Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foundations of Magick: A Magickal Connection

To really work true magick, a practitioner must form a connection between the three aspects of self – the conscious self, the subconscious self, and the Higher Self. Forging this magickal connection and discovering the magick within takes patience and discipline.

Creating the Connection Between the Conscious Self and the Subconscious Self

For the most part, the subconscious self is ignored by the conscious self. There are different reasons for this. Many people are uncomfortable wit the idea of this more sensual or emotional self. Some feel that the subconscious self is simply too childish to be bothered with. Either attitude can interfere with the process of forging a connection between the subconscious and conscious minds.

Reconnecting with the subconscious self is an incredibly simple process. It's believed that one need only be open to what the subconscious has to say. Listen to it, talk to it, and pay attention to what it has to offer. Remember that the subconscious is very like a small child or an animal. After being neglected for so long, it will not trust easily. The subconscious must be courted, gentled, and taught to trust. This takes time and patience.

A good method for building a relationship with the subconscious self is to use meditation. While in a meditative state, ask the subconscious self to reveal itself in the form of an animal. It may still be shy, and may not appear, and if it does, it may not be in its true animal form. If the animal spirit runs or hides, then it is not yet ready to reveal itself. With patience, the subconscious self will reveal its true animal form, and when it does, valuable insights can be gained into its personality.

There are other things that can be done to strengthen the bond with the subconscious self. This element of the mind is usually sensual, playful, and child-like, and thus, it will typically respond when these aspects of the self are explored and indulged. In time, the sensuality, spontaneity, and energy of the subconscious self will be added to the maturity, thoughtfulness, and intelligence of the conscious self.

Forging a Link Between the Subconscious Self and the Higher Self

The subconscious self has spent a great amount of time storing up old memories and emotions. Not all of these are positive. The negative memories and emotions are a block to any sort of connection to the Higher Self. Overcoming this is not always easy.

The negative emotions and memories must be identified and truly released. This can be done through meditation, hypnosis and divination, perhaps with the use of different tools, such as the Tarot. Some practitioners also find that simply discussing these things with a trusted friend helps to release them. Still others decide that professional therapy may be of assistance. Everyone will find different ways of doing this.

The idea here is to find balance that might have been lost. This means not just identifying the negative emotions that are blocking access to the Higher Self, but mending them. This is probably the most difficult part of connecting the subconscious self to the Higher Self. One a mundane level, this might mean making amends for some harm that you have done others, or offering forgiveness to those who have caused harm to you.

In a more magickal sense, this process might involve spiritual cleansing. Ritual baths, self blessings, aura cleansings, and smudging are just some ideas on how this might be accomplished. Over time, and with patience, the negative emotions and memories can be cleared, if not totally forgotten. Once this has happened, there can be a free exchange of energy between the subconscious self and the Higher Self.

Clearing a Path From the Conscious Self to the Higher Self

Once the Higher Self and the subconscious self are ready and able to communicate effectively, there is only one last path of communication left that must be established — the conscious self to the Higher Self. If this pathway can be forged, the Higher Self will shower the conscious self with wisdom, love, and power.

The one real block in establishing this communication is the conscious self. If it (and you) cannot be made to accept that all the gifts that flow from the Higher Self are both well-deserved and highly possible, then the path will remain blocked. It can be opened by a sense of faith and belief that the Higher Self exists and that anything is possible. But just as important is a high-regard for oneself. Not ego, but a healthy respect.

The Higher Self is much wiser than the conscious mind. When it comes to the working of magick, it will grant that which is asked for in its own way. Sometimes, this will be subtle, almost unnoticeable.

To fully explore the intricacies of magick, one has to be open to the messages that the Higher Self will reveal. This requires a level of awareness that can only be developed over time, and only by those who are determined to do so.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Foundations of Magick: The Magick Within

One of the greatest secrets of magick is the way in which the three aspects of the self — the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the Higher Self — connect, communicate, and cooperate to facilitate the practice of magick.

The Conscious Mind and its Place in Magick

It's believed that the conscious mind is where much of the personality and rational thought reside. It is the waking self, the part that reasons and functions in the mundane world. The conscious mind thinks, decides, and judges. It is the embodiment of mind and will; it may recognize some emotions, but it is not the source of the deepest feelings. Though this part of the self controls conscious movement, it has little direct control over the more subconscious actions of the body – breathing, circulation, the nervous system, etc.

Many people tend to act as if the conscious mind is all that there is. These people sail blissfully through life, unaware of just how dependent they are upon what they cannot readily observe.

The Subconscious Mind and Its Place in Magick

The subconscious mind is mostly ignored by the conscious mind, and yet it can be a powerful ally. The subconscious mind controls memory, sensation, and emotion. Everything that is felt, remembered, or physically experienced comes from the subconscious mind. It is the part of the self that is involved in love and sex, or anytime heightened emotions come into play. The subconscious mind also controls the involuntary responses of the body, such as breathing and circulation.

The subconscious can channel a great deal of psychic energy, but in order to use this energy effectively, it usually requires the guidance of the conscious mind. The subconscious mind is childlike, reacting based on instinct and intuition, and searching for immediate gratification. Though powerful, the subconscious mind requires the rational thought of the conscious mind to be useful.

The Higher Self and Its Place in Magick

The Higher Self is the part of the self that connects to the divine, the spiritual self. It is the deepest level of consciousness, the source of wisdom and compassion. This is the part of the self that can harness the divine powers of creation and transformation, allowing the working of greater magicks.

The Higher Self cannot, however, connect directly to the conscious mind, for the conscious mind is not fully aware of the spiritual self. The Higher Self requires a bridge to communicate with the conscious mind. This bridge is one part of the self that can communicate effectively with both the Higher Self and the conscious mind – the subconscious mind.

How the Conscious Mind, the Higher Self, and the Subconscious Mind Work Together

In order to work magick effectively, the three aspects of the self must learn to work together in harmony. Many potential magicians fail in their quest to work magick because they attempt to connect to the Higher Self directly, bypassing the subconscious mind. Others think that they can ignore the Higher Self completely, working magick with the power of the intellect alone. Both ideas are doomed to failure.

True magick, magick that will work and work reliably, has a specific pattern. First, the conscious mind must decide on plan and purpose for magick. This should be well thought out, and adhere to the principles of magick. The conscious mind must then communicate this intent to the subconscious mind. This triggers an emotional response, and begins to raise the power necessary to effectively work magick.

This power is channeled by the subconscious mind to the Higher Self. This power also brings with it the will of the conscious mind. For this process to work, there must be a free flow of trust, love, communication, and power.

Creating and sustaining a relationship between all three aspects of self is not an easy task to manage. How quickly a magickal connection occurs depends entirely on the discipline and desire of the practitioner.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foundations of Magick: The Theory of Magick

Magick may not be an exact science, but it still appears to follow certain rules and principles. Some of these are akin to physical laws, some are not. No one, no matter how adept, fully understands magick and its uses. However, for the magician who does understand these principles, the possibilities might just be limitless.

The Nature of Magick and Reality

Believing in something that cannot be readily seen might seem just a bit crazy on the surface. However, humans believe in things they cannot see every day. Under normal circumstances, air is invisible to the naked eye, and yet everyone knows it exists, since everyone is breathing. Most people do at least acknowledge that there is more to the universe than meets the eye.

The nature of magick is such that it is not fully understood. However, it does at least appear to behave according to some rules. Some generally-accepted laws of magick are:
  • The perceived world is a mixture of reality and perception.
  • If one searches for evidence that something is true, one will usually find it.
  • All statements are true in one sense, false in another, and meaningless in yet another.
  • If it works, it is true.
  • Everything is connected.
  • If two things have just one thing in common, that one thing can be used to influence both.
  • The cause and effect of something tend to resemble each other.
  • If two things were once in contact, they can continue to interact after separation.
  • Two laws or worldviews may contradict each other and still be true, as no worldview may all reality.
  • Every action is an exchange of energy.
  • Any concept, force, or object may be considered to have life.
The Principles of Magick

Magick is a powerful and often misunderstood thing. Defining magick is not always easy, and trying to explain how it works is even more difficult. There are certain principles that can make the practice of magick seem a little less daunting, more logical, and more natural. They also aid in the understanding of magickal ethics.

The following points are regarded as the basic principles of magick:
  • Magick is natural.
  • Magick requires effort. You will receive what you put into it, nothing more, and nothing less.
  • Magick is not spontaneous, at least, not usually. Most spells require time to be effective.
  • Magick is not to be used as a game or joke, or to enhance the ego.
  • Magick can be worked for gain, but only if it brings harm to none.
  • Magick is, at its source, a divine act.
  • Magick certainly can be used for defense, but should never be used to attack.
  • Magick is knowledge.
  • Magick is belief. For magick to work effectively, you must believe in it.
  • Magick is love. Magick should always be performed out of love.
Energy and Magick

Energy is everywhere. At a certain level, everything is comprised of energy. There is energy in the sunlight, the moonlight, the earth, the waters, and the air. With each breath, every person takes in energy, and then exhales it. Every person, plant, and animal teems with energy.

The abundance of energy available everyday is extraordinary. However, despite the fact that energy swirling all around him, a magician actually needs very little. Instead of being flashy, like thunder and lightening, a talented magician uses a little more finesse. More like a gentle breeze, almost unnoticed amongst the greater swirl of energy that makes up the world.

Magick and Science

Science has come a long way in the last century, and scientific views are not necessarily incompatible with magick. Hypnotism, once thought to be a black art and even a form of mind control, is now a commonly accepted practice. There are now cameras that can take a photograph of the body of energy that surrounds each person; some people call this energy an aura.

There are many scientists, both in the past and present, who are firm believers in magick. Einstein himself fully supported the idea that astrology was a science, and not simply an occult practice. Isaac Newton wrote more frequently on the practice of alchemy than he did on physics.

It seems that ancient magicks and modern science are slowly coming together.

Does Magick Work?

According to practitioners, magick does, indeed, work. Spells and rituals will always have an effect, no matter how slight, and no matter which style of magick you're using. However, this is not always the effect that is intended. Someone may cast a spell to gain enough money to pay all their bills, and instead of gaining extra money, the individual might find all their bills in their mailbox, with expected due dates that are fairly immediate.

Obviously, this is not what was intended by the caster. However, spells and rituals can have flaws. Most of these are problems with design, performance, or interference. Usually, all three of these things are caused by the caster. A lack of focus or belief, a small distraction, or a poorly worded chant can all have an adverse effect on spells and rituals.

A properly crafted and executed spell or ritual will almost always meet with success. However, it is important to note that true magick isn’t the same as the Hollywood version. It is rarely flashy, and special effects are almost non-existent. True magick takes belief and practice to be effective.

Magick is not well understood, and discovering the magick within takes time. It is difficult to explain and even harder to master. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Following a magickal path is not for everyone, and requires courage, patience, and understanding.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Introduction to Magick: Starting on a Magickal Path

Magick can be an elusive thing. It can be a difficult thing to master, and sometimes fails miserably. In order for one to practice magick effectively, to explore its mysteries, one must have the proper tools. In this case, the proper tools are:
  • Timing magick effectively;
  • Having a space to practice magick; and
  • Having a purpose for magick.
Timing for Magick

Timing magick has two aspects. The first regards turning the practice of magick into a habit. Something only becomes a habit if it is done regularly. Magick should be practiced regularly, preferably at the same time each day, and hopefully with no missed days. For some, this time will be when they first awaken; for others, upon arriving home from work or school. Others may choose to perform magick spells in the moments right before bed, but do this cautiously, as magickal training may leave one too energized to sleep.

Timing also has another important influence in the practice of magick. Certain magick spells and rituals are affected by the time of day, day of the week, or phase of the moon. In this case, those magicks should be carefully scheduled. Magick to gain something, for example, is best performed during the waxing moon. Those magick which focus on banishing should take place during the waning moon.

A Space for Magickal Practice

A space is needed for magickal practice. This can be a bedroom, office, or den; it can also be outdoors. Any place that is quiet and private will suffice for magickal practice. Typically, many people will object, saying they do not have the space. To truly practice magick, a designated place to do so is absolutely required. It doesn’t have to be huge. Ideally, there will be an entire room to devote to the practice of magick, but even the corner of the living room will work.

Perhaps a corner of the garage can be cleared or, even better, an area outside can be screened off, made private, and utilized as one's true temple. However, it can be just as effective to have a chair in the corner of the kitchen. Be creative, and search out an appropriate space to perform magick.

There should be adequate space for the storage of magickal tools, incense, herbs, oils, and the many other items that practitioners collect. This can be in the form of shelves, chests, or even storage bags hung on the wall. There is no firm rule concerning storage spaces.

If there is really no space, indoors or out, that will work, consider finding a spot at the local park that is secluded. Use a backpack to carry supplies and books back and forth. The point is, there is always a way; sometimes, one must be a bit creative.

A Purpose for the Practice of Magick

Every spell and ritual should have a purpose; otherwise, they likely wouldn’t ever be performed. However, there is a greater question to ask when it comes to purpose. Why does one wish to learn and practice magick?

It is a question that each practitioner should ask him or herself. The answer is important, and will become more so if one continues to pursue a magickal path. Magick is not for revenge. It is not to be used to cause harm, or to control or manipulate anyone. It is not a Hollywood effect. For Wiccans and other practitioners, magick is very real and it's a practice that must be treated with respect.

Magick acts according to natural laws, and using it for certain purposes does eventually backfire. However, for those who wish to use magick to made decisions, find strength, protect themselves and others, and help create a better world, than a magickal path might just be the right path.

There are many things to do when first starting on a magickal path and choosing to study magickal theory. Magickal names are to be considered, tools are to be collected, and decisions regarding how and when one will practice magick must be made.