I’m not sure whether this is going to be a popular post but I honestly don’t really care. I’m not trying to achieve becoming popular with this blog. Actually I was just recently talking to a friend and she asked me what it was that I wanted to accomplish with my writings. I told her to read my intro post in which I had mentioned I wanted to be in service and that if there was only one person who resonated with my texts then I’d consider myself as successful (if such a category even exists).
So what is service about? Immediately Lucifer comes into my mind and I can almost hear him whisper ‘non serviam’ which seems to be contrary to the idea of service per se. Of course this depends on the definition of service. I don’t want to get scholarly here, there are so many versions of this old story. We could analyze this for ages and there are far more suitable people than me to do that. Let’s just assume for the moment that Lucifer in his serpent form was indeed the one to present Eve with the apple in the Garden. Who did he serve with this act? Although there are some theological debates on the exact nature of the ability which was given to Adam and Eve by eating the apple I’ll stick here to the one which allowed them to differentiate between Good and Evil. Gifting mankind with this capacity and the consequent possibility of development is at least for me an immense kind of service. So Lucifer’s famous outcry ‘non serviam’ might only refer to the God of the Old Testament and his Status Quo which – taken literally – would have meant blissfulness forever for the price of not being able to move on. So ‘non serviam’ means here the refusal to obey authorities which is a pretty chaos magickal approach.
Service is therefore only to be defined from a certain point of view at a given time. As it is an act of rebellion for some it is also an act of kindness and support for others at the same time. Especially in times like these it is essential to have a grasp of who we serve, politically, ethically, emotionally. We serve ourselves in allowing for our personal development. We ideally serve our communities in supporting each other, helping out where help is needed, showing that kindness we’d have wished for years ago in difficult situations. We serve our children in loving and teaching them how to think for themselves and how to develop resilience. We serve our partners in challenging them to grow and to look at some issues in their own lives and pasts. We serve nature in acknowledging and honoring its cycles instead of fighting or exploiting them. We serve our ancestors in trying to include them in our lives no matter how difficult our relationships with them might have been. We serve our teachers in listening to them and finally finding our own ways (thank you A., if you ever read these lines). We serve the invisible worlds in being there, listening and acting where it is needed even if we don’t always understand their goals. We serve the entities we choose to work with (or they choose us for workings) in giving them attention, emotion, offerings, energy. We serve each others as magicians and witches in challenging each other to grow through discussions and practices.
But service is not a one way thing. The very moment you decide to serve someone or something you establish a relationship and it doesn’t matter whether it lasts 3 seconds or 30 years. So what’s the difference between service and a pact? Intent. If I want to reach an agreement with someone or something my intent is focusing on what I want and what I’m willing to trade in for that whereas if I’m in service I just give without the intent to receive. Please don’t get me wrong, boundaries are something essential, in life as well as in magick. But there are situations where you can choose to be in service without expecting anything in return. And you’ll still receive something but maybe not something you want but something you need. The difference might sound subtle but is actually huge. For example, you might want to work more to get a raise but what you actually need is to look after your health. Similarly while you want a functioning relationship you might need a break.
To sum it up, rebellion and service are basically two sides of the same coin. They both establish a relationship one way or the other. Both concepts might sound a bit grandiose but actually an act of rebellion doesn’t have to be big neither does it have to be fierce. Sometimes being rebellious (and in service) means deciding to show a bit of kindness, understanding, caring. It can be smiling at someone on the street who just passes by, feeding stray animals, giving a few coins and hot coffee to someone without a home. Rebellion sometimes means acting against mainstream in being compassionate, offering a helping hand or listening to someone. Similarly being in service might mean accepting the role of the family’s black sheep in order to break up toxic patterns so that the next generation can move on. Sometimes being in service does mean roaring like a lioness.
We’re all facing times of political and environmental upheaval. It’s a survival strategy to be rebellious and the outcry ‘non serviam’ should be shouted out to those who try to manipulate us with their ‘news’, those who exploit nature and people for their infinite greed because being a millionaire is not enough as there are billions to be earned, to those who try to set us against each other in order to justify their political agendas, to those who destroy health care and social systems.
We all are in service of one and rebelling against the other side. Choose wisely, because being neutral is no option in the long run.