On So-Called Magic

sigilThe process of ‘Ensigilization’ is, simply put: Turning your desires into a pictogram which you visualize and ‘charge’ with emotion, and the ‘release’ into the universe/your subconscious.

That doesn’t sound like magic. That sounds like self-suggestion. You’re programming your subconscious mind to remain alert to opportunities which help toward the achievement of your stated desire. You may even trust that it will provoke in you the necessary emotions and influence the thousands of tiny unconscious decisions you make throughout your daily life.

To that end, much of what I’ve been able to gather from around the web and in books about modern magical practices seems to repeat that pattern: intent, imprint and ignore. Seriously guys, why call that “magic”? I’m pretty disappointed.

If I had known that most, if not all of the so-called magical practices were nothing more than “The Secret” and a bunch of self-hypnotizing and bullshit ‘fake it till you make it’ crap I wouldn’t have latched-on to the idea of magic so quickly. Indeed that’s even one of the principal reasons I don’t call myself a chaos ‘magician’.

Now, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I understand ‘magic’, and yes there is the necessary ‘inner work’, but I don’t think that’s very empowering. If magic is about making concessions concerning a reality you can do nothing more about than change your own perspective on it (the old “when life gives you lemons” clap-trap), then I don’t call that magic.  I call that ‘rolling over’ (hey, sometimes rolling over can save your life – especially if it gets you out of the path of a runaway boulder/train/lorry/bus).

No. I want magic to be that ‘force/energy/stuff’ which guarantees that my lottery ticket is a winner. I’ll settle for not being able to shoot fireballs from my fingertips, heck I’ll even settle for an inability to fly (we have aeroplanes for that), but I want my lottery ticket! So magic needs to be ‘that which affects the odds of a certain event occurring’…. that means probability, that means randomness and making it not-so-random, that means being able to predict and being able to influence more than just ‘other minds’, but also inanimate matter.

Can any of those things be done at a distance? Well, I can speak and write words so that’s the ‘influence of other minds’ bit. I can use a ‘remote control’ to affect the variety of appliances or toys which use remote controls… but what about changing I dunno… the temperature of water at a distance? Say I want to freeze a portion of water in a glass… mmm not too sure that can be done. No amount of ensigilization’s gonna help. As far as I know I can only mentally affect my material body. By extension my material body can affect whatever it contacts… but the range of transformations my body can effect seems pretty limited.

Why is that?? If all of reality is a jumble of transformations, transforming other transformations, and so on; and if some of those transformations allow for water to freeze (or appear to us as frozen water) what kind of transformation must my body be able to produce in order to replicate that effect?  I would have to find a way to mentally ‘remove energy’ from a localized volume of water within the glass. I may be doubting too much but I seriously don’t think that’s possible – I ask only to be proven wrong!

But even then, say I could freeze a select portion of the water in a glass “at will”, the question I ask is: would I call that magic? Probably not. Why? Because the mystery is gone! Because I intended for it to happen, just like I intend for my arm to move when I will it to do so. And furthermore, would I even know it was caused by something I did? Probably not! Anyone having willed and thus witnessing a small portion of water in a glass seemingly ‘spontaneously’ freezing solid would not think it was them but some divine intervention enacting their desire. They’d also probably be scared shitless. So the freezing process would stop and then they’d try again, see it works, freak out again, start again etc.

I personally think it’s best to leave the word “magic” out of the vocabulary of this spiritual practice because it’ll help avoid false expectations. Any remaining mystery shall remain just that: mystery. The rest is personal psychology and actual physical effort to effect change in our daily lives.
This does raise for me an interesting series of questions about our perception of our own causality: I pick up a pair of stones. I smash them together, and the stones create a spark. The spark catches on some dry tinder and the spark starts a fire. But the fire didn’t come from me it came from the stones. Why do we spontaneously think stuff didn’t come from us?

My mind jumps now to another thought experiment to provoke a feeling of ‘uncanny valley’: imagine exactly the same firestarting activity but this time the body is a remotely operated machine to which you are ‘mind tethered’ a million miles away on another planet or orbiting space station. Did that fire come from you? It was your mind which initiated the (localized) chain of events which resulted in a fire on an otherwise unburnt area of a remote planet. Had you not done what you did, the fire might have started on its own but the chances of it happening would be phenomenally small. So why dissociate it from yourself so readily?

Chaos work, after all, does amount to tipping a chaotic system one way or another; usually by force of will (whatever that is) does it not? If you choose to call that magic then knock yerself out, only I don’t call that magic. Regardless what it’s called, as long as you occasionally feel real awe at the realization of your own ability to change reality then in my book ya done good!

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