New Aeon: A Consideration of Astrological Symbolism
5: An Aquarian View of Initiation
If an initiatory system is to be effective, it should be attuned to the
greatest extent possible with the general magickal conditions of the era
and times in which it exists. In its philosophy and methods it should
provide elements that reflect the nature and relationships of all four
angles in the era's zodical cross, not just the major sign of that cross.
The more closely the system follows the symbolism of the era's powers,
the more power it can draw from the universe. Its contribution to the
continuing evolution of the divine creation will also be increased.
Within such an attunement almost infinite variations are possible, and
such variations are necessary to fit the needs and perspectives of the
many different individuals who chose to seek initiation. A system that
would appeal to a person primarily concerned with the family may not be
appealing or useful to one whose orientation is to building or governance.
A system that appeals to an actor or performer may not appeal to the person
whose goal is to serve the community. A system people of one sex find
appealing may not always be desirable ù or even comprehensible
ù to people of the other sex. We have many bad examples in Christianity
and Islam to show what happens when the need for diversity is not recognized;
we may hope that in the current era the nature of the powers manifesting
will prevent such rigidity of viewpoint from becoming as extreme as in
the previous era.
A generalized attunement with the Aquarian powers does seem to be taking
place in the magickal community today, evidenced in the wide variety of
magickal systems being explored. Almost every system ever recorded has
its adherents and experimenters, seeking to transform the viewpoints of
past eras into something suitable for today; and yet others have sought
to abandon the past all together and create entirely new systems. With
a few exceptions, these groups have been mutually tolerant and willing
to admit the value and desirability of their diversity. Paralleling this,
communications networks have sprung up between groups and between individuals,
promoting the free and voluntary exchange of information; even habitually
secretive quasi-Masonic lodges have opened up and become willing to exchange
the broad outlines of their philosophy and symbolism with others.
In my view, this attunement has not yet spread generally into the magickal
systems themselves. The proponents of these systems seem to still be caught
in the primarily religious view of the magickal universe that was characteristic
of the Piscean era, and are thereby limited from expressing the powers
of the fixed cross in a balanced manner; one or another arm of that cross
dominates the view of even the newest systems. Of all the systems currently
being given significant public discussion, only the Maatian system received
by the mage Nema comes close to presenting the full symbolism of the Aquarian
powers; and there those powers are described in terms of a future "Aeon
of Maat" more than as something existent and useable today.
It is not my purpose to criticize any magickal system in detail; true
seekers after the divine will know when they have exhausted the potential
of a given system and must abandon it. Nor is it my intention to present
a full alternative magickal system; that lies in the future, and will
come through the work of groups dedicated to that purpose. Rather, I want
to reflect on some aspects of the magickal universe that will become important
in the coming century, in a general and non-dogmatic form that -one may
hope will serve as a structural basis for students of magick to develop
their connections with the Aquarian powers, through the use of their own
intuition and inner resources. It is through such connections that the
true shape of magick in this new era will eventually take form. Three
areas will be of concern to the person seeking such connection:
- The process of individual spiritual development under the influence
of the fixed cross.
- The relation between the incarnate individual and the groups of sentient
beings on the magickal planes with which he is connected.
- The progressively more inclusive entities whose substance makes up
the magickal universe as it is experienced here on Earth.