With many systems around the world, certain fundamental concepts are dealt with very simply at the beginner level, often times giving a lessened version of the complete skill that can be attained through long, dilligent practice. This concept has stuck with me ever since high school when one of the science teachers told us (to paraphrase, as it was a long time ago) "what I'm about to tell you is actually wrong, but you have to understand it this way in order to understand the other topics around it. We'll correct it later on." An example when practicing martial arts, certain basic stances are given very simply to a beginner, yet those basic stances have incredible potential, and it is expected that as the student grows in their balance, coordination, and control, that they will be able to better fill out the same stance at a higher level of skill than they could hope to achieve as a new student.
The same thing is true in energy work. There are a lot of systems out there that gloss over a simple, fundamental aspect of energy work and instead replace it with a different practice. The systems do this in order to speed up initial development and not lose students to something so potentially complex, but since many people here at Veritas are hardly newbies, I want to get this out there as well. I also recognize that a lot of people already know this; that's fine. It's more for the people who haven't realized it yet.
The simple practice is well known already, and it's that "energy is extremely malleable, and thus energy can be imbued with any quality or concept in order to modify the energy to fit the Willful desire". This practice tends to be replaced in many systems with "associate concepts to other simpler symbols, and then work with the symbols". As a disclaimer, I'm not talking about certain
energies that are inherent to the natural world; instead I'm just pointing out that generic energy can be directly imbued with any quality. For example, even if/though there is a natural "Fire Energy", you don't need to work with it in order to imbue the basic quality of "Heat" to energy and work with it.
Systems like Elementalism ascribe various qualities to the various elements. Different ideologies have different numbers of elements, whether 3, 4, 5, 7, or 12 being some of the major systems, and different systems associate the qualities to different elements. There is no major consensus.http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/china-five-elements-philosophy.htmhttp://www.friesian.com/elements.htmhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_element
As anyone can see by looking over the various systems, associations between elements and qualities are largely arbitrary. The associations are reinforced within the system in order to get new students to simply accept them, establish the mental associations, and then get on to working with them. Which is well and fine.
Various qualities/concepts associated to various elements: dry, hot, dense, active, mobile, blunt, cheerful, impassive, various colour schemes, various foods, various times of days or months, cultivating, various shapes, etc etc etc. It takes a while to memorize which concepts are associated with which elements in any specific system (and that's not even counting the associations of qualities to planets and zodiacs and gods!).
Fundamentally, however, a very basic concept can be seen from this: energy can be given any quality. You don't need to associate "expansion" with "fire", for instance. You don't need to associate "electric fluid" with "fire element", for instance. You can
, and there are good reasons
to do so, which is why the systems do so. But as you reach higher levels of skill and ability, you can start to put away the associations between a concept and a symbol, and instead work towards the purity of imbuing energy with a single quality, whether simple or complex. All you're doing is taking out the middle step.
In many systems here at Veritas, there is a strong emphasis on focal and void meditations. In Western history, there is another form of meditation that is often times overlooked, and which is necessary to incorporate the non-associative energy work: the original form of meditation, which also goes by the name of contemplation. To meditate on something, by original use of the term, was merely the practice of sitting down and dedicating time to thinking about a topic. The benefits of incorporating this into metaphysical practices, and even perfectly mundane life, should be easily apparent, but it is so often times overlooked because of how much of our precious time it "eats away". Yet the time spent thinking about various topics in life is some of the best spent time a person can have, as it allows our brains to map new neural connections between various concepts and strengthen connections that matter most. It allows our minds to more deeply and broadly understand how various aspects of the world interact with one another, and can help us figure out better solutions to our problems, often times without ever needing to touch upon magic to assist us.
As an example of the difference, I don't need to associate the concept of "wealth" to an element, whether earth, wood, lightning, etc, and then work with that element. I can more difficultly take the time to contemplate what "wealth" is to me, and what nuanced aspects of it I want to emphasis at the current time, and then imbue it in the energy and work it towards whatever ends I want to achieve with it. I say "more difficultly" because this bypasses the simplicity of enforced association; instead the practitioner must now contemplate the concept in strong detail, rather than quickly associating it with an element and then invoking the element in the desired manner.
The benefits of working without arbitrary associations are a vastly widened repetoire of potential uses for imbued energy, with far greater nuanced results, as you work much more closely towards just plain Will Working; you also tend to understand more of the world as you are forced to contemplate so much more. The benefits of associative systems like Elementalism are the ease and speed of it; working with water for concept X is just as simple as working with water for concept Y, and if you've already spent 50 hours working with the water element then you should be able to invoke it fairly easily regardless of which sub-quality you want to use it for. The downside of of working without arbitrary associations is how much time it takes in order to understand each distinct concept that you want to work with. The downside of associative systems is that you don't necessarily understand the various concepts of life even as you attempt to work with them, and you have to force your mind to arbitrarily associate concepts that may be completely unrelated in any manner other than the manner where you're forcing the connection.
This form of practice is not required, and does not replace more complex manipulations of specific types of energies within various systems. This post is not meant to be any sort of "treastise" or "complete knowledge of the topic". Just a simple topic that some people might have missed or not yet realized.