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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

Mystic & Magician as Subpersonalities: Tea with a Druid 30

July 2nd, 2018

Last week I talked about how we could characterise the mystic and the magician – their differing goals, and the techniques they use to achieve them. I wondered whether there might be a relationship between these two orientations and those two broad categories of personality, the introvert and extrovert. I speculated that since magic is concerned with actively engaging with the outer world, such a pursuit might attract more extroverts, while the more apparently inward-looking way of the mystic might be more appealing to introverts.

Well how wrong I was, if our small, and hopelessly uncontrolled online survey is anything to go by! From a sample of 64 responses, 56 people said they were introverts, with only 8 declaring themselves as extroverts. 25 identified themselves as introverted magicians, 21 as introverted mystics, and 10 as introverted mystic magicians!

Only a small minority identified as extroverts: 3 people as magicians, 4 as mystics, and 1 as a mystic magician.

Perhaps both the mystical and magical paths attract more introverts, perhaps there is simply no correlation, although the high proportion of introverts overall is suggestive, but other factors may be at play, like who is likely to watch these teas, or make comments.

One participant raised a fascinating question. They commented: “I’m a Magician Introvert, but I’m not convinced that there’s an important correlation between the two. A more interesting relationship is between magicians & visual artists/craftsmen — and mystics & musicians/dancers. Broadly put, don’t personalities divide between those preoccupied with form and those preoccupied with formlessness?”

If I understand this comment correctly, the suggestion here is that if you presented musicians and dancers with the two definitions of mystic and magician, they would tend to identify as mystics, whereas artists and craftspeople would tend to identify as magicians. Let’s explore this idea one day with an online poll.

Interesting comments also came in about changes people have experienced over time, like this one: “I used to be very introverted but have become more extrovert, interestingly this happened when I made the transition from mystic to magician a few years ago.”

In fact a number of people reported moving from one preference to another, and this brings me to the theme I’d like to explore with you today: the idea of Mystic and Magician as sub-personalities – as different aspects of ourselves. If you try imagining these two kinds of people as ‘inner characters’, and then engage in dialogue with them, you might find they offer interesting insights and perspectives. Ask each what they want, what they need and what they can offer you.

There isn’t much material on the topic of subpersonalities online, and its Wikipedia entry is poor. Work with it is particularly developed, though, in Psychosynthesis, and the best texts on this subject are by one of the pioneers of Humanistic Psychology, John Rowan, who died a few weeks ago at the grand old age of 93. His Subpersonalities: The People Inside Us is fascinating and comprehensive, and written for psychologists and therapists. His later Discover Your Subpersonalities: Our Inner World and the People in It is written for a lay readership and includes questionnaires and exercises.

8 Responses to “Mystic & Magician as Subpersonalities: Tea with a Druid 30”

  1. As an introverted Magician and a highly visual artist, I relate music/dance to the opening of liminal spaces to allow the mind to focus inward and outward at the same time. Sounds rather mystical, doesn’t it? Recently I’ve been working with Elaine N. Aron’s “Highly Sensitive People”, moving sensitivity from an emotional label into those (1/4 of all people) whose senses/sensory input are hard-wired to overload more easily. Aron’s research indicates that gender is not a factor and 50% of HSP’s are in fact extroverts. This work had brought context to a lifetime of experiences for me but I am now wondering whether this too might have be a factor towards being either/both Magician/Mystic?

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      That would be interesting to explore! I did a tea session on HSPs a few months ago, and a high percentage of people identified as HSP. There’s an interesting film with Alanis Morisette about it – if you scroll back a bit or search you’ll find the post, comments and film trailer.

  2. I would like to take the query one step further.by asking whether there may be more of a left brain/right brain correspondence. Where would a person who has the left brain dominance of being analytical, thinking in words, methodical, and facts oriented locate themselves? How would this person identify? Likewise where would a right brained dominant individual, one who thinks creatively, is artistic, daydreamy locate themselves? How would they identify?

    I find myself something of a conundrum. I identify as a mystic in that connection with source is the ultimate aim and with the magician in that I marvel at the world and want to investigate why that plant is that particular shade of green and what would happen if if if I changed its water supply from purified to distilled or to rainwater. I a methodical at work but at home I paint and write music. Sometimes I feel as though my left and right brains were friends 😉 and sometimes not so much.

    This is a very interesting discussion. I look forward to the further comments.

    • Hello Victoria,
      That’s a really interesting idea. We’d have to adapt it in the light of research that now challenges the hemispheric dominance (and lateralisation) theory. A quick summary: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-theory-cognitive-modes/201401/left-brain-right-brain-wrong
      Even though the whole left/right brain theory may be incorrect, I think the reason it became so popular is because we recognise these two modes of thinking/being and it doesnt really matter if there isnt the tight physical correlation that was originally believed to exist. And as you say the ‘friendship’ between these two modes of being is fascinating – like any relationship I guess we want them to be friends all the time, but sometimes they feel really distant. Ideally perhaps we’d like them to be married (The Mystical Marriage of esoteric tradition)?

  3. Hi Philip I just wanted to let you know how I got on with my inner Magician. After watching Tea With A Druid 30& connecting with my inner Mystic was interesting. Well, so was connecting with my inner Magician. The 3 replies to the questions were: what do you want – Knowledge
    What do you need _ Understanding What cab you offer me Wisdom.
    I sensed a figure surrounded by a dazzling white light. I look forward to next week’s session. I git a great sense of belonging when I did these exercises. Thank you.
    Blessings
    Anne

  4. I’m not sure that anyone is still reading these comments, but I wanted to share my experience from this morning. My son is at a Wilderness Therapy program and is struggling with lots of things. I was ruminating on what to write to him in today’s letter. I began to meditate, went to my sacred grove and met my own struggling inner child. I asked her what she needed to hear to support her through her struggles. Her answers came sure and quick – unconditional love, reassurance and to know that I (the parent) would always be there. It was incredible. Even more so was the card I pulled from the Celtic Tree Oracle – heather/mistletoe – healing energy. I have truly found my path. Thank you so much!

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