An Overview Of Magickal Mechanics
I recently retired from Pastoral Priestess duties, including representing the Pagan community at the regional Clergy Council. There are plenty of up and coming folks who are eager to perform the day-to-day joys and rigors of doing pastoral work within the Wiccan community. It was time to pass the proverbial torch.
As a mystical explorer, I have decided to dedicate my remaining years to documenting what I have learned about spirituality and, most especially, the magickal arts. Many of my planned writings will be articles here in Wicca Magazine. I have received numerous requests to write a short summary of my view and perspective of forty years of Magickal and Divining Practice. Ok, here is a primer for life on a road less traveled!
Let us talk about magick. Magick Craft is an Art, a Science, and a Lifestyle. Like any artistic pursuit, magick and its required skills take focus and regular practice. One does not become a competent musician without lessons and dedicated practice. Think of magick as a great musical instrument. A tool on which we manifest beauty, with our physical actions, our focused intellectual thoughts, and our love. Every spell you find in this magazine’s pages is magickal melodies of a sort, composed and documented by other magickal practitioners.
Be warned! The path and practice of magick change your outlook and perspective on life. In effect, it changes you and your lifestyle, hopefully for the better.
Basic Magickal Theory
Everything in reality, as we know it, is a manifested phenomenon—a product of cause and effect. Therefore, reality can be bent, and its apparent physical laws violated.During my seven years in the Buddhist monastery life, I read a book by author and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. He commented in one intriguing passage about the phenomena of reality. To paraphrase: Lama’s are literally working at a level where they are manipulating the machine code of reality.
A typical everyday term used in our monastic households about something odd or troubling was simply, “… it’s just phenomenal existence.” Seasoned witches tend to have a similar view but might use other words to describe it.What does this all mean for us as Witches and other kinds of magickal adepts? It means that reality can be “tweaked” through the power of quiet, focused thought.
Our life spark is connected to the great consciousness and therefore everything, everywhere, everywhen. We are not separate from it. We carry the same spark of life that the Gods and Goddesses do! We each hold the divine light within us. We are capable of adjusting reality to our will, whether we believe we can or not.Many traditions of deity belief have practiced their own methods of magickal craft. If you care to worship Gods and Goddesses, that is your business. But keep in mind that you really do not need to worship a deity to practice the magickal arts. Since you indeed carry the spark of the great-all-that-is, then you as an “instance of the great consciousness” are potentially capable of anything!
But let us talk about some truths. We are a spiritual entity submerged within a physical body. This limits us. As the saying goes: “I think; therefore, I am.” But that is the duality of our conscious mind assuring itself that it is real. We call this aspect THE TALKING SELF. To manipulate and manifest within the Reality Phenomena, we need the HIGHER SELF’s limitless resources, the great-all-that-is, great consciousness aspect to do the actual heavy lifting.Our meat sock talking self can’t use words and word concepts to communicate with the Higher Self. To communicate with the Higher Self, we must express our intentions via our own spark of the divine, the YOUNGER SELF. Of course, the Younger Self does not understand the language of words. Keep in mind that the Younger Self is primal and needs intentions communicated in a non-verbal way.
Non-verbal: Art drawing, pictures, sculpted items, crafted artifacts, dancing, drumming, and pantomime play-acting. All these things are non-verbal methods of communication. Our robes, candles, and other altar tools are merely stage props to aid us in our play-acting game of magickal charades with the Younger Self and the Higher Self. If crafted appropriately, all the elements of our spells are technically symbols to convey a concept to the Younger Self and onward to the Higher Self.
Let me stop and make a statement for the record. Over the years, I have had new students come to me and tell me that they found some old spell book. The assumption is that because it is OLD, it must be better. Not necessarily! In fact, it might be a hindrance. The reason is that the terms and perhaps the herbs used in the spell might not represent the same meaning for you that it did for the spell’s original author.
The key to practicing a useful magickal skill is establishing a clear and consistent set of symbols with your Younger Self. For example, new students working with Tarot cards should not always be changing to different kinds of Tarot decks. Alright, I can hear some folks saying, “…but I can read with multiple decks.” Sure, you can, as a technical reader, a person who knows the card’s classic meaning. But a true intuitive reader uses only one style of deck. Over time the reader’s relationship with the Younger Self bonds, and a semaphore or sign language is established between the practitioner and the Younger Self.
I have used the same Tarot deck for 32 years. I always keep several factory-wrapped decks in my witch’s closet. This is for when my working deck physically wears out, usually yearly. But the bottom line is that I have used the same style deck for 32 years. The symbology is clear to me and well understood.
So, the key to all workings is to have an intimate communication relationship with your Younger Self. I hope you have caught on to my theme. Before you jump headfirst into spell casting, you should learn and practice divining first to establish your Younger Self’s communication relationship. Another part of learning to the divine is learning to quiet yourself in preparation for effective magickal workings. This means learning to meditate. I regularly hear people say, “I don’t have the time to meditate.” Nonsense! I am not asking you to spend hours and hours. I am asking you to devote a measly two to five minutes a day at first. Schedule it in your daily routine. Perhaps expand it to two to five minutes in the early day and another two to five minutes later in the day, after a few months of practice.
You would not believe how many students wash-out with meditation. Some are afraid to be alone with their thoughts, while others give excuses that they have ADD or ADHD and will not try. If you tell me you are unwilling to learn to quiet yourself and learn to focus, then why are you trying to practice magick? Which is something that requires quietness and focus. Still, others seem to think they can master meditation in a week. Trust me. They cannot.
Frequently, western students get this idea that “more is better.” It is not! Especially with new students starting meditation. This is what I call “Drink from the fire hose syndrome.” If you attempt to jump into meditation for long periods at first, you will quickly find it too hard and give up. While I was in monastery life, the best I ever mastered was about 40–45 minutes. These days I simply do five minutes in the morning, five at noonish, and five just before bed. That simple regiment keeps me on an even keel.
My meditation rule:
All I am asking you to do, is be quiet and alone with your thoughts for perhaps two minutes, once a day, every day for at least a month or two. Tiny steps! Then after a few stable months, gradually increase the time in small increments.
“During meditation, all this crap keeps coming up!” Yep, it will! That ghostly crap that haunts you during meditation is all the nonsense chatter cycling around in your subconscious. Use your two minutes a day of meditation as a tool to gradually quiet that chatter. Yes, it can be very hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Patience is the rule! With a little bit of regular meditation, your divining and active magickal working skills will improve significantly. As Wiccans, remember our rede, “Do as you will harm none!”
Finally, at the beginning of this article, I said that Magick Craft is an Art, a Science, and a Lifestyle.