Mishkan ha-Echad

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Fear is Failure, Part 2

Recently the topic of fear stopping one's progress has come up, specifically in relation to the use of certain types of magic, but it is an important point for us all in general. I have already shared somewhat on this topic in a previous post entitled Fear is Failure, but I have the following to add, or reiterate, here:

Firstly it is important to post the quote from one of the ceremonies:

"Fear is failure, so be thou without fear. For he who trembles at the Flame and the Flood and at the Shadows of the Air, hath no part in God."

There is also a reference to this in the essay entitled On the General Guidance and Purification of the Soul which is given to the Practicus:

"Humble thyself before thy God, yet fear neither man nor spirit. Fear is failure and the forerunner of failure; and courage is the beginning of virtue. Therefore fear not the Spirits, but be firm and courteous with them, for thou hast no right either to despise or to revile them, and this too may lead thee into sin."

Basically the advice is to neither laud or fear any spirit overly, for too much of either would lead to imbalance. Fear is failure because it obstructs the path of the initiate. Fear of the occult, of the paranormal, of ghosts and entities, will simply serve as a barrier for those wishing to use the occult for their growth. Fear of exploring one's faults or one's "Shadow" (to use the Jungian term) will hinder one's advance. Fear of being considered a "newbie" by the watchful eyes of one's peers will lead to rushing and lusting for results, and thus slowing one down and making those results more difficult to achieve. Fear of advancing to material that might challenge one and expose one's failings, or fear of the change that will come about as a result of such advance, will bring one's path to a standstill. Fear of progress will halt progress; fear of failure will ensure failure.


Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

So, at what point do you distinguish fear from caution, and a recognition of limitations?

Dean Wilson said...

That is up to the individual (and, if they are a member of a group, to their peers or mentor/s). Some people are ready for more advanced practices before some other people, and thus the latter people should employ more caution. Caution is not fear, however, but it can turn into fear if it becomes a problem, if it starts to slow or obstruct one's growth. Likewise, a recognition of limitations is up to the individual, but we can all deceive ourselves, and what limits us now might not limit us in the future.


Soror FSO said...

I have noticed that cautions seems to ignite the sense of higher intuition, you "feel" like there is something wrong, or that you may be entering into territory that you are not yet ready for. Fear on the otherhand stimulates the nervous system and begins to affect one's breathing, cause a rushing of thoughts, a higher heart beat etc...there is a sense of being in control with caution, a sense of being out of control with fear...fear is failure because your are letting a force have authority in life that is not God.

Dean Wilson said...

Ave Soror,

Excellent point. The difference between caution and fear is the level of control still maintained. Fear blurs and dulls our sense, while caution magnifies them. We are supposed to be taking control of our lives, so to hand them over to Fear is indeed an act of failure.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dean,

I just started reading your blog.

I'm new to the occult community (I have really only been researching and beginning to magic-practice in a serious way since this past December 2008), and I have a few observations:

1. Overcoming fear does have to do with courage. Courage does not mean that a person is not afraid. It means that a person may indeed be afraid, but they have the power to push on through. I have been following this topic too. Part of the occult is overcoming fears. I keep getting the impression that the "community" expects everyone to be perfect before they even begin.

2. As a "newbie" I have been greeted with passive-aggression, a hand in my face if I asked a question, and extremely-contradictory behavior. There have only been two people in the entire community that even bothered to "speak" to me at all, so to speak.

3. I keep seeing all these posts about "feel free to ask questions" and "think on your own," "add to the community your own ideas about magic." But, if I try talk the result is a slap in the face. This will not make me give up, but it's just puzzling.

4.This behavior does not have anything to do with fear, it's just unnecessary rudeness. I mean is the door to the Occult an invisible iron safe??

I'm, just asking some questions here, in a more assertive way than normal, with the hope of a response.

I am not usually this direct.

I appreciate this blog.

Dean Wilson said...

Ave Kate,

Thank you for your post.

Yes, courage isn't about not being afraid, but about being afraid and still pushing forth anyway. After all, how can you be courageous if you were not afraid in the first place? It doesn't take courage to do something you're not afraid of doing.

Unfortunately the occult community is rife with that kind of attitude. There is a cliqueness about it, with the posturing of being open and welcoming and the reality of being closed and tight-knit. There is rudeness and ego, because, at the end of day, everyone in the occult community is still human, with all of the imperfections of humanity.

That said, not everyone is like that, nor is every community like that. For example, I have recently set up a new Golden Dawn forum which I hope to be a great resource for those interested in the GD. Sufficed to say, I endeavour to be as welcoming as possible to all members, "newbie" or not.


I welcome you to join this forum and ask as many questions as you like; I will not tolerate the rudeness you have currently experienced.


Anonymous said...

Thanks! :-)

Samuel said...


I think that some of the attitude that you see is indeed fear from many that are supposedly been around the "community" for a while. They fear to expose how little they really know when asked a question by someone seeking answers. The "courageous" thing to do is to admit that you do not know, but too many people allow their egos to get in the way, hence the attitude.

Also, you have to remember that magicians are people too, they are subject to the same failings as "normal" people. They can have a bad day, take it out on those around them, etc. Even those with lofty grades and titles are just people too, and can, and most often do, make mistakes and deal with people inappropriately.

The only advice I can give is to keep asking questions. Keep looking for that "right" group of people that will help you. They really do exist in the esoteric community, regardless of what it seems like on the fora or other places online.

And in your continued searching for those helpful people, that is COURAGE, real courage to not give in to the Fear of others whom cannot face their own limitations (which is what I think most magicians must do - face and overcome their own limitations).