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Moonhunter

The Nature Of Magic

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Moonhunter

Never let it be said we shy from tackling the tough topics! :D

 

I've dealt with magic in slightly more depth in my current book, than in the others. In other words, the style of magic in this book is closer to what we do IRL. This gives me the problem of the words I use to describe what is going on, especially when it comes to the "who dunnit" stuff where the main characters try to sort out how the crime was committed.

 

OK, what I'm talking about is the old (well, a few decades ;) ) argument - is magic energy of some kind? If it is, is it generated by the recipe (the ingredients and the method of the spell) or by the cook?

 

I've heard arguments on both sides and I come down on the side of the cook. However, I also feel that some recipes are more powerful than others, which implies a residual magic in the recipe. I have to come down on the side of 'cook' because I don't think everyone is able to make the cake, however good the recipe. :P

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Moonsmith

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

I so envy you magicians. My vision just won't focus octarine light. [The Colour of Magic. Terry Pratchet]

 

I have to come down on the side of 'cook' because I don't think everyone is able to make the cake, however good the recipe. :P
That's a bummer, especially as current physics is showing us things that look remarkably like the magic described here in the Valley. Some issues of my weekly comic are beginning to read like an alchemists handbook if not Magic 101.

 

I looking forward to any contribution at all that talks of magic in the way MH speaks of it even if all I can do is press my nose against the kitchen window. Perhaps I'll get a sniff.

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Maeve

For me also, magic is possible only where there is a "cook" capable of doing it :) It is my belief that you cannot call yourself a witch (never mind the Wiccan labels - just a witch) or a magician if you cannot do magic with at least occasional success!

 

There are so many ways in which it can be done and the outcomes are not always what are hoped for ... if there is any result at all. I would like to say that the more we practice it, the more successful we become but that is not how it works. The more we practice it, the less likely we are to do it at all ... if that makes sense! Or, I could say ... experience brings many if not all serious practitioners, to the place where the first question to ask is: is it necessary to do this magic or is there a mundane solution?

 

I cannot really say what making magic is but I can say that it is not just conceiving of a wish, collecting coloured candles, a wand and other witchy bits and bobs - not even creating a circle which is not necessary but can be useful in some cases ...

 

I do not use another's "recipe" or spell - I may read about them and even get some ideas but essentially, my magic is made by me doing what I work out to be the way to do it and this comes from experience and practice and some initial teaching.

 

Preparation is all important including long and thoughtful consideration of the aim and the consequences - those that can be contemplated. Therein is the first hurdle - not all consequences will be obvious and, if in doubt, don't!

 

What I do know - but am not prepared to discuss here - is that some formats for doing magic are stronger and better than others - indeed, can be raw and immediate in their effect.

 

There is always a price to pay .... and therein is the second hurdle to contemplate - what is the likely cost in come-back, how long might that last and is the magical act so important, that I am willing to pay!

 

So - is it energy? I don't really know but suppose it could be called that although possibly it is more ethereal than "energy". It is to do with the mind - drawing on all the thought and preparation, considering the intention and then winding up the "energy" within the body and sending whatever "it" is - the magic - out to the destination.

 

I will not do magic for a purpose where I do not know the person involved - there must be a known destination otherwise, all the effort just gets scattered away and - so far as I believe - can never reach a vague target. It must be gathered and aimed.

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Pomona

Lots of what Maeve says! I tend to "see" magick - i.e. It's like threads of a hugely intricate web that connect everyone and everything, and for me, it's a bit like being Sherlock Holmes and seeing the patterns, seeing the links, seeing the crossovers and then either assessing whether to tweak or not. Assessing whether to tweak or not depends too on how much effort I think it'll take and whether the price to pay (as Maeve says) is one worth paying. I do magick less and less as I get older (and wiser) - preferring to let either the Fates take their course or to adopt mundane methods.

 

I've always said my magick is instinctive. I don't follow recipes, I like to hear what others do though on the basis that I have particularly knowledgeable and skilled practitioners in my friend circle and I can always learn from them.

 

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Phoenix63

I agree with Maeve and Pomona. I have been the "cook" and found it works very well for me. :coz_witch:

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Freydis

I suppose that if I think of magic as anything (and I've never been a practitioner) I think of it as a natural force. So something that "is" but can be generated by some people and some techniques. Rather like electricity I suppose.

 

You need someone who has the ability to acquire the necessary skills (in the same way that learning your times tables and aspiring to be a mathematician or physicist doesn't mean that you'll turn into Professor Brian Cox, there's got to be some aptitude or it won't happen). Then the "recipe" will vary according to the individual and the aim. In the way that there are many different recipes for fruit cake but they all result in some form of fruit cake that can be eaten

 

So I guess I would say that the individual and the recipe are both important, but it's the individual who shapes the recipe. However, the energy exists independent of either of them.

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Moonsmith

However, the energy exists independent of either of them.

 

I hope that you are right Freydis because if you are then it shall eventually be discovered by the magicians whom we call scientists today as it was by some of the natural philosophers before them.

 

In my view it would in no way lessen the significance of magic were it to be explained. It would surely ennoble our species, a marker in our evolution.

 

Others may not agree.

 

edited because I realised the evolutionary significance.

Edited by Moonsmith
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Maeve

Why does magic need to be explained, Moonsmith? We who practice it have attempted to give an idea of how it is for us - not necessarily an explanation - and it is generally believed that either you can do it thus you are a witch or a magician or you can't ... the rest of the population! So, explanation is not necessary as most of the rest of the population is disinterested and only the occasional enquiring mind :) persists in wanting to know how it works!

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Moonsmith

It doesn't have to be explained at all Maeve. It has managed for a long time without explanation.

 

All I was doing was picking up the point that Freydis made -

 

snapback.pngFreydis, on 07 January 2017 - 04:17 PM, said:

 

However, the energy exists independent of either of them.

 

If this is so then it is the nature of our species that it shall be discovered. That is what human beings do - we discover things.

There is no necessity in this. However if Freydis is right then there is an inevitability that it will be discovered.

 

I am certainly not seeking to know how it works. I've spent nearly two years just looking for an example of it having occurred and failed.

 

I am magic blind.

 

Edited to get tenses right

Edited by Moonsmith

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Veggie dancer

I think magic comes mainly from the 'cook' rather than the 'receipe', I think that whatever magic is, it is in all things but that our magic comes mainly from the 'cook' because the cook (yourself) is what we have most control over. The receipe isnt irrellevant, perhaps we can tap into some of the magic within the things outside ourselves, but its the human element that is most vital.. Not because humans are more magic than other things, its just what we happen to be.

Im by no means an expert but sometimes I make things to work magic, i think the raw materials are relevant and the finished object is relevant and my thoughts are relevant but its more about the process, all those things flowing together, something growing and becoming.

 

There is also the question of help from the gods or from spirits. What do you all think? Do humans have their own magical power outside of them/it? Is it our own or are we channeling divine power? Do the gods/spirits contribute if you ask?

 

As a pantheist/animist I think spirit is in all things and I think that magic and spirit are probably related. I do sometimes think there are beings outside of what we really know (that some people call gods) that might influence our lives, can provide inspiration.

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Maeve

 

If this is so then it is the nature of our species that it shall be discovered.

 

But it has been discovered - by practitioners of magic - it just hasn't been explained in scientific terms and - dear gods - may it never be so!

 

 

There is also the question of help from the gods or from spirits. What do you all think? Do humans have their own magical power outside of them/it? Is it our own or are we channelling divine power? Do the gods/spirits contribute if you ask?

 

 

I can do magic without asking for any help from the gods or spirits - whether or not they join in when I am making magic, without being asked, I have yet to know :) and, yes depending on the work that needs to be done and whether or not I feel I could do with some extra help, I may call upon a deity willing to assist. This is all about the process I mentioned in #3 above. One thing that I do not do is to cherry-pick a likely deity - because maybe that deity has a known interest in the subject - and "invoke" him/her to do the work!

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Veggie dancer

One thing that I do not do is to cherry-pick a likely deity - because maybe that deity has a known interest in the subject - and "invoke" him/her to do the work!

Do you mean you work with a deity you are familiar with and have built up some kind of relationship with? Or you mean you ask for divine help without specifying who exactly you are asking?

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Freydis

If this is so then it is the nature of our species that it shall be discovered.

 

But it has been discovered - by practitioners of magic - it just hasn't been explained in scientific terms and - dear gods - may it never be so!

 

 

Why would it be a problem if it was explained in scientific terms? I tend to think that everything is part of the universe and therefore it is possible to explain scientifically, we're just not there yet. Everything is part of nature and "supernatural" is just nature that we don't understand yet. I'd include the gods in that because they've never give me any indication that they're "beyond" nature and the universe, and also magic.

 

Do you mean that it would be a problem in the way that the discovery of atomic power has been something of a mixed blessing in that there will be people who will use magic for unpleasant purposes - war, greed etc., or do you think that it would just be a bad thing in itself?

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Ellinas

I have a view, and it goes without saying that it is personal and unproven. I will try to set it out in as logical an order as I can.

 

First, the issue assumes the existence of magic, so I will proceed on that premise (not doubting it, just acknowledging that it is unproven and so any discussion is "a priori").

 

I do not understand the question as to whether magic is a form of energy. Seems to me that everything that exists is some form of energy, even if encoded into our physical forms (though the physicists here might set me right on that view). That the "energy" is not quantifiably detectable by any known means is a ground for doubting its' existence, but, as stated, we proceed a priori.

 

The issue, then, is whether magic has some existence independent of the practitioner or is a force - for want of a better word - projected by the practitioner.

 

To provide a viable speculative answer to that, we need first to try to identify what magic does. In my understanding (and others may think otherwise) it is an attempt to manipulate reality by the force of the will. That reality may be esoteric - i.e. one's own psyche - or exoteric, in the "real" world around us. Either way, it is still a manipulation - obtaining a desired end by somehow influencing events or states as they currently exist.

 

So, is there a force that permits that manipulation other than the will of the practitioner?

 

In one sense, the issue is irrelevant. Without the practitioner, there would be no manipulation. All, in that sense, depends on the practitioner, regardless of whether it is purely something that emanates from the practitioner that causes the decided effects or whether the practitioner utilises something in general existence and circulation.

 

Personally, I think that is the key. I see no reason to postulate anything beyond "cause and effect" in describing magic. In simple terms the practitioner wills, acts accordingly, and it is done - though not always quite as planned.

 

On that basis, I see it as equally "magical" whether the practitioner identifies a specific cause and effect of a physical nature or relies on something more aetherial. As I've commented elsewhere, if you want to curse someone, start a malicious rumour. The essence of the magical process is identifying the cause and effect and becoming a causality.

 

That's not to say that there is no such thing as an effective magical practice with no known connection to the mundane. I see that, however, as merely another expression of the idea that all is interconnected. A web, where twanging one strand causes an answering echo elsewhere.

 

However, I consider that to be a difficult thing to achieve. It is also a very easy thing to achieve. By that, I mean that my experience of such things as may be identified as magical suggests that it is most effective when done almost unconsciously. I think of the time I wanted to split a piece of wood, struck it without thinking with a hammer and it split perfectly into three. My mind was somewhere else entirely. It's the "I couldn't do that if I tried" syndrome. My own view is that all the effort of ritual is actually a necessary distraction to the conscious mind to allow the will free access to the web of underlying reality upon which it needs to play a tune. The difficulty is reaching that state. Once there, the part of the mind that does these things is frighteningly powerful.

 

I also consider that there is a far greater connection between the magical and the so-called mundane that we tend to admit. The difference seems to me largely illusory. That is implicit in the statement above concerning cause and effect. Doing "magic" in the sense of ritual acts is just one side of a many faceted... something... Living in tune with magic is far more a matter of understanding your place in the world around you, the choices and consequences available and the responsibilities that go with it.

 

I think...

 

Anyhow, not sure if I've answered anything. However, my parting shot...

 

Moonsmith cannot see octarine. Is that an admission that he really is Rincewind?

Edited by Ellinas

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Moonsmith

No Ellinas, while I espouse cowardice and see in it the basis for a world order, I cannot run fast enough any more.

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Ellinas

You could always ride the luggage...

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Maeve

One thing that I do not do is to cherry-pick a likely deity - because maybe that deity has a known interest in the subject - and "invoke" him/her to do the work!

Do you mean you work with a deity you are familiar with and have built up some kind of relationship with? Or you mean you ask for divine help without specifying who exactly you are asking?

 

I have several contacts with deity but I would not demand / invoke any one of them - or any other with whom I have never yet had contact - to work with or for me. If I deem it useful to have some help in making magic, I will state my case and ask if there is anyone who is willing to assist. Sometimes, answer comes there none :) on other occasions, help is offered by one or more of my contacts. This is one of the situations in which I have met them in them in the first place!

 

If this is so then it is the nature of our species that it shall be discovered.

 

But it has been discovered - by practitioners of magic - it just hasn't been explained in scientific terms and - dear gods - may it never be so!

 

 

Why would it be a problem if it was explained in scientific terms? I tend to think that everything is part of the universe and therefore it is possible to explain scientifically, we're just not there yet. Everything is part of nature and "supernatural" is just nature that we don't understand yet. I'd include the gods in that because they've never give me any indication that they're "beyond" nature and the universe, and also magic.

 

Do you mean that it would be a problem in the way that the discovery of atomic power has been something of a mixed blessing in that there will be people who will use magic for unpleasant purposes - war, greed etc., or do you think that it would just be a bad thing in itself?

 

For me - and we are in UPG here - I do not see the necessity to explain a mystery and get quite p****d off when everything has to be explained explicitly :wacko:

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Earthdragon

 

 

I do not understand the question as to whether magic is a form of energy. Seems to me that everything that exists is some form of energy, even if encoded into our physical forms (though the physicists here might set me right on that view). That the "energy" is not quantifiably detectable by any known means is a ground for doubting its' existence, but, as stated, we proceed a priori.

 

The issue, then, is whether magic has some existence independent of the practitioner or is a force - for want of a better word - projected by the practitioner.

 

To provide a viable speculative answer to that, we need first to try to identify what magic does. In my understanding (and others may think otherwise) it is an attempt to manipulate reality by the force of the will. That reality may be esoteric - i.e. one's own psyche - or exoteric, in the "real" world around us. Either way, it is still a manipulation - obtaining a desired end by somehow influencing events or states as they currently exist.

 

So, is there a force that permits that manipulation other than the will of the practitioner?

 

In one sense, the issue is irrelevant. Without the practitioner, there would be no manipulation. All, in that sense, depends on the practitioner, regardless of whether it is purely something that emanates from the practitioner that causes the decided effects or whether the practitioner utilises something in general existence and circulation.

 

 

 

I agree with you Ellinas that all that exists seems to be a form of energy. Here is an example of where the scientific and the "esoteric" overlap. When I observe and become sensitive to a rock or a living entity I sense what I call the energetic vibration of that thing as being a quality of it. My perceptions are subjective. Science tells us that all matter is basically a form of energy. The subjective esoteric and scientific theory are two ways of relating to the same thing. The issue of magic "being a form of energy" seems a little different as in magic we are indeed talking of cause and effect. Where there is interaction, in the scientific way of understanding there will be an energetic change in the constituents. The chain of influence between the originator of the magic and the effects of it seems to be what we are looking as the nature of magic.

 

When we speak of force I see it as implying a physical interaction. Yes the whole issue hinges on the will of the practitioner and indeed there is a definition of magic which basically ascribes all acts of will as a form of magic, whether it is influencing at a distance or brushing one's teeth. But I see the issue of the nature of magic as exploring the qualities of practitioner's experience of it as much as trying to measure it. I relate to Maeve's description of a mystery here. The state of mind of the practitioner is key to process in magic. In relating to mysteries our mind operates in an open and imaginative way (not meaning one is delusional but rather creative).

 

Speaking of your description of "obtaining a desired end", sorry if I am seeking over-analytical here but I see use of language as being important and to be honest am just using your description as a springboard really. In my experience of magic it is important for me to clarify what the intent is. Me obtaining something is not generally how I think of it. The nature of my desire is pivotal to the type of magic it is. The end effect is almost always not to directly influence any person or being but to change the energy of a location or environment. Thus the effects are open ended insofar as what or who takes up that energy is up to them. The exceptions to that are the times when there is a specific thing that a person has requested such as healing and there is a mutual consent to influence that person directly , that is the energy enters that person's area of being. Again how the person uses the energy is up to them - if they use it to reinforce their own healing processes ( including placebo or not ) that is up to them.

 

I am not sure about the whole objective and subjective breaking down of things in terms of the objective being "reality" and subjective being esoteric. Our relationship with "objective" reality is always subjective and something is called objective only because people have (subjectively) decided that it is ( say because a measuring instrument shows a particular reading).

 

In general esoteric has tended to mean "knowledge intended for the few" . This implies to me hierarchy whereas the subject of magic is indistinguishable from being or existence or consciousness. The choice to explore it might be of limited appeal to most people but it is still part of the a universal human condition. I would say everyone does magic in their own way. Systematic magic and its processes involve the conscious mind of the practitioner. Efficacy in my view depends on those processes and hence the mind of the person. Some methods are more efficient than others too.

 

ED

 

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Ellinas

Earthdragon,

 

Part of the problem is that language is inexact and we tend to run out of both time and energy to clarify every term used. Obtaining a desired end seems to me a decent generic description, but yes, I can see how it might not convey every nuance.

 

I actually have some sympathy with the idea of all acts of will being a form of magic. You want to drink your tea and up raises your arm with the mug in your hand. We tend to forget the wonder and "magicality" of such simplicities. However, again there is a problem - use a term too widely and it lacks useful meaning. So, again, I accept the need for greater limitation.

 

I explained my use of "esoteric" and "exoteric" precisely because it was not the general usage of the words. I also accept entirely your comments on the use of "objective" and "subjective" - in fact I tend to take that to the extreme of regarding the world as my own "subjective reality". But that is actually a point of some interest. It gels rather well with the whole idea of the manipulation of reality by will. If reality is what is perceived, then changing the perception may well prove effective in the change of reality. Maybe the difficulty is getting past our own preconceptions.

 

The point that particularly tickles my mind at the moment, however, is that of "doing by not trying", which is the concept I was getting at in my comments about the purpose of ritual as a distraction. Again, maybe an issue of getting the mind to move beyond its' preconceptions - which preconceptions, I suspect, are a limitation of greater power than we generally appreciate.

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Moonhunter

I actually have some sympathy with the idea of all acts of will being a form of magic.

 

 

You have just condemned thousands of adolescents as being totally incapable, despite all their tears and longing for the love object. ;)

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Veggie dancer

The point that particularly tickles my mind at the moment, however, is that of "doing by not trying", which is the concept I was getting at in my comments about the purpose of ritual as a distraction. Again, maybe an issue of getting the mind to move beyond its' preconceptions - which preconceptions, I suspect, are a limitation of greater power than we generally appreciate.

 

I think there is something to that Ellinas, I think trying too hard is a problem, getting in the way of ourselves, being overly self concious about what we are doing, interfering with ourselves with doubt, questions, expectations, thinking about how to do something better, judging whats going on as it happens all get in the way of flow. By that I mean being really absorbed in the task, completely focused, not a busy distracted mind, just being and doing and thats all, not observing yourself being and doing.

 

I think I was better at magic before I had really thought about it and started to try and research these things. I hope that my new knowledge will become more ingrained and less distracting and in the long run be an imporvement.

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Maeve

 

I think I was better at magic before I had really thought about it and started to try and research these things.

 

Probably my main reason above for saying that I hope that "magic" is never scientifically explained :) However, that sort of working out what magic actually is, is not the same as carefully thinking about the magical work you intend to do before embarking on it - here it is the result of magic that is in focus and not how magic actually works to obtain that result.

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Earthdragon

By that I mean being really absorbed in the task, completely focused, not a busy distracted mind, just being and doing and thats all, not observing yourself being and doing.

 

I think I was better at magic before I had really thought about it...

 

Veggie Dancer, I think it is fascinating how being focussed and absorbed as you put it, implies not analysing it in real time and yet there is a need to monitor what is happening and respond accordingly.

 

And yes over analysing magic by looking at the concepts too much prevents the focus needed to be effective.

 

I see it similarly in that I think to be in the conscious mind as fully as possible when doing this kind of work is a good thing. This will mean clarity of intent which in my view is most important.

 

Ellinas, I'm certainly on board as regards not being distracted by thoughts however seeing the will which is utilised as being outside of the conscious mind puzzles me. How do you know what your will is doing or wanting in that scenario?

 

My own view based on my take on what I practice is that a. Magic should be done consciously b. The full content of our mind is revealed more and more as we become more self aware. c. this process is ongoing and enables one to release inappropriate patterns and energy out of our system which clears the way for a better flow of intention and energy.

 

Seeing the process as a flow helps us to stay in the moment , or as you put it Veggie Dancer - be focussed.

 

And when the magic is sent out its a bit like being the intent for it to go rather than having the intent in the mind.

 

ED

Edited by Earthdragon
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Earthdragon

Earthdragon,

 

. Obtaining a desired end seems to me a decent generic description, but yes, I can see how it might not convey every nuance.

. We tend to forget the wonder and "magicality" of such simplicities. However, again there is a problem - use a term too widely and it lacks useful meaning. .

 

 

The point that particularly tickles my mind at the moment, however, is that of "doing by not trying", which is the concept I was getting at in my comments about the purpose of ritual as a distraction.

 

Again, maybe an issue of getting the mind to move beyond its' preconceptions

 

Hi Ellinas,

 

After reflecting on our exchange I see it not so much as a nuance as you put it. But rather that the choice of description of what we are doing is a part of the clarity and focus which is important. The relating to the mystery - which is my way of describing the qualities and part of the process which are beyond our vision are still there in spite of this or perhaps even more so because of it.

 

The part of our mind which senses the continuity of our perceived world into the unseen is linked to the imagination and I think the overlap in our views on this bit is the doing without thinking part that you refer to. So while the conscious mind is firmly in the here and now and connected to the intention, the part of our mind which extends beyond our awareness is connecting to the doing and releasing of the action into the chain of cause and effect.

 

I do see it that as the "light of our consciousness" grows then we will be able to aware of more of the ehole process. And its that expansion of awareness that is partly what I like to use ritual for. But coming back to the OP, that depends as much on the method as the practitioner (but not more so), in my experience which I must say is limited :)

 

I agree that if we only have preconceptions then we are in some ways limited by them. With any growing awareness or process involving the mind a prior state of "acknowledged unkowingness" will probably have been beneficial.

 

ED

Edited by Earthdragon

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Ellinas

I actually have some sympathy with the idea of all acts of will being a form of magic.

 

 

You have just condemned thousands of adolescents as being totally incapable, despite all their tears and longing for the love object. ;)

 

Oh, they'll get over it. Part of growing up...

 

 

Ellinas, I'm certainly on board as regards not being distracted by thoughts however seeing the will which is utilised as being outside of the conscious mind puzzles me. How do you know what your will is doing or wanting in that scenario?

 

 

I'm not entirely sure, but assume that your next post supersedes this one? The answer, at one level, is that I don't and that is part of the problem. But then again (and this rather goes against the grain for me) I suspect that there is an issue in trying to over-rationalise what is actually an intuitive (and I'm not sure that is the right word either...) rather than a rational activity. Anyhow, see below

 

Earthdragon,

 

. Obtaining a desired end seems to me a decent generic description, but yes, I can see how it might not convey every nuance.

. We tend to forget the wonder and "magicality" of such simplicities. However, again there is a problem - use a term too widely and it lacks useful meaning. .

 

 

The point that particularly tickles my mind at the moment, however, is that of "doing by not trying", which is the concept I was getting at in my comments about the purpose of ritual as a distraction.

 

Again, maybe an issue of getting the mind to move beyond its' preconceptions

 

Hi Ellinas,

 

After reflecting on our exchange I see it not so much as a nuance as you put it. But rather that the choice of description of what we are doing is a part of the clarity and focus which is important. The relating to the mystery - which is my way of describing the qualities and part of the process which are beyond our vision are still there in spite of this or perhaps even more so because of it.

 

The part of our mind which senses the continuity of our perceived world into the unseen is linked to the imagination and I think the overlap in our views on this bit is the doing without thinking part that you refer to. So while the conscious mind is firmly in the here and now and connected to the intention, the part of our mind which extends beyond our awareness is connecting to the doing and releasing of the action into the chain of cause and effect.

 

I do see it that as the "light of our consciousness" grows then we will be able to aware of more of the ehole process. And its that expansion of awareness that is partly what I like to use ritual for. But coming back to the OP, that depends as much on the method as the practitioner (but not more so), in my experience which I must say is limited :)

 

I agree that if we only have preconceptions then we are in some ways limited by them. With any growing awareness or process involving the mind a prior state of "acknowledged unkowingness" will probably have been beneficial.

 

ED

 

This is very much a thought process rather than a conclusion, and I'm not sure where I will end up on this eventually, but...

 

There is an aspect of this that makes me wonder if there is a connection to what is often stated to be a Hindu/Buddhist type idea of "emptiness". I don't see that as "nothingness" but rather a state where the mind is concerned with "being" rather than "doing". The idea that the self and the "ultimate" are actually one and the same. In this outlook, if the mind can free itself - whether by meditation or ritual - from concentration on acting to a specific end, then it is able to access a state where there is what I can only describe as an unconscious awareness and ability to influence things.

 

I return to the point that the most effective flashes of of what I would identify as the magical were unthinking and instinctive - as if I knew without consciously knowing what was going to happen or how to influence it.

 

There is another aspect also - based on something I think I read in Crowley's Book of Lies. If you practice to the point that you are doing a given act unconsciously, automatically even , then you can claim to be doing it well. Again, the idea that the conscious mind can get in the way. Perhaps this is what "faith" should mean - the confidence to rely on one's instinctive knowledge rather than the mistake-prone activity of "working it out". And, of course, such a position is precisely the result of hard, arduous effort and work that magic would seem to demand of us.

 

Your idea of the imagination taking on the active role seems to me valid. Quite how far it is another way of saying the same thing as this, I do not know.

 

Finally, I'm not sure how you distinguish a method from a practitioner. Without the latter, the former doesn't exist.

 

Don't get me wrong, by the way. I'm not claiming to be a super active and experienced magician. It's just the little flashes of what I take to be insight that make me wonder... Magic is a very occasional activity indeed for me.

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Moonhunter

I actually have some sympathy with the idea of all acts of will being a form of magic.

 

 

You have just condemned thousands of adolescents as being totally incapable, despite all their tears and longing for the love object. ;)

 

Oh, they'll get over it. Part of growing up...

 

But it seems to me that they may have demolished your argument. Unless, by 'will' you mean something other than the extended intense focus of every bit of a person's intention towards a desired outcome?

 

There is an aspect of this that makes me wonder if there is a connection to what is often stated to be a Hindu/Buddhist type idea of "emptiness". I don't see that as "nothingness" but rather a state where the mind is concerned with "being" rather than "doing". The idea that the self and the "ultimate" are actually one and the same. In this outlook, if the mind can free itself - whether by meditation or ritual - from concentration on acting to a specific end, then it is able to access a state where there is what I can only describe as an unconscious awareness and ability to influence things.

 

I return to the point that the most effective flashes of of what I would identify as the magical were unthinking and instinctive - as if I knew without consciously knowing what was going to happen or how to influence it.

 

This is not what most magic practitioners I know do, so I find it fascinating. How do you (1) know you're doing it and (2) control it if you're not even thinking about it? How do you ensure it only happens for things you want, if it's unthinking and instinctive?

 

I understand that this might be accomplished if one links one's spiritual self with an Other - but surely that Other must be trusted to deal with the magic in the way one wishes? Or is this a matter of subjection to the Other's wishes? Or is the "ultimate" an impersonal force - if so, then all the control surely comes from the human. And if that is so, we're back to the problems (10 and (2) above. :)

 

There is another aspect also - based on something I think I read in Crowley's Book of Lies. If you practice to the point that you are doing a given act unconsciously, automatically even , then you can claim to be doing it well. Again, the idea that the conscious mind can get in the way. Perhaps this is what "faith" should mean - the confidence to rely on one's instinctive knowledge rather than the mistake-prone activity of "working it out". And, of course, such a position is precisely the result of hard, arduous effort and work that magic would seem to demand of us.

 

This sounds like the modern concept of competence, which posits the highest stage as Unconscious competence:

 

the individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

 

Although I understand ritual helping that to occur, that means the work must have been done before the ritual begins. One establishes the trance state first in which the will is honed to a narrow point of focus. This is normally done through repetitive work that does not require the brain to be engaged. However, I would not call the repetitive work performing the skill. And I've not really come across any examples of an adept being able to perform unrelated tasks while performing magic.

 

And (to return to what you say Ellinas), I'm not convinced that unconscious competence applies to magic, in that magic is not routine. We're back to having the focus of the magic in one's head at all times.

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Veggie dancer

Anyone.. Do you think it is possible to do magic accidentally?

Or what about doing it without knowing what it is.. Here im thinking about people praying for miracles etc.

 

 

Ellinas, i wonder if you dont mean unconcious like our heart beat is unconcious but something else? More like being so involved in thinking about the thing you arent thinking about thinking.. Does that make any sense?? Ha ha

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Moonhunter

Anyone.. Do you think it is possible to do magic accidentally?

 

No. My own opinion is that the essence of magic is a directed act. To me, it's like asking whether an unskilled novice might carry out a dance routine accidentally. ;)

 

Or what about doing it without knowing what it is.. Here im thinking about people praying for miracles etc.

 

It depends on whether one believes that prayer is the same as working magic. I don't think they are the same, but YMMV. To me, prayer is a blank cheque. You consign your desire to whoever is willing to carry it out, with total trust in their goodwill. I'm not sure I've ever met a pagan god I'd trust to do what I ask, without any form of payment, in a way that is totally beneficial to all. :D

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Maeve

^^^^ What Moonhunter says! Considering, IME, how much it involves and how difficult it is to do magic and get a result, I cannot believe it is possible to do it accidentally!

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Freydis

For me - and we are in UPG here - I do not see the necessity to explain a mystery and get quite p****d off when everything has to be explained explicitly :wacko:

 

Ah I understand. I'm the opposite. Mysteries irritate me. Show me a mystery and I start to pick it apart to find out how it works. I quite like explicit explanations.

Edited by Freydis
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