- Religion and Philosophy
Powers and Principalities - Casting Out Darkness
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
- Ephesians 6:12, King James Version
We encounter many earthly experiences of corruption and arguments for the illusion of evil on a daily basis. We've even become used to seeing things that act in direct contradiction to Divine Will, seeming to flourish almost unopposed even in the most powerful levels of our society - in politics, business, economics, and often even religion. These kinds of hypocrisy make us inwardly revile, because they're completely repugnant to who and what we are. Sometimes, we even feel powerless when confronted with so many examples of wrongdoing and defiance of Divine Will. But what we usually don't get a lot of exposure to are manifestations of Divine Will itself, and an understanding of how it works, how it manifests, and how we can apply it in our lives - physically, and metaphysically as well. In this article, we'll be taking a better look at that spiritual aspect of things that's been so often displaced in the material world, and getting a hands-on sense of how to work with it.
One of the joys of working in harmony with Divine Will is that we end up having the home team advantage. This concept is perhaps best expressed in the Shinto religion, where the intrinsic spirit and nature of everything in Creation is, in its natural state, wholly kind, loving, benevolent and harmonious. There is nothing one can point to and say, with any degree of accuracy, "That, in it's natural state, is evil." It's just not true. In order for something to be evil, it must first be twisted, corrupted, warped, skewed, bent, fold, spindled and mutilated. It must deviate from its true nature, and in the process it to some extent thwarts itself from the get-go. For example, the Divine doesn't make jerks. If you're encountering a jerk, you're not seeing them in their natural state - they're just doing a damn good impersonation of a jerk. They've drifted away from their true nature, and what you're seeing is someone who's out of their element - a fish out of water. And to some extent, we're all fish out of water. While we're incarnate, we're none of us experiencing ourselves in our True, Perfect, exalted state. But we can sure try to get as close to that state as possible!
So let's take a look at those who aren't "fish out of water". Let's take a look at those who are in their natural, exalted state - angels. We don't often think of them, mostly because they aren't in political office, and don't usually hit the red carpet affairs we see on the news. Out of sight, out of mind. But they're certainly worth taking a look at.
In Marbles and Matchsticks, I introduced many of my readers to the tree diagram as a model for consciousness. Very briefly, the diagram is a model of spiritual error or lack thereof. By making Choices that are increasingly out of alignment with the Divine Fact of Creation, we compound one error with another until we're very much "out on a limb", so to speak. We end up Choosing positionalities that undermine our spiritual and metaphysical authority, and often end up in some very dysfunctional states of being - worthless, miserable lives. But angels don't seem to be vulnerable to these spiritual errors - they exist to manifest the Will of their Divine Creator. So they're at a much better positionality of spiritual strength and authority. If you wanted to Work in alignment with Divine Will, whether in your everyday Choices, magickal Workings, or both - you'd probably want to look into Working with angels.
What are angels? Religions differ on whether they have free will, or are obliged to obey the Divine Creator unquestionably. Earlier religious accounts didn't even anthropomorphize them, and instead of having a human-like shape, they were depicted as wheels with wings. Back then they were described as a kind of metaphysical agent that carried out the laws of Creation, almost as if a law (in this case, a Divine law) were given sentience and the ability to exert its influence metaphysically, enforcing itself like a kind of Divine equivalent of earthly lawmakers, police, and justice system all rolled into one. Imagine the Creator setting down Divine laws, embedding them into the very structure of Creation, and giving them the life, sentience, and metaphysical clout to go out and enforce themselves. It's a beautiful thought, and it would certainly cut down on the paperwork.
Readers familiar with chaos magick will probably be experiencing some deja vu at this point, particularly if they've read up on magickal servitor entities. Chaos mages can create sentient, usually nonphysical entities with a specific Purpose. If instilled with the belief, awe, hopes, wishes and dreams of enough people, usually through Work with them, servitor entities can take on enough metaphysical momentum to become egregores, which are a sort of collective "team spirit" operating in social groups like nationalistic identity (often considered "patriotism" in a given country), consumer brand affiliation, and even modest groups like an individual church or boy scout troop. Angels are like servitor entities or egregores, but they have evidently been Created by the Divine Creator. As such, they aren't dependent upon the quantity or intensity of belief in them - they are sustained by the Divine, through the very nature and structure of Creation.
Do angels have Free Will? We've been told that they don't, and are contrained to obey the Divine Will of their Creator without question. But religious accounts of angels vary on this point, and obviously if angels had no Free Will there would be no such thing as a renegade angel, or so-called fallen angels. I would posit that angels do have Free Will, but have reached an enlightened state of consciousness where they have overtaken and surpassed any notion that their own Free Will could or would ever conflict with Divine Will. Consider: what someone wants (that is, their Will) can only derive from their own Nature. And we were given our Nature by our Divine Creator when we were made in its image, as it extended itself in sentience and Love. So the only way our Will could seem to clash with the Divine would be if we failed, nearsightedly, to recognize what our Will actually was. And this happens frequently. As we start paying attention not only to Divine Will, but start examining our own motivations and desires more perceptively, we can usually boil down and distill what it is we want in life - and why we want it - until our model of our own Will and Divine Will start to fuse in our minds. If we could act on this basis as angels do, our problems would be solved. No more political corruption, no more white-collar crime, no more human misery. Our ideas about who we are would seem absurd if they weren't part of the Divine Will - and indeed they are. I think angels are aware of this, and as such they're living out Divine Will because they know that it's the only thing that can ever truly satisfy. On the tree model I refer people to in explaining states of consciousness and existence, angels would exist at a much lower branchpoint - which gives them quite a lot of spiritual authority. This provides them with serious amounts of metaphysical dominion over those at lesser states - much like a legal guardian in human affairs.
Powers and Principalities
This idea plays itself out even in the words used biblically to refer to many of the choirs of angels. Thrones. Virtues. Dominions. Powers, and Principalities. Before we get into the angelic definitions of Powers and Principalities, let's take a moment to observe some of the meanings of the root word "principal".
In an authoritarian sense, it means "first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost". And this is probably obvious. What might not be so obvious is why that authority is there. In a conceptual sense, principal means "something of principal or chief importance". That's where the authority comes into it - because they're acting as agents of something of principle or chief importance. Because their Will and agenda are essentially indistinguishable from the Divine Will - what is of principal or chief importance - their authority and strength is indistinguishable from it as well. Don't you wish the same could be said of earthly authorities? As soon as someone became corrupt, they'd lose their authority. And spiritually and metaphysically, that's exactly what happens to people. Good to keep in mind. And interestingly, in its financial sense the word "principal" refers to "a capital sum, as distinguished from interest or profit". In other words, something of value, from which other things are brought about. Their Choice for Divine Will is that thing of value - the Love that is the Divine Will is what can bring about profit.
There are many choirs of angels in the celestial hierarchy, but here I'd like to focus primarily on the Powers and Principalities. They exert direct effects in the material world, unlike some of the choirs which affirm and increase pure Divine Will, and yet these are the choirs that influence large-scale events rather than being individual guardian angels. If you've seen a news report in the last few years, you'll know it's these we need to Work with most immediately.
Powers are believed to be "the favorites among mortals". They hold one of the most dangerous tasks, maintaining the border between Heaven and Earth. Constantly on guard for demonic attacks, the powers act like an elite guard. They are appointed in a special way to fight against the evil spirits and to defeat any wicked plans. As Abbe Boudon wrote, "When we see storms gathering either in the Church or in the State, machinations to resist those who are working for the glory of God, extraordinary conspiracies to defeat some great good which is being planned for some diocese, city or country, then it is that we ought to perform frequent devotions in honor of these Powers of heaven, that they may overturn and destroy all the might and miserable plotting of hell."
Principalities are the head of the final choir and preside over the third hierarchy. They guide and protect the world's nations, towns and cities, directly watch over the mortal world and are executive in regard to the visible world of men. Religion and of politics are also guarded by them and, "as such, they are assumed to be given more freedom to act than the lesser angels below them and are responsible for carrying out divine acts concerning their area of jurisdiction. Finally, they are given to the task of managing the duties of the angels."
So if we're Working to bring the affairs of mankind back on-track in an earthly sense, Powers and Principalities are the ones with whom we should be Working.
Exercising Dominion over Darkness
I've already demonstrated that darkness doesn't exist in anything in Creation in its natural state. For a state of darkness to exist in something, it must first drift away from its own True Nature, warping and mutating. This is why Light holds dominion over the illusion of darkness - because darkness itself is a distortion, and represents weakness. Ultimately it represents non-existence, because being in direct opposition to the Divine Will that sustains everything in Creation, it is the opposite of Divine Creation. In earthly terms, authority boils down to strength and political power flows out of the barrel of a gun. In a spiritual sense, authority also boils down to strength - spiritual and metaphysical strength. This being the case, Light has the power to blow darkness away just as easily - by dispelling it with Love, and by taking direct action with the strength of the Divine backing it.
Casting out darkness is in alignment with Divine Will - darkness was never truly given license to exist at all. And this casting out of darkness is part of what we are, as Divinely-Created beings. Everybody wants to see the Good Guys win; it's in our Nature. And every moment is a Choice on our part, each Choice an opportunity to better align ourselves with Divine Will.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck play angels in Kevin Smith's 1999 film Dogma.
No living system can exist in a state of stasis. Take biology for example. Either a system is growing, or it's decaying and ultimately dying. There is no such thing as a moment where we're not doing either one or the other. Choices that bring us into increasing alignment with Divine Will sustain us. Choices against Divine Will distort, mutate, weaken and destroy us. With that in mind, have a look at the life of the average person in your area. Which are they doing more of? What about the people in positions of earthly authority? It's hardly an open question anymore, is it?
Lay all your Love on Me
Choices to extend the Love, Grace and Joy that is the Divine Will is our True Will as well. They're Choices that bring us happiness. They're just healthy Choices, because they're in harmony with the structure of Creation in which everything exists. Choices against Divine Will are fundamentally flawed and dysfunctional for the same reason. Man's law attempts (or at least, attempted at one time) to express justice by bringing itself into harmony with the greater system of Divine principles expressed in Creation - working in harmony with the greater overall structure in which we exist. The Asian concept of the Tao seeks to demonstrate this as well, and the I Ching attempts to facilitate peoples' recalibration with those natural principles in its' readings. Expressing Divine Light - and casting out anything that opposes it - is just our Nature. Affirming that Nature is a Choice we can make which will reunite us with the strength and joy that are intrinsic parts of us - but which most of us have steadily disowned by our very own Choices.
Man's law has a truism, a maxim, that states, "He who does not prevent what he can, seems to commit the thing." In other words, there are no innocent bystanders. If you were out in town about a century ago in the States and saw a fellow grabbing a lady's purse and start running down the street, you were obligated under the common law to raise what was called "hue and cry". You were obligated to yell, "Stop, thief!", and everyone within earshot was obligated to do their best to stop that man. If they didn't, the law would find them a party to the purse-snatching, just as guilty as the guy that actually took the purse himself. This is absolutely appropriate, and it's because this idea has rather conveniently fallen by the wayside in modern politics that we have the political system we have today. Most people routinely complain about what's essentially high treason on an ongoing basis, but they gripe about it as if it were their favorite sports team losing again, and they don't do anything about it. I repeat, there are no innocent bystanders. If you're not doing everything within your power to cast out darkness, you're morally and spiritually a party to it - particularly if you're subsidizing it with your money or your Choices. This is as true metaphysically and spiritually as it is morally, and for the same reason. If you're not casting out darkness to the best of your ability - and particularly if you're participating in a Choice for that darkness - you've become a party to it. You've just bought a share in a very unhealthy Choice - like a piece of something radioactive. That carries with it a certain liability - your participation weakens and warps you, morally and metaphysically. It's not unlike federal racketeering legislation in America - in any criminal organization with more than two members, each is liable for every crime the group commits, and the penalties are much harsher by far. The legislation was enacted to shut down gangs, but morally and metaphysically the same thing applies here. Which is why it's so vital to act in alignment with Divine Will, and cast out darkness. It's also a very healthy, strengthening, and personally rewarding to do.
So with all of this common ground between our agendas and the agendas of angels, we have the opportunity to form some very strong alliances. Not only can we ask them for assistance, support and guidance in our daily lives, we can Work with them metaphysically as well. All it takes is living in alignment with Divine Will, and calling upon them for aid. We can look them up, including their names, their agendas and their authorities through a simple Google search. And they may provide more support than one might imagine.
Over the centuries, man has developed an increasingly "fluffy" concept of what angels are. When we think of them at all, we usually imagine some kind of sweet, cherubic winged babies. And while there certainly are cherubim, shining out the Divine Love from which the whole of Creation is made, angels are by no means some kind of cosmic pushover. Some of them, particularly the ones in charge of smiting the forces of darkness when they try to usurp the world, definitely play hardball. Like some kind of Divine rugby player these angels wield the Divine strength of Creation, and they don't mess around when it comes to putting the forces of evil in their place.
We can build and strengthen our relationship not only with the Divine, but with these angels as well. The more our agendas align with those of angels, the closer our Working relationship will be. And ultimately, all we really want is to cast out darkness - if we had a world aligned with Divine Will, everything would be fine. The more we realize this - and act on it - the better we'll recognize who and what we are, and the more Divine backing our Will will have. Casting out darkness, which is only a usurper to the legitimate authority of Divine Will, is a very spiritually profitable enterprise. It's an investment in Divine Will - which is ultimately the only thing that exists. It is the polar opposite of idolatry, the eclipsing of a Divine agenda for some empty and unsatisfying illusion. And just as idolatry - whether to money, drugs, convenience or power - undercuts our own strength in the process, casting out darkness augments it, as we reunite our Will with that of our Creator, and with the power of the entirety of Creation. In man's world, everyone is ultimately working for the banks directly or indirectly, just to survive. Spiritually, we all must serve Divine Will just the same way, because no other force has the ability to sustain us and without it we wither and perish.
Our alignment with Divine WIll gives us authority and dominion over those at more weakened spiritual positionalities. If it were any other way, Creation wouldn't work. Light must hold dominion over darkness, because darkness is just an illusion - it's just a lack of light. By giving out that Light - and particularly by deposing anything that deliberately opposes it - we can fine-tune our understanding of ourselves and our Creator, and metaphysically strengthen ourselves in the process. For the magick-users out there, this means phenomenal magickal power, because we're using it appropriately for a good cause. So if you have any interest in making the world a better place not only in your physical activities, but in your magickal and spiritual activities - this is a terrific way to go about it.
A Note on Positionalities
There are no truly evil people - only evil Choices. We're all equal in the sight of the Creator, because the Creator knows that sin, error, and evil never truly existed. But the Choice for evil, while unreal, carries with it a sort of debt here in Spacetime. It's a Choice to invest in something that doesn't exist, and for most people it's the spiritual equivalent of revolving credit card debt. That illusory debt takes us further away from the Divine Will and the source of our own happiness and power in our earthly lives... because we've Chosen just that, in opposing Divine Will. The wages of sin are indeed death - and while neither sin nor death are ultimately real, here in Causality they manifest their effects. The equivalent in man's law are entering into contracts - people consenting, ostensibly by their own Free Will, to abide by a consensual arrangement that has little if anything to do with a country's laws. Like contractual obligations, Choices to oppose Divine WIll increasingly fetter us with misery. And like contracts, those who have not entered into them are not as bound and constrained as someone who has. It's kind of like, here on earth, everyone is living in a bubble to some extent or another. Choices that take us further from Divine Will have us entering into smaller and smaller bubbles-within-bubbles... and the name of the game is to avoid entering into those illusory contexts, and to get out of the ones we're already in. We do that by aligning ourselves in harmony with a greater context - the Divine perspective. While others may not Choose to do so - yet - our comparatively unfettered nature frees up an awful lot of strength, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and magickally. And that makes it easier to hold magickal dominion over those at weaker positionalities.
We can not only Work with angels, we can also unite ourselves and our efforts magickally and spiritually... becoming far greater in our unity than we would ever be individually. I have already outlined my own Work in my article How to Save the World with Celestial Magick, and described how others can Work with this system. We can also Work with angels with this magickal system I've built - if you're interested, look up your favorite deity or angel, grab them like a dance partner, and Work together with my system. Or, feel free to bypass my Work and unite solely with the Divine. Make sure you keep aligned with the Divine WIll - many people leave that aspect of things out, and the whole thing falls to bits. Take a look at the systems predominant in the physical world around us today, and you'll see exactly what I mean.