What Do You Really Want?: Magic and the Collective Subconscious

A few weeks ago I gave some examples of my recent successes with magic (or “intention manifestation”).  The method I was using had three basic steps:

  1. Make sure you really want it.
  2. Believe it can realistically happen.
  3. Feel the gratitude for it.

astrologyAncientAndModernA simple method, and some good results can be achieved with it.  I gave four examples in my previous post, in which I generated some quick cash, repelled mosquitoes, improved my performance at pool (and caused my opponent’s performance to suffer), and located my lost beard trimmer.  In this post I’ll share some other recent successes, and discuss in some detail the question of what it means to really want something, which extends into the areas of the collective subconscious, dueling wizards, free will, and — what the heck! — the role of the Twin in mythology.

Recent Successes I:  Move Over, DEET

During my recent hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, I had plenty of occasion to get more practice repelling mosquitoes.  It was late August in western Massachusetts, and the mosquitoes were out in force.  I took no insect repellent at all.  I was out there for about six days, and most of the time I was hiking I was surrounded by a swarm of the little beasties.  They have this really annoying whine you can hear when they’re near your ears, and I heard it for hours on end — it nearly drove me batty!  They landed all over me — I felt them on my face, hands, arms, ankles, neck…

But during the whole trip, I was only bitten maybe five or six times.  I would actually see them land on me, hop from one place to another, and then take off again.  It was as if they simply changed their minds at the last minute.  It was totally surreal.

Recent Successes II:  Spiritual Healing

As I mentioned in this recent post, I went on the Trail hoping to gain some clarity and insight, but I got precious little.  It turned out that I was actually subconsciously blocking the messages that my spiritual guides were trying to send me.  I’ll share more details at another time; but when my friend Slade helped me realize what I was doing, I felt completely at a loss.  My conscious mind wanted spiritual guidance, and Spirit wanted to guide me, but my subconscious mind had somehow sabotaged the whole thing.  And I didn’t know why.

However, I knew what to do about it.  I put out the intention to somehow find a way to break past the barrier — to uncover some way to re-establish the link.  And within a couple of days, I suddenly got a message out of the blue from Paula Kawal, who — what a coincidence! — had just learned some techniques for remote spiritual healing, and was itching to do some kind of trade in exchange for a landscape reading and name analysis.

Talk about service!  Paula did an amazing job — already I’ve felt some profound effects — it’s like I suddenly remembered how to open my eyes again…!  I can’t recommend her enough.  I will have more to say when events have played themselves out more fully, but for the present I just want to emphasize how intention manifestation brought me the perfect teacher and healer.

What Do You REALLY Want?

As the second example there shows, the first step of the spell — making sure you really want it — can be very tricky.  I certainly consciously wanted to contact my guides, but subconsciously, I did not.  The same thing happened when I tried to find my beard trimmer — subconsciously, I was curious about how I would look with a long beard!  Your whole self, conscious and subconscious, has to be on board, or your results will be mixed at best.

The Collective Subconscious

And this point strikes the word “you” into sharp relief.  It’s easy to say that you have to really want something, but what is this “you”?  It has to include both your conscious and subconscious selves — and, it seems, even more.

While I was camping, I brought along Robert Place’s Buddha Tarot and excellent companion book, and somewhere in it — I forget where — he mentions Jung’s theory of the collective subconscious, and describes it in a way I had never heard before.  I had always imagined the different parts of the self as each being separate things, with clean breaks between them; I thought they were clearly demarcated.  But according to Jung, as reported by Place, there is no clean break between them.  Instead, there is a continuum of experience between the conscious self, the subconscious self, and the collective subconscious.

Another way of thinking of it:  as you explore deeper and deeper into your subconscious, you will eventually find that you are no longer in territory that belongs to just YOU.

And this means that, at the deepest level, something that YOU want is in fact something that the collective subconscious ALSO wants.  So if you really want something — if you completely fulfill step #1 of intention manifestation — you are automatically aligned with the collective subconscious.  If you are not aligned with the collective subconscious, then you are not following #1 completely, and your results will be mixed at best.

Wizards’ Duel

This is a solution to one of the nastiest puzzles surrounding magic, intention manifestation, and the Law of Attraction:  what happens if two equally matched magicians cast conflicting spells?  Who wins?

The classic example in the intention manifestation tradition is of two people who both want the same position in a company.  Both of them use the Law of Attraction perfectly.  Who gets the job?

The answer I’m suggesting here is simple:  they can’t both use the Law of Attraction perfectly, because presumably the collective subconscious is going to have a preference about who gets that job.  (It’s logically possible that the collective subconscious would not have a preference, but I doubt that happens much in practice — the collective subconscious knows too much.)  And this means that one of the aspirants is going to be struggling against part of him/herself that really doesn’t want the job.  All else being equal, the collective subconscious’s preference will win out.

Free Will & The Twin

All else being equal…

None of this means that we are doomed to be servants of the Collective.  On the contrary, our conscious minds have free will, and our subconscious minds appear to have free will, too!  If these wills go against the collective subconscious, our results will be mixed, but probably not fail completely; and the desire of the collective subconscious will also be frustrated.

The oldest postulated Indo European myth tells of twin brothers, named Man (“Human”) and Yemos (“Twin”), who lived in beginning times.  In the myth, Man has to kill his brother, and Yemos’s body is used to create the world, and the rest of humanity.  Yemos is the first being to die.  But in death, Yemos becomes lord of the underworld, and the caretaker of the dead.  Echoes of this myth are found in the Norse jotun Ymir, the Indic death deity Yama and Avestan god Yima.

There are plenty of ways to interpert this myth, but what strikes me most forcefully today is the way in which we are each twins.  We hold within us at least three individuals — the conscious, subconscious, and collective subconscious — that are at once different, yet all the same.  To make magic — to manifest the world around us — requires the three to work together; but in doing so, their individuality is compromised.  They have to sacrifice themselves to bring the world into being.

I may be making this sound like the collective subconscious is a puppet master, nefariously controlling our lives and gradually assimilating us like the Borg.  But what I am really saying is quite the opposite:  the voice of the collective subconscious is the faintest one, drowned out by the individual subconscious and especially by the individual conscious mind.  You will hear it only in meditation, in your times of most relaxed solitude, in your dreams.  It seems to be the smallest, quietest, most private part of yourself…  And yet it is this part that is universal to us all.  It is not an external, controlling force; it is our deepest heart.

Yemos is not sacrificed by the Collective for the Greater Good.  Instead, like Odin, he is sacrificed to himself, for himself.


9 responses to “What Do You Really Want?: Magic and the Collective Subconscious”

  1. Please help me to put magick to work that will keep Sarah Palin out of political power. Please consider blogging on this topic and encouraging those you know to work toward this goal as well.


  2. Anne, I definitely agree that Sarah Palin’s political ambitions need squelching. However, I’m in a tricky situation in the magic department, because of course one must avoid negative desires. As a libertarian, I have grave concerns about all four of the Republicrats. I have trouble with step #1 (desire) for all of them. But for my chosen candidate — Ron Paul — obviously there’s a big problem with #2 (belief that he can win). I mean, he’s not even running any more… 😦

    Still — there is definitely a blog post in there. Maybe I can’t do any magic, but I can write about what I believe, and that might help. Thanks for the suggestion!


  3. Jeff,

    This is a rich article with so many different points to absorb and process.

    But what stands out for me most on a first read is the light you shine on the “collective subconscious.”

    The Wizard’s Duel is interesting. I feel that when you succeed at manifesting, you are in alignment with the highest good for ALL involved. And that may well include your NOT getting “what you want.”


  4. Jeff,
    Ron Paul is still in the running for president. He is on my state’s ballot as a third party candidate. If he is not on your state’s ballot, please write him in. After all, this is America: why are we letting people tell us who we can vote for? There are enough of us out there to make a difference, unless we let the media dictate to us how things are going to be.


  5. Slade, thanks! There are a lot of points here — it’s a complex subject…

    My suspicion is that you always “succeed” at manifesting — in the sense that what you experience is always a result of the combined intentions of your conscious mind, your subconscious mind, and the collective subconscious. But for the conscious mind to get what it wants, it must — as you say — be in alignment with the other two pieces, which will be the highest good for all involved.


  6. R, are you in Montana? I heard Paul was on the ballot there.

    Here in Massachusetts, he’s not. Nevertheless, I am definitely considering writing in Ron Paul. However, I hear he has endorsed the candidate for the Constitution Party, so I am considering him as well. I will definitely not be voting for either of the Republicrats.

    I think Paul mentioned in a recent press conference that 60% of the American public are not satisfied with McBama, and would prefer to vote for someone different. You and Anne have inspired me to write an article about why I’m one of those, and what would happen if everyone really voted their conscience. 🙂 Look for it in the next few weeks…


  7. Anne | Jeff,

    I had to come back and comment about the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Have you seen the video circulating of her church praying over her in a ritual specifically to “protect her from all forms of Witchcraft”?

    I’m sure it’s on YouTube somewhere… Of course, as a life-long eclectic witch, the synchronicity of Anne’s comment and the video made me chuckle.

    I am deeply, deeply politically active and opinionated, however, as I identify myself and my work with the role of priest, I abstain from writing about politics on Shift Your Spirits.

    But I do allow myself to comment on political subjects on other sites.

    I did want to point out, when I read Anne’s comment, that using magick to “block” anyone is incredibly dangerous, as I believe that whatever you project at her you will experience yourself. Three-times over, and all that westy-wiccy-karma…

    Believe me, I struggle daily with the most wicked thoughts — “What happened to all the assassins?”

    I feel that praying against/ working magick against someone or something is the inverse of a highest possible goal/intention.

    That which you resist, persists. That which you focus on, expands.

    Perhaps the better spell is not to block those you oppose but to raise up and empower those who DO represent what you hope to see.

    The unfortunate truth, or the philosophical resignation that I have had to be content with is that if I live in a country that is still ignorant enough to continue allowing ignorance by willfully voting for it — then honestly, as a collective, we deserve what we get.


  8. Hi Jeff,

    I love your analogy of how you felt after the healing because energetically, this is almost a literal interpretation of the work we did…which of course, was my pleasure!

    I wanted to comment on a the subject matter of the post and also on using our intent. I agree with Slade about being incredibly conscious of the way you use magick. I personally focus more on the energy I want for myself and the rest of the planet and trust it to align circumstances for me.

    Any of us that have been working with Guides, Divine Energy and Spirit can attest that their advice doesn’t always make logical sense when you ask for their help. Often you’ll ask for something and they will ask you to do something that seems totally unrelated, yet lo and behold…it gets you what you actually needed to move forward and grow.

    This is the kind of trust I hold around the evolving consciousness of our planet as well. I will follow my Guides and I will keep letting Spirit know what I want and then trust it to help us get there.

    There is a group of people meditating for Wisdom in leadership here in the US…if you’d like to join them please go to, http://www.wiseusa.net 🙂

    Now for the conscious mind, unconscious mind and the collective. I like to think of these minds as levels of thought that take us further down into the well of our own Souls and the core of who we are as a Spirit.

    The one that is closest to the surface of which we are most aware, is the conscious mind. The conscious mind is largely filtered, as it is our practical vehicle for managing third dimensional living. It is what allows us to make schedules, keep time and other concepts that only exist here. It is the essence of intent and it’s ability to focus (if disciplined) is what allows us to move energy here on the earth plane.

    The unconscious mind is a level deeper than the conscious mind…this mind has access to more information about the nature of the energy surrounding us. Much of this information is filtered out on the conscious level so that we can function, intuitive folks have trained their minds to let certain levels of information from this realm through. It is possible to function mostly from this mind, however, doing so makes it difficult to get grounded and be able to get things done on a practical level. This is why most practices of this type include an on/off the switch through meditation or ritual, the most common type of communication with this mind comes in the form of dreams.

    The collective is quite amazing, it is mind on the level of unity, of the web in which we are interwoven into the structure of all that is. This is the level of mind through which become aware of how the individual functions within the whole.

    So how does this work?

    Whether we know it or not, at our deepest levels, we are the collective. We grow up into our version of “self”, while our roots and core remain in unity with life. Our subconscious becomes ruler of automatic functions and acts in many ways as mediator between the “All” and our own sense of “Self”.

    When we climb through the levels, the information we have access to changes us. If we take our individual desires through these levels to the “All” and back again, we reach alignment, however, what we want and the way we see our possibilities will have transformed through our experience of these other minds and the new information we now have access to.

    I think we have to make this journey inward to actually understand what we want and of course that can’t help but change it to an expression of the desire that honors the Highest Good of all involved while still serving the individual self 🙂

    The warring and dueling happens when the minds aren’t communicating, because then the conscious mind is pushing against the unseen forcing instead of having a conscious participation…this rather like having a dance partner that insists upon leading with their eyes closed…completely oblivious to the people and objects and line of the space in which their dancing 🙂

    My take on it all leaves me with a sense of the “individual collective”. At our core, we are vast and eternal…what we see through our conscious mind, can be at best a “rough translation” of what is actually out there and available to us.

    Each of us, has an individual experience and understanding of traveling to the core and back. I like to think of the conscious mind as a provider of an earth dimensional perspective to the larger parts of our consciousness, and the other minds as a provider of the perspective of wholeness to our conscious mind 🙂 The sacrifice I think, is the willingness to dance between them, with your eyes wide open!

    Celestial hugs,



  9. […] giant, Ymir, and created the world from it. It’s possible that this myth is connected to an ancient Proto-Indo-European myth about two brothers, twins, one of whom kills the other as a sacrifice to create the world. In that […]


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