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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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