fresh approach

A Fresh Approach to Witchcraft

May, 2014

People interested in the Craft nowadays generally regard it as a set of skills and formulae of words whereby they can lure magical energy to themselves, as it were, and so be empowered to gain their desires through casting of spells.  When one book of recipes fails to satisfy them, they do not lack a dozen others to choose from, and if none serves their purpose, most will repudiate the Craft as superstition and turn to other pursuits.  But some few seem to have developed the knack of achieving some sort of results, though what these are appear to be subtle and difficult of description, and moreover to have little connection with the many tomes of cookbook recipes for magic.  In what follows I will conjecture what happens to these fortunate witches and wizards to encourage their continuance in so recondite a pursuit.


For it is clear, first of all, that they have not settled on one fortunate formula which has enticed magical energy to their hand, and so we may venture the opinion that this energy lies not in outward things or tricks of ritual, but within themselves.  And secondly, it would appear that the energy resides in their bodies primarily, and only by reflection in their minds.  For if it were purely mental, someone might have managed to put it into a book, the common conveyance of knowledge from one mind to another.  And the fact that they get this energy out of their own bodily substance perhaps explains the difficulty of describing what that energy is and its operation.


Now, if magical energy resides within each of us, why are we not all magicians?  It must be that our habits waste this energy and redeploy it to other purposes, and so the key to liberating it must lie in finding those habits of long standing and changing or redirecting them somehow, finding ways of employing that energy more thriftily, so that a residue remains to us where formerly nothing remained.


In order to find the habits changing which will set free our magical energy, we must aim at the most fundamental ones; for the whole edifice of wastage rests on these.  And of all actions, nothing, I think, is more rudimentary than the way in which we employ our senses. In this I depart from the usual occult approach of centering the attention on thinking, an avenue so long traveled that at first many mistake me when I say they must look at the world differently to the way they are used.  They think I mean viewpoints, which are mental and framed and altered by thought; and so they will ask what the practitioner will be thinking in order to look differently on the world?  But thought does not enter into it.


Thoughts, in fact, when deliberately urged, tend to beget their opposites, as anyone will have discovered upon contradicting an adherent of ‘positive thinking.’  Beneath the thin crust of affirmations in these adherents roils a sea of negativity, one negative thought, at least, for each positive affirmation on the surface.  And so they turn in a circle, now negative, now positive, all their lives.  The reason for this is not far to seek.  When a function is put to opposite uses without effect, the cause must lie in some other function which continues to operate on its own.  And so I propose that, while one thinks in whatsoever a fashion, positively or negatively, the thinker goes on using his senses along the lifelong well-worn paths, and this is what defeats his best efforts at mind control.


What must be altered is the way in which we attend to our senses.  With regard to hearing, we make a separation between certain sounds which command our present attention because they are pertinent to our purposes of the moment, and others which hover, as it were, in the background and remain largely ignored unless our purposes change or we are startled, as by an automobile horn or police siren.  Now this separation is no bad thing in itself as it promotes concentration, but it is overworked and the attention can be extended to background sounds much more often than is usual.  And again, it is not a matter of moving the attention wholly over into the background, but only partially, so that we continue to favor foreground noises to a degree.


Moving to vision, we find that we generally attend to things where our eyes are pointing, and if we shift our interest to other objects we generally move our eyes in their direction, so that they serve more as narrow-beam search lights rather than as flood lights.  This purposive use of our eyes affects the muscles at the sides of the eyes, straining them somewhat.  When part of the attention is spread from those things where our eyes are pointing to other objects next to them, or above or below them, without moving the eyes in their direction, those muscles are relaxed somewhat, and one begins to feel a hitherto unknown energy entering at those points.