Games, Tarot and Research

by Mike Sententia on September 21, 2012

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

Wrapping up my week catching up on other blogs, we have Rune Soup, Weird Shit Not Bullshit, and Therioshamanism.

Also, I’m heading to Albany, NY next week. If that’s your neck of the woods, drop me a line.

Magic and Games

Gordon of Rune Soup doesn’t educate so much as he prods you into new, interesting ideas. Read the last section of his post (“Magic and the British Museum), then come back.

I’ve often thought that magick needs to be experienced, rather than explained. That no words could substitute for practicing sensory connections and seeing the differences between a healthy knee and an unhealthy knee. That my goal should be to provide exercises so you can produce your own experiences, rather than providing answers.

And that feels somehow related to experiencing magick as a game. I like the idea. (Yes, this is more of a floating idea than a full post, but, well, that’s what Gordon does to me.)

(Full post here.)

The Mechanism of Tarot

I’ve talked about tarot before. Here’s my basic model:

  1. A client asks an open-ended question. Problem is, talking with ethereal software is like talking over a lousy phone line (for most mages), so it’s hard to understand open-ended answers.
  2. So, you create a series of questions. First, randomly deal out some cards. (No magick here.)
  3. But each card has multiple meanings. As you think about each possible meaning, the ethereal software gives you feedback, flagging the best one. This type of multiple-choice communication is much simpler than receiving full sentences.
  4. You turn those multiple-choice answers into a final story for the client.

I’ve had this model for years, but I don’t do tarot personally. So, it was neat to see a tarot reader explain his experience, and see how well it matches that model:

So how to turn a variety of potential interpretations into a single real one? Well, this is what I do all the time when I’m reading the Tarot – every card has a whole set of possible meanings to it, and I have to figure out which of those possible meanings is most accurate and most useful in a particular spread at a particular time. I do this by ‘feel’ – one of the interpretations will ‘feel’ like it fits best with the other cards and with the question I’m considering.

That feel he describes is step 3.

(Full post here.)

The Importance of Quality Research

And a new blog (for me), Therioshamanism, discusses why basic research methodology is important to magick. You already know I agree, so let me just quote his article:

Every shoddily constructed experiment and instrument, every poorly interpreted or deliberately manipulated set of results, every anecdote held up as firm “evidence” across the board–all these things do absolutely nothing to further your cause, and in fact do much to harm it.

[…]

If you are going to claim that you have any authority on anything that involves proving something exists objectively, then you need to be literate in the methods used in proving something exists objectively.

Indeed. (Full article here.)

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

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: