The aim of occultism— including arts like Manifesting, Create Your Reality, Tarot, Astrology, and Divination— is found in a classical axiom of Hermetic Magic: “Know Thy Will and Do It.”
This quintessential ability of the Magician is what we are striving to attain in any spiritual pursuit. We wish to know what our true Will is— that mode of activity which will bring us the greatest sense of peace, meaning, and fulfillment— and how to make our lives an instantiation of this essential purpose.
How do we do this? The occultist’s answer is through the alignment of the lower self with the Higher Self. The Higher Self sometimes referred to as the Individuality, Soul or “Holy Guardian Angel”, is the eternal aspect of an individual— the very essence of ‘you’, in non-physical form.
When we are aligned with the Higher Self, we experience “flow” state feelings like joy and a sense of meaningfulness, for we are executing our True Will. We receive inspiration and illumination from planes beyond ordinary consciousness, as though a Third Eye is open through which we may see the truth plainly, even when this truth is not immediately evident in the physical surroundings.
We also manifest what we desire on the physical plane, as alignment with the Higher Self “opens the door” for the force of the infinite Soul to enter into and act upon the material world.
Lift Up Your Thoughts
The basis of all esoteric doctrine is that the physical world is more like a mind than it is like matter, and it is for this reason that changes in the consciousness of the individual actually create changes in the world of form. Exaltation of consciousness affects an improvement of circumstances— and so it is the exaltation of consciousness which all metaphysical practice aims toward, from the most elaborate ceremonial ritual to the humblest daily gratitude list.
In order for the Higher Self to manifest through brain consciousness, the personality must be “tuned” to the same frequency as the Higher Self. The Higher Self is like the Sun that shines brightly in the sky whether we see it or not. It is always radiating. The human personality is like the moon, which may allow this solar light to manifest fully, partially or not at all.
The main task for any magician, manifestor, or spiritual seeker is learning how to facilitate the flow of power from the Higher Self— or perhaps more precisely, learning how to stop blocking and inhibiting the flow of these tides. We must subjugate the lower levels of consciousness to the higher, conditioning the personality so that it is a vessel that the Higher Self may operate through without hindrance.
The more control we have over our own psyches, the more powerful we are to create a world that reflects our desires. The mind must be like a powerful yet well-trained horse that responds instantly to the subtle direction of its rider. The senses must not mislead, and the passions must not blind. In this way, the attention may be turned and held upon that which is essential without interference from the inessential, and without an internal struggle against the carnal nature.
Let’s look at the various ways a magician enhances psychic power through training the faculty of attention.
Practicing Pure Awareness
In magic, we learn how to control the subtle, invisible forces that are behind the world of form. One must be able to free consciousness from the bondage of the material world, while at the same time retaining the power over consciousness, so that one may direct it at will.
A magician must therefore be able to remain consciously present in a state of “pure” awareness— that is, without any words, actions, emotions, or sensations for the mind to cling to. We may only raise consciousness to a higher plane when we can successfully inhibit the thoughts of the modes of consciousness of all the planes below it.
If we cannot detach the mind from matter, then stimuli of the senses direct it for us. Our attention naturally gravitates to thoughts with the greatest emotional charge— a fact of human consciousness which media and advertising industries are founded upon!
If we do not cultivate the ability to break the mind’s eye away from emotion, then our creative power will be dragged away by whatever stray hounds should cross through our psycho-emotional field. We will manifest haphazardly and accidentally, rather than deliberately.
Meditation builds up the strength of the “muscle” of consciousness. Practices like Vipassana or Presence Meditation help train the mind by bringing stillness to thought while simultaneously remaining alert. We must be able to withdraw from our surroundings without “checking out”. Through meditation, we may free the mind from the world of form while simultaneously keeping it our dominion.
Visualization: Training the Imagination
Once we have gained authority over the creative force of attention, we may use it to create the world we wish to live in. A magician creates change in a plane of reality by taking psychic action on the corresponding level of consciousness.
The image-making faculty of the mind creates the astral matrices that give rise to physical form. “Seeing is believing” is a common phrase that communicates a profound magical truth! The better you are at painting a picture in your mind of what you want, the more quickly this image will manifest in the outer world. Therefore, in order to be a great magician, one must become a great visualizer.
You may enhance your visualization skills by practicing seeing simple shapes within your mind’s eye. Begin with a square or triangle. See each side. What color is it? How big is it? Try zooming in and zooming out. Try to hold this image clearly and steadily for a whole minute within your Third Eye.
Next, pick an image that you know well. It can be a landmark like the Eiffel Tower, or your grandmother’s house. Practice seeing it in explicit detail in your mind. Fill the picture in with every color and texture. Try to hold the whole picture in your mind for a minute without losing it.
These practices will help you in creative visualization practices. When you can see what you want in your mind’s eye in as vivid detail as though it is really before you— then soon it will be before you!
Devotion: Activating the Emotional Faculty
The Magician must not be dominated by the tides of emotion, but that does not mean that emotion is excluded from magic. Quite the contrary— a prayer that is not deeply felt is totally ineffectual. An affirmation must touch the heart if it is to have any manifestational power.
Magicians thus cultivate a very subtle emotional sensitivity, taking note of those things, situations, people or environments which deliver great impact. The magician builds a ceremony out of colors which delight, music which uplifts, poetry which enchants, and people with whom there is natural sympathetic resonance.
These—and only these—are included because the state of being they induce within the Magician is indeed what makes the ritual effective. A magician may have the very most advanced knowledge of sigils, symbols, planetary correspondences, and metaphysical laws, but without the potentiating force of genuine devotion, the operations will be sterile.
Through this training, one brings the spirit, mind, and heart into alignment, and by the union of this trinity, gains mastery over the forces which shape his fate.