The Spear & The Sword: Michael, Murugan, and the Power of Slaying Demons

Murugan, Lord of Yoga, and Saint Michael, Master of Theurgy, both wield their spear against the demons who plague the progress of their votaries. But why the spear and not another weapon? From the point of view of metaphysics, the spear is the only weapon which can well and truly vanquish the satanic powers.

It may be objected that the Hermetic Michael brandishes the flaming sword of the Gate of Paradise. In point of fact, the Archangel only uses the flaming sword under certain conditions; the Hermetic images in question are not properly Hermetic, but rather occult or magical, coming as they do out of the oeuvre of the Golden Dawn with its mission of syncretic breadth rather than esoteric depth. Within the context — and strictly within the confines — of the modern West’s non-religious (not to say anti-religious, as that isn’t universal) ritual magic, St. Michael does duty as the devonic guardian of the southern portion of the sky, holding the asuric forces of impure sub-lunar fire in check. It is thus, and thus only, as living barrier rather than warrior, physician, and teacher, that Michael bears the sword.

The spear is pointed, while the sword is bladed; the spear is not other than viveka, the discriminative Intellect. As such, the spear is aimed true to the very heart of any question and thrust deep with will and certainty. The only means of slaying a demon — whether it be of temptation, pride, misperception, or egotism — is to pierce through to its very core and touch its essence, that virtue of which the demon is a perversion. No evil exists unto itself, but only apes a good. Demons are “fallen angels” insofar as they are inverted manifestations of some more essential fact. An equilateral triangle may point upwards or downwards while retaining the same geometry.

By contrast, the work of the sword is the magical act of analysis, by which the sub-intellectual mind increases thoughts and emotions and, thus, confusion, by endlessly slicing the demon into smaller and smaller pieces — each of which holographically retains the same essence, but which comes to embody a different facet of the same perversion. This rationalistic or sentimentalist magical abuse thus works only on the periphery to multiply the problem geometrically, making the demon into numerous smaller, subtler demons. It is, in part, for this reason that incautious divination, hypnosis, and psychiatry are condemned or advised against.

It is an interesting point that it is the throat center in which God Śiva holds the world-poison in safety, and also in which Saint Michael thrusts the tip of his spear in the battle with the Adversary. The throat center is the highest point of the ego, the individual selfhood; therein arises the ahaṃkāra, the “I-maker”, of Sāṃkhya and Yoga, so therein lies the “original sin” of separateness. But it also serves as the most immediate experience of unity and self-existence and, so, as the gateway to the perception of interconnection of the Intellect (“unity in plurality” of the center of the head) and the experience of unitive contemplation (“plurality in Unity” of the crown center). The world poison is held in the throat, but the lunar Soma-ambrosia which purifies one of mortality also drips into this center.

Unlike the sword’s flat blade, the spear’s tip is spade-shaped; it pierces in easily but is impossible to remove the way it went in. The nature of the yogic will is that we cannot reverse our trajectory along the Way; we must see through every act to completion, finding the kernel of each circumstance, striking it with the Intellect, and moving through it and on to the next experience, or else pull up short and remain merely stuck in place until force is applied again in the proper direction. The shaft of the spear is the selfsame “straight and narrow path” of Christ, the vertical axis of the Cross of Calvary which links Heaven and Earth by way of the deiform human.

This axis is also the spinal column, one of the features by which a human is properly human, our deiformity made literal. The world over, the importance of good posture during meditation and prayer is recognized, because the spine is none other than the holy spear of Murugan-Michael by which we both attain to and make manifest the Kingdom of Heaven, the Śivaloka.

In this case, the spear is of course point upright, the butt of the hilt set, as for a mounted charge, into the root center at the base of the spine. On His peacock mount, Murugan thrusts forth, and with his peacock-feathered wings, Michael adds force to his assault against the Dragon of Dispersion. The peacock symbolism adds to the spear by demonstrating the bringing together of diverse mental forces and ego itself necessary for the process of Realization. Beatitude is not had through half-measures and partial efforts, but from total devotion of all faculties to the aim.

If, as I’ve said, the spear’s hilt is set at the spine’s lower terminus, the haft extends all the way to the base of the skull, with the heard of the spear within the skull, its tip resting against the inside of the crown. When the thrust is made, this constitutes the famous shattering of the seal of Brahman whereby the Yogin spills his own śakti into the Mahāśakti, the Great Goddess Who eternally mothers all worlds and universes. But it is once again only by force applied precisely and unflinchingly that the obstacles are overcome and the final Union is achieved, and this is what Murugan-Michael teaches us by His upheld spear.

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