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Author Topic: Gratitude, Obligation, Sacrifice: A Triad for Magical Practice  (Read 9184 times)
CaelumRainieri
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« Topic Start: August 25, 2007, 06:35:09 pm »

This following is a short essay that I wrote a couple of months ago as an instruction piece for people who want to get a better grip on how they can develop a successful magical practice. I don't present it as the only way to approach magical workings, but I do know that it works; both from long personal experience and from hearing about the experiences of others who have adopted it. There is one caveat, however. It does require a belief in the reincarnation of the soul, and in the existence of gods, demi-gods, and other spiritual entities. If your belief system rejects those concepts, then this piece probably won't be of any value to you.

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Gratitude, Obligation, Sacrifice: A Triad for Magical Practice

By Caelum Rainieri

Imagine hooking up a set of jumper cables to a live car battery. Click the ends together and they spark. As long as both ends of the cable are connected, a live battery will transfer its power to a dead battery, bringing it back to life. The polarities of the battery can represent the physical plane, and the ethereal plane. The spark that occurs when the two connect is the equivalent of magical power. How to connect the two planes with intention is the basis of magical knowledge.

I have found that there are three required states of mind when initiating a magical act. The first is Gratitude.

Gratitude, in a magical sense, means being aware that there are forces and beings around you who love you, and who stand ready to guide, protect, and instruct you once you open yourself up to them. They may be your ancestors, or totem animals, or spirit guides, or they may be more elemental than that. You certainly have shared past lives with them at some point, and out of love and compassion, they have remained with you, ready to assist once you are open to receive. Being grateful restores the openness that most of us have lost as adults.

With gratitude comes a sense of obligation. Once you recognize that you are receiving aid, love, knowledge, and power from your unseen allies, you must acknowledge your debt to them. Without acknowledgment, debts accumulate, creating a burden that weighs you down, robbing you of energy and weakening your ability to influence your environment, and manifest your desires. Acknowledging what you owe is vital to the process of freeing yourself from the crushing burden of unpaid debts.

In the physical world, a debt is repaid through an exchange of value, such as with money, or through a trade of services or property. In the ethereal world, a debt is repaid through sacrifice. A suitable sacrifice must cost you something. As an example, you might leave out food and water for the wildlife in your neighborhood, or pick up trash along a public beach. You could donate money to an animal welfare organization, or build and maintain an altar to a patron deity. Giving something back is the least that you can do for all of those entities, seen and unseen, who tirelessly assist you on a daily basis. It also serves to remind you of how grateful you are for what you have and to whom you are obligated.

The magical universe is a perpetually mysterious place. Like the physical universe, it represents a great unknown. When faced with such a mystery, you cannot err by observing it with gratitude, recognizing your obligation to it for sustaining you, and giving something back through sacrifice.
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« Reply #1: August 25, 2007, 10:29:36 pm »


Exactly. Smiley You definitely can't go wrong, and you always need to realize that things don't just *happen*. Some force (even if you reject the concept of deities and simply believe it to be your own magical energy) is required to make things happen. We need to acknowledge that force as having an effect in our lives.

Honestly, it always drives me nuts when people treat God as a "great universal vending machine". They ignore God, until they need something. Then, as soon as their prayers are answered, they might say a quick "thank you" and then they go back to ignoring God again. Relationships do not work that way!! When you work with the Gods you are building a relationship and that requires dedication and sacrifice from all parties involved to make it work! It is well worth the effort, and I find the work required to be rewarding in and of itself.
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« Reply #2: August 25, 2007, 11:31:31 pm »


Honestly, it always drives me nuts when people treat God as a "great universal vending machine". They ignore God, until they need something. Then, as soon as their prayers are answered, they might say a quick "thank you" and then they go back to ignoring God again. Relationships do not work that way!!

I know exactly what you mean. You might get a kick out of this rant I posted at my Live Journal site on that very topic. At the time I wrote it, I had had it up to HERE with people expecting/demanding quick solutions from the universe:

http://caelum-rainieri.livejournal.com/6788.html
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« Reply #3: August 26, 2007, 08:07:01 am »

You might get a kick out of this rant I posted at my Live Journal site on that very topic. At the time I wrote it, I had had it up to HERE with people expecting/demanding quick solutions from the universe:

What a GREAT "rant" ... magic is indeed the seasoning, as you put it.  Was a little surprised that it was such a short rant (usually they tend to go on forever), but very much to the point!   Wink
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« Reply #4: August 26, 2007, 08:44:45 am »

It does require a belief in the reincarnation of the soul, and in the existence of gods, demi-gods, and other spiritual entities.

I think it also requires a belief that magic comes from external sources (e.g. spiritual entities) rather than being something one accomplishes through the force of one's own Will. What you describe is more what I think of as prayer than as magic, but your essay is a good fit into what I see prayer needing to be its most effective.
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« Reply #5: August 26, 2007, 09:03:14 am »

What a GREAT "rant" ... magic is indeed the seasoning, as you put it.  Was a little surprised that it was such a short rant (usually they tend to go on forever), but very much to the point!   Wink

Yep!! In fact, I rarely use magic. I use prayer, but I don't consider that "magic" in the strictest sense of the term. I spend my life building relationships with my deities, and when it becomes necessary to use magic I'm making sure I'm doing everything "mundane" that I can to fix the problem too.
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« Reply #6: August 26, 2007, 10:53:28 am »

I think it also requires a belief that magic comes from external sources (e.g. spiritual entities) rather than being something one accomplishes through the force of one's own Will. What you describe is more what I think of as prayer than as magic, but your essay is a good fit into what I see prayer needing to be its most effective.

I view prayer and magic as having a lot in common. Both require a state of elevated emotions. Both benefit from a visualization of the desired outcome. Both enlist the help of an ally or deity. Magic goes further by adding elemental correspondences, invoking certain esoteric properties (or Laws), and so on.

The brief essay that I posted on the Triad for magical practice is a preliminary framework for an actual magical operation. I left that part open because there are so many different ways to go about it. On the other hand, I think that the power of the magical techniques employed are diminished if the Triad isn't implemented beforehand. I'm only speaking from my own experience, of course. Your mileage may vary.
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« Reply #7: August 26, 2007, 10:56:59 am »

What a GREAT "rant" ... magic is indeed the seasoning, as you put it.  Was a little surprised that it was such a short rant (usually they tend to go on forever), but very much to the point!   Wink

Thanks! Like yourself, I think the ability to be succinct and still get your point across is rapidly becoming a lost art. :-)

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« Reply #8: August 26, 2007, 11:03:25 am »

Yep!! In fact, I rarely use magic. I use prayer, but I don't consider that "magic" in the strictest sense of the term. I spend my life building relationships with my deities, and when it becomes necessary to use magic I'm making sure I'm doing everything "mundane" that I can to fix the problem too.

We definitely think alike when it comes to this topic. The Triad essay was actually the second in a series.The first one  that I wrote was called "To Act, and be Silent", and it addressed the practical necessity for someone to act mundanely to fix the problem at hand. You can read it here: http://caelum-rainieri.livejournal.com/8005.html
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« Reply #9: August 26, 2007, 05:25:13 pm »

I view prayer and magic as having a lot in common. Both require a state of elevated emotions. Both benefit from a visualization of the desired outcome. Both enlist the help of an ally or deity. Magic goes further by adding elemental correspondences, invoking certain esoteric properties (or Laws), and so on.

I'm one of those who sees magic and prayer as generally completely separate things. With prayer, I'm asking a deity to do something for me. My emotional state really doesn't matter much, not do I need to be able to visualize the result (in fact, I don't even need to know what the result should be in some days) as I can leave all of that up to the deity or deities I am requesting aid from.  With magic, I am directly trying to impose my Will on reality -- I'm not asking someone else to "make it so," I am "making it so."
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« Reply #10: August 26, 2007, 05:56:43 pm »

I'm one of those who sees magic and prayer as generally completely separate things. With prayer, I'm asking a deity to do something for me. My emotional state really doesn't matter much, not do I need to be able to visualize the result (in fact, I don't even need to know what the result should be in some days) as I can leave all of that up to the deity or deities I am requesting aid from.  With magic, I am directly trying to impose my Will on reality -- I'm not asking someone else to "make it so," I am "making it so."

This is exactly how I see it. Of course, the line gets rather fuzzy when you start *combining* prayer and magic. But usually, I use prayer or ritualized prayer instead of "straight up magic". Nine times out of ten.
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« Reply #11: August 26, 2007, 06:03:32 pm »

With magic, I am directly trying to impose my Will on reality -- I'm not asking someone else to "make it so," I am "making it so."

I do see your point. I guess I don't make as much of a distinction between prayer and magic as you do.

Step 1 for both is to act on the problem or issue.
Step 2 for both is to enlist the aid of an ally, ancestor, or deity, saying, in effect, "join me for this effort". And that's where a prayer stops for me.
Magic moves on to step 3, which is adding the influence of power objects, lunar timing, color and herb correspondences, the use of magical tools, trance work, etc.

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« Reply #12: August 26, 2007, 06:15:44 pm »


Step 2 for both is to enlist the aid of an ally, ancestor, or deity, saying, in effect, "join me for this effort".

Many of us do not have this step at all when using straight-up magic.  We are using our own will, and often our own power, although there are of course herbal, symbolic, etc. means of increasing the energy available.  It's just that for many of us those 'means' don't include other beings.

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« Reply #13: August 26, 2007, 06:40:23 pm »

I know exactly what you mean. You might get a kick out of this rant I posted at my Live Journal site on that very topic. At the time I wrote it, I had had it up to HERE with people expecting/demanding quick solutions from the universe:

http://caelum-rainieri.livejournal.com/6788.html

That's a wonderful essay!! Thanks for sharing it! Smiley
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« Reply #14: August 26, 2007, 07:12:17 pm »

Many of us do not have this step at all when using straight-up magic.  We are using our own will, and often our own power, although there are of course herbal, symbolic, etc. means of increasing the energy available.  It's just that for many of us those 'means' don't include other beings.

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Quite true. That's one of the many interesting things about magical workings. They can be done in such a wide variety of ways.
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