I’m Bridget Owens and you're listening to the Waxing Soul podcast. Join me on an exploration of mindful modern magic, a journey towards deeper understanding of self and transformative individual spirituality. It's June 3, 2021, and today's episode is number five of a special seven-episode series on the Basics of Magic, all about intuition, our subconscious, and how our brains do magic. Are you ready to grow your soul?
Last time I talked about how these last three episodes are moving away from the super basic building block concepts and into how those building blocks come together. So this is where we get into the real meat of the basics – still not into, like, here’s how to do this type of spell step by step.
And I want to start out by explaining why I’m not ever going to teach that kind of stuff. Starting with the reality that magic is mental. Remember back in part 3 when we talked about how magic is about energy and how mental energy, our thoughts and intentions, are a key part of magic? If our mental energy plays such a huge part in magical practice, magical work, then there’s got to be a connection between the way we see the world, the universe, the way our brains work and the patterns of our thoughts, between all that and the way we do magic.
So one of the big struggles that I see people having in trying to grow a magical practice, trying to get into magical practice is that they have a hard time shifting the way they think and the way they have always understood the world around them in order to fit with what they’re being taught about how magic is done.
And if there’s one big earth shifting revelation here in all of this, it’s that magic has to fit our internal rules and ways of being for it to work for us. It’s intuitive.
And, okay, I feel like the very first thing we have to discuss is the nature of intuition. Which could be its own episode, but I’m going to skim, here.
First things first – intuition is not psychic ability. Not everyone is very intuitive, but it’s something that can be developed, which is good news considering this whole episode is on how magic is intuitive, right?
So, one of the things that I got out of reading tarot cards for the general public was a deeper understanding of my own intuition and what was really going on there. Because people asked me all the time to kind of explain tarot, how it worked, how I got the info I was giving them. And I’m not, I don’t get, like, messages from ancestors or other beings or dimensions or whatever. I’ll be super frank, I’m skeptical that those messages are what they seem at face value and that whole idea just throws up all kinds of red flags for me in general, so it’s just not part of my own authentic view of the universe. But beyond that, I mean, if someone is channelling, they’re not actually READING the cards. It’s not tarot reading, it’s using tarot cards as an accessory to something more psychic. Maybe that’s semantics, but whatever.
My point is, my readings have always been intuitive. And I was asked to explain that a lot. Like really a lot. And that forced me to kind of analyze what it was going on inside when I’d be in a reading with someone and say, “You know, usually when I see this card it means this, but I get the feeling for you it means this other thing, and I don’t know why, I just feel I need to say that.” And the best way I could describe it to people was this: You know when you’re doing math or figuring out some step by step problem, and you’re working along, step by step, using your logical brain functions, and several steps from the end your brain just kind of jumps ahead and provides you the answers like it did the last part of the calculation behind the scenes without you actively participating?
It’s a bunch of skipped steps in your thought process where your subconscious did the work. It’s a connection between your subconscious and your conscious mind which allows your subconscious to assert itself when it has something to contribute. Your subconscious is powerful. Like, super powerful. Science already shows… I mean, do some reading on the subconscious mind. Our subconscious minds make decisions for us before we know it’s happened. It feels like we have logically pored over a problem and come to our own conclusions, but a large part of the time our subconscious is way ahead of that game.
Our subconscious minds control a whole lot of what we do and think. And our subconscious minds are tied in with the very deepest parts of ourselves. That’s why it’s super hard for us to be truly inauthentic for very long. Our subconscious choices and behaviors are hard to stifle and hard to completely override and they’ll eventually give us away.
And that’s why our magic has to be intuitive.
If what we are trying to learn, trying to adopt, trying to practice isn’t… I don’t use this phrase a lot, I think it’s kind of overused… but if the way we’re trying to do magic isn’t in alignment with who we are, we’re going to struggle with it. Our subconscious mind is going to reject it. Our intuition is going to tell us that something’s not right, and that doesn’t mean we need to change ourselves, it means we need to find a more aligned path forward.
And since I know that’s easier said than done if you’re not already connected with your intuition very strongly and already have some idea of the larger context of magical practice, that’s one of the focuses in the download for today.
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Okay, so magic is intuitive as far as it’s personal and deeply connected to us, through to our subconscious, and so it has to align with our authentic self if we want to master it. But that leads us to the second intuitive aspect of magical practice, and that’s that the way magic works, the actual mechanism by which it functions, has to do with our subconscious.
Magic uses our intuition to work.
Because the thing about magic is that it’s a departure from how we usually try to accomplish things. I sometimes refer to the mundane way we do things, and by that I mean, you know, the straightforward methods. The way that has an obvious cause and effect chain to follow. I want something to happen, so I figure out what actions I need to take to directly cause that or to at least increase the chances.
So, let’s say, I want to buy a house. So I contact a realtor and I look at listings online and all of that. That’s clearly, I think we can all agree that’s not magic, right? We don’t engage our intuition much in those efforts, right? Maybe occasionally if there’s some choice to be made, but our day to day mundane tasks are something we generally engage with on a very logical level. I want this thing to happen, these are the things that need to happen to cause the end thing to happen, so I will do those things. Simple.
The difference with magic, kind of the definition of it, as far as I’m concerned, is that it is purposely not logical, not sequential. Like, focus your intention, you do some actions that, on the face of it, have literally no connection to the outcome in a cause and effect kind of way, and then you pretty much step back from the process and release the process to happen as it will and the energy you put out, the focus in your being, is in your subconscious rather than your conscious mind.
You’re not thinking, “I lit that special candle, and that’s supposed to cause x to happen which then causes y and z so I need to check up and see if z has happened yet or if I need to do more.” You go, “I lit that special candle, so now I’m going to keep an eye out for the manifestation.” Right?
And I talked about this very early in the podcast, episode 2, actually. How if we want to manifest things, we have to be truly open to however that thing manifests. So what has to happen, ultimately, is that when we do magic, when we’re trying to use energetic, indirect means to manifest our intentions rather than effort and direct means, that release of direct involvement and openness to all forms of manifestation of that intention only happens when we put it all on our subconscious rather than our conscious mind.
And like I said in the first part of today’s episode, intuition is that connection between our conscious and subconscious. It’s what happens when the subconscious is given the voice, the ability to take the reins over our conscious mind.
Magic, essentially, is giving up our need to control the methods and trusting that there are many, many other ways out there to achieve what we want but which we don’t cognitively know about.
Our subconscious, our intuition, is so much more powerful than our conscious, logical brains. So magic works by giving over the control to what lies beneath. It’s trusting ourselves, trusting the things we don’t fully understand or control within ourselves and the universe, to work without our explicit direction.
So given all of that, it becomes really important to learning magic that we develop our intuitive connections because if we can’t let go, if we can’t turn things over to our subconscious, then how is magic supposed to work for us? There’s that circuit there, that conduit between subconscious and logical mind that becomes more powerful and functional the more we exercise and use it. And that practice includes not just the connection from the subconscious to the conscious mind to let that type of knowledge come forward, but also to run the other way. From conscious to subconscious. To take a conscious intention and nestle it down in your subconscious so it becomes part of your intuitive processes. So it runs like a program in the background even thought you’re not actively thinking about it. So when it pops to the forefront again things have happened kind of, like, off-screen, as it were.
Because while our logical, conscious, active thinking processes tend to be less powerful, a little slower, reliant on our ability to act on our thoughts, subject to all kinds of second guessing and unhelpful internal reasoning, our subconscious intuitive processes are faster and more powerful than we’re aware of and work in ways we don’t understand and control an awful lot of what we do and choose and the energy we put out and all of that. So that’s where the magical power is inside us.
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The last thing about intuition and magic is, and this is the thing I think is very most important for anyone learning magic… the thing about intuition and magic is that intuition is the very best guide for figuring out how to do workings.
And sure, you’re going to have a lot of people tell you that there’s a particular way that things need to be done, that there’s a system to things, but here’s the reality, okay? For every element of magic, there’s a whole array of “right” ways to do something depending on cultures and time periods and traditions and all of that. But if all these ways are right for the groups that hold to them, then none of them are ultimately definitive, right?
So when it’s time to do a spell, do a working, manifest something, I think there’s this almost natural tendency, given what most of us are told about magic and how it works and how we’re supposed to learn it, there’s this tendency to pick a tradition, pick a WAY, and then refer back to it, stick to it, at least for a while.
And that’s fine. But it’s also not necessarily the best way because of what I talked about in the first section of this episode.
The best spell or working is always going to be the one that resonates most strongly with your subconscious, your deep self. So doesn’t it make so much more sense to consult your intuition first? Because not only does it need to resonate, it needs to speak the language you speak. It needs to use your vocabulary.
So, for instance, the way I conceptualize the procession of elements and the colors that correspond to them is a little different than what a lot of the people I know use, but it makes sense to me. I’m not going to try and impose my system on anyone else, but I’m going to use mine because it fits my inner logic. When I go to plan a working or a spell or whatever, I will look up the way other people do it only if I just have no real idea and need some inspiration.
The most powerful thing I’ve learned to do with my own practice is to let my ideas play out. To trust that when my mind comes up with something, even if I don’t find precedent for it in a formal magical tradition, it’s fine. I try it. Because it comes from my intuition and I know to trust that first.
When the voice of my intuition says, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to pull a tarot card right now and build an altar based on it,” I don’t turn to anyone else for validation of the idea. I just do it.
If I want to do a really quick and simple candle spell I don’t worry about getting the quote right color of candle or whatever, I just follow my intuition for what to do to the candle, does it need to have something carved into it or rub an oil on it or whatever, what else do I include in the working, I go with what feels right and trust it. Not because I think my intuition knows the right answer based on some empirical standard or set of rules, but because if it makes sense to me, if it resonates with my subconscious, then it’s going to work just as well as if I looked up someone else’s rules and followed them, and frankly probably better.
So given all that, if I had one bit of concrete advice to give about learning magic it would be to focus more on honing and learning to trust your intuition, your intuitive sense, your ability to trust yourself and your inner voice than you do on specific techniques or traditions or rules or whatever. It’s not going to be as valuable to memorize a bunch of types of spells or whatever if you’re not also honing your intuition. And what’s going to happen eventually, even if you take the time to learn all the book learning stuff, is that you’ll start disregarding parts, changing parts, like deciding the color correspondences to the elements are different or having your own methodologies for choosing crystals for various purposes or whatever.
Every magical practitioner, I think, gets to that point eventually if they stick with their practice long enough. So start there. Don’t mess with the intermediary period where you worry too much about whether you’re breaking rules or doing something wrong and just build your practice to speak the same language as your inner voice.
So that’s one of the big challenges in the download for this episode, to purposely engage your intuition about your workings and actually avoid looking for answers or whatever for a while. See what happens. Learn to trust yourself and listen to your inner intuitive voice. I think it’s a good idea to just do that periodically, just kind of lean totally on your own ideas, your own intuition from time to time. And with that, we’re just two more weeks from the end of the series.
Thank you so much for listening. New episodes of the Waxing Soul drop every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are copyright Bridget Owens. Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily for riding with me into season two. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.