Thursday, February 02, 2012

On Wizards

A wizard goes beneath and beyond. A wizard has penetrating sight, and sees through. A wizard assimilates and grasps learning(s) at a much deeper and less literal level than most. A wizard is comfortable with contradictions and riddles.

For these reasons, most people can't trust or understand wizards. They are strange to them. They may love them, if they feel their benefit, but they don't essentially "get" them. A wizard remains inscrutable.

It is a different kind of path, one that trusts dreams, one that reads at the dream level and thus experiences texts at a richer depth and breadth. Part scholar, part philosopher, part naturalist, part oneiromancer, part riddler, part poet, part necromancer, and part conjurer, they ponder, they posit, they interconnect their intuition and their intellect, coming to trust the wisdom of the former and the brilliant intensity of the latter, and the rich intergrowth between them. A wizard lingers after dreams in the dark and coming light, pausing before the day's demands to let the wisdom of dreams have at least its half-sway. The wizard has less certain knowledge than illuminating puzzles in which a deepening confidence develops, akin to knowledge. In fact, it is a kind of knowledge. A wizard often pores through books, surrounded by them, even immersed in them. Books layer the complexity, giving the mind grasping-points from which to bring up insights from the depth into articulation.

Most people who get involved in a belief system expect loyalty to it at its literal level, for that is what they grasp. A wizard grasps its wisdom and thus can enter into it with passion and erudition, and yet never be fully "of" it. Wizards have this mercurial quality of betweenness. They are thus suspect to those caught in literality and particularly superficiality. Their betweenness gives them a liminal quality that can evoke projection on the part of others regarding all their fears of liminal spaces, including traumas that have occurred in this space. The wizard must carefully sidestep these inevitable projections, never identify with them (ie be caught or caught up in their spell), and instead, allow each person to dispel their own bad enchantments in time. Needless to say, a wizard must aim at the highest integrity, willing even ascesis in its service, but all along with the savvy to remember that "no good deed goes unpunished", in the sense that that which people do not understand, they fear, and that which they fear, they actually misunderstand.

The wizard fails to conform not out of rebellion but out of a deeper loyalty and service to holy powers generally unrecognized, and as such, simply can't be bothered with much of the ordinary drivel. A wizard must be willing to intellectually explore dangerous places to gain knowledge. This "Faustian" imperative is balanced by its loyalty to the deep that keeps it attuned, rather than seeking the vainglory or manipulation of the surface-world. A wizard is a free thinker and a free spirit, whose thoughts can go anywhere, wandering the universe with the mind, even descending into the dark dales beneath the mountains to retrieve the mead absconded by monsters. The search is for wisdom, whose wells of bright, deep sadness refresh the world, and the wizard seeks to refresh the world through such conjuring.

Because of all this, the wizard must declare allegiance to powers deeper than those acknowledged by the usual loyalty-politics, which the wizard, however sympathetic, stands outside of. A good folk recognizes, however it may spook them, that a wizard serves deeper imperatives, and stand aside, out of the wizard's way, letting the work be done, glad when they can get benefit. But much is obvious to the wizard's eye that is not to the ordinary, and the wizard ought become accustomed to the bafflement and misunderstanding that will often result. Some will confuse the wizard, because of the conjuring, with wizardry's close counterfeit, the con artist. Sometimes there seems but a hair's difference, but the wizard is always in service, to something awesome and wise, that is sought for benefit, for general refreshment, while the con man is only in service to himself, utilizing illusions not to riddle and illuminate, but to manipulate. The wizard uses tricks as devices to evoke deeper truths (and sometimes to evade the dangerous projections and prejudices of the uninitiated), not to defraud. The integrity a wizard represents is mandatory, even if it is an inscrutable one, even if at times it partakes of the tricksterish.

A wizard can hold positions that seem contradictory but are not because the wizard either knows their deeper connection, or trusts it will unfold with time and further investigation. This trust of hunches, though not infallible, becomes a good guide for the wizard. The wizard because of all this is transideological, transcultural, transsystematic, and this slipping in and slipping out quality of transcendence can be quite unnerving to those secure in one worldview and paradigm alone. The wizard juggles paradigms at will.

A wizard gives strength to what serves life, to the degree and for the time that it does serve life, and thus may have many irons in the fire and several horses in the race. Many partial systems bring out truths more whole than they can fathom, and thus are useful (in the beneficial sense) articulators and movers.

Only a culture that has a word, unweird, which means unlucky, as the Anglo Saxons did, can fully understand and appreciate the importance and significance of having wizards, who are riddlers, shamans, poets, mystics, druids, and philosophers all mixed into one, without entirely being any of them. A wizard is very special, but a wizardless culture might not know it.

Wizards are likely to be characters, slightly eccentric, erudite, arcane, baffling, good natured with a strange edge of the sinister, which is simply the echo of the peril the wizard risks for knowledge, perhaps with a dash of the curmudgeonly or crabby, yet generous, filled with good will, and a genuine, careful, non-naive love for all creatures in their special faults.

What good is a wizard, you may ask? Someday you might have the joy of knowing that, if you build milieu welcoming to them. When you grow that flower, the wizards will come to taste the nectar, and your culture will then feel rich, flavored, grounded, and suffuse with the magic of the ordinary, whereby the miraculous beauty hidden in all things unfolds its grey garments in exquisite indulgence for all to see. Then the spirits will dance, the spirits in trees and rocks and meadows, and the ordinary at last will achieve its fitting synthesis with the extraordinary. This could be yours.

See also this on wizards.


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