Mixing Systems

I’ve often heard that one cannot mix paths, but I have yet to see a
good argument for this position. In the spirit of Rogerian debate,
however, here is what I regard as the strongest possible position for
the idea that you cannot mix approaches:

Doing so takes up more time, so that you never get deep into one
particular system, but always remain on the surface of several.
Spiritual advancement requires discipline and commitment, and dabbling
with x and then with y implies a certain lack of commitment.

I agree that, if one only learns the basics of many different systems,
there won’t be much long term benefits. However, I disagree that
exploring or studying several systems necessarily implies lack of
commitment or discipline, or that it guarantees a lack of depth. For
example, I might study the runes and ask myself how they apply to the
Qabalah. In doing so, I might gain some insight into both runes and
Qabalah that I would never have gained if I had studied each
separately. Similarly, I might notice in studying Jyotish (which I
am, now), that the sun is considered a malefic (or, rather, “cruel”),
and I might ask how that could reflect on my idea of tifareth. In
what ways in Beauty “cruel?” And my understand of tifareth as the
door of initiation also informs the way, for me, that the Sun in
Jyotish might be called “cruel.” In other words, I apply
understanding from one system in order to understand another deeper.

A foolish approach, however, might be to say “Nyah, the sun isn’t
cruel. I don’t care what those crazy Hindus say — the sun is neato!
Says so right here — see, resh!” That lacks respect for the system.
I may come, eventually, to disagree with the interpretation “cruel”
for the sun — but I want to understand it fully in context before I
abandon it.

And that’s the key: just as when learning a language we learn it in context of our native language but eventually learn to think in it separate from that context if we choose, so when we learn a new symbol system, we learn it in context of ones we already know. Still, the goal is to move in it unabstructed by preconception, while simultaneously being able to activate all our old knowledge when necessary.

One Response to “Mixing Systems”

  1. At school we where taught Maths English Science and Art

    A mix of these disciplines creates different careers

    Art and Science could be an architect
    Maths and science an engineer

    These definitions are too narrow really but Magic is just the same.
    I have studied systems and Techniques. We are what we mix.
    At the end of the day I am a dabbling Chaos sorcerer because I choose to be or because I am. I don’t care which, I do care to be informed simply because ignorance annoys me.

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