Sunday, September 16, 2012

Evelyn Underhill - Mysticism 25


"The central doctrine of magic may now be summed up thus: --

(1) That a supersensible and real 'cosmic medium' exists, which interpenetrates, influences, and supports the tangible and apparent world, and is amenable to the categories both of philosophy and of physics.
(2) That there is an established analogy and equilibrium between the real and unseen world, and the illusory manifestations which we call the world of sense.
(3) That this analogy may be discerned, and this equilibrium controlled, by the disciplined will of man, which thus becomes master of itself and of fate."

Contrast the above with the five great stages of the Mystic Way, as set forth in the beginning of Part Two:

(1) Awakening or conversion
(2) Self-Knowledge or Purgation
(3) Illumination
(4) Surrender, or the Dark Night
(5) Union

What is the difference? Attitude toward power. Magic = power over / Union with God = power to. It's still power, but power that recognizes that power comes from God, or it's doomed. Once again, God is God, and I'm not. That is not to say I cannot wield great power, e.g., "do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)," but it must always be wielded with recognition of its source. No amount of "severe schools" or rigid self-discipline or magical rituals can equal the power of acting with recognition of Whose is the "power, the glory, and the kingdom." Our faith tradition recognizes the focus value of ritual actions, words of power, sacred numbers, but it is not things or actions that matter, but the Who that they point to.

I made a further note about developing the notion that the Magi were, in a sense, returning the gifts that were stolen by Adam and Eve. Wonder what in this section elicited that note?

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