Should Direct Magick Have a Self-Initiation?

by Mike Sententia on November 2, 2012

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As I return to writing my book, I’m having trouble with the overall arc of it. Sure, writing one chapter is easy — that’s roughly like writing a blog post, then editing it a bit more. But it’s just not coming together. And so, I’m writing this post to figure it out.

So far, I know that I want the book to be more of a guided tour through direct magick, rather than a straight path to learning as quickly as possible. Also, readers should expect to do something useful fairly quickly, which means we need to start with ethereal software, rather than fully-direct magick.

In my old outline version, Part 1 of the book was a quick explanation of my model. I think that’s important: It’s a much better tour if you have some idea of what you’re seeing, and of how that fits into the overall picture. I’ll probably update the current Part 1 to make it more tour-ish, but most of the content will stay the same.

I see several paths for the rest of the book, and I keep writing a bit for one, then deciding another path is better, swapping, and making zero progress.

I could do a self-initiation: Connect to some ethereal software, use it to awaken your mental muscles, and learn a mental posture. Really, that has to come next no matter what I do with the book. I guess that problem is that “self-initiation” somehow doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because I don’t generally like initiations — I’m not much of a joiner, and I dislike rituals. Or maybe it feels like unnecessary packaging around some fairly rudimentary magick. And yet… It feels like a nice presentation, a way to let you know what’s going on, and a way to add some ritual around a style of magick sorely lacking in even the tribe-building, bonding sort of ritual.

Let me ask you, dear readers: Is anyone else turned off by initiations?

So, Part 2 will cover connecting to ethereal software, issuing basic commands, awakening mental muscles, and basic mental posture. Maybe I call it an initiation, maybe not. But let’s consider Part 3 for a moment. I see two options:

  • Basic commands for this ethereal software, like “Heal this person.”
  • Or we can continue the tour, teaching about sensory connections, energy signatures and the like.

And, as I wrote those options, I realized what I should do: Pick a command, then give you a tour of the bits and techniques you’ll need to use that command properly. “Heal this person” is a simple command. Asking for psychic intuitions, visions of angels, and other things will take more knowledge and more skills. And so, I’ll just organize those commands from simple to complex, explain as many of them as make sense for Book 1, and then put the rest in Book 2. (Book 3 is about fully-direct magick, driven primarily from your mental muscles, rather than driven by ethereal software.)

Like or dislike initiations? Other thoughts? Leave ’em below.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ona November 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Love ’em. But you know me.

I think self-initiation can be framed as a way of committing to a project with strong intention. It marks an undertaking as something serious, rather than some weekend dabbling or fooling around.

I’m the sort of person who likes determined commitment and immersion in things. I’ve gone through multiple initiations in various traditions – some quite uncomfortable – and for me they mark a big difference between “oh, this is kind of cool, maybe I’ll fool around with it” versus “I hereby commit my life, soul and heart to this work, until it is done.” Diddling around with things is fine, if that’s what you want. But you get out of things what you put in. If you really want to change or grow, “grab the bull by the nuts” as they say in Brazil.

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wsa November 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I agree with Ona. I think a transmission or initiation is almost necessary in esoteric arts. I might go further and say that even if one is currently just dabbling, a transmission/initiation can percolate in the background and draw one towards committed practice at a future time.

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Simon November 3, 2012 at 3:44 AM

Perhaps the question should be what is an ‘initiate’. One of the most straightforward definitions i’ve heard is ‘it means you’ve started something’. The broader definition i’ve learnt is you’ve gone past the neophyte stage of experimenting and fumbling around with things and have, at least, for a serious period of time, committed to pursuing one approach/tradition. There’s some differences between those definitions but I don’t have a problem with your books being about either of them.

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mrblack November 4, 2012 at 1:03 AM

the problem w/ initiations is really the people that comes w/ it and the certain expectations that comes out of it.

when people think initiation, they normally stereotype it with some sort of “super” power up of some sort but most of the time, it’s as simple as learning a breathing technique or an energy exercise of some sort.

technically, by you publishing you techniques for ethereal software – you are already “initiating” people into your technique/tradition.

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Ananael Qaa November 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

To me it depends on what you mean by initiation. If you’re talking about it in terms of a “tribe-building, bonding sort of ritual” then I think there’s little point.

Tribal markers are a hindrance to performing effective magick, and I say that as Mason and an OTO initiate – so I would say that I’m much more of a “joiner” than you are. Now, in fact, I enjoy initiation rituals very much because the ones I’ve taken have enhanced my perspective and abilities in terms of real magical work, even the Masonic ones that aren’t exactly explicitly magical. But if they hadn’t done that, I would have most likely concluded that they were of little value.

So as I see it whether or not you include any initiatory material depends a lot on what you’re hoping your students get out of such ritual work. To me it sounds like direct magick is fundamentally a fairly asocial system. You’re trying to break everything down into its component parts and jettison everything that doesn’t work – and the social bits are just conventions, not technology. In my experience they get in the way.

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Mike Sententia November 7, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. This is most helpful.

I’ve decided a few things:

-The book as a whole will be an initiation into direct magick. Not one ritual, but the act of undertaking the exercises in the book, working through them, and devoting a few months to it sounds like an initiation to me. And I think framing it like that will help people connect and get into the right headspace.

-I’m not creating any particular initiation ritual. At the end of the day, I need to create the style of magick I would want to practice, which means focusing exclusively on techniques that do magick, rather than ceremony surrounding them. (Thanks for the nudge, Ananael.)

Again, thanks for the feedback. I’m lucky to have all of you helping out.

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