My Journey into Direct Magick – The First Question

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I want to share my journey direct magick: How I developed the style* and why I continue to practice it as an adult. Today, I’ll start at the beginning, with the first question that set me on this path.

*Not that I developed the idea of doing magick without rituals. But I developed the form that I talk about on this blog.

I started magick at age 11, feeling energy in trees, interacting with things I thought were spirits (more likely, they’re just images conjured in my brain by absorbing various energies), and generally playing with energy the way many kids do.

A few years later, I asked my first direct magick question: Why are there so many approaches to magick? See, I’d heard about lots of systems of magick. (I didn’t have the words the time, but I was thinking of ritual styles like Thelema, energy healing like Reiki, and so on.) They all accomplish similar things. Why is that? And, while I didn’t ever write it down, this question was coupled with an implicit unease: How is it possible that symbolic actions influence the external world?

Today, I realize these questions also form the basis of Chaos Magick, and probably some other styles. I’m sure they were floating around the AOL* chatrooms on magick in the early 90s. But I was raised in an aggressive atheist family, so I didn’t read anything about magick until college (beyond what I could find on AOL). At the time, I was exploring these questions on my own.

*For you whippersnappers: America Online was how we talked to the internet through our phones. And phones were something with buttons you plugged into the wall. You’d look silly walking around town with a 90s-era phone in your pocket.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already know my answer: Ethereal software, though I called them “systems” at the time. I hypothesized that there were these intelligent forces responding to your rituals and intents, and driving the actual magick. That explained how symbolic actions caused change: There’s an intelligent intermediary, like a computer. It also explained why all these different styles cause similar results: They all run on similar ethereal software.

Today, ethereal software is something I’m quite certain is actually there. I interact with it all the time, use it for magick with verifiable results, and so on. But at the time, it was just a vague speculation: There are these forces that respond to intents and rituals. It worked out well, though, because with such a vague idea, I was able to adjust it to the external world as I gained actual experience with these things. It’s much easier to refine an idea than it is to admit you’re wrong and change course, and I don’t think the teenage me would have been able to do that.

At the end of the day, direct magick grew more from curiosity than from a search for results. Something about magick just didn’t add up, and I started telling stories until it did. (And was lucky enough that the stories were somewhere in the neighborhood of accurate.)

Should you follow that path? Probably not. It took a decade to get useful results, and I could just as easily have fixated on something less useful than ethereal software, or made up a wildly inaccurate story that didn’t map to anything in the external world.

I do think it helps to be more interested in understanding how magick works than in getting useful results right away. I just don’t focus on that because I feel like I’ll get a lot more people interested by talking about impact and growing magick into a mature field than if I talk about exploring how magick works and satisfying your curiosity. But really, I think both are important. Thoughts?

Other posts in this series: If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at

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5 Responses to “My Journey into Direct Magick – The First Question”

  1. f3n1x_hvn732 says:

    That was a good experience story. Now I understand more of how you developed your system.

  2. Good Story. I appreciate learning more of your background. I agree that its useful to learn more about how magic works than just focusing on results.

  3. Thanks guys. I’m still not confident doing this type of writing, so the encouragement is much appreciated.

  4. Zeston says:

    Ethereal software?

    You mean “thoughtforms”?

    Terms. Define them or use others.

    • Polite reader: “I’m having trouble following your terms. Could you point me to a post where you define everything?”

      Me: Sure. There’s actually a link in the left column that says, “New Here? Start here. It explains everything.”

      You can also find that link on my front page, along with a few other useful ones.

      (And deleted Zeston’s other similar comment.)

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