Witchcraft Journal Blog

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

Monday, July 31, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 5 =-

[This is the 5th of 6 instalments of an article by Aquilius Cattus that appeared in Witches' Voice. Adrian.]


To answer this question, we must realize the results of acting upon each of these motivations. If we are motivated by greed, we will intentionally act with thoughts centered on the fulfillment our own needs. These actions are often characterized by selfishness and pettiness. There is no understanding of self-sacrifice when under the sway of greed, and self-sacrifice is a very powerful lesson indeed (i.e. the story Yeshua). You must give in order to receive. Nothing in this world comes without a price. The magician, therefore, cannot afford to allow his or her magickal workings to be motivated by greed alone (and not at all if possible). If we are motivated by hatred, we will intentionally act with thoughts centered on anger and malice. These actions are often characterized by aggression and violence. These truly destructive influences have the potential for an unimaginable amount of harm to be inflicted upon the magician as well as others. The magician, therefore, cannot afford to allow his or her magickal workings to be motivated by hatred. If we are motivated by delusion (or simple not knowing), we will intentionally act with no real directed thought whatsoever. These actions are often characterized by randomness and mindless. The magician, therefore, cannot afford to allow his or her magickal workings to be motivated by delusion because there is no directed thought to power or guide the workings. It is almost a mindless act with no real substance; it is, in essence, hollow. If we are motivated by wisdom, however, we will intentionally act with strong and clear thoughts that focus around the most skillful way to fulfill our needs. We are even willing to give in order to receive if necessary. We are calm, centered, and fully aware. The magician, therefore, is encouraged to allow his or her magickal workings to be motivated solely by wisdom when at all possible. These first three motivations belong to the realm of animals and animalistic thinking. While we are animals, we also have the potential to be something more, hence the fourth possible motivation.

The more we inspect our intentions, the more we will see them in this framework. Incidentally, at this point, much of the work to purify our intentions will be done on its own. We will actually have to put forth very little effort towards this because we will automatically become more aware of the advantages of acting upon more skillful intentions rather than unskillful ones. This happens on its own because basic human nature already desires happiness, fulfillment, and success. It also wants to achieve this without giving more than needed. Therefore, once we begin to internalize these lessons, when we truly begin to notice the interconnectivity between these things, we will naturally gravitate towards purifying our intentions by choosing the most skillful ones available. From there, we can consciously refine our intentions to an even greater degree. Once all of this has been perfected, or at least practiced to a reasonable level, we can then work on incorporating these lessons into our magickal workings.

In Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic, we find one of the earliest (if not the first) mentions of The Four Powers of the Sphinx, also known as The Four Powers of the Magus. The Third Power of the Sphinx (or Magus) — To Will — holds the key when it comes to incorporating these lessons into our actual practice. The force of the human will is an extraordinary thing. While it is not unlike electricity, in that it often follows the “path of least resistance”, it has the amazing capability to go “against the current”. This is not without some amount of inherent stress and discomfort for the willer, but quite often, it produces results that are well worth the effort if done in the proper way. The bottom line is that our intention is our will, and when we have impurities in our intentions, we can expect to have impurities in our magickal workings as well. This could also be said to correspond to the First Power of the Sphinx (or Magus) — To Know — in that we should never begin any magickal working with unknown intentions lurking behind our actions. Not only must we know how to will (through study, practice, etc.), but we must also be aware of why we will because this motivation colors the result of what we will. To perform any magickal working without such care and knowledge is haphazard at best.

[The last instalment will be posted here tomorrow. Adrian]

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