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Magick, Taoism and Change

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.philosophy.taoism,alt.pagan
From: (Michelle Klein-Hass)
Subject: Re: Magick, Taoism and Change (Was Re: Critical Perspectives on Occult Group ...)
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 14:25:52 -0800

In article <4akc2r$>, Koen Van Damme  wrote:

Tyagi wrote:

>>       Some contend that the requirement of some kind of goal toward 
>>       which one must aspire makes impossible a natural mysticiism such
>>       as taoism, and that this means taoism and magick are 
>>       irreconcilable.  Fung Yu-lan's texts suggest to my mind that 
>>       this is due to the combination of religious and magical practices 
>>       and that the religious and philosophical or mystical taoists are 
>>       in some way irreconcilable (he does not speak to it directly in 
>>       the text which I have yet reviewed).

>>       I think this is short-sighted.  Taoism is more than we might want
>>       to make it out.  It is a living tradition and has seeded itself
>>       in countless homes memetically and in some cases practically.  I
>>       don't think that taoism is devoid of goals, and these goals ought
>>       concern us perhaps more, in the analysis of taoist magick, than 
>>       any other subject: immortality/longevity, mystical experience 
>>       and cautious wisdom, ruling the cosmos, and merging with tao.
>You have to explain this to me.  Isn't misticism all about NOT wanting,
>NOT needing, NOT striving?  And now you suggest that this is in some way
>compatible with magick, which you defined as a WILLED action.  Am I missing
>the point?

I think that Tyagi is speaking from a perspective of trying to, at all
costs, reconcile the classic Daoism of Lao-tzu which holds that Nature is
not to be disturbed, with the classic Western Magickal idea that "Nature
unaided fails."

No less a writer/spiritual adventurer than Aleister Crowley attempted that
trick. And Crowley ended up on the wrong end of the equation: losing sight
of the Dao by being too caught up with Magick.

Perhaps the New Current would be better served if people would go the
other way around. The consequences of our attempts to change the natural
world are all around us. It seems as if, perhaps, we need to not lose
sight of the Dao by perhaps spending less time with trying to cause change
in others and in our environment according to our Will, and more time
causing change in ourselves.

I consider myself a Thelemic Daoist. I find that much of what
Crowley/Aiwaz tried to communicate in the Book of the Law is communicated
in a clearer and more direct way in the Dao Deh Jing. This is not to say
Liber AL is not without merit: it is. But much of it seemed to flow from,
or at least get filtered by, Crowley's own mindset and personal
hobby-horses he delighted to ride. 

Lao-tzu, on the other hand (if there was a real Lao-tzu...but that's an
entirely different can of worms) didn't set out to do anything more than
set out the philosophy which worked for him, in a neat little manuscript
of 5,000 Chinese characters. He didn't espouse himself as the "Magus" of
any new Aeon...he even suggests in the book that the philosophy he was
writing was one which existed long before he was born.

As a Thelemite, I do agree with the central assertions of Liber AL:
1.) Human beings have value in and of themselves, as individuals. The
greatest task an individual faces in their life (or lives) is to ascertain
the flow of their own individual purpose, and follow it. 
2.) The old religious value of sacrifice of self (or sacrifice of anything
else, for that matter) is obsolete.
3.) Sexuality needs to be resacralized after 6,000 years of being thought
of as dirty, sinful and unholy.
4.) We are in a transition period between the old paradigm of Angry Father
Gods and Suffering Saviors and a new paradigm where new spiritual and
physical conditions apply. 
5.) All philosophies and spiritual techniques need to be reassessed in
light of the emerging new conditions.

But as one attempting in her own halting way to follow the Dao as I
understand it (which is not very well, thank you...I'm no master) I see
that Crowley was too in love with the ideas he picked up in the Golden
Dawn and too obsessed by the religious dogma he was force-fed in his
childhood to see that Dao and Magick are pretty much irreconcileable, and
that choosing Magick over Dao was a bad mistake.

I mean, ceremony has its place, but that place is growing smaller and
smaller as time goes on. The aim in both the classic Daoism of Lao-tzu and
of the G.'.D.'. tradition that Crowley continued in his own unique fashion
is Initiation with a big "i". But Initiation needn't be a process which
requires elaborate ceremony with many officers. Initiation is an unfolding
process which takes place between the Candidate and Forces Different From
Ourselves. (To say "higher forces" requires a qualitative judgement which
I would rather not make!) Initiation can take place in a formal temple or
during a walk in the woods attended by no-one but the Candidate. Whether
in the midst of a big ceremony or in a personal epiphany, the process
still remains one of communication between the Candidate and Forces
Different From Ourselves. 

Wow, this certainly opened up a big can of worms!


Have better physical and mental more cartoons!        
AOL: MHass703, Net:,       
Web site soon to this space for future developments
This post is my own damn opinion!

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