Artwork: Cosmic Christ by Alex Grey
While I look back on my life and realize that I have been a practitioner of magick since I was a child (creative visualization, imagination, enchanting my surroundings) it is only this year I have begun to accept and talk about being a mage or rather a “freestyle Shaman” (as Jan Fries would put it) openly.
In high school I experimented heavily with psychedelics and entheogens in an attempt to make a more personal connection with the Christian God I had been raised with as I had found the various protestant churches I grew up in to be devoid of providing any “fireworks” or direct experiences with the divine via ritual or lack thereof.
I was not prepared for the shamanistic self initiation that some of these experiences provided. Going into “that world” with a Christian mindset provides fuel for dark entities to exploit the fear of demons so ingrained in Christian culture that when confronted with the shadows and dark side of ones self, fear can become almost an overwhelming force.
Having called upon the name of Jesus and using prayer (as it was my only defense or tool that I could think of at the time) to combat these elements of the psychedelic journey and finding that I could find hope and strength to hold negativity and darkness at bay, I struggled with the dark corners of my mind in light of the myriad of labyrinths of macrocosmic perception by repeating this technique over and over until the experience began to shift gears back to stable ground.
Having to deal with what can be traumatic psycho-spiritual experiences within the paradigm of entheogenic journeying provides the passenger of such ordeals with opportunities/crisises that can strengthen or debilitate said passengers emotional, spiritual and or psychological health.
The reward for such risks is shamanistic knowledge which after the passenger has returned to normal consciousness, can be used to better the lives of the passenger and his/her friends/family and potentially humanity as a whole.
This is the “job” of the shaman, to traverse the unseen worlds and bring back healing knowledge. The mage who serves the light also shares in this responsibility.
It is no doubt that the magi spoken of at the beginning of the new testament had been light workers, wizards who served the light (good). In their divinations via astrology and (likely) Babylonian prophecy regarding the coming of the messiah, their intent was to connect with/serve the creator.
It is in these men’s story that I find my own interest in magick and ability to balance my Christian faith with my pagan perspectives.
Through entheogenic/shamanistic experimentation I found my “fireworks” with the God of Christianity. Having chased “his” signature through the rich history of pagan/occult perspective/spirituality I have come to understand the battle between light and darkness in a way which separates me from the blind hatred of conservative right wing hypocrisy. These experiences and insights in conjunction with my general open-mindedness, curiosity and agape has allowed me to see Christ in the actions of many beloved friends/family/strangers who carry atheist, agnostic, and or pagan belief systems.
It may sound strange. It may be blasphemy.
But I “found Jesus” in the visions of psychedelics, the study of the occult and the rejection of “the church”.