Dedication to the Gods

Satyr Magos at Journey through the Obsidian Dream has a rather personal account of the culmination of his self-initiation/dedication:

As a lifelong solitary practitioner, I had never undergone any formal training or initiation. And although the work I have done over the last two years, formalizing and re-examining my training and practice, certainly counts for something, I had little idea what to expect. Would the ritual be transformative? Would it simply be an acknowledgement of my personal progress? Would it even work given the disparate practices of the people I had assist me?

The answer, in the end, was “yes” to all of the above.

Over the course of the ritual, I came into closer contact that I had ever anticipated with the gods I serve. I lost one guide, grown impatient with my slow progress. I … acquired? Was awarded? Met? What is the correct verb here? … another guide during my descent, and made amends with a Titan whom I had accidentally slighted. I was unmade and reassembled. Twice.

Recently I’ve become aware of complications in my own magical practice brought about by my newfound religious devotion. I dedicated myself to Mars and the Roman gods last March — an activity I undertook following several months of preparatory offerings and devotions. I am still working out the details of my devotional system, but make daily offerings to Mars, Venus, and Jupiter, with weekly offerings to the other gods of the pantheon depending on the day of the week. It seems to be working for now, but I imagine it will have even more meaning and power behind it when I establish a festival calendar.

Here’s the problem I’m having — adapting my magical practice to my new pantheon.

I’ve identified as a Chaos Magician for some 15 years now. Adapting from one magical practice to another hasn’t been too difficult for me, and I believe that Pete Carroll’s Chaos Magical Theory offers a satisfactory mechanism for how magic works and how it relates to physics. But I encountered one of the limitations of Chaos Magic: in my willingness to view beliefs as tools, I remained essentially an agnostic magician, and never had to fully deal with complete devotion to any one system of religious beliefs. (Perhaps that represents a failing on my part for not taking paradigm shifting to a high enough level. I suppose that discussion will come another day.)

There are two magical systems that I have dealt with extensively. One is a little known magical system known as Whytar (I can almost assure you that you haven’t heard of it), and the other is the more traditional Golden Dawn Hermetic system. Of the two, the latter has given me the most concrete results in terms of ritual work.

And I find that I can’t use it anymore. At least not without extensive modification.

Sure, I could switch paradigms and work in that system again, but to do so would miss out on a major point of religious devotion: dedication to the worship of a deity. I could work with ceremonial magic, but it would potentially offend my patron deity, and would certainly offend the Hebrew God that is the centerpiece of the Golden Dawn system. So I am left with two possibilities: 1) Drop the Golden Dawn system altogether; 2) Attempt to completely rework the system to fit with the Roman Pantheon.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I have not fully researched my ritual options. Surely, someone has already adapted ceremonial magic rituals to Greek of Roman pantheons. Maybe I should look harder first?

Perhaps I have failed as a Chaos Magician at another level: because of my comfort and success with the Golden Dawn system, I have not fully developed my abilities with other ritual systems. Whytar is great for energy work and other basic manipulations, and I’ve had some great successes with spellwork, but it has no real set ritual structure (at least I haven’t built one with it). Unlike Jeffrey, who works with shamanic visions and impromptu ritual work, I have little experience in such techniques. So I am left resorting to tweaked rituals I am familiar with, or developing new ones whole cloth.

I do, however, have a resource I never relied upon before. I can ask the gods and see what they suggest.


One response to “Dedication to the Gods

  1. I suggest you believe this quote wholeheartedly. “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”-Austin Osman Spare Also try “Magick of The Ancient God’s” by Michael Ford, it has a fair amount of ritual templates for the Greek/Roman gods.

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