Control Consciousness, Control Everything

“The perception and control of changes in states of consciousness, whether for purposes of magical development or of life generally, is supremely important. It is now widely recognized that our state of consciousness, and in consequence the accessibility and direction of our entire mental and emotional potential— thus to a great extent our physical potential also— is affected by seemingly minor circumstances, and can by their aggregate be affected profoundly: imaginative stimuli, the inner impact of dreams, the colors, odors, and lines of association with which we surround ourselves. To many people who are interested either in maximizing or in controlling human potential, research into these matters has become an absorbing new study. To the student of Qabalah, who is interested in maximizing his or her own potential and in controlling his or her own spiritual destiny, the study and practice of these matters is likewise fascinating and of supreme importance, but is by no means novel. In truth, modern approaches and modes of interpretation can be applied with good effect to timeless knowledge, as they are in the pages of this book: but the deep psychology which underlay astrology of Chaldaea, the philosophic and mystical teachings of many lands and systems, can be traced here too. All have in their measure flowed into, or out from, the traditions of Qabalah.”

—Melita Denning & Osborne Phillips, Magical States of Consciousness: Pathworking on the Tree of Life

Alan Watts on the Riddle of Separateness

There really isn’t my world or your world; there’s simply the process taking place in which we are both expressions.

You Are Everything, which is to say, One Thing

I woke up this morning with an insight.  I was half-awake, thinking about how knowledge cannot be destroyed, how it can only be temporarily obscured and will resurface in some other time or place.  And I realized that everything I have done in my life points to the same Self trying to express its truth through symbols.  All my professional and spiritual activities amount to different modes of expressing One Thing: the space of consciousness (conscious awareness) in me / everything and its universal transcendent energy.  Various practices and fields can be destroyed in oneself and in the world but they will reemerge because one cannot destroy their source.

This is why / how I have always perceived the goddess as an avatar of this—consciousness takes many forms in many symbolic patterns (as anything phenomenal that can be perceived), including deities, spirits, and human beings with all their layers and facets.  If we strip away the image of the body and that of the mind, we’re left with an image of the psyche (holy guardian angel / higher self).  If we strip away even the image of the psyche, we’re left with a space of awareness that can be mapped, expressed symbolically, in any myriad of ways.

Following from this, I also saw how everything I’ve done in my life (including what I’ve taught others) has not been relegated to the mind, but has been done in search of inspiration, which I now see as another form of revelation / expression of that One Thing.  

All practices, perceptions, and beliefs, from the most quotidian to the most esoteric, are encompassed by conscious awareness and therefore point to the singularity of the One Thing.  Since there is never a discrete moment when we “get it done,” since we are always engaged in the process of becoming (in the process of apprehending our consciousness, our being, in greater and clearer detail), nothing is wasted, nothing is lost, and it is impossible to squander one’s time on earth.  

As long as there will be human experience, human beings will attempt to make sense of it on some level, which inherently reveals and expresses the eternal presence of that One Thing.  We don’t have to struggle to attain the knowledge and conversation of this conscious awareness because IT IS US.  There is no way we can lose it; we are synonymous with it on all levels at all times (even the mind is a servant of consciousness, just as Satan is said to be the servant of God or pain the servant of wisdom).  We might refer to people who are overtly trying to apprehend their consciousness as “awake” while others are “asleep,” but this is just a convenient way of describing a difference in intensity.  Whether the paths to self-realization are long or short, slow or fast, they all head in the same direction.

Then what remains to be done once we understand this?  Nothing has to be done.  Once we realize we are in the process of becoming aware of our essential awareness, we are free to take life as it comes.  Nothing is foreign to us.  Nothing is lost or gained.  There are only different expressions, ideas, symbols, forms that arise and pass away.  We don’t get excessively involved with any particular form because we understand that these are transitory expressions of something eternal and that “we” are transitory expressions as well.  Ultimately, there is no “we.”  There is just “I AM.”

The One Thing perpetually arranges and rearranges itself in different forms and we need to respond to those forms—my roof is leaking, so I have to fix it / I have a job interview, so I have to iron my shirt.  But we do so with a sense of inner serenity, not identifying very closely with any particular form, because we apprehend the movement of the whole.  

This is the inner meaning of Hexagram 54, Kuei Mei, in the I-Ching:

[T]he superior man/ Understands the transitory/ In the light of the eternity of the end. . . .  If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine.  If, on the other hand, a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.”  

Here, “the end” represents the universal transcendent One Thing, the ultimate reality.  If we understand that all forms arising from it are transitory, we “succeed in avoiding the reefs” of the mind that would otherwise torment us. 

Working Hard on Being Nobody

One of the many identities I carry is that of a Reiki master.  And though fewer people come to me for Reiki work than for conjure or evocation, I don’t consider it a productive use of my time and energy to try to predict when I’m going to get contacted by a client.  One of the practical realities of being a public sorcerer and healer is that there are only so many hours and there is only so much mojo you can expend in a given day.  

So I try to take people as they come, at face value, in my practice as well as in every other aspect of my life.  I think this is probably the best way to go—not thinking too much about when people are going to send me emails or call me and just being open to whatever they may need when they do.  Sometimes, the cards are bad and I can’t help them.  Sometimes, they’re asking for something that just can’t be done.  Other times, they aren’t sure (or honest) about what they really want.  And it’s my job to try to help sort this out even before the work begins.

Avoiding judgment whenever possible seems to be a natural extension of this.  I can’t condemn anyone for their health or social choices because, right or wrong, I don’t have that person’s background and I was not confronted with that person’s particular experiences.  All I can ever say is, “I’m glad X didn’t happen to me” or “I wonder what I would have done in that situation” or “Overdosing on that substance seems really unpleasant.  Wow.”  This helps everyone get along and I like it as a way of relating to the world.  

Maybe because of my open-ended style, every now and then, someone who has had a particularly positive experience from my Reiki sessions asks to be my student.  I am a master, qualified to teach the art, and they might not have ever felt as mentally and physically good before.  So it makes sense that they might want to know if it’s possible to feel that way all the time—to which I answer yes, it is.  Well, it is most of the time.  

Reiki masters get colds, too.  We get depressed.  We sometimes need to see a western doctor.  Reiki should be part of a complete health program, not the only thing you use (hint: you should never rely only on one healing modality, allopathic, homeopathic, folk, or otherwise).  However, because of our energetic practices (if we keep them up), we can take pain away, improve relaxation, strengthen the coping mechanisms of body and mind, instill a sense of calm well-being, and do even more abstract esoteric things which begin to seem like the energy side of witchcraft (actually very similar to some styles of kundalini yoga).

As a side effect of this work (a siddhi that comes from diligent practice), we also get an increased capacity for all the psychic abilities that most people have at birth (before they’re conditioned to forget).  One way I used this gift is to determine whether someone who wants to learn from me would be a good student of Reiki.  Not everyone can or should study it.  And there are many other forms of energetic healing and homeopathy available.  Reiki is simply a very popular one.  If I add a few witchy tricks to the discernment process, I can be very sure I’m making the right decision when I decline or accept a student.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I turn down 9 out of 10 people who ask—not to be a jerk or because I’m some high-and-mighty elitist Reiki guru—but because not all teachers are right for all students in anything and knowing this from the beginning saves us all time and tears.  

Yesterday, I turned down a potential student after taking a week to consider it.  And I know it disappointed her.  Getting turned down for anything is disappointing because it feels like rejection.  But I need to say here (as I said to her yesterday), I am nothing special I am actually nobody.  And much of my magical and healing work is aimed at helping others get over trying to be somebody.  

This student really wanted to be special, to be somebody important.  The God of her Heart was an image of that specialness projected into the future, where she imagined all her problems would be solved and life would be smooth sailing forevermore.  She worships that image.  I saw this in her clearly.  

That is not the best state of mind for a Reiki healer and definitely not for a potential Reiki student.  In order to do Reiki effectively (and magic, too), you have to get out of its way.  In other words, you have to set your ego (your “talker,” your mind) aside and just feel.  You can’t have a goal in Reiki.  You can’t have a motive or an agenda.  You can’t even let yourself fall into the trap of worrying whether the client is going to feel better (and therefore validate your ego that the Reiki session was worth their money).  All you can do is feel the flow, breathe, relax, and allow the Reiki to pour through you.  

It doesn’t come from you.  It is the Divine I AM, the pure energy of ultimate conscious awareness.  You are an expression of that (as is everything), but you don’t create it.  You don’t even direct it.  You get out of the way and allow it to use you as a vessel for increasing an awareness of its presence in your client.  Reiki is in charge, not you.  And it doesn’t make you a rock star.  In fact, the more you do it, the less you want to be a rock star and the more you want to let go of having to become anything more than what you are: a temporary reflection of the I AM made out of air, fire, water, earth, and aether.  

You won’t be here long in this form, but you will be here forever as the I AM.  In this sense, you are God.  And so the right attitude to have if you want to practice Reiki (which is to say, if you want to be a Reiki-practicing reflection of the One Being), is to really want to know your true self, which is this non-person, this nobody, this I AM.  A good student of Reiki is on a quest to set the “person” aside and know the consciousness behind that weird profusion of masks.

It’s not easy because the world is always telling us we’re only going to be worthy of love, safety, and pleasure if we have a purpose, if we grab the world by the throat and wrestle it into submission.  If that is what you want, maybe a magical life would be less fulfilling than spending all your energy in finance, government, law, or management.  If you want to be a magic healing hippie, you have to be braver than those others; you have to look at who you really are and leave the rock stardom to those who really want to be somebody special.

All Magic is Sexual—but what does this mean?

“All Magick is sexual. Indeed, all life is sexual. It is either overt or implied, invoked or directed, stored or released. The Mass of the Roman Catholic Church is every bit as much a pantomime of the sex act as the ‘Great Rite’ of the witches.  The real question is ‘what is sex symbolic of?'”  — Lon Milo DuQuette, The Magick of Thelema

“Sex is a sharing of energies, a blending. And sex embraces all of the senses, as all are equal pathways through which we can receive power. Its placement at the top of our pentacle reminds us first and foremost that we are sexual beings, and that any attempt to escape this basic fact flies in the face of reality. If we map the pentacle to the human body, the point of Sex occupies the head. This is a reminder of the old saying that the biggest sex organ in the body is the brain. In the act of sex, we merge physically with another, but this is just one layer of the sexual experience. We become energetically permeable and thus able to open to outside energies and influences. In the ecstatic state, that heightened sexual consciousness opens and we are able to touch powers greater than just ourselves. In Sex we open up to life force.” — Storm Faerywolf, Betwixt and Between

It means exchange, meta-communication, conversation, and the heightened consciousness this brings.  Worked effectively, all magic results in becoming more conscious.  With that in mind (pun!), we ask: what is consciousness?  What part of me becomes more conscious through the communicative act of magic?  Where does the magic begin (and end)?  And who am I as a result of this psycho-sexual becoming?  Finding our own answers to these questions leads us away from the comforting servitude of “Thy Will Be Done” and into the very difficult and sometimes scary world of “My Will Be Done.”