Magick is more than making changes outside of you, it is also making changes to yourself. If there is something you don’t like about yourself, you can change it.
Well, there’s nothing new about that! There are numerous systems for personal growth, change, and empowerment, some more effective than others. To effectively use any of them, however, requires you to know more about who you really are. If you think you’re cowardly when, in fact, you are actually brave, you might spend many days, months, or years trying to become brave when it’s a quality you already have.* Surely this is one of the reasons the concept of “Know Thyself” is so important—you can’t decide on your goals (where you want to be), if you don’t know your true make up (who you are) right now.
This is one of the reasons astrology can be an important aspect of magickal studies. Other people look to different systems for analyzing character, ranging from popularized (and simplified) forms of psychology to the “science” of phrenology**, the so-called reading of the bumps on a person’s head.
The more precise the system for determining a person’s character and personality, the more complex the system for discovering it. In the world of psychological testing, the Myers Briggs Test for determining qualities of a personality often requires advanced training to administer, expensive paperwork, and lots of experience to interpret and understand. It has resulted in a multi-million dollar business.
There is another system for determining a person’s character and personality that is surprisingly accurate, easy to do, and actually rather fun. I gave an introduction to it in Modern Magick, and I thought you might like to learn more about it here.
Discovering Your Time Line
While it is easily possible to map out historical events over time, it is interesting to note that we each have a personal time line. Even though we don’t constantly think about it, when asked we can see our lives as a linear series of events***. Interestingly, this is not merely philosophical. There is actually a physical location to our personal concept of time. Here is a simple exercise to discover your personal time line.
Step One. Think of a happy event from five years ago. Now, going with your first thought, point to where you hold that memory. It may be to your left or right, above or below you, in front of you or behind you. There is no right or wrong here, it’s just a location. If you can’t quickly determine where that past event is located in space, try to locate another event earlier in time, perhaps your birthday party from when you were five years old. If, after a few tries, you cannot locate a past event in space, ask yourself, “If I could locate this past event in space, where would it be?” Point to it quickly. Go with your first thought.
Step Two. Now imagine something taking place in the future. Going with your first thought, point to where you think it will be. If this doesn’t come quickly and easily, try a different event you hope will occur in your future. If its spatial location still doesn’t come quickly and easily, ask yourself, “If I could locate this future event in space, where would it be?” Again, point to it quickly. Go with your first thought.
Step Three. Imagine a line going from that past point in space to the future point in space. This is your personal time line.
Notes: For most people, the line is straight. It may go from right to left or left to right. It may go from your front to your back or vice versa. The present may be within you. That is, you may see the past behind you, the present going through part of your body, and the future being ahead of you. This may be on a diagonal. It may go from a lower height (relative to your body) in the past to a greater height in the future. Others may discover that the entire time line is outside of them. They can see it in front of them or turn to see it behind them, running from side to side. Or perhaps it runs along either of your sides, going from back to front or front to back, but never touches you.
There is no right or wrong position for your personal time line. Wherever it is located is perfect for you. If it doesn’t feel “right” to you, try locating some more points of past events and future events. You may find that your time line is a curve or a “V” shape. For some people it may be wavy. It doesn’t matter. We’re just finding out the location of your time line.
Location, Location, Location
If we look at the shape and location of different people’s time lines we can see lots of differences. There are two major grouping factors. For some people, their time line is completely outside of their bodies. They can see the entire line—past, present, and future—to their sides, in front or behind them, above or below them, etc. At no time does this imagined time line go through their bodies. [Most often, the time line for people in this group forms a line in front of them, going from left to right.]
To be a member of the second group, the time line goes right through you with the present being within you. My personal time line goes from a past that is below the center of my back, to a present that is within me at my heart, and on to a future that extends up and ahead of me. [The most common form of time line is like this, going from back to front with the present being within the body, but unlike my time line it is level.]
Are you in group one where you can see the entirety of your time line or group two where part of your time line goes right through you? Both are fine. Neither is better than the other. But here’s a surprise: you can do an entire psychological reading based just on whether a person is a type one or type two!
If you experience your time line as completely outside of you, NLP describes you as being a Through Time person. The characteristics of a Through Time person include:
- You are very aware of the value of time.
- You are very good at planning.
- You are precise at meeting deadlines.
- Once you plan something for the future, you can quickly lose interest in it.
- You may have little connection with the present and often ask what day it is.
- Problems from the past can bother you for a long time.
- You’re great at remembering past events.
- You’re great at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, moon phases, etc.
- You’re a great researcher.
- You probably like “oldies” music.
- You are punctual. If you’re late, you know it and may feel guilty.
- You may often look at a watch or clock to check the time, although you probably have an internal clock that very accurately knows the time.
- You have little patience for people who delay you.
- Perhaps the most important question in your life about anything is, “When?” Answers that involve the past or future are far more interesting than those that involve the present.
If you experience your time line as going through you, NLP describes you as being an In Time person. The characteristics of an In Time person tend to be the opposite of those of a Through Time person and include:
- You are the life of a party.
- You only look at a watch or clock if you have to.
- You get engrossed in what you’re doing and tend to lose track of time.
- Being late to meetings and appointments is common. You may keep an appointment book (or have a secretary do it for you).
- You may look at your appointment book and be shocked at everything you have planned.
- You’re not good at planning.
- If asked what you’re doing next weekend, you either haven’t planned it or can’t remember what you’ve obligated yourself to do.
- You tend not to plan ahead.
- You like to keep your options open.
- You focus on the present and “live in the now.”
- You enjoy whatever comes your way.
- In the future, you may regret things you did in the past, but you don’t worry about it.
- “Get over it” and “put it behind you” are two of your favorite types of expressions.
When I took the test I quickly discovered that I am an In Time person. I was surprised at just how uncannily accurate these descriptions were. While learning about a person’s time line and whether they are an In Time or Through Time person can give you important information, remember that everyone is an individual. Most people will have some qualities of both groups, although they will primarily be an In Time or Through Time person.
So once you take the test, determine if you are an In Time or Through Time person. Then run down the list to see whether the descriptions accurately describe you. It’s important to say that these are descriptions, not value judgements. Being the life of a party, living in the present moment, punctuality or holding on to events from the past are neither good nor bad, they simply are. But once you know your characteristics you can choose to change.
That’s why “Knowing Yourself” is such a powerful concept. It gives you the true starting point for making the changes in your life where you become the person you want to be. It’s the starting point for self-empowerment.
It’s the beginning of being a magician.
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*How could you not know whether you’re brave? Bravery is something that appears only in situations where it is needed. If you’re never put in a situation where bravery is required, it may never manifest or not appear. You wouldn’t know.
**Disturbingly, phrenology was considered a scientific study by some scientists until the middle of the 20th century. It was abandoned and labeled a pseudo-science primarily because it was used by scientists in the Nazi regime to determine who was and who was not a so-called Aryan. Phrenology was abandoned due to its association with the evils of Naziism and not due to the questionability of its premises. Similarly, the swastika, at one time looked at positively around the world, has been abandoned in the West due to its association with Naziism. It still remains popular in Indian and other parts of Asia as a symbol of good fortune and luck.
***Some other cultures do not have a linear understanding of time, seeing it as more circular. Even so, the system described here will still work.