Friday, April 16, 2010

A course in magic rituals: rituals & divinity

Are certain accessories required to do a magical ritual? The answer is long and must be handled with care and therefore, as always in these things is "it depends"

Accessories play a very important role not quite well understood: making visible the ritual, make it accessible to our senses, facilitate our participation. But as the name says: they are accessories to the ritual, the ritual is what matters and in turn the ritual is the way to tune into our underlying capabilities, which are the real important issue.

God, that which the reader believes in, or the universe or Mother Earth or cosmic powers or evolution, whatever you choose, gave each person unique and unrepeatable gifts: a body and mind. Some people include a third gift, a spirit, but at least the first two are out of discussion, we all accept them perhaps with different definitions. I do not want to get into the “spirit” discussion and I’ll leave his beliefs to each one, so let’s accept the first two; whether we've received them from a conscious entity or a blind force, we've got to use those gifts.

Daily life makes difficult for us to learn how to use our gifts: the mind is bombed all the time with contradictory information, knowledge changes rapidly and is increasingly uncertain and the time to stop and think is getting extremely scarce. In turn, the body is subjected to the aggression of an impossible ideal of beauty and pursuing pleasures that leave us empty. I do not want to be sanctimonious, surely somebody may have a good time that way, that's not my point, but the fact that noise and frenzy prevent us from hearing our inner voice.

Rituals amplify this inner voice and tune yourself with transcendent truths; rituals are means although those who officiate them love to turn them into an end. The Christian Mass is a ritual, it should never be more important than Christ. The prayer facing Mecca is a ritual, it shouldn’t be more important than Allah. Like bathing in the Ganges, the worship of the woods, the Bar Mitzvah. When the importance of priesthood and rituals surpass that of the divinity and that of the relationship of each parishioner with that divinity, that religion, whichever it is, becomes ill and dangerous.

I confess I’m a deist, which would have costed me excommunication (maybe still, I do not know) The deist prefers to be wrong in good faith and trying to make a good deed rather than trying to adhere to rules that do not understand. He believes that God, defined as you want It and summarized in that word, is above human institutions, so the deist looks for guidance in all religions and apprecitate and listen to them all but not always obey them. The deist takes the universe as his country, the humanity as his church and ethics as his faith.

In this context we’ll talk about rituals. I’m not inviting anyone to become a deist like myself; in order to be consistent what is useful to someone is automatically good to me. If a person has chosen to be attached to the book of a religion, his church and its precepts, wonderful. But my intention is not to convince you of anything, I assume you've decided to make your explorations, even if you reject them once tested.

The ritual itself is not magic, the magic lives in each practitioner. The goal of a ritual is to have your energy focused. From a biological standpoint, what you do in a ritual is create brain connections to accomplish something or solve a problem.

Remember the Dumbo's magic feather? In the story, crows convince the big-eared elephant that he could fly if he held a magic pen with his trunk. Of course, the feather is all too common from the tail of one of the crows: what is magical is Dumbo’s determination to move his ears so vigorously that he flies. While flying he loses the feather and begin to fall, but the crows insist he can fly without it ... and he do it. That must be the dream of every honest magician: to find the feather for each practitioner and then watch him fly without dependence.

Now, some accesories are appropriate in certain rituals to ensure the proper state of mind, the "tuning" but not giving the word the meaning the authors of supermarket give to it. They are not covered by some strange physical force, neither an electromagnetic radiation, these accessories don’t have a genius like Aladdin’s living inside and all you have to do is make a wish. What we do with them will notify our body, our brain "Ssssshhh...”, the’ll say at the beginning of the ritual, “these are those weird ten minutes the boss is having, attention… get to work!"And that body, that soul, that spirit if you want to include it (or our reserves of strength of will) mobilize towards your goal.

Do the rituals work always? No, but I can say I've seen them working more than 90% of the time. There are multiple reasons which prevent them form working well, we will see many. But what I can say is that it's more possible to get what one wants by concentrating forces to achieve it (and acting accordingly, as we will faith can move mountains, but rarely by telekinesis: you must apply to move them) that by letting things just run as it is easier to earn a raffle buying a ticket than not.

The common element to all ritual is the preparation bath, which includes water and salts (hopefully make by the practitioner) and oils (easier to buy from a good provider; some advise the practicioner should do them but it is difficult and expensive and without any gain beyond the caprice). Is this somehow magical metaphysics? If the question refers to some supernatural power in the water or salts, no. But if the combination solve the problem, it was your will, the water or the salts or other implements of the ritual? The answer is: all of them, is a sinergy.

Robert Oppenheimer had a story: he hung a horseshoe on the door of his house for good luck and when his physical friends mocked him for believing in omens, he replied: "The good thing is that I have been told these things work without thinking more than a few seconds on them. So I put mine"
Some ritual use pricks, candles, dolls (white magic, no voodoo, there is confusion between voodoo and Santeria which we’ll deal with) and it is important to consider the day of the week, moon phase or time day. That's what we will see in upcoming posts ... if the series are successful!

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