One Wheel - One Path
by Chris Jacques
(Originally published at Beltane 1994)
To be perfectly honest, I don't give a damn about the dark side of the universe. Why? Try as I might I really can't find it. I can find aspects that I experience as pleasant. I can find aspects that seem unpleasant. However, taking a more macrocosmic view, everything serves a purpose. Surely good and evil do exist. I do ''good'' when I play out my role in the universe as fated, accepting what must be done, and learning to be able to do it. I do ''evil'' when ''I'' consciously does different to what it knows it should. The pleasantness of a cosmic aspect is not means to measure its potency as either ''good'' or ''evil''. ''Evil'' was invented along with human beings. ''Good'' is simply what we do when we act as cosmic law denotes that we should. Enough crap on morality! I entirely realise that the terms of light and dark reflect on the nature of these forces within the human psyche and the cosmos, and if the terms are being used correctly morality need not come into the argument. Light and dark are simply technical terms to describe an abstract idea. Perhaps the dilemma arose from a long period of ''Christian Pestilence''; we have become conditioned to associate certain terms with certain conditions.
''Christian Pestilence'' - a rather dubious statement. I seem to come across many such attitudes in my weary trek across the pages of pagan/occult magazines. We seem to have rather a lot of self-righteous folk who like to confuse a spiritual impulse with the claptrap cloth used by mankind to dress it! The same can be said of all spiritual paths.
We all like to lock ourselves way in our spiritual boxes, pretend to be conscious at a nice high level and then slag off differing beliefs simply because we either don't hold with them ourselves or because a bunch of people made what we consider to be an unwholesome cock-up of the path and their memory still lingers. Definitely too much social/astral junk in the universe; it makes us blind to original spiritual impulse.
Wicca and Paganism, Chrisitianity and Judaism, Qabalah and Mysticism are purely different faces of the same word. That great word which has rushed through the universe since the dawn of time. This word will continue to vibrate until the end of time.
All systems of spiritual enlightenment have felt the power and harmony of the word at the core of their being. In Qabalah the word has been said to be Tetragrammaton or Tetragrammaton Elohim; in Wicca the word is represented by God and Goddess, and in Christianity it has been archetyped into the form of God the Father ''begotten not made''.
The word is that divine calmness, limitless strength and wisdom, that exists at the heart of all men and women, at the heart of nature itself. It exists at the very centre of creation, where all things are harmonious and as one. This central calmness to the many spoked wheel of existence has been symbolised by the Christian Heaven and the Pagan Summerlands, and it is the goal that drives the Qabalist along the Way of Return.
It is the need to feel and understand the word that causes those on magical/mystical paths to walk the inner/astral planes. Here I talk about the real inner planes that exist within the shell of men and women, from which they can learn about themselves and the outside world. I do not speak of the magical act of induced out of body experience, real in itself though in my view far less important.
Therefore just as the spokes of a wheel all lead to the centre so do all religious systems ultimately have the same goal. Obviously major differences of opinion exist as to the form that this eternal place of calmness takes. For instance, the Qabalist believes in a selfless abandon of individuality to join with the word. On the other hand, the Christian has in his mind the idea of a separate existence in the Godhead's land of plenty. Ultimately all such petty disagreements that seem to divide men and women so easily ought to be forgotten. Surely all will agree that the word, or the Godhead or Godheads, are entirely above the comprehension of the incarnate man. Therefore the divine goal for which all faiths aim must also be incomprehensible. Does it matter then if different people give to that goal different forms?
In their present existence all men and women are individuals. As individuals they have free will to choose their own path. Other groups on a different path or arm of the great wheel find that they can't comprehend the nature of those who choose an alternative way. Thus one group wrongly assumes that another's methods are unethical, and that the other group has a different goal. Disharmony is generated simply because those individuals have not yet expanded their awareness sufficiently to see more that their own limited side to any situation. The goal of all faiths is to develop a higher understanding of the world, to see as much of the whole situation surrounding any particular event as is possible. In Qabalah this is the first step up the ladder to attain the consciousness of the true self rather than the selfish ego. It is the belief in personal righteousness that causes one group of people to condemn another group's religious direction. Christ said ''Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.'' The Wiccan believes that he may ''Do what thou wilt so long as it hurt no-one''. These two statements are directly related. One is the answer to the other. If a man is not to be self-righteous then he must pursue his own path ensuring that he hurts no-one else in the process. Just as these two philosophies are very similar, so tend the world's religions towards each other.
When men and women realise that in their individuality they all share the same human desires then perhaps they will help each other rather than hate each other. ''Love thy neighbour!''
Thus a magical or mystical path of development leads the individual to understand and respect and to be compassionate toward the opinions of those around him and ultimately to comprehend that ''all paths lead to the same source''.
Once this development has taken place, hatred against others who differ from yourself has no place in your existence. The individual realises that his own complexes are his biggest enemy, and aims to ''put his own house in order''.
I apologise to the poor bored reader if I seem to have spent the last several hundred words hammering at one particular point, the unity of paths. However, I believe that this point must be established if any type of peace is to be found between different religions.
However, having now established my feelings regarding the position of the magical faiths in the world arena, I wish to offer my opinion on what our faiths offer, that many other systems do not.
The magical faiths offer a basic workable system such as Wicca, or Ceremonial, or Nordic or many others. This basic system acts as a foundation to explore the interior person, and to work with the greater and more subtle forces that are at work in the world. The practitioner of this system, after having come to terms with the rough basics, can build intuitively upon this foundation. Therefore, gradually, the practitioner comes to understand the philosophy behind magical work, the truths and the falsehoods, all from personal experience.
The great well from which all magic and all life springs is incorruptable and divine. What better teacher can there be? The magical faith offers me the chance not only to learn through study, but to learn through personal investigation, an invaluable experience if anything is to be truly understood.
It is my view that the ultimate goal of the magical faith is to achieve harmony between the practitioner and his fellow men and women, the great natural world and, of course, the Godhead.
What more could be asked of any faith? Certainly our faith has as much or more to offer than any other. However I make that statement as a practitioner of magic. If I followed another path I may possibly find similar wisdom. Who am I to suggest that my faith is better than anyone else's?
Ultimately all teaching must be presented in a form that allows the particular practitioner of that system to grasp the lessons being taught. A Golden Dawn-based style of Qabalism does this for me. Wicca serves this purpose in respect of two of my best friends. Perhaps all religions and faiths have the potential to offer this teaching to someone.
May you rip me to shreds in the reply column! I would enjoy reading a number of entirely different truths. Ah, that's an entirely different article!
May the light of the crown show you the way. Godspeed.