Monday, September 03, 2007

The Power of Silence

Recently I wrote about "the power of speech." Today I started thinking about the power of silence.

In the European occult tradition, there are said to be four "laws," or "powers." (Just to make them sound more impressive, they are sometimes referred to as the "Four Laws of the Magus" or "Four Powers of the Sphinx." But I digress.) They are: To Know, To Dare, To Will, and To Keep Silent.

In order to practice magic, or any other art, one must first acquire knowledge. The desire to practice magic, to dare, is in itself a power. The will to persevere is also necessary, to put some work into it, just like anything else. But what is silence?

Many practitioners of magic say that you should talk about your magical work as little as possible. There seems to be a belief that talking about a spell disperses the magical energy. I can also think of a practical objection, which is that up until comparatively recent times practicing magic could get you burned at the stake, and even today you can be ostracized and ridiculed. It was, perhaps still is, much safer not to let anybody know what you're up to.

But Silence, in the magical/creative sense, is also the equivalent of leaving the seeds you have planted to rest quietly in the ground. We all know that you can't keep poking at them and digging them up to see if they're doing okay. They need time to grow, time in the dark.

Silence has a power all its own. I suspect that if you want something to have power, it's better not to talk about it. I suspect that things which are hidden don't go away.

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