You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.
To do energy healing, or manifesting, or other magick, we need a visualization that engages the unconscious.
Keep that in mind: Engaging the unconscious. Because that’s a different goal than understanding how magick operates. Not a bad goal, just a different one. And confusing those two goals (engaging the unconscious vs understanding the mechanism) derails so many people, smart insightful people who could otherwise be helping us build a deeper understanding of energy healing and magick, and helping us create the better techniques that flow from that understanding.
A simple example: Chaos Magick is famous for rituals to Superman. The idea is to engage concepts of strength and justice in the mage’s unconscious, and to tap into those same virtues in a collective unconscious. When one does that ritual, it might be useful to pretend to believe that Superman is real.
“Superman will fly down and help me stand up to this bully” is a great visualization, but a terrible model for how manifesting actually works.
We’re about to discuss a not-so-obvious example. But first, I want to explain how we could figure out that Superman isn’t a good model, if we didn’t already know that.
Imagine a friend believes that magick actually works by Superman hearing your ritual and helping you out. You say, “That sounds amazing. Let’s do a ritual, I want to talk to him.” Your friend replies that Superman doesn’t stay around long enough to talk, and moves so fast you can’t even see him. “I have a high-speed camera.” Sorry, he’s too fast for even that. “I know, we’ll hang ribbons from the ceiling, and we won’t see Superman, but we’ll still see the ribbons swaying after he leaves.” Your friend thinks for a minute, then says that Superman will pause to stop each ribbon from swaying as he leaves.
For each experiment, your friend predicted the same result we’d see if Superman wasn’t real. If your friend really truly believed Superman was real, he would say, “Awesome, let’s run the experiment, I want to see those ribbons swaying too.” But deep down, he knows how the world really is, and he knows what experimental outcomes he’ll see even before doing the experiment.
(This is from Carl Sagan’s dragon in the garage.)
Now it’s time for the not-obvious example. Synchronicity asks:
What about retrocausality? Do you think it’s physically impossible or it’s possible but some ethereal softwares don’t know how to affect the past?
There’s a Chaos Magick book that talks about reverse-time manifesting, where you send out your intent and it travels to the past to arrange things for you in the near future. I think it was Phil Hine. (Anyone know the book? Leave a comment. Thanks!)
I think reverse time is like a ritual to Superman. Great visualization to engage your unconscious. Probably not how magick actually works.
(And keep in mind, Chaos Magick’s motto is, “Belief is the tool.” The goal was to temporarily believe things to get your mind to engage and do magick, not to accurately explain the underlying mechanisms of magick.)
But why? It’s easy to pretend to believe in Superman, then drop the belief after the ritual. But reverse-time isn’t obviously wrong. It’s a fun belief — who hasn’t wanted to go back in time and undo a mistake? And doesn’t quantum physics predict equally weird stuff?
I see this as an opportunity. Separating good mechanisms of magick from useful ways to engage the unconscious is an important skill. So let’s practice it.
Imagine you fully believe your magick can go into the past and change time. When I do that, I notice a mental flinch away from predictions that are obviously silly. Fight that flinch. Imagine we just made this discovery, it was a new technology, never used before. What could we do with it?
Here’s what I flinched away from. (That’s usually a sign that an idea is worth exploring):
Ananael has talked about manifesting to influence lottery results. If reverse-time manifesting worked — if we could somehow change the past — then he should be able to change last week’s lottery results.
And immediately, I start making excuses. “Ananael already knows the lottery numbers. Maybe this only works if he hasn’t seen them yet.”
OK, so I’ll look at the lottery numbers but not show them to him, then let him do the ritual…
I could come up with some excuse, but I’ve spent years training my mind not to create those excuses, and I actually don’t want to develop that excuse-making skill.
But try it. Ask, “What would the world look like, if the world actually worked that way?” And see how much you immediately have to explain away.
That’s how we know reverse-time is a good visualization, but not a good mechanism for magick.
Why bother with this? Why not just believe in whatever speaks to me, as wholeheartedly as I can?
Because when we take a good mechanism and ask, “What could I do if the world actually worked that way,” we don’t have to create excuses. Every idea it gives us is a useful, working technique for energy healing, or manifesting, or something else we care about. (And instead of excusing failures, we use them to refine our model, so next time it gives us even better techniques.)
Gather enough good mechanisms and we call it a scientific model. And that’s why science matters: Not because having the right answer is cool, but because a good model suggests good techniques that give better results.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.