Posts Tagged ‘Non-Mages’

Explaining Accupuncture to Non-Mages

Friday, December 21st, 2012

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I feel awkward talking about magick with non-mages. Talk about influencing probabilities, and they think you’re getting tricked by placebo and positive thinking. Talk about specific case studies, and you’re threatening their worldview. Neither is a great conversation.

But I was impressed by with acupuncturist I met at a party recently. Without mentioning magick, I asked about his practice. His explanation (poorly paraphrased by me):

Before modern biology, people examined the body, saw problems and figured out cures, and had to come up with terms so they could talk about it. Different cultures picked different names: The four elements, the four humors, and so on. They didn’t have modern science available, so they used whatever metaphors seemed most natural to them to describe what they saw.

It had an overall tone of, “Sure, they used names that sound kind of silly now, but that’s just a terminology problem. We’re all describing basically the same things, so let’s see what the ancient people uncovered.”

When I asked directly, he said that, yes, his work involves energy. But then he went back to talking about the history, about how modern pharmacology is drawing from ancient herbal remedies, and so on. He just skipped the non-mainstream parts.

Seems like an excellent strategy.

(Expect more posts on this later.)

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Magick Anyone Can Feel: Testing it Out

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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Last time, we discussed my two bad plans. I knew they were bad, and I knew I had to sit with the problem until I created something good. That really is my recipe: Take a block of time, load as much of the problem as I can into my mind, see where the gaps are, and something will come to me. But between the surgery, packing, and saying goodbye to everybody, I just hadn’t found that block of time.

Then came my flight to LA. Sometimes, boredom is the mother of invention. Especially when you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the problem, and by everything else.

It started with a question: How does the tingling sensation move from magick::energy to nerve cells? I saw two options:

Energy influences the nerves in my arm –> The signal goes up those nerves to my brain, like any normal feeling.


Energy touches my arm –> My mental muscles notice the energy –> My mental muscles send a message to my brain.

In other words, is a tingle in my arm caused by the nerves in my arm, or is it projected into my mind, similar to how visions work, or how spirits can drop thoughts into your mind when they communicate?

I didn’t have an answer. It’s not the sort of thing you can reason out, because it could go either way. The only way to know is to test it.

Step 1: Observation

Before I could design the test, I needed to know what I was working with. What are the major moving parts, and how do I think they work? What’s the hypothesis? To answer that, I connected to my arm, my mind, and the arm and mind of a non-mage, to see what the differences were.

I started with the nerves in my arm, tracing the paths from energy layer to nerve cells. (Well, as close as I could get to the actual cells.) It was just a normal-looking set of paths, the same ones I work with all the time for energy healing. Later, when I looked at the non-mage’s nerves, he had the same paths. In other words, there was nothing unusual going on in the nerves in my arm.

Then, I looked at my mind. There were three components: Thinking mind, energy layer, and physical nerves. The energy layer and physical nerves are basically the same as the nerves in my arm, then thinking mind goes on top of them.

(Thinking mind is the layer used for communicating with spirits and ethereal software. They can read thoughts from it and write their responses to it. When I asked my trainers what it was, their concepts came through as “thinking mind,” which is how I got the term.)

I also looked at the non-mage’s mind, which had the same 3 layers. But there was a big difference: My thinking mind was more active, and had much bigger connections to the energy layer.

Don’t read too much into this. This doesn’t mean that I’m smarter, that my mind is more active, or anything like that. Thinking mind is a magickal structure used in magick. It’s involved in in sensing energy and connections, and in communication. As you learn those skills, I would expect this magickal structure to become more developed. I just want to be clear, when I say “my thinking mind was more active than his,” I’m not disparaging his cognative abilities in any way.

OK, back to the magick. So, we know that the magickal forms around the nerves in my body are basically the same as a non-mage’s, but my thinking mind, and its connections to the energy layer of the brain, are quite different. This gave me a hypothesis: The sensations associated with energy originate in mental muscles, move from thinking mind to brain, and do not involve the nerves in my arm (or wherever I’m feeling the tingle). After having zero traction on this problem for two weeks, I was pretty excited. But I had to test it first.

Step 2: Test it

We tested the model by seeing how to turn off the tingling sensation. If the path goes:

Mental muscles –> Thinking mind –> Nerves

Then we should be able to turn off the tingling sensation by blocking either the connections between mental muscles and thinking mind, or the connections between thinking mind and nerves. In contrast, if the path goes:

Energy –> Nerves in my arm –> Ordinary nerve signaling until the feeling reaches my brain

Then blocking the messages from mental muscles and thinking mind shouldn’t have any effect, because the message enters my brain through normal neural signalling.

At my request, my trainers blocked each set of connections (mental muscles –> thinking mind, and thinking mind –> brain). It was easy for them to do. And in both cases, it turned off the tingling sensation. The testing confirmed my earlier observations, and now we have a model: The tingling sensation is caused by mental muscles placing sensations into thinking mind, in much the same way as visions and messages are placed directly into thinking mind. The actual nerves in your body at the location of the tingling are not involved.

For now, it’s a tentative model, since there could be some other possibility I haven’t thought of. Once we develop the tingling technique based on this model, I’ll call it confirmed.

Why It Matters

For anyone casually following this blog, it might seem like I’m splitting hairs. Why do I care so much?

First, all of my previous research had focused on the nerves in the arm. I was imagining to cause tingling by applying the right energy to those nerves, in the same way I do energy healing by applying the right energy signature to the nerves experiencing the pain. But now, I know that focusing on the arm was unlikely to yield a success, and that I must instead focus on the mind.

Second, I have plenty of trainers, but if no one knows how to cause a non-mage to feel energy, I can’t ask for training in that. But now, I know to ask for training in the connections between thinking mind and brain, and I’m already in touch with an expert in that field. So, having this model tells me what to learn and how to learn it.

Third, it once again showed me the importance of good terms. Did you notice how I kept talking about the “energy layer of the nerves” in this post? I used to call that “thought layer,” because it reflects the moment-to-moment signalling of the nerves. But “thought layer” sounds a lot like “thinking mind,” and I hadn’t been able to keep those two completely different structures straight in my own thinking. If I’d had better terms, I probably would have checked this weeks ago.

So, coming up, I’ll make some better terms, get training in the connections between thinking mind and brain, and then come back to developing this technique. Also, now that I’m mostly over my jetlag, I’ll get back to writing the book.

Question for you, as readers: Is it interesting to see what my work actually involves, or are you lost in all the technical jargon, or otherwise uninterested? I’m fine either way, just want to make sure my writing is helping you, or at least entertaining you. Thanks!

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I’m Becoming More Closeted

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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I’ve decided to become slightly more closeted about magick. Not a lot, but I’m going to get to know friends better before bringing it up. My reasoning is simple: Delaying the conversation will convince more people.

When someone disagrees with you in a fundamental way, you have two choices. You can either change your beliefs, or you can believe they are wrong.

If I had never experienced magick, which scenario would I think was more likely? That’s easy: I’d think the person was wrong, probably overly-credulous and deluded by the confirmation bias, or perhaps lying, or maybe just nuts. And I would be totally rational in that belief — the problem would be my lack of mystical experiences, not any sort of faulty reasoning.

But, if I knew a person well, and knew them as a rational, sensible, scientifically-minded person, I would consider their ideas thoroughly before concluding they were wrong. I’d give them a chance to demonstrate, and give them a fair shake of it, paying attention to subtle effects and not demanding instant and unreasonably-obvious proof.

And that’s why I’m becoming more closeted, and choosing when to tell friends about magick on a case-by-case basis: Because a close friend can change minds in ways that an acquaintance cannot.


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Magick Anyone Can Feel: First (Bad) Plans

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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This series is about my current research project: How to cause a tingling feeling (similar to energy) that even non-mages can feel, using only magick — no telling them to focus on their breathing, their skin, or anything else along those lines.

Today, I want to tell you about the two lines of thought I explored for the first week. They turned out to be duds, but there’s a lot of value in sharing them: If you ever develop your own techniques, you’ll wind up exploring your own dead ends, and seeing some examples will help you recognize them, and hopefully help you keep from getting frustrated. Plus, friends sometimes ask me what it’s like to do direct magick, so I ought to share some of the non-glamorous part.

OK, on to the plans. Remember how mages have these thicker connections between thought layer and nerve cells? My first idea was to have the spirits use energy to give me tingling, while watching what happens closer to nerves. Then we’d try to reproduce what happens in the cells without touching the energy layer.

It seems straight-forward enough, and indeed, this description fits the path I’m currently working. But the problem is, this description fits a lot of other paths, too. It was just too vague — it didn’t even let me make a list of pre-requesite skills, or even figure out exactly what to look at. Do we move one step along the path from energy to cells? Two? Try to affect all of the layers except energy? The plan basically amounted to, “Watch everything, reproduce everything that happens, and hope it works.” Fail.

At the time, I didn’t know exactly why it felt wrong. I certainly hadn’t articulated all that. I just knew it didn’t feel brilliant — that it felt like my only plan, rather than my best plan. I couldn’t see the moving parts, or even see a real path.

Well, what if we go from the opposite direction? Energy intended to numb should work on nerves, even in non-mages. I can do it easily and reliably. What if I adapt it, using different signatures in the same spots in the same nerves, intending to cause sensations instead of taking them away?

I actually gave this a shot. I rounded up the spirits I’m collaborating this, taught them the energy I use for pain, and tested it on a tickling rather than pain. The session was very valuable, because it exposed a lot of things the spirits didn’t know about working with cells. But it yielded no results: I still felt the tickle, possibly because it’s dynamic and moving and changing in time. The spirits took some questions home to explore, and I went back to the drawing board.

The problem was, this plan was better, but it still wasn’t brilliant. And I keep focusing on brilliance because there’s a particular feel to it, where you see the whole problem, and see a path that makes perfect sense with that full picture, but wouldn’t make any sense without it. That’s how my best work feels, and I try to reach that before committing to a plan. Not surprisingly, it sometimes takes a while.

Over the next week, I made two more plans. Or, really, one plan, with a huge refinement. I won’t call it brilliant, but it’s definitely moving in that direction. I’ll share those next post.

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Magick Anyone Can Feel: Why It’s Hard

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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Now that I’ve recovered from my surgery, it’s time to start that research into a tingling sensation that even non-mages can feel. I’ve gone through a few research plans for it, and most were mediocre, but I want to share this process with you because, for me, planning research is one of the hardest skills to learn, and seeing some examples might help. (Also, seeing that it takes everyone a few tries to get something decent might help you keep at it. Perseverance and perspiration being the true keys to success, after all.)

First, let’s start with the problem: Energy feels different to everyone, and it doesn’t feel like anything to non-mages. I want a technique that consistently produces tingling in a chosen area (like a 1-inch square of skin), with no suggestion or placebo involved. In this context, telling the person to breathe hard or focus on their elbow is cheating — it has to be the magick causing the sensations, not some mundane method dressed up as magick.

The fact that the same energy feels different to me than it does to you tells me there’s a missing step, that there’s some step between the energy and the sensations. Also, that step is different in different people. And, most importantly, that step is probably the missing ingredient in making non-mages feel energy.

But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. This is the line of thought that finally got me traction on the problem, but it took about a week for me to get there. Next, I’ll share the two lines of thought that didn’t work, so you can see what that part of research is like.

Note: While in Australia, I won’t have as much time for writing. I’m still going to post daily, but it’ll mostly be shorter posts like this one, spreading a discussion over several days.

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