"Before we get into the technical aspects of practicing magick, we must first introduce the use of a magickal diary. It is traditional for the magician to write down every magical act, result and experience in the magickal diary, which functions as a tool of encouragement, a scientific record, and a means of magickal integration."-- Alan Chapman, Advanced Magick for Beginners
On Emptiness and Desire and Spellworking
Alan Chapman's book Advanced Magick for Beginners is inspiring me a good deal lately. Chapman does an solid job of discussing my most favorite topic: how a practice of desire-based magic (i.e., tantra or alchemy) eventually leads to a huge increase in synchronicity that leads to the deepening realization of nonduality and the dreamliness of all things (i.e., Buddhist "emptiness").
In the past I've done rituals but not much in the way of "spells" - just a lot of visualization and list-making and other Law of Attraction type stuff. I've done this in part because I was raised in Wicca and Ceremonial Magick by my father and long ago came to associate spells with "silly things my father and his stuffy old friends do." And that's not a fair assessment, just a rather teenage-ish reaction that's silly in itself. I've preferred my magic to be more modern and meditation / visualization based.
But Chapman offers a lively explanation of spellworking using simple Sigil Magic as an example. He emphasizes how the whole trick of a spell is to decide that seeing or experiencing your spell means the same thing as your desire materializing. In other words, you lay the grounds for a synchronicity to occur by simply deciding that the happening of one thing (your spell action, whatever it is - drawing a sigil or waving a wand or jumping into a puddle) has exactly the same meaning as your desired outcome.
Through reading Chapman it has hit me more clearly than ever how spellworking is just an active participation in synchroncity. Synchronicity is the subjective perception of at least two events that are non-causally-related as being nonetheless meaningfully related to you, as having a direct correspondence.
In science it's emphasized that "correlation does not equal causation." In magic, it's basically "fuck causation, correlation is where the hotness is at." Causes and effects don't inherently exist anyway, as you realize if you spend some time in analytic contemplation. Causes and effects imply distinct subjects and objects - and since reality is nondual, there are in truth no distinct subjects and objects, just the ongoing worlding of the world.
So I've decided to get a lot more into spellworking lately to up my magical game and I've also decided to chronicle my work here on this blog in a public magical diary. It's not intended to prove anything, it's not science. It's basically a record of my own personal perception of synchronicity.
Last week I did some Sigil Magic specifying "This week I will find a beautiful and convenient and very cheap place to live."
I got in touch with the depth and vulnerability of my desire and charged the Sigil with that. This vulnerability bit is something that I think is very key for me, and it's not something that Chapman discusses. Yet I've found over the years that most of the time in life I avoid fully feeling my desire because of the painful vulnerability of the fear that my desire won't be realized.
In terms of tantric Buddhism, it occurs to me that the bonds of attachment and aversion are just desire with a mucky layer of fear added on top. Attachment and aversion are the stuff that ignorance is made of, and ignorance is basically just the perception of the world as a dualistic, threatening place of scarcity. When you strip off the layer of fear, you have pure, unalloyed desire - which is what the apparent universe runs on and can take you quickly to the perception of the loving nonduality of this world - i.e., nirvana.
When stuff goes wonky in magic, it's usually because there's aversion and attachment mucking things up. A lot of my previous magical experience has been about showing me the uselessness of those things, and forcing me to surrender them to large degrees through giant amounts of pain.
But I still habitually engage in attachment and aversion by suppressing my desire. I would usually rather deny to myself that I have any desire. I would rather not feel it so I can't be disappointed (that's attachment and aversion, friends.) But then when I do that I cut myself off from my deep power source, from my real well of energy. When I'm willing to be vulnerable and exposed and feel the full strength of my desire, there's paradoxically great charge and magic in that. That's a lot of what I learn through OM (Orgasmic Meditation).
By very odd chance, this week a friend of mine who had been housesitting a lovely artist's house in Shadyside (a fancy and very convenient neighborhood of Pittsburgh, close to everything I like) was no longer able to do it due to family emergency, and now me and my friend Zil are here until the end of the month.
Funny thing - I got what my spell requested but I didn't specify for how long I would "live" there so it's only for a few weeks! But still. Very heartening.
As Chapman emphasizes and as I fully agree, the results of magic come to us through coincidence, i.e. synchronicity. The synchronicity worked surprisingly fast in this case. Also, I noticed just how very specific spellworking needs to be. The next time I work on conjuring a beautiful and convenient place to live, I'll need to specify the length of time I'd like to live there.
A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott
I coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives rich with genius and electricity. I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House). I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where outlaws are hugely supported in rocking their magic and bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to to join the Outlaw Court.