Witchcraft Journal Blog

A resource for information and opinions on the beliefs, practices, customs, and magic of Traditional Witchcraft of the British Isles.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 4 =-

[We continue with the 4th instalment of this fascinating an article by Aquilius Cattus that appeared in Witches' Voice. Enjoy! . Adrian.]

Library (c) 2003 J.B. Hare

The second factor involved is to gain an awareness of the fact that we can at least have some control over this process through various techniques of mental cultivation. First, we have to work constantly at strengthening our mindfulness so that we can become increasingly more aware of what is actually going on within the vast, complex structure of our minds. In simpler terms, we must flex our mental muscles to keep them in shape, and exercise effort to keep our mindfulness sharp and alert at all times. Simple breath meditations or some other form of mindfulness training can be done to help develop this. Next, we need to observe these mental processes in action. We have to be as aware of our intentions as we can be (i.e. know why we are about to do something), and then observe the consequences of the actions that follow. Even after the fact -- when we believe the outcome of our actions to be good, bad, or neutral -- we still need to be aware of possible changes, since the full results can take time to mature. Quite often, the way that it usually works is that the mind intends, we act according to those intentions, and then we simply forget about it. This is just plain sloppy. We need to remain continuously alert and sensitive to what we are doing at any given time. The power we will eventually learn to wield is not a toy by any stretch of the imagination.

The third factor involved is to refine the first two factors until they are able to be preformed effortlessly. This means that we have to practice each factor everyday, and constantly be aware of whatever arises in our experience regardless of the outcome. We must remind ourselves to pay close attention to these mental qualities, and what effect they have on our actions. If things are going well, we simply note that and try to learn why they seem to be going well. Conversely, if things are not going well, we simply note that and try to learn why they seem not to be going well. Sometimes we may learn that the reasons why things turned out the way they did were completely out of our control, but other times we may learn exactly what it was that we did to influence the outcome. In essence, we are becoming mindful of precisely how our intentions influence our actions, and how those actions produce results. In this way, we will learn to have more control over our magickal workings in the future. This is not the end of the training, however, because we still must work on the intentions themselves.

As I have stated before, the three poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion often color our intentions, and it is imperative for the skilled magician to be able to purify his or her intentions before, during, and after any magickal working. Therefore, once we have trained our minds to become more aware of the intimate relationship between our intentions, our actions, and their results, we can then focus on purifying those intentions. As we are training ourselves to become more aware of our intentions, our actions based upon those intentions, and the results of those actions, we will also become aware of the various factors influencing those intentions. For example, an intention influenced by the mental poison of greed will produce actions of a selfish and often petty nature. In our Great Art, we do not want to lower ourselves to such base motivations. It is an offense to the very nature of the Great Mysteries themselves. There shall always be needs (needs we should not neglect), but those needs do not, and must not, be based upon the foundations of selfish, low-minded, and base desires. There should always be wisdom involved first. For example, we have a need for food. All beings must subsist on nutriment. Now, our desire for that food can be colored by four main influencing factors, or a combination of any of the four, and we will then act based upon that intention. While the act may appear to be the same, the motivation behind it has already colored it in some way. The first main influencing factor is greed: the sheer want for it, for a pleasant taste, full belly, etc. The second main influencing factor is hatred: a reason influenced by a degree of ill will, an overwhelming desire to prevent someone else from having it, an eating disorder (violence to the body) , etc. The third main influencing factor is delusion, or the simple fact of not knowing: the desire to eat with no discernable reason (i.e. not hungry, not wishing to taste, not trying to keep someone else from eating it, etc.). The fourth main influencing factor is wisdom: the knowledge that nutriment is required to sustain life. Out of these four main influential factors for us to desire food, which appears to be most worthy of acting upon, and how does that relate to our magickal workings?

The answer will come tomorrow.

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