0 and 1, all and none til something is done

Posted on April 26, 2008
Filed Under liminal space, Magic, meditation, mystical journeys | Leave a Comment

I came across an intriguing question that asked, “What would there be, if there was nothing?”

My answer is, “The potential for everything, waiting to be manifested into something”

This answer boils down one of my approaches to magic and life into ten words. I relate it to magic, because it was in the works of William G. Gray that I first discovered 0 and 1, which is an intricate of my private mythos and relates to the concept of nothingness, everything, and something. This concept is also explored to some degree in the fantasy works of Raymond E. Feist, when his characters discuss some of the metaphysics of the fantasy universe, metaphysics which I might add are very workable and sane as a magical paradigm when it comes not only the relationships one has with the spirits, but also as a way of explaining something of how the universe itself works, but I digress.

I came across the concept of zeroing in  Magical Ritual Methods by William G. Gray (one of my favorite authors of magic).  The concept boils down to the idea that creation cannot occur without a void. What this means is that nothingness needs to exist in order for something to have a place. Some of this concept is echoed in the jazz musician Sun Ra’s philosophy, particularly the cult film he did in the seventies about the outer space employment agency. What I get from Gray’s concepts is that in zero, in nothing, lies the potential for everything. But until something is actually done with that potential, nothing can occur. ) is the embodiment of all and none. It represents both nothing and the potential for everything. 1 is the direction, the manifestation of potential into something. Once 1 occurs, and something is manifested the potential has been shaped into reality.

Much of Gray’s approach to magic was based on the idea that you had to, as much as possible, return to a state of zero, of nothingness, before you created any magical act. The reason for that was to create a state of objectivity or neutrality, from which you were free of contaminating influences that might taint the manifestation you wanted to shape. The zero that a person used is the magical circle meant to represent that state of neutrality, wherein a person begins to take the potential for everything and shape into something that can be manifested into reality.

Much of what Gray wrote about in Magical Ritual Methods continues to influence my own approach to magic to this day. If there was ever a book I would consider to be a definitive manual on how and why magic works, I’d probably refer people to Magical Ritual Methods and tell them to read the book and then re-read and take copious notes while also integrating the practices described into their magical practice. I can guarantee that working with Gray’s concepts will definitely challenge a person’s perspectives on magic, because Gray is very thorough about exploring what magic seems to be, as well as explaining what he believes a person needs to be able to do, in order to really work with magic.

For me, 0 and 1 represents infinite potential within nothing and the capacity to shape that potential, to evoke it into something. Of course to do all of that, it’s essential to train yourself, train and shape your internal reality so that it can mesh up with external reality while also working within nothing to achieve something. I first read Gray’s works in my early twenties and even now I can still safely say that it influences how I think about and approach magic, right down to how I develop processes for working magic.

I’ve even used some of his concepts in meditation, diminishing a senses to a minutae of potential within a see of potential. This concept can also be used to speak to the soul of a symbol…which is a concept wherein a person finds the meaning of a symbol in meditation by zeroing the sense of self and integrating the symbol into him or herself to experience it directly.

So that’s a snippet of my personal mythos when it comes to magic.

From nothing…came something…From 0 came 1.