On Prayer and Worship
>> I have been wrestling with this question a while and would appreciate any help, insights etc . The common man's notion of prayer goes something like this: "There are Deities "up there" watching over the world . IF one asks for help sincerely you *may* get some help. And sometimes nothing happens so then one resorts to explanations like "Man proposes and God Disposes ". I guess what I am asking is "what is the Hermetic perspective on prayer " ? Does it work ? What can be done to make it more effective ? Bardon's IIH seems to imply (to me at least) that even Prayer is truly *effective* only after Level 10 +. Am I right ? Does a sincere "appeal for help" (with no magical abilities to back it up) work ? Why ? Do Deities "want to" help ? Do they help only if asked ? Are there more and less effective "modes of asking" ? <<
An adept prays (in the common sense of the word) only as an act of worshipful devotion, never in supplication. What you call "prayer" in relation to Step Ten is not actually prayer. With Step Ten, the adept raises their own level of awareness to that of Deity, as opposed to prayer in which one tries to draw down the attention of a separate Deity.
Prayer-as-supplication has at its root the concept that the one praying is separate from Deity. To the magician this concept is anathema. A primary Hermetic Axiom is that Deity is immanent -- The All in ALL. In Step Ten, the magician incorporates the four Divine qualities into their own self awareness. This is a process of raising the magician's own awareness to the level of Deity, not one of drawing the Deific awareness down.
In such a merged state, there is no need for supplication -- there is only willing. Thus, it is not "prayer".
Some people report remarkable results with mundane prayer, while others report no success at all. The main factor is in how reasonable one's desire is. If the desire is in sync with the universe's own timing and if it fits within the Laws of Nature and is appropriate with one's own karma, then results are more likely. But when we desire the truly impossible or when our desire does not fit with our karma or the universe's own timing, results are nil.
The greatest power of mundane prayer is it's focusing of the supplicant's mind and the raising of their own awareness. Ultimately, the prayers that "work" are the ones that raise your own consciousness until you become in sync with the flow of the universe.
But it is not a separate Deity that answers. Rather, it is the immanent Deity that, by course of nature, responds to a desire within ItSelf. When we raise our consciousness and get into sync with the universe, we open a pathway for our desire to be realized -- we create conditions that allow its realization. In other words, it's not up to some separate g-d to deem our prayers worthy of attention. An immanent Deity needs no prayers to know that a desire is in someone's heart. Every desire is a part of an immanent Deity so how could there be any not-knowing? Or any true need of prayer other than on the part of the one praying? Prayer is entirely about the consciousness of the one doing the praying.
The psychological ramifications of mundane prayer are an important factor. Often, a prayer to g-d is sufficient to quiet the disturbed mind and allow one's own psyche to find the proper solution.
A mystic prayer of worshipful devotion is an entirely different matter. Here, there is no want, no desire or need, other than the expression of love.
>> You make the following statement in the IIH Commentary on your web site: "Devotion, especially as it manifests through the act of worship, is a very powerful force that the magician can employ in their process of spiritual ascent." What is an "act of worship" from the Hermetic perspective ? <<
Responding to your questions is one act of worship for me. I define the following as acts of worship:
1) Witnessing Beauty. For me, just perceiving a beautiful thing, thought, sentiment, etc., and recognizing it for what it is (a thing of Beauty) is an act of worship.
2) Creating Beauty. The creation of Beauty, in whatever form that may occur, is one of the most worshipful acts possible for humans to achieve.
To my mind, "devotion" is the deeply rooted, unshakable desire to perform acts of worship for no other reason than that this is what fulfills you. True devotion and true worship are gifts to a divine universe, freely given with no stings attached.
Acts of worshipful devotion bring one into sync with the universe that expresses a similar Loving Kindness in all its aspects. Thus it is a very powerful tool for the aspiring magician who aims for the highest of heights.
In Kabbalah, the manifestation of Beauty (Tiphareth) within the mundane realm is an act of universal healing of the utmost importance. It promotes the evolution of the mundane universe itself and of the human soul and spirit.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
10 Dec 2001