When one gets a little deeper into the way of the Craft you run across this concept. And for most of us, we stumble a little because of it ! Metaphysics.
First off, lets
look at what the two words mean, as there are two there. Meta meaning above
or beyond, and Physics the " laws" of action and re-action in our current
day world. If you take two atoms of hydrogen and mix with one part oxygen,
you get water, that is physics. Metaphysics deal with things that are not
as concrete, but just as simple. A great many factors go into it however,
and they all interrelate, so there is much to learn. The path of metaphysics
is not just a path of learning to use forces, it's a path to enlightenment
and self awareness.
To start with, where does the "power " to do the Craft come from ? Leaving aside Divine love and aid for the moment and looking just at the metaphysical aspects. The world is surrounded by lines of electromagnetic force. We humans also run on electrical power. Building a "cone" of power, as is used in the Craft, is to create a directed force, that is in part, electromagnetic energy, where a human body is the conduit for it. Which is putting it in very simple terms. This is the " Physics" part.
On this planet, these lines of force have many points where they cross each other, called nexus points . Many of the old sites of known power are located at these nexus points. These lines, are the lines of force one taps into, do to the Craft. These lines are real and can be mapped by current day technological means. What they are for, is the only part open for debate. We of the Craft, know what they are, but the scientific world does not accept that explanation for the most part.
To feel the lines of force, one must first accept they are real. This is not hard really if you think about it. A bird, born in spring, fly's south, to some destination they have never been, for the winter ,with accuracy. The bird can hardly have a "map" in their head, yet they make such flights every year. There are a million such examples in nature, where the animal world moves in harmony with the forces that surround us. We the "higher " life form, would do well to emulate them. To become sensitive to these lines, is essential for the way of the Craft. Without them, one is working with only the force of the body.
The very word " Witch" means to twist or change however, in other words, to effect changes, through the directed use of power. This is not a new concept. If one were to take Kirlian photos of any real religious rite, one would see the outline of the power being raised, by any decent practitioner. Ever taken or seen a picture of a ritual and it looks like something is wrong with the camera, as the image is in a fog ?
There is nothing wrong with the camera, it just means it can see, what your eyes may not be able to see. The gathering of force around the participants. Almost every full time practitioner I know, has at least one of these images, that defy any other explanation, as the rest of the roll is fine. Film is imprinted by electromagnetic forces in the form of light, and if the amount of electromagnetic force in the local area is raised, without increasing the light ambiance, the film will react to it by fogging , as it tries to render what it "sees" while the power is being raised.
There are some practitioners of the Craft who know nothing at all about these things, and how they relate to the use of the Craft, and as a result produce not as much effect with their rites or spells, as they otherwise might ,as they operate solely on instinct. Their intent is honest and the will is there, but if all one is working with, is the current the body itself possesses, and operating on instinct alone, the power one can raise is not as great as it could be.
Not to mention one can be all but sick and exhausted after it's done, as you have drained yourself. Which is why the need to learn metaphysics and how to manipulate it so one has the amount of force one needs to get the job done, without draining the body to do it. Instinct is great, but it can fail you at the wrong time or be overwhelmed by forces you are not prepared to handle. So it's wise to develop the right "muscles " to accomplish the goals.
This twisting and bending of physical forces by an act of will is the meta or above plain physics, of the Craft. Recent science has proven, what we of the Craft have always known. There are lines of electromagnetic force ,that do surround and permeate all things, which are subject to the will.
The human being , during an act of the Craft runs the currents of Earth, from the Ley lines, through the Chakras of the body, changes them by their Will, and sends them out to a given purpose. Done correctly the amount of energy one needs, is taken directly from the ground itself, which is why most rites are done barefoot.
energy is then sent out through those same Ley lines and beyond to the
Cabalistic tree of the astral, to effect changes. Now the only part
of all that , that has a "reality" base, that we are currently able to
measure that is, is the Ley Lines themselves, which are measurable. Everything
else is pure metaphysics.
We humans also, have our own points of connection called Chakras, which have been " known " for many centuries. And again, current day science has been able to map these currents of the "eithirc" or light body, using Kirlian photos, as they move and shift about the body and thereby prove, what we already know. The bulk of the lore on Chakras, is on their emotional aspects, which I will discuss another time.
Our body is like a circuit board, and the Chakras are the power transformers, for the Will .As well as our emotional centers and aspects of our life force. These are not "physical " things, yet they no less real, again ,they are beyond physics. To study , practice charkaric meditation and thereby learning how to manipulate chakraic energy, is to prepare the self for working the Craft, among many other things.
one is used to freeing up these centers for the sake of healing work, it's
not much of a leap to use these same centers for their other purpose, the
channeling of power for the Craft. Training the self to become aware of
these centers and use their forces, is the primary lesson to learn. It's
why their manipulation for the health of the body, such as with Reiki
is such a common practice, not just for its healing ability, but also for
its lessons in how to use these centers of force effectively.
The Tree of life, upon which you can go from branch to branch, world to world. Each world relates to different states of mind, as well as different states of being or understanding. This again is not talking about a physical tree, but rather a state of mind in one sense, where one " travels " from point to point, for a lot of reasons, only one of which, is an act of the Craft.
The worlds are called, Malkut (Senses), Yesod (Foundation) , Hod (Glory) , Netzach (Eternity) , Tif'eret (Beauty) , Gevurah (Justice) , Chesed (Mercy) , Binah (Understanding) , Chokhmah (Wisdom) , Keter (Divine Crown) and Ein Sof (the Infinite) or the Veil. This is a map of the Universe in a theoretical sense, as well as a life plan for the self.
Now look at just the meanings, in order. The senses, foundation, glory, eternity, beauty, justice, mercy, understanding, wisdom, Divinity and the infinite. What you see are the lessons, any Witch must learn of the self. As in lesson one " freeing the self from the senses". The point of the senses, touch, taste, sight , sound, the point where we spend most of our lives, and often must learn to overcome.
The foundation, meaning coming to understand " the self " and all its forbils. Pure Intelligence, the way of the mind, at this point the way of the body has been superseded by the mind. This is the space where meditation and coming to know the self comes into play. The foundation of the self, is always of the mind.
The Glory, the giving up of the mundane world, to the world of the astral plains. Here we learn that all things are Yin and Yang, there is a balance between the mind and body, male and female, Goddess and God, above and below, are one in the same.
Eternity, the point where one realizes that there is no beginning and no end, for the soul is forever. The way of the Witch, is the way of the Occult mind. One knows oneself, one knows the path, now one starts to walk the path. One's Relationship with others, and how you relate to others is the point here. Overcoming the lust for power over others. Here we learn our deeper need for others, how we are all one large interrelated being, from the same source, as we were before we came here to earth, and will be again, after our current incarnation is done.
Beauty, to learn that all things are beautiful. The Harmony of the path , learning to walk the path in light ,in balance from within and without. One is at peace.
Justice, to learn real justice, when and how to apply it. The path of the Spiritual Warrior, the way of justice is the war for the Good. The training is here. This is the point where a good practicing Witch spends a great deal of their time, fighting the good fight, for the betterment of all things. To learn the control and use of power is here. The personal will is trained here, and how to use it.
Tempered by mercy which is, Receptive Intelligence, learning not only to act, but when to refrain from action. How to listen to the Gods when they speak. How to know what one is to do, and when not to do. Learning to temper action with mercy and compassion. How to love, love in the highest sense of the word.
Understanding, which equals Sanctifying Intelligence which leads, one hopes, to wisdom. The point were one gains Illuminating Intelligence, the rod of power, the spiritual Will, with the devotion to the Great Work and the blessings of the Divine. The point when you know you are a servant of the Mother.
Wherein, one learns the way of the Divine and one gains Admiral Intelligence. At this point the Great Work is complete. The task of re-uniting the world with the Divine is complete and the tree is no longer needed, as the spirit of all things here, has been rejoined into the one, from which they came and are again part of the Infinite. All these things are life lessons ,that any walker of the way should learn.
Which is why the worlds of the Cabala are so useful as tools for those lessons. In practice of the Craft, One common usage is the Zig Zag " Sword" of the Cabal.
This path allows one to dip into both passive and active energies alternately, maintaining the balance between the two opposites ,so as to retain balance in the self, while doing an act of the Craft. The path of the Chakra is the arrow, the Chakraic tree, the middle pillar of benignity between mercy and justice, is a more direct route, but the lessons are the same. This is another common pathway of the Priest, the one who balances between mercy and justice, the way of the Great Mother and the Father as one.
The middle Pillar is the union of both aspects, which is where the Craft comes in, the male active Will the passive female surrendering to the force. Never mind the stereotyping. These things are both needed to make the middle pillar and therefore the Craft, work, as you need to be passive to the forces at work, while at the same time active, in adding your Will to the work, which is the basis behind all the Craft.
Any and all pillars and combinations, are the paths of Magick, to learn the way to perfect the Craft. Walking the path of Magick and learning each of the " Worlds" allows one to make advances in the ways of the Witch and of the Craft , as each world has a direct challenge of mind to overcome and lessons to teach.
that same understanding, one can use the worlds to effect the Craft. Sending
the power "back" to the tree means, sending it out in complete control
and harmony with the force you are using.
One of many Triads on the tree, is ,Yesod, Hod, Netzach on the shaft of the Middle Pillar of Malkut. Which is the way of the mind, in balance, well grounded in the path of Earth. It is also the sign for Water ,with the grounding of Earth. The fluidity of Mind, well rooted in reality. Which is perfect groundwork for spell work. If one has learned all the lessons of the worlds of the Cabal, one is more than ready to use the metaphysics of the forces you are trying to handle, and to do so in the most useful manner.