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Iccha-Shakti (devanāgarī: इच्छाशक्ति icchāśakti) is a Sanskrit term composed of the words icchā, will; and śakti, energy or power, which can be translated as "will-power". In the Theosophical view it is one of the occult forces of nature which pervades everything, and can be manipulated by human beings.

General description

In the Theosophical view the will is a universal power that can be directed by human beings to produce magical effects. H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

In metaphysics and occult philosophy, Will is that which governs the manifested universes in eternity. Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence. “The will”, says Van Helmont, “is the first of all powers . . . . The will is the property of all spiritual beings and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter".[1]

Will power and magic

Human being always create their character and circumstances, whether this is done consciously through will, or unconsciously, through desire:

Both will and desire are absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings. But will creates intelligently—desire blindly and unconsciously. The man, therefore, makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.[2]

One of the most evident operations of the will can be seen in its power to translate a mental intention to, for example, move an arm, into a neurochemical reaction that produces the actual motion of the limb. This same power can be used for occult purposes:

Will-power; force of desire; one of the occult Forces of nature. That power of the will which, exercised in occult practices, generates the nerve-currents necessary to set certain muscles in motion and to paralyze certain others.[3]

Mme. Blavatsky quotes Paracelsus who said that "determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain".[4] Due to the will-power human beings can manipulate the forces of nature to produce phenomena that are regarded as "magical":

Man, the most perfect of organized beings on earth, in whom matter and spirit — i.e., will — are the most developed and powerful, is alone allowed to give a conscious impulse to that principle which emanates from him; and only he can impart to the magnetic fluid opposite and various impulses without limit as to the direction.[5]
ENQUIRER. Do you mean to say that prayer is an occult process bringing about physical results?

THEOSOPHIST. I do. Will-Power becomes a living power. But woe unto those Occultists and Theosophists, who, instead of crushing out the desires of the lower personal ego or physical man, and saying, addressing their Higher Spiritual EGO immersed in Atma-Buddhic light, "Thy will be done, not mine," etc., send up waves of will-power for selfish or unholy purposes! For this is black magic, abomination, and spiritual sorcery.[6]

See also


  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 370.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VIII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 109.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 6.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 370.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 144.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy (London: Theosophical Publishing House, [1987]), ???.