7Words of Magick
by Nesta Burgess
Nesta lives in the rural spiritual centre, Green Haven, in Lithuania, where she now pursues her vision of merging 7 Words, Permaculture, and ecology in a joint project with several other 7 Words practitioners, which includes firewalks, magick camps, sauna rituals and Lithuanian folk culture events.
She speaks Russian, English and her own Lithuanian, and so has played a central role in the difficult and all-important task of translating the 7Words text meaningfully, where often no straightforward equivalent exists for the keywords.
Part 1 The Magick of No
Dispense for a moment with historically stereotypical images of magick, such as brooms and black cats! The essential essence of the practice of magick is an attempt to create changes in the fabric of reality that conform to one's will. It is as relevant today as it ever was. In this first article I am going to have a look at the basic mechanics of this process - encountering physical limitations, and choosing to address them.
A magician can be identified by their approach to physical limitations as a master and not a victim. Reality can be seen here as a tool that defines identity - an agency for self-expression. And it expresses the whole truth of our being, whereas a person is usually only aware of just one part of themselves - the conscious bit. We have only a limited ability to perceive occasional glimpses into our unconscious processes, and access the quiet soul's voice; yet we have a wonderful means of seeing all of our bits and pieces as a whole, in the physical realm where they are all mirrored. If we look carefully, any discrepancies between our different parts of self will become obvious.
Of course, there is no 'morality' in magick, and being disciplined is not seen as better than, say, being spontaneous. It is the gap between our conscious self image and the actual reality of the situation that both makes us ineffective and causes pain. This is because, although it may not seem obvious, we actually always get what we choose in life. Problems arise, when different parts of our being keep choosing conflicting things and sabotaging each other's plans. Therefore our main task in magick is not about making things happen, but about identifying what our whole being actually wants. We know when we get it - we have all experienced that wonderful feeling of being "in the flow". The challenge is how to access that state of being at will.
Here we need to consider the power of words, since language is the first step to move from the realm of thoughts into materiality. It allows us to look for the truth of our being by comparing our inner world with the facts of reality. Just like different parts of our being, our speech may say different and even opposite things simultaneously. A magician's task (and in this case strong willpower and discipline are required) is always to try to align their choice of words, with their inner intention, tone of voice and body language. You will find that it is virtually impossible to do that without becoming aware of and aligning the different aspects of oneself.
We may ultimately come to discover that there exists only one necessary discipline in magick, which is Truth. Living your truth - "walking the talk" - always doing what you say you're going to do and always saying what is authentic for you. These are not practices that can be done occasionally, only when it's convenient; it is a life-path commitment. Great challenges and even greater rewards follow...
Part 2 The Magick of Hello
Many of the different magickal tools - wands, goblets, ceremonial daggers, and so on - are secondary, they are just the means of focusing our main currency of power: attention. The astral plane is where most of magick takes place - the realms of the mind. It is the place in between: the dream world, where anything is possible, limited only by our imagination, and yet always only one step away from becoming tangible through words or behaviours.
In the following text we are going to look into several different aspects of mind processes, which are relevant to practitioners of magick.
Everyone has their "magickal gear", or little rituals to get them into a required state of being - it can be a suit and tie, a clean sheet of paper and a pen, or a pentagram and a sacred ceremony - whatever works. Still, we are well aware that the same form repeated without the right attitude would not achieve the required results. There are those who take this idea so far as to say that our whole material universe would crumble if it wasn't held in place by our field of awareness - things that aren't in it do not exist to us.
A magician stands out from the crowd by taking a conscious, active role in this process. And so, just like an old friendship or a rusty unused car can start fading away and falling apart when we stop feeding them our attention, a reverse process can also take place whereby a magician wills things into existence by focusing the right quality and intensity of attention, often with the help of a symbolic object of some special importance.
When discussing attention, we should also take into account the periphery, the subconscious intake of information, which, simply because of its lack of awareness, may sometimes be the more influential force in life. Advertising wizards have mastered ways in which certain images or phrases constantly and persistently flashed in the background of our environment later make us buy the particular product that has become familiar, and feel completely certain that it was a free and independent choice. A magician needs to understand all of this clearly when attempting to create influence, and be aware of the effect of subliminal programming within their own surroundings.
It would actually be very hard to imagine any magickal practice without the use of symbols: astrological glyphs, tarot images, archetypes, pentagrams, candles, colours, prayer beads, foreign words and sounds, totem animals, magickal plants, the 5 elements, the 7 chakras, the yin and yang, all numbers in general, or simply omens - these are just a few of the many widely used symbolic languages. Interestingly, none of these symbols or systems of thought are definitive, rather they only point towards something that is just beyond our grasp. This is why, despite the rigorous mental practices that are common in magick, a magician strongly differs from a typical scholar. Intuition, openness and being non-judgemental are required to always be prepared to accept a new interpretation of the same symbol. A useful tip is to remind oneself of the fact that while attempting to achieve external changes, very often an inner change of perception will have to occur first.
Being a magician is not a finite state, but rather a journey of constant empowerment through letting go of the remnants of societal conditioning of doubt and opening up to trust the world of infinite possibility.
There always exists in magick a dynamic balance between struggle and surrender, between establishing one's own will and opening up to the language of signs and omens; the totality of magick is not only yin or only yang - it is both. Often a person may tend to focus more on one or the other, but ultimately should come to understand that a two-way relationship always exists between the object and subject. We could take a couple of examples in which the magician might appear at first to be only playing a receptive, or only an active role.
The first is easier to understand: we can see fairly clearly that a tarot reader or a clairvoyant can influence revealed wisdom through their attitude, choice of questions, or card layouts. More actively, a witch, casting a spell with an intention to change the reality of some specific situation, or a healer attempting to ease an ailment, are also ultimately only responding to the particular opportunity that presents at that moment. For the response to be effective, it shouldn't be bigger or more casual than is required by the situation. An equal exchange must take place to maintain balance. At the highest level, a magician will try to see themselves always as both the cause and the effect of everything in their life.
The ancient Saxons had a special word to describe this interlaced network of relationships between everything in the world - the Wyrd. Despite the apparent separateness of physical form, attention, awareness and energy connect everything in life in ways that are sometimes obvious and sometimes more mysterious. When a magician is in the state of communion (fully aware of their connection with the Wyrd) they become like a spider in the centre of its web - extremely sensitive to the vibrations of every separate thread and to the ripples caused by its own movements. In this state intuition cooperates in perfect balance with the intellect and reveals the essence behind the form, allowing the practitioner to read omens, connect to the Akasha, choose an appropriate crystal or herb for their purposes...This is a state in which the subtle world can be accessed through anything and everything, and even the smallest, most mundane actions - a glance, a breath, a word - can become acts of magick.
Part 3 The Magick of Thanks
“A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you . . . Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use.”
With No we looked at what Magick is and how it operates, with Hello we reviewed various tools and ways to access it, our mind being the main medium… Now that we come to Thanks, it is time to look at the role of the heart within the world of Magick.
Any number of different paths is available to us in Magick – each with its own rules, techniques, and philosophy – there is no way of telling which one of them is the right one. All that we can know is which one is right for us. This is where we need to consult our feelings. Something may seem attractive in theory – intellectually pleasing, glamorous – and yet our heart can penetrate deeper, beyond appearances and fanciful ideas, and move us towards a more fulfilling and happier choice. If a magickal practice or teaching is not only theoretically attractive, but also feels right, the learning process will have a natural flow, allowing the wisdom to be assimilated organically into practitioner’s personality in the form of principles and values.
It is, however, surprisingly difficult to be authentic in one’s preferences with all the external pressures from family, friends and society, so genuine appreciation could be our first step forward. This principle should be observed every single moment in life, learning not to take things for granted, and appreciating even the small and mundane aspects of our existence. If we aren’t able to genuinely appreciate something or someone, it is a sign that we should follow our heart and move on.
Beginning as a disciplined practice, this will soon become habitual and even unconscious, constantly operating in the background – clarifying our value system, informing our decisions, and moving our lives towards a happier expression.
Giving such importance to feelings may appear to be too self-indulgent and lacking in structure to be a serious magickal practice, and yet it is essential. Following one’s heart is not always convenient and shouldn’t be confused with the path of expediency – it often requires discipline and honesty.
Our reward for doing so is empowerment, for that is how we create an effective support infrastructure, our “base of operations”. In some shamanic teachings we learn about the value of particular locations – “places of power”, and almost all magickal traditions use objects of special importance – amulets, wands, prayer beads and so on – that need to be treated with great care and respect. A “safe space” can also be created through sacred rituals rather than attached to a physical location, for example, a pagan ceremony of “Casting a Circle” (it will often include physical or visualised marking of the space, lighting candles, smudging, invoking the deities and guardians of the four directions…)
To access full empowerment, the practitioner needs to develop a personal emotional bond with their tools, rituals, teachers and guides, and most of all – their magickal community. There exist some solitary paths in Magick, but most often one needs the empowerment of a circle of people with shared values and a heart connection.
The reason why this can work is a mystery of the heart, which defies laws of the physical world: if something is given from the heart, both parties are enriched. This is how a group of people who share a heart connection can all receive nurture and empowerment from the relationship. A good example is a coven, where a circle of wiccans empowers the High Priestess and High Priest to lead a ceremony, who, by doing that, serves the group’s collective goals.
Trust and courage are needed to overcome the deep programming of poverty consciousness and allow abundance to be experienced as a reality, rather than just a concept.
There also exist non-specific, even irrational types of aspirations in Magick, that come in a form of feelings: longing to be loved, cared for, feel fulfilled, safe, happy… This is where the law of the heart becomes our golden rule “Give that which you want to receive” – not only will you feel the immediate satisfaction of having made someone happier, but you will also attract happiness into your own life.
There is a Sufi teaching, which says that Love is both the strongest and the most effortless form of concentration. Sufi mystics use this principle to see the Divine Source as The Beloved, bringing passion into their spirituality – their teaching tradition is widely known as the path of the heart.
Within our own culture Love is also often described as the most powerful form of Magick: “Love that conquers all obstacles”, “True Love’s kiss breaks a spell”, and so on. It is indeed an extremely powerful force, which allows someone to achieve great things, and yet it is also compulsive – the person probably does not perceive that they have much choice. It may feel at first like being immersed in a strong current, carrying us into the unknown, but all is turned around with the realisation, that the flow is nothing other than one’s destiny.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The heart offers the Magician a paradox: it has great strength of magnetism, but, differently from other forms of power, it cannot be claimed – only surrendered to. It requires one to become more and more vulnerable, experiencing the bitter-sweet breaking open of the heart. It is not sentimental or dramatic – the heart’s voice is quiet and can only be heard once our fearful emotionality is put aside.
“The alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to a purification of themselves.”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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