James Campbell collected myths, and at one point gave the world the instruction “Follow your bliss”. He spent the rest of his life explaining what he meant.
Not unlike Crowley’s “Do what ye will shall be the whole of the law”, it’s not a simple permission to do whatever you feel like at the moment. Crowley was talking about your True Will (perhaps that will be another theme some year), and equally when Campbell said Bliss, he didn’t mean whatever your whim of the moment is. That may even distract you from following your true bliss. What is bliss?
There are some moments in our lives when we touch that awareness and are really fully there, in the moment, in the place, involved in the action. If you’ve ever been so involved in a project that you totally lost track of everything else- hunger, fatigue, your bladder, everything- because you and what you were doing were one, that’s the Bliss.
It doesn’t need to be something out of the ordinary. Your goal may be to feel that bliss in everything in your daily routine, or it can be a “once in a lifetime” moment like Bilbo found looking out at the butterflies fluttering over the canopy of Myrkwood in the Hobbit.
As Campbell told Bill Moyers in the PBS series:
“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”
One must seek an awareness of Bliss, create an opening to find it. Many artists and writers create a “sacred space” where their magick can happen, or it may be a time set aside for meditation, or exercise, or your hobby, whatever brings you bliss. If you aren’t aware that it’s possible, you may never notice it when it’s there.
Following your bliss may not be totally comfortable- it can be dangerous and lead you on adventures (which Bilbo noticed were often uncomfortable). But even while experiencing the trials that help you grow, if you are working toward what makes you deeply awake, aware and alive, you may be able to still be aware that you are going in the right direction.
Campbell said: “The religious people tell us we really won’t experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive.”