Posts Tagged ‘Ethereal Software’

The Energy of Consecrated Oil: Oil of Abramelin Ritual

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

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What happens when oil gets consecrated? That was my question at the Oil of Abramelin ritual at the Blazing Star OTO.

This was a public ritual to create consecrated oil for use in other rituals, including the temple’s Gnostic Mass. About 20 people attended, most participated but a handful (including myself) chose to watch. If you want to know more about the ritual, there are plenty of resources online, so I’m going to talk about the steps I found particularly interesting in terms of energy:

The ritual opened with a Star Ruby. I believe this is a banishing. I had expected banishings to remove and block connections from spirits, but it doesn’t do that — I was connected to a spirit I often work with, and during the ritual we talked with a couple other spirits too, and none of them were affected. I also did some psychic intuitions, and my connection that that ethereal software was unaffected as well. So, banishing does not remove connections from spirits, at least the type of connections and spirits I work with.

So what did it do? It set an energy signature for the room, like a field of energy. This was done with some force, which would wipe out any existing energy signatures for anyone not shielded against it. So I’m now thinking of banishing as banishing the old energy, rather than banishing connections.

While this was happening, I connected to the energy field that was being set, then to the structures that were setting it, which I expected to be ethereal software. It was not. Here’s how I know: There’s a type of connection that’s universally recognized as requesting communication, used by every spirit and ethereal software I work with. I tried making one of these “communication connections,” and the energy-field-setting structure ignored it. This structure seemed to be entirely devoted to delivering energy to set a field for the room.

I felt my way around that structure, past it, and found the ethereal software that created it. This software responded to my communication, and explained some of what it does (essentially, associates energy effects with rituals — this would be one component of a larger system of ethereal software). But it took some effort to find this ethereal software, it’s clearly not intended for the ritual participants to use directly. So if you do a Star Ruby (or other Thelemic ritual) and go looking for the ethereal software, be aware that it may be hidden.

The next few steps of the ritual involved mixing some oil, I didn’t notice much interesting energy stuff. The next part involved two bottles of oil, one that was just mixed in this ritual, the other from a previous year’s ritual. Each participant came up to the altar, filled a small flask with this year’s oil, then added a drop of the previous year’s already-consecrated oil. And adding the drop of already-consecrated oil triggered a large energy shift. Whatever just happened, that’s probably the energy-level implementation of consecration.

After the ritual, a friend let me examine his flask. (I had the option to make my own, but there were limited slots for participants, and I figured other members would benefit more.) I saw an energy structure attached to the oil, low-energy and mostly inactive, but stable, almost crystalline. I’m calling it a “matrix.” I was surprised to see that no ethereal software was connected to this matrix — it’s apparently stable enough to just last on its own.

At the start of the ritual, my spirits had said that the consecrated oil would be marked energetically. In future rituals, when the ethereal software connected to the oil, it would see the marking and know it was consecrated. Essentially, that the consecration is a tag placed on the oil, rather than a structural change to the oil itself. And this matrix certainly fits the bill.

There was one more item of interest during the ritual: Participants were supposed to have a conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel (a term from Abramelin’s 14th-century manuscript) and focus on their aspiration while charging their oil. I’d encountered this term in my teens, reading about Crowley on the early internet, and I had a question: Is the HGA an internal part of their mind, or an external spirit / force? There doesn’t seem to be much agreement on this, or much of a clear answer on what an HGA is in general. So I looked for external connections when two experienced participants were doing that part of the ritual. One had no external connections, the other was connected to the ethereal software that was engaged during the Star Ruby. Neither had connections to spirits or other ethereal software, which leads me to believe that the HGA is an internal part of the mind.

In all, I very much enjoyed this ritual. The energy was fascinating. Next year, I intend to return and make a flask for myself to explore that matrix and understand how to make that sort of stable structures.

(Ananael or other Thelemic practitoners, please feel free to add or correct me on the ritual. Also, note that this ritual was open to the public and thoroughly non-secret.)

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Advanced Channeling for Beginners

Monday, May 29th, 2017

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Whether you’re doing energy healing, manifesting, or other work, you’ve probably been told to channel some force. It might be called an Egregore, a matrix, The Universe, ethereal software (my term), or something else — nearly every system of magick and healing works with these forces, and they’ve been given many names.

But there’s another way to use these forces: Directly instructing them on what you want, without the ritual. It’s a faster, more flexible method, but also more difficult to learn.

Last week, I guided a friend through doing just that. This post is my notes.

The goal: Set the energy signature of the area she was teaching in, to help people feel relaxed, safe, and receptive. She has done this before with a ritual, but she wanted to do it through a direct instruction to the ethereal software, without the ritual.

Here’s how I guided her to do that:

First, engage your ethereal software. Think about the ritual, or the feel of the energy as you do the ritual. Think about reaching out to the force you use. If you know mental posture, engage it.

(This post is for people who already use ethereal software through rituals. If you’ve never channeled one of these forces, see this series.)

Next, engage the part of your mind that your ethereal software wants to communicate with. Think about what it’s like to receive an intuition, where in your mind you receive it — that’s the part of your mind that the ethereal software talks with. Focus on that part of your mind, engage it as you think your request.

While engaging that part of your mind, think about what you want: “Create an energy field with this signature.” Make it an explicit request — at first, my friend just thought about the energy signature she wanted, without the “create this for me” part of the intent, and it didn’t work. That’s because thinking about the energy signature is like telling a friend, “I like pizza,” when what you really mean is, “Let’s get pizza.”

After the request, think about the details: Where you want the energy field (filling this room, or 5′ around me, etc) type of signature (think about the feeling of the energy you’ve experienced in the past, with the ritual), and how long you’d like the field to last (ongoing, or until I leave the area, etc). In computer programming, these are the “arguments” to the function, so I’ll often use that term.

Once my friend got the procedure, it took less than a minute to create the energy field — much faster than her ritual. That’s one of the benefits of using direct instructions like this.

But there’s actually a bigger benefit that she hasn’t seen yet: Let’s suppose she wanted a different energy field, maybe to make people uneasy so they don’t enter an area. Without direct instructions, she would have had to learn a ritual for that kind of field. Who does she learn that from? Does such a ritual even exist? I have no idea. But with a direct instruction, she can just request a field, specify that new type of energy, and she’s done. For me, that flexibility is the main reason to learn to interact directly with ethereal software.

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A Friend’s Manifesting Stopped Working. Here’s Why (and How to Fix It)

Monday, April 17th, 2017

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“The sigil I created in your class worked amazingly well. But none of the sigils I’ve done since then have worked,” said D, a talented energy worker with no formal training. She was speaking about a sigils / manifesting class taught by M, who has at least a decade of experience with Chaos Magick, Thelema, and other systems.

It might not seem like it, but that’s enough information to make a good guess at the problem. What do YOU think it might be? Yes, you, reading this article. Debugging techniques is an important skill, and here’s a chance to practice. If you want to play along, make a guess, just say it to yourself or write it in the comments.

One friend suggested a possibility: Work done in private can feel different than work done in public. Maybe D just gets better results in a public setting? This lead to much conversation about public vs private and how to adjust.

But that answer didn’t seem to quite fit. If I were to verbalize my reasons, it’s that the difference (“great results” vs “total failure”) was too large to be caused by something as subtle as “work done in private can feel different.” We should be looking for a structural error in D’s technique, some missing piece that was filled in by being in the class. That’s how I’d verbalize my reasoning. But in the moment, it was closer to an unconscious, “No, that doesn’t break enough pieces.”

For those of you playing along at home: Revisit your guess, see how it sounds now, and make another guess if you like.

Here’s my answer: In the class, M was engaging their ethereal software as they demonstrated the sigil techniques. That made it easy for D to (unconsciously) connect to M’s ethereal software. D, being talented with energy, got good results using M’s ethereal software. (And M, being well-trained, has good ethereal software for manifesting. M would refer to that ethereal software as a Servitor or Egregore, btw.)

But D wasn’t conscious of any of this. She didn’t make a lasting connection to M’s software, and couldn’t access it on her own. So at home, D performed the same outward steps, built the same energy, but didn’t have M’s ethereal software to handle the actual manifesting, and therefore got no results.

How can D fix this? Do another sigil with M, and pay attention to the forces involved. Either make a lasting connection herself, or ask a spirit she knows to remember the force for her. (D does a lot of work with spirits.)

M has previously described my classes as “a kick to the side of the head, in a good way.” M pondered my analysis, then excitedly agreed.

This was a fun puzzle for me, debugging D’s technique. It was also validating, to use my work to help a friend. I hope you playing along at home.

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A Road Map to Learning Energy Healing / Magick

Monday, November 21st, 2016

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Today I want to lay out a road map for learning energy healing / magick, from zero experience through your first system then into peeking under the hood and exploring how energy operates. It’s a generic map, useful for learning energy healing or ritual magick or most other systems. You can use this map to get started, or to figure out what’s next, or just to put all these techniques in context.

Learning that First System

The first step is awakening the parts of the mind that drive energy and magick. We call those parts ethereal muscles. Other systems call them the unconscious, or just don’t name them.

If your ethereal muscles are already partially awake, they will respond to visualizations and other standard techniques (rituals, adopting temporary beliefs, etc). You can awaken them further through practice. This seems to work for many people.

If your ethereal muscles are fully asleep, they will not respond to you. In this case, you’ll need an outside force to send them energy and help them awaken. We call these outside forces ethereal software. Other systems call these forces egregores, matrices, or simply the Universe.

Options for connecting to ethereal software:

  • Get trained or attuned by an experienced practitioner.
  • Use rituals or sigils that have ethereal software bound to them. Standard, widely-used rituals are a good choice. A ritual you invented is unlikely to have ethereal software bound to it.

Most ethereal software will automatically get to work. It’ll establish lasting connections to the person’s mind to help it communicate, reading the person’s intent and sending them intuitions and other information. Most ethereal software will also start preparing the person’s mind for that communication, awakening the necessary ethereal muscles.

Once your ethereal muscles are awakening, you can study that system of healing / magick: Learn its rituals and techniques, and learn to channel its forces (its ethereal software). This is actually optional — I didn’t learn an established system of magick, and lots of practitioners skip this step. But reflecting on the problems I encountered, this probably would have been worthwhile. Plus it’s probably the fastest path to useful manifesting and healing techniques.

Under the Hood

From here, there seem to be two main paths: Either go deeper in that system, or learn other systems.

I’m trying to lay out a third path: Explore how that system functions, how the forces respond to your intention, and the steps they take to create change in the world.

Start with sensing the ethereal structures involved. Not an intuitive sense that they’re there, or an image / impression / intuition of how they operate, but techniques to feel them as they function. This is sensory connections.

Also talk with spirits. Ask about specific techniques: “How can I communicate with you more clearly? How can I improve my sensory connections? I think sensory connections work like this, is that correct?” The more specific, the better. Learn how they do things, so instead of asking them for help, you can ask them for training and then solve the problem yourself.

At some point you’ll want to do something new with your energy. Perhaps making more sensitive sensory connections, so you can see ethereal structures more precisely. Or you’ll want to do a healing technique by changing a person’s energy signature, rather than channeling energy from a force. When this happens, you’ll want to awaken additional ethereal muscles to handle those tasks.

Shielding and protection will also be useful. Sometimes readers ask, “Is it safe to [talk to those spirits] or [channel that ethereal software] or [whatever else]?” The short answer is but my real answer is: Learn protection, learn shielding, learn to hit a spirit back so it leaves you alone, and then you can explore without worrying about staying perfectly safe. Because the more unusual things you explore, the more likely you are to run into un-friendly spirits. At least, that’s been my experience, and the experience of people I work with. (This is part of why I suggest starting with an established system, so you can get your bearings before exploring unusual places that can attract energy-draining spirits.)

These skills (sensory connections, talking with spirits, awakening more ethereal muscles) apply to all systems of energy and magick. Once you learn them, you can take any system you know, or any system you’re learning, and watch it operate. You can ask the spirits involved how it functions, and awaken additional ethereal muscles so you can follow what they teach you. I personally use these skills as their own system, but they can also inform and enhance any other system you know or learn.

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Interview: Ethereal Software, Spirits, and Direct Magick

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

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Greg Carlwood of The Higherside Chats has interviewed Lon Milo Duquette, Jason Miller, and many other interesting magick practitioners. A couple weeks ago, he interviewed me. We explored what manifesting tells us about the nature of time, how spirits form a society, and a bunch of other great topics.

I’m working to finish the Healing Lab website, so no post this week. But enjoy the interview, and leave a comment here with any questions you have or topics you’d like more on.

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Placebo-Controlled Sigil Testing: Results

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

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One month ago, I posted a double-blind placebo-controlled test of ethereal software and sigils.

Over 30 of you participated. Thank you! It feels amazing to have this community to help test these techniques.

(The rest of this post assumes you read the procedure. Summary: Two symbols. One had ethereal software attached, the other was placebo. It involved a coin flip, so I call them “heads” and “tails.”)

sigil experiment resultsToday I have the results. Short answer: The sigil didn’t work. Six of you felt the connection on heads, seven felt it on tails. On average, you felt a connection strength of 2.6/10 on heads, and 3.7/10 on tails. So a very mild preference for tails, both on strength and on popular vote. See the chart to the right, or download the file.

(Update: SVH points out, I failed to tally her clear Tails signal, so it should be 6H, 8T.)

Tails was the active sigil (heads was the placebo), but the results are too close to call it a success.

And yet, I feel good. That’s my first take-away: The point isn’t to get positive results from every test. The point is to become the kind of person who isn’t afraid to test their beliefs. Or who is afraid, but tests anyway. The lightness and liberation I felt immediately after posting the test are still with me.

The second take-away: Placebos are tremendously important. Of the 32 testers, 20 felt at least a 3/10 on one of the sigils. That’s over 60% of respondents. If I’d only posted one sigil and asked if you felt something, it would look like a success. I already knew that placebo controls are important, but seeing it first-hand makes a deeper impact.

I also learned about test design. Less than half of respondents tried both sigils. This is probably because I said to wait until the next day to do the second sigil. If I’d more clearly said to do both sigils, and only asked for a 10-minute break between them, I think we would have gotten a lot more data.

Why didn’t the sigil work? There are several components of this technique:

  • Connecting the ethereal software to you via the sigil. (This includes binding the sigil, and instructions for how to use the sigil.)
  • Asking the ethereal software for an obvious connection.
  • Creating sensations with the obvious connection.
  • Also, testers need to avoid building their own energy. If you build energy yourself, then you might feel that, regardless of what the ethereal software does or doesn’t do.

I can’t say which step(s) didn’t work, but I have plans for improving most of them:

  • I didn’t have any instructions to not build your own energy. I’m going to add that next time, along with an exercise on quieting your energy. This might reduce the sensations from the placebo.
  • I’ve returned to my work on creating sensations, with promising results. It’s such a useful demonstration, plus learning to create sensations can tell us a lot about healing techniques for pain. Once I get a solid technique working in-person, I’m going to program it into the ethereal software and repeat this testing.
  • I’m also thinking about in-person testing for sending instructions to the ethereal software. Maybe I can create a command like, “Create an obvious connection to Mike,” then have a friend use the command. That would let me verify that people new to using this ethereal software can successfully send it instructions.

In all, I feel good, despite the technique not working. Facing these fears and passing through them has been amazing. And it’s nurtured me to share this process, both the testing and today’s post about results and next steps. As a solo practitioner, I’ve never had much community, but this blog is starting to feel like a home. Thank you for being part of that.

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Testing My Techniques: Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Ethereal Software

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

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In 2012, over 50 readers helped me test a sigil I’d made. It was amazing, tapping into this community to verify my results. So many of you helped — thank you!

That helped me move forward with confidence in my book, my writing, and my own practice. Participating and feeling the results helped many of you build confidence in your own work, too. But the test wasn’t scientifically rigorous, and as a result it hasn’t given us as much confidence as it could.

This post is about fixing that. I’m repeating the test, this time as a double-blind placebo-controlled version — the gold standard for scientific research. It’ll help me become more confident in this work, and participating will help you be confident that the sensations you’re feeling really are from energy, not from placebo or suggestion.

This post has three sections. First I’ll explain exactly what we’re testing. Then I’ll discuss today’s version, and why it’s better than the 2012 version. Then I’ll show you exactly what to do to participate. Or skip to the participation now.

Update: Results are here.

The Technique — What’s a Sigil?

A sigil is a symbol with ethereal software bound to it. (Ethereal software is the general term for the forces that healers and mages channel. Other systems refer to these forces as Egregores, The Universe, or other names.)

These bound symbols aren’t the same as symbols you see in everyday life. Company logos and family crests don’t usually have forces bound to them. But there are some examples you might know: The symbols used in Reiki, symbols from magickal systems like Golden Dawn and Enochian, along with sigils commonly used in Chaos Magick. Those symbols have power precisely because they are bound, because they cause ethereal software to connect to a person who focuses on them.

The symbol can be basically anything. I just made some lines in Paint. The lines had nothing to do with anything, they were just random squiggles. They were not specially designed in any way.

To bind my ethereal software to my sigil, I contacted another force (another ethereal software) that seems to handle this. I asked it to, “Associate this symbol I’m looking at with this ethereal software I’m connecting you to,” and it said OK. And I thought to myself, “It can’t possibly be that easy. The universe can’t possibly work like this.” That’s why I tested it.

To use a sigil, a person focuses on the symbol, and the ethereal software connects to them. How does that work? Before the 2012 test, I would have said that the person already has a connection to the ethereal software, and the sigil reminds them of that force, activating the connection. But the whole point of the 2012 test was that no one had used the ethereal software before, and it still connected to them.

Even today, I find this whole phenomenon odd. But when our expectations disagree with the results we observe, we trust our observations. That’s really the only rule of science.

That’s why I want to do a better test today.

Why Do Double-Blind Testing

In 2012, I gave readers a sigil, told them what a success would look like, and asked them to try it. The results were great: Most experienced practitioners successfully felt the connection, and some even used it for manifesting.

But… Everyone experienced what they expected to experience. How could I know it was the result of energy and ethereal software, and not placebo and suggestion?

The truth is, I can’t. The testing wasn’t rigorous.

For those of you wondering why I spend so much time on scientific testing, this is the exact reason: A good test lets me be confident of the results. A bad test leaves doubt. Scientific testing is about moving from unconfident belief to confident knowledge.

I knew all this in 2012, but flinched away from that idea. Proper testing has a brutal honesty, it can tell me I’m wrong. That’s the whole point. But that’s also scary, so I punted with a good-but-imperfect test. (That’s also why this post is a few days late.)

Here’s what I’m doing this time:

There are 2 sigils. One bound to my ethereal software, the other (the placebo) not bound. You won’t know which is which. You’ll randomly select one, try it, report what happens. I have over 1,000 readers, so we should get a bunch of data on both sigils, and we can see if they give the same results (meaning the sensations are placebo) or different results (meaning the binding actually does something). I’m excited to find out.

As I write this post (and the twitter and facebook announcements), I don’t know which sigil will be bound. I’ve created the images, but I won’t bind them until this post is entirely finished and ready to post. This ensures I don’t subtly, unconsciously suggest to you which one is bound — I can’t, because I don’t know. That’s what “double-blind” means, that neither of us knows which one is real. After this post is fully written and ready to go up, I’ll randomly pick a sigil (by flipping a coin) and bind it. (By the time you read this, one of the sigils will be bound.)

(For readers who have used my book’s ethereal software and wanted confirmation that they were getting actual results, not just placebo, this is a great time to test that. Try both sigils, see what you notice, then come back when I reveal the results.)

I’m going to leave all comments in Pending state for 4 weeks, until August 14. That way no one will be influenced by anyone else’s results.

Nothing about this is technically difficult. 99% of the difficulty is emotional. That’s often the case when scientifically testing healing and magick.

How You Can Participate

Step 1: Focus on the sigil: You’ll find links to the two sigils at the bottom of this post. Flip a coin to pick one randomly. Click the link, focus on the sigil. Look at the whole image, then focus on each symbol. Do this for about half a minute.

Step 2: Request an obvious connection: Continue focusing on the sigil and think the message, “Give me an obvious connection.” It’s OK if you rephrase it, but keep the words / concepts “obvious connection” and specify it goes to you. If English isn’t your primary language, use whatever language is easiest for you — the ethereal software responds to concepts, not the words themselves. Focus on the sigil and repeat this command for another half-minute, or until you notice the connection.

Feeling the connection: The connection should feel like an intense energy: Tingling, possibly pressure or heat. It’s tuned to be obvious to most people, so those more sensitive to energy may find it too intense, but don’t worry, it’ll stop as soon as you ask it to. (And please accept my apologies, along with my gratitude for helping with this project.)

Step 3: Turn off the connection: To turn off the connection, think the message, “Turn off the obvious connection.” This should stop the sensations immediately.

If you want to try manifesting with this ethereal software, just ask it for what you want. “Cause me to [whatever goal].” It also has commands for shielding, awakening your ethereal muscles, and more. See my book-in-progress for some ideas.

Step 4: Disconnect: When you’re done, tell the ethereal software to disconnect by thinking the message, “Disconnect from me.” In total, testing one sigil like this should take 1-2 minutes.

Step 5: Test the other sigil tomorrow: At this point, you’ve tested one of the two sigils. Maybe you felt something, maybe you didn’t. Either way, wait. Don’t go on to the other sigil yet — give the ethereal software time to disconnect. If it’s still connected, you could receive energy from it even if you’re looking at the placebo sigil. So wait. Do the other sigil tomorrow.

Similarly, please do this test as your first act of magick / energy work of the day. If you’ve already been working with other forces (such as my book’s ethereal software, channeling healing energy, doing ritual magick, etc), it’s possible you’re still connected to those forces, and they could influence the results.

After testing a sigil, please fill out the form below and post it as a comment. I’ll leave all comments in “Pending” status until August 14, so they don’t display for other readers and influence their expectations.

Thank you so much for helping me test sigils!

Here are the links. After clicking the link, you can click the sigil to make it full-screen. (Remember, flip a coin to pick the sigil, and only do one per day):

Sigil 1 (heads)

Sigil 2 (tails)

(It doesn’t matter which sigil goes with heads, but it’s important to decide that before flipping the coin. If we flip the coin, get heads, and then decide which sigil goes with heads, we haven’t actually randomized. That’s why I labeled them.)

Here’s the results form, paste it into the comment field below:

Sigil used: Heads / Tails

Did you notice a connection just from focusing on the sigil?

What did you feel when you asked for an obvious connection? (Description, 1-2 sentences)

How strong was the obvious connection? (0-10, 0 = no sensation, 4 = gentle breeze, 7 = light touch, 10 = firm touch)

What’s your experience with energy / magick / healing / etc?

Did you participate in the 2012 testing?

Other notes / comments:

Thank you!

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Manifesting, Artificial Intelligence, and Genies

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

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Manifesting sometimes succeeds in unexpected ways. The canonical example, which probably never happened: Someone requests money and their uncle dies, leaving an inheritance.

But why? Why does manifesting sometimes find unexpected path? No, not the simple answer, don’t say that’s just how manifesting works. Look for the deep answer, the answer that explains this bug, lets us avoid it, and just maybe lets us update our ethereal software to eliminate it.

Discussing unexpected manifesting results with friends this week, I recalled an article on genies, written by artificial intelligence researchers. The genie fails not because of malice, not because of user error, but because the genie doesn’t understand human values, can’t align itself to the user’s true intent. It’s probably the best explanation of unexpected results I’ve seen.

(The AI researchers are concerned about an intelligent machine that wants something different than what humans want, by the way.)

The rest of this post assumes you’ve read that article. It’s short and fun and you’ll be glad you did.

Read it? Excellent.

That explanation feels right to me. It’s not that some gods / spirits made this useful tool, then occasionally create bad results to spite us. It’s not that the forces we’re using misheard us (“I’d like a 12 inch pianist”). It’s that understanding human values, and eliminating paths we wouldn’t ever consider, is a really hard problem, and the forces we’re using don’t perfectly align to human values.

Wherever forces are behind manifesting, they seem to understand some of what we value, but also miss some of it. They value some goals too highly, others not enough, and some not at all. The forces aren’t being tricky or spiteful or malicious, they’re trying their best at a really hard problem. We don’t need to specify an iron-clad goal that can’t be weaseled out of, but we do need to help them in figuring out what we actually want. Notice how those goals (iron-clad agreement vs clear guidance) result in different approaches.

In my own work, I find that manifesting over-prioritizes my progress in magick. Sometimes it’s small, like wanting me to stay home and work instead of going to a fun-but-not-amazing party. Sometimes it’s big, like recommend staying in a relationship with someone who supports my work, but is not a great partner otherwise. It’s never malicious, it’s just a failure to understand my full priorities. And when I talk with the spirits who made that manifesting ethereal software, they misunderstand human needs in similar ways.

What to do about this? A few ideas:

1. Specify good goals. This is an art — I can’t tell you exactly what “good” means, but there’s a sweet spot between flexibility and precision, and a certain way of expressing goals that these forces seem to understand. I like to ask for paths that “I will be happy with,” so it knows to look for my happiness and not just a state of the world. And in my current work, I’m watching my manifesting requests, asking the ethereal software what phrasing it uses internally and what data it accesses, so I can develop a better sense of how these requests function.

2. Make a request, then ask how that request is likely to come about. Note that this gives the highest-probability path, which may still be fairly unlikely: With a dozen possible paths, the highest-probability path might only have 20% probability. But it gives me some idea of how the ethereal software will approach my request, which is useful for debugging my phrasing. Note that this requires techniques to receive information from these forces, not just sending out one’s intent.

But the real reason I care is because, eventually, people are going to understand how these forces work well enough to reprogram them, fixing these bugs. And the first step is understanding where the bug comes from.

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Why Does Manifesting Fail? And 2 More Reader Questions

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

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Sharon, a new reader, experienced psychic, and curious scientist, asks some excellent questions. I’ll put her text in italics, mine in normal.

Hello Mike :-)

I came to your blog to help me link my magik with science. I am a natural psychic (still developing) who is looking to find the reason why I just “know” things. I am also uncomfortable with the pagan community telling us to do things (e.g. use a white candle or x oil when looking to purify x) and not saying what difference these correspondences make.

Welcome! A phrase I like is, “I simply refuse to believe there’s a special case in the laws of physics for a human mouth forming specific words.” Same with candles, runes, etc: There has to be some deeper mechanism at work.

A common answer is that those things are symbols, and communicate intent to the unconscious mind. My next question is, “What happens next? How does the unconscious act on that intent?” Part of why I write is to get more people asking those questions.

My questions that I have answered:
(Please feel free to question/debunk/comment on these)
1. How does magik I do at home affect events that will happen outside of my house?

Like most areas of science, there are many levels of answers. Richard Feynman has a wonderful talk on this, explaining why a person slipped. You might say, “Because there was ice on the ground,” or you might go deeper and explain why ice is slippery, or even how friction and gravity work. All those answers are true, and different levels are better for different problems. The job of science is generally to find deeper and deeper answers, while the job of engineering is to select the right level to solve a specific problem. Anyway, go watch or read Feynman’s explanation, it’s excellent.

I’d say this question is similar. Magick affects events outside your house because you got your intent into your unconscious. Also, because your unconscious contacted external forces that know how to create luck. Also, because those external forces somehow influenced your decisions (or occasionally the decisions of others), and somehow knew which way to nudge those decisions to create that outcome.

Most of my work focuses on going deeper down that causal chain: How do those external forces nudge decisions? How do they know which direction to nudge? How can we improve them?

But as I write this, it occurs to me that there are also engineering problems: How can we become more aware of those nudges, and listen to them more? How should we phrase an intent to produce the desired outcome? These don’t necessarily need the deeper exploration of how that external force functions. And for beginners, learning to use these forces probably matters more than a deeper exploration of why they work.

Well, that wasn’t really your question, but I hope you found it interesting.

2. Why do some spells not work? (Your intent vs about 12 other people looking for a parking spot for example, your intent is outnumbered.)

I think this is a plausible scenario, but since so few people use magick, this is probably a rare cause of failures.

In my own work, as I’ve gotten better at communicating with ethereal software (and in particular at receiving messages back), I now get error messages. So if I ask for an event (“find a parking space on this block”) but there’s no path to that event (all the spaces are already taken), the software tells me it’s not possible. In general, I take this as a guide to broaden my request (“cause me to drive such that I find a parking spot,” which focuses on influencing my decisions rather than on forcing the world to be a certain way).

3. Why do I just “know” things? (The ethereal software tells me)
4. How do herbs, crystals, and tools help me to get my desired effects? (They emit different frequencies e.g. when you hold a magnet to a crystal it makes a different sound. Every herb, crystal, and colour has different atomic structures and properties that enable them to work for certain spells e.g rose quartz for a beauty spell).

When I see answers like this, I reflexively ask, “But how?” Not to put the person on the spot (I try to avoid saying it out loud except with friends). But whenever I get an answer, I try to imagine all the moving parts in my head, see how they fit together, and I notice that I don’t actually have enough information to make things fit.

Herbs and crystals emit different frequencies — are we talking about sound waves? Light? Magickal energy? (Note: I use the term energy signature rather than frequency, but they’re synonyms.)

Each herb and crystal has a different atomic structure — true, but also true of everything. It sounds sciency, but hasn’t told us anything. Why is ice slippery? Because of its atomic structure. Great, but what about the structure?

I’m not saying these to put you on the spot. I’m saying them because that’s where my mind immediately goes, and since you love science too, part of your mind probably wants to go there too. So consider this a friendly nudge.

My answers:

Herbs contain medically-active chemicals. Aspirin is found in willow bark, for example. This seems like a good explanation for everything I’ve seen done with herbs.

If you asked me about crystals a few years ago, I would have said they were just symbolic, like using a white candle. But a few years ago, readers asked about it, and I tested it.

Crystals seem to absorb energy, then emit that energy in a particular signature. So there’s one signature for quartz, and whatever energy you send into the quartz, it absorbs then re-emits that energy in the “quartz signature.” Interesting side-note: This is also how color works, with objects absorbing light then emitting photons only in specific frequencies. Maybe “frequency” would be a better term than “signature”…

What’s the significance of changing your energy to “quartz signature” energy? Well, the sensation of energy has more to do with the signature than the amount. Your body has a signature, and energy that’s similar to your body’s signature only produces a small sensation, while energy that’s dissimilar produces a large sensation. So, you send energy into the quartz, it comes out in a signature matching the quartz (and not matching your body), and that energy feels much stronger because of the more dissimilar signature.

This, by the way, is one of my favorite things about Direct Magick: I routinely test something, and find that it doesn’t work the way I expected. If that didn’t happen, well what’s the point of exploring? (Other systems do this too, by the way.)

That, by the way, is also the essence of science: Run the experiment, let nature tell you about the world. It means you can connect every finding, every belief, to something you can experience for yourself in the world. That’s what I love about science: The exploration and connection to the world. And everything in the modern world, from medicine to sky scrapers to cell phones, rests on the power of asking nature how the world works, then listening to the answer.

That’s about half of Sharon’s email. I’ll do the second half coming up.

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A Common (But Useless) Safety Measure

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

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Prav asks:

I am using your sigil from here:

Help Beta Test My Ethereal Software

I have to know if the software has any name and what spirits it uses. I don’t work with things I don’t know about…

I’ve talked about safety before. Repeatedly. And not just defense, because sometimes a spirit won’t leave you alone until you bother it right back. What I’m saying is, I’m serious about safety.

But I haven’t discussed names. Why?

Before I answer that, let me share a story.

When I worked in India a few years ago, I got lots of safety advice. Wear mosquito repellent (they carry terrible diseases). Only drink bottled water, and check if the bottle has been re-sealed by melting it. Haggle for everything (it’s fun!)

One tip I didn’t get? “Only trust street vendors with friendly-sounding names like Deepak.”

Because a person’s name doesn’t tell you if they’re safe, right? Same with the names of spirits and ethereal software.

Names are for marketing. They’re the brand. They’re how we appeal to a particular audience. I could call the software Holy Light, made by the Holy Order. Or I could call it The Corruption Vault, made by Skarnax, Devourer of Worlds. Or The Universe, made by The Ancients.

Names don’t get you safety. Names are just words.

So if not names, what should we do? The same as you’d do in business or sales or relationships: Talk with the person (me, in this case, by reading my blog), see what you think of them, and decide if you think they know what they’re doing and if it’s important to them to keep you safe. (I do, and it is, but you shouldn’t take my word for it, you should read me over time and make up your own mind.)

And long term, follow those links and learn to protect yourself. If you know you can keep yourself safe even if the spirit is hostile, you can explore so much more.

That said, I should probably name my software and spirits for branding purposes. Thoughts? Leave a comment. Thanks!

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