The beautiful thing about what we have come to know as the Tenets of Witchcraft is that they can provide an infinite amount of thoughts to contemplate upon. Since these tenets provide a practical philosophy to witchcraft that we constantly strive towards, you find that various ones visit your thoughts during various moments of routine contemplation or meditation.
I feel at this time the Tenet of Harmony is the one to explore at this moment. We are either running towards something at full speed, or slowly trying to back away from something we wish to avoid. Striving towards creating an harmonious existence with yourself, nature and humankind is quite a Herculean task. This requires us to be willing to not only look at ourselves, our actions and our thoughts, but also our habits and all things.
Our own thoughts are the hardest to master. We should learn to understand all our thoughts and why we think them, but not every thought or feeling needs or deserves our outward expression . We can employ our own thoughts as a healing balm to restore harmony, balance and progression to the positive; or our thoughts can be turned into word-weapons meant to injure.
It is probably the hardest to maintain harmony when something goes wrong. A good quote that I have found from the book, Theosophy, by Katherine Tingley gives us a helpful occult reminder in order so that we can maintain perspective:
“The very fact that you find stumbling blocks in your way should give you an influx of courage, a positive joy, because of the opportunity thus presented to you to cast them away forever. Self-conquest! Is that not what you are here for?”-quote by Katherine Tingley
For our higher ideals to come to form, we must project the expressions of those ideals. This all starts from the inside and works its way out into other areas of your life.
We are constantly under the distraction of our wishes and desires. Every advertisement, every form of social media, television, magazines; all provide an outlet to create more and more desire-thoughts.
Desire is not negative in itself as that is what keeps us going and growing. Our inward Higher Soul (Higher Manas) yearns very strongly for the desire to be reunited back into the Divine Monad, The Supreme Being; walking upward on the steps of consciousness. Our bodies desire for our own life to be sustained, hence, our urges for hunger and intimacy with others which are tools of the main terrestrial desire of our physical earthly bodies: Survival.
Those that follow the path of Esoteric Buddhism call this cycle of death and rebirth Samsara. They equate this to suffering and concern their spiritual practice around the work of escaping the suffering of Samsara and entering Nirvana. They are aiming for something very similar that we aim for.
As the witch begins to tend to things on all levels, starting firstly on the terrestrial plane, such as taking care of physical needs such as health and wellness, they can then begin at some point in their advancement to channel some of their desires into the advancement of the soul – the elevation of consciousness where you begin to find and explore what your purpose in life may be.
Ask yourself, “Who am I?” Ask anyone willing to participate with you in this experiment, “Who are you?” Many times, we find that we, ourselves, and those we ask, will define themselves only by what they do in terms of what they do to make a living. Sometimes they may define themselves as a parent (mother/father) or an extension of their life-partner. All of these things are not bad, but it doesn’t get down to the question of “Who are you?” You are more than just a Mother, brother or sister. You are more than just a teacher, accountant, technician. These are but the things we must do in this life and the tasks we carry out under the banner of these labels do teach us, but it is not who we are.
When someone is ready to find out who or whom they might be, the first thing you can do is find some activity to help others. This is not just one way to discover who we are and take us out of the personal ego-bubble we shroud ourselves in, but is a start to learning another one of the Tenets of Witchcraft, The Tenet of Humility.
By now, you can see these tenets are not just things we think about and contemplate, they are something we do, strive for and struggle with.
Bringing us back to the Tenet of Harmony, this particular Tenet is one key in traveling the path of the occult adept. We all know what something un-harmonious sounds like or mis-matched un-harmonious items look like; so this tells us that not only do our physical terrestrial senses strive to seek out Harmony in all things, but that our Higher Soul seeks out a spiritual Harmony as well in which that everything has its own time and place and space.
Numbers, sound, color are but some of the outward senses in which you begin to see what harmonizes and what doesn’t.
Even within the occult, it is possible to meet some that revel within the transgressive. They look constantly for ways in which they can look dark and spooky, and revel in the imagery of destructive magic. As time goes on, some grow out of it. For as we know, nothing within the physical plane is outside the natural laws. Even higher planes of existence have their own set of rules and laws that must be followed.
So why would someone want to purposefully revel in the transgressive? What I have found is that a tremendous amount of effort is expelled in doing so which brings on what is termed “Astral intoxication.” This is an over-stimulation of the Astral Body itself which gives folks in the occult what they might describe as a “ritual hangover” with a similar feeling to an alcohol hang-over, but it is not the only way that astral intoxication is brought on. (this is not the same as the ritual after-glow or the “re-charging of the batteries” when our occult powers are refreshed due to a good ritual.)
As we know, the Astral Plane (lunar) is but the place where all things must pass before they come into the physical (earth). The astral plane is a world of illusion and delusion. It has its function and place, but it is a realm of illusion. This is a gate we must all pass through when we first learn to separate what is illusion and what is reality, and utilize what we can do on the Astral Plane with wisdom.
Separating illusion from reality can be really difficult. This can be a tricky thing for a great number of witches, as most witches I know are all very nostalgic people, including myself. We all look back with fond memories with nostalgia on good times past and reminisce. So tell me this – if we are all honest: “When you started out in witchcraft, did you want terribly and desperately to buy one of those super expensive blank grimoires or ‘Book of Shadows’ from various makers?” Be honest! I bet almost every one of you did!
So what were we attracted to here with the fancy blank grimoires? We were attracted to the glamour. Glamour is but illusion, which draws upon our very witch-nature to be very nostalgic. Witches are very imaginative and dreamy folks!
The desire for these beautifully produced books are not a bad thing in the least. You may prefer beautiful produced books with nice coverings that will hopefully last a very long time. Though, you must be honest with yourself and ask: would you have bought this book if it was published in the cheaper booklet form like the old Anna Riva booklets, or did you purchase it strictly because of the aesthetic quality of the cover?
Funny thing is, my old little paperback copy of Anna Riva’s book The Modern Witchcraft Spellbook is simply a great little practical notebook! Above is my copy printed back when it first came out in 1972 (I think?) that has held up well and receives good use which has great practical charms and spells in it. When I bought this originally, I think I paid $4.00 or $5.00. I fondly remember the first spell I cast using this book in which I made a Protection charm by hollowing out an egg by making two little holes in each end and blowing out the contents and stuffing with five finger grass herb and sealing it with wax and painting the eggs. The finished products were displayed on little metal egg stands and were used for protection from all harm that could be done with the five hands. And, it was funny watching the other witches in the coven try to blow the yolks out of the eggs without laughing. Omelets for everyone!
Emerson once said, “Power to him who power exerts.”
“Don’t dissipate your energies by trying to satisfy every whim. Concentrate on doing something really worth while. The man who sticks to something is not the man who fails.”
-Theron Q. Dumont, 1918
Bibliography & Works Cited:
Tingley, Katherine; Theosophy: The Path of the Mystic. Print.
Leek, Sybil; The Complete Art of Witchcraft. Print
Riva, Anna; The Modern Witchcraft Spellbook. Print.
Dumont, Theron Q.; The Power of Concentration. Print