Lessons in Magick: Common Misconceptions of the Craft, Part One

Courtney Brooke Hall

Image: Courtney Brooke Hall

“Indubitably, Magick is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgement and practice than in any other branch of physics.”

Aleister Crowley


I am an observer by nature, I find that people watching is one of my favorite things to do, and human behavior is something that has fascinated me since I can remember; I always wanted to know what made people tick, and why—the why being most important to me.

My observations of life, and of people have carried over onto my spiritual path, one that because of my writing offers a wide variety of people for me to analyze, watch, and learn from. Seeing how my roots are in Social Media my playground has become a bottomless melting pot of sorts that I freely stir at will when a new subject is needed, or wanted.

Sounds kinda creepy, huh?

I want to know why people act and think, believe and perceive the way they do; I like to know what makes people laugh because you can tell SO much about someone by what they find funny. I want to know what has caused them to form their personal Philosophy, and I love to get into people’s heads. I think everyone is so much more fascinating than I am, leading their colorful lives full of comedy and tragedy.

An epiphany has just come to me as I write this: I like to people watch because it keeps me at a distance, and stops me from forming any real connection.

Shit.

Swerving away from that let me get to my point, because I observe so much, and I interact so much via my pages, I pick up thought patterns and it is in these thought patterns that I have been able to find a few common, very common might I say, misconceptions about the Craft. This is not only coming from outsiders, but from our Sisters and Brothers, too.

I am going to try and address these two issues in my own way (saving two more common issues for a later post) and I may not get it all correct but this is my standpoint on subjects that no one has ever really put out there. It is my intention to start conversation, or at least trigger thought, while cleaning up some of the muck in regards to definitions, labels, and our community.

Here we go…

Can you be Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path at the same time? This question comes quite frequently and it was recently brought back up when someone asked what I thought about “Luciferian Masons”. I laughed. I have said this next line more than I would like to in recent weeks but it must be said again, I come from a long line of Masons and Eastern Stars, recently inheriting a ritual book from 1943 that I am so proud, and blessed to have. I don’t claim to know everything about Masonry because, well, I am not a Mason, no matter what runs in my blood. I do know one thing and that is, Masonry is a form of Gnosticism, therefore it is RHP.

I know there are some who say that Mason’s true deity is Lucifer, out of misunderstanding and fear mongering (the Christian Devil Archetype), or that they believe Jesus Christ of the Bible to be Lucifer, while others claim it is the Baphomet; unless you have actually read THEIR text and not something off the internet, you will never really know that answer, and that is why Masonry is so secretive, and why so many lies surround the group.  People really just don’t know.

One truth remains though, they are Right Hand Path.

Luciferianism is an Esoteric Philosophy that falls on the Left Hand Path; no matter how you want to make these two fit together, no matter how you claim to be “more awake than the rest” or “see the bigger picture” when it comes to these two paths, they are mutually exclusive.

To put it simply:

You cannot be dominant, and submissive at the same time; you either are Left Hand Path or you are not, there is no duality in terms of these two Philosophies.

When I have explained this before people brought up the fact that I am a theist, and I am, but I do not worship. I do not look to my deities for answers, or problem solving, I do not look to them for issues that I can readily solve myself if I just go deep enough within. Have I called on deities and powers from beyond for help? Yes, as a Witch it is part of my Magick, but I do not worship these deities, I offer items to them and barter, when the deed is done they go back, and that is that.

Those who follow the RHP, worship. Those who follow the LHP, do not.

Both paths are equally important, and one does not trump the other but please for all that is holy and unholy, can we get them straight?

The idea of Karma vs. Free Will: This is an extremely gray area and one that sparks many heated debates whenever it is brought up. I can only speak from my perspective, and many of you will probably not agree with me, fun thing about that is, you don’t have to.

I do not believe in the Western idea of Karma which is, “what goes around comes around”. I think history has completely butchered and bastardized the word.

Let us define the Eastern idea of Karma, you know, where the word originates. I will link you to the full article at the bottom.

“Karma means action, means “to do”. Immediately we have an indication that the real meaning of karma is not fate because karma is action. It is dynamic. But it is more than simply action because it is not mechanical action. It is not unconscious or involuntary action. It is intentional, conscious, deliberate, willful action. How is it that this intentional, will action conditions or determines our situation? It is because every action must have a reaction, an effect. This truth has been expressed in regard to the physical universe by the great physicist Newton who formulated the law which states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. In the moral sphere of conscious actions, we have a counterpart to the physical law of action and reaction, the law that every intentional, will action must have its effect. This is why we sometimes speak either of Karma-Vipaka, intentional action and its ripened effect, or we speak of Karma-Phala, intentional action and its fruit. It is when we speak of intentional action together with its effect or fruit that we speak of the Law of Karma.”

Could one not take this definition and say, my will is for this outcome to happen, and if said action (your willful intent) causes said reaction (result) is that not Karma? Where does it say that the effects will COME BACK TO YOU, or effect anyone or anything negatively?

It does not.

So you see Karma in this definition IS Free Will.

Free Will being the idea that we govern ourselves, and have individual sovereignty thus we make our own decisions, we have willful intent. (See definition of Karma again)

When dealing with some forms of Magick (Wicca, specifically) it became a rule that one must not take over another’s Free Will, but in some instances, is that not all Magick is?

I do not agree with casting a Love Spell directly on someone, or using Magick to force someone to make a decision in your favor, things of that nature are not within my moral compass to do. I also believe that if you feed into the idea of Karma (Western style) then you must subscribe also to the idea of some omniscient being whom is dishing out retribution, and I do not follow that theory.

When we hex, compel with truth/glamour spells, or do binding spells, we are in fact taking away free will.

Example: You wish to bind someone from acting in a specific manner, from being in your life, or from doing harm to themselves/you, whomever. Well, if that person wishes to do those things, and your Magick stops them, then you have taken away their free will.

Make sense?

While the Western form of Karma and Free Will cannot co-exist, the true definition of Karma and Free Will can because in actuality, they are one in the same.

I want our community to be the best we can be, full of knowledge, understanding and compassion for our Sistren and Brethren, but that cannot happen if we do not open dialogue about issues that plague us, and do nothing but hinder our growth on a personal, and collective level.

Blessed are the Witches.

Link to read more about Eastern Karma, and source for referenced definition of Karma:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma1.htm

Musings of a Modern Mystic: The Individual


Individual

Image: The Non, ‘Alchemia Mysteria’, 2010

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The individual is the most endangered species in our world today.

I find that even those who are ‘rebels’ by their own definition are doing nothing more than following the mentality of other self-proclaimed ‘rebels’. I understand that human’s need definition, or whatever (touchy subject because I despise labels) but to call yourself Free while following another seems counterproductive. No?

I know that I have, like many of you, sought out like minded individuals, and yes, I now prefer the company I keep to have somewhat of a similar world view.

However, I do not require us all to be the same, or all share my personal Philosophy.

It’s called a personal Philsophy for a reason.

What is the point of keeping company if they do not challenge you, in a positive way?

I have found that people who are different than I in regards to Philosophy teach me tolerance, and remind me how far I have come with maintaining respect.

Our society is nothing more than a social structure that “they” claim to call Democracy, and we follow suit like the good little herd we are.

But, what happens when you wake up?

What are the consequences of a Spiritual Awakening?

What do we lose when breaking the illusion?

What do we gain?

I think these are important questions to discuss if we want to get more free thinkers on our side, and no one seems to answer them.

I feel like our community is so divided, and full of Ego that when a “newbie” comes along the dynamic becomes one of dominance instead of one of teaching.

Why do so many people feel the need to establish dominance when an individual does not threaten you, or your ‘pack’?

First thing is first, I had no one to help me on my Spiritual path until years into it when I encountered 2 mentors; now, I look at everyone as a mentor of sorts.

 I am the first to admit that an Awakening sucks, it’s terrible; I had physical pain that I cannot even put into words, I had visions that made me question my sanity and my “reality” was destroyed.

I lost friends, I became an entirely different person, but I would never choose for it to have played out differently.

We need to establish that yes a lot of the work on any spiritual path is up to the individual, and they are required to pass tests from the Universe on their own; that doesn’t mean we can’t help them.

I believe the more support we give each other, the further our cause will spread.

I have lost everything, but I earned my Freedom.

I walk an Ancient path, one that many refuse to understand but I still walk it proudly; I am no longer in the shadows.

I would secondly like to address the whole dominance thing. I get it, and have been guilty of it myself.

I am an Alpha female, and it’s in my nature to test anyone who tries to come near me, and mine.

But, I am trying to ease up on this primal reaction because I truly believe that I have the ability to help people on their path. I also think that when one feels the need to constantly establish dominance, it only shows how weak they truly are.

The possibilities of what we can attain together as a collective unit are boundless, but a unit of individuals CHOOSING to work towards a common goal without sacrificing Self are infinite.