Witchcraft Journal Blog

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Essay on the Importance of Intention in Magick -= Part 6 =-

[This is the 6th and last instalment of the article by Aquilius Cattus. It appeared in Witches' Voice. Adrian.]

Now some of this may deviate from how these four powers are originally taught, but there are some good reasons for this. In Levi’s work, he defines each power as an intelligence illuminated by study (To Know); an intrepidity which nothing can check (To Dare); a will which cannot be broken (To Will); and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate (To Keep Silent). While correct from the perspective of the more domineering magician, I feel that it leaves much to be desired in that it does not explore the subject in greater detail. It teaches from only one position, the position of acquiringThe Great Secret, he writes, “The great secret of magic, the unique and incommunicable Arcana, has for its purpose the placing of supernatural power at the service of the human will in some way.” This is true; however, this is not the only way to look at it. One is not limited to merely directing their will to force or compel supernatural powers under their dominion. One can also take the path of opening their heart (the combination of mind and will), and allowing the will (i.e. the intention) to become one with the Divine itself. Thus, the magician embodies all of the Divine forces of nature, both the seen and the unseen, and the known and the unknown. This is quite often the path of the mystic, and not that of the magician; however, the magician can utilize these same techniques to excel at their Great Art. If the magician were able to learn how to work their magick through less force by simply purifying their intentions, and opening their hearts to the source of the supernatural forces they wish to command, the results of their workings will have greater potency. In simpler terms, the magician cuts out the intermediary in their magickal workings (i.e. the force exerted in bending the supernatural forces to the will of the magician). They take the road of cultivating these powers through a variety of spiritual trainings and mental purification rather than manipulating them through sheer force of will. Nevertheless, even if one was comfortable with the more direct and forceful magickal disciplines, these lessons can still have unimaginable benefits for the skilled magician. With more refined, purified, and better-understood intentions, the magician has greater control over their workings on a whole, while minimizing the amount of force exerted towards their desired goal.

It is also unwise to simply want something and then work towards it without considering the subtle intention and reasoning that might be lurking behind the scenes. That is why I feel that many of the great magicians of the past often ended up in very bad situations. The history of magick is full of these tragic tales. They understood almost everything about magick except for this one seemingly minute and yet important lesson. They unfortunately allowed their desires to become corrupted by their own unskillful intentions. It was certainly no mistake when Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The magician must be ever mindful and vigilant to make sure that they remain pure of heart, pure of speech, and pure of deed. It is only in this way that they can assure their magickal workings can remain pure as well. We must not forget the unimaginable grandeur, and awe-inspiring nature of the power that we might wish to use, control, or tap into for whatever reason. The magician is like a child playing with fire, and it can be a deadly game of chance if the child is completely unaware of the potential danger he holds in his youthful hands. One wrong intention, one wrong action based upon that intention, and one wrong result of that action based upon that intention and the child is dead. It would not be because the fire was evil, or that the child deserved his fate, but it would simply happen because he made unskillful decisions based upon unskillful intentions. There was simply no wisdom involved in the motivation to play with the fire, and the power he held corrupted him into being intentionally blind to the very real and very serious consequences—fire burns.

Magick demands respect. Magick also demands that we be able and willing to use our own ingenuity and intuition so that our practice does not become stagnant and lifeless. If we simply follow the steps dictated to us by others without illuminated intelligence and intrepidity, we are merely cloning a lifeless ritual and not making the practice our own. This is not to say that we should not listen to or respect our teachers, but it is saying that we must know when to question what we may find questionable, and that we should explore all of the infinite possibilities in a responsible way. The Great Mysteries are not meant to be a cookie-cutter model of blind obedience steeped in ritualistic dogma, but a process of learning how to commune with the Divine aspect present in all of our lives. The only protection that we truly have in this endeavor is to have a strong yet flexible will with the ability to remain firmly rooted in wisdom. Moreover, the only way to have that is to train ourselves to observe, understand, and ultimately purify our own intentions.

[This was the 6th and last instalment in this series. I think you would agree that this was a sensational series. Adrian.]


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