Chassidic parable: There was once a man who asked his Rabbi why there were examples of miracles and prophecy in Hebrew mythology, and why, if God was capable of such things, it no longer occurred. And the Rabbi replied simply, “Because we are no longer capable of looking that low.”
There’s a game of hyperbole that certain practitioners play. A disingenuous sort of reverence that aims to push the gods as far away as possible. A god is like a hurricane…no, no, like a supernova… WAIT NO, a god is like a mega black hole in the center of the galaxy! And so you take your anthropomorphic deities that were of a particular culture, that ancient people prayed to expecting a response, because life was f’n hard, and you turn them into something vast, alien, and unrelatable. You no longer look ‘that low’ for the divine, and so miracles, or omens, or the gods actually helping you in your day to day life probably isn’t a thing.
And that’s fine. Some people need a master to make them feel smaller. Some need a master that is inconceivably high, to give themselves headroom for spiritual development. I cannot personally relate to either type of person, because I don’t decide what to do based on the words of any kind of authority figure, divine or otherwise, but rather, am compelled by my inner nature to reason about logical and ethical implications on my own, or through discourse with peers.
And then there are the practitioners who cut their gods into hundreds of tiny pieces, because they don’t like the idea of not being able to utterly control how a deity manifests. Or, perhaps, as a way of solving disputes. By this, I am referring to the, “My-Diana, Your-Diana,” way of thinking (as opposed to acknowledging that eyewitness testimony is unreliable, or that even humans modulate their behavior or “mask” to get along, and deities probably do, too), or the supposition that your deity is not a person, but 270 dead people in a trench coat. I do not engage in either of these types of thinking. Would not, could not, for all the honor and gold in the world, or to avoid the scorn of others.
If you are any of these types of people, I really doubt anything I’m about to say is going to hold true for you, so you may as well stop reading. This post, indeed, most of what I write, will not be applicable to your practice.
I’m also going to flag this with a content warning for sex and consent issues.
Still here? Ok. *Deep inhale*
There are some people who have sex with deities as a magical act, or an act of devotion. I recall, some years ago, having a conversation with someone who was like, “oh, yeah, I forget to have sex with my deities.”
And my mind was blown.
You mean… they don’t just erupt all over you spontaneously? You don’t just stare longingly into their eyes and then accidentally get carried away and realize what you are doing like six orgasms later? Have you literally never had a deity steal your shoes because they wanted your attention?
Cut me some slack, I was in my 20s and didn’t know the ways of the world.
But with a more mature lens, I realize that what was going on there was sex work. This was sex, quid pro quo. It was not an expression of passionate romantic love. It was the practitioner providing a sexual service to a deity. The deity was not a spouse or a romantic partner, around which some lion’s share of the practitioner’s heart revolved.
Which, of course, begs two questions.
- Why did the deities want that?
- What was the currency with which the practitioner was paid?
If you view deities as alien, malevolent beings, or quasars beyond human understanding, there is no way to make this shirt hang in the proverbial closet. But if you posit that deities, as we know them and name them, are spirits of humanity just as there are tutelary spirits of lakes and mountains, and if you posit that they do what they do because they are passionately in love with humanity as a natural phenomenon, then you can well understand why they would crave a connection with this oft-hidden part of our nature.
And to the second point, the currency, I believe, is notice and connection. That is, having touched your physical body in that particularly intimate way, they’re better able to see and influence you. Then, when you make an offering an ask for help, they’re better able to answer.
And on the matter of sex with deities, I recall something Hermes, in particular said to me, in fact keeps saying to me.
“You need to know that this is not without consequence.”
As in, we couldn’t just do the do like it was cooking dinner or doing the laundry together. It wasn’t like having sex with a mortal partner, where maybe it impacted your relationship, but hardly had any implications for anything such as your metaphysical destiny, or your immortal soul.
I’m still not sure I buy consequences for my immortal soul (not that it would change anything if I did), but it sure as hell does change the way magic flows around me. That, I will certainly grant you. I know so because when you have a tiny baby and are up at all hours of the day and night, you might not want sex for a while, because you are dog-tired. I think that’s pretty normal. And then you do want sex, so you have it, and damn the differences were really noticeable.
This is a different way that a deity can interact with your physical body. While this is a facet of priestcraft that we most often think about in connection with bringing down a deity for a community, it’s equally valid to do this in private.
And this is a practice you just sort of DON’T tell your friends who live in a state of fear and distrust of the gods. Because yes, if it were true that the deities you worked with were selfish, ignorant, malevolent, astral colonizers, this would be extremely dangerous! If your deities don’t know how not to injure humans, if they don’t know how to work with humans, if they can’t compute the negative consequences of harming a medium for their cultus and community, and need a priest-nanny to put them on time out and hand them a binkie when they’re done, then you absolutely should not do trance with them in private.
Also, if you have unresolved trauma around immature parent and/or clergy figures, or are still processing abuse and neglect from your childhood, maybe don’t do this kind of work. If the priests that trained you were still processing trauma surrounding immature/incompetent/abusive/neglectful parent or clergy figures, maybe take some time to work through that before you do this kind of work. If you find yourself engaging in power fantasies that look an awful lot like you being nasty-god shaped, don’t do this work because it’s your shadow self that needs the priest-nanny.
If you don’t have any of the above-enumerated issues, if you remove the burden of accurately delivering a message from this kind of work, and if you simply focus on aligning the deity’s energy body with your own, it can be the orderly, meditative counterpart to the wild ecstasy that is out and out fucking a deity.
Post Baby-Covid-Non-Prof-Leadership-Hell which I’m just going to term, “The Depressening,” my partner and I made a promise to get back into trance mediumship, just with one another as an audience (not sure you could pay either of us enough to do it in public ever again), and noted, similarly, that even though the conversation was light and fluffy, the manifestations and synchronicities following were dramatic. Not just positive omens, but ones that were clearly attributable to the deities we connected with.
And somewhere at the very back of my brain, I’m recalling someone telling me about a Hindu practice of touching each part of the body and inviting the deity into it, which they brought up because it sounded an awful lot like our particular method of mediumship, so if you’re somehow reading this, please comment with a link to what it is called.
The Middle Pillar Ritual
I fully acknowledge that almost no Golden Dawn practitioner sees the MPR in the way I do. In fairness, I’m coming from the perspective of a Jewish polytheist who sees Kabalah as Jewish, and the names of God as epithets or titles for the Hebrew deity.
If you DO have this paradigm, it could likewise be seen as inviting the Hebrew deity, in their various aspects, into various parts of your physical body.
The reason to NOT believe so is mainly that such a belief is highly inconvenient to someone who hates the Hebrew deity and thinks that the Golden Dawn (in all it’s multifarious Thelemic and Hermetic forms) is THE only way to practice “high magic.”
That’s cool. You go on hating that deity and calling their names (the same ones their devout pray to) into your body. I’m sure nothing will come of it.
But if you DO work with this deity, if you DO like them, then this is yet another practice of self-consecration and divine-physical alignment.
And if you DON’T work with or like that deity, you can absolutely gank the formula — not of the Q-Cross, because that’s from the Lord’s Prayer, and maybe not even of the LBRP, because that ritual’s deep formula is more complicated than it looks — but of the simple act of calling the names or epithets of a deity into energy centers of your body, imagining them as bright spheres of light, and then circulating the energy with your breath.
The overall goal is the same: to invite the deity not simply into your mind, but into your physical reality as well.