The universe is a strange place, far stranger than many of us are ready to accept. The majority of us were raised to think of ourselves as separate -alienated- in a universe which we can only view through the pinhole of our own, subjective, perception. This framework of understanding describes an essentially bleak reality based on mistrust, competition, and fear. Self-limiting beliefs grow quickly from this fear, shaping our reality into artificially narrow fields of possibility -and this is where dreams go to die.
Our reality is not only one of consensus, but also one of collaboration and co-creation. Divine essence finds its way into materiality through us; we channel the raw potential of the imaginal into the material through the lens of our perceptions. Thus, how we perceive our reality determines how we project the imaginal into the material and how that physical reality is reflected back onto the malleable landscape of the imaginal.
I’ve heard it said that “evil only exists in the hearts and minds of [humans]”, and I think that is true insofar as good also only exists in human perception. We choose how we channel the energies of the divine and the framework of our perceptions; that is, what we allow to exist in our reality largely determines what is possible. If we are paranoid about scarcity, the resources of the world are scarce. If we focus on potential dangers, our world feels more treacherous. If, instead, we focus on beauty, love, compassion, and the regenerative nature of life; our world is filled with these positive qualities instead.
When we work magic, we bargain with other aspects of the divine (for we are also divine) to imbue our material reality with particular qualities and attempt to bring our desired outcomes into being through supplication. In short, we ask the gods for their help bringing our desires into reality. But we are always channeling our perceptions and desires into the material world -not just when we cast a spell. We are always communicating and the gods are always listening; the act of co-creation never ceases, never slows. How much of our time is spent unconsciously undoing all our hard work if we fall prey to our own limiting beliefs?
Simply intending for an outcome can produce the same effects as wizarding if repeated often enough with enough focus, which is why it is unwise to dismiss the influence of self-limiting thoughts in your life. Focused attention equals intention and intention creates action in the world. We are, consciously or unconsciously, always intending for something –always manifesting. Negative thoughts often occupy our minds more than positive ones, leading us to unconsciously introduce more negativity into our lives, despite our best (conscious) efforts to the contrary.
Which leads us to my premise, that projecting intentions onto the world is, in effect, the same as prayer (or petitioning spirits) and that we are doing this both consciously and unconsciously all the time. We are asking for what we receive, whether we know it or not. And there is something about the dynamic of co-creation that only enables the gods to deliver us what we’re willing to accept.
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Do you believe in miracles?
Belief is the raw material from which reality is made and your awareness of a thing allows it to exist within that reality. Simply put, we can’t experience what we can’t conceive. Our minds will play tricks on us, altering our experience of reality, to ensure it makes sense and that we maintain coherence. We only become aware that an experience is real if we can accept it. Of magicians, this begs the question: “Do you believe in miracles?”
It’s relevant that our comprehension of reality, our ontology, allows for miracles if we wish to experience any. Magic can only accomplish what you believe possible but through belief (and with enough time) magic can produce miraculous effects in your life.
If you read old grimoires with an open mind, the lists of magical effects described in their contents are nothing short of fantastic. But there is every reason to believe that the people who produced and preserved these works believed them valuable and effective. The materialist-rationalist worldview can’t contain such things and being inundated with this collective consensus reality programs even the most esoterically-minded of us to constantly question the power of magic to shift and shape reality. And, even more tragically, it causes us to lower our expectations and to only perform “small magic”.
Any energy healer can attest to the reality of miraculous healing, meaning healing for which there is no obvious physical treatment -I’ve personally witnessed both deep emotional and physical healing result from even a single, brief session. This kind of miracle is an increasingly accepted reality at this point in our timeline…but then why not miraculous luck or prosperity? Or miraculous transformation? Why not a miraculous harvest or a miraculous discovery?
Miracles most often happen when you’re not looking directly at them, so when courting the miraculous it is most effective to “hope for the best” and to give the universe broad latitude to manifest the outcome you desire according to the path of least resistance. This isn’t as precise as the grimoires make out magic to be but, in my experience, the reality seldom is…so the best policy is not to look a miracle “in the mouth”, so to speak.
The fluid and unpredictable nature of magic is a feature, not a bug.
What We Deserve / What We Desire
Our most common mistake is petitioning the gods for too little -for dreaming small dreams. Small dreams don’t cause dramatic shifts in reality; just small, manageable (and boring) ones that don’t rock the boat, stir the pot, and cause us to question our sanity.
To the gods, all shifts are small shifts because magic unfolds along the path of least resistance -free from the constraints of linear time. Reality is never shifted more than a tiny, imperceptible amount; it just happens at precisely the right place/time to cause ripples out into the future where the amplified effects yield perceptible changes.
We limit ourselves to small dreams because we struggle to imagine a world vastly different from the one we currently occupy. Ironically, that world changes all the time and forces us to adapt along with it. But it is much easier to visualize the solutions to our immediate problems (small dreams) than to envision new landscapes of possibility. And in focusing on what’s in front of us, we co-create more of it to face, in an endless cycle of unrealized dreams.
To break out of the cycle we have to release ourselves from viewing suffering as necessary and desire as a doorway to our uncivilized nature. Instead, when we come to understand that suffering is an illusion, and everything is a gift from a benevolent universe, we learn to appreciate desire as a tool of divination. Desire is a means of discovering sacred purpose and finding your way into relation with the universe you inhabit.
Forget about what you deserve…what about what the universe demands of you? The longing towards the objects of sacred desire (separate from materialistic desire, sexual desire, and so on) is sacred in itself; those feelings will guide you to your purpose if you let them. A purpose that the universe is invested into manifesting for you.
The Right Way To Ask
Gratitude is a cheat code for reality, boosting fortune, luck and health, all at once. Entering into any benefic ritual in a state of gratitude towards the universe enhances your experience of it and, I believe, the efficacy of the ritual as well.
Gratitude helps us state our intentions (and, more importantly, to think them) in positive and realized terms; our language only allows us to express gratitude for what already exists. This is good because it positions our awareness past the period of desire leading up to its fulfillment to a point in the timeline when our dreams have already come true. In practice this means becoming obsessed with the outcome of your desire, not the desire itself, and operating as if you have already achieved it.
This framework helps us remove ourselves as obstacles to our own success (a difficult task) and sets us up to be able to clearly communicate our intentions to the divine -to engage in co-creation. Prayer / petitioning / intending is the medium through which this engagement takes place and metaphor is the language through which we communicate. Ritual gives the act form and boundaries, delineating our sacred intentions from our normal, profane thoughts.
Thus, there is a right way to ask…with reverence, and intention, within sacred space created for the purpose, bearing gifts of respect, to the appropriate spirits over the relevant aspects of life, at the appropriate times, and in a form appropriate to their nature.
Be Careful What You Wish For
It’s worth reminding ourselves, a few times a day, that we are currently –right now– manifesting the future and to be sure that the energy we’re putting into the universe is in-synch with the energies we want to receive in return. We are influencing our future with every action and inaction, every word, deed, and neglected opportunity.
Through belief we shape the scope of our reality, and either infuse it with, or strip from it, any sense of magic and enchantment. We make miracles less possible by dreaming small dreams and magic less present in the world by keeping it compartmentalized in our lives. If we believe more is possible, more becomes possible.
The world of today is unhinged, unstable, and out of balance. We can only assume that we are responsible for this through the unconscious manifestation of our fears and insecurities. We fear scarcity, so we create it. We fear violence, so we cause it. We fear disease and thereby weaken ourselves against it.
It sounds naive to cling to positivity in the face of disaster, to project a belief that everything will work itself out as it should, but the universe loves a good paradox -and this is precisely what we must do. “Dreaming a better future into being” is the urgent and essential responsibility of all sentient beings at this time.
Realizing this responsibility, we move into relationality with time, coming to the understanding that we are simply the current baton-carriers in a relay race stretching back through incomprehensible depths of time. Each of us is a link in the chain of events of human history, anchoring our experience in the vastness of a reality that is far more than human. We are both ancestors and descendants and have both ancestors and descendants -to which we are indebted and responsible. We are here both to realize the dreams of our ancestors and to dream the futures of our descendants –and we’re doing it constantly.
We should guard ourselves against projecting self-limiting beliefs, for ourselves, for our descendants, for the gods with whom we work, and for the divine universe we inhabit. They are always working for us, always creating the world, and they can only give us what we demonstrate we’re willing to receive.
Featured Image: Divinity by TobiasRoetsch