“In this place let us affirm without evasion that the Great Magical Agent–the double current of light, the living and astral fire of the earth–was represented by the serpent with the head of an ox, goat or dog, in ancient theogenies. It is the dual serpent of the caduceus, the old serpent of GENESIS, but it is also the brazen serpent of Moses, twined about the TAU, that is, the generating lingam. It is, moreover, the Goat of the Sabbath and the Baphomet of the Templars.”
~ Eliphas Levi
Since KIA recently changed its main acronym to ‘KIA Invisible Agents’ and we replaced the idea of ‘Members’ with the idea of ‘Agents’ I thought it might be timely to write a brief intro the word ‘agent’ in relation to magic. And by this I mean something more profound than simply seeing Crowley as ‘agent 666’ in the British secret services, or John Dee as the original ‘agent 007’.
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
No instead I start with Levi, who in ‘Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual’, calls Baphomet a representation of the Great Magical Agent, which he also describes as the Astral Light (light of the stars). This astral light we may think of as Octarine light in chaos magic terms. In a sense we can say that the very substance of magic was called an ‘Agent’ by Levi. Or at least the English translation into English by Arthur Edward Waite. Perhaps someone more familiar with the French original can expand on the meaning of the word translated as such.
“MAGIC is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effort, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”
~ De Laurence
Okay, so if we can call magic itself an agent, what of the magician? For this I turn to the preliminary definition of magic in ‘Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon’, the De Laurence translation. Here we see the term Agent being used for a magician, with the term Patient being used for the object of the magicians actions. The analogy here might suggest that the magician performs the healing role of doctor. The same terms we find used also by Levi, who calls the Agent ‘Active’ and the Patient ‘assive’.
WE’RE HERE BECAUSE WE’RE NOT FREE
Herein lies a deeper mystery. For how can we call one a magician who allows themselves to be swept up passively in lifes events? As tides of change sweep across the world, for better or worse, how can we call one a magician who does not comprehend these events and forces that affect their life? How can we call one a magician who does not take responsibility for informing themselves of the various methods by which outside forces beyond their direct control manipulate them and techniques by which they might avoid these unwanted influences?
QUESTIONS ARE A BURDEN FOR OTHERS. ANSWERS A PRISON FOR ONESELF.
As Dave Lee discusses in Chaotopia, a magician shouldn’t obsess with control. They need the ability to let go, relax and enjoy, for only then do we reach our most ecstatic states. But a good magician must know when control is required and when letting go is safe. If life is drifting down a river on a raft, sometimes we may allow ourselves to drift in the flow, but at other times some control helps us through treacherous rapids that may otherwise destroy our vessel. We need to know when to take an active role in steering our own fate.
BLACK AS MIDNIGHT ON A MOONLESS NIGHT.
Here we come to understand that the magician must delve into those areas of knowledge hidden from us. Actively suppressed knowledge becomes the magicians concern. This path leads the magician on a trail not unlike that of a ‘secret agent’. Books on magic and alchemy during the times of witch burnings and persecution were often hidden in the most secret ciphers and coded language. But delve deeper and we find books on ciphers and codes disguised as books on magic. The magical quest, when it gets going, can lead to an unravelling of clues and secrets, ultimately facing the secrets of our own past.
TRUST NO ONE.
For me the change of wording in KIA from ‘Adept’ to ‘Agent’, implies a change of focus from merely valuing ability (adept: noun: a person who is skilled or proficient at something.) to valuing activity, regardless of skill or proficiency. A change in value to respect current practise over past achievements. Of course we value skill and ability, but those that practise will gain these with active persistence only. An agent will take responsibility for themselves. This does not mean we can’t cooperate with fellow agents, just that we must recognise that a fellow agent can never do the work for us. They can only inspire us to do the work ourselves. Too much trust in another becomes an unhealthy substitute for our own personal growth and discovery.