To Know; To Will; To Dare; To Keep Silent

Magick is the art of transformation, of taking circumstances as they are and — through focused Will and Intention — altering a pattern, shifting energy and generating change, specifically, the change you desire. For change to be effected, there are some requirements. First is consciousness — of the need for and the desirability of an alteration of circumstances — and of the patterns that manifested the current conditions. Then comes resolve — the determination to effect a change in the pattern. Next is to move from passivity to action, committing yourself to taking the necessary (but ethical) steps in favor of your desired outcome using the tools available to you. And finally, but critically important with regards to magick, is choosing to keep your perceptions and activities to yourself.

At the heart of all this lies belief — that you are innately empowered by your own intelligence and the Intelligence from which you originate — to manifest change. Without this belief, nothing can be achieved, whether you are of a magickal inclination or not.

These concepts comprise what is often referred to as The Witches’ Pyramid: To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent. And these are the foundation of effective spellcasting.

To Know

Knowledge of yourself is key, because memory, emotions, desires and fears inform action and inaction alike. And it isn’t enough to simply know why we want something. To discern whether getting that something is in the interest of our higher good is just as important. Our life’s journey is a tapestry of choices that may either foster or hinder the spiritual advancement of ourselves and others. And to discriminate between what might serve the highest good or oppose it is essential if the work we undertake is to promote meaningful change.

An understanding of the Law of Attraction is important, too. However unconsciously we may generally operate, each of has experienced serendipity and synchronicity — episodes of fortuitous meetings; of the unexpected convergence of people and places and events that present us with valuable information and assistance; and the delight of having our most urgent need met at the eleventh hour by unexpected means. There are no coincidences; the energy and intention we send out, purposefully or not, manifests only what is complementary. To the extent that we believe ourselves deserving and empowered, the Universe will return its support. But if we harbor misgivings or reservations; have feelings of ambivalence or unworthiness; or if, deep down, we desire something contrary to what we claim we want, the Universe will respond in kind.

Finally, a Knowledge of Correspondences is necessary. There is exquisite orderliness and precision in the Universe. Likewise, our workings should directly reflect our desires, our worthiness and our chosen path. The components comprising a spell should form an harmonious web. Words and visualizations are the most potent drivers. Casting with consideration to moon phases and the Wheel of the Year can enhance effectiveness. And thoughtfully chosen colors, plants, oils and the like can be valuable supportive elements. Know, however, that the only real tools you need are your belief, your creative intelligence and your Will.

To Will

The Will is a tool. Just as a hammer or rake can be neglected, resulting in a rusty, unreliable and unwieldy instrument, personal Will can suffer from neglect. This habit of neglect often begins in childhood, were conformity and passivity are seen as virtues and choice may be a luxury. Dependence upon family, along with a natural and wide-ranging desire for approval (parents, teachers, religious authorities, etc.) can foster feelings of powerlessness. Many who typically abdicate their own power do so, not just out of habit, but in an effort to maintain peace at all costs or out of a refusal to accept responsibility for their own lives. Develop your Will: by considering all avenues available to you to find the one most likely to nourish you intellectually, creatively and spiritually and discarding those options which will likely not satisfy your spirit; by considering consequences and accepting responsibility for the choices you make; and by striving to make your workings align with the highest good.

The effective exercise of the Will demands that one be resolute, certain of what is desired and committed to that end. It requires focus and a refusal to entertain failure. It is not a refusal to see that there may be factors in opposition to your desires or circumstances that may, rightfully, impede your efforts.

Keep in mind that personal Will can also be misused or misdirected. To impose our Will on another individual, in an attempt to circumvent that individual’s own Will, is a terrible violation. And it will backfire on you, as a loss of self-respect and the respect of others, and a loss of the cooperation of the Universe. Each of us must examine our motivations, needs and desires and weigh these in light of our responsibility to conduct ourselves in an ethical fashion, upholding the right to self-determination that all individuals possess.

To Dare

On the surface, this speaks to exercising one’s Will, moving beyond the stage of thoughtful examination of desires and the formulation of a plan. But it also means being true to yourself — to your intuition and instinct — in the work you do. After researching correspondences and examples of spells, and after finding inspiration in the methods offered by others, you should dare to create something uniquely personal. Composing the words of your spell infuses it with your energy. And if something suggested by another doesn’t feel as if it belongs, then change it to what has meaning for you. Just as an artist may make preliminary sketches of his vision, refining it until at last he puts paint to canvas in his most aesthetic effort, so too will your efforts be refined. As you expand your knowledge and gain experience, your spells will evolve as ever greater and more effective expressions of your Will.

To Keep Silent

Spellwork is among the most deeply personal aspects of your practice and is therefore deserving of special respect. By keeping silent, you shelter yourself and your work from the scrutiny of others whose opinions, criticisms and advice might erode your confidence in your own power and the efficacy of your spell. Consider, also, that in casting a spell you have raised energy and sent it out into the Universe to work on behalf of your desires. To this projection of your focused Will, the Universe will respond. Resist the urge to dwell on your spell, wondering if has been effective or wondering if you could have done something better. That dissipates the energy you invested in the working, calling it back to you. Think of it as recalling your most competent diplomat back to Washington at the height of a crisis, before he has had a chance to do anything.

Keeping Silence also entails protecting yourself. The ‘Broom Closet’ aside, keeping your work to yourself helps to ensure that you continue to benefit from the freedom to explore your path, secure in the knowledge that you are not subjecting yourself unnecessarily to influences that may undermine your intuition, your inner knowing of how your unique path should evolve. Preserve that most vital element of belief — in yourself, your power and your path!

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