Thursday, October 15, 2009

Magick, Miracles delusions and wishes.

This “blog” is the product of a teaching/ discussion seminar with the Cabot Elders.

“Our miracles are of our own making, not because we are superior to the divine, but because we are their children and capable of no less.”

I care about words and their meaning. I accept the changes brought about in the meaning of words to accommodate modern parlance or legal definitions and have also watched with sadness when words that meant something, like tradition or ethics, are reduced to empty husks used only for ceremony or as a selling tool for people or things who have anything but either quality. In the arts, the words great and superstar have become applicable to the mundane and untalented. Hyperbole is everywhere and sophistry is the preferred form of communication and we communicate more and more while saying less and less.

History has seen the word Witch become distorted by the religions of Abraham and here in the US, the same society that is still spending millions of dollars in court fees to grasp the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction and its destructive impact on the fabric of American society, is stomping on our rights and gleefully revisiting the old lies and living in the dark ages.

On the radio the other day I caught the tail end of a conversation and a psychologist was discussing the bestselling book “The Secret”. Her point was that anyone reading it was delusional and that such books falsely encouraged people towards hope and were doing more harm than good. She concluded saying that in today’s tough times, Magical solutions did not exist and only through a realistic approach could anyone survive.

I agree in some ways that “The Secret” is at best an incomplete work, but if it helps motivate someone into action then so much the better. The Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft holds the Hermetic principles as central to our ways and I watched with amusement as The Secret claimed some “occult” connection to them, a claim with no real validity whatsoever, but a fun read nonetheless. Occult is another word which I do not like, but that is for another day. Similar books like the Celestine prophecy and the Alchemist, were also nice enough but far from functional. This is the way of mass communication and a symptom of a society that has an increasingly short attention span, things only need to seem deep and we are satisfied that because we own the book, we are deep as well.

So getting back to the radio program, the thing that got me thinking was her use of the term Magic as some illusion and wondered how much of that rubbed off on our term Magick with a K. We should all understand the difference between Magick and magic but I am not certain how deep that understanding actually goes. For those of you who do not know, the quick definition is that magic is sleight of hand, the tricks that entertainers practice, while Magick to Witches is the manifestation of our Witchcraft.

Going a bit deeper and comparing the word Magick now with the word Miracle and you will see that people are more likely to believe in miracles than Magick. If someone is healed by a Witch it is coincidence, yet if Christians are around it is a miracle. The difference between these two words is significant except to the cynic who views both as equally farfetched, to them, hoping for a miracle is as stupid an idea as hoping things will change magically or Magickally.

The main difference between Magick and Miracle, is that the idea of miracles is generally thought of as an external intervention by an outside force (typically God, Jesus, Mary or a Saint or in other cultures the deity structure that is in place) operating on its own or in answer to supplication and acting in some grand gesture to fix something. Many have firm belief in such things, but I ask you, how firm is your faith in Magick? For the sake of this discussion, let us eliminate the big Magick of Covens and gatherings and special occasions which are easy to connect with. I mean the everyday manifestation of Magick in your lives? Is it all make believe and delusion as the radio commentator said, or is it a life force that manifests in you with every beat of your heart? Are you a cynic that thinks everything is a trick or coincidence? Are you a believer that accepts everything you hear? Is Magick only relevant when things are hopeless? I see so many people turn to us when all else has failed, don’t you? How much of your recognition of Magick is based on faith or affinity to a lifestyle and how much on actual practice? Do you still think the Universe will reach down and make things better while you watch tv or wallow in self pity?

Witchcraft is a holistic path centered on a working philosophy, it teaches us that we are responsible for ourselves first, then we can help others who might stumble on this day and return the favor by preventing us from stumbling the next. It is an endless cycle of care and assistance, all powered by the ALL (God Goddess, Universal mind). Our miracles are of our own making, not because we are superior to the divine, but because we are their children and capable of no less. Our Magickal paths teach us how to do this, the craft makes it practical in the world of today while our religion allows us to know from whence this power originates. The true miracle is our creation, the rest is up to us and our ability to align ourselves with the ALL. This is not an easy thing to do in a troubled society, but we have the Magick to help us on our way. Magick takes work but it is no illusion.

© Laurie Cabot 2009 all rights reserved.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Cabot Tradition and Science explained

This blog was posted on MySpace in an edited version. Here is the full thing originally sent out to the Cabot Clan.

I get a lot of questions about the Cabot tradition and Witchcraft. One of the most interesting ones is about what makes us different from other established traditions. Now mind you, the question itself is loaded since many of the people who ask have no clear definition of what other traditions really are and often times confuse Native American, Pagan, Wiccan, Alexandrian and Harry Potter.

Comparing belief systems is akin to comparing apples and oranges. The good news of course is that any tradition that can get you further along your spiritual path is a good one for you even if at first the search starts off a bit unfocused.

Once we get through the entire Satan and ghost nonsense, I can at least begin to tell them that The Cabot tradition is a modern day teaching and mystical tradition that traces its roots backwards from the Witches of Kent England going further back than any other tradition beyond even ancient Egypt’s Hermes (or Thoth).

Philosophy comes to the Cabot tradition from Hermes and the Hermetic Egyptian Mystery school. Hermes' appearance seems to coincide roughly with the emergence of Lao Tsu and the Tao Te Ching. An adept student will find many things in common between the two philosophies.

Just as Egypt developed several mystery schools, so there are many traditions of Witchcraft and non Witch Magickal systems. What we now call Witchcraft comes to us from the migration of a people who became known as the Celts (and Anglo Saxons) and moved through the Indo European landscape. Along the way and over time, the Celts encountered many people and some new ingredients must have been added to the mix. I imagine that what worked was kept and what did not, fell away.

The Cabot tradition focuses extensively on the science of the craft. What is important to note here is how we use and define the word "science". The word Science has, like the word Witch, undergone some fundamental changes in meaning over time. It is important to know something about the history of this change.

A great many scientists (like Galileo) were destroyed or silenced by the church of Rome for contradicting church views on the nature of the universe, such as the sun revolving around the Earth and other nonsense. When scientific observations became too difficult to silence, the church made a pact with “scientists” that anything measurable or could be seen in some way could be called scientific, while the "unseen" was the jurisdiction of the church. That very act limits what science can now accomplish as it misses the “big picture”. Noted Quantum physicist David Bohm a friend and colleague of Einstein speaks on this very subject. Here is a link to some of his more accessible thoughts:

this is a multi part series I urge you to watch it all.

In the days of Egypt the first astronomers were also astrologers, the first doctors were also priests who understood the magickal properties of plants. Architects took into account the movement of the stars and the spiritual impact of their constructs. In China where no church caused a split in thinking, Feng Shui masters use the laws of Heaven and Earth to create harmonious buildings. They consider what they do a design science and it would never occur to a traditional architect to ignore the spiritual impact of a structure on its occupants. Why eliminate the holistic view by sacrificing the spiritual component to concentrate only on the mechanical? Yet that is exactly what was required of scientists by the church or face excommunication.

Today, science can only think as far as what it can measure (something Einstein and others rebelled against) and as it increasingly runs out of measurable stuff, it finds itself at an impasse (Quantum mechanics is where this happens the most).

Our western medical practices are also limited by this thinking forced to deal with the symptomatic treatment rather than the underlying causality. Western medicine is cerrtainly amazing, but by only treating what they can see and inventing ever more complicated devices to scan, poke and probe us they often ignore the fact that a few well placed questions might yield better data. It took a long time for stress or lifestyle to be recognized by western medical practitioners as causing problems, yet Witches and eastern medicine in general have been dealing with this for centuries. The examples go on and on.

So today science looks only at the parts of a system and in their defense, much can be learned by such a method, but looking a the cut up parts of a horse will not yield the full understanding of the horse when it is alive and in one piece nor will understanding the manner in which a piano string makes sound yield an understanding of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Cabots look at science in the holistic view of our ancestors and respect the present discoveries and methodologies at work today as well. In fact, nothing that is being discovered today changes anything we do or understand but we have a greater perspective and so must allow the present scientists to catch up with the things our ancestors knew 3000 years ago.

Cabots know that psychic powers are real, we know that intent is action and we understand that magick is real since we use it everyday. We teach our students how to make the tools of the craft work for them in very real situations and when combined with the Hermetic principles we get a roadmap on how to use what we know most effectively. This is not a matter of belief, it is a matter of personal experience. When we do our magick we understand very specifically the forces we are using and why. There is not a single element that does not have a specific explanation attached to it. Cabots understand their mythology as myths, designed to teach by example, we never assume that something works, or take it on faith and we have no need to believe, we know. Our books of shadows are in fact field notes about what worked and did not. Our potions are tried and tested and our psychic skills are forever on display as we work health cases or render psychic counseling. I have learned much from other Magickal practitioners and some things I have "borrowed" from other traditions. I can do this because I know the working system which is ours and know what can fit within it. To borrow outside Magicks without that knowledge is something I would not recommend since ignorance is not an excuse when dealing with such things.

That leaves the "R" word which I try to avoid. I see Religion used today to control behavior and to concentrate financial or political power and making all those that do not follow 'expendable". Religion for the Cabots is something else entirely. For me Religion must have a base in philosophy and philosophy must have a base in science and science a base in art since the universe has a purely creative origin. Everything is part of everything else and administrative control is not part of that equation.

As Cabots we are very practical, Magick must work or it is a delusional exercise and self deception, superstition and mere pageantry have no place in our tradition. This is what we teach and what we believe.

© Laurie Cabot 2009 all rights reserved.