How to reflect and why it is fun!

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” – AL 1:40

Cari Fratres, Carae Sorores,

Introduction

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.’.

Obstacles

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.

Core reflection

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[1]. 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.

Soror QSUM

Source

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


[1] 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.

Creating a Magickal environment

For all of you that are in quarantine and want to get some practice done.

A cabin in the woods

Most of us think, when they hear that sentence, ‘creating a Magickal environment’ that it means, you have to have at least a cabin some where in the woods, no people, being all alone. Of course, on one hand it would be uber cool to have one, on the other hand, you do not really need a cabin in the wood. Aleister Crowley proved this in John St. John, where he undertook a huge working to obtain the 6 -5 in Paris. Even in his time it was a busy city, with lots of distractions.

Some idea’s

To be able to create a magickal environment you have to work with what you have. Clean your house first for example, get rid of clutter. Or clean a part of your room that you want use as your magickal space. Not all of us have the luxury of a temple space in our house.

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Buy some pretty flowers

Buy some fresh flowers, get some candles and create a nice altar with it.

If you are not able to buy yourself a wand or other stuff, see what is in and around your house. Maybe there is a branch from a tree you like, use that as your want. Maybe there is some nice glass that is hidden in one of your cupboards you usually have more then you can imagine.

When you have set this up, you actually have made the fist step to create that environment.

What to do next?

Make some goals for yourself, what is that you want to learn the next coming month. Make a schedule or use an app for that and then start the journey. Do your study and practice in front of your little altar every day. This part of your home will remind you everyday of the work you are doing. So, in other words, you do not have to travel far, or making it yourself difficult. Use what you have and stick with it. Play with, enjoy it and be happy with what you have and have created for yourself.

 

A brief note on tuition

Cari Fratres, Carae Sorores,
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Some of you might consider to become a Probationer or Student in our Noble order the AA. To be able to understand what we do I give you some background about the way we see tuition. I want to present you a couple of important instructions as they have been given in Equinox volume 1 number 5.

A Probationer is technically without the Order. You are pretty much on your own during this time. In Equinox Volume 1 #5, you can read the following and I quote: Probationers are reminded that the object of Probations and Ordeals is one: namely, to select Adepts. But the method appears twofold: (i) to fortify the fit; (ii) to eliminate the unfit.

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The ordeals can come in many forms

It is not so strange that this is such a hard selection process. If you look at the Book of the Law, there are many quotes that hint in that direction. I give you a few: Mind you these are mine interpretations, in my view they can give you an idea why our Noble order is not all rainbows and unicorns.

27. There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

28. Now a curse upon Because and his kin!

29. May Because be accursed for ever!

30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.

31. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.

32. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.

33. Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!

And in part 3 there are also other hints that you can keep in mind what it is to become a Thelemite.

57. Despise also all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not fight, but play; all fools despise!

Even though it is said that the Law is for all, not all will make it as a Neophyte, there can be many reasons for people not to make it to the next step. Not be able to keep up, get into a rebellious mood. If you stick to the work and have the mind and soul of a soldier then nothing will stand in your way to make progression to the next step. I do not know one lazy ballerina dancer, nor other top professionals in other crafts what ever you do in life you have to study for it and practice it day in day out.

What do we look for in a Probationer?
First of all we look at the tasks a Probationer is given at the beginning of his/her journey. That is always the starting point of the tuition that a Probationer is given.
And we also look at it from a Thelemic point of view as it is also written in that Equinox 1, volume 5 and I quote again:

I have been asked by Authority to say a few words on the relations which should subsist between a Neophyte and his Probationers. Though a Neophyte is obliged to show zeal in service towards his probationers, it is no part of his duty to be continually beating the tattoo. He has his own work to do very serious and important work and he cannot be expected to spend all his time in making silk purses out of pigs ears. He is not expected to set definite tasks, nor has he the authority to do so.

The Probationer is purposely left to himself, as the object of probation is principally that those in authority may discover the nature of the raw material. It is the duty of the Probationer to perform the exercises recommended in his text-books, and to submit the record of his results for criticism. If he finds himself in a difficultly, or if any unforseen result occurs, he should communicate with his Neophyte, and he should remember that although he is permitted to select the practices which appeal to him, he is expected to show considerable acquaintance with all of them.

More than acquaintance, it should be experience; otherwise what is he to do when as a Neophyte he is consulted by his probationers? It is important that he should be armed at all points, and I am authorized to say that no one will be admitted as a Neophyte unless his year work gives evidence of considerable attainment in the fundamental practices, Asana, Pranayama, assumption of God-forms, vibration of divine names, rituals of banishing and invoking, and the practices set out in sections 5 and 6 of Liber O.

Although he is not examined in any of these, the elementary experience is necessary in order that he may intelligently assist those who will be under him.
But let no one imagine that those in authority will urge probationers to work hard. Those who are incapable of hard work may indeed be pushed along, but the moment that the pressure is removed they will fall back, and it is not the purpose of the A∴ A∴ to do anything else than to make its students independent and free. Full instruction has been placed within the reach of everybody; let them see to it that they make full use of the instruction.

man person relaxation steps
Being lazy can be fun at times but it doesn’t bring you where you want to be.

So yes, we give sometimes extra instructions, but remember those are always in tune with the AA, we are always very careful what we ask of a Probationer as it have to be in in line with the noble order itself. Wat we look for is the raw material. That is why we do not work with instruction books, you are your own Thelemite and it is ask of you to make your way though the material as you see fit or the feedback we give you when you hand in your diary or other material. Ask yourself: What is it that you bring to the order? What are your goals? Why do want to do the work?

Remember it is called Probationer, and this is a period of time where a candidate can proof he/she is worthy. It is up to you and nobody else if you succeed!

Love is the law, love under will.