes them pagan ...
Okay, I'm stepping off the soap box now. Cor, I'm in a ranty mood these days :-)

Andy said...

Great to see you posting here again, Seshat, you're very welcome around these 'ere parts!

I don't disagree with your comments at all. I think to 'drop out' and justify this as 'not being of my path' is unjustifiable on any level. However, I also find that aspects of my job provide me with a conflict and a tension, and this something that I need to work through. There is no way that I would become a 'drop out' but I also want to be able to do something that has a positive impact for people and a positive outcome for them. I wasn't put on this earth to destroy the human spirit!

I have an icon upon two of my PCs in 2 of my offices, and people are aware of my 'spiritual bent' as someone called it, but when one is so tightly bound by policy and procedure, it's hard to operate as an individual, if not impossible. Working for Local Government is noting like working for oneself!

There is no way I'd ever become a 'drop out' - please don't worry about that! I've been working full time since I was 15 and part time since I was 12, so I have a well developed work ethic, too well developed in many ways!

I guess I'm just at that age where one starts to evaluate these things!

Sharon J said...

Who says that doing budgets for the Local Authority and being a pagan are not compatible? I have been on my local council for 12 years and am running again for a final three especially BECAUSE I am a witch. I read the New Pagan Political Agenda out of San Francisco (I don't see an on-line version) that challenged every pagan to go that one step further, so I ran for office as part of my spiritual path. Politics can be a blood sport, and it can get pretty nasty, but the trick has been to hold fast to who I am, to where I hold my name in my body, to be true to myself and try to work through fear. Far better an ethical, spiritually connected pagan than someone who does not think at all.

Andy said...

Greetings Sharon, thanks for posting on my blog, it's good to see you here.

Well, nobody said it quite as bluntly as that, but the suggestion was there in a recent interview. Being an elected council member, and working for the council, are two different things. I have every respect for people who go into local office to affect positive change, and I agree that as pagan's we should be more visible and our voice should be heard - I have no problem with that whatsoever. The question I was posed, however, was a little more far reaching than just working with budgets, and it is this wider view that has caused me to ask myself some questions on many occasions. At the moment I am comfortable with myself and what I am doing, but there are times when I have to ask myself serious questions, especially when I am posed with ethical dilemmas that relate to individuals - managing staff brings me my greatest joy, but it also brings me my greatest stress and dilemmas. I think it was this aspect that the interviewer found interesting.