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Responding to Ritual as Social Glue, Simon asks a question I find fascinating, even though I don’t have an answer:
Question here – your magick is very ‘head centered’ in some ways. Do you think there’s ever a case the engaging the body – ie actually moving it in patterns can achieve something in magick that sitting at a laptop cannot? And I mean magick in the more narrowly defined sense – affecting change in the world- rather than building social cohesion etc.
Its been demonstrated that views of the brain as some isolated phenomenon is now obsolete and what you do with your spine has as much influence on your mental faculties as anything else. Ethereal structures may well be ‘unfamiliar matter’ but we are still mediating them through our brain. I wonder if there is not some correlation here. ‘as above so below’ and all that… maybe its not always the most effective route to sit behind a laptop and avoid doing strange ritual movements etc. I don’t know…
First, let’s review the moving parts: Ethereal muscles are the parts of the mind that interact with energy and drive magick. They are made of ethereal, magickal stuff, rather than nerves. They connect to the brain and respond to our thoughts and intent — that is, ethereal muscles do magick when our brain enters certain states.
To paraphrase Simon, some brain states don’t happen just from thinking ideas while sitting at a laptop. Some parts of your brain are devoted to physical movements, or speaking, or to seeing other humans moving and speaking. What if some of those brain regions let us engage and signal our ethereal muscles in different, useful ways?
I love the idea. Because it’s plausible, and it never occurred to me before. (Yet another reason you should start a blog.)
I don’t have a solid answer, but I do have a few thoughts:
Ethereal muscles seem to be able to connect to many different parts of the mind. That may be why some people see visions, others hear, and still others just receive information — their ethereal muscles may be connecting to the visual, auditory, and memory centers of the brain. Much of learning Direct Magick is helping your ethereal muscles connect to your conscious mind, rather than your unconscious. And around 5 years ago, I did some work connecting my ethereal muscles to the visual parts of my brain, and the information became more visual, a diagram of the tissue I was working with rather than just knowledge about it. So, it may be as simple as, “If your ethereal muscles connect to your physical-movement brain regions, then you need to do ritual. If not, then you don’t.” Which has always been more or less my model.
(Ritual also seems to work like a sigil, connecting the mage to that system’s ethereal software. See the section, Aside: How Do Sigils Work?)
Continuing that reasoning, if a person starts magick by doing ritual, they’re always engaging their physical-movement brain regions whenever they do magick. I could imagine their ethereal muscles bonding to those brain regions, and that those regions would become a necessary part of the mental posture for engaging their ethereal muscles. Whereas in someone who always did magick mentally, their ethereal muscles would probably not bind to the physical-movement brain parts.
But maybe there’s something else. Maybe ethereal muscles have a default set of brain regions they bind to, and one of those regions is the physical-movement one. Maybe that means that doing magick without ritual requires re-binding your ethereal muscles to different regions (through years of practice). Or maybe some ethereal muscles are one way and some are another way, and the only way to get certain ethereal muscles is to engage the physical-movement brain regions. I wouldn’t bet on any of those, but I wouldn’t dismiss them, either.
I don’t have an answer. But the next time I get the chance to do a by-the-books ritual, I’m going to do what I can to find out.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.