The Realization of Power

The concept of power is a funny one. Lots of people discuss having power or not having power. You'll see discussions on the execution of power, the doing as it were. All of these attempts to have power, to establish some way of getting it. Power is placed external to the personal, an object to be obtained, a desire to be fulfilled. You either have or you don't have it. Magic is perceived as one way to "have" power, to get it and use it. We could argue that money is another way, or politics, or any number of other avenues, all designed to somehow or another confer power from an external source on to another person. I disagree with this approach to power.

True power is the realization that power has always existed within you and your choice to use it to create the life you want to live. Magic is a path to power, that reveals to the practitioner how to connect the power within to the power in the universe and create a consensual reality. Power is not something you do or have. Power is the expression of your identity as it mates with the universe.

Now some might justifiably argue that if everyone has power, embodies power as it were, then why do so many people seem to be powerless. I think a lot of it is due to the abuse of power. Some people are much more in touch with their sense of power and have used it to abuse others, to create a perception of powerlessness, and to create cultural rules and boundaries that make it harder for a person to realize his/her innate power or to exercise that power. The concept of privilege speaks directly to that abuse of power, with the idea that certain people have a level of privilege that gives them a greater variety of choices and freedom, because of how the culture is structured to favor them.

To some degree this inequity has been countered, with difficulty by people who have recognized that such an inequity harms all of us. If power is to be realized as something you ontologically have present within you, the ability to execute that power must also be realized. Magic is one method (among many) of executing that power, and as such can be a way to discover empowerment of yourself , both in the environment around you, and within you. It is most effectively utilized when it is combined with other expressions of power, but can still be effective in and of itself.

There is nothing inherently better about one person or another. The realization of power ideally brings with it a realization of the responsibility that accompanies power. That responsibility is not merely to see to your own well-being, but to also look out for others, and to meaningfully contribute to the community around you in a way that shows other how to realize their own power.

Magic as a Transformative Process

If there's one description I'd use about Magical Identity is that its really an exploration of magic as a transformative process. So what does that mean? When I think about western magical practices mostly what I think of is a fixation on achieving measurable results, but I think that's what missing is an exploration of transformation and the role magic can play in the transformation of your life. I'd argue that any result you achieve isn't merely a change in the external environment that happens to suit you, but is also a transformation of you as both a person and magician. That this transformation isn't considered is always a cause for concern, because its something that shouldn't be ignored.

If we look at the anatomy of a magical act, there is a focus on change. Something needs to be changed in order to bring the world back into balance for the magician. But assuming that the change only occurs in the external environment is a mistake. The magician is also changing his/her internal reality in order to align it with the desired external result. And if s/he can't change the internal reality, the external result may manifest, but it won't last. At a recent talk I asked attendees how many had manifested a desired result only to have it go away without bringing the desired change they wanted. Most nodded their heads and the reason for that is simple. Their internal reality didn't align with the desired external reality they wanted.

Effective transformation calls on the magician to be in touch with his/her internal reality so that s/he can truly determine if a desired result is in alignment with his/her life. The magical act is a transformation of the life of the magician as well as the environment. The two aren't separate, and whatever separation we assign is a convenient illusion used to avoid understanding the act of transformation.

This doesn't mean magic involves the law of attraction or other newagey concepts. Rather what it means is that achieving a result involves a level of internal work that complements any external work that is done to achieve the result. The recognition that magic is a transformative process is a recognition that a given magical act occurs on an ontological level and involves a recognition of embodiment as a principle for manifestation. The result you desire is something that you need to embody in your existence, write it in your code to use a technology metaphor.


Archetypes, movement, and getting into the role

I've been reading Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) and trying out some of the exercises. My main draw for picking up the book was because of my ongoing interest in integrating movement, dance, and space into my magical work and I thought the book might prove useful for that purpose.

It reminds me a bit of Antero's Paratheatre techniques, and I find that with the archetypes I need to get into a state of mind and body that allows me to channel them. It's not all that different from doing an invocation, but what stands out most is how mutable a given archetype is...or rather I find that it is much easier for me to draw on a variety of pop culture sources as well as more traditional sources. The various archetypal labels of Child, Devil, Trickster, etc. are useful, but in a way I wonder if we confine ourselves to much to those labels? Is the space pirate an archetype in its own right or just a variation of an existing one?

The process of orienting yourself into invoking a particular archetype requires two essential behaviors. The first behavior is an ability to let go of your ego or sense of self. You empty that awareness. The second behavior is the ability to embody the archetypal awareness and characteristics and traits. There's different tools you can use. I've seen people use masks for example, which can be a lot of fun, but your body is the ultimate tool. The change in posture, facial patterns, voice, and even a change in clothing and accoutrements can be quite useful. It's also a change in emotions, and energy. What are the emotions the archetype feels? How does that translate into space and movement? What are the functions it embodies and how does that change the space and movement of the body?

Getting into the role is getting out of the way and allowing the archetype, spirit, etc fill me. I allow my body to become a vessel for the divine force I am working with. I open myself to the experience and let the experience define the space.

Book review: Acting and Singing with the Archetypes (affiliate link) By Janet Rodgers and Frankie Armstrong.

This book was written for an audience of actors, but as someone who is not an actor, but nonetheless does work with archetypes I found it to be a valuable read, with useful exercises that can be applied to more than just acting. I like that the authors drew on perspectives of movement such as Laban's work, but also that they made their work very accessible. This is a book I'd recommend to a counselor, actor, artist, or the magician who wants to take a different approach to his/her magical workings.