Why Enlightenment Improves Your Magick

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Last week, I wrote:

The day after you ascend, nothing much changes, except that now you’re treated as an equal by other ascended. You don’t become magickally skilled because you ascended; instead, you ascended because you were magickally skilled. And, after ascending, you still have a human body, and no beam of light wisks you away.

Ananael replied:

According to the Golden Dawn and Thelemic magical schools […] there’s a big jump when transitioning to the state of consciousness represented by the sphere of Tiphareth (the Sun) on the Tree of Life and that represented by the sphere of Binah (Saturn). A magician who has accomplished the former is called an Adept, and one who has accomplished the latter is called a Master of the Temple.


The state of consciousness resulting from Adept-level work dramatically increased my ability to shift probabilities and so forth in the material world.

How do I square those two statements?

Ananael’s report doesn’t surprise me, actually. The apparent disagreement comes from focusing on different metrics.

I usually focus on the core skills of direct magick: How well can you make or follow a connection? How well can you match a signature? Can you set up an effective shield, and how good does someone have to be to bypass it without you noticing?

Those things do not change with enlightenment, in my experience, and I would not expect them to change with ascention.

But remember that ethereal software I’m offering with my book? Before releasing it, I thought about how to keep everyone safe — the mages using it, and the non-mages around them. My answer: It will require consciousness integration (or other enlightenment work) before it will allow you to access more advanced, powerful functionality. Your access level is limited not only by your technical skill at issuing commands, but by your enlightenment work.

Here’s how it works: Say you haven’t done any enlightenment work, and you make a request of the ethereal software. (For my software, requests are words, but other software could use rituals or visualizations as requests.) Some requests, such as asking it to significantly affect someone else’s body, will simply be ignored. Other requests, like dramatic changes from manifesting, will produce a weaker, safer version.

Once you do enlightenment work, some of those restrictions lift, and the software will respond to more commands more fully. The more enlightenment, the fewer restrictions.

So, that’s my best guess on the enlightenment-based upgrade that Ananael describes.

(Another possibility: Spirits could trigger mental muscles to awaken as a reward for reaching a certain level. This could be delivered through ethereal software, similar to my ethereal software’s command to awaken a few mental muscles to get you started. But I consider this option to be much less probable, because (1) it’s more difficult to do, (2) while theoretically possible, I have never seen this actually happen, and (3) there are prohibitions on awakening someone else’s mental muscles, beyond the first few required to get someone started. But it is possible, so I wanted to mention it.)

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4 Responses to “Why Enlightenment Improves Your Magick”

  1. Ona says:

    I think in this case (re: Ananael’s description) you are running into very different understandings of what “enlightenment” means, and that makes comparison a bit rough. In other words, improving behaviors and consciousness relating to self-image, better reactions to things, psychological well being and so on are one thing (and a good thing)… but some other systems are also emphasizing a union with the divine, a change in consciousness that is not comparable self-improvement. Not to speak for him, as I don’t know what he thinks, but many magickal systems that use the tree of life are focused on that kind of thing. Tiphareth is the meeting point of the divine and human in a very visceral way, not just as an analogy for personal growth, if you know what I mean.

  2. Dark Arckana says:

    Expanding on Ona’s comment, I would like to add that the state of Enlightenment is transitory and there are many aspects to it. Just because you’re enlightened, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your growth will stop. You can build up on that enlightened state and become more skilled.

  3. Ona says:

    Let me throw one more thought out there: a secular way of looking at enlightenment can be this: that we normally function in a way that is very entangled in our own crap. We are caught up in our beliefs, desires, resentments, motives built on ego-driven needs, trying to manipulate others and the world to feed that sense of self importance, defending ourselves from things that might hurt (emotionally), etc.
    If one (often through meditation) starts to pick apart this tendency and see how these reactions are layered and entangled, what starts to become evident is the nature of reality as it actually is, without all that story-telling and self-involved stuff layered on top.
    So for example, the sun is on my arm, my skin feels warm. That’s just what’s going on. What might then spin off of that are layers of concepts and stories: remembering that time I got sunburned, how I hated that, I don’t like this sensation, it sucks to have to sit here on this bus with the sun on my arm, I’m too hot, why doesn’t the driver hurry up, these idiots are blocking the intersection…blah blah blah – in other words a giant wad of stress just spun off of something very simple: sun on arm.

    How this relates to “magick” is that the more disentangled one becomes from all the self-involved story telling (suffering), the less one has those stress reactions to everything, and the more one is in alignment, so to speak, with the actual nature of reality as it manifests at every moment. The more deep that alignment gets, the more everything seems to unfold spontaneously just as it is. It starts to become natural to just know what is needed, and for that which is needed to spontaneously manifest. So magick becomes more powerful, in a sense, not because you become more powerful, but because you become more integrated into the natural flow of the universe.

    Anyway, just another perspective on these things…

  4. Ananael Qaa says:

    It seems to me that for practical magick, if your metric is anything other than the probability shift you’re producing when you perform a ritual you’re doing it wrong. You can talk about all sorts of subjective stuff like feeling connections and whatnot, but if it doesn’t do anything in the real world what you’re doing is not practical magick.

    One the subject of this post, though, it’s true that enlightenment is kind of its own thing and is subjective by definition, in that it hinges on direct personal experience that can’t be easily measured or quantified. But I think these explanations for why it would increase your practical magical ability really miss the mark. You make it sound like the spirit world is some sort of social milieu, with “recognition” being the main criterion by which things get evaluated. That is the way some magical orders are set up, with signs and grips and so forth, but as a description for a phenomenon that should be directly related to a shift in your individual consciousness? I just don’t buy it when applied in that way.

    What I think you’re missing is this: phase 1 of enlightenment is consciousness integration, but phase 2 is consciousness expansion. When your conscious awareness expands, it begins to encompass more than your physical body. The sensation that accompanies the process is pretty unmistakeable – you feel like that which is “you” extends to the boundary of your senses, not the boundary of your skin. Once you stabilize that sense, practical magick suddenly gets way easier, practically overnight. And I don’t think it’s a case of a spirit sysadmin somewhere granting your account higher access, to use another computer metaphor. I think it’s a case of your consciousness becoming in tune with the world around you – like matching a fractal signature.

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