Without getting entirely too deep with this post as it could just as easily be turned into a book... which is an idea I have been toying with, it could be said that all religions or spiritual belief systems have a moment of transformation. From the adult baptism to the notion of a spiritual awakening, these moments take the individual and change them into another version of themselves.
How many times does such a transformation happen within a lifetime? My estimate is 10. Although some will experience less or more perhaps. What constitutes a transformation? I believe in the moment it is a total change in thought, action, social status, and even appearance. This can be quite startling for close friends and family as they have grown accustomed to the predictable nature of the individual who has now become so very different.
There are different types of personal transformation over the course of a lifetime. Many things can change a person such as love, the birth of a child, a trip, sobriety. The events in ones life are designed to create change and teach lessons, at least this is what Phyllis Seckler says in regards to life and the Holy Guardian Angel. I had a transformation or two before diving deeper into the occult, which looking back I feel prepared me for my life-long obsession of the occult and entrance into Thelema.
For many years from age 18 - 22 I was in and out of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and trying to grasp any length of sobriety that would come to me. It wasn't until I met my then sponsor that things started to change. I went through the 12 steps which are a staircase to spiritual enlightenment in their own right. It was I'm sure a combination of the years of trying, the steps themselves and the moment of epiphany. I was sitting at my kitchen table with the window in front of me, it was a nice day and the grass on the lawn was a bit burnt from the sun. I read a passage from the AA handbook called: The Doctors Opinion and all of the sudden something clicked in my brain. It was as if I no longer had to fight to be sober anymore and that indeed I did recoil from alcohol like a hot flame. I stayed this way, completely sober, for the next six years.
That was a moment of great change in my life and what felt like a spiritual awakening. All of those years of effort for a flash of lightening and in one moment my thoughts, actions, habits, social standing all changed. I no longer was the person who entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous... I was in every sense someone different.
And there were other moments like this in my life, brief flashes of insight so powerful that it forced me to change the trajectory of my own existence. I can't claim to know exactly what it is that makes such a transformation happen. There is the question of free will, as every decision that led up to those moments were decided by me or at least that's what I assume right now. Even if the Holy Guardian Angel had set me up for a lesson, I could have totally avoided the lesson all together and completely disappointed my Angel. That has probably happened more than I would care to admit.
So, what is an Occult transformation? The way I am thinking of it now is the moment when a person finds the occult: the supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs and exploration of phenomena, and the moment that they choose to go all the way. For years I skirted around the outer edges of the occult community, making friends with the others who hadn't yet begun reading the likes of Eliphas Levi or Aleister Crowley. Those who hadn't asked themselves what exactly was the Goetia? And that was fine and well and it suited my beliefs at the time, and I could very well have stayed there happy and content, but something called me further.
There is a distinct transformation that I believe happens with people at different levels on their occult journey. Some of these transformations in body, mind and manner can be found in the biographies of the more famous occultists. A quick example would be Eliphas Levi who was born the son of a shoemaker in 1810. He studied Roman Catholicism at the seminary Saint Nichols de Chardonnet and was on track for priesthood. In the nineteenth century he left behind the idea of priesthood for the sake of occultism and became known for his work with Baphomet. There was a distinct change in direction upon venturing further into the occult and many of his writings I'm sure would not have been the same had he not abandoned the collar.
Similar things can be said for Aleister Crowley who turned from the Christian religion after his fathers death. The deeper he dove into the occult the more he transformed himself into the man we know of today. His life and work would not have been the same without the occult in any way shape or form. Could it be at times that the occult allows someone to become the person that they've always wanted to be? What this is, good or bad, will be unique to the individual.
I think many people will be able to speak to their own occult transformation and the findings of such would be quite fascinating. Entering into Thelema is a kind of transformation for me personally that may seem small on the outside but for the whole of my work and my commitment to the life-long pursuit and understanding of magick, it has been quite large. Following my own will has allowed me to become more confident and sure-footed in the direction of magical writing and working. It has allowed me to have a greater presence overall in my rituals and it has allowed me to change my appearance, even slightly, to feel more comfortable yet bold.
Why such a transformation takes place or why some abandon their previous selves I cannot fully explain. It could be a new found sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging to something larger than the self, or a calling from outside of the normal intuitive senses. Whatever it is we can find through case studies that the occult transformation does exist and has a profound effect on the individual themselves and the direction of their lives.
Questions for personal consideration:
* Who were you before the occult?
* Who are you now?
* How has the study of occultism changed you?
* What were the turning points or moments that stood out to you on your journey?
* Where do you think you're headed?
* Are you open to complete change if one should occur?