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Applied Magic is a selection of Dion Fortune's writings on the practical applications of magical and esoteric techniques. She explains that everyone has the ability to access the invisible planes of existence (mind and spirit) which cannot be perceived with the physical senses. Provides invaluable guidance to anyone intent on increasing their inner awareness. Chapters include: The Occult Way; Some Practical Applications Of Occultism; The Group Mind; The Psychology Of Ritual; The Circuit Of Force; The Three Kinds Of Reality; Non-Humans; Black Magic; A Magical Body; The Occult Field Today; and, Esoteric Glossary.
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The Mystic Way that leads to Divine Union is so well known that it is often forgotten that there is another Path, seemingly totally different in route that leads in the end to the same goal. We are so accustomed to hear the renunciation of the world and the abnegation of the self set up as the only true Path of the sould which seeks the Highest, that we hardly dare whisper that there may be another Path—the Path of the mastery of manifested existence and the apotheosis of the self.
There are two ways in which God can be worshipped; we can worship Him in unmanifested Essence, or we can worship Him in His manifested form. Both ways are legitimate, provided that in worshipping the manifested form we do not forget the Essence, and in worshipping the Essence we do not confuse it with the manifested form, for these things are the sin of idolatry, which consists in a wrongly-placed emphasis.
The mystic seeks to worship God in essence. But the essence or root of God, being unmanifest, eludes human consciousness. The mystic, then, in order to conceive the object of his worship, has to transcend normal human consciousness. It is not possible to know the inmost nature of a state of existence unless we can enter into it and share, in some measure at least, its experience. The Mystic, then, has for his task the freeing of his consciousness from its habitual bondage to form. It is to this end that the ascetic discipline is directed, killing out the lower in order that the higher may be set free to unite with God and thereby know Him. The Way of the Mystic is a way of renunciation till he breaks all the limitations of his lower nature and enters into his freedom; nothing then remains that can withhold him from God, and his soul flies upwards to enter the Light and return not again.
But the other Path is not a way of Renunciation, but a Way of Fulfilment; it is not a breaking away from the path of human destiny, but a concentration and sublimation of that destiny. Each soul which takes that Path lives through its own experience every phase and aspect of manifested existence and equilibrates it, spiritualizes it, and absorbs its essence.
The aim of those who follow this Path is to obtain complete mastery over every aspect of created life. But when we say mastery, we do not mean the mastery of a slave-owner over his slave. Rather do we mean the mastery of the virtuoso over his instrument; a mastery which rests upon his power to adapt himself to its nature and enter into its spirit and so draw forth its full capacity of interpretation. The adept who has gained mastery over the Sphere of Luna interprets the message of the Moon to the world and shows forth her powers in equilibrated balance. The kingdom ruled by the Master of the Temple is no absolute monarchy. He does not obtain that mastery in order to make thrones, dominions and powers serve himself, but in order to bring to them God’s message of salvation and call them to their high heritage. He is a servant of evolution; it is his task to bring order out of chaos, harmony out of discord, and reduce unbalanced forces to equilibrium.
The Vedanta teaching of the Eastern Tradition clearly distinguishes between the devotion to the Unmanifest God, the spiritual essence of creation, and the manifesting aspects, or gods. Identify the self with the partial aspects, which are the Yogjnis, and the various Powers (Siddhis) are attained. Identify the self with the Maha-yogini Herself, and man is liberated, for he is no longer man but Her. . . With what a man should identify himself depends upon what he wants. But whatever it is, he gets the Power if he but will and works for it.’ (World as Power, Power as Reality, by Woodroffe)
What ought a man to want? That is the next question we have to ask ourselves. The answer to this depends entirely upon the stage of evolution we have arrived at. The soul has to complete its human experience before it is ready for Divine Union. It must pass the nadir of the descent into matter before it can come on to the Path of Return. We are not ready for the Mystic Way until we are approaching the time of our freedom from the Wheel of Birth and Death; to try and escape from that Wheel prematurely is to evade our training. Like the racing yacht which fails to round the outermost marking-buoy we are disqualified; we have not fulfilled the conditions of liberation, which command that we shall shirk nothing and leave behind us only that which we have mastered, equilibrated, and outgrown.
It is a false teaching which bids us eradicate from our natures anything which God has implanted there, as false and foolish as ham-stringing a spirited thorough-bred colt because it is wild and unbroken. The love of beauty, the vitalizing urge of clean, normal, healthy instinct, the joy of battle, we should be poor creatures indeed without all these God gave them to us, and we may presume that He knew what He was about when He did so. Who are we to judge His handiwork and condemn that which He found good?
What God’s law forbids is the abuse of these things, not the use for the purposes for which they are intended. The Path of the Hearth-fire gives a far sounder and more effectual discipline of the instincts than the hermit-caves of Thebes, with their ascetic tortures and self-mutilations, doing violence to Nature and outraging God’s handiwork.
Frightened by the Elemental forces when he meets them unpurified and unprepared, the ascetic flees from what he believes to be temptation. It is a far sounder policy to equilibrate the warring forces in our own nature until we can handle our unruly team of instincts and make them draw the chariot of the soul with the power of their untiring speed.
The day will come for each one of us when we shall be freed from the Wheel of Birth and Death and enter the Light to return not again; if we try to put aside the Elements and their problems before that day dawns we are shifting our helm for the homeward course before we have rounded the marking-buoy; we are like the man who buried his talent in the ground because he was afraid of it. Our Lord will not thank us for our misplaced devotion to an unripe ideal, but call us unprofitable servants.