Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Every Torontonian knows the question: “Wow, it’s real cold up where you’re from, right?” And usually, it’s asked in the middle of July or August, when your friends are moaning how the humidex downtown is making things feel like 35 deg. C (around 100 deg. F). But that border drawn across the map is where the glaciers start, as far as many people are concerned. Even people in the northern US.
Living in Mexico isn’t a lot different. Two-and-a-half years ago, I moved from Toronto to a small village in the centre of the country. Inevitably, whenever a tourist in distant Tijuana or Acapulco is murdered, I’m asked if I’m safe living where I do. Yesterday morning, two US embassy employees were shot and wounded by Mexican federal police near Tres Marias, about 20 miles from where I live, on a highway I’ve driven down a number of times. As a result, friends are asking once again if I’m threatened in some way.
By what, I wonder? I don’t work for a drug gang, I rarely carry enough cash to be worth mugging or kidnapping, and if federal police want to stop me when I’m driving, I have the sense to pull over and show them documents proving I’m a nice Canadian. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve been told the drill, and to be ready to offer a payment. I could be caught in a crossfire, but the serious violence is between clubs of which I’m unlikely to become a member.
Now, the Tres Marias incident sounds iffy, like a bungled hit on US police or security officers. The federal police are, notoriously, in bed with the gangs, and the official silence around the event is suspicious. Whether that’s so or not, it’s just another normal event in Mexico, where bullets have been regularly discharged since Hernan Cortes showed up with his conquistadors five centuries ago. This village, with a population of under a thousand, has had two gun murders in the past three years. In Toronto, that would translate into an annual murder rate of roughly 1,700.
I work on the assumption that luck, karma, fate, destiny or, failing one of these, my Canadian driver’s licence, make me provisionally bulletproof. I believe that at a certain point, on a certain day, this lifespan will be up, and that’ll be that, but till then, I’m okay. Given what a couple of acquaintances of mine are going through, one with ALS and another with a serious heart condition, dying in a hail of bullets looks like a desirable option. Ten seconds of terror, shock and pain, I think, beats months or years of disability. It would be extremely awkward for this Temple if I expired just as we’re starting out, but ordeals are ordeals, and no group of aspirants is immune.
Still, I’ve been musing on why I feel so confident that I’m not at immediate risk. Are Qabalists sufficiently aligned with their True Wills that they can arrange to stay five minutes ahead of the Dude with a Scythe? Is my assumption that the universe respects the law of karma at all times a valid one, or a cosy fantasy?
As Crowley observes in a couple of places, these things can be proved, but only on their own level. The magician’s perpetual dilemma, at least from the skeptic’s viewpoint, is that we have no scientific proof on the physical plane. You can live by a certain creed, and with certain magical assumptions, but that’s your own private worldview. Events over time either confirm or modify that perspective, and all you can do is try to live up to the creed with an honourable code of conduct.
Now, allowing for the doubts of others doesn’t mean I reject my own conclusions. I’m a Thelemite, and my own will, and my conformity to it, is my primary concern, even while I do occasionally wonder whether I’m just deluded. But times of doubt aside, I believe that, if we have clued into the essential nature of our will, and are finding ways to live by it, then we create a kind of field around us (to use a borrowed and inadequate term). We aren’t spared trials and difficulties, but we are fulfilling a need the Universe has, and are protected until that need is, somehow, fulfilled. Crowley climbed dangerous mountains, enraged the gutter press of his day, risked treason charges following World War I, offended Mussolini’s government in Italy, and alienated many friends and colleagues during his life. He was also a practising homosexual at a time when this was a criminal matter. Yet he stayed out of jail, and died in his bed. Something was protecting him.
For me, Mexico’s dark side is a positive reason for being here. It draws out a side of my nature that was dormant when I lived in Canada. Armies have fought in the fields around where I live, over many centuries, and violence is in the soil and the hills. With an uncertain civil society and questionable state authority, the people are necessarily virtual anarchists. It is stunningly beautiful here, and full of mystery. And there’s also a mentality that is frequently mind-numbingly crude or ignorant, as well as gracious and brave. I accept the negative side, the way that Crowley explored and embraced the dirt in Cefalu. It isn’t comfortable, but it is catalytic.
So, no, I’m not safe being here. But I am doing my will. And as I read someplace, I have no right but to do that.
Even if I hope to dodge the bullets for a few years yet.
Love is the law, love under will.