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THE MEANING OF LIFE
To gather experience over countless lifetimes.

We Realize who and what we really are, and come to behave like That.

Ignorance of That and associated bad habits result in mistakes and consequential suffering.

The accumulation of experience eventually brings us to realize that we are not separate from others, which forms habitual devotion to the ultimate welfare of all.
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Posts Tagged ‘Initiation’

Ultimately, there is no difference between spells and prayers.  Here’s a way to understand what I mean by this:

Like everything else in a Wisdom Tradition like Traditional Wicca, it’s all about who and what we really are, and learning to act like That.  We are the authors of the Universe we experience, constantly and continuously creating our entire experience.  Some of that created experience is personal (subjective), and created personally, while some of it is collective (objective), created collectively.

As authors of the universe and of reality, we create everything we experience by directed attention.  We are constantly faced with an infinity of possibilities, an infinity of potential experiences (the Goddess).  By directing our attention (the God) at a selection from that infinity, picking out what is expected and familiar (the elemental children of the God and Goddess), by force of habit, we create our personal perspective on reality and our personal experience of it.  Some of that personal experience matches to some degree the experience of others (but never exactly) because we agree on the meanings of the words we use, and we agree on the construction of some of our environment.

But in an absolute sense, reality (the elemental children of the God and Goddess) is an arbitrary selection (the power of the God) from infinite potential (the Mother Goddess) we are always faced with.  Every time you direct your attention, by any kind of deliberate act you are molding your perception, your reality, and creating your experience of the universe out of the infinite potential that is always there.  This is partly because directing your attention has two effects: it selects from infinite potential a) what you will be aware of or pay attention to (this is the realm of Life, and Light, and Love, the realm of the ecstasy of the Goddess) and b) what you will ignore or exclude from your experience, which is the vast majority of the infinite potential (this is the realm of the God, of Wisdom and the Knowledge of the Secrets of Death).

This infinite potential, undefined and indescribable, is in its entirety unknowable and indescribable for the exact same reason that Awareness can never know itself, as the eye can never directly look upon itself.  It is unknowable and indescribable because it is infinitely greater than the scope of our limited mechanisms of perception.  (These mechanisms of perception are not designed to provide awareness of the true here-and-now, or of the true infinite potential with which we are faced.  They are instead designed to be mechanisms of focus, and by definition that, means exclusion of all that is outside our directed attention.)  This infinite potential is the infinite Presence of Awareness Itself.  This Presence can be experienced in any way desired by simply directing attention accordingly (applying the mechanisms of perception accordingly).

So, not only are spells and prayers exactly the same in that they are both ways of deliberately directing your attention (and creating reality), they are also exactly the same as any deliberate act, such as making a phone call, or deliberately triggering the engagement of your capacity for unconscious, self-fulfilling prophecy.  All deliberate acts, be they conscious actions, prayers or spells, by directing attention, create reality from infinite potential which is the “thing” aspect of that Ancient, infinitely unknowable Presence (which is also perfectly Aware).

So much for what is the same between prayers and spell-casting.  Their difference is very profound.  In prayer, you engage your ability to direct attention (create reality) by treating this creative power you have as an external thing that can be prayed to, and thereby engage the unconscious magic of self-fulfilling prophecy, which is ultimately simply directing your attention, just like casting a spell is.  In spell casting, you do not treat this creative power as an external thing to be supplicated, but rather take charge as the creator yourself, using reminders or mental triggers to get yourself to direct your attention in a particular way, which is exactly what you are doing when you pray.  The difference is only in the way you view yourself, the author of the universe: a) in prayer, as something external that you can supplicate or b) in spell-casting, taking charge and owning the power and responsibility of reality creation.  These two approaches: “other-power” and “own-power” are essential perspectives in the training of Traditional Wicca.

The training involved in the traditional Three Degrees of initiation are in turn based in these two perspectives, and finally on their union.  The traditional First Degree is all about “other-power” and emphasizes prayer and spell-casting from the perspective of asking the Great Mother Goddess to help you with your life and your magical work.  You spend at least a year systematically and step by step exploring all the aspects of this perspective on doing things, both mundane and magical.  The Second Degree is all about “own-power” when you, like the Horned God, realize that you are yourself the author of the universe, and your prayers and spell-casting shift in emphasis, to the 1st person perspective, where you are yourself the Goddess or the God, creating and altering reality through your prayers and spell-casting.  You spend at least a year systematically and step by step exploring all the aspects of this perspective on doing things, both mundane and magical.

Neither of these two perspectives of “other-power” or “own-power” is completely correct by itself.  The error in either of these perspectives alone (the error in emphasizing either the God or the Goddess alone), is the basis for the whole argument about prayer vs spell-casting: both are equally true and can be argued as true, yet neither is true by itself.

In the traditional Third Degree you have a perfect balance, a Perfect Harmony between: a) the “other-power” perspective embodied in the teachings of the Goddess and the traditional First Degree, and b) with the “own-power” perspective embodied in the teachings of the Horned God and the traditional Second Degree.  In the traditional Third Degree, both of these perspectives are realized as simultaneously present and correct in every thought, every action and every experience.  It is only through spending time exploring each of these perspectives in the First and Second Degree initiation and training, that one can truly appreciate the nature of the eternally present moment, which is at the same time both objective (other-power, prayer) and subjective (own-power, spell-casting), based on the two aspects of that Ancient Presence (Ancient Harmony) which has two simultaneous aspects, properties, or qualities: It is at the same time both perfectly Aware, though impossible to experience directly (the God), and it is also an infinite ocean of experience, though also impossible to know or describe in its entirety, being infinite (the Goddess).

In this manner, learning prayer and learning spell casting is learning about Who and What you really are, and learning to act like That.  You are this Ancient Presence, That’s who and what you really are.  You are both what is prayed to, and what does the praying.  You are the Creator, the ultimate spell-caster.  Learning to pray and learning to cast spells are learning to act like who and what you really are.

This describes the meaning of the top point of the Sacred Pentagram of the witches: the top point represents the Ancient Presence (the Ancient Harmony).  It both radiates, and is supported or described by two lines (the God and the Goddess, or own-power and other-power, or spell-casting and prayer).  The line on the right is the fact that this Ancient Presence is perfectly Aware (the God, own-power, spell casting).  The line on the left is the fact that the Ancient Presence is an infinite ocean of potential experience (the Goddess, other-power, prayer).  These two lines radiate from the Ancient Harmony, to define the four points which are the Elements, the Children of the God and Goddess.  The four points which are the Elements, the Children of the God and Goddess support these two lines, the God and Goddess, which together define the Ancient Harmony.

Hopefully this gives some insight into the exact nature of both prayer and spell-casting, to their similarities and differences, and to the fact that they are inseparable: when you pray, you are also casting a spell, and when you cast a spell, you are also praying.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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Nearly all of the material on this site is about, or mentions “Who and What we Really Are,” and learning to behave like That.

But Who and What is referred to here?

A very important passage from the Book of Shadows begins to explain:

“In the beginning – which was not long ago but NOW and EVER, was and is Consciousness, the One Being.  Everyone knows this Consciousness, because everyone is it, but no one can truly describe it for the same reason that the eye sees but does not see itself.  Moreover, this Consciousness is what there is and all there is, so that no name can be really given to it.  It is neither shaped nor shapeless, but both.”

(Book of Shadows)

The chapter goes on to describe what the God and the Goddess really are, but what does this particular passage mean?  What are the implications of this definition of Who and What we really are?  How do we learn to behave like That?

The answer to these questions is what a Mystery Tradition is all about.  Discovering and exploring the implications is an infinite adventure of discovery.  Learning to behave like That is at the same time ridiculous, and of supreme importance because you cannot act any other way, and yet, your behavior may or may not be celebrating or demonstrating the fact that you are that One Being.

This web site is all about trying to bring Remembrance to what has (for many) been forgotten: what traditional Wicca and Western Mystery traditions are all about.  It is all about why we study and practice what we do.  It’s about why we learn to meditate, and why we learn to perform magic.  The idea is that if you know why you’re doing what you are doing, you can do it more effectively, and reap the benefits intended in the design of the traditional Wiccan and Western Mystery systems.  Future posts on this web site will examine specific meditations, magical practices and magical studies, from the perspective of Who and What you really are, and how they relate to That.

So, what does that mean, to be the shaped and shapeless, nameless Consciousness that is all there is?  There are three qualities that describe That:

  1. Empty or Void, Nothingness: That Consciousness, as a thing, is indescribable is mentioned in the Book of Shadows, including the passage quoted above.
  2. Aware: That Consciousness is Aware, is probably the most evident quality of all. How are you reading these words?
  3. Responsive: That Consciousness is Responsive is what makes up the illusion of a whole universe around you, and a whole life inside you. Whether or not it’s all an illusion, and whether or not you have an absolute name for it, you have to admit, that something is going on, that this One Being is appearing in a vast manner. That’s supreme responsiveness.

In Consciousness, you cannot have any of these three qualities without the others.  Any two of these qualities defines and describes the third.  If you take the perspective of any of these qualities, the other two qualities define and describe the God and the Goddess, and your chosen perspective is described and defined by their union. 

These are the secret keys to understanding the meaning and method behind all of the meditations and magical practices in traditional Wicca and other Western Mystery systems.  The better you understand, meditate on, and explore these three qualities, the better you will understand the hidden meaning in those systems.

It is the nature of a Western Mystery tradition, like traditional Wicca, to use cleverly designed mystery plays and initiations to help you experience for yourself these three qualities of who and what you really are.  If I were qualified and able to perform these for you, I could not do such things through a web site.  But I can help you to some degree through your reading.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to start your adventure of exploration (of who and what you really are) by reading two essays.  There are links to both of them at the left side of this web page, in the box entitled: “Books”.  The essays are called:

  • Nothingness by Alan Watts
  • Cosmic Drama by Alan Watts  (It helps you understand the Responsive quality of Consciousness, and how that’s You.)

If you haven’t read them yet, please do so, starting with Nothingness, and then moving on to Cosmic Drama.  They’re not long: only 4 and 5 pages respectively.

Always remember these three qualities of Consciousness, and that these describe who and what you really are.  Do all of the meditations and practices in traditional Wicca and other Western Mystery systems, do them all as acts of Remembrance and Celebration of Who and What you really are, of these three qualities.  If you haven’t already been doing this, you will be astounded by the profound meaning that suddenly “jumps out at you” from even the simplest of exercises. 

If your practice involves worship of a god or goddess, Remember that it is this real You that you are describing and talking to, with these three qualities, and that they (the gods) are divine examples of how you could behave like Who you really are.  If you do this, they will help you act like them, like who you really are, like an incarnation of these three qualities, of That One Being.  And how will you behave, knowing that all beings are One Being and that there is One Consciousness?  Like the Goddess herself, you cannot help but feel what others are feeling, and care for them as though they were aspects of your very self.  Because they are.

Mer-Amun MerAmun