The Diviner's Cycle

My friend Hilary over at Online Clarity recently linked to my Magickian's Cycle post with her own comments on whether a similar cycle existed for those who use the I-Ching regularly.  She noticed that at times in her own life she'd become very enthusiastic about using the I-Ching, got some great reading, read regularly, then had a crisis, sulked, paused and repeated.  You can read the discussion that ensued within her I-Ching community.  I eventually chipped in with my own thoughts on the matter, which I'll repost here:

For those of you who aren't familiar with me (which I imagine is most) I work with ritual magick as my main spiritual practice, but also extensively use the Tarot and meditation as part of my practice. I find they each provides a different perspective, a different approach and different kinds of insights towards my overall progress in life… whatever that may prove to be.

A friend of mine once said that magick was learning to speak to the universe in a way that it could understand, while mysticism was learning to listen to the universe in a way that allowed you to understand. I think divination – in all it's forms – falls into the broad definition of mysticism. It is finding a way to allow yourself to be open to a deeper perspective, a fundamental understanding that goes beyond the self, the ego, our common everyday conscious understanding. There are times when this is easier – when the chaos and confusion of everyday life is at its lowest, or when for reasons passing understanding our local version of the Universe is particularly keen to speak loudly to us. There are also times when it's much more difficult – when we're stressed, upset, deep shifts are occurring (which we may be unconscious of), we are undergoing dramatic change, or are particularly ego-bound.

But I think there's a feedback between these stages. Having a fundamental, deep insight into ourselves, into events, into what is happening within our world right now will catalyse change. We won't be the same person we were before the reading or the moment of understanding… well, of course our authentic, eternal, self will be but our everyday walking-around ego will have shifted. And the more 'moments' like this we have the more insights our everyday ego will have to adjust to, the more change will occur, the more our ego may well fight against that change, and… the more chaos and confusion we have in our head and the more difficult it will be to make good, clear, readings until we have integrated the changes that are happening within us.

So my expectation would be – clarity leads to deep insight. Deep insight leads to change. Change leads to lack of clarity. Pause, calm down, integrate, become clear, repeat.

I've found the same thing in meditation practice – good meditation practice leads to insight. Insight brings change. Change is disruptive, and good meditation becomes harder. If I was better at the practice (hell, if I was better at life) I imagine I'd cope a lot better.

The first action most magickians will take in a ritual context is banishing – the purpose of this may be seen as pushing away external influences, but I see it's main use as to push away internal chaos and baggage. It's an attempt to create a clear space in the mind, to allow as much of the authentic self to be present as possible. If you're going to talk to the Universe it's best if it's the authentic bit of you doing the talking. It's not entirely uncommon to get to the end of a banishing ritual, stand at the centre and go 'you know, this is a bloody silly idea' and go and do something else instead.

One of the ways I visualise magick is to consider that life has a current – a flow of events that we are traveling along. However, that flow has turbulance withing it – disruption, random bad luck, moments of stalling. I would say that a good deal of this turbulence really originates within us, that our inner conflicts and lack of clarity becomes externalised as disruption. Magick can be very effective at clearing the turbulence – of freeing the current to flow more strongly. By shifting ones consciousness one is able to extend personal Will and push through the turbulence in harmony with the Will of the universe. Naturally, if one has mistaken the fundamental flow for some turbulence – if you're pushing against events you don't like but they are actually part of the flow – you're going to cause yourself even greater problems. A battle of Wills with the universe is really terribly unwise. Hence, insight should be an essential part of any magickal act.

The thing is though, in my experience, the kind of 'deep' insight I was talking about above which can come from a great divination session can seemingly have exactly the same effect. Shifting to a deeper, more profound, understanding of the nature of things in this moment seems to 'clear the way' (that is if your ego can adjust to the new level of insight). Deep insight generates spontaneous magick (which one could consider no magick at all). Oddly my most profound moments of this have been in an entirely other context – working in therapy. I've had a few occasions where I've experienced a moment of insight in a session, where a deeply felt need has come bubbling up through me with terrific force, and I've stated it out loud – to have that desire manifest just a few days later.

So insight, change, manifestation, chaos and confusion, adjustment, integration… to me they all spiral around through divination, magick, meditation, even therapy. And a frequently form a cycle which it takes time, practice and discipline to learn how to ride out.

2 Responses to "The Diviner's Cycle"

  1. -ZZ says:

    "A friend of mine once said that magick was learning to speak to the universe in a way that it could understand, while mysticism was learning to listen to the universe in a way that allowed you to understand."

    Clever chap, your friend.

    • warlock says:

      Indeed, although you wouldn't think it to look at him. Wise too, although I'm not sure he often realises it.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge