Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Beyond Morality: Please Send Me a Post Card

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Frater Acher in person after a talk at Treadwell bookshop in London. During our chat Frater Acher and I touched upon the difference in approach to morality between mystics and magicians. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact wording, but if I remember correctly it was that mystics seek to refine their sense of morality and magicians seek transcend their morality.

OK, that’s a bit of a sweeping statement and does not apply to all mystics and magicians by a long shot. However, it’s a trend that I’ve noticed from what little I’ve read up in books and online.

One example of a blogger discussing the possibility of transcending concepts of morality and social mores is Robert in his post: “Gods are perfect can be we as well” . Another example of someone arguing in the different direction is the Dionysian Atavism blogger in his post: “Give a Shit: It’s Important”.

Awhile ago on a mailing list about Kabbalah that I’m on a discussion arose about whether Kabbalah and morality are linked. From my understanding in the area of esoteric Judaism they are very tightly linked.

For example, the book “Sefer HaSidim” (Book of the Pious) by Samuel the Ḥasid, Judah the Ḥasid of Regensburg (his son), and Eleazar ben Judah of Worms – is a book about mysticism, magical techniques, asceticism, humility, serenity, altruism, and strict ethical behavior.

Although you may find other works on Kabbalah that don’t touch in any great depth about morality and ethics – the authors of these works of esoteric Judaism, Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism assume that their readers are grounded in the practice and understanding of ethical behavior as outlined in Jewish Law (such as for example: Ethics of the Fathers).