“Fear is failure, so be thou without fear, for he that trembles and the fire and the flood hath no part of God”
Most occultists believe that they live without fear. They claim that within its teaching, they find that their fears, particularly of death, are washed away. While this might be true, one of the biggest problems we find within the Golden Dawn community stems from fear – the fear of being alone.
The study of magic is such a minority activity and is divided still further into different strains of teaching. Even within a single group, magicians vary in what they believe so that the chances of you finding someone who thinks like you is remote.
Ultimately the magician has to go it alone. This is the message of the Tarot card the Hermit.
But humans do not do well when they are alone. Humans are social creatures who need to function with others to thrive. There are all sorts of illnesses that come from being alone. Being alone is simply un-natural. Every biological system within our body requires us to find a mate and raise children.
But this causes another problem, how to you fulfill your biological and emotional needs for people when your universe is so different from anyone else.
The Tuhoe Tohunga, Hohepa Kereopa said that everyone has a separate universe and relationships between men and women are dependent on the similarity of those universes.
When I look at the relations I have had, the ones that have been successful have been so when people have been thinking along similar lines to me. Relationships with muggles have only worked while there was enough in the relationship which was not occultism that could hold everything together.
Anna Branch, who was an American magician, once told her husband that he should not ever make her choose between occultism and him. I guess occultism was the real her and the rest was just what they had in common. That was enough to hold them together unless he tried to intervene in her “real life”. Fortunately, Branch said, “he died” so it never came to that.
As magic grew increasingly important to me, it became more difficult to have partnerships with muggles. Even if they were sympathetic to the magic ideas, the concept of having your partner locked in a room banging on a computer knocking out books which were designed only to be read by a few thousand and understood by six did not make sense. Winging your way around the world to initiate people and not having a holiday at the same time seemed senseless.
The obvious idea is to have a relationship with another magical person. However this causes problems too. Not only are the right people rare, just because you have that certain chemistry in the ritual and can talk about magic does not mean it is the sort of relationship that can help you function on the mundane world.
Often because of the relief of being in a relationship where magic can actually be talked about creates such a relief that it takes a while for you to realise that the person you are with is not one you would normally want to go out with. You allow your standards to slip, or end up in an abusive relationship, just because this person has similar spiritual experiences to you.
I know of one person who thought she could deal with this problem by having two men. One for her mundane life and another for her magical one. Unfortunately most people want exclusivity in their partners, she thought she could have the same level of love from the magical partner by not sleeping with him while demanding his undying “spiritual love”. Needless to say it did not end well.
It is a problem which resolves itself in one way or the other. Either you deal with the crushing loneliness by compartmentalising your life so you can find a balance. Or you try and being entirely magical or entirely “normal”. The unbalanced way will ultimately be unsatisfying in my experience.
If you are really lucky you find a partner who is magical AND your material universe works. Life becomes a meandering path in which the darkness that overwhelms one, can be repelled by two working in harmony; each upholding each other’s strengths and balancing each other’s weaknesses. This is rare and even harder work. You not only become responsible for your life on a material level, but your job becomes to assist each other's spiritual walk.
But it does mean that Goals which were impossible for one, become obtainable for two. The shared universes weave themselves into a life destiny which alone they could not obtain.
While this sounds great, sometimes relationship problems become spiritual ones and it becomes difficult to separate the two. Many couples strive to understand one another, but an occultist knows that another person is as complex and hard to understand as God.
Such couples exist to do the work. What is interesting about these relationships is that it is rare that they have children. The work becomes their child.
Dion Fortune once said that for people to become true magicians they have to have passed through the path of hearth fire.This mirrors the old Cabbalistic idea which implied that you are supposed to have had a few kids and proven yourself able to be a parent before you pressed ahead with spiritual work. While this sounds great, in principle, if Fortune had followed her own advice she would never have been a great magician. Her relationships were all dire and it means that she never followed that path at all.
Any spiritual path, be it hearth fire or Solomonic magic, is optional to the magician. What is important is to find your way through it. What ever you choose, it becomes a life path decision. Sometimes finding that balance is part of your spiritual destiny. Certainly the cure for being alone is to find someone to share your life with. However make sure it is the right person. Don't jump simply because someone appears to share your world view, they have to fit everything. All your universes have to match. On the whole, it is worth the wait.