Kasmillos: In our Order their are many magicians, but I am beginning to discover that they do not all practice the Royal Art in the same manner.
Straphalos: Indeed, there are several ways to approach mastery of the self and the Spirit.
Kasmillos: But, we all learn the same techniques, we practice the same rituals, we endure the same initiations. Why is it, then, that we do not all walk the path in a similar way?
Straphalos: Our bond is in our destination. Our individuality is expressed in the manner of our journey. We are not like a church, we do not impose our personal enlightenment on all. Everyone's Revelation is unique. The invokation of Spirit, Power and Light will reveal different things to different people.
Kasmillos: So we all start at the same place, greatly diverge and end up at the same point?
Straphalos: In a sense. Although, it is a mistake to believe that anything a person comes up with on this Path is automatically worthy and right. We all fall short at some point, usually at many points. That is why the Power of True Discernment is so greatly sought for and envied by those who see the most clearly on this Path.
Kasmillos: So how do we judge truly the manner in which we follow this Path?
Straphalos: Pray and invoke the Higher Light for the Gift of Discernment; you will need it.
Kasmillos: All well and good for when I do achieve it. But, what of until then?
Straphalos: Over the millenia of the Western Mysteries, it is clear that out of the many ways to pursue the Great Work, a few show themselves to be more effective and blessed than others. If you contemplate these paths and try them, you will not go wrong. Though, you may find that one is more right for you than that which you initially chose.
Kasmillos: What are these paths?
Straphalos: They are three in number: The Path of Active Invokation, the Passive or Internal Path, and the Path of the Practical Magician. All magicians who specialize in one of these three ways still work elements from the others, but their personal gifts, character, and motivation will distill out one path that particularly characterizes their journey. One that fits them better than the others.
Kasmillos: What is the nature of the Path of Active Invokation?
Straphalos: This is the most common way to pursue our Mysteries. It is characterized by the frequent use of our rituals for the general development of the powers of our souls. Those on this path are exhorted to "Invoke and Invoke often!" for this sets up a standing wave of vibration in our Sphere of Sensation that ever elevates our consciousness and powers until we stand in the presence of the Ancient of Days, interwoven with Light and in unity with our Higher Genius. This path is pursued by the frequent and reverential practice of developmental ritual magics.
Kasmillos: What, then is the nature of the Passive or Internal Path? Do they not also practice ritual?
Straphalos: Yes, they do, but their focus is different. Those who pursue this path are far more meditative. Their emphasis is on stillness of the body, while their conciousness is trained by internal practices to open up to the Infinite Spirit. They draw upon the ceaseless stream of splendor that descends to us from God. Where others merely put out their hands to sip from this treasury, the practitioner of this path reaches out with great vessels to harvest far more of the vast bounty that continually surrounds us. Outwardly, their life appears charmed and effortless. They are like a leaf blown by the Breath of God. Always they appear at the right time and place, always they possess what they need and plenty more to share with others generously. They learn, by their focus, to surrender to God's Infinite Mind, and in so doing they find perfect peace. Instead of rising up the planes from strength to strength as the Active Invoker, they simply appear in God's Presence, traveling through the realms between without moving.
Kasmillos: How then, does the Path of the Practical Magician differ?
Straphalos: This is a very useful and attractive path to those who still bear many mundane dreams, yet also desire to rise above the material in time. They are the clearest about their goals and desires and learn to focus their Magical Will most strongly. To them, the journey is not about a starting point and an end point with an epic adventure in between. Their path is characterized by a series of goals, accomplishments they wish to manifest in stages: smaller dreams in succession which add up to Greatness. These smaller accomplishments act individually as rungs in a ladder, each one propelling them forward to greater understanding of the world and themselves. Magicians on this path tend to focus on practical, as opposed to developmental, magics. Their work and practice is about manifesting specific things and conditions of a practical nature to their needs as well as for the benefit of others. Consequently, they tend to be the most relevant to the non-initiate, for their efforts improve mundane lives and make communities more prosperous.
Kasmillos: So the Practical Magician is the most service oriented?
Straphalos: All of them are, and all of them aren't. A magician can be equally selfish or philanthropic in any of these paths. Active Invokers can be concerned only with their own empowerment, or they they can use their power to heal bodies and upflift souls. They have the greatest chance of showing the Divine Light to others and changing the spiritual direction of those around them. They are like a Light Shining in the Darkness. Followers of the Passive Path can isolate themselves like monks living in the world interacting rarely with those outside of themselves, or they can mingle with an open heart among the lost, welcoming those whom God brings to them serendipitously to comfort and guide. They have the greatest chance of bringing Peace Profound to the tired and world weary, and healing the wounded heart. They are like a Well of Living Water, that those lost in the desert of their own jaded nightmares stumble to and are refreshed and awakened. Practical Magicians can gather for themselves of the world's good for their own consumption and gratifcation only, or they can turn and share their manifest bounty with those in need. They can raise up Temples and Hospices and liberate those enslaved by poverty and misfortune. They have the greatest chance of ensuring the continuation of the Mysteries for they have the means to establish the institutions and facilities that give permanence to things. And they provide the most tangible proofs to the non-initiated of the efficacy and relevance of our Path. They are like a Font of Prosperity blessing any community of which they are part.
Kasmillos: So none of these three Paths is greater than the other.
Straphalos: Indeed none. And, further, elements of all three must be learned by all who would call themselves "Magician of Light". But, one will fit most naturally with you and become the way in which you best and most efficaciously interact with the Spirit and the World.
Kasmillos: How can I choose which one to follow most closely?
Straphalos: Invoke often, meditate in stillness, and discern your goals clearly so that you may pursue them by the combination of conscientious magic and worldly action.
Kasmillos: In otherwords follow all three paths?
Straphalos: Indeed, and in so doing God, by your Holy Angel, will Light your Way.