Learn Magick http://learnmagick.com Urban Magic and Occultism Wed, 26 Oct 2011 05:32:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Urban Magick Introduction http://learnmagick.com/urban-magick-introduction/ http://learnmagick.com/urban-magick-introduction/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 10:02:01 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=47 Magick is not something that is just performed in solitary or group rites at season festivals or for light entertainment on the weekend. A true magickian knows that magick can be used all the time, in day to day life. Even though a magickian may live at the fringes of society, metaphorically speaking, it is important to remember that he still exists within a context of the society and culture within which he has incarnated. It is a romantic notion to believe that a magickian needs to dress in robes, speak in Latin, Hebrew, or Enochian, or live in a hovel at the edge of town and perform strange animal sacrifices.

To indulge too much in a romantic idealism about how a magickian should be is often an act of escapism into a world of fantasy, rather than an acceptance of how things are and a working to shape and change one’s own destiny through magick – in essence to evolve and grow in a magickal sense, along a path towards enlightenment. It is not the outward forms that make a magickian and give him power, rather it is an understanding of the hidden (occult) side of Nature and the ability to focus one’s attention and Will to create change on a subtle level, that is a level outside the perception of the mundane senses.

The life path of each individual is unique, and as such there are no set rules, recipes, or formula as to what will work for each individual. Traditionally many groups have rigid training systems and graded lessons and rituals. An individual is initiated, learns a set of practices and theories relating to the grade, and then is raised to the next grade within that group. It is not uncommon to hear of individuals who have awarded themselves a particular grade and title, and perhaps then used this to run their own group, under the pretence of attainment of an advanced level of knowledge.

Having a graded structure and learning system isn’t always a bad thing. The problem arises when individuals believe that simply having knowledge of the theories, and having gone through the motions of performing rituals and ceremonies, means that they have actually developed themselves to a new and higher level. They may be encouraged by the hierarchy that they are performing well, simply because they are making the right noises, and have memorised the rituals and theories they are expected to know. Magickal training is not a role playing game though, and experience isn’t simply earned and levels raised through the acquisition of knowledge, trinkets, and performance of ceremonies. Magick is more a tool used as part of a greater process, that of evolution of the inner core of the magickian’s being. This is not merely an achievement, but a continuous process of cycles and experiences. Various common and shared stages may be experienced by individuals, but comparison with others is never actually necessary, as long as an individual is progressing compared to how they were some time in the past. The only real and true judge of this is the individual himself, as Self-honesty is an essential ingredient in the journey.

Within a group the stages of attainment are only really symbolic of a knowledge and understanding of the system itself, not a true indication of the wisdom, understanding and true growth that the individual actually has. All the things within a system are potential factors for facilitating this growth, by providing experiences and situations for the magickian to learn from, however in and of themselves they have no intrinsic ability to transform the initiate into a master.

It is possible to consider three main stages of magickal growth, which are the same for any mundane task or system of knowledge and practice also. It is the basis of the Guild system of apprenticeship. The terms used may vary, and extra stages may be added or mixed in, but essentially there are only three.

The first stage is the beginner. Someone who is new to a system, and has little or no knowledge of what the system is really about. In magickal training they made be considered an Initiate (one who has been initiated into a group, or who has made some symbolic gesture of initiating their journey), a novice, or an apprentice (in a Guild type structure). The beginner’s tasks are those of learning the basics, such as theories, practices, and jargon associated with the system.

The second stage is the intermediate stage where an individual has successfully learned the basics of the theories, practices, and jargon, and is now able to implement them to facilitate the real learning process of the system. Terms for this stage include such things as adept or journeyman. An individual will generally set about mastering the skills and developing a deep awareness and understanding of the principles behind and beyond the physical manifestations.

The third stage is that of mastery. Beyond the early stages someone who has mastered a system has genuinely developed knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of all important aspects of the system. They know the mechanics of it, rather than just the usage. They will understand the connections between related things within the system, and possibly the interrelatedness of various other systems, practices, theories and things. A genuine master will have the ability to extend the system in a new direction, adding a measure of their own essence to it, and potentially furthering collective knowledge of the system to a deeper level (like the concept of a “masterpiece” in a Guild system).

There isn’t really anything beyond the stage of “mastery”. If anything the process is cyclic, and the true master will discover themselves to be still a beginner with so much more to discover. An example of this is within some martial arts, where an individual learns and masters techniques and is graded through various coloured belts. Colours tend to run from white, through various colours, and finally to black (the much revered “black belt”, which has been said to derive from a white belt slowly turning black with blood, sweat, and tears through many years of training). Some system then have it that a genuine master of martial arts then resumes wearing a white belt, to symbolise that they are still a beginner who is continually learning.

To put it another way, consider one of the teachings of Zen Buddhism:

When starting on the long journey of Zen, trees are trees, water is water, and mountains are mountains.
After you have gone some distance, trees are no longer trees, water is no longer water, and mountains are no longer mountains.
But after you have travelled a great distance, trees are once again trees, water is once again water, and mountains are once again mountains.

In Western esoteric tradition it is often said the the first card of the tarot deck, The Fool, symbolises both the beginning and the end of the journey.

It is only Self-honesty that matters here. It is unimportant if the guy running a particular group is genuinely a master or adept as he claims. It isn’t even really important what stage you are at yourself, as the lines often blur between the ‘stages’ which are always somewhat arbitrary within a system anyway. It is often the case that there is always something new that can be learned, a method or process that can be refined or enhanced, or a different perspective that can be taken. As such, a Master is still a beginner of sorts, but in a cyclic fashion that each time the ‘beginning’ comes around it is at a slightly different level (higher or deeper), or from a slightly different perspective.

Keeping the above in mind, it is up to each individual magickian as to whether they choose to work as part of a group or as a solitary practitioner. There are plenty of potential lessons to be learned from working as part of a group – often around group dynamics and conflict between personalities. The decision to work solitary should not be made as an avoidance tactic, or to cover up to others that one does not actually know or understand much to do with magick. If choosing to work solitary it is best that it is due to available groups not being right for the lessons one is choosing to learn. Don’t discount a groups value for network with others who are like minded however, so even if the style and symbols used by a group don’t particularly appeal to you, it can still be worth joining for the experiences and networking possibilities.

If you genuinely wish to be a magickian then imbue your life with magickal energies. Don’t make magickal practices a separate part of your life, rather make your life a magickal act through which you presence magickal energies through everything you do.

Suggested Reading:

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Will and Imagination http://learnmagick.com/will-and-imagination/ http://learnmagick.com/will-and-imagination/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 09:14:42 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=26 As noted by E.E. Rehmus, “Will is one of the two natural human powers for altering reality (the other is imagination).” There certainly exists a connection between the two. What we imagine, we can create through a willed act. This is not passive daydreaming or fantasizing, but a focused direction of the imagination, coupled with a desire to create or be the change, made manifest by the power of the Will.

Émile Coué outlined four laws of Imagination and the Will:

  1. When the will and the imagination are antagonistic, it is always the imagination which wins, without any exception.
  2. In the conflict between the will and the imagination, the force of the imagination is in direct ratio to the square of the will.
  3. When the will and the imagination are in agreement, one does not add to the other, but one is multiplied by the other.
  4. The imagination can be directed.

Coué emphasizes that the expressions “in direct ratio to the square of the will” and “is multiplied by” are illustrations to make the meaning clearer, rather than being precise measurements.

It is the last two laws which are of particular interest to the magickian, that the imagination can be directed, and that when the imagination and Will are “in agreement” the result is a multiplication of the two forces.

A more magickal description would be to say that when the Will and Imagination are directed via focused attention a magical act is performed.

Paul Foster Case, writing about the Magickian tarot card, stated that: “The primary manifestation of Spirit is Will, of which Attention – the wand – is the essence, and to which Memory – the wallet – is closely linked. Wisdom, having for its essence Imagination – the rose – is the secondary expression.” That is: the two main manifestations of Spirit are Will (with Attention being the essence) and Wisdom (with Imagination being the essence).

It is worth noting that the Gnostic writers using the term luminous epinoia to represent one aspect of the perception or awareness, which some have linked to genuine insight, conscious awareness, and imagination. This is a clue that within our imagination lies genuine wisdom, although it may be in a symbolic form that we don’t immediately recognize, as the insights from luminous epinoia are imperfect, more like glimpses and hints, and as alluded to in the saying, “in a mirror, darkly.” It is important to remember that signs and symbols are not important in and of themselves, but the concepts and ideas they represent. Imagination imparts glimpses and hints on the nature of reality, but these glimpses are not that truth or reality; in many ways the symbols are the reflections of the true nature of the reality.

When magick is performed the imagination and Will must both be directed toward the desired goal. This is where the qualities of the Will such as concentration, attention, one-pointedness and focus come into play. There is no point in mumbling magickal words while thinking about some mundane distraction. All the magickian’s attention and focus is concentrated upon performing the required steps in the process. The magickian must make the present moment (the Now) the focal point for directing the magickal energies of the Will towards the desired outcome. Whether the magickal rite is a physical ritual or is solely an astral working the imagination is still the primary tool for seeing the desired goal becoming manifest. Ceremony or meditation, the process is still a form of trancework, with any tools or decorations serving as symbolic focal points for the mood and setting of the working.

Suggested Reading

  • Nothing – put these concepts into practice.
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Imagination http://learnmagick.com/imagination/ http://learnmagick.com/imagination/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 09:12:14 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=24 Imagination derives from the Latin word imago, which means image. For magickal training the imagination is not seen as fantasy or mere daydreaming. In magick there is no such thing as “just your imagination” as imagination is the key to unleashing the transformative powers through symbols and symbolic acts. Jung recognized the power of symbols (such as visual imagery) when he wrote “The psychological mechanism that transforms energy is the symbol.”

Unlike the pop culture concept of the power of positive thinking, currently exemplified by the marketing phenomena of The Secret, true magickal acts require more than simply thinking about it. The word imagination gives a clue, being related to the word image. Visualization, and popularly Creative Visualization, are terms that have been used to promote the concept of the creative aspect of visual imagery. From a magickal perspective there is more to visualization than meets the inner eye, as we can have imaginary or inner counterparts to all our physical senses. For a magickal working to be powerful we need to engage all our inner creative faculties, and this will include imaginary senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Working with the imagination, and imagery, instantly transports the magickian into a trance. It is actually that simple for an altered state of consciousness to occur – simply by closing the eyes and imagining. In fact it is not even necessary to close the eyes. An overview of trance is outside the scope of this article, but is also necessary to understand in depth to be a competent magickal practitioner.

In his monograph on Training the Will Roberto Assagioli writes the following about imagery:

  1. Images, mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and external acts that correspond to them.

    Some psychologists have formulated this law in the following ways:

    1. Every image has in itself a motor element, and
    2. Every idea is an act in a latent state.

For the practice and study of magick it can be seen that ideas and images form the seed from which the Willed magickal act can grow from.

The modern marketing industry knows the value of using images and colors (along with words) to encourage consumers to buy products. Even the popular and wise sounding phrase that “one picture is worth ten thousand words” is of modern origin within the advertising industry, and was used to sell advertisements containing pictures as well as words.

Hypnosis and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) make use of imagery and the connection (anchoring) of images with feelings to help transform a person’s thinking or actions. This can be used in a therapeutic sense, or for covert practices such as seduction. An awareness of how symbolism and imagery can be used to snare your Will and encourage you to act in ways other people believe you should act is a useful step in self mastery, and essential for anyone aspiring to practice magick.

Creative ways of practicing visual imagery are endless. Simple visualization practice may include such things as imagining colors, smells, sounds, sensations and tastes, visualizing letters of the alphabet, non-complex symbols, and everyday objects. More advanced practice could include reconstructing a familiar scene in your mind, visualizing tarot cards or complex symbols, and exploring the visual representations of multi-dimensional objects beyond the three dimensional world we are familiar with.

Suggested Reading

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Will http://learnmagick.com/will/ http://learnmagick.com/will/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 09:02:39 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=20 “We are the ghosts of a war that we have not fought. … Having opened our eyes on a disenchanted world, we are more than any others the children of the absurd. On certain days, the senselessness of the world weighs on us like a deformity. It seems to us that God has died of old age, and we exist without a goal. … We are not embittered; we start from zero. We were born among the ruins. When we were born, the gold was already transmuted into lead.” – Paul van den Bosch.

Many definitions for magick link it intrinsically to Will; for example Aleister Crowley statement that magick is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” The word magick derives from the Indo-European root magh- “to be able” or “have power” and it is through the Will that we have the power to transform our desires into actions. The Will is the psychic function that bridges the non-physical realms with the physical world.

In The Magician’s Dictionary, E.E. Rehmus writes that the Will is:

“Another word for persistence and maintained attention. Will is one of the two natural human powers for altering reality (the other is imagination). When faced with an insoluble problem or great odds against us, it is the Will alone that leads us through to solution and victory. As the imagination is the power of the mind through understanding and enlightenment, the Will is the way of material action. There is no will without physical effort of some kind exerted over physical phenomena.”

Rehmus goes on to quote Colin Wilson:

“Modern civilization induces an attitude of ‘passivity’. When a Stone Age hunter set out to trap wild animals, he was aware of his will as a living force. When the prehistoric farmer scored the surface of the earth with a crude plough, he knew that his family’s survival through the winter depended on his effort, and his will responded to the challenge. When a modern city dweller walks down a crowded thoroughfare, he feels no sense of challenge or involvement. This city was built by other people; all these shops and offices are owned by other people. He can get through an ordinary day’s work in a state approximating to sleep. Most of his routine tasks are carried out by the ‘robot.’ There is neither the need or the opportunity to use the will.”

This quote from Wilson gives an indication of the necessity of will training for the modern magickian, who lives in an urban environment. Compare it with the quote from Paul van den Bosch at the beginning of this article, which gives an indication of the disconnection that many people in the modern age have with the real world.

Julius Evola offers some clues to the solution:

“… Toynbee has shown that the challenge to mankind of environmentally and spiritually harsh and problematic conditions is often the incentive that awakens the creative energies of civilization. … It is commonplace that all the higher virtues attenuate and atrophy under easy conditions, when man is not forced to prove himself in some way.”

It is necessary to find ways to increase the challenges and problems through which we are able to cultivate our Will. It is not the actual techniques, trials, ordeals, or situations that are important; rather it is the struggle and perhaps even multiple failures which test our perseverance and inner resolve, thereby exercising our Will.

There are many ways to exercise and strengthen the Will. It is beyond the intended scope of this article to detail these, so for now it is left up to the individual to discover techniques to use.

It is important to keep in mind the processes involved in the Willed act. For example, Roberto Assagioli wrote that a Willed act consists of six stages:

  1. The Purpose, Aim, or Goal, based on Evaluation, Motivation, and Intention
  2. Deliberation
  3. Choice and Decision
  4. Affirmation: the Command, or “Fiat,” of the Will
  5. Planning and Working Out a Program
  6. Direction of the Execution

These stages can be brief, or detailed, depending on the complexity of the task required. The purpose or aim is generally fairly obvious when magick is involved, however it is important to be very clear about what the desired outcome should be. Deliberation can be brief or extensive, depending on the complexity of the task. It could involve considerations of various implications of the result, and leading on to the next stage whether the goal is actually what will be best for the magickian. Affirmation involves committing to the decisions and beginning to work plan the magickal act by using existing knowledge or researching what is required. The final stage begins the magickal working itself, undertaking the steps required for the process. This may be a physical ritual or a meditative process (creative visualization), and may require multiple workings rather than a single act. For example performance of a daily ritual for a set period of time, or regular observances of natural cycles such as the moon or seasons.

Assagioli assigned seven categories for the qualities of the Will:

  1. Energy – Dynamic Power – Intensity
  2. Mastery – Control – Discipline
  3. Concentration – Attention – One-Pointedness – Focus
  4. Determination – Decisiveness – Resoluteness – Promptness
  5. Persistence – Endurance – Patience
  6. Initiative – Courage – Daring
  7. Organization – Integration – Synthesis

These points will serve as starting points for further exploration and contemplation on willed magickal acts.

Remember that attempting to intellectualise magick is counterproductive. Magick must be lived and experienced. It is the same with the Will, which must be experienced and developed (or at least our skills at using the Will must be practiced). Assagioli aptly wrote that “…I believe that the right procedure is to postpone all intellectual discussions and theories on the subject, and begin by discovering the reality and the nature of the will through its direct existential experience.”

Suggested Reading

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      Magickal Notes from the Path 1 http://learnmagick.com/magickal-notes-from-the-path1/ http://learnmagick.com/magickal-notes-from-the-path1/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 08:48:23 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=13 Beyond LHP

      I’ve found that over the past few years I’ve become less polarised. I don’t really see myself as an “ex-Whatever”. That was a part of my path, but I do see myself as “beyond” this. It is like I’ve grown out of than that belief, however it is still a belief (or set of beliefs) I understand, and reside in my past. Someone once wrote that “once you learn something, you cannot unlearn it”. While I don’t ‘unlearn’ stuff, I learn more and the past becomes the foundation from which I can grow and evolve, perhaps like Nietzsche’s comments that a tree stretching up to heaven must have roots reaching down to hell. “Hell” for me is our own unconscious in turmoil. Having the resolve to explore it in whatever way is necessary takes committment and courage.

      Magick With Tears

      I don’t believe someone can progress very far in their own spiritual evolution without spilling a few pints of tears! To be complete, I believe we need to cultivate our soft and intimate side, perhaps even moreso than the hard and unyielding side. Even the “mythology” of warriors has the romantic notions of a fearsome man who can rip his enemy limb from limb one moment, and the next comfort a small child who has lost their mother, or make passionate love to his partner.

      Magick & Psychotherapy

      Israel Regardie was the first, and only (that I’m aware of), modern occultist to propose all aspiring magicians need to take a course of therapy as part of their journey. Of course, modern therapies (particularly those with Transpersonal elements) have things in common with Shamanism. And any modern therapy that gets the client to use their imagination (for visualisation, etc) is in a sense working with internal magick. Magick often tends to unbalance people, or perhaps it just attracts those who are unbalanced or on their way to crisis. I know it certainly helped tip me over the edge and come face to face with the Abyss …

      Most of the important and essential concepts and ideas can be kept very simple and jargon free. It works just as well. It can take a little more to explain in simple language, and perhaps because of this the ‘need’ arose for psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists to create jargon and labels.

      In some countries psychiatrists and psychologists are not required to go through therapy themselves. A psychiatrist I once spoke to told me that overseas where he trained he had to do several months of therapy. While such a short period of therapy many not be sufficient for a deep experiential understanding, it at least gave him an insight into his own inner workings.

      The problem that can arise when the therapist has not undertaken the work themselves is an “us versus them” mentality where the professional person believes they are ‘perfect’ and the client is ‘broken’. It seems clear to me that doctors and nurses often seem to be very dysfunctional people. It is difficult to be empathetic when you see yourself as whole (and perhaps the rescuer) and the other person as the victim. It sets up a dangerous polarity, as a rescuer needs a victim to maintain their own self-identity and potentially has an unconscious or hidden agenda of keeping people in the victim space. Someone who has “been there” on the other hand is often better equipt to act as a guide rather than rescuer. The “this is how I became self-empowered” approach rather than “what you need to do is…”

      Picking a modality of therapy gives you a framework. I don’t believe it is essential to stick to what you first learn, but it is essential to pick something and get a frame of reference! It is like finding the high-ground to get an overview of the landscape if you’re lost. It also makes learning another system easier, as you can compare the two systems, and peg out the similarities and differences. I tend to “think” using various concepts including Jungian Psychology, Western Kabbalah, and Psychosynthesis. All are similar, and all have differences. The Tree of Life (particularly the Supernals, and the Middle Pillar) provide some good conceptual frameworks to compare and relate to other things.

      Union with Godhead

      Perhaps rather than “union” it is a recognition that we are already part of God/Absolute. From The Gospel of Thomas and some Kabbalistic material the concept is clear that “The Kingdom of God is already here.” Some Kabbalistic material suggests that the “Messiah” of Christianity is an externalised myth of the “Messiah” energy which we can connect with, similar to the concepts of Higher Self or Holy Guardian Angel.

      The Gospel of Thomas makes reference to the Kingdom of God being within, and outside of you, which echoes the standard hermetic axiom of “As above, so below”. The Kabbalistic material provides references to the “Pardes (Paradise) Mediation” which allows anyone “knowing the secret meditation” to enter Paradise / Garden of Eden / The Kingdom of God.

      One of the premises of this line of belief is that there were 2 creations (as accounted for in Genesis). One lead to the “fall” of man. The other is still perfect and exists in the present time, simply we are unaware of it. This is perhaps an “astral” or “acausal” blueprint for a ‘perfect’ world, one which provides the basis for our world, but for whatever reason it is necessary for us to experience imperfection also, before we return to “Paradise”.

      most Occult groups seek to bring about some form of “enlightened” World, some kind of Utopia or Paradise on Earth.


      I don’t believe goals are wrong per se, especially if we are flexible enough to change if we realise that we can do better (learn more perhaps) in other directions. Consider the analogy of climbing one hill, and seeing more on the horizon. It could be said that even the choice to see the journey as all important is a goal of sorts, just one which seeks to discover what is there to be discovered on that journey. There will always be short-term “goals” such as putting one foot in front of the other and keeping going, when the going has become tough. Even viewing life as a journey of learning has an implied goal of their being something that can be learned or gained through the experiences. The cyclic nature of things, like the ouroborus serpent, helps symbolise these concepts. It is the end merging into a new beginning. A goal of sorts is reached, and makes way for something new; the birth, life, death, rebirth concept.

      There are always deeper levels (or higher hills) to go to. I guess the short term goal is to get to a comfortable point where you feel some kind of self-empowerment. Like the “Fool” card in the tarot, “infancy” is both the beginning and end of the journey. Every so often I suddenly feel disempowered, small, and naive, and realise how little I really know, and begin once again to explore old issues from new perspectives. I can say one thing – hindsight really is 20/20 vision. After all these years I can often reflect on stuff in my teenage years and begin to understand how things were and why.

      Magickal Thinking

      The problem with “magickal thinking” is that for people having a difficult time with reality it provides a great means of escape. One of the most important lessons I learned from a former mentor was essentially how he was able to hold back his own progress yet believe he was deeply involved in alchemical/magickal work. And it is easy to be ‘guilty’ of that…

      I don’t believe it is necessary for therapy to have any associations with “magick” at all. As long as it seeks to empower the individual through some kind of self-knowledge then it is serving the purpose as a catalyst for growth. The etymology of “magick” actually goes back to a root word “magh-” meaning “To be able” or “have power”. So there is plenty of scope for interpretations of magick as a self-empowering tool for the magician to “know himself” through interaction with the environment – using his/her Will. The Gospel of Thomas has various sayings talking about those who do not know themselves being in poverty, and those who are rich are those who know themselves.


      Don’t misunderstand the term “trance”. In common usage people think of it as someone in a severely altered state. It is not. In fact you’ve probably been in a trance to concentrate on reading this. People move in and out of trance-states all the time. If you are amongst a group of people at a lecture or meeting you may notice their eyes glaze over a little as they listen. This is enough to suspect they are in a very light hypnoidal trance state (like hypnosis). This is the sort of state people are in watching Television (which can essentially talk right into their subconscious – hence violent movies desensitise people to violent behaviour). Likewise, unscrupulous NLP practitioners will utilise this kind of state in marketting, seduction, etc.

      Dennis Wier has a simple but effective approach to trance states, such as becoming aware of repetitive thoughts, feelings, emotions. Awareness is really the first stage to being able to change something. Any time someone sits down and repeats words to themselves (“I’m useless”, “This is hopeless”, “I can’t do it”) it can be presumed they are in a type of trance, and the words become a mantra by which they reinforce a belief. The key is to find the trances, then work on broadening the “options” as all trance is about changing (generally limiting) awareness.

      When using trance related “tools” in therapy it isn’t necessarily desirable to become “unconscious”. I would even suggest that free-association requires a certain type of light trance for you to be able to freely associate. Willed-daydreaming aka Creative Visualisation (and 101 other names) is also a light trance-state where you can remain conscious (even eyes open). This can actually be highly desirable, as it allows the conscious and subconscious minds some scope in the work.

      What we need to be doing

      I currently don’t believe it’s very important what we do at all. As long as we do something, and learn from it. Simple as that. This isn’t license to “be bad”, rather it is in light of trying to understand and find meaning in our own life; to find our life’s path. I don’t think any preconceived notion of “how to get there” really works. What works is what works for the individual. It is about the lessons we can learn from the experiences and interactions we have. I do feel it is important that we choose our options though – “free choice” within the limitations of ‘destiny’ – the concept of Wyrd that can be changed to a greater or lesser degree).

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      Learn Magick Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) http://learnmagick.com/learn-magick-faq/ http://learnmagick.com/learn-magick-faq/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 08:42:32 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=10 I want to learn more about magick, but their are some many paths, how do I know which one to choose?

      As the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome.” (although some a little more direct than others). All the paths out there are expressions of people’s understanding of various concepts and “truths” about the Universe and God. It is important to understand that these paths are really only maps. They are not the territory itself. Explore what you are drawn to, but always look for what lies beyond the outward manifestation.

      Is magick a spiritual or practical venture?

      It is a practical spiritual venture. It is a constant process of having physical and practical experiences, and internalizing them to discover what it is that can be learnt from those experiences.

      To what extent is magickal ritual necessary?

      Ritual is a symbolic expression of magickal concepts. It requires the ‘right’ internal ingredients, such as intent, and the ability to focus the Will to manifest / channel the magical energies into the physical. Without the use of the ‘right’ ingredients ritual is akin to performing some random gestures and mumbling some meaningless words.

      With all the paths and information out there how do I know where to begin?

      Where is the beginning of a circle? You can pick a subject / path / practice that you feel drawn to, and explore that. While exploring it, keep in mind that it is the concepts that lie beyond the physical expressions that are important. It is the lessons learned through interaction with others that is the “true teacher” (although an individual teacher can also offer techniques and theory that can be useful).

      Magickal knowledge requires a high level of personal responsibility and maturity. Irresponsible people misuse knowledge to harm others for personal gain and self aggrandizement. Some occult secrets are very powerful and dangerous in the wrong hands. For example Hitler was schooled in the dark arts and used that secret knowledge at the cost of millions of lives.

      Isn’t the teaching of magickal concepts and techniques on your website akin to giving a self important or ignorant, immature, person access to a nuclear weapon? That would be a form of insanity!

      The information on this website is more akin to giving someone the plans and theory to build a nuclear weapon, rather than handing them an actual weapon. As a comparison, the plans for constructing an actual nuclear weapon, and the theories behind how such weapons work, are likewise freely available on the internet.

      The point is, those who don’t understand the “secrets” (knowledge that isn’t commonly understood – whether nuclear physics or magickal concepts) will not be able to put such knowledge into practice. Beyond this, for magick to be truly powerful it must go beyond the dualities of “black” and “white” magick. When this is understood, fears of misuse and abuse of magick can be set to rest. After all, there is currently enough information (magickal and mundane) on creating fear and mayhem in this world that is freely available, and what is lacking is information to guide people beyond the lower realms of magick into something that offers new forms to advance the individual, and eventually humanity, into the next stage of evolutionary development.

      The teachings you offer sound like you are advocating schizophrenia. By offering individuals disparate and sometimes completely contradictory concepts of reality are you are deliberately attempting to infect as much of the world as possible with mental illness?

      In a sense it could be viewed that magickal and occult training is in fact a form of “willed schizophrenia”. The alchemical saying “solve et coagula” (dissolve and recombine) is analogous when applied on a mental level. Essentially what is being promoted are methods and techniques by which a person can become aware of the separate and contradictory parts of their own psyche, and allowing them to re-pattern these parts a new and complete psyche. This is the way of inner alchemy, or the production of the internal “Philosopher’s Stone”, or in Kabbalistic terms it is the recreation (or rediscovery) of the internal Garden of Eden where everything is in proper balance and harmony.

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      How Do I Learn Magick? http://learnmagick.com/how-do-i-learn-magick/ http://learnmagick.com/how-do-i-learn-magick/#comments Tue, 23 Nov 2010 08:24:32 +0000 http://learnmagick.com/?p=7 Before answering this question it is really necessary to understand what magick is, where is derives from, and get clear on what it is that you, the question asker, actually want.

      In brief, magick (magic) derives from an Old Persian word magus referring to members of a priestly caste of Zoroastrian religion. It is believed that the three wise men in the New Testament story about the birth of Jesus where Magi. It is from this word that we have the term Magus and Mage, which has become synonymous with a wizard, sorcerer and magician; one who practices magick.

      In modern usage, the word magick (with a ‘k’) usually takes it’s definition from Aleister Crowley, who suggested the use of the ‘k’ to differentiate it from stage magic. Crowley offered several similar definitions of magick including:

      • Magick is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”
      • “Every intentional (Willed) act is a Magical act.”
      • “Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.”

      Digging a little deeper, back to the etymology of the word, it is believed to derive from the Indo-European root magh- meaning “to be able” or “have power”. There is also some linkage with the root me- or meg- meaning “great” – seen in the name Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Greatest).

      If you consider the word’s origin, along with the more modern and commonly accepted definition, then magick may be considered to be a power by which one manifests change through usage of their Will. It is the ability to have power, which comes through the understanding of one’s Self (microcosm) and the natural world (macrocosm), indicated by the hermetic axiom “As Above, So Below” (or “That which is within, is like that which is without”) and coupled with the age old commandment to man, “know thyself”.

      It is within these two hermetic sayings that we begin to find the root of magickal and mystical knowledge. Firstly, we must develop a process of learning about our Self (Self-knowledge). This will lead on to the development of understanding that the changes we create internally (the “within” or “above”) via a Willed act can lead to changes in the physical (the “below” or “without”). This is the foundation for all magickal training, behind all the forms and physical representations expressed by various schools of thought.

      This needs some serious consideration, and regular reflection on what this actually entails. The ramifications of not understanding this leave the magickian and his attempts at magickal acts impotent – performing hollow actions and mumbling meaningless incantations.

      All external performance of words and actions within a magickal act is of a symbolic nature, a kind of meditative act to aid in focusing attention to direct the Will, and creative forces within the magickian. There is no inherent power in the words or actions themselves – and as such there are no “lost names of God, which if uttered will bring about the destruction of the World”.

      Another important clarification of learning magick is that the intention or goal is not to learn fancy party tricks. Any suggestion of using magick to perform impressive feats (levitation, fireballs, transmutations) is a flight into fancy. Unless it is performed to truly empower the magickian it is a distraction or flight into fantasy. Impressing someone has no real value, and is easily left to stage magicians, illusionists, and special effects (SFX) artists. This is not to say that all manner of “impressive feats” cannot be performed. It is the usefulness and value of these things that is questionable, along with the understanding that a preoccupation with the development of special abilities and flights of fancy are generally indications of avoidance of the necessary work of magickal training and development. Any “special powers” developed may be considered a side-effect of effective training, and evidence of true wisdom and understanding of the application of magickal knowledge.

      So, in answering the original question, to learn magick requires the development of one’s inner powers, and knowledge of one’s Self. All magickal activity either expresses and manifests the knowledge of the magickian, or is to aid the magickian’s personal evolution to further develop his skills, knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

      The activities are many and varied that can be used in magickal training. As previously mentioned these articles are aimed at providing techniques that can be used within the urban environment.

      Suggested Reading:

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