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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
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Introduction to Llewellyn’s Paranormal, Magical & Occult Encyclopedia

This article was written by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke on November 30, -0001
posted under Llewellyn's Paranormal, Magical and Occult Encyclopedia

Many of the terms used in these subject areas do not actually describe "things" so much they do "functions." Similarly, a hand can be described as a fist, or an open palm, or a light hand or a heavy hand, and so forth—these describe functions of that thing known as a hand. You don’t have a fist, but you have a hand that can function as a fist as well expressing emotion, communicating, functioning as a sign, and so on.

Continuing with our example of the hand, palmistry, for example, is a process of analyzing the record left (in lines & other features in the hand as it functions throughout life. But the hand also functions directly as in magical gestures, as it produces handwriting, as it shakes another person’s hand, as the conductor who directs an orchestra, as it keyboards a computer, etc. It is function that gives meaning to things through communication which is the expression of consciousness.

Most words describe things, or actions, but in this encyclopedia we are dealing mostly with consciousness, or, if you prefer, with the inner dimensions of psychology…or of parapsychology. Thus, the function becomes the important part of our definitions of "things." The Tarot, for example, it is not the artwork, which may be beautiful and innovative in itself and worthy of being part of our description of individual decks, but the particular function of the deck in establishing communication between the subconsciousness/unconsciousness and the conscious mind. The design and construction of the Tarot channels that communication in particular ways that we’ve learned to interpret and even to establish two-way communications between levels and areas of consciousness.

Parapsychology, until recently, was mostly a history of observations into the ways particular "objects" (things that are units of information, such as Tarot cards) served as such means to communication. But communication with what was not itself analyzed or well-described—using instead whatever terminology was utilized by the practitioners—Spirits, Gods, Demons, the Dead, Angels, God’s Messengers, Guides, etc.

Modern Parapsychology is now concerned with the methods of communication, the sources of the information communicated, and the human resources involved in receiving and analyzing the communication. In a very real sense, modern parapsychology has replaced "occultism" as the umbrella study of psychic and paranormal phenomena, the phenomena of mysticism, shamanism, religions, magic, divination, yoga and systems of self-growth and self-transformation, etc.

Functions are not easily definable and mean different things to different people in different circumstances. However, we have to make the effort to use our terms consistently at least within the limited context of our practice in particular subject areas, including the structure of personal consciousness and its relation to the Universe in all its forms of manifestion.

So it is that one function of your Personality is described as the Ego—that which confronts the outer world. Another function is described as the Psyche—that which expresses the feeling of self-hood.

But we have various challenges because we have also to deal with the ways in which the reader may be accustomed to use particular words and allow for other words that may be more descriptive. For example, the Sub-Conscious Mind is also called the Unconscious, and sometimes the Personal Unconscious. And, unfortunately, some writers have confusingly identified it as the Soul.

As an overall view, the Sub-Conscious Mind is:

The lower part of the Personality containing forgotten and repressed feelings & memories;
Those feelings that make up the fundamental Belief or "Operating System" that filters Reality to our perceptions of the world;
That collection of guilt feelings called the Shadow;
The Anima or Animus collection of feelings representing our idealization or fear and sometimes even hatred of the opposite gender;
And the various Archetypes and Mythic Images formed though the history of human experience…

all of which can operate as gateways to the Collective Unconscious, to the astral world, and as connection to the higher or super consciousness.

The Sub-Conscious Mind is also home to our instincts and the Autonomic System that cares for the body and its operation. Each of these subconscious elements has its own particular energy operating unconsciously until brought into degrees of conscious awareness by various techniques.

But the Sub-Conscious Mind is also much more than the mostly unconscious functions here described: It is the nascent Super-Conscious Mind.

In truth, all our divisions of Consciousness are arbitrary, and the reality is that we are each a unit of Consciousness in the process of becoming a more developed unit of consciousness without losing our unique identity. Although, there may come a time in our far off future when we willingly sacrifice what may be left of our separate identity in order to return to our Source, it is not now.

It is not now because we have a job to do: to grow, to become more than we, and to understand our relationship with all else there is.

In Irish tradition, there is a wonderful story of bile, the ancient tree. It grows by the side of a sacred well, and acorns, nuts, and apples spring from its branches. How wonderful it would be to live in the world of folk-tradition: a magical place where the world is joined-up, the sacred is apparent in the everyday world, and every living thing... read this article
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