A collection of ConjureMan Ali's thoughts about magic, the occult, and spirituality.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2 Dimensional Spirits

If you've ever glanced through any list of spirits you'll find that they often have rather contradictory capabilities and functions. Just a glimpse through the Lesser Key, the Grimoire Verum, or any other grimoire reveals that a single spirit is able to do a whole host of various things that are often completely unrelated to one another. For example, in the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Spirit Barbas is capable of revealing to you all hidden things, changes men to other shapes, heals illnesses, and teaches the mechanical arts. Natural spirits (herbs, roots, curios, minerals) seem to have this same complexity.

For example Salt can be used as a protective and cleansing agent, but it can also be used to drive away enemies, find theives, and even can bring your spouse home safely.* What about Grains of Paradise? These little guys can help you find a job, help protect your home, or cause massive fights.** So how is this possible? How could spirits--whether chthonic or herbal have such contradictory uses? I would argue that this type of limited thinking where spirits can't have "contradictory purposes" is where the "issue" comes from in the first place.

You see, the problem is that we are seeing these spirits as two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs rather than complex, living, breathing, spiritual personalities. We have a tendency to see these spirits as something that has to fit the little compartments that we create for them. In the limtited understanding a spirit should be able to be categorized as "protective," or an herb should just be lucky but not lucky and love-drawing. This mentality limits our understanding of the spirits that we are dealing with and hold us back from tapping into the inner nature of the spirits and developing a powerful symbiotic relationship with them. I am not talking about some fluffy, hippy concept, I am talking about having a meaningful relationship with Spirit and spirits. Can we ourselves so easily be categorized? Are we defined by our occupation? Our gender? Our religious view? No. We are immensely complex individuals who are beyond labeling. Could we ever develop a meaningful relationship with our friend, our neighbor, or co-worker if we could never see past the label--their function-- to the person that resides within them? So, let's extend that same view to the spirits we work with. Are you just a husband, or wife? Are you just a son or daughter? Are you just an employee, or boss? Or are you something more? It is the same with the spirits we call upon.

If we accept the premise that we are working with spirits--things that are part of the fabric of life; if we accept the premise that there is more to these entities than merely a label, or set of characteristics, then we move to a new level of understanding. At this level we don't see "contradictory" characteristics; we see complex living beings who are involved in life in a myriad of ways--just like us.

When we learn to abandon our myopic and arrogant view that everything has to fit our little schema, when we learn to let go and actually accept that the spirits are as complex as we are, as deep as we are, then we really break through all the limits. When we reach this point we are able to call upon the full power of the spirits, herbs, curios, and roots and shape the very course of destiny because those spirits have our backs. It is when we abandon this view that the two-dimensional spirits disappear and the real powers start to awake.

* Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by catherine yronworde under entry "Salt
**Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by catherine yronwode under entry "Grains of Paradise" & herb-magic.com under entry "Grains of Paradise"

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