I learned something crucial this week. I learned an essential thing about the difference between a leader and a follower: In order to become a leader you need to satisfy your own desires and still your own fears first. If you don't, you will always be a follower to your own wishes and fears. And the leadership you can provide to others at this point will be nothing but a reflection of what you desire or fear for yourself...
But true leadership is helping people to get where they thought they could never go. Not to get them where you wanted them to go.
So the problem with leadership is that in order to provide it you have to mind and finish your own business first. The great leaders I was fortunate enough to witness over the last weeks all had one thing in common: They achieved a state of being that allowed them to focus on others. Their leadership had stopped to be a reflection of what they desired to receive themselves.
Maybe the metaphor of a gardener can be helpful here? A gardener spends a lifetime planning, perfecting and supporting a garden. Each plant, each season, each change deserves its own time and approach. Nothing is rushed and nothing is held back, but fostered only to express itself in the most beautiful way that is possible for it. A gardener doesn't create a thing in his entire lifetime, but provides a space in which the beauty of things can express itself. A gardener provides space for creation, rather than filling it himself.
At the same time a garden will never say 'Thank You' in return. The flowers will never look back at the gardener and bow down in awe. As he hasn't done anything for them, except for allowing themselves to become who they truly are. I guess the gratitude of flowers and children is never expressed in direct rewards. The gratitude of flowers and kids is expressed in who they have been able to become, due to the freedom of fears and of weeds, due to light and soil and nutrition. A garden says 'Thank You' by what it is or isn't.
What if they are the plants in our lives and we are the gardeners to give them space - rather than space to ourselves?
Maybe this is what I learned this week: You need to be a grown up yourself, in order for others to get something from your support. You will spend a lot of time in the shadows if you dare to become a leader... But you will be surrounded by sunlight and by the beauty of the things you gave space to grow.
Now, what does all of this have to do with Magick you may ask? Fair question. And I would answer that this is about nothing but magick. How can you still your desires and fears, if not by ascending above the veil of Paroketh and stop identifying with your persona(s)? What beautiful and powerful tools has our Western lore prepared for us in order to become better gardeners... and start the work in the gardens of our minds and bodies - before we turn to anyone else.
One of these keys for me is to experience the forces of planets and spirits in our own bodies while in ritual. To create a sense of awareness that our mind is filled by and working of forces that are connected to but essentially different from us. When I am one with Jupiter I am Jupiter, when I am one with Venus I am Venus. But when I banish and leave the circle, I leave myself as Jupiter or Venus behind. And I am humbled by the experience, the direct encounter of these powerful forces in my body and mind. Yet, I always return to the small circle of my own consciousness in the end, humbled and a hopefully a bit less self-centered after each rite...
So the key to me is that magick helps me become a better gardener - by not craving for what isn't mine. Because I have experienced the essence of Jupiter directly, I don't crave for his reflections in Malkuth no longer. Because I have experienced the essence of love in the embrace of Venus, I stop to crave being loved by every person I encounter. Because I have experienced the power of Mars in rites, I stop to crave being powerful myself. So many wishes and fears are taken away from me in rites. And as I finally learn to embrace myself as a vessel, my mind stops identifying with the matter that fills it at any point in time... If I walk through the garden and see all the beauty around me, the beauty or ugliness of myself becomes meaningless. And this is how I can be free of myself.
Here is the tune that inspired this post... Thank You to the wonderful Micah P. Hinson:
Constantly protecting what isn't mine / Constantly protecting what isn't mine / Names on the wall / And ghost chatting down the hallways / Constantly craving what isn't mine / Constantly craving what isn't mine / Hands on the shelves / And wall run down the well / Tell me it ain't so / Tell me it ain't so / Constantly craving what isn't mine / Constantly craving what isn't mine / Names on the wall / And ghost chatting down the hallways / Tell me it aint so / Please tell me it aint so / Constantly parading what isn't mine / I've been constantly parading what isn't mine / Tell me it aint so / Please tell me it aint so. (Micah H. Hinson - Tell Me It Ain't So)