Maya is the Hindu word generally translated as 'illusion.' Shakti is the word for 'power' or 'force.' Thought-power is described by Yogis as shakti of the mind. So Maya Shakti is the 'Power of Illusion.' This yoga term is offered here due to its relevance to alchemy. Binah, the third sphere on the Tree of Life, is the exact Qabalistic equivalent to Maya Shakti. Alchemists name this power their third principle, Salt. It is the power within Alchemical Salt, Binah, and Maya Shakti that separates, condenses and restricts portions of the vast Ocean of Limitless, Living, and Subconscious Mind-Matter into tangible, physical forms. Maya Shakti, Binah or Salt is the outermost expression of the three supernals within the Triune One-God. From the over predominance of the Salt mode, in ourselves and in manifestation, is what the study of Spiritual Alchemy promises to liberate us. One of the first phases in this effort is “to make Mercury of all our (interior) metals.” Yogis instruct that one of the most effective ways to turn our chakras from predominant Salt tendencies is through the practice of MANTRA YOGA (see same). Gradually this releases our over-attention and concentration to the magnetic pull of sensation that the Salt mode exacerbates within the chakras. It lessens the hold Maya Shakti has on these centers within our personal consciousness. This is the 'power' of Illusion; tricking the senses into believing that is all there is.
However, we cannot rid ourselves entirely of the Salt principle. Nor should we wish so. It is necessary for all levels of manifestation. Even the Divine Soul, assigned to Binah on the Tree of Life has Salt inherent. It is its illusionary power to hold us in the belief we are victims of blind, uncaring forces that we wish to temper. Salt is neither evil nor undesirable, but merely relatively so in the sense that it ‘tricks’ our physical senses, which restricts the full potential of our consciousness. Through alchemical knowledge and awareness, our consciousness evolves a fit vehicle to express the One-Life. When we have evolved to the degree that we are able to manipulate The Substance, we will employ the very same Salt principle to reconstitute any new form or vehicle.
This Power of Illusion, Maya Shakti, Binah or Salt, makes imagery a tangible reality in the physical world. It twists and condenses portions of the First Matter into something previously imagined. Without its power, Yogis tell us, there would be nothing but consciousness, a vast Sea of Awareness aware of nothing but Its Own Undifferentiated Self. Manifestation of varied forms is necessary for evolution, knowledge and awareness of Self, beauty, joy, laughter. We become all too familiar with the opposite conditions when we become trapped in the labyrinth of illusions brought about by sensual appearances. We lose our way out of these apparent illusions with no means or route to freedom, save for death. Do not misconstrue illusion in the sense that something is not 'real, tangible.' Nor is it Las Vegas stage illusion. All the appearances we experience through our senses are as real as concrete. It is the meaning behind all those appearances in our lives that we misinterpret. All illusion has definite use and purpose throughout creation and in our personal lives. Genuine spiritual traditions from East or West, whether through Alchemical Art, Yoga, and even Yaqui Sorcery are means by which we may loosen the grip of our false, erroneous interpretations of that overall illusion. The primary illusion of the physical plane is this twisting and condensing power mentioned above. God is One, but Maya Shakti, Binah or Salt separates that same Oneness, whirls and condenses its substance into the seemingly many. Complete realization that all people, places and things in our universe are merely separated parts of this Omnipresent One Matter is the state of Cosmic Consciousness. So the Wise from the entire world's spiritual hierarchies have intimated repeatedly. Cross reference with SALT and TAMAS GUNA.