A magician who would approach the throne of the Most High, must perfect a temple on the earth which has its roots in the underworld and the roof below the moon. This is the purpose of a magical life. You are not trapped in earth, you were sent. You are not imprisoned by life; it is your mission. The fates have spun their net for you and you must use it to be the best you can.
One does not reject or demolish the temple that is built by the One Thing, to spit in the eyes of his Aeons and expect it to be pleased to see you.
One of the great sins of the Gnostics, which was picked up by some flavours of Christianity, and from there into 19th century esotericism, is a flawed belief that matter is evil. Ernest Butler called this the Manichaean heresy. Manichaeism was a religion in which the world was a war zone between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light whence it came.
You can see how such an idea became popular with occultists who make a big deal about aspiring to the light, god and heaven. To be fair to the tradition too, Butler did use the general definition of the Manichaeism to describe those who see black and white as absolutes and equate matter with evil.
What becomes important is that the terrestrial gods, angels, spirits and the underworld all fit into those sorts of things that people are supposed to be escaping from.
One of the more snooty aspects of “esoteric masonic” systems, particularly of Rosicrucianism, is to adopt a similar worldview. The idea being that instead of using terrestrial gods for magic, they use “higher” gods for something called “theurgy.”
Theurgy is supposed to be a higher and spiritual process where a person invokes the highest divine being and then merges with it. Magic on the other hand is dismissed as dealing with those “tainted forces” of matter and gods which are nothing more than demons.
However this concept of Theurgy, which is a legitimate magical technique, was developed by the Neo-platonists and rather than dismissing life and the earth it was pretty much life affirming.
Iamblichus and Proclus the late fifth century philosophers who intellectualised the system as a spiritual technique felt that it was vital that, while we are alive, we honour the terrestrial gods and spirits. Their students were instructed to be devoted followers of the gods and attend religious functions. Theurgy was used to contact these beings as much as it was used to contact the much higher ones.
As such, a true Theurgist has to honour the material world and not see it as something evil where divine sparks have become trapped.
Hatred of the material world, along with a fear of the underworld, has unbalanced the magical systems of the west. Instead of providing a base for a person to remember their divine aspects, it has become a cesspit to be escaped from. Instead of honouring those connections with our ancestors in the underworld, we attempt to disconnect ourselves with the same enthusiasm as avoiding a Christmas dinner with the in-laws.
As a result, we have lost the thrusting base to ascend to the heavens and literally trip over our own spiritual feet.
The One Thing manifested the universe out of itself. It did not make a mistake; it did so because it wanted understand itself. Our consciousness is part of that reflection and helping it to understand. If we think our universe is evil, nasty and something to be fled from; then we are saying that the One Thing that created it is evil, nasty and something from which we need to flee. It is no wonder then we cannot reach the throne of the most high, when its feet are in the matter which we see as a mistake.
Modern magic is starting to realise its mistake. Realms such as the underworld and humanity’s relationship with matter are starting to be explored and integrated back into magic. In the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea students are expected to work with the underworld forces and explore matter. Rather than reviling matter, we attempt to work with it as co-creators of the One Thing.
We are not the only ones. Writers like Jake Stratton-Kent has been looking at the real meaning of the Goetia and has found that work so spiritually satisfying he has not felt the need to propel himself out into the super-celestial realm. Aaron Leitch has been integrating underworld aspects into his Solomonic works. Josephine McCarthy has been working on a similar approach in the British tradition.
All this is a tipping point for serious magic. The underworld and sub-lunar magic is becoming something which, after centuries, is returning to the mainstream current. It is already being dismissed as a black magic revival by those desperate to keep the Manichaean heresy alive, but it is not. In fact is the complete opposite. One of the more stupid aspects of 19th and 20th century magic was the idea that there was such a thing as left hand and right hand paths of magic. Followers of the Golden Dawn magical system should tell you that the concept of a left hand or a right hand way of working is always going to destroy you (have a look at the 1=10 ritual if you want to see what I mean). Sure there are extremes in the universe but to quote Babylon Five: “ I take the place that has been prepared for me. I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light.”