Posts Tagged ‘Definitions’

Two Styles of Magick

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

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For the past week or so, I’ve been working on the new ethereal software for my book.  And I’ve been realizing, I really have two styles of magick.

One style is the ethereal software, which you can use for energy healing, manifesting, and other things. It really is its own beast, separate from other established styles: I use sigils differently than most mages, issue commands differently, and a bunch of other things. It is magick stripped down to the basics, like listening to spoken word poetry after getting used to rock and roll. I’m excited about it, because I think it will be an excellent gateway for a lot of novice mages who find the rituals and practices of other styles don’t resonate with them.

And yet, it’s really not what I do myself, in the same way that using your computer is different than programming a computer. My work centers on the programming: Understanding how the ethereal software implements the commands, improving that implementation, and using those same building blocks to create new techniques that solve problems that no one has solved before. That’s really the essence of direct magick, and it’s fairly far from using this ethereal software I’ve made. But it’s so complex, it takes years to develop useful techniques, which is why I made the ethereal software to get you started.

So really, I have two styles of magick. One is this particular ethereal software, and the other is full direct magick. You can move from one to the other, and in fact, using the ethereal software will probably be the most direct route to learning direct magick, because I’m designing it to let you peek under the hood more easily than most other styles. But using my ethereal software isn’t the same as doing direct magick.

Right now, I’m just starting to think about this. Maybe I should make separate names? Maybe I should make separate books, even? Maybe this, maybe that. And I wanted to get your thoughts.

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Indistinguishable from Advanced Technology

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

I hear this quote sometimes when talking about what magick is. But here’s the thing: Clarke wasn’t talking about magick, and he wasn’t even talking about actual advanced technology. He was talking about how advanced technology comes off in sci fi books, and advising authors to just say what the technology does, rather than trying to explain how it works in terms of current science (which would necessarily involve misrepresenting that current science). He was talking about how to tell a good story, not how to define the magick we do.

Think about it this way: If you were writing a story about modern life, to be read by ancient Romans, a microwave and a toaster would be indistinguishable. They both heat food, and you can’t explain either of them with Aristotelian physics. And Arthur C. Clarke would probably advise you not to try — simply say that there’s a box that heats food based on modern science, and leave it at that.

That doesn’t mean that Arthur C. Clarke thinks there’s no difference between microwaves and toasters, and it doesn’t mean he’d think there’s no difference between the magick we do and advanced technology. It just means he knows how to streamline a story.

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What it Takes to be a Serious Mage

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

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Simon recently said:

I don’t know whether i’m a ‘serious mage’ as i’m not that experienced but I guess the ‘serious’ intent is there!

I’ve been throwing around the term “serious mage,” but what does it mean? I don’t even have a clear definition in my head. I know it when I see it, but that doesn’t help you much, does it? So, this post is me figuring out what I really mean by that term.

First, a few things it’s not:

  • Serious doesn’t mean experienced. Sure, an experienced mage who’s learned many styles properly and generates good magickal results is a serious mage, but it’s not required.
  • Serious doesn’t mean traditional. Sure, if you know all the correspondences and sigils and so on for Enochian, you’re probably a serious mage. But, again, not required.
  • Serious doesn’t mean “produces results.” Again, if you’re producing easily-noticeable results with magick, and making sure it’s not placebo or coincidence (twice), you’re probably serious, but you don’t have to be that accomplished yet to be serious.

I think Simon’s take on a “serious intent” is on the right track. A serious mage wants to learn effective magick, and is willing to put the work in to do it. They understand that magick doesn’t “work like magic,” and that it requires daily (or at least weekly) effort and lots of failures before you get it working. So, the first part of serious is effort.

I’d also say that a serious mage can isn’t overly credulous. They don’t believe something just because it’s in a book, and if something sounds too good to be true, they’ll be more dubious, rather than more eager. Really, that’s what got me wondering, “What are all the steps between doing a ritual and seeing a change in the world?” — doing a ritual and directly causing a change in the world seemed too good to be true, like there had to be intermediate steps involved.

Along the same lines, a serious mage understands placebo, and works to make sure the changes they see aren’t placebo or coincidence. They’d rather get real data and debug their techniques than falsely believe they’re a great mage when really, they’re just lucky. And, as a result, a serious mage isn’t threatened when people ask how they know that a result isn’t just placebo or luck. This is a really good way to identify a serious mage, actually: Ask non-pejoratively how they know their results aren’t placebo. A serious mage will have a rational, interesting response. A non-serious mage will be dismissive or defensive.

And, eventually, a serious mage will notice when the model they’re working with has holes. They’ll keep asking why for each step, and see where they don’t have a good answer. And, possibly most importantly, this hole will make them uncomfortable enough to push their model forward, until they understand just a little bit more. So, I’d say, that’s how to spot an experienced, serious mage.

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Why Call it “Ethereal Software?”

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

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A new reader who I know in real life asked me about the term “ethereal software.” He uses the common pagan / new age term “The Universe,” and wondered why I don’t just use that. I couldn’t give him a quick answer in real time, so I’m writing my answer now so I’ll have it all ready for next time.

Let me ask you, how natural do the following sentences sound:

  • Which Universe are you channeling for that healing session?
  • Why did The Universe select that particular energy for the healing technique?
  • Let’s call the spirit who programmed The Universe and ask them for training.
  • That’s the wrong healing energy for this condition. Let’s reprogram The Universe to do it better.
  • That spirit is using The Universe to drain your energy. You should remove The Universe’s connections to you, then shield against it.

Now, let’s try them again with the term “ethereal software”:

  • Which ethereal software are you channeling for that healing session?
  • Why did that ethereal software select that particular energy for the healing technique?
  • Let’s call the spirit who programmed that ethereal software and ask them for training.
  • That’s the wrong healing energy for this condition. Let’s reprogram that ethereal software to do it better.
  • That spirit is using some ethereal software to drain your energy. You should remove that ethereal software’s connections to you, then shield against it.

Feels much more natural, right? And since everything starts with asking good questions, it’s vital to make good questions sound natural.

In short, awe-inspiring terms like The Universe shut down investigation and curiosity. No one expects you to understand how the actual universe works, so by calling the thing you’re interacting with “The Universe,” you stop expecting yourself to understand how it works, too.

That’s why I call the forces we channel “ethereal software” instead of “The Universe.”

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Examples of My Model: Psychic Intuitions

Friday, May 18th, 2012

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This is a chapter from Part 1 of my book, where I explain my terms by describing common styles of magick. Feedback and questions are always welcome.

If you’re psychic, you know that your intuitions come from somewhere outside of yourself — from some external force that reads your thoughts and actions, and gives you intuitions and visions to help you. Most psychics I know don’t name that force. Some call it an impressive-sounding name like “The Universe.” I call it “ethereal software,” because using a pedestrian name makes it easier to explore how it works.

Psychic ethereal software (which I usually call “psychic software”) works pretty much like other ethereal software: It connects to your mind, listens for questions, and puts intuitions into your thoughts. While some ethereal software only connects to you when you do a specific ritual, psychic software stays connected to you 24/7. That’s how it can provide the continuous stream of intuitions.

From working with a bunch of psychics, I know that different psychics channel different ethereal software. And many psychics use multiple pieces of ethereal software, each one for different types of queries. That’s because most psychic software specializes in one field, and is often not programmed for others. One might be great with imminent physical danger, but doesn’t understand what money is, while another could guide you to romantic success, but has no concept of traffic accidents. If you’ve ever had trouble asking certain types of questions, this may be why.

I’ve helped several psychics get better intuitions by replacing their ethereal software with software better suited to their needs. We’ll cover that in Part 2, along with techniques to get clearer messages from any ethereal software.

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Renaming Signature: Wrap-Up

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

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The renaming is done. Here’s what we have:

  • “Energy” stays “energy.” I’ll still discuss scoping (magick::energy vs physics::energy) in the intro.
  • “Structure” is now “form.” I’ll talk about a “mental form” for a form that interacts with someone’s mind, “physical form” for a form that interacts with someone’s body, and so on. Or, to speak generically about all forms, I’ll say, “solid form.”
  • “Signature” is now “fractal signature,” or just “fractal.” So you can say that, in order for energy to interact with a form, the energy’s fractal has to match the form’s fractal, not at the large-scale shape, but at the small-scale building blocks.

I’m pretty happy with the names. Fractal matches the sciencey theme I have going (which will influence first impressions, hopefully attracting the right people). And you saw how excited Kol got about the term — and he’s one of the folks who thought I was wasting my time with the renaming. (Seeing that excitement made my day, by the way.)

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone. Once again, I feel blessed to have you as readers. I didn’t explicitly write about most of your suggestions, but each one helped spark ideas that ultimately lead to the final terms.

I’ve also updated my glossary, if you need a refresher on any of my terms.

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Renaming Energy & Signatures: How Energy Behaves

Monday, May 14th, 2012

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If you came for a technical guide to energy, skip down to “how energy behaves.”

On my post about renaming the term “energy,” Simon left an excellent question:

Who are these terms for? Is it to gain some respectability so that ‘non magicans’ might look into this stuff and take it seriously? Or is it to orientate people who are already interested and just need a consensus term to use as shorthand.

My overall goal – with the blog and the book — is to develop a group of mages to work with. That includes knowing my terms and concepts, but even more, it’s about being able to use sensory connections and mental muscles and ethereal software and all the other parts that make my techniques work. So that I can post a technique for nergy healing, or personal growth, or observations about connecting to trees, and everyone can try it for themselves and see what happens. Because I really do want independent verification of what I’m seeing, I just need to get you the skills to do it. Also, ideally, other mages in the group would develop their own techniques, post them, and we can all learn from each other.

There are other goals. I want to help people be happier with their own magick, even if we don’t wind up collaborating like that. And long-term, I want to develop magick into a mature, respected discipline. But in the context of the book and the terms I use on the blog, that’s my overall goal.

My goal with these terms is to make my model more intuitive for people who want to go fairly far with the style — work through the whole book, and then push the limits themselves. Which means that I’m looking for a simple metaphor that suggests the actual behavior of each component. Kind of like how it feels natural to say “I reprogrammed the ethereal software,” but if you adopt the energy healer term and “Channel energy from The Universe,” you’d probably never even think to reprogram it. (“I reprogrammed The Universe” sounds more than a bit weird.)

The renaming is also for myself. The terms we use really do matter, and adopting metaphors that feel more natural to me will probably help me explore better.

So, let’s start with the behavior I’m trying to imply with my metaphor.

How Energy Behaves

Energy activates structure. That’s really about it.

“But wait,” you say. “Energy promotes healing, and causes tingly feelings, and does all these other things we’re always talking about.”

Indeed, it does. But it does those things by activating structures. And that is the key to the metaphor I want to convey.

When energy promotes healing, that’s because it activates the magical structures connected to physical cells which causes those cells to grow more quickly, suppress inflammation responses, or some other similar changes. When energy feels tingly, that’s because it activates the structures that connect to nerves and cause a particular type of neural signal.

How does the energy “know” which structures to activate? Signature. Each structure has a signature, and that structures activated by energy with the same signature.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s fairly important. Healing energy doesn’t know that it heals, just like serotonin doesn’t know that it makes people happy. The effect of the energy (or the serotonin) is a consequence of the structures it interacts with. I want a term that focuses us on matching signatures and interacting with individual structures, rather than on the overall goal of what we want the energy to do.

Photo mosaic from wikipedia.


On signature, scale is probably the most important thing. You can break the signature down into smaller, simpler signatures. You know those pictures of a person, made of other pictures of that same person? (Photo to right.) It’s likely that, except that each of the smaller pictures are, in turn, made of even smaller pictures. This is what I mean by “the scale of the signature”: How many steps down you’ve gone from the large-scale picture.

Broad-scale signature is the feel of the energy. Smaller-scale signature determines if the energy interacts with ethereal software or a person, with the body or the mind, and so on. (The “domain” of the energy.) This doesn’t come up until you’re fairly far along in learning direct magick, but once it does, it’s quite important.

In general, structures are activated not only by energies that match the large-scale signature, but also energies that match some small-scale signatures. In that case, the activation is less efficient, and only activates part of the structure, getting it into a weird state. You usually want to avoid this.

So, those are the main concepts:

  • Energy activates structure.
  • There’s no inherent meaning, it’s just a matter of which signatures correspond to which structures, and which structures influence which cells.
  • Signature scale, and using it to work with different domains.

I’m going to think about metaphors today, and write about that tomorrow. Any thoughts? Leave a comment.

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Renaming Energy & Signature

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

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My original terms were universally bad. Before I had “ethereal software,” I called them “systems,” conflating a style of magick with the intelligent force that drives it. Before I had “mental muscles,” I called them “mental areas,” which is about as non-descriptive as you can get.

Now, I’m wondering about energy and signature.

Energy isn’t great, and continuously implies a correspondence between magick::energy and other types of energy, like “the ability to do work” (physics::energy) or “glucose in cells” (bio::energy)*. And “signature” is about as meaningless and non-sequitur-ish as you can get. Surely, I can do better.

*Actual experts in the fields will probably tell me that my definitions of energy are wrong. Mea culpa. You know what I mean.

I’ve been thinking about “signature,” so I’ll start there.

First, the other common term is “vibration,” which I associate with non-serious practitioners (sometimes called “fluffy”) wanting to “raise the vibration of the planet.” Not that no one serious is allowed to use the term, but I’d just feel awkward. Is it worth getting over that feeling? Maybe, because if you just look at the metaphor, it’s actually pretty good. If you imagine a radio wave, it correctly suggests that:

  • The vibration is the information content of the wave / energy.
  • There are scales of vibrations, such as the carrier signal vs the radio program.
  • That the energy will transfer its vibration to the structure, which it does.

And yet… it still doesn’t feel right. I keep hearing “raise the vibration,” which is a seriously misleading way to describe “aligning the injured tissue’s energy signature / vibration to a normal, healthy signature / vibration for your body.” Also, it makes me expect energy to feel like a tuning fork or an overly-loud stereo, but it actually reminds me much more of a Jackson Pollack painting. None of this is fatal, but it all makes me feel like I should search a little harder.

Perhaps “signal,” as in “radio signal”? Because no one talks about “radio vibrations.”

Then we have “energy.” I’m tempted to keep it because it’s a fairly standard term for “the thing that makes you feel tingly.” But then again, egregore is a fairly standard term for “external force you channel,” and I tossed it aside for my own metaphor, so I should at least explore my options on “energy.”

I’ll do that tomorrow. Today, I want to ask you for any other standard terms you know of for energy and signature, or any metaphors you’ve found particularly helpful in thinking about these parts of magick. Feel free to discuss “connection,” too, as the term feels decent but not great. Thanks!

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The Major Parts of Direct Magick

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

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This is the first non-introduction chapter of my book, defining the terms. Should be particularly useful for new readers. Feedback is welcome. Enjoy.

Before we can work together, we need to learn each others’ terms. Well, I’m a book, so I can’t learn anything. But you’ll need to learn my terms. That’s what Part 1 is for.

Chapter 1 (today) is a quick overview of the major parts of direct magick. I’ll also put this into the Glossary (link at the top of the page) for easy reference.

Ethereal Software

Ethereal software is my term for the external forces that drive most magick.

When you do a ritual, visualization, or send out your intent, you’re sending out instructions about what you want to happen. Those instructions get picked up by ethereal software, which then drives the actual changes in the world. You can think of ethereal software as the force that implements magick’s natural laws, or as the provider of the energy and intuitions you channel.

Like a computer, ethereal software is intelligent, but doesn’t have feelings or emotions. (Spirits, in contrast, are intelligent and sentient, like people.) Ethereal software was programmed, and can be reprogrammed by spirits and mages. We’ll do that in Part 5.

If the concept sounds similar to Chaos Magick’s “egregore,” that’s because it is. In fact, both terms probably refer to some of the same actual forces. But the term “egregore” also tells you how to create and strengthen those forces, how to find concepts with strong egregores, and so on. I use my own term because I don’t want that baggage.

Mental Muscles

Mental muscles are my term for the parts of your mind that drive magick. Engaging them makes the difference between imagining something vs doing actual magick, just like engaging your leg muscles makes the difference between imagining moving vs actually walking. We’ll explore how to awaken and strengthen your mental muscles later in this book.

In most magick, your mental muscles will contact the ethereal software, then get out of the way. But in direct magick — that’s what this book is about — we make our mental muscles conscious, then do magick with just our mental muscles, without relying on ethereal software. You’ll see how that helps us do new magick and get better results later in this book.


Energy is widely used by mages and healers to refer to “that thing that makes you feel tingly.” I use it the same way.

One trap to avoid: Just because it’s called “energy” doesn’t mean it has any similarities to other things called energy. The physics definition of energy (which we’ll write as physics::energy) is “the ability to do work,” but that doesn’t mean that magickal energy (which we’ll write as magick::energy) has an ability to do work. Why? Because we arbitrarily chose to name it energy, and could just as easily have named it something else. Naming a rock “barbecue” wouldn’t make it delicious, and naming the thing that makes you feel tingly “energy” doesn’t make it able to do work.

Have you ever seen a question like, “Does energy healing work by giving cells the energy they need to grow?” It sounds pretty plausible, right? Well, try it with that notation: “Does healing with magick::energy work by giving cells the bio::energy they need?” No, no it doesn’t, because magick::energy isn’t bio::energy. (Remember that the name “energy” was an arbitrary decision. We’ll explore how energy healing actually works in Parts 4-5.)

In this book, assume that “energy” refers to magick::energy.


Connections are how mages interact with most of their magick. Think of them like your arms. You connect to someone to send them energy. Ethereal software connects to your mind to read your intent. You’ll eventually follow the connection from your mental muscles to your mind, so you can connect to more mental muscles. I’ll say “connect to X” a lot, and every time I do, that means you’re using a magickal connection.


Structure is an overarching term for “stable, long-lasting magickal stuff.” It’s like saying “solid” or “made of molecules”: It covers most things you’ll see. Examples of magickal structures: Connections, mental muscles, ethereal software, and so on. Energy is the only non-structure we’ve touched on so far, and it’s not a structure because it’s not stable: It flows through connections and other structures.

Basically, I say “structure” so I’m not saying “magickal stuff” all the time.


You know how each person’s energy feels different? And how some energy calms you, while other energy makes you excited, and so on? I call that feel the “signature” of the energy, or sometimes the “type” of energy. You can think of it as a color, but it’s more similar to a Jackson Pollack painting than a solid green or a rainbow. Some people use the term “vibration” instead.

Structure also has a signature, which determines the types (signatures) of energies it will interact with. That’s not something most models of magick discuss, so don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense right now. We’ll explore it throughout this book, and by the end, you’ll be able to see what I mean and use it for practical techniques.

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A Fresh Start to Magick

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

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I’m planning this as my new front page. What do you think? Did I succeed in being more personal and less sales-y?

Hi, I’m Mike Sententia. In the early 90s, I set out to answer two questions:

  • Why do so many systems of magick — from Thelema to Reiki to psychic intuitions — produce such similar results: Manifesting, energy healing and a few others?
  • What happens after your ritual or visualization to actually drive the change in the world?

As a teen in a strict atheist household, I couldn’t research Hermetics, Chaos Magick, or other established styles. (This was the early days of AOL.) So, I wound up developing a new style from the ground up.

I started by telling stories about how magick might work. Maybe connections behave this way, maybe energy behaves that way. A story for each building block. I was just guessing at first, but with each story, I’d develop a new technique. When it worked, I’d explore those building blocks further. When it didn’t, I’d removed that part from my model, and tell a different story.

Twenty years later, I have a useful model. It focuses on consciously guiding magick’s building blocks as they produce the desired change, rather than using rituals, symbols or focused intent to broadcast your goal, then letting your unconscious figure out how to make that goal happen. I call it “direct magick,” since we directly interact with the building blocks.

Direct magick ignores a lot of standard magick practices. Chaos magick tells you to forget what your sigils mean, but direct magick strives to make everything conscious. Most styles use rituals, but direct magick hardly uses any. I didn’t set out to be contrarian, but this is the natural consequence of developing everything from a fresh start. That’s what I mean by “rebooting magick.”

You can use direct magick as your only style of magick, or combine it with other styles. I love exploring new models with readers, so please don’t be shy.

These days, in addition to exploring my two questions, I have a few other projects:

  • Developing magick results on par with modern medicine and other sciences. I call those results “genuinely amazing,” to contrast them with results that are amazing only because we secretly expected nothing, and got enough to show ourselves that magick is real. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve developed some promising preliminary techniques.
  • Figuring out how to teach direct magick through writing, rather than just in person, and turning that into a book. (You’ll find a lot of that writing on this blog.)
  • Long-term, I intend to build magick into a mature, respectable discipline, so we can merge magick with medicine and the other sciences, get thousands of researchers involved, and make everyone’s lives better.

Interested? Here’s how to get started:

(Note: I’ll probably rewrite a lot of those posts, too.)

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