Finally I got a very good question via e-mail, from an old friend from afar. She asks how one should be able to know the difference between experiencing something that is of the Ego, as compared to an experience that is truly originating from an entity outside ourselves.
I am going to answer this from a western esoteric perspective, although many traditions, including Zen will define how ego must be conquered or in some way defeated to reach the realms beyond, and to avoid the traps of self-delusion or ego-driven thought-forms that take on a life of themselves but add to illusion (illusion in the sanskrit word: Maya).
So, to define the difference between something experienced from the perspective of the ego or from the perspective of a true external entity as a teacher, one could look at the following things.
But before I explain, let me also give an option to those of you who consider that there is no such thing as an external entity other than the self. My argument will then be: If that is true, then there is still the option of defining the Self as the center of the Universe, and defining Ego as the part that you are in contact with, while on the other hand there are parts of your Self that contains wisdom inaccessible to you, sourced either from the collective unconsciousness that you absorbed throughout your life, but didn’t process or master, hence you are unable to use it properly.
My take on the world is however, that external entities are real, whether you choose to believe that it is ‘all in your head’ or if it is really there, the consequences are the same.
Same thing about magick. You can believe that by magickal ritual you change the world and thereby the relation to the world, or the opposite, you change yourself and thereby your relation to the world. Either way the same, you change your relation to the world.
First and foremost, let me stress that by doing magick, and doing it really and truly the way it should be (in a proper GD order you would truly be a 2=9/theoricus in a real magickal practical sense, not just the freemason-ish sense), you cannot combine the ego with a element, planet, godform, angel or daemon.
Magick done properly, as in an invocation of an element, planetary force, godform, angel or daemon, will result in that force truly coming to life and supressing the ego, so that either A) a full possession occurs (such as is so easy to happen in african traditions as voodo/hoodoo, which to my western taste is fascinatingly effective but quite tricky to manage to the unexperienced, but oh so easy to work with for the uninitiated), or B) a partial evocation happens where the magickian is slightly possessed and will act according to the Will of the entity or force in question, but regains his subjective reality.
Contrast this to a LSD or mushroom trip where the ego is completely altered or even lost or annihilated in the process, but most of the time regained at a later point so objective un-reality can merge with subjective “reality” and projections/Maya.
I hope this was clear. Not? OK, here is an example.
When doing ZaZen, meditating, the goal is to achieve the moment where your fucking stupid voice stops talking. That is the end of the Ego and beginning of Enlightenment. Somewhere in that fragile state of mind of illumination, you can have experiences of a non-egoistic nature and non-subjective experiences.
When doing magick, as in pathworking, you allow an external force that is not your usual ego, but primordial forces that belong to the cosmos, and to the pan-dimensional, collective extra/sub consciousness, that which belongs to neither time nor space, to come into play and enrich your life.
You can delude yourself from yourself, or even be fooled by lesser astral beings,
To ensure a safe operation and safe interaction with much more powerful entities and guarantee the pure and true operation, is exactly the purpose of ritual/magickal preparedness.
Banishing, consecration of the temple by water and fire, all the preparations of the temple, and its furniture, and peculiar lighting, sigils and pentagrams, are there to induce both an altered state of reality, and to magickally and on all levels change the reference point and focus a particular force and/or operation.
The secret law, or reason behind this working is embedded in occult knowledge, and is useless to discuss with non-initiates.
Save only to refer to Hermes in the teaching “As above, So below”.
Anything created in the high level is also created in the low. Anyting created in the low must also exist in the high.
The Ego is just a lower form of un-enlightenement but just as a messy garden, that Ego-personality can be cultivated, and it will reflect change down to the animal self, as well as to the divine self, the astral self, the cosmic, the spiritual, etc.
If this is still unclear, I urge you to really study and work with occultism, until such knowledge occur that you can clearly separate those experiences that do stem from the ego, from those that are external from it, either they come from your higher angel or most spiritual version of you which is nothing like your subjective reality, or from somewhere else.