The Four Authenticities And How They Relate to Magick

Jason Miller posted some thoughts on “authenticity” to his  And of course he discusses how this applies, or doesn’t, to magical and spiritual practice. It begins:

“The world is filled with misinformation and propaganda. The world of the occult is perhaps doubly so. It’s a good thing then that people are seeking out what is authentic. Correcting of factual errors or deliberate lies should be a no brainer. No more time for that nonsense.

“Sometimes though the quest for authenticity becomes a kind of crusade for people, and like most crusades, once the first targets are conquered, other less-offensice target are chosen.

“When warriors of authenticity crusade, I think its important to clarify the parameters by which they are judging something as authentic or not. If we don’t make the standards by which we deem something authentic or not, we tend to just talk past each other.”

and it concludes:

“I wanted to write this because I think it might help people communicate better. If someone is arguing that Baphomet is inauthentic because the name is likely a pun on Mohammed and rooted in Templar conspiracies, they are arguing historical authenticity. If someone else says that Baphomet must be authentic because they called upon him and the spell worked they are arguing functional authenticity. I am gonna step in and say that when I look at the image of Baphomet I think of Baph, which can mean dipping in water, tempering a blade, or dyeing a color; and Metis which is the virtue of cunning wisdom. So there is an Authentic Meaning to be derived from this is that is likely not historically accurate, but nonetheless moves me and is also functional.

“Keeping these categories in mind might also help people to think clearer about what they do and believe. Finding out the Maiden Mother and Crone is only as old as Robert Graves doesn’t necessarily rob it of its meaning. Finding out the “wheel of Hekate” symbol has absolutely no connection to Hekate older than the 1980’s doesn’t mean that its not a perfectly functional seal for her today, or that Hekate herself is not behind the attribution.

“It’s ok to value some of these parameters over others. Pagan reconstructionists care more about historical sources than anything else. Others care more about cultural authenticity – particularly those whose cultures are being preyed upon or in danger of disappearing. Sorcerers like me care most about function. Some pious or mystically oriented souls care more about meaning. Even if you favor one of these over others, I hope that all four of these get held in the mind as important and worthy of consideration.

“Then again, maybe this won’t help. After all it’s a lot more fun for people to be right when everyone else is wrong.”

Read everything in between:

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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