Alister Crowley said that one’s True Will is one of the crucial things a magician should know, since the True Will is the basis of the being.
He goes on to talk at length about how True Will is the culmination of the basic core of the person. It is the most selfish part and is most concerned with the success and survival of the person – the part that is most likely to reflect what the person truly wants and needs.
It’s important to realize that just Knowing how to accomplish a goal or that Knowing yourself is not enough. You must also actively make the decision to do what you want, or all the training, all the experience is useless.
This is the essence of “To Will”. This is the actual decision point in the spell-casting process; it is when the magical process, the spell, actually begins. The training and study are the lead-in, the preparation to do the spell. Will is the stage where the decision that the spell is needed is made. It is when all the options are considered and the spell becomes one part of the overall process to cause the desired change to occur.
Many experienced magicians say that this point is when the spell is actually starting to be cast. This decision begins the Consciousness Shift to the altered states that are key to manipulating magic and successful ritual.
This act of deciding to cast the spell takes the process to the level of a goal instead of allowing it to remain as a simple desire like wanting to get a cola for lunch. It becomes a true desire, such as finding a job that will allow the caster to support their family better, one that motivates the caster to attain their goals no matter the cost or the obstacles placed in the way.
“To Will” also implies that the first leg of this pyramid has been attained. Knowing implies that you know what you really want, to the bottom of your soul. That is where your “True Will,” as Crowley put it, resides. Understanding your own Will, your own mind and desires, is paramount. How can you do a spell to bring success if you believe in the bottom of your soul that success of the spell means you will become something you despise? The ends are counter productive to your True Will.
Therefore knowing your True Will is another critical part of this whole process.
The True Will is one part of every Magician that should always be examined. Willing something into existence, as the Magician of the Tarot deck does, is a hard skill to master; you better be sure that this is what you want. There are no “take backs”, no “do-overs” when you create something out of nothing.
Remember the advice “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it”? That’s a heck of a double edged sword.
Human beings are essentially “wish generators” with no off switch. Think of how many times you say “I wish” in a typical day, without even meaning to. Once you start paying attention to that statement, you find that you say it a high number of times. You think it more than you actually say that phrase. And each of those thoughts and statements go out into the æther and have an effect there, even if we don’t see it.
Exactly like dropping a pebble into a pool of water, those ripples spread and start affecting other things and people. Eventually it does get reflected back, warped and diminished, but those reflections are still the original wish that was Willed into being.
So while a trained metaphysician and magician can create a situation that didn’t exist by will alone, they should always be cognizant of what can happen if they don’t watch what they think.
This discipline of the mind, of basic thought processes, should be one of the first goals for any training program of those who are psychically aware. Unfortunately, many of those who begin studying those who wish to begin immediately using power, to start casting spells without first understanding the discipline that is part and parcel of this path.
This series of articles is starting to show that there is a method to the Pyramid’s quick mnemonic, a level of depth that many don’t see. We can already see how “To Know” and “To Will” are fitting together and interlacing. It is becoming rapidly apparent that one cannot have just “To Know” without also having “To Will” and the other two legs of the Pyramid.
All this discussion on the Will may make you ask, “where do I train my Will into a razor-honed weapon?” I can’t help you with that because most of training the Will is about practice.
First you have to decide on a goal, preferably a goal that is difficult and which others say can’t be done. Then start on the journey to attain that goal. Along the way you must not despair and you must keep trying, believing even when it’s hard. Perseverance here is the key, although outsiders may see you and call you stubborn.
Keep doing that, over and over, keep ‘out-stubborning’ the nay-sayers and keep attaining your goals, even if the effort may not be worth it in the end. That is a good primer for a strong Will. When problems appear, decide immediately that you will overcome them instead of denying the problem or capitulating to the problem. Your first reaction to a problem should be “okay, how do I overcome this” instead of “no, this can’t be happening.”
Choose goals that are attainable and reasonable. Don’t pick ones that are easily attainable, for that defeats the purpose of training. Pick ones that are difficult to gain, and then keep going at it until you gain that goal.
For example, one of the proudest moments I have had in my life was in Martial Arts when I severely hurt my hip in the dojo. I kept going anyhow with the night’s exercises for kicks, especially side kicks, which work the hips strenuously. I kept going even though I was in a lot of pain, I would not quit. I saw a lot of admiration in the eyes of my teachers that night.
There are all kinds of opportunities that present themselves. Just watch out for them, and understand that when you are training your mind you can’t give in even once, for that tells the Subconscious that it’s okay to give in occasionally. It is the Subconscious that really needs to know that you have a strong Will. If you choose to give up occasionally, this action destroys all the headway you have made during your training..
When you decide to out-Will a situation that could defeat you, you must carry through to the end, no matter where that decision leads.
Humanity is the only species I know of that can create simply with their thoughts. It is a huge gift and an awesome responsibility. This ability must be tempered with experience and wisdom. Knowing when to use Will is as important as knowing how or why.
The Will then becomes the paintbrush of Creation, and like all tools, it should be kept in good working order and put away safely, so it is not used inadvertently or carelessly.