“Why didn’t they let you save her too?” (Piper)
“The Elders. They couldn’t. They don’t have that kind of power.” (Leo)
“Then what the hell good are they?” (Piper)
Charmed, Season 4, Episode 1, “Charmed Again”
It may be that art imitates life, and then life imitates art in that weird feedback loop we call “magick”. But truth is everywhere if we look for it, even in pop culture where it seems most people have been getting their esoteric and metaphysical education for the last twenty years. As I pointed out in a previous article, “Everything I Need to Know About Magic, I Learned from Buffy” magic works in weird and non-linear ways. But then, often so does life. That is why basic science research is so important – it helps us unravel the mysteries of how things have come to be the way they are.
From Charmed (the original, not the atrocious reboot) I have also learned that no matter how nice a guy you are, handy with tools, or even “Mr. Perfect” – it still comes down to getting your Alpha on (“Valhalley of the Dolls, Part 2”, Season 6, Episode 2). Courtesy of social-psychological research, and the works of Jordan Peterson, we know that this is an unspoken reality among many women. More often than not heroes wear plaid, and metrosexuals need not apply.
That said, there isn’t a person out there with a spiritual practice that has not wondered what the hell good are these adepts we hear so much about, and at the same time know so little. Christianity has the Community of Saints, Martinism, Rosicrucianism, and the Golden Dawn their Unknown Superiors, Buddhism has its Bodhisattvas, there are the Ashim of Kabbalah, and finally Blavatsky’s (and later the New Age Movement’s) Great White Brotherhood, or whatever it is you call them. But when it comes to daily life, “What the hell good are they?” It is on this point that modern esotericism begins to split apart, literally, pulling itself in two incompatible directions.
The first direction is in the notion of a heavenly host of beings, visible and invisible who have a role or function in putting some boundaries on human behavior. Those boundaries sort of act as bumper rails so that we don’t go off the tracks as a society, or rather as a world. Jean Dubuis stated that the so-called prophesies of Nostradamus were less prophecy than a giant thought form experiment. By this he meant, the Quatrains did not foresee the future as much as they were designed to shape it – to place certain limits on behavior. More will be said on this in our book on egregores (Egregores – The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny. Inner Traditions, 2018). The other direction many spiritual movements find themselves going in is the belief that human beings have no limits on their behaviors, and should a handful of people with the ability to do so decide to rain down nuclear destruction on the world’s ever growing population of over 7.4 billion, then “them’s the breaks” for the rest of us.
It would appear that those on the spiritual path are compelled to ask themselves a question, “If the great enlightened masters of the universe are all about compassion, how is it that they would allow an entire civilization or world to be obliterated, and with it billions of people, in a man-made catastrophe?” In short, if that is the depths of their compassion, “Then what the hell good are they?
I doubt there has been a single one of us who has not stood in a temple, church, our oratory, or even in our living room or in nature and told God, the angels, adepts, or whomever “to get their ass down here, and do it NOW”. At times such challenges to our assumptions of the acceptable come with a tinge of fear and guilt, and then afterwards, a sense of relief, even greater authority over our life. It is like growing from obedient childhood into some form of responsible late adolescence or early adulthood.
This brings us back to what I learned from Buffy, about magic or life, not always being linear.
This also brings us back to the choice of paths discussed by Israel Regardie in his book, The Middle Pillar. That is, we can either learn to manipulate the various forces through occult means, or we must trust, completely and wholly in the ever present wisdom, power, and compassion of our Holy Guardian Angel. While these two paths are not incompatible, and are often merged as a student progresses on their journey, a path must still be chosen. If we are too look at them, we can see both require complete and utter confidence, or faith. One is in ourselves and our ability to solve our problems through metaphysical means. The other is trust in our Higher Self, Guardian Angel, or ‘I am’ and that by completely relaxing into it, our life will be alright, our goals accomplished, and we will have health and happiness the length of our days.
As one friend said to me about his teacher, “Each person does the ritual a little different because it works as they say in New Thought ‘in and through’ the person, or who they are. When he would start, sometimes I wanted to stand back lest the lightning bolt miss and go for the taller target. The way he would speak to the gods and invisible masters was at times frightening. But it takes a special kind of person to pull that off. That’s not me.”
Maybe everything I needed to know about magic I learned From “Charmed.”
As Grams, the witchy trio’s maternal grandmother and source of their magical line said to Piper, “Why do you insist on wasting your talents?
“Because my talents don’t come with health benefits, Grams.”
And in a later episode, Cupid says to Phoebe, “You’ve sacrificed a lot for the greater good and that’s taken a toll.”
“Yes, Cupid, it has.”
And maybe those sacrifices are not worth it as can be clearly seen by the actions of many around us. The idea of the greater good sounds marvelous until the reality of having to define what that is sets in. When we look at it from an abstract view of protecting the world against demonic forces it is pretty easy. When we realize that those demons take up residence in our neighbors, friends, and even ourselves at times and that to undertake this work of “the greater good” is going to cost us time, talent, treasure, and reputation. It is no surprise that the heroes and heroines in so many television shows and movies are supposed to be ‘the common man (and woman)’ are either outcasts, unemployed, recently divorced, single, or unusually wealthy and successful for their age, thereby allowing them the time to solve crimes while engaging in new romantic partnerships as they travel the world saving it from evil. You get the picture: they are not you, and do not resemble you in almost any manner. Well, at least not most of you.
So then, how do we save the world without going bankrupt in the process? Reality is you don’t. This comes down to that parable about not being able to serve two masters. This does not mean you have to go bankrupt or will go bankrupt (death aside as you don’t take it with you), it means you have to be willing to take that risk with no guarantee of how it will work out.
That is a tough gamble, and clearly one few are willing to take, and understandably why. But it also explains what is meant by the other parable, the one about a rich man entering the Kingdom of Heaven and the camel (thread really, camel thread) through the eye of a needle. One doesn’t have to be “rich” simple attached to the things of this world MORE than their own realization or working for the ‘greater good’ when they know, and by this I mean REALLY KNOW, what that means. This can be as simple as not making the needed and necessary sacrifices that are within their reach when necessary. That alone is enough to qualify you as ‘rich’ in regards to ‘heaven’.
So, as we stumble our way into 2021 it is incumbent upon each of us to take stock of our values, and to prepare ourselves to make the deep personal sacrifices that will asked of us. To do anything less is to reject the call of heaven, and not matter how much is in your bank account, to show yourself for who and what you truly are – a “fair weather disciple.”
But, if you want to dine in Valhalla, then you have to die. If you want to sit at the feet of adepts, then you have to leave your comfort zone. If you want to talk to the gods, then you need to visit the places they reside. And if you want to know yourself, then you need to divest yourself of what you hold to be true to find out if it is or not.
This year and the next few that will follow it will be the deciding factor in the lives of many. It will decide – on a personal level – where Mercury will lead us as we pass through Saturn’s Gate – and through that Gate, each one will pass. It is up to each of us to make the most of the time Saturn has allotted to us, and to find those vast and powerful Jupiterian forces within us now, so that we can join the ranks of the Heroes and dine with the gods. Prue saves us not by what she does, but by showing what she cannot do, nor anyone – and that is what we must do for ourselves: pay the inescapable price of self-sacrifice that Illumination requires.
Origin: Sept. 4, 2016
Completed: Jan. 9, 2021
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