During my previous run at Abramelin, the phrase that kept coming into my prayers was “Show me the path that I must go.” And I did feel that I was shown that path, in a blast of inspiration, and I set off on it. I’ve had a hard time following it, though. The three words in the title of this post came to me when I kicked off my second attempt at Abramelin, this time the six-month (French/Mathers) version. The trio of words immediately reminded me of the tarot card I often get, Three of Disks (in the Thoth deck). This card is about a new project or about one’s work and is usually a good sign. I like the way the wheels look busy, but it also reminds me of the description of the four-wheeled chariot in the Hebrew Bible, so to my mind, it is a very practical card but also a mystical one. Some point out that the threeness of this card is related to combining the three alchemical Elements: Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury. That fits in well with my present Abramelin ritual and with my general attitude towards magic, that it involves combining. I usually connect that to the image of the alchemical hermaphrodite, which is well figured in the Thoth decks trump called Art. Here it is unfolded from two to three.

These three qualities–strength, discipline, and wisdom–I ask for now as gifts or tools to be used to follow that revealed path much more rigorously than I have been. This request has echo in a recent project where I created an incense that would help me combine Art, Work, and Magic. My work has to do with magic, but often there is a mechanical relationship–the magic is much more for other people than for me. I wanted to draw on some of that magical energy or power for myself and my own life. The other aspect, Art, has been compartmentalized in my life to a great extent, being either  a servant of work, such as in my web design, or something I engage in off in a corner, like writing or making talismans. I would like these endeavors to be more unified. So I created the incense to combine Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury scents that I felt represented these three fields of endeavor. I am not satisfied with the incense I ended up with, and I think that is because I have not yet found how to successfully combine those three endeavors in life. I hope, though, that by making that incense–and by making others dedicated to the same or similar tasks–that I come closer to uniting those three areas of endeavor. But I asked the gods for strength, discipline, and wisdom to get me there (and also, of course, as gifts in their own right). Wisdom–yes, I know I have gall to ask for that. But Solomon is my Hebrew name, and King Solomon has functioned as a model figure for me in terms of his love for women, his tolerance of other faiths, his mastery of magic, and his prizing of aesthetics. All of these things, to my mind, both sprang out of and supported his wisdom.

2 comments to Strength/Discipline/Wisdom

  • This is very inspirational reading. I think your incense definitely combines art, work and magic. It is hard to view one’s creations objectively, and something I started doing back when I was going to be A Writer, eons ago, is I’d mind-meld w/ the computer, print up what needed to be printed/expressed, and put it away for at least six months before thinking seriously about it. It was easier to evaluate the direction for the creative writing when I did that, and it made it easier to pace myself and not burn myself out on one task for long periods of time.

    So I started doing that with perfume when I got into that seriously. I have experiments I revisited after unearthing them in the garage a couple weeks ago, and the logic that I was using for their blending makes more sense now that I know what the blends smell like with some aging.

    All of these creative acts are time capsules, too. We do things at a given time because it makes sense to, and they’re representative of who we are or were, at that given time. Or maybe I’m just rationalizing that there’s no such thing as wasted effort if it gets one closer to where one thinks one is going at a given moment. All of this to say that creativity can have a really mechanical and technical aspect to it. I have friends who say they’re not creative people at all, they’re just really good technicians. And that’s hooey, because I think it is too easy to downplay what role creativity plays. It is how we envision these tasks from their inception to their completion, for starters, because not everyone will approach and complete the same project in the same way.

    Just thinking aloud…

    • herba15

      You know, when I have put away writing like you suggest and come back to it, I have usually been surprised to see that it is better than I remembered and that there is lots I can do with it. I’ve only done this a couple times with scent projects, usually when something has been a bomb. I did that with the ketoret, which I made spending hundreds of dollars on ingredients only to find that one of them had come to me contaminated with a great deal of hair. I also separately did not like the way it came out smellwise. I put the stuff away as a lesson in hubris. The other day I was looking for something and came across it. I opened a jar and smelled it and NOW it smells right. So now I think I will feel okay about retackling it.

      I think you are right about creativity having a very mechanical aspect to it. Years ago I learned that in the 18th C they did not have our present attitude about creativity. They thought of it much more like we think of craft or work. It was a matter of application. That was helpful for me to learn. I still have a problem with many more creative ideas than application to carry them out, but the attitude that creativity was primarily work pushed me to be much more organized about creative stuff, more mechanical. And that in turn has helped me a lot in terms of getting things done–at least in terms of scent. Not so much in terms of writing.

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