Posts Tagged ‘Terms’

The Major Moving Pieces of Direct Magick: Introduction

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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

This section covers the major moving pieces of direct magick: The complex structures that make the decisions, along with the simple building blocks we use to construct techniques. Think of it as a glossary and a quick tour before diving in.

If you’ve studied magick before, you’ll probably find some of these concepts familiar. That shouldn’t surprise you: The people who made those systems of magick would have noticed the same external phenomena as I did. Kind of like how most languages have words for trees, the sky, and so on, not because it was planned, but because many people needed to describe the same things.

Why not use standard terms, like egregore? Because they carry models with them. An egregore isn’t just a force you channel, it’s a force that’s created and empowered by people believing in it. I wanted terms without pre-attached explanations, so I made my own.

After this quick tour / glossary, we’ll discuss how to use this system of magick, and apply this model to some common systems like Hermeticism and Reiki. Then we’ll start practicing direct magick in Part 2 of this book.

Next Chapter

Table of Contents

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3 Tips for Picking Good Terms

Monday, June 10th, 2013

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If you develop your own system of magick, you’ll need to pick your own terms. Especially if you want to share your system with other people. I’m no expert at picking terms, but I’ve done it a few times, and I have a few tips.

(Just want the tips? Skip to the bullets at the bottom.)

I think in words. My first terms were for myself, so I could take notes and remember my techniques. I’d notice that mages channel forces, and I’d give those forces a name, not for anyone else, but just for myself.

At first, the names won’t matter. Sure, you can hinder yourself with a bad name, like calling the force you channel, “The Universe,” then feeling awed and never thinking to ask how it operates or if you can reprogram it. Or you might pick a metaphor, like “talking to cells,” that glosses over much of the complexity involved in magick, and never think to ask how your intent turns into the chemicals that cells understand.

But as long as you choose empty, non-curiosity-squelching names and metaphors, you can’t go too wrong if you’re just writing for yourself.

When I started writing for other people, though, terms became important. Bad terms mislead readers with a connotation, or confused readers by being too empty, by not evoking the metaphor enough. A reader might think a term corresponds to a concept they already know, not realizing you intended an entirely different metaphor

A few examples:

What I now call “ethereal software,” I used to call “systems.” Everyone confused “systems you channel” with “systems of magick.” It was bad.

What I now call “ethereal muscles” (yes, I’m making that renaming official), I originally called “mental areas.” It was too empty, readers had to simply memorize the meaning, and I constantly had to re-define it each post for fear that no one remembered the term.

I briefly called them “magick muscles,” which makes sense if you know the metaphor, but sounds gimmicky if you don’t.

Then I went to “mental muscles,” which evoked other mental functions like reasoning and willpower. Readers thought they knew what I meant, but really, the words conjured up the wrong concepts in listeners. (Also, every time I’d talk about non-mages having atrophied mental muscles, I’d have to make clear I was just talking about magick, not about those other mental abilities.)

I’m no expert at picking names, but I’ve done it several times now. So, a few tips for anyone building their own system:

  • Metaphors are good. “Mental muscles” is better than “mental areas,” “ethereal software” is better than “systems.” I start with the metaphor (muscles, software), and let the terms come from there.
  • If you have to clarify your metaphor in beginner material, you have a bad metaphor. When I say that “Non-mages have atrophied mental muscles,” then need to clarify that I don’t mean reasoning and willpower, that’s a sign that my metaphor doesn’t quite align to the term.
  • Repeated words are good. They make sentences seem natural. “Engage your ethereal muscles to talk to ethereal software” just sounds obvious. “Engage your mental muscles to talk to ethereal software” isn’t bad, but it isn’t obvious either. And obvious is good — it means your terms shape the listener’s thoughts to naturally realize what you want to teach them.
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Renaming “Magick”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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In July, I wrote in my notes:

i’m getting ready to move beyond the term “magick.” because it feels like well-defined processes now, not just “stuff happens”

I keep coming back to that. To me, magick (or magic, really — I only added the k when I started blogging, to help google) essentially means “stuff happens that we don’t understand” or “I did X, and it caused seemingly-unrelated event Y.” Not that I define magic or magick that way, but that’s the emotion it conjures up in me.

There was a time when that felt natural: When I vaguely understood how connections and energy could change the world, it truly did feel like something over here somehow produced a seemingly-unrelated change over there. Like magic.

These days, my work feels more like engineering. I make a change over here, which causes another change, which causes another, and eventually, that chain of changes causes a clearly-related change over there. Once you have some concept of each step in the chain, it stops being mysterious. (Which I like. But it feels odd calling it “magick.”)

Not making a change yet, or spending much time thinking about it right now. But my mind keeps wondering over there. (Yes, I say “wondering around” now.) Thoughts?

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Words Divide Us

Friday, August 31st, 2012

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A friend recently told me she believes in faeries.

She’s a doctor, loves science, and I thoroughly respect her mind. And yet… faeries? I didn’t say anything, but I worried.

After a few more conversations, I realized that she simply meant “Non-physical sentient beings that can interact with psychic or otherwise magickal people.” In other words, spirits.

Vocabulary choices can divide people who otherwise agree. Faeries vs spirits. Raising someone’s vibration vs adjusting a tendon’s signature. (I’m also thinking about Yvonne today, who I hope is doing well on her own journey.)

I don’t mean to say terms aren’t important. They are, because their metaphors impact the questions we ask and the models we explore. And yet, I’m realizing that I evaluate terms based on social groups, categorizing the speaker as a new ager or psychic or fluffy or ritual mage or … And realizing that categorizing like that probably isn’t the best, most productive response when meeting someone new.

I don’t have an answer. But I think this is an important question. Please weigh in in the comments.

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