In Western magic, one of the expressions is "to keep Silent." I never really cared for that expression, finding it to be antithetical to my craft as a writer and my desire to experiment with magic. But recently I've been reading several books and also doing a lot of work with stillness in relationship to movement and I've come to an appreciation of silence and its place in magical work. In Music Power Harmony, Stewart suggests that using silence in magic can become a foundation that realigns the consciousness and allows for deeper, more intensive internal work, while also shifting our understanding of music and the experience of it. Silence liberates us from habits because it causes us to examine and question them.
In The Fruitful Darkness by Joan Halifax, she states that stillness and silence is the foundation of our engagement with the world. It is an experience that allows us to interact with the world without necessarily acting on it. Yet what we get out of it is a different perspective and understanding of the world, based on experiencing it and becoming part of it without needing to change it. Something I've discovered over the years is that the need to act on the world diminishes as you learn how to experience the world directly. Stillness and silence teach you not to get so caught up in the drama, teach you to appreciate the nature of your connection to what's around you because you aren't so wrapped up in it, but can instead step back from all of it. We can get so caught up in the noise, so caught up in the distraction and diversion that we forget the connections, instead focusing on what will fill us up.
In the Dzogchen practice of Zhine, the person does stillness meditation, stilling everything and just being with the world, while not being attached to it. I've been doing this practice for a bit of time now and as I've done it, it's gotten easier to enter into that state of stillness and silence, though sometimes I still have challenges with it. What strikes me about doing Zhine is how much I end up hearing my own thoughts. I'm not doing anything, other than being still, so the thoughts come out, moreso for Zhine than other meditation practices I've done. Eventually all that mental noise dies down and what I'm left with is a state of being. I am here. Eventually even that fades and I just am, without attachment to space or time. In that stillness and silence I nonetheless find that I enter a state of connectedness that I'd never experienced until I did Zhine. The boundary between myself and the world around me thins, sometimes going away altogether, so that I enter a state of possibility, no longer caught up in conventional reality with all of its distractions.
I appreciate silence now because I understand its where inspiration and possibility are found. Allowing myself to be silent and still allows me to connect with the creative urge of the universe, Eros, in a way I couldn't before because I was so caught up in the noise. Now silence and stillness are part of my daily practice, part of my approach to magic and life. And through that experience the creative urge is mediated, experienced, and the heart of the world, the heart of the universe is entered. When the magician comes back from that experience, what is brought back is the impetus for meaningful change, both in the life of the magician and in the world, but done in a manner which is less about acting upon the world, and more about becoming the change you seek. By becoming that change, you change your relationship with the world and create the result you wanted to manifest instead of trying to force it into place.
Book Review: Music Power Harmony by R. J. Stewart
Music Power Harmony explores the connection between music and magic. The author also touches on concepts such as space/time magic, the power of words in shaping reality, the tree of life and its relationship to music and elemental calls of power. One thing I'd have liked to have seen more of in this book would be exercises that allowed the reader to implement the concepts. However, there is a lot of content that should inspire the magician, and this book will help you appreciate music and its relationship to magic because it is a fairly unique book in its focus. If you want to learn how to apply magic to music or learn more about the natural musical and magical abilities you have, this book will help you open that door.