I know very few people without trust issues, and I’m no exception to that, I have been aware of this fact for many years now and I also do know where its rooted. What has not been on my radar though is that apparently I tend to act in a controlling way from time to time. Of course, his happened in a situation concerning my private life and after a while of self-examination I found myself actually agreeing with that. And then I started to ask myself how much control I needed in magick.
Magick is certainly a source of personal power that we use to influence our circumstances in accordance with our wills. It is not always only about being called into service, it is also about taking matters into your hand so not to be an object but a subject. I wouldn’t take anybody seriously in the magickal community telling me it’s not at least a tiny, tiny bit about power as well. Personally I want to have a say within my web of fate as far as this is possible, however I strongly believe that there are some things we cannot change while others we either can or at least (partly) dodge.
Phases of feeling powerless can be a catalyst in magick as they can lead to more productivity in workings but ultimately it is always up to the individual how it works out. There are a lot of ego traps along the path and most of us have been there at some point of our magickal lives. It is important not to forget that the ability to influence our experiences is not only possible by magick as we decide day by day which lens we use in looking at ourselves, our experiences or our environment. This is our inner process of course. The outer process can be tricky as the feeling of power might provide us with a sense of security and, in a more or less intense way, a sense of control. Control in turn means basically the sovereignty of interpretation. By exercising control one can ‘talk the universe’ into doing one’s will. Control and power are therefore not quite interchangeable but control can be the result of feeling powerful.
Control is definitely needed in all magickal workings as without it there are no boundaries and the energy dissipates into nothingness. Without a proper intent and a proper frame – how loosely knit it might be – energy can’t be condensed and directed. But is this all that is needed? What about the opposite of control – trust? And how does somebody like me having trust issues in mundane life overcome them in magick?
Fact is that trust is crucial during two different phases of workings. First, in entering a state where magick is possible at all. This essential prerequisite can be touched upon by meditation, sex, movement, chanting or whatever works for oneself and is the epitome of trust. So in order to exercise control, first control has to be set aside. I could speculate that only in such a gnostic state one finds one’s true will, what is needed and not what is sought after. This is the phase where the words describing the scope of a working which my conscious mind had carefully put together before might be changed if required.
Second, trust is also necessary after the operation has been finished. The ‘lusting after results’ is based on not trusting oneself, questioning one’s abilities and by this basically deconstructing and rendering the operation invalid. A successful operation requires balance between maintaining control and letting go. So the paradox is that you have to be able to stand at the verge of the void murmuring, whispering, singing, weaving your will into the fabric of the cosmos but also to lose control at the right moment, this is ‘having control in losing control’.
So control and will are only half of the operation and if not fueled by gnosis they might produce some results but not with the full force of the cosmos behind them. This is why I’m very much aware of my own trust issues and I’m trying to keep them at bay. Sometimes it is helpful to re-examine our relationships with trust and power as they are both the extremes on the same scale and both essential parts in our workings. It is always good to know how much, when and where and especially when a shift into one direction or the other is required.
And what if it comes to workings with others? How do you know you can trust someone you met and resonate with or within groups, how can you tell who would slit your throat in a blink of an eye and who will stand up for you if needed? What should ideal magickal relationships be like, those you can safely work within and know they can be trusted?
In past times punishment for giving away secrets was death. It was common to trade a secret for a secret, so everybody within a circle would know ‘things’ about each member and could count on secrecy in turn. Death was at some point removed by a kind of social ban and in our times – well, there are still methods to get others to comply with the interests of a group. So how do you know who you trust in the beginning? Because it is never only about oneself as we all are no true hermits. So who do you work with? What questions do you ask before you work with others? It all sounds perfectly beautiful but in the end it is always a risk, for you and for them of course as well. On the other hand, do you let your fear reign over your true will? I don’t have answers, only questions, a lot of them. And this is exactly what I would do – ask them, discuss the answers and take your own boundaries seriously. To trust blindly only means to trust oneself completely.