Welcome to the Hidden Meaning page for Practical Personal Magic
The following is a part of the curriculum from an ancient school of magic that was passed on to me when I visited the island of Tir Na Nog some years ago. I hope that you will find it useful in your own magical development.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
The ancient Egyptian Magus Hermes Trismegistus believed all beings possess the potential to access the infinite wisdom of the spirit, that the individual has the ability to know the whole by becoming like the whole. One does this by aligning themselves with the divine source of their being.
Lessons in accessing magic: A guide to developing Practical Personal Magic
The practice of practical magic, that which gets you in touch with your inner resources for impacting your life, can be long and complicated, but in these three lessons are exercised many of the skills that will give the apprentice some insight to the core skills.
You’re stuck and no matter how hard you think it through, or what you try to do, you just can’t seem to make the shift. Nothing really works. What you need is a little magic.
OK, lets get practical here. We’ve laid the groundwork for the experience of magic, so how can we tap into it, how can we call to it, or cast for its spell?
Firstly, let go of the idea that you have any control over it whatsoever, or that you can ever have any control over it. Remember, magic cannot be manipulated.
If you were to take any real world problem, or any situation, or any person, that you are confused over as to what you can do to get beyond where you’re stuck, there are two ways of dealing with it;
1.) if it’s immediate and requires quick action:
Stop, look, listen, then act:
stop what you’re doing, establish a center for operating in the magic (a place where you probably are not when being hit with the issue or problem, because likely you’ve been knocked off center). Do this by taking a few measured and deep breaths, notice the tension in your body and let it melt away (I usually feel it in my shoulders and have to just let them drop down)* then find your center; it’s that quiet place inside all that noise in your head, you'll know when you're there. It's the place where you feel safest, where you feel the calmest. Let your mind know that you can find the solution and you can handle this (this programs the mind toward your intention). Calm down and stop trying to figure the problem out.
Once in that center, look and get a clear picture of what’s really happening–not what you’re afraid is happening, not what you want to happen, or think should be happening, but what it is that is actually happening (you may need more data for this)–in other words, get yourself out of the way.
Now listen to that place of inner wisdom, it will come to you, it’s always there but you can’t hear it until you’ve quieted everything down.
You are now in the space of magic and it’s time to act as quickly and as measured as time and the situation calls for.
With practice this whole process can take you less than five minutes which is good for just about everything except when a dragon is about to devour you. Then you either run like hell, or draw your sword and pray. Unfortunately many of us go from crisis awareness straight to action, skipping the other steps. Rarely does magic happen in that context.
2.) If you have lots of time because the problem may have become more ingrained over time, or what you might call systemic (an effect of a number of things that happen because they’re not dealt with so they continually cause problems), then the same process is recommended, but must be practiced on a regular and daily basis to be of use to you. By practicing, you eventually build it into yourself as an automatic way of behaving (sort of like riding a bicycle, or driving a car). When it becomes your way of being, then anything you do will come from that center, that place of magic. Clarity can come to you and the courage to deal with small issues before they morph into bigger ones (and they always do because small demons thrive in darkness and when not brought into the light) will become a way of life.
Learn to stop “doing”** so that you can experience “being”. In short, practice “being”. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t “do”, but you can “do” within the conscious place of being. If the context of your life is about “doing” (“not-doing”, thinking, or trying to understand, or figure out is just another form of doing) magic is rarely experienced and life becomes ever more of a struggle. Make your life about “being” and then place within that container all the doing and your life will be transformed.
Now you're on the way to becoming your own Wizard of Magic.
*Some folks may not know where their tension is, or even know what it feels like, or that they have it (when in “doing mode” we often aren’t conscious of what’s going on in our bodies, just what’s going on in our “doing” centers e.g. the mind).
Try tensing your muscles in your upper torso, just tighten them as hard as you can, harder, hold it, hold it– How’s that feel.
Now release and let go of the tension. Just let it drain away right out through the tips of your fingers. What’s it feel like now?
Try doing this by clenching your fists, and release, then your legs and release. Next time you feel anxious, or worried, or confused, or scared, or when blind-sided by something notice how your body is reacting, where’s the tension? Can you release it? If not, try tensing it even more, then let the tensing go. When the body is in fight or flight mode the mind cannot think straight and magic cannot be expressed.
** This may be difficult for those of you who tend to see the world literally vs. metaphorically, concretely vs. abstractly, practically vs. whimsically, inside the rules box vs. outside the rules box, or for those whose default response to dealing with problems is to "do" something (men are especially prone to this). For now, just be open to the possibility of another reality and restrain the urge to "do". "Doing" will come later.
Allow for expectations, but be sure they are yours and not someone else’s. It’s very useful to have standards, but use them as guides, don’t give them authority over you. Retain your authority of your standards. You can open to magic when you are at choice with how you behave and with how you express what you are.
There is a need for becoming familiar with your unconscious identity as opposed to your ego-bound identity. Magic becomes available when one dissolves the separation between these two parts of the self and this is another lesson in the practice of magic: one must combine that which is in opposition. One needs to confront the Shadow Self and declare, “You are I”. But how do you do this?
There’s an ancient chant within Hermeticism, wizardry, and modern day Wicca, “As it is above, so it is below”. This is more a reminder than an invocation that if you want to know your shadows, look to see what disturbs you, or what you reject, in your conscious life. Shadows can be your fears, disgust, rejections, judgments about what is evil and needs to be resisted, and repressions of memories and thoughts that are projected onto people, objects, and events in our day-to-day lives. They are a part of us, but only have power over us until we name them.
Naming, or acknowledging, truth is another lesson in the practice of magic.
Calling out a demon (or shadow self) brings it to the light of consciousness and allows you to deal with it. Suppressing it can give it power over you and can cause sickness. This was part of the message in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series when the evil Voldemort was not to be named and in so doing it allowed his power to grow, but only until our hero named him and called him out was this demon conquered.
|Found on http://www.themindfulword.org/2012/allow-universe-magic-living/
12 Laws of Magic:
So what have we discovered so far about magic that might allow us to practice being in it and thus allow for a different creation within our lives?
1) Magic is all around us; we are already in it.
2) Magic cannot be controlled; in fact, we must release control in order to wield it. Magic is about “being” not “doing”. Magic cannot be understood, or controlled, because the process itself is a “doing”. Magic arises on its own and not through your manipulation.
3) Magic is a way of living and not separate from everyday experience.
4) The consciousness can open to Magic when the soul is allowed to express freely.
5) We have access to magic when we don’t place limits upon our expression.
6) To know magic, watch children at play.
7) Maintain authority over your expectations/standards by remaining at choice with your behaviors and self-expression. Be what you are, not what someone else wants you to be.
8) Magic becomes available when one dissolves the separation between ones opposite aspects and recombines them into a more functional whole e.g. dissolve the internal gender differences. Aspects of the assertive, decisive, thoughtful, creative, compassionate, emotional and intuitive can exist side by side within all of us.
9) Call out your shadows and your demons, do not suppress them. Note: you are not your negative aspects; you have negative aspects, but are not them.
10) Quiet the mind. Stop thinking things to death. Magic cannot come from the “thinking” mind. Live at least some of your life in the incomprehensible.
11) Magic does not come from the rational.
12) Magic grows from the secret orderliness of chaos. Allow yourself to be confused. Thinking that you know something about what is real can be very limiting to living what is real.
“It [magic] opens spaces that have no doors and leads
out into the open where there is no exit.”
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
–Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
"Beginner's mind" Zen
To experience heaven on Earth requires an openness, and enthusiasm without preconceptions or expectations and therefor allowing for all possibilities–a boundless, limitless and infinite perceiving of what is. The rational has its place, but not in the wielding of magic.
Their is also a school of magic called "Transcendence".* This is where one allows for the transcendent spirit of the divine to make itself known. As I've said before, "Most people are so busy "doing" their life that they don't step back and consciously experience the "being" of it. We are all too often 'human doings' and not 'human beings.'" Another way of experiencing the transcendent spirit is to experience more "beingness".
So how does one get in touch with the transcendent? Oddly enough one needs to learn to “transcend”. The following are tasks that I’ve picked up from a number of teachers who have given me their “secrets” with only the caveat that I pass them on.
Most of them are deceptively simple but devilishly hard to accomplish requiring the stamina and heart of a hero to achieve. And the hero’s journey doesn’t end when you’ve won any one or all of these tasks because the transcendent isn’t a place, or a thing to be one–it’s an ever-moving context for all that exists and can never really be grasped and held onto. But oh those moments when the soul has brushed against the ineffable face of God… the spirit of the depths of our being.
1) Begin with embracing ‘not knowing’ and see what you get. Knowing fills the mind and crowds out the empty spaces where the spirit dwells. Walk outside in the early morning to greet the rising sun and with your eyes closed listen to and feel the world around you. Do this without labeling the experiences.
2) Approach every experience as though you were a child having its very first contact. Be curious and live in the incomprehensible (the already explored and comprehensible is of the small self–the limited self. Why explore what you already think you’ve visited?)
3) Try to see and feel with your heart. The head has its place in the realm of things, but you now want to transcend the world of things. It is the soul that reigns in the greater world of the spirit.
4) Expect nothing because expectations only limit you to what you already think you know and will prevent you from experiencing what is.
5) A singular point-of-view rules out all others and leaves you spiritually myopic, so surrender that willful point-of-view.
6) Give up control. Control is of the ego-self i.e. the small self. It is part of the defensive self that is only needed if you don’t feel safe.
7) Expand what you are open to by embracing vulnerability. The opposite is to be defensive and that puts up walls and closes down possibilities.
8) Daydream a little. Einstein was expelled for daydreaming too much, but it was in his musings that he touched the ineffable and discovered the secrets of the universe.
9) Imagine what can be. Imagining broadens the realm of possibilities and encourages you to see what’s around the next bend.
10) Be a little impulsive and less reasoned. Too much cause/effect reasoning can stifle creativity and creativity cannot be found in a box with rigid boundaries. It is timeless and not to be found in the past which is gone–or in any future–which doesn’t exist. It grows out from the moment. Be where you are.
There's an eleventh secret (it is only a "secret" until you find the key) access point to magic and enchantment, though I hesitate to bring it up for it is by far the most difficult to master. Jump to the following Dream Dragon link:
All of these tasks are about transcending our illusions and becoming more in touch with the reality that runs all around and through us.
*You'll note that some of these "transcending" exercises overlap with the 12 Laws of Magic.
I end with two stories, with the first told by Richard Wilhelm a missionary to China that illustrates the effect of being in balance or as some would say being in harmony with the universe or the Tao.
The story serves to illustrate how the psyche, on another level, interacts with matter.
As a missionary in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Wilhelm witnessed an event that took place during a catastrophic drought, which had lasted for months.
“...Catholics [were] holding their processions, the Protestants giving prayers, with the local Chinese burning joss-sticks and shooting off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese inhabitants declared 'We will fetch the rain-maker.'
After a time from another province a dried-up old man appeared humbly dressed. His only request was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered the heavens opened with rain and even a great snow storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, The town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it. In true European fashion he approached the rain-maker and asked: 'They call you the rain-maker, will you tell me how you made it rain and even snow?' the little Chinese said: 'I did not make the snow or rain, I am not responsible.'
'But what have you done these three days?'
'Oh I can explain that, I come from another province where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, therefore I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.”
The story illustrates the principles of harmony with nature, the access to magic, and the effect that an individual can have on his or her environment when balance is achieved.
In the second story the source of magic is declared:
“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”
–William Butler Yeats
"On my meditation walks I am often moved by the life going on about me– boys with hockey sticks battling in the streets at dusk, flocks of screeching Crows nesting in trees, the smile of the crescent moon with the brightly seductive Venus off her bow. And on a warm night there's crickets and barking dogs, but on a cold and crisp one there's nothing but silence and the sound of my own footsteps. Sometimes a breeze whips through the branches and rustles the leaves and I hear the raucous laughter of a dinner party just seen through the picture window of the house across the street.
And the world seems right.
But on other nights my mind is disturbed with its thoughts that whirl like a demented vortex and I hear nothing but my own voice. It’s a boring voice droning on and on about inane this’s and that’s and burying the peace of the night in rubble.
And nothing in the world seems right.
I long for the magic I’ve so often felt on so many earlier sojourns through the dark, but on this night it’s not to be. This is when I cry out to the dark denizens of the otherworld, “Come oh magic creatures of the imaginal and entertain me. Bring to me your mystery, your awe, your wonder, and your hidden treasure– make it better than it is.”
That night’s dreams brought me headstones and skulls, darkness and gray empty fields– a reflection of the mood carried back from the earlier journey. And then I ran across the poem by Yeats and I thought, ‘It’s not the fairies of the land he is calling to, but those of the inner soul who are entreated to crawl out from the rubbish and dance with me once again’. And I remember once again that it is I, it is I who can summon the magic from within.
And the world seems right again."
–RJ Cole, 2013
"True magic is discovered in creative interaction with the world and one's inner life and imagination, not the misguided desire to have power over the world of time and its illusions. The Magus liberates one from bondage to the world of appearances, teaching that the secret of true magic is the right use of will and intention based in recognition of the holistic nature of reality."
–L.J. McCloskey, Tarot Revisioned, 2003
“I said to my soul be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing: wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing.”
“There is yet faith. But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought. So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
Are you starting to get the idea about what magic is and how one can practice it?