Magick Needs Energy And Information

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Catching up on the energy / information / semiotics debate last month between Jason, Patrick, AIT, the Scribbler, Ananael and others.

To steal reuse a great summary:

The root of the debate seems to be that the strict version of Patrick’s information/semiotic model disappears the experiences of “energy work” practitioners.

Background for new readers: I focus on understanding all the moving pieces that make magick work, for both information-based and energy-based styles. So I’m going to show you why discarding energy as a concept will lead to problems modelling large chunks of magick.

Really, I hope to figure things out by putting forth some new ideas. But being a bit brazen seemed like a good way to get you to read it so we could have that discussion.


I want to talk about the nature of magick, not argue over terms, so let me start with a couple of definitions:

Energy: Something which flows through magickal structures and activates them. Its precise effect depends on its signature (sometimes called its “vibration”).

Information: Concepts that can be communicated as words, or communicated telepathically to spirits or systems*.

*If you’re new to my blog, “systems” is a special term. It refers to any non-sentient external force you use in your magick: The thing that responds to your symbolic ritual by contacting a spirit or influencing events or whatever; the source of information that psychics channel; etc.

These aren’t air-tight definitions, but everyone seems friendly, so I’ll assume you know what I mean.

Why You Need Energy

Here’s the problem with reducing one to the other: Energy and information are central to different types of magick, and describe different scale phenomena.

Rituals and symbols send instructions to systems. (The external forces that turn those instructions into magickal results). Symbols also send instructions to your unconscious, which then does…something to produce the magickal results. (Describing it takes about 10,000 words). But, fundamentally, they communicate instructions. For ritual-based and symbol-based magick, an information-centric approach (like semiotics) probably covers everything you need.

But imagine you want to describe how your unconscious implements those instructions. Each step in how it produces the results. (This is my focus, by the way). Then you need something to describe “This thing which flows through magickal structures, activating them and making them function.” Call it whatever you want, but it clearly behaves differently than instructions-via-symbols. Energy seems like a good metaphor*.

*Yes, metaphor. I don’t think that magickal energy = electricity, momentum, or any other physics term. I don’t think any serious mage does. Or rather, I think that anyone proposing that magickal energy = electricity sounds a good bit silly.

Fundamentally, these two phenomena occur at different scales, like biology and physics. Information happens in the brain as a whole (or large regions of it). Energy happens at the scale of individual cells. To say you can describe all magick with only one is a losing proposition.

How do I know? One of my projects for this year is to build communication from energy and connections. (That’s how spirits and systems read your thoughts and write a response to your mind). Communicating that way lets you work with systems you normally can’t. Here’s what I found:

For each concept you want to send, you need to capture dozens of signatures from your mind, one for each region involved in thinking the concept. To receive, you write the signature to the proper region, and it makes that concept pop into your thoughts*. Which is exactly what you’d expect when you implement a brain-scale construct using a cell-scale (or cell-bundle-scale) one.

*How do you know which signature goes to which region? That gets into signature scale — the small-scale signature identifies the region, the large-scale signature carries the concept. And we just got way too technical for this post.


Biologists don’t think about quantum particles much. And physicists don’t think about your liver at all. But the modern world needs both fields.

Information and energy model different scale phenomena, and are central to different types of magick. You need both. Discarding either shuts down a lot of interesting magickal research.


Reading Patrick’s FAQ again, he says that both energy and information are good ways to model magick, but that they’re good for different things, and that he wants to focus on the information model since it hasn’t been explored as thoroughly. So it seems we actually agree. But that makes for a much less interesting post, so I’m going to leave it as is.

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One Response to “Magick Needs Energy And Information”

  1. Yoseqlo says:

    Actually I believe in an actual “non- metaphoric” energy magick- related, the one called “Orgone” from Reich that can be mesured.
    Karl Welz made an Orgone Generator that contributes a lot in magick doing.

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