Movies and books for this magic type are listed below.
Book Three- The Way through Air
Calculate well the Formula of the Way.
Create freely; absorb joyously; divide intently, consolidate completely.
Work thou, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, in and for Eternity."
- Aleister Crowley
Chapter One: Learning Magic
early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes
vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate
planning are required to waste this much money."
- P. J. O'Rourke
People no more trust intelligence than they do talent. This may seem rather odd since they trust without question someone who is beautiful or popular. It is because of charm. The god and goddess of water and earth magic, hold their magic through charm, or the grace and bounty and luck of being who they are. The witch and the magician do not have charm. They are from the other world and are great wielders of magic but do not stand in for magic. Magic is an instrument for the magician. He is, not a maker of magic, but a user and learner of magic.
The power of water magic is in clan politics and the power of earth magic is in defending the clan, but the user of air magic is the master of politics. He is the director of the created world and has the job of getting people to do as he sees fit. The task of air magic is to set straight the willful deeds of the actors, to oppose them, to expose them, torment them, and sometimes, reward them. The user of air magic is the great Picador, or tormentor or demon or trickster. He is the representative of individual justice and individual power in a world of the collective. He is an outsider to ravage the clan, a gangster to steal the loot, a barbarian at the gates--he is the chaos of wind and the fresh air of the wild rushing into the stagnant empire.
At one point, this character was the shaman of the tribe, wearing his bird cloak, taking on the masks of raven or eagle, coyote or monkey and running back and forth and forth and back between the two worlds, settling disputes between the gods and humankind. In these modern times, his magic is almost as strong, for his greatest profession was always law. He is both the lawyer and the interpreter of the law, sometimes the judge or the vigilante or the insurrectionist.
One of the greatest stories of air magic was written recently by Victor Hugo. It is called Les Miserables and is a social protest against the conditions of those who had no recourse, the whores, the criminals and the social misfits. Jean Valjean is a great trickster, set up for the entire book as the ideal of the law against the letter of the law, the policeman, Javert. And whose side are we on? Well, Jean Valjean's, of course. Hugo's mastery puts us on the side of the underdog.
When the common situation of people becomes repressive and law is in the hand of political pull and political favor, the trickster stands forth as the righter of wrongs. For this, he is often violently punished.
In Nazi Germany, a group of students started an undergroud newspaper in Munich to protest the actions of their government. They were executed. In Soviet Russia people rushed manuscripts out of the country written by dissidents now in Gulags.
All over the world, trickster stories are often more popular than heroic stories, especially when the heroic is the oppressive and the politics of the day are killing off more people than they are helping. But inside everyone is a bit of the wind, a bit of the trickster. We always secretly desire to see that holier-than-thou hero poked fun of or tormented a little. And the soldier and policeman was always a target for fun by those who could not fight back.
Perhaps the most popular of tricksters is Buggs Bunny. For those of you who are enamored of Aleister Crowley and hold Magick to be in the highest of studies, there is Buggs Bunny. For the magician to be effective, as every shaman knows, he must be, in part, Buggs Bunny. He must have that irreverent fearless attitude of the underdog fighting back and winning through guile and not a little zaniness.
Air magic is the typical way that people come into magic. They desire to use magic, to wield the tools of magic, to control magic and to make magic do their bidding. For many, the path of fire magic is too uncertain, producing unclear results. It is unwieldy and requires discipline for no reward. Air magic, while just as powerful, seems easier to use and dominate with the mind.
For the key is the mind. Air magic is mind magic. It is deception and trickery and the great ability that humans have to follow the clues to solve the mystery. Yet, at its heart, air magic is necessarily irreverent. To begin to take it seriously is the first mark of losing one's edge.
The Trickster Figure 8
1 Realization Boredom
2 Correspondence Equivocation
3 Clarification Dismissal
4 Theory Confusion
5 Argument Evasion
6 Science Heresy
7 Artifice Truth
8 Interference Learning
9 Doctrine Originality
10 Orthodoxy Exploration
The paths of air and earth magics are not spirals. They represent the Celtic mystery of 7 into 8 or 8 into 9. Like the witch/priestess path, the magician's path rises into the normal world and falls back down into the other world. The path is that of a figure eight because water and fire magic are magics that are traditionally female, meaning that the initiate must be receptive. Air and earth magic must be sought after and caught and then forced into shapes and uses. The initiates of receptive magic must clear the mind and then feel infused with the power of magic. The initiates of sought magic must tangle with it and never feel infused. They see the results without channeling the force. As I said in the introduction, most people work a combination of magic because many people have both receptive and seeking parts of themselves or can receive on two different levels or seek on two different levels.
Air magic has been called selfish magic, because the user is an individual and works for justice, not for the common good. If he works against the common good, justice is often called revenge. Two of the greatest characters of air magic are Michael Corleone, as the Godfather, and the "man with no name" trickster in A Fistful of Dollars. Both of these characters looked like they were operating outside of the law for their own selfish interests, yet neither one was doing this. They were both fighting desperately for justice. Another model of air magic, is Sherlock Holmes.
You will note that all these characters have trickster elements no matter how violent and dark they may seem. Behind every one of them is the con man whose weapons are not brute strength and moral backing but brains and skill. The other reason air magic is called selfish magic is because the seeker of earth magic asks for help and gives help and must battle the enemies he finds cooperatively with the help of those he has found on the road. The magician does not seek help and only gives help reluctantly, often brutally or with great irritation and impatience when thanked. Watch Sherlock Holmes played by the great Jeremy Brett. He hates being thanked and he hates working with other people.
The way of the magus involves intricate spell casting. The magus, unlike the witch, does not channel magic, he must summon magic, often through the use of tools who may be human or animal as well as inanimate. His incantations are not the wordless songs of the dark, but the involved spells of words upon words, most of them foreign. He knows languages and knows histories and knows all the laws of heaven and earth. His passion is knowledge, but unlike the makers, he does not seek to create or build or learn for the sake of the spirit. He seeks knowledge so that his spells may be more effective at conning people. He must work alone to try to trip up those who have oppressed and hurt others.
Often, when he escapes the gate at the threshold of the other world, some poor soul has cried out to him to investigate a murder or avenge a death. Yet, even as a criminal investigator, he is said to be more like the criminal than the policeman.
There are some injustices that are injustices by the gods against humankind. In seeking to right these wrongs, the trickster comes into his own as the magus. The greatest of these injustices is mortality. Many magicians spend all their lives trying to reverse mortality. But many more go from here to there listening to the wind and helping little people who cannot help themselves against the powers of the world. Yet woe to him who crosses the trickster. As most Buggs Bunny cartoons depict, the path of personal revenge is a delight to those who practice this magic. Remember their lawyer profession. One of the most popular stories is that called "the biter bit" where one trickster hoping to con someone, cons another trickster and the second trickster goes for revenge. Suit and counter suit. There is nothing that air magic loves more than to pit itself against someone, anyone for justice, yet sometimes just for fun or out of boredom.
Chapter Two: Initiation into Mastery - The Pitfall of Intellectual Success
- Thomas Hobbes
Imagine yourself with the brain you have today back in the first grade. You have several options. You can keep your mouth shut and play along as if you were a first grader. You can protest that you're well beyond that intellectual level and try to get someone to believe you. You can think up ways to amuse yourself.
I once heard a story of a boy who made realistic dummies out of old clothes and hid in the top of a tree that leaned over a street. When a car came racing along, he threw the dummy down so that the driver thought he had hit someone. The driver would jump out of his car in a panic to the faint maniacal laughter of this boy.
There once was a boy who thought it was fun to set off firecrackers under other kids as they sat at their chairs and worked. Another, forced to help some slow kids because he was fast, taught them all the wrong answers with elaborate stories about why.
If you are a trickster, you were that bored adult stuck in the first grade. More sadly is the same situation where you are stuck with the brains of first graders all around you in the adult world and no one else is smarter or more experienced than that--no one. Another child, distracting himself with a hobby, got very good at photography. His father in an attempt to one up the boy, took a bunch of photos using the orange filter to bring out the shadows of the clouds in black and white photos. Only the film was color. The father fumed and raged but could not understand, for the life of him, why all his photos were orange. Another second grader had a teacher who insisted that the planet Jupiter was larger than the sun. When the child fumed, she was given a time out to the hall for back talking and temper. You may laugh, but this is what many of these trickster kids are up against.
Other children ridicule intelligence with a mania that reeks of a deep-seated fear. The trickster is the wolf in the sheep's clothing. He is the little guy who torments and misleads the big, stupid guys in every story from David and Goliath to the antics of Buggs Bunny. He is called nerd and wise guy and beat up on every playground around the world.
But the problem for the trickster is not that he is bored and that everyone despises him for his talents, but that he is--not wants to be, not thinks--he is better than those around him. He joins an elite, often of one. Cynicism and arrogance set in early as this trickster learns to use the people and things around him to get what he wants. Unlike Talent, he is usually not guilted into feeling the need to give up his talents for the sake of anyone who asks. He feels more than that a need to get revenge on the world that despises him for the best he is. He feels sometimes that he will never be popular, and that, as an ape, he will always have the wrong smell, so it's every man for himself out there. If he grows up in an environment where his skills are challenged and his competitive urges are met, he will grow into a power that can use the very air itself to work his ambitions. He then becomes a Bill Gates or a Cardinal Richelieu or a Richard Nixon or a Napoleon or a Karl Marx or Lenin.
When one rises to power using tools, then everything is a tool. If the tools are effective the mind may start to identify with the tools, especially the greatest tool, the mind itself. The debate procedures become more fascinating than that is debated. The trading of power becomes more of a game than the favors that are traded. Power breeds power and tools breed tools and the game is all that there is to distract the mind from warping in on itself.
Words themselves are fascinating tools. Not a creator of words, the user of air magic is entranced with words. The written word, the spoken word, the foreign phrase, the shibboleth, the password, the secret phrase, the double entendre--the fascination with words is the greatest part of air magic. One could say that air is words, for the breath of the spirit was the Word. Man is the namer of things the maker of words. The magician is a word master, using words to distract, to bewilder, to confuse, to lead, to con, and to gain power. His greatest weapon is the word.
In ancient days the greatest power was not the sword. It was the ability to lampoon or to curse or to satire. The power of the magus is the ability to bring down empires with a few, well placed, words.
Some people make out the great Merlin to be a fire wizard. Others make him a magician. He was probably a combination of the two or a fire maker born into a world of warriors where he learned the value of the well placed word. Warriors used to try to intimidate one another with posturing and shouts and curses. Now, warriors rely upon their spy networks and their technology to show up the enemy. For the user of air magic, the world of men is a world of war. His birds are the raven and the eagle, the falcon and the vulture. His animals are the serpent and the wolf and the other animals of winter, predators and scavengers. He is represented by a fish, but it is the shark or the barracuda or the sharp beaked salmon, predators all.
Battles of wits or battles to lampoon or mock someone are the battles of air, the battles of the trickster and the masters of power. Yet the other side of air magic lies within the ancient game of dueling, including games of chess and go. As with the ancient art of debate, these duels are highly ritualized and battles of honor. All of the etiquette that has arisen from dueling is part of this elaborate ritual of honor, from our modern handshake to the exchange of greetings. Bowing, an Eastern ritual is one of the greatest examples of air magic. Bowing is a subtle game of power where honor is weighed, challenged and status is decided. Users of air magic, being the ruling class were so honor bound that they could afford none of the relaxed attitudes of the lower castes.
Rituals of eating and hospitality and marriage, birth and death were part of the farming caste, but rituals of war and greeting were formed by the ruling castes. For the worker of air magic, the sword is a significant part of the magic and the discipline of the sword, knife and bow are all ancient arts of skill used by his caste. Falconry and hunting were ruled by this class. If one of the lower castes were caught hunting, it was called poaching and punishable by law.
Although workers of earth magic are those who accumulated wealth and material objects, the warrior caste was the one who valued everything and coveted it. Users of air magic often see in their quest for power a quest for wealth that is due to them for their skill and position. Much of what they do can become a con to try to get this wealth and buy power and more wealth with it. Not for them is the exchange and the market and the quest for a bargain. For them is the tax and the fee and the retainer and the looted goods of people under them.
The pitfall of mental success is twofold. If you battle and win and battle and win again, power begins to go to your head and you become enamored with your superiority. If you summon up greater and greater power and technology to try for the big game, you may become so wrapped up in the study and lore and guts of this power that the game pales by comparison and the goals fade in light of the rules of the conflict.
For you is the practice of noblesse oblige, or generous and responsible behavior associated with rank or power or ability. As much as you may despise them, you do not have to have compassion for people as much as you need to be generous to them. Generosity does not mean giving out gifts in a Godfather sense, it means learning that avarice is your enemy and that giving of power and wealth and ability is a way to exercise it without belittling an opponent. There is a widely observed fact that the nouveau riche flaunt their position by belittling others while the person of many generations of high class is gracious, generous and so secure in their position that they can afford to be caring.
The following questions will let you know if you are nouveau riche or new to the power and magic of air, or if you can handle it with grace and responsibility.
Try to answer the following truthfully.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I find that I need to tell people what to do?
_____ 2. Do I think that life would be easier if I was in charge?
_____ 3. Do I watch people who are considered to be smart?
_____ 4. Would I have trouble overcoming stupidity or clumsiness in myself?
_____ 5. Would I have trouble overcoming stupidity or clumsiness another?
_____ 6. Do I look for a mate who will help my ambitions?
_____ 7. I am freaked out by people who have abilities but are downtrodden?
_____ 8. Do I have a strict code of honor?
_____ 9. Do I scorn people who do not share my code?
_____ 10. Is it important to advertise what brains and abilities you have?
Add up your points. A = 2, B = 1, C = 0.
0-5 You don't have a problem with arrogance, a sure mark of insecurity.
6-15 Sometimes you have a problem with thinking you know more. You might want to think about the situations in which you want to take control.
16-20 Arrogance is a trap for you. You need to be careful of trying to prove to others that you are secure in your caste when you are really not.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I find most people competent in some way?
_____ 2. Do I think that life can be made more just and equitable?
_____ 3. Do I want to listen to everyone I meet?
_____ 4. Do I find it easy to overcome scorn in myself?
_____ 5. Do I find it easy overcome hypocrisy in another?
_____ 6. Do I look for someone to challenge me?
_____ 7. Do I see some people growing more wise as they age?
_____ 8. Do I find each person unique in the way that they are competent?
_____ 9. Do I find that I can't define intelligence?
_____ 10. Is it important to live life as if you were just?
Add up your points. A = 2, B = 1, C = 0.
0-5 The path of ability will be a challenge, but worthwhile.
6-15 You will meet challenges and you will find many things easy, on this path.
16-20 Although this journey will be easy for you, the end result is always worthwhile.
If you have passed the test of arrogance then you are already well on your path to competence with air magic, as a person of power, skill, and ability.
Chapter Three: The Threshold of Change - Hearing the Call of Ability
and the feeble mentality of the average adult."
- Sigmund Freud
Around the age of three to five, children learn the art of telling stories. Many parents grow frustrated at this stage because children begin to tell lies. Often their body language gives them away as the universal signal of story making makes them roll their eyes to the upper right. Story telling is an ancient skill used by humans to bind time, sequence, and consequence to a random series of images. At this age, the child is also able to learn the effects of his actions and is usually prodded with the first rules of ethics. "How would you feel if Johnny hit you!" is a common cry. The self-centered world of the toddler is broken as he must try to use his imagination and modeling skills to figure out a course of events.
To the users of air magic are the codes of ethics, conduct, etiquette and rules of procedure. They are the inventors and discovers of story line and direction. Just as the initiate of water magic can make no rules being the setting of the human drama and the seeker of earth magic can make no rules being the actor of the human drama, the user of air magic is the director and the interpreter of the creator's play. The director is always cited last in the credits to a movie as the actors are cited first after the title. His is the tone that will shape the play and he is the one who can bend all the powers of his skill and technology to try to effect the writing, to give the play his "stamp".
The ability to verbalize is often the first of the initiate of air's talents. The child takes breath and spews a whole world of random observations and thoughts. At first, all reading is aloud. But sight is also of equal importance to the user of air power. Usually this is not his own sight, but the ability of others to see, or not to see. The sleight of hand is worked most effectively under the patter of misdirection. Almost all of the skill of the child of air is geared toward getting control of the human drama. Whether it is control of the set, the actors or the writing is not as important as just getting control. This means comprehension, understanding, modeling, and practice, practice, practice. Usually practice means dueling. Dueling means pitting yourself against skilled opponents, or sometimes not so skilled.
Yet, in all users of air magic, the mind is the supreme tool. The words make the mind. The senses are useless unless applied to the problem at hand. The hands struggle to solve the problem or to practice the con. Often the two are intertwined as the child's stories, observations and lies are intertwined. Some users of air magic never learn the difference between reality and non reality or the map and the territory it seeks to map. Often, even in hero's journey stories the studies are those common to workers of air magic.
The threshold for the initiate of air magic involves a
trick, so the first thing the magician must know is how to get through the gates. The
gates between the ordinary world and the magical world that the trickster inhabits open
inward and cannot be forced. The trickster must bide his time and wait for a death to
open the gates or someone else to get entrance to the gates from the other side. Often
times, the trickster just "hangs out" at the gates like the scene in The
Godfather I where Michael Corleone is sitting with Kaye at his sister's wedding. The
call to go forth into the ordinary world is usually a message passed from the lips of the
dead as they first enter the other world, often still filled with the rage and passions of
Again in The Godfather I, Michael is still "hanging out", a civilian on the sidelines of the world of crime, after his father is hit. Then he hears his brother raging about vengeance and claims that he can do this for his father, he can get revenge for the family against the powers that have compromised his father.
Sherlock Holmes, another trickster, usually just "hangs out" in his rooms at 221B Baker Street and does not act but sinks more and more into boredom until someone comes to his door and asks for help in seeking out justice or solving a crime.
To be in the right place at the right time for entry onto the path of air, often you must affect a "hanging out" at the gates. It helps if you know all the languages, including the language of the birds, and it helps if you're friendly with the threshold guardians. Maybe play a few rounds of dice with them and let them win.
Not always is the entry into the real world to get justice or revenge for a wronged soul. Sometimes someone might ask you to solve an impossible problem or to help them attack a tyrant. Sometimes the wronged souls are so because of some elixir being held back by the forces of the earth against the rules of society. But the trickster never goes into the ordinary world unless called upon by some injustice or "imbalance in the force". The purpose of air magic is to shake loose foundations, to rip off roofs, to reveal the cloaked, to stir up trouble and to change the course of events--otherwise to direct. The director does not direct unless the play calls for direction. The greatest mistake the trickster can make is to want to take over the play. I will explain why later.
The first place the initiate of air magic must do is to go to the scene of the crime. Before you leave the gates of the other world, you'd better have a map of the ordinary world or directions to the scene of the crime. Tricksters are usually having to slip by powers that would put them in prison for their audacity, so the directions had better be pretty clear.
In another movie, The Crow, the wronged soul returns to the ordinary world to get revenge for himself and his fiancée. He does not know the way, but figures out pretty quickly that he has to follow his familiar, or the crow. A way to navigate in the real world is to have a familiar or a maker of fire magic to help you find the way to the scene of the crime. The familiar will not show you anything else--it goes against the laws of magic.
For you, the worker of wind and storm, the law is the Law, and you must adhere strictly to the code or the law or the rules of magic. So, in order to leave the magical world, you'd better know the codes.
So, to summarize the skills you need
to follow this path:
Knowledge of languages.
This also means a knowledge of a trade or the lingo of a trade if your situation demands that you adopt a disguise. You must think like a spy. You must be able to blend in.
Solution to the problem.
This means that you can solve the problem. If you can't you'll have to run for your life. No one gets in more trouble than a magician who thought he could solve the problem, winged it, and had it blow up in his face.
A map or directions.
The map is not the territory. You have to be able to read maps. This means maps of the land, maps of personalities, maps of souls, maps of secret rooms, maps of books, anything that is a key, an index, a code, a translation, or a clue. If you're going to get the Minotaur, you'd better have your ball of string.
Be familiar with the codes.
Know your manners! Manners are not for friends who know each other. Manners are to use in front of strangers, usually antagonistic strangers. Part of your razzle-dazzle act had better be a familiarity with the rules so that you don't trip up and give yourself away over a slip of the tongue. This means also that you'd better know the regulations and rules of all gaming in case you have to fight a duel.
Well, you can begin to see why you, of all the people on the path, must go to school. It takes brains to get along out there. If you're not ready, hang out some more. This is the worst path to trod when you're not ready. Why? Not because you'll endanger your health like the makers of fire magic, or get tangled up in family politics like the queens of water magic, or even stumble around like a fool on the path of earth magic, but because everyone is after you. You're starting out on this journey outnumbered and outgunned. You can't make up for brains with brawn. You have to fight smart.
There are three schools of fighting.
The School of Grace
Manners, dancing , bowing, turning the right phrase and the right way. Graceful fighters impress everyone with the beauty of their cold, cold perfection. Here is the power of those who can negotiate the courts and ballrooms of the powerful and influential.
The School of Speed
If you are fast, you can get in and get away without anyone being the wiser. Quick fighters are those who can pummel their enemies while their enemies are turning around and around trying to figure out what's happening.
The School of Strength
This means physical strength, but it also means mental strength. If you can out think with the sheer strength of your great mind, they'll be impressed, no matter what you do. Great minds are often spared by any enemy for some later task just as the strong man is spared.
Chapter Four: Calling up the Wind
and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us,
and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak,
the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls."
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
To use air magic, you are not filled with wind. You must call up the wind and trick it into obedience. To do this you need tools. The tools of the spirit are breath tools. Many Eastern religions focus on breath as the first part of a mental and physical discipline. The tool of the spirit of wind is the breath and the word.
As Hermione points out in the first book of the Harry Potter series, how you say a word is just as important as the words that you say. WIN gar di a Lev i O sum! For many people in the Mid East, the shibboleth/sibboleth pronunciation is still regarded as a valid test of character. To many people of this area, Americans sound like snakes because they have so many S's in their language. How many times have we not fallen flat on our faces for the mispronunciation of a word!
For many people the correct pronunciation of local landmarks is a test of foreigners. For others a slip of vocabulary or pronunciation is a mark of class. Vocabulary denotes profession and level of learning. Since ancient times, secret societies have included the shibboleth as part of their recognition rituals as well as their handshakes. And in every spy novel, the spy must steal or know the secret passwords.
In The Lord of Rings, one could enter the gates of Moria but speaking "friend" and entering. Gandalf spent much time over this riddle until he realized that "friend" was a password. In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, one must know the password to the door, "open, sesame!" Secrets and secret chambers are always guarded in the magical universe by the password. In Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets, Harry had to speak parselmouth, a shibboleth form of a password in that no one outside of Slitherin House had ever spoken parselmouth before. Part of poor Nevil can never remember the passwords to get inside the dormitory.
Latin is a famous magical lingo, so is Greek. Every profession has its jargon. Most books of magical spells require a working understanding of Latin and Greek the universal languages of the sciences and the arts since the fall of the Roman empire. For Moslems, Arabic is this universal tongue and must be learned to read the Koran. Further east, Sanskrit and Urdu are the languages of choice. In many professions there are still magical holdovers. In astronomy, there are stars named by Arabian astronomers such as Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, but the constellations are as old as Babylon and a carry over from the astrologers of that era.
In another famous Fantasy series, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, the magical book is called Grammarye. Merlin had a book of grammar. Grammar simply means letters or writing. In ancient times, only a very few could read and write. In tales of Ulster warriors, the upper class was supposed to be able to understand the magical language of Ogam which was a tree language carved into rods. Runes are another form of language whose magical letters have outlived their users. Although the writing of these grammars was a priestly affair, warriors and tricksters had to be able to use these writings to work the magic of air.
Semiology is the science of signs. Much of the way that magic works is by accompanying hand signs or gestures or "a flick of the wrist" when using a magic wand. Body language is a form of semiology. Understanding body language can get you through many scrapes better or as well as language. Another part of semiology is the art of dressing and art of carrying the right tools with you. A stethoscope can help you masquerade as a doctor. A legal pad can help you pretend to be a lawyer. The science of signs is vital to disguise.
The art of riddling is a dying art. It used to be as much a part of magic as spells were. In many many stories the hero must answer correctly a riddle. Often the trickster as part of the threshold guardians would ask the riddles.
The art of humor is vital to the users of wind magic. Perfecting the art of physical and verbal humor is a talent that will get you into the holiest of sanctuaries. All forms of humor fall into the trickster/magician's hands: satire, lampooning, punning, mimicking--whatever works, use it.
Cursing used to be a weapon of a warrior as much as his sword or shield. All of the Ulster heroes could curse. Often entire houses could be brought down with a curse. The only place that cursing survives is in school yard taunts. One of the greatest weapons that a trickster can have on the school yard in the face of the cohesive groups of earth magic bullies is name calling. The use of it on attractive, spoiled little girls or boys still works as well.
You might hesitate to call technology magic, but it is in a way. If you took any of our common technologies back a thousand years, you'd be burned as a witch. Yet the warrior caste has always appreciated technology that gave them an edge over the settled people they pillaged. A reading of historical conquest is a reading of the history of technology. What is made by fire magic is used by air magic, again following the ancient pattern of wizards and familiars. Minos, king of Crete, was a user of air magic, and Daedalus was his engineer or familiar. President Kennedy, another of the warrior class, (high ranking political family) had his chief engineer of the space program, the rocket scientist Werner Von Braun (fire magic indeed), who had been on the team of German engineers during the war who built the first rocket launched bombs that nearly destroyed Britain. Von Braun could have cared less about war, he was only interested in getting to the moon.
Over and over again we see this pattern in technology and it is a famous one in Science Fiction as we see in Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain Picard (who can recite his famous line of warrior ancestors) and Data, (himself a creation by a worker of fire magic). The pattern is not so common in Fantasy where the hero's journey is more common than the warrior king and his band of defenders of the earth against some horrible monsters or detestable enemies.
During war, air magic takes over as the dominant magic. In times of peace, earth magic prevails. If you are on the path of wind and war erupts, you are in the best position to both help others and help your own ambitions if you can get your hands on a new technology to harness the power of the wind to destroy the enemy.
If there is no war, most workers of air magic are more than a little bored. Makers of fire magic have to prostitute their skills toward making trinkets and better ways to sell cars, but workers of air magic often have to resort to internal squabbling, usually in long and involved lawsuits (or duels) between powerful families or in trying to help the destitute to overcome the crushing powers of the state as a criminal defense lawyer or the leader of a social protest or as a detective or as a criminal.
The Master Thief story remains one of the more popular, especially among the destitute who rely upon the trickster to right social inequalities. For the farming castes and the serf castes, luck is everything, but for the makers of air magic, luck is made. Luck is merely having a better plan and better tools than the local constabulary. But before you get the idea that to use air magic there must be a war or you must resort to crime, there is a third alternative.
Les Miserables is Victor Hugo's masterpiece. Hugo excelled at writing stories about the trickster. His half-villians are famous the world over such as the priest in The Hunchback of Notre Dame who lusts after the fire gypsy, Esmeralda. In Les Miserables, the story of the once thief turned benefactor and then fugitive, Jean Valjean prevails. But in this book is one of the noblest pictures of a worker of air magic, the leader of the ABC Society, Enjolras. In the story he leads the Paris insurrection of 1848 and dies at the hands of the police. It was this vision that sustained the writer, Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and responsible for the Objectivist movement, during the horrors of the Soviet Revolution. Her books are filled with air magic "heroes" who are not firemen or soldiers, but philosophers.
The way to call up air magic in a time of peace is to be a watchdog of the reigning culture. Air magic was designed to be a check on the oppressive tactics of the farming and merchant castes who desire security before individual rights. A healthy society has its questioners who are the first to be imprisoned when security is threatened.
The current mode of calling up the wind is the internet. Around the world, workers of air magic, whether they are tricksters, hackers or watchdogs, use the internet to create chaos and stick pins into anyone who is getting too fat off the land at the expense of the workers. This is a kind of name calling that comes naturally to the user of air magic. Any time you sit down to email you are involving yourself in air magic, no matter who you are.
The biggest mistake anyone can make is confusing warrior-controllers with warrior-watchdogs. Often they come from the same family. Because of the natural contention of air magic, because it is a magic heavy in honor and individual egos, it works as a check and balance of the socialist mentality of the farming caste. The barometer of social health is in reading the effectiveness of air magic to harass and stir up earth magic. Think of it this way. If earth magic is a rock, then air magic makes a soil by nagging at it for generations with maybe a little help from a lightning strike. The same check and balance exists between water magic and fire magic. When the growth of the earth gets too thick, a fire will cleanse it out and make room for new trees.
It is not one magic against another, but a balance and dance between the magics that makes the world work and the human drama go forward.
Chapter Five: The Protection of Trickery
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious
- Mary Poppins
Yes, Mary Poppins was a trickster, too. She was quite a wizard. Her job was to go and shake up families so that they would understand that love is more important that security. And Mary shows us the importance to a trickster of the use of the disguise. For the witch, invisibility and personas help to distance her from people who exhaust her or use her. For the magician, disguise is used to get closer to people, to win your way past their defenses and into their homes if need be.
Humor is another form of trickery that can disguise your intentions or distract your opponents. Distraction is the middle name of any good trickster. All along the path of magic, both the way to protect the false self and the way to protect the ability to effect change involve trickery.
It is time to speak of the devil, probably one of the greatest tricksters and the most feared. Remember that the devil is just another dark lord who is the king of hell. He fell there in his arrogance. In Paradise Lost, Milton quotes Lucifer crying "it is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven" marking him as a member of the ruling class. Here is another map of the path of air magic to show you why the trickster becomes the dark king, Hades, Shiva, Set or Satan.
The Ordinary World
H1 - The Fool: The Arrival of the Stranger
Ignoring the Threats
Barred from Entry
H2 - Death: Swearing Justice
Testing, Rejecting, Killing
The The Cloak of Invisibility
Loss of Love
H3 - The Moon: The Freeing of the Innocent
Failure of the Father
H4 - Magus: Laying out the Deck
The Set Up
A Moment of Remorse
H5 - Justice: Buried Alive
The Fall into Hell
H6 - The Devil: Kingdom of the Dead
Tormenting the Dead
Challenge and Tasks
H7 - The Tower: Destruction of Hell
Return to the Desert
8 - The Hermit
Here is the path mapped onto a famous movie.
The Godfather I
The Arrival of the Stranger Michael arrives at his sister's wedding.
The Warning Kaye forces from him the Luca Brasi story.
Ignoring the Threats Michael celebrates Christmas in New York while his father is attacked.
Barred from Entry Michael goes to the hospital and is beaten.
Swearing Justice Michael offers to revenge his father.
The Rise in the World He kills McCluskey and the Turk.
Testing, Rejecting, Killing The war begins.
The Invisible Cloak Michael hides in Sicily.
The Loss of Love Kaye is refused communication with Michael.
The Freeing of the Innocent He loses his wife in a car bombing.
Failure of the Father Sonny is killed.
Apodiabolos Michael accepts his role as the new Don.
Stealing Fire They make the "truce".
Laying out the Deck Michael and his father plot the murders.
The Set Up They are betrayed by Tessio.
A Moment of Remorse Michael accepts being godfather for Connie.
The Killings The dons are murdered.
Buried Alive Connie turns on him.
The Fall into Hell He lies to Kaye. The Gracious The petitioners come to the office.
The King of the Dead The door shuts on the kiss.>
Here is a melding of the important points of
the path to the minor arcana path of the Tarot for the suit of swords, or the path of
air magic with the obverse and reverse meanings.
Project Mind/Protect Mind
1 Realization/Boredom The Arrival of the Stranger: The Fool
2 Correspondence/Equivocation - Swearing Justice: Death
3 Clarification/Dismissal - The Freeing of the Innocent: The Moon
4 Theory/Confusion - Laying out the Deck: The Magus
5 Argument/Evasion - Buried Alive: Justice
6 Science/Heresy - The King of the Dead: The Devil
8 Interference/Learning - Destroying the Kingdom: The Tower
10 Orthodoxy/Exploration - Return to the Desert: The Hermit
In almost every hero's journey story, the hero faces the dark king when he goes into the magical world (hell) to steal or win the elixir. In trickster stories, the trickster almost always faces the emperor or the king tyrant in the real world in order to expose the corruption and bring justice to the disenfranchised. Mythologically these two figures were locked in combat from the earliest days of established religion. Set and Osiris. Loki and Odin. Shiva and Vishnu. Krishna and Indra. Coyote and Bear. Rabbit and Bear. Kilibob and Manumbu. Satan and Jehovah.
Part of the task of the user of air magic who is on the path of justice is fooling the enemy. When justice is done and the trickster is found out to have fooled everyone and thus exposing the king, he is often punished, usually by being buried alive or cast down into hell. Often he is a close brother to the person who punishes him. In the other world, as the king of the dead, he suffers again from boredom and takes some pleasure in tormenting the souls that come before him. But his cynicism and hatred grow and he longs for some kind of challenger to defeat him and give him peace. Finally, his challenge is met, hell is destroyed and he is set free to wander the earth as the hermit from the desert or the mentor. In the end, he is Obi Wan, helping the hero to overcome the next dark king, win the elixir and destroy hell.
In real life, often the most clever criminals are recruited by the law once they are caught, to help train their employees. This story is illustrated in movies such as Catch Me if You Can. This movie is a brilliant example of how disguise and trickery lets the trickster/criminal win the hearts and trust of those around him that he intends to defraud.
One of the real problems for the magician is that once having set up a way to defraud people, he is at risk of other people stealing this formula or forcing him to become a tool. Because of this, the elements of air magic are often heavily guarded with codes and keys and booby traps to keep off the tricksters who would trick the trickster.
The risk of all this trickery is that lying breeds lying and trickery breeds trickery and power breeds power and soon there is no end to the disguise and bedazzling effects and no beginning to the real magic which is effecting justice. The rule is this. If you feel yourself getting caught up in the devising of secret codes and disguises, ask yourself, what mission am I on? Who do I fear more, those who are hurting defenseless folks or people who want to steal from me?
Remember the old adage, "less is more?" Less is more.
Chapter Six: Ways to Resist Cynical Paranoia
Well, now you have suffered the punishment of Prometheus who brought fire from the gods to mankind. You have brought about a change in the ordinary world, but you have racked up a host of enemies doing it. Or at least they look like enemies. They should be enemies. You would want revenge if you were in their shoes.
It is difficult to forget that you have done them a favor and now you are being punished for it. Things sour for you. The tastes of the world, once the hard won taste of heaven, now pale and cannot please you any longer. Everything is less satisfying, everyone is stupid and silly and not at all worthy of your attentions. The big enemy is down and now all that is left to pester you are all these flies of little brains who cannot challenge anyone, let alone you. The problem is that somewhere out there there has to be someone who can beat you at your own game. You can wait around or you can set the traps.
Sound familiar? This is the dark king's hell.
As you can see from the markers of the path of air, the loop and the trap concern boredom, evasion, argument and interference. Law becomes crime, truth becomes artificial, investigation becomes inquisition. The air is flat, the wind is gone, and the staleness of the pit is overwhelming. Pleasures become perverted, curiosity becomes morbid.
King Minos of Crete kept a monster from his own siring in a labyrinth constructed by his familiar, Daedalus. He demanded from his enemies seven youths and seven maidens every year to feed this monster. Finally, the monster was killed by Theseus, assisted by Ariadne's thread. Loki, chained to a rock, was subjected to poison dropping into his eyes by a snake. His wife caught the poison, but when she emptied the pan, Loki screamed with pain. Hades, bored and frustrated, kidnapped Persephone and dragged her away to hell with him. He tricked her into eating the pomegranate seeds just as she learned that she was to be freed.
The dark king's rule is childless and loveless and tasteless. All he secretly desires is to be freed by the enemy he fears.
Many animals, in their fear, puff themselves up to look larger. Cats do this, some lizards and a little fish called the puffer fish. Sometimes the kingdom of hell is a very small kingdom and the perceived slights against the king are very great indeed. Envy fills him and vanity over what little power he has over men. He lords it over the people he can and puffs himself up so his enemies will think him large and powerful. He does this with cars and lavish parties and gifts and promises and crime.
The true noble is marked by none of these bourgeois ploys. He does not have to prove anything to anyone. He accepts his punishment by the establishment as his due for helping those less fortunate because he did not help anyone for reward, only because they needed someone to help them. In his power, he is magnanimous. In his fortune he is generous. In his ability he is humble. And everyone can see that he has no enemies or they have scattered all, like the rats they were.
Testing true nobility.
1. Have I ever given anyone advice and then denied them more when they didn't follow it?
2. Have I ever helped someone's career and been disappointed when they back stabbed me?
3. Have I ever power brokered? Done someone a favor with the idea of getting one back?
4. Have I ever slandered someone to promote my ambitions?
5. Have I ever encouraged people to give me stuff in exchange for empty promises?
6. Have I ever flaunted my assets to encourage people to come to me for help?
7. Have I ever told someone "caveat emptor" when they've had a legitimate grief with me?
8. Have I ever given something away because the gift will destroy their reputation?
9. Have I ever planned events for show or to show up people I envy?
10. Have I ever felt better about my career after a successful plot?
If you answered yes to any of these questions (yes any) you have fallen into the temptation of fraudulence and need to work on true nobility. True nobility means that you are acting because you have an obligation, because you are superior, because you desire brethren of angels not devil slaves. Nobility has nothing to do with the who sees you or who is impressed. If you fall into these traps more often than not, you are in the trap of the puffer fish.
Yet, everyone knew that Hades was fabulously rich. Another dark king was Midas who turned everything around him into gold. This is a bad combination: having riches beyond the dreams of wealth, having power over everyone, and having nothing to do. Often the mind turns against itself and creates realities that have nothing to do with the senses. The mind has no room to range out, beyond that stifling throne room stacked with treasure. Were is the challenge and the freedom of movement? Where is the flight upon the wings of the tornado?
The mind craves movement. It will make
movement when none is given it. One of these self limiting reliefs from boredom is
paranoia, or dreaming of an enemy.
1. Have I ever forced someone to rat out someone else?
2. Have I ever used someone to get someone to do something to an enemy?
3. Have I always politely refused to retaliate on partial knowledge?
4. Have I ever threatened anyone with exposure if they didn't do what I wanted?
5. Have I ever threatened anyone with ruin if they didn't do what I wanted?
6. Have I ever sworn to judge anyone without mercy if I feel them in my way?
7. Have I ever seen everyone in black and white and not allowed any small slips?
8. Have I exposed the enemy of an ally and now fear that my ally fears me?
9. Have I ever lost my sense of humor?
10. Have I ever wanted just to kill off everyone?
Remember Hades who had to trick Persephone to get her to stay with him? Another form of paranoia is keeping a wife, not out of love, but out of fear. A wife can be another stack of gold, bought and won and locked away. One of the greatest lusts and fears of women is to find a sugar daddy who will free them from material want, but lock them up for perverse pleasure, far from the light of day.
One of the earliest signs of paranoia is in having a wife that loves you, like Loki's wife, and inventing a reason why she secretly does not. This is extremely easy to do. You can become wildly jealous and possessive over a wife of beauty and suspicious and tyrannical over a wife of talent. And when the pitiful jester performs his tricks before your dark thrones and actually makes her laugh, you secretly fume and envy the sound, as the trill of a bird in a dark cage. For this, you may punish her.
Of course, you will be vulnerable if you love a wife. And if she is touched by the hand of the enemy you will become wildly paranoid in your efforts to protect her unless you have a jealous streak and see her hand in the hand of your enemy. All in all, paranoia will destroy even the little bit of love and compassion that has followed you into hell. Nobility will raise you above these fears and let you see your wife for the queen she is, even if she is queen in exile.
If you have kidnapped your wife in a play for power, or if she is your familiar, these years in hell can help solidify your relationship and let you see light in a place of darkness. Even if she is destroyed in the war to undo your kingdom, you will have a light in your hand for the rest of your life when you are set loose to wander instead of wandering in the dark.
Chapter Seven: Becoming the Magus
For many workers of magic, the Magus is the only card that speaks to them. The Magus is the master magician the champion of air, corresponding to the sun champion of earth, the Chariot, the mistress of the moon or the High Priestess and the holy or sacred prostitute represented by the Hierophant. Of all the practitioners of air magic, Aleister Crowley is probably the most famous, not only for his book on Magick, but his interpretation of the Tarot deck. By Crowley's interpretation, the Magus is both angel and ape wound together in the hands of man.
The Christian church tried out this archetype on their monks, but the politics of the magic of air and the devotion of the magic of fire is a combination that is turbulent and destructive. Because of the nature of air magic, being traditionally of the warrior and noble caste, priests who practice both magics find themselves trying to rule the powers of creation through men and their actions. It is usually best if the director and the writer are different people although, if it works, it can have some amazing results such as the rise of Arthur through Merlin's machinations.
Mythologically, the magus is only the magus because he has killed the king. He is the incarnation of the dark king or the tanist who must kill the ruling body in order to give the world winter and, ultimately, the rebirth of spring. He is the slaughterer, the sacrificer, the vision of Old Man Time with the scythe of justice waiting to lop off the head of the reigning power.
But before that, he was the one who decided on the tenure of the sacrificial king, the real power of the throne. He was the body of nobles who controlled trade, decided lawsuits, gave live and death and weighed out the value of people. There are carryovers of this power all through the pantheons of the ancient religions from Maat to Hera and Zeus to Thoth, Hermes to Hades and Thor to Heimdall and Loki. Most of these images are completely jumbled as though each time one of them was taken up into the pantheon some of their powers went this way and that, torn by the wind whether to protect them or to defame them, we can only guess.
To become the master of the winds, you must be multi-talented. If you rely too heavily on one talent, you are weak in the others. Think of the lawyer, the magus of the courtroom. He must rely on different forms of air magic so that he can hit the jury or the judges from different sides. Traditionally, the wind had 8 directions in the West and 12 in the East.
Graigos (NorthEast) the power of bribes
Boreas (North) the power of position
Maistros (NorthWest) the power of weapons
Ponentes, Dietikas (West) the power of secret knowledge
Garmpas (SouthWest) the power of teasing
Nautias, Austria (South) the power of flattery
Sirrocas (SouthEast) the power of secret treasure
Levante(East) the power of bargaining
With the winds, you have the ability to defame, expose, uncover, and remove. These powers, when used for the sake of justice, will work to that end. These powers when used in the service of avarice or ambition, will turn back upon the worker and make him the biter-bit or the trickster who tricked himself. This is a very funny position and one that will hurt your pride and your standing beyond recovery. You can also try to get another magus who is doing evil to use these powers to this effect and turn about the biter-bit as the Lawyer Portia does to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice when she says that it says nowhere in his contract that he can shed any blood when getting his pound of flesh when greed and revenge made him accept no other payment.
But the powers of wind are the powers that you summon. You call up these powers to use the winds to tickle, excite and betray others into falling into the set up. Using these winds requires enormous skill to direct them exactly as you wish to the effect that you wish.
If you wish the longer road, you can learn the power of the clear mind, or the power of summoning the wind to clear a space in your mind and leave behind only the power of emptiness. This is a difficult power to explain to one who has not experienced it. Mediation practice is designed solely for this reason. The Tao is a life-long study of this kind of magic of clarity. The twelve directions probably came to Europe with Marco Polo and the influx of Eastern disciplines from the Arabs and other traders.
The Wind Rose
Solanus (E.) the power of patience
Eurus (S.E.) the power of meditation
Euroauster (S.S.E.) the power of reflection
Auster (S.) the power of song
Notus (S.S.W.) the power of knowledge
Africus (S.W.) the power of understanding
Zephyrus (W.) the power of poetry
Stannus (N.W.) the power of lore
Ireieus (N.N.W.) the power of research
Boreus (N.) the power of intelligence
Aquilo (N.N.E.) the power of exchange
Volturnus (N.E.) the power of conversation
In nature the power of clear air or clarity is the ionization of the atmosphere after a storm or the air at high altitudes. Some people say that the air has a blueness to it under these conditions. Learning these powers may seem trivial to you. I warn you, they are not. If you think that they are ways of filling the mind, you may be ruled by avarice or ambition. They are ways of emptying the mind or tuning the mind to the harmonies of the spheres, as the alchemists used to put it. There are layers and layers of tie ins from personality charts as the planets drifted through these constellations. But beware, too much in the way of correspondences can bring in too many winds all battling in a cyclone of chaos. Use maps, if it helps, but remember that the maps were made from a human mind to map a human mind. Maps are not the mind itself.
The trick of wind power is to use the power without it touching you, without you grabbing it and holding it and identifying with it. Use patience without being patient. Use knowledge without being knowing. Use intelligence without being intelligent. Use exchange without being exchanged. As soon as you add a letter after your name, or an epithet, you have a tail to drag when you want to fly. The longer your tail the harder the wind to fly you until you have only the tornado that you cannot control.
The best way to manage wind magic is to not use it. Yes, I said not use it. Wait. Observe. Learn. Experience is a teacher that no amount of practice in a novice can overcome. The most powerful magicians are ones that use the least power. When you are as old as Gandalf, you may see more clearly through the emptiness of the path of experience and understand the power of chi, which is acting without action or directing without direction. There are hundreds of riddles to this contradiction, most of them are solved by experience or age. It is the young and foolish on this path who fall the hardest.
Chapter Eight: Black Magic and Greed
to all those who still ask themselves questions about what man is in his essence,
to all those who wish to take him as their starting-point in their attempts to reach the truth...
to all these warped and twisted forms of reflection we can only answer with a philosophical laugh - which means, to a certain extent, a silent one."
- Michel Foucault
If persons entered a dispute and the verdict is for one and against the other, the Celts had one word for the settlement. Reparations were made, an agreement was forged and the lawyers had a field day. History has never seen a people so enamored of law, legal matters, and lawyers as the Celts, not even modern Americans. Kings and queens were not allowed to settle disputes. Law, for the Celts was a thing of lawyers, not of the farming caste, but of the warrior caste.
The rulers and farming castes were concerned with the weight of things and people. Literally. Everything had a price or a value. Each man had a price, literally. So did each tree, each animal, each slave, even a bird or a deer in the wood had a price. Only land was not valued. They said that a thing weighed is only a thing that can be carried away, thus a grove had a price only when it was cut.
Lawyers of the Celts had a word that they used for determining the value of things that was separate from the legal consequences of interaction. If a man was killed, it was a matter for lawyers to decide on who shall pay whom what. It is a matter of kings to decide how much the man was worth.
In the Mediterranean empires, the land was priced and the things that went with the land, or property were priced and all was granted by kings according to the status of the grantee. It was a royal matter to determine if a man was free and thus not part of a priced property and all laws are decreed by the king. Now, were all Celts slaves according to their Roman conquerors? The Romans got around a moral issue by seizing upon the wergild habits of the Celts and another moral issue by learning that none of the Celtic lands were already owned. If the opposite had been true, the Celts successfully invaded Greece or Rome in their infancy, would the nobles of status have accepted any more readily the price of their heads?
The crux of black magic for anyone on the path of air, for anyone of the warrior caste for that matter, is greed, or the valuation or collection of things in order to improve status. This means people, land, and things. It is no surprise that most legal matters involve the valuation or right to ownership of goods, property, and people.
The proper position of the user of air magic is that of transfer or agency. All magic is involved in change. Earth magic is involved in transmigration or transubstantiation as the energy of the soul is changed into matter and back again. Water magic is involved with transcendence as the position of the soul is changed. Fire magic is involved with transformation or with the creation and destruction of the soul. Air magic is the magic of transference, translation or transition. Air magic will not work when you pile up a bunch of crap to block, channel, or thwart the wind. With all that stuff in your soul, you fall and then you cannot find the wind in the pit of hell, surrounded by the mountains of gold.
At Beltaine, the stories were of feminine conquests, of powerful women who captured the souls of innocent men and kept them in the other world until they rotted. At Samhain, which was the death of the year and the rise of the dark king of winter, old Santa Claus with all the riches of Hades, the stories were of the abduction of maids to rule the dead at the side of the frozen king. This king was always childless. He did not abduct the young flower queens to create abundance on the earth or to enrich his soul with love. He took a wife because she was a jewel to be possessed.
In his positions at 3 and 6, he can take a bride from the ordinary world, but she must be a being of fire. Usually she (or he) is a familiar, a tool to be used. When he falls into the magical world, the dark king can take a bride from the magical world, beauty who has been trapped there.
In the language of the soul, the trickster or the magus may take a mate, but she will be a helper and share with him the passions of knowledge and creation. After he falls, if he takes a mate, she will be a pale lily, a Persephone who will fear him and stifle in his underground kingdom even if she comes to love him, even if he adores her. In the ordinarily world he may cross the path of the queen, and usually, he rapes her. In the magical world he may rule beside the queen of hell in her dark face or in her burning. When his kingdom is destroyed, she is often there with him, trying to help him face the hero, with all the Titans of the outraged Earth at her command.
Greed, lust and ambition are all temptations to the user of air power. He has been an outcast, an outsider, and may want something for himself. He is surrounded by slow clods who cannot come near to grasping his skills and he may want to kick them around. A skilled fighter, he may tire of always winning. Punished by the gods for doing what had to be done, he might want revenge. Even the sacrificial wine of the earth tomb is not as bitter as the poison dripping from the fangs of the snake of knowledge.
Feel this bitterness, feel this rage, and let it pass through you, like the winds of winter. The snows will blow the fires will rage, but this is the season of bitter brew. This is when experience and all the lessons of the Wind Rose will sustain you and prevent you from falling into the back biting winds of injustice. Here are some exercises.
Do not swallow the poison.
The poison of punishment is not yours. You are chained to the rock for defying the order of the made world. Do not be tempted to swallow this brew. It is there to blind you and make you suffer. This is the point where if you acted for the sake of justice and justice alone, someone will be outraged and grateful enough to try to lessen your pain. Be gracious and accept their help and do not scream at them just because they are within reach and your enemies are not.
Do not strain against the bonds.
Yes, the eagle will eat our your liver every day. These are the kind of bonds where the more you struggle the tighter they will get. You will only hurt yourself.
Do not swallow the food and drink for the dead.
Take a lesson from Persephone. Do not eat of the food for the dead. It is tasteless and the drink will not quench thirst. It is not the food of the soul, but the food of the sins of gluttony and greed. The dead wail because they want and are not satisfied. You can taunt them and tease them, but do not dine with them.
Do not call up the wind into the pit.
If you do this, you will have a tornado. The wind has no where to go. The higher the walls you have built in your years of accumulation, the worse the wind will be if it comes. No, your salvation is the earthquake, the flood, or the fire. If you long for destruction from your own magic you will change yourself. Your job is not to change yourself but to change the world. This is another of those situations where the more you try to use your own power, the less effective it will be in freeing you and the more effective it will be in making you suffer.
Good luck. It will end soon.
Realize! Realize that if you have fallen into the pit that you are
near the destruction of the made world. Be patient. Reflect. Know and understand.
Remember the patterns and watch for the arrival of the release.
Nine lives I've been a thief!
Nine kingdoms I gave for truth!
Nine generations I have to seek!"
- Cry of the Hermit at the Gates, The Birch Bride
The thing missing from our generation is exposure to the old and crazy people of the past. All over the world, especially in the East, there is the face of the Monkey, the old beggar-thief-hermit that haunts every village of less civilized places. Who, in looking at these old men (or women for that matter) says to himself, "yes, I'd like to be him when I grow up."? We moderns of the West hide away our crazy old people in institutions or hospitals so that we do not have to see the end of the magical path of the wind.
A vagrant looked at me once on the streets of Hollywood and I knew that he knew of the life I had lived and that someone like him should be locked up. He smiled at me then, a toothless smile, lacking mercy, kindness, compassion or honesty. And, for a split second, I wanted to be him. But a fly landed on his nose and he didn't even bother to brush it away and the vision fled as fast as I did.
When the magus triumphs and justice is served, when he is punished and cast into the pit, the Earth rises up in protest to free him. If he fights this release, preferring the riches and boredom of hell, then the Earth's forces build up until his entire kingdom is destroyed and he is cast adrift, alone in the desert.
Jesus was said to have been tempted by Satan in the desert. T. E. Lawrence in his autobiography The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, speaks of these prophets of the desert and how most of them babble nonsense although all have seen. There is something about the desert that makes prophets and three have come out of the deserts of the Levant.
In the desert the wind is master. The frontiersmen, when looking across the plains west of the Mississippi River, named them the Great American Desert. Across them, the wind blew unobstructed and unfettered.
When you are cast out of hell
and no longer need tools or words or signs or even thoughts, you will have the wind and
the great emptiness of the wilderness.
Movies and Books
Ancient Story Motifs:
Coyote, Anansi, Reynard and other trickster tales
Puss in Books
The Golden Goose, other Biter-Bit tales
The Ring Cycle
Nasrudin and other Sufi tales
A Fistful of Dollars, Pale Rider (Clint Eastwood Westerns)
Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Poirot - most sleuth stories
Buggs Bunny to South Park - any comedy that mocks people
The Godfather, Sopranos, many gangster stories
Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, tales of revenge or justice
Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail and other satires
Some Batman stories, some comics that are justice comics
House of the Sprits - Isabel Allende
Books, Stories and Movies that have classic Air Magic characters, Stories in which
there are two or more who represent multiple sides of this magic:
Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty
Buggs Bunny and Road Runner
The Avengers - Mrs Peal
Almost all James Bond villains
Matrix Reloaded - The Merovingian and Persephone
The Davinci Code
The elements of this kind of story are always that the protagonist is an underdog, usually not part of the legal system or is a quirky member of it, pitted against large forces, uses humor and tricks to turn the tables, and breaks the rules.