1. Eirenaea
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Most of us are probably familiar with the quotation generally attributed to Dion Fortune “Magic is the art of changing consciousness according to will,” but what is consciousness? The Oxford Dictionary defines consciousness as: ‘The state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings.’ John Locke in 1690 defined consciousness as “The perception of what passes in a man’s own mind”; but within Mystery circles it means much more than this. It is generally understood that most people have an intuitive awareness of what consciousness is but would be hard-pressed to explain it. Recent psychological research on consciousness has focussed on understanding the neuroscience enabling our conscious experiences. Consciousness appears to emanate from the brain through the action of the synchronous firing of neurones creating an electromagnetic field which can be measured. This may show that we’re alive and what state our brain is in at any specific moment but it doesn’t explain how our thoughts and memories arise and why, if all brain activity permanently ceases, so does life, we are dead. It therefore correlates that consciousness is life-force. This is a very broad statement. We know there are different levels of consciousness that affect our level of awareness: there is awake and sleeping; unconsciousness due to anaesthetics etc; there is the sub-conscious over which we seem to have little control; automatic consciousness governing such activities as breathing and digestion; then there is elevated consciousness that we strive for in the Mysteries. The theory within mysticism is that this elevated level, together with normal awake consciousness, is subject to our will under discipline and practice.
References
  1. http://www.dionfortune.co.uk/articles/what-is-consciousness
Psyche Accepted Answer
Moderator
hello fellow companions, just testing whether I can post. Great article E!
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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John Accepted Answer
Agreed, very nice article. If I may, I'll add a few of my thoughts.

I believe, the consciousness is on the one hand the tip of the iceberg of all of the subconsciousness and even further the unconsciousness (at least those aspects of the unconsciousness that "induce" themselves into subconscious wavelenghts).
Psychologically speaking the mentioned aspects of the automatic consciousness belong to the subconsciousness As well.
On the other hand the consciousness is a form of materialization of the cosmic creative energies. As stated in the sentence "As above, so below" the cosmos created universes, solar systems, planets and finally men that Developed consciousness, to recreate planets, universes and finally the cosmos back in his consciousness. Applying this principle, one can say: Everything is consciousness.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
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Hello John, thank you for taking the time to respond and welcome to our new website . Yes agreed, consciousness also comprises the unconscious as well as, of course, the super consciousness or individuality. From a qabalistic perspective consciousness manifests according to the sephirah it finds itself in.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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John Accepted Answer
Thank you two for your answers.

It feels, I found the website I was always looking for!

Best wishes from Germany,

J
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
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Hello John,
I'd like to respond to your earlier reply, though somewhat delayed. What you said was quite correct and it prompted me to give the two meanings of consciousness some thought. What we have here is a dichotomy caused by the unfortunate use of the same word for two different things or perhaps I should say two uses of the same word for two different aspects.The word 'consciousness' is used for the overall Universal Field of pure potential; pure abstract All and Everything. It is also used to describe a state of mind/brain function and here is present in a three-fold level of consciousness, subconsciousness and superconsciousness. Universal Consciousness can also be termed God-ness or One-ness. It relates to the universal power that pervades the whole universe and is the basis of creation of everything. Psychological consciousness is the same force or power but it relates to the mind as expressed by thoughts and facilitated by the brain. So Consciousness (differentiated with a capital C) as the power/force of creation is a much bigger concept than human consciousness (with a lower case c) which is simply an aspect of it, even though they are the same in essence. Thus there is a description of consciousness as relating to the Universal Field of energy and a description of human mind functioning. I knew we were talking of different levels but wasn't clear how to describe it. However I was reading the Magical Battle of Britain by Dion Fortune; on page 71 it says 'the interpretation [of higher knowledge] is accomplished by analogy and the clearest clues are found in physics taken in conjunction with psychology'. Then I knew what I had to write: the difference is that the analogy of Consciousness uses physics whilst consciousness is approached via psychology. Universal Consciousness includes all forces and all forms made up of particles, atoms and molecules, including the brain, whilst living consciousness is an aspect of this overall consciousness operating via mind and the brain. Even as I'm writing this the two seem to merge together but then I can see that one is all-pervading and one relates to thoughts and mind function via the brain. I hope this helps others to appreciate the difference.
Eirenaea.
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
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To continue from my previous post:
The corollary to this is that one of the main objectives of occult or spiritual endeavor is to link human consciousness with God-consciousness in 'Unity' or 'Bliss' . As a superior race of creatures on this planet we humans possess the ability of self-awareness and higher thinking. Some people have a natural ability for this mystical unity but the rest of us have to work at it. Under guidance we learn how to focus during meditation and raise our awareness. With practice and intention we reach towards our Higher Self and some may even experience a transitory state of Bliss or Transcendence, even though it be only for a few fleeting seconds. It would be impossible to maintain this state of heightened awareness and still function as a normal human in our world. And anyway, this objective is not for everyone. Others may wish to still the mind and make contact with the Inner Plane guides or simply to raise awareness to a higher plane of existence above the mundane world. Whatever is our objective, the journey towards this goal, whatever stage it may be, will be self-rewarding but this isn't why we do it. We aim to raise our consciousness towards Higher Consciousness to join others in providing positive vibrations with fixed intentions as described in the Tor Meditations. All are encouraged to join with us in the Tor Meditations.
Eirenaea.
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John Accepted Answer
I just have time for a quick reply at the moment. Thank you for your answer. Very interesting way of discriminating the two states. Haven't read the Magical Battle yet, but have it waiting for me in the bookshelf.
What you say about the two sides of consciousnesses I understand as the difference of manifestation and evolution. The one with the capital C is the cosmic concentration and continuing differantiation of that what happens in Kether, the other (small c consciousness) is that what frees itself from form in Malkuth. Actually I believe we separate those two states to fit this into our logical kind of thinking and understanding of our progressing reality. So it is true, but next to that, at the same moment, I believe, it is as above so below, but after another manner: both consciousnesses are the same.
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
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John,
There is no right or wrong for no-one actually knows. We all just do our best to make sense of it all. For you, whatever sounds right is so. I simply give my view with the hope that it helps for some people. If you have an alternative concept that's fine too. We're happy to hear your comments.
Eirenaea.
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John Accepted Answer
Hi there. Thanks for your reply! I hope I wasn't misunderstood somehow. Sometimes the indirect communication (plus my untrained English :D ) can cause unwanted interpretations.
What I intended to say was the same what you replied in your last post. We all have our interpretations of these things that add up. There is no absolute somewhere that cancels other opinions.
:)
Sorry if I have been unclear in my formulation in any way.
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
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No problem, John. When I reply to you I also think of other readers. In this case I was highlighting that everyone is at liberty to decide what feels right for them when it comes to "Wisdom" because there is no recognised absolute system. It is most sensible to follow a tried and tested path at first, to learn the basics, but then it is advisable to select your own correspondences and beliefs. Only in this way does magic work effectively. This is why there are so many variations of correspondencies between schools or groups yet why each one seems effective for them. The magic comes from focussed intention and belief and is from one's own inner consciousness. I'm sure I don't need to tell you this but it may be new for some people. It came as quite a surprise to me when I learned this several years ago. I thought there was only one right way, the way I was taught, but not so. After basic training we are free to decide what doesn't feel right and to substitute a better fitting correpondence. What feels right to you is right for you because at the basis of it all there is only one absolute truth. Our training should guide us to this Truth which the Egyptians called Ma'at, the rightness of everything. Symbols and correspondencies are peripheral; concepts are human.
This mini-lecture is for the benefit of all reades and is not directed at you, John. I'm just using this post as a vehicle for education as our web-site manifesto offered.
Thank you for your supportive comments.
Eirenaea
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
I have just been reading Miller's 'ESP Induction' and was struck by phrases such as 'how to change your consciousness at will, thereby allowing you to access other levels of information and understanding'. These seemed similar to phrases attributed to DF in relation to magic. Additionally, the exercises suggested in the ESP book include breathing and relaxation methods that again seem very similar to those associated with meditation and magic.
Miller defines 'ESP' as including five areas: clairvoyance, astral projection, telepathy, precognition, and the use of tools such as pendulums and cards to generate information.
I was a little surprised at first that the methods suggested to improve ability in these 'ESP' areas should be so similar to those often associated with meditation and magic and that they were associated with changing consciousness. Yet, is it perhaps that, if one drills down deep enough in any subject associated with consciousness in any way, a commonality is inevitable because the aim of all is to join with the one consciousness 'unity', whether or not those who use the term 'ESP' rather than magic think of it in those terms?
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Eirenaea Accepted Answer
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Hello Margaret,
It all comes back to the 'wisdom' that there is only one universe, one consciousness, one basic method of changing levels of consciousness. What differs is 'intention' - what do you want to achieve? If you look at the Tarot Magician card you will see that his downward-pointing hand doesn't actually touch the tools. Some packs show him balancing the tools slightly above his palm without touching and as I understand it, the objective is to achieve 'meditation without effort', similar to the crossover point of falling asleep, yet still under will. It takes practice; hence the prescribed exercises, whether for magic or other areas such as ESP.
Eirenaea.
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