Magical ritual is a technique for raising consciousness that has close affiliations with theater. Indeed, theater first grew out of religious festivals in the ancient world, in which the priests would take on the symbolic role of a God and chant on behalf of the deity with a chorus responding.
Such rites were believed to confer purification and good fortune upon the civilization.
A modern mind might look at these proceedings and conclude that the whole affair is an elaborate game of “make believe”, with people dressing up and playing out scenes which have no real impact upon the real lives of those performing or those watching.
And why using magical symbols?
It’s a well-known fact that modern psychology tells us that “make believe” is quite a bit more than it seems; acting out a certain role or speaking certain lines liberates creative potential within the psyche that has a great deal of effect upon the material matters of one’s life.
It is now a well-known maxim that you can “fake it til you make it”— that is, if you assume the position of the person you’d like to be or quality you’d like to manifest, you will soon enough actually be that person and manifest that quality. Act as though you are well and healthy, and your disease will clear up. Act as though you are succeeding in your career, and you will soon find success knocking at your door. This is true in both positive and negative senses, for if you tell a lie long enough, soon you yourself will begin to believe it. Assuming a certain position psychologically actually brings it about in real life.
The imagination does much more than provide an escape route from reality; indeed, it gives us a backdoor into reality through which we may gain power and control over our surroundings in a most curious way. There are deep and mysterious levels of the mind which possess quite powerful creative powers; these can be accessed and directed if we know how to awaken them, which is largely a matter of stimulating heightened emotional states and holding the attention there.
This is the purpose of any magical symbol, whether it is:
- a cross,
- deity or
These symbols, being part of our heritage for thousands of years, carry a special significance to the human psyche, even if the conscious mind is not familiar with them. Symbols are like keys which unlock doors in the mind, granting us access to powers that are not easily accessed any other way.
Symbolic forms provide channels for forces. This is true whether the symbols are physical objects or only vivid images created in the mind. A symbol is a focusing point of attention which enables an individual to come into psychic touch with a spiritual force which is the animating life of that symbol.
When we act out a symbolic gesture in a ceremony, meditate upon a symbolic image or even contemplate symbolic forms in art, we are putting ourselves in touch with forces which then act through us, creating changes in the world around us by way our own minds.
There are levels of reality which can only be conceived of and influenced by means of symbols. The Chakra system is a perfect example of this dynamic.
That there are seven anatomical centers between the crown of the head and the base of the spine of every person, no yogi would insist; these lotus-like vortices are symbolic representations which enable us to handle energy within the aura.