I've let you buggers off the hook for a few days, so today I'm going to talk about 'that stuff' again. Specifically about Altruism (aka unselfishness)."Beware of altruism, it is based on self-deception, the root of all evil." HeinleinThe last temptation is the highest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason" TS Eliot
Heinlein was right to give his warning about altruism, because it is so hard to truly 'grok' ;>
The ancient Jewish tradition of Qabalah places Altruism in the second sphere - Chokmah, and unselfishness in the 7th, Netzach.
For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, The central element of the Qabalah is The tree of life, which is an abstract method of looking at the nature of The Universe, humanity and the Godhead. It is composed of ten spheres, the abyss of Da'ath and the paths between the spheres (called sepiroth). Malkuth , the tenth sphere is the Earthly Plane. Kether, the first sphere is the Crown, the Monad, the final rejoining with the Godhead in order to begin the cycle over once more.
The true goal of High Magick is to cleanse and purify the higher self, by enhancing ones virtues and eliminating vices. The Qabalah and the Wiccan degree systems both usually recognise this and are stuctured accordingly.
Unselfishness is first studied in Netzach, in the form of unconditional love, mercy, beauty and splendor. It is studied in the Golden Dawn at grade 4=6, and in many Wiccan tradiitons as one of the Elemental Pacts - Fire (which depending upon the tradition may be done at 1st, 2nd or 3rd).
True Altruism however is found within the final sphere before Kether - The sphere (or sephira) of Chockmah as mentioned above. And this is where the last temptation comes in to play. The temptation being to do the right thing (be generous in spirit, kind to others and help them however you can) for the wrong reason (because they will like you better, I will be well thought of, you will 'get your reward in heaven', or even 'because I can write it of against tax').
There are a couple of books on this subject that interested Wiccans may wish to study. Ellen Cannon Reed wrote a book called 'The Witches Qabala' which I highly recommend. It is the Qabala from a Wiccan perspective. Once you have digested that, I recommend The Tree of Life and The Middle Pillar, both by Israel Regardie and the Sea Priestess and Moon Magic both by Dion Fortune (which are works of fiction, but which Dion used as a means to get out some highly useful and fundamental information about High Magick).
Hope the above make sense. It's Sunday morning and I haven't had my coffee yet :>