The Universe is composed of energy. Everything around you -everything you see and many things you don't- are composed of energy.You, too, are composed of energy. Your body, which seems so solid, is composed of endless numbers of microscopic particles held together at the subatomic level by energy.
Science has taught us this. But the Vedic sages of India have taught this too - for many thousands of years. In Europe the Druids, and after them the Witches, recognized this fact as well. Even the most solid stone is in fact composed of millions and billions of atoms and molecules orbiting each other in the endless and graceful Dance of Life.
This is part of the meaning of that ancient maxim "AS ABOVE SO BELOW." That just as we live in a vast universe filled with countless stars, so too whole universes of a different nature exist within us, within the microscopic make up of our being. Worlds within worlds. The electro-magnetic energy which holds electrons and protons and other microscopic particles in place has had many names; Chi (Asia), Mana (Polynesia), Orenda (Iroquois), Od (German), the Force (Star Wars), and Psychic Energy (contemporary). For the purposes of these lessons we will call it simply "energy."
Energy is not static or inanimate - it is responsive and dynamic in character. It is like a fluid in it's movements, and is symbolically likened to water. Yet it is also likened to light and to fire because of it's effects. In more contemporary times it has also been likened to an electric current in it's qualities, though it is not so harsh or unpredictable as this. In truth energy is unique unto itself, and only by working with it can you come to understand it -comparisons to other substances give only a rough approximation of what it is like.
It is the shape this energy assumes that creates the pattern of the physical world we see around us - for all physical forms are structured from it.We interact with this energy every day - in every second of our lives. It constantly transforms, renews, or changes it's shape within and around us. This constant change responds to and is driven by our thoughts and emotions in ways of which most of us are unaware, and of which fewer still have any understanding. It takes it's shape from us, in reaction to us, as instantly and naturally as air conforms to the surface of the Earth, or water to the shape of the sea floor. But this is an unconscious process - we don't think about it, we're mostly unaware of it. For most of us this daily shaping of energy occurs from the level of our unconscious beliefs and emotions, as automatic and out of our control as our unconscious is itself. Often we do not even know what our unconscious beliefs and emotions really are, let alone how they effect us on an energetic level.
But when we bring our conscious mind and will power to bear on this process, it is a very different situation. Rather than an unconscious process out of our own control, the shaping of energy -and thus of the world itself- becomes a precise and deliberate skill which lies directly in our hands.
This is MAGIC. The art of consciously focusing and controlling this all-pervasive energy. Through focused will and effort we use the universal energy to effect the things around us. As energy reacts to thought and emotion, thought and emotion can be used to control or influence it. (Energy also reacts to certain physical stimuli, but we will deal less with that aspect than with thought and emotion -yoga is an excellent forum to study the influence of physical stimuli upon energy.)
It must be understood that it is not from the ordinary level of our conscious mind that we do this. If it were everyone would be doing it, and it would be easy to teach. Rather, magic is done from a higher level of consciousness, the HIGHER SELF.
Scientists studying psychics have found that when a person enters a psychic trance their brain waves change. Psychics in trance do not use the normal beta waves associated with ordinary consciousness, but use instead the theta and delta waves associated with sleep. This is true of a person performing an act of magic as well - we access a higher part of ourselves, a change in consciousness which shows even in our very brain waves. Only at this level are we fully conscious, truly human.
It is not hard to reach this level - but it is hard to learn to do it at will, to be able to access it on command. This is called SHIFTING CONSCIOUSNESS, and an accomplished witch can do it in the twinkling of an eye, with no external effort or trappings. The student however should expect to put out some effort to effect this change in consciousness, and may have to work hard to master it. Also, a number of external factors may be used to help effect this change -specific words, ritual patterns, or items such as stones or artifacts which have power in themselves or which serve to put the person "in the right frame of mind" for example. Such external trappings are KEYS which we use to help us effect the shift in consciousness to access our higher self. They work on a symbolic level, bypassing conscious and unconscious limitations to act directly upon the higher self.
There are many different ways by which magic can be performed. All of them have the same basic goal; to focus energy and direct it from a state of higher consciousness. Visualization, trance, spellcraft (using external tools such as candles, cords, etc ), ritual of various sorts, chanting and toning, all of these and many other techniques can be used to create the necessary shift in consciousness. Which is the best way? That depends very much on the individual. What serves one person best may not work at all for another - everyone is different. That is why it is important to study and try as many different techniques as possible, because only you can know what will work best for you, and then only by experience. In these lessons we will present as much useful instruction as possible, and as wide a variety of techniques as possible, but in the end your growth depends upon your willingness to experiment and put together those techniques which serve you best.
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