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Wow, thanks for all the replies on the ancient magick post. You guys are awesome. For me, the most fascinating part was the range of different explanations:
Ananael compared ancient magick to chemists examining herbal cures for new drugs, where we use ancient knowledge as a starting point for modern research. I think this is a great way to look at it, and several other commenters agreed. But from other writers, it seems mages think ancient magick is worthwhile, beyond as a starting point to modern research. Is there anything to that?
Yvonne and Chirotus Infinitum discussed egrigores:
ancient/older magickal rituals places us in a powerful lineage and allows us to tap huge egregoires if we are aligned correctly.
Someone pointed out that magick hasn’t changed that much, and ancient magick has thousands of years behind it, so you might as well go with what’s been tested.
Michael disagreed, echoing some of my own thoughts:
I never understood people who were into ancient knowledge… It doesn’t make any sense. Our ability to test and separation BS from fact is so much higher now.
Dark Arckana had a neat observation:
the practice of Magik is suffocated from all sides and this affects the course it takes in its development. The purpose of understanding Ancient Magik is to find out what a full Magikal System is like, prior to this stifling constriction.
And Andrew suggested that magick is actually in decline:
Because modern mages are often terrible at things that ancient mages could do easily.
So, first off, I think it’s awesome that we all have such different takes on this, and that I get to read all these ideas that I never would have thought of on my own. (If you haven’t already, read all the comments here.)
Second, reading them all made one thing very clear to me: Modern magick isn’t a mature field yet. If it was, it would blow ancient magick out of the water, in the same way that modern medicine and engineering and everything else do. We’d all be on board with Ananael’s logic (that maybe there’s some seed of an idea in ancient magick), rather than discussing whether there are any benefits to modern magick in the first place.
In other words, smart people study ancient magick not because they’ve been fooled, but because we (the people developing modern magick) haven’t delivered the goods yet.
If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.
Note: There are more great comments on visualization for the blind, along with a great discussion on publishing magick research. Be sure to read both threads.
[…] Sir Michael furthers his comments on ancient magic, and is kind enough to consider many of the various responses (including yours truly): https://magickofthought.com/2012/04/why-study-ancient-magick-part-2/ […]
Yes, you’re absolutely correct that modern magick is not yet a mature field. It’s still operating along proto-scientific lines. There are a number of people like you and I trying to fit it into a more scientific paradigm, but so far it hasn’t reached the “critical mass” point that any science needs to establish a functional knowledge base.
And I also agree that once we manage to develop that knowledge base, we’ll be able to put together a system of modern magick that will clearly work far better than its antecedents. To tell you the truth, I think we’re at the point where in many cases it works better already, it’s just that the difference is not yet as dramatic as I believe it can be.
I work with ancient magick. Ancient magick isn’t just about an old system, it’s using the energy that created the suns, the planets, the solar/planetary winds, etc in your spell work. Not everyone can use these energies very well, or even at all. In order to use ancient magick, you have to have some of that energy within you. When you have more of that energy, you will be able to use them easier, but the less that is within you means you will show little to no results. Ancient magick is very much about your energies. It’s a very free form of magick because you don’t need assistance from people or spirits or even rituals to get results. In a way, it’s a good thing not everyone can use it. There are to many people as it is that are turning away from there purpose to pursue their selfish wants of this world.