To get what you desire is great, but what about Desire itself? I am more interested in what motivates Desire and the use of subtlety in order to change reality. Now ritual, myth and magick itself are more symbolic of allowing other states of consciousness to occur to me and to others rather than just to manipulate physical objects or influence events. I know that I can always fall back on getting what I need when I want to (sigils and extended rituals are fine for that), but the individual needs of the magus are secondary to the need to transform the very base of Desire itself. That's where the real magick is.
"Why do I desire certain things and not others and why do I feel the need to alter reality in order to get them?" is the question that I keep asking myself. I am not so much interested in altering "Reality" (like there is only one ;-))as in experiencing realities through the transformation of consciousness itself. By experiencing these alternative realities I hope to transform myself into more mercurial and adaptable character than the rigid and up-tight person that I was before I started practicing magick.
I put into practice something that I whipped up from a book entitled Fear No Evil and combined it with Stanislavsky's "Sense Memory" exercises and Robert Johnson's emphasis on ritual in his book Inner Work that really seems to have had an impact on me. I waited a few months before I decided to post on it because I wanted to see if the changes that it brought about would stand the test of time--and it seems to have done the trick. I'll detail it under a cut for anyone that is interested.
Basically I went through my past and listed both my "good" (what I liked about myself) and "bad" (what I didn't like about myself) qualities and traced my memories about them back as far as I could recall until I reach a significant moment when I "first" (as far as I could remember)displayed the behavior. Some of these were interesting because even when I recalled many of the "good" qualities, it turned out that I displayed them (for the most part)for approval by either my peers or my parents and that a lot of my "bad" qualities were reactions to fear of punishment/rejection either internally or externally.
The next step was to recall the moment in vivid detail by remembering the specific senses that were triggered by the memory. Remembering what you saw, felt, tasted, heard and smelled at the time of the incident. Getting the exact orientation in space and time was important, too. I then "relived" the experience and felt the emotion that I felt at the time.
But, then came an important step. I decided to feel the fear or anger or anxiety that I was trying to avoid by the behavior that I displayed--not just mentally, but physically (even to the point of trembling and crying)--and then used my rational mind to realize what I had done and what I could do differently.
I order to cement a new behavior to replace or negate the old dysfunctional behavior, I decided that there needed to be a material and physical action or reaction to replace the old memory. By creating a new memory through ritual (defined here as symbolic and significant altering of behavior) in real time (not through visualization alone) paired with a new behavior, I, in effect, established a new causal chain on which new behaviors automatically base themselves so that there is no need to "drill" or "train" oneself to respond differently. I just naturally do things differently now and don't need to catch or correct myself or punish myself for failing to do them.
I feel less neurotic and compulsive and more fluid and responsive to "reality" rather than reflexive and habitual in my responses to the world around me. I act more on instinct generated by circumstance rather than pathology--and people seem to like to be around me more, too. The process took about two weeks, but the results have been going on for about three months now so I thought I would let you in on my "little secret."
I'll save what else has been going on for another time. I hope that everyone is doing well.