Many Thelemites are also Magicians, though whether that’s necessary or not is a matter of debate. Certainly one cannot avoid becoming a Magician if one pursues the degrees of the Man of Earth Triad within the OTO, but whether that means you start doing rituals or not is completely up to you.
I like to be a magician. The kind that speaks to spirits invisible, changes the world thusly, and studies an incredibly mind-numbing number of columns of 777 in the few spare moments I get between lodge … service opportunities. I like Hermetic Magick, and I love seeing how it all unfolds, most of the time. Some of the time, it’s … not so great, and offers what I like to think of as a “learning experience.”
Today I offer an anecdote along those lines.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I lived in the panhandle of Florida. If you ever have a chance, please visit sometime, on the coast, where the sands are white and the grains so fine they squeak when you walk on them. It’s quite charming, most of the time, as long as you ignore the “When is Liberal Season?” bumperstickers with pictures of handguns.
If you’re like me.
One of the really cool things about living in Florida is the ready access to the Jupiterian/Poseidonic manifestations of weather known as “Hurricanes.” The word “hurricane” comes from a Taino word for the Incan god Tezcatlipoca, “Hurakan,” the god of storms. He’s also known as Smoking Mirror, and Incan rulers wore an obsidian mirror to represent his power. John Dee received one of these obsidian mirrors, and whether he used it for scrying and receiving the Angelic Magick system we know as “Enochian” today is a matter of debate. Regardless, it pops up in the British Museum’s John Dee displays on occasion.
Hurricanes are an amazing force of nature. They are born of heat, and water, and air, and they bring incredible amounts of devastation upon the Earth when they make landfall. They’re also a very useful part of the ecological system of life upon this beautiful planet. Wandering out late at night in the midst of these amazing storms was a past time of mine while I lived there. Harper was a little nervous.
One wonderful Thursday, in the hour of Jupiter, a hurricane hit. I went out on the balcony, and, after a quick conjuration of Tzadqiel, began tying knots in strips of an old t-shirt while enflaming myself in prayer to Jove, Jupiter, Zeus, to capture the power of the incredible storm in a talisman. I tied five knots in each of four strips, as the lightning flashed, the thunder crashed, and I was soaked in the salt-sea-smelling waters, as were the strips of cloth I used for the impromptu rite.
As one does, I basically forgot about them shortly thereafter.
A few months later, outrageous fires were raging across Colorado, and my fiance Harper, the person who introduced us, and myself decided to do a ritual to bring rain to help put out the fires. We all hail from Colorado, and have family there who would benefit.
What better time to release the powers of a really powerful rainstorm can you imagine? Of course(!), for my part in the rite, I decided to perform a ritual that conjured Tzadqiel and focused the powers of the storm on Colorado to put out the fires. I carefully untied them over a printed out map that showed where the fires were raging out of control as I chanted some chant I made up on the spot. What could possibly go wrong?
Within a day or so, torrential downpours hit the Boulder area, causing some of the most disastrous flooding and mudslides the city has seen in years. The fires were no longer a concern. The mud in people’s houses, unfortunately, got all the attention.
Did my participation in the rite release a hurricane over Colorado? I mean, probably not? It was like a total coincidence, I’m sure. It was one of those things though, where you do a thing, you get a result, and you feel terrible later and suspect you probably should not have done anything in the first place since you really didn’t know what you were doing.
At least, that’s how I feel about it.
I like to tell myself that it would be pure hubris to pretend I had anything to do with that event. I like to tell myself that even if I did, repairing flood damage was probably better than having everything you owned destroyed. I REALLY like to think I was just an extension of some higher mind that did what it had to do, and I was swept along like a grain of sand on the beach in a hurricane.
But whatever it was, I have four strips of cloth with five knots in them hanging in the utility closet with the broom, step stool, and a saw that I should probably have put back in the garage when I was done using it. The time may come when it makes sense to put them to use, or maybe I’ll get over this silly superstition that what I do using the techniques I study and practice actually makes a difference in the world at large.
Still, I’d rather have them than knot.