Life itself, and a little bit of what people usually call Karma, forced me to learn to become a good listener and, above all, a great observer, which gave me the possibility to develop and improve my understanding, and which also gave me the possibility to be able to notice certain tendencies in people whom I had met throughout my life. In such a way, with a bit of curiosity (and in the total absence of judgment), I had the possibility to notice some “little” contradictions that can be considered as “normal” for the personality of a human being, fragmented into so many little “i’s”.
In such a variety of contradictions, I had noticed a recurrence of the contrast between rationality and instinct; a sort of battle between reason and unconscious fears which happens completely unconsciously, but which conditions our lives.
I’ve seen great intellectual minds speaking about “witchcraft”, “devil” and “demons”; completely rational managers secretly seeking advice from fortune-tellers; strong sportsmen trembling with fear while suspecting they were being cursed; professors participating in some “occult rituals” of wicca and rune magic, without even knowing what they were speaking about; young men dressed proudly with amulets, pentacles and other “magical” symbols, sometimes even tattooed on their skin; informatic engineers supporting the existence of “astral plans”, and so on, and so on…
I’ve witnessed all this and much more…. and who knows what kind of hidden fears I hadn’t yet noticed.
The behavior is not so much the contradictory aspect of the contemporary mind, an element that is more than obvious in so fragmented a personality; the point lies rather in the deep suggestion that the word “magic” evokes in our mind.
Why are we so fascinated by the possibility to get in touch with “subtle dimensions”? Why do we try to influence our destiny through the use of amulets, talismans and spells? Why do we try to justify our behaviors or seek for a near future hope in the Horoscope instead of beginning to learn, in a serious way, an ancient science such as Astrology? And many, many other “Why’s“…
Undoubtedly, near to the technological progress typical of our rational contemporary society, already lies an unknown region in our minds that often results in superstition, a region where ignorance, ancient and new fears reign, even today.
We could raise our shoulders and ignore everything, saying that these are only fixations or false beliefs. However, this topic is not all a result of fantasies, and the best way to respond to ignorance (namely, the act of ignoring things), is the skill of Knowledge. We need balance, intelligence, and a healthy degree of curiosity followed by a serious will to understand – a sincere inquiry without preconcepts. This is the reason I am writing these posts devoted to the topic of Magic. And this is the answer to many people who had asked me the reason “Why” I am writing about this topic. This is one of the main answers to this question.
As it happened for the second post, due to health and family issues, I hadn’t been able to write any posts for this blog since November. However, such as with everything in life, it seems that the time has come, so here’s the third post devoted to Magic. In the first and second post. we explained the meaning of Magic and the different levels of this Art. As I stated before, Magic hasn’t anything to do with what today, is presented under this name. There’s a huge difference between the magic we find in many books and “what Magic is really about”. It’s an ancient path that, in order to be practiced in an efficient way, needs at least a certain degree of development. The Third Level of Magic needs a discipline and a preparation that is equal to what Mr. Gurdjieff asked of his pupils. So, as said in the previous post, in order to be able to perform “The Great Work”, the Magus must have undertaken a Work on himself.
After reading the previous posts about this matter, many people had asked me through emails, Facebook and in person, what is this preparation about and what are the practices that are part of the Magic. Aware that it is impossible to explain such a huge corpus of Knowing in a few words, I would like to make an outline of the basic practices that make an apprentice, a Magus.
So, here is the schedule of this post and further posts about Magic:
The Gaze and the presence;
The physical postures;
Techniques of magical defense;
Amulets, talismans, pentagrams;
Magnetization of an object;
Symbols of protection;
The main Tools of the Magus;
A little bit of practical stuff. Let’s begin.
With a simple act of will, we need to focus our attention on the solar plexus – the complex network of nerves located by the abdomen, at every time and situation during our day. We must also learn to use our gaze.
Indeed, we have to learn to never lower our gaze. It’s very important to impose the principle “I Am” (that, in such a moment is located in the solar plexus), and make this principle prevail as a priority in every situation. If we learn to use our gaze, and with a well-rooted principle of “I Am” within us, it is possible to direct a considerable amount of energy, even at the most elementary levels of training.
How do we develop this skill? First of all, we must learn to wake up, really wake up in the morning. Mainly, we must learn to work constantly on our awareness. There are plenty of elementary exercises related to this work on this blog, and also in the book I wrote. In order to wake up, you can use some of these exercises or some practices you already know.
You must start your day washing your face with fresh, cold water, after having kept the water in your hands for some moments, remembering that this water is a source of life.
Even if we are not aware of it, we experience our day surrounded by a myriad of symbols: a tree, a form, a building, a ray of light and even the simple act of turning on the light when we come home. It’s a divine principle.
In everything we do, wherever we are, try to become aware that you are a small part of the Divine.
This act means, to ritualize our life.
Observe yourselves, and your physical postures. This is crucially important. A posture that is extremely relaxed will drive your mind and your emotional field to seek only gratification. Seeking only comforts, produces frivolity and feebleness, and these two mechanical aspects reflect on our inner and outer condition.
A true Magus is a seeker of the Truth, so as a seeker, he has to acquire attitudes of a warrior. Of course, we are not yet Samurais, however we musn’t try to become little samurais: this would mean that we have already decided beforehand, to never become a real Samurai.
It is the path of the Intentional Effort: if we are unable to transcend a headache, a bit of tiredness, the battle is already lost. If we are unable to win over hunger, thirst, drowsiness, we’ve already given up on the inner path that is also the Path of the real Magus.
Indeed, if we aspire to become a Magus, we must be able to do what we have decided to do, even with a fever or with a terrible headache. We have to always represent what we are: a particle of the Divine. And, as divine beings, we have no limits, except for the limits we impose on ourselves. This is the attitude of the Magi. Intentional effort means everything for him.
This teaching is the basis of all the teachings of the real Magic Practice. And it’s vastly different from how Magic is presented today.
A Magus isn’t a common, sleeping, and mechanical creature: when he passes between people, he is noticed. He is noticed because of his posture, his eyes (remember for example, Gurdjieff’s eyes), his way of moving. He is a being, when passing through the masses, who creates emptiness on his way.
In the moment when we use the gaze, we must put into practice, everything we had learned in our inner path; also, we have to feel ourselves as someone who represents a divine principle.
And, everything must bow in the presence of the Divine, especially ignorance.
You must have this sense of austerity within you – the most you will be able to center yourselves in the solar plexus, and the most you will represent the absolute, independently of how much you are able to understand the concept of the Divine.
Use the gaze in every situation, at every moment.
First of all, stare into people’s eyes. It could happen that, when you do this, a person will lower his gaze. If this happens, don’t allow your illusory personality to take pleasure of this, or think that you have overpowered this person. Be kind in these situations. However, this will be a signal that such a person has felt some kind of power in you. It also means that you’ll be able to help this person if he wishes so.
Some people use systems such as opening their eyes widely or make strange grimaces with the eyes such as they want to say, “look into my eyes” or, “all eyes on me”. This is useless. The focal point of this practice is not to modify our gaze, but to keep it as it is. The difference is that the eyes, accompained with such a practice, exudes the part of the divine that’s within us.
Remember, the gaze is a powerful Mudra.
So, to resume, the Magus learns to “go down” into the solar plexus, and from here, brings the gaze. It’s first necessary to activate this zone of the body (the solar plexus) and then, from that point, move the energy that will light the gaze. It’s a process similar to when we produce a movement.
For the Magus, the solar plexus is where the divine, the “I Am” is located. You need to be still and focus on the person beyond, such as you would pierce it with the eyes.
This act must not display hardness, but sweetness.
The physical postures and perception
The physical body is our first defensive structure, even if, through the body we can direct the energy beyond it.
Let’s see some practical examples: a gesture of closure – so, a defensive one – is to cross the arms (arms folded). Before doing this gesture, we have to connect the index finger and the thumb. This is a gesture that is usual for many people, even if they are unaware of what they are doing.
Another example of usual unconscious gestures, is to cross the legs – a posture which produces a protection of the genital area.
The Magus has also to learn to observe the postures he assumes spontaneously. Gestures such as touching the head or crossing the fingers, or running the hands through the hair, show that our unconscious defensive system has perceived a state of aggression. Substantially, all the postures that imply a “closure” are defensive postures, and they have an effect on the emotional field (we’ll discuss in depth, this aspect in a further post).
The act of closing the fist with the thumb inside of it is indicates the action of “cleansing”. This gesture can be used to wash clothes and clean rooms or, at least to color them with the qualities of our energy.
For example: imagine that you are speaking with a person who is upset. While speaking, intertwine your fingers (closure- defense- protection); then, at a point in the conversation, keep the fingers intertwined and join the indexes; point them tactfully towards the interlocutor, beginning from the zone of the solar plexus. If you link this act to the gaze, you can calm and control the mood of this person. Using the “pointed” hands is always a direct act of emanation of our energy outwards. This produces quite strong effects.
Try to notice, through observing yourselves during the whole day, what gestures of “closure” and “opening” you do unconsciously – for example, while sitting, you cross the legs, point the finger or the hand toward the interlocutor, etc. This is advice I give to everyone. Nothing can be done without first developing the skill of Observation. Indeed, observation is the root of every inner path, and the tone of the main topics on this blog. It could seem strange to link this practice with the noun, “magic”. However, this is exactly the way the Magus evolved his “powers”, the main practice of Magic of a higher level. Indeed, as stated in previous posts, Magic is a way of knowing the Natural Laws that rule our Universe and the way to use it (for example, knowing the Law of Cyclicity, namely the Law of Seven, enables the Magus such as the Seeker to use it for developing purposes). So, it’s not my interpretation, but something that is already taught in some groups I had the opportunity to meet. It’s also written in 500 to 800 year old books and manuscripts you can read in places like the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice (if you know which texts to ask for).
However, returning to the topic, it’s not a rarity that an adept tends to use too many gestures of “closure”; since while we make them too often, such gestures produces states of contraction, to the detriment of the possibility to develop and refine sensibility and intuition. Closure is a condition when you can’t receive nor give. It’s like closing your internet: end of the access.
The capacity to perceive what happens around us is another ability we’ll mention here. Mainly, we have to develop an attention which allows us to perceive not only what happens in front of us, but also behind us. First of all, the adept has to learn to extend his hearing at 360°; then gradually, sharpen this ability to the modalities of perceptions in the space that surround him.
The tone of the voice is important in interacting with other persons. As an example, a low tone of voice is useful to create more attention, while a singing-like tone evokes the effect of tranquilizing the interlocutor. In the same way, a high pitch tone produces altercation.
A huge error is the use of a raised tone of voice in order to overpower someone; since the interlocutor is upset, the only result we’ll have is to raise his state of irritation. On the contrary, pronuncing the words slowly with a deep tone of voice will produce calm.
Another useful thing which is deeply related to the field of self-observation, is observing the type and quality of our spontaneous gestures. Namely, we’ll have to notice in which situations and to which persons we do gestures of “closure-defense” and “opening”.
I would like to end this post by mentioning briefly, an ancient magical training that is related to the way of walking. This practice consists of walking with the palms opened pointed towards the ground. The arms move faster than the rest of the body. The nape of the neck is slightly rigid and the gaze remains fixed towards the goal, namely, the destination we have decided to reach. The way of walking is to proceed by putting a foot in front of the other. During this way of walking, the practitioner has to visualize himself as a point. A tip (like the tip of an arrow), pointed forward.
At first glance, it could seem strange and weird as a practice (however, those who practiced the movements taught by Mr. Gurdjieff should have experienced the same feeling), especially for the rigid neck. Why should we keep it rigid? Because this act is a “magic seal-gesture” (or a mudra, if you prefer) that protects the head.
There are many other ways and practices that produce “closure-protection” such as “opening”. However, I’ve mentioned only the first since the second could be used as “tools for offence”. Also, these practices are just outlined, not explained in depth. The aim of these posts is to inform, not to produce tools which could harm someone.