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This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.
In the second question, “What Turns Intent into Change in the World?” we saw that magick requires some external, complex force to handle the details, at least when we’re doing magick quickly for large problems. My term for any of those forces is ethereal software.
I’m not the only one to notice these external forces. Energy healers and psychics channel them for energy and information, calling them “The Universe.” Chaos Magicians call them “egregores,” based on a view that those forces are created and powered by human beliefs. All these terms refer to the same external objects, with different explanations attached.
In my experience, all these forces share some common properties, which lead me to call them “ethereal software”:
- Different forces are specialized for different purposes. I use different forces for energy healing vs psychic information, for example. And different psychic forces specialize in different types of information (say, accidents vs jobs vs medicine), so I’ve been able to help friends develop intuitions about a new type of information by changing which force they were channeling.
- Every one of these forces I’ve encountered recognizes the command, “Connect me to the spirits who made you.” Some of them require the spirits to approve your request, but all of them have it, meaning each force was created (or programmed) by spirits. In my experience, these forces derive their power from (1) the programming these spirits provide, and (2) a power source these spirits provide. Human belief seems irrelevant to this process, and I’ve had great results with forces unrelated to popular memes or ideas.
- With the permission of the spirits who made a particular force, you can change how it responds to your commands. For example, when doing a healing session for a friend with hives, I started by asking for what I wanted: “Heal her hives.” It sent energy to her nerves to reduce the itch signal, which gave poor results. But from modern medicine, we knew the real problem was her immune system becoming over-active and attacking her skin, so we re-programmed the force to also mildly reduce her immune sensitivity*. The re-programmed command worked well, where the original command failed.
So, I call these forces “ethereal software” to suggest that (1) there are multiple pieces of software, and choosing the right piece will give you better results; (2) we can explore and eventually understand how they operate, particularly by talking to the programmers; and (3) we can re-program these forces to improve their effectiveness. Again, suggesting that mages channel external forces is nothing new, I’m just proposing a new metaphor that I find is particularly useful for exploring how those forces act on our instructions to cause change in the world.
Metaphors can also have unintended connotations. A friend thought channeling ethereal software would feel like using Windows, or Excel. It does not. Most of the time, using ethereal software simply feels like thinking, though we will learn to use it consciously so we can refine our techniques and improve our results.
Why doesn’t using this complex force feel like anything? Well, think about what’s required to transmit the thoughts in your brain to this external force. Or, to make it more concrete, think about what would be required to transmit your thoughts to a computer: It would have to monitor your brain’s activity, recognizing which nerves are firing when, and decode that activity into a message. That’s rather complex, and it’s not the kind of thing a new* mage could do themselves, or do quickly. So the external force handles those details, reading your thoughts and dropping its replies into your mind. You just think, and subjectively, it feels like focusing on your intent, and like information simply appears in your thoughts.
*It may sound like no human could do that at all. It turns out, you can create ethereal structures in the brain which simplify this communication process, so you can guide it yourself, improving the detail of your communication. We won’t get to that in this Initiation, but we will cover some techniques you can use to improve your software’s ability to communicate with you in this book and the next one.
We’ll use ethereal software extensively throughout this Initiation, and in Part 2, I’ll show you how to connect to a piece of ethereal software I designed for this book.
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