also known as the 4 Powers of the Magus
To know, to dare, to will, to be silent.
I don’t know for a fact, but I strongly suspect this phrase to be another hand-me-down of ceremonial magic due both to its content and its alternate title – a magus was a magician or astrologer in ancient times. The term originates from Persia, where it once referred to members of the hereditary Zoroastrian and pre-Zoroastrian class of priests.1
The Pyramid refers mostly to the practicing of magic.
To know – Ceremonial magic, especially that which survived through the Christian era, requires extensive knowledge of numerology, astrology, mathematics and more. While such studies have little place in Wicca, we still value knowledge. Everything we learn contributes another piece of the overall picture. It’s why so many of complain today of Bunnies who “read one book and think themselves expert.” Wicca also requires knowledge and understanding of the gods – not book learning, but personal experience.
To dare – One must be willing to take risks, to approach their tasks boldly and face the mysteries we investigate and experience. Wicca is not all goodness and light. One must be willing and able to face down the bad as well as the good, embracing the whole. However, this does not mean we should enter into things brashly or without thought, for that would negate the first phrase, “to know”.
To will – If you do not believe you can succeed, you will not succeed. This is more than a simple acknowledgment – it must be a deep and heartfelt belief. You cannot fake you way past the gods. And yet, you should not shy away from those things that might contradict your belief, as that would negate the first two phrases, “to know” and “to dare”. Crowley’s Thelema centers solidly around the concept of power of will.
To be silent – There are several meanings attributed to this phrase. The one I find most appropriate in this day and age is that one should not brag or threaten others concerning their talents with magic. Magic is a divine gift, not some big, shiny stick to wave in crowds for attention.
Some say that magic loses its potency when it is openly discussed, or discussed at all.