Io! Io!! THANATEROS!!! (A New Approach)

           It's official; Simon Zealot is starting a highly focused magical cult. I'm tired of dancing around the issue of my obvious authority in this regard, pandering to the fickle interests of the general public like some puerile milquetoast, over-extending endless invitations to undisciplined Cowans whose contrived and conventional comforts have been allowed to overshadow my unparalleled creative urges.

           No longer.

           Dues are $80 a month, you have until Friday to sign up, and then I'm launching our first magical undertaking; ushering us all into a Chaos Magick boot camp called Simon Zealot's Illuminates of Thanateros:

           "This Independent Initiatory Order of the Illuminates of Thanateros (also known as "The I.I.O.O.T.I.O.T" or, more simply, "Io! Io!! THANATEROS!!!) is limited only to those who have foolishly sworn to attempt a grueling year long curricula of ridiculously intensive magical labors, consisting of the occult exercises proscribed within Liber MMM, Liber LUX, Liber NOX, Liber KKK and culminating triumphantly, for those who survive, in a loose and entirely personal interpretation of Liber AOM. So as not to confuse anyone, I'd like to note here that we are in no way affiliated with the "real" Illuminates of Thanateros (a.k.a. The Pact) as those guys are wankers (probably)."

           Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg; Through out this highly individualized and self-defining magical practicum, we'll be working on the realization of your best and highest Self, what one might call your "Magical Imago," the greatest conceivable version of you that any of us might hope to both imagine AND BUILD here on Earth.

           I currently have three disciples although I won't be surprised if this new mad bullshitless approach doesn't thin my already meager flock to zero, but I simply can't let that possibility scare me into mincing my magical intentions any longer. I know the path that I have to walk. I've shared just a brief glimpse of it here with all of you. You could, obviously, attempt to work through all this without me, as I would attempt to do without any of you, but, if history is any indicator of the future, I don't think either of us would probably succeed that way. Join me, however, gird your will with mine, and I will promise to do everything in my power to get you to exactly where YOU tell me that YOU need to go (Unless, basically, your vision bores me, in which case I may still allow you to monopolize my precious time but, of course, it would have to be for a much, MUCH, higher fee; I mean, that's only fair, right?).

           Yet should you decide to carry on in your same untempered way, then, of course, good luck, good riddance, good grief, and, as always, Namaste.

The Four Magical Powers of the Sphinx

           For the last few weeks I have been contemplating the four Hermetic virtues, a.k.a. The four powers of the Sphinx. For those of you who are unfamiliar, there's Scire ("to know"), Audare ("to dare"), Velle ("to will"), and the last, and what I had mistakenly believed to be the least, is Tacere. You see, it was a conversation about the true meaning and value of Tacere which originally got me thinking about all of this, so that's where we'll start.

          Tacere is usually translated as "to be silent," but, as the root of the English word tacit, I felt that it was better translated as "to imply without expressly stating." After all, the Latin word for candle, "tace," is also derived from this root, and so, contrary to the pompous secret societies who tend to refer back to this fourth power when trying to justify the hiding of magick from the world or the arrogant protection of their privileged esoteric knowledge, I believed that Tacere instead implores a Magician to follow the same good advice given to novice writers, which is "show, don't tell." It's a simple narrative technique which lends itself to a far richer, far more enjoyable story, and a quality which I see as separating actual Magicians from the host of pedantic posers and loudmouthed wannabes who all seem to be painfully long on "wish" but usually, when all is said and done, rather short on "will."

          However, as I reflected further on this, and the other three powers of the Sphinx, I soon came to realize that rather than simply being a mundane To Do list of "knowing," "daring," "willing" and "shutting up about it," as most occultists commonly interpret them today, these four terms could be understood as being part of a completely misunderstood occult lexicon and describing very specific and significant magical states of being. I now believe that these rather important terms, whether they were intended to or not, denote four magical qualities for which no other words currently exist in our mundane tongue, qualities which each pertain to a specific Hermetic element. In many ways, these qualities serve to better illustrate what it truly means to be a Magician and so I'm all too happy to introduce these new words into our common tongue in the following essay, making some otherwise indescribable magical phenomena a bit less so.

          Let's start with the first power of the Sphinx, Scire, which I contend is not merely book learning, but rather a magical awareness which allows the budding Mage to perceive events and forces which others simply can't (or, if you're being charitable, simply don't). Interestingly enough, the words "scire" and "schizo" both share a common etymological root, the Latin word "scindare," which means "to cut or divide," and this is all too appropriate for Scire, as it is a truly dangerous lunar power which can easily shred the mind and quickly devolve into mild to severe schizophrenia (lit. split mind) if one is not careful. Welcome to magick; you have been warned.

          At first I had assumed that everyone's magical training would naturally begin here, awakening to a basic fundamental awareness of the unseen forces which any Mage must then learn to better perceive and to work with, but now I'm thinking that perhaps one could conceivably become an effective Mage without ever developing very much skill in this particular area. In fact, such blindness might even prove to be advantageous in many ways, not the least of which being the avoidance of the aforementioned dangers of a complete schizophrenic break, but particularly if one's primary magical penchant is to lean towards the second magical power of the Sphinx, Audare.

          Audare is a magical state of the heart wherein enchantments and energetic manipulations fail to enthrall you, magical wards can be bypassed effortlessly, curses are often easily ignored without any ill effect, and the various invisible bonds of fate seem to simply fall away before the awakened audacity of the Magician's undeniable freewill. As I said, this solar power may or may not follow closely on the heels of the more psychically sensitive Scire power (or perhaps they may even get in each other's way), but a bit of Audare is probably necessary before one can ever hope to safely wield the next, most puissant, power of the Sphinx, the volitional power of Velle.

          While the mundane words for "knowing" and for "daring" convey a close enough meaning in English to clearly express the magical phenomena denoted by the terms Scire and Audare, the magical will alluded to by the word Velle begins to go far enough down the rabbit hole so as to be unintelligible to nonpractitioners, and many practitioners as well, and, as you'll soon see with Tacere, it only gets worse from here, but I will say this: wishes are not horses. Velle is a psychic push the effects of which may be observed by someone with Scire, and can at times be resisted by someone with Audare, but, make no mistake, the occult power of Velle is where the true magical will begins, and describing this force beyond that is like trying to describe color to someone who was born blind. Most of you will think it means wishing and that puerile misunderstanding is something which a Djinn like me finds largely acceptable. Carry on.

          There is a point in the practice of magick wherein synchronicity and paranormal activities may begin to become so common that one must keep silent so as not to be thought mad, but the fourth power of the Sphinx is far more than just this; Tacere is a mystical state of oneness with reality, a state which eliminates the merely coincidental and the accidental alike, and makes the magician at least partially responsible for all of the various phenomenon which he or she may encounter; not because it was explicitly his or her will but simply because it was, and because the other three powers necessarily alter a Mage's relationship to the world itself and reveal the fundamental malleability of all things and the secret meanings thereby invested therein. In other words, as waking life becomes increasingly more and more like a dream, our lucid awareness of Tacere permits us to engineer magickal effects on a level which few magicians will probably ever comprehend. That's why this is a power which is most often better implied than spoken about, because only that which transcends cognition itself has any hope of truly grasping it. Upon such meager reflections as these, one tends to find only that the Moon was indeed the same as the finger that's pointing to it after all. Good Luck and Namaste.