Link to this Article: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/497
Polarity and the Hidden History of Western Religion
This article was written on July 01, 2003 posted under Magick
Polarity Magic: The Secret History of Western Religion (well some of its secret history anyway!) is in effect a summary of the research notes and our magical diaries that Wendy Berg and I complied over a period of about four years. It represents a steep magical learning curve in the lives of two experienced initiates, who once upon a time thought that they knew a good deal about magic, mythology, and religion then had to pull their preconceptions apart and start over.
For all its claims to be at the cutting edge of human experience, magical practice still falls readily into its ruts and routines. For something that is so obviously intended to transform human nature, it all too easily slumps into the natural human tendency to find comfort in the familiar. The powers behind these things, however, seem to be well aware of such tendencies, so when mortals refuse to move from their magical comfort zones, drastic steps are taken and the apple carts of distinguished mystery schools are rudely overturned. Sometimes it’s the only way that human beings can be persuaded to take the next step. Polarity Magic came out of such circumstances.
When we began to study polarity magic, we had something like forty years of magical experience between us. Consequently, we were both well aware of magical polarity theory. We also had some experience with its practice, albeit in the rather distant and muted methods of the Western Mystery Tradition and our youthful forays into Wicca and associated neopagan “priest ‘n’ priestess” work. The problem was that all of this seemed to just be the unsatisfactory tip of a venerable, but well concealed, iceberg. Certainly there was plenty of literature about “sex ‘n’ magick,” but it was all, for us, rather two-dimensional and had little or no application to the mythologies and philosophies that underpin the Western Tradition. What we came across was either so earthy that it was devoid of magical and spiritual power, or so ethereal that it had no application to humans being human.
Research and Meditation Leads to Magical Work
As with most magical work, one has to take the first talismanic steps to make things happen. A disciplined program of research and meditation on a series of polarity themes across a wide range of mythologies started the ball rolling. From this a number of rituals—some enlisting the very experienced mystery school that we belonged to—fell into place. The rituals opened up other avenues of research and endeavor, not least through a number of synchronicities that they seemed to induce. One such “sign” followed a ritual designed to demolish the patriarchal, Eve blaming aspects of the story of Adam and Eve. Sitting in the gardens of Hawkwood College in Gloucestershire, England, with a well earned cup of coffee afterwards, we were both somewhat gobsmacked to see a snake, the veritable Edenic serpent, slither across the lawn towards us, rear up and gaze at us for a few moments, then disappear back into the shrubbery. Seeing snakes in England is an extremely rare, often once in a lifetime, experience.
Inevitably, such rituals shook many of the preconceptions held not only by us but also by our associates. But behind the rituals and their effects upon people and creatures lay a lot of hard work unwinding and reinterpreting the mythologies that we were dealing with. We found ourselves digging deep to find the goddess and priestess in the latterly patriarchal Hebrew tradition and the unrealised warmth and power of Ahkenaten and Nefertiti, whose magic had been largely written off as an eccentric episode of ancient Egyptian history. We looked at our own venerable Arthurian mythology and found it wanting whilst also being inwardly persuaded to stray into the forbidden territory of the New Testament and a subsequent rewriting of the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The resultant historical and magical notes and the sampling of our attendant practical magical work represent the seeds of something that we hope that others can nurture and develop. In a world in which the polarities of gender are so often encouraged to tread separate magical paths, it is important to demonstrate that magic and spirituality can actually celebrate and explain what men and women can ultimately be to each other, both for themselves and for the greater good.
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