Copyright © 2003 by William Mistele. All rights reserved.
Problems in the Study of Magic, Part I
These comments refer specifically to the Bardon system of magical training and have some application to other magical training systems as well. But I am talking about real magical training. Lots of individuals, I notice, are not doing real magic—they are doing “pretend magic.” They are doing a social thing such as “let’s belong to an organization, esoteric society, or order” where they in effect work out on the playground swings rather than engaging in a life long discipline that engenders encounters with power and profound mystery.
There is nothing a matter with social activities engaged in by a group of people sharing common ideals and spiritual purposes. Group interaction can be incredibly powerful in terms of transforming lives and maintaining rich traditions. It is one thing, however, to work within the limitations and agendas of a group. It is another thing to prepare oneself to work as a spiritual being capable of accomplishing divine missions without reference to the religious and esoteric affiliations of a particular culture and tradition.
The purpose of this set of essays is to place magical training within this larger context. I think of magic as a way to discover and to make one’s best choices in life. It puts you in touch with what is original and with what produces the greatest transformations. I also think of genuine magic as not a short cut or way to speed things up so that you get what you want more quickly. Rather, it slows things down so you get your actions right the first time around.
If it is the case that magic brings into focus and clarifies the most important things we should be doing with ourselves, then the question arises as to what extent we should make magic a part of our lives. I know some individuals with great magical capacity who in my opinion really should not be doing magic. For them, this is a time in which their task is to develop their personalities and to be a part of this particular age of the world. Any contact with magic produces negative effects. In that magic draws them back into modes of thought and feeling that belong to other ages, magic becomes a regression and an indulgence that ends up wasting their lives.
For others, magic is exactly the right discipline that keeps their lives in focus. It is a challenge and an excitement that they can find in nothing else. But even so, if the excitement and enticement is too much, magic becomes like a femme fatal—it wrecks their lives. And then there is the case of Shakespeare’s character Prospero in The Tempest, the individual who has problems that only magic can solve. Forge your wand, will, or word of power, solve the problem, and then, wisely understanding your own limitations, lay aside this power and return to live a life worth living without the temptations and strange preoccupations of a magical vocation.
Let’s take a look at some of the costs and difficulties that may arise for those who are considering the practice of magic as a life long vocation.
Problems with Magical Equilibrium
If you study carefully and wisely so as to build a solid foundation for your practice, we are told you can avoid serious imbalances. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that this is possible. With great care, you develop equally your physical, astral, and mental bodies. You master a physical posture, body breathing, and working with life force. You develop your astral equilibrium bringing into balance the four elements in your astral body both as pure energy and as psychological understanding. And you develop equally your five senses and concentration on the mental level.
Sounds good. But even so, one day you start practicing an exercise and you find it is like second nature. It is like you have been practicing it your whole life or have mastered it in many different lifetimes. It is like breathing it is so easy. And then you start another exercise and nothing you do, thirty, forty years of practice and you make absolutely no progress. Or, if you do gain some results at one time in your life, at another time you find yourself going backwards. Everything you accomplish through hard work vanishes and you have to start over again and again. And the reasons for this remain incomprehensible.
There are individuals who can sit down and empty their minds of all thoughts for ten minutes and they do it almost the first time they try. There are individuals who can gather energy into their body through pour breathing to the extent that their bodies begin to heat up the first time they try the exercise. And then there are other individuals for whom these basic exercises are next to impossible. Nothing they do seems to get any results.
Be that as it may, my point is that if you do serious practice, you will eventually find areas in which you are far advanced sometimes even beyond all the teachers you meet. What happens then is that this unusual level of skill in one area—physical, astral, mental, or spiritual—by its very existence puts great strain and stress on other areas. Can you concentrate like a master? Then you can also burn up your life force in a few moments generating serious physical illness with this power of concentration.
Do you discover you have psychic abilities of a phenomenal nature? Your personality can then become profoundly confused due to your ability to sense, feel, and perceive in other dimensions or in ways that have no relation to your everyday experience or the world in which you live.
Do you find ways to vastly increase your life force and level of health? Gee, do you then end up like the great yogi, Swami Rama, who at his institute would play tennis all day long wearing out numerous partners because he just had all this physical energy to burn up. Or, does the energy run wild through your chakras causing all sorts of wild emotional and psychic disturbances from out of control kundalini? And these are simple, straightforward problems that occur within your own body, mind, and emotions without regard to the more complicated matter of interacting with spirits.
What happens is that serious magical practice accelerates your karma. Maybe in your life cycle over a thirty or forty year period you will have to come to grips with conflicts involving well-being versus insecurity, vulnerability versus self-confidence, love versus hate, trust versus suspicion, compassion versus selfishness, clarity of mind (even enlightenment) versus disorientation and domination, wisdom versus obsession and folly, inspiration versus depression, commitment and dedication versus stagnation and lethargy, etc.
What the magic does is that you find yourself confronting these issues not over the next thirty or forty years but in the next two or three years. It can be a heck of a ride. Do you take to drugs or alcohol? Do you get depressed, anxious, distracted, or hyperactive? There are all sorts of programs for working with various addictions and/or obsessions. Perhaps you moved a little too fast in your training but now you decide to slow down and catch up on your homework--round out your personality, gain more balance, and shore up the weak areas in your emotional life.
But some of these karmic problems you have evoked into your life through magical study have no solutions within this age of the world. This means no psychologist to turn to, no minister or priest, no mage or sage, no psychic healer or shaman is going to have the faintest clue as to how to help you. Oh, they will suggest all sorts of things and offer you remedies that give you temporary relief. But the study of serious magic (the kind that puts you in touch with creative and divine power) is not like Alice Bailey imagines in one of her images—you discover on your path that there are many other fellow students beside you and with you as you cross over a spiritual lake as the fog lifts in the morning. No, magic is not quaint, warm, and reassuring.
Magic is an original encounter with akasha. It is you--your will, inspiration, and resources of training and experience--up against something utterly unknown. When you work with the fifth element of akasha, you are not just upgrading your intuition and perception. You are in contact with the entire universe and everything the human race has done and experienced and everything the human race has not yet imagined as well as things it will never experience while in its present phase of evolution.
They do not tell you this—the universe is a very big place and we as a human race have barely begun to read the preface to the book of wisdom. No matter how ritualized, systematized, institutionalized, or laid out in a step-by-step guide, magic is always exploratory. You are crossing a boundary, leaving behind the familiar world, and entering the unknown.
The chakas are psychophysical energy centers in the human body. They exist primarily on an etheric and astral level. There is no mental component to them, though they are very easily shaped and activated according to an individual’s or a culture’s background and experience. That is to say, if you think of chakras in a certain way they will actually shapeshift and reconfigure according to your preconceptions. Like any form of energy flow, like water in a glass, or fire in a stove, they respond and they act according to the constraints placed upon them.
They involve deep instincts, primal emotions, and lots of psychic perception and power. In magical training, one way or another the chakras become involved no matter how much an individual attempts to concentrate on purely mental or spiritual levels.
Different systems usually conclude that there are seven major chakras in the body. The first chakra is often associated with a point just above the perineum and relates to the earth element. The second chakra relates to the sexual center in the body. The third is in the region of the solar plexus. The fourth is the heart chakra. The fifth is the throat chakra. The sixth is the third eye. And the seventh is the crown chakra.
One view is that the chakras are actually located in the spine and function in a similar way to the stem or roots of a flower. The blossoming or unfolding of the chakra then occurs more toward the center of the body as the chakra becomes more active. That is, the energy moving through the spine interacts with and transforms the rest of the body moving from the spine into the center of the body and then outwards from there.
Different spiritual systems often view the chakras according to their own perspective and goals. Though Tibetan Buddhism utilizes a great deal of sexual/tantric imagery in its art and practices, this imagery is so idealized that the second chakra is completely disregarded for all practical purposes. One in six Tibetans was a monk or nun. They were celibate and like Catholic priests, received literally no training or practical information regarding the role of sex with all its related aspects of affection, contentment, happiness, repose, emotional bonding, and physical intimacy.
In the Western world, by contrast, the first chakra is almost completely ignored in certain regards. One aspect of the first chakra deals with being aware of and circulating vitality and life force through the body. I know Taoists who spend hours every day consciously focusing on following the chi or life force as it moves through the meridians of their body. As a result, certain Oriental systems have developed over the millennia precise sets of exercise movements that strengthen some of the routes of inner circulation of chi according to their cultural and spiritual interests.
Imagine if Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, or Sartre had grown up with internal practices like these. They would not have spent so much time whining and complaining about the difficulties of finding meaning in life. The life force itself is charged with harmony, meaning, and inner union with the universe. The West has suffered greatly because of its lack of internal awareness and ignorance of the spiritual dimension hidden within the physical body.
There are a variety of ways, some accidental, that over stimulate each of the chakras. Bardon’s third chapter astral exercise with the earth element might do it or just practicing anyone of the mental or physical exercises. Different things trigger different effects in different people.
On an astral level, when the first chakra starts to unfold or become activated, it feels like a huge serpent is beginning to uncoil at the base of the spine and move upward in the body. It is a gigantic, massive, and very dense energy. For some, however, the energy begins to arise but they only sense it indirectly through disturbances in feelings, dreams, obsessions, or an inability to concentrate.
Over stimulate your first chakra at the base of the perineum and you may feel that your body has become twice as heavy or you may just want to go sit down and not move for hours on end. You are leaving behind the pace of everyday life and becoming aware of geologic time—you feel a part of nature and somehow distant from mankind. Or, you may feel like sailing around the world, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, etc. Anything will do to get rid of that anxious feeling that comes when the physical body begins humming with this deep vibration of kundalini surging through the nerves and muscles.
Or, you may withdraw from contact with others to practice yoga or some form of meditation or wish to enter a monastery because you no longer feel a need to interact with others. What might cause this? I notice actually four “petals” or dynamic states of energy and awareness within the first chakra. There can be a sense of weight or heaviness such as great Aikido or Tai Chi Chuan masters develop who are so grounded even weightlifters can not pick them off the ground.
There can also be an intense awareness of the inner body such as chi kung or yoga masters develop. In other words, this aspect of the first chakra generates a disposition and temperament that is very introverted and completely comfortable with immersing the mind within the bodies internal energy flows. Another aspect produces an intense awareness of one’s physical environment such as martial artists possess or Special Forces trained in covert operations. There is a superb alertness and sharp mental perception of the immediate external environment.
And there can also be an acute concentration in which nothing disturbs what you are focusing on—the owl without thought waiting in the darkness for a rodent, the wolf tracking a scent, or the physicist in the Manhattan Project focusing his entire being on producing a bomb designed to destroy entire cities. This is all first chakra stuff.
In effect, the first chakra produces a blind desire to be a part of nature. This can be that sense of the survival of the fittest, the law of the jungle, that says you do what you need to do to get what you want. There is no reflective ability and no moral consciousness, only the pure desire for domination—the will to power that is conscious of anything and everything necessary to insure its survival.
Do not get me wrong. Survival is a spiritual imperative. Those who ignore this imperative often forfeit their spiritual license to practice. As one character in the movie Queen Elisabeth said, “The dead have no rank.”
The reverse of this, of course, is that if your first chakra becomes stimulated you may want to be dominated, to throw in the towel and let someone else take control of your life. For those with this primal and primordial energy welling up within them, there is a great relief that comes in joining a church or esoteric order where they let someone else tell them want to believe, think, and how to put their lives together. The dominating force of the external group quells and tranquilizes the anxiety within them.
Stimulate your second chakra and you may develop sensual cravings and obsessions for gratification that arise from the depths of the animal kingdom. You may become hypersensitive so that your nervous system suddenly responds to faint electrical impulses, the mood of the neighbors next door, the onset of a storm, the low pulses of an earthquake a thousand miles away, or that someone died long ago in a room you walk into. Get used to it. You start refining your nervous system so it can sense faint and obscure energies and this is what you start doing.
The second chakra when stimulated produces blind desire for sensual gratification. Its like a whirlpool--intense sensations and emotions pass through you but you do not learn anything from this and you undergo no change. Sensory experience is a veiled distraction from the inner void that sucks away your life. The human race is very weak in this chakra and suffers collectively from a profound lack of inner peace.
As a magician it is up to you to produce in yourself a calm serenity and inner beauty that continuously renews and transforms you from within. Never forget that without happiness and contentment in your personal life you will be sailing without a compass through a dark night. Never let your thoughts, ideals, or beliefs confuse you for a moment about what makes you feel happy and what brings you satisfaction.
A number of spiritual training systems try to get their practitioners to erase their personal memories and wipe clean the sets of desires developed from past experiences. This is an absolute mistake as far as the second chakra is concerned. Your personal past is your custom designed key that opens the door to the archetypes and the mysteries. Throw it away and whatever great things you accomplish in your spiritual practices, they will not belong to your path in life but rather to someone else’s.
Those with strong and balanced second chakras can tell just by their feelings whether something or someone is right for them. They do not have to think. They already know—the second chakra possesses a brilliant and unrivaled awareness of the inner flow and natural rhythms of life and how to renew yourself from within.
The archangel Gabriel presides over this second chakra with its close ties to the moon and lunar cycles. If anything, Gabriel possesses a divine vision and certainty beyond all doubt and an authority that overrides all accidents, errors, and mistakes in life. By literally standing in the Presence of God, Gabriel asserts that in due season all desires will be satisfied, all dreams fulfilled, and all ideals realized.
The trick in part is to realize that on a certain level within yourself all your needs are already met. You can feel it and sense it because Gabriel’s consciousness encompasses all ages of the world and all that will unfold through time. Just do not try to make your inner vision or dreams materialize tomorrow or according to some preconceived schedule. Do that and you end up like the fanatics who concretize their ideals and dreams thinking they can force Divine Providence to make them its agents. So they go around blowing up buildings and people so great is their desperation, their lack of spiritual will, and the absence of inner peace.
Stimulate your third chakra and you may feel that others should and sometimes they do bend to your will even when you say and do nothing. Or you may find yourself breaking into a rage because they do not respond to your will. Ever meet a salesman with an uncanny power of persuasion? That individual could be influencing you through the force of the third chakra that directly interacts with others’ astral bodies. What might set this off? Try Bardon’s practice with the fire element.
The third chakra stimulated produces a blind desire to engage and interact with others on a personal level whether this involves love, friendship, communication, or just doing something together. Ever notice how upset or angry someone can get when you fail to say hello? People like to be validated. There is a blind, that is, unconscious urge to connect to others. Fail to connect and you put your psyche at risk.
The point of human contact and communication is often not the content of what is said as much as the simple acknowledgement of each other’s presence. Wild animals have greeting rituals for any member who returns to the pack after being gone even for short periods. So do human beings. It may be a hello, talking about the weather, or just nodding as you pass by.
The point of the third chakra, whether involving the intimacy of personal love or the dynamics of problem solving, is to act in a clear and straightforward manner so that you fully express yourself and deal effectively with the situation you are in in this moment. Get this primal energy too strong and you go around offending others without being aware of it. And then you wonder why others gang up on you or retaliate against you for no reason that you can see. Have weak primal energy in this chakra and you feel vulnerable and left out as if life is passing you by. It is passing you by. Learn to communicate and express yourself. There is no short cut here. You learn this through experience.
The fourth chakra, the heart chakra, when stimulated produces a blind desire to experience life vicariously through others. You may feel the sorrows of the world weighing upon you—all that suffering and you feel it as if it is your own. You are so sensitive to others needs and desires you can barely resist trying to do everything you can to make them happy. You are sad, you cry, you feel others’ pain.
Or, on the other hand, you may become fanatical and single-minded in your obsession to convert others to your cause—become a Christian, become a vegetarian, buy Amway, see the light, join your group which is like no other group, etc. You want to say to others, “You should do what is so obviously right.” And, “Why can’t others see it the way I see it?” Hindu’s call the block in the heart chakra Vishnu’s knot. Instead of gaining real empathy for others, an individual feels an emptiness in himself and tries to control, manipulate, convert and save others in order to fill that void in the self.
Over stimulated heart people are also vulnerable. They often can sense what others feel and think how others think. But they usually are not able to assert themselves with persuasion and clarity so as to bring about fair and balanced results. But watch out for the negative individual who can sense your feelings and thoughts. They have no reservations about manipulating you to accomplish their ends.
They talk to you like you are their life long friend. They treat you like you are the most important thing in life. And then they wait patiently until they hook you and then they bleed you for everything you are worth. Some con men are so effective because they actually believe that the lies they tell are true. This is the dark side of the heart chakra and many, many, many gurus and spiritual teachers fall within this category. They believe in their tradition and are quite willing to rip others off taking everything they can from their students and followers.
Stimulate your throat chakra and you may gain a blind desire to make things happen. You may even find yourself suddenly creative, full of new ideas, and possessing charisma and spontaneity. You bring the world to life around you. But then again you just can’t seem to slow down. Everyone has to move at your pace. You are on the go but there is no off switch or low gears and down shifting is not a part of your emotional transmission.
There is no moderation, no gentleness, and no nurturing embrace. Its electric, kinetic, and without soul. Do this long enough and you will burn out and find yourself hiding out somewhere asking yourself what happened to your life. What happens is that you never take the time to find what brings happiness and beauty to your personal life so that after you wear out everyone around you you discover your fuel tank is on empty.
Stimulate your third eye and (well, this is the whole thing in Bardon) you gain the power to control, create, shape, and dispense energy. You begin to toy with fate itself. You may feel that there is nothing you can not influence to some degree. Do this long enough or too much or too fast and akasha will deal you a card that says, “Go back and start over from the beginning.” You have broken basic rules of the physical, astral, or mental bodies and if you can even get back your life, health, and well-being that you once had before you got into magic you are extremely lucky. Serious mistakes in magic can set you back for a lifetime or longer.
The third eye produces a blind desire to master the hidden forces of life. A student once asked a martial artist who was living in Honolulu if there was anyone who could defeat him. His reply was “only if that person is not a human being, because I am able to neutralize anything human.” Some individuals just have a flair for the occult, the esoteric, and the magical. It is second nature. It is who they are. Some things are too real, too obvious, and too practical to explain to others. Some individuals live within the realm and power of the third eye and they never talk about it unless you happen to ask them in the right way at the right time.
The problem with the third eye is that if you are not practical, grounded, and very healthy you can end up like Don Quixote—wrapped up in a world of your own imagination. “How are you?” You ask a magician. He replies, “I have been trying to help a group of beings suffering in one of the lower astral realms. They have made me their savior.”
Or you ask someone else, “How have you been doing?” He answers, “I have discovered that there are twelve kinds of UFO’s that have been flying over my house at night. Some of very positive and some are malicious.” No doubt. But there is no end to this sort of thing. It is hard enough to interact creatively with the world that the rest of us share in common much less getting caught up in inter-dimensional spiritual quests and missions.
I told someone one time that if you are going to study in a magical order, ask those in the order what they have accomplished recently on behalf of mankind. If you are going to spend thirty or forty years of your life pursuing magic, you should be able to do things that transform the world. Otherwise, think about joining the Lion’s Club, maybe golf, or how about running a marathon? You get more for your money without having to journey through the wasteland of self-deception and narcissism where so many spiritual organizations dwell.
To be enlightened (which is one aspect of the third eye) is to see the world as it is. Imagine then the absolute absurdity of the Dalai Lama’s personal monks training to be enlightened without taking courses in international economics or military history? No wonder they lost Tibet. There was a window of opportunity existing for a hundred and fifty years in which the Tibetans could have developed international recognition and acceptance of their culture and cause. But they completely, totally, and absolutely missed the opportunity and karma caught up with them. Losing your country is not a good idea for anyone.
The Crown Chakra
Stimulate your crown chakra at the top of your head and you can get a blind desire to unite with something greater than yourself. We hear the words of the crown chakra all the time. They talk about uniting with God, embodying divine virtues or the four qualities of spirit—love, will, wisdom, and consciousness. They talk about surrendering your will, getting right with the Lord, or even Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss.”
Stimulate your crown chakra and you can become very dreamy. This is not the same thing as becoming trapped in your own imaginations. These are genuine visions, beatific ecstasies, prophetic and psychic dreams--the whole Neptunian otherworldly outlook on life that sets in. Then again, you may sense everything that can be and is meant to be but feel woefully incapable of doing anything to bring these things into manifestation.
Or your conscience becomes overdeveloped. It is so easy to feel guilty or you feel charged to accomplish certain missions or actions while possessing none of the real preparation necessary for these things. You want to do far more than is in any way appropriate for your level of development. You know what is right but you are incapable of doing it.
The crown chakra has the task of overseeing and inspiring us to develop and seek experience and transformation in the lower six chakas. If the crown is too strong, however, it draws us away from the world. You may want what you want so much you can no longer even tell when you are being negative. Only what you dream of is real.
But if an individual does not have enough primal energy in this chakra, (and you have seen this many times), you find individuals who never transform. They are locked into one level of consciousness and no matter how much they experience in life they never change. They are condemned to repeat the same experiences over and over.
These are a very few of the problems that come from working with energy which is so much a part of the Bardon training system. I have certainly experienced all of the above imbalances as well as much more. In particular, my mental concentration early on developed far in advance of my physical training. This leads to serious problems with headaches and head tension. There is simply not enough life force in my body to sustain the level of mental activity I am so capable of easily engaging in.
In addition, imagine being able to sense the thoughts or feelings of anyone anywhere or any spirit—to do it more quickly and easily than it takes some individuals to turn the pages of the newspaper. This can be related to clairfeeling or telepathy. But this means also that your astral body vibrates with the feelings of whatever person or entity you are connecting to. The other’s energy gets inside you and as a matter of fact it is not always very easy to get it out. This can result in becoming very passive or overly influenced by spirits not to mention the disorienting impact of dreams and visions on your everyday life.
Since Bardon is not immediately accessible, that is, he is not physically present, you may find that talking to a “master” about a problem can be rather difficult. You may get some helpful suggestions from time to time from various “masters.” But most “masters” do not have the faintest clue as to how to deal with some of the difficulties that come up in magical training. They simple lack the depth and breadth of exposure to the intricacies of mind, body, and feeling that arises in working with the four elements on the four planes.
(See also my essays, The Shadow in Psychology and Magic, Introduction to Faery Tales, and The Earthzone as a Spiritual University).
First and Sixth Chakras
Among other things, there are sets of chakras that balance each other if only because they are opposites. The first chakra deals with health, developing a vast abundance of vitality and life force, and being very grounded, practical, and down to earth. It makes you solid, stable, and enduring.
But it does not help you see what is coming in the future. It lacks foresight and oversight. You may have a great way of life, a noble and rich tradition, but guess what? All things change. You can stay put and one day you will be destroyed or you can learn to move with the movement of life.
This insight, wisdom, and enlightenment come from the third eye. Here in the third eye you have dreams that warn you in advance of the preparations you need to make to avoid disasters. Among all those Orthodox Jews, all those witnesses and holy men of the Quabbalah, why were there no prophets who warned about coming disaster of World War II? Or perhaps the holocaust was indeed the Jewish gift to mankind warning us--a dramatized, enacted prophecy if you will--about what would soon befall the entire world with the advent of the nuclear age?
With the third eye, you not only know when to hold on and when to let go. You know why change occurs and how to work with it and prepare for it. The first chakra then needs the contemplation, introspection, spiritual training, and vision quests that the third eye centers upon.
On the other hand, those with overdeveloped third eyes are often worn out. They burn up their energy indulging in inner vision and psychic perceptions. They use their spiritual siddhis and powers not for sacred activities but often for personal and selfish ends. Like the city managers who embezzle city funds or like the gentile prophet Balaam with a personal connection to God, they take advantage of what is designated for public benefit and waste it trying to fill in for what is lacking in themselves.
Or, because they so easily burn up their personal store of vital energy, their use of psychic and spiritual abilities are very restricted. Though they possess immense spiritual potential, they never use it or they use it with little creativity because they sense intuitively that to do more would throw their lives into disarray.
Those who like to camp out in the high and distant spiritual mountains of the third eye might consider how much more they would get out of life if they occasionally vacationed down into the valleys of the first chakra. In the first chakra is this immense emphasis on health and well-being. You learn to put aside all your inner dreams, all the mythical and spiritual quests, all the divine missions—you put it all off to the side.
And then you learn about physical exercise—aerobic exercise if only going for long walks or hiking. Weight training where you learn to develop all the muscles in your body. Stretching where you learn to become aware of how to relax and unwind those tightened muscles. Diet where you give you body a chance to eat some nourishing foods. And then there are the various kinds of physical exercise such as Tai Chi or Chi Kung, etc.
These are things where you consciously cultivate the life force in your body not through magic but in organic and natural ways. And you learn to do all of this so it is your first priority and foremost objective. Then when you return to third eye activities your dreams and visions are far more universal, deeper, and more complete because you see now with greater strength and endurance.
Over the years I have met so many psychics who are really scattered brained, mentally disturbed, and sickly that it begins to become quite obvious that if you want balance in your life you learn to study and make your opposite part of yourself. The third eye is like this incredibly wise man who sees the beginnings and ends of all things. And the first chakra is this incredibly beautiful woman full of life and natural beauty. She gives herself to him because she knows their children will possess the strength and wisdom to transform the world.
Well, I will tell you, it just does not happen that way in life. But if you want inner balance in yourself, if you want strength and practicality combined with divine vision and insight that transform the world, then unite these two opposites within yourself. It is essential for magical equilibrium. And the will of a magician is always an equal (let me say that again--equal) combination of masculine and feminine perfectly united. There is no gender conflict here and no sexual politics. Its your soul. Make it the temple of God.
In a similar way, the second chakra or sexual center is the opposite of the fifth or throat chakra. Those with very positive and strong second chakras know how to let go, to flow, and they possess an inner peace with the universe. They are accepting, supporting, and nurturing. Around them you feel renewed and happiness happens spontaneously.
But I will tell you what the second chakra does not do. It does not say, “I am going to post a little note over on the church door with a few suggestions about how the church might be improved.” It does not say, “I am going to talk to the King and Queen and see if I can get some funding to see if there might be a better route to India.” It does not say, “I am going to mess around with some metals and see if I can’t invent the electric light bulb.”
It does not say, “I am going to attach some wings to this bike and see if I can’t get this contraction off the ground.” It does not say, “I am going to attach this engine to this frame and see if I can’t get this cart to move without a horse.” It does not say, “I am going to drop out of Harvard and see if I can’t fool IBM into thinking I possess an operating system so that I can become the wealthiest man in the history of the world.”
These are things the throat chakra does. It takes some sort of insight, a vision, a dream, an urge or an impulse, and it makes something happen with it. It is the realization of the dream, the manifestation of the ideal, and the application of the all too real technology that no one else has bothered to set in motion. It is the person who says, “I am not going to live my life this way any more. I am going to change things for the better starting now.”
The throat chakra has courage. It has faith and conviction. It has charisma even if only quiet and subtle. It is the connection between the invisible and the visible, between the past and the future. It is that empty space exactly where the spark arcs between two opposites, between what is and what can be.
When I read the Old Testament, I will tell you, I see only one thing—that God likes friends and searches for them through the whole earth. And these friends become if nothing else, like the Holy of Holies, an empty space where through incomprehensible pure faith the world as it is meets the world that can be. Let the peacemakers of the earth be so empty that they can see the thoughts in the minds, the feelings in the hearts, and the secret dark desires within the soul of those whom they find amid conflict. Let them then speak with a voice of thunder and also with the peace that is as deep as the depths of the starry night.
You want justice on earth? Put aside your conspiracy theories and take your head out of the sand and instead unite every opposite in yourself. Then those in conflict will willingly walk beside you as you guide them into a new world. And they will do this precisely because you can face the fear in yourself that they can not face within themselves.
Nevertheless, what have these prophetic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam lacked above all else? They have lacked insight into and union with the second chakra. Possessing faith and vision, they have turned against nature and the natural rhythms and cycles of life. Blind and fanatical, lacking inner peace with the universe, lacking above all else actual and genuine faith that their visions will actually come about. The Jews no longer have the faintest idea how to train genuine prophets. The Christians haven’t the faintest idea as to how to interact and enter the spiritual world as active participants.
The Islamic religion possessed the highest science, mathematics, and medicine on earth for a thousand years. And yet it has now turned its back on science and education so that a single country in Europe such as Greece translates more books into its native language each year than do all twenty-two Arab nations put together. The cultural arrogance and vulnerability among the Arabs are astonishing. Yet all three of these prophetic religions lack the pure and genuine faith that is at the very core of their existence. And so they cling to rigid beliefs and narrow-minded interpretations.
And then again, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism did not have an historical experience in which for a thousand years every generation had prophets who could challenge the king or emperor based not on tradition but on divine law as did Judaism. These Oriental religions are pretty the same as they were thousands of years ago. Other than a few exceptional practitioners, they feel no compelling desire to transform the world when their past already contains such rich inner treasures of mind and spirit.
But in terms of chakas, of balance and harmony, these four Oriental religions lack the throat chakra’s power of faith and conviction. And so out of China, India, and Japan come no inventions of the airplane, of electricity, the automobile, the telephone, no spaceships, nuclear fusion, no antibiotics. They did not eliminate small pox from the entire planet, as did scientists and the political technologies of the West during the twentieth century.
The second chakra is like a woman of incredibly sensuality who offers pleasure, bliss, ecstasy, and delight to her lover. And the throat chakra is like master whose work transforms the world. She gives of herself to him without holding back because in her devotion she senses an inner bond and connection in which they are one. Her gift to him touches everyone he touches through his work for his inspiration and conviction would turn brittle and crack without her soul overflowing from within him. The brilliance and beauty of their union is all too obvious.
Now unlike the wise man and natural beauty of the sixth and first chakras, I do see this second and fifth charka combinations occurring all the time. It is Michael Douglas marrying Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is the Oriental grandmaster marrying the young and devout student. It is Tom Hanks marrying a woman who does not mind sacrificing her career for their marriage because, unlike so many modern women, she just is not the jealous kind. Her inner peace and trust are too great. And this was before Tom Hanks started winning all those Oscars. But the same applies to men also. How many men are so insecure they can not endure being with a woman who is more creative than them?
Again, in magic as in life, the opposites combine if there is going to be any real creativity. We use electricity produced from electro-magnetism to run our modern appliances. The electric component is like the fifth chakra. The magnetism is like the second chakra. If you fudge on one, if you say, “No, I like the electric so much I am no longer willing to embrace magnetism,” well, then you lose your voltage and power. The relationship becomes a business contract. And the kids grow up unloved. Then again, thank all those women who divorced their husbands seeking freedom and independence. They inadvertently, as in the movie, Kramer versus Kramer, forced the men to then become friends with their children for the first time. Love is equally important to everyone whether they know it or not.
Unlike Michael Douglas and Zeta-Jones, you may not be able to get a real balance of electricity and magnetism, of yin and yang, in your relationship to another, but you can always get it within yourself. Fail to do so and you lose your path in life. A true and genuine path of life is always easy (it is the quiet and relaxed serenity of the second chakra unfolding naturally and without effort) and yet we must always strive hard to attain it (for it is also the dynamic power and conviction of the throat chakra that willingly steps into an unknown future crossing over on a bridge built out of pure faith).
The dynamics of the third and fourth chakras are real simple. In the third chakra, you assert and express yourself. You take care of yourself. In the fourth chakra, you take care of others. You take care of them as if they are yourself.
In the third chakra you solve problems and meet your personal needs. In the heart chakra, you harmonize not only all your conflicting needs, for needs invariably conflict with each other, but you harmonize the needs of the world around you.
With a weak heart and strong third chakra, you may be a bully. Or you may be direct, honest, and straightforward, but you never really get around to understanding those around you even if you have known them for years. You just don’t have that kind of empathy or curiosity for that matter.
With a strong heart chakra and weak third chakra, you have great empathy and understanding of what others need and want, but nothing really comes of it. You mother and support but where is the tough love and why have you been so oversensitive and vulnerable? And why do you feel your efforts on behalf of others go unrecognized and unappreciated?
Those with a combination of strong third and fourth chakras have the most experience in and with life. They know what is going on with others and they have actually done a great variety of things with others so that over the years they acquire great experience. A friend asked me a few days ago, Why do people divorce? Well, gee, I used to volunteer as a divorce mediator. I happened to have a lot of personal and original insights into that question.
He also said to me, You know, people know so little about their family histories. There are only a few sentences I could say about my great grandfather’s life. What can you tell me about your great grandfather? I asked in response, Do you have a half-hour? Gee, I just happened to do many hours of on-going interviews with my parents about everything they can recall about their lives and our family history.
You want to develop empathy and communicate effectively? Start with yourself and the people around you. Ask countless questions and don’t stop asking. Several Oriental masters taught me things they had not taught anyone for twenty years or even ever before. Why? Because I was the only one who ever asked them to.
The heart chakra kind of magician tends to be more mystical, kind of like the archangel Raphael’s healer and inspirer. The third chakra magician is more the archangel Michael’s practical “let’s solve the problem and remove the obstacle.”
Put them together and you get a man or woman with a great heart who also has great power and is cordial and friendly. You can not fool them or put something over on them because they know you too well and won’t let you get away with it. And their presence is a persuasion all of its own. They have gone through places in the soul where you yourself have been unwilling to go. Experience is the best answer when it comes to an argument.
The Crown Chakra
As for the crown chakra, as I have mentioned, it oversees and inspires the development of the six lower chakras. If it is too strong, you get dreamy and otherworldly. Spend more time balancing your checkbook, make some money and pay your bills, work in the yard, and get some exercise.
If it is too weak, you are really in a big rut and need to get out of it. And get rid of that attitude that “the world owes me.” That’s what got just about everyone into prison. Those on a negative path share in common one attitude—they fail to be thankful and appreciative for all that life has given them. They have lost their sense of wonder and awe at the mysterious beauty that is all around them. That and not malice is their defining characteristic.
One of my characters in one of my stories about a mythical kingdom once summed up his experience with the crown chakra this way. The voice that speaks is from that Neptunian crown chakra perspective that perceives all that exists as being inextricably bound together and united in one web of life:
One day, when I was in despair, I called out to the Lord of the Universe. I called to the great Father who dwells beyond the Starry Vault. And yes, He did answer me.
Appearing to me in a waking vision, His fingers touched my chest. Looking downward within my body, I saw for the space of three hours within my heart all the stars and countless galaxies revolving and whirling throughout the universe.
No planet, living creature, spiritual being, comet, meteor, nebulae, or particle of dust was not present within my awareness. This was His way of revealing to me what He has concealed within the human heart. Then He spoke and said, “I will let you in on a secret no god or goddess or religion on your planet yet comprehends--
“The most hidden purposes in life and the highest revelation of the Light are revealed when you are attracted to the very thing that is least like yourself and that you regard as the most inferior. Look for the secrets of the future and for self-renewal within the darkest place within your soul.”
And then He added casually: “I will give you a second tip that follows from the first. It is a basic principle of cosmology: The universe will not end until every heart is found and every soul becomes pure light.”
And another character spoke of the crown chakra in these terms:
There is a beauty and harmony which is released by attaining
a balance between time and eternity, knowing these two to be one
circle, one world. See from a place of pure transcendence so
you understand how to order an individual’s life within the world
so that beauty and light may be found.
Remember that what is dark and obscure is but a hidden
pathway of wisdom that may be opened if one's heart understands
and knows the goal is Love--the Love which sang the universe into
The entire universe is found at the center of each person's
heart even as the circle weaves together the four elements at the
center, uniting them in harmony, transforming them into light, so
too all our paths lead back to the center of the circle, all our
paths lead back to each other's hearts now and throughout all
The universe was created in wonder and in love. The stars
share this secret--of being reborn in each moment, fusion on the
inside, light shining on the outside to the rest of the universe.
If you have been granted an ideal which contains Love and
Power, Wisdom and the manifestations of destinies within it,
cherish this ideal--find a place big enough in your heart to hold
it and sustain it, to nourish it, and to weave it as a goddess
weaves a soul into existence that it too in due time might find
its own path of rebirth.
Let the fires of Life which burn within your heart, let them
burn with the purity of the stars--know as the stars know the
vastness of space, and do not fear that vastness nor that
emptiness nor that solitude. As the stars sing to each other in
one Song of Joy, so let your own heart be united to all others
from out of that same interstellar depth of space and time.
Yet trade no moment of life for another moment of life!
Each moment is equally precious.
My point in mentioning these balancing relationships between opposite chakas is that sometimes we need to put aside the things we are best at in life. Take some time off—a few minutes a day, a day every month or so, a month every few years, a few years every decade, or even a decade or two. It is not only ok. It is a great idea.
Spend some time doing what is the opposite of all your talent, attention, and work. Develop the areas in which you are weakest. And then combine these opposites and your creativity will unfold. Magical equilibrium is not cheap. It comes with a great price. It requires you to give your full, undivided attention to the things you are weakest at. Or, as the king in the epic, The Mahabarata said, “My opposite is myself.”