The Death of the Mage
When magick stops working.
There comes a time in every magician’s life when magick stops working.
Their spells no longer influence reality.
Their visions fail to manifest.
The signs and synchronicities that once guided them down a clear path, now lead them in circles.
“How can this be?” the Mage wonders. “I’m using the same methods I’ve always used! They never failed me before!”
This humiliation tends to result in denial.
The denial can manifest in a few ways.
One way is delusion, wherein the Mage compensates for her failures by coming up with highly complex but terribly incoherent and contradictory explanations for why her magic isn’t working. The cognitive dissonance between “I identify as a magician” and “my magick doesn’t work” lends itself to extraordinary feats of imagineering. People will do anything to escape the feeling of being wrong, or even being perceived as wrong. Entire religions have been constructed around the Fear of Wrongness, like elaborate castles made of glass.
(A Magician who is quick to abandon Truth in favor of comfort actually is failing at magick. But I digress.)
Humiliation can make a person cling harder to the ineffective methods they've come to identify with. They read tarot more. They dose psychedelics more. They do anything but go Inward in sober meditation to find the source of the incoherence — anything but actually face their Self.
Denial can also manifest as desperation. And few things are more appetizing to a devouring Trickster Spirit than a desperate Mage!
I’ve personally witnessed quite a few magicians enter pacts with demons specifically in their times of intense desperation, because the humiliation makes them vulnerable to a predator’s false promises.
“I’ll teach you how to get what you want,” says the Trickster, who can teach you nothing you don’t already gno.
“I’ll make it happen for you,” says the Trickster, who can make nothing but empty promises.
“I’ll give you your power back,” says the Trickster, whose only power is telling people they have no power.
Tricksters love falsely-promising the world to those of us on the Power Path — but only the disempowered actually fall for it.
It’s quite telling, that the word “mortification” is used to describe both humiliation and death.
Because in a way, they’re the same. And we collectively understand this on a subconscious level.
The only aspect of you that can really die is your temporary identity.
YOU are so much more than your body, your age, your race, your gender or your job title.
YOU are so much more than your rituals, your robes, your spells or your magickal affiliation.
Indeed, YOU are so much more than what you want to manifest.
So the Mage who mistakenly believes that “Magick is about getting what you want” is missing the whole point of the Great Work.
The Great Work is actually about becoming Who You Are.
Becoming Who You Are means becoming acquainted with Eternity. With God. The All. The Universe...
...because Who You Are is a vast, endless, horrifying, beautiful Mystery that the tiny-i mind simply cannot wrap itself around. So when the tiny-i mind gets uncomfortably stretched by the expansion of consciousness (which is triggered by magickal activity), it protests. It acts out. It fights like fury.
It gets embarrassed 🙃
The true Mage is the one who can encounter embarrassment and recognize it as an invitation into ego-death (or, as I was recently reminded, ego-integration).
Mortification is an invitation to let go of exhausted methods, let go of expired identities, let go of ideologies that are fragile as glass.
Mortification is an invitation to "kill" the old ego who eclipses your perception of everlasting Truth.
Mortification is an invitation to step into The Unknown-and-Unknowable that is God.
The Unknown-and-Unknowable is also YOU.
It's where all versions of your-Self are found:
The version of yourself who doesn't get what you want.
The version of yourself who doesn't identify with tiny-i desires.
The version of yourself who is not embarrassed by "failure."
The version of yourself who doesn't care if the magick "works" or not because you've realized the Truth that Bliss is Within.
it's only once you've stepped into this Unknown-and-Unknowable — the Zero Point, the Land of Potential Forever, where your identity is suspended and now All Things Are Possible — without fear,