Magick. Qabalah. Tarot. Meditation. Ritual.
What exactly is all this stuff? And, more importantly, why should you bother learning about it?
Magick is the yoga of the West. It's a system for making a human life more perfect—and can steadily and consistently bring profound, transcendent meaning to your life. In the process of developing one's entire being, it manifests an incredible range of additional benefits—here's ten of them. Any of them alone could be more than enough to make Magick the central pursuit of somebody's life.
(These ten reasons correspond to the ten Spheres of the Qabalah. You can see them mapped together in the traditional arrangement at the end of the post.)
Magick is a lot of fun. Consider the highs that come from yoga and meditation practice, the thrills of ritual, the deep satisfaction that comes from intellectual study, the unshakable pride and confidence that comes from making steady progress in a spiritual discipline—and seeing that progress reflected in every area of your life. The path of Magick is, in large part, the pursuit of altered states of consciousness—bliss, ecstasy, Gnosis.
Magick accelerates lateral and creative thinking. It allows you to tap the source of unconscious inspiration to come up with new ideas and vivid dreams of new possibilities—whether you're an artist, business person, investor, student or in any profession that can benefit from creative problem solving, insight and intuition.
Through dream work, "astral travel," trance, attention to synchronicity, pathworking, the Situationist dérive and many, many more techniques, magick offers methods for allowing your unconscious, intuitive mind to take over and show you the way. These techniques are the inheritance and birthright of humanity as a whole, and are available for anybody to use at any time, provided they have the right training.
Magick and meditation hone your consciousness like a knife. With each meditation session, each ritual, you develop the most "magical" power of all: The ability to laser-focus 100% of your attention on one task at a time, instead of leaving it scattered to the four winds. In our social media and smartphone-distracted world, nothing could give you more of an edge.
Now, consider the Qabalah and Tarot as an Operating System that runs on top of a properly focused mind. These systems let you categorize and order the entire universe into a simple set of symbols, letting your mind hold vastly more data while having to work less. The net effect is a mind that operates better, faster and in line with the natural pattern of the universe—instead of at cross-purposes with the universe.
"Love is the Law, Love Under Will" is not simply a catch phrase. It's a core truth of the universe—and a real effect of magick. Practices like bhakti yoga, invocation, prayer, quietude and, yes, meditation all develop the heart, creating a deep well of transcendent love for the people around you, all humanity, all life and the universe as a whole. This is emotional mastery—something that, for all of our technological sophistication, we often need more than anything.
The central goal of Magick is the connection to divinity, "God," superconsciousness, the Holy Guardian Angel—the words and labels are meaningless and often too culturally specific. The experience transcends all names, images and cultural forms. This can come immediately, or after many years of intensive magical practice. It is the next step of evolution for humanity. Magick and yoga, combined, assist in its accomplishment.
Magick will give you immense power. But it's not power over other people: It's power over yourself. Power to decide what you want your life to be. Power to have the past, present and future you want. Power to choose what energies, activities and people you want in your life, and power to create boundaries with those you do not.
Magick hardens the Will—it gives you a clear sense of what you're supposed to be doing in life, and the strength to do it, no matter what imagined "obstacles" previously held you back.
Magick gives you control over your own existence. Born in accidental circumstances, a magician molds the random chaos of existence into the Order they choose, imposing their will upon nature, and finally coming to sit upon the throne of their own self, basking in the glory that is the life they have manifested.
This is the true alchemical process.
Bonus Round! As any magician, yogi or psychonaut will tell you, a major key to life is learning to let go. Regular magical practice develops this ability—crucial to weathering and passing through life's most challenging moments.
Magick shows how everything in the universe fits into place perfectly. What once seemed like arbitrary chaos is now revealed as divine order, and all of the pieces are shown to fit perfectly. It is from this Understanding that true compassion comes—compassion for all beings, including one's self.
The more Magick you do, the less Magick you have to do—as you understand the nature of the universe to be change itself. This opens the way of the Tao, of not-doing, of manifesting by non-action. This is Wisdom.
Finally, transcending all techniques and structures, is the passage into the enlightened state hinted at or expressed openly by spiritual teachers throughout human history. While the path of magick is not necessary for proceeding directly here, it can provide a useful scaffolding for touching the numinous and then re-structuring it into a normal life.
Below, you can see these ten spheres mapped onto the Tree of Life and connected by the 22 Tarot Cards. Each of these spheres and paths offers an entire range of magical skills to be mastered, psychological integration to be undertaken, and transformative experiences to be had.
Top image: "Cosmic Snowflake" by Frater Achad/Charles Stansfeld Jones (1886-1950). Reproduced from Grant, Kenneth and Steffi. "Hidden Lore: The Carfax Monographs." London: Skoob, 1990.
Bottom image from Wikimedia Commons.