One of the key components to success is pretty simple. Whether you're looking for power, wisdom, or just being happy it all involves one basic thing to hold together the core of your work. Be yourself.
We often talk about the admonition to “Know thyself” and it's pretty meaningful. By digging deep into exploring who we are and where we come from, and how we've gotten where we are, we can understand where we're going, and how to get there. We can understand deeper mysteries about ourselves, the world, and our place in it as well.
But if we understand these things and we don't make a point to live honestly as who we are then we're throwing that knowledge away. If we understand who we are, and what will make us happy, and how we can get what can make us happy, why should we let other influences tell us to be someone other than the person who can go out and get that happiness?
We do though, we give up on being ourselves pretty easily.
Sometimes it's just that we don't trust or understand who we are and how being who we are will work out well for us. Sometimes it's because we're afraid of who we are or because we think we want to be something else. Often it's because of what we think other people will think.
A friend recently told me that he's focusing on developing himself. He wants to be able to assess anyone he meets, beguile them with his charm, and get them to do whatever he wants, consistently. Now, this might not seem like something to be happy with, but it's who he is. When I first met him it was pretty obvious that that was the person he is. At the time he kept trying to describe his behaviors in less extreme ways. He tried to whitewash his motivations, and tried to downplay his desires. As a result he was much less effective. It was like he was constantly walking into a fight with his hands tied behind his back. We might not be thrilled with the goal he has realized is his, but we should be happy he's pursuing his own nature.
When we work with our Holy Guardian Angel that's part of what we're working towards, knowing our natures, knowing our will, and becoming more earnestly the person we are. The more we work against being that person the less we're able to work in conjunction with our angel.
From a Thelemic perspective the Angel is the truest portion of ourselves, the divine element which originates us. Rejecting who we are and trying to be someone other than who we are is therefore rejecting the Angel. From a Jewish or Christian perspective the Holy Guardian Angel is the emissary of divine grace. That divine source is the same source that made us with our particular nature. Therefore rejecting who we are and trying to be someone else is rejecting the gift that divine grace specifically gave each of us: our individual selves.
However we view it theologically speaking, rejecting the self is connected to rejecting the angel. This becomes important from a magical perspective as the angel serves many purposes. Your Holy Guardian Angel is a a guide and teacher, but it is also a source of power and authority. Cultivating our connection to it is part of our task from day one as magicians. Rejecting ourselves, and our natures, rejecting the angel is the erosion of our connection to that power and authority.
There was a point, before I pursued Knowledge and Conversation, where I had engaged in a plan to be a person more amenable to someone I cared about a great deal. While I very much believe in charity, love and human dignity, my nature is also one which is pretty angry and wrathful. I'm a good example of embracing both poles but not of the nice balanced middle of the road. I tried to convince people I'd turned over a new leaf and was going to be all sunshine and smiles. No one really believed me but I was trying to make it seem real. During this time I asked my angel about teaching me some stuff. His answer was essentially, “when you pull your head out of your ass and just be yourself.”
Our angels know what's up. They want us to grow that connection because their purpose is to carry us into the throne room and expose us to the Truth of the universe, and along the way, to make sure we create the world we were born to build. None of that can happen unless we've committed to that connection, unless we embrace the Truth of our being and live it.
Sometimes who we are isn't the easiest thing. Sometimes it presents a road that has difficulties, trials, heart ache, even abuse. People in extreme situations of denying themselves usually say though that the worst part isn't what they suffer, it's feeling like they can't openly be who they are. For most people it's not even for the mystical or magical success that we pave the road for by embracing and living as ourselves, it's just about feeling happy and safe in your own skin. That's important too. Despite the struggles and difficulties, when we find a way to be ourselves and to succeed in whatever it is we're drawn to be, that's where we'll find our happiness. As we begin to fall into that groove, and the world moves with us it becomes a lot easier to focus on the rest of the work and to compound our success.
So if you want power, wisdom, success, and happiness, if you want to be a truly successful magician, don't forget that simple but important key: be yourself.