Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Stronger Than Fear

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

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At a friend’s shabbat dinner, we wrote short pieces inspired by snippets of old testament. Mine, predictably, discussed discovery and resistance. I hope you enjoy them.

The Climb is Too Far

And yet, we climb. Discovering gravity, and how the force binding us to the earth is also what binds the earth to the sun. Discovering that we are made of cells, and diseases are made of cells, and how, through that knowledge, we can make the sick whole again. Discovering that, through discovery, we can walk on the moon, communicate across the earth, and perhaps someday create immortality.

The climb is too far. And yet, together, we have already come farther than the shepherds of ancient times could have foreseen. Never doubt the power of human curiosity.

(The phrase was from a story of Moses on Mount Sinai.)

Stronger Than Fear

Fear of failure, of what that failure will tell us about ourselves, our futures, of how it will nourish our shadows and doubts.

Fear of success, of even larger goals next time, of having nowhere to hide from the dreams that truly intimidate us.

Fear of working on the worthless, while our true mission withers, and never knowing which is which.

Stronger than fear. We can’t be stronger every day. But the days we are, those are the days that matter.

(The phrase was from a song about Ruth.)

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Recipes and Insights

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

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You can view magick as recipes. Do this ritual for energy healing. Use this visualization for money. Do this, produce that.

Or you can view magick as insights. When I engage this part of my mind, my thoughts create luck. When I create energy that feels like healthy tissue, and send it to this part of the ethereal body, it reduces pain.

Both are useful. Recipes are easier to communicate and faster to learn. Insights let you develop new solutions to unsolved problems. As a magick community, we need both.

But it’s important to know which you’re learning, and which you’re teaching.

That’s on my mind as I continue with my book.

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Book Update

Monday, October 6th, 2014

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Last weekend, a dear friend was ordained into the Church of All Worlds. I attended the conclave, had many interesting conversations but little time for writing. But I hope to get back to the book soon.

Explaining Direct Magick this this weekend, I realized that Book 1 needs a bit more content. Here’s the new plan:

  • Introduction – Already Exists
  • Magick Quickstart Guide – Mostly Done
  • Easy Magick – Commands for the ethereal software to do manifesting, energy healing, and protection. This is the currently-planned Part 3. Useful, but not intellectually all that interesting.
  • Exploring Direct Magick – New! The first technique for sensory connections, then using it to find your ethereal muscles. Basically, a tour of all the parts we talk about. The focus is on intellectually interesting exploration, rather than practical techniques, but it lets us get into the essence of Direct Magick, which I think will be valuable.

Chapters will resume next Monday (hopefully).

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Still Writing

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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It’s striking, how writing a book and exploring magick use the same sort of thinking. I have to load the whole problem into my mind, and the most obvious answer is rarely the best.

Which is to say, I didn’t quite get there today. Updates to the next chapter coming next week. Then we’re on to new content.

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Another Chapter Update

Monday, August 11th, 2014

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Finishing out the chapter on Using Ethereal Software, we have a new section on Disconnecting. As before, the real updates are in the asides. Enjoy!

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Sharing Your Voice

Friday, February 14th, 2014

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Every February, I remind you that you, yes you, have unique and wonderful things to share about magick. Your experiences can help others learn and find connection to fellow human beings. Even if you’re a novice, start a blog and share your journey.

I do this in February because it’s my blog-aversary. I started Magick of Thought in February 2010. My writing was awful, no one read it, and that was OK. Write. You’ll get better.

Blogging has taught me to explain magick. Four years ago I was tentative and nervous telling friends about my interest. Now, I’ve done it dozens of times by text, with space to ponder and revise, and it’s easy.

Blogging has made me a better teacher. Today, I wrote the chapter on energy meditations, and included a section on non-visual approaches because your emails and comments taught me that not everyone visualizes.

This year, blogging helped me find my audience. It’s people who know that magick is more complex than intent, that if energy can help pain it can do amazing things, and who immediately distrust anything labeled a natural law because curiosity-stoppers are inherently bad. It’s people who want to figure out how magick works, not because it lets you do useful things (although it does), but because they can’t tolerate not understanding.

These days, when I write, I picture myself at 17, with a vague concept of ethereal software and poor control of energy and connections. It’s letting me write what I want to write, even more than when I started blogging and had zero readers.

Finding my audience and my voice have been wonderful. And I hope you’ll start writing and blogging too, find your voice, and share it with your audience.

Last years’ post (with good resources).

Got a magick-related blog? Tell us about it and leave a link in the comments of this post.

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Pondering, What is Direct Magick?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

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I don’t have a good definition of “direct magick” anymore. This post is me organizing my thoughts about it. If you came for posts on magick techniques, feel free to skip this one.

Initially, direct magick meant “doing magick with your ethereal muscles, without using ethereal software.” To me, it still does, more or less. And yet…

And yet, as far as I can see, manifesting requires using ethereal software. It’s just too complex to hold in your head. But I do lots of manifesting, and I certainly want to include it in my system of magick.

So I fudged the definition. It’s still direct magick if you use your ethereal muscles to prepare the message that you send to the software.

Then I added psychic info to my practice. Which requires letting the ethereal software handle the communication, since I can’t handle communication myself while I’m distracted. So, that definition is sunk.

(Also, I can’t concisely explain why handling the communication yourself is desirable. I so it because (1) it lets me work with lots of different ethereal software, and (2) I want to understand the mechanisms of magick, and the way I do that is to step through those mechanisms myself. But I don’t see those reasons having a broad, visceral appeal in the way that “simplified magick without rituals” does.)

Maybe there’s some other essence of direct magick. I’m driven by curiosity. How does magick work? And I have faith that answering that (well enough to build it myself) leads to good things, like better healing techniques.

I want to connect with the curious. They’re the ones who will push magick to be more than it is right now, same as with all the other sciences.

But I’m not sure that’s the right introduction to my system of magick. Reading through Part 1 of the Initiation, and thinking about the rest of the book, I realize there are two separate things I’ve been calling direct magick:

  • The explorations I do, into how ethereal software implements commands, how to do magick with just your ethereal muscles, and so on. This is what I mostly think of as “direct magick.”
  • A streamlined approach to software-based magick. That is, doing what everyone else does — sending requests to ethereal software, hoping it can do the manifesting or energy healing — but done without ritual or religion.

I haven’t really distinguished between the two, but I probably should. The first is not at all beginner-friendly — it takes years to be able to produce useful results without relying on ethereal software, and unless you are deeply curious or quite intent on pushing magick beyond what it can do already, the payoff isn’t worth it. Certainly, it’s not worth it on my say-so, it’s only worth it if you can see for yourself that I’m on to something.

I’m realizing, Book 1 should be that simplified method of doing standard magick, sending instructions to ethereal software. A product of the models I’ve developed, but usable without understanding those models yourself. I’m going to keep that in mind as I write Part 2, keep it shorter, with fewer tangents, more open questions rather than fully-explored ideas. Then later, I’ll go back to Part 1 and shorten it too. And I’ll move the foundational questions to the Conclusion, after readers have learned to do magick, when they’re ready to move on to exploring how that magick works under the hood.  Readers who find those questions compelling can move on to Book 2; readers that just want to learn basic magick can stop, not worry about why it works, and just do the manifesting and energy healing that the software is programmed to do (which will hopefully improve with time, as more people read Books 2 and 3 and program in new techniques).

I’m pondering terms. One term for the streamlined magick, another for building new techniques? Just call it all direct magick? What do you think?

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3 Tips for Picking Good Terms

Monday, June 10th, 2013

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If you develop your own system of magick, you’ll need to pick your own terms. Especially if you want to share your system with other people. I’m no expert at picking terms, but I’ve done it a few times, and I have a few tips.

(Just want the tips? Skip to the bullets at the bottom.)

I think in words. My first terms were for myself, so I could take notes and remember my techniques. I’d notice that mages channel forces, and I’d give those forces a name, not for anyone else, but just for myself.

At first, the names won’t matter. Sure, you can hinder yourself with a bad name, like calling the force you channel, “The Universe,” then feeling awed and never thinking to ask how it operates or if you can reprogram it. Or you might pick a metaphor, like “talking to cells,” that glosses over much of the complexity involved in magick, and never think to ask how your intent turns into the chemicals that cells understand.

But as long as you choose empty, non-curiosity-squelching names and metaphors, you can’t go too wrong if you’re just writing for yourself.

When I started writing for other people, though, terms became important. Bad terms mislead readers with a connotation, or confused readers by being too empty, by not evoking the metaphor enough. A reader might think a term corresponds to a concept they already know, not realizing you intended an entirely different metaphor

A few examples:

What I now call “ethereal software,” I used to call “systems.” Everyone confused “systems you channel” with “systems of magick.” It was bad.

What I now call “ethereal muscles” (yes, I’m making that renaming official), I originally called “mental areas.” It was too empty, readers had to simply memorize the meaning, and I constantly had to re-define it each post for fear that no one remembered the term.

I briefly called them “magick muscles,” which makes sense if you know the metaphor, but sounds gimmicky if you don’t.

Then I went to “mental muscles,” which evoked other mental functions like reasoning and willpower. Readers thought they knew what I meant, but really, the words conjured up the wrong concepts in listeners. (Also, every time I’d talk about non-mages having atrophied mental muscles, I’d have to make clear I was just talking about magick, not about those other mental abilities.)

I’m no expert at picking names, but I’ve done it several times now. So, a few tips for anyone building their own system:

  • Metaphors are good. “Mental muscles” is better than “mental areas,” “ethereal software” is better than “systems.” I start with the metaphor (muscles, software), and let the terms come from there.
  • If you have to clarify your metaphor in beginner material, you have a bad metaphor. When I say that “Non-mages have atrophied mental muscles,” then need to clarify that I don’t mean reasoning and willpower, that’s a sign that my metaphor doesn’t quite align to the term.
  • Repeated words are good. They make sentences seem natural. “Engage your ethereal muscles to talk to ethereal software” just sounds obvious. “Engage your mental muscles to talk to ethereal software” isn’t bad, but it isn’t obvious either. And obvious is good — it means your terms shape the listener’s thoughts to naturally realize what you want to teach them.
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Ethereal Muscles

Friday, June 7th, 2013

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Does the term “mental muscles” make you think of a part of the brain?

I was explaining my research into erotic energy last night, and a friend told me she thought “mental muscles” were part of the brain. The word “mental” suggested it: Mental = mind, and mind = brain, at least for her. But when I say “mental muscles,” I mean magickal structures that connect to the brain, but are not themselves part of the brain. They don’t take up space, and you can’t point to them on an MRI. So, something quite different than the concept that my term, “mental muscles,” conjured up in her mind.

I can see where she’s coming from, and I’d like my terms to conjure up the right concept for as many people as possible. She suggested “astral muscles” or “spirit muscles,” and I’m thinking of the term “ethereal muscles.” First, “ethereal” isn’t tied to one particular school of thought, and second, it sounds natural to say, “You engage your ethereal muscles to send a message to ethereal software.” And, since I’m still working on my book, now is a good time to get my terms straight.

But I want to hear from you, dear readers. Does the term “mental muscles” make you think of a part of the brain? And how do you react to “ethereal muscles” and the other terms?


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Why I’m Surprised that Different Systems Produce Similar Results

Friday, May 24th, 2013

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I’m writing a chapter for my book, exploring the first big question that lead me to direct magick:

“Different systems of magick have different, conflicting explanations of how magick works and how to do it, but most systems produce similar results. Why?”

I want to explain why this is surprising, and why it matters. And yet, it’s obvious to me why this is surprising, and it’s probably obvious to some of you, so I want to explain it quickly. But it’s just not coming out right.

So, I’m going to explore this for a post, and at the end of it, hopefully I’ll have my one-paragraph explanation.

First, why this is surprising.

If the world actually were how people say the world is — if people who say they’re asking a God for help actually were getting help from a God, and people who said they were channeling a universal energy actually were, and people who say you need a gold ring to do this ritual and a silver ring to do that ritual were actually right — we’d expect all those styles to produce radically different results. We’d expect that healing from a God would work differently than healing techniques from a person, and that the person building energy and sending out their intent (but not wearing the right type of ring) would produce different results than someone doing the ritual.

And yet, that’s the wrong approach to take for my book. First, because some of those styles actually do produce different results — in the 90s, everyone tried rituals to Superman and other culturally-popular archetypes, found they didn’t work as well as traditional rituals, and realized that magick isn’t actually about channeling popular memes. So, different styles do produce different results, just not in the way we’d expect them to if the explanations provided by any particular style were the way the world actually works. But that’s a much longer chain of logic to follow.

But second, and more importantly, because the real point is that there must be some singular, underlying set of mechanics that all these styles draw on. At a fundamental level, all this magick must be doing the same thing. That’s the step that’s obvious to me, but that I feel I should walk readers through.

If magick worked by many mechanisms — if Gods did fundamentally different magick than people, and if doing a ritual with the proper implements invoked fundamentally different forces than simply building energy and focusing on your intent — we’d expect those fundamentally different mechanisms to produce fundamentally different results.

And if any of the existing explanations for magick were accurate, we’d expect the other approaches to either fail, or turn out to be doing the same thing with different terms. But neither of those is the case.

When many different inputs produce the same output, that tells me that they’re all doing the same thing under the hood. And that mechanism is probably not what any of the inputs say it is, otherwise that one true approach would produce significantly better results, and before long, everyone would be using it.

Back to writing the book, I think those last three paragraphs serve as a good first draft for this idea. Thoughts?

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