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The Risks of the Magical Path

January 26th, 2009

I’ve just written this for The Book of English Magic. Ali recently commented two posts back on the post about the ‘9 Dangers of the Golden Dawn’. Blogging provides a wonderful way of exchanging ideas and honing understanding, so if you have any comments do let me know!

Magic has always been considered dangerous, and even today most people are probably torn between a fascination with magic and yet an almost instinctive fear of it. Much of this fear comes from the fact that magic deals with ‘hidden forces’ and we are programmed to be fearful of the unknown. But are there any risks involved in the practice of magic?
Some people are so cautious by nature they adopt a policy of going nowhere near the subject. Others take a reckless approach, in the style of the great conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, who said ‘In this life, try everything once, except incest and morris dancing.’ A middle way between these two extremes seems the most sensible.
Any exploration of the unknown carries risks, and when the unknown happens to involve the powers of your own mind, and of feelings and instincts that may be repressed, it is possible to experience discomfort or distress as these hidden parts of yourself begin to surface into awareness. In addition, the magical world-view involves a belief in spirits and the continuity of life after death, and anyone who takes on board such a view must be prepared for the possibility of encountering these beings. On the positive side, practitioners will say that they experience an increased sense of well-being as they come to know themselves and the universe around them in a deeper and more satisfying way. On the negative side, someone trying to follow the path of magic can easily find themselves in a world redolent with superstition and illusion.
For this reason, most magical schools and teachers recommend approaches that develop the student gradually, so that any increased access to the untapped powers of their mind or sensitivity to the psychic realm is balanced by their developing self-knowledge and psychological maturity. This is fine in theory, but in practice the world of magic is still shot through with liberal quantities of delusion, grandiosity, naivety and superstition, which is why it can be so easily derided.
A major step forward in the evolution of magic occurred, however, in the late twentieth century, when a number of psychological approaches were developed, which have come to be known as the ‘Transpersonal’ or ‘Spiritual’ psychologies. With much of their roots in Jung’s fascination with alchemy and mysticism, and his theories of the Collective Unconscious and Archetypes, these psychologies saw the human being as a spiritual entity possessing the untapped powers that magicians had always sought to develop.
Although conservative occultists were distrustful of psychology, perhaps basing their opinions on a knowledge of the limitations of Freudian and Behavioural psychology, a number of magicians began working with these new psychologies, incorporating many of their approaches to the study and teaching of magic.
The great contribution of these psychologies lies in the fact that they work with the ideas of psychoanalysis and other psychotherapies to promote ways of developing the self that can help avoid some of the pitfalls involved in the old-fashioned pursuit of magic. One of the best steps to take in a further exploration of magic is therefore to experience transpersonal psychotherapy, or at least to learn more about it. (See the General Resources Guide in Appendix 5).
The risks involved in the pursuit of magic are – put simply – either getting frightened by unpleasant perceptions or becoming deluded. Unfortunately it is possible to suffer from both symptoms at the same time. The delusion most commonly cited, is known as ego-inflation in psychology, where access to archetypes or inner powers deludes a person into thinking they are vastly more important than they really are. In Golden Dawn work, for example, a magical technique is employed in which the magician identifies with an Egyptian god. From a Jungian point of view, the power from the Collective Unconscious that might flood into the limited vessel of the magician’s ego could result in severe inflation or delusion. Such a risk is exacerbated by the use of grand-sounding titles, which can result in the magician making pronouncements such as: “I, Hymenaeus Alpha, 777 IX° O.T.O., 9=2, Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis of Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, 666, do hereby Charter Thelema Lodge as Grand Lodge of O.T.O.”
While such a degree of ego-inflation may be rare, there are so many tantalising ideas, images and techniques in the world of magic, it is easy to fall prey to any one of numerous red herrings that can lure the unwary into a half-lit world reminiscent of that of obsessive conspiracy theorists. As Stephen Fry remarked, quoting Oscar Wilde: ‘“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” How I wish mad new agers and the daftly superstitious realised that truth.’
The other risk involves feeling ‘spooked’: feeling as if one is experiencing unwanted visitations from the spirit world or attacked by invisible forces. Dion Fortune believed that she had suffered such an attack, and her 1930 Psychic Self-Defense (Weiser 2001) which she wrote to offer advice on how to protect oneself magically, is still popular, as is Caitlin Matthew’s more up to date treatment of the same theme: The Psychic Protection Handbook (Piatkus 2005). Both books offer practical techniques for repelling the unwanted influences of malevolent spirits and human beings.
The mind is so suggestible, however, and the imagination often so vivid, it can be hard to determine the origin of any particular feeling or symptom, and even those who believe in the need for psychic protection recognise that the possibility of ‘psychic attack’ is extremely remote. However, in times of stress many people find relief and comfort from engaging in a specific act, such as wearing an amulet, repeating an affirmation or conducting a ritual of protection, whether this works its magic by suggestion, through the placebo effect, or in another unseen way.
Up until the nineteenth century, wizards or cunning-folk were often asked to offer magical protection. Before adequate policing and insurance, and when the causes of most ailments remained a mystery, the curses of malevolent witches or the baleful influence of spirits or elves, were often blamed. Rituals and spells were used to repel these unwanted forces, and today many magicians still hold that magical means are necessary to protect us from harm. Others believe that common-sense and discrimination offer us more protection than any number of magical formulae, which can be counter-productive when they encourage fear and superstition. The magician and essayist Lionel Snell writes: ‘Don’t waste time clutching crucifixes when terrorised by psychic phenomena – it’s far more effective to exorcise them with scientific scrutiny.’

23 Responses to “The Risks of the Magical Path”

  1. I’m really looking forward to this book Philip – it’s looks great. I feel rather a novice in my understanding of all this. My own (rather limited) understanding of magic is that it is a pursuit to engage in a richer, deeper relationship with life/deity/self. ‘Know thyself’ is so much more complicated a task than it at first seems, and those psychological blind spots and the hidden stuff that you write about are inevitably the first things we meet when we commit ourselves to change and transformation – they can upend us; but they are also central to our growth. I agree with Ali here, life is full of risk – change demands risks – and so despite the pitfalls, its seems worth the effort to try. Humility and a sense of humour help I should think. Having been a musician for all those years, delusion and ego inflation are dangers in whatever field of life you move in! :0)

    The inner beliefs that shape our emotional responses, that in turn impact on our environments, seem key to me. The stuff in the blind spot can so easily sabotage our attempts at change and growth, without us even being aware and have undoubtedly driven many magicians to act rather foolishly. Scrupulous honesty about what actually drives us is not always a very comfortable option but one that needs to be reached for, if we are to really gain any benefit.

    I feel very drawn to transformational practices – I am obssessed with butterflies, and all creatures that metamorphose – but the grounding root in all of this must surely be our relationship with the Divine, with Nature. I think I find the Ceremonial Magic approach a turn off because it feels so internalised to me, too inwardly centred. We seek to transform the ‘self’ but for me this should enhance relationship – by this I mean with ourselves, others, nature, God, everything. When I witness something in nature that opens me to the Divine and I feel like I step, for just a moment, into that current (Awen?) and am changed by it, this feels like magic to me. It is not an attempt to be the centre of my own Universe, or a reaching for a kind of perfection or union with god/higher self, or even a manipulation of forces; it feels more as if I percieve myself to be a responding and resonating part of a Divine Whole, and in this shift of perception magical transformation becomes possible.

    Perhaps the magical practices of earlier times reflect the societies that give birth to them; these change as we change.

    Sorry this is probably rather confused -thinking off the top of my head and aware that I have to go out. Really intriguing post. Must think about this a bit more.

  2. No no it’s not confused. Sometimes off-the-top-of-the-head stuff works really well as does this! I feel exactly the same way. A lot of ceremonial magic feels very Victorian or Medieval! Give me the magic of Nature any day…

  3. Hello Philip and friends,

    Thank you for this piece Philip, and also for discussing posts from Magic of the Ordinary on your blog. With respect (which is genuine after reading your work and being blessed by your telling of Taliesin in Perth many years ago), I think your piece misses some points.

    Your psychological bias is very obvious, which is fine, but it should be pointed out that it is not the only way of looking at things and is actually objectionable to some traditionalists (not me though).

    With respect, I wonder if you are the best person to write on magic – the OBOD tradition of Druidry is not really a magical tradition per se. Just wondering that is all :). Had a traditional magician written this piece it would be very different, I think.

    Personally, I agree therapy of some sort is essential BEFORE any deep magic is attempted and from then onwards for life, but see the two, magic and psychology, as different approaches working on different levels of the self. Obviously however, there is overlap.

    Magic is part of a western tradition of spiritual practice with roots in the divine, thousands of years old, honed and crafted over centuries by practitioners of high skill and motivation. Traditional psychology on the other hand is, as you implicitly state, rooted in a mechanistic view of the human being drawing from the worst arrogances of western culture. Witness the many attempts to “understand” and “explain” traditional and indigenous religious practices by psychologists and sociologists from Freud and Frazer onward.

    “Transpersonal psychology” is a little better but still starts from the psychological not the spiritual – equating the spiritual with the transpersonal does nothing but limit our understanding of the Spiritual. The motivations and spiritual depth, (obtained only through years of practice, surrender and study) of the various “transpersonal psychologists” and their commercial institutes are not those of the traditional religious institutes and teachers. I am not saying they are wrong or corrupt; only that they are different and stem ultimately from a western commercial culture and therefore cannot offer the same results as the traditional approaches to religion “spirituality” and magic.

    And it should be remembered there are many traditionalists, esotericists, and magicians who would disagree with that any wedding of magic and psychology, even within “transpersonal pyschology”, is beneficial at all.

    Also, on a more particular note you write: “In Golden Dawn work, for example, a magical technique is employed in which the magician identifies with an Egyptian god.”

    This is not quite true. During the process of the Assumption of the God Form, which I assume you refer to, there is no identification of magician with the God. In fact there are clear instructions and admonishments to avoid this occurring. The form of the God is built around the outer form of the Sphere of Sensation (roughly, “the aura”) and allows the magician to partake of the blessings of the God for the purpose of the ritual and to “act as” the God, sharing His/Her blessings but without any identification. The reasons for the insistence on non-identification include those ‘psychological’ reasons you list.

    Lots of people – mostly who do not practice the GD tradition – have made the same mistake. These and other subtleties, which are crucial in magical practice, are lost on the non-magician. And I would also say, without any offence, the psychological magician.

    Not sure I will get many nods of agreement on this blog, but you asked for comments. 🙂 Thanks.

  4. Dear Peregrin,
    Lovely to have you comment on this. I do like your blog BTW! How interesting that we’ve met in Perth – such a long time ago now I can’t remember everyone I met.
    Your points are very helpful and raise all sorts of fascinating questions. I suppose one is always searching for ‘definitive statements’ when magic – of all subjects! – refuses to be defined. For example, you state that the OBOD tradition of Druidry is not magical…well that depends on how you define magic. I suspect you are using a definition with a much tighter criteria than I.
    One purpose of the piece I wrote was to provoke debate and I think the difference of opinion between ‘traditionalist’ magicians and the new psychologist-magicians is a particularly interesting on to home in on. And just in case anyone thinks ‘Oh it’s just Philip who believes that psychology is vital to magic’ there are others – Vivianne Crowley (Wicca), Rufus Harrington (Enochian), Marcus Katz (Ceremonial magic) for example who are in this camp.
    But it’s true that others are vehemently opposed to psychology’s insights: Alan Richardson, for example in his bio of Dion Fortune thinks she made an awful mistake in studying psychology and fellow Druid Emma Restall-Orr writes in a recent book that psychology has done more damage to Druidry than the Christians or Romans (sorry can’t find book to check and off to India tonight). I like to take the opposite view that only psychology can save magic from the risks of delusion and inflation!

    Once again thank you so much for your comments – and I’ll shall mull over them and look forward I hope to more!

    Philip /|

  5. Very interesting post, and responses. My introduction to Magic was through Ceremonial Magic and the work of the Golden Dawn, and I still have a love for that style of ritual. So I do understand where Peregrin is coming from.

    I think that in the end the Magic one uses, and the Path one treads is ultimately directed by personal belief. If a person truly believes that they are being Psychically attacked, then amulets and counter Magic would probably be more effective than a visit to a Psychologist – although the psychologist might disagree, as they probably don’t believe in the reality of psychic attack!

    Therefore, if you believe that Magic, psychic attacks, Spirit Forms and Elementals are all in the head, and purely part of the Human imagination, then the use of Amulets and counter rituals would be seen as nothing more than psychological tools used to help a deluded mind.

    IMO it really depends on your view of ‘reality’.

  6. Dear Peregrin,

    To home in on a detail. Is this a more accurate statement:
    In Golden Dawn work, for example, a magical technique is employed, known as the Assumption of the God-form, in which an Egyptian god is invited into the aura of the magician, to receive its blessing?

  7. This is really interesting! Reading through, I keep thinking about what Philip wrote previously about each tradition being fingers pointing, not the moon itself. Once you are ‘inside’ a tradition – be it magical or otherwise – you gain a deeper understanding of its workings, and through experience, the practical worth of its techniques. From the outside, methods can seem hollow actions; from the inside, where the practitioner is deeply and spiritually involved and experiencing meaningful and tangible results, it’s a different matter. However, I think it’s important to recognise that each tradition – no matter how esteemed or ancient – is merely a system and not the ‘thing’ itself. There are many magical approaches, no one has any specific claim to any of them. If we are lucky, we find a system that we have a feeling for and we grow and progress within it. I think Damh is right that the nature of our beliefs will lead us all into different approaches. If we become too overly atttached to the system, there is a danger that we might start to assume it is the only way to practice magic. In my humble and rather inexperienced opinion, Magic cannot be wholely defined or understood by any one person, system or group.

    I have no doubt that folks who practice Ceremonial Magic experience the depth, beauty and personal transformation that it offers, but it would be wrong to assume that this cannot be found via other techniques used by different traditions. I have to agree with Philip here – I think it all does rather depend on your definition of Magic.

  8. What a fascinating thread!
    The excerpt from Philip’s new book I found to be very helpful indeed. Also the responses have challenged me greatly too.
    I guess I’ve always been a little nervous of magic. Or perhaps less ‘nervous’ and more ‘respectful’. Whatever it is – be it spiritual, psychological, or a mixture of the two – magic certainly carries immense power and can be used both positively and negativity. As a Christian priest (which is a tradition that says a loud ‘NO’ to magic, yet actually contains huge amounts of ritual and symbolic magic within it’s heritage) I feel I need to understand it better, and alleviate some of my fears.
    As a very new, and thus ‘green’ (in the other sense) walker of the Druid way I’ve been delighted to read much helpful material over the last year and a half and I’m rapidly discovering something about the modern Druidic understanding of magic. In fact Druidry is so difficult to put into a box [one of the reasons I love it] that there are clearly many different Druidic notions of magic. However, I have noticed a common theme among many Druidic authors, and it is a theme that has made great sense to me, even tying in with my Christian past and the notion of prayer.
    Whereas many forms of paganism believe in and openly practise the magic of rituals, prayers and spells to cause actual change, it is very hard to find Druidic books on ritual magic or spellcraft. You can find them if you look hard enough, but even when you do there seems to be a more cautious approach. For many modern Druids magic is what life is – and to be fully immersed or plugged in to the flowing energy of life on this enchanted planet is how living a magical life is understood. It is less to do with forcing actual changes to take place and more about soaking up the magic of what already is. So the magic of transformation is about the transforming of the person needing the magic, rather than his or her material situation. What is often needed is not a new situation but a new way of perceiving it. This is where it ties in with Christian prayer: Is petitionary prayer to do with transforming a situation and solving a problem by changing actual circumstances or is it more to do with changing the praying person’s perspective? It’s possibly a ‘both and’, but I tend towards the latter. I feel that to pray through a difficult problem helps the praying person come to his or her own conclusions about how to deal with the problem. The actual problem will rarely go away but a new way of looking at it might relieve the power of the problem in that person’s life.
    I’m not saying that prayers for actual change are in any way unnatural – such compulsions are very natural, and sometimes ‘miracles’ do seem to occur, but in my experience the prayer of surrender to a situation often yields a more healthy result than to try and force change which, when it refuses to come, causes just more misery. It is the difference between saying that through prayer or magic ‘you can have what you want’, or through prayer or magic ‘you can learn to want what you have’.
    Just some waffly thoughts!
    Mark Townsend

  9. Hello everyone,

    This is indeed a great thread!

    Philip, I would not say GD assumption of the Godform invites a deity INTO the aura. The form of the deity is firstly built around the edge of the sphere of sensation. Imagine a light globe: the pure white light comes from the filament at the centre, but the colour of the light is determined by the colour of the glass of the globe. So too with Godforms. The pure light is from our central column (Middle Pillar) connecting to the Unity forces of Transcendence (crown) and Immanence (feet). The created image of the God on the “edge” of the ‘aura’ transmits a particular blessing. The most crucial bit however, and often left out even by many GD folk, is that created form around the aura is linked through prayer or intonation or meditation etc to the actual deity (your ‘invitation’, Philip). In this way the Godform is empowered by the divine and our own will/effort in communion, not by our own wills alone. This is so important I cannot stress it enough: ‘acting’ as a God in ritual without deep, reverent connection to that God is not going to help anyone in the end.

    Just to point out a couple of other things. The popular notion that it is our own beliefs that determine our reality is a modern western concept. This obviously often (though not always) “works” in practice but it is not a traditional understanding from anywhere on the planet. It does draw on a very real perennial truth, but one that is realised only at the highest level of spiritual unfoldment. The traditional understanding, for example, is that there are Faery, real beings with agendas and lives of their own that exist apart from human perception, whether we believe in them or not.

    For example, an old (OBOD) Druid friend of mine years back declared his disbelief in spirits and energy separate from our own beings. I invited him along to a pretty tough house clearing we were doing without telling him anything beforehand. He turned out to be the most sensitive of the lot of us and perceived the entity we were removing clearly and with much discomfort! He encountered something beyond his paradigm and was courageous and honest enough to admit it. Afterwards over pizza, he kept shaking his head, knowing life would never be the same again.

    Whilst I have already given my opinion of the need for therapy in conjunction with magic in the modern west, I must disagree Philip’s broad sweep “only psychology can save magic from the risks of delusion and inflation!”. I know a few (only a few!) magicians who are wise, compassionate and spiritually unfolding who have never touched psychology. And of course if we are to accept this statement then every magician pre Freud was deluded and ego inflated.  Unless we broaden the term ‘psychology’ considerably.

    Mark and everyone else, thanks for your thoughts. Again we need clarification on the term ‘magic’, something too strenuous for me! Mark, if you have not already read them, you may want to look up works by Anthony Duncan, a Christian priest on magic and also Gareth Knight’s, “Experience of the Inner Worlds”.


  10. As a practitioner of the Fairy Faith, I know in my heart that I am protected whenever I attempt magickal work. Think me a fool? Afreda will have words with you, I’m sure ;-} {{thorny hug}} ASH

  11. I’m really enjoying everyone’s posts. Mark, your thoughts are not waffly at all! I really respond to what you have written. Very beautifully put. I think you are right, magic in Druidry is concerned less with the manipulation of energy or forces, and more with the communion with them. I find the concept (and reality!) of Awen, a very wonderful thing. For me, magic is very much about the relationships we build, or the connections we make, with the forces of nature and the Divine. There is an exchange in the process; for me, I think we sacrifice a lot of our sense of separateness in opening up in this way- life unfurls and it is difficult to ignore the extraordinary interconnection between all things. It is difficult not to be changed by this inner shift. Thank you for your insights – they ring all sorts of bells!

    Peregrin, it’s fascinating to read your comments. As an OBOD Druid I wouldn’t say that I disbelieve in spirits and energy seperate from my own being – far from it. I think there is sometimes an assumption that the psychological approach necessarily means that the divine, elementals, spirits etc. are viewed as merely extentions of our own psyche. I don’t actually believe that at all but equally don’t feel that the psychological approach is as diametrically opposed to the ‘traditional’ as might be assumed. It doesn’t seem to be in my own practice anyway. I think there are folks who will view forces as purely archetypal (I am not one of them) but there is a wider spectrum whose perception is more complex and varied than the two extremes of either/or. The beauty and strength of OBOD, for me, is this diversity of approach – whatever our honest understanding and interpretations of these things ultimately is, we all have something to teach each other, as you suggest.

    I think to clarify, our beliefs determine our perception of our reality, not necessarily the reality itself – I think Mark expresses this very well in his post. As a modern understanding, it’s a jolly good one and to me central with regard to transformation and growth, whether magical or otherwise (isn’t the difference here only a matter of conscious awareness of, and engagement with, the process?).

    Perception is key and shapes the differences between our approaches. It seems to me that there are many different magics; there are even many different psychologies and for each person who studies any of these, there will be a different understanding of each, even from folks who claim to function from within the same tradition. To speak of ‘Tradition’, in the singular is, I think, potentially misleading. Also, what or who defines what is considered as tradition? And does the ‘traditional’ always equate with ‘truth’ (whatever that may be)?

    All these terms seem to shift about a lot and be more fluid than our personal definitions would like them to be. But isn’t that the beauty of magic? I agree with you Peregrin, it’s a mighty difficult thing to try to clarify the term, but I love that the sharing of our different experiences can help to deepen our understanding and challenge our preconceptions. Many thanks for your thought provoking posts – they have given my old brain a good work out!

  12. Thank you Peregrin,

    I’ve checked out Anthony Duncan and Gareth Knight. Fascinating stuff! Some of the whole ‘magic that calls on entities and influences’ still scares the hell out of me though. If is is spiritual and not psychological then how does one control it or protect oneself against powers that might be unhelpful?

    And Maria, thank you too.

    Very nice to hear that I was not as ‘waffly’ as I thought. Glad you also see such magic in the ordinary etc.

    Peace and blessings to you all!


  13. Hi Mark,

    Re controlling and protecting from ‘entities and influences’, the issue you raise really lies in our modern distortion on these topics which engenders fear and discomfort. The traditional understanding (in pretty much all esoteric traditions) is that we ALWAYS exist within a sea of non physical influences and beings, not just when we call them. So there’s really nothing to be worried about, as our lives are fine day to day.

    How these spiritual forces affect us is a spectrum, mostly about as much as advertising, cultural-political mindsets and propaganda (other ‘seas of influence’). That is, in times of stress and trauma, a fair bit unless we use our God given free will and stop and think.

    Entities and influences are in one sense the non physical aspects of physical phenomena. Those which ‘surround’ a copy of Eliot’s ‘The Four Quartets’ and a pornographic magazine are therefore completely different. We are then protected by our motivations, compassion, and connection with the One/God/Goddess and daily life choices.

    On a practical level the traditional ‘control’ mechanism is through connection to the Divine, mostly in our culture through the presence and Name of Jesus Christ (the Name above every name). Though, as in Salem’s lot, where a vampire crushes the cross held by a terrified secularist, “you have to believe”. It is our ongoing relationship with Christ/the One/Goddess which protects us more than anything else.


  14. Wow thank you Peregrin,

    This is fascinating and so helpful. I am kinda half way between Christianity and Paganism and am not really sure where my ‘base’ is right now (if I need one at all). I certainly do not subscribe to an out of date and literal Jesus is the ONLY way path. I feel more cosmic in my Christo-spirituality right now… as if the Christ-energy is that bright spark of God/dess that exists in all people the world over. So Jesus Christ was one of many who points folk to their own inner divinity and Christ-ness. Perhaps ‘Buddha Nature’ is a similar if not identicle concept as this ‘Cosmic Christ’?

    I am using this year to try and work out (or by guided to) where I truly am in terms of an understanding of faith and deity. For example I can no longer cope with much of traditional Churchianity, yet still feel warmed and moved by the beautiful stories and parables etc. Also I am deeply inspired and enlightened by what I’m learning from Philip and others within the OBOD (and Pagan) world. I am very happy to see gods and goddesses as (perhaps) ‘beams of deity’ each with its own particular emphasis – yet all stemming from the One light, Great Spirit, God/Goddess. I guess, therefore, I’m still rather monotheistic yet see different engergies all radiating out from that same source.

    Also I feel that mythology has enabled people, the world over, to literally create their own gods / goddesses occording to their own culture, understanding and needs. I actaully feel that much of the Christ story falls within this category and that the biggest problem for the Chruch (and any religion that feels it is THE way) is the literalization of myth. By making myth history we limit its power and (inevitably) create monsters.

    Great being here and feeling able to express all the muddle from my tired old head!


  15. And thank you too Maria… for your most encouraging remarks.
    I am loving my walk with Druidry. The magical Awen is flowing powerfully this New Year.
    Light and Paece to you and yours!

  16. Maria, I’ll quite happily confess to being the Druid friend Peregrin referred to. I don’t hold that belief any longer and I kind of cringe to think that I once did but we all start where we start 🙂 Regardless I am certain Peregrin is aware that that was my belief and not a reflection on OBOD or Druidry.

  17. I’m coming to believe that one of the greatest risks of the magical path might well be getting totally lost within it… even seduced by it?

    Perhaps its just me but (as a person with a rather addictive nature) I just lap up anything and everything I can find on a subject, which leads to more and more offshoots of thought, going down avenues, which in turn lead to yet more etc.

    Then I end up feeling both excited and at the same time exhausted and out of depth. I can end up quite depressed and out of touch with myself.

    So I have to consolidate and get back to the place where I know I’m on more solid ground… and stay there for a while until I’m ready to explore again.

    It’s funny but, over the last few years, I’ve discovered that (for me) the spiritual road is a constant climbing and falling, climbing and falling, climbing and falling… and the more I fall – the more I realise that BOTH the climbing and the falling are equally important parts of the journey. Indeed I would go so far as to say that we often need to fall – which is to climb so far that we cannot hold on any more – for it is the pyche’s natural way to bringing us back to our selves.

    Hope I’m making sense?

    Oh well off I go again – up another magical ladder (lol)

    Mark T

  18. Hi Murray – I hope my comment didn’t appear to be claiming my own approach as that of OBOD or Druidry as a whole – if it did, I truly apologise; I really don’t feel that way. The joy for me is that many different approaches and beliefs can be held within an organisation such as OBOD and I find great comfort in that; someone’s approach might be very different from mine but equally valid.

    Hi Mark – I know what you mean about the mind racing to know stuff. I think sometimes I forget to give myself time to digest. I recognise the head wanting to explore and know everything ‘Now!’. These days I find I am yearning more and more for heart (as opposed to head) ‘knowing’ – heart knowing seems to have a much slower, gentler pace. I think I feel that heart knowing most when I engage with nature and at those moments I feel most like my true self.

    On my own spiritual journey I sometimes think that I have finally grasped something really important, only to find another question rising; sometimes I think that I know absolutely bugger all but then something comes along, a tiny moment in my day that shifts my whole perspective, opens something up. I think that this is part of the process of spirtual learning and growth – what you call climbing and falling. Perhaps the falling bit is about letting go, surrendering our need to know and define for a while, emptying ourselves so a little of the mystery can fill us…then we go off exploring again – to me, the climbing and the falling equate with inhaling and exhaling, a rhythmic and cyclical necessity that keeps me feeling spiritually alive. It sounds like quite an adventure you are on at the moment – thanks for sharing – may this new path opening up for you bring many blessings. X

  19. Thanks Philip, thats a good peace on risks of magic, and I am glad you take up the issue. We have to get away from unisono hurray- shouting one hears too often in new age media about all magic, to a reasonable approach. I like your ending that plain reason can also help to get rid of magic. The paradox is that we can be in and outside the magic world -leap into the reason world. And we will get to the same conclusions and actions if we use all our intelligence and /or intuition. And enjoy the magic reality in its total depth and the reasonable reality as well.
    Rational reasoning can get off and has very often gone off track as well if its too limited factors putted into the reasoning system.

    best wishes

  20. Mark T wrote:

    > Is petitionary prayer to do with transforming a > situation and solving a problem by changing actual
    > circumstances or is it more to do with changing the
    > praying person’s perspective?

    The author of “The Serenity Prayer” would say both:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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