That is the key word to magick, prayer, religion, healing and metaphysics. What
you believe
and the degree to which you believe it determines the parameters of
your universe. What you believe
and the degree to which you believe it is also
influenced by society at large, and what Freud called the
“cosmic” or “universal”
“consciousness”. Some mystics also refer to this as the “Akashic Record”.

In computer metaphor then, belief would be the “source code”; the 1s and 0s (the bits)
of the universe. 
No matter what platform you are running,be it Mac, IBM, Unix, etc.,
the source code is still 1s and 0s.
And so it is with metaphysics. No matter what religion
or philosophy you subscribe to, the bottom line
is still belief. Since religion is all
made up anyway it’s possible to set up new parameters for belief and for magick
anytime and in anyway you wish.  The extent to which you  believe a given idea, and z
the influence of “cosmic consciousness” and society are the only things that will limit you.
It is possible to transcend even those things, but it takes years of mental discipline,
it’s not something anyone can teach you. You are on your own here. You might
decide to believe
that you can fly (without an airplane). You may truly and with all your
heart believe that, but unless you
can cancel out the influence of “cosmic consciousness”
that first step off the top of Sears Tower is
going to be the longest one of your life (and
probably your last). On the other hand, you can ask yourself
this question: “Am I going
to hell?” Unless you are a Christian, or someone heavily influenced by the
paradigm your answer will be an assured no. However, if you have any doubt you might
end up there. I don’t believe that would happen to too many Pagans I know of though.

Belief creates your universe. Christians create a universe where they go the heaven and
everyone else
goes to hell. Moslems go to Paradise, Buddhists reincarnate. Atheists just cease
to exist. And those
Heaven’s Gate people are probably on a UFO somewhere (assuming their
 belief was strong enough). Can anyone prove otherwise? I think not.

These beliefs about afterlife are part of the “software” running on each persons religious
“operating system”. Some programs will run on more than one operating 
system but most
will not. For example, there are some unix commands that will work under dos. In
though, it’s best not to try to mix things. So it is in religion. The idea of Karma will not run
under Christianity. It kinda runs under Wicca, but not very well. Generally, eastern ideas
do not run well under western paradigms. I think that possibly this is the reason
why so
much is screwed up in the world today. The dominant religion in the western world is
an essentially eastern paradigm. Western folks would do well to stick with the
Gods of ancient Europe
and leave the Eastern and Middle-Eastern deities to the folks
indigenous to those areas. Now we can
debate endlessly about how some Celtic and Norse
deities evolved from Eastern and Middle Eastern
pantheons, and there are some good
arguments out there. But I would say that the reason there are 
similarities is because of
origins in the collective or cosmic consciousness, just as you can trace homo
sapian back
to a common ape like ancestor, or the evolution of computers Back the common binary

In looking at the different religious belief systems, and the different Pagan traditions you can
common denominators among them. The kind of magickal practice one uses in Gardinarian
Wicca can
be used in Alexandrian,but only some of it in Fairy. So too do all of the Wiccan
traditions have
commonalities. Yet, there are somethings which work in one and not others. For
instance, some
traditions permit mixing pantheons (for instance, Egyptian and Celtic) others
do not. Some teach you
can influence events or people from long distances, others that you
cannot. It is all a matter of belief, and
belief determines what will work and what will not, just
like the operating system you are using determines
which software will work on your computer.

Now to “stop believing” in something is a lot like trying to stop smoking. It’s best if you never
began in the 
first place. Something you are convinced you no longer believe in can effect you,
simply because you
believed for so long that there is some residual “belief” left in you. It may
be impossible for you to get rid
of that. You may have to do a complete banishing ritual over
and over again. It’s totally dependent upon
your will.

Beliefs that are truly ingrained in us from the Cosmic Consciousness can only be removed
by years of discipline. Since most of us have jobs, and some of us have families, so it is
not likely that
many of us will be flying without an airplane really soon.

What do you believe? How does it effect your life? How would your life change if you
dropped a belief? 
Can you?

Note: The above essay is the original “Lesson 3” from the Druidcraft 101 course presented
by the Order of the Mithril Star.