I began this series last year with The Pentacle Approach to Wellness in Dark Times, offering a magickal framework for creating a harmonic balance between the physical, mental, will, emotional, and spiritual bodies. This concept is symbolized for Witches by the Pentacle, an encircled five-pointed star. As the fires of summer solstice burn, I find I am finally able to continue this series with a look at the element of Fire, and Highest Divine Will.
The Mechanics of Magick
It has been said by modern-era mages that true magick – magick with a K – “is the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” That quote was by Aleister Crowley, whose Thelemic maxim, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will,” is believed to have influenced Gerald Garner’s ethical guideline in The Rede of the Wicca, “An it harm none, do what ye will.”
Personal will vs. Highest Divine Will
What do mages and witches mean when we talk about the Will?
I immediately think of my personal fires; of the yellow solar plexus chakra radiating like the sun at my center. The Will is the “engine” of my being – drive, action, oomph, verb. There is a difference between my personal will and my Highest Divine Will. My personal will may be short-sighted by the little needs of the moment. Like, my will to eat this pizza; my will to possess the shiny new Iphone; my will to shag the sexy stallion who just sat down next to me at the bar. Or maybe its my will to keep jogging until I lose 10 pounds before bikini season, to reach the summit of this hike, or get that promotion at work. In my microcosm, personal will compels me to do whatever it takes to satisfy what my ego wants, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is just a smaller part of the ultimate thing.
“There is a single main definition of the object of all magical ritual. It is the uniting of the microcosm with the macrocosm.” Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice
Highest Divine Will is what the greatness of the interconnected-to-macrocosm me needs at the most epic level. My Divine Will compels me toward my destiny, fueling the achievement of my sacred mission, the spiritual purpose to my existence. I unite microcosm to macrocosm through magick by aligning my personal will with Highest Divine Will. This taps the source of power that creates the Universe – and the magus becomes the conduit for that power.
Pentacle Approach to The Will
My will is how I apply my fires to all the other aspects of myself: my vision, my emotions, my physical strength, my spiritual mission. When I attempt to define the Will, I inevitably choose words that evoke the other parts of myself. Again, the holistic nature of existence is interwoven at every level, just as the Pentacle depicts. To use this power of Highest Divine Will safely, I must be in healthy balance on all levels.
My Will fuels what I’ve set my mind to…my ideals, the vision I’m driven to manifest.
My Will acts upon the deepest desire of my heart….my passion, the emotional power behind that vision that stubbornly prods me to rise from the mat and keep fighting for that thing , no matter how many times I’m knocked down.
My Will compels me to pour my energy, my resources, my very sweat, bones and flesh into The WORK my spirit was sent here to do. My Highest Divine Will is the marching orders, my commission as a Divine warrior, and the war machine I need to win every battle set before me.
My will is my fire; and when my personal will is in alignment with my Highest Divine Will – when my power flows freely from microcosm to macrocosm – I wield the most powerful tool in creation: magick.
Point 3: Element of Fire – Wellness of Will
Balancing through The Great Work -Beltane to Lammas
In my Wheel of the Year ritual system (pictured above), from Beltane to Litha – the sabbat associated with the element of Fire – I work to kindle the fires of my will and apply them to whatever Great Work intention I’m working on that year. Then from Litha to Lammas, as the heat of the summer blazes to it’s height, I surrender anything that is hindering my progress. The trick to this method is in discerning the balance between feeding the beneficial fires, without burning out or blowing up.
To Will and to Surrender
As the Hermetic Principle of Polarity informs us, everything in the universe is a range of possibility containing both extremes. Fire is primarily considered masculine and in the “Pyramid of power” system of magick, is associated with how we apply our Will. That is its active, projective mystery…charging forth like a warrior into battle to create all that change.
The flip side of the mystery of fire, the passive, receptive, feminine and less obvious lesson, is about surrender. Think about the log on your bonfire. The fuel that is burning must surrender to that catalyst so that its raw material is transformed into something amazing. When we surrender to the fires of Highest Divine Will, all that does not serve that sacred mission is burned away. Our impurities and weaknesses are transmuted into power. What remains – like a sword in the forge – is stronger, purer, and sharper.
Rekindling our fires during dark times
Surrendering what isn’t good for us, isn’t the same thing as “giving up.” During hard times, when we feel powerless to change the lousy things happening to us, or in our society, it is easy to feel depressed and let the wet-blanket of hopelessness smother our fires. I’m a Pisces sun, a water sign. I feel things very deeply and am sensitive to the feelings of the surrounding world. This makes me prone to puddling. Over the course of my life, I’ve come close to drowning in my own puddles of despair a fair few times. Witchcraft provided me the tools that helped me climb out, dry out, and find my spark again.
I think this spark of fire is the hardest part while feeling blue, because the watery sides of ourselves are drowning it out–we are receiving too much and holding the blargy energetic refuse of the world in an inappropriate and ineffective way. For wellness on all levels there must be a balance of giving and receiving, active and passive, out-flowing and in-flowing. When we engage with our inner fires, it is an active, out-flowing moment that helps us escape the puddle of depression. Like a warrior, we accept a mission, armor up and strike out; This is when we go DO THE THINGS.
Ask what your Highest Divine Will is for your life. What is the sacred mission that you came to this earth to complete in this lifetime? You are an incarnate God/dess with access to infinite power. Being granted a body to live here on earth is never a mistake–its more like winning the jackpot–and the Grand Plan includes something amazing for you to do; I can assure you that just laying down to wallow in despair wasn’t it.
Take action, enjoy life, claim your victories
As anyone that has ever been depressed will tell you, getting up and doing things may seem an impossible feat. Be kind to yourself. Every little action and victory counts. What is your passion? How shall we indulge our free will today? Maybe that is a hobby, maybe that is your studies of the Craft, or learning to cook, but give yourself permission to enjoy that passion a little bit every day.
Fires and the Solar Plexus Chakra are also associated with the muscles. Find some kind of physical exercise you like, and do that regularly. Perhaps this is simple stretching, taking a walk around the yard or neighborhood, a yoga or tai chi class, or going dancing. Witches are known to spontaneously dance around the yard at all hours. Don’t hold back now.
Fire burns and consumes; it moves. Fire NEEDS the interaction with oxygen and fuel to even exist and cannot sit still. Engaging with our fires requires an extroverted effort, which is tough on some folks but is necessary to a comfortable degree for you. Make social plans of some kind. Even if you don’t feel like it, find whatever level of social-ness you can manage and do a little bit. Maybe this is studying at a coffee shop, or the library. Maybe it is making dinner plans with just one other person, but make an effort.
Every day, set a little goal, and then accomplish it. For example, going to the market to buy the ingredients for that fabulous dinner you’ll make in the earth exercises.
Exercise: Fire Breathing
- Build a fire in a fire pit, or the hearth, or a plate full of tea-light candles. Sit by the fire, get into your meditative state while scrying into it.
- Reach out with your Spirit and deeply connect to that Fiery energy, breathing in deeply and slowly while imagining a red light filling you to the count of four–hold it til the count of four.
- Exhale slowly to the count of four, while surrendering all hindrances to your full-activation and motivation being burned away by those fires…purified, tempered.
- Hold your breath for a count of four. Repeat this square pattern of 4 breaths until you feel fully energized.
- Dance around the fire. Bang a drum with wild abandon. If you have a partner, now would be an excellent time to make love!
Exercise: Sun Soaking
- Make a solar brew and drink it! Apple cider mulled with cinnamon, clove, allspice and orange slices is traditional at Yule, but is a solar infusion that helps me banish the darkness. I like to add all the ingredients to a large glass mason jar with a lid, and allow to brew for a few hours in the sun, then strain off the herbs.
- Prepare it and take it outside to sit in a sunbeam with you. Sit in the direct sunlight, with as much skin barred as possible, and imagine your open chakras letting that light pour into them, soak it up. (beware sunburn…wear sunscreen, and stay about 30 minutes.)
- While you are out there, take stones associated with solar plexus and FIRE, like citrine, sunstone, yellow and orange calcite, fire agate, golden tigers eye. The metal IRON is really helpful, too.
- After your brew, your stones and yourself have all had a nice sunbath, drink up, and wear your stones in a pouch near your Solar Plexus Chakra (just above the navel, below the sternum.)
Exercise: Take out the Trash
The magickal art of surrender is about releasing all those things that weaken us, that no longer serve our highest good.
- We can actually take out the garbage–the stinky, bogging refuse in our spaces. De-clutter the house by donating old crap you don’t need. Clear out the junk drawer, or that one closet of shame you hope no guests ever open. We may not be able to oust the politicians we don’t care for today, but we can go organize the garage and sweep it right out. Go wash the car and show yourself who’s boss in your own driveway!
- Physically, we can exfoliate our skin, do a juice cleanse and flush out toxins from the body.
- Emotionally, we can take out the trash by overcoming our addictions; to junk-food, to caffeine, alcohol or baneful habits; addictions to fear, anger, and toxic relationships. In the Water exercises (coming soon) I’ll include an emotional bond-breaking spell-working.
- Spiritually, we can clean and prepare a fresh altar. I always feel better after scrubbed out all the bowls, dusted the statues, and laundered the altar cloths. A great way to engage with fires is to light the candles and incense. Ritual is the “DOING THE THINGS” part of witchcraft. I always feel better when I lay an offering of flowers and liquor for Aphrodite and Hermes on my fresh altar.
Visit an Instructor or Trainer
Remember that if you are having a hard time, I always recommend the team approach: magick is best applied alongside the care of skilled professionals. Before beginning a new physical exercise regime, consult your doctor, and then work with a trainer, or other qualified instructor – like a yoga teacher. This can be immensely helpful to avoid injury and design the physical exercise program that is most effective for your needs.
As the fires of summer burn, may we also burn brightly!
I’ll update links as they are posted, stay tuned for a look at the lessons of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.