Table of Contents
Systemic Voodoo © David J. Marsden 2004
Magic may be out of your awareness, yet is integrated with the events that influence your life. Our systemic psychology offers deep insights into your hidden dynamics – and offers solutions for emotional and relationship issues.
Magic is a word for what science has no words for.
Some time ago I wrote a few articles about my hobby of ghost hunting. Since then I have focused on understanding the forces that appear to control much of our lives. I have been attempting to answer the question, “What is magic?”
The word magic, with its promise of unusual powers, has an ancient enchantment. Before our science explained the world and before our technology mastered it, magic was around every corner. Illness and luck are still commonly explained by unseen forces in fundamentalist and third world countries.
While fear of the unknown closes many doors, a desire to explore can open them again. A willingness to experience, to learn and to enjoy the richness of human life can open them. But this means crossing the inevitable confusion and lack of understanding between separate realities.
Magic is a name for technologies that we do not understand. (Arthur C. Clarke)
It is not important whether or not I believe in magic. It seems important that I realize that I am more than a bag of organs, that I can experience joy and that I can give and receive love. It seems important that I learn about my human potential, and my membership in my family and other human systems.
Magic is a combination of effectiveness and incomprehensibility. (Strooykan, 1992)
After studying with Martyn Carruthers, I began to understand magic in a very different way to my previous mixture of ideas from medieval concepts, religions and movies. I began to understand the hidden currents of life – how people, families and organizations survive or fail. I found magic of a different order. Systemic magic!
True magic doesn’t stop being magic when you understand it.
Martyn’s systemic magic is no escape from or avoidance of reality. His magic was creating an integrated collection of ways by which people can stop sabotaging themselves, and find and use more of their potential. As with alchemy, systemic magic defines the conditions for transformation – not of gold but of the human spirit.
Systemic magic is simple yet profound, hidden yet obvious, and always insightful.
(Martyn Carruthers, 2002)
Systemic Magic – Systemic Voodoo
A journey should begin with a destination. Systemic magic offers ways by which you can initiate yourself into increased awareness and control of the hidden forces that encompass and define your life. And the most powerful of these is the destination – freedom … and the path – love.
Do you understand freedom? You have freedom, which includes the freedom to fail. Do you know what you love in yourself and others? Do you know what about you is lovable – and by whom? Do you know how to express love freely? Can you accept love?
If you cannot accept love, how can you accept lesser powers?
Can you believe that people who are now dead continue to love you? Or was their love deleted by the death of their bodies? Can you accept that their love remains? In many religions, cults and philosophies, dead people are invited to care for, and occasionally possess, the bodies of their followers or descendents. (E.g. the Catholic Church venerates saints as beneficial intercessors with a deity.)
Many people who claim healing powers or intuitive diagnosis attribute those powers to a spirit world. Martyn noted in a talk on family constellations that a concise diagnosis, delivered with authority, that seems to simplify a complex problem, may have a rapid placebo effect that we often call short-term healing.
Magic inverts the religious “Thy will be done” into “My will be done“.
Whether a concise diagnosis is schizophrenia or dead person identification or possession by a demon reflects the training and beliefs of the practitioner. The symptoms … and consequences … often seem pretty much the same.
You can explore magical worlds. There are many doors to access them, although I hope that I can introduce you to one that I found both simple and profound. Perhaps you already know about the Kabbalah (commonly spelt as qabala, kabbala and kabala) …
… the Kabbalah opens access to the occult, to the mysteries. It enables us to read sealed epistles and likewise the inner nature of man. Paracelsus (medieval physician)
… 2nd page could start here (DM) …
Facts become history; history becomes legends;
legends become myths … and myths create facts.
Qabala means tradition. Although primarily Jewish, the Kabbalah can be found in the Chaldean religion and was part of the teachings of Pythagoras. There are many references to the Kabbalah in the Christian Bible.
Judaism was heavily influenced by Kabbalah (the Kabbalah has vast literature, little of which has been translated into English.) Early Kabbalah documents (100 to 1000 AD) describe the attempts of mystics to penetrate seven halls of creation and reach the throne-chariot of God. These mystics used fasting, chanting, prayer and postures to pass the seals and guards, to experience ecstatic states in which they could experience God.
Despite ancient origins, the Kabbalah remains an evolving system, and modern students can interpret these old doctrines in the light of modern knowledge. Old traditions can and should be tested for relevance and effectiveness. All tools can be improved.
Working with the Kabbalah can open new worlds, but requires massive maturity and personal responsibility. The Kabbalah is a map showing hidden treasures of the universe, and hidden treasures of your potential. Part of this map is the deceptively simple Tree of Life, a roadmap for personal evolution.
Tree of Life (Sephiroth)
The Kabbalah Tree of Life is a hierarchy of qualities of consciousness called sephiroth, each supposedly guarded by angels and connected by paths. Traditional Kabbalah calls them vessels or spheres, giving names and short descriptions that encourage students to experience the Tree of Life rather than merely collecting ideas.
Each sephiroth is associated with a vice and a virtue. Each vice represents a human weakness, and each virtue a human quality. To use the sephiroth as a blueprint and a reflection of human identity, you can experience the Tree of Life inside yourself. Each sephiroth has a place on the Tree, and relates to each other depending on the Paths that connect them. Here is a summary of associations:
Balanced Consciousness (Ehieh-Shekinah)
The Kabbalah can be seen as a unity of opposites: Ehieh-Shekinah. Ehieh is transcendent consciousness (a static male principle) and Shekinah is cosmic energy (a kinetic female principle).
Shekinah can be active or passive. Active Shekinah is a creativity that can birth a cosmos, a driving force of the universe, creating all Sephiroth and resting in Malkuth. A passive Shekinah is a relaxed physical body. Shekinah, awakened and activated, can guide us up the Tree of life, to unite with Ehieh.
Two Faces of Man (Adam Kadmon)
Adam Kadmon is a name for an emanation of the cosmos into Atziluth (world) as man. As part of you is divine, and part of you is earthly, Adam Kadmon has two faces. The Long Face consists of Kether, Chochmah and Binah – the part of you that can experience infinity. The Small Face consists of Yesod, Hod, Nezach, Tiphereth, Geburah and Chesed, and sometimes Daath (a hidden sephiroth).
There are correspondences between sephiroth in the lower face of the Tree and those in the upper face: Can you see why Malkuth, Tiphereth and Kether are linked, why Hod and Binah are linked, and why Chokhmah and Netzach are linked? These geometric symmetries express important relationships which you can verify experientially.
The Abyss and the Veil
Two obstacles hinder your ascending the Tree of Life; the Veil and the Abyss. The Veil shields your ordinary consciousness from your soul, the middle trinity formed by Chesed, Geburah and Tiphereth.
The Abyss prevents access to Kether, Chochmah and Binah, the upper trinity, the Long Face. You cannot cross this Abyss if you are bonded by your intellect. By riding a mercabah (vehicle) of experience, you can cross the Abyss to access this upper trinity.
When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you Nietzsche
Our cosmos is constructed of dualities. Nothing exists without an opposite, every particle has an anti-particle. Every thing has an other dimension of being. The dualities called Binah/Chocmah, Hod/Nezach, Gevorah/Chesed and Keter/Malkut comprise a fabric of space and time.
Reality is stretched between these dualities – balanced precariously around a center. A center of body and mind without struggle or tension. A place where Heaven meets Earth and Malkhut meets Keter. A place where chaos meets order – a center of magic – and a gateway to other dimensions…
Summary by David Marsden
My research indicates that the Kabbalah has enormous potential in coaching, counseling and therapy – as an evolutionary path and as a source of metaphors that are useful for personal and relationship development. Like Martyn’s emotional maps that he creates during his relationship diagnosis (some of which are based on Hawaiian Kumulipo and Kanaka symbols), the Kabbalah offers a map of creation.
Afterword by Martyn Carruthers
Your willingness to walk across a cemetery at night may expose whether you live in a world where not all magic is lost. Trespass into other realities may be fun at first – but the consequences can be unpleasant. Entanglement with other realities can upset your equilibrium and disturb your health – and the health of your family. We offer systemic solutions for many negative emotions and relationship problems.
Other articles by David Marsden include:
We can show you how to safely explore the esoteric phenomena
described by David Marsden.