Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Art of the Simple

One of the problems with the human mind is that is loves to make the simple complicated. This is particularly so on the part of esoteric teachers. But who am I – it might be asked – with all the books of which I am guilty – to cast the first stone? People who live in glass houses, etcetera….

But as one very forthright beginner, who has the direct no-nonsense approach of a Joan of Arc, put it to me recently – “Is there really a need for all this swotting?”

This was not just a question of a guileless innocent saying “But the emperor has no clothes!” but rather “Can’t you see the emperor is being weighed down by superfluous finery?”

Help, however, is at hand, from an old friend and former student of mine, Coleston Brown, in a mercifully short book entitled The Mystery of the Seven Directions. For when all is said and done on the subject of magic it boils down to a very simple formula. Wherever we may be, there are just seven ways we can go: UP, DOWN, FORWARD, BACK, RIGHT, LEFT or CENTRE.

Having established these simple principles, the only mystery is what we are likely to find in each direction. And this is really up to us. There are indeed great treasures to be found and spiritual helpers and friends. All we have to do is seek in order to find, or knock in order for things to be opened to us.

The trouble has been in the past that many who have pursued these directions have been so diverted by what they found that they have come back to describe it all in great detail. And if they fancy themselves as teachers the temptation is to present all this in a great complicated system that poor benighted students are expected to master in order to progress.

This simple principle was first explained to me by W G Gray which he likened to making your own space craft – and that the whole of magic was a system of building one’s own co-ordinates in order to find your way through inner space. Of course he then went on to elaborate various complexities of his own from what he himself had found. Which I am afraid is what most of us in the esoteric workshop and scribbling trades tend to do.

There is of course nothing new in all of this. The basic principles have been there in what has been called the Cube of Space since the Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation was written donkey’s years ago. More modern versions have been described by Paul Case, utilising the Tarot, and even by myself in Experience of the Inner Worlds, using Hebrew letters. The secret is to keep the cube simple, as a system of seven doors, and only fill it with what you find – not some guru’s cast off junk.

It seems to me that this may well be the pattern for esoteric progress in immediate future – so you can chuck out most of the baroque complications that still clutter the place up – whether it be the Enochian tablets of Dr Dee or the quasi Masonic offshoots of the Golden Dawn. All very useful in their day but apt to get in the way of clear sight and uncluttered spirituality.

You can find details of The Mystery of the Seven Directions published by LeBrun at Vancouver Island on http://www.lebrun.pathsofspirit.com/.

2 comments:

Mike Wolf said...

I have a copy of Coleston's book, it is refreshing, insightful, inspiring, and very effective in its simple methods. I believe that anyone regardless of their tradition, affiliation and such, can benefit greatly from studying this book and most importantly, taking up its practices. "The Mystery of the Seven Directions" hacks away at the unessential and leaves a simple, clear, and effective pattern of magical training that cuts right to the heart of the matter.

Celtic Fire said...

A thought provoking article - thank you. On one level the art of simple is a variant of the Law of Limitation, the power of which should never be underestimated in any of life's many avenues.