Power of Magick?

Discussion in 'Magick' started by iBrian, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Magick is usually an integral part of Neopagan beliefs - not least where ceremony and ritual - cf, witchcraft - are used.

    However, what is the actual power of Magick?

    For example, is Magick able to break the laws of Physics?

    Or does it shun matter and instead work entirely with mind?

    Or is magic itself nothing more than a way of shaping a world view - where the entire power of any ritual rests not with changing physical reality, but simply the personal perception of reality?

    A discussion started. :)
     
  2. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Creative Thinker

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    It's hard to say which of the above is the case; I tend to believe it is "all of the above", depending on circumstance.

    I do know that I have seen the results of workings that absolutely brought about the circumstances the working was meant to create, in the absence of any other logical explanation of why those circumstances came about.
     
  3. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The question "what, exactly, is magick?" is one of those things that is under constant debate among those who practice it.

    Some, such as Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie, were also practicing psychotherapists and tended to see magick in terms of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development.

    Others, such as Wiccan founders like Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders (who started two of the oldest Wiccan sects or traditions) practiced magick in such a way that it seemed clear they believed it did induce physical changes such as healings. Curing someone of an organic illness (rather than a psychological one) through magick means that the physical realm is definitely affected.

    I'm not sure if many of the serious (or successful) people who use magick see it as working outside or against the normal laws of nature. It's much more common to see magick described as working to achieve goals where the results manifest through the methods and forces of nature. In his book "Magick in Theory and Practice" the notorious magickian Aleister Crowley described magick as involving getting a good understanding of the forces and influences around your proposed objective, and then using those influences to your benefit. If you work with the flow of things then you have the power of the Universe behind your magick.

    A lot of the magickal spells that I've read about, observed, and worked myself as a Wiccan do tend to fall into the category of "psychological" manipulations, though. In many cases it's about working to put one's self into an appropriate state of mind to encourage reaching a particular goal. All the paraphernalia of magick, from the ritual tools to runes to incantations are selected to help direct one's "just-do-it!" drive towards the chosen goal.

    While magick probably does work through the regular old laws of nature, the results of magick can appear quite miraculous and surprising. This is often explained as being the result of us mere humans not fully understanding (at least in an intellectual or "mainstream accepted" way) what or how those laws are following through. Not completely understanding every detail about the "why" doesn't mean that we can't use them to our advantage, though. Few people could take their own car apart and put it back together again and have it still work, but most of us can drive that car to where we want to go.
     
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  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    wow... it's been awhile since i've dealt with western "magik" rather than eastern magic :)

    in any event... for a discussion that's focused on the West, wouldn't we need to determine if we are talking Left or Right Path here?

    in my tradition, for instance, magic is something that effects the physical world. one of our most revered teachers, was a sorcerer as a young man. seems, when he was a boy, his family was quite poor and as a consequence is fathers brother, bought the family (this was quite common back in the day) and put them to work for him. as they were family it wasn't as hard work as it could have been. the uncle, however, became irate with them and killed the mother and the other sons, however, Milarepa, escaped and vowed revenge.

    to facilitate his revenge, he found a sorcerer to instruct him and he became an accomplished magician, killing his foes and bringing destruction down upon his uncles homestead.

    after accomplishing these deeds, Milarepa was overcome with guilt and sought some way to assuage it. he finally found Marpa, the Translator and the rest, as they say, is history.

    is it a true story or is it a moral story? i do not know the answer to that question.

    in my experience with Western Majik, which is mostly confined to the O.T.O, I.O.T and Golden Dawn (tangent... i used to know the High Priestess of Wicca on the East Coast of America.. i think her name was Melee Stormbringer... though i have no way of veryfing this information) i would say that there is a great deal of disagreement betwix the actual members of these organizations.

    i have two very good friends that are absolutely convinced that magik effects the physical world and several others that believe that "magik" is simply a system to strengthen ones' will.

    from a Buddhist point of view.. it seems quite logical that magic and magik would effect the physical world... as we mostly believe that the world as is, is a product of mind.
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Just a little off-topic comment here... In Wicca, in most traditions (sects) anyways, each coven has its own High Priestess and usually a High Priest as well. And while individual traditions might recognize some sort of "witch king" or "witch queen" among their ranks those titles don't carry over to other traditions that are also Wiccan.

    So the woman you met who said she was a High Priestess was very likely the leader of a coven, perhaps even a few covens, but she was definitely NOT the leader of all Wiccans, even just those on the US east coast. Wicca isn't structured like that.

    I'll try and make my next comment on topic!
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    i appreciate the information.

    she didn't have the aura of one that leads many people.... hey, don't ask me.. i can just sense those things... perhaps it's training... eh...

    other folks that have known of her have spoken highly of her status... however, that may not mean all that much given the various schools that exist in the Wiccan tradition.
     
  7. Chronicles

    Chronicles New Member

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    If I may involve something of another thread in this discussion - when I was in my most aesthetic phase, I was quite convinced that absolutely nothing could harm me, for I was under cmoplete protection of Divine Will.

    In other words, the only way to truly harm me would be to defeat God!

    So I would directly equate "magick" with "Will" - - - therefore any effects would be primarily subjective, not objective.

    Of course, others would likely disagree - and we are all welcome to. We all have our different paths. :)
     
  8. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    I'll go along enthusiastically with littlemissattitude and say "all of the above."

    Geeze, Brian! You should know better than to set me off on this topic! What . . . are you looking for another twenty-page thesis from me?!

    Okay, here goes. Hopefully for less than twenty poges.

    Some folks get around the laws of physics question by observing that magic may simply represent science we don't yet understand, but I tend to feel that begs the question. I, personally, believe that magic DOES operate according to real-world laws of physics, specifically with the Alice-in-Wonderland weirdness of quantum physics, where things affect one another across impossible distances through nonlocality, and an observer is necessary to collapse Schrodinger wave functions into what we are pleased to call "reality." [I'm thoroughly hyped up on this topic, I fear; the book I'm currently writing is about magic and how it might relate to quantum physics!]

    The vast majority of real-world magical effects (I won't say all, but examples I can give are all anecdotal) are expressed as what we would call meaningful coincidence, or what Jung called synchronicity. This CAN reflect the fact that we subjectively reinterpret what happens around us in a way that suggests magic is at work . . . but, damn it, when impossibly implausible coincidence happens AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN you begin to get the feeling that there's more to it than that.

    Here's one example. As a demonstration to my witchcraft class a few months ago, I did a simple ritual aimed at bringing me a check for $100.00. A few days later, I received a check in the mail for 99.52 which I was able to show the class. (We had great fun laughing about the "astral tax" of 48 cents . . . or about the possibility that I just didn't believe hard enough!)

    Now--I'm a writer. I get royalty checks twice in the year, in the spring and in the fall. The check for $99.52 was my share of the royalties for an anthology of short stories to which I contributed a couple of years ago. It wasn't like the check materialized out of nowhere. It came to me through good, solid, real-world and explainable mechanisms.

    But why that amount . . . and why EXACTLY at that time? The idea is that somehow I shaped reality, shaped the flow of the universe around me, so that certain things happened in a certain way in conformance with my will.

    My belief is that all of us have the inate ability to reshape our reality, that, in fact, and in conformity to the laws of quantum physics, we are far more involved in creating reality than we realize, literally on a moment-to-moment basis. In fact, as conscious beings, this is what we do; it defines us. Most of us create our reality unconsciously, and often under the dictates of our culture, our family upbringing, our education, and the workings of random chance. Witches and magicians seek to take a conscious responsibility for that creative process. As such, yes, magic is all in the mind. However, because of the nature of physical reality, what is in the mind can shape or reshape reality, and thus has a real-world expression.

    Littlemissattitude is absolutely correct. I have never walked on water, conjured fire with my bare hands, or levitated in my physical body--all apparent violations of physical law. Though I don't rule out the possibility that this sort of thing is possible--and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it is--this is not the usual expression of magic. I HAVE seen coincidence and chance, so-called, work in astonishing ways in conformity to will, ritual, belief, and magical practice, and have seen this so often that I can now with some confidence RELY on it. In this way, magic is, I feel, decidedly objective as well as subjective.
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Actually, this reminds me very much of a story I once read about Crowley - that he was out walking with a journalist (I think) when Crowley points ahead to someone walking ahead, and states that they will make that person trip up...now. The person trips.

    In Crowley's world view, he had power over some aspect of reality and it obeyed his personal Will.

    My own personal worldview says that we are often unconsciously aware of certain undercurrents of reality. Intuition is a good word for this. Others would invoke parapsychology.

    My point is that sometimes we may be aware of an imminent event through unknown forces. Someone like myself therefore thinks to expect that unknown force.

    For example: I find it ordinary that, while driving, I can predict when traffic lights are about to change, and when cars are going to move suddenly. I consider it a intuitive process - a "tuning in" - and completely ordinary.

    Someone like Crowley, on the other hand, would likely claim that he was making the traffic light's change through his own expression of Will.

    I certainly cannot. And that is a central reason why I have always rejected any form of ritual/ceremonial Magick for myself.

    So in Bill's case - I wonder - could you have felt - "foreseen" - the check, at least in your unconscious, and therefore that is why that precise amount was expressed through your conscious will?

    Something for thought, anyhow. :)
     
  10. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    This aspect of things touches very closely to the whole question of free will versus predestined behavior. Wonderful!

    Yes, I've read the Crowley story. The full story is this. According to the friend's account, Crowley was walking down a sidewalk with that friend some feet behind a stranger. The friend asked what Crowley had learned during a recent period of study and magical working in Central America. Crowley indicated the man in front, then began mimicking the man's walk and posture perfectly. Then Crowely collapsed. At the same instant, or nearly so, the stranger collapsed as well, for no apparent reason. The sidewalk was clear. Reportedly, the man got up and looked around, bewildered, as though wondering where the banana peel was.

    A magician would see this and say Crowley was applying a form of sympathetic magic--the same way a tribal rain dance immitates falling water and thunder in order to make it rain. A quantum physicist might speculate that somehow Crowley entangled his quantum wave patterns with those of the stranger and induced a rather spectacular nonlocal quantum effect. Somehow, though, his focus of will was strong enough to affect the stranger's walk.

    If, rather, Crowely was picking up signals from the future telling him that the man was going to collapse and patterned his own behavior on that information that precisely, it would be scarcely less miraculous than the notion that he had somehow caused the man to fall. For my money, Occam's razor (yes, I know it cuts both ways) suggests Crowley did, indeed, cause the man's fall.

    I have no way to prove that my ritual brought the money rather than that I somehow knew that that amount of money--within 51 cents, anyway--would be arriving in less than a week. I do know that when this sort of thing happens again and again and again, the sense is that things are happening in accordance with my will, NOT that I am somehow puppet-tied to transmissions from the future.

    In the larger picture, there may be no difference between the two. Our lives appear to be enmeshed in an astonishingly rich pattern of synchronicity--meaningful coincidence. Some metaphysical speculation suggests that there is no time, that ALL time is "now," and that our perception of time is an illusion to preserve our imagined sense of free will.

    For now, I prefer to imagine that I in fact have free will and am not locked in some kind of unchangeable dance with my world, with the choreography directed from the future.

    I agree absolutely that we are subconsciously aware of much more going on around us than we consciously realize. This is one of the foundation facts of witchcraft, in fact. Somehow, our subconscious is picking up thoughts and emotions from other people (telepathy and telempathy), psychic impressions from inanimate objects (psychometry), shadows from the future (skrying and precognition), and even the thoughts of dead people (mediumship), but all such impressions get lost in the jumble of conscious thought and everyday life. Training and meditation helps the witch calm the conscious mind and skim outside impressions off the surface of the subconscious as they rise to view, without trying to interpret or analyze. (That's the tough part!)

    But if will has any meaning, there are times when we set out deliberately to shape or reshape our situation or our surroundings. If the ritual is successful, it usually appears to be the working of chance. Which is more likely--that we are taking control over some of the unseen forces in the world about us, reshaping and directing them as they happen, or that we're somehow keyed in to the future?

    This actually reminds me of a funny incident when I was a student in the Craft. I'd been asked to describe to the rest of the class something that had happened to me, a test where I'd traveled out of my body onto the astral, seen and noted some things happening there, then returned to compare my mental notes with those of my teacher. This was intended to boost my confidence in my abilities: yes, the astral is real and I CAN travel there and I CAN get useful information from it that DOES conform to the experience of others. I described the experience to the class, then said, "Of course, this could all just be telepathy. . . ." In other words, I might have read my teacher's mind, getting the test information straight from the source.

    One girl in the class almost fell out off the sofa. "My God! JUST telepathy? Do you know how long I've been trying to prove to myself that telepathy is real? . . ."

    Since then "it's just telepathy" or the initials "JT" have become something of a catchphrase for us. Funny how our expectations grow as we develop!
     
  11. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Gaurds the Gate

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    Magick is the technique of creation. Magick is a method of creating, changing, or affecting circumstances through the manipulation of energy. Magick is accomplished through the focus of will power and emotion, which shape energy. Magick is the art of actively using the powers of the soul. Psychism is the art of using those same powers passively: to receive information or communication from the Higher Self or Others. Magic and pshchism are intimately connected and the division between them is arbitrary, and soley to make understanding simpler.

    Theory

    The universe is composed of energy. Everything around you-everything you see and many things you don't-are composed of energy.

    You too are composed of energy. Your body seems solid, is composed of endless numbers of microscopic particles held together at the subatomic level by energy.

    Science has taught us this. But the Vedic sages of India have taught us this too-- for many thousands of years. In Europe the Druid, and after them the witches recognized this fact as well.

    This is part of the ancient maxim AS ABOVE SO BELOW. That we live in a vast universe filled with countless stars, so too whole unveres of a different nature exist within us, with the microscopic make up of our being. World within worlds.

    The electro-magnetic energy which holds electrons and protons and other microscopoic particles in place had many names: Chi (Asia), Mana (Polynesia), Orenda (Iroquois), Od (German), and Pschic Energy (contemporary).

    Energy is not static or unanimate--it is responsive and dynamic in character. It is the shape this energy assumes that creates the pattern of the physical world we see around us--for all physical forms are structured from it.

    We interact with this energy everyday. It constantly transforms, renews, or changes it's shape within us and around us. This constant change is responds to and is driven by out thoughts and emotions in ways of which most of us are unaware, and of which fewer still have any understanding.

    But this is an unconcious process--we don't think about it, we're mostly unaware of it. For most of us this daily shaping of energy is from the level of our unconscious beliefs and emotions, as automatic and out of our control as of unconscious itself. Often we do not even know what our unconscious belief and emotions really are, let alone how they will affect us on an energetic level.

    But when we bring our conscious mind and will power to bear on this process, it is a very different situation. Rather than an unconcious porcess out of our control, the shaping of energy-and thus the world itself- becomes a precise and deliberate skill which lies directly in our hands. This is magick.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Hi Blue Heron -
    I certainly quite agree that a lot of the concepts dealing with a "spiritual" field of "life energy" about the self – ie, Chi, Chakras, and even "psychic phenomena" – are likely related to different degrees to the electromagnetic fields we produce as living beings.
    However, on saying that, I have difficulty being convinced that even electromagnetism itself can be used to change any aspect of the physical universe. Certainly we can make ourselves sensitive to it's effects – done that – but actually using and directing for external effect a sensitivity to any of the stimuli that surround us, is an argument I have difficulty accepting.
    For example, just because a person is sensitive to light energy does not therefore mean that such a person can – using only their mind – therefore create specific light phenomenon at will that can affect other people. I certainly have no experience of being able to conjure lights from mid-air, simply because I am sensitive to light – a form of electromagnetic energy.
    In the same vein, just because I can be sensitive to various expressions of electromagnetism – that may have spiritual and "psychic" connotations, does not therefore grant that I can use this sensitivity to manipulate reality.

     
  13. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    speaking of Chi and energy and so forth.

    in our tradition, it is held that there is a body within the body. a spirutal/energy body in which there are channels that the energy flows. to paraphrase the Terminator... we've got detailed files. ;)

    alot of the Vajrayana practice finds corrorlates in the Taoist psyco-physical exercises and vice versa which is one of the reasons why i incorporate Taoist alchemical practices into my Buddhist praxis.

    as the Mind Seal Treasure Scripture says "On this, the three schools argee", which is referencing the Golden Flower technique.
     
  14. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    Speaking here as a Wiccan writing a book on quantum physics. . . .

    We've long assumed a correlation between the verifiable and measureable magnetic field generated by the human body and/or the generation of brain waves, and psychic phenomenon such as telepathy, precognition, and miraculous healing. Studies into these effects, however, show that whatever is going on--and something clearly IS going on--it has nothing to do with us sending or receiving electromagnetic waves as though we were living radios.

    Two studies come to mind.

    First, researchers studying remote viewing, a kind of clairvoyance that allows a person to “see” places far away, found in the ‘80s that images could be mentally transmitted to viewers inside a submarine operating at a depth of 170 meters and at a range of 300 kilometers. The tests were successful, indicating that the signal could not be blocked by water, an excellent shield for electromagnetic radiation. Even ELF—Extremely Low Frequency—waves cannot penetrate over five hundred feet of water. Whatever is being transmitted is somehow going past the shielding, not through it. This seemingly nonsensical state of affairs can be understood if we look at it as a nonlocal phenomenon—an effect predicted in Bell’s Theorem and referred to by Einstein as “spooky action at a distance,” the topic of another thread.

    Studies performed at the University of Mexico in 1994 proved beyond doubt the nonlocal interconnectivity between human brains. There, neurophysiologist Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum had test subjects meditate together for twenty minutes, then enter separate special rooms—called faraday chambers—which are screened against all electromagnetic signals. One subject was shown a series of light flashes, and the EEG responses of both subjects' brains recorded.

    In about twenty-five percent of the cases, the brain of the other subject showed the same responses at precisely the same times, just as though he, too, had been exposed to the flashing light. The patterns of brainwaves in one individual can be transmitted to the brain of another, apparently without passing through the intervening space.

    This seems to suggest that, while our EM and brainwave activity are indeed connected to whatever passes between individuals, what ACTUALLY passes is not EM in nature, but a nonlocal quantum effect.

    As for changing aspects of the physical universe, Brian, my belief is that that has nothing to do with EM phenomenon, but with the quantum nature of reality--collapsing probability waves through measurement or observation. Again, this would be nonlocal in nature, and not require the transmission of data or energy in the classical sense.
     
  15. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste,

    we Buddhists and Taoists would agree with you... mind can communicate to mind.

    in fact, there is a class of teachings that are called 'Direct Transmission' teachings.

    the first one in Buddhist history is when the Buddha gave his first teaching. he simply held up a flower and similed. one person understood what the Buddha was communicating and smiled back. the Buddha had thought that nobody would be able to comprehend his message, however Kaundinya was able to understand and became known as "the one who knows"

    this same method of transmission is what is used in the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism... this is why it's important to have a guru, so that the mind to mind communication can take place.

    in Taoist teachings, this method of transmission is called 'secret' because it cannot be verbally explained.
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Sound like interesting studies, Bill - especially the second. Would you possibly be able to suggest a cite for this?

    As for EM phenomenon - certainly, I'm aware that I'm pushing the issue beyond its means in my general thinking. However, the electromagnetic fields prodiced by living tissue is such an utterly under-rated phenomenon - you have to go towards Kirlian Photography for any sense of "serious" research. Aside from that, seem entirely ignored by mainstream science.

    I would still make an argument that the "spirit" body of Vajradhara's post - and most related metaphors - are likely sourced through the experience of EM fields. It's hard to explain it all here, though, because I make the effort to try and explain that in my fiction writing. And not to mention that I apply it way beyond this single area and into other notions.

    I know I over-state the case for EM fields, so I wonder how the subject would tie in with QED? After all, charge and spin are two of the fundamentals of Quantum Physics - and the basis for electromagnetism. So where is the cross-over point? Pondering aloud there.

    Still, at least I haven't entirely abandoned spiritual metaphors - I should maybe post up a chapter where I introduce the concept. Not enough time tonight.

    And as an addendum - EM fields are theoretically infinite, as are all fields. That means that every single EM field in the universe can theoretically be connected to one another. Hopefully I don;t need to explain the implications for that. Despite reservations, I do see a real argument for magic having "unseen" effects through this aspect.

    However, as someone who has always walked with a sense of "destiny" and therefore quite easily accepts a concept of an over-riding Divine Will, I find the notion of "Free Will" difficult to approach. As Magick requires it, it therefore makes little sense to myself as a psychological process. I'm happy to keep an open mind on it, though - the wholoe Free Will issue is one I am not yet properly resolved upon.
     
  17. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I can provide one scientific source which debunks Kirlian photography as anything like proof of psychic phenomena: "A Study of the Kirlian Effect" by Arleen J. Watkins and William S. Bickel in the book "The Hundredth Monkey" edited by Kendrick Frazier (Prometheus Books: 1991.)

    Kirlian photos are recording electromagnetic phenomena, but the variations have more to do with whether the object touching the plate is damp or dry rather than anything related to emotions (although being nervous can certainly give you sweaty hands.) They get just as impressive results from any object known to conduct electricity when compared with Kirlian photos of human hands, plants, etc.

    [Edited to correct a typo in a name.]
     
  18. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    That's why I used "quotation marks" for "serious". :)

    The intention was not to say that Kirlian Photography illustrated "psychic phenomena", as much as that it simply showed the expression of EM fields on various test objects.

    I guarrantee to you all that the electromagnetic field of the living body will provide astounding insights into biochemistry in future research. To ignore it is like to study the workings of all electrical items - but without taking into account their electrical and magnetic properties, which is a little ridiculous.

    You can be assured that even localised EM effects in the human body will have a far reaching influence over a whole range of biochemical reactions, not least with regards to our massive variety of protein complexes, and their reactions. After all, proteins - not to mention other molecular groups - are themselves slighty charged. The whole field of bio-electromagnetism is simply waiting to be acknowledged as a major study area in its own right. Expect some surprises when it is.
     
  19. Chronicles

    Chronicles New Member

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    Hm, okay, let's back on topic - I'm derailing my own thread here. :)

    When I read around the subject of Magick many years ago, my understanding of it was that it was always - almost implicitly - a subjective process. The ritual itself as a focus of the exploration of the inner self,

    Bill's comment about the reply from his son-in-law I regard as especially pertinent here - the idea of binding personal demons seems far far more sensical than the notion of communicating with real Chaldean constructs, re-interpreted through Judaism and then English on top (presuming a Chaldean origin for Qabbalah, which is effectively the major root of Western Magick - yes?).

    In which case, for those who claim to have an effect on Objective Reality, what is it they actually claim to be able to affect?

    I'm not trying to be flippant here, btw - I'm a little rushed, but I'm trying to make an honest inquiry about a perception I understand little about.

    I've read many many pagans claim to have an effect on "the real world", but it's hard to equate this as anything different from "prayer" - and as Atheists have long scoffed, no Christian has yet moved any physical mountains using faith and prayer alone.

    Or is such a comment even a diversion? Is it generally accepted here that religious and personal ritual systems (ie, Christian Mass and Drawing a Circle) are effectively variant forms of Ritual Magic? Does that change any consideration of an answer for this issue?
     
  20. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    The problem with trying to nail down the effect on "Objective Reality" (and the discussion on whether it exists is elsewhere) is that it's hard to say when the probability of an event or sequence occurring is low enough that it's "caused" by the activity. Predicting it in advance could just be recognition that the odds aren't what they seem, or , to steal from Bill "Just precognition".

    In my case, the 'provable' effects tend to be around electronic devices - my MP3 player is somewhat less random when I want to hear a certain song and actively put energy into wanting to hear it - it tends to show up in the next two or three random plays (when it's got 4500 songs on it, its an interesting coincidence.... maybe).

    I think that all of them have the same effect - whether you see yourself as working the change directly through will, or indirectly through intermediaries (deity, demons, daemons, angels, whatever) - it is the focussed application of will that comes to an outcome.

    As for the "free will" versus "Destiny" argument - I tend to think of it in a macro/micro sense - somewhat like atoms & electron positions. From a macro sense, we know where those electrons are (my fingers do hit the keys). From a micro sense, what orbital they're in, and their exact position is effectively random and uncontrolled. Similarly with Destiny - I think the general direction (the stream in other discussions on this) is pretty set at a macro level - even if some of us fight upstream/crossstream/accelerate downstream, but the local events are not fixed & are subject to control by our will. Hence Magic and Prayer can work.
     

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