Don’t Learn Thelema. Build Thelema.

by Mike Sententia on June 4, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I recently wrote that the internal changes — awakening mental muscles, learning to command ethereal software, and so on — will happen whether you focus on them or not. Which leads to a natural question:

Why bother focusing on the internal changes?

After all, I have a lot of techniques to awaken mental muscles. It takes time to learn them. Why bother?

The answer: Speed. But it’s not a straight-forward “learn the same magick faster” sort of speed tradeoff.

First, if you want to learn Thelema, or Enochian, or Reiki, or any other single style, skip the direct magick and just practice that style. I have some tips on this blog for learning other styles faster, but really, if you just want one traditional style of magick, direct magick is probably a distraction.

That’s because direct magick isn’t about learning Thelema, or Reiki, or any other style. Direct magick is about building those styles.

I don’t talk about this a lot, because I’m mostly writing about “how to learn direct magick.” When I write about my current work, it’s usually topics that make sense without a deep background in direct magick. And because I worry people won’t take me seriously if I talk about doing what highly-skilled spirits do. And so, I wind up talking about things at the periphery of my work, rather than the core of it.

But the core of my work is this: Learn to do everything that the Reiki ethereal software does, then improve on it. Same with the Enochian ethereal software — I’m training with those spirits to induce awe and visions, and I’m working with other spirits I know to improve the techniques. (In particular, their techniques require the receiver to be initiated, in order to prepare their mind, which limits its usefulness.)

Here, I need to talk about what I mean by “techniques.” When most mages talk about a magick technique, they mean a way of focusing their intent or doing a ritual — in essence, a way of sending instructions to the ethereal software. When I talk about a technique, I mean “doing what the ethereal software does after it receives that instruction.” That is, how it drives the actual changes, rather than how to send an instruction.

Once you develop a better way of driving the actual changes, you have a few options. You can just use the technique yourself, which is what I do with most of my healing techniques. You can work with the spirits who own the ethereal software to reprogram it, forging a strong friendship with them. Or you can program new ethereal software to share with your friends, which I’ve done (with a lot of help from spirits) for my book. (I’ll learn to tie software to a sigil and share it with you soon.)

So, that’s the essence of direct magick: Do magick like the spirits who make the ethereal software.

Which brings me back to the techniques for awakening mental muscles. Doing what the spirits do requires awakening more mental muscles than you need if you only send instructions to ethereal software. Direct magick also requires working with a greater variety of ethereal software — I’ve worked with over 20 different softwares in the past year, while most mages work with one software per style they actively practice. And so, it pays to learn techniques to quickly awaken mental muscles and align to ethereal software, even if you need to invest a few weeks or months in learning those techniques.

Comments

I don’t think I’ve discussed these aspects of my work before. It’s hard to do. I worry about coming off as pompous or over-grand. So, I’m asking for some encouragement if you liked this post, or some feedback if it didn’t work for you. Thanks.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

MrBlack June 4, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Reverse engineering ala magick, agreed.

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Ananael Qaa June 5, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Another point that you should make is that these direct methods make other forms of magick work better. I’ve used direct-type techniques pretty similar to yours for years when working with Thelemic, Golden Dawn, and Enochian magick and they improve how well those systems function substantially, especially where practical operations are concerned. Magick is not an either/or discipline in which you have to either do it directly or work with a system. The most effective and powerful approach in my experience is to combine both styles, and and understanding of direct methods is one of the areas in which I sometimes find traditional practitioners lacking. Such practitioners might be an additional audience for your book, as I certainly think they could benefit from studying your methods.

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Mike Sententia June 6, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Thanks! I know you’re not one for false praise, so if you think they could benefit from my methods, that means a lot.

I’ve tried talking about how my techniques can help ritual magick, but since I don’t do ritual magick, it’s hard for me to speak strongly about it. Could you tell me more about the direct magick you do, and how it helps your other magick? Want to do a guest post?

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Ananael Qaa June 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I don’t know that there’s enough there for a full guest post unless you’re talking about a short one. Here’s what I’m talking about, though.

Ritual/ceremonial magick does not work like fantasy-novel magic. You can’t just say the words and do the external actions for a particular ritual and expect to get anything resembling decent results. I know that over the course of the last five years or so some of the old grimoire practitioners have started making that assertion, but I’ve never seen any evidence suggesting that it’s true. Internal practices are very important to getting the best results, and those correspond pretty closely to the methods you describe for direct magick except that the terminology is a little different.

Energy work practices correspond to your techniques for building “mental muscles.” They include things like breathwork, focusing on specific body energy centers, and so forth. Most of the methods I use for this in my own practice are adapted from Qigong, but similar methods can be found in yogic techniques such as pranayama. The latter was the system Aleister Crowley was most familiar with, so that’s how he generally taught his students this aspect of the work.

The other big one is what Crowley described as “fixed thought,” that is, directing your will and full attention in harmony with your desired magical intent. I would relate that to “mental posture” in your model, and I mentioned in a previous comment the role that symbols play in associating these “postures” or states of consciousness with particular concepts. In effect, you can model just about any ceremonial ritual as a series of states of consciousness that are activated in a particular order combined with a specific intent.

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