The Witch’s Pyramid: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent

The pyramid is a magical shape.

To attain the Sanctum Regnum, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indespensible conditions: an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate.
– Eliphas Levi

The idea of the Witch’s Pyramid — also called the Four Pillars of Magic/Witchcraft and also the Four Powers of the Sphynx — isn’t originally found in Wicca/Witchcraft. It comes to us through other occult studies and philosophies of magic. Eliphas Levi was an occult magician from 19th century France. His work served as inspiration to later Magical Lodges and organizations, and through those groups, this philosophy found its way into modern Witchcraft.

Eliphas Levi picture from his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (Dogma and Ritual of High Magic) Translated into English under the title “Trancendental Magic”

Like many things, the origin matters less than the practical use one can get from it. Many Witches find the philosophy applicable, and so in our work, it became known as “The Witch’s Pyramid”. It was the Witches who added a fifth point to the philosophy at the top of the pyramid: To Go. Personally, I don’t use this, but I included it because it is something I think others should be aware of when discussing this piece of information.

The purpose of the Pyramid is to explain the needed functions for magical work to be effective.

The first point is Knowledge. The Witch must know what they are doing, and why it must be done. Along with this knowledge comes the understanding of how to do it. Gather all the information you can about the situation you plan to work magic for. Gather all the information on what practices you will use to work your magic. If you plan to use candles as your tool, what will you do? What colors will work best? What oils will you dress the candle with to align your intention? What spirits, powers, or deity will you call upon to assist? Will you use other items or tools, if so what and how will you utilize them? Do you know how to work a spell? To raise energy and send it to your goal? Have you performed a divination to see what the expected results may be, and if they are unfavorable, will you alter your course and divine again to see if your changes lead to better results? Are you knowledgeable in your Craft? And most of all, do you know yourself? — This point is often equated with the element of Air.

The second point is Willpower. The Witch must be unshakeable in the force of his or her will. Aleister Crowley provides us with the definition of magic in his system of Thelema that is now commonly accepted for occult practice: “The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This means that your will is the driving force required behind all magic in order to even do it. The Witch, as a magical practitioner, must develop their will to become a point of single-minded focus for the duration of the working. This is achieved through meditation practice and being able to concentrate on your desire, to imagine it with such force that you purposely will it into being. — This point is often equated with the element of Fire, or sometimes Water.

The third point is Daring. When a person is described as being “daring”, what comes to mind? This is someone who will take decisive action to achieve results. A Witch cannot be wishy-washy or weakminded when it comes to working magic. Decision and action are required. This is not to say that foolish or reckless action is the best course (remember the first step is Knowledge — this means to gather information and have solid understanding of the course you should take before doing anything). But if you decide to take action and work magic, you must do it with your full intention behind it. If you doubt you should, or if you doubt it will work, you’re killing the power before you even start. Daring also means the understanding that you will respect the results and any consequences of your actions. Believe in yourself, believe in your choices, and do it. — This point is often equated with the element of Water, or sometimes Fire.

The fourth point is Silence. Don’t talk about your magic to anyone who is not on the same wavelength and working with you towards the same goal. If you are a solitary practitioner, this means you keep it to yourself. If you work with a coven, and your coven will assist in raising the power for your magical working, then share it with them so that you can combine your focused magic. This point is where I also come into conflict with many self-taught or book-trained Witches. Many beginner books seem to stress the point of requiring a target’s permission before working magic on their behalf. I disagree. That is not to say that you should defy their wishes if you already know they would not welcome magic or if you know they are strongly against those beliefs or practices. But if you don’t know this for a fact already, then asking just adds their potential influence to affect the work. Remaining silent after the fact is likewise important. Don’t talk about your magic before, during, or after until you’ve seen the results. Only then, if you must speak about it, may you do so. — This point is often equated with the element of Earth, or sometimes Water.

The fifth point is Going/Doing. I don’t like this and I don’t use it. In my opinion, it’s just a restatement for Daring. It’s not part of Levi’s original work and personally, I think he nailed the philosophy perfectly in the original. The idea of a fifth point is only because that’s how many pokey-bits are on a pyramid and so they must all lead into something. Likewise, sometimes these points are applied to a pentagram (five-pointed star) which obviously leaves one point undefined. I’m including this because it’s wheedled its way into the concept and some people think it’s important, so I mention it so you can learn what it’s about, but I recommend not using it unless you really agree with it. To Go can be understood as the result that the other four points lead to, how you proceed with your magic. I don’t really have much clarification to offer on this point because I think it’s useless. — This point is often equated with the element of Spirit.

The Witch’s Pyramid can also be used as a guide for personal philosophy in general, not just in magical practice. If applied to life, the goals of seeking knowledge, acting with intention, doing what needs to be done, and seeking stillness and quiet offer a path towards peace and understanding.

To Know then becomes the desire to continue studying and learning about new things, expanding your thoughts and ideas, seeking new insight and information. To act with wisdom when making your decisions.

To Will is about the willingness to set goals and achieve them, to overcome problems you may be facing through determination and inner strength.

To Dare is to be unafraid of walking a different path than what is considered normal or easily accepted. To work through fatigue, pain, frustration in order to grow. To face our fears and explore them, understand them, and overcome them.

To Be Silent is the power to listen without the urge to voice your own thoughts. To pause and collect before you release, if you release. Silence is also needed in order to know how to act with wisdom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s