Thursday's Child- Personal Power

There are several different definitions out there of personal power.

The Business Dictionary defines it as: "Influence over others, the source of which resides in the person instead of being vested by the position he or she holds."

And, here are a few others: (thanks to Google Search)

Web definitions, Personal Power:
  • Power is a measure of an entity's ability to control the environment around itself, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. ...

  • That energy which sustains our bodies. It ultimately originates from the Goddess and God (or, rather, the power behind Them). We first absorb it from our biological mothers within the womb and, later, from food, water, the Moon and Sun and other natural objects. ...

  • is based on individual characteristics that are acquired with varying degrees of difficulty and at different rates of development. Many performance skills are easily taught and can be rapidly acquired. Personality traits, on the other hand, take time to develop and can be difficult to modify. ...

  • Control over the environment used solely as a means of producing personal security. Destructive control over other persons.

  • is your power to control you and the environment around you. Most people realize that they are the only ones in control of themselves. While they may let others control them or persuade them to do things from time to time, each of us has control of our person. ...

  • The negotiating and selling power that is derived from you personally. This can be influenced by many factors to include your track record, your bearing, your appearance and your knowledge.

By now, you may be wondering why I've included so many definitions of this phrase. I think it's important, as  this is something that most of us within Paganism believe is very important to cultivate. But, I don't know that we all define it the same way. I don't know that we need to do so, either, but I think when having discussions on any subject concerning Paganism, Witchcraft, etc... one should set the expectation of what is meant by any word or catch-phrase so we're all on the same sheet of music.

My favorite is the one by Ly De Angeles in her book, "Witchcraft: Theory and Practice"

"Personal power is a natural growth process that develops as a result of the life you live in the way of the witch. Others will notice you even when you do not desire to be noticed; therefore, personal power is the ability to disappear when you want to and appear when you want to. It is not an egoistical phenomenon! It is an energy (akin to magnetism){16}, a presence about oneself that will require a firm rein for the first few years. It will emanate from your physical body like a field phenomenon. This field is neither a conscious, nor consciously acquired, function, and you are to know and understand this. Posturing and arrogance are its illusory counterparts. Personal power should not be treated as such (that will be the ego seeking to manipulate a natural force and that is both ugly and offensive). 
Personal power is a direct result of accessing the lifescape of magic and of living within its field. If you allow yourself to become glamoured{17} by it, in either yourself or anyone else, you disrupt the web of the worlds and the places of power will withdraw, oh, even just a little, from the access of those who seek to live within their wonder. 
Personal power is an accumulation of awareness, preparation, intent, and your ability to focus, all through the vessel of the self."

Now, that may seem like quite a long and detailed definition of personal power. Perhaps it is, but it is detailed enough to give one a really good sense of what that should or shouldn't mean, should you accept that interpretation and take it as your own. It should also help when defining a personal code of honor. It helps to understand for some of us who have experienced the phenomenon of being noticed when we wanted to be a wallflower.. or those of us for whom watches don't work, street lights go out.. etc...

It also helps one to see their unique yet entangled connection to other living things, and the responsibility we have to be full of care with it.

I know that when I first read this definition, it struck a chord, felt true to me and it became a part of my understanding and knowledge in how to operate as a Witch. I hope it's helped some of you, even if you don't agree with it, in defining what it means to you. 

As always, I'd love to hear from you. Please do send a comment (remember they are moderated, so it may take me a little while to get notification that I need to approve yours), an email, or message me on Facebook. If you have a particular definition you'd like to share, or this hit home for you.. or even if you didn't like it at all.. it's all feedback, and that's invaluable.


*page 39
16: See the Art of Invisibility, Part Three
17: See Glamouring, Part Three

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