“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” – AL 1:40
Cari Fratres, Carae Sorores,
Reflection is a tool. In magick there are many moments that you can reflect on actions you did during a specific period. Reflection is an instrument, that is not difficult to implement. In this article I explain how you can use a reflection model (that is designed by Korthagen), and how it can support your practices that you perform as a student in the A.’.A.’.
On the path you can meet many different kinds of obstacles, like your behavior, the lack of skills, insecurities or believes you have. In some cases, however, more fundamental issues can appear that influences your practical functioning. For example, the way you look at the world changes, or you do what is expected of you in the grade you are, and yet do not feel truly involved on a deeper level or have the feeling you lose your connection with your magickal work. Your believes changes, it is not uncommon, for students that had a Christian up bring, to feel conflicted for example, when they accept the Law of Thelema. That kind shifts in behavior, emotions or thoughts, can be red-flags, and may need deeper investigation. The tendency you might have, when these so called red-flags appear, is to run away from the issue. Instead of ignoring these uprisings, I want to present a key that can help you to have a better understanding on what is going on.
To focus on reflection, better to say core reflection, this can enhance intuition or spiritual growth. Instead of having just an inner dialog with yourself, or getting into a tantrum, or only write in your diary that you feel off and be done with it. You are going to examine the problem, in the form of a proper core reflection (Korthagen, 2005), that brings you closer to deeper routed aspects of yourself.
Getting to know your ‘spiritual’ self
In many grades within the A.’.A.’. system, there are quite some hints about getting to know your ‘spiritual’ self. In the task of the Probationer it is mentioned that the Probationer needs go through Scientific Illumination (Eshelman, 2000), the Neophyte needs to pass the four powers of the Sphinx, she/he also has to apply the understanding of the nature of her/his initiation (Eshelman, 2000) . In the grade of the Zelator (Eshelman, 2000), one must show acquaintance with the mediations mentioned in Liber HHH. For all of these kinds of tasks it is good to be able to look back on what you as a student have done. That is the reason, why it is important to have some basic knowledge on how to reflect.
What is core reflection?
It is developed by Korthagen, its main purpose is to give educators a tool to reflect on the work they are doing and its effect it can have on a class of students. The good news is that you can use it for growing and improving your magickal work. The benefit is huge when you reflect on a regular basis.
Explaining the model
The model contains 5 steps, in each step is part of the framework, each step contains a couple of questions. These questions are there to help you to write your reflection, they do not need to be answered one by one.
Figure 1 reflection model by Korthagen
Phase 1: Describe the experience/situation you wish to reflect upon. This means looking back at the situation.
- What was the actual situation?
- What did I have to do in this situation?
- What action did I actually take?
- What was the outcome of this action?
Phase 2: Looking back: What exactly happened? In this face you will go deeper into your own feelings and your actions.
- What did I see?
- What did I do?
- What did I think?
- What did I feel?
Phase 3: Awareness of essential aspects. This means you are going to make sense of the situation. You bring it back to the newness.
- What does that mean to me now?
- What is the problem (or the positive discovery)?
- What has all that caused? What does it involve?
Phase 4: Alternative methods. This part of the reflection can bring out your creativity.
- What alternative methods do I see (solutions or ways of making use of what I have discovered)?
- What are their advantages and disadvantages?
- What will I remember for next time?
Phase 5: Trial/action. Here you take action into your own hands, what do want to do next? Here you can make new goals, write ideas on what you want to change and how you are going to implement it in your daily work.
- What do I want to achieve?
- What should I watch out for?
- What do I want to try out?
Love is the law, love under will.
Eshelman, J. A. (2000). The mystical & Magickal system of the A.’.A.’. In J. A. Eshelman, The mystical & Magickal system of the A.’.A.’. Los Angeles, CA: The college of Thelema.
Korthagen, F. (2005, Feb). korthagen.nl. Retrieved from https://korthagen.nl/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Levels-in-reflection.pdf
 Liber HHH sub figura CCCXLI, a text about guided meditation, you could say it is a preparation for contacting inner life, inspired on Liber Lapidis Lazuli. VII.3.