Posts Tagged ‘Models’

Magick, Thought and Transistors

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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

There’s a meme that magick is somehow “made of thought.” After all, you direct it with thought, so it has to somehow be thought, right?

Nope, not right. Except, not 100% wrong, either. It’s a subtle but fundamental error, something that leads you astray slowly, only causing problems long after you’ve bought in. I’m going to explain in an analogy, so you can think about the meme yourself.

Imagine an EEG hooked up to a computer. The EEG reads brainwaves, sends them to the computer via wifi, and you control a game by thinking. (This is a real thing, by the way.)

Now, imagine you take someone from a few hundred years ago, who’s never seen a computer. You embed the EEG into their hat, so they don’t see any of the technology. Just their hat and the screen.

“Wow, Mario does whatever I think. He must be made of thought.”

No, you say. Thought is electrical impulses in the brain. This is a computer. It’s made of transistors.

(Some trickster you are, intentionally fooling this old soul. Shame on you. But back to the story.)

“But it reacts like it’s alive, like it’s intelligent. It may be made of physical matter, but surely, it must also be made of thought.”

No, you say. You show him a transistor, explain how it works.

“Aha! So each transistor processes information. It contains a tiny bit of thought. That’s why you can put them all together to produce this game.”

Well, transistors do process information. If you squint just the right way, you can sort of agree with him. But there’s a danger in using the same word for transistor-thinking and brain-thinking:

“My thinking causes the game character to move. So, the game must be made of thought. Then this fellow tells me the game is made of transistors, so transistors must be made of thought. And, since they’re made of thought, it’s not surprising at all that my thoughts interact with those transistors.”

Did you notice what happened in that last sentence? He skipped over the EEG, the wifi, and a bunch of other technologies.

Sure, he understands enough to play the game. With trial and error, he might even discover complex commands. (Maybe entering alpha state for 2 seconds, then beta for 1 second, then gamma opens a new program.)

But hand him transistors, and he’ll expect to control them by thinking. Block the wifi signal, and he’ll think Mario is dead. It’s not that transistors don’t think, because if you squint the right way, they sort of do. It’s that, while he’s not wrong, he’s also very much not right.

“Thought affects thought” sounds so simple, so sensible. Which makes it easy to elide the system’s true complexity.

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

Understanding Magick: Metaphors Come Last

Monday, March 10th, 2014

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

I see mages start with metaphors. “Magick is about energy / spirits / software / whatever.” They pick a metaphor, then explain magick with it.

Don’t. It’s a trap.

When I was 16, I drew a diagram about how magick influences events. Events are like a bowling ball rolling toward some wooden blocks — each block represents one possible future, and the block that gets hit is the event that occurs. You can influence events by changing the ball’s trajectory, or by stretching the desired block. I’d visualize blocks shrinking and bowling balls rolling as I did my magick.

The “bowling ball model” was useless, of course. Sure, it let me think about events, and tell my unconscious mind which event I want, but there are dozens of ways to do that. Belief, ritual, self-hypnosis. Communicating intent isn’t enough.

First, a few assumptions: There is an actual external world we interact with. Magick is successful when it changes that actual external world. And magick operates by some actual process in that actual external world.

Those are the basic tenets of direct magick. The basic tenets of science, really. Anyone not on board for that, this probably isn’t the blog for you.

A good model should describe the external world. It should tell you about the moving parts behind magick, so you can figure out new ways to move them to produce better healing techniques, more accurate luck, or whatever else you’re looking for.

The bowling ball model failed because the ball and wood blocks didn’t correspond to anything in the external world. There’s no ball that hits an event, and you can’t expand or contract events. Useful for communicating my intent to my unconscious, but nothing else.

You cannot save a bad model. You can only kill it.

Once you pick a model, it’s either right or wrong. The moving parts either match the external world, or they don’t. No amount of belief or clever argument will change that.

Most models of magick seem to fall into that category. They pick a metaphor, then use that metaphor to think about their intent. The mage might realize that he just picked a model out of thin air, but often, he acts like his components correspond to the external world, so we’ve all learned to be suspicious when anyone tells us they have an accurate model. It’s only sensible. When readers assume that I just picked software as my preferred metaphor, then randomly chose terms and ideas that sounded good, I know the reason. And in general, there’s no reason to think that software is a better metaphor than energy, or spirits, or bowling balls.

Now, I’m not bashing models. Sure, no model is perfect, and models only approximate the external world. But pointing that out and walking away is to shirk the hard work of improving our understanding. Which is the whole point: A better understanding leads to better magick.

But how do we get a better understanding? My answer: Explore magick using empty terms. Before I strengthened “ethereal muscles,” I activated “mental areas,” simply meaning areas of my mind that are involved in magick. Before I programmed “ethereal software,” I channeled “systems,” simply meaning a set of components that performs a function. I explored magick with as few metaphors as I could, focusing on how each component actually behaved, rather than how I thought it should behave.

Years later, when I started writing, I asked, “What metaphors suggest how we use this component?” The metaphors flowed from my understanding of the external world.

That’s the only way to come up with an accurate model: Start with observation. Model each part. Then make a cohesive model with metaphors.

The metaphor comes last.

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

Spirits, Readme’s, and Other Ethereal Software Tricks

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

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

Last week, we talked about what ethereal software is and isn’t. But why bother including it at all? Why not just describe everything as “natural laws”?

Well, if you only want to do one system of magick — Golden Dawn, Reiki, whatever — then it probably is simpler to just explain everything as natural laws. Those correspondences? The way a symbol affects energy, or a ritual causes change? They just do. Natural laws.

And if you want to learn several systems of magick, but only work within each system, using that system’s symbols and patterns to create rituals, then it’s probably still simpler to think of everything as natural laws. There’s Reiki laws, and Hermetic laws, and so on.

I’m after insight. For me, “natural law” isn’t a satisfying explanation. Here’s why: Once I observe that this ritual leads to that outcome, telling me it’s a “natural law” doesn’t add anything. It doesn’t suggest a mechanism I can investigate, doesn’t suggest further tests to try, doesn’t tell me anything beyond the initial observation that “this ritual leads to this outcome.” It sounds like an answer, and can quiet your curiosity, but it doesn’t lead to bigger and better things. Like eating candy, it can fill you up but it has no nutritional value. If you’re like me, you’ll want to explore why those rituals and symbols and whatnot behave the way they do, not just quiet your curiosity and move on.

Also, I want to mention: Don’t get too caught up with the software metaphor. I didn’t set out to explain magick as software, and until I started writing, I called those forces “systems.” Just an empty term, so I could explore how they behave, learn to use them well. I only adopted the software metaphor to make my work more accessible.

It turns out, exploring how those forces behave, and the commonalities between those forces, leads to useful techniques. Here are a few examples:

I recall in my early 20s, being bothered by a spirit. I had an idea: What if I send the spirit’s software a message in the software’s signature? Maybe it would think the message came from somewhere internal, and maybe it would respond. So I did, and it worked. I was surprised — I hadn’t actually expected that to work the first time. But I told the software to disconnect from the spirit and refuse to connect to me, and the attack ended immediately. Problem solved.

That became a staple in any magick fight. And it turns out, most ethereal software responds the same way, treating any message in its signature as coming from a legitimate user. It’s one of the ways I explore new systems of magick to this day.

Another trick: Readme’s. I often get new ethereal software from spirits, or from other software, or sometimes from a sigil in an established magickal system. The first step is usually the same: Ask the software, “Requesting basic instructions and basic use instructions.” Like readme’s of ordinary software, most ethereal software has recorded messages, provided by the programmers, telling users what the software is for and how to use it. Useless if you only want to learn one system of magick, but great for crawling around the inner-workings of magick and exploring a dozen softwares a year.

Similarly, asking, “Connect me to the folks who made you” (or “own you”) can help you find spirits to work with. Not how I did it initially, but if somehow all the spirits I know disappeared, this is how I would find more. (Note: This command often has better security on it, requiring a closer match to the software’s signature. Also, the spirits can choose to ignore you — think of it as getting the email address of a potential employer, it’s still up to you to be interesting enough for them to write back.)

Lastly, programming. I talk about it because, well, it seems so natural. I programmed computers, after all. Plus it’s some of my active research. But really, it’s advanced direct magick — not just advanced magick, but specifically direct magick, requiring you to do magick without ethereal software. And it’s only really useful when you run into a problem your ethereal software can’t solve, but that you could figure out how to solve with magick. I’ve only found a few problems like that myself. So, I’ve come to think of programming as more aspirational than practical: Some day, I hope to push magick well beyond what it can presently do, which will require programming ethereal software. But for now, and especially for newcomers to direct magick, I think it’s best to focus on using, exploring, and hacking ethereal software, and leave the programming for later.

Because, really, you can do some neat stuff once you learn to communicate clearly with ethereal software.

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

Demystifying Ethereal Software

Friday, January 31st, 2014

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

Let’s clear up some misconceptions about ethereal software.

This post was inspired by Ananael’s comment, where he laid out some of his understanding of my model. Now, Ananael is an experienced mage, a longtime reader, and generally a smart guy. If he’s misunderstanding my model, others probably do too. Which means I should try to explain it more clearly.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Ethereal Software = Egregore

Not really. But it’s a good starting point.

Words do two things. First, they point to external objects. That man, this cup, those ships. We use words to point to things.

In that sense, “ethereal software” and “egregore” both point to the same external objects — the forces we contact and channel for magick.

But words also suggest purpose, use, and other connotations. Is that music, or just noise? Is it graffiti or art? I chose to use a new term because I disagree with the connotations around egregores — where they come from, how to best use them, and so on. I discuss that here (written when I used the word “system” instead of “ethereal software.”)

Programming vs Using

When I use ethereal software, I tell it what I want to happen. That could be a short instruction (“make me successful in this job interview”) or complex (“heal this cold, and adjust the signature every 5 minutes for the next 24 hours“). Note that I never said how to make me successful, or what energy to use for the cold. I assumed the software already knew how to do that.

When I program ethereal software, I show it how to do something new. For energy healing, that means using my ethereal muscles to produce energy in certain signatures, showing the ethereal software which tissues get those signatures, and describing what to do: “When I tell you to reduce her auto-immune sensitivity, apply this signature throughout her body for 3 hours.”

In order to program ethereal software, you must first do the magick without the software. That’s the origin of the term “direct magick”: Doing magick by directly applying connections and energy and other magickal structures, rather than telling a force what we want to happen.

You’ll notice that, just like computer software, programming and using are two separate skills, and generally not done at the same time. First you program ethereal software, then you (or someone else) uses it.

Most people never program ethereal software. I didn’t program anything until I’d been doing magick for almost 20 years, and doing it directly for 5-10 years. These forces can already do so much, it’s just rare to run into things they can’t handle.

(There’s also a middle-ground, where you name a complex command so you can use it easily. For example, “Whenever I tell you to heal a cold, by default, adjust the signature every 5 minutes for the next 24 hours.” Useful when making a command for someone else to use, if they cannot clearly communicate complex commands.)

Ethereal Software and Rituals

Rituals aren’t required to use ethereal software. In fact, most of the software I personally use was designed for spirits, and has no concept of a ritual; you have to communicate by packaging your thoughts into a message, like when you talk to spirits. But lots of mages do rituals, and Ananael was asking about them, so let’s talk rituals.

Ananael says:

As a ceremonial practitioner, if I’m going to employ a software metaphor at all it seems to me that the “commands” in magick are akin not to each variation of a full ritual but rather the spirit names, words of power, and figures employed to construct those rituals. The “programming” takes place when a magician assembles those “commands” into a structure. So the Star Ruby is separate from an LRP because it calls on different names and godforms, but if you take apart the LRP, keep all the names and spirits, and put it back together to look more like a Star Ruby (which as I recall I sent you an example of) it’s still an LRP, just optimized differently.

I think this is a miscommunication about just what it means to “program” ethereal software.

Ananael is communicating his intent to the ethereal software. He’s doing it using a complex symbolic language. I can see why he might think of that as programming.

But remember, programming is when you show ethereal software how to do something it doesn’t understand yet. What signature to apply to which tissue for a particular healing technique. It’s not about explaining your goals, it’s about doing the magick yourself, with your own ethereal muscles, so the software can copy you.

(I’m not sure what the equivalent would be for manifesting, I haven’t programmed that software yet. But the first step would be figuring out how it functions under the hood, doing what the manifesting software does using only your own ethereal muscles, then showing it how to do that new technique. Which isn’t the sort of thing a normal user needs to do.)

The rituals I’ve seen — LBRP, OTO Mass, a few others — seem like a way to express your intent using a complex symbolic language. Someone (probably a spirit) programmed those symbols and correspondences into the software, then people learn the symbols and correspondences and use them to communicate with the software. It’s rather clever, actually, because it’s probably easier to explain these symbols than it is to explain how to clearly communicate with the software using only your thoughts. But the programming happened earlier, when that spirit set the software to know how to implement those commands and intents.

Modifying Rituals

One more misunderstanding to clear up:

As I recall, you originally came up with the idea based on the concept that ceremonial magicians don’t change their rituals. The implication there, then, is that any trivial change to something like the LRP makes it “different software.” But to anyone who’s practiced the ritual that obviously isn’t true – magicians vary it all the time within reason and it works the same way and draws the same energy.

The origins are quite different, actually. I originally noticed how all these different systems of magick, with different theories about why magick works and how to use it, produced similar results. That suggests there’s a single mechanism shared by all those systems.

Also, the changes in the world that magick creates are much more complex than you could express in a sigil or ritual. Whatever magick does at the atomic level, however it figures out what will happen in the future and which ways to influence the present, something extremely complex must be going on. Which means something equally complex must be driving those changes, taking our instructions and figuring out the details of creating that change in the world.

(That equally complex thing is a combination of the software itself, and the spirits / people who programmed it.)

Now, the details of ethereal software — how we connect and interact, what exactly it does, if there’s one or many of them, etc — didn’t come from those ideas. The details came from working with ethereal software, asking spirits about it, and testing things out myself and with other people.

As for changing a ritual, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Remember how my sigil has 6 symbols? My ethereal software is bound to each symbol. So, you could mess with the overall sigil, reorganize the symbols, even change some of them, and it would probably still work. Redundancy is your friend, and I bet there’s more than one symbol involved in most of your rituals.

When you begin your ritual, the software is already out there, already made. If your ritual uses enough standard symbols and steps, the software will connect to you. If your ritual doesn’t, the software won’t. But doing something weird won’t get you different software, unless you accidentally modified your symbols to look like another system’s symbols.

And all of that is interesting, but probably not what’s at work here. Because doing a standard ritual is just one way to get software to connect. Much more common — the only thing I do, and from what I’ve seen, the normal way ritual practitioners do it too — is to just think about the magick you want to do. See, once you’ve used some ethereal software a few times, (once if you focus on it), your ethereal muscles will remember its signature. And most software will leave a tiny connection to you, to let you contact it again — all my software does this, anyway. So, just remembering the signature will let you contact that software again.

So, when an experienced ritual practitioner does some weird ritual, whether it’s a modified LBRP or some made up thing about Superman? They’re probably contacting the ethereal software by remembering its signature and letting it read their intent. No ritual required.

What does the ritual do, then? At a minimum, if rituals are how you do magick, they’ll help you focus. But I also expect (but don’t know) that most ethereal software used in ritual magick is programmed to respond to the ritual, to take the ritual into account when interpreting the intent it reads from the practitioner’s mind. I could see that adding redundancy to the communication with the ethereal software, and as we all know, redundancy is your friend.

Does that help? I’d like to know if this is clarifying things, for Ananael and the rest of you, so I know if I should go into this in my book. Thanks!

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

Complexity Isn’t Free: Sigils

Monday, January 27th, 2014

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

This post is about how I think about magick, and how I find holes in my knowledge worth exploring.

It grew out of a discussion with Ananael about how sigils work. In my chapter, Using Ethereal Software. I said:

I’ve always been puzzled by sigils. How can looking at lines on a computer screen do anything?

It seems there’s an ethereal software that notices when people look at sigils. […] [I] registered my own sigil and software with it.

Ananael disagrees:

My point is that once you tell your “software” to synchronize itself with the sigil it will continue to resonate with it and therefore for any subsequent use there’s no explicit lookup step. When you hold the sigil in your mind, the similarity link is formed by the neural firing pattern, which in turn is governed by the sigil’s exact shape. […] That’s just the way the human brain works.

(Our discussion has other interesting ideas, on both sides, that I’m not citing here. Worth reading.)

Whenever I get an explanation, I try to imagine all the pieces, and step through how it works. Here’s what happens when I do that with Ananael’s model:

  • I tell my software to synchronize with the sigil. Great — not exactly what I did, but close enough, and what chaos magicians do with egregores all the time. (Note: Ergegore and ethereal software probably refer to the same external forces, using different metaphors and explanations.)
  • Not sure what “resonates” means, but let’s say that, if a person asks the software, “Is this your sigil,” it will answer “yes.”
  • Then I post the sigil online. It becomes an image file, then a bunch of electronic impulses, then some light on a computer screen. And you look at it, which makes your nerves fire in a way that’s “governed by the sigil’s shape.” Yup, that all sounds like standard technology / biology.
  • But then what happens? How does nerve firing create a connection to the software? Remember, the software doesn’t understand the image compression and electronic impulses, doesn’t follow them anywhere. What talks to what, where does that information go?

In computer programming, there’s a concept of bad code smell. That’s when a piece of code just feels wrong. It doesn’t necessarily make your program crash, and it’s often nothing you can prove is an error. Occasionally there’s even a good reason to do something that smells bad. But usually, something that smells bad is bad, and it’s just that you haven’t found the error yet. It’s more art than science, but after coding for a few years (or decades), you get a sense of it.

That model has a bad smell. Specifically, it smells like “free complexity,” that is, imagining that a step is simple when it’s actually complex. It’s easy to read “the similarity link is formed by the neural firing pattern,” nod your head, and get swept away by the long words. And it’s easy to imagine a sentient homunculus floating out of a person’s mind, walking over to the ethereal software that we all know goes with the sigil, and making that connection. It’s easy to ignore that the homunculus wouldn’t know which software it wants, or not to think about searching through those 1000s of softwares, or to ignore how darn complex it would be to create something that can even do that searching. After all, it’s natural for humans to imagine that everything has a human mind inside it. It’s easy to ignore all that complexity, and never realize that this step doesn’t “just happen.”

I never expected these sigil-based connections to work in the first place. I always assumed sigils were like CD labels: The connection went to the object the sigil was drawn on, like how the data is on the reflective side of the CD. The sigil / CD label is just for convenience, so you know what force / data you’ll get. Slapping a label on a blank CD doesn’t suddenly fill it with music, and making a symbol on a computer screen shouldn’t suddenly connect it to a force. I assumed that everyone using sigils for magick were just using the connections to the physical objects, or they were already connected to the software and the sigil just told their unconscious to engage that connection. I figured the people saying sigils actually did magick were just mistaken.

I was wrong, of course. But I wonder, if I had learned magick from books rather than my own explorations, and if those books had explained these “similarity links” as simple and natural and not deserving of any special attention, would I ever have realized that step was really complex?

I’ll stop there. Ananael (or anyone else), if you want to continue the discussion of similarity links, please feel free. And if you pick it up on your blog, please leave a comment here with a link to your post. Thanks!

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

Direct Magick in Action: Conclusion

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

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

This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

Now that we’ve seen some concrete examples, let’s summarize the major moving parts behind most magick.

The mage visualizes, does a ritual, or does some other symbolic action to communicate their intent to their unconscious mind. Most guides focus here: The conscious steps the teacher uses to do magick, which we hope will enable you to do magick, too.

The mage’s ethereal muscles respond to that intent. Now, everyone has ethereal muscles, but in most people, they’re hibernating from disuse. Becoming a mage involves awakening and strengthening your ethereal muscles. We’ll see how to do that soon.

(Each mage has their own ethereal muscles. I can’t use your muscles any more than I could think with your brain.)

If the mage’s ethereal muscles know how to fulfill their intent, they will. When you do an energy meditation, for example, your ethereal muscles will usually produce the energy all on their own.

But for most complex magick — energy healing, psychic intuitions, manifesting, and so on — the ethereal muscles will need help. So they’ll contact ethereal software, an external force, usually programmed by spirits, shared by many mages. The ethereal software will read the mage’s mind and handle the details of turning their intent into change in the world.

That’s 90% of magick: Engage your ethereal muscles, contact ethereal software, send it your intent, and let it handle the details. That intent can be wealth, love, energy healing, or any other common use of magick. As long as you have the right ethereal software, it’ll know what to do. We’ll see how to do each of those steps in the next few chapters.

And the other 10% of magick? That’s when the mage does something his ethereal software doesn’t know how to do. We’ll explore that in Books 2 and 3 of this Initiation.

Next Chapter

Table of Contents

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

Occam’s Razor and Remote Viewing

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

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

Remote viewing, according to a friend, is when you project your spirit into another room, and see what’s there. Over dinner, we discussed how this might function. My goal was to get her thinking about the underlying mechanics of magick, since you may have noticed, I think about them quite a bit.

First, here’s how remote viewing probably works: Psychic intuitions enter the person’s mind from some psychic ethereal software, similar to what I use for my own manifesting and psychic work. The person imagines whatever room they’re “projecting” into, and lets that psychic info guide their imagination.

Why do I think that’s what’s happening? Well, it fully explains the phenomenon using only parts of magick already in our model. That is, it doesn’t introduce anything new. That’s the proper form of Occam’s Razor: Not introducing new rules or building blocks into our understanding of the universe.

What if you want to take a literal approach? For example, when I asked my friend how she thought it worked, she said, “I go into trance, and my spirit leaves my body and wanders around.” And I see the appeal of that explanation: It’s easy to imagine a translucent version of you climbing out of your body, walking around, then re-entering your body again. We’ve all seen that special effect on TV. Sounds simple.

But let’s drill down. If you were building one of those, what would you need?

The spirit is a sentient version of you that exists separate from your brain, that’s capable of remembering goals, and carrying observations back into your brain. Not impossible, but not exactly simple.

This spirit isn’t visible — if it were, we’d have photos of them — so it doesn’t interact with light. Which means it cannot see anything with its “eyes.” So, it needs some non-photon-based way of looking around. Even if I could figure out how to do that, why would anything “look” like it looks normally? How could the “memories” of being in that room get the wallpaper the right color?

(Also, the spirit doesn’t interact with physical objects — again, we’d have photographs of a spatula floating if it did — but it needs to be able to move around, which seems rather difficult if its legs don’t interact with the floor or encounter friction. This one didn’t even occur to me during the conversation, though.)

Your spirit then needs to integrate its memories back into your brain once it reconnects with your brain. That’s… well, rather complicated. Again, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

This is what happens when you go from the special effects version of magick to the real how-do-you-build-that version: Things that are easy to imagine wind up being really complex to build.

That’s the essence of Occam’s Razor: Asking which is more likely, that this phenomenon is built out of parts we already believe exist, or that this phenomenon is built out of entirely new parts, each complex and difficult to build.

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

If Energy Reduces Pain, Part 2

Friday, December 6th, 2013

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

Today, I’m thinking about the mechanisms behind magick, and how to reason about them.

Last week, Ananael left a typically-insightful comment on If Energy Reduces Pain… It’s worth reading in its entirety, but here’s the summary:

My post: If energy can reduce pain, it can influence nerve signaling, which means it can also help with epilepsy and depression, create telepathy, and do other nerve-related things.

Ananael (summarized): Those don’t necessarily imply each other. There are a number of different possible models under which they don’t.

(1) The Chinese have been studying infrasound for a long time as a possible vehicle for Qi.

(2 & 3) Let’s say energy only affects mood. Depression makes pain seem worse, and epilepsy may be worsened by stress. So by adjusting the subjective mental state of an individual, you could affect all three of those. Or maybe epilepsy isn’t affected by mood or stress, and cannot be influenced by energy.

(4) Under some conditions, perception of pain can be diminished. Let’s say that mechanism is all that energy affects. It could reduce pain, but do nothing for epilepsy, depression, or telepathy.

Pain in and of itself is problematic – you can’t just equate a stronger pain sensation to stronger neural signals. One recent example is fibromyalgia. Researchers have found that people with the condition do not actually receive more or stronger peripheral nerve signals, but they perceive the signals as stronger than people without the condition.

(I’m going to skip #1. The infrasound model forces healing into standard physics, and doesn’t allow for most of the magick we talk about here.)

My initial thought was, “If energy affects mood, let’s think about how that works. At some level, it has to affect the way some nerves somewhere behave, or it wouldn’t be able to do anything at all. Same with perception of pain: To do that, energy has to interact with the brain and affect how the nerves behave in some way. So, there must be some underlying mechanism that allows energy to influence nerves. If we can just figure out that mechanism, we can build all these other techniques from it, too.”

But my last sentence isn’t necessarily true. Biology is complex, and understanding how it works doesn’t always let us change how it behaves. We understand a great deal about how DNA controls cells, and we can even program bacteria to do computer logic, but we can’t go into cancer cells and fix them. We can influence neural signaling with Prozac and other drugs, but we can’t target it precisely enough to fix the brain. There is a great gap between understanding a mechanism, and being able to use it to heal a living human.

I am forced to agree with Ananael. And yet…

And yet, I also think magick will do all that and more. I can’t prove it, but I have some reasons for hope. Unlike surgery, energy doesn’t require damaging the body to reach the injury — a big deal for healing knees, and brains. Unlike drugs, energy seems able to target tissue at specific points in the body — healing a knee doesn’t affect pain elsewhere, for example. And we can already do so much, with so little understanding of how magick and energy actually function. Surely, as we understand more, our capabilities will increase exponentially.

I can’t prove it. But I still believe that the mechanisms behind magick and energy, combined with biology and medicine and other sciences, will one day heal depression, epilepsy, other problems rooted in nerves, and a great many other things. And that belief still compels me to ask, “What’s missing, that keeps us from helping all those people,” then to work on those missing pieces.

And Ananael? We’re on the same page: I think you’re correct in your base assertion that magick can work on all these things, and I’m being a bit of a devil’s advocate here.

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

Conclusion: Why These Parts?

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

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

This is part of An Initiation into Direct Magick – Book 1.

Before finishing this tour of the major pieces of direct magick, I want to answer two common questions:

  • How did you pick which concepts to borrow from other systems of magick?
  • Why aren’t other common concepts (like chakras) included as well?

This model didn’t happen all at once. It came from years of exploration, from trying to solve problems, from training with spirits and other human mages, and from finding models that lead to new, useful techniques. Even the components that logically have to be there, like ethereal software (since it works out details that are too complex for the human mind), have proven themselves time and again as I’ve developed new techniques for healing, manifesting, psychic intuitions, shielding / protection, and more.

Better techniques may seem like an odd basis for a model of magick. After all, anyone can try a few dozen approaches, notice which one works the best, and adopt it. That doesn’t mean you should trust their story about why it works, it just means they got lucky.

Indeed, that would be an odd basis for a model. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. Here, I’m talking about a model that singles out a complex procedure I never would have considered without the model. A model that said, “This one procedure should work,” and got it right after one or a few tries, when random chance would only get it right one time in 100 or 1000.

Or, put into scientific terms: The model using these components made non-obvious predictions — predictions I would not have made using other common models of magick. It predicted that particular techniques would be more effective than the other methods I had available. And it got it right, again and again, even when I didn’t quite believe in the techniques myself.

(I didn’t discover those techniques in my first year of magick, and we won’t learn them for a while. But if you’re curious, some of them are in case studies on my blog, at )

As for other common concepts, like chakras, they’re not included because the model in this book is a snapshot of my current beliefs as of 2013, not my final thoughts on the matter. I’ve gone looking and haven’t found chakras (and ghosts and other things), so they’re not included. But the world is a big place, and the human body is incredibly intricate, and it’s possible I’ve simply missed them. It’s certainly happened before.

Actually, that’s much of why I’m writing this book: To bring more collaborators into direct magick, drawing new ideas from different backgrounds. That’s how we’ll create an even better model of how magick operates, and how we’ll build even better techniques. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll be part of that.

And now, we’re ready to see direct magick in action.

Next Chapter

Table of Contents

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

Right and Useless

Monday, August 5th, 2013

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

Today, I want to talk about exploring magick scientifically, and how not to get intimidated by how much we already know about the physical world.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned one of my long-term questions:

How does [magick] influence the atoms to bring about that result? How can that impact / advance our understanding of physics?

A difficult goal. Maybe not one I’ll ever attain. But I use it as a compass, moving toward it even if I never get there. And it’s a daydream, something to inspire me when I’d rather play video games.

I get the feeling, though, that some readers are focusing on connecting magick with physics, becoming intimidated, and that it may be hurting their current explorations of magick. For example, from John’s blog:

This means seeing how the Subconscious Mind uses magick to affect quantum particles, atoms and/or molecules, or even larger-scale objects (Newtonian scale). If that were possible, [the mage would] be able to see how those particles and objects move, interact with each other, etc. Really, he’d have Superman-like microscopic vision, pretty much. And if so, he’d be able to understand what’s really going on at such a small level; and with enough time, he’d be able to explain how Quantum particles work, how a DNA molecule splits, etc. He’d have an incredibly in-depth knowledge of how the physical and magickal world work together, possibly even being able to offer rough mathematical formulas for their interaction. Possibly even explaining how gravity interacts with the other forces, offering a Unified Theory of Physics. If so, he’d not only be the greatest mage alive, he’d be the world’s leading physicist and the greatest mind ever known, and the world’s utmost superhero.

This isn’t daydreaming, it’s nightmare-ing, building up your goal for future generations into an impossible-to-achieve mountain. It discourages you before you even start, and makes it that much harder to do useful work. And I’m sorry my daydream puts John into that headspace.

Today, I want to share how I think about these goals, and how I think about science, and what I think we can do right now. But rather than talk abstractly about magick, let’s talk about biology, since it’s concrete and we can all agree on what we’re discussing.

I’d like you to imagine that we know all the physics that we know today, but somehow, we know very little biology. Maybe there was some religious prohibition on dissecting mammals. Whatever the reason, we don’t know abour nerves, cells, DNA, or much of anything else about life.

Someone asks, “Why do muscles move?” Each of us can choose one of two responses:

  • You can say, “We know all this physics, about molecules and atoms and quarks. Just think of all the quarks involved in a muscle. Before we can explain why muscles muscles move, we’ll need to simulate all those quarks, so we’ll need supercomputers a million times more powerful than we have today. Might as well give up.”
  • Or you can roll up your sleeves and start figuring it out.

Eventually, you might try electricity, as Luigi Galvani did in 1771, making dead frogs dance. He placed electrodes in different spots and discovered that nerves make muscles move. A quark-level explanation? No. Useful? Yes.

Then you can investingate how nerves work. You can look at them under a microscope, and notice they’re long cells, connected in a line through muscles. You can investigate the neurotransmitters they use to signal, and come to understand the Potassium-Sodium reaction involved. You can interview people with brain injuries, and figure out which parts of the brain are involved in different types of movements.

None of that knowledge gets you to quarks. Even today, in the real world, I don’t think we understand most biology in terms of quarks. Indeed, the doubters are right. And when you predict that we won’t achieve the utmost pinnacle of understanding, you’ll usually be right. Right, and useless.

But understanding that nerves make muscles move, that nerves work by Potassium and Sodium and neurotransmitters, that certain parts of the brain are responsible for different aspects of muscle movement, all of that is useful, valuable knowledge. All of that advances medicine and our ability to help people. And if you’d never rolled up your sleeves and helped discover a little bit of that, the world would be less for it.

I’m sure the people who want to throw up their hands and say, “We’ll never understand magick,” will point out that we don’t have a magickal microscope to look at nerve cells, and we don’t have magickal probes to apply magickal electricity, and we don’t have all these other things. And again, they’ll be right.

But I wish they’d put that effort toward trying to invent those tools, or toward figuring out what steps the unconscious mind takes to drive magick, or toward exporing the algorithms used by the forces we channel. Because that work is useful. And I’ll take useful over right any day.

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