Thursday, August 4, 2011

Queen of Kings impressions and old gods

I finally completed my reading of Maria Dahvana Headley's "Queen of Kings" a telling of Cleopatra...perhaps as true a telling as any yet told with the truth of that chapter of history obscured by the meddling and censorship of Rome and it's emperor. It is of course a novel, a work of historical fiction - is it fantasy too? I think not. My own delving into the PGM and other grimoires has opened my eyes to the secrets long buried in those far off times. Their truths being freshly revealed in an applicable way through the courtship of spirits as wise, terrible, and wonderful as the most ancient and feared of gods. These are the old gods returning. They starve no longer for sacrifices, they rise, bellowing for the blood of their dedicants or their enemies. They are as loving, capricious, and vengeful as ever. Time has not changed them, nor has humanity that calls to them once more. The old gods are not starved, nor are they bound and harnessed to the magician's will. The world writhes under the burden of man, and man himself works actively with the old powers and agents of this world. The lightning strikes, the tower crumbles the card that lies face up is numbered XVI. The magician WILL prosper in this time, but not as he imagines, and the kingdoms, it's rulers, and it's peoples will come seeking salvation, power, mastery, refuge or all of these things. The gods may even listen to the magician but gods are ever fickle they follow their own whims. They gods, and thus cannot be controlled. The daemon also do not lack in strength. The wise magician must not seek to command such beings, but to form trust and relationship with them, and to learn to bargain wisely - like a lawyer crafting a law. The lesson is to ask not for more than you can handle or be swept up in the doom of heroes, martyrs, or fools. The old gods are every bit and more terrifying than a rampaging demon. Some of the demons of the church ARE the old gods vilified into the monsters that stalks and preys upon the the sinful - but for all that vilification, they are no less terrifying in reality. As magicians, we tend to forget that. We tremble hardly at all when we consider calling a god to do our bidding. Calling upon a god is no light thing - it's dangerous! Now I'm not saying to stop, but at least do your research, at least take the time to learn about the deity, get to know them on a personal level, form those bonds of friendship - for all your skill, no bonds of force avail much against a vengeful god. Then, if no other spirit will serve (and I suggest caution when working with any spirit) you carefully lay out the sacrifice and pact to the god and hope that the scales balance between you and they are pleased. If they find the scales balance not at all they will take from you and yours until the sacrifice is sufficient and then and only then will you see a result according to your bargain. Nowhere is this so ably illustrated then in the novel, Queen of Kings. A queen bargains risking all, dooming all she would protect even as the greatest quest the holy grail of magic, the red sorcerer's stone of alchemy -- godhood is reached. Lesson eventually learned a bargain with another god is reached and the souls of her family saved and given eternal happiness and refuge though she is still damned as goddess unable to enter the afterlife until the world's end - if not beyond. Obviously, the parallels are not perfect, but the connections are there to be seen. I highly recommend it to any magician, magus, witch, or sorcerer willing to work with spirits and to complete the Great Work. Just read it...don't take my word for it. You'll be glad you did...

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