We just experienced a blue moon. Popularly, this means the second full moon in a single month. The original meaning of a blue moon, however, is based on a seasonal view of the year. Each season (winter, summer, spring or fall) typically has only three full moons. Because of the way the moon orbits the Earth, occasionally a fourth full moon may occur within a season. A blue moon is the third full moon during a season with four full moons. The next blue moon won’t occur for a few years, so such events are rather rare.
It was during this period that I had a conflux of things occur. First, I broke a tooth. It’s going to cost me over 600 dollars, even with insurance, to get this fixed. Then, I installed some new hardware for use with my computer. I was anxiously looking forward to it. It didn’t work. Next, while changing channels on the TV, the picture went dark and stayed that way. Then, my ink jet printer died. The replacement part I would need to fix it costs more than a new, upgraded version of the same printer.
I just want things to work! Is that unreasonable? Teeth should chew. Hardware should perform as advertised. TVs should have pictures. Printers should print. I felt myself becoming increasingly angry over things not working. In order not to express my anger inappropriately toward my wife (actually, it would have been toward anything around me), I just got in my car and drove. Driving is sort of a “comfort food” for me. Eventually, I did calm down and came home, but I still felt upset at the failure of stuff. I just want things to work. Is that so wrong?
[Film Directions] Jump Cut to the Concept of Magick
In Modern Magick I defined magick this way:
Magick is the science and art
of causing change (in consciousness) to occur
in conformity with will,
using means not currently understood by traditional Western science.
For a more in-depth analysis, please see my book. Here, I just briefly want to go through this. The last line indicates that magick is not just a description of everyday things (although that interpretation can have value). The first line shows that magick is both natural (an artistic talent) and something that can be learned (a science). The second line shows that the success of any magickal operation is based on something happening. Aleister Crowley, the source of my modified definition, implied that this change was physical. Dion Fortune, who worked as a lay psychiatrist before that type of practice was ended, thought the change was actually a change of your mind.
The Tomb of Dion Fortune in Glastonbury
© Robert B. Osten, Aurinia Verlag
This leaves the third line. As part of the definition of magick, will becomes important.
In The Book of the Law (chapter I, verse 44), Crowley recorded: “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.” So if we want to perfect our wills, an important aspect of magick, there are two things we have to do.
First, as I have stated many times in this blog, we have to simply do the work. We focus on the work and not on the result.
For those of you studying and practicing magick, this can sound a bit contradictory. After all, are we not supposed to focus on the desired result of magick? If we do magick to bring love into our lives, should we not focus on love rather than a TV show coming on in an hour?
The solution to this seeming contradiction is that it is appropriate to focus on your goal as part of the ritual, but not become so desirous of the goal that the “lust of result” gets in the way and extends beyond the ritual. Crowley, in his second comment on this verse, wrote, “The pure student does not think of the result of the examination.” So focusing on the goal needs to be part of the ritual, but not so much that it takes away from actually doing the work. In his first comment on this verse, Crowley wrote that it suggests the need for non-attachment. “Students will understand how in meditation the mind which attaches itself to hope of success is just as bound as if it were to attach itself to some base material idea.”
A Young Aleister Crowley
He also recommend focus on the word “unassuaged,” which he defines as “its edge taken off by” or “dulled by.” Thus your pure will, as part of magick, should not be dulled or have its edge taken off by focusing on the purpose to an extent where your love of result gets in the way of just doing the work.
I would extend this to say that anything that gets in the way of doing the work is a block to magick. This includes broken teeth or TV sets not working.
The Parent Who Wasn’t There
Years ago I knew a woman who expressed fury to me over the way her father had repeatedly verbally abused her. This occurred over a period of many years as she was growing up, installing the feeling that he thought she was worthless. In actuality, she was one of the most intelligent, clever, and talented persons I ever met. “I’d like to kill him for what he did to me!” she seethed.
At the time she was living over 1,200 miles from where her father was. She hadn’t seen him for years. I told her this, and said that for all practical purposes, he was dead. “I don’t care!” she responded. “I’d still like to kill him.”
Her father, physically, was not there. He might actually have died years ago. But he was still controlling her.
Just like things I couldn’t control—my tooth, the TV, etc.—were triggering an emotion, anger, that was controlling me.
The solution is simple: forgiveness.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with other persons or events. It is the process of letting go of anger, rage, disappointment, regret, etc. Until you forgive—completely discharge those limiting emotions—people and events from hours, months, years, or even decades ago will continue to control you. And if you’re controlled by your emotions, everything, including your will, is controlled by those feelings rather than by your conscious mind.
For magick to be successful, forgive those people, events, and things that have in some way hurt you. The hurt could be minor (such as missing a phone call) or major (causing grave physical or psychological harm).
Wait A Minute…
© Bjarte Hetland
Some of you may be jumping up and down, screaming “I’m not going to forgive the person who was drunk and drove through a red light, smashed into my car, killed my sister and left me crippled!” or “I’m not going to forgive the person who________!” where the blank is the story of some mild, moderate, or terrible physical, mental, emotional or spiritual abuse.
What I think is vital to understand is that your (or my) lack of forgiveness does nothing to harm or in any even slightly bother the person, event, or thing that harmed us. It’s nothing more than a monkey on your back, clawing at you and digging at you. Forgiveness has nothing to do with anyone or thing that harmed you.
Forgiveness is only about finally getting rid of that metaphorical monkey.
Forgiveness is only about you—your feelings, emotions, and overall wellness.
Forgive ≠ Forget
It’s important to point out that there is an enormous difference between forgiving and forgetting. I am not in any way suggesting that you should forget what hurt you. Doing so would be foolish. If you were to forget that someone attacked you when you walked down a dark alley in a neighborhood known for assaults while wearing expensive and obvious jewelry, you might do it again. It’s wise, in my opinion, to remember and learn from past experience, even if those experiences are bad or terrible.
Forgiving, on the other hand, is quite different. Forgiving is discharging the emotions associated with negative events that happened to you. Forgiving is getting rid of baggage that can keep you from success in magick.
Forgiving is also getting rid of the baggage that can keep you from success in life.
I would hope that from this brief post you’ve learned the importance of forgiveness, the difference between forgiving and forgetting, and that perhaps you have achieved an understanding of why holding onto limiting emotions and feelings can limit or prevent your magickal success. If you do understand this, you may be thinking, “I get it! How could I have been so foolish as to let useless emotions control me?”
In fact, you might, at times, get angry at yourself. You may feel anger for the ways you’ve behaved toward others as individuals or as groups. Or perhaps you feel self-anger for things you’ve done in the past that you now consider bad or even terrible.
Nothing can alter what you’ve done. But you can learn from your past so you don’t repeat it. Even if that happens, however, it’s possible that you may still carry the anger, sadness, rage, disappointment, etc. of having participated in those things in the past. Even though they’re over and done with, they still are in your mind and emotions, controlling you.
And that leads to the most important act of forgiveness you can perform:
Learn from your past and don’t forget it, but forgive yourself for any errors you may have made. Learn from those errors so you won’t repeat them. The result can be a happier and more successful—more magickal!—future.