Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alternate States of Unreality

Fr. Angelo offers an intriguing discussion on alchemy, magic, Renaissance Christian esotericism, Wicca, and occultism in general. I am looking forward to reading his book. To quote:
The origins of Western occultism are largely connected with the Christian Gnostic writings pseudonymously attributed to a pre-Christian magician by the name of Hermes Trismegestus.  The writings are largely mythological and philosophically connected with neoplatonism, an amalgamation of both Christian and pagan ideas.

The context of my research is the formulation of a critique of the Harry Potter series, a matter about which I have thought for more than ten years.  During that time I have been reading the books, and, for reasons I will mention in my own book on the subject, have until now remained silent.

One of the principle defenses of the Harry Potter series by Christians who are thoughtful readers is based on J.K. Rowling’s assertion that her own research for Harry Potter concerned, not magic, but alchemy.  This defense goes on to assert that alchemy was not principally about the transmutation of metals or the acquisition of the Elixir of Life, but about the purification and transformation of the soul.  According to this argument, the alchemical transformational process is consistent with Christian mysticism.  I do not accept this argument and will explain why in my book....
 Wicca and gothic, postmodern, occult culture is not in the least harmless.  Good faith has nothing to do with it.  The question of overt Satanism has little to do with it either.  The choice for Christ is not compatible with contemplative experimentation and Christian esotericism, because the light is not compatible with the darkness, and Christ can have no concord with Belial (cf.2 Corinthians 6:15).  We have allowed the bruised egos of the likes of Marilyn Manson to keep us making the most refined distinctions in regard to what actually belongs to the satanic.  This is the reasoning championed by Freemasonry, because the Craft is essentially militant occultism in a popular form.  Satan is king of the convoluted.

Just for the record, I have chosen not to draw any conclusions here with respect to Harry Potter.  That will come in due time along the lines of a reasoned argument which is not the burden of this post.  For now we can just say that Rowling deals with these issues and she takes them seriously.  Harry Potter is a serious work and not just a cartoon-like children’s story.  The issues at hand are about life and death.  May we all choose life and close the door to the spirits of darkness.


Julygirl said...

People have and always will dabble in the Occult in some form or another because of their thirst for personal power over events. Complete submission to and conformity with God's will is a concept many find difficult to achieve.

soma said...

Christian Mysticism helps the mind in the midst of daily activities to be conscious of the soul. The mind needs this enlightenment to understand the different states of consciousness that one goes through daily while engaging in external actions. The soul is not physical, but it is the force of our being and Christian enlightenment. Being aware of the soul activates all the potentialities of our being and mind so we become whole, content, happy, and productive. A stable mind unwavering, steady and self contained is the source of bliss to all who come into contact with it. The value of self-knowledge and enlightenment is that it brings the mind or unit consciousness to a greater consciousness that is joyful, peaceful, sharp and content. It helps us in our daily life because it shows us the big picture of life.

elena maria vidal said...

Julygirl, VERY true!

Yes, Soma, and I think Father Angelo sums it up very well when he says:
"Personal transformation via alternate states of consciousness is not Christian mysticism. It is not the goal of the contemplative life to make oneself a channel of the spiritual, but rather to converse with God. Knowing and willing, objective thought and personal love must never be abandoned, though if one clings to Christ and his Word (objective truth) the Shepherd may open the Sheep’s Gate so that the soul can pasture in the fields planted by His own hand (cf. Jn 10:9). In the Catholic tradition, contemplative knowing and loving does at times presuppose a suspension of the ordinary functioning of the faculties of the soul, but this is never a generic awareness, something other than knowing and willing. Contemplatives should never make it their goal to induce alternate states of consciousness or to make themselves open channels to the spiritual world for the sake some experience of the transcendent."

May said...

"...alchemy, magic, Renaissance Christian esotericism, Wicca, and occultism in general."

There's nothing funny about the topic but there is something funny about that long list:)

elena maria vidal said...

It's an attention grabber, isn't it?