In Wicca: Another Year and A Day, I discuss the topic of karma and what I call “karma flow” (which I will explain below). I thought this may deserve more attention and consideration. Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning “action,” referring to either some work or deed. Karma is simple cause and effect. For every action you take there is a universal response. The universe has no particular feelings about it all. It’s not “revenge” for some action. It’s a simple rebalancing. Karma needs time to “ripen,” as all of the causes and conditions that related to your original action may not yet be in full alignment for a universal response to usher forth. Ripening happens in stages, since not all of your karma ripens at the same time. Actions you may have taken years ago might mature slowly. Once the conditions are right, a whole bunch of “ripened” karma can plop down into your path. Karma is neither good nor bad. It is simply a universal response, a balancing, if you will. So wholesome actions you’ve taken can ripen and come into fruition, just as can unwholesome acts. But we get fearful of the consequences of our less-noble deeds, and many of us try to take cover to protect ourselves. But we never know when it may all come together and appear in our lives. So I wanted to take a few moments to offer some tips on handling karma, especially the kind that comes from our less wholesome acts.
Karma is simple cause and effect.
There are basically four types of karma: evil, bad, good and deity-karma. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Evil karma is the universal effect/response related to some willful action that you took that was intended to cause harm in some direct or indirect way. Perhaps out of anger, you lashed out. Maybe you felt someone “deserved” whatever you dished out. Maybe you intentionally omitted or refrained from doing something that could have resulted in greater harmony. The rebound from this is what would be called “evil” karma. It comes from directly intending to generally harm, injure, emotionally abuse, misinform, scam, sabotage, undermine, embarrass, harass, ridicule, (etc.) another person. The list is quite long of things that we do that come under the heading of intentional harm. As a result of willfully destructive action, you may encounter similar conditions to those you dished out.
Bad karma comes from “self-centered” actions we take. When we take action that only serves our own personal desire or individual concern, without accounting for the whole of life, the result can be bad karma. Similar self-centered of behaviors directed from other people will suddenly fill your life. Your world may be over-populated by selfish people, angry, aggressive, self-absorbed people, laziness, arrogance, apathy, “climbing” and mediocrity.
Good karma comes from taking wholesome action. Wholesome action begins with acting from the whole of life. It comes from addressing the needs of life as they arise. Someone is injured, so we help. Someone needs food, so we provide food. Someone needs a listening ear, and we act in accord with that need without placing our self-serving interests first. It also comes from directly abstaining from harmful action, like talking about other people, lying, cheating, stealing, and generally creating dis-harmony. If you are operating with good karma on your side, your world will fill with kind actions from others and no intentional harm will come your way.
Good karma comes from taking wholesome action
Deity karma is from directly and intentionally placing yourself into the “universal” flow of life (which is the direct “current” of the Goddess and God) without being pushed or pulled by personal desires or fears. That isn’t to say if you’re hungry, you don’t eat. Of course you do. But you do not cling to specific outcomes, based on your action. You do what appears to be right in the moment, based on life’s needs, and you open yourself to accept the consequences. There are very specific ways to achieve deity karma, and they rise above simply taking intentional wholesome reality-based action.
One known way to achieve deity karma is to meditate. Meditation in various forms brings one into direct contact with the energy flow of life, of the Gods. (I find that “visualizations” and guided imagery, which certainly do have a place in magical practice, don’t typically result in deity-karma, but they don’t reap anything bad or evil either.) If you have deity karma, life seems to have a path cleared for you. In unknown and unplanned ways, life aligns you with the people and situations that meet your needs in practical, harmonious and satisfactory ways. You may not necessarily win the lottery, but you will suffer less, be less anxious, depressed, and you will have a vast amount of “mana” (magical energy) at your disposal for your magical workings.
Karma flow is when your karma has ripened and it begins to manifest in your life. When the karma is evil or bad, we want to hide under the sheets, run away, or do anything to keep it from occurring. We may try all kinds of diversion tactics: blaming others, escaping, numbing out with substances, hurting people further, etc. No matter what you try, the undesired karma will follow you. So, what to do?
The answer may surprise you: leave it be.
Sit in the middle of it, and try your best not to impede its flow. Life must fulfill itself, so no matter what you try, you will be creating deeper, more complex karma as you attempt to hinder the vast flow of life from rebalancing. Certainly, don’t become a victim of significant harm, especially if you can take action to halt it. Act responsibly and in direct accord with your unfolding circumstances. But barring significant harm, try your best not to impede karma flow from arising. No circumstance is permanent. All things come to an end, and so will your bad or evil karma. Attempting to hinder the flow will result in a total shit-storm, aggravating the whole situation. If you’ve lived long enough, you can attest to the truth of this.
So what can you do when karma flows and it’s not what you’d like? Try the following:
- Increase the time you meditate each day.
- Increase your wholesome actions.
- Allow time to feel sad, scared, isolated, frustrated, angry or depressed—without trying to “resolve it” or make those feelings go away. Feel those feelings in your whole body with no interruption.
- Make amends. Apologize and take an action that helps to resolve the imbalance.
- Treat everyone in your path with kindness and a gentle demeanor. If someone responds with anger or unkindness, do not react with your own anger or aggression. Simply move on. But keep the pressure on taking action in the direction of kindness and gentleness.
- Work on becoming a “soft presence” in the world. There are already enough “big egos” out there. Make yourself like the wind, so there’s nothing really for anyone to push against.
There are many other magical steps to take as well. But those I provide in this brief article can begin the process of righting the boat. Please see Wicca: Another Year and A Day for more complete details and instructions.