Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some Thoughts On The Great Work And Planetary Magick

For whatever reason, I am currently drawn to planetary magick and will probably be concentrating my efforts on acquiring more knowledge (and hopefully experience) on this segment of occult learning. Presently, I am reading Practical Planetary Magick by David Rankine and Sorita D’Este. I am not sure if this one source will be enough to get me where I want to be, but it certainly seems to be a decent introduction to the material. While I am mentioning reading material, I would like to give a plug to an article concerning the Olympic Spirits and their relationship to the planetary spheres/powers/gods by Nick Farrell. I found this article to be well worth the read.

As of late the idea of the “Great Work” (magnum opus) has been on my mind. Whether or not the concept of the Great Work has always had a spiritual dimension is debatable and I leave it to the reader to reach their own conclusions. Despite this, the term “Great Work” has come for many to signify the culmination of one’s spiritual pursuit. Apparently, exactly what the culmination of one’s spiritual pursuit consists of varies a great deal from author to author and from tradition to tradition. Some see it as a completion of one’s work while others, such as Crowley, intimate that it is a never ending quest (although some of his thoughts on the Great Work would seem to contradict this). What I have found rather frustrating is that many of the so-called definitions of the Great Work are so general that they are essentially useless to me. They are like someone suggesting that I get a diploma without anyone delineating the subjects of study and necessary requirements. When discussing the Great Work I think it would be advantageous to clearly articulate the qualities or characteristics that the Great Work bestows. At least that way, I can see the target and determine if I want to shoot my arrow in another direction.

One of the explanations that I have seen on multiple occasions concerning the Great Work with respect to planetary magick is that the term “Great Work” represents the culmination of the balancing within oneself of the seven planetary powers. This equalization of the seven planetary powers is oftentimes graphically expressed by the septagram (pictured below).

Balance in one’s life is certainly needed. However, I wonder if simply balancing the powers is enough. I tend to think that the planetary powers would manifest within an individual along a continuum ranging from the weak side to the strong side. If this is the case, then there is certainly a qualitative difference between a balance that occurs on the weak side as opposed to one that occurs on the strong side. Is one type of balance to be preferred over another? It is a judgment call, but my gut reaction is that a balance toward the strong end is to be preferred. An implication of this is that the Great Work would become, if the continuum is infinite on either end, a process rather than an end. But then again, maybe a balance at the zero point should be preferred. I certainly have much to think about.


Robert said...

great post. I will reference this in a blog entry soon.

Karmaghna said...

Thanks Robert. I still feel rather apprehensive about many of my posts on account that my study of the occult is still in its infancy. Encouragement such as yours keeps me going.