Everything I Needed to Learn About Magic I Learned from Buffy….
Magic is about power, it is about getting things done, usually material things. It has very little concern for persons, and works like electricity. Yet, we see that few can wield it well or reliably, or often without what Joseph Lisiewski called “The Slingshot Effect” wherein something comes back to bite you – and at times hard. Or as a more reasonable authority known to most of you has said, and I quote Spike, yes THAT Spike, “The thing about magic – there’s always consequences – always!” Now the reason for this is simple, and I quote the eminent authority on all things occult, the great librarian of Sunnydale High School, member of the secret society known as “The Watchers,” small business owner of the occult store aptly named “The Magic Box,” and former roommate with Spike, Rupert Edmund Giles, who during his great confrontation with Willow, witch gone bad, he says, “All magic is borrowed power.” (I think I just won the Bulwer-Lytton Award for that last sentence.)
Now read that again. “All magic is borrowed power.”
You see, there are only three ways to address a situation and create some change: 1. appeal to authority; 2. action as a superior; 3. action as an equal. Standard religious and basic mystical practices (‘thy will be done’ or ‘if it is the will of the Cosmos it is done’) work on an appeal to authority. Magical practices, particularly evocations and anything involving appeal to inter-dimensional beings is on the second level, or appeal to authority, wherein commands or directions are given. Now, this third notion that of being an equal is most interesting as it means that we see ourselves as neither superior nor inferior in the ultimate sense and therefore are approaching all that is happening from the position of non-duality.
Now, this second level, wherein we call upon others to do something for us, means that we need to motivate them, give them a reason to work for us. Herein most magical practices often mean that we attempt to force or compel a demon, angel, elemental, human, or whatever, to act on our behalf under duress. Where does our power to compel come from? Often from something like, “In the Name of the Most High I compel, command, thee, blah, blah, blah.” So anything borrowed is usually paid back with interest. If you borrow money and invest it wisely then paying back the interest is not an issue and can even be welcomed as a sign of success. If you invest it poorly, or the interest is too high, then it is an added burden to your situation.
However, few people are capable of this third view, as it is too demanding, it requires full understanding of the often heard axiom, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, Love is the Law. Love under Will.” When a variation of this phrase was taught to me barely out of my youth, I was told it meant three things: to seek out and find our path in life; to accept responsibility for what we do; to know that love is the supreme power in the cosmos. Thus, love should be at the service of our will, or decisions. Will being nothing less than the expression of our being alive, paraphrasing Frater Albertus. Love however has three forms of expression: Eros, Agape, and Philos. It is the power of Eros that we draw upon for magical operations, Agape for mystical experiences, and Philos for daily human concerns. More will be said about this in our forthcoming publications. Until then the above will have to suffice.
Now, back to Non-Duality.
We can only understand what we identify with, and we become what we identify with when we do so on a regular and repeated basis. The key to our understanding of ourselves and deity lies in what we identify with as an individual. This is the basis for all initiatic practice, or practices of self-transformation. This has been explored in depth in the book The Inner Way – The Power of Prayer and Belief Spiritual Practice, and very concisely in the audio file available at YouTube entitled “The Power of Prayer and Belief in Spiritual Practice”. It has also been explained with extensive description of practices in our book The Mind of Hermes – Visionary Experiences in Western Esotericism.
We encourage you to read the above book to understand the role of non-duality, and with it, how cause and effect work, and thereby avoiding the unintended consequences of borrowed power.