by Estelle Daniels
One endpoint of magic is to know yourself. The better you honestly know yourself, the more effective your magic can be.
One way to get to know yourself better is to take a personality inventory test. Not necessarily one which measures mental health, but one which measures character traits and preferences. The Kiersey Temperament sorter or the Meyers-Briggs personality test are among the best. These tests measure preferences, and can indicate how you behave. You are classified along four scales; Extrovert-Introvert, Intuition-Sensing, Feeling-Thinking, Perceiving-Judging. From these four scales come sixteen personality types. Some are more comfortable with modern society. Some are not. Once you know your type, you can find many references to your type and see how it fits you. There are many websites on the internet devoted to these topics.
Create a black and white mirror. This is not an object, but a technique for determining how you see yourself. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one half, the black side, list your negative traits. On the other half, the white side list your positive traits. Look at the list. Is one side longer than the other? That can show an imbalance. Most people will list more negative traits, than positive ones, simply because society emphasizes the negative. We all have traits which we should be proud of, so don’t short yourself.
Have a close trusted friend make a black and white mirror as they see you. Does it fit with your list? How does it differ? Have the friend look at your list. Do they think you are being unrealistic or hard on yourself?
Use what you have learned to determine ONE trait you want to change. Concentrate for a week on that negative trait, catching yourself, and trying to modify your behavior. Work on only one trait at a time, otherwise it can be overwhelming. Don't expect miracles. But if you cultivate your awareness, you might find the problem may cure itself. Many of our negative traits are just patterns of habit. Becoming aware of them is over half the battle.
Set aside 15 to 20 minutes each day, right before bedtime, and think over your day. What did you do that you want to change? What did you do that you are pleased with? How might you have handled yourself differently? Make a habit of reviewing your day, and you might become more aware and active in dealing with the world on a day-to-day basis. Journal your impressions. Taking time and analyzing things can help immensely.
Dream interpretation is an excellent path for self-improvement. Write down your dreams in a journal. Some might be precognitive. Many will deal with how you handled yourself, and possibly what you might have done better. Your higher mind is always watching and judging you and your actions. You will know if you did something that might not be in your best interests for soul development.
If you have a dream with uncomfortable emotional overtones, it might be a warning about something you did, and a caution to not repeat that behavior. Sometimes nightmares are just your higher mind turning up the emotional heat to hammer home a message you haven't assimilated. A dream in which you are deformed or crippled may be a commentary on your actions. What you did crippled you in some way, or you didn't perform up to your fullest potential. Your higher mind can be starkly honest and does not accept lame excuses. Listen to it through your dreams.
Dialoguing to yourself can help work through difficulties. If you are uncertain about how to conduct yourself in a situation, talk it out beforehand. You can do it silently, but it's more effective if you do it out loud. Do it in your bedroom, or while you are driving. Nobody else need hear, but just actually saying the words, rehearsing yourself through all the possible scenarios can help. Take the part of various people in your life. How would your friend react? Your Boss? Your co-workers? Put yourself in their places and imagine their thoughts, feelings, and actions. You can get a good handle on your behavior and actions by placing yourself as an observer of your life.
You can use divination as a tool for self-exploration. Ask a question several ways, what would happen if I did this, or that or the other thing? In each answer you can find insight into the possible consequences of your actions. Asking for the best advise in a situation can be quite helpful. Asking why something happened or is the way it is can also bring understanding.
Meditation is another path toward self-understanding. Calming the mind and allowing your thoughts to flow free can be stress-relieving. You can ask for insight and understanding of yourself.
Analyze what TV, book and movie characters you like. Why? What about them attracts you, what turns you off? If you have a favorite, look beyond the show itself, and ask what issues it addresses in your life? What themes apply to you, which are things you have to deal with but are less successful than your heroes? This can give you insight into what makes you tick.
Any or all of these techniques can be helpful for getting to know yourself better. It may take time, but work at it a bit each day, and the awareness will come. Being fully self-aware and conscious about yourself and the world around you is what makes for a successful magician. Good luck.
© 2000, 2004 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.