Saturday, June 15, 2013

Set the Stage

Know Thyself
~ inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Mage Music 57

Art reflects the real world, they say – and so as with any other creative process within this plane of existence, setting needs to be included when designing ritual. Be it music, painting, dance or a novel, details don’t just fill themselves in. They need to be supplied by the artist in order for the work to be manifest.

Mage music 57 Know Thyself
Sensory details and emotions fill in the “who, what, where, when, why and how”, and bring reality to the work that allows the audience to receive what the artist had in mind. The best of the creations can draw the audience in so deeply that they are shocked when they finish the last word and close the book’s cover, or see the credits rolling down the screen, suddenly thrust back in the here and now instead of in Westeros or Essos at the end of the decade-long summer.

For musicians there are different kinds of details, but they still need to be filled in. One riff does not a song make. The composer has the song inside his head, but the audience can’t hear it unless every note is brought forth in the order, tempo, pitch, timbre, rhythm, tone and dynamic that the musician is personally hearing, using instruments that best express what the composer has in mind.  Each sequence of notes - connected to a musical style with its own history, musicians, riffs, instruments - is connected to the next sequence, bringing in yet more connections to emotions and meaning in time and space.

Haphazard or incorrect choice of details can ruin the ritual so something quite unwanted is manifested - or nothing happens at all. It’s hard to know which would be worse, but this much is true: It would be a waste of energy no matter what.

Details are everything
Ritual objects of Magick are symbols meant to evoke meaning beyond the physical details. As with the elements of any kind of artwork, every detail of the symbol is important if the ritual is to be successful. Ritual symbols, however, have meanings that matter on more levels than merely on this plane of existence. This means there are a lot more details for one simple ritual object than there are for other human-created works. And you can’t have just one - every object exists in time and space and thus time and space for each object are part of the ritual, and that engenders yet more detail.
He reached in to a pocket and pulled out a river stone, smooth and dark. ‘Describe the precise shape of this. Tell me of the weight and pressure that forged it from sand and sediment. Tell me how the light reflects from it. Tell me how the world pulls at the mass of it, how the wind cups it as it moves through the air. Tell me how the traces of its iron will feel the calling of a [magnet]. All of these things and a hundred thousand more make up the name of this stone.’” ~ Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear.

Mage Music 57 Everything's Connected  jimmypagemusic.blogspot.comOnly a hundred thousand more details to consider? In fact, any one ritual symbol has an infinite spider web of meaning, with strands of meaning reaching in infinite dimensions. There are layers upon layers of elements of meaning, details of symbolism that make the difference between a ritual that has a chance of succeeding and one that doesn't.

The fat black candle or the thin white one... or the blue oil lantern? The eagle feather or the drum, or both? The asp or the cobra… or maybe a unicorn? Repeat the chorus or change it a bit? Lift one hand and spin or leap into the air? Perform this song before or after that one? Each symbol has a relationship with the other symbols in the ritual, which means the elements combine exponentially.

It is pretty mind boggling to even think it could be possible to work with symbolism at all, but yet Mages do it. Is that because they're smarter, more gifted, better looking or luckier than anyone else? 

No. It's because they know a shorthand - they know themselves.

As above so below
The theory of fractal cosmology states that the distribution of matter in the Universe, or the structure of the universe itself, is a fractal across a wide range of scales. Fractals are self-similar patterns, meaning they are "the same from near as from far". Fern leaves are an example of fractals in nature, as are trees, lungs, veins, and so on. In the fractal Universe, planets orbit around the sun, sun is in orbit in a galaxy, galaxy moving in a Universe and on up, and you can go the other way down, from molecules, to atoms, particles, etc. 

What this means is that you can know something about suns by knowing molecules: fractals across different scales. And what this also means is that a Mage can use symbolic objects in ritual when knows himself and his relationship to that object. 

First the Mage must know self. Then a Mage can know surroundings. Through this knowledge the Mage can know the Universe and can manifest in his reality.  

As above, so below. But first, know thyself, because the Self is the true stage wherein the ritual takes place.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an example of a fractal image: