We must also be careful to avoid ingesting toxins in the form of violent TV programs, video games, movies, magazines, and books. When we watch that kind of violence, we water our own negative seeds, or tendencies, and eventually we will think and act out of those seeds.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
To realign ourselves with the Graces of Beauty, Mirth, and Blossoming, we are considering how the weeks between Imbolc and Ostara are an ideal time to create space for them to thrive. I would suggest that one way to do this is to be aware of how we are manipulated by advertising and the consumer culture.
Many who are new to working in the magical arts feel confused when an actual magical experience happens to them. They wonder if it was real or “only” their imagination.
To answer this, we need to consider what magic is, and what the imagination is. According to elder practitioners such as author R J Stewart, magic is a methodology for arranging awareness according to patterns. While it may reflect any number of philosophical or spiritual traditions, technically, magic is neither.
Anthony Judge, the founder of the Union of Imaginative Associations, an international governance and strategy-making think tank, writes that magic “is basically an artistic science in which the practitioner controls and develops imagination to cause apparent changes in the outer world. The serious application of magical methods leads to transformation and it is the transformation which is of value and not the methods themselves. All magic derives from controlled work with the imagination.” [emphasis is my own. – B.]
The ability to trigger the imagination in intentional ways is perhaps the most key component of working magic in the Craft and other traditions. Rather than negating the validity of the spell, blessing, or manifestation, its employment is crucial.
And what is the source of this power? The root of the word imagination is image, of course. Where do the images that feed our imagination come from?
They come from our ordinary experiences — stories, pictures, videos, people we meet, the dreams we have at night. They come from what we see every day with our eyes and they are the echoes of music and conversations. And they are the subjective responses and meaning that we assign to those experiences.
So what we feed into our minds — the images and experiences that we allow to be stored in the vaults of our memories — will therefore have a profound impact on our imagination. A common example of this is how we make sure our impressionable young children are protected from scary images, especially before bedtime.
Why would we do less for ourselves? Do we think we are any less impressionable? For Witches, Pagans, and in fact, anyone who is interested in tapping their intuitive and creative abilities, it is critical that we pay careful attention to the images we allow to become imprinted in our imagination.
More about this tomorrow.