Approach to the Unknown
Q. I still don't know what I am getting from the online study meetings, but there is always something that resonates at some point during the session. Yesterday I found particularly hard to make any head or tail of. The diagram was impenetrable to me. The notes were interesting though, particularly the ones on the body and on the magical experience of children. I think Steiner has something similar about children.
A. Perhaps you imagine I make head and tail of such diagrams? Here's the trick: act as if.
This was a basic instruction for ritual, and I've been doing it for 30 years in all Work contexts when faced with the inscrutable. And do you know, after a while something happens! It doesn't connect directly with the meaning-making faculty, but truly, anything I know now, or whatever I can articulate, is somehow a result of entering abstract fields and acting as if.
It is fundamental to knowing beyond meaning.
But of course, it has to chime with a deep sense of truth. Not everyone may be ready—the sentinel works well for those for whom it is not appropriate, in Shakespeare’s words, to "encounter darkness as a bride, and hug it in mine arms.”
The opportunity to work with the Unknown is true creativity: to be continually faced with engaging beyond understanding, yet with what you know is so, and from which you cannot turn away without losing something precious.
Generally, people want spirituality to extend and elaborate their normal grasp and understanding, and to collect more good stuff to enhance well-being—basically, to elaborate their expectations. Our message was to drop expectations.
Not popular! But what else makes it possible to approach to the genuinely Unknown and in so doing extend humanity's reach— albeit through us little individuals.
Q. I was a bit perplexed about the Goat and the pentagram (would that be the same as Baphomet?) and the references to the witch and her broomstick?
A. I don't know anything about Bahomets or goats, but the way that image leapt out from the screen so unexpectedly, produced a true frisson. It tweaked my spinal system right down to the tail. Fear of the Lord....
Where there's power there's fear and awe, and a trembling, and integrity means to hold it, not turn it to 'black magic' or personal ends. It stirs ancient pathways.
I love the way the wild wonky image was interposed within the elegance and super-rationality of the diagrams, which I don't understand either, but grasp the little bits which associate or resonate with something I've met before. That way gradually things build up, from exposure, and conscious holding back from the grab for meaning.
Faith—the true context.
I think the broomstick metaphor is brilliant—sweeping clean the inner paths—which is how one travels in these realms—and very likely the true origin of the whole witchy mythos.