Originally published online November 8, 2005.
I’m just going to ramble off some thoughts on the nature of internal balancing and negation for a little bit.
First off, as professed by a lot of Kabbalistic followers, I don’t think the end goal of balance is absolute negation and destruction of self. That just seems absurd to me. I think it’s actually a misinterpretation of what is meant. Balancing isn’t the act of putting two opposites together to destroy each other, but rather holding both at once and keeping them equally. The idea that balance equates to negation is based on the mathematical fallacy that X + -X = 0 in all instances, when what is in fact being looked for within balance is X + -X = Y. Sexual intercourse is an excellent example of this. From a Kabbalistic perspective the male and female are opposites. Yet when they’re joined together in sexual union, they don’t negate and destroy each other (at least with most species), and if certain conditions are met they’ll actually create something completely new while at the same time retaining their own selves in the process.
That isn’t to say that negation doesn’t serve a purpose. Many of the systems out there contain lessons on negation, and the reason for it seems to be that there’s a natural progression from higher magick to lower magick, not vice-versa as the terms seem to imply, or as some practitioners would like it to be believed.
Let me get into that a little more. Ritual magick is almost like magick with training wheels for a couple of reasons. First off, the methods employed make it easier to effectively use magick. All those rituals, symbols, ect. when properly used make everything easier. Secondly it allows the magician to be properly focused and create change only with intention. What I mean is it’s very unlikely that you’ll find yourself performing a complex ritual that involves four props, a cloak, a chalk symbol, and fifteen minutes of chanting on accident.
Lower magick is a bit more difficult to effectively use, although it does have some benefits in that it is more versatile and easier to perform. The magician is dependent upon their own ability alone to bring about change. But as the magician becomes more capable, lower magick becomes much easier. Which leads into the second problem. When the magician is at a point where they can bring about change very easily, it isn’t too difficult for them to bring it about accidentally. A magician in this situation who happens to be emotionally unbalanced or who has an overactive imagination they can’t control becomes very likely to accidentally do all sorts of things unwittingly that have real consequences.
And so under these systems, as the practitioner becomes more and more able and lower magick becomes easier to use, they’re being trained how to control and negate their thoughts, lest they be allowed to remain unchecked and start causing change to occur.
As for imbalance, and I’m going to keep this short and say just what I want to say because it is somewhat basic, if ever imbalance does occur it can feed itself like a cycle that makes it progressively worse. Once a single side starts to dominate, it tends to beat out the other side and push itself further and further out in that direction. Once this cycle has been allowed to continue for a while, it can become very difficult to break it and achieve balance again.
From the Kabbalistic perspective we’re given the idea of balance as being achieved by having the right and the left each pulling in their directions with equal force, and there are some who will propose that true balance is based on having both opposites equally pulling on each other. But from my experiences, that isn’t entirely true, as the end goal should be codification rather than conflict.
Let me explain some. If one side does start to dominate, a quick fix is to just flood yourself with the other side to balance each out. This is effective to some degree. The fact that both sides exist equally will prevent either side from becoming strong enough on its own to make balancing out later on achievable. The two sides will manage to keep each other in check so neither gets out of control. But it isn’t an ideal situation.
Both sides are still feeding within their cycles and pushing more and more towards their side, they’re just doing it within a duality rather than alone. Like I said earlier, this duality has purpose and can help the situation, but it isn’t ideal. It creates a situation where the practitioner is pretty much being torn two different ways. Like the right side of the body is trying to move left with all its might while the left side is trying to move right with all it’s might.
And within this opposition there isn’t much real power. Things become out of focus so to speak, and the power that does exist from each side of the duality can’t be properly focused to achieve it’s ends. The practitioner can lean to one side or the other, and attempt to use that power to achieve the necessary ends, using that which is needed where it is needed rather than having a pure source that can swing towards either end as needed. But once again, this creates problems.
The first thing that comes to mind, is that the left has the power to act, where as the right has the power to sanctify that action and make it good. The left has the power to seek out and create a pleasurable situation, where as the right has the power to find the situation pleasurable. Ect. (These are just a few examples, I could go on all day with this if I really wanted to). Neither side on its own will ever be good, it’s only through their dual existence that good can be achieved. By concentrating your efforts temporarily towards either side rather than at the center you’re taking on everything that exists within that side, both the positive and the negative, and you’re not balancing out the negative aspect with the positive aspect of the opposing side. And so you are, at least for that moment, following the left or right hand path rather than the center path.
The other problem that occurs is that doing this immediately destroys the balance that was achieved through duality. Either more power has been given to one side, or power has been depleted from the other. And so after the act is taken, steps then have to be made to equal out the unused side, to recreate the balance. And of course there’s the danger of not being able to recreate that balance, and one of the sides continuing on its cycle as the dominate force.
As I said this situation isn’t ideal. What is ideal is the codification of these two sides. Having the left and the right merged into a single entity that is both at once, the true center. The opposite forces still exist in full, but both are allowed to exist in their complete form and flow fully through each other. That which remains is both of the left and the right equally, but rather than pulling in opposite directions is unified towards the same ends. It’s been unified, and contains the best aspects of both parts, while at the same time the coexistence of those aspects work against the negative aspects of those parts. To fall back on the earlier analogy of the two sides of the body going in opposite directions, in this instance both sides would act to move forwards together.