Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Invoking the Personal Pantheon

Every summer I take it upon myself to re-read as much of Aleister Crowley's Book of Thoth as possible. At this point I mainly skim through and try to rediscover interesting, subtle details. Yesterday I found a brief paragraph on pg. 44 that particularly inspired me to write something new:

The Tarot is, thus, intimately bound up with the purely magical Arts of Invocation and Evocation. By Invocation is meant the aspiration to the highest, the purest form of the part of oneself that one wishes to put into action. 

This immediately reminded me of the classic Golden Dawn invocation for a tarot divination, "I invoke thee, IAO, that thou wilt send HRU, the great angel... etc." Though I do not know much about magick in actual practice (I know a fair amount theoretically, but I do not often put it into action myself), I knew that it was traditionally understood that "invoking IAO" meant that the diviner was trying to contact the purest, highest aspect of themselves in order to use that Source's Power to summon the angel of the tarot, HRU (in my opinion, the Holy Guardian Angel unique to each individual). However, I had not considered that one could conceivably invoke other aspects of oneself based on circumstantial need. Of course, one should always aspire to that highest, most balanced part of oneself, but could we not also hope to use that Force to invoke and inspire other parts of ourselves?

To do this, however, one must have an understanding of their psychological components in the first place so as to better isolate them and manipulate them. As some of you may recognize, there are obvious parallels between this practice and metaphysical alchemy, which is entirely based on the processes of solve et coagula, dissolution and coagulation. In this case, however, there is a distinctly magickal mindset, in that the user is free to tap into their unique strengths and abilities at will. This, then, becomes an exciting process of self-discovery, self-mastery, and self-liberation.

I believe the best way to go about this process of self-understanding is through meditation on one's astrological natal chart, supplemented by consistent work with the tarot, using it to aid oneself in evaluating their True Will and how their course of action has resulted in either good or less than desirable results. After all, this is the basis of discovering one's personal science - evaluation of action and its result. "Let success be your proof," as the Book of the Law counsels. If your action is True and Right it will result in goodness; if it has been corrupted by some illusion and your aim has been poor it will result in misfortune or a lukewarm outcome. Using the tarot to analyze the course of one's action can therefore be enlightening in this way. However, it is, for the present purposes, more important to focus on the natal chart so that one can come to create a kind of "Personal Pantheon" of mythological personas that represent and govern the many parts of one's personality.

To demonstrate how this practice has worked for me, I will be using my own natal chart as an example, shown here:

As you can see, I am predominantly a Scorpio with an Aquarius ascendant, and a Leo moon. I resonate particularly strongly with these three aspects of my personality, perhaps because they're all fixed. Essentially, all I have done is focus on the ancient planetary powers (therefore excluding Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), and meditate on how these energies manifest themselves in my life or my personality. Doing this has allowed me to understand them better, and to come up with certain narratives that correspond to them. At this point in my life, I have managed to create magical mental images for a few of them, usually based on extant mythology; some other planets remain semi-aloof to me, such as my Jupiter in Cancer. It certainly is a process, but one that I have always found interesting and rewarding.

I have always connected powerfully to my sun, moon, venus, mars, saturn, and mercury signs. My sun in Scorpio, and so much of my personal mythos has to do with dark mystery, psychological delving, eroticism, and struggles for power. In fact, this is the cornerstone of my pantheon. It's so pervasive that it's difficult for me to even pinpoint this quality in a specific personality. On the other hand, my Venus, Moon, and Mars have been easy for me to associate with myths, and there is tremendous overlap between the three. My Venus being in Sagittarius causes me to resonate with Artemis, the Virgin Huntress, however, being filtered through the lens of Scorpio, she takes on a distinctly sexual and dark characteristic that is alluring and deeply spiritual. My Venus can also be described well by the goddess I have chosen for my Moon sign - Hathor. Being a musician who believes music is only good if it creates powerful emotional responses in people (performers and audiences equally), Hathor is a perfect goddess to reflect my emotional Leonine side. Not only is she a lioness, but she is the patron goddess of music, dance, and ecstasy. I have also always, since childhood, had a strong connection to the myth of Hathor going on a rampage out of bloodlust until Ra finally subdues her by tricking her to drink wine from the Nile, causing it to look like blood. Lastly, I have strong connections to the goddess Cybele, whom I associate more with my Mars, but also with my Moon. Cybele, of course, was the Phrygian Great Mother Goddess, who drove Attis insane with her beauty, causing him to castrate himself before her. Perhaps due to both my Scorpio and my Saturn in Capricorn (Mars being the ruler of both Capricorn and Scorpio), my interpretation of Cybele as a goddess of vengeance sometimes turns icy, and she adopts a kind of Ice Queen persona - strange, since Cybele is a goddess associated with wild dancing, cross-dressing, and loud instruments.

Knowing all this about myself, I can then invoke these goddesses as needed to help myself in certain situations. As I am constantly performing for my jobs, it is sometimes helpful for me to invoke Hathor before an important performance or audition. It gives me confidence, and helps me trust that I am meant to perform, that I am actually naturally designed for it, that it is my birthright to succeed at it. I could even invoke Cybele or Artemis as a kind of attraction charm if there is a person I'm hoping to appeal to. If they scorn me, it would be Cybele I would turn to in order to find some sense of closure, or to ask simply that justice be served in some way (I am an individual mildly obsessed with justice and fairness). If there is a time when I need to be serious and practical, I could invoke my Saturn in Capricorn for support. Or if I need a boost in morale I might turn to my Jupiter in Cancer. The goal is to recognize how each aspect of the personality is usable and effective, and that it is simply a matter of recognizing the presence of these aspects in the first place. It helps one to understand what they are naturally capable of and what they are not, and as a result it becomes easier to forgive one's own weakness, and to understand the reason behind one's victories.

This is not a new idea, I realize. I have borrowed heavily from other sources and practices, but I hope that putting it in an astrological context can put you on a clearer path. I also hope that my personal examples made sense and were at least worth contemplating. Maybe you already have connections to certain gods and goddesses and it's just a matter of finding them already extant in your natal chart? I encourage you to leave a comment and share with me your experience with this kind of work!

1 comment:

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