The world is conceived by One
True in sight.
The stars shall impart their primordial essence,
Shining through darkness.
Let there be light.
The aim of sacred magic, as we have said, is represented by the shield that the Empress holds in place of the book which the High Priestess holds. Sacred gnosis has as its aim the communicable expression (or ‘book’) of mystical revelation, whilst the aim of sacred magic is liberating action, ie, the restoration of freedom to beings who have partially or totally lost it.
The eagle in flight depicted on the shield signifies this emblem of sacred magic, which could thus be formulated: ‘Give freedom to he who is enslaved’. And this includes all the works mentioned by Luke:
Jesus cured many of diseases and plaagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered the: Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. (Luke vii, 21-22).
This is the aim of sacred magic; it is nothing other than to give freedom to see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself – ie, to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor and free will to those who are possessed by evil spirits. It never encroaches upon freedom, the restoration of which is its unique aim.
It is more than pure and simple healing which is the object of sacred magic; it is the restoration of freedom, including here freeing from the imprisonment of doubt, fear, hate, apathy and despair.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter III, The Empress
This ‘cord’, or other form of attachment, was coiled so tightly that I had to build up a lot of momentum by swinging my arm until, eventually, I discerned that my dream self was rocking forwards and away from its usual place. By this time I was feeling a genuine sense of achievement and without further ado my astral body dragged itself out and clung to the end of the bed.
I paused to gather my thoughts, well aware that I could be sprung back into place by that massive cord at any second and that any kind of registered shock or doubt, however mild, would have had the same effect. I was pleased to be still in control, surprised in fact, as my powers of concentration were not usually so effective. Or so I thought.
I took a few moments to accustom myself to the new situation and the pull of the cord loosened as I relaxed. I obeyed my first impulse without question, and this was to go and tell John what was happening. (To have a thought or impulse when in that state leads to its automatic enactment, as there are not the usual barriers to action that we find on the material plane. The ideas of the pure will are transformed into action without restraint and I remember very vividly the way things seemed).
The location of my visual perspective during this daytrip was at the usual level for me height-wise but my actual sight was ‘tunnelled’, by which I mean that it was as if I had one eye rather than two, while my peripheral vision was restricted. It was a bit like looking through a telescope, but in reverse, as things seemed a bit smaller, or more distant than usual; less substantial perhaps, or reflections of themselves.
I buoyantly moved towards the stairs, from the bottom of which I could see John lying oblivious on the sofa, watching sport in his blue dressing gown. He seemed further away than he would have done if I had been there in body rather than soul.
I felt like I had achieved quite a success and was rather elated. I wanted to convey this to John so he could witness what had happened. I attempted to call his name several times before suddenly realizing that I wasn’t actually making a sound, even though the effect of the name forming in my mind was the same to me as if I were speaking out loud.
At that point it also occurred to me that visiting another person in spirit might not be a wise enterprise, as it might be seen as an invasion of their privacy. Rather than risk an unpleasant surprise for anyone on my first outing, I turned back towards the bedroom. A braver or less cautious person than I would probably have ventured much further, for better or worse. Some people would probably make it into outer space without too much worry but I am rather timid, and I was worried about what might happen to my body if I left it unmonitored for too long.
The door of my room was closed. It did not occur to me to question how I’d walked through it because my attention was drawn to a piece of writing pinned near to the top of it. I had somehow entered another dimension and, as I raised my hands to take hold of the script, I noticed that they looked curiously unlike my physical hands. I examined them briefly, remembering all the time that to see one’s hands whilst in a dream-like state is indicative of consciousness and self-control within that state. I started to read the verse.
And a Voice said : Wait
Till you pass the Gate.
“Give me the joy of sight,” I cried, “O Mas-
ter of Hidden Fire !
By the flame in the heart of the soul, grant
my desire ! ”
And a Voice said : Wait
Till you pass the Gate.
I shook the dark with the tremulous beat of
my wings of desire:
“Give me but once the thing I ask, O Master
of Hidden Fire ! ”
And a Voice said: irait!
You have reached the Gate.
I rose from flame to flame on pinions of desire:
And I heard the voice of the Master of Hidden Fire:
Behold the Flaming Gate,
Where Sight doth wait!
Like a wandering star I fell through the deeps of desire,
And back through the portals of sleep the
Master of Hidden Fire
The opening of the Gate!
But now I pray, now I pray, with passionate desire :
“Blind me, O blind me. Master of Hidden
Ope not the Gate.”
Fiona Macleod (William Sharp), The Secret Gate