Upon anticipation of welcoming another to our circle, my mind has been full of musings on my own journey, and what it has meant to me to call myself ‘pagan’ and begin active work as part of a circle.
When pondering this process, I consider the four tenets of witchcraft that correspond to the elements: To Know, To Dare, To Will, & To Keep Silent. Since officially self-dedicating myself as a witch over four years ago, these four affirmations have become intertwined with my own process of self-actualisation. It sounds kind of wanky to say it, but I know that it rings true for me.
These symbolic truths are known as ‘The Powers of the Sphinx’ and are written about in the Thelemic writings of Crowley.
‘To Know’ corresponds with the element of Air. Knowing is about keeping true, and having the freedom to speak your truth. Knowledge is perceived as something that is indeed very free these days, but I think that the integrity of knowledge is challenged in a time like this- the cusp of the information age. People are more ‘at liberty’ to speak their minds than ever before at the expense of real ‘Truth’. Without truth, knowledge is lost. And without knowledge, there is no wisdom. Knowing has been an important lesson to me, as I have learned that it is easy to place blinkers over one’s eyes for fear of seeing the truth. The power embedded within knowledge, and truth, compels us to act. This can be challenging and frightening to any individual who has been living under the false idiom ‘ignorance is bliss’. The fact is, ignorance is ignorance. Bliss is bliss. Removing my blinkers forced me to follow through my talk with some walk. I’m still perfecting this, but I like to think I’m making a tiny bit of progress!
‘To Will’ corresponds to the element of Fire. When I first struck out on my path, and when I met the girls in what would become ‘SCOTIF’ I think I was quite full of fire, within my true Aries element at the time. (Anyone who has Aries friends/family/lovers would probably be more compelled to use the term ‘full of IT’, heh.) Fire has the potential to have quite basic compunctions, when you act with your ‘gut instinct’, I believe that is the fire within you taking charge. ‘Go with your gut’ is to act, to make a choice, and to own your choices and actions. Fire is the fuel that breathes life and inspiration into the inclinations that we acquired through the power of ‘Knowing’. I really embrace the term ‘direct action is witchcraft’. Nothing is more powerful than acting, and your Will is the most powerful magical tool you possess.
‘To Dare’ corresponds to the element of Water. When I think of daring, I think of the character of The Cowardly Lion from Oz, and his lesson (in fact, all of the characters have elemental correspondences, but that’s another Discordianesque meditation for another time!) in the narrative. He sought courage, arguably the most noble of all virtues. How many times have you been prevented from speaking your truth, from acting your will, only to be prevented by a last-minute withdrawal! I know this is definitely a power I need to worth more often. Like the Lion learned, he possessed courage all along; and having the faith in that sense of self-worth is a powerful and important tool we need to acquire along the path. Accompanying daring, is the generosity of spirit to dare in the first place. It has connotations of a sacrificial nature- but maybe the sacrifice is letting go of those things that constrain us from becoming who we truly are.
‘To Keep Silent’ corresponds to the element of Earth. The eternal wisdom of Earth, the deep wisdom of ground we walk, the star-stuff we are made of, the eternal thrum of all that binds us holds a magical key indeed. If you are silent, you must listen. Really listen. Sit down, shut up, & pay attention! Tuning in allows us to ‘tap’ into an eternal truth that unites us all- the very hum of our existence. Being attentive, going within, listening without, and taking the time to ‘just be’ is a powerful lesson that will allow for growth and strength in all areas of our lives. In some ways, this is the most important power of all, as it reveals an eternal truth and allows us to set out bearings once more. They don’t call it a ‘moral compass’ for nothing- and nothing is more earthly than the magnetic power that drives a compass.
What you might garner from each of these four powers is that each one is rendered useless without the other three. Their possibilities for meditation- and personal growth- are endless. Writing this has been quite introspective for me and makes me think again about my path, and how I feel as though I am still only just striking out. It is nice to know that I am not alone.