Wednesday, August 15, 2018

[Part Eight] Hermetic Spellcraft: The Principle of Gender


"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes." 

The Conflicting Clause?

When we see the word gender in this principle, we immediately associate it with the social and cultural concept of personal identity.  This becomes immediately problematic for a variety of reasons, the first being the obvious polarity presented.  We're aware that gender, as we understand it in humans, is anything but binary.  In fact, the Principle of Polarity tells us that every dichotomy we can think of exists on a spectrum.  This also includes gender.  That's right: Hermeticism teaches us that gender identity is a spectrum.  So why, then, does a latter principle seem to conflict a former?

The reality is that this clause isn't speaking about gender in terms of identity or even biological sex, which would also be a polarity and a misnomer.  Instead, the word gender is going back to the Latin root of the word meaning to "birth" or "create."  We see this creation on every level of each plane, from the tugging of the electrons and protons that form the atom to the XX and XY combination that creates human life.  All planes focus on creation, thus updating the axiom to:

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 


But That's Still Not Quite Right.

The Kybalion was written in 1908, at a time where men were masculine and women were feminine.  When the Three Initiates use the words "masculine" and "feminine" in this line, they're talking about a type of creation energy.  Masculine is seen as powerful, forceful and outward-bound, a term synonymous with will, direction and expression, whereas feminine is inward, gestative and open, the epitome of ideas, creativity and and imagination.  Keep in mind that these are associations I don't necessarily agree with in our modern definitions of gender traits but rather what the Three Initiates would have inferred from their societal definitions at the time of writing The Kybalion.  So, in this case, is projective and feminine is receptive.

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Projective and Receptive Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 

Maintaining Balance

Now that we have updated this principle's language to modern terminology, we can strive to better understand it.  The Principle of Gender states that everything has power to create.  If everything has projective and receptive principles, then that means we too have both within our mental framework.  We are able to generate new thoughts and ideas through imagination and creativity.  We do this by being receptive to the world around us.  We receive information and process it internally, gestating it, bringing it to new life.  Likewise, we also have the power of will and direction, the ability to express those ideas we've gestated into a physical form.  We do this by projecting our energy outward.

Imperative to this principle is a need for balance between the two.  It's important that we listen as much as we talk, learn as much as we teach and, in terms of magic, utilize projective and receptive energy in equal measures.  By creating this balance within ourselves, we encourage the world around us to seek the same balance.  We avoid creating too much out of emptiness or receiving too much that we cannot handle.  We avoid chaos and stagnation.  Balance is essential.


The Visualization:  The Catcher's Glove and the Pitcher's Hand


In the previous principle, we defined that we are responsible for the cause and effect of our planes.  For the first time, we placed ourselves within the visualization framework.





Today, we add a simple baseball glove.  In our Hermetic visualization, we can now see that we're not the only one casting our energy, or "pitching our ball."  Around us are all the spells, intents, wishes, hopes and dreams flying in near-chaos.  We cannot control those - we can only control ourselves.  We can choose to cast our own energy outward or receive what we need in the form of another energy cast towards us.  We can either project or receive.  We are both the pitcher and the catcher.


In Magic

The Principle of Gender requires us to balance the receptive with the projective.  When formulating your spell, think about whether you need to be projective or receptive to achieve your goals.  In fact, consider utilizing both: Gestate, listen, learn - then will, direct and teach.  This is often why witches are encouraged to use divination before casting a spell to ensure their spell will work as intended.  Divination is a way of listening and learning, then gestating and formulating an idea.  Other options include speaking with deities or spirits, dream work, trance, astral travel and hedge crossing.  You can also utilize a spell building worksheet as a guide for creating your spell down to the most minute detail before casting.  Then, given that your receptive phase encourages you to move forward, do the spell.  Doing a spell without any prep or planning can lead to chaos.  Getting stuck in the planning phase can lead to stagnation.  A balance of both is the best way to cast a spell!


Part Nine: Putting it All Together

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