What is Magick?

by Mike Sententia on December 14, 2012

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This is an outdated book chapter. See the latest version here: An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

What is magick? My real answer is, “The study of ethereal muscles, ethereal software, and other magickal structures.” But those are my terms, coined as I explored direct magick. Let’s start with a layman’s definition.

For now, let’s say that magick is “altering the world through thought.” That isn’t 100% accurate: Some magick requires rituals or symbols in addition to thought, as we’ll see midway through this book. And psychic intuitions are part of magick, but they don’t alter the world. So it’s not a perfect definition. But hopefully, it gives you some idea of what we’ll be doing.

Most of the practical magick I see falls into two categories: Manifesting and energy healing. There’s more to magick — we’ll explore spirits, protection, personal growth / enlightenment, and more in these books — but you’ll probably use your magick primarily for manifesting and healing.

Manifesting is about influencing events: You manifest a job, and the HR person happens to be in a good mood when they look at your resume. Or you manifest a relationship, then feel drawn to a particular nightclub, where you hit it off with a new friend. Essentially, creating luck, though it can only do so much — you won’t get a job you’re unqualified for, and reading this book won’t make you win the lottery. Sorry.

(Psychic intuitions are a subtype of manifesting, employing many of the same techniques. We’ll explore psychic intuitions in Book 2.)

Energy healing is about reducing pain and speeding recovery. Examples include Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and other styles of energy healing. They all operate via magickal structures, so I include them in magick, even if their practitioners don’t use the word. Learning magick will help you work with those structures, and help you get better healing results.

We’ll explore both energy healing and manifesting in Part 3 of this book.

I also want to be clear about two things magick isn’t. First, real magick won’t let you throw fireballs, teleport, or turn into a bat. That’s only in movies.

Second, some people underestimate magick, imagining that manifesting equals positive thinking. (“Believe you’ll find a great job, and you’ll keep looking until you do.”) Positive thinking is great, but it’s not magick. Real magick changes the external world, not just your perception of it. And real energy healing does more than placebo, and works even if the client doesn’t believe in energy healing, or doesn’t know you did the healing technique for them.

(What about internal magick for personal growth? We’ll do that, too, though it’s hard to separate placebo from legit magick. See Book 2 for more.)

One more thing: Magick is hard. Anyone who tells you it’s easy is selling positive thinking and placebo, not real magick. Expect to spend a few months becoming a serious beginner, and a few years becoming skilled in one area (like manifesting). It’s worth the effort, but it’s not easy.

Still here? Good. Let’s talk about direct magick.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne December 19, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Real magick changes the external world, not just your perception of it.

This I understand, of course, but what is the difference? Is there a difference between what one perceives and what is Real?

Kinda philosophical question, so its okay if you pass on it.

Love you Mike

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Mike Sententia December 19, 2012 at 9:11 AM

My perceptions affect me. Changing external reality affects everyone. A few examples and ways to think about it:

1. If you have a cold, and I trick myself into believing you are going to feel better tomorrow, I’ll feel happier, but it won’t do anything for you. (Assuming I keep my expectation to myself, so there’s no placebo involved.) Whereas if I alter the external world to cause your cold to go away tomorrow, you’ll actually feel better tomorrow.

2. The scientific method is based around running experiments to bring our beliefs in line with the external world. If you run the experiment, and you’re honest about the results, your perceptions should shift to align with the external world.

3. Another example: If I’m a nurse and ask for psychic intuitions to know when a patient will crash, and it only affects my perceptions, I’ll just become more alert in general. I might know a patient is at risk based on his labs, but I won’t know whether he’s about to crash this minute unless I’m in his room. Whereas if magick affects more than my perceptions, I’ll get alerted when a patient is about to crash, even if I’m in another room and would have no way of knowing.

(Lisa has been running that experiment with her psychic intuitions, by the way, and it’s working well.)

More on the difference between perception and reality: http://lesswrong.com/lw/eqn/the_useful_idea_of_truth/

This is an important distinction for me because non-mages often interpret magick that way: It’s just changing perceptions to trigger placebo, or believing you’ll succeed so you’re more confident, which leads to success. Those are both worth using, but not worth studying the way I do, and certainly don’t require all the ethereal software and mental muscles and all the other parts of my model.

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Yvonne December 19, 2012 at 2:49 PM

No, I don’t really agree that there is such a thing as “external reality” apart from how “external reality” is perceived, but there’s epistemology for ya. It cuts at the distinction you are implying between perception and knowledge.
Interesting but I can’t think of a more pointless thing to argue about when there are magickal healings to be done for others and people outside of/apart from oneself to help. Or are there?

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Mike Sententia December 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Hold on. It sounds like you’re saying that perception = reality. That’s a pretty extreme position. A few questions for you:

Would you say that every person you perceive as trustworthy actually is trustworthy, that is, that your perception of trustworthiness makes them 100% honest and trustworthy?

Would you say that every mushroom that I perceive as safe to eat actually is safe to eat, and therefore, advise me to go out and forage mushrooms?

Would you say that, if I believe I’ll recover from cancer, that belief will actually cure me, and therefore advise me to forgo surgery and chemo? What if I believe I need chemo, but you believe I’ll get better — will your belief cure me? What if I don’t even know about your belief?

(Note: Just a hypothetical. I’m quite healthy.)

We can talk about being unable to touch a reality outside our perceptions, but to say there actually isn’t a reality outside our perceptions is pretty extreme. Is that really what you’re saying?

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Yvonne December 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM

I don’t know Mike like I said this is both a philosophical and epistemological question so I don’t think it is worth arguing for, since ultimately it is subjective. However I think there is an important distinction between perceiving (mushrooms, trustworthy persons) and knowing (belief in/manifesting sickness) that might be examined. But since we now can experience a “reality” without conditions – 4th dimensionally – everything is provisional. But that is just my opinion, me and my quirky New Age claptrap. :)

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