In with the new, out with the old

Posted on June 19, 2012
Filed Under Magic, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I don’t subscribe much to tradition or sticking with classical approaches to magic, just because everyone else has done them ad infinitum. At a certain point, a lot of my skepticism boils down to the fact that we’re relying on outdated information or wishing to be part of ancient culture so we don’t have to deal with the ugly reality in front of us.

A while back I mentioned that I don’t use the classical model of the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit. It’s an outdated information and categorization based off Aristotle’s observation of the world around him, some 2,500 years ago. It worked for him then. It even worked for a while after that. Now its outdated. People can still use it and obviously they do, but why not change it up? What is it we are really holding on to?

The majority of resistance I’ve encountered has usually boiled down to: Don’t change what’s already there. It works and all you’re doing is reinventing the wheel. And maybe they are right. Maybe I am reinventing the wheel by not sticking with what’s tried and true. But my resistance to what’s tried and true is why settle for the wheel you’ve been provided. Why not upgrade it? Why not experiment with it?

R.J. Stewart says the following in Sphere of Art 2:

While our huge spiritual and magical revival, from the late 19th century to the present day has liberated many from the suppressive tyranny of authoritarian religion, it has also created an artificial comfort zone of false, or at best harmless and reassuring, pseudo-knowledge. The deeper esoteric traditions have been glossed over, in a process that has steadily created a new body of dogma no less restrictive than that of religion…signs of such dogma are most easily visible in the many boiler plate books on chakras, Wicca, and more recently neo-shamanism, repeating the basic material over and over…After three generations or more of basic material within our overall magical/spiritual revival, material that has, in some streams, noticeably rigidified over the years, the time is right for further work and radical reassessment.

I’m all for further work and radical reassessment. I’m all for doing something different for the sake of exploration and experimentation. I get the need to have a solid foundation. I used the classic model of elements at one time…but at a certain point, you’ve got to look around and start getting curious about what you can change and experiment with. Information in disciplines evolves and the same should hold true for magic. If we only stick with the way its always been done at a certain point it just becomes another form of religious dogma and doctrine.

My radio interview with occult of personality is now available. You can go here to listen.

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