First a brief announcement . . . due to yet another move, I will be up to my armpits in boxes and unpacking this time next week. As a result, I will not be posting on the 11th, as I normally would, but should be able to resume my weekly schedule on the 18th. While moving is a great trial, in this case, it is quite a good thing for myself and my wife both.
I am a regular meditator. Sometimes, I think that is the only thing that keeps me sane on crazily busy work days. I am not sure what it is that got me into a regular meditation practice but I have been doing it for years now and it is one of those things in my life that makes me feel bereft when I do not do it. Even if I grab a few minutes before bed, that time is time well spent, despite the effort of avoiding falling into sleep.
I could go on and on about the benefits of meditation but there are plenty of books and articles out there that would probably do a better job than I would. What I would like to focus on, in this blog, is a concept that many people, magicians included, do not pay enough attention to. It is a revelation that has been unfolding for me over the past few months and changing my attitude toward my practice.
In magical and esoteric practices and traditions of varying cultures, one finds the concept of invoking (literally, calling in) a certain spirit. In ceremonial magic, this might be called the Holy Guardian Angel. The Greeks might have called it the Agathodaimon and I believe the Romans referred to it as one’s Genius. In the Middle East, there is a belief that one is born with two djinn companions, one good and one intent on pulling you away from that good. If we go as far away as Japan, we still find this idea that certain kami (spirits) attach themselves to people and offer guidance and assistance to them in times of need. The witch traditions talk about a similar concept in the idea of a familiar – although, of course, that spirit has been much maligned in the witch hunter accounts.
Long story short, esoterics of varying sorts have long held the belief that human have co-walkers – spirits that walk with them to guide them, assist them and sometimes even to protect them. I am personally convinced of this idea due to my inner experiences as well as the fact that I am still walking the earth today. Suffice to say, that I did not make it easy on any guardian spirit that might have walked with me in my teens and twenties.
Much ink has been spilled across many traditions about how best to draw this spirit in and establish a relationship with it, a relationship in which one has an “open line” to the spirit. Ritualists go so far as to call it the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel and this K & C, as it is sometimes abbreviated, is so important in some circles that it is believed that no real progress can be made until it is attained.
I have absolutely no quarrel with the pursuers of the K & C but I do think that, in their enthusiasm for that practice, they have fired the arrow over the target and missed an important issue altogether.
What many seem to be forgetting is that humans are not simply a body in need of a spirit for guidance and help. Human beings are a part of a soul complex which includes our bodies. Part of that soul complex is one’s own spirit.
Now, I am not going to lecture on the spirit. You may choose to think of it as you wish. Some see it as a Spark of the Divine within them or a stream of individualized energy emanating from the heart of “God”. Others see their spirit as something individual to them, a fire that burns within and which they believe can lead them eventually to godhood. I am on the fence about an exact definition for your own spirit but I can tell you this: all the invocation of Holy Guardian Angels or Agathodaimons in the world is not going to do you a bit of good until you have learned to nourish and nurture your own spirit.
Again, I can not tell you how, exactly, the care of the spirit should be accomplished. In my own case, obviously, my meditation practice is a major component of nurturing that spirit and coming into deep contact with it. I believe that some people get the same result from long rambling walks or ecstatic dance or even martial arts. I’ve known some folks who nurtured their spirits through yoga or by practicing contemplative prayer. The possibilities are endless but the important thing is being mindful of your spirit and paying attention to those things that take you deep and put you in contact with the deepest part of yourself.
I’ve talked a lot about spirit communication and discernment of spirits in the past few blogs. It is my firm belief that we can not have that discernment until we come into a good alignment with our own spirit and can operate from that deep place – which some call intuition – where we just know what is “right” (for ourselves, at least).