Sunday, May 8, 2016

Donald Tyson's Sexual Alchemy

I suspect people dabble in magic to horrify the orthodoxy. Christians seem upset by mentions of witchcraft, fearing it comes from the Devil. The Islamists behead people for witchery, along with a thousand other supposed crimes. The Jews, who knows? They invented the Kaballah back in the day. But most modern Jews are probably amused by witchcraft and don't take it seriously. There really is not a clear Jewish position on magic.

I think witchcraft comes from foolishness, not the Devil. I don't believe in the Devil, but if he does exist, then he is a rather weak and unimpressive bogey. I quit believing in the Devil around the age of thirteen. It is an easy matter to establish whether the Devil or any other entity has real power and authority in the world. Invoke the thing by name, and if it does not appear, insult it. Nothing happen? Fine, then you know the thing is the fantasy of shaman from long ago.

I've been browsing Donald Tyson's book on sexual alchemy, in which he discusses how to attract and recruit a spirit lover, presumably, one that has no material existence in the world as we know it. One never really knows what is meant by the word "spirit" or "spiritual" when it is bandied about by those who really believe. I am not sure Tyson knows what is meant by the word "spirit," either. He seems unperturbed by pesky logic.

Tyson lays out an intricate system for harnessing magic. He is rather vague on material results, but who cares about the material world, anyway? He does not promise material results--a wise and prudent move on his part as a writer, because in my opinion, there will be none. Instead, he talks about communing with spiritual entities and traveling through the astral plane, which is a more achievable goal for the self-deluded. For me, airplanes are more effective than the astral plane. Magic seems like a mind-trip people indulge for pleasure and amusement. If it were effective, then we would all use it, not only lonely dabblers in the dark. It is not prejudice or close-mindedness that keeps us from magic. Magic does not work. Even if magic worked a little bit, people would use it. People use software all the time that doesn't work that great. We don't expect miracles, but need to see a little bit of benefit in this world, not the imaginary world.

As for Tyson, I can't help but feel like he is in magic for profit. People want to achieve power beyond the human capability, so they buy his books, because he promises that the process is easy and just requires certain rituals and a lot of patience, I assume a lifetime of patience, because nothing will happen in a whole lifetime spent dabbling in magic. He explains a complicated system, which fills up hundreds of pages to the end of his book, and then counsels patience. Clever, no? He regurgitates a mixed salad of superstition from the ages: astrology, mythology, the Kaballah, and who knows what else, flaunting his knowledge to establish himself as an authority on magic. I suppose this is pointed at other magicians, who might dismiss Tyson if he didn't know all of the lore they knew, but might accept him if he reveals things they did not know. If someone believes all of that and takes it seriously, then by the time they reach his book's end, they will have invested a lot of time learning and constructing their own reality with his ideas. I think magic only works when people believe in it. Thus, it is the same as any other delusion, such as religion. I do not think that Tyson can achieve power or knowledge over me or anyone else by using only magic. If only the world were that simple, then life would be easy indeed. The Tysons of the world are these romantics that hope human beings are more powerful, and human life more meaningful, than it really is. In reality, we are numbers generated by other numbers, and math is at the heart of the cosmos and explains everything. Magic appeals to those befuddled by arid, difficult math, like Tyson, because it is easier and more accessible.

Magical practice can transform the self, like any other exercise that people do, but whether for good or ill depends upon the nature of the practice. I do think there are odd things in life that beg explanation. We do not understand them yet, but magic is not an optimal hypothesis. Old gods and demons are not the answer. The lore of the ancients can be discarded. Direct experience and experimentation is the way. That which is called a goddess, what is it really but a facet of ourselves, and why should we not call it by another name?

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