Magick Anyone Can Feel: First (Bad) Plans

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This series is about my current research project: How to cause a tingling feeling (similar to energy) that even non-mages can feel, using only magick — no telling them to focus on their breathing, their skin, or anything else along those lines.

Today, I want to tell you about the two lines of thought I explored for the first week. They turned out to be duds, but there’s a lot of value in sharing them: If you ever develop your own techniques, you’ll wind up exploring your own dead ends, and seeing some examples will help you recognize them, and hopefully help you keep from getting frustrated. Plus, friends sometimes ask me what it’s like to do direct magick, so I ought to share some of the non-glamorous part.

OK, on to the plans. Remember how mages have these thicker connections between thought layer and nerve cells? My first idea was to have the spirits use energy to give me tingling, while watching what happens closer to nerves. Then we’d try to reproduce what happens in the cells without touching the energy layer.

It seems straight-forward enough, and indeed, this description fits the path I’m currently working. But the problem is, this description fits a lot of other paths, too. It was just too vague — it didn’t even let me make a list of pre-requesite skills, or even figure out exactly what to look at. Do we move one step along the path from energy to cells? Two? Try to affect all of the layers except energy? The plan basically amounted to, “Watch everything, reproduce everything that happens, and hope it works.” Fail.

At the time, I didn’t know exactly why it felt wrong. I certainly hadn’t articulated all that. I just knew it didn’t feel brilliant — that it felt like my only plan, rather than my best plan. I couldn’t see the moving parts, or even see a real path.

Well, what if we go from the opposite direction? Energy intended to numb should work on nerves, even in non-mages. I can do it easily and reliably. What if I adapt it, using different signatures in the same spots in the same nerves, intending to cause sensations instead of taking them away?

I actually gave this a shot. I rounded up the spirits I’m collaborating this, taught them the energy I use for pain, and tested it on a tickling rather than pain. The session was very valuable, because it exposed a lot of things the spirits didn’t know about working with cells. But it yielded no results: I still felt the tickle, possibly because it’s dynamic and moving and changing in time. The spirits took some questions home to explore, and I went back to the drawing board.

The problem was, this plan was better, but it still wasn’t brilliant. And I keep focusing on brilliance because there’s a particular feel to it, where you see the whole problem, and see a path that makes perfect sense with that full picture, but wouldn’t make any sense without it. That’s how my best work feels, and I try to reach that before committing to a plan. Not surprisingly, it sometimes takes a while.

Over the next week, I made two more plans. Or, really, one plan, with a huge refinement. I won’t call it brilliant, but it’s definitely moving in that direction. I’ll share those next post.

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

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