I have tried to make the case that ideas are more important than we usually acknowledge. They are more than just fleeting flights of subjectivity that pass through our minds and are gone. Thought forms are ideas on steroids.
They are also our creations, though I suspect they have other sources as well.
Thought forms are dependent on the people who generate the mental energy empowering them. Good or bad, they are expressions of human creativity. Take away our energy and focus, and they weaken. Some are positive influences in our lives, and their relationship with us is symbiotic. Others are negative, and the relationship is parasitic because they depend on our anger and fear for their power; anger and fear ultimately weaken us mentally, physically, and spiritually.
As I write this, I realize I am reframing a concept we all use: habit. There is more to a habit than particular synaptic connections. A thought form normally manifests to us as a kind of habit, bad or good, that acts as an external shaping context for how we live our lives and see the choices confronting us. Of course, some habits appear purely physical, such as an addiction to nicotine. But without getting in to the complex relationship between mind and body, it is clear others are mental.
We experience habits as to some degree independent of our selves, even invasive. I want to suggest this description is more than a metaphor. Those with mediumistic talents, like Lark, are more open to such invasions, with the strange resulting phenomena I described in the first post. We all exist in reciprocal relationship with habits, however.
In my second post on this topic, I argued our society is essentially caught up in an assault by thought forms of domination and Power — addictive “habits” of thinking in those terms, if you wish. If this is the case, what does this analysis tell us about to how to cope? Most importantly, what can we do as Pagans and Witches to help?
I think there are two things we should all try to do.
At the personal level
First, as best you can (and believe me, I do not always succeed), do not generate fear and anger in situations where your emotions cannot possibly change what is making you angry or fearful. (Example: reading about a terrible thing some right wing nihilist has done.) In other words, sometimes there is a place for anger and fear, but their use is always costly, if sometimes worth the cost.
Use care, caution, and resolve – yes, indeed. But avoid fear and anger. They feed psychic energies that need your and others’ fear and anger to survive. Look at the rantings of so many on the nihilist right today, and you see appeals to these negative energies combined with an enormous self-righteousness. They are addicted to this way of thinking. I read “Conservatives are angry about…” and wonder — when aren’t ‘conservatives’ angry at those who are different from them?
When we are dominated by these powers, they shape our perceptions. History is filled with cases of the oppressed who rise up to become oppressors. When they lacked power, Christians and Communists alike often dedicated their lives in service to humanity or some other positive abstraction, only to commit horrible crimes when they finally attained power over others. They easily became tools and vehicles for Power, and in many cases were entirely corrupted and, for Communists in particular, even themselves consumed. Keeping our motivations as open-hearted as possible insulates us from the corrupting influence of these energies.
Meditation can help greatly here, and many Pagans meditate. One very important result of meditation is to begin separating ourselves from identification with our thoughts. This is particularly true for those disciplined enough to have a regular practice. In a sense, we live in an mental-energetic “eco-system,” and our minds provide better or worse environments for certain mental energies. Meditation and similar practices help us cultivate an environment where negative energies are less likely to receive sustenance.
I dip into and out of meditation myself, but I am always better off when I exercise the self-discipline to do it.
A magickal practice
This brings me to a second suggestion, a magickal one. The following would be a good working by a closely knit coven and can also be done by a single person. (I suspect, better a single person than a not-so-closely knit coven.) I will describe it as an individual working, and people in a strong coven could easily adapt it. If you cannot figure out how to apply this to a coven setting, you likely are not ready to do it in a group.
If you have an altar, do this in front of it after asking for help. Light a candle, or do anything else that helps you separate yourself from the cares of the day and focus on sacred space.
Sit with good posture. Think of a string starting at your root chakra and rising up through your crown. That is how straight your back should be, but with relaxed shoulders. A chair is okay. Be comfortable, but not so comfortable you might space out and fall asleep.
Think of someone for whom you deeply care. Better a beloved friend or relative than someone to whom you are sexually attracted, but if you are thinking of a romantic partner, keep your focus at the heart level.
Visualize the person you care for sitting in front of you.
As you sit, with every intake of breath visualize yourself breathing in the Lady’s love, or whatever other form of pure love seems most appropriate to you. Breathe it into your heart. Allow it to remain there on the out-breath. Don’t force it to stay, however. In time, it may radiate out from your heart. No problem. Just keep breathing that energy into your heart.
If it helps you, think of breathing in a beautiful clear blue color with qualities of love, harmony, peace, equilibrium, and good will.
After you have concentrated that energy for a while in your heart or heart chakra, with every out-breath breathe love out through your heart to surround the loved person in front of you, immersing them in energies of love, safety, and understanding. On in-breaths, take more loving energy in from where it had been coming before.
The reason for this part of the working is to put you in as close a connection with as loving an energy as possible (but it is also a very nice gift for the person you visualize).
Now visualize a person you believe to have been blinded, possessed, addicted, or entranced by the negative energies I have been describing: a right wing nihilist, religious or secular: one who sees, experiences, and understands his or her world as dominated by some mixture of power, hierarchy, fear, and subordination. Very few see the world entirely in this way, and many are wonderful people when they are with those with whom they feel comfortable. (Many of us meet them in our families at Thanksgiving!)
Visualize the addicted person standing behind the seated person you have encased and surrounded with loving energy.
Enlarge the field of your love/safety/understanding to include the second, standing person. Surround them with this presence/energy. Be entirely nonjudgmental. Do not try to read or change their minds. Do not try to send them thoughts. You are an open conduit — but it is very important to be aware you are sending to them and not receiving anything from them. In this working, do not breathe in anything from either of the figures you are visualizing in front of you. If you feel anything coming from them, gently but quickly disengage. The energy here is one way.
Again, you are giving, they are receiving. This is particularly important for figures you do not know and trust and are not personally friendly with. You are giving them energy to dissolve their connection to a very bad habit. Be patient.
After a while, when you begin to wonder just how long this will last, or your attention begins to wander, gently disengage.
Repeat from time to time. Always gently. Always patiently. Think of how patient the Gods must be with us.
You are helping these people remove themselves from the fear and anger that attracts these energies. Your own state of mind is critical in this work. If you are agitated, impatient, or angry, do not do this working. It will not help you or them.
Done right, you are strengthening what exists of their own capacity to love and be free from fear. You cannot change their minds and attitudes any more than they can change yours, but you can strengthen those parts of who they are that are most able to separate themselves from these powers. You are helping them become better able to disengage from mental habits – thought forms – that do them no good in their own lives and enable them to injure others from ignorance. But the choice is theirs.
I would avoid focusing on national figures unless you know them personally. Many have made fortunes in relationship with powers of domination. They are far removed from their better natures. But the rank and file mostly is just afraid and has no personal investment in a powerful authoritarian movement and the subjugation of others. They are far better recipients.
As a very nice side effect, you will also connect better with your own capacities for a clear mind and an open heart, something I suspect we all can benefit from more of.