How I Develop New Techniques

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

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Last week, we talked about building new, unintuitive techniques based on substeps our mental muscles already know how to do. Today, I want to talk about how I build those techniques, and answer Barracuda Surf’s question:

Maybe some steps come naturally to you but they may not for everyone. I would enjoy “baby steps for dummies” explanations to try to put in practice and tests your models/theories.

I like this quote because it illustrates the difference between the way I actually develop new techniques, and the way I explained it. Barracuda seems to want a list of all the substeps I use for energy healing, so he can step through the technique and get the same results. But I can’t do that.

The first issue is scale: Energy healing has around 10 steps, starting with finding energy of the injured tissue, which has roughly 10 substeps (connect to various tissues, read signatures, and so on). Each of those has around 10 substeps (making a network of connections to scan an area, quieting those connections so you can sense the energy, etc), and so on. Depending on how basic you want to get, you wind up with 1000 or more steps, and it’s no longer practical to write down, or even use.

But that’s not even the real reason. The real reason is, I can only learn one new technique at the time. Before I could even think about finding the energy of the injured tissue, I had to learn sensory connections. Not just read the series or memorize the steps of the procedure — I had to practice until it became easy and automatic, because otherwise, I would have far too much to keep track of as I did the healing technique.

That series has 5 sets of exercises. The first builds on baby steps, more or less. The 2nd builds on the 1st, and the 3rd builds on the 2nd, and so on. In other words, by the time we use sensory connections, we’re already 5 levels above baby steps. And energy healing builds another 1-2 levels on top of that. It’s just impractical to learn it all at once, and no one would want to read that post.

Very little of direct magick is intuitive at first. At least, that was my experience of it. Most of the techniques I talk about have to be developed, not simply visualized. Knowing the right technique helps, and that’s what I try to give you in this blog and in my books, but each mage still has to practice the techniques until their mental muscles grasp them, one at a time, from baby steps up to useful magick.

Wow, that post was kind of a bummer, huh? All work and no play. Here’s the good news: Magick based on ethereal software is much simpler. I can step you through it in about 150 pages, starting from baby steps. In fact, I’m already writing that book. Look for it around the end of the year, and look for new excerpts to start posting later this week.

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The 3 Ways I Direct My Mental Muscles

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

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Last time we discussed visualization and why I don’t use it, I talked about asking my mental muscles to do this and directing them to do that. Today, let’s wrap up this series by discussing my 3 approaches to asking and directing my mental muscles: Words, diagrams, and (when I’m sloppy) visualizations.


To connect to Lisa, I’ll think the words, “connect to Lisa,” while thinking of the feel of her energy signature. (If you’ve never thought of a signature, think of it like remembering the scent of a flower: Hard to put into words, but clear in your memory.) Words are great for common, simple tasks, particularly:

  • Tasks I’ve done a million times that require zero focus, like connecting to people and ethereal software.
  • Tasks my mental muscles simply know how to do, like checking my shielding for openings. If the mental muscles know how to do something better than my conscious mind does, I don’t even bother trying to guide the details.
  • When communicating with spirits and ethereal software, I think the messages in words.

Remember, the magick isn’t in the words, and there’s nothing special about the phrases I use. The magick is in engaging your mental muscles. I just use words to communicate my intent to them.

So, words are great for simple or heavily-practiced tasks. But for more complex or detailed work, I need something more expressive: Diagrams.


Last time, I talked about taking a small step, then listening to my mental muscles to see how that step changed the external world. I often “see the change” as a diagram, showing me the paths, signatures, and other magickal forms my mental muscles are working with. And I can then use that diagram as I direct the next step.

For example, when I do energy healing, I’ll engage my mental muscles for physical effects, then touch the person, think about wanting to see the energy of their tissues, and receive a diagram of the tissues, from skin to muscle to tendons to bone, each with a different feel to denote healthy vs inflamed vs another energy signature. I’ll then use this diagram for the rest of the healing session, with my mental muscles updating it as I go.

To zoom in on a particular tissue, I focus on that tissue in the diagram. There are no words involved, just focus. If I had to explain the feeling, it’s a bit like mentally double-clicking on the diagram.

To do the healing technique, I might think the words, “What signature would you recommend for this tissue?” while focusing on the tissue in the diagram. My mental muscles would zoom in on the tissue, and show me which signatures are applied to which spots. As I focus on each spot, I can feel the signature, and I can adjust it based on that feel, or move some signatures to different spots. Then I approve the signature, and the healing energy starts. Depending on the situation, there are a lot of different techniques from here, but it’s all the same pattern: My mental muscles show me a diagram, which I manipulate to guide the magick.

Why Diagrams Aren’t Visualizations

Aren’t diagrams just images in my head? How are they different than visualizations? Simple: Diagrams correspond to magickal forms in the external world, and visualizations don’t.

Visualizations come from your imagination, based on symbols and correspondences and abstractions. You create the visualization before you do any magick, and often use the same visualization for multiple healing sessions with multiple people (or doing other similar-but-not-identical-magick). So, the visualization is unlikely to correspond to the actual forms your mental muscles are manipulating. It’s a single, static image, designed to convey your overall intent — visualizations aren’t a dynamic feedback mechanism.

But a diagram comes from the external world. After your mental muscles connect to the thing you’re magicking (that’s a word, right?), they create a diagram representing the specific forms in the external world. Every line in the diagram corresponds to an actual connection, and every region corresponds to an actual signature. You can select individual connections in the diagram, and it’ll correspond to an individual connection in the external world. And you can adjust a signature in a diagram, and your mental muscles can translate that into a specific change to a single signature in the external world.

A visualization is like sitting in a room with the blinds closed, trying to draw a map of a city you’ve never seen. A diagram is like walking the streets, and drawing a map as you go.

Another analogy: Imagine you’re a doctor, using a surgical robot. A diagram is like the live feed from the robot’s camera, showing you what the robot actually sees, minute by minute, giving feedback on each action you take. In contrast, a visualization would be like a single, unchanging image of the robot doing some surgery on another patient.


But despite all this, I do occasionally use visualizations. And each time, I’m reminded why I avoid them.

Recently, for a healing session for a friend with PTSD, I had to break some connections, then prevent the connections from re-forming by locking the paths those connections followed. (Imagine wires going through a pipe — the wires are the connections, and the pipe is the path.) I went through three visualizations:

  • Symbolic: I imagined a padlock on each path. This felt fine, but then I checked the results with another diagram, and saw that it didn’t work.
  • Literal (but inaccurate): I imagined a glowing band tied around each path, which also didn’t work. I realized, it guided my mental muscles to try to add something to the paths to seal them, which is the wrong way to do it.
  • Literal (and accurate): I used the wire-in-a-pipe image, and imagined twisting the wires inside the pipe, so they couldn’t reconnect. This worked well.

That wire-pipe visualization came from work on connections in 2003. It corresponds well to how paths and connections actually work, so it works well for directing my mental muscles. But it would have been much simpler to just use the diagram, rather than messing around with visualizations.

So why did bother with visualizations? It wasn’t a conscious choice. I was focusing on finding all the paths that needed to be locked, and “lock the connection” sounded so simple that I barely thought about it. But if I had, I would have used a diagram, found the right solution faster, and maybe even locked the paths more thoroughly than I did.


That’s the end of the series. Leave any questions / thoughts / other comments below.

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What I Do Instead of Visualization

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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So far, we’ve talked about why I don’t use visualization in magick. Today, let’s talk about what I do instead.

First, I engage my mental muscles using mental posture. Then I connect to whatever ethereal software I want to use, based on its name. (The first time I encounter ethereal software, I name it, and to go back there, I just think the name while engaging the mental muscles for communication). I know the steps my mental muscles take to connect to the software, but I do this so often that I don’t have to consciously guide each step anymore.

(At some point, I’ll have so much software that naming each one won’t work. I’m not there yet, though.)

If I’m working with another person, like for healing sessions, I also connect to them. Usually, I focus on their signature, or on a picture, though sometimes I use a special ethereal software to help with these connections.

Then I listen: What message is the ethereal software sending me? (Usually it says, “Ready to go.”) Has the software connected to me properly? What part of the person have I connected to? (More on that below.) On the whole, what is the state of my connections to the things I want to work with?

Usually, the ethereal software is good to go, but my connection to the person is in the wrong location. So, I’ll connect to other areas of their energy body until I find something I recognize (like the energy of a particular organ), then move from there to the area of the injury. Today, looking around is a single thought that encompasses both seeing and directing the action, but let me step you through the process, the same way I stepped through it as I was first learning to look around the body:

  1. Direct my mental muscles to make more connections to the energy of adjacent tissues in the person’s body. (This is itself a technique I had to develop and practice, involving tracing paths and broadening signatures, but that’s too much detail to go into here.)
  2. Listen to all the energy signatures of tissues you’re now connected to. (Note: It takes practice to recognize different tissues based on their signature. I’d already learned that skill by the time I developed this procedure.)
  3. Consciously decide which tissue to connect to, based on the type of tissue and your best guess at the location. Hope it’s in the direction you want to travel. (I usually pick nerves, orienting myself based on the spine and brain.)
  4. Repeat this until you’ve found what you’re looking for, which is either a particular tissue to orient yourself (like the brain) or the area of the injury.

Over time, this procedure became natural, and today I don’t really think about each step. Kind of like how you stop thinking about a dance move after practicing it a few dozen times. Of course, if you never consciously stepped through the movements and practiced it slowly, you’d never be able to do it quickly — you can’t just skip to the end.

Once I find the energy of the injured tissue, I’ll ask my mental muscles what signatures they instinctively want to use on it. Then I’ll look at the injury and consciously think about what signatures look right, ask my mental muscles about those changes, and repeat a few times until I’m happy with everything.

That’s really what my magick looks like: Listen, take one very small step, listen some more, and repeat. When you actually set those healing signatures into the tissue, it’s the same idea: Ask your mental muscles to make a small change, watch what they do, verify it was correct, and repeat. With practice, the process becomes unconscious (just like a practiced dance move), and the ask-watch-verify cycle speeds up. Today, it takes about one second, and I’m not aware of each individual step. But they’re still there, handled by my mental muscles, just like the steps of a well-practiced dance move are handled by the dancer’s motor memory.

What about magick based on ethereal software? Same thing: I send an instruction, receive a reply, then send another instruction. Again, I take very small steps, verifying each one (based on the software’s reply and whatever I can watch of what it’s doing).

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Visualization seems much simpler.” And indeed, it is. This approach was never designed to be simple, it was designed to let me consciously guide my mental muscles through new techniques. As a result, it’s more precise than other approaches, and with practice, also faster, because you’re not tied to rituals, and you don’t have to focus on symbols for long periods. But it has a difficult learning curve.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this series by discussing how exactly I direct my mental muscles, and why I don’t use visualization there, either.

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Visualizations Direct (But Don’t See) Magick

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

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And now, five posts into the series on visualization, we’re finally ready to talk about visualization, and why I don’t use it in my magick.

What Is Visualization?

Here’s my basic model for visualizing:

  1. You figure out your intent — the end goal, like “send healing energy to this person” or “bring money to me.”
  2. You figure out a representation for that intent, like imagining the wound healing, imagining green light flowing from the sky into your wallet, or whatever.
  3. You focus on that visualization, do something to project your will out, and let the magick happen.

Sound about right? (Since I’m the author, I’ll just assume you said “yes.”)

Where’s the Feedback?

Clearly, visualization is good for directing magick: Your image communicates your goal to your mental muscles, and if they know how to implement that goal (that is, if the goal is intuitive and natural), you’re all set.

But what if your mental muscles don’t know how to accomplish that goal? In that case, you need feedback from your mental muscles to design and debug the technique. And that’s the problem: There’s no feedback here.

  • In step 1, you pick your goal. No feedback here. (Nor should there be.)
  • In step 2, you dream up a symbolic representation. You might get inspiration from your unconscious, but most visualizations are totally unrelated to how the magick actually works. There’s no actual green light (or even magickal energy) actually flowing into your wallet.
  • In step 3, you hold that visualization in your thoughts. This means your mind isn’t relaxed and open and flexible, so you can’t receive feedback from your mental muscles as easily.

In short, visualization only directs your magick. It doesn’t help you watch your magick as it works. And so, visualization seems to be designed for intuitive magick, and seems poorly suited to consciously designed magick, which requires a 2-way flow of information.

Intentionally Distracting Yourself

It’s not just visualization. Most approaches to magick are designed around directing the magick, not perceiving it. For example:

  • Rituals also pick symbols before doing the magick. The rules are more formal than for visualizations, but there’s still little room for feedback.
  • If you intentionally distract yourself to let your unconscious do the work, you’ve lost the chance to watch your unconscious work. There’s no feedback step, so again, it’s only good for intuitive magick.
  • Chants, runes, or anything else that fills your focus operates much like a visualization, making it harder to watch your magick.

In the end, I think most styles of magick focus entirely too much on directing magick, and entirely too little on watching it, and therefore are suitable only for intuitive magick, not for consciously designing techniques.

Next, I’ll share the approach I use to simultaneously direct and perceive magick.

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Directing vs Perceiving Magick

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

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I’m home and (sort of) rested. Let’s dive back into visualizations, and why I avoid them. It’s been a few days, so here’s a quick recap of the series:

  • Like any other process, a magick technique has many substeps.
  • You generally aren’t aware of the substeps. Your mental muscles know how to do a lot of magick already.
  • But some techniques don’t come naturally. You have to consciously design them out of substeps and sub-substeps, then consciously guide your mental muscles through that technique.

Directing vs Perceiving Magick

Remember that first post, on directing vs perceiving magick? We’re ready to tie that in now.

First: If all you want to do is magick that comes naturally, you only need to direct your mental muscles. Just tell them what you want, and they’ll do it. But remember, that’s only a fraction of all the magick that’s possible.

Second: Most mages only do magick that comes naturally. (Remember, natural might be difficult, but it doesn’t require consciously designing techniques, substep-by-substep.) So, most books and teachers focus on ways to direct your magick, even if they’re not great for perceiving each substep.

But, if you want to consciously design a new technique, you need to know which substeps you can use, and how they work. And, speaking from personal experience, you’ll also need to debug that new technique, because this stuff is complex and the first design rarely works. And to do both of those, you need to watch everything your mental muscles do, and all the external structures they act on as they do it. In other words, to consciously design techniques, you need to perceive all the details of your magick.

Perceiving Requires Relaxed Focus

Listening to your mental muscles requires a relaxed focus. It’s unlike any other activity, but let me try some comparisons:

  • Like daydreaming, you need to be open to thoughts entering your mind.
  • Like listening to a liar, you need to feel each of those thoughts and discard the false ones. (“False” = Came from your own expectations, rather than your mental muscles).
  • To do both of those at once, you need to be alert and present and un-distracted.
  • And you also need to keep track of your goals, and direct your magick.

Now, you don’t have to do that all perfectly, but it’s where we’re trying to get. Particularly if you want to design new techniques, you need to be able to hold that mental posture reliably most of the time.

By this point, you probably see where I’m going: Visualization focuses on the goal, to the exclusion of the listening. Rituals aim to distract your conscious mind, which is great for intuitive, natural magick, but terrible for perceiving the substeps of your mental muscles. Both are designed for natural magick, not consciously designed magick. We’ll discuss that tomorrow, then get into ways to listen to your mental muscles later in the week.

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Why We Need Unintuitive Magick

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

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Yesterday, I compared unintuitive magick to walking on your hands. Which conveys the feel of learning unintuitive magick well, I think. But it also suggests that unintuitive magick is a carnival trick, rather than the key to many useful techniques. That’s what I want to talk about today.

Here’s why unintuitive magick matters: Every modern technology comes from unintuitive uses of physical objects. From airplane wings, to generating electricity by moving magnets over wires, to ancient technologies like making metal flexible by heating it, at one point or another, everything we now rely on was unintuitive.

If you want to develop the magick equivalent of airplanes, electricity or even metalworking, you need to think through the underlying mechanics of magick, figure out a new sequence of substeps or sub-substeps or sub-sub-sub…steps, and then guide your mental muscles through that process you just dreamed up. That is the essence of why I study magick the way I do, and the essence of why I don’t use visualization to control my magick.

So, what are some things you can do with unintuitive magick? Well, it’s hard to say, since they’re unintuitive. But here’s a list of unintuitive techniques I developed substep by substep:

  • Communicating accurately, in real time, with ethereal software
  • Awakening mental muscles
  • All my healing techniques (beyond the default energy intended to numb and accelerate growth)
  • Shielding, and bypassing shielding
  • Consciousness integration

Basically every technique I use these days. It all had to be built from substeps; none of it came naturally with visualizations and focused intent. That’s why I’m so passionate about this: I know you can develop amazing results once you get into the inner-workings of magick.

Now, all I have to do is figure out how to get you doing unintuitive magick, too. That’s what I’ll explore in the second and third books, which will hopefully be next year.

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Some Magick Won’t Come Naturally

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

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Last post, we discussed how magick must have some underlying mechanics, and how you could take any step and break it down into substeps. This has an equally-obvious correllary:

Your mind is naturally good at some parts of magick, but not others.

Any part of magick that works simply by thinking about it, like moving energy through your body, is one of those parts that comes naturally. Your mind simply knows how to make it happen, and you can let everything happen unconsciously. It’s like walking.

Now, think of an aspect of magick that was hard at first — tiring, unsuccessful, just plain difficult. Manifesting, maybe. It took you a month or a year of practice, trying the technique again and again, until it became accurate and easy.

You’re probably expecting me to say this is one of the unintuitive parts of magick, but no: That one came naturally, too. Not as naturally as moving energy, and definitely not easily, but it was something your mental muscles basically knew how to do, and just needed some practice. Like throwing a ball, it takes time to build up accuracy, but it’s basically intuitive.

The problem with explaining unintuitive magick is that almost no one does it, so we don’t have easy examples. In the technical sense, unintuitive magick involves procedures that your mental muscles don’t already know and wouldn’t stumble upon. Procedures where your mental muscles don’t even know how to do the substeps, so you have to consciously figure out a series of sub-substeps that work, step through those until you can do the substeps, and then practice the technique as a whole.

For a physical analogy, I can only think of walking upside-down on your hands, because nothing about that seems intuitive to me. You have to train your body to get upside down, to balance upside down, to balance briefly on one hand, to shift your weight, and then you can put that all together into walking on your hands.

Hopefully, unintuitive magick is more useful. (We’ll discuss that tomorrow. It is.)

But the point is, there will be some techniques you can only find by consciously figuring out the sub-substeps, then training those until you learn the substeps, and only then doing the technique. This, too, is hopefully an obvious extension of the idea that magick involves steps, substeps, sub-substeps, and so on, getting substeps as small as you like.

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The Many Substeps of Magick

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

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When I write, it’s often to figure out how to explain a topic. That’s definitely the case with this visualization series, and as I’m sketching it out, I’m realizing that yesterday’s post was the wrong entry point yesterday. So, let me start anew, and talk about just what it is we’re doing when we do magick.

Specifically, the idea that nothing “just happens.”

Say you follow a standard Chaos Magick model. In that case, your magick works by creating an intent in your mind, packaging it in some way, delivering it to an Egregore, which then influences the physical world — lottery balls, weather, peoples’ decisions, etc — to cause the desired change.

Or maybe you follow Ananael’s quantum model. In that case, your mind turns your thoughts into a probability wave, makes some path for that wave to follow, transmits the wave to the object you’re affecting. The wave then alters the physical state of that object.

Or maybe you follow my model, with mental muscles and ethereal software and all.

The particular model doesn’t matter for this post. The point is, magick doesn’t just happen. There are a lot of steps along the way. And each of those steps has sub-steps: How does your mind deliver your intent to the Egregore? How does your mind package an idea into a probability wave? How does the ethereal software know how to heal, and what energy signature to use? You can break any step down into substeps.

We might not know what those steps are, and mages might not even be aware of most of them. We might disagree on exactly how magick works, or even the gross model. But hopefully, we all agree that there are some underlying mechanics to magick, and that each step can be described in smaller steps. Hopefully, once you think about it, this simply seems obvious.

This is the starting point of our discussion on visualization. Really, this is the starting point of all my thinking about direct magick, and magick in general. More coming tomorrow.

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Visualization is Overrated

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

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So, how exactly does one [do magick], if not through visualization? -Arthur

I’ve talked before about why I don’t use visualization in magick, and what I do instead, but I’ve never done justice to the topic. This is truly the key difference between direct magick and other forms of magick, even those based on rituals rather than visualization, so it’s worth at least one more discussion.

This series will span a lot of topics. Conscious vs unconscious magick. Automation vs precise control. Commands, perceptions, and underlying mechanics. And more. It’ll actually take a while before we talk about visualization or rituals, but that conversation will work much better once we lay this groundwork.

Today, we’ll start with sending instructions vs receiving sensory feedback.

Directing vs Perceiving Magick

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’ve read about mental muscles. That’s my term for the parts of your mind that drive magick. Note: That’s the mind, not the brain — the mental muscles connect to your brain, but they are not part of it.

And that’s one of the keys to understanding magick: Your brain doesn’t drive it. Non-physical parts of your mind do. They take guidance from your brain, but they are separate.

This means that information needs to flow two ways: From your brain to your mental muscles (to direct them to do what you want), and from your mental muscles to your brain (to perceive the world and how you’re interacting with it).

If the information only flows from your brain to your mental muscles, you can ask for things, but you can’t watch your magick operate. And if your magick doesn’t work, you won’t know why, and so you won’t be able to debug it.

If the information only flows from your mental muscles to your brain, you’ll be able to receive intuitions, but won’t be able to guide the intuitions, ask about particular topics, or ask for further details. I’ve met psychics like this, it’s usually more terrifying than it is useful.

So, we want information to flow both ways. Next, we’ll explore some ways to make that happen.

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