Again, here is a quick overview of the model we are discussing. Parts one and two of this small series deal with the first two angels of 'Intention' and 'Technique' within the triangle of Magic. The missing link of magical balance is called Awareness. Let's take a look at this final angle together and see what we can take from it...
3) Communication or Awareness
In consultancy language this is the angle referred to as Communication. What this means for a consultant is: Whatever you are trying to achieve and however smart you figured out how to get to the place marked 'X' on your map - you need to inspire other people to join you on this trip. Wherever you are planning to go, the journey needs to have meaning for everybody whom you want to take along. The longer or the more burdensome your journey, the more true this statement is. Simply put: As a consultant you are only as good as your impact is on other people. Nothing is achieved on your own and everything through other people. Trust, engagement, humility and openness in your communication are the silver bullets in the business. They are what differentiates a consultant who is great in designing neat concepts from a someone who actually impacts the bottom line. Little is achieved until you have inspired other people to make this their journey, rather than following you or someone else without belief. So what does this mean in a magical context?
The key lies in the aspect of relation and engagement. In the ability to establish rapport, encounter other people as diverse beings, with diverse biographies, skills and dreams - who all need to find meaning (or at least sufficient personal benefit) in the journey you are suggesting to undertake. When we work with spirits we need to do exactly the same thing: Understand their way of being. We need to be aware that they have a biography just like we do, that they that they have certain skills, personality structures and intricate relationships to other entities. In a nutshell: Its our own level of Awareness that determines if we can create true encounter with the spirits.
Let me make sure we are all getting on the same page here and quote a passage from Martin Buber. There is so much we can learn from his philosophy of dialogue - for interactions with humans and spirits alike. This example strikes me particularly fitting in this context:
I consider a tree. I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with delicate blue and silver of the background. I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce, with earth and air - and the obscure growth itself. I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life. I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law - of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate. I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation. In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.
It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number, indivisibly united in this event.
Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition, its intercourse with the elements and with the stars, are all present in a single whole. The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it - only in a different way. Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of relation: relation is mutual. (Martin Buber, I and Thou, p.7-8)
I guess, we do not need to know the entire biography of a spirit before we reach out to encounter it. We do not need to remember or forget anything in order to relate. We only need to create the right awareness - awareness of the simple fact that the spirit we try to commune with
"is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it - only in a different way."
So while complete knowledge of the spirit's skills, personality (i.e. energy) structure or relationships to other spirits is helpful to create awareness it is certainly not required. Actually, often this knowledge is only gained through the actual process of encountering the spirit - and even then it can take years of engagement and relationship. However, being aware of the things we do not know yet is essential. Spiritual beings - especially the more powerful ones - are just as complex beings as we are; often times even more so. That is why knowing what you don't know, avoiding tempting pre-conclusions, and keeping an open mind to engage, explore and understand who is 'bodied over against you' are keys to creating powerful magical Awareness.
At the end of the day it comes down to one thing: Your very own (astral) senses are the fine line between abstract theory and personal experience, between knowledge from books and authentic personal learnings, between thought and expression. A devoted heart (Intention) and the most elaborate Techniques alone won't get you anywhere unless you can actually judge and evalute the impact of your magical actions for yourself. You need to be able to see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears and taste with your own lips...
Personally I find it quite ironic that it took me more than a decade to realize that awareness of my own astral senses is the most simple angle to accomplish - way easier than intent or technique. It only takes a single step. Because we are all born with highly skilled and agile astral senses. We are born - and we are instantly 'in touch'. Unfortunately we are agile unlearners of all the astral skills we brought with us - and quickly forget the wonderful gifts we were given. Our astral ears still hear, our astral hands still grab and stroke - but we become blind to it. And what keeps us blind is our belief that opening our eyes is hard...
But the last angle of the triangle of art is simply called Awareness and not 'try hard'. It's so much more a form of letting go than reaching out for something new... It's all there, all present and open in front of us. The gift is with us. We have all senses, fully developed to perceive things for what they are. May it be spirits, humans or trees - all living encounters waiting to be made.