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Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
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10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Importance of Communication in Magickal Workings
Article ID: 8478
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,049
Times Read: 6,629
Author: Taylor Ellwood [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 1st. 2004
Times Viewed: 6,629
Lately, I've been forcibly reminded by various events in my life how important communication is within any kind of relationship. If you keep the lines of communication open, a foundation of trust is built and from that foundation grows a strong relationship, be it a working relationship, a friendship, or something more. But when you work magick with someone else, this need for communication and consequently trust becomes even more apparent. Without effective communication between practitioners, magick won't work. Actually it's fair to say that this principle can be applied to any aspect of life.
Recently, I realized this principle, when I considered dropping out of my graduate school program. I was very stressed out and felt that I could not communicate with any of my professors. However, I didn't try to communicate with my professors before writing a letter stating I was leaving the program. And although afterwards I did talk with the professors and change my mind, it took a while to iron out details and I lost a summer job. And the reason was because I didn't take the time to communicate or trust the people in my department. I could blame all of this on stress and other situations in my life, but ultimately the responsibility for my choice is on me. I luckily only lost a summer job, as opposed to something more consequential, but this experience was enough to get me to seriously consider several factors.
First, in any relationship, it is important to communicate openly with people around you. This is especially true when something is going wrong. If you don't communicate with the person then how can the situation be resolved in a favorable manner? Second, communication does require trust. On some level you have to decide whether you trust someone enough to communicate with that person or not. If you don't trust someone, you likely won't communicate with that person if there's a problem. The reason is because your lack of trust causes you to view the person from a biased perspective, though in some cases previous experiences with the person can make such a perspective unbiased. However, one should never use prior experiences with other people as the sole measuring stick of determining whether or not to trust or communicate with a person.
But how does all of this apply to magick? Although it seems self-evident, for effective magick to be worked by a person s/he must honestly communicate with the people that s/he has chosen to work with, as well as with him/herself. If the communication is not honest, there is no way that the magick that is worked will be effective, for the simple reason that any dishonesty on a person's part will sabotage the intent of the magick. If, in a community, people do not trust each other, that community will fall apart.
Another example that occurred to me recently involved a magickal community that I wanted to join. I ended up not joining because I noticed that some people acted uneasy around me, although these same people were not willing to discuss whatever it was about me that discomforted them. After I made my choice not to join the community, one of the elders of that community informed me that apparently my energy unsettled some people, including that elder. Not once had this elder, who I'd talked with numerous times, ever tried to talk with me and mention this in a manner that indicated discomfort or unsettlement on her part. Discomfort was mentioned in regards to other people, but never did those people try to speak with me. In the end I realized that it was best I had not joined the group because these people did not communicate with me or try to resolve what unsettled them. For that matter, they didn't try and use that unsettlement as a challenge of personal growth for themselves. This lack of communication showed me that they did not trust me and consequently I could not trust any member of that community, if only because I had to wonder if they were being honest with me or just pretending honesty to avoid a conflict.
What it comes down to is that honest communication and trust is essential in magick when you deal with other people and by extension it is wise to extend this practice to your everyday life. Finally it is even wiser to extend this practice to yourself. A person must be honest with him/herself in everything to really succeed. The communication you have with yourself is not so much you speaking to yourself as it is observing your behavior and learning to not only praise yourself, but also work hard on yourself when you find flaws.
Certainly in the case of the first example, I have learned that I can be overly impulsive and that I need to take a moment to consider my options before going through with a decision, particularly a decision that can change my life as radically as mine would have, had I ended up leaving college. And unfortunately, in my case, I have to deal with repercussions of my impulsive behavior and those repercussions are ones that, for me, hammer in the point that my own communication skills need work, particularly with myself, in that only I can truly curb my impulsive behavior. In other words, I need to recognize when and where to turn on the inner voice and say to myself: "Wait a minute, is this what you want to do?" Likewise I am sure you have your own faults in communicating with others and yourself that, if you show a modicum of self awareness, you can catch and change.
As a magickian and a person it's a good idea to observe yourself and how you act in any situation. Even in the community example I used, I easily could have taken initiative and spoken to the people who were unsettled by me. I chose instead to wait and see if they would talk with me. I think I made a wiser choice by doing that, but nonetheless, in some situations, taking the initiative to communicate with people can be a sign of trust and also a willingness to get past whatever differences lie between you and whoever you are talking with.
One good exercise you can try is to have a friend tape you in social situations. However, have the friend do it when you least expect it. Then have the friend play the tape back and see if you recognize the person that is you, communicating on the tape. Ask yourself if this person is who you really want to be known as? Then figure out a course of action to change your behavior. This is an effective exercise to do, in particular, in the magickal communities you are part of. By being aware of how you communicate, you can judge whether trust between yourself and others is established or not.
Another good way to evaluate how you communicate is to examine the emails you send out on e-lists, and in particular the responses you get to those emails. Do you come off sounding imperious or arrogant? Do you have respect for your audience? By examining your writing and peoples' reactions to it, you can achieve an awareness of whether or not you are effectively communicating and establishing trust between yourself and other people.
I've said before all of this applies to magick. Now let me tell you how it does. It applies to magickal practices in that, if there is in a group, or even between two individuals, a lack of trust and effective communication, then the magick will not effectively work. I think of magick as energy and so if there is an impediment to the energy flow, by lack of communication or trust, then the energy won't be applied to do whatever it is you want it to do. Worse, sometimes if one person is dishonest and the other person is honest and trusts the dishonest person, there can be bad effects for the honest person. The honest person has after all opened up his/her energy to the other person and is, in essence, being infected by this person's dishonesty. And although we can all claim to protect ourselves from bad energy, this protection can be ineffective if we trust someone and open ourselves up to that person. In other words, the dishonesty and lack of trust and communication on one person's part can hurt the other person.
A personal example of this comes from my own life. I worked, for a time, with a shaman and among other things we did sex magick together. One time this shaman gave me an herbal drink, but did not tell me that this herbal drink would cause a hallucinogenic experience. When the hallucinogenic experience kicked in I was taken by surprise and in fact my body went into system shock, as I had no way of preparing for this trip. I ended up nearly dying and it took almost two months for me to regain my health. This situation could've turned out differently had the shaman told me what was in the drink. I could have refused or chosen to take it, but he took that decision out of my hand and in essence magickally raped me through not only the herbal potion, but also the sex magick, which while I had consented to...well it's fair to say I didn't expected the sex magick to occur in an altered state of mind, with myself being extremely vulnerable to this person.
Needless to say this experience showed me the value of honest communication and also trust within a magickal working relationship. If you find that you cannot trust someone you should not work with that person as the communication will break down and potentially one of you will get hurt. You owe it to yourself and to whoever you work with to communicate at all times, even at times when you might not be comfortable with that person. Only in that way can a bond of trust be established and the magick that you work be mutually beneficial for you and whoever you work with.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Author's Profile: To learn more about Taylor Ellwood - Click HERE
Bio: Taylor Ellwood is currently pursuing his PhD in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice at Kent State University. He is the author of Pop Culture Magick, available this September from Immanion Press and the co-author of Creating Magickal Entities. Taylor is currently writing his third book Space/Time Magick as well as more articles. Check out Taylor's webpage at taylorellwood.chaosmagic.com or his livejournal at www.livejournal.com/users/teriel. Taylor can also be contacted at the email address above.
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