The Magickal Aspect
by George D. Jackson
The condition of aspect, in the magickal sense, is a state of mind or space that an adept shifts into prior to performing magickal operations. Another way of looking at aspect is as an internalized mental, emotional and spiritual change from ordinary reality to a highly personal space where magick works. As such, it is a state of personal transformation. It can be described in several ways, but nothing substitutes for experience.
Aspect is developed through magickal education and practice that over time is layered into the unconscious mind. In this article, I am going to use the Hawaiian Huna paradigm as a model, with its concept of three levels of self. In this paradigm, the high self is the most evolved state and has the power to directly influence universal forces as well as aid the middle and basic selves. The middle self is one’s consciously aware state, tasked with making reasoned decisions and helping to direct the evolution of the basic self. The primal basic self generates emotions, stores all memory and runs the autonomic nervous system, as well as providing energy derived from the external environment to both the high and middle selves. In the Huna paradigm, this energy is often called mana.
Now, back to aspect. When the conscious self decides to develop an aspect, the subconscious or basic self adds emotional context to this conscious effort, and frequently the aspect develops a persona of its own. This development is akin to the psychological condition of multiple personalities, with the exception being that the conscious personality can directly interact with the aspect. Because aspects are usually constructed around a particular emphasis, an adept can have more than one of them, even though the aspects may share several attributes. Such attributes are powers and abilities that are developed and exercised by an aspect and are often derived from the high self.
Developing a magickal aspect is an act of Will. The original statement of intent goes something like, “I will become a magick user!” Some pathworking is then done, as a person sorts through the varieties of magick he or she can learn about and selects the particular type with the most personal appeal. When this decision is made, the person applies a layering of education and magickal practice, and the unconscious, high and basic selves respond by creating an aspect. We often give this persona a magickal name.
If the individual doing this has an enthusiasm for mythic or science fiction literature, the unconscious may include some of this information in the persona of the aspect, which can cause some of the aspect’s character traits to be quite different from the adept’s normal personality. Also, if study and practice diverge enough from the approach that created the original aspect, the unconscious may start producing an additional aspect keyed to the new approach. For example, in ordinary reality many of us have two aspects, one for home and one for work.
Once an aspect is established, how is it accessed by the conscious mind? Initially, meditation and trance are two of the most common techniques. Employing these, one sinks deeper into aspect. Attitude, perceptions and feelings of personal power shift and take hold, and suddenly one is there. If one persists in this practice, a time usually arrives when aspect can be assumed by conscious volition or exposure to various rituals. One of the primary goals of many initiations is to activate aspect and strengthen it.
I would like to address some negatives that can occur that can seriously effect the aspect. During our lifetimes, most of us have had or will encounter difficult or unfortunate experiences in our “consensus reality” or what we sometimes call the real world. How we relate and react to these events will have a direct effect on our magick-using ability. To quote from Peter J. Carroll’s PsyberMagick:
“Never give a wand to anyone who cannot handle ordinary reality. Magick will tend to amplify whatever tendencies a person has. It will increase general incompetence in life, just as readily as it will augment competence. The best orders and the best books on magick make the neophyte work very hard to gain anything. For, in brutal fact, nothing of any value comes from involving people who do not pursue excellence for its own sake in magick. Magick does not offer an escape from ordinary reality; rather it offers a full-on confrontation with it, which one can easily lose.”
Keeping the above in mind, I will offer some suggestions on how to avoid some of the more obvious entanglements. The first is to consider the various difficulties that we encounter in life as challenges that we are going to overcome no matter what. If this sounds like psycho-babble, please remember that for the mentally and emotionally prepared, it works. If you are a competent magick user you should be analyzing both your mental and emotional areas as an ongoing process. Along with this process should go a willingness to make necessary changes in approach to both magick and consensus reality. Also, maintaining a high level of self-confidence can frequently divert some of the more difficult situations, where possible.
A magick user should also avoid being classified as a “victim.” The oldest definition of victim is “subject for sacrifice.” Allowing a victim persona to invade your aspect can strip you of power like pouring water out of a bucket. All too often what fills the vacancy is a sense of isolation and a state of increased vulnerability. Once established, this state is hard to displace, leading to further complications. Also, this state of mind seems to attract the more predatory portion of the population, which doesn’t help matters.
As the reader can probably tell by now, I find the act of naming someone a victim appalling and accepting the appellation equally dismaying. It literally robs a person of humanity and turns him or her into a thing. It also has a tendency to invoke the ugly emotion we call pity. This is a state of sorrow for something dark having occurred, mixed with contempt for being so weak and ineffectual as to have allowed it to happen. When it comes to the victim’s condition, there is such a thing as effective denial. Use it!