Why Does All Magick Produce Similar Results?

by Mike Sententia on May 31, 2013

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This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

In my teens, I found some of Crowley’s books online, read rituals involving Superman in Chaos Magick chatrooms, and heard about invoking spirits. I knew your magick could center around almost anything, from angels to sigils to memes to sex, and later, I’d learn of the four standard models of magick: Spirit, Information, Psychological, and Energy. And I figured, just like there are different recipes for different kinds of cake, there are different magickal systems for different kinds of results.

Except that the different systems all produce roughly the same thing: Lucky coincidences. And for a popular goal like love or wealth, you can find a dozen different techniques that produce nearly identical results.

It’s as if you could mix any five ingredients, bake at any temperature, and still wind up with a pineapple upside down cake. What’s going on?

It can’t be that only one of the systems is correct, because then the others wouldn’t work. (Or at least, wouldn’t work as well).  And it can’t be that all systems are correct, each operating via its own unique mechanism, because what are the chances that all those unique mechanisms would happen to produce the same results? And yet, people clearly do magick in many different ways, skipping steps that other systems say are essential, while getting essentially the same results.

One common explanation is “Belief”: Maybe magick works the way each mage believes it works. If one mage believes he needs to speak Latin, then he does, and if another mage believes she needs to channel a spirit, then she does. (But she doesn’t need to speak Latin.)

There’s some truth to that, but there’s also a problem: Magick doesn’t work in whatever way a mage thinks it does. Genuinely believing you can turn a pistachio nut into gold won’t make you rich anytime soon, and someone who believes their magick is 100x as effective as other mages still gets the same results as everyone else. Beliefs can trigger those same lucky coincidences as other systems, but the question remains: Why does it trigger lucky coincidences and not something else?

Part of the answer: All of these systems share a common underlying mechanism. You can trigger that mechanism with a ritual, or with energy, or with a spirit or information or belief or in other ways. No matter how you trigger it, the underlying mechanism always does roughly the same thing, and produces roughly the same result. And like everything else, from baking to physics to computers, the underlying mechanism works the way it works, whether a person believes in it or not.

(Later in my magick career, I explored energy healing, too. It also has many systems that all produce similar results, and the same reasoning applies. All energy healing probably shares the same mechanism, though that mechanism is probably different than the mechanism for lucky coincidences.)

The real question, of course, is, “What’s that mechanism, and how does it work?” We’ll get there soon, but first, we have two more questions.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stormmer May 31, 2013 at 9:13 PM

I’ve also thought about this. My concept is that the ball or the demon, be them there or not, are mediums to call a method. Further, if I were to make an analogy to java, the method has to be defined firstly, or in most real-life cases, already built and ready to work. One the method was called, and the system was made to work well ( the system can always be reprogrammed), after the method is called, then the subconscious mind does further the programming and explains ‘what’s the target’ ‘how is it going to be done’ and other details that have to exist along with the main method.
That at least is part of my model (which I am way to lazy to start working on a public version; How do you get the motivation to write?).

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Mike Sententia June 1, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Yes, that’s one of my core ideas, too: What the person does is simply insufficient to specify every aspect of how this complex magick works. Something else must be in charge of the details. In general, that’s what I call “ethereal software,” the external forces that mages channel. We’ll get to that in a few chapters.

To write: Start by writing almost every day. At first, I posted once a week, and wrote that post for about an hour a day, 4-5 days a week. Most of that time was editing, which is what really teaches you to write better. After a year, I was comfortable writing, and started writing more (and better) posts. I’d say that’s the first step: Focus on writing stand-alone posts until you can easily write something that you enjoy reading and would want to read out loud to a friend. Once you’re proud of what you write, writing a book is much easier.

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