Friday, January 6, 2012

Affirmations: Pagan Blog Project

The Pagan Blog Project is a lose knit group of over 100 bloggers that has agreed to post every Friday on a Pagan topic. Each week the posts all begin with a topic with a given letter of the alphabet. This week is B. 

Affirmations are something we are exposed to pretty early on as occultists. At least, I was. Affirmations come from the New Thought movement. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby apparently started the movement. Many people think New Thought was only about affirmations but very little research reveals it went into a much deeper philosophy. As I am not a New Thought aficionado, so I will leave comments on that to others.

The most famous New Thought affirmation was Emile Coues, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better". This sort of thing was never very beneficial to me. By personality, I simply get distracted by every day life too quickly to repeat something like that. While I am sure these affirmations work for some people as is, I advise something a bit more.

Magick done with an eye towards self-improvement must be done in conjunction with the improving affirmation. So, if you're affirmation is happiness, do magick designed to further that goal. Are you unhappy because you are lonely? You do magick with the aim of meeting new friends. Then you do your daily affirmation and let your thoughts build on your magick. You can take it another step and figure out why you have no friends, rude? Obnoxious? Shy? Do magick to banish or improve that too.

The danger of affirmations is that you can believe what isn't real. Are you really getting better every day? What proof of that do you have? What is going on in your life that demonstrates this? Anyone wanting to do real spirtual work better be able to look around and determine what is being reflected in his or her life. Magick and spiritual forms of religion are not about believing you are growing. It is using the tools those pursuits offer to facilitate your growth or awareness of the divine.

There are other repeatable mantras that I feel are related to New Thought. This is the mantra of a deity or natural force you are trying to connect with. Crowley's did this with adorations to the sun done four times a day. If you want to meet a given deity, there is nothing wrong with a little mantra prayer. Of course, sooner or later, the eminent form of that deity may just arrive. You better be ready and no affirmation will help you with that.

EDIT: This post was edited only to remove bad HTML code that highlighted certain text unintentionally.


worsanos said...

How funny that we wrote about the same thing!

"The danger of affirmations is that you can believe what isn't real."

I couldn't agree more! The point of affirmations is not to get yourself to believe something that isn't real. If you're using affirmations as a tool to reach a goal and you're not, you shouldn't fool yourself into thinking you are. If it's not working, you need to be able to honestly and objectively recognize it and try to figure out why...or just do something else!

nutty professor said...

...this is awesome. I can learn alot here about the connections between magic and other areas. You make it sound simple, too. I like your approach. I find that the mantras, tried and tested as they are (especially the Eastern stuff, kirtan, etc.), are very powerful for me. They actually become thought-forms. Can you say a little about the relationship between affirmations and visualization? is there a difference between prayers, verbal rituals of evocation/invocation and affirmation when you boil it down? thank you

Michele Griffin said...

I really like your realistic approach to affirmations. If something isn't true for you, no amount of saying it is is going to change that.

Dragonfly said...

I also like your realistic approach to affirmations. I do know people who find them really helpful but I have never really found them to be the answer on their own. Being positive can be helpful but being over positive without justification can also be harmful.

We need to find a balance between and work out what our true goals are and the best way to achieve them. Affirmations is a tool that can be useful for some but not the total answer for all.

Annie said...

Affirmations have worked for me. But yes there is a danger of believing what isn't real. When I use affirmations as a tool and then make sure my actions and goals are congruent with the affirmation then they work to fuel real change.

health affirmations said...

So are you saying that these are all in the mind? Is it true that what we strongly believe in can become reality? Is it risky to believe in affirmation?

Robert said...

Yes, they are all in your mind but your mind is a hugely powerful thing that can impact things outside your head.

The danger I see in them is that humans are naturally a bit deluded anyway and these COULD reinforce that. For instance, what if I jerk keeps telling himself, "I get nicer and nicer every day," but continues his same behavior. If he believes the mantra too soon, he never really changes.

My point is that he must look into his actions and his life and over the long term see the mantra actually improving his behavior.

I hope that makes sense, if not, please post a follow-up question.