Thought provoking discussions and debate are par for the course among the bloggers I follow, and shortly after finishing my post last night on Grimoire Magick, I came across another such piece on which I wanted to touch here. The article in question comes to us via Strategic Sorcery, and is entitled What The Great Work Is, itself a follow up to one begun over at RO's.
As is frequently the case when I read Jason's or Rufus' blogs, theirs got me to thinking on what my own interpretation of The Great Work would be, and if forced to define my conception of it, how I would do so.
This is a question I had spent quite some time in contemplation of over the years, and one whose answer has changed and evolved as much as my magickal praxis itself. Initially, when I first discovered my affinity for Grimoiric Magick, if asked what my ultimate goal was, or what the Great Work consisted of for me, I would likely have responded that achieving true evocation was what it was all about. Shortly after having succeeded in doing so, I learned that in fact that was just the beginning of a new chapter, much like it was when I met my HGA. While that had represented the ultimate goal for me until that point, upon accomplishing it, an whole new world opened up to me and the Great Work branched out into a dozen directions.
The definition commonly used by some folks of the Golden Dawn, To Become More Than Human, sums it up nicely for me, although I doubt that my definition of "More Than Human" is quite the same as theirs. By "More Than Human", I mean setting goals, accomplishing things and doing what humans are not "supposed" to be able to do. Living as a King, as opposed to in service to one. For me, The Great Work constitutes more than any single act of Magick or goal - it is about breaking down walls, ascending, crossing boundaries and never accepting the "impossible". It is about setting goals for yourself as a Magus, a Man, and as a King, meeting them, and then setting new ones far surpassing them in magnitude. It is about never being content with the level of success and progress we have realized, and never feeling we have accomplished all that was for us to accomplish, instead always striving to go further, soar higher, and be better. Perhaps all of this is, as Jason contends, being human to its highest potential. Whatever the case, this is how I see the Great Work. Not as something that can be accomplished, but as a series of accomplishments, successes, failures and progress over ones lifetime, and his relentless pursuit of them.