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Jason Miller has an interesting post on the relationship between magick, psychology and personal growth. I agree with a lot of it, and yet, it somehow feels like it isn’t quite right. This post is me trying to make sense of that intuition.
You should probably read Jason’s post first.
Magick Explained as Driving a Car
In response to:
I have even run across some who reject the idea of mind as having any role within magic, at least not any more than driving a car or any other task. This is a grievous error on many levels.
On one level, I agree. Having the proper mental posture is quite important, and I talk about that a fair amount.
But I also compare magick to cars, and engines, and walking. And there’s a reason for that: Most of the interesting stuff happens outside your mind.
Connections are external magickal structures. They have an independent existence outside your thoughts. So does ethereal software, spirits, the energy pathways I use for energy healing, and basically everything else I talk about. Just because it’s non-physical doesn’t make it mental.
If you’re new to magick, learning the right mental posture to engage your mental muscles is quite important. But once you’ve learned that, I think it’s a lot more productive to focus on the external magickal structures, rather than focusing on your mind.
Magick As Curiosity
In response to:
If you are not in the game for some kind of awakening, or improvement of the self in a spiritual sense, I really just have no idea why you are bothering. If you seek power, or money, or sex, or anything else there are better and surer ways of achieving those ends than magic.
I’ve also said that magick is a bad path to material gain. At very high levels, a mage can probably solve problems that a non-mage cannot. But it takes years or decades to get there. If you want to heal people, becoming a doctor or nurse is a faster path to truly solving the underlying problem. And if you want money, you can build a company more quickly than you can learn enough magick to pay the bills.
Aside from Mike: More and more, I’m seeing how adding a little magick to your non-magickal efforts can really improve the results. I think developing useful , easy-to-learn techniques that give a small bump to normal effort — for manifesting, energy healing and other domains — is an important step to growing magick into a mature field.
But Jason’s focus on awakening doesn’t do it for me, either. I mean, I’ve developed effects for personal growth (consciousness integration in particular), but it’s like how Jason treats magick for financial success: I’m glad to know it, but it’s not the reason I practice magick. And if you took it away, I’d still practice everything else.
For me, magick is really about curiosity. How do all these parts work together to change the physical world? What are the underlying mechanics of the world that most people never notice? It’s that sense of exploration that drives me.
So, I’m not exactly disagreeing with Jason. I agree with the basic idea, that someone pursuing magick for money / power / etc. won’t get very far. And I’m sure that personal growth is a drive for a lot of mages. I just think he’s missing other paths.
Magick Doesn’t Cause Enlightenment
I like Jason’s point at the end, about magickal skill not necessarily coinciding with enlightenment. That’s something that’s been on my mind, to, as I think about the limits of the techniques I would teach in a public blog.
So, I have a question for Jason, and anyone else thinking about these things: If you are doing magick for an awakening / enlightenment / personal growth, which techniques focus on that? How do you go about it? And how do you know if it’s effective?
I have my answers for consciousness integration, but it’s definitely not a traditional approach to enlightenment, and I’m curious what the traditional approach entails. Thanks!Other posts in this series:
- Magick, Mind and Enlightenment (March 9, 2012)
- Strategic Sorcery on Enlightenment (March 15, 2012)
I use Taoist meditation techniques as well as some techniques of my own development which are also meditation focused. I think you necessarily have to turn inward to some degree to achieve any sense of personal growth. I’ve found the need to do more overt acts of magic has significantly decreased as I’ve continued to do the internal work.
I will answer your question when I have time, but I wanted to address your first rebuttal. We are exactly in line when it comes to this. I never said mind was primary in magic, I said it was an important part. I also agree that for magic to be effective you need to also focus on outside the mind.
In fact I also use the analogy of a car whenever people approach me with one of their miopic models of magic (either spirit OR energy OR information etc). I liken it to thinking that a car runs on only Gas and not Electric or Mechanics or any of the other systems that go into a modern automobile.
If you look through my books and blog you will see that I place a GREAT emphasis on externals, but you seem to be reading my statement about the importance of mind as being mind-only.
In fact, even in personal development, externals are extremely important – something that the navel gazers often miss.
I will answer your other question later when I have more time.
Very cool. I didn’t realize we were on the same page here. That’s always nice to find out.
By the way, I wasn’t trying to rebut your post. It’s just, that paragraph got me thinking, and something didn’t feel right about it, and I wanted to explore that feeling. Was the thing that didn’t feel right in your words, my read, or somewhere in between? Probably some of both. Either way, I like blogs that get me thinking, so cheers.
I agree entirely on the function of the mind and getting the right foundation for going into altered states of consciousness at will. What I don’t agree on, however, is the learning curve. I think once you have that foundation down, you can do those faster and surer ways even much faster by adding Magik to the Mix. I do agree that being able to solve challenges that a non-Magik user absolutely cannot solve is definitely up there. However, could you clarify what you mean by “enlightenment”. It has multiple definitions and not all of them are universally used.
You know, I don’t have a rigorous definition of “enlightenment.” Probably something along the lines of moving beyond petty emotions (not all emotions, just the petty ones) so you can focus on building something worth building, instead of keeping score. Does that help?
“Magick isn’t the best choice for gaining money and sex.”
It depends on your definition of magick.
There are magical techniques that will help a person gain the qualities that are needed to run a business or become an attractive person.
I’ve never been big on the type of throw a spell at the sky and watch money and love rain down type of magic seeker. I’ve always wanted to learn more of the magic that allows me to control my mental and emotional state in such a powerful way that I can achieve my goals.
Agreed, there’s an interesting gray area, where you’re doing magick to assist mundane efforts, rather than using magick to solve the problem directly. This “assistive magick” won’t impress or convince anyone, but it’s really useful for actually getting things done. It’s something I intend to explore coming up, because I think it’s an important field for motivating people to practice magick so that they eventually do become good enough to solve hard problems that you couldn’t solve without magick.
It is not that magic cannot do these things: I have used it for both successfully and do it professionally.
It is more the case that becomeing a magician with the sole purpose of money and sex is not the best way to achieve those goals.
I am very glad to have found your blog site. My question is whether the information you provide can be mainstreamed in any meaningful way, or is it that magic, like religion, is only for the initiated, for the enlightened, for the insiders, so to speak. I mean, at some point, so much of what you are saying will be taken as ordinary, human common sense, no?
Hi Yvonne, glad you’re enjoying the blog. I saw you read some more and more or less answered your questions, but they’re really good, and on topics I haven’t thought about much. I’ll write a post in response soon.
Edit: My response is here https://magickofthought.com/2012/03/is-magick-for-everyone/
I love that you define the driving force of your magic efforts sheer curiosity. To me that sums up the quest for ‘enlightenment/evolution’ etc perfectly! After all that seems to have got us humans into all the fun and trouble we’ve had up to this point- curiosity. Something bigger than yourself. Like the cartoon of the sheep that suddenly cries out “what the hell is going on?…this is grass i’m eating…what am I doing!!!?”
Curiosity may have killed the cat but it also seems to have got us out of the trees, building tools developing language and all sorts of other absurd things. The evolutionary urge – the classic scene from the film 2001 Space Odessey where the ape looks inquisitively at the bone and starts trying stuff out with it….soon he’s built a spaceship
PS – I’m just joining your blog and my mind is spinning! Have to admit I find the structure of your blog draws me in and also somewhat confusing. As I try to focus on understanding the basics I keep seeing all these other posts to the side- and click on them (curiosity) to find them full of terms and concepts that seem to assume a lot of prior understanding. For my linear brain a ‘beginners guide to direct-magick’ is the kind of thing that would help me stay focused in the beginning- maybe that’s just me though. I’ve kind of tried to do it myself by selecting posts that seem relevant and compiling them into a PDF to read on my e-reader.
Hi Simon, thanks for writing. It makes me smile every time someone finds my blog and connects with the ideas, especially things like a love of curiosity.
On how to get the terms: This is a problem I’m aware of. I’m actually working on the “terms and definitions” section of my ebook right now, and will put that up later this week.
Edit: Here’s that post. https://magickofthought.com/2012/05/the-major-parts-of-direct-magick/
Until then, here are a few posts that might help:
Defining “ethereal software,” fairly in depth:
An overview, written a while ago, so it uses my old term “systems” instead of “ethereal software,” but otherwise it’s not bad. (My writing has improved a lot as I’ve blogged, so I’m not happy with anything more than 6 months old, but they’re not bad):
And the linear beginner’s guide to direct magick (again, old but not bad):
Also, have you read the home page? It has pointers to some resources.
Wow! Am I glad this site has found me. I love magick, and have been playing with it for years on and off. I got side tracked by for me a more important question, to know who I really am, what the Absolute Truth is, and what you would call enlightment. But I’m back to magick now :-)
First I want to say how much I love your approach. I love magick, but am not into ritual so much anymore. Your direct method really appeals to me. Much to learn here.
Now about enlightenment. We need a definition of enlightenment before we can see if energywork and magick can get us there. I would define Enlightment as realizing what you truly are. For me this was seeing I am pure consciousness, awareness, emptiness, or just Life itself. I am life being conscious of itself. I am that which experiences. This ‘I’ has no identity, that’s why it is called empty. Realizing this brings a great sense of relief and freedom. Life becomes lighter, easier, since it is seen as a play of consciousness, nothing to loose, nothing to gain.
In my case, after this glimpse of awakening, life just goes on, including the personality with all its quirks and problems, but there is an ongoing adjustment to this new realization of my true identity. To embody and express it, this is an ongoing discovery. The greatest freedom is seeing that the personality does not need to change to realize this. So the whole self-improvement into enlightment idea just falls away.
Thus, It ismy belief that magick and energy work cannot help you realize this accept maybe by accident. (Maybe conscious energy work can help free you from identification with your mind, by becoming aware of energy. Then maybe one can become conscious of that which is conscious of energy. But why not inquire directly into that?) Best way seems to be self-inquiry. Just looking within: what does it feel like to be me? And explore this sense. What has always been here, and has never changed? Has this form? Can I be anything that I can see. Who or what sees this? Can that be seen?
Why do I keep on playing with magick now I don’t feel the need to strive for enlightment? Yep, for fun and curiosity. To explore all this expression of consciousness can offer. To explore self and world. And mostly because I love and can’t help it!
One of the greatest blessings magick has given me up to this point is feeling: feeling into things and people, feeling energy, feeling my body… And all this helps to feel deeply connected and in Love with Life.
O.k. Enough for now, back to studying. Thank you!