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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

The V ritual

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C65989237/E20061022154320

Thoughts on an offbeat ritual making the rounds on the net

This entry is cross posted to my political blog Pagan•Vigil and my pagan blog Technopagan Yearnings.

Every once in a while my various interests collide in fascinating ways. A couple of days ago, juliaki sent me information from this site and an email with full details just in case the site went down. That happens more than you think.

At the time I thought it might make a good entry for my Pagan blog, but I wanted some time to take a closer look at it and the methodology.

Then I ran across this entry on Sunni's site. Obviously it has an appeal outside the usual Pagan elements.

So let's take this one step at a time.

The first and obvious question is, does magic or magick or majick work? In simplest terms, can you will a change into the universe around you?

Yes, I believe you can.

Leaving aside the questions of mechanics because they really don't have much to do with this discussion, there are several methods you might use. Without training, the easiest method is just believing hard enough.

I'm indebted to the writings of Colin Wilson for one of the more effective explanations. There are several parts of your mind that aren't exactly under your direct conscious control. One of these is Ollie, who believes himself wise and in charge, best suited to face the world. Another is Stan, who is capable of amazing things because he doesn't know any better.

And there is the conflict. Stan can work near miracles as long as Ollie doesn't tell him he can't. Applied magick is just a matter of diverting Ollie long enough for Stan to pull it off.

You can see the difficulty. In modern Western philosophy, when confronted with a new situation, we usually summon Ollie and not Stan. Stan tags along anyway, and pays close attention to Ollie because Ollie is usually the only one who talks to him.

One of the simplest forms of magick, the affirmation, is just a way of getting Stan to focus. That's why it's very important to speak positively when creating an affirmation.

So what is the difference between psychology and magick? That depends.

Don't you love that answer?

For our purposes here, the way to get Stan's attention is through psychology and myth. Stan loves a good story. He loves them so much that he believes them whole heartedly if they are told often enough and clearly enough.

And that takes us to Carl Jung and archetypes. These are the character types that resonate in our minds on several levels.

That is a quick and dirty explanation.

Before I go on, I need to warn you. Be careful what you wish for.

V for Vendetta happens to be a fairly powerful myth, but not in the sense that most people expect.

That goes for the authors of this ritual.

The character V is not about justice. V is about vengeance. V is about destroying all social structures and institutions by force.

In the story, V had to sacrifice countless lives to bring about his goals. Including his own.

This is also a powerful archetype, going back to at least the Hebrew myth of Moses. The great hero, destined to lead his people out of captivity, allowed to look into the Promised Land, but never to enter it alive.

If you look at most of the other "manifestations of justice," you will see that they are equally problematic. Not to mention the small problem of mixing and matching. You don't put hot sauce on coconut cream pie. Likewise, mixing Kali, the Valkyries, and St. Francis of Assisi is going to give you an undigestible mess. Notice that only St. Francis is about justice.

Even assuming that these are only masks for you to put on, there are measurable consequences. Hercules was the great hero, but hardly anyone today talks about how he killed his wife and children. If you are going to manifest change in your life, there will be unknown costs.

So I will say it again. Be careful what you wish for.

The excuse here is to get rid of President Bush and his Administration. But look closely at the charges listed in the ritual. It's not only Republicans who are guilty. Most of those could be equally applied to the Democrats.

The problem isn't which party is better, it is an ever expanding state built on handing out favors. Corruption comes from the system, and without drastic reconstruction of the State itself, corruption will continue.

Government is not your friend. That is true no matter which party is elected. We don't want to exchange one master for another.

Unless there is a true alternative built on virtue, the revolution will happen again and again. Such is the nature of reformation, there will always be those willing to go a just little farther to reach to achieve their ideals. Once violence is unleashed and accepted, the beast will demand periodic feedings.

I say a third time. Be careful what you wish for.

So that now honor is satisfied, what do I think of the ritual?

Let's start by the selection of V for Vendetta in an American ritual setting.

How many Americans know much about the Gunpowder Plot? While not strictly necessary to enjoy the graphic novel, knowing about the context certainly helps. It's a part of English history certainly, and one that predated English settlement in the New World, but it is not one that had much of an influence on American thought. In fact, it's probably one of the divergency points between English and American history.

It's certainly a powerful symbol, but like all symbols, it has to be understood in context before it can be used in a new way. I'd argue that the anonymity of the mask gives it power, along with the willingness to ignore consequences. It's almost impossible to stop an unknown with nothing left to lose, particularly if he knows the precise weaknesses of his opposition.

As a ritualist, there isn't much of a coherence except for those vague calls to justice. Justice without cost and without consequences. Like that EVER happens.

Perhaps most strikingly though is the absence of any American archetypes in the invocations. Where is George Washington, rebel general and standard of justice? Where is John Brown? Where is Harriet Tubman? Robert E. Lee? Malcolm X? And those are just the warriors.

Next is the lack of any personal commitment from the casters. What steps does the ritual require you to take to ensure it's success, or does it just leave everything to some loosely defined abstraction of justice? What price are you willing to pay other than a few bucks on something you are going to burn?

At it's core, I think this is Band Aid magick. It's designed to look good and give you the feeling that you've accomplished something, but it doesn't fix the problem. It's the pop music of magick, all surface glitter and no depth and no expectations.

Posted: Sun - October 22, 2006 at 03:43 PM

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