The Witches’ Pyramid #3/4: To Dare
This leg of the Witches’ Pyramid is probably the simplest on the surface, since it involves doing the process that you’ve already decided upon. The decision to do the spell has been made; the caster’s Will is honed and ready to force the change; but now you get your tools out and start the chants to cast the spell. Sounds simple, right?
But there is much more than that to this aspect of magic. Daring to do a spell means you have a self-confidence that says you have the divine right to impose your Will on the universe, that you have the right to actually make things happen simply because you want them to happen.
To my mind, that takes a special kind of arrogance. To say to the Universe and to whatever form of Deity you honor, “I know better than you do, and I am going to make this action happen.” That sounds pretty severe and arrogant in my opinion.
It is saying that your life is not good enough. It is saying that you know how your life should be, in opposition to how it actually is, and it is saying that no matter what, you will use any methods, fair or foul, to force the outcome you wish to see.
It is daring the Universe to do its worst to you.
It is acceptance of not only the outcome, but also all the additional problems and unintended consequences of this spell.
Daring to do something can be a problem if you are going against the powers-that-be. If a deity has decided that the person you are trying to help is supposed to be sick at the same time you are trying to make them well, and you heal them anyhow, despite all the warnings and problems of that healing, there may be divine retribution. To Dare means you are willing and able to accept that and deal with it.
No matter what anyone says, there are powers in the universe that could be upset that you are doing this spell. Perhaps, it is because there will be unknown “butterfly effect” problems in another segment of creation. Maybe it is because there will be a power drain from something else that is needed and it may simply be that the desired outcome is supposed to be one that is out of reach. It is possible the binding you are doing is in opposition to the protection this God has promised to His follower.
Daring to do this spell then sets you up to be in direct conflict with that power. It means that there is the possibility that They will be upset with you and make your life “interesting” for a while as retribution and punishment.
Now, assuming that your Will and your Knowledge is up to snuff in this whole process, the Dare stage is when you actually start doing the spell. At this point, the recriminations and self-examination should be done, the decision made and now you actually get out your tools and start the spell. Just that act should throw you into an altered state of consciousness. This is the physical stage.
If we relate these legs of the pyramid to different sections of our being, then To Know is the mental preparation part; To Will is the spiritual part; and To Dare is the physical part of this entire process.
Remember what I was saying before about humanity being wish generators? Well, wishing for something is only part of the whole process. Wishing will only get you so far magically; it’s the actual process of doing the spell that will achieve results.
But then there is still one part that needs to be addressed, and thankfully it is showing up in more and more teaching texts. Part of the To Dare process has to be actually doing the mundane things that will help the spell along.
In other words, if doing a spell for a job, Knowing what job you want is good; Willing that job into your life is another good part; Daring to actually do the spell is good; but having the courage to go out and face rejection over and over is the most important part.
Daring must also encompass the mundane. It does take effort and courage to follow through on the mundane side of things, if only because we might fail.
In a post he made in his LiveJournal, Taylor Ellwood made the very interesting point that most people are conditioned to avoid failure at all costs. As part of that, we are also not trained to accept success, and current societal standards are doing no favor by encouraging a similar mindset of “it’s okay to fail” in the next generation.
In any spell, simply beginning the process of the spell will open the door for failure. Failure will become an option. So one of the goals in any spellcasting process must be accepting that the spell might fail, and striving to prevent that failure. Don’t go into the spell with the thought that it will fail, but accept that the “nature of the beast” is going to include the failure of the spell, and then strive to overcome it.
Of course, the standard excuse is to blame other factors for that failure. “The Stars weren’t right,” or “Goddess must have other plans for me,” or “It will happen eventually,” are all excuses that come very rapidly on the lips of those who try spells and fail.
But as one Doctor Who episode1 pointed out, what if we dream the impossible? What if, despite all things to the contrary, we actually make it and make our dreams come true?
No one is trained to consider that, but we are trained to fail. So Daring to be courageous, to actually do what we say we want — that is real magick. To think that it is possible to achieve what we want, to have what we dream about — that’s wonder.
This attitude is prevalent in most of modern Western Society. The very first word that most children learn to understand is “no.” From then on it is “don’t,” “can’t,” “Ain’t gonna happen,” and more negative assertions. Very few opportunities in our life teach us how to succeed and what to do when one achieves a goal.
This is one reason that there are so many books and seminars that try to show people how to succeed. But I have rarely seen anything that shows you what to do when you do succeed.
Our culture is built on the supposition of failure, and thus to actually attempt something that is highly unlikely to work is an incredible step of confidence. Actually taking the step to face that possible rejection for the bare slim chance that we could have a better life is truly Daring.
This is the core of To Dare. It’s taking that leap of faith, that step that may pay off and may not, even after been told all your life that you probably aren’t going to make anything of yourself. You must be ready to take that step despite the array of problems in your way, from the mundane to the deities themselves. You must take that step, knowing that it may not pan out, but trusting yourself, your knowledge and your training to see it through anyhow.
Then you must have the confidence to follow through with the mundane work as well, to see the process through.
Then, to add another layer, Daring to continue, even if the original spell didn’t work — doing it again, despite disappointment in the past. Making sure that you do not, do not, do not quit, even when logic says “give up,” even when reason says “enough already,” and even when the universe orders you to cease, stubbornly going on is the essence of, the heart and soul of, To Dare.
- Transcript of the relevant episode is found at here. The exact quote is this, when speaking of the End of the Human Race: “You lot. You spend all your time thinking about dying. Like you’re going to get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible. Maybe you survive. This is the year 5.5/apple/26. Five billion years in your future.” —The Ninth Doctor, “The End of the World”
©2007 Daven. Edited by Sheta Kaey
Eric “Daven” Landrum is a Seax Wiccan and the author of Daven’s Journal.