by Damien Echols
Ceremonial magick is the Western path to Enlightenment, the counterpart to Eastern traditions such as Buddhism or Taoism. Magick, however seeks to liberate the individual from the cycle of uncontrolled incarnation in a single lifetime, as opposed to many. It’s a tradition suited to those who have a psyche more inclined to the stresses of rapid transformation over a more gentle, gradual approach.
The core of a magickal practice is a process of internal alchemy that traces its roots back to the ancient Middle East, beginning in Mesopotamia and eventually finding its way into Egypt. In fact, it was in Egypt that we find the roots of the word ‘Alchemy’. In that time period, Egypt was known as ‘Kemet’, which means ‘black’. It was a reference to how fertile the land was around the Nile River, which was so rich, it was literally black in color. Al Kemet meant ‘from the black land’, and when you heard a reference to ‘the black arts’ or ‘black magick’, it was a description of certain spiritual and ritual practices that descended back to that culture. Those terms wouldn’t take on a diabolical nuance until much later, when the Catholic Church would attempt to stamp out any form of spirituality they considered to be a rival.
Ceremonial magick and internal alchemy focus on transforming one thing into another. At its deepest and most profound, it’s about the transfiguring of our ego into our Higher Self, although there are other techniques designed to transmute any force into another, such as poverty into prosperity. Many people who embark upon a spiritual path fall prey to what has come to be known as ‘spiritual bypassing’. The essence of this is that they believe that experiencing any emotional state perceived as ‘negative’ – anger, jealousy, depression, hatred – means they are being less ‘spiritual’. This causes them to suppress those emotions and pretend they aren’t there. Unfortunately, suppressing this emotional energy just causes it to manifest in completely unconscious ways. Suppressed stress and anxiety can manifest as heart conditions. Suppressed anger and resentment can manifest as cancer. The ways in which this energy forces us to acknowledge it and deal with it can be myriad – but eventually we WILL be forced to deal with it, in one way or another. Ignoring it does not cause it to cease to exist. In fact, no energy ever ceases to exist – it can only be caused to change form. This is not just a law of magick – it’s also a law of science. We exist within a closed system, meaning energy cannot be created or destroyed. We know it as the Law of Conservation of Energy. By transmuting ego-based energy, you can change it into something that instead feeds the Body of Light. Along the way, as we move through this learning process we also learn how to shape reality and manifest the life we desire.
Join Damien Echols for a weekend immersion workshop into some of the core magickal & meditation practices at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center on April 27 & 28. He will also be giving a talk at the same venue on Friday April 26. For more information, and to register, please visit jtrcc.org/magick/.