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Volume 3: Beyond Ritual -- Part 10: Additional Topics --- Chapter 8: Time, the Shepherd of Reality
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Yael Dragwyla First North American rights

email: 3,100 words


Volume III: Beyond Ritual: Historical, Philosophical,
and Scientific Considerations
-- Essays on the Cutting Edge of Esoteric Science
Book 3: Magick
Part 2: Ecological Resistance to Magickally Stated Desires
and its Consequences for the Magickian

As biologists Lynn Margulis, James Lovelock, and their colleagues have shown, our planet Earth is
an ecological system in its own right.* Like any other living creature, on every level and in every
domain of its internal functioning there exist numerous checks and balances to guard against events or
processes which could otherwise disturb the balance of our world’s health and do it harm.

*See, e.g., Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet [A New Look at Evolution] (New York: Science
Masters/Basic Books, 1998); James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth
(New York: Bantam Books, 1988); Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz, Five Kingdoms: An
Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth, Third Edition (New York: W. H. Freeman and
Company, 1982, 1988, 1998), etc. Also, the works of biologist Lyall Watson offer some fascinating
insights to the nature of life as a systematic phenomenon which ultimately permeates and embraces
the entire universe; these include, e.g., The Dreams of Dragons: An Exploration and Celebration of
the Mysteries of Nature (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1987, 1992); Lifetide: The Biology of the
Unconscious (New York: Bantam Books, 1980); and Gifts of Unknown Things (New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1976) (this list is by no means exclusive).

We see this all the time in the bodies of individual living organisms, which have immune systems
which guard against blooms of parasitic flora, fauna, fungi, or microbes in their bodies, or cancers and
other problems. This is true even of the individual cells of our bodies as well as “unicellular”
organisms,* whose internal machinery is able to repair damage to itself, including damage to the
molecules of DNA on which its genes are encoded. When individual cells, whether native or foreign to
the body, overstep the limits of what that body can safely tolerate, it acts to check their actions. The
greater the transgression, the harder that body works to bring their activity to a halt.
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*”Single-celled” organisms such as bacteria are actually as multicellular as we are. The main difference
between us and them is that whereas all the cells of our bodies are gathered together coherently as
one functioning unit, theirs are widely dispersed throughout populations of other, much larger
creatures. We continue to think of them as “one-celled” only because, over the last three centuries
or so, using our microscopes, we have looked at them one cell at a time. But in fact these are vast
organisms, often spread out over continents, indeed, all the land surface of this planet, or throughout
its seas, inside the bodies of larger host organisms. Think of tuberculosis, for example, a bacterium
that infects human beings very nearly worldwide. The same is true of viruses, some of which, such
as the rhinovirus responsible for the common cold, can be found everywhere there are human beings.

The same is true of our living world, and perhaps even our universe and the multiverse that contains
it, and of we who are part of them all. Its manifestations are clearly seen and experienced all the time
among practitioners of Magick, regardless of the Magickal school to which they belong, though most of
them don’t realize the true nature of those manifestations. The universe seems to like playing endless
variations of an old, old joke on the Magickal practitioner, the punch line of which is always: “Be
careful what you pray for – you might get it!” Either his ritually expressed desires literally come true,
i.e., as he stated them, in so many words, in rituals, rather than according to the intent behind them,
which really wasn’t quite what he actually told the Gods it was, the results being utterly disastrous; or
they are granted in horribly distorted forms, again with egregiously disastrous results. Think of the
Sorcerer’s Apprentice, whose story is told so artfully in Walt Disney’s Fantasia – he got off lucky,
considering how much worse it could have been!
Such Magickal snafus are examples of the ecological resistance of our living world – or, at least, the
culture to which the Magickian belongs – to complete disruption by a “wild cell,” a component of itself
which, acting without regard for the balance of the entire system which sustains all life within it,
including itself, acts to satisfy its own immediate desires. Such a “wild cell,” acting to satisfy its own
immediate desires without consideration of anyone or anything around it, could do harm to all life,
including even itself. In such cases, the Magickian’s ritually expressed will is thwarted not so much
because it was improperly stated (though that happens sometimes, too), or because sadistic godlets are
out to torment Magickians into screaming fits. Rather, the Magickian’s desires, if granted as he intended
them to be granted, could have had an injurious impact upon the entire living system of which he is an
integral part, hurting everyone in it including himself.
In some cases, the thing desired by the Magickian is the problem. For example, suppose the
Magickian wanted ten pounds of pure plutonium delivered to him in the form of one solid, spherical ball.
If such a desire were fulfilled in exactly that form, the moment the request was granted the immediate
neighborhood of the Magickian out to about two miles would become a highly radioactive crater filled
with blazing rubble, and the Magickian himself would be nowhere in evidence, ever again. Not good.
Or it might be that the granting of the Magickian’s desire would create a serious problem. For
example, suppose that he asks for “nice weather tomorrow for a picnic.” Such weather in that place at
that time might require a hurricane over there and a tornado over yonder and a drought for two years in
that region, since, like any other natural phenomenon, weather doesn’t occur in a vacuum: change in any
weather- or climate-system requires appropriate changes throughout the entire meteorological context of
that system, and thus ultimately in the overall atmospheric balance of the planet. These chances might be
very small and their consequences negligible, but there is no guarantee that this would be so. So the
request for “nice weather for a picnic tomorrow” could conceivably wreak havoc elsewhere. To prevent
this, the living world tries to withhold fulfillment of those Magickal petitions which would do harm to the
greater whole of which the Magickian is part, with unexpected consequences as a result.
Magick works. The living world has to grant desires petitioned in Magickal rituals, even the time-
worn, long-familiar ritual of simply saying a wish aloud, consciously thinking about it in so many words,
or writing it down, regardless of whether one actually means the wish. But in order to preserve
ecological balance, it will work hard to grant such wishes in forms that do as little harm to everyone,
including the Magickian himself, as possible. This may mean that the desire is granted as was originally
intended. But more often the form in which it is granted is a distortion of the original desire. Mother
Nature can’t ignore Magick. But – remembering that she was the one who invented lawyers – she can
certainly evade it in rather diabolically ingenious ways, interpreting ritually stated desires according to
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nit-picking rules of one or another elaborate legal game, so that, as a result, the granting of the desire so
stated causes the least possible harm.

*One may ask why this isn’t true for non-Magickians. The reason is that by and large, for the Magickal
laity communion with the Earth or universe or the Gods isn’t necessary to their work. Obviously this
wouldn’t apply to the devoutly religious – who, by definition, are Magickians who, however, don’t
apply that label to themselves.

Like doctors, Magickians are taught to do as little harm as possible.* This is because, like sharks,
Mother Nature is a very naughty animal: when attacked, she defends herself! She bites, and the unwary
or uncaring Magickian can lose a big chunk of himself when, to preserve the balance, Mother Nature
grants his the petition he has presented to her in a ritual in some exceedingly nasty way. Sometimes she
even grants several desires petitioned by several Magickians in concert, such that they all cancel out.
Their petitions are thus all “granted,” but the net result is as if nothing had been done at all – everything
comes up empty.

*In both cases, of course, this is honored more in the breach than otherwise, but we’re talking about the
ideal case. – Yeah, right.

There are two ways to get around this:

1) If the Magickian’s desire and will are strong enough – if the action of his Kundalini system is
powerful enough – this will overwhelm any negative-feedback mechanisms that would otherwise present
an insurmountable obstacle to one’s will; in that way he can get what he wants, in the form he wants it.
However, if the result of this would cause great harm, because his True Self and Holy Guardian Angel
are also part of Nature and the balance of Nature, they will do their best to sabotage him from within,
thereby keeping him from attaining his Magickal goals. As a result they will also cause a desolation of
the psyche that he can’t hold that desire in mind, in the form he intended it, while ritually petitioning that
the Gods grant it. In that case, the way it is granted still wouldn’t be what he (thought he) wanted.
Otherwise great ecological harm may be sustained by his world, perhaps great enough to destroy him in
the bargain.*

*One wonders about the Bomb. Did Mother Nature want us to produce it? Or do modern Western
science, technology, and culture comprise a Magickal machine designed to override all Nature’s
objections in its relentless work of transformation of the environment in conformity with the will of
Western humanity? Since Western science, technology, and culture, like Western humanity, are as
much part of Nature as all the rest of the world is, one has a sneaking suspicion that Mother Nature is
up to something with all our “unnatural” technological activity. It remains to be seen what, but this
author is betting on our getting into space in some permanent way and taking the rest of Earth’s life
with us. How else can Earth, A.K.A. Mother Nature, have her babies?

2) The second way of heading off Nature throwing a spanner in the Magickal works is to become
ecologically literate, as both professional ecologists and “pagan” peoples such as Eskimos, native
Australians, the Diné,* and the Szekeley** or Rom are.

*The people who are called “Navajo” by the Anglo culture around them.

**A.K.A. “Gypsies,” as they are known to outsiders (who are known to the Szekeley as gaja or giorgoi,
“farmer” – one bad turn deserves another).
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If karma means anything, , then it must be an ecological process, applying to whole populations and
b biological systems, rather than one tailored exclusively in terms of the individual. The notion that it
acts strictly upon individuals in one-on-one fashion, framed in the symbolism of any one human culture,
according to that culture’s notions of “just deserts,” is not only unjust (e.g., blaming a sick or an injured
child for its own suffering, claiming, with no proof, that it deserves its misery for past sins, as a rationale
for not caring for, loving, and comforting it), but is ecologically pernicious, as well. Any ecological
system from one living cell to a multicellular organism to a living planet and beyond, will always act to
preserve itself first, and any of its component parts, especially very small and numerous, only second. It
has to have such priorities. After all, the welfare of its parts depends upon that of the whole. If it places
the well-being of its parts before its own, it can sicken and die through self-neglect or –mistreatment, in
which case its cherished parts die right along with it.
In the same way, when an individual does anything potentially harmful to the community of which it
is part, whether or not malicious intent is involved, or however his immediate neighbors would judge his
actions, the larger system of which he is part will act to defend itself against possible harmful
consequences of his actions, and he may be hurt thereby. After all, gravity affects the wicked and the
innocent alike, and death itself is no respecter of persons.
But if he isn’t doing ecological harm – if his actions benefit his community – then no matter the
intent behind those actions or the neighbors’ reactions to them, the system as a whole won’t expend the
energy required to impede his activities, because to do so would not only be a waste of biological energy,
but also, at least potentially, injurious to the community itself.
Originally the idea of karma was concerned with exactly this sort of thing. We are “punished” by
running into ecological limits because of ecologically harmful behavior patterns from this life and ones
before it; and the “punishment” is applied statistically rather than to us as individually. As they say,
don’t shit where you eat, because otherwise you may find yourself eating your own shit, simply by the
luck of the draw rather than because angry Gods are out to torment you for misbehavior. The living
world is built that way, and in the long run, if you tamper with the mechanisms of its operation, you’re
likely to get caught in the gears.
Similarly, we are “rewarded” for ecologically beneficial behaviors. Sometimes, in either case, the
results are in line with our ideas of justice and propriety, of what is due and proper, but sometimes not.
When they are not, the fault is not in our ecological stars, sir, but in our own ignorance of how the world
“If we were “punished” and “rewarded” in this and future lives exactly as is considered right and
proper by the members of one localized, planetarily unaware human culture would have us be, in a
strictly literal fashion, the ultimate results would be chaos and disaster. Parochial moralities rarely take
into account what the collective, systemic effects of such “rewards” and “punishments” would be over
time on the greater living systems of which such cultures are part, and trying to enforce the morality of
such a culture on everyone, forever, would have the same general impact on the world that a bull set
loose in a china shop would in that far more limited venue.
The Gods will act to protect a Jack the Ripper and preserve him from all harm if his actions, however
weird or frightening they may be, ultimately help protect and heal the living world. And they will act to
destroy a Saint Francis if his actions will lead to ecological disaster. – Or, at least, this is the tendency.
Further, since you can never do just one thing – no action ever has just one consequence – and every
action’s effects ultimately reach out to infinity and eternity, collectively we all suffer or enjoy the fruits
of every individual’s action, in however small a way, and everyone feels the impact of the overall
activity taking place in their communities, in their world. Karma is a phenomenon whose nature is
determined by context, and that context is always an ecological one. It isn’t a penological phenomenon.
It isn’t, strictly speaking, even a strictly human one. It is simply the result of the fact that ultimately, to
quote John Muir, “everything is connected to everything else.”
So that idea that you will be punished in future lives according to some ecological ignoramus’
notions of right and wrong by some conventionalized, cosmic version of said ignoramus’ early toilet-
training and who did the training is utterly absurd, vicious, and, if acted upon, ecologically murderous.
That humanity, in the face of all the homeostatic checks and balances that exist in the world to keep
it on the right track, has been able to do as much damage to the environment as it has means either that
we’ve built a sub-system in that world that is capable of overriding our biosphere’s self-protective
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negative-feedback mechanisms, or that our planet is very ill as a result of other, unknown causes, our
ecological misbehavior being only symptoms of that illness.
Or it can mean that Gaia, our planet’s biosphere, is taking off on a necessary (as far as it is
concerned) new line of development such as reproduction or some other, similar stage of its life, and is
willing to tolerate the damage we do because our activities tend to support whatever our world’s long-
range goals are, which are more important to Gaia than its physical survival.
Or perhaps some combination of all these is the case. These are hypotheses that really ought to be
tested, not only by professional biologists and ecologists, but also by occultists. We really need to know
what the truth of the matter is, given the shape our poor, sick world is in. Not only could our survival, as
both individuals and as a species, depend on the results of such research, but so could that of our living
world as a whole:

Adieu; farewell earth’s bliss,

This world uncertain is:
Fond are life’s lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly:
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,

Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade;
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty is but a flower,

Which wrinkles will devour:
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Strength stoops unto the grave:

Worms feed on Hector brave;
Swords may not fight with fate:
Earth still holds ope her gate.
Come, come, the bells do cry;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Wit with his wantonness,

Tasteth death’s bitterness.
Hell’s executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply;
I am sick, I must die.
Lord, have mercy on us!

Haste therefore each degree

To welcome destiny:
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player’s stage.
Mount we unto the sky;
I am sick, I must die.
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Lord, have mercy on us!*

*“Adieu; Farewell Earth’s Bliss” or “Summer’s Last Will and Testament” (1600) by Thomas Nashe