Tacere is Latin for one of the Four Powers of the Magus, or the Witch’s Pyramid. The four powers (or pillars) are usually listed in the order of Noscere, Velle, Audere, and finally Tacere. When specifically discussing the Witch’s Pyramid, a fifth power is often added; Ire. I have seen both the order and the correspondences altered. All this suggests that these powers are subject to interpretation. I simply propose a deeper alternative for Tacere here, for your consideration.
To Be Silent
Tacere is commonly defined as “to be silent” when discussed in the context of the Witch’s Pyramid. The explanation for silence often revolves around a spell being countered unintentionally by the attitude or mindset of another, or intentionally by another with their own agenda. Additionally, it is explained that, when in a coven, one should not speak about coven things with outsiders. I do not dispute the prudence of this instruction. However, these explanations seem more like rules than a power, although following these rules should prevent power from being diminished.
Noscere is defined as “to know,” and most people recognize knowledge as power today. Velle is defined as “to will,” and the human will is regarded by most as a force (or power) to be reckoned with. Audere is defined as “to dare” which invokes the strength of courage, and strength is also commonly recognized as power. These first three powers are raised to actually cast a spell to manifest a need, while the fourth “power” is simply a prudent method for avoiding interference? Would it be more accurate to call this the Three Powers and a Rule of the Magus?
To Quiet the Mind
Mental clarity enhances intuitive power, as well as enhancing insight. The purpose of meditation is to clear your mind, a popular practice in the Orient that often frustrates Westerners. A Buddhist form of meditation called Mindfulness does not expect you to clear your mind, but instead encourages you to simply focus your attention on the present moment. This is accomplished by focusing your attention on your breath, your footsteps as you walk, or anything similar that will focus your attention on the present. This is not as easy as it sounds, though.
I have read that novices in the practice of Mindfulness should not be discouraged by apparent failure in their initial attempts. We (I still consider myself a novice) can learn much about how our minds work by noting what distracts them into “wandering.” I have been amazed to note how many of my thoughts are devoted to the past or the future, and how little are actually devoted to the present. The sheer volume of mental chatter seems quite amazing, too. There should be no surprise when we or others do not notice things happening around us because of all our mental distractions.
Focus suggests intensity which is power. Mental clarity is necessary for focus. Tacere sounds more like a power if we apply “to be silent” to our state of mind.
To Be Still
The past has passed into memory; it is “water under the bridge” as it is said. The future has not yet manifested itself; it is a projection of expectation and worry. When the mind becomes still, our attention is focused on the thin reality of the present that seems sandwiched between the abstractions (and distractions) of past and future. Our awareness of reality becomes greatly enhanced. There is knowledge to be gleaned in this awareness.
Noscere is defined as “to know.” Discussion of Noscere in the context of the Witch’s Pyramid usually revolves around gathering knowledge through study, and employing that knowledge properly in spell casting. I do not refute this. However, there is other valuable knowledge that can be gained through a heightened awareness of reality, so there appears to be an overlap between Tacere and Noscere.
Velle is defined as “to will.” Discussion of Velle seem to revolve around focusing one’s intent. The state of mind created by focusing awareness on that sliver of time known as the present can only facilitate focusing intent. There appears to be an overlap between Tacere and Velle, also.
Audere is defined as “to dare.” Mental clarity, confidence in one’s knowledge, and intense will may be necessary to raise the courage required to manifest your need. All of my intuitive reasoning, study, and experimentation in this matter suggests that Tacere should be first in the order, rather than last. It may be conceivable to raise all four powers simultaneously, but the human mind seems to prefer linear thinking and, therefore, sequence or order.
Little has been discussed about the fifth power associated with the Witch’s Pyramid. Ire is defined as “to go.” If you raise the Four Powers of the Magus properly, then your spell should work; it should go! All five powers have elemental correspondences, and Ire corresponds with the element of Spirit. Some schools of thought hold that Spirit is comprised of all four of the other elements, so it seems reasonable to assume Ire to be comprised of all four of the other powers. Visualize a pyramid, seeing the four powers/elements rising up from the four base corners of the pyramid and coming together at the peak represented by Ire/Spirit.
This is the essential structure of the Witch’s Pyramid, or a cone of power required to manifest your need or desire. It would seem that if you raise the Four Powers of the Magus properly, the fifth power will naturally follow. I discuss the four powers for this reason, not for any lack of regard for Spirit. However, the elemental correspondences may be revealing in the matter of the order of the powers.
The written material that I have examined in this matter is oriented to the northern hemisphere and use similar correspondences, so I also use those correspondences. These correspondences are being used to illustrate a theory only. There is no reason to believe other correspondences aren’t adaptable to the Witch’s Pyramid, or that correspondences are even necessary. That being said, here are the elemental and directional correspondences I usually find being used:
1. Noscere (to know); Air; East
2. Velle (to will); Fire; South
3. Audere (to dare); Water; West
4. Tacere (to be silent); Earth; North
As stated in the opening paragraph, I have seen variations in the order and correspondences.
The significance of this particular order is that it aligns exactly with a common order for calling the Quarters. This is also one of the sequences for calling the Quarters that I was shown when I was first introduced to Wicca over a decade ago. I adopted this sequence because it seemed the most common. However, the alternative I read about started in the North with Earth and proceeded clockwise through Air and Fire to Water. The corresponding order for the powers would then be Tacere, Noscere, Velle, and Audere. Perhaps the latter sequence might have some advantages. Of course, you end where you begin in an unbroken circle.
There seems to be a certain elegance to begin your work with Tacere, the deep power, and to end your work with Tacere, the rule of secrecy. It is prudent. You also may be surprised at what an awareness of the present reality may also reveal to you about yourself
As you quiet your mind, let your body be still also. As the mental chatter diminishes, you should become more aware of tension within your physical body. Let your body rest by releasing the tension into the earth. Once your body is fully relaxed and your mind becomes quiet, you should gain a growing sense of another aspect of yourself. It is the most important aspect of yourself. It is also the prelude to astral travel and ecstatic journeys. It is the thing that you will not find without if you cannot find it within that is mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess. Ironically, it all starts with Tacere.
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