Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians
A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.
Nudging the Odds in Our Favor
I do not claim to have invented the following concepts. As the saying goes, I stand on the shoulders of giants. But at least I'm bright enough to recognize when a teaching makes sense; and I feel privileged to pass these on to others.
In my essay We Are All Spell Casters (May 2013 Witches&Pagans Newsletter), I presented the thesis that everyone who engages in intercessory prayer - be they churchgoers, coven members, healing circles, meditators or obsessive-compulsives - all share the same goal: to persuade Nature (or the God of Nature) to do what they want.
Nature can resolve similar situations in different ways. Sometimes we like the resolution, as when cancer goes into remission or a dangerous surgery is successful. But we hate it when it goes the other way.
In my blog entry of October 29th I observed that the line dividing opposite outcomes can be as thin as the edge of a playing card. The smallest variable can make the difference between an individual's survival or death; life balances on a razor's edge.
We magicians, healers, priestesses, shamans and witches seek to tweak that balance - to convince the Powers to favor our side of the fulcrum. Some of us petition quietly, in humble faith asking that we may accept whatever has to happen; others exhort our Deity loudly, brazenly demanding results in front of rapt congregations of followers. We have different beliefs about the extent of our desserts, but we have all learned the metaphysical secret: that sincere focused emotion is the energy needed for us to be heard.
Each coven, church and metaphysical order has its own words of power and preferred techniques, which it believes to be more authentic and effective than anyone else's. Each of us winds up in a tradition that most closely appeals to our individual psyche; but our human motivations, and the principles of Nature which we seek to master and bend to our will, are the same.
There is a compelling logic underlying these attempts; for, after all, Nature is impartial. If someone has discovered something that might tip the odds in his favor - a powerful will, or a crystal healing wand, or an ancient vibrational mantra - why should Nature care which way things work out? As long as there is an unbroken line of causality leading step-by-step to logical effects, Nature is satisfied. The circle has been completed.
Skeptics who believe in science tend to see our magical thinking as self-delusion. They aren't likely to be reading this column!
To practitioners like us, there is no difference between magick and science - for we experiment directly with the deepest states of mental and emotional sympathetic correspondences. Your scientific friend has probably heard that an experiment's outcome is affected by the very fact that an observer's mind is watching it; but he doesn't understand what that information means. He doesn't know what to do with it.
We do understand what it means. We have experienced it ourselves. Nobody's skeptical sarcasm to the contrary can dissuade us from what we know is true. Magick works. It works as surely as mantra and prayer - for they are all techniques for focusing the human will.
Naturally, in a world where billions of human beings experiment every day with these techniques, there are bound to be cross-currents which cancel each other out. That is why the more gifted, committed and experienced practitioner has an edge over the mere dilettante. And there are other, more significant factors to consider as well, such as individual and group karma. But it would be a mistake to conclude that metaphysical practices don't work, just because we may not see the desired result every time.
Let those who reach that conclusion drop out of the game - thereby increasing the chances of success for those of us who remain and keep playing it!
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