The Threefold Rule
Karma is one of the commonly used words, not only by practitioners of magick and students of the occult and the esoteric, but also by the common folk. The latter often refers to the word as “a punishment” for something wrong that you have done. There are people who used it as curse or a warning whenever that someone is doing — or will be doing — something wrong. But the word karma, in the Hindu and Buddhist (even Kabbalistic) philosophy, simply means “work” or an act of doing something; and the result or the fruit of that act will simply reflect the nature of the action. What you reap, you sow, as one of the teachings of the Christian religion puts it (Cf. Galatians 6).
However, the fruit of such action isn’t instant. It will take some time before you reap the fruits of your action.
“Karma is the Hindu view of causality in which good deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to beneficial effects for a person, and bad deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to harmful effects. These effects are not necessarily immediate but can be visited upon a soul in future lives through reincarnation; additionally, good or bad fortune experienced in life may be the result of good or bad actions performed in a past life. One’s karmic state affects the reincarnation of the soul: good karma may lead to reincarnation as a human while bad karma can lead to reincarnation as an animal, or other forms of non-human life. Many Hindus hold a theistic view of karma in which a personal god — such as Vishnu in Vaishnavism and Shiva in Shaivism — is responsible for administering karma according to a soul’s actions. Non-theistic strands of Hinduism believe that karma is a matter of basic cause-and-effect without the need of a deity to mediate the effects,” read an undated article published by the Berkeley Centre for Religion, Peace & World Affairs of Georgetown University, regarding the subject.
It is important to note that karma is all about the things that you do, the words that you speak, and the thoughts that you think. Whatever those act, words, or thoughts be, it will truly affect you in your next lifetime.
Shared (Collective) Karma: The Truth Behind It
In Christianity, it was Paul who subtly introduced the concept of shared karma.
In one of his letters to Timothy, he cautioned the young disciple about laying of hands for healing and for blessing:
Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin. (Cf. 1 Timothy 5:22, New American Standard Bible)
In Greek, the word for sin is hamartia (ἁμαρτιῶν) which means to fall off from something that is good or great, or acceptable in the sense that it is for the greater good.
Since we live in a society and interact with other people, it is inevitable to share a certain work or act (karma), and there’ll come a time that we will collectively reap the fruit of that act. The catastrophes or tragedies that happen in our life, or even our encounter with other people, are somehow, fruit of the said ripe karma (Prarabdha).
“One answer for what is happening in the world right now is because it’s our karma. To say it is our karma means that it is happening because of a complex interconnection of causes and conditions. In Buddhist thinking everything comes into being through causes and conditions. Nothing is purely random or accidental. Everything we are witnessing right now, both at a personal level and at the larger societal level is the fruition of all of the choices that people have made over time along with the choices people are making today. It includes the choices that you and I make today as well as the choices our parents, grandparents, and ancestors made. It also includes the state of consciousness in which they lived,” says Anam Thubten, the founder of Dharmata Foundation, in an essay published in Tricyle, a magazine devoted in the propagation of Buddhist teachings, last March 23rd, 2020.
In Judaism, this truth has also been recognised.
“Karma is an idea that permeates many cultures. In ancient Egypt, it was called “ma’at,” in Greek, “heimarmene” or “fate” and in Germanic, “wyrd.” Basically, the idea is everything is within the system (Greek: cosmos) and so everything bounces back eventually. You can play around with the system and even manipulate it, but you can’t escape it,” says author and rabbi, Tzvi Freeman in an article appeared in Chabad.org, on November 19th, 2011.
Karma and Magick: The Inevitable Twin
With regard to the Craft, karma also plays a very crucial role in the occult and esoteric practices. The Law in itself is the guiding principle in doing the Great Work, especially when it comes to witchcraft, Wicca (as a religion), Christian Mysticism, and of course, Hermeticism.
In Wicca, there’s a wonderful phrase or line in the Rede, which goes:
Mind the Threefold Law you should, three times bad and three times good.
Whenever a magical work is being made, the practitioner should do it with utmost caution for the effect of such action will be brought back to you, in threefold. As a parallel, let’s read what St. Paul has to say:
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Cf. Hebrews 10:29, English Standard Version of the Bible)
Be mindful of this, whenever we want to cast that spell.