I’ve begun working in earnest again on ego deconstruction. This is a very interesting and worthwhile study and practice that I find incredibly liberating. I’ve done some powerful exercises in the building up of ego that are just as liberating and necessary to strengthen and utilize the will in magical operations and communication with hidden worlds and entities, and I will return to ego building at some point, because if anything can make a person feel like they can accomplish anything, it is most certainly this exercise! I learned it through A Witch’s Primer podcast by Ariel. The ego deconstruction method is one I learned through Kelly-Ann’s YouTube videos on chaos magic and through Phil Hine’s book Condensed Chaos. I started doing serious ego deconstruction when I was journaling and making art based on Kelly-Ann’s shadow map reading (which I got almost a year ago! OMGS, has that much time passed?) and I was amazed at how much just writing things out and identifying them was a powerful way to let go of the hold these problems, habits, memories, conditioning or experiences had on me. It leads the mind to question, “What am I hanging onto? Why am I hanging onto it? What would change if I chose to let this go? What do I believe? Why do I have this belief? Do I have conflicting beliefs about certain things? Why? Could I suspend one belief and understand the perspective of another?” and so on. The work I did years ago when I first started A Witch’s Primer where I journaled about my beliefs was also very helpful in this way. When you start to think about what your beliefs actually are, some incredibly interesting insights come out. Peter Paddon had an interesting exercise, as well, where you look in the mirror and you start asking yourself things like, “Who am I? What am I?”, although he warned that after a certain amount of time, a person can really drive themselves insane with this method. I remember doing this in my early teens during some of my most difficult times, and I recall that it really would seem to fracture the self into shards. Many things were going on during that time to unhinge me, but I remember the mirror visits vividly and how they had a very specific kind of feeling of utter personality dismantling. Really trippy and disturbing!
So why does one want to unhinge themselves, question and dismantle this very fragile ego-self? Well, the fact is, we are very prone to dogma and judgement. Humans want to label, make sense of, compartmentalize things that make the world seem easier, simpler, less chaotic. Humans like order, tidiness, clean affairs. The trouble with this is that we then cling tightly to these beliefs, this desire for neatness, disallowing our perspective from seeing or understanding any other world or cosmic view. One thing that made Einstein so brilliant was that he opened his mind when faced with problems that seemed impossible. He didn’t view the situation as “impossible”, he found a way to prove whether or not he could make that thing happen. And if he could not prove it, he didn’t say, “Oh, then it can’t be done”, he kept trying. He understood that just because he might not be able to understand something did not mean it was impossible to understand. He seemed to have the ability to set aside his ego and let information just come through him in any way that it would. It is this very thing that I think makes this world and every single atom in it divine; that is, having the power of divinity, of the impossible, of the gods or god, the source, the Force.
So, the trick with this work is understand that we do need our ego to assist us in this reality, to live functional and healthy lives. This work explores the setting aside of ego and belief for a time when it serves us to think something else for awhile. I think of this as being a lot like diplomacy. To be diplomatic, one must be able to try to understand another perspective, even if they genuinely do not follow that belief or even think it is right or fair, but to understand to some degree the mindset which shapes it. I can understand why people want to follow a religious system that makes order and peace out of chaos and destruction, even when it means hard choices. I really can understand that because I also desire order and peace. I just personally do not think it is as simple as as following prescribed rules and then we reach and remain in one, final place. I think the wheel just keeps on turning, and it depends where we are in the cycle. And my beliefs about this aren’t even that simple, because I do believe that But I can understand the perspective of needing to believe, at the exclusion of the hard truth, that life, somewhere, is simpler and kinder. If you have ever seen a child with a terminal illness, or any loved one for that matter, or seen the swift manner in which a freak accident can rob a young and vibrantly alive person of that life, or seen the ravages of mental illness that just seem to go on and on an on with no respite…yeah, I totally understand why we create myths and stories that make all that shit go away somehow. (That said, I actually read myths as including all of the complexities and gives us clues as to how to handle all of it while also working toward total illumination and resurrection and the “escape” from the oblivion of death and the cycle of birth and rebirth…but that’s another post.) I also understand that all of this dogma stems from seemingly one very strong source: fear. Fear in itself is something that I explore quite deeply, but for now, I’ll table that discussion because I am so prone to tangents.
So back to the ego…I have found that working with the ego, leaving the needs of my ego behind, understanding what my ego is and when it is hindering my progress has been so useful in letting go of judgements. It is my desire to be less judgmental and more understanding of all things. Ultimately, life is so complex and jumbled that to let go of any “straight lines” that our minds want to make is only going to serve us in understanding more of the nuance and complexity of things. Another thing that I have explored deeply, and almost never willingly, is humility. This is also a large part of ego deconstruction, and probably the one that is most fearful. My experiences with humility have been some of the most profound lessons to learn in this life, and by far, the most unhinging. (This is part of what I believe the spiritual function of “dismemberment” deals with: it can be a literal dismemberment, an astral dismemberment, a mental dismemberment. In fact, I think that this concept deals with a many layered tearing down and rebuilding of the psyche and soul.) I have not studied the Jungian archetypes, only to a teensy degree do I understand what they are, but Johanna DeVoe (aka Hippie Witch), has a really neat discussion of some of the archetypes on several of her podcasts, as does Kelly-Ann in her YouTube videos. These are a fantastic way to understand and try to embrace the idea of ego deconstruction. Basically, you try to “live” in one archetype for awhile in order to understand it. Sounds easy until you get to the archetypes of the Slave or the Prostitute, eh? I highly recommend checking out Joanna Devoe’s “Hippie Witch” podcast and Kelly-Ann’s “The Four Queens” YouTube channel to get in on all of their awesomeness!