The Magickal Persona is a critical aspect of the Magickal practitioner. It is what helps us transcend mundane reality and slip into the magickal realms. It allows us to slip out of our mundane focus, set our jobs, relationships, and problems aside for a while, and focus on the things of the Spirit. The movie, “The Mask”, is a classic example of a Magickal Persona. In the movie, Jim Carey plays the part of a very klutzy, nerdy bachelor leading a very mundane, loveless life. But things quickly change when, quite by chance, he finds an ancient mystical mask that turns his reality upside-down. Unknown to Jim, the mask harbors the spirit of an ancient God of Mischief and Merriment. When Jim holds the mask to his face, it instantly revives this outlandish, animated character with hilarious super powers. From then on, Jim becomes involved in one absurd situation after another, until at last his personality becomes balanced; he wins the girl’s heart, and has no more need of the mask. Unfortunately, he throws the mask into the current of a local river, and we watch as his friend dives in after it, so the drama can begin again.
Although Jim Carey was still the same mundane person, the division of the two realities allowed him the freedom to experience in the magickal sense his inner psyche. By separating and enhancing the magickal aspect of consciousness, Jim was able to bring balance and meaning to his mundane aspect. In our everyday, mundane reality, we have a very clear, precise image of who and what we are in the many roles that we play. For men, this might include husband, father, employee, Little League Coach, etc. For a woman, this might include wife, mother, employee, Girl Scout leader, etc. We are only one person, but we play many roles, depending on whom we are interacting with. For most of us, this is all there is to our lives. Some people incorporate aspects of folk magick and superstition in these other roles, but that is not the same magick we are discussing here. Without the magickal aspect in our lives, we end up as so many sheep, living out our lives unaware of other possibilities or higher functions. The magickal practitioner knows that there is more to reality than the physical realms. He/she understands the awesome power of the intuitive. He/she knows beyond doubt that there are other realms and beings just beyond our mundane consciousness. The magickal persona is the doorway to these other realms.
Establishing the Magickal Persona
In establishing a magickal persona, it is critical to understand that when we “shift” into our magickal persona, we become quite a different person from any other aspect or role we may have. In order to emphasize and reinforce the different nature of the persona and imprint its different function on the conscious mind, the magickal persona is given a special, magickal name. The magickal name, ideally, should have some magickal significance to you. Many practitioners choose names of Gods/Goddesses, mythical beings or heroes, or a name of some special significance from childhood. This name, when spoken in the appropriate times and places, should become the trigger that calls that magickal persona forward. For most, this name is considered extremely sacred, and spoken only in the highest reverence. In fact, it is believed within some traditions that should an enemy learn your spiritual name, he/she may actually use that information to gain power over you. To this end, just remember to select your name carefully, and handle all magickal persona names as a sacred trust.
In conjunction with the magickal persona, we also have special attire and amenities. For some, this special attire may be a robe or a dress. This usually includes your “cords”. Your cords are lengths of different colored cord, depending on your tradition, cut to a specific length and having a very specific meaning and function. Again these cords are sacred and must be safeguarded. Additional amenities might also include specific jewelry or headpieces for specific purposes. For some traditions, the appropriate dress is “sky clad”, meaning without any clothing at all. Before you cringe or pass judgment, remember that all we do is in “perfect love and perfect trust”. I can speak from personal experience when I say that some of the closest and most powerful circles I have ever been privileged to attend were “skyclad”. This type of ritual is not for everyone, but there is a love and a trust within these circles almost without parallel in any clad circle.
As an addendum to the dress for magickal practice, there are other sacred objects that reinforce the magickal aspect. These are your personal and alter items. The athame, the chalice, the sword, the wand and so forth. As you go about selecting these items, remember their purpose and status, and choose accordingly. Take the time and effort to make a magickal connection and a bond between you and your tools. They are not ordinary, regardless of their origin. Tools acquired from Goodwill are just as sacred as those are from the finest metaphysical store if it’s what you have available. It is the magickal association, connection and bond that you make with your tools that separates that which is sacred from that which is mundane.
That leads us to another aspect of the magickal persona, the rituals. To understand ritual, you must understand metaphor and the associative functions of the human mind. Our minds work by association. We think in relative terms; we remember by association with other items already stored in our memory.
A metaphor is a pattern of thought in which the meaning ordinarily associated with one thing is applied to another. Have you ever heard someone say that they feel like they have been hit by a train or that they feel good enough to walk on water? These are metaphoric statements. We use metaphors constantly in our lives because the mind has a powerful capacity to relate through association of thoughts and concepts. In addition, rituals work with the archetypal images and beings of the inner psyche.
We now return to the Anatomy of a Magickal Human and discuss the three selves and the act of getting all three to agree and work together. This is the actual function of ritual. Ritual is the physical enactment of a clearly understood metaphor that works on all three levels of self to draw the selves into more perfect alignment, each self-participating in the ritual at the level of its own function. The Younger Self, through the physical body, is drawn into the actual physical enactment of the metaphor, Talking Self clearly understands the associations of the metaphor and the logic of the ritual in relation to the desired outcome, and Higher Self, connected to Younger Self and to the Eternal, can associate with the metaphor and then transmit the power of Younger Self generated in the ritual to propel the desire toward manifestation. The enactment of the metaphor on the physical plane is designed to align the selves and create sufficient power within the etheric substance of creation so as to alter physical reality according to the desired outcome.
To construct an effective ritual, you must create an enactment of some behavior that attaches the desired outcome of the ritual to the actual aspect of reality you are going to affect. For example, from a real situation, a young woman desired to enhance the physical relationship between her and her boyfriend. She approached a well-known magickal practitioner for advice. She was given careful instructions and a list of required supplies. She was to go home, take a luxurious bath. Then she was to complete her preparations with whatever made her feel sexual and desirable. When she was ready, she was to retire into seclusion and prepare the next phase. This required a candle specially prepared for this ritual with a picture of her boyfriend carefully tied to the candle with red ribbon, of course. Rose petals were spread about the floor. When she was ready, she was to light the candle and turn on the music and begin visualizing what she wanted from her boyfriend as she erotically danced naked around the candle. She called the next day to ask if the candle was supposed to explode during the ritual! Since a candle is a male phallic symbol, I ask you, did she do it right or what? That is a very simple example of ritual, with all its metaphoric associations.
The very success of our magickal abilities is dependent on just how different our “magickal illusion” really is. This magickal persona is the heart and soul of the magickal practitioner. Eventually, many practitioners integrate the magickal persona into a closer association with their mundane aspects. But to every magickal practitioner I have ever known, regardless of tradition, the magickal persona was a key aspect.
How Does the Magickal Persona Work?
When we were children, one of our favorite past times was called “dress-up”. Whatever we were doing was always more fun, more cool, if we could actually find the things that made the experience more real. The more real the items we could scavenge, the better the experience. If we were playing soldier, uniforms, guns and forts were the order of the day. If we were playing Indians, feather headdresses, a bow and arrow and a teepee were the older of the day. If we were playing hospital, well, you get the point. The mind works by association, and we can program it just like a computer. If you teach it that a certain robe, a certain knife and a certain place are magickal, and you do it consistently and with certainty, the mind will learn the association and respond accordingly. The mind does not question your input, unless it is inconsistent with its previous programming. We teach the mind by constantly reinforcing the responses that we expect from it. We are back to the power of thought and emotion in making imprints in how we perceive, interpret and respond to certain stimulus. The more powerfully charged we can make the experiences that we imprint on our psyche, the more quickly and powerfully it will make the desired associations and produce the desired results. Remember, you cannot experience anything that you do not personally believe possible. The mind will rationalize and justify an alternative possibility every time. The power of the magickal persona lies in its ability to help the mind transcend normal patterns, and allow for the extraordinary.
Today, as a rule, I am long past the time of requiring “dress-up” to activate the magickal persona. Now, it is as much a feel and a state of mind, as anything physical. But the magickal persona is still a critical part of who I am and the work that I do. I literally become, invoke if you will, my magickal persona at the initiation of any magickal act, however insignificant that act may appear. In my mundane reality, my magickal persona is always present, though usually passive. With my magickal persona so poised, I am prepared to shift quickly into whatever mode may be required. This last aspect is not consistent with my understanding of generally accepted Wiccan beliefs, in that I perform many magickal acts and rituals with going through the prerequisite steps of casting and cleansing a circle. As a Witch and a Shaman, my practices often overlap. Be very careful making exceptions to these generally accepted rules. They have existed for centuries for very good reason, your safety.
The Validity of the Magickal Persona
As a channel, a clairaudient and a magickal practitioner, I have had many people ask me if I was not simply suffering from MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). The basis of this argument is quite clear. My magickal experiences are beyond their “illusion of reality”, and thus not possible in their minds. Therefore, I must be suffering from some form of delusional, fragmented, personality disorder. This is a clear possibility, with one exception; I am perfectly capable of distinguishing reality from fantasy on the mundane plane, and acting appropriately. Besides, if I were suffering from some form of delusional personality disorder, it has taken me nearly four decades of intense effort to develop it to its present level. I have a friend who used to work at a mental facility. She once told me that she had just admitted a “high functioning, audio delusional” patient. I asked her to explain exactly what that meant, since medical jargon never means what it seems to imply. She said the patient was perfectly normal in every way, except that she kept hearing voices in her head. I, personally, would redefine her diagnosis as initiatory clairaudience. This patient was suffering from a classic Shamanic Initiation. She was experiencing something so profound, yet so unfamiliar that her mind could not ignore or rationalize it. As a result, she sought medical treatment. She did not need treatment, she needed training. If she had a previously existing magickal persona, she would have rejoiced at the ability to transcend normal reality and touch the beyond. Either that or I have finally found the correct medical jargon for my delusional, connected but fragmented condition.
Integration of the Magickal Persona in Mundane Reality
I was once told by my mentor that any magickal system that I could not access instantaneously in a crisis situation was not worthy of my time or effort. I consider this to be the truest test of one’s magickal system and ability. Once again, we are going to define Magick as the ability to alter the fabric of reality in conformity and proportion to your imagination and will. What greater reason could there possibly be to use your knowledge and skills, if not in a crisis situation, whatever that crisis might be. Life seldom offers most of us the luxury of advance warning when disaster is about to strike. Without time, many magickal traditions would be unable to respond. By the time you make the ritual preparations, cast a circle, raise a cone of power, perform the ritual (assuming you have one prepared), and close the circle, and wait for the etheric tide, a substantial amount of time has passed. In some cases, too much time. So what do you do? Please understand, I will never advocate breaking the rules of someone else’s tradition. but I do believe that we have far greater ability that we believe or accept. Furthermore, as magickal practitioners, we have a responsibility. You have a magickal persona. That magickal persona is only a thought away. In crisis situations, you may have no better ally that your own magickal persona. The ability to call upon and empower that persona instantaneously may be the difference between life and death. It has been for my wife and I on several occasions. My recommendation is this. Once you have developed your magickal persona, practice calling it forth at will. This should be a relative easy exercise. Practice calling up your magickal persona until you are absolutely proficient at it. Remember, in calling forth your magickal persona, you have called up your magical knowledge and skills. Now you must empower your work. Next practice calling up your magickal persona and raising your power levels. Use the power of your emotion. Feel the power surge through your body. Raise the power level as high as you can, don’t worry about sustaining it. Keep practicing raising that power. Try different methods, but experiment till you find you own individual connection to that power. Now begin randomly calling up your magickal persona, raise your cone of power and give it a simple, verifiable task. Play with the cloud formations, the wind direction and speed, whatever you find that helps you to practice. This is a disaster preparedness course. Treat it like one. Be serious and practice till you can see the results. When you can do this, your magickal persona is your constant, passive ally. You will never need worry about your magickal abilities again.