The sixth requirement is the cultivation of a certain inner balance (equanimity). The student endeavors to retain his composure in the face of joy and sorrow, and eradicates the tendency to fluctuate between the seventh heaven of joy and the depths of despair.
The avowed accomplices of our passions may disgust us by humiliating us; at our own risk and peril our pride will teach us how to resist them. But what is more dangerous for us than our hypocritical and hidden accomplices? They follow us like sorrow, await us like the abyss, surround us like infatuation. We excuse them in order to excuse ourselves, defending them in order to defend ourselves, justifying them in order to justify ourselves, and we submit to them finally because we must, because we have not the strength to resist our inclinations, because we lack the will to do so.
Éliphas Lévi, trans Aleister Crowley, Liber XLVI The Key of the Mysteries
such is the holy gift of the Muses to men. For it is through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo that there are singers and harpers upon the earth; but princes are of Zeus, and happy is he whom the Muses love: sweet flows speech from his mouth. For though a man have sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul and live in dread because his heart is distressed, yet, when a singer, the servant of the Muses, chants the glorious deeds of men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus, at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all; but the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these.
Real sorrow, the sorrow which comes from the death of dear ones, or some great cross well borne, you need not forget. But think of these things as sent to enrich your nature, and to make you more human and sympathetic. You are missing them if you permit yourself instead to grow melancholy and irritable.
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Comedy of Agony: A Book of Poisonous Contemplations by Christopher Spranger from Leaping Dog Press:
This slender volume of aphoristic meditations can be read in a variety of ways. One possibility is to consider it to be instructional scripture by Tyler Durden. Another would be a rich mine of sigfile quotes guaranteed to offend the pious and conventionally-minded. I think this one may need to go in my Christmas cards: “Had she only miscarried, the Virgin Mary could have saved the world.”
Spranger’s religious reflections presume a Biblical-Miltonian narrative, although his atheology has a wide scope, including admiration for the metaphysically sadistic aesthetics of Asian Buddhism. There’s no indication of familiarity with Aleister Crowley’s work, but Spranger’s strong affinity for and constant allusion to Nietzsche (who, unnamed throughout, is referenced once as “a certain leg-puller”) makes him a close cousin to Thelemites, at any rate. In particular, his piece on “The Attractions of Rage” makes a fine complement to Crowley’s chapter on love in Little Essays Toward Truth, and he makes some insightful remarks on the Thelemically-vexed term “compassion”: “Men to whom agony is unknown have grabbed a hold of this concept and perverted it completely, reducing it to something low and effortless, when in fact compassion requires risk and presupposes rank.”
Spranger is evidently resigned to embodiment, attachment, strife and sorrow, but he writes that like it’s a bad thing. One wonders what the return of Saturn has in store for the 28-year-old author. [via]
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Make Magic of Your Life: Passion, Purpose, and the Power of Desire by Hermetic Library anthology artist T Thorn Coyle [also], from Weiser Books, is available now.
“Do you have the sense that you were born to do something more with your life but you don’t know what that is? Do you long to step into your power and live a life of passion? Do you wish to be of greater service? Are you willing to follow your soul’s desire?
Activate the magical formula known the Four Powers of the Sphinx. These four powers — To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silence — help bring about a profound shift in how we view and move through the world. They point us toward our highest purpose and show us what to do, both practically and spiritually, once we’ve found it. They will lead us to a life of magic.
Find your soul’s work. Follow desire. Live a life that matters.” [via]
“For pagans or anyone with magickal leanings everywhere, internationally known pagan and mystic T. Thorn Coyle offers a unique path to make everything in one’s life alive with magic in Make Magic of Your Life.
Coyle shows how to achieve harmony and balance, and find your true purpose by activating the magical Qabalistic formula known as The Four Powers of the Sphinx: to know, to will, to dare, and to keep silent.
Coyle shows readers how to draw on the four powers of the sphinx to discover their “soul’s possibility,” their life’s work, that which they most long to do.
In Make Magic of Your Life, Coyle explains how our deepest failings are often the very things that fuel our life’s work, keep us human and whole, and even make us act as though — like Prometheus — we can steal fire from the Gods.
From the introduction:
“Working magic means showing up with your demons and your divinity, your sorrow and your joy. Alchemy only happens when we are willing to go through the processes of gathering together, refining, pouring, and solidifying. In the end, we have something fine to hold.” [via]
“The petty bubble of Love’s pipe is burst!
Yea! through the portals of the dusky dawn
I see the nameless Rose of Heaven unfold!
Yea! through rent passion and desire withdrawn
Burns in the East the far ephemeral gold.
O Wisdom! Mother of my sorrow! Rise!
And lift my love to thine immortal eyes!” [via]