Exploring Mental Muscles – My Journey into Direct Magick

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

By my early 20s, I had mostly developed the concept of ethereal software, learned basic sensory connection techniques, and was starting on energy healing. I didn’t know about mental muscles, though.

Why not? I’d just never asked, “What happens in your mind to make magick work?” Seems like an obvious question, but it just never occurred to me.

At the time — 1999-2002 — I was active on Yahoo groups like real magick and ritual free magick. (Both defunct now, but pretty similar to what you’ll find on today’s forums.) And on ritual free magick, I emailed with a very skilled mage, Steve, who got me looking internally.

When I first started talking with him, I assumed everything he said was contained within my models. Which is natural, I think, especially when you haven’t yet met anyone who’s seen more magick than you have. It took a while to realize that he didn’t do magick by sending instructions to ethereal software, and that the mental muscles* he talked about were different than my ethereal software. But once I saw that, I found a whole other world of magick I hadn’t explored.

*I don’t recall the term he used, or even if he had one. He didn’t formalize things as much as I do, often skipping names for the different parts of magick, and we’ve lost touch in the decade since we emailed.

Steve wasn’t much for step-by-step guides. But once I started thinking about finding my mental muscles, the answer was clear: Make a connection out to something — it wasn’t important what, as long as the connection was stable — then make a connection to that connection and use the second connection to follow the first connection back into my mind. (If I lost you, just read that as, “Do some magick to find your mental muscles.”)

Once I did, I saw how huge our mental muscles are. They’re as complex as any ethereal software I’d explored, and they became the centerpiece of my magick for the next decade. At first, I explored them out of curiosity (you’ll see that happen a lot), but as I started to learn to awaken my mental muscles, then awaken them in larger chunks, I realized a few things:

  • Your mental muscles really do drive your magick. Even if you ultimately rely on ethereal software, it’s your mental muscles that handle getting the instructions to the software.
  • When you first learn a new skill, the mental muscles for that skill awaken. This takes time, and it’s the main reason learning new skills is more tiring than an equivalent amount of practice with old skills.
  • My main bottleneck in learning direct magick was awakening mental muscles. I had to learn to connect power to them and play an active part in awakening them in order to learn most of the techniques I use today.

So, from 2002 until 2011, my main focus was on awakening my mental muscles. Most of that time was practicing and learning to do it; once I learned the final technique, I awakened most of my mental muscles in a month or so. I don’t think I could do the type of direct magick I do now — driving the magick myself, rather than relying on ethereal software — without awakening my mental muscles first.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

My Journey into Direct Magick – The First Question

Monday, April 16th, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I want to share my journey direct magick: How I developed the style* and why I continue to practice it as an adult. Today, I’ll start at the beginning, with the first question that set me on this path.

*Not that I developed the idea of doing magick without rituals. But I developed the form that I talk about on this blog.

I started magick at age 11, feeling energy in trees, interacting with things I thought were spirits (more likely, they’re just images conjured in my brain by absorbing various energies), and generally playing with energy the way many kids do.

A few years later, I asked my first direct magick question: Why are there so many approaches to magick? See, I’d heard about lots of systems of magick. (I didn’t have the words the time, but I was thinking of ritual styles like Thelema, energy healing like Reiki, and so on.) They all accomplish similar things. Why is that? And, while I didn’t ever write it down, this question was coupled with an implicit unease: How is it possible that symbolic actions influence the external world?

Today, I realize these questions also form the basis of Chaos Magick, and probably some other styles. I’m sure they were floating around the AOL* chatrooms on magick in the early 90s. But I was raised in an aggressive atheist family, so I didn’t read anything about magick until college (beyond what I could find on AOL). At the time, I was exploring these questions on my own.

*For you whippersnappers: America Online was how we talked to the internet through our phones. And phones were something with buttons you plugged into the wall. You’d look silly walking around town with a 90s-era phone in your pocket.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already know my answer: Ethereal software, though I called them “systems” at the time. I hypothesized that there were these intelligent forces responding to your rituals and intents, and driving the actual magick. That explained how symbolic actions caused change: There’s an intelligent intermediary, like a computer. It also explained why all these different styles cause similar results: They all run on similar ethereal software.

Today, ethereal software is something I’m quite certain is actually there. I interact with it all the time, use it for magick with verifiable results, and so on. But at the time, it was just a vague speculation: There are these forces that respond to intents and rituals. It worked out well, though, because with such a vague idea, I was able to adjust it to the external world as I gained actual experience with these things. It’s much easier to refine an idea than it is to admit you’re wrong and change course, and I don’t think the teenage me would have been able to do that.

At the end of the day, direct magick grew more from curiosity than from a search for results. Something about magick just didn’t add up, and I started telling stories until it did. (And was lucky enough that the stories were somewhere in the neighborhood of accurate.)

Should you follow that path? Probably not. It took a decade to get useful results, and I could just as easily have fixated on something less useful than ethereal software, or made up a wildly inaccurate story that didn’t map to anything in the external world.

I do think it helps to be more interested in understanding how magick works than in getting useful results right away. I just don’t focus on that because I feel like I’ll get a lot more people interested by talking about impact and growing magick into a mature field than if I talk about exploring how magick works and satisfying your curiosity. But really, I think both are important. Thoughts?

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.