“The magic circle is part of the general heritage of magical practice, which is world-wide and of incalculable age.” -Doreen Valiente, The ABC’s of Witchcraft
To step into the Circle, To circumambulate the Compass, To leave it all behind, And yet to invite the All inside, Such is the boon and the task, Of the committed and inspired Seeker.
The Circle, the Compass, or the Sacred Space (whether within or without, ontological, metaphorical or ceremonial) acts as a catalyst to bring together seemingly disparate elements of experience and dissolves their boundaries. No small wonder, then, that it is often the tool or practice of choice for the Mystic, Witch, and the Magician alike.
In casting the Circle, aims may differ and intent may vary, and yet the fact remains that contemplation, action, and devotion are indeed close cousins; all are bound by common thread… Which is often the lamenting of the loss of the Mystery Tradition, and the coeval desire to see it restored.
What is the appeal, or the existential dilemma, that brings one to try to reconnect the ‘many-pasts,’ consult and congregate with the spirits, and bring the epiphanic pieces into the still-Now, to better elevate individual consciousness? Thusly do seekers attempt to understand and assimilate in their alchemical vessel the many important occult teachings and texts that may be construed as obsolete and decrepit to the eyes of the uninitiated, the archonized, dishonest, or the cynical pessimist.
And so, we come to the Theme of the next volume of PILLARS: “The Circle & The Compass,” along with the many interpretations and allegorical insights that come with it. We want to inspire potential contributors (both authors and artists) to approach the topic from numerous angles. How will you unearth the reason, or impetus, behind individual or group praxis of either traditional ceremonial magicians or of contemplative mysticism? How will you attempt to bridge the divide, to discover why (or how) there appears to be no more formalized Mystery Tradition(s) out there (and if there are, why have these not yet risen back to the surface?).
But what is the Mystery Tradition, standing somewhere between Religion and Magick? What symbolism and allegory exist within these ‘living’ Temples, and in the divine rites of passage? Who are these Seekers willing to live a life in accordance with age-old principum passed down through the generations?
These so-called ‘Mystery Traditions’ are possibly the underlying basis and foundational reality behind most contemporary esoteric structure, and yet they are either purposely or casually shunned and dismissed by many practitioners and adepts.
By “Circling the Compass,” is the Seeker indeed participating (or somehow resuscitating) in the Traditions of old, or are these disciplines truly lost under the sands of Time?
This is a very large subject indeed, and it is precisely why PILLARS would be the perfect arena to explore such a complex ‘Mystery.’
A very special ‘Thank You’ to Alexander Eth (of the Glitch Bottle Podcast), and by direct extension, Dr. Stephen Skinner, for the core questioning and inspiration for the Theme of this upcoming issue of PILLARS.
¶ KEYNOTE CONTRIBUTORS: Stephen Skinner, P.T. Mistlberger, Geraldine Lambert, Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, Shani Oates, Oliver Liebeskind, and many others.