The Weekly Owl

Home » 2010 » January

Monthly Archives: January 2010


The Meaning of Three

The devastating earthquake in Haiti has siezed everyone’s attention.  Disasters do that and this one is particularly terrible because of the lack of medical and emergency relief facilities to cope with so many dead and injured.  In the face of such life and death tragedy and loss it is hard to write about such ephemeral things as the meaning of numbers.  I feel as if I am turning my back on all those suffering people in Port-au-Prince if I write about anything else, and yet I have nothing to say about the earthquake.  Unlike acts of terrorism, such “acts of God” are met with quite a different attitude.

You cannot be angry or seek justice from an earthquake.  It may be comforting for some to say, “It is all part of God’s divine plan.”  But what can that mean?  Christianity has been constructed around the idea that every individual matters to God.  Yet we are faced with such deadly natural disasters as earthquakes and tsunamis, wildfires, floods, and drought.  The Christian notion that natural disasters are punishments meted out by God are relics of the medieval European mindset that was obsessed with sin and surrounded by violent death.  How many today still believe earthquakes to be deliberately caused by God?  Well, it is hard to avoid the logic of it.

If God is omnipotent and there are no other gods, then everything that happens in the universe must be caused by God.

If some events occur without God’s intention, then he must be for some reason indifferent to human suffering and death.

If natural disasters could be stopped by God and he does not stop them, then he is negligent and can hardly be said to care about every individual (or even every “believer”).

Now, if there are other gods and the Supreme Being allows them free will, then those divine entities might cause earthquakes and indeed be indifferent to human deaths.  Nobody supposes, for example, the Roman god Vulcan to care much about humans.  According to the pagan way of seeing the world, these nature gods (Vulcan the divine smith also the one who shakes the earth) fill a very clear need in the logic of divinity and humanity.  Of course, it was not until Plato and the Platonists that the idea of the One as the supreme deity emerged to embody all absolutes — all powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, and everywhere present.

Having been raised Lutheran, I would not want to give up that Good God, the fount of limitless love.  And I would not like to believe that he could be defeated by some other god, so I’m quite willing to let him have omnipotence.  But the lesser gods, if I may call them that without getting struck by lightning, are emanations from the One.  They are the inherent intelligences placed into the cosmos by the One.  The Platonists did not give their God any other name.  He was (and is) One, and the impications of that number can tell us much about God and much about the cosmos.

First of all, One has no gender.  While the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths refer to God as male, the all-father, many of the most learned would admit that gender doesn’t apply to the Supreme Being in the same way as it does to us.  At least a few believers today consider God to be both mother and father of All.  It is all very well, when you are a man in a group of men, to talk about all men being brothers under the fatherhood of God, but the concept of “brotherhood” must extend to our sisters as well, and women are not only sisters but mothers as well.  As a Freemason I believe in the brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of God, but that is just a poetic way of saying that all humans are kin and we should treat each other as kin, with love and caring, not as strangers, and not as enemies.

Tall order.  We say that God is “the Father” in order to give stubborn minds a reason for believing we are all brothers.  Without a universal Father, many humans cannot grasp the idea of universal brotherhood.  That is because humans are more literalist than orangutans.  Sigh.  If you are capable of abstract and poetic thought, then we can safely speak about the One.  We feel that this Supreme Being (SB) is too impersonal without a name, so we give many names.  Because throughout history women were excluded from intellectual and publishing circles, we mostly have male names and representations of the SB.  Zeus, Jupiter, Ahura Mazda, Allah, Yahweh, the Lord, Vishnu, etc.  The Hindus have a more sophisticated system in Brahma, who is so vast and hard to describe that even if he does take a masculine pronoun, we cannot take it too seriously.

The reason the Great Goddess is taken to be less “supreme” than the SB is that she is identified with the whole Earth, but not the whole cosmos, and the SB is beyond the whole cosmos anyway because he is considered to have created it.  Now, personally, I adore the goddess Shava, the Great Star Woman, whose body consists of all the stars.  But her daughter Arda is the Mother Earth and her body is not only the material of our planet Earth, but all planets, all celestial bodies that are solid, and especially those that are rocky and coalesced as ours is.  Arda is as much present in the planet Jupiter as she is in Earth or our Moon or the asteroid belt.  She is a planet-goddess. Her daughter is Yavanna, and she is the goddess of the fertile growing earth — not of minerals but of the biosphere.

However, now is not the time to unfold the whole pantheon of the Elves.  Le me return to the One and the meaning of that number.

One is the sephirah Kether in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.  It is the SB, the pure agency of the Divine.  The way we are taught mathematics these days, it may not occur to you that numbers can have meanings beyond simply the quantity they denote.  But numbers have connotations, as all signs do.  One invokes Unity, which at once implies that there are many things which can be unified into a single whole.  One implies loneliness (see how the word has “one” in the middle?)  and so self-sufficiency.  In a world of animal species, there are some that reproduce with two sexes, and some that reproduce by fission or budding.  Some plants are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both sex organs.  But regardless, there is a twoness about reproduction and if God is One, then he must give birth by some process we can call budding, emanation, or fission.

The question that theologians have long pondered is whether God is male and gives birth to his own consort, or more often, whether God is the Great Mother Goddess and gives birth to her consort.  But there is also a third possiblity and that is that One begets two.  God divides like an amoeba and becomes two — the Lord and Lady of the witches.  These two become the archetype for all pagan gods and goddesses.  The pantheons of the world are full of divine couples.

The attraction of this explanation is that the SB remains beyond sex and gender, truly absolute and encompassing All potentialities.  The split forms the division into yin and yang.  The Kabbalists identified the One as Kether, the pure unmanifest and universal Will.  The first action of this First Swirling creates Hokmah which literally means “wisdom” as Kether literally means “crown.”  These names are symbolic and must not be taken literally.  Hokmah is often identified with the point, the dimensionless point in space.  However, I think this is incorrect.  Kether is the point and Hokmah is a second point making a line.  The line is symbolic of the phallus and the direction of will; therefore, Hokmah is the force called yang by the Taoists, the Divine King beyond the world, for Hokmah exists prior to the world of forms.  By “prior to” I do not mean in linear time.  Rather, the creation of the line from Kether to Hokmah is the creation of time in tht sense.

Nor, I should add, do I mean “prior” to denote superiority.  No sephirot is better than or more powerful than any other.  The sefirot are numbers.  No one thinks of nine being better than or an improvement upon two, for example.  They are accumulative and placed in numerical order, but this order is one of pure logic, not any sort of hierarchy of power.

While Hokmah is the male force, the direction of Will, we may also think of it as simply Attention or Awareness, or Knowing.  It is the fundamental way in which all things exist, as the atom “knows” how to compose itself and electrons “know” how to move about nuclei.  this fundamental “knowing” denoted bythe word wisdom or Hokmah, is the root awareness everything has which makes it what it is.  It has nothing to do with brains or learning; it is innate intelligence and order.

The masculine principal of awareness is joined to a second point.  The male does not literally beget the Female, but there is a sense when speaking of these cosmic forces (and not men and women) that the feminine force, the yin, comes from Hokmah.  This truth is symbolized in the story of Adam and Eve in which Eve is created from one of Adam’s ribs.  While feminists often take the story to be misogynistic and believe it implies that women are secondary and inferior to men, this is not the case.  Piority when speaking of sephirot merely means that the next cosmic force is emanated from the previous one.  One could just as easily say that the third sephirot is superior to the previous one but this would mean nothing more than the statement that the number three is superior to two.  We get confused by the use of the word “greater” and “less” when referring to numbers because we also use these words to refer to social power and rank.

The third sephirot is the Divine Feminine, the Great Mother.  She does not come from Hokmah (2) but from the union of Kether and Hokmah (1+2) and she is the number three.  If we understand Kether to be the point without dimension, and its extention to Hokmah a line, then their further extention creates a triangle, the most basic polygon possible within a plane.  This then is the essential meaning of three — that masculine and feminine proceeding from the ineffable Divine Being produce the first plane of existence, which we call, the Archetypal plane.  Hokmah and Binah are the type and full potentiality of every god and goddess ever brought into being.  Binah is the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine and the triangle — more especially the perfect equilateral triangle — symbolizes the Feminine.  The symbolism works on many levels but may most easily be seen on our plane of physicality in the triangular shape of the female pudendum.  This triangle is the place of generation, from which all things and all future existence emerge into manifestation.

The triangle of the Goddess has been called the mons veneris, or the mound of Venus.  But it was not with sexual love and reproduction that I embarked on this musing.  It was with the love of the SB for all of his/it/her children.  When we think of Theos (Greek for god), we think of a person, not an abstract force, much less the abstraction of the number one.  Kether means “crown” and the crown signifies authority and sovereignty.  This symbolic name of Theos is important because crowns are circular.  Therefore, the Kether of the Divine is not only a point, but a circle inscribed around it.  The circle is the first planar figure, the first shape, needing only one point to define it.  What is the radius of this circle?  The answer is that we do not know.  The sages have claimed that the One is limitless and infinite, undefinable and ineffable.  So, in a sense we may have to say that the circle’s radius is infinite, or even that it is impossible to measure.

The point within the circle is well-known as the symbol for the Sun in astrological and alchemical notation.  As the sun is the center of gravity, light, and life for our system of planets, so Theos is the ultimate Center whose power encompasses the whole cosmos.  Likewise the line inscribed by the extention of the point is also immeasurable.  Likewise the Triangle of Binah.  We can represent three as a triangle of finite proportions, but this symbolizes a triangle of immeasurable dimension.  Indeed, the triangle symbolizes an entire dimension, that of the plane or archetypal manifestation.

In the Tree of Life map of the sefirot, the supernal triangle formed by Kether, Hokmah, and Binah is mirrored in the next three sefirot, namely Hesed, Gevurah, and Tiferet.  These three are named Mercy, Justice, and Beauty.  Again the names are symbolic of forces in the cosmos.  It is worth noting that the seven planets of astrology are linked to the Sefirot, beginning with Binah which is associated with Saturn.  Now, the god Saturn seems masculine — a grouchy old father who likes to eat his children.  But again, gender is only symbolic.  Saturn (or Cronos in the Greek myths) usurps and perverts the mother’s womb by swallowing his children.  He does not actually “eat” them.  There is no cooking or chewing involved and the myth would have us understand that they are alive inside him.  It is easy to see how this mimics the fetus in the womb.

The key to this image of putting babies back into a womb from which there is no exit, may be found in the planet Saturn and its spectacular rings.  Saturn’s rings encircle the planet as if to enclose it.  Rings have powerful symbolic meanings for humans.  In the wedding ring, for example, fidelity and unity are signified.  The ring of a Freemason reminds him of his promises and the unity of brotherly love.  A ring symbolizes wholeness, and limitation.  Not limitation in the sense of being unable to do something, but in the sense of self-control, of limits placed in order to accomplish something that could not be accomplished without limitation.  Take for example the atom.  If the orbital shells of an atom’s electrons had no limiting force placed upon them, they would simply spin off away and we should have nothing but nuclei.  If the limiting forces of gravity did not exist there could be no solar system, and indeed no planets at all.

It is these limits that Binah represents.  The name means “understanding.”  How, you may ask, does understanding relate to limitations?  If Hokmah’s “wisdom” is the core act of awareness, then Binah’s “understanding” is the core ability to grasp what we perceive.  We can only understand what we perceive because things have limits.  There could be no distinct things or persons in the cosmos without limits.  So, this is what is signified by Saturn — comprehension, the encircling movement that allows our minds to grasp something and understand it.  Old Saturn swallows his children, but that story clearly emphasizes that the limitations he tries to put on his children are excessive and unnatural.  Too much limitation is bad, but some limitation is always necessary.

Hesed, who is born of Binah and Hokmah, is the male half of the second divine couple, and Gevurah is his spouse.  Thes names mean Mercy and Justice and their child, the synthesis of these opposite forces, is Beauty or Harmony.  This second divine “couple” is often given gender, but in this case the assignment challenges our stereotypes.  For Hesed (Mercy and Lovingkindness) is considered the male and Gevurah (Justice) the female.  They are polar opposites, Justice meaning the application of law based upon what is morally right; Mercy meaning the giving of pardon.  Hesed helps others, gives of himself expansively with magnanimity and without limit.  Gevurah puts a limit on this self-giving in order to give control and discipline.  Tifaret synthesizes the two extremes of the too-generous father and the over-limiting mother to bring about Harmony, which is the basis of Beauty.  Astrologically, Hesed is associated with expansive Jupiter and Gevurah with the sword-bearing Mars.  Justice — blindfolded and bearing a sword and a set of scales — expresses the fierce and unforgiving character of Mars, who will brook no assault or threat to his people.  The God of War is essentially the god who protects the tribe, the warrior.  Linking Mars with Gevurah in this way is illuminating because we then find that the warrior must be governed by law and justice, at the same time he is the instrument of justice.

Tifaret is associated with the Sun.  Lying at the center of the kabbalistic Tree of Life, Tifaret is the center and Harmony the force from which all else proceeds.  This triangle is the archangelic triangle, the triad of forces that act upon the lower worlds of manifestation, conducting the power of the supernal triad.  Note that the supernal triangle points upwards to the ineffable source of all power and light.  The archangelic triangle represents the plane of imagination and mind and it points downward toward Malkut, which is understood to be the material world.  Below the triangle of imagination,  another downward pointing triangle is composed of the sefirot Hod, Netzach, and Yesod, which are repectively associated with Mercury, Venus, and the Moon.  These three may also be thought of as the intellect,  desire, and feelings, comprising what is usually called the Astral Plane where thoughts, emotional feelings, and desires exist beyond physical manifestation, influencing and imprinting human beings within the material world.

So, in sum, the Kabbalah, gives us numbers and the triangle figures three times in its structure as the Divine is manifested in the cosmos.  When we see in ritual the repetition of three, we may do well to consider that they are symbolic of the triads within the Tree of Life.  These nine worlds all govern and shape the one world we see and think of as “the world.”  Our material existence is only one tenth of our being.  The other nine tenths are hidden from our physical eyes and only perceptible to the feelings, the mind, and the spirit.

Does God love his children?  Yes, I believe at every level there is love and concern.  But “God” and “Heaven” are far more complicated than  the Christian religions generally lead one to believe.  If we accept Kabbalah as one divinely inspired map of the heavenly kingdom, we find these higher planes or spheres to be full of polarized forces which may be balanced or may be thrown out of balance.  The flow of divine will comes to us through these spheres and all of the spheres are within our being.  This means that every single human individual contains the whole of the Tree of Life and even the violent death of the physical body and the end of material life in blood and suffering, does not end the whole being.  He or she continues on and will remanifest again in a new material form, entering into this fragile world that exists at all because of those cosmic forces of Mercy and Justice.  The triangle of powers may be perfectly in balance as an equilateral triangle or may be askew, out of balance to left or right.  These swings are part of the flow, in themselves neither good nor evil.  We may wish for a perfect world without evil and without destruction, but there is no such world.  Destruction is a necessary part of life in a material system, for what is born must die and dissolve.  This is no consolation for those suffering from disaster, I am sure.  Yet it is at least a comfort to understand that the play of powers is the nature of the cosmos to which the Allmighty gave thought and form.  Destruction is not always Just and Mercy is sometimes destructive, despite good intentions.

We humans are challenged by disasters and tragedy, violence and evil.  But we rise to these challenges in an attempt to restore balance to the sefirot an the nine worlds that form the tree, of which our Earth is the fruit.


Thaumaturgy, part two

Okay, after the distractions of the holiday, I return belatedly to magery.  In my previous article I aimed to consider terminology.  The mainstream development of English without words for magical concepts, has left us in a halting state when trying to communicate such.

I suggested the following definitions:

Wizard: (n) Any practitioner of the magical arts, male or female.  This word has no negative connotation and implies that wisdom and magery go hand in hand.

Mage: (n)  One who practices magical arts, male or female.  Pl. “magi”.

Magery (n)  The use of symbols, chant, music, words, and rituals in various ways to effect change upon oneself, others, or one’s environment. The use of such arts to bring about improbable or acausal results. Synonyms: Enchantment, Glamoury, Wizardry.

Wizardry (n):  Magery combined with wisdom and prudence.

Glamoury (n):  Magery employing the art of glamour.

Glamour (n):  A spell cast over the senses of another person to make them see or feel differently than they would using only their physical senses.  Note:  it really isn’t possible to perceive the world using “only” your physical senses because feelings and emotions always bias and warp one’s perceptions. Glamoury, however, is the deliberate intervention of another person.  In more mundane useage, “glamour” has become synomymous with the kind of cosmetic beauty and charisma of the fashion industry and professional fashion models.

Magic (adj.):  (1) Of or pertaining to magery or used in its implementation.  (2) A phenomenon without understood causes. An apparent breach of normal causal laws of nature. Also, “Magical.”

Thaumaturgy (n).  The practice of magery which draws the power of intention from the mage and directs in on an object.

Theurgy (n):  The practice of magery which directs intention through a divine intermediary.

Maleficium (n):  Magic spells intended to harm or manipulate others against their will.

Spell (n.):  A form of magery that employs words, incantations, or chanting.  May be supplemented by other ritual forms, the use of cachets, amulets, potions.  The spell is the basic and most general magical action.

Potion (n):  An herbal magical concoction brewed to embody and deliver a particular spell, often for healing purposes, or to induce certain emotional states, such as fear, love, or indecision.  Poisons are an extreme example of a magic potion designed to bring about death.

Poison (n):  An herbal extract or decoction, or raw herb, or a chemical of any kind which when ingested will bring about death.  Some would say this is a purely “natural” cause, not “magical” but that error lies in supposing that magery does not work by “natural” means.  (see “nature” and “natural”).  Though common, and often inadvertent, poisoning is not difficult magic because living organisms are very easy to kill.

Concoction (n):  (1) A combination of herbs and other ingredients brewed together to work magically to effect healing or some other result. (2) The process of making such a mixture or brew.

Decoction (n):  (1) The liquor extracted from an herb, plant or concoction of such for its essential properties. (2) The process of distilling and extracting such a liquor.

Nature (n):  (1) From Latin “natus” born.  The qualities with which a person, place, or thing was born into the world.  As distinct from characteristics or qualities added after birth through nurture and/or transformation. (2) The whole world of things unaltered by human intervention.  From materialist standpoint this idea excludes the spiritual dimensions of reality.  From a magical standpoint nature includes material, ethereal, astral, and archetypal dimensions, emanating from the Divine plane of existence.  Moreover, one may speak of the nature of ethereal or astral beings who, by nature, have no material form.

Natural (adj.):  (1) Having the unaltered qualities given at birth, without transformation by human arts.  (2) wild.  (3) The opposite of “supernatural.”

Supernatural (adj.):  Phenomena or qualities that go beyond (“super”) those inherent by virtue of simply being born.  Also, unusual, and beyond the ordinary.  Cf. “extraordinary.”  The concept is predicated on the idea that the spiritual dimensions of existence are not a part of “nature,” a claim that is demonstrably false.  The term “supernatural” is applied, by those not trained in magery, to ghosts (spirits) as well as divine, semi-divine, quasi-devine and other ethereal beings and their acts.

Ethereal (adj.): Of or pertaining to the ethereal dimension of a person, place, or thing; that is, the organic, living structure that connects material atoms and molecular structures to the astral dimension.  See: Ether.

Ether (n):  Also Aether.  An essential substance intermixed of the four primary elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), which is sometimes identified with spirit.  See: spirit; element.

Element (n):  Adj. “elemental.”  One of the four basic metaphysical components from which all persons, places, and things are constructed.  These four elements are Air, Earth, Fire, and Water.  They must not be confused with the ordinary meanings of those words, for they are metaphysical essences rooted in the archetypal dimension and extending in combination through the other dimensions.  Even divinities are considered to have elemental properties, though in fact it is the elements that emanate from divine qualities.  The divine dimension is considered to be a realm of Spirit or Ether, substance which contains all four elements in potential but united into the quintessence.  Not to be confused with the use of the word “element” in chemistry to denote distinct atomic forms.

Quintessence (n):  The fifth element, Ether or Spirit.  In Hindu terms it is called akasha.

Spirit (n):  From Latin “spiritus” breath.  The ancients considered that the immortal part of human beings could be expelled from the material body through the breath.  This was a logical hypothesis based upon the observation that dead men don’t breathe.  The concept of the breath was abstracted philosophically into the idea of an immaterial or supernatural body that would continue on after death into an Afterlife of some sort.  Among the early Greeks, this was visualized as the Underworld with places of torment and pleasure.  Among the ancient Hebrews it was conceptualized as a place of shades and shadows – ghosts.  Among the Hindu scholars, the Afterlife was to be reborn into another material existence.  According to this hypothesis, the reborn spirit lost most memory of its previous existences.  The Spirit aspect of a human being is thus consciousness extended in space and time farther than a single body or lifespan.

Soul (n):  A religious concept akin to Spirit but adding the hypothesis that the soul may be immortal and retain its memories and integrity after death.  While “spirit” refers to the substance of the immortal self, the soul is its ethereal vessel, carrying it from one material manifestation to the next.  “Soul” may also be understood as a complex of feelings, experiences, and memories that make up a personality and give it individual meaning.  In this sense, the soul is the element or substance of spirit arranged into complex patterns that make up the personality within a particular physical form.  The soul is thus always embodied, while we may speak of spirit as distinct from a material vessel.

Earth, Elemental (n).  Elemental Earth is not first and foremost the atomic structures of matter in a chemical sense.  The essence called Earth is the potentiality to have fixed form.  As such it underlies and makes possible all atomic and subatomic forms.  It is also manifest in geometric forms and so also number.  Finally, Earth is expressed in organic forms,  always in conjunction with elemental Water, Fire, and Air.

Water, Elemental (n):  The element of Water is the primal potentiality to flow.  It is manifest in physical bodies of water of all kinds, and also in bodily fluids.  As such it is essential to sexual reproduction, growth, and life.   Water is also manifested in subtler forms such as human emotions and feelings.

Fire, Elemental (n): The primary potentiality of motion manifested in physical motion, action, and the energetic actions emergent from emotions or urges generally called passions or desires.  In its most spiritual form, Fire manifests as will, the will to action.  In material forms it is manifest in heat and corrosive or digestive processes. Some ancient philosophers equated fire with life because warmth leaves the body upon death.

Air, Elemental (n):  The primary potentiality for invisible flow manifest in all gasses, the atmosphere, and in animal organisms, thought and communication.  The invisible flow of thoughts and ideas, pictures in the mind, imagination — all are elementally Air.  Moreover, of course, breath is also air, and for this reason the element of air is sometimes considered to be the most rarified and closest to Ether or Spirit.  It is a substance in constant movement like water, and easily moved by fire.

Classifications of Magery

Magery can be classified in various ways.  The first of these is the classification of magical abilities, or as is more correct Astral Abilities.  Each of these comes from the awareness of one’s astral body or the astral dimension of self.  There are eighteen.

Astral Sensitivity Ability to sense the presence of Astral beings or influences, such as enchantment, curses, blessings, sanctity, etc. May also sense the past presence of such forces (i.e., “traces”).
Psychometry Ability to sense information about an object, the maker of an object, or people who have handled it. Touching the object is required.
Mediumism Ability to link minds with other spirits in trance. Extreme forms of this ability can manifest as possession by Ethereals or even ghosts.
Telepathy Ability to sense the thoughts of others directly as if they were one’s own thoughts, and in more advanced degree, to project one’s own thoughts directly into another’s mind.
Empathy Ability to feel the emotions or physical sensations of another person as if they were one’s own. Rarely, one’s own emotions or sensations can be projected into another person’s mind and body.
Clairvoyance Ability to see objects or events that are far away. Distance is not a factor but the ability is limited to the present and does not always allow the clairvoyant to recognize where the object or events are.
Clairaudience Ability to hear objects or events that are far away. Distance is not a factor but the ability is limited to the present and does not always allow the clairvoyant to recognize where the object or events are.
Prescience Ability to divine the future, usually through visions that may or may not include an aural component. At a rudimentary level this ability may take the form of hunches and the ability to sense impending danger.
Charm The ability to project one’s will or personality over others to produce a certain effect. Most often this is manifested as the ability to attract others as friends or lovers by causing infatuation. It also sometimes manifests as an uncanny ability to put others to sleep or to calm people or animals.
Projection Ability to project one’s spirit into other places, persons, or things. This ability can manifest as “Astral projection” or shamanic vision-journeys, “out-of-body” experiences.
Telekinesis Ability to move objects by the Astral manipulation of gravitic forces. Ability to move massive objects or to move any object long distances is extremely rare, but it is possible to amplify and extend this ability artificially. It is the basis of gravitic propulsion.
Pyrokinesis Ability to ignite inflammable objects by the Astral manipulation of elemental fire.
Levitation Ability to Astrally manipulate gravitic forces within one’s own body. Applied to others, this is a form of telekinesis.
Healing Ability to spontaneously bring about healing of wounds, disease, or other illness. Usually requires touch of some sort. May include healing of Astral disorders such as possession or disassociation — i.e., the ability to exorcise.
Growth Related to Healing, the ability to cause unusual growth or regeneration in plants, animals, or rarely, oneself. In some cases a slowing of the aging process occurs, but the talent is usually discovered before this can be noticed.
Luck Ability to affect one’s circumstances in generally fortunate or unfortunate ways. Usually individuals have good luck or bad luck.
Bless Ability to affect  others for good by projection of astral desires. This ability is frequently manifested unconsciously, i.e., without the agent realizing he or she is doing anything.
Hex Ability to affect others adversely by astral projection of desire. This ability is frequently manifested unconsciously, i.e., without the agent realizing he or she is doing anything.

The second way of classifying magery is into the three principal types of effect, or modes of magery:  Transformation, Information, and Circumstanciation.  These can be explained as follows.

Transformations:  Acts of magery which change something about the object of the action itself, whether the object is the mage herself, another person, or an object of any other kind.

Informations: Acts of magery which draw knowledge and/or understanding to the mage, or which draw knowledge or sources of communication (e.g. books, teachers) to the mage, or to another person for whom the action is performed.

Circumstanciations:  Acts of magery which alter the circumstances of the mage or another person for whom the action is performed.  Circumstances are defined as all the causal forces at work surrounding a person, both physical and mental, that is those influencing  thoughts, feelings, and actions.

The third way of classifying magery is according to the purpose or field of the magery, as distinct from its mode.  Traditionally these fields are assigned to colors and the colors are used ritually as supporting symbols of the field of magery.

Red.  The body, blood, vigor, physical healing or disease, killing — in a military context especially.  Sexual attraction and urges, enthusiasm, love deeply felt in the body (from sexual intimacy or family ties of blood, e.g. mother love).  Buckland places charity in this field.

Orange.  Material wealth and strength, mental ego strength, pride, self-confidence, courage, security, and endurance, attraction of abundance, prosperity, success in work or career, investments, etc.  Buckland also places encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, and kindness here.

Yellow.  The mind and nervous system, thought, abstract ideas, logic, mathematics, learning, organizing ideas, theorizing.  Also charm or charisma, persuasion, applications of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and prescience.  Most Informations fall into the field of Yellow Magery.

Green.  Agriculture, fertility, plants, herbs, trees, growth, creation.  Also, in the U.S. this color is connected to money spells because our money is green (or is our money green because of the magical resonance of the color?).  Probably from this connection with money and fertility comes the use of green also in luck spells.

Blue.  Emotions, feelings, relationships, astral perception, intuition, divination of all kinds except astrology (for which see Indigo below).  Emotional healing, mental health, meditation, tranquility.

Indigo.  Sky and weather magic, flight, and space travel, ocean voyages, astronomy, astrology, and star magery of all kinds.

Violet.  Passions, i.e., love, hate, fear, anger, ecstasy, sexual lust, lust for social, economic, or political power, domination of others.

Ultraviolet.  Pure power and extremes or universals, often the attempt to become divine by means of self-transformation.  Often the magery of demonology and necromancy, the power inherent in the violation of taboos.

Brown.  The animal world, its fertility, fecundity, health, and nurturance.  Magery of animal husbandry, hunting, and animal familiars, guides, or guardian totems.  Also, transformation into and of animals.  While arguably not a color of the spectrum, brown is used to distinguish this field of activities from the more fundamental areas treated in the red field.  Also, used for spells involving homes and houses.

In addition to these nine fields (sometimes reduced to eight by including the brown field with red), there are three “colors” that are defined in relation to helping or harming and may be applied in addition to actions of the colored fields.

White.  Goodness and light, devotion to Deity, and helping others. Protection, peace, purification, truth.

Black.  Absorption of negativity or destructive power.  Rejection of goodness and helping others in favor of helping oneself regardless of the means used to do so.  Often devotion to demonic forces or entities and the use of theurgy in connection with such entities.  Magery motivated by revenge, and criminal or murderous intent.  Employed in a positive way, black may be used to banish negative or destructive influences.

Gray.  Magery grounded in philosophical and existential neutrality, denying the supremacy of both good and evil as traditionally defined, and therefore seeking a middle ground between the black and white fields.  Particularly devoted to magery of dreams, sorrow, and dispassionate contemplation of the cosmos.

So, there you are.


%d bloggers like this: