1. Psyche
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  3. Saturday, 15 October 2016
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In the war letters Dion Fortune makes three statements:

1. “It is the aim of both psychotherapy and initiation to bring about harmonisation between consciousness and sub-consciousness. Both methods of dealing with the human mind depend for their results on the same factor- the resources made available to the personality when this unification takes place. Initiation differs from psychoanalysis in that it carries the process a stage further and unites subconsciousness with cosmic consciousness; save for this, the two methods have more in common than either of them realises.”

2. “The powers of the macrocosm can only function in the world of men through the medium of men’s souls…through them the cosmic powers work.”

3. It is necessary to have a working knowledge of both psychology and the mysteries.
References
  1. http://dionfortune.co.uk/articles/art-of-changing-consciousness
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
One of Dion Fortune's Inner Plane contacts, the Greek philosopher Socrates who is said to have communicated much of The Cosmic Doctrine to her, made some interesting observations on the subject of 'knowing' and 'not knowing' and on those who claim to know when they do not! He is quoted by Plato as having said:

"So examining this man—for I need not call him by name, but it was one of the public men with regard to whom I had this kind of experience - men of Athens - and conversing with him, this man seemed to me to SEEM to be wise to many other people and especially to himself, but not to be so; and then I tried to show him that he thought he was wise, but was not.

As a result, I became hateful to him and to many of those present; and so, as I went away, I thought to myself, “I am wiser than this man; for neither of us really knows anything fine and good, but this man thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas I, as I do not know anything, do not think I do either. I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate - that what I do not know, I do not think I know either.”

Peter Nascien
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
I am no psychologist, rather I am an engineer by profession, but it struck me that the 'negative capability' you discuss above may be connected to a common trait of the personality that seems to me to make it very difficult for most people to say 'I do not know'.
There is a school of thought, to which I subscribe, that the only difference between a 'junior' and 'senior' engineer is that a 'senior' engineer is not afraid to say 'I do not know' (and then seek out as best they can the answers to the questions posed).
I suppose all professions and walks of life have experience of similar things. If only folk were more ready to declare their absence of knowledge, all could surely progress in greater safety. At the end of the day it must also be better for the guesser to admit their lack of knowledge rather than to professes some knowledge that is not there, as folk taking the latter path may well be proven wrong with time and so attract the sort of attention that they had perhaps thought they were avoiding by guessing.
Is it perhaps possible that those involved in the esoteric are more likely to be able to accept their absence as knowledge for, if they set off in that field believing they knew all, they would be unlikely to be able to come to any significant realisations.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Ah negative Capability! (I have a hunch your Bion is better than mine for which I salute you- not an easy read is he? :) ).

Yes indeed, that is exactly the sort of thing I am referring to, and I love the articulation of the importance of balance between knowing and not knowing.

Some would say I'm rather good at not knowing, and of course it is actually a virtue :)

Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Seawhisperer Accepted Answer
Thanks for the warm welcomes! :)

Psyche, I find it very interesting that you mention the more receptive functions of the mind, as I was thinking in the same direction when I was writing my last paragraph. Bion has some very interesting things to say about this I think (for those who don't know, he was a very prominent British psychoanalyst).

A concept of his I always found very interesting is 'negative capability', the capacity to tolerate not-knowing without falling back on ready-made answers. Very important in psychotherapy, but also in the mysteries I imagine. And of course there's also the concept of 'faith', but I don't think I would be able to say anything useful about this without diving into my books!

Seawhisperer
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Dear Seawhisperer
Thank you so much for your thoughts I have really enjoyed reading your post.

Yes indeed I agree with your thoughts, and Peter's around the perils of ego in Groups! This is where personality perhaps is in the driving seat rather than the Individuality :) there may of course be Cleopatra out there in a group, but when it becomes a badge of honour there is likely something amiss. Of course as Peter says these are all good learning experiences and I smiled as I too thought back to some of my early magical activities!

As for your comments about escapism, I agree absolutely. JRR Tolkien talks about the importance of distinguishing between the flight of the deserter and the prisoner who needs to escape from his cell. Very different in esoteric terms as you have spotted.

You are on the money when you speak about projections and discrimination, yes indeed spot on! When you refer to too much discrimination what comes to mind for me is 'mind' itself. Certainly over-thinking can impede our work. I'm not sure of the reference you mention (someone will know!) But for me it's the importance of faith as opposed to too much rationalising which can kill off lots of things. My article, on the whole, concentrates of the active functions of the mind, such as thinking. At some point (when i find time!) there will be a further piece on the more receptive functions , which are about allowing , being, 'knowing ' and receiving impressions and these are as necessary as thinking and discriminating. We might then of course new to apply discrimination and thinking to our impressions in order to give them form in malkuth.

I hope this makes sense at the end of a long day...
Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Dear Seawhisperer

A very warm welcome to you! Thank you for contributing such a thoughtful post which I'm sure many visitors to the site will read with appreciation.

I shall leave the main response to what you've written for Psyche, but I'd like to say for the moment that I do agree with your impression of what seems to be the approach adopted by some esoteric groups. A focus on 'famous past incarnations' for example doesn't personally appeal to me as ultimately being very useful to me in learning who I am. If I used to be Rameses the Great for example, what the heck am I doing now? (And who was it who said that they could clearly remember dozens of previous incarnations but none of them were their own?)

And yet….I suppose like anything else in any walk of life, there is probably a continuum of skills, ability, beliefs, stages on the esoteric journey that people try out, experience, and then move on. This has been my own path. If I look back at some of the occult activities I've taken part in over the years I can scarcely believe what I used to get up to - but it was such good fun at the time!

There are still groups out there that adhere to the magical principles described by Dion Fortune - the groups listed in this website for example. As you say, it's in Malkuth that our real work takes place, however far we have reached into the spiritual worlds.

Very best wishes

Peter
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Seawhisperer Accepted Answer
Dear Psyche,

I really enjoyed reading your article. It triggered a lot of thoughts, but maybe it's best to start with one!

First of all, I'm a bit of an outsider. I know more about psychology and psychotherapy than about magic, and I don't have a lot of experience with practical magical work.

Something that makes me a bit hesitant to join an esoteric group and explore the practical aspects of the tradition is that there seems to quite some 'high-handedness' in certain circles. I'm thinking of all the talk about famous past incarnations, contact with lofty inner beings, holding advanced esoteric grades,... It sometimes seems to me that it can become a flight from reality rather than a way of engaging with it more fully!

Qabalah of course teaches us that we have to start at the beginning, at Malkuth. I also read this in your article, for example in the following quote:

"To bring through power, one must also be firmly established on this plane and able to connect and make a positive circuit."

In this context I can understand why DF refers to the importance of trying to harmonize consciousness and subconsciousness, and why you emphasize the process of takings back projections. If we don't have a certain measure of balance and integration on the level of the personality it's probably not very useful (and maybe even a bit dangerous) to focus on changing or exalting our consciousness.

All this also makes me think of the virtue of Malkuth: discrimination. I imagine this can also refer to the question of projection: what comes from my own psyche, and what comes from somewhere else? As long as we haven't worked this through to a certain degree it may be best not to leave Malkuth too far behind!

Though, at the same time, I imagine there can also be such a thing as too much discrimination. If I remember correctly, one of DF's inner plane contacts referred to the importance of belief (I would have to look this up to be sure).

Just some thoughts...

Seawhisperer
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Hello John
I think you are right there. I was thinking only of the possible normalisation by the bringing together of the minds and ideas of folk on the outer. You are quite right that there is far more to it than that. There are those on the outer and those on the inner, hopefully working together in harmony. That opens up the possibility of a much broader normalisation. Is that also perhaps, at its extreme, connected to the 'policing' by the White Lodge that I seem to recall DF referred to?
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John Accepted Answer
What an interesting point! I think you are absolutely right. Can we perhaps discriminate the intention further into a) the subjective intention i.e. The ones own inner motivation to stand in the epicenter between manifestation and evolution an b) the "objective" intention I.e. The concept or mechanisms of philosophy one uses to shape the inner intention? And could the "normalization" process you mentioned be the "answer" of the higher plane energies regarding this creative process, that manifests inside all of us and that we could call a group inspiration?
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
If, when involved in magical work, we attempt to direct the spiritual force to some particular end, are we not almost inevitably introducing some subjective concept of what ends we each consider worthy? The end that one person thinks most worthy might well differ from the opinion of others. At its extreme, what one considers 'good' another might consider 'bad'.

Often in ritual there will be a general intention that is identified at the outset. Is it here perhaps that there is another benefit in group ritual? Is there the advantage that, in a group, each individual perception is brought together with others, normalised in a way, so the possible influence of any extreme notions become evened out to some extent? Perhaps my view here is rather too simplistic as any group is likely to be a collection of similar minded folk, so limiting the chance of the 'normalisation' that I suggest.

It does all seem to underline the importance of being very careful if presuming to identify what we believe to be good intentions.
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Reading through the last few postings, I am reminded of the significance of magical ritual in all this, which, it goes without saying, is something Dion Fortune understood so well! If we write and/or participate in magical ritual we are making a conscious decision to invoke the highest possible power for good and to align ourselves with that power as it is brought through into the world and into ourselves. We can do this individually, but magical ritual enhances and strengthens the process.

I can understand the many reasons why comparatively few folk become involved in magical work, but it does seems a shame that generally we tend nowadays to focus on 'the bad stuff' rather than emphasise the positive and good. For instance, if equal time was given by the media to positive news rather than bad news I believe this would bring about significant changes - but apparently no-one wants to listen to good news! It's as if 'the good stuff' is generally considered to be less important and less serious and yet, as Psyche proposes, it may well be as 'God-like' as we can get!

A question I have is whether we should have any specific aim or direction in mind when we are involved in magical work? I notice that Dion Fortune in 'The Glastonbury Tor' meditation is quite clear that we should only invoke the highest possible good and allow that to work through as it will.

Peter
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Hello Peter
You make a very interesting point and one which I don't believe is adequately considered by psychoanalysis which focuses on the parts of the mind that cause problems.

Projection as we know it psychologically is an unconscious process which is why therapy focuses on insight in order to bring these processes under conscious control giving choice. It is possible to be unconscious of projecting positive parts of the self, for example where there is low self esteem and all the good stuff is seen as belonging to others.


However it begs the question to me, of where the good stuff comes from. It is easy to forget that there is plenty of good stuff in the world. Is it all from God? Is some of it our own unconscious projection due to us being unaware of our true nature and ability? What would happen if we were able to more consciously able to use these processes?
So many questions....
Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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John Accepted Answer
Hi Peter.

For me the key to "understanding" (approaching sounds better, I guess) this principles was to add the force of intention to it.
Of course our minds are built to collect more and more images and create in the same principle as above (but after another manner), but to intionally use this principle and so to step actively into creation of the mind that additionally points into a certain direction makes a difference for me.

Best wishes from Germany,

J
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Dear All

The Cosmic Doctrine describes a Universe as 'a thought-form' projected by the mind of God.' If, as we are often told, we imitate this each in our own way by 'creating our own reality' then how ironic that, whether we will or no, we appear to put so much more time and effort into projecting those parts of ourselves that we don't want rather than making a positive effort to create something good and wonderful!

Best wishes,

Peter
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Good evening Eirinaea
Ah that does make sense even to me who couldn't even do o level chemistry- thank you. So it also sounds as though, just like in psychology, some atoms will relate and bond very well, others less so and others not at all?

Agreed, these are universal patterns though it is always very validating and satisfying when you see them replicated in this way.
Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
Hello Psyche,
You're right, valency is a chemical term. It can be visualised as an atom holding out one or more hands in the expectation or hope of one or more other atoms coming along to hold its hands. This 'holding of hands' is known as a valency or valence bond. Without getting technical it relates to the number of chemical bonds an atom can form. For example oxygen has a valency of 2 and hydrogen a valency of 1. So 1 oxygen can hold hands with two hydrogens each holding one of oxygen's hands making water H2O [sorry can't work out where sub and superscript keys are in this post]. An atom wants to have all of its bonds completed ie. no free dangling hands. And yes, this is like projection and receiving because an atom is either positive or negative (having spares or a deficit) and looks for its counterpart to bond with, one giving and one receiving. To keep it simple, oxygen has a deficit of 2 and hydrogen has 1 to give and they satisfy each others needs in a partnership of 1 oxygen and 2 hydrogens making water. So you see this giving and receiving is a universal pattern, appearing in psychology as projection and receiving. This is the basis of polarity in all its forms and functions. Physics and metaphysics should overlay in complete harmony; if they don't then our knowledge of one of them is wrong. The universe is built on universal laws and that includes psychology and consciousness.
Eirenaea.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Hello Wendy
I shall look forward to hearing your reflections!

Yes indeed, who is doing what is rather complex, if indeed it can be disentangle. Add into the mix the process of introjection, which is the reverse of projection, whereby the person takes in a quality of another , for example where a child who might have been the victim of violence, might actually become violent, or fear that they have that potential, then it all gets very complex.

One can get a bit carried away with some of the technicalities, and I'm not always sure, from a Clinical perspective at least, that the technicalities are always helpful. However, one thing is clear, i beleive, which is that none of this would work if we were truly separate beings. Not that psychoanalysis would necessarily agree with that view. What is in, and what is out, and who we are, yes I believe these are the key questions.

Know thyself! And the mediation theme from the tor of the underlying unity of all things inevitably comes to mind.


I agree there is more to be figured out here on all levels, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.
Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Thank you, that helps me to a better understanding of this whole thing of 'projection.' The more I think about it the more it strikes me as one of the most fundamental processes going on in the universe. Yet, also, the more I think about it and acknowledge the process, the more confused I become as to who is doing the projecting and who is doing the receiving of the projection. I begin to become less sure of who I am - whether I'm 'in here' or 'out there!' I shall go quiet on this one for a bit while I think it through….

Wendy
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Psyche Accepted Answer
Hello Wendy
Thank you for your question and I am very pleased that you are enjoying my piece.

One of the (many) things that brought me to the mysteries was the realisation of the centrality of the concepts of projection and projective identification in psychoanalytic therapy, and yet no-one actually knows that the mechanism is. Some might point the finger as this being yet another example of the failings of psychoanalysis but all my clinical experience indicated that there was truth in these processes. But how they work, no one really knows.

So, we don't actually know whether, if we are representing a God or goddess or other being in ritual whether they are projecting themselves, but I think that this is what is happening. When people successfully meditate they are not just reading words from a page but connecting up. This projection will be done consciously and deliberately on the part of the God or goddess of course, unlike most human projection which is unconscious.

There is a necessary two way Street where our ability to recieve is critical. Analysts would say that this is to do with the psychological make up of the individual receiving, one's own life experiences, inner composition and robustness. Group analysts talk about valency (which I believe is actually a term from chemistry, Erinaea would know better than me), but in analytic terms it means any given persons tendency to soak up, or be receptive to any given projection. In a group I run at the moment, one person has become the archetypal bad mother (ouch) for the rest of the group, really because of struggles she is having with her children. This applies in magic, so some of us are more compatible with some inner figures than others, a bit like tuning into a frequency, some of which is to do with empathy, some of which is to with openness and some of which is to do with a certain willingness to allow ego to step aside without handing over the steering wheel to another driver. There will be other factors too, which warrant exploration and research.

As to whether others in the ritual are projecting that God or goddess onto us, well, technically it wouldn't be quite that because they would not be receiving that God or goddess and so could not project them. However similarly there is something about their ability to perceive the archetype in the officer, and also given that each of us has a divine spark, we might project that onto the officer.

When we are attuned to our higher self in ritual, we can perceive that in the other so much more accurately. So it isn't all to do with projection but some of it is about people's higher self being much more visible in ritual.

There is much more to be understood here and I am off to chew it over some more!

Running off now to explore a certain inner Glastonbury Tor!
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Psyche, I'm really enjoying your article and I'm sure DF would find it fascinating!

I wonder if you could enlarge on a couple of sentences? You say: "In the Mysteries we need to be able to work with projection in order to work successfully in ritual. There must be an ability to receive projections." Do you mean that if, for example, we are representing a god or goddess form in a magical ritual and speaking words that are intended to invoke their presence, that god/ess is projecting themselves onto us? Or, that others who are taking part in the ritual are projecting that god/ess form onto us? Or maybe both of those?
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