Mar. 22nd, 2019

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
DruidsChasing down leads on the origins of the material that went into The Druid Magic Handbook and The Dolmen Arch, and finding something unexpected...

Here's a quote from Letters on Tellurism by Gioacchino de Prati, which was published in an English magazine in 1834 and 1835, and which talks at great length about the solar and telluric currents: 

"The intelligence of individuals is, in regard to the absolute divine intelligence, nothing but the organs by which and through which the great act of revelation is performed."

Here's a quote from The View Over Atlantis by John Michell, which was published in 1968, and which also talks at great length about the solar and telluric currents: 

"The instrument of all human enlightenment is an educated mind illuminated by revelation. [..] Those...by whom the great discoveries in every age are made, are always those who have prepared themselves for revelation by the cultivation of such interests as characterize the natural philosopher."

It's quite possible that Michell read de Prati -- he was ferociously erudite and knew a great many obscure byways of occultism -- but there's more going on here than the possible continuity of a tradition. 

Down through the years there's been a lot of sloppy talk about the purpose of occult training. What makes it sloppy is the rather too common assumption that there's just one purpose, and all the different systems out there are better or worse methods for reaching the same ends. Not so; different systems presuppose different goals. These days, even though quite a few of the old occult schools have gone extinct, you can find various schools with their own goals -- those in the Rudolf Steiner tradition, which focus on developing seership; those pursuing various forms of Christian mysticism, which focus on seeking union with God through love; those in the broad Golden Dawn tradition, which use the methods of ritual magic to open up contact between the lower self and the higher self; and so on. 

What de Prati and Michell are talking about is something else again: a system of training that starts with "such interests as characterize the natural philosopher" and proceed from there to develop the capacity for revelation, which in the sense these authors have in mind means intuitive insight -- "the order of art and science seen in a flash" -- guided by an awakening sense of the whole cosmos and the place of each individual phenomenon in it. 

Two reflections come to mind: 

First, I'd wondered for quite some time why the Druid Revival didn't get into operative magic until quite late in its history -- as far as I can tell, not until the implosion of the Golden Dawn in 1903 sent a lot of well-trained Hermetic magicians into the Druid scene. This may be why. The goals outlined in de Prati and Michell fit very well with the image of the Druid in 18th and 19th century culture, and it may be that a careful study of old Druid writings will show other traces of the training meant to prepare the mind for revelation. 

Second, it seems to me that the particular skill set I've sketched out here is not something that existing occult schools teach, and it's something that the world could really, seriously use right now. Educated minds illuminated by revelation could accomplish much. 

Now to figure out more about the methods...
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