The author shows how to achieve harmony and balance by activating the magical Qabalistic formula known as The Four Powers of the Sphinx: knowing, willing, daring, & keeping silence. Coyle shows readers how to live a life of passion & purpose by drawing on the four powers of the sphinx to discover their "soul's possibility" their life's wo
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About the Author
T. Thorn Coyle is an internationally respected teacher and author. A spiritual seeker her whole life, she has studied the craft of magic for more than twenty-five years. Mystic, spiritual director, musician, dancer, activist, and author of Evolutionary Witchcraft, she makes her home near the San Francisco Bay.
Read an Excerpt
MAKE MAGIC OF YOUR LIFE
Purpose, Passion, and the Power of Desire
By T. Thorn Coyle
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2013 T. Thorn Coyle
All rights reserved.
KNOW YOUR DESIRE
There are many ways to approach the power To Know. We study books. We study ourselves. We study the world. We take the time to assimilate our study and to allow the information to deepen into knowledge. Knowledge is the result of taking in information and making it our own. Given enough time and a good dose of passionate engagement, knowledge can expand further, becoming wisdom. This requires all of our powers of rationality, coupled with our growing ability to know in the heart and in the belly. Engaging the power To Know is helped by the perspective of the eagle, the first part of the Sphinx.
When we speak of knowing our desire, however, we often need to begin from a place that feels a lot like faith. Some clearly feel desire, even if they can't pinpoint exactly what form it takes. Others have some vague longing just to have a desire. I'm here to tell you, that is also desire.
Desire connects us to ourselves and to the flow of life.
The magical dictum To Know has many facets and stages. Each person reading these words is likely at a different stage in his or her relationship with the manifestation of both knowledge and desire. Before coming to a place of knowledge, we first need information, experience, and some level of integration. Knowledge does not, therefore, spring full blown from the mind. It requires a combination of intellect, emotion, and, on even deeper levels, the intuition brought forth from the body. We cannot think our way to desire, but our thoughts can help us gather information, assess it, give it context, and name it. As we have seen in fairy tales throughout time, naming is a powerful activity.
In this section, we will practice approaching knowledge through thought, sense, and emotion. We will bring it to our bodies. Through all these means, we shall seek to know.
LEARNING TO LISTEN; LISTENING TO LEARN
How can we open to knowledge of self and the power to know our desire? By learning to listen more deeply.
Most of our lives are crowded with the bustle of jobs, family, advertising, television, shopping, cleaning, and cooking, making it quite difficult to hear anything but the clamor. We are also riddled with a constant barrage of thoughts and emotional states, sometimes brought about by our very wish to know what it is we are supposed to be doing! All of this makes deeper knowing feel impossible. How can we hear the voice within that is deeper than our day-to-day concerns?
By opening to listening, we open to the whispering of the sacred to our souls. We say to ourselves and to the cosmos: "I seek the power To Know, and in seeking this knowledge, I begin here, within myself."
When I do soul readings for clients, I often say: "Take a breath. Let's go a layer deeper ..." This helps both of us to open again, to listen again, and to have greater access to the information that wants to flow through. We start off by tuning in and listening. In the rush of vision and voice, however, we often need to pause and drop into an even more acute place of hearing, sensing, and seeing.
I'd like to do that with this topic now. Let's drop a layer deeper in examining our relationship to listening. We'll go ever deeper, layer by layer, as this book and our practice progress, particularly in the segment "To Keep Silence," but let us try for a bit here.
Why do we run so hard from listening? Listening is the best way to get clear information that can be digested into knowledge. Yet many of us still decide we don't need to show up for this portion of our work. We would rather be busy, or pile on excuses, or numb ourselves—anything rather than slow down enough to take in what is really present. There are many reasons for this, of course. One is that some of us fear what will be revealed if we drop deep enough for emotional states to rise. Others fear that they will have to change their systems of blame and responsibility. Still others fear that everything will fall apart if they stop taking care of everything for the time it takes to slow down and just be with themselves. Take a few moments right now to breathe, find your center, and ask yourself if any of the above scenarios, or any others, apply to your situation.
Here's a simple example from my own life. I used to finish other people's sentences chronically. It has become a great practice of mine over many years not to do so. I particularly like to practice with Tony, who has a severe stutter. He comes into the soup kitchen where I volunteer, and it is great to slow down further inside and wait while he gets his words out. This sort of practice helps me learn more, and teaches me not to assume that I know what he means. It allows for greater discovery.
On the occasions when I do finish someone else's sentence, I'm drawn up for a moment by the realization that I've lapsed out of presence and into assumption. This happens sometimes with one of my partners—another highly verbal type. Intellectual exploration and even sparring are a big part of our relationship, but sometimes the mercurial nature of speech and thought gets in the way of deeper listening. Sometimes he finishes my sentences and I become annoyed because, no, that was not what I was going to say at all. Moreover, it interrupts the flow and measure of my thoughts. Sometimes I do the same with him. And then I attempt to return to my practice.
A companion to this practice of mine is to ask: "What do you mean?" This question advances inquiry, discovery, and learning. When I was young, I just assumed that I knew what someone else meant. My brain was so clever—of course I had it figured out! Or I felt embarrassed to let on that I might not know, so I just assumed that I knew enough. This meant that I was not able to learn as much as I might otherwise have done. My unwillingness to ask questions meant that I was impeding my own growth and development.
Slowing down enough to listen or ask questions helps me to learn. It also creates space for a richer relationship with the world around me—with myself, with Nature, and with the humans with whom I interact. I listen to the Gods, too. Sometimes they have insights I never would have come up with on my own. This is true of the collective mind as well. Collectively, we remember things we may have forgotten as individuals, or we may bring back nuggets of wisdom from our trips to the river.
Some people have a problem opposite to my own: they ask too many questions because they are forever second-guessing themselves. There is no trust that rises from their bellies toward their hearts and minds that says: "Yes! This!" They are not willing to risk making a bald statement or taking a stand for fear of being wrong. This is another form of non-presence and not listening. When we don't listen well enough to ourselves or our deeper connections, we don't interact from a place of strength. This tendency, masquerading as inquiry and learning, can actually keep us from learning the big things that are only taught when we risk failure.
When I allow myself to listen well enough with my whole being, to be present with the vibration of the earth and the person or task in front of me, when I allow time and space to enter my awareness, I don't have to race to finish the unknown. I can hear the voice of someone else supplying words I might never have come to on my own. Then I can speak with greater authority and confidence. When we open to deeper states of learning—those not run by avoidance, hubris, or fear—we can better know ourselves and better teach each other.
When we allow the powers of air, thought, and speech to flow around and settle within us—when we are not racing to finish the sentences written by the universe—we allow for a deeper relationship with self and the whole cosmos in the process. What facets of desire are lost to us because we assume our story is already written, or that we know all the answers? Or conversely, what facets are lost because we think we can never know—that our ideas and dreams can never come into reality?
I cannot stress enough how important listening practice has been in my life. Yes, it has enabled me to be a better friend, a better lover, a better teacher. But it has also helped me be a better companion to myself, to holy Nature, and to the Limitless Divine.
Two Stories about Listening
Rachel, who was taking an online class with me, said this:
I didn't even know until this week that listening could also mean listening to yourself or listening to nature. I thought it meant understanding, agreeing with, and obeying someone else's words. I have had some fun experiences listening to others this week without effacing myself.
True listening is never self-effacement. We bring the whole self to the process, rather than denying self. When we truly listen, we aren't just waiting for someone else to decide something so we can get on with things, or so we don't have to decide for ourselves. We aren't giving away our own powers to be seen and heard. When we listen, first we listen to the parts of ourselves that are curious, in avoidance, afraid, angry, or proud. Then we can take a breath and sink, allowing those parts some space alongside the spaciousness of not knowing.
I never really considered listening as a solution to knowledge and learning my true desire. Up to now, I've always figured that these are questions to be worked out by my intellect.
Body, mind, emotion, and spirit all engage in listening. All of them contribute to the power To Know. The process of self-knowledge is a long one; so is the process of knowing the world. But the process, should we choose to engage it, is well worth it. It doesn't mean working things out in our heads. Though cognition is a factor, we need more input than that To Know. We need to take data, translate that into information, and then allow that to deepen into knowledge. That takes a certain amount of stillness, and a willingness to be open.
If you think you do not know your desire, consider how deeply you are listening, and with what parts of yourself. The mind is your ally, but cannot do this work on its own. Listen to your heart. Your gut. Your likes and dislikes. The voices of your friends. Listen to the wind and stars.
THE QUIET INSIDE
When teaching psychic skills, I always start classes with getting quiet inside, because there is no way to access intuition and psychic information with any consistency if we do not make space for it. I return to this throughout the sessions, because of course, as our personalities become activated, we forget to remain anchored. We start to reach instead of opening.
Reaching is the way the over-culture teaches us to "fix" things. We are taught to fix problems starting from the outside and working in, rather than working from the inside out. It is no wonder that there is little change of substance on a cultural level. To know ourselves first requires the recognition that we do not know. That is where we begin. So how do we come to know? We begin by learning to listen, and then by making space.
We need to get clear inside. Filling up more in our exhaustion by surfing the Internet or watching television does not help. I'm not saying that either of these is intrinsically wrong. I am saying, however, that when we need space and time and rest, habits of distraction serve only to fill us up more thoroughly with all the things we don't need.
What would our lives be like if we chose to take ten minutes to sit quietly and watch the birds in the morning, or to sit in front of a candle in the evening? What would our lives be like if we took time to focus only on sinking more deeply into ourselves and, from that deeper place, opening out and listening with our whole Being?
I can guarantee that, over time, our lives would change. Deeply listening makes it possible to get a glimmering of knowledge about what our desire is and where it wishes to lead. Without this listening, confusion reigns. We cannot know if there is no space made for knowing. Data is not the same as information, which is not the same as knowledge and these days, we have more information available to us than we can ever hope to assimilate. The only way out—is in.
DESIRE AND THOUGHT
Our life is what our thoughts make it.
In discerning desire, it is important to know the workings of the mind. Systems of magic and meditation both ask us to learn to still our minds. What do they mean by this? In my experience, it means to expand the mind and deepen our presence, stretching the spaces between our thoughts so that energy and a stronger sense of self, Nature, and the cosmos can enter. We cannot know our place in the world nor discern our deep desires if our minds are rapidly flitting from one thing to another or bulldozing through our lives taking hold of every emotion. To know desire, begin with self-knowledge.
We can do practices to help us find that spaciousness of mind at the same time that we are training our habitual thoughts toward that which we desire. There are many books written on this subject, and my previous two go into various techniques for building presence of self and stillness of mind and heart (see Evolutionary Witchcraft and Kissing the Limitless). Presence and stillness are important, and I suggest seeking out various techniques to help with this. What I wish to speak to now is the shifting of your habitual thought.
Whether or not you have uncovered what feels like a deep, abiding desire, you must be aware of desire cooking within you, or you would not even be interested in this subject. We begin where we are, not where we wish to be, or where our friends or family wish us to be. What circumstance or inner voice caused you to pick up this book at this time? Some desire, known or unknown, led you to it. To court this desire, you must train yourself toward this desire.
A writer writes. A painter paints. A dancer dances. A magician works her magic. What do you do? Whatever it is, it forms your life. To what do you return? What do you uncover and unfold? When we do what we set out to do, we become these things. Once ignited, we have the power to shape ourselves, our lives, and our landscapes. Those of us who live in privilege relative to other people on the planet may have a greater opportunity for this, but everyone has a choice—at least in the small things, if not in the large ones. Do you notice these choices, or do you simply tell the story that outside influence runs your thoughts, emotions, and physical reality?
We can start with something that is both simple and quite difficult—even dangerous, in a liberating way. Each time we find ourselves churning out one of our typical stories, or catch our minds spinning in one direction or another, we can pause for a moment and say: "I desire to know my mind. I desire to know myself. I desire to live a life of clarity and purpose." This does two things: it momentarily interrupts the habit, and it begins training us into a new pattern—a new habit that is more helpful to the seeding and eventual flowering of desire.
Our thoughts affect our direction. Just as when you turn your head to look left your bicycle goes that way, so do your thoughts and emotions steer you. What do you want to guide you? Resentment? Fear? Petty competition? Lack of worth? These sorts of things steer us one way or another, but not toward inner greatness—not toward lives that will likely inspire others or give us deep satisfaction. If we wish to garden, we must train our thoughts toward gardening. Make space in your mind for desire, and destiny will alter its course.
It is difficult to create the lives we want if we cannot even catch a glimpse of them. Opening space in our thoughts helps, simply because, all of a sudden, our imaginations have room to work! If I look at the gifts or blessings I already have (whether they feel meager or great), I train myself to see the world as a place where I get gifts and blessings. Also, I enable myself to notice more often the small kindnesses offered or the little things that may be going right.
Excerpted from MAKE MAGIC OF YOUR LIFE by T. Thorn Coyle. Copyright © 2013 T. Thorn Coyle. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 0 Starting the Journey 3
Part I To Know 25
Chapter 1 Know Your Desire 25
Chapter 2 Needs, Wants, and Desires 49
Transition: The Ritual of Knowledge 66
Part II To Will 69
Chapter 3 Will as Muscle 71
Chapter 4 Will as Seeking 88
Transition: The Ritual of Willing 104
Part III To Dare 107
Chapter 5 Taking Risks 111
Chapter 6 Goals and Choices 123
Transition: The Ritual of Daring 140
Part IV To Keep Silence 143
Chapter 7 The Alchemy of Silence 147
Chapter 8 Your Divine Work in the World 164
Transition: The Ritual of Silence 176
Part V To Manifest 179
Chapter 9 The Quintessence 181
Chapter 10 The Outcome of Desire 202
Part VI Desire's End, Desire's Beginning 219
Chapter 11 The Great Return 221
About the Wise Council 233
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thorn's perceptive insight into personal growth and development and spiritual questing is the most profound I have come across in 25 years of soul work. The honesty and strength she exudes in her writing is tempered with compassion and faith. It is as if the entire book is a personal coaching session. The transparency of her own process encourages and inspires. The combination of inner and outer work supports the integration of the whole person I loved her first two books and this is another that will continue to be a textbook for LIFE. I am grateful to have found her leadership and teaching and recommend her work to anyone striving for more connection to themselves, Spirit and the world.
I have loved all her books . Her words inspire me and just "make sense" (which doesn't always happen with books on the Craft. Wonderful ! Wonderful !
THis book is a 256 page long intense, soul growing, wisdom study, peppered with experiences and insights. IT can be used to identify and release blocked up passion and desire and bring it into your life. THis book is a fully function tool fo any individual planning on or studying to become a priest/ess or warrior, dreamer, activist, artist, poet, witch, mage, or fully functioning human being. It is about connecting with the natural magic that is given to us all and provides tools to help the individual tap into that gift. Read the book through once, then go back through it slowly, carefuly picking out the way to give yourself the commitment to your personal development and progress. Take another look at the Witches' pyramid what Ms. Coyle calls the "Four Powers of The Sphinx" To Know, To WIll , To Dare, To Keep Silence. You will find the book a perfect tool for working your way through the powers and attaining desire.. But don't assume it is merely a book about the witches pyramid..it is not in fact, the only thing it has in common is in the naming of the powers, after that is a totally new horizion. Another book to add to the list of tools to keep you on target for continued spiritual growth.