You can nuture the spirit behind any circumstance and like anything nurtured it grows closer to you. It creates more events of its kind.
We have all heard a great deal about magic as it’s a very popular topic these days, at least in some circles. Theurgy is a cousin of magic and there has been a love hate relationship between the two schools of thought and practice for a very long time.
It comes down to this. They agree on a world inhabited by powers higher than humanity, and they recognize a cosmic structure that has elements of engineering or artifice to it though they differ as to exactly how they identify this or what that actually means. But they are both connected to one central concept, the concept of a great work. Where they differ is in pursuing the work of the Gods or the works of man.
Now theurgy is not the stereotypical model of religion as we currently understand it. Different schools of theurgy disagree on the degree of compassion or even wisdom possessed by the God or Gods. Ma’at of the ancient Egyptian practice saw the Gods as no more kind or cruel than physical world authorities. Similar to the Chinese model in that respect, and their practice was just an observation of the divine order on earth. A sort of cosmic good citizenship practice. In the case of the Egyptians though, it did border on magic or goetia as it is also sometimes called, which brings me to an important concept of theurgy. The idea that the creative act of God or the Gods was left unfinished, either on purpose or due to some problem arising in the process.
And we have to help finish it? Yes. That is the foundation of theurgy. That the God has to be either reminded or signalled to take action.
So when you mentioned earlier about pursuing the works of man, does that mean some schools would believe focusing on the material works of man is finishing Gods work, while others commune more directly with God? Actually, what it means is that some saw the forces that others call Gods as indifferent to human well being, and since they saw the divine as indifferent they believed it was possible to, in a sense, steal or use the power of the divine as present in the world without the guidance or approval of the divinities. Prometheus being a story of divine theft and there are others as well, some positive, others not. Even differences in the response of God to the human interference.
I was watching a documentary today. A husband and wife were in Africa watching a leopard. They got attached to the animal, but wouldn’t intervene when it got in trouble. That is how some people see the attitude of the Gods themselves. They cared enough to make the world, but don’t see fit to intervene in it, at least not directly. It’s not necessarily an immoral stance if you think about it, and this is where both magic and theurgy come in. They are considered to exist in some traditions as a gift given intentionally to humanity so that humans could enact their own divine intervention.
Magic steals the power and theurgy asks for it? Well, in magic it isn’t clearly seen or deliberately defined as stealing. But yes, magic uses it like a resource and theurgy sees it as a gift that can be earned. There is a lot of reference to this in the Bible, and some modern churches even attempt to practice a half baked, backward form of theurgy even still. It’s difficult to do it well when you absolutely must shun anything that comes even close to seeming magical.
Isn’t that what praying is? Praying is simple theurgy if you believe in answered prayer. Otherwise prayer is confined to a meditative practice.
The ultimate goal of all theurgic practice is to advance spiritually, to draw closer to the divine, become more God like, and any spiritual gifts are seen as secondary to the pursuit of the exalted state of harmony or even oneness with the God. Magic is more utilitarian and if some philosophical insight or spiritual evolution happens that’s nice but secondary to the study or practice of magic.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.