Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Achieve Balance (part 5 of '13 Goals of a Witch')

Continuing with this series of Scott Cunningham's '13 Goals of a Witch':

V: Achieve Balance

Black and white; Evil and Good; dark and light; bad and good; destructive and constructive; negative and positive; cat person and dog person; English major and math major... and so on, and so on, and so on.

What do you make of all these pairs? 'Opposites' is probably one of the words that comes to mind.

And yes, they are polar opposites, but they are still connected. They are not separate things. They are just different expressions of the same thing.

Sadly, we live in a society that encourages polarization. If you’re not good, you must be bad. If you’re not doing ‘white’ magic, you must be doing black/dark magic. If you aren't striving to be positive at any given moment, you must be a negative Nelly.

You don’t have to look much further than politics to see that polarization in play. Look at the way liberals and conservatives go at each other. Each one accuses the other side of being deluded, brainwashed, or of having some sinister agenda. Liberals make fun of conservatives for being manipulated by Fox news and Republican politicians; and they say this as if the liberal news media outlets are not being equally as manipulative on their own liberal minds.

This is because polarized people see those on those on the opposing side as ‘the enemy’ and ‘the villains’.  They think you couldn’t get more different—but the truth is, people on both ends of the spectrum are deluded zealots. They’re just the opposite sides of the same coin, equally unable to be unbiased.

Polarized people don’t want facts, they don’t want to learn or understand; they just want validation to fuel their own bias.

One of the most important things to do for someone who wants to learn magic is to find balance. Think of polarized opinions as being on one of those old-fashioned scales. One extreme opinion drags down the left side, the other extreme opinion drags down the right side. But the goal is to bring both sides into balance so they are even and fairly equal.

This is so important for anyone wanting to learn magic—the great occultist Israel Regardie wrote a famous ritual called The Middle Pillar which is what any Ceremonial Magician is supposed to perform early in his studies, to help bring him into that position of balance. A balanced mind is necessary for the practice of magic.

It’s also necessary for life, as we learn in Wicca. Only when you are able to strike balance are you able to find a place of harmony; only then can you find mastery of the self.

My Tip for You Today: Strive for balance.

Where do you need to find balance? Well, it differs for everyone, of course. But you can start thinking of it this way: what pisses you off?

Like if you were reading an internet message board, what opinion would really set you off? Do you have a hot-button topic, such as abortion, gay marriage, religious freedom, gun control, etc., that just seeing someone express the opposite opinion sends the blood rushing to your head? Do you have extreme opinions, such as ‘white magic’ being the only acceptable kind of magic, that eating meat or joining the military is ‘evil’?

If so, now you know what areas in which you’re polarized. Look at the person that gets the blood rushing to your head—they’re most likely the opposite side of that coin. Realize that you and that person are very much alike in your polarization—but that the truth and a balanced, unbiased view lies somewhere between your opinions.

Okay, moving on from opinions, let’s look at the rest of your life at where there may be imbalances:

Maybe you’re terrible at time management, you waste time, procrastinate, are always late, and endlessly missing out on things because you can’t get yourself together.

On the other hand, maybe you’re so regimented that you don’t run your schedule, your schedule runs you. You’re a total Type A personality and need to relax a little bit.

Maybe you’re Oscar Madison incarnate (that’s a total slob for you youngin’s unfortunate enough to have missed the brilliant 70’s show, The Odd Couple); your entire home and all your stuff is in disarray. You constantly lose things, find your little treasures broken or destroyed because they weren’t taken care of, and you can barely clear a path when you want to hold a ritual.

On the other hand, maybe you’re so obsessively neat that people can’t even relax in your home—you can’t even relax in the home. You’re Felix Unger (another Odd Couple Reference), and you’re too picky to just enjoy anything.

Maybe you’re always angry, always fighting, always finding controversy. You can’t let things go, of course, because you’re a champion of justice and it is your duty to point out to other people where they are behaving improperly. Complaining, bickering, and sighing in frustration-- it never seems to end. Why do all these people always have to bring me down? You wonder, exasperated. People suck!

On the other hand perhaps you’re so passive that you let people walk all over you. You’re afraid to speak up, to stand up for yourself, or to even voice an opinion that might cause controversy. Your back hurts from constantly bending in every direction to please everyone.

It’s so easy to get out of balance, and a real challenge to help find your way to the middle ground again. You have to constantly challenge and work against your own natural thoughts and inclinations to do so (especially when first trying to bring yourself into balance). 

But when you get there, an amazing thing happens-- you feel 'right'. You feel at peace with yourself and the world. Something inside of you seems to settle and veils are lifted-- you gain clarity. You become a better observer. You see things you missed before. You begin to learn and grow.  

I could actually go on and on about this, but I won't in this post. We will revisit balance again and again, though, considering more specific situations. 

Do you struggle with finding balance in certain areas of your life?

No comments:

Post a Comment