Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Discussion relating to “psychologising magick” comes up often in relation to modern mystery schools. With the spread of psychological understanding, and the participation of actual practicing psychologists in occultism, at times it seems as if the old idea of contacting angelic spirits directly has been set aside in favour of endless introspection.

It hasn’t. What has happened is that our conception of what occultism aims for has evolved, and spiritually oriented psychology has become one of the primary tools we use.

Recall, if you will, Crowley’s injunction that any effort not aimed at Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel amounts to black magick: in other words, the adept’s sole aim and responsibility is to attain a higher plane of consciousness and understanding, which in turn helps the rest of humanity move through the present pervasive state of crisis. His assertion, of course, should be qualified with the observation that K&C requires extensively exploring the byways of our existence, including, eventually, evocation and comprehension of the more violent or unstable forces within us.

It is appreciated in the schools today that we have to shovel a lot of snow from the mental sidewalks to know where they truly lead. But students sometimes wonder if they’ve been conned into a psychotherapeutic cult as opposed to a magical order.

This seems odd, though, when we consider how many terms in Sanskrit or Tibetan refer to states of consciousness. Introspective schools of spirituality can’t avoid psychological terminology, nor do they flinch from it Thus, ‘samskara’ in Sanskrit refers to mental impressions or recollections; in Tibetan, ‘rigpa’ refers to knowledge of the ground of consciousness; and so on. Follow an online rabbit-hole about Mahayana Buddhism, and term after term relating to conditions of mind comes up. Only very narrow or shallow forms of western esotericism speak solely of spirits and discarnate entities, without reference of the operations of mind.

The key thing to understand in all this – and unfortunately, it’s difficult to grasp until it’s become self-evident – is that the key inner plane beings don’t necessarily appear in any form or image that’s like their traditional representations. It may well be that they have no form in a sense we can understand. What we see in visions or astral journeyings is what our own minds superimpose when connection occurs, as a way to interpret to consciousness the impressions that come through.

People who reach into esotericism and who are more or less self-taught see a lot of things. They might take their visualisations and the things they hear inwardly for actualities, and perhaps draw all they feel they need from them. Well-founded mystery schools are less considerate. They expect students to deconstruct a lot of their perceptions, and to reabsorb a whole range of such psychological projections in order to explore the roots of the outlook that produced them. Psychological self-awareness is developed as part of the program, and only gradually is the student given serious magical exercises to perform.

But at some point, this process bears its fruit, and the student begins to understand something. The beings or levels of consciousness being sought won’t necessarily appear, as they did to medieval saints, as shiny golden-winged figures, but are found to lie behind or within the most provocative, unusual or disturbing thoughts we have. This isn’t to say there will be no associated imagery, but rather to stress the necessary depth of mind-to-mind contact needed for us to avoid falling for ego-inflating ideas and other delusory content. Eventually, realisations develop around how higher-realm entities are to be reached on an exalted plane of consciousness, and how our knowing the foundations and deep currents within our own minds provides a clearer means for such communication.

Before we can ‘speak’ with angels, we have to learn to silence an immense amount of our own mental noise. The psychological techniques and jargon are never a way of sidetracking us, but actually of offering a more direct means of access. We come to appreciate that the beings we seek are minds in their own right, yet of a different stamp and character to any human minds we’ve encountered.

It’s the intelligence and understanding present in such discarnate minds that we were looking for all along. And as a result, the HGA, the coordinating and underlying consciousness among these different beings, begins to become accessible.

But only by looking within our own minds, and grasping the strange processes, distractions and deflections from simple purpose that happen there, can we discover the way to form these connections that we set out to find in the first place. More than being perceived glorious visions, or enchanting vistas, these entities are just as real as our own individual minds, but they operate beyond the zones of thought and feeling associated with being conventionally human. Eventually,  we can see that having observed the essential tides in ourselves wasn’t a deflection of our purpose, but the key to achieving it.

Love is the law, love under will,

Edward Mason