Here is a story for you... yes, something like a breakfast parable if you want. Take some time for a coffee, maybe put on this song like I just did and if you are ready, feel free to follow... I'll promise - or better hope - it will make sense at the end.
Think of a goldsmith living in a small town. Our goldsmith is the only one of his kind in his town; maybe even in the state. He has a unique talent to create art and adornment from metals. This particular goldsmith happens to not only have a huge gift for working with metals, but also a huge passion. Doing his job is a calling for him and that's how he approaches every piece of work he does. To be honest, even though he's been working as a goldsmith for decades, every day he still is humbled by the way the metals behave in each of their states he is putting them through and he is humbled by the beauty they reveal in shapes they take... You get it: we are dealing with a bit of goldsmith nerd here.
Now, unfortunately our goldsmith isn't earning a lot of money with his art. He actually is quite in debt and owes money to quite a few people in the town. Much to his disadvantage, one of these believers is a very rich and ignorant fellow. One day this guy comes into the studio of our goldsmith and asks him to pay back his debts.
The goldsmith offers him the remaining adornments he has left on the shelf. But the creditor doesn't want them simply because he doesn't know what to do with them. Rather he insists the goldsmith should rob a bank for him - as he had heard the goldsmith would be very talented with all sorts of precious thing and he was planning a coup anyway. Hearing this demand the goldsmith is aghast and refuses!
Now the creditor hesitates - looking at the goldsmith he gets doubts if he really could do the job... After reconsidering the situation he offers him to work in his garage and polish his cars. As this would make significantly less money than a bank coup, however, he would need to work there for the rest of his life. The goldsmith breaks out in tears... And as he doesn't stop crying at some point the creditor finds himself feeling sorry for the poor soul.
Thus he asks: 'So what do you want? In some way or another you'll need to follow my will!' The goldsmith cries: 'But I am a goldsmith! I am an artist, I can create beauty from metal ashes and slag! Give me a job that uses my talent, I can work on anything that is related to creating value from precious metals. Just don't ask me to do something I am not.'
Well, I'll spare you the rest of the conversation; but at some point the creditor really loses his nerves. Finally, with a big sigh he gives in and orders the goldsmith to work in his kitchen and polish sterling cutlery for the rest of his life...
Still with me? Okay, if you have made it until here, I promise the tough bit is over. I am not much of a story teller - but I told you this would only work with a parable as the beginning... Because here is the thing I was pondering about: What if we are the creditors to the spirits we summon?
What if some part in us is as ignorant, as self-obsessed, as uncaring as the creditor in the story? And what if we aren't even the first generation to treat spirits like this... but we are living off a heritage of abuse, of ignorance and dominance? What if we often fail to acknowledge the true talents and gifts of spirit and demons?
Technically the creditor wasn't wrong in assuming a goldsmith must be good with 'precious objects'. Generally speaking he could claim to be right... And generally speaking Jupiter can bring you luxury, and Mercury will make you win the lottery and the Sun gets you the next promotion and Venus your spouse and Mars keeps you invincible. And here we are - turning spirits into service staff of our astral Tesco or Walmart or BestBuy or what have you...
Sometimes when I read about Grimoire magic, I feel we are so obsessed with putting these creatures to our use and make them work for our benefits that we - just sometimes - forget to respect them for what they are. Un-human creatures, but creatures like us. Goldsmiths of their own kind, masters in their own disciplines... being forced to first bring us and then clean our sterling silver.
Wouldn't it be great to be at a point in the history of magic where we (re-)learn to acknowledge the beauty and subtleties of the spirits we relate with? If we don't want to do it for them - then maybe we should do it for ourselves? Or are we really aware of how much we can grow by allowing spirits and demons to work their craft on us - rather than on our enemies or love lives?
If I only could find books on these questions: What are the result of a spirit working on my psyche that is supposed to 'bring you treasures'? What is the psychological impact of a demon 'that overcomes any opponents'? Can we use his force to overcome our own anxieties or depressions? And what happens if we allow the Egyptian God Kephri to be reborn within our heart - rather than our bank accounts?
RO recently mentioned (here) that magicians shouldn't have to worry about money. I think the same is true for the spirits we work with. They shouldn't have to worry about our odds and ends. We can do that if we chose to. Because they are living creatures just like us, forces that shape life and plants and stones and animals even more than we do... I guess we should allow them to do what they are best at? For any spirit I think that's working on a spiritual level.
Ha, and on finishing this post I just realized the lyrics I was listening to. Remember, I am German so I can listen to English songs for hours without paying attention to their lyrics...
Why aren't you kind to me ?
You could so easily
Take me in your arms and see
A donkey – a beast for thee
If you had half a mind
Leave worldly things behind
Devote to being kind
You to me – a beast for thee
Love in some way you choose
God's plan can easy bruise
One bone and blood mass we fuse
And I can be a beast for thee
I will toil for years and years
Give you muscle, tone and tears
Overcome and flay all fears
Leaving me – a beast for thee
And at home on Wednesday morn
Astride my horny horn
You'll be in glory born
And I will be a beast for thee
Happily a beast for thee
Quietly a beast for thee
Endlessly a beast for thee
Superwolf : Beast for Thee
Note: Thanks to The Scribbler (link) for pointing me to the fact that I had used the word 'believer' instead of creditor incorrectly. This was a mistake from my end, as in German language the follower of a religion or cult and the creditor are marked by the same term which is translated as 'believer'. Interesting enough, that the latin word 'credere' (believing) also is the root of the English term creditor... So, a big Thank You to The Scribbler!