Witchcraft Journal Blog

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

Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 2 =-

[This is a the second instalment of an article by Aquilius Cattus that appeared in Witches' Voice. Hope you enjoy it. Adrian.]

I would like to discuss the most important point covered in this essay first, which is the secret to a fruitful practice. The secret rests within the simple formula of intention = action = result. If you plant the proper seeds, and cultivate them with care, the fruits that follow will be that much sweeter. Whenever we act, there is always going to be an intention behind it—even if we are completely unaware of it. It is that action, colored by the type of intention behind it, which becomes the basis for a result. We therefore reap the results of our own actions, and those results depend a great deal on the quality of the intention or intentions that preceded it. While it seems overly simplistic at first, it becomes more complicated when we realize how unruly and subversive our own intentions can be, and how the results of our past actions can influence the present (hence the results of our actions will never be exactly as we design them to be, and we will need some room for creativity). With actual insight (and not just intellectual conceptualization) into this phenomenon, a magician will have incalculable benefits added onto his or her practice—regardless of what that practice may be.

To develop the skill of being aware of our intentions and then using them appropriately takes a great deal of training. Perhaps this is what initially turns away many of the brash, young would-be magicians from exploring this further, but patience is a virtue (and a very important one at that). The reason it is so difficult is because the mind is continuously moving, and a great many things, things such as underlying tendencies (habits), greed, hatred, and simple unawareness, influence these movements. It can be a massive undertaking to explore the mind, understand it, tame it, and finally direct it towards whatever it is that we are working. While this training is too complicated and time consuming to cover fully in this brief composition, we can at least look at the basic factors involved. It would also help to caution the brash, young would-be magician to start this training with mundane physical, verbal, and mental activities until an appropriate combination of direct experience and insight is reached. If we were to begin to experiment with our magickal workings right away, who knows what unforeseen complications might arise. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

The first factor involved is to gain an awareness of the fact that we are not always in full control, even of our own minds. This is often in direct conflict with our ego who likes to imagine all is under its control; however, we must not let delusion get the best of us. One simple way of understanding this is to think about what happens when we try to keep something in mind for an extended period of time. What usually happens? The mind gets bored. When we wish to focus our mind on something, we tend to have to fight to keep it there. If we do not exert a substantial amount of effort, our mind will have the tendency to wander off to more exciting and alluring distractions. Just imagine the harm that this can cause in our magickal workings. Who knows what subconscious intentions we are putting into our works without even knowing it? The mind is moving and working constantly (even when we think we are holding it still), and we must continually remind ourselves of this if we are to one day master it. If we do not keep this knowledge firmly in mind, we will never pay close enough attention to the mind’s inner workings to see all of the subtle tricks that it can play.

Continued in Part 3, tomorrow.

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