“The practice of magic also demands the development of what is called the magical will. Will is very much akin to what Victorian schoolmasters called “character”: honesty, self-discipline, commitment, and conviction.
Those who would practice magic must be scrupulously honest in their personal lives. In one sense, magic works on the principle that “it is so because I say it is so.”
A bag of herbs acquires the power to heal because I say it does. For my word to take on such force, I must be deeply and completely convinced that it is identified with truth as I know it. If I habitually lie to my lovers, steal from my boss, pilfer from supermarkets, or simply renege on my promises, I cannot have that conviction.
Unless I have enough personal power to keep commitments in my daily life, I will be unable to wield magical power. To work magic, I need a basic belief in my ability to do things and cause things to happen.
That belief is generated and sustained by my daily actions. If I say I will finish a report by Thursday and I do so, I have strengthened my knowledge that I am a person who can do what I say I will do.
But if I let the report go until a week from next Monday, I have undermined that belief. Of course, life is full of mistakes and miscalculations. But to a person who practices honesty and keeps commitments, “As I will, so mote it be” is not just a pretty phrase; it is a statement of fact.”
Starhawk is a prototypal eco-feminist and eco-pagan. The Spiral Dance is an ur-classic, the mother-lode of the modern Goddess awareness and worship movement.
But what strikes me as super-apt about this quote is that her astrological signature is the Sun conjunct Lilith and the Midheaven in Gemini: Mercurial eloquence (Sun) deployed to reclaim banished or forgotten female archetypes (Lilith) to such an extent that it’s her vocation or brand (Midheaven.) That all makes sense.
That trio is square Saturn in Virgo so every time the Solar Word Witch vibe is rising, there’s Saturn in Virgo. You can see it all on display in the quote above, right? And I’d hazard a bet that this Sun-Lilith square to Saturn contributed to the breakout success and influence of The Spiral Dance.
Published on Halloween 1979 – Starhawk’s Saturn Return – it became an esoteric classic. She could have been one of countless Pluto in Leo generation hippie/wicca people but that Saturn square drove her to research, push and put the knowledge into a solid Saturnine context.