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If “magick” itself is not working with “metaphors” and symbols, then what else is it?
There are two approaches to magick, broadly speaking.
One is to focus on sending your intent to your unconscious, and letting your unconscious work out the details. Since your unconscious works in symbol and metaphor, this style of magick will often work with symbols and metaphors, too.
The other is to focus on what your unconscious does after it gets those instructions — how does it actually cause change in the world — and work to make those processes conscious. This type of magick focuses on energies, connections, magickal structures, sending instructions to ethereal software, and lots of other things I talk about here.
I do the second type of magick. It involves essentially no symbols, and metaphors only come into play when I’m explaining it to other people, like how I consciously chose the terms “mental muscles” and “ethereal software” to conjure the right ideas in the listener. I already had the model based on directly working with those magickal structures, and only then decided what metaphor to use.
It’s hard to move from the first type to the second type. The first type trains you to focus on metaphors and goals, and to make yourself believe an idea it long enough for the magick to work. But this is disastrous for exploring what the unconscious actually does.
The difference is, when you’re just sending instructions to your unconscious, there’s no right answer. Whatever your unconscious responds to is right for you, and so you can pick basically any metaphor or symbol and it will work.
But when you’re talking about what the unconscious actually does to cause the changes in the world, there’s exactly one right answer. It actually does something, and your explanation is accurate in as much as it matches that things your mental muscles actually do.
If you pick a metaphor based on “how natural it sounds” rather than actual observations of how your mind is causing change, chances are the metaphor will be fairly far from what’s actually happening. You would have been better off starting with a blank slate and making observations.
The second half of this post — about how it’s hard to move from metaphors to implementation — was something I hadn’t realized before. I’ll probably come back to it later, but I’m curious to know your thoughts on it. Leave a comment below.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.