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One of the witches’ most important basic beliefs, obviously, is the reality and possibility of magic.
This involves the idea that the physical world is only part of reality, the part that we are able to apprehend with our five senses.
Beyond are vaster realms; and in these the witch seeks to venture.
This, again, involves a further belief, namely that human beings have more senses than the usual reckoning of five.
By means of these innate psychic capacities, the realms beyond the physical are contacted.
These powers, say the witch, are perfectly natural ; but latent and inactive in the majority of people.
They are powers that have become overlaid and hidden by the artificialities of civilisation ; but they can be reawakened.
This is one of the matters that have brought witches so often into conflict with the priests of orthodox religions.
The established religion of a country does not find it acceptable for people to have their own contact with the Beyond, independently of orthodox priests and their rules and sacraments.
This may well have been the reason why the socalled Witch of Endor had to live in hiding.
The Establishment does not like having its authority weakened.
Witches reject the masculine, patriarchal concept of God, in favour of older ideas.
They do not see why a rigid monotheism should necessarily be a sign of human advancement, as it is generally taken to be.
It seems more reasonable to them to conceive of divinity as being both masculine and feminine ; and as evolving moreover a hierarchy of
great beings, personified as gods and goddesses, who rule over the different departments of nature, and assist in the evolution of the cosmos.
If witches’ concept of God were to be more precisely defined, it could perhaps best be called Life itself-the life-force of the universe.
This, it seems to witches, must be basically benign, however apparently destructive and terrible some of its manifestations may be ; because if this is not so, then Life is divided against itself, which is absurd.
Moreover, it must be supreme wisdom, because of the wonder and beauty manifested in its myriad forms. Its tendency is to evolve forms capable of expressing ever higher degrees of intelligence ; so we who are its children should seek to live in harmony with nature, which is the visible expression of cosmic life, and in doing so find true wisdom and happiness.
Witches do not believe that true morality consists of observing a list of thou-shalt-nots.
Their morality can be summed up in one sentence, “Do what you will, so long as it harms none.”
This does not mean, however, that witches are pacifists.
They say that to allow wrong to flourish unchecked is not ‘harming none’.
On the contrary, it is harming everybody.
This bears some resemblance to Aleister Crowley’s law for the New Aeon :
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will.”
People often quote the first part of Crowley’s dictum, and claim that he advocated universal licence.
They forget the second part of his words.
Centuries before, Saint Augustine said something very similar :
“Love God, and do what you will.”
The idea of reincarnation seems to witches to be not only much older, but more reasonable and right, than the concept of only one short life,
to be followed by heaven for the righteous and hell for the wicked ; or than the materialist’s idea that when you’re dead you’re finished.
They quote the statement of the old occult philosophers-which could mean modern science supports-that nothing in this universe can be destroyed ; it can only change its manifestation.
Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.”
Human individuality and intelligence exist.
Through the physical body, they manifest.
When the body wears out, or is damaged beyond repair, the person is said to be ‘dead’.
But it is the body which is dead.
You cannot bury or cremate people-only bodies. In so far as a person is an individual intelligence, can that individuality be destroyed ?
The testimony of all ages and countries says, “No.” But at the same time, nothing can stand still.
Everything is constantly changing and evolving.
To be imprisoned in the personality of John Smith or Jane Brown for all eternity, is no more consonant with cosmic Jaw than being annihilated.
Here we may notice the derivation of the word ‘personality’. It comes from persona, a mask.
There is that in us which truly says, “I am.” The personality is the mask it wears-a new one for each incarnation.