I grew up on heroes. Whether it was Saturday morning cartoons, comics, or movies- they were everywhere. I would jet around the house pretending to fly in my Superman pajamas; wave a stick like I had the sword of He-Man’s, Lion-o’s Sword of Omens from Thundercats, or Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber; or sneak around like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to ambush imaginary foes. They embodied braveer, teamwork, and doing the right thing. Heroes try to do the right thing. Heroes do not seek revenge

Adult life, in the real world, is far more complicated.

I have learned that sometimes we think we are doing the right thing, and being the hero in our story, we are in fact the villain in someone else’s. Sometimes the normal and healthy instincts to pursue love and happiness, can become perverted by our egos into a search for false acclaim and status from others and endless intrigues and drama in an effort to prove one person- or group of people- is better than another. Many religions and spiritual philosophies try to answer the basic question of how we should behave, and what is the nature of right versus wrong. I do not have all of those answers. I have tried to help others and do my best, but I have also slipped into the traps of ego like everyone else. I think everyone has at one point or another. Most of us are in some sort of emotional or spiritual pain, and hurt people hurt others (and I have been on both sides of this). The way to escape that is to respond versus react.

It is very easy to instinctually react out of our pain and trauma. It is very easy to be triggered and function out of instinct. This is natural. We have a biological “fight or flight” drive that evolved for the purpose of self-preservation. We are also possessed of personal power and the ability to wield force to accomplish what we need to do. We are animals.

We are also Divine. 

We all come from the same Source, and as such we are all connected. We are all spiritual siblings of that Source and as such we have an inherent affinity for each other. There is an inherent goodness in our Divinity, and as such there is a natural spiritual instinct to love each other in what the Greeks would call agape, or the unconditional love of others. To relate this to modern earth based spirituality, we are all connected in the rhythms and patterns of Nature and are participants in the web of Life. 

Nature is afterall Divine.

What we have to do is be aware of all these various instincts- our animal and our Divine and find some sort of balance and reconciliation between them. Trauma, hurt, and unprocessed emotions make this reconciliatory process very challenging sometimes, but it is part of the process of spiritual evolution that we must go through both as individuals and as a collective species.

How does this relate to the title of this blog post? I want to share a little bit of wisdom that was shared with me on balance and the reconciliation of opposites.

A mentor told me words that I will never forget. We were talking about the Kabbalistic (the branch of occult teachings from the school of Jewish mysticism that is very popular in the Western Mystery Tradition of the occult) Tree of Life- the spiritual diagram of both the Universe and ourselves- and we were talking about life lessons. In the midst of this conversation he advised me that “Strength without Mercy is Cruelty. Mercy without Strength is Weakness.” This really speaks to some of the essential teachings of the Tree of Life. While there are ten spheres, or sephiroth, that compromise the essence of all things, they are arranged on three pillars. One pillar is one of Strength, the other of Mercy (or “Mildness”). Think of them as something like positive and negative electrical poles (although that doesn’t quite communicate the subtleties). Between them is the Middle pillar- the place where there is balance and the reconciliation of opposites. As the Universe can be seen to find equilibrium, so can we since we are made in Its image. I take this wisdom to mean that there is a balance between showing mercy and love- tapping into our Divine and common connections- versus the drive towards using force and power to solve situations.

This brings me to revenge. While I do not usually seek revenge on things people have done to me, I have a short fuse when people hurt those I care about. I have also seen a lot of drama in my life. Most of it deals with who has been perceived to wrong someone else, who is having a relationship with another person, or status and power; this happens as much in families of blood as it does in spiritual communities.  I would say this has been across the board whether you are Christian, Hindu, Pagan, or any other religion. When we are wronged, is that visceral urge to strike back. Revenge is an animalistic instinct, but choosing to act on it (except in moments of imminent physical danger) is a choice. 

It is healthy to want to defend yourself, as this falls under the intrinsic need for self-preservation. Sometimes if you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will. Sometimes we need to fight. This does not mean we should fight out of blind rage. I advocate responding with intelligence and purpose, instead of reacting on instinct. Some events can be forgotten, forgiven, or brushed off; however, I feel there is an exception when it comes to people that are physically dangerous to the world such as rapists and pedophiles.

So what should one do when they are inflamed by our biological instinct and our psychological trauma and the desire for retaliation is strong? It depends on the situation. 

Magick can bind us to others, so even using it to defend yourself can leave consequences if you are not careful. Magick works best when you are relaxed, focused, have a clear goal that is imaginable, and have the ability to do work in the physical world that matches your emotions and intent. None of those things are easy if one is blinded by rage. There are also consequences to consider. Anything you do has the possibility to tie you to another person energetically or bond you in a karmic fashion- either way having the potential to be stuck with the target of your revenge. I advocate the following different magickal approaches to respond to situations where people have been wronged:

  1. Release the emotions associated with the situation. This can be as simple as grounding or pushing all of your energy into an object to be ritualistically destroyed (burned, buried, dropped in a body of water, etc)
  2. Do a cord cutting. This is a way to cut the energetic ties between you and the other person. This effectively takes you off the energetic back and forth between you and them and helps you move one.
  3. Petition the Universe, ancestors, and gods. Asking for help is never a bad thing. By asking the “higher powers” to intercede on our behalf, their wisdom and power will be used to do what can be accomplished in accordance with karma, natural law, and our best interests.
  4. Sending energy back. I see no problem with people getting back what they sent out energetically or magickally. It is more like returning an unwanted gift than causing any harm.

There are other techniques that require more training, discipline, and focus, but the above are some pretty standard things that most practitioners can master with a little research, and harmless trial and error. 

Finally, do what works for you. Follow your instincts, but use your mental energies in alignment with your emotions to decide what the best course of action is. Sometimes, you do not need a magickal solution, and oftentimes many conflicts can be resolved by not feeding them energy or simply walking away. 

May the gods bless you and keep you.


Categories: EthicsMagick