Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hagith Speaks - on Love and Sickness

Hey, this is a tough topic. If you need some company while reading, maybe try this.

This week magick taught me something essential on afflictions and sickness. Actually this is something I would have never understood without the interference of the Olympic Spirit of Hagith. I guess you know these moments when your consciousness takes a leap of faith and takes a perspective that was completely unknown to you before? Let me share how Hagith created such a moment for me last Sunday...

During the Arbatel ritual of Hagith she had asked for a sacrifice in form of bringing down her powers and binding them into earth. I had followed this wish on the subsequent day and started to understand how our HGA can help draw down planetary forces. For some reason I felt compelled to repeat this process more than once. I wanted to learn more about this technique and also to show appropriate devotion to Hagith, as she had shard so many valuable insights with me during the ritual. So last Sunday I went back into my temple, calmed my mind with my standard meditation, went into union with my HGA and allowed his body to cover the ground around me like a large blanket of light. Then - jut like before - I called down the forces of Hagith by singing her psalm 22:14: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the middle of my bowels."

Immediately on intoning the psalm my heart opened like a gate, my voice broke and tears rushed into my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the intesity of the emotions and continued to sing her psalm, concentrating not to break into tears for reasons I didn't know and didn't dare to control...

When Hagith's forces had established a stable connection with the body of my angel, I felt her white light rushing down through the skies, entering the surface of the body of my angel and disappear into the soil of earth. I felt the circle of light around me expanding and starting to include meadows and houses and neighbors and animals and people and plants surrounding me... - Then, while still singing to Hagith a deep understanding of the nature of sickness dawned on me. To be honest, I have no idea where this came from. My best guess is that during this moment I was caught in a healing process that was much larger than myself - the lights of Hagith streaming down into a sore earth, a planet that desperately needs more TLC than we are willing to return.

Here is what Hagith said: The key to overcome illnesses is not to want it to go away. The key to healing is to accept sickness. Maybe I am stating the obvious for more experienced healers, but this is some mind-bending truth for my little brain! Here is how she continued: When a sickness enters my body it is looking for shelter. It is looking for a place to rest, to be what it is and to transform slowly into something it needs to become. Our body and our minds are the places for this transformation to take place, our bodies are the athanors in which the alchemy of affliction is accomplishing its great work.

Fermentation - the fifth operation in the Great Work
comes to my mind. Physiologically it is the rousing
of living energy in the body to heal and vivify.
Up to this day I had always believed the key to healing is to foster the process of healing with all means and resources available. That healing occurs when we can actively hinder the forces of illness to spread and expand. Now, I still know very little about healing, but Hagith clearly disagreed with this. The comparison she gave me was that of an animal shelter: If you are a keeper of an animal shelter it is your job to open the gates for animals that are all in a horrible shape. They look ugly, they are ugly, they are close to dying and stink and disgust all your senses. But they are what they are - and what they need most at this point in their miserable lives is a place to be loved.

During the rite Hagith had taught me that love is a tool that opens and that life is the seed that follows. It seems she wants me to understand that this even applies to sickness? She wants me to love my sickness and to use my body as an animal shelter - just in case there is a near-dead creature in front of my gates. If I accept this - as this is just the understanding of sickness from a single Olympic Spirit's point of view - the goal of my body isn't any longer to be a fortress of health and beauty. But it is to be an alchemical athanor that allows transformation of matter and states. Some of these transformations are beautiful and some of them are incredibly painful and invidious. I guess nobody ever promised loving would be easy? It might even mean giving up my body to a force that needs sheltering and a place to recover.

What I learned during this rite of sacrifice is exactly this: There is no space which we should call our own except for the spark of light that we are. We share our minds, we share our bodies, we share our consciousness with all the forces around us. Often this sharing doesn't require us at all to be active. Loving doesn't need us to be in control. We simply need to rest, to accept what needs happening and to continue to believe in the power of the vessel that we are... If a larvae covers itself in the ground, if a grub climbs on a bush and solidifies on a branch, the only thing it needs is a place to be safe. A place that allows for magic to unfold. When I am sick I am exactly this - the soil that shelters a larvae, the branch that shelters a grub. The animal shelter that just took in a new guest...

I guess at the very end our role in healing is quite simple: We need to be present and let love run through us like a river. We need to endure the state of being sick, of being incomplete, of being part of a change that happens on us. At some point the work will be done. A process concludes, a butterfly appears, an old shape crumbles. It didn't take a moment of worries, of sorrow, of being at our wits ends for this magic to happen. How it happened or what the result of this process will be, we don't need to know. Luckily our body is just the athanor and not the alchemist.

Now, here is one more point: What about all of us with terminal illnesses, with severe disabilities and animals to shelter that are more than we think we can take? Maybe the above is disrespectful to all the pains we are being forced through? Maybe there is a point where some animals need killing as they will infect others? Maybe there is a point where the animal shelter needs a pause and needs to recover from overuse?  Of course my answer is that I don't know. I only know what Hagith told me: Each sickness needs a place for healing. A place where it can rest, stretch out for a while and is allowed to be what it is: a symbol of change. Only then can healing occur. 

After the healing took place the sickness might still be with us. Some animals never leave the shelter and all severe illnesses change the people they encounter. So I guess the goal of a healing process is not always for the illness to disappear. But for the change it came to start to take place and transform. It is not us who define the outcome of an encounter with sickness. We are the soil and the branch the grub clings on to - we are not the butterfly that emerges. We are a place of events, we are a space for encounters and sometimes for transformations.

Maybe this is what made me cry while singing to Hagith? What a bitter truth to accept - that we do not own our bodies. The best we can do is to love the strangers who drop by to visit and allow them to become friends... I always thought loving is much more easy than this. True love seems to want me to let go of everything - my own body included. What a bitter truth, what a wonderful thing to strive for.  

Well, here am I stuttering around, when we have the beautiful Damien Jurado who seems to find all the words just so easily. Over to someone who knows how love and sickness intertwine...

I wish that I could float
Float up from the ground
I will never know
What that's like

You have a way about you
I wish that I had
Thought it was impossible
To live and love like you

Funny how we all can change
If we just try to
Thought it was impossible
To live and love like you

One day you will be taller
Taller than the sky
Until that day you will be

Here with us below
Magic will do what magic does
Living in your eyes
Do you think someday soon
You will have the time?

I could use another hand
To help pull me through
Someday these hospital stays
Get the best of me

Trying to fix my mind
Still trying to fix my mind
Trying to work it out
I'm still trying to fix my mind

Still trying to fix my mind
I'm still trying to fix my mind


  1. I think you have just helped me to understand better the phrase "let a fever run its course".

    However, what about how the caterpillar's transformation affects the plant or how the ground is changed when a larvae crawls in to it to effect a change. Just as the illness needs a body to be transformed, so too the body is transformed by the illness.

    I read your post as describing the body experiencing illness as the passive partner. Forgive me if I have misunderstood, but I think that illness helps us to reflect on our mortality and can be help us move on to a path of growth and regeneration.

    I'm reminded of a woman who gave a talk about trying hard to find a husband and after dates with 50 men asked her guide why she'd not found the right one yet. Her guide replied that she still had to help a few more people that she met through dating and would then find the right one.

    The dating like illness should (in my view) not be seen as something passive but rather a means of effecting change in both parties.

  2. Hi Simon, thanks for sharing this! You are absolutely spot on. It's a systemic approach - each element influences the other. I love the example you give with the woman who isn't finished dating just yet... There is a passive and an active side to every experience. Thanks for reminding me of this.

  3. So far I've read quite a bit on Hagith. I think you have truly connected with her. There are many that see what they thought they'd see, like a mirror, and perhaps we all do, perhaps I see Hagith as you do, but I still feel like you've captured her essence. I've read some who have found Hagith a bored, impatient, uncaring harlequin. It's strange how perceptions affect reality. Thank you for the post!