Tao, mind, magic and will

Dion Fortune famously described magic as the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will. Will is a concept that Schopenhauer was discussing almost 200 years ago and its importance must be clearly understood in the context of magic.

Will operates at various levels. The ‘will’ to exist is fundamental to matter – yes, will exists in the rocks that form mountains and the hair that grows on our heads. Emma Restal Orr describes this will as ‘mind’ in her exploration of Animism (The Wakeful World). For me matter appears to be a combination of energy and will.

Schopenhauer talks of increasingly complex manifestations of will, from physical to biological, social and up to human.  Compare this with Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego or with Plato’s charioteer. John Michael Greer sets this out superbly in his series on will where he talks of the rational mind and its attempts (often unsuccessfully) to control the biological and social minds (or will).

It is this ability of one layer of will to override another that is the essence of magic: the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will.

When this happens by an operative mage gaining internal control through intent and will, their rational mind controlling the barrage of information and drives from biological and social levels that tries to make us behave in certain ways, this is a form of theurgy. Personal spiritual development, internal magic: there are lots of terms for this!

When this happens by a corporation advertising sweets to children or by political campaigners convincing large swathes of the public to vote for something, it is thaumaturgy. The direct and intentional manipulation of the drives of others, i.e. the will, to act in a certain way.

Will (or mind) is the thread that runs through this. It is the concept that unifies the spirit of the river with 19th & 20th occult practices, the Tao with advertising, Plato with Freud. Intention (or will) is everything.

How can we apply this to our work? How do we respond? We need to be able to defend ourselves and we need to be able to have a plan for counter attack.


About druidgreybeard

Druid, Animist, commentator on worlds events and student of magic.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tao, mind, magic and will

  1. corvusrouge says:

    Interesting piece. A question about your phrasing. It appears that you are equating mind and will as interchangeable as though they may be one and the same, is this the case?


  2. druidgreybeard says:

    Hi Neil, in short yes, I see mind and will as described by Emma and Schopenhauer as the same but neither word really helps in their explanations.

    On a Druidic note I haven’t come to a conclusion as to where Awen and Nwyfre fit with this though – I think Nwyfre is mind / will and Awen a slightly different expression of will / mind. It could be that Awen is the changing aspect, the spirit in Ken Wilbur’s view. However Awen and Nwyfre do work nicely with Pirsig’s view of levels, spirit and energy that he explores in Lila. I’ll need to mull that over a little more.


  3. corvusrouge says:

    Interesting, I don’t For me, Will is a consequence of mind and cannot exist without Mind. Will, for me, is the product of experience and that experience is created by Mind. I think Mind can exist without it creating Will so, again for me, I don’t see them as interchangeable. One is a sensory tool and the other, a result of that sensory tool.


  4. Pingback: Awen and Nwyfre, Will and Mind, Intention and Tao | Deep Green Magic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s