Friday, August 19, 2016
Dion Fortune, and the Wizard of Oz or, Don't be the man behind the Curtain
You, do magic, and that's really cool, so you're cool.
You are a bright shining star of awesome.
Stuff like that is cool to hear, and empowering to believe. People like that empowered feeling. People like to know they are cool. You can get really fr recognizing what matters to someone and complimenting it because the desire for these good feelings is so powerful. This desire to feel cool is something which affects most people in some way. So for magicians and non-magicians it can be a means for us to be deceived or manipulated, either by others or by ourselves, We might not characterize it as a desire to be cool, but all of us have a way we want to be, and a way we want to be perceived. Having a firm understanding of that desire and it's juxtaposition to or alignment with our reality is paramount in avoiding being manipulated by or misled by people, or by ourselves, based upon how those desires make us feel.
If we know solidly who we are its harder to shake that up with a passing comment, and it's harder to distract us with flattery. It's also easier to succeed at what we want when we understand fully what we want, what it means to have it, and where we are in relation to it.
Unfortunately, in magic, there is a lot of accepting empowering ideas even if they aren't real. I see frequently people who are open about their inexperience, or lack of practice, lack of success talk about themselves as magicians, mages, and witches. People who don't seem to do a lot of magic, or seem to only do magical exercises prop themselves up as magicians. I recently saw a blog post, which while the overall point was correct and was very important, a line several people quoted involved recognizing a whole group of people as powerful magicians, without asking, are the people in this group doing powerful magic, or are they just doing important work in magical communities.
You are a shining bright star of awesome, just by virtue of your creation, even if you're still working off the muck so that you can see the shine. But are you a bad ass magician who does cool magic? You have to ask and answer that question. Do you do magic? Have you created unquestionable, powerful, observable changes in the world using occult methods? I hope the answer is yes because magic is awesome. But if the answer is no, I hope answering no helps you find what you need to eventually turn the answer to yes, because you deserve that awesomeness in your life.
Don't get so busy being the wizard that you become the man behind the curtain. The wizard of Oz couldn't beat his enemy, he couldn't get home, he couldn't connect with others because his life was about an image, not about reality. He sent essentially a band is misfits to stop his enemy, and this wasn't a Gandalf cleverly positioning people kind of move, he figured they'd fail and be out of his hair. He's not the wizard you want to be.
Magic is empowering because it gives you access to very real power. If the empowerment is based on a case of the feels you're just furthering your disembowelment. A lot of people go for the feels though, we've talked about reasons why before. The magical community tends to promote catching a feel though because it's easy, and it has been part of our formative literature since the late revival.
Dion Fortune took the reality shaping force of magic away by redefining it as a change in consciousness. Changes in consciousness are powerful and useful for magic, but they themselves are more the provenance of mysticism, yoga, and systems of meditation. They inform and become tools for magic but are not magic itself. Defining magic as changes in consciousness makes it easy for us to credit ourselves and others as being powerful magicians. It makes empowerment, catching a case of the feels, adjusting our worldview or self worth, or even just deepening our breathing or closing our eyes into powerful acts of magic because they all adjust our consciousness.
I would ask though, do you want to be the powerful magician who is empowered by his counterculture vibe? Or do you want to be the magician who is empowered by his ability to find treasure, heal the sick, and destroy enemy forces?