You Have The Power: A Defense For Christians Doing Magick
Recently, Pope John Paul II created a flap when he pronounced, when speaking to some visiting group, that we needed to remember that God includes both genders, and that the feminine aspect of the Deity was as important as the masculine aspect which has become, through cultural history, enshrined in our language. Outraged "conservative" Christians accused him of becoming "too pagan." New Agers, Wiccans, and neo pagans all were shocked that the Catholic Pope would say such a thing. All of these critics were laboring under the weight of misinformation which as usual shrouds orthodox Christianity.
For myself, the idea was part of the standard theological assumptions of an absolute Deity and not even newsworthy, so that when folks began pestering me about it, I didn't know what they were talking about!! Too sad, as I'd love to include his comments in today's essay. However, the particular point I'd like to address today is whether or not magical power could or should be wielded by a Christian.
The problem with a lot of folks is that they think that being Christian in some way "forbids" a magical life style. These folks are laboring under the same cloud of illusion that insists that the Christian God is actually a male autocrat. Hardly. "Elohim" is a plural feminine form. As I've written to some folks, how can you be born again without a Mother? Indeed, the very Baptismal Font is a symbolic uterus as is any cup or cauldron in most magical traditions. Indeed, the mystical
writings clearly indicate that the waters of Baptism are symbolically, magically if you will, the waters of birth. All of these images are hardly masculine!
Probably it would clear the air for mages a bit if we changed "magical" to "miraculous." Now I come from the tradition of the Marian Shrines and their parade of miracles, but there are some Christian groups who would deny the validity of such events. Ironically, this would include both the arch conservative Campbellites and the radicals of the Jesus Meeting.
Such a tradition of denial of the marvels of the powers about us may actually account for the greater difficulty aspirants face in these days in achieving visually striking results in their evocations. That's another thread, but our subject is the
right we have to marvels: Such marvels as any Pentecostal preacher might expect; such marvels as Elijah calling down fire; such marvels as Moses calling in birds to feed the Israelites; such marvels as walking on water, healing the injured,
manifesting the patriarchs, and transfiguration.
You have the power.
Indeed you were made, in Christian mythology, for the express purpose of wielding that power in this material universe. For it was to restore us and our cosmos to its proper marvelous condition that orthodoxy teaches that Jesus came, died, rose, ascended to Heaven, and shall return.
These might seem like radical statements, but I propose to show a Biblical basis for them. The verses I'll mention here are but a few of many similar passages throughout Scripture.
First of all, "What is man," the psalmist writes, "that you should spare a thought for him,/ The son of man that you should care for him?// Yet you have made him little less than a god." Ps 8: 4 5. For when the Goddesses (actual translation of Elohim, a feminine Plural of God) declared, "Let us make man in the likeness of ourselves...." Then "... in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them."
Leaving aside the many questions about the genders here, what does it mean to be created in the image of God, to be set to take care of the plants and animals (not to exploit them). Frankly, I do not for an instant believe in an anthropomorphic Deity. Indeed, I was a toddler when the image of intense light shooting shards of crystalline, vital energies first came to me, and in high school, after reading C. S. Lewis's Perlandria, the image of an amorphous energy dancing throughout the cosmos became quite attractive also. Instead, we seem to be partakers of the Divinity in our own reflection of its qualities (I know, an awfully smudged reflection on my part but there's eons of polishing yet to go).
What did God do? Create. Create things that had never been before and were good. So if we're to manifest the Deity in this realm, does it not stand to reason that we are to accomplish similar works of wonder?
Moreover, the Christian Scriptures clearly declare the intense power which the individual saint should be wielding. Not only is there the promise that "greater works than these shall you do;" but also is the flat affirmation, "as a man says with
his lips, so believing in his heart, that shall be done unto him."
How many times have our teachers cautioned us to watch what we say. If we affirm that the world is nasty, that the kids are bad, and that we won't ever win, we will find our words become quite true. Moreover, if we tell others that they are bad, nasty, and ignorant, they will be motivated to fulfill our worst expectations. As a school teacher, I've long ago learned the consequences of such unguarded words. I've also learned the power of assuming that the child wanted to win, to be seen as good, to be shown as capable. It is the loss of the exciting opportunity to work that marvel or magic that hurts worst in my current health.
Not only does the sacred word have power in us, but also we have such power by the fact of Divine Love. For as is written in Philippians 2:13, it is the Deity who both inspires and enables us in our achievements. Indeed, there is no power in existence which is greater than the devotee who is in loving union with his or her Deity. Again, Philippians 4:13 declares that there is nothing you can't achieve with the Deity's aid. Consider just briefly for instance the declaration in Ephesians that we have been blessed "with all the spiritual blessings of Christ." (Eph 1:2). Later, the same book declares that the same power which raised Christ is at our disposal via the love of the Eternal Parent (Eph 1:18 23). Moreover, in Ephesians 3:16f it is written:
"Out of his infinite glory, may he give the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength
to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
"Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine."
Such stupendous knowledge is one of the basics of true adeptship, and indeed probably beyond the capacity of our most powerful computers.
Now there are those who say, well if you've got such a link to the Divine power, why bother with evoking all the lesser creatures like angels, elves, and elementals. The first answer, in my pompous opinion, is politeness. No matter how
rich you are, you should know and care about the chauffeur. Moreover, while it is true that we can accomplish great marvels via Divine Power, never forget that a reflection of that power is intrinsic in our own design. So that we do have our own, integral strength to wield and responsibility for it.
The second answer to the objection is perhaps nicer. According to the myth, we were created to take care of God's creation. To nurture it, not despoil it. Now myth is myth. Under the veil of fancy stories and poetry lies deep truths that can enrich the soul willing to find them. Over and over again, Scripture declares that the Deity not only has rule over the angels, but has given them responsibilities for taking care of us. The victory parade image of Colossians 2:15 illustrates that these powers are part of the package.
If we share in this glory, as Christian scriptures assure us over and over, then we share in this package of committed and even bound creatures whose purpose in existence is to make ours nicer. The literature of the Church, moreover, is filled with references to the angels declaring that they are not our superiors but rather our partners. While it may be possible for a team to try to play with all the members speaking only to and listening only to the coach, I doubt that such a team would win too many victories. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the decline of Christian congregations now. They have cut off from themselves communication with all the marvelous or magical beings that were also created here to work the wonders of the greatest dream of all.
There are still those who would object that this is tantamount to giving a selfish child three wishes. All the stories agree that this can be very destructive. Yet if a person has grown to the place where they can talk with the animals and fairies and other "spritely" beings, I suspect that they're liable to have a greater maturity than that. Indeed, I suspect that they, like Rabbi Jesus, will manifest the nurturing creativity of the Mother of the Universes. That they will heal the injured, ease the burdens of the afflicted, chastise wrong so that folks will seek to turn to better deeds, and teach those who desire to grow to the light to walk the path that transforms people into partakers of Divinity.
This nurturing purpose of our ritual and magic should become a clearer focus in my next work. As the Blessed Virgin seems to be teaching at Medjegore these days, the separation of people from the care of nature and the cycles and experience of being part of nature is one of the things she desires to heal. More on this latter.
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