An Examination of Prophecy[/B][/SIZE]
A look at one of the most controversial arts within the path of magic
If you’ve looked at the subtitle of this essay, the question may have arisen, “What does he mean by controversial.” I shall explain. We look at our history, and we see it scattered with so-called prophets. Men who traveled their nations hardly clothed and with little in their stomachs predicting things of disastrous proportions. They speak of the sky falling, the world ending, earthquakes, eruptions, comets hitting us, the deaths of famous and celebrated people, and even occasionally events in our own, smaller lives. From the man who stood naked against the world professing the time and date of Rodney Dangerfield’s death to the simple wanderer who one day informs you as you pass by that your are going to get a rase in your business, prophets are scattered about this world.
So of what shall we treat here? The ultimate goal of this paper is to provide two conflicting views on one of the most interesting, intriguing, aggressively debated topics in the entire spectrum of magical practice: Do the prophets see the events, or do they cause them? It is of this that I shall try to handle in this essay, though I must admit that I am myself eery as to which side to take, for reasons which shall be discussed towards the end of the essay. However, we shall not move on to that question for now. Let us first examine a little bit about the art of prophecy.
The Power of Prophecy
[/B] [/U] What is the skill of prophecy?
Prophecy is essentially synonymous with divination, fortune telling, and predicting the future in today’s society. None the less, from the traditional point of view, it has fundamental differences that set it aside from the aforementioned.
In divination we see the use of what is called an “oracle” to divine, or see, the future of a particular person of place, or the outcome of a particular event, choice, etc. There is a viable medium enacted in this process such as the I ching, the Tarot cards, the Runes, etc. Fortune telling employs these same things, sometimes using the palms as the oracle by which a future occurrence is predicted. In predicting the future, the individual in question will simply sit down on his own accord and, using whatever innate abilities he has cultivated, actually piece the restrictions of our three dimensional world and entire the fourth: where time and space are no longer barriers.
Let us examine “predicting the future” a little further here. This skill, which comes as almost a given amongst most experienced psychics and magicians, employs the detailed and concise recognition of specific strands of energy, supplemented by a previous knowledge on the individual’s part of what those various energies mean in our world, and how their actions effect it. By viewing and feeling out these energies in our time, the individual in question is able to make an educated guess as to how their current actions will manifest in the future. This requires precision and experience on the psychic’s part, yet is none the less an efficient skill which usually proves useful as an addition to the psychic’s arsenal of skills.
Now for the fundamental difference: Prophecies are thought to be received as opposed to discovered via searching. You hear tell of a “divine revelation,” and in a traditional sense of the middle-eastern culture, that is how prophecy is defined. We may for all practical purposes in our own studies see prophecy as divided into two categories: revelation and psychic. Psychic prophecy is, for lack of a better overall term, when a psychic who knows the “ins and outs” of energetic properties seeks out a future event as it relates to an immediate situation, and then speaks that event to a person that is concerned within the context of the event in question. This is essentially the same thing mentioned in the previous paragraph, simply given a more definitive name, and applied to a different end. Revelational prophecy is that which is thought, by the prophet, to have been revealed by some celestial intelligence that either has access to the knowledge of things which are yet to come, or has the power to bring about that which has been spoken(i.e, we see God inform His prophets of what is going to happen often, not because He knows ahead of time, but because He is the one that is going to cause it all). Biblically, prophecy is the Word of God revealed to man for the benefit of his fellow man. Practically, prophecy is the pronunciation of a future event with no viable medium.The Cornerstone of Religion
The gift of prophecy is the foundational principle of most the world’s major religions. In Judaism we see the Word of God revealed to Moses, and a plethora of chosen prophets from amongst the Jewish people about whom stories are spoken in the Old Testament in almost every book. In Christianity, we see Jesus of Nazareth, who foretold his own death and how it would happen, as well as who would betray him. Perhaps more important within the context of this essay were the teachings of Saint Paul, who said himself “those who prophecy speaketh to edify the church.” The church as we know it was built upon the gift of prophecy. We can then move on to Islam, where we see the Divine Revelation that become the Quran, and even to Hinduism and its many inspired writings(usually by its religious leaders). In Greek mythology the power The Oracle wielded over the people who listened is obvious, and in Norse mythology the entire Havamal and Poetic Edda were divinely inspired. Were it not for the prophets of old, many religions today would not exist. Prophecy has both inspired righteousness and instilled fear in the hearts of the listeners. The Might of Prophecy
Let us examine for a moment the sheer displays of force which often couple a completed prophecy. We see Elijah, who called down balls of sulfur upon his enemies. We have the many biblical prophets who of themselves literally brought ruin to various civilizations. Fire has fallen from the sky, people have risen from the dead, and the world has we know has been shaped, both socially and geologically, thanks to prophecy. Moses is a prophet to consider in the things he brought upon Egypt.
For elaboration, I would like to share with you a story that your American History teacher may have missed: that of the Indian Leader Tecumseh, and his involvement in what became known as the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811; the largest earthquake ever recorded to have hit the continent of North America. Let us go back, for a moment, to the time leading up to the War of 1812, in which colonial Americans were rapidly trying to expand westwards across the Appalachian Mountains to increase their territory. The “frontiersmen,” if you will.
During this time of expansion, led very much by William Henry Harrison, there lived an Indian chief of the Shawnee named Tecumseh. Why was he an important figure in history? In accordance to the prophecy of his big brother concerning his own life, Tecumseh is most known today for his uniting of the majority of the Indian tribes threatened by the expansion of the colonial Americans into a Confederacy. He traveled from village to village, as far Eastward was western Vermont and Massachusetts, in his attempt to do so, preaching how there would be “A Great Happening, in which the trees shall fall though there is no wind, and things shall shake though no one touches them. Rivers will flow backwards, and lakes shall disappear.” The prophecy of this “Great Happening” he used to stir the hearts of the tribes he spoke to, in hopes of uniting them into one functional unit of defense against the expanding Colonies. As Allan W. Ekhart put it, “Tecumseh spoke, and the Great Spirit moved him, so that every word that came from his mouth stirred the emotions and thoughts of those who were listening into subordination of his own desire, namely, the battle against the white men.” Back and forth he ran speaking of this great event, telling all who heard that on the day it happened, all would know, and on that day the Indians would have to rise up against the white men and try to push them back, or die trying. “We must draw a line in the sand,” Tecumseh said in reference to the territory westward of the Appalachian Mountains, “And when they cross it, we shall have their lives, or they shall have ours.”
To each chief he visited he gave a slab of cedar with a bundle of red sticks, each stick representing one passing of the full moon. At each full moon the chief was to throw aside one of the red sticks, progressively doing so with each moon until he was down to the last stick, at which point he was to cut it up into thirty pieces, burning each piece in a special fire every morning(with the exception of the 12th piece, which was to be burnt at night). Tecumseh informed them that when they arrived at the final stick, there would be a sign that his prophecy would come true. On the day that they would have burnt the last piece, Tecumseh informed them, the “Great Happening” shall occur.
Many chiefs submitted to his will, being much moved by him, and ultimately revering him for his gift of Prophecy(which he had to prove over and over to various tribes in order to gain their support in manners which I shall not here discuss). One of the only tribes he visited the chief of which neglected to accept his prophecy was that of the Upper Creeks, led by “Big-Warrior.” Seeing that this was only because Big-Warrior was jealous of him, Tecumseh damned the village of Tuckabatchee on the spot, saying aloud “Your blood is white! You have taken my talk and the sticks, the wampum and the hatchet, but you do not mean to fight. I know the reason. You do not believe the Great Spirit has sent me. You shall know. I leave Tuckabatchee directly and shall go to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot, and shake down every house in Tuckabatchee!”
Sure enough, when all the chieftains of the accepting villages got down to the last stick, there went across the sky a meteor made green in light by the clashing of the atmosphere. Thirty days later, at 2:30 AM on Monday, December 16th, 1811, the earth shook. Creek banks caved in and trees toppled, waves broke erratically on the Great Lakes though there was no wind, entire forests fell in tangles, tremendous boulders broke loose on hills, and the very clashing of the earth against itself could be heard by all. The earthquake had begun, one which would last several days(the tremors of which would persist for four months), and its effect went straight down the exact area where Tecumseh said “The line must be drawn in the sand.” In an area with no evidence of tectonic action, and in an event that geologists, even with today’s technology, can still not understand, the mightiest earthquake ever to shake the soil of this continent occurred on the exact date that Tecumseh predicted. It bares note, perhaps, that the damned village of Tuckabatchee entirely collapsed into the earth, destroying every remnant of the occupying tribe, and that the indent in the earth at where Tuckabatchee once stood resembles(even today) the shape of a very large foot. Though the earthquake was concentrated around the Appalachian Mountains, its tremors reached as far away as Maine, where it knocked chimneys off of colonial houses.
Why did I share that particular story? I thought it was a refreshing break from the biblical prophecies of which people often speak, and at that, arguably of larger magnitude than most you’ll find. It illustrates quite well the power of the events that prophets often proclaim to predict. The story also leads well into our next subject by illustrating the aforementioned power.
The Matter at Hand
[/B][/U]A Description of How Prophecy Works
Let us examine for a moment how prophecy is thought to work, in so far as I can provide given my own experience the subject. In accordance to the energy-model, which I am relatively fond of in terms of magic theory, our world is both governed and governs by energy which exists on a celestial level of manifestation, which is directed by our thoughts and put into operation by our own actions here on earth. To everything that happens there is attached to it at least one strand of energy which caused it to manifest via descending into our physical world from the celestial world. This sticks to the old magic axiom “That which is above is alike unto that which is below. That which is below is alike unto that which is above.” Both above and below equally effect one another in this sense.
To elaborate on the aforementioned: If I were to stand up, go outside and cast a spell, I would be beginning a series of actions on an etheral level which would, in accordance to its programming, later descend into our world at the appropriate time to bring about the desired result. By directly influencing the energies by which, lets say, our weather patterns are governed, I could cause whatever weather conditions I desired to manifest via manipulating those “strings,” and therein cause my wish to manifest in a very natural way. The same idea can be applied to business, love, luck, and just about anything else you can find, as for everything which manifests in our world there was some corresponding energy in the celestial world which led to its happening.
The necessary counterpart to this theory is that what we do on this world in turn effects which energies manifest on the celestial world, and therein what things will be caused to happen alter down the rode. Both cause and effect are forever woven together into this cycle and action and reaction, and for those of you who have no already spotted it, it is from here that we derive all laws of karma, karma simply being energy put out into the universe which will manifest back into your sphere of action in some manner that is proportional to the programming for which it was released. To diviners that use the I-Ching this would be known as the Law of Order.
The soothsayer is one who specializes in finding, feeling and “reading” these strands of energies which govern the events of this world to no small degree. By using a working knowledge of which energies are attached to which orders of actions, the soothsayer can calculate a possible outcome via examination of the properties of the energy strand in question. In a very real way the art of predicting the future is nothing by a combination of educated guesses based on PRESENT properties of energies. The future is predicted by what is happening NOW, for only this moment exists. The Controversial Question: Does the prophet predict, or does he cause?
Finally we arrive at the matter for which this essay was written to treat, having gone over what preliminary information I thought would supplement it accordingly. The most controversial question concerning the art of prophecy, and arguably one of the most controversial in regards to magic as a whole, is “Does the prophet predict, or does he cause what he speaks?” We shall examine both sides of the argument to provide as fair a stance as possible, for this essay was written to make you think, not to act as a conviction to join sides. I must admit that I have no yet figured out which side I want to take in the matter, but am for the time simply resting on the idea that they are both equally probable, and whereas sometimes the prophet may cause what he speaks, other times he simply speaks what he sees or is told.If the Prophet Sees
If the prophet simply speaks what he sees, then it is fair to say that he is the mechanism by which the will of some divine intelligence manifests and establishes a foothold in this world. In this manner the prophet could as easily be a magician as he could be your average Joe who has never thought about the occult in any manner of engagement. This is rather disappointing, as where the learned magician must train for years to bring his predictions to any noticeable accuracy, there are regular people out there who without any training in the occult can speak predictions which always ring 100% accurate.
This is the traditional view in most religions, and it states simply that the prophet is the tool of the godhead. He is the instrument by which the celestial intelligence communicates things to the physical world, be it wisdom or events that have not yet happened. Either way the mechanism by which the operation is enacted is Divine Revelation(divine here being used loosely in reference to anything celestial, not specifically the heavens), and we find that this manner of prediction is entirely accurate in all its accusations and claims. It all of this is the case, then us learned magicians must simply bow our heads in acceptance of the Divine Will, though random it may be, in choosing its instruments.
Of more interest is perhaps the idea that when the prophet speaks in this manner, he has at the time assumed the identity of the entity for which he is the mouth via a voluntary/involuntary possession the ultimate traits of which are essentially akin to those of invocation. In the case of prophecies given my skilled magicians, many such things are spoken while under the influence of such an invocation. In this view, the prophet is simply a mouth for the celestial intelligence in question to use in order to deliver a question itself via the medium of the physical vessel. Nothing is “Divinely Revealed” to the prophet in this manner later to be spoken to the people, but instead the revelation is spoken directly to the people, oftentimes with the prophet not knowing what he spoke until later informed.
The energy-model application here is that the prophet subconsciously connects to the strands of energy which govern future events, and with a precision usually unable to be conjured by the magician, speaks what his mind is interpreting as if speaking from his very soul. Some inherent trait within the prophet has caused him to be more aligned with the associations and meanings of the celestial movements than the average person, and so he can speak with certainty as to how certain energies will manifest in our world in the near or far future. If a connection truly is made on a subconscious level in this manner, then one could see how a prophet would believe himself to be inspired by Divine Revelation, seeing as the information simply “comes to him,” ignorant that the information is a stream from his mind’s organization of random data as opposed to the direct input from a celestial higher-up. If the Prophet Causes
If the prophet causes, then this art of prophecy is the most powerful and efficient system within the entire scale of magic as a practice. The prophet speaks, and his very words are made manifest via the strength of his will and the submission of the universe’s mechanisms to it. The highest attainment is made a reality, where out of pure faith in what shall come, the belief of the magician manifests. In this sense, the prophet is not some tool of the divine worlds, but instead the very cornerstone of the events of the world. History’s greatest prophets suddenly become our greatest magicians in the turn of a view point.
If this is the case, then the “Acts of God” mentioned throughout such writings as the Bible are in fact only the operations of men performed on levels of extreme grandeur. Perhaps, also, a divine intelligence simply finds a powerful magician and says “This is what I want you to do,” and if the magician is allied with that particular celestial force, he may agree to the undertaking in according to the will of his celestial commander. In this sense we see the possibility that God did not directly make the things in the bible manifest, but instead used the inherent powers of the magicians that became known as the prophets in order to bring about His own desires in our world indirectly.
Of interest amongst all this is the prophet Elijah, who above them all seems to demonstrate a definitive power which did not simply stem from speaking what God told him. Consider some of the things he did, such as calling down fire from heaven upon the men that came to arrest him and bring him to the king while he was meditating upon a hill. Look at 1 Kings 18:31-38, 2 Kings 2:10-12, and 2 Kings 2:8. We see many things here that the prophet does without first being told to do so by God, but instead operating them out of his own power. This of itself seems to suggest that the Prophets, assuming Elijah is any means of evaluating a degree of the rest, hold a natural power of themselves even before The Lord tells them what to do. One may even turn to Elijah’s predecessor, Elisha, who himself works many more miracles than Elijah did, having been given “a double portion” of Elijah’s power.
If this viewpoint is the correct one, and the prophet is in fact simply a powerful magician, then we see his operations enacted in this manner: The magician’s will, escaping with his words and associated thoughts into the universe, begin to act upon the flows of appropriate energy currents at the present time in which the “prophecy” is presented. By this means his own thoughts shape the flows of energy now in a manner that would cause them to manifest a specific event later on down the road, and so in this way the prophet knows the things of the future, for he is in fact the source from which they came. No godhead is involved, no orders received; Only the will of the adept penetrates the confines of time to shape the future, which only the prophet knows until due time.