Balance is a central concept that I battle with in my magical and spiritual life. I’ve learned a long time ago that I have to have balance to make things work. I can’t just focus on “darkness” or “light”, both really have to be present.
I spent the better part of a decade on the Left Hand Path doing the “I’m so dark” thing. Then I was so spiritually dessicated that I drank from the Druidry’s light like a man in the desert, but that wasn’t any more fulfilling in the end. I think it was Aleister Crowley that said “An adept stands with his head in the highest heavens and his feet in the lowest hells”. I’m no adept, but it’s good advice I think.
I’m going to quote Jason Miller’s course here again, because this single quote is EXACTLY why I love his system of magic and pretty much the main reason I’ve adopted his use of the label “Sorcerer” to describe myself.
The witch is typically associated with folk magic and outdoor ecstatic rites, The Mage with high ceremony and the indoor temple. Many seem to feel that these approaches are mutually exclusive, I reject this approach and so have chosen the term Sorcerer. Let the sorcerer bask in the warmth of The Solar Logos and the Wisdom of the Moon! Let the sorceress do magic that requires both the careful execution of complex ritual and the absorption of ecstatic trance and wild dance! Let us cultivate both intellect and intuition, the celestial and the chthonic, the masculine and the feminine. The competent Sorcerer will be comfortable doing magic in a Lodge, a circle in the Wilderness, or out in the open streets of a city. -Jason Miller Strategic Sorcery Class Lesson 1
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this definition because it describes my own practice so well. It describes my entire ideal as a magician. Hell I I might just frame it and put it on my temple wall as a daily reminder! I have to have a balance between the solar and lunar currents. It’s also one of the reasons I am drawn to Druidry, because I see it embodying both of these currents. There’s the Druid part of me that loves to get down and dirty and work with bones and skulls, to do rites on the beach side surrounded by earth, sea, and sky and the genus loci. There is a the part that loves to pursue the “higher mysteries”, as evidenced by my recent interest in Hermetics, and perform temple magic with all of the fancy trappings and regalia that goes with it. If I focus on either on to exclusion, I feel totally unbalanced. I literally need both to feel whole.
This is also embodied by my patron deity, Hekate (Common you knew I’d work her into this somehow didn’t you?). While she gets pegged as a “dark goddess of the underworld”, she is equally the Luminous Empress of the Empyrean realms. I honor her in both fashions.
When I think of balance, I think of a pendulum. A pendulum is the epitome of balance, but it is not balanced because it stands perfectly still. It oscillates wildly between two extremes. Left and right, over and over. Somehow, between those wild fluctuations, it finds perfect balance. My practice is much the same way. I used to think “balance” meant having to balance out everything all the time. Now I realize that sometimes I’ll go through long periods of wanting to “bask in the solar logos” and do temple work. Other times I’ll want nothing more than to spend weeks at a time doing shamanic type stuff. I let my spirit tell me what it needs, and in this way my practice is dynamic and fluid.
Balance to me also means going beyond labels. I know there has been a recent movement in the past few years to define yourself as one thing. I strongly and vehemently reject this mindset in my own practice. I’m not saying that others are wrong for using one label. Hell I even envy you, honestly, but that’s not my path. What I am saying is that I don’t think that those of us who have out hands responsibly in multiple pots should be made to feel as lesser beings.
I am not “one thing”. Any attempt I make to define myself as one label ultimatly meets with failure. I practice Druidry, thus I am a Druid. I practice magic and ritual and theurgy, thus I am a Sorcerer, Witch, or Magician call it what you will (I like sorcerer personally). I’m currently even going beyond “Pagan” and taking more of a neo-platonic world view, but I still worship Hekate as well as seeking union with the first source. As my practice evolves and become stronger, the labels dissolve and become less and less accurate. I take this as an indicator that I’m growing and moving forward. Labels are a great help, but when they become hindrances, we must be willing to leave them by the road side.
Finding balance is an art, and I’m constantly striving to maintain it. It’s not easy for me, but it’s necessary and even rewarding. It seems to be the central theme of my path.