Thursday, 10 May 2012

Magik, looking back

I feel as though, having written the past four entries on the subject of magik, I ought to attempt to sum this all up before moving on. In case you missed them, I started by talking about my general feelings about magikal practices and why I follow them, over the following three entries I talked about what are, to me, the three central tenants of any such practice: Imagination, Intention and Will. I worry slightly that this set of entries, more than any other I've done, revolve around areas which interest me and only me, if that is the case for you, then sorry about that. Still my original intention was to come to a better understanding of what this subject means to me, what it can and should become and how my relationship with it is particular and personal. I think that I managed that, and in this entry I will try to explain how. However, I promise that after this week I will be moving on to other things.

Why do I do magik? I covered this already in the first entry, but thinking about it for the past months has made me realise that there are other reasons. Mainly, that it is more interesting. That allowing myself the freedom to see the world from an angle where everything is filled with symbols and meaning is wonderful fun. It also has the huge advantage of occasionally stunning me out of the monotony of day to day existence.
I also think that the practice of magik is psychologically useful. That there are lots of habits and mental cul-de-sacs which it is easy to stumble into and difficult to get out of. Magik gives me a way of feeling as though I can much more easily overcome and escape them (and as a result, I think, makes me much more open to recognising that they are there). I'm not saying that it's a quick fix for that type of problem, but rather that it is a fine way of flagging to your unconscious that this is something you consider problematic, which is normally a good first step.

What have I learned? I'm not sure why you would ask this question, but it's one which has become starkly defined for me as I've moved through these weeks. I think the thing which I'd forgotten is why I got interested in magikal matters in the first place.
You see although I've been talking fairly glibly about spells and changes, in actuality the majority of practitioners of magik seem to be very much into it for the mystical side. I think the quote which stuck with me (which, I apologise, I can't find, it came from an excellent podcast I listened to) is that “the ultimate aim of any mystical system is to remove the dividing line between yourself and the world”.
From a young age mystical traditions have always held a deep fascination for me and I've read fairly widely and deeply on the subject. Often they spring from, or make up the basis of, religious organisations (Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, even some of the mystical elements of Christianity and Judaism) and they were all interesting to me. I can't explain exactly why except that I've always felt there are certain things wrong with the way we think, and that we ought to work on fixing them. However the point is that this was my entry point into the much more practical and down to earth magik which I've been talking about here.
This realisation has sparked a whole lot of further reading and investigation, and I expect it will result in a few more in depth entries on mysticism and enlightenment here before too long.

Finally, I've come to see much more clearly that these three things, will, imagination and intention, are important to me in every aspect of my life. I use or refer to them in most important decisions that I make.
You may think this is silly and, I think, being totally honest, it is. Obviously decisions could be based around any number of sets of values and they might still be totally valid. What I realise though, is that this structure, this idea of combining simple steps, is something really valuable to me no matter what the structure itself is. That whether I create successes or failures, having some ideas to hang them on, even if it doesn't entirely make sense, is an excellent tool for staying motivated and keeping a feeling of control for long enough to make progress, whatever that means.

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