You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.
For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about where I am with magick, what I have to offer students and other mages, and how to focus my book. I’m writing this post as I figure that out.
This will be an introspective post. If you came for “how to do magick,” maybe skip this one. And for readers waiting on a book update, I started back on the book, then realized I had to sort this out first.
What Prompted This
A few recent events are on my mind. Mostly, seeing how I’d skipped a bunch of important techniques with communication, which means I’ve probably skipped a bunch of important techniques in other areas, too. It made me realize how much I still have left to learn.
(By the way, my current project is to review everything, training in techniques starting with level 1, and working my way up.)
Also, I’ve gotten some comments and emails lately asking perfectly fair questions about testing and confidence that I can’t answer. Which has made me realize that I’m trying to come off as farther along in developing this style of magick than I actually am.
Where I Am
I generally feel skilled at magick. You already know a lot of my results, from awakening mental muscles to healing techniques for people with chronic problems to shielding and fighting. But those results aren’t what makes me feel skilled.
Really, I feel skilled because I’ve developed the foundations of a better model for magick. Sure, the idea that there are parts of your mind that drive magick is kind of obvious, but I haven’t see anyone else with techniques for finding and awakening them. And the idea that mages channel external forces is wide-spread, but I haven’t seen anyone else talk about how those forces choose who to allow in, or how to trick them into allowing you in, too. And everyone talks about connections and energy signatures, but I haven’t seen anyone else talk about the scale of a signature and how you can use that to bypass shielding.
Each of those details lead to a useful technique. Often, several techniques. But beyond that, each detail lets me explore more aspects of magick and build a better model on top of it. That’s really what I’m most excited about: The model doesn’t just predict useful techniques. It gives you the tools to improve the model itself, too.
But now, I’m realizing how much further there is to go to make a mature system of magick.
Foundations vs Mature System
This is what I’m realizing: I have the foundation of a system of magick, but I don’t have the system yet.
(The foundations are the model, along with my skills — awakening mental muscles and sensory connections and so on — plus the mental muscles I have awake, the spirits I can call on, and the ethereal software I have access to.)
Those foundations let me figure out useful techniques when I need them. It usually takes a few days or a few weeks to get everything working. And I’m quite pleased with the results. But a mature system of magick would have recipes worked out for those techniques, and would have a list of the pre-requesite skills they require, so newcomers can plan their own path.
And while the results are generally good, they’re all case studies. Partly, that’s because I don’t have the time or funding to devote to proper randomized testing. But largely, it’s because I can’t just repeat the technique, step for step, on another person and expect it to work. I’d need to debug each technique for each new client. Do that a few dozen times, and I’ll have a mature technique with contingencies and a decision tree to make it work on most people. That’s what a mature style would have, and it’s something that requires a lot more people working at it, recording their techniques and variations and results. And having those mature techniques, along with the other mages pitching in, makes it much more feasible to do a properly randomized trial.
The third thing a mature style of magick would have? A path to learn it. That’s something I’m making as I write the books, but it, too, is not there yet.
These all fit together: I have readers already interested in the book, eager to learn direct magick and try it for themselves, and give me feedback so I can refine the path to learn it. And some of those readers will decide it’s a good match for them, and eventually develop their own techniques and collaborate on research. It’s all in the works, and seeing the path ahead helps me know what projects to lean into the most. (Answer: The book. Still planning to have it out toward the end of the year.)
So, the summary: I have a good foundation for a new, better style of magick, and we’re growing a community that can support that style. But the style itself isn’t mature yet.
Which brings us to, “What do I have to offer right now?”
What I Have to Offer
As I read your comments and emails, and as I returned to writing my book, I realized I’ve been trying to offer a mature style of magick. Because that’s what I imagine people want: Solutions to problems, like energy healing, chasing away a malicious spirit, and so on.
And yet, that’s not entirely a match for what I have to offer. At its heart, direct magick isn’t about solving those problems any more than science is about making computers and airplanes and other technologies. Those technologies are a byproduct of science, and the useful magick techniques are a byproduct of developing the skills and models and insights of direct magick.
At its heart, direct magick is about exploring the inner-workings of magick. It’s about satisfying curiosity, and about seeing how magick works for yourself. And I think that’s where I’m falling the most short: I’ve been trying to tell you my model, rather than giving you the tools to see magick works for yourself, then discussing our shared experiences and models.
That’s the book I really want to write: The guided tour, a series of exercises for you to try and things for you to experience, so we can build up a common vocabulary and common set of skills to explore magick further. I’ve thought about writing it before, but it’s hard to write, and it doesn’t sound like the authoritative voice I somehow expect from books, so I’ve always shied away. But I think it will be a much better book, and more appealing to my real audience: People wanting to explore magick, rather than people looking for an established path through a mature style.
(Expect a similar re-focusing of this blog coming up, with some new introductory pages too.)
Thoughts?If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.
Tags: Introspection, PersonalStory, Writing
This is the ‘wisest’ thing you have put up in months. Will be interesting to see how this lotus unfolds.
Right now you’re at the Benjamin Franklin we know lightning is the same as the stuff we can store in Leyden jars point of magick. So stop beating yourself up. Laying foundations takes time :D
I like that way of looking at it. Thanks for the encouragement.
Is it a book on magick or a book on a (new) kind of science? “The book of experiments that you kiddies can do at home for fun, self-help and profit,” that kind of thing. Only it’s for adults.
When I was a freelance editor in grad school they could never figure out how to market these kind of books so as to maximize and target interest and hence, profit…
Indeed. That’s part of why I’m self-publishing: My goal is not to maximize sales, but rather, to connect with people who want to explore magick in this way, so as to build up a working group of direct magick researchers. So, I’d say, it’s a book on exploring magick in the way we explore other sciences, keeping in mind that magick is in the very early stages so we don’t have proper instruments or rigorous methods yet.
It sounds like the right approach. And glad to hear this definition of what you want to produce:
“The guided tour, a series of exercises for you to try and things for you to experience, so we can build up a common vocabulary and common set of skills to explore magick further”
That’s definitely what I need to be able to progress with this. Though – I wondered if you still think someone who is not that experienced (i.e me) can really learn through this ‘exploratory’ and experimental method rather than completing some ‘schooling’ in a mature and established method first. I know you didn’t do this but yourself admit this was actually a ‘long-cut’ not a shortcut.
Do you still consider that someone can learn an established style AND direct magic simultaneously (assuming they actually have the time)? Some people argue this kind of thing can confuse a neophyte. I also sometimes feel that trying to focus both on ‘getting things done/getting some results under your belt’ and ‘pure exploration’ can be conflicting for beginner/neophyte- rather like trying to create innovative poetry whilst still learning the alphabet.
Thanks! And I still intend to make this accessible to beginners — I’ll still start with how to connect to ethereal software, then how to command it, how to use it to awaken mental muscles, and so on. The way I present the exercises will change, but I’m not cutting exercises out.
Let me think about learning direct magick along with another style. I’ll probably do a post on it, see what everyone else thinks too. Should come out next week.
My answer is here: https://magickofthought.com/2012/10/learning-direct-magick-alongside-another-style/