Posts Tagged ‘Testing’

Psychic Testing: A Small Victory

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

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I want to share a small victory with my psychic intuitions. Trivial, really — the kind of thing that, a year from now, I sincerely hope no longer excites me. But the point isn’t the one result, the point is that psychic information is finally working, and that’s pretty darn exciting.

Last week, I was doing my laundry, preparing to leave for Singapore. There isn’t a facility in my apartment building, so I use a laundromat a block or so away, and run errands while everything cycles. I’ll usually swing by my apartment a few times to drop things off over that hour of errands.

Around the time I put the laundry in, the sky looks like rain. I return home to get an umbrella, but the rain doesn’t come, and eventually I drop the umbrella off so I have two hands to carry groceries.

Toward the end of the hour, while walking home, I got a psychic message: “Hurry up.” Huh? That didn’t make any sense, what’s the rush? I dropped my bag at home and left to get my laundry.

On the way to the laundromat: “Don’t dawdle.” That thought came in like a warning, with more pressure and urgency than a normal message. But what does it mean? Who dawdles at the laundromat? Not me — I run errands.

Then I’m emptying the dryer, and it all makes sense: My laundry is still damp. I want to run it through another round of drying (15 minutes). This must be the dawdling I’ve been warned about.

It sounds like the psychic software is telling me that the rain will start in the 15 minutes it’ll take to finish drying my clothes.

Immediately, I’m nervous about the specificity. Predicting rain within 15 minutes is precise enough to clearly fail, to show me that my psychic information still isn’t working. It’s been looking like rain for an hour, and nothing has happened, why would it start now? And I’ve been so excited that psychic info seems to be working — wouldn’t it be more pleasant to soften this prediction somehow, to make it more vague, so that it’ll succeed by pure luck, even without any actual magick?

Yes, those thoughts still go through my head. Not often — this is the first time I’ve felt that with psychic intuitions since getting it working a few weeks ago. But no matter how much you train yourself to be honest in your predictions, you still flinch sometimes.

The key is to only let yourself flinch for a second. So I say my prediction to myself: Rain 15 minutes after arriving home. Then I empty the dryer and head home, because wouldn’t it suck to ignore the info and discover it was right?

Remember how I talked about doing quick testing to make sure you’re on the right track, and that it will become apparent if your magick is working through normal use, as long as you’re honest about your predictions? This is what I meant.

Fifteen minutes later, I head out to meet friends for dinner. (I know the timing because I got a text when I walked in my door.) It’s pouring. Not drizzling, not raining, but a downpour. My dry laundry would have been soaked by the time I got home. The psychic info was right, and I’m pretty excited.

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Testing My New Psychic Intuitions

Friday, March 8th, 2013

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Early last week, I finished setting up stable communication for psychic intuitions. My first step after setting anything up is to quickly test it.

Yes, quickly. Not rigorously. If you test all your magick thoroughly enough to convince all doubters, you won’t have time for anything else. And yet, it’s so easy to hear someone bashing your test, saying it doesn’t count because it was imperfect in this or that way, that it becomes easier to do no testing at all. Which is a problem.

So, today, I want to talk about light testing you can do in a few hours to convince yourself that you’re on the right track, and why it’s a critical part of science.

Lightly Testing Psychic Intuitions

The best way to test psychic intuitions is to ask a question, wait for the event to happen, and see if your information was accurate. But each test takes a day or so, and you need lots of tests to statistically know you’re getting real information, so the entire testing can take weeks. That’s the slow, rigorous testing.

Why not flip a coin, and ask for information about how it’ll land? I don’t think it would work. Details next post.

For my quick test, I compared my psychic intuitions to my manifesting. See, I’ve been manifesting reliable information for several months now, often giving me results I’m sure are wrong (meaning I’d never guess them myself), but turn out to be right. So, if we assume my manifesting is accurate, and the psychic information matches the manifesting information, that means my psychic intuitions are working, too.

It took about an hour to compare 5 queries and see that psychic intuitions were working.

Methodology note: Ask for the psychic intuition first. Otherwise, you already know the “right” answer, which might color what you read from psychic.

Why aren’t we worried about the psychic information coloring what I read from manifesting? Because I often get information I’m sure is wrong from manifesting. If my own expectations don’t color the manifesting results, the psychic information shouldn’t affect them, either.

Notice the first clause: “If we assume manifesting is accurate.” This might not be true, and it’s why I call this “light testing.” But it’s enough testing for me to move forward and develop useful techniques with psychic intuitions, which will lead me to practice more, which will ultimately lead to the clear results and accurate predictions that make rigorous testing easy.

Why Science Needs Light Testing

I want to talk about the difference between science-in-practice vs science-in-textbooks.

In textbooks, you make a hypothesis, test it, and discard it if you’re wrong. Trial and error, repeat until you get it right. That’s what I learned in school.

In practice, that’s backwards. If you want to progress quickly — if you want to build useful techniques in a new style of magick, say — almost all of your time goes into isolating the hypothesis. That’s the real work of science: Exploring, seeing how the world operates already, figuring out what you’re pretty sure is true, and only then doing the rigorous testing to prove it.

Magick isn’t there yet. Personally, I’m still exploring, still figuring out how exactly all this stuff works, what conditions are required for success, what’s worth testing and what isn’t. Which is exactly what light testing is for: A quick test to keep you on the right track most of the time.

What if you get it wrong? What if some inaccurate idea passes your light testing? That’s why we test early and often. In the coming months, I’ll be using psychic intuitions more and more. With each refinement, and with each problem I solve, I’ll be doing another test. So, anything incorrect that passed today’s light testing is unlikely to pass tomorrow’s. Which is exactly what happened with psychic intuitions last year.

Why not just flip coins, ask for an intuition of heads vs tails, and test it rigorously in twenty minutes? Because psychic intuitions don’t work like that. Specifically, because I don’t have the right data stream to subscribe to. Which is a new term, and a new concept. We’ll discuss data streams next post.

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Erotic Energy: A User’s Guide

Friday, February 8th, 2013

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I recently wrote about erotic energy — that’s energy for producing sexual pleasure. It was a theoretical, experiment-focused series, written for someone experienced in direct magick.

Yvonne asked for a more practical, beginner-friendly explanation:

I got lost. I don’t know if there was not enough practical detail, or too many cross references, or that they lacked a consistent outcome. (what worked that one can try at home? what should we avoid? what exactly happened with the failures and successes? Is it really “safe” to drop shielding when doing energy work outside of the aura?)

Let me see what I can do.

I’m New Too

I want to start with a disclaimer: I’m new to erotic energy. These techniques are based on about a month of experimenting. I expect I’ll be doing erotic energy differently a year from now.

That said, I hope you find this post interesting and useful, at least as a starting point for your own studies.

My Basic Technique

In my previous posts, I tested several variations of three main techniques. That’s how I work: Juggling several possibilities, refining as I go. There’s simply no way to know the answer before you start testing, so I wind up testing a little bit of a lot of things to see what works. But I can see where that would be hard for readers to apply to their own practice.

So, here’s my default technique, as of today:

  • If you shield, drop your shields. If you do advanced shielding that differentiates between shielding your body vs shielding your mind vs shielding from ethereal software, only stop shielding against connections to your body, and leave the other shields in place. (If you’re not sure, that means you probably do single-purpose shielding, so just drop the shields. Or if you don’t shield at all, skip this step, I guess.)
  • Engage your mental muscles for building and moving energy in your body, and ask them to “mirror” your partner’s energy, then “send” that energy back to them. Once it’s easy to do this as a whole for your body, think about doing it once for your head (mirroring their head’s energy), once for your groin (mirroring theirs) and once for the rest of your body. (If you like chakras, you could talk about your head chakra and your root chakra.)
  • (To learn to engage particular mental muscles, learn mental posture.)
  • Adjust signature. I didn’t talk about this before because I do it by default, but you want to mirror your partner’s current signatures, not just the signatures they were in when you started mirroring them. This is more about keeping those mental muscles engaged and paying attention than it is about issuing any specific command, at least for me.

Note: If you just want to enjoy the energy yourself, you can keep your shields up and simply mirror your partner’s energy. This seems useful in two situations:

You’re just learning this, and want a smaller technique to start with. Just mirror their energy, enjoy yourself, and try the whole technique later.

Your partner is also mirroring your energy in themselves, so you are both taking care of your own pleasure. Then there’s no need to send energy.

What You Should Expect

An energy orgasm — that is, an orgasm brought on by energy, rather than physical stimulation — feels slightly different than a normal orgasm. It has the same buildup, release, and bliss at the end, but it’s more in the head and body, and less in the genitals. For men, it doesn’t result in ejaculation, and it’s easy to have multiple energy orgasms.

Making out with energy orgasms can be as good or better than sex without energy orgasms. “As good as” referring to both the pleasure in the moment, and to feeling satisfied and satiated afterward. After several orgasms while fully dressed, one partner made the comment, “Now that’s safe sex!”

By the way, sex with energy orgasms is fun, too.

Currently, it seems I need energy plus some level of physical stimulation to produce an energy orgasm. Not genital stimulation, though that works, but kissing and caressing and so on.

(Eventually, I’d like to understand how energy produces sensations in the body well enough that I could create orgasms solely from energy. Not because that seems particularly useful, but because that level of understanding probably leads to other useful techniques. It’s a back-burner project for now, but as I get better with erotic energy, I’m keeping an eye out for techniques that might work.)


Yvonne asked if it’s safe to drop your shields. The short answer is, Yes, just remember to do some sort of cleansing afterward to remove the other person’s energy. (Grounding should work for these purposes, as will this shielding technique.)

The longer answer gets into a philosophy of safety, which I’ll leave for another post.

(Slightly longer reply here, 2nd to last paragraph.)

Testing with a Non-Mage

Since the last erotic energy post, I’ve had the chance to test this with Q, a non-mage who is interested in magick, but hasn’t yet started practicing. Results:

Unlike the energy workers, Q did not notice when I simply dropped my shields.

Q did notice (and enjoy) when I actively sent energy through my hands. She found it pleasant, but not overwhelming, meaning it’s unlikely to produce an orgasm even if we were making out.

Q also noticed an advanced technique where I built energy in her body, rather than in mine. The neat part about this technique is that you first build the energy behind a shield*, then release it; the person doesn’t feel much until you release the energy, at which point it becomes obvious. I didn’t tell her any of those details, of course, and I gave no indication of when I released the energy — I was still and silent, and standing behind her, so she couldn’t see my face — and she moaned a second after I released the energy. She had been slient until then. For me, this is a nice confirmation that she was actually feeling the energy, and not responding to placebo or suggestion.

*It’s not actually a shield, but that’s the closest I can get without writing a whole series about this technique. I’ll do that series if this technique turns out to be particularly effective for some useful problem, but I haven’t used it enough yet to know.

Based on these results, I’d say that the technique in this post — “Drop shields, mirror and send” — would be pleasant for a non-mage, but unlikely to produce energy orgasms. But that’s just a guess based on one data point. If you test it, please let us know.

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Testing the 3rd Technique for Erotic Energy

Monday, January 21st, 2013

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This past week, I’ve tested 3 techniques for erotic energy with 5 friends. Today, we’re discussing the results of the 3rd technique, and my thoughts on future work.

We’ve already discussed the 3 Techniques for Erotic Energy and the results of two techniques. You might want to review those before continuing.

Results: Connecting to Nerve Activity Layer

This is the advanced technique that I’m developing. And I have good news and bad news.

Good: This technique produced clear and obvious sensations to all 3 test subjects, and seems flexible enough to produce a variety of sensations.

Bad: The sensations were often neutral, or generally less pleasant than simply dropping my shields.


I actually developed this technique as I tested it, resulting in three different versions. Let’s discuss each test.

With O, I simply made connections throughout her body. The connections were the same as I use for energy healing, and were not focused on any particular tissue. (I made a lot more connections than I use for energy healing, though.) After connecting, I activated the connections, to let them transfer that activation to O’s body.

Results: O found these connections pleasant, but preferred the drop shields technique.

With R, I specifically connected to the part of his energy corresponding to neural activity throughout the body. Again, I used normal connections like I do for energy healing, then activated them afterward.

Results: R said it felt odd. I asked him to explain, and he gently shook my body back and forth, and said it was jittery. I’ll call this mildly unpleasant.

I tried a second time with R, intending to make the connections and activate a different signature, which should produce a different sensation. It didn’t work: He felt jittery as soon as I made the connections, and it continued as I sent the activation.

There are two conclusions here:

  • I’m pleased that the sensations were so pronounced. Producing enough of a shift in neural activity is hard, so this seems to be a step in the right direction.
  • But I need to develop better control for the signature of the connections themselves, so that every step uses a signature that feels pleasant.

I focused on that signature with M, my third test subject. I had her send energy to me, then I copied that signature when making my connections. She liked it, said it was more pleasant than drop shields, but that drop shields was more pronounced. (She found drop shields a bit overwhelming.) So, I’ll call this a partial success: It was precise and pleasant, but wasn’t as pronounced as I’d like.

Future Work

Through these three tests, you can see me moving from a very general technique (with O), to a technique targeted at specific tissue (with R), up to a technique using a specific signature (with M). This is what it’s like to develop these techniques: Lots of little adjustments, lots of iterations, and a fair amount of trusting your plan even when the results get temporarily worse, like with R.

In the rest of this section, I’m going to give you a peek into how I think about developing techniques.

The key, I think, is knowing what signature to deliver, and then making connections that are already in that signature. That way, the connections feel good, and when you activate them, they deliver that signature to the person.

(Quantity might also be important: We might need a dense enough network of connections, each carrying more activation that I use now, to produce large sensations. But when I do energy healing, it’s all about getting the signature right, and I don’t worry about using lots of energy, so I expect that getting a clean signature will produce a more noticeable result here, as well.)

Knowing what signature to deliver should be fairly easy: I can get a person into the desired state, then copy the signature of their neural activity layer. Do this with a handful of people, and I’ll get a general idea of the right signature to produce the sensation. I’ll need to get better at reading and copying a signature, so I can do a whole body in a minute or less, but getting faster is usually just be a matter of practice, which is much easier than developing a new technique.

Second, I’ll need to get better at creating connections that have a particular signature, rather than the default signature I use for energy healing. I did that with M, but it took more focus than I’d like, to where I’m not confident I got her entire body. But this, too, should be a simple matter of practice.

So, those are my two skills to practice: Reading signatures, and creating connections in a signature. I’ll do that for a month, then return to this technique.

Questions? Ideas? Comments are open.

Update: I boiled this series down into a practical, beginner-friendly post.

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Testing 2 Techniques for Erotic Energy

Friday, January 18th, 2013

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This past week, I’ve tested 3 techniques for erotic energy with 5 friends. Today, we’re discussing the results of two techniques. We’ll discuss the third on Monday, along with plans for future work.

We discussed the 3 Techniques for Erotic Energy on Wednesday. If you’re fuzzy on the details, you might want to review that before continuing.


I tested two methods with each person. (One method wasn’t effective enough to test with everyone, and one method I didn’t develop until halfway through.) I asked each person for feedback: How did each method feel? Was it pleasurable? How did it compare to the other method? Each test was separate — subjects did not observe other tests. I did not discuss the particular techniques or my expectations prior to testing.

Two trials were done with only hugging, two with kissing, and one with more sexual activities. Subjects were four women and one man in their 30s and 40s. All were experienced with energy work.

For anonymity, I’ll identify each subject by one letter.


Mirror and Send

This was the first technique I tested, and I already told you that N found it pleasurable. But when I did the same technique with E, she didn’t feel much of anything.

E actually brought up that lack of energy over dinner, asking me what was going on — apparently, she normally feels energy even from non-mages, but didn’t feel any from me. This is what got me to test dropping my shields, which worked well for E. (Details below.)

I went back and tested dropping my shields with N. She found drop shields much better than mirror and send, too.

So, I’m knocking mirror and send off my list for working with a partner. It’s simply ineffective if you are thoroughly shielded. It’s still excellent for safely experiencing euphoria and energy orgasms through shields, though.

Incidentally, I had no problem getting results once my shields were down. But if you find you’re not getting results, it could be that you’re making energy in the wrong signature. In that case, combining mirror and send with drop shields might work well. (Or, if you don’t normally shield yourself, then I guess you wouldn’t need to drop them.)

For info about the shielding, see this series. My shielding is a bit more thorough, but that’s the gist of it.

Drop Shielding

Dropping shielding has become my gold standard for erotic energy. I tested it with all 5 friends, and all reported it as pleasurable. All but one* reported it as their preferred method. And when making out with a partner while dropping my shields, she’ll experience orgasms from the energy. (I do too — if you’re curious (and I bet you are), it’s more in the head and body, less focused on the genitals, and does not cause ejaculation, but can be just as satisfying as sex. Which I think is one aspect of tantra, too.)

*M preferred the third method, connection to the nerve activity layer, saying that she was a bit overwhelmed by the energy when I dropped my shields. But I think that was because our relationship is strictly platonic, and that the overwhelming-ness would have been good in a romantic context.

So, 5 for 5 on pleasurable, and causes orgasms when making out. Why not just use this technique and be done with it? Two reasons:

First, I don’t see where to go with the technique. You drop shields, let your energy flow, maybe target particular parts of the body. But then what? You can’t program this into ethereal software, since it doesn’t have a body. You can’t easily target particular tissues, like nerves, which may be important for making this work with non-mages, or for generalizing the sensations into pain management and other fields. And you’re limited to energy signatures your body produces — maybe that’s not important, but I don’t know yet. The point is, I don’t just want a technique that works, I want a technique I understand and can build on, and this isn’t it.

Second, the “impure junk” Yvonne asked about. Each time I’ve dropped shields and connected to a person, I’ve gotten a headache the next day. When I look around my body, I’ll find small structures, left by the other person, and when I remove the structures, the headache goes away.

(By the 4th time, I figured out to find and remove the structures before I got the headache. Yes, it took four times — no one ever accused me of being a fast learner.)

A quick refresher: Energy is activated particles of magickal structure, and activation is like heat, carried by those particles. My friends didn’t intentionally leave those structures, it was just the natural consequence of absorbing their energy: Once the activation had left those particles, I was still left with the particles.

With mirror and send, you don’t get these structures because you’re not absorbing energy, you’re just activating the structures you already have in a different signature. That’s why you don’t wind up with these structures (the technical term for “impure junk”) in your body.

Now, most people (who don’t have shielding) pick up these structures all day and don’t think anything of it — I didn’t notice it for years, either, but I remember learning to shield and clean the structures out, and how much better I felt after, and how surprised I was that it made that much difference.

This problem alone wouldn’t kill the technique. It only takes a minute to remove those structures. But it’s another reason to find something better. And, combined with drop shields not seeming to lead anywhere, and the fact that I don’t like dropping my shields in general, this technique is great to get a feel for what erotic energy can do, but it’s not the technique I’m looking for.

Note: I also tested a thin shield that would stop structures but transmit activation. It didn’t transmit enough to be noticeable to the 2 friends I tested it with, so I stopped using it.

This post is already over 1,000 words, so I think I’ll pause here. Next post, I’ll discuss the results of the third technique, and my thoughts on future work.

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Book Excerpts: How Awakening Your Mental Muscles Feels

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

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Today’s excerpts are from the chapter on awakening mental muscles. Next week, we’ll get to the command to awaken them.

Awakening your mental muscles doesn’t feel like much of anything, at least, not until you get the first few muscles awakened. Once you do, you’ll start feeling the energy they move, the messages they receive, or whatever other magick they do. But in general, unless you awaken a great many mental muscles all at once, awakening mental muscles itself doesn’t feel like anything.

But don’t worry: I’ll tell you how to know you’re doing each exercise right. And when you feel that, you’ll know those mental muscles are awake and engaged.


If you’ve read other books on magick, or attended classes for beginners, you might be surprised that awakening mental muscles doesn’t feel all tingly. After all, you’ve probably gotten exercises like this:

“To feel your body’s energy field, bring your finger to almost touch your forehead. You’ll feel a tingle. That’s your body’s energy field.”

I got an exercise like this in an energy healing class. It’s impressive, and makes you feel confident about the energy you’ll be learning to use.

The problem is, that’s not energy. The tingles are from proprioception, your brain’s natural response to knowing that something is almost touching you. There’s no magick there.

How do I know? Well, try this:

First, have a friend move their finger to almost touch your forehead. Since you can see their finger, your brain knows you’re almost being touched, and you’ll feel tingling.

But now, close your eyes, have your friend flip a coin, and if it’s heads, almost touch your forehead. If it’s tails, they do nothing. Have them be sure not to step or make noise, as hearing a creak or a footfall also creates a map of the world around us and can set off proprioceptive sensations.

If you were feeling energy, it wouldn’t matter if you saw the finger or not, you’d still feel the energy. But when I tested this, I felt nothing with my eyes closed, and neither did any of my friends, because the tingles weren’t energy, they were ordinary, non-magickal proprioception.

Why am I telling you this? So you know that producing genuine magick you can feel is more like playing the violin than playing an mp3. It takes time, and practice, and it won’t happen today. And that’s perfectly fine.

Here’s my promise to you: Everything I tell you to look for will be actual magick. If it’s an ordinary non-magickal sensation, I’ll make that clear. I’ll do my best to do that, and if you think I’ve missed anything, I’ll welcome that feedback and issue any corrections needed.

And with that, we’re ready to start awakening mental muscles.

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Psychic Testing: Determined, Deterministic, and Unknowable

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

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I’ve been chatting with Ananael about easy ways to test manifesting, and I thought the topic deserved its own post. Who knows, maybe this will inspire some of you to help me gather data. (I intend to do these tests eventually, but I want to set up my psychic intuitions better first.)

All the tests involve coin flips, which are easy to do repeatedly, and open up some options that cards lack.

Current vs Future Information

Question: Does accuracy change if the information you receive is about the current state of the world vs the future state of the world? And, for future states, does it matter if there’s human action involved?

Procedure: Test your intuitions in each of these 3 scenarios:

Current state of the world: Place a coffee mug on a high table, so you can’t see into the mug. Flip a coin into the mug. After the coin lands, use your intuition to determine the result.

Deterministic future state: Flip the coin high, but don’t catch it. (I’d flip it onto a bed, so it doesn’t bounce everywhere.) While it’s in the air, intuit which way it will land. (Once it’s in the air, it’s all deterministic physics — knowable in principle, just not known to us yet.)

Human-involved future state: Before flipping the coin, intuit which way it will land. (The result will be determined by how hard you flip, the angle of the flip, and so on.)

Influencing Decisions vs Physics

You can also try to manifest a certain result (heads or tails). Which raises a question: Does manifesting work better when it can operate by guiding human decisions and actions, or when it’s simply influencing the external physical world?

Procedure: Using scenarios 2 and 3 above, try to influence the outcome of a coin toss either while the coin is in the air, or before flipping it.

Measuring Results

Do these procedures enough times for a statistically significant sample, and see which scenarios have a higher success rate.

What counts as “statistically significant?” Depends on the strength of the effect. If an effect gives you 100% accuracy, then doing a mere 20 flips gives you 1 in a million odds of having that result come up randomly. But the smaller the effect, the more flips you need.

And if you run these tests, please share your results.

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Psychic Intuitions: Why 75% Accuracy is a Low Bar

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

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I’ve been working on psychic intuitions lately, so I’m also thinking about my goals. How accurate should I aim for? 75% sounded like a good goal, until I did some math.

First, a couple of assumptions:

  • When you correctly receive a psychic intuition, it gives you the right answer 100% of the time.
  • When a psychic intuition fails, you simply get your non-magickal intuition’s best guess. (That is, failed psychic intuitions don’t make you wrong, they just don’t help you.)

So, how good do you have to be to get 75% of your intuitions to come out correct? The answer is, not very.

Let’s say you receive psychic intuitions correctly 50% of the time, and that on the remaining 50% (where you don’t receive a psychic intuition), your non-magickal intuition is right about 50% of the time. Boom, you’re getting the right answer 75% of the time, even though you’re failing with psychic messages as often as you’re succeeding.

And if your normal intuition is right more often? Then you can mess up more than half your intuitions, and still get over 75% accuracy. Which tells me I need to set a higher bar.

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Seriously, Don’t Lie to Students

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

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In response to yesterday’s post on how we trick novices into thinking they’re feeling energy, Kol points out that many teachers use a rigged demonstration to overcome students’ lack of confidence:

This is something done by many disciplines; using some ‘trick’ to demonstrate the ‘power’ of their art. Martial Arts demonstrations are as much about it as those doing ‘basic energy sensing’.

And, sometimes it is those same ‘tricks’ which break the typical skepticism / resistance toward an idea or concept and ‘allows’ the person to open to the larger possibilities.

I get why you’d do that. It’s so hard to demo real magick with novices — I know, I’m working to do it. I get how tempting it is. Plus, you know the stuff you’re teaching is really good, and you know they’ll eventually be able to convince themselves for real. It’s not lying, not really…

But if one of the most basic claims of an art is false, it discredits the entire art. This is one of the reasons most scientifically-minded people scoff at magick: We (mages) make easily testable claims that are simply untrue.

For example: I received that almost-touch-your-palm exercise from a certified Therapeutic Touch instructor. She’s a registered nurse, doing energy healing professionally in the hospital, so she knows what good research looks like. And she knows how hard it is to be taken seriously by doctors, and desperately wants her healing art to advance into a science. In other words, she should be the most honest and credible teacher around.

Well, she gave us that demo, had us try it, and said that now we had all felt our energy body and knew it was real. A few minutes later, we had another exercise, and I had a friend help me re-run that test with my eyes closed. It took 30 seconds, and falsified the very first thing she taught us. So, either she had never tested it herself, or she knew it was false and said it anyway. Either way, not great for her credibility.

Starting with a lie that’s easy to disprove is a recipe for continuing to be marginalized.

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How We Cheat at Feeling Energy

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

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I’d like you to try an exercise for me. It’s something often done with beginners in energy healing classes, and it’ll only take a second. It’s to show you where your energy body is.

Hold your right hand open in front of you, facing sideways, kind of like you’re about to shake hands with someone, but closer to your body. Now, extend your index finger of your left hand, and move it close to your right palm, watching as you do it. Do you notice the tingling you get in your palm when your finger almost touches it? That’s your energy body, extending from your finger.

(If you don’t get the tingle, try moving your finger in little circles, almost touching your palm.)

Go ahead, try it. I want you to feel that. It even works with your eyes closed. Once you’ve done it, scroll down.
















Now, here’s the thing: That’s not your energy body. That’s a totally non-magickal feeling called proprioception, which is your brain’s model of your body. It makes you feel weird whenever something is about to touch you because, well, it’s generally a good idea to get out of the way of things about to touch you, or at least to know they’re there.

How do I know it’s not energy? Easy. Repeat the experiment, only instead of touching your own hand, have a friend almost touch your hand. With your eyes open, you’ll feel tingly, but with your eyes closed, you’ll feel nothing. Why? Because when the almost-touch comes from someone else, you need to see it to trigger proprioception. If this really were energy, it wouldn’t be affected by sight. But it’s not.

Most of the things we tell beginners to do are like this. I’m thinking of all the classes and books and workshops where you focus on your elbow until it tingles, or that guide you to breathe deeply until your chest feels different. Sure, those reliably produce tingling, but that’s not because of energy, that’s because of how attention affects the brain and because of how increased oxygen feels.

Don’t get me wrong. Energy is a fairly important part of my model, and it can definitely make you feel tingles. I believe that the sensations most of you felt when you asked my ethereal software for an obvious connection were legit, caused by energy and connections. But, when we’re talking about ways to make non-mages feel energy, I want to be clear that most of the things we do for novices are in fact tricks based in neurology, not magick.

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