It helps to have read number one in this series, since this post will only touch upon a few more pointers from that article.
Now, the most important thing to remember throughout this article is that Religion is for everyone and Magick is for everyone as well.
Being a good magician sorcerer, shaman, christian santero palero buddhist or what have you is for those few people with the gift and calling.
High magic (the alchemical theurgic work) is for the very, very few.
Why is this? is this some form of elitist bullshit dreamt up by some random groups of people trying to be more special then anyone else? I highly doubt it. It is a question of psychology, gift and any stuff that may or may not be related to any past life and also how they go about trying to execute the opus.
The issue is, if we are going to be blunt about it, physically, not everyone is equal. There are differences in our brains that mean we may or may be more drawn to inner praxis or outer praxis. Add to this that everyone I know who is actually any good with Sorcery will agree that there is a level of inborn skill or gift needed. Someone is of the blood or is not. Having worked with various people in various places in the world in different systems this remains true everywhere. You can learn some of the skills needed but there are those who take to it like fish to water and some that even with the simplest and most powerful tech end up shaking it off like water off a duck's back.
The same thing is true for inner praxis. As a monk would say "not everyone is called."
But, everyone can use some basic technology that belongs to magic or religion. this is because some of the basic ideas are there for everyone to use. It is useful to see the magical and mystical, or inner and outer approaches as the breath in, where the practitioner is passive and the active one, where the practitioner breathes out and is in control.
Since honestly, is religion really anything more then the tool we use to understand the world and magic the tool we use to affect the world? If we really break it down to its most basic components? Not really.
However the rule of thumb is: take the path of least resistance. If you always felt religious because of your social genetic and karmic background it us useless to try and go atheist. If you need a job, maybe you should stop jerking off to seals and start putting your cv out there and join some job agencies?
The most powerful mages are the ones who can get you killed because they don't like the cut of your gib. I wonder when Bill Gates became a "Word of Power"....
As stated, there is a difference between those who have a gift for inner and/or outer work and those who don't have the gift. But with hard work it is possible to get roughly equal. The person with the craziezt ADHD mind can still learn to meditate and will be able to experience certain spiritual experiences of ceazing of the inner voice, passive being, awareness of oneself as existence, ego loss etc. In the same way as the most unemotional thick person who by the time swallows the milk they are drinking have let it turn into yoghurt can, with enough persistence and exercise get to the point where they are able to enchant to the level that their spells almost always work.
Anyway, I don't want to get too lost in this part of the text. Let's move on.
One of the reasons "Few are Chosen" is because it requires a lot of dedication, a laserpoint focus in the right setting for the work to actually start. Not only that, but as the two circles in the previous article show, the various inner and outer tools are in and of themselves a whole. One can spend a whole lifetime messing around in any of the countless systems paths beliefs and ways of working without even approaching the opus (the center) and even if one does, it takes guidance, dedication and a certain.... gift on the part of the seeker.
This gift will manifest on all the levels of being. In the material plane it might be described as the ability to both think in a highly abstract way yet also to always bring the abstractions down to reality. without this two-way street the vesica pisces between the two circles will never be entered.
On a spiritual level one needs Grace. Grace is very hard to define, so I will not try. Instead I will point to the idea of Jesu being just a very devout learned Rabbi and Nazarene, yet when the grace of God in the shape of the Dove symbolising the holy spirit descends upon him he understands himself to be the Son of God. Why Christianity then adopts the concept of the Mystery of the trinity that none of them can explain without offering an explanation that is so fluid as to not be an explanation or so good that it has already been declared heretical is something everyone should spend some time meditating on.
Furthermore, it is worth stating that once the True Opus starts the practitioner is forever set apart from the rest of the world. S/he will experience and see the world differently then those who may be following the same path to get there, yet are not there yet.
Why is this part of the series before we start talking about the elusive Nigredo?
Because for some reason everyone think that all paths will lead to Rome. They will not. Receiving an ordination as a priest does not mean that you truly are what a priest is meant to be. You can create alchemical elixirs and spend the rest of your day with spagyrics or qigong and still not get it. You can can talk to your gods and be able to walk through a wall by the grace of your possession, uyet none of these prove that you are there.
I will heavily paraphrase and twist a story to srve my purposes now:
Remember the Tantric who sat by the river and spent most of his life practicing austerities and spells? Once the tantrika was practicing devotion to the Power of the River, a practice requiring him to spend 2 years immersed in the freezing waters whilst practicing mantra and sacrifice. One day an enlightened Brahmin walked by, and the brahmin asked: what have you accomplished with your devotion? The tantrika replied by showing him how he could walk across the waters of a river. The brahmin was impressed, but pointed out that there is a bridge further down the path that the tantrika could have used instead of spending all this time with his Puja.
Therefore be warned. In the following posts there will be points discussed referring to Holy Guardian Angels, meetings with the unconscious from a Jungian perspective and alchemical operations that might make sense from two levels, and I will not make any further attempt to differentiate.
In the above example, we might think we know immediately which one of them is engaged in the work of the Royal Art and which one is not. However both might well be in the Circle of Sorcery or the Circle of Religion. Both might be in the vesica pisces or only one of them may be.
We do not know whether the tantrik had the intention of the river representing an inner passion, the stream of life from beginning to ending representing the eternal rebirth and his crossing of it was merely a manifestation in the gross world of the inner truth that he has realised, in a way similar to Gold being produced sometimes as a sign for the alchemist.
As an exercise in practicing the skill of abstraction and materialisation.
You can spend your life trying to create Gold using alchemy
You can spend your life trying to create Gold using alchemy
You may succeed in producing gold with both ways. But when is gold the Signifier and when is it the signified?