Well, I can be the first young witch to tell you that I read and heard this all the time, however, I felt that my “natural born talents” were proof enough that I could make some things happen. For too long I felt that studying was meant more for the “seasoned witch” who wanted to unlock some deeper level of the Craft that I didn’t feel I needed to utilize at this point in my journey.
Do I even need to tell you that, hindsight, if I would’ve studied a long time ago, I would be such a deep and experienced Witch that performing shadow-work would be like riding a bike by now??
So frustrating, but it’s my own fault. I didn’t put in the work, so I wasn’t getting the real fulfillment from the Craft even when I tried to perform simple spells. I was basically picking up a guitar trying to recreate a Zeppelin song without ever looking at a page of sheet music or learning how to play the simple chords. Obviously I was doomed from the start.
In the midst of learning my mistakes, I started this here dual-blog about my two passions: books and all things witchy. I figured that the “Shadows” side of B+S would be a great time to not only help further my studies by blogging what I’ve researched and added to my knowledge of the Craft, but also help other young Witches such as myself, who just needed someone to truly relate to where they are in their journey, and help guide them without all the super witchy jargon or pressure.
You can now follow me as I create my virtual Book of Shadows, starting from the most basic of basics that you should know, down to the experienced Witch workings. We’ll be on this learning adventure together, a little Witch posse.
Just know that I am learning this as I go, just like you, so I’m not claiming to be an expert on the topic but I do hope that one day I will be able to say that I am.
Now… our first entry:
The Witches Pyramid
The Four Powers of Magnus, Four Secrets of the Spynx, the Hermetic Quatinary, all names describing the same philosophy of thought meant to demonstrate the foundation of the magical arts: The Witches Pyramid.
As with an actual pyramid, this theoretical pyramid has four sides to create the structure… to give it support. The main points made by the Witches Pyramid are:
To Keep Silent
According to Patheos.com, the French occultist and magician Eliphas Levi explained that to truly attain the knowledge and power of the Magi (magician), one must have an intelligence that is illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing can intoxicate.
Levi’s influence stretched to the Golden Dawn as well as Aleister Crowley, who just so happened to be an initiate of the Golden Dawn, where he introduced a fifth idea into the principle:
Each “power” of the pyramid is essential to true magical understanding, and obtaining full comprehension is a sign of enlightenment.
To Know is represented by the Element Air and its basic principle is that “We should know what we’re doing.”
Sounds too easy to be true, right? I know! hehe (pun was so intended).
This power goes back to my introduction when I said that knowledge is key to successful Craft work. If you don’t truly know what you’re doing, how do you expect to achieve any real results? Hopefully, you won’t be expecting much because that’s exactly what will happen… not very much.
Our knowledge of magic would include:
Understanding why you make certain gestures and use certain components in a spell or when casting a circle.
Knowing the correspondences and the timing of your magical workings so that you can achieve optimum results.
Understand the philosophy behind the various methods you have chosen to perform.
Understand how and why your spells work… or how and why their components work.
You have to know how to achieve the proper state of mind and how to raise and direct your energy.
Practicing magic is not a game of chance. There is true intention behind all of your actions, and consequences to follow if you are not fully prepared. We don’t want to go into this blindly, make naive mistakes, and have to pay for them with more than we bargained for… it’s better if we go into this ready and willing; with as much knowledge on the subject as possible.
To Dare is represented by the Element Water and its basic principle is “We must dare to push our abilities to the limit”
Being afraid of actually working with magic was a fear I didn’t want to admit to having for a long time. My fear had levels to it as well…
I would fear the unknown.
What would really happen if I cast this circle and feel a breeze rush past me when there was no draft in the room? How would I react to receiving the abundance that I had been putting all my energy into obtaining? All these questions and more would constantly run through my mind, and deter me from truly pushing my skills and abilities to the limit.
But most of all, my fear of what others thought really became my downfall from truly becoming a badass Witch.
There is such a stigma when it comes to Witchcraft, or anything remotely dealing with “magic”, that has been placed into society for so long, and with such determination to slaughter the true nature of what working with magic means, that even when you know it in your heart of hearts that this magic is real, your brain has been taught that what you were doing was silly, childish or even demonic.
I would often find myself talking my way out of performing certain rituals because I felt foolish. Or tell myself “this can’t be true” when it came to certain ideals that I read when studying. My fear of looking like the crazy witch lady that we see so often on TV debilitated my growth. I was living for a false truth.
I was not utilizing my power To Dare.
When I decided to stop living for others and only for what I know is to be true and real in my own heart and mind, I was able to unleash this vital step in the Pyramid.
To Dare, we must:
Practice and develop our skills in the Craft.
Lean to endure and persevere.
Be strong and courageous.
Be willing to know yourself, to test yourself, and to face your true inner self.
Be honest about who you are and what you want.
Be the Master of your own Ego.
To Will is represented by the Element Fire, and its basic principle is “Does it involve Will? Is your heart into it?”
We’ve heard it all of our lives, “Put your heart into it…” We can apply it to anything where we need that push of motivation to get the job done. The same is still true for working with magic. You have to put your heart into it, or you won’t succeed.
Looking back over my journey, I can honestly say that the knowing in my heart was always there, but I wasn’t giving the Craft my all. I was skimming through the pages, taking CliffNotes; not truly putting in the work and not fully believing in the outcomes. There was absolutely no wonder why I never got very far. My heart was not really into it yet.
This Power of the Pyramid involves desire. Are you truly ready to go after what you want? Are you willing to sacrifice for it? To make it a priority?
I know that I didn’t truly desire the Craft as I should in my earlier days. I knew that my intentions were selfish and shallow. Once I admitted to myself that I was building my studies on a weak foundation, decided to make building my Shadows a priority, and dedicated the time to put in the work, I unlocked my heart, my desire, and my will.
When you utilizing your Power To Will, you:
Visualize and focus your thoughts.
Work with energy.
Take responsibility for your efforts, as well as the outcomes.
Have the ambition to carry on.
Focus your intent.
Have the certainty and ingenuity to find a way to make all that you desire work for you.
Cultivate your imagination as much as you cultivate your knowledge.
To practice Witchcraft, you need to be willing and able to project your will and make it manifest!
To Keep Silent is represented by the Element Earth and its basic principle is “Be silent. Be still.”
Cue the cliche teen witch movie with that saying, ehm I right?! Who hasn’t heard that classic line in the middle of some big ritual at a girls’ sleepover? Well, as cliche as it may sound, it’s cliche for a reason. There is real meaning behind those words.
When claiming the title of Witch, there must be a sense of pride, privacy, and protection that you must adhere to when speaking out about the Craft. There are many reasons for not blabbing to everyone with an ear around you that you’re a Witch… the most obvious being that people could and would immediately treat you differently for admitting such.
The more people you allow to invade your understanding of Witchcraft, muddling and tainting it with their own fears and opinions, the more you drift further and further away from the Truth.
We all know the history of the persecution of Witches:
The murders for simply blessing livestock or harvests so that their families won’t starve during the harsh winters, or the total banishment for healing a sick child with herbs found in the fields in nature.
Being silent about practicing magic would literally mean life or death. Even though we don’t have to suffer those extremes anymore (hopefully), we can still be bullied and harassed. That type of treatment would ruin our mental states, which in turn will inhibit our ability to practice magic.
With the Power To Keep Silent, you:
Must take the Craft seriously and not brag and boast or threaten others with your knowledge.
Must understand that secrecy is key and you must hold the Craft in high regard.
Must know that throwing sacred knowledge into the world for the non-believers to desecrate is disrespectful.
Must stay silent until manifestation… any negative energies can derail your efforts. Telling others about your spells, and them having negative thoughts about it, will derail your efforts.
Must know that when you speak about your efforts, thoughts formed against them are energies that could essentially create roadblocks for your success.
Must keep your Eyes and Ears open, but your Mouth closed. (My personal favorite…)
To Go is represented by the Spirit and its basic principle is “Putting your soul into your workings by not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk.”
Again, this last Power is an “optional” 5th point to the Pyramid because it wasn’t one of the original concepts as introduced by Levi. This is the one that was adopted by Crowley and it is viewed as the outcome from learning the other four pillars of Power.
Because you now have thorough, working knowledge of the Witches Pyramid, and you utilize the powers in everyday life, you now know how To Go forth in your practice of magic and benefit not only your life but the world around you as well.
Through your service to yourself, your community, and your world, you truly become a Witch and reach your true potential.
This being my first “Book of Shadows” post, I feel that the Witches Pyramid is the perfect place to start. Knowing and understanding these principles and ideas are essential to being a successful Witch. Believe me when I say that I tried to walk this path without fully understanding these Pillars of Power before and failed horribly.
If I could help just one novice Witch with this post, then I’m doing my job. Knowing that someone wouldn’t have to start and restart and then restart again because they didn’t have someone there to help them understand the basics of magic before trying to learn the intricacies of the Craft is payment enough for me.
Check back in and see my next entry into the Book of Shadows!
I hope you guys learned something new and enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed studying and writing it.