Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Everything Question

Don't depend on death to liberate you from your imperfections. You are exactly the same after death as you were before. Nothing changes; you only give up the body. If you are a thief or a liar or a cheater before death, you don't become an angel merely by dying. If such were possible, then let us all go and jump in the ocean now and become angels at once! Whatever you have made of yourself thus far, so will you be hereafter. And when you reincarnate, you will bring that same nature with you. To change, you have to make the effort. This world is the place to do it. – Paramahansa Yogananda

I have made that effort for many years now. I am not saying that I have made myself into someone that will become the next great teacher. I have made some progress though. In doing so I have come up with The Everything Question so named because those answers touch upon every aspect of the theurgist’s life. Answering the question helps you refine your nature.
"What brings me closer to the divine?" was the orignal Everything Question, but it is misleading because being ‘away’ from the divine is an illusion. We are always in a state of intimacy with everything that is divine.
Perhaps a better question is this: "What helps me become aware of my closeness to the divine?"
The word divine can be nebulous. For that reason I will frame my comments with three of the eighteen definitions found on
Definition 1:
Proceeding from God or a god: divine laws;
Divine guidance
 There are divine laws*. The best examples or divine laws are those that we call physical laws. This universe was created with certain physical constants like gravity, vacuums, molecular structures, the list is endless.The fact that we may not know them or know exactly how they work does not make that less true. Gravity works whether we understand it or not.
Physical laws are a subset of divine laws. A non-physical law may be that humans have emotions. This is just part of our existence. As a species (if not always individually) humans have a spiritual/religious drive. Moses gave us a glimpse of divine laws as they relate to behavior. Jesus provided a glimpse of a law of properly applied emotion love/sacrifice. Perhaps I and many other mystics have revealed the law of that regulates the purpose of human existence. If all things perfectly serve to unfold the soul it may follow that the purpose of human existence is to evolve physical energy into the spiritual. While we may find room to argue about this or that law a body of such laws exist whether we understand them or not. Gravity works whether we understand it or not.
Under this definition “What brings me closer to the divine?” is answered with “that which helps me to learn about, understand or work within divine law”. Sometimes this is a spiritual/intellectual understanding, like my view of Perfection, Jesus’s view of Love, Buddha’s view of Awareness.  Other times it is intuition that cannot be rationalized. Perhaps Gibran’s view of thought “There is a place between right thinking and wrong thinking. I will meet you there” applies. Either way, when you follow divine law you feel no resistance
An example of this may be sympathetic magick, the idea that similar things can impact each other. A doll made to resemble a person can be symbolically imprisoned and that imprisonment will impact the person.  If you do such a thing and it works smoothly, quickly and perfectly you have done something so aligned with divine law that no other result was possible.
Frazer [The Golden Bough] broke down the idea further into two distinct parts - the Law of Similarity and the Law of Contact/Contagion. He said, “From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not”(source)
I interpret my vision of perfection as witnessing a divine law at work because what I saw was so all-encompassing, easy to understand, and immediately life changing that it could be nothing less. That law is that all things serve to unfold our souls. I therefore try to work within divine law as I understand it by living in such a way that the Perfection of the universe is obvious. For example I see the negative purely as a lesson and see the positive in the same way. This has become second nature to the point that I use the terms positive and negative/good and bad merely for ease of communication.
Sometimes in the moment I miss out on the understanding that negative and positive events are teaching moments. This is never fun and I look bad. The upside is that I am usually I am able to regain this perspective given time."
By living a life within the understanding of Perfection I live within that divine law. Even during very rough times that would have been emotionally very difficult, I have been calm and peaceful. This is because I know beyond knowing that the Perfection is doing Its work. I capitalize those words as the Perfection is holy to me.
 Definition 2:
Godlike; characteristic of or befitting a deity
Divine magnanimity
What are godlike characteristics?

Have you seen a miracle lately? Probably not. Actually you have seen them. The question is are you aware of the miracles you see? You have seen people change their lives for the better. You have seen the lazy become suddenly studious, the angry become calm, and the lonely married. Have you seen someone hit bottom and realize they cannot fall anymore? This is the divine at work. One godlike characteristic is the ability to make massive changes without any apparent effort. When the divine interferes we do not think, “Oh the gods (or God) must be tuckered out now!". Those transitions are examples of massive changes whether accomplished of the person’s own will, or the hand of the divine.
Another indication of the divine at work is when one person effortlessly instigates another to move closer to her true self.
My mentor was like that from time to time. People around him would struggle and during a conversation with him they would seize onto a phrase that meant little to him at the time but held deep meaning for them. These people would end up making serious changes in their lives. My mentor was not a god but he displayed a god-like characteristic.
People have told me that my soul and tarot readings have changed their lives. They have left my table crying tears of joy. In those moments, I displayed a god-like characteristic. I am not a god.
Humans that live their lives in ways that have huge impacts on society are also displaying a characteristic of a god. These may include individuals such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andrew Carnegie, [which? Several prominent people, I don't automatically recognize the last name]Getty, Thomas Edison, and the like. Some people may see some of these folks as real s.o.b.s.
As humans we can display god-like characteristics and be jerks five minutes later. Gods can be gods and be jerks at the same time. Reading the Old Testament or Greek Mythology will confirm that. That which is negative to our understanding is not ungodlike. There have been some people in history that were real jerks that display godlike qualities.
Another god-like characteristic which is inherentin the definition above is  divine magnanimity. Further defined from the same source as: "generous in forging an insult or injury; free form petty resentfulness or vindictiveness. Also, proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character etc."
Those traits need no further elucidation.
Under this definition “What brings me closer to the divine?” is answered with “that which helps me to embody or manifest a divine trait in my daily life”.
Every time I have a moment of moment of intuitional awareness I am living within a characteristic of the divine. So what brings me closer to the divine? Any exercise that builds upon my intuition.
Definition 3:
Heavenly; celestial: the divine kingdom.
As someone that has seen the chthonic realms I would quibble with the heavenly celestial part being an all inclusive answer. You only have to be down there once before you know the term heavenly does not apply. No one would describe that bleak painful place as heavenly. The divine kingdom part is another story that conjures the ghost of a particular religion. I will use my preferred term of "the divine realm” which is everywhere.
Most would see the difference only semantically. I see the term divine kingdom as a very Abrahamic term. It implies a state of rulership. Realm may sound like kingdom to some but it has subtler meaning such as a sphere of influence in which the divine occurs. That form of "realm" is everywhere. 
The Golden Dawn has a few greats line in the Zelator (earth grade) ritual.
“The foolish and rebellious gaze upon the face of the created World, and find therein nothing but terror and obscurity. It is to them the Terror of Darkness and they are as drunken men stumbling in the Darkness.” And later “The Wise gaze upon the created world and behold there the dazzling image of the Creator.”

When you have that mystical moment and behold that dazzling image you will change. For you will know that the divine is hidden by a single molecule of the physical.
Under this definition, “What brings me closer to the divine?” is answered with “that which helps me to perceive and live within the divine realm.” Sometimes that would be disc golf. Playing three or four days a week a few years back allowed me to perceive the subtle changes that foretold the changes of the seasons. The earth and its processes became alive to my awareness.

Having just one experience in life that answers that question in any way is a success. Doing so helps us live a life that satisfies the quote above by actively and willfully working to refine our nature.

*Please forgive me for my lack of education in such philosophies. I fear my explanation is lacking here but am unsure how to communicate more clearly.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Doing is Required
I play disc golf as a hobby. For those unfamiliar with the sport it is fundamentally the same as regular golf only using thrown plastic discs instead of hitting a ball with a club. The holes are baskets with chains hanging above them to stop the discs.

Many people often learn the techniques by watching videos online. They teach driving (a throw from the tee meant to go a long distance), mid-range shots, and putting (when you are close to the basket trying to get the disc in), as well as giving tips on practice methodology. I have watched these videos too, and learned from them. Watching the videos alone would do little, however. I had to go out and use the techniques on the course to really gain a measure of proficiency. 

Until recently my average drive from the tee was about 275 feet. Once in a while I could hit the 300’ to 325’ range. That is a little less than the average for someone at my level of experience.
During a round this weekend I realized that my shoulders tensed up as soon as I stepped up to the tee pad. This would not be something I would notice watching a video even though the advice to “keep loose” may have been mentioned. When I made an effort to relax those muscles I stood more vertically and I could feel the difference all the way through the shot. I was astonished to watch that drive travel 341 feet and land within five feet of the basket. Normally, I would par (the amount of shots one should need to make the basket) that hole but that sort of distance makes for an easy birdie (making the basket with one less toss than par). Further, by adding that additional fifty to seventy-five feet a drive there would be little chance that a second shot would go wild. Basically I have eliminated a lot of bogies (one over par).

After that one change in posture my average drive was over 300 feet. I routinely hit 325. Later that round I let one fly that landed 375 to 400 feet away from the tee. For me this was an incredible distance. I had only thrown 400 feet once before, and that was a fluke.

The downside was that the toss was so long that I threw it out of bounds. In disc golf out of bounds usually means that the disc left the course completely. This is penalized by scoring an additional toss. If it takes four shots to make the basket but one went out of bounds your score would be five. On this particular basket you have to throw a disc over a forty foot tree and have it sail another 20 feet before you pass the out of bounds marker and land in a parking lot. The next time I play that hole I will have to add a little altitude to the same throw. The additional height will drop the air speed a little sooner and the disc will fade (descend while turning left) and drop before flying out of bounds. Because I have played much shorter holes before that I can over throw I know how to deal with this problem. The rest will be practicing that shot.

Playing disc golf takes social courage for some people. As you are learning you look a bit silly out there. Some people cannot face their best throw landing at seventy-five feet only to see some eighteen year old sending one soaring 400 feet down range. That said, it is not a particularly intimidating prospect for most people.

Magick is intimidating for many people. To do it you have to be able to set aside some of the ‘science only’ mindset of the prevailing Western culture. More importantly you have to accept a new form of reality that simply does not conform to anything you’ve been taught unless you were raised in unique social circumstances. New people in particular can been afraid of doing it wrong.   Intangible spirits can be scary. The greatest fear is the one that hides the deepest. Many people do not realize the true nature of this fear, which is that magick eventually requires you to discard your entire world view over and over again. In magick there are many events, tasks, and realizations that trigger fears. Almost everyone has to face some fear early on in their magickal career. Human fears run so deeply that this is a continual process of reinvention for many if not all practitioners.

Unlike disc golf there is no way to practice before taking a shot at magick. You can only do magick by living a magickal life. You can pull off some unplanned spontaneous workings or fire some one-off spells from time to time but magick takes time, effort, and awareness to master. During that process you have to read enough, watch enough, and do enough to find your magickal equivalent to my tight shoulders. With practice you will overcome blockages that you might identify with other things but which are ultimately rooted in fear. You will relax and your skills will increase exponentially.  When they do you will be able to fall back on your experience to make the proper adjustments. Just like you can throw a disc so far it goes out of bounds, you can also use more magickal power than you need. You will never find the sweet spot between skill and power in a book or on a blog. You have to gain experience playing the game. Once you find that critical balance a few times your abilities will grow exponentially.

The only way to gain experience with magick is by doing magick. While I do not advocate you do magick for every little thing or as a recreational activity I do believe that most people who new to magick don't  do enough of it. Everyone has their own reasons for shying away from magick. It is important to assess those reasons carefully. Our fears easily become excuses which masquerade as solid reasons.

If you do not have the necessary skills practice to obtain them. If you do not have the knowledge read a book.  If you have the skills and the knowledge make an artificial elemental. Command it to bring you more knowledge or skills in any area that you like.   If you can do that conjure spirits and ask them how you can improve your life or obtain a greater tie to the land. If you are delaying learning the skills or reading a book you just may be afraid. Have courage! You will inevitably make mistakes. You will also have mind blowing experiences. Live a little!

Three months ago I could only dream about throwing a disc 350 feet on a regular basis. I can do it now because I kept on playing the game. Take that same leap with magick. Do something to improve your skill levels. Do not be satisfied staying where you are. Once you take that leap you magickal life will open doors you only dream about now.

As a personal example, my family is going through a very difficult time right now. That said, I am handling things in such a calm way that most people would never guess how challenging it is. This is not the result of suppression. My being understands the universe with enough depth that life’s difficulties are not mentally or emotionally disruptive. Instead they are merely time consuming and inconvenient. Instead of being anguished and stressed I feel love and sympathy. This understanding comes from opening doors that can only be managed by doing magick.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This Is Not Hollywood Or Is It?

A friend once asked me if being a magician was like being in Charmed. In the television show spirits (usually demons) manifest physically. Then they interact with a variety of humans wreaking havoc. The witches do various things to make the demons explode in a shower of sparks sending them back to hell. My response was that no, my life is not like Charmed. As I started this post I intended to say no here as well. Then I started listing the exceptions to that statement.

The first I can remember was during a psychic faire. A spirit from the Lesser Key of Solomon which some would call a demon* (but I would not) very clearly walked up to my table and sat in the chair across from me. While he did not have a physical body he almost looked like he did. I told him that he would have to go as I was busy. He left peaceably enough with the parting observation that “Sooner or later you will have to deal with me.” He was correct. I did speak with him many years later as part of a working to skry all 72 Lesser Key spirits. I found him completely amiable. At this point I have not worked with him to the point of a formal evocation. My best description of our relationship put in human terms would be ‘well-liked acquaintance’.

The other night another spirit from the Lesser Key stood at the foot of my bed. He was very real but did not appear physical in the least. He was there to take credit for what was about to happen in my dreams that same night. The dream I had was quite instructive and dealt with something I have been working on for some time. I have no problem with him dropping by to take credit. I am not sure how to assess the one-off visit and help.

I have had working partners tell me that my skin tone and physical appearance change when I invoke gods. The people that have witnessed this were in magical states themselves. I doubt anyone in a normal frame of consciousness would have seen what they did. When I lead soul meditations my voice sometimes has an odd echo to it. This also occurs in Cult meetings where I call upon the gods to appear to the group.   The attendees can all hear that change in voice. I suspect a passerby in a normal state of consciousness would hear it as well.

Not too long ago there was another incident while I was making offerings to the spirits on my property. A tiny blue and white water spirit crawled out of the plastic cup that I was using to make the water offering. The spirit looked like a little angel or faery-like being. The odd thing is that I never think of these events as fantastic or unusual as they are happening.

I did not make any of these spirits explode or send them back to ‘hell’. Aside from some serious mistakes very early in my career I have never conjured anything that turned out to be a danger to myself or others. This is not to say that I haven’t accidently kicked my own butt a few times but nothing ever occurred that did any long term harm to myself or anyone else.

The few dangerous things that I have encountered were sent by other mages or witches. The issue with doing this is that someone may send something to you that they think is a mild slap on the wrist but that slap may hit you like an artillery shell.  Human psychology is weird enough on its own. Since magick finds the path of least resistance what it finds is often the biggest crack in the target’s psychology. Even if you think you deserve a wrist slap (we all deserve one once in a while), send anything someone sends to you back and I mean everything. Here I am discussing magick meant to do you some level of harm. Well-intended magick does not lead to such black and white conclusions.
If want is intended to be a mild wrist slap can do that much damage you can imagine what truly malicious magick can do.

With those and many other experiences in mind I will revise my premise. Magick can be like living in a friendly or not so friendly episode of Charmed, but often it is not.

Making Non-Hollywood Magick Work

Most magick is not visible in normal states of consciousness, at least not for me. The forces do not become so physical that you can touch what you conjure. Most magick merely sets a series of events in motion. Here the advice of Ferris Bueller pays off: “Life [Magick] moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while [pay attention], you could miss it."

I recently made a prayer bag consisting of an herb, a stone, and a petition. I made the bag because I realized that I had grown a great deal spiritually. People from my past would be more than surprised by the difference between who I was and who I am now. They would not be surprised by the fact that in some instances that spiritual success is hidden by the antagonistic aspects of my personality**. I have not fully manifested those changes in all aspects of day-to-day life to the extent that I want. The bag was charged with manifesting all the changes I have made and make them obvious to myself and others.

The next day one of my coworkers came to my office and said without preamble, “I just realized what a peaceful guy you really are.” My bosses paid more attention to my suggestions. Strangers smiled at me for no reason. My internal attitude changed to something I can only refer to as global respect. Very few people would sense magick but many saw me differently. Several weeks after removing the prayer bag the benefits of wearing that bag are still apparent. That kind of result would make for boring television. No one exploded. No one saw any flashing lights. No one saw anything.

I noticed the results because I pay attention to the universe around me. I know what is normal and what is not.

One should not stop paying attention after getting positive results. After a week or two of wearing the bag I was climbing out of my skin. I felt like my body had been plugged into a 220v circuit. Emotionally I was fine but at the same time I felt like I would explode physically. After eliminating any other significant stressors in my life (which I had been handling with the aplomb of a holy man) I was forced to acknowledge my prayer bag was the problem. It was manifesting more of my soul energy than my physical body could process.

Paying attention let me know I was in trouble. I removed the bag. Two weeks later I was back to normal. I will recreate the prayer bag with a variation in formula to temper the effects and see what happens.

The point is that you cannot expect Hollywood special effects to let you know what is going on. You have to pay attention to your universe. You must do this after a working but in order to make that effective you have to pay attention continually. This gives you a baseline to compare things to in order to guage results. Just because the results of magick can be subjective or appear to be subjective that does not mean you can get away with a sloppy approach to life.

Let’s say you do magick for a promotion at work. You have worked hard but never been in the running for anything other than keeping your job. In this scenario magick would not usually manifest in a way that you’d be handed a sudden promotion. People have to have a reason to do things. They are not going to wake up and say to themselves, “Phil has always been okay. I think I will make him a manager today.”

Magick is more likely to create a scenario in which you can prove yourself and help you do that. This then gives your boss a reason to begin thinking of promoting you. Your boss will not act in a way she perceives as irrational. Going from not thinking of you to promoting you without a cause would feel irrational to her. Magick will make her feel like promoting you but then you have to play an active role that aligns with your magick and your goals.

To make magick work in this instance you have to pay attention. Magick will most likely create a situation which you can take advantage of. For the sake of discussion let’s say your magick creates an emergency.  Chances are that you will not notice that your magick created anything. To you and everyone else it will feel like a normal work experience. While I am not quite sure why it works this way I think it is because it drops you into the flow of what used to be an unfulfillable potential reality. That current of possibilities feels so normal that you do not notice the change. Once you are in that current you will naturally do what it takes to make that impression on your boss.

Of course it works this way until it doesn’t. Sometimes the universe requires you to be more active. You will instinctively know when this is happening because you will be required to make a conscious choice. This choice involves reacting in a ways you have not done before. Your previous actions left you in a current where promotion was not possible. After the shift in behaviour the promotion becomes a tangible opportunity. When this happens you are being taught much more than that your magick is working. You are being taught that you can willfully change your habitual responses when you want. Being able to do that makes one powerful and aware.

If you do magick without paying attention to its results you will miss these critical opportunities.
To avoid that you should actively strive to feel what the magick is trying to encourage you to do and trust in that. Many magicians lose confidence not because their magick is ineffective but because they are expecting irrational or dramatic results  and consequently miss the subtler situations magick creates.  Always remember that people have to explain themselves to themselves. Give them a reason to act on what the magick is prompting them to do.

While I am not generally in favour of love magic I will use it here to serve as an example. Desiring a life partner, you  do love magick and charge it with the following words: “Bring to me someone that I can respect and love, who can respect and love me, and who desires marriage.” The next day you see an acquaintance in a whole new way. You realize she has been right next to you the whole time. Up to this point your relationship has only been cordial. She is not likely to suddenly walk up to you and plant a kiss on you even if she has always wanted to. That would take too much courage on her part. You have to give her a reason to either start thinking of you in a new way or to give her a reason to be brave and reveal how she has felt all along. In this case it the suitable reaction may be as simple as asking her out for a cup of coffee.

Ultimately the success of the bag I created was not subtle at all. Neither would the path to promotion or the appearance of a love interest. Such opportunities will be obvious to you and maybe others. Even with that lack of subtly sometimes you might not notice in the moment. The most likely person to be aware of the change would be a close magickal confident whom you told about the magick. Most of the time those people have the good sense to keep their mouth shut and wait to point out the obvious after everything has played out. Most mages do not have a person like that in their life. To everyone else the events which lead to your promotion or the woman entering your life were just normal life experiences.

Magick is often a hidden thing. It's typically not flashy and showy like Hollywood would lead you to assume. Expect your magic to be subtle and appear mundane. Sometimes there is that bright flash of light but most of the time things just change.

*I would use the term demon to describe something utterly malicious for no reason that a human could perceive. With the spirits of the Lesser Key you get what you expect. If you call them to be mean and nasty to someone you will get a mean and nasty version of them. If you call them to be of aid in your life you will get a version of them that is helpful (though it may appear to be the case at first). Or, if you are not ready for the energy of your working, you will have your butt kicked and they will feel every bit like a demon.

**That which is ‘negative’ is not necessarily non-spiritual. It is still part of our perfection but it does hide spiritual gifts from those that may otherwise benefit. For example, being an antagonistic teacher with the wisdom to know when to confront a student would be beneficial in the long term. Random antagonism would mask the teaching moments making them totally ineffective.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Silent Words

We all know that what you say can impact the people around us. We also know that what we say internally can impact ourselves. What fewer people realize is that there are silent words within us that have an impact on ourselves and our magick.

Silent words are things we believe so deeply about ourselves that we do not need to speak or think them. Spiritually speaking one of the worst of these is I am unworthy. This can also be expressed as I am not good enough, I am a bad person, or Who am I to… These internalized judgments are part of the Western paradigm. In his autobiography the Dalai Lama speaks of learning about Western self-loathing for the first time. Such modes of being are unheard of in his culture. He had to ask his monks in the West to explain them to him and his fellows. This self-abasement occurs in other cultures as well.

Self-Judgment may be born of many sources, original sin, abusive parents, cultural messaging, social structure and the like.

Those that feel this pain acutely often seek to externalize it or deal with it in self-destructive ways which become a form of self-punishment. Here we have abusive parents, the terminally angry or sad, addicts (drugs or behavioral, criminals, extreme hedonists, extreme ascetics, flagellants, and the like.

No matter the source of this internal anguish, as magicians we must move past it. This is true whether we are aware of it or not.

I teach a spell based on Paul Huson’s reverse Lord’s prayer. The idea is that we write down what we do not want backwards. Only the intent -- for this example only the intent, to lose a little weight -- and the words matter. I have not included the rest of the working because it is not germane to this post. For more information see my post, Huson’s Theurgy.

The wording of my spell was something like “I am overweight.” That became “thgiewrevo ma I”. One of my students worded it “I will not care about my appearance” or “ecnaraeppa ym tuoba erac ton lliw I”

Even though the intent of the spell was the same I lost fifteen pounds. She gained about as many because she stopped caring about her appearance and therefore ate more than necessary. In magick intent plays a part but so do one’s words. It is therefore always a good idea to be mindful of the wording of your spells.

The silent words within play a role in this process. Very few spell casters would use wording like “Provide this thing that I am unworthy to receive.” This is self-contradictory wording. My opinion of Crowley is mixed but he was correct when he said that Will must be one not two. Having part of us reject our worthiness to receive something while another part asks the universe for it is splitting the Will. This is not beneficial to our magick.

The silent words of unworthiness that have been culturally or otherwise ingrained within us restrain our magick. They make our magick fail or manifest with less than fully satisfying results because every part of our being is involved in the magick we do. If those silent words are in you they are in your magick.* If they are in your magick they will impact your results.

To make our magick more effective we must rid ourselves of these silent words.

One way to achieve this is to look around at the people you know and respect. Do you think they have spent their life without committing misdemeanors similar to your own? For those transgressions do you think a job, a mate, some good luck, or contact with the gods should be withheld from them? I hope not. Accept within yourself that you are worthy of what you need or want just like they are.

Even if you do not have words like this silently poisoning you, you still may have words like “Magick does not work" or "Science has proved that magic isn't real”. These or other culturally accepted thoughts that can sneak into magical work and wreak havoc.

There is a simple exercise you can do before each act of magick which can help rid you of silent words. Better still, you can do this every day. I challenge you to do this even if you do not think that you have any silent words that restrain you.
  •  Sit quietly in a straight backed chair with your feet on the floor. (Other meditative postures would work equally as well.)
  • Think “I am worthy of the divine” or “I am worthy of manifesting the goal of this spell.” Use whatever phrase is appropriate. 
  • Repeat this thought while paying attention to your body.
  • Working from the top of your head down become aware of any area of muscle tightness. This is your resistance manifesting physically. Relax the muscles in that area knowing that you are releasing resistance and accepting your worthiness. Do not attempt to ascertain why your doubt manifests in your left arm or right hip. Figure that out later. Just relax the muscles.
  • Continue this all the way down to the bottoms of your feet. Do not forget your arms. 
This next portion is a bit more difficult.
  • Pay attention to areas of mental resistance. This may feel like a lack of confidence or (in computer speak) the feeling of a hard null value. By that I do not mean a place of ‘no thought’ like in meditation. This is more of a mental wall that encapsulates a thought. This is a part of your thinking that you are complicit in hiding from yourself. If you try to find the thought behind the wall you will either face massive resistance or get so distracted that you will come out of the exercise at less than your magickal best. Instead just visualize or ‘feel’ the wall disappearing. You do not want the wall to fall down, explode, or anything else. Let it fade away like the insubstantial ghost that it is. 
  • Think “I am worthy of the divine” or “I am worthy of manifesting the goal of this spell.” Use whatever phrase is appropriate. 
  • Repeat this thought while paying attention to your emotions.
  • Any emotion that does not feel like it is unified with your purpose or quiet confidence should be gently released. Determination is not an acceptable attitude. Determination is about forcing your way through resistance. It implies you are accepting the resistance as real and potentially more real than your magick. Again, this should not be forced. Let those emotions fade away like the insubstantial phantoms they are. Emotions can also be found within various parts of the body. Perform a head to toe survey releasing resistance when necessary. Do not contemplate the emotions. Do not investigate them. Just let them go.
This is more work than it appears to be. The first time just go through it once. Give it a try. If you pay attention and are willing to accept what you find this will be an educational experience. Your magick will improve.

*They also impact your every thought, assumption, emotion and action.

Note: I feel compelled to thank an anonymous friend that assisted with this post. Her input helped clarify my ideas and writing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stupidly Effective Foolish Magick

There is one form of stupidly effective foolish magick. This warning applies to newbies and experienced people alike.

Qabalistically speaking, there are many levels of the soul. The lowest is the physical body. The one above that is the instinctual body that rules fight/flight and reproduction. Basically, it keeps you alive long enough to reproduce and to keep your offspring alive long enough to do the same. These two soul levels are not usually capable of a lot of thought but they have a lot of energy.

When we are motivated by these lower needs and draw upon the power of these souls we can do some effective magick. For example, if a person is frightened that their children might starve, the blind energy of those fears (generated in the lower souls) gets poured into the magick. That energy has a powerful but low vibrational rate. There is no thought to it at all. This sort of energy is the equivalent of a magickal hand grenade. When we are worried about starving children we don’t have a great deal of ethical concerns. We are going to feed our kids.

The problem is that most of the time things are not that dire. You do not need ten dollars that badly. You do not need a date that badly. You do not need the promotion that badly. However, our lower psychology can convince us that we do. This sort of thing comes from the survival instinct. We convince ourselves that one more dollar an hour will keep us alive.

Is one dollar an hour worth throwing a hand grenade? No.

The warning signs for this sort of magick are desperation, nervousness, apathy towards others, feeling like you’ve drank twenty cups of coffee and feeling a bit out of control. Never do magick in these states unless your kid is starving.

You can do magick for that dollar an hour raise when your rational mind guides your actions. It is even safer (and more effective) when you are guided by your soul. At the very least, make sure your rational mind is in control before tossing a grenade or you will eventually regret it. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pitfalls for Newbies

Jason Walton just published on the same topic. (or will shortly)

What follows is a top of the head list of things that can be classified as newbie pitfalls of magick. This list is was combined with the inexperienced in mind. I am sure some of my more experienced readers remember making some of these mistakes as well. You cannot enter the realms of magick afraid of making mistakes. You must enter the path vowing to learn from them.

The same is true for danger. Yes, magick can be dangerous. As Jason Miller put it, driving a car is also dangerous.  That should not stop you from getting yourself where you need to go. Just as you could learn to drive a car on your own you can learn magick on your own. In both cases, a teacher is probably better. 

The difference is that with magick more than one teacher is ideal. If anyone ever tells you that you are only permitted to learn from them or their group, run. Run far and run fast. These people are usually insecure egomaniacs that do not have the experience, wisdom and skills to teach. If they did, they would not be afraid of you thinking for yourself. They would encourage it! There is likely some exceptions in some teaching situations but when you hear this be very careful.

Newbie Problems

Often when people have their first brush with the astral it feels to them like they have discovered something the rest of the world does not know. They wallow in a sense of otherness. Quickly, there are only two groups of people, the ‘muggles’ and the ‘in-tune’. The latter have a deeper understanding. This can turn into a sense of being better than muggles faster than you can imagine. If someone is in this stage, they don’t know diddly. The only person that hasn’t figured this out is the person that feels this way. If this is you, all your friends and acquaintances know more than you do. Yes, I fell for this one.

Magick is a freeing experience. It rejects the idea that other people’s moral dictates apply. You have to figure those out for yourself. Especially for Pagans, this leads to the idea of sexual freedom. While I have no problem with doing whomever you want whenever you want to, this sort of freedom can be acted upon too quickly. It may be true that you can do half the people in your social circle and suffer no social consequences. It may also be true that your current state of manifestation cannot handle that sort of input (pun intended). It can eat at your sense of self in very negative ways.

For new Pagans, I have a piece of advice based on the two items above. Keep your mouth shut and your pants on. If you really do know more than everyone (you don’t), there will be time to communicate your earth-shattering wisdom. If you really can handle ten partners a month, you will be able to handle it a year from now. Take small steps. Know thyself. Doing that will leave you in better shape. I promise.

The most dangerous part of magick is that it works. People either recognize the responsibility and own the necessary humility immediately or some time passes before they figure it out, if at all. There is nothing more dangerous than someone that thinks he can fix the world. These people will try to do spells that impact their entire apartment complex, bring ‘love’ to their friends, and teach ‘that bastard’ a lesson. These people are not mages. They are jerks. The level of arrogance required to do this stuff after a successful spell or two is off the charts. Yes, I have been arrogant but not that arrogant.

Love spells. Just don’t. The first rule about love spells is not to do them. The second rule is about love spells is not to do them. I know that technically those are the same thing but I feel that rule is so important that it needed to be said twice.* The term ‘unmitigated disaster’ can be applied to almost all newbie love spells. For those where that cannot be said mitigated disaster works just fine. Yes, I am sure there is an example of success out there. I have never seen it. I fell for this one and was quite fortunate to get away with being able to label it ‘difficult’.

The only thing worse than doing a general love spell is trying to make someone specific fall in love with you. As Cunningham says in The Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, the best that you can achieve with this is infatuation or, a white hot flame of attraction. Otherwise, you get a person of very confused emotions. The target may feel that she ‘loves’ you but just doesn’t love you at the same time. She may not even like you. The target may feel a pull to see the caster or have sex but are repulsed at the same time. The target basically undergoes emotional torture. You can also get a person that becomes obsessed with you. BAD IDEA.

I was the target of one of these once. The spell backfired. I fell head of over heals for someone else and the spell caster had to watch. Imagine thinking you are in love with someone and having to watch them fall all over someone else. To say that I was out of control would be an understatement. The same could be said about my partner for a while. She pulled out of it faster than I did. After all, she was not the target of the spell and the original caster did some magick to calm her down. Casting against your own magick is ALWAYS a bad idea.

The price the caster paid was having to watch that relationship as the price of admission for her entire social circle and her only in person access to magickal teaching. I am sure that it sucked. Just as Cunningham warned, the relationship flamed out quickly. It left me devastated for a while but lead directly to my Vision of Perfection. The would be mage was ejected from my life.
This is one of the few cases, perhaps the only, where someone became quite angry with me when I literally did nothing to deserve it. It was either be angry at me or face up to her own foolishness. Most newbies are incapable of the latter.

That leads right into the next one. Self-Justification. This is a problem for everyone but particularly for magickal practitioners. Power corrupts. The way to avoid that corruption is to be ruthlessly introspective and take responsibility for your errors. If you are not capable of saying, “I am sorry. I did X and I was wrong,” you are unlikely to escape the problems of those that justify any action they take. Woe to you and your friends.

Newbies get a taste of magickal success and think they can teach. Donald Michael Kraig often warned people to avoid IROBs, I read one book. These people will not only rob you of an education. They will put all kinds of things into your head that you will have to unlearn later. Unlearning is very hard to do. Challenge people on their experience and education. Challenge yourself. Do what you can to avoid falling into the hands of an IROB. Do everything you can to avoid being one.

Another problem is a lack of balance. Some newbies read about magick but are afraid to do it and still identify as magicians, witches, etc. Most people fall on that end of the spectrum. They never really learn because they never give themselves an opportunity. They often sound good when talking about magick. Others, like myself, dive in and have to be restrained a bit. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher that was able to guide me through this with balance. I did a lot of magick but if I went too far, he reigned me in. A good teacher is of great value here but they are very hard to find.
I am sure this list should be longer. Maybe I will add to it in a “Part II”. Though, I am still working on a Part II of the darkness post.

*Yes, Wolf. If you are still reading this blog, I give you full credit for that line. It remains one of your best.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Candle Magick Tips: Size Matters

When doing spell work do you let the candle burn out or do you snuff it out for safety? I see this question about once a month on Facebook or via a private email to this blog. This answer relates to spells that you do over the course of an evening.  Those that take days to unfold often have the practitioner snuff the candle to be relit later. The same “How To’s” apply in both cases.
I have tried both letting candles burn out and snuffing them.  I have found that letting the spell candle burn itself out is the most effective for my magick. I encourage you to experiment and figure out what is best for you. That said letting them burn while you sleep is a hazard. That hazard can be eliminated.

First of all, why do we use candles at all?

The flame is primal and more then represents the safety of light and heat. There is a comfort and feel to candlelight that cannot be matched. Being comfortable with your magick is a necessity. Secondly, a flame is a beacon on the astral. Electric light is just not the same either to our eyes or to astral perceptions. Candles are also great at transmuting energy from one form to another, as well as moving it on the course we want the energy to move. Magickally, we want our energy to move from our mundane earthy selves up to the astral plane and create a form that descends back into the mundane causing an effect. Physically, this process is mimicked. The flame heats the air around the candle. That air rises until it cools and comes back down closer to the earth.  Lastly, candles are easy to work with.  

The mage can write her spell directly on the candle. “Attract Love”, “Protect me”, and similar core purposes of a working can be written on the smallest of candles. Six to eight words can easily fit on a tiny spell candle. She can then generate whatever energy she wants and massage it into the candle as it is oiled.

My formula is simple. I take whatever emotion I happen to be feeling at the time and allow myself to feel how that impacts every body part. I then work to push that feeling down from the top of my head until my head does not feel like it did moments before. Then I do the same at the neck level and all the way down. Eventually, I’ve pushed all that emotional energy to my feet. I bring it up in a compact ball up to my heart and push it out to my hands. At this point, I feel nothing of the original emotion. The energy ball is now just that, clear energy. I simply tell the ball of energy what I need it to do. I then put some oil on my fingers and anoint the candle as I let the ball of energy transfer into the candle. I light the candle and just let it work.

After pushing all the energy down to the feet, it is important to do an internal check. If you feel any of the emotion you did before in any part of your body, redo the process until it is gone. Secondly, you should feel the ball of energy in your hands become completely absorbed into the candle. Astrally speaking, look, listen and feel to confirm the process is complete. Taking your time does not dissipate the energy but enhances it.

If you are not feeling particularly emotional for that working or on that day, it doesn’t matter. Simply think of anything that generates emotion. This can be the moment you first made love to your mate or that time in kindergarten where someone dumped Tempura paint on your head or the last time your boss pissed you off. Heck, think of puppies play. As long as it generates emotion the thought is fair game.  It can even be sexual energy assuming you don’t make yourself happy but instead pour ALL of that energy into the candle. Remember, you should not feel the original emotional energy at all when you are done with the first step. That is what makes it clean, clear and useable without fear of corruption or cross purposes.

That process can be done with a huge candle but why bother? If you do that, you have to worry about it burning while you are asleep. That is a real fire hazard! That worry also impacts the spell negatively. A small spell candle will burn out in an hour or two. If you can’t dedicate an hour or two make sure your house is not going to burn down, you should not be doing the spell. That means you don’t want the result badly enough to put in a little effort.

Candle magick can be done very safely with small candles.

So what if you feel that your spell needs the symbolism of an extended working. For instance, you are trying to instill yourself with determination? You can do this with a huge candle that you burn every day for a prescribed period of time and then snuff out. Or, you can infuse ten small candles on that first day and then burn one a day. If those don’t work for you, you can do the same spell over and over for ten days. All of these options can be done safely.

Do you know the real trick? Stop reading about this stuff and go do it! Your magick will never work unless you actually do it.