By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle
I wish more occultists, magicians, and witches used a bit more occultism, magick, and witchcraft. Or even some basic understanding of energy dynamics and psychology. I don’t mean lighting candles or reciting spells, but integrating these core concepts into their daily lives and interactions with people. I fear that even with great blessings of communication and connectivity from the internet age, we are training a generation of magicians to disregard the basic principles, magnifying all the things we don’t want, and in some cases, becoming them.
I think of the Phillip K. Dick quote quite a lot: “To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox; whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” While it’s deeply important to stand up for what is right, and to step-by-step create the world in which we want to live, how we do it is as important as why we are doing it. Not everything we fight is some Empire; nonetheless, many things we oppose are part and parcel of the malevolent expressions of empire—patriarchy, colonialism, intolerance. Some of us can look at the process of standing up as the difference between power and force. True power creates transformative change while force, often coercion, can make quicker outer changes without the transformation of lasting change. I think in the last few years here in America, we have seen a lot of change by force rather than true power.
In magick, we deal with magickal power, what we perceive as literal currents of energy, subtle yet no less real. We deal in the power of consciousness, and we start with our own. Many learn and apply the principles of consciousness in a systematic way, through a book (or series of books), teachers, mentors, groups, or schools. Others learn in a more haphazard way, from bits of lore from a multitude of sources, and can have some very creative and true interpretations for the new aeon, but also miss out on some core pieces of theory.
For me, my foundation was in the New Thought Hermetics of The Kybalion, often catabolized into the modern Law of Attraction focused on self-fulfillment and consumerism while letting go of some of the key universal points. Many feel The Kybalion is too esoteric and too dated, and they have a point, but I don’t think The Secret is the solution to that critique. True critics of The Kybalion will cite it as a romantic knock-off of the much older work of the Corpus Hermeticum, leaving out as much from the Hermeticum as The Secret leaves out of The Kybalion. And I’m sure in ancient Alexandria, as the Corpus Hermeticum was taking shape, there were those quiet critics who saw it as a rip-off of the true secrets of Egyptian Temple culture for foreign invaders who only cared about themselves. So the more things change in occultism, the more they stay the same.
Some practitioners divide their magickal life from their mundane life and don’t think to apply such principles at work, at home, and in relationships. Some even see it as somehow “unfair.” Others simply don’t give it any thought outside of the Temple and away from the altar. Many love the aesthetics of magick. I do too. But some find it difficult to put it into practice. And by self-identity, many “non-magickal” people are using these principles naturally or as learned from another paradigm—psychology, self help, religion, art. Where I see it woefully misrepresented is online social media, where one can present as an magickal adept one moment and then in the next show no understanding of a magickal paradigm in dealing with their communications and conflicts with others.
Reflect on your intention in a situation or interaction. What is the most skillful use of your magickal consciousness to make that happen? If you don’t have a clear intention, what is it you hope to discover? How do you go about doing that in the way that expresses your magickal will in balance, rather than through force? These are particularly important when we are seemingly in a conflict with another person or group, be it a friendly argument, misunderstanding, or out-and-out conflict. Are we mirroring back what we are complaining about in the first place? Are we magnifying and legitimizing a voice or perspective that we are trying to minimize? Are we trying to honestly change someone’s mind? Are we presenting not to change our “opponent” but for the audience watching? Are we sure? Most importantly for magickal people to ask themselves, what are the unconscious patterns we can forget about in the heat of a heated moment? Are we feeding someone’s ego? Are we feeding our own ego? Are we seeking strength from the agreement of others to legitimize our own feelings and point of view? Are we seeking to delegitimize another view not by merit, but by massive agreement from others?
Resistance is one magickal formula, by definition through opposition. Many rebellious magickal paradigms are born of it. Embodiment is another magickal formula. Become the very thing you seek and embody its principles. Non-duality is another. Each has their merits and drawbacks. Each can be necessary. Things must be built up. Things must be torn down. Things must find a balance. Things must find union. In these increasingly polarized times, a magician can have personal intention, but must step between and beyond to create change. Over-identification with one or the other side of a polarity prevents you from wielding the whole spectrum as a tool.
Any of these intentions is legitimate if you are willful and conscious of them. But when we grow unconscious, we become more easily manipulated by others, even if they don’t realize consciously they are doing it. When we become unconscious, we more easily manipulate without knowing it. We often magnify harm with no clear purpose other than wanting to “win” an argument. We can have honorable reasons on why we want to win, but we have to seek greater and greater clarity as we walk a path of magickal power. Otherwise that power turns on us.
Don’t separate your magickal life, business life, in-person personal life, and even online life. While they are different, they are all a part of your life. Put your practice into practice in every area of your life. Look at every interaction as an opportunity to progress magically. Think of everything you do, everything you say (or type), and everything you think as a potential act of magick…because it is.