Since when was power goodness, or cleverness truth?
The myth of Antigone, as told by the Greek playwright Sophocles, is one of the most well known of the Greek myths and one of the most meaningful for feminism and for revolutionary politics. She has become an icon of resistance. Of pitting personal conviction against state law. Of speaking truth to power.
Helen Morales, Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
Mysteries of other worlds, hidden forces, strange revelations, mysterious illnesses, exceptional faculties, spirits, apparitions, magical paradoxes, hermetic arcana, we shall say all, and we shall explain all. Who has given us this power? We do not fear to reveal it to our readers.
Éliphas Lévi, trans Aleister Crowley, Liber XLVI The Key of the Mysteries
Chesed corresponds to the creative aspects of leadership, and early texts are one-sided in characterising this by love, mercy and majesty. Gevurah corresponds to the conservative aspects of leadership, to the power to preserve the status-quo, and the power to destroy anything opposed to it. These two aspects go hand-in-hand – try to change anything of consequence in society, and someone will invariably oppose that change. To bring about change it is often necessary to have the power to over-rule opposition. Consensus is an impossibility in society – there will always be someone whose opinions are at best ignored and at worst suppressed – and Chesed and Gevurah represent respectively the kingly obligation to seek what is good for the many (enlightened leadership of course!), and the power to judge and punish those opposed to the will of the king.
Colin Low, Introduction to the Kabbalah, “Gevurah and Chesed”
We should therefore attempt to remove all external impediments which are in the way of our spiritual development and live in a state of purity. Our thoughts should be continually directed inwardly and within ourselves; for within ourselves is the element of consciousness, knowledge, and power. Nothing hinders us to develop and exercise our own powers, except our misconceptions, imaginations, and external desires. Therefore the divine influences will only come to him who liberates his soul of all such hindrances, carnal desires, prejudices, and hallucinations. A diseased eye cannot bear to look at the light; an impure soul is repulsed by the divine light of truth.
Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom
The symbolic syncretism of the Golden Dawn a century ago, which fused renaissance Hermeticism with oriental esoterics drawn from the European imperial experience, only fully flowered when Aleister Crowley added a battery of gnostic power techniques culled from diverse cultural sources.
Edward expects things from this world…he holds it to a standard. Such people may have a kind of power in them. They can be creatures of great kindness, or great malice. Their expectations give them deep roots, deep sense of self.
J Kelley Anderson, Casting Shadows