Mike Sentetntia responds to an inquiry about that great “aha” moment that led him to practice magic.

I wish there were some epiphany I could package up for readers. Heck, I wish there was simply an amazing moment to tell you about, to inspire you to find your own epiphany. There never was for me, and I don’t think there is for most people.

Oh. Oops.

I can’t share my epiphany with you: I never had one. There was no moment, just 20 years of slow progress.

My own experience is similar, and in fact I’ve gotten a bunch of lazy nostalgic illuminating blogs posts describing my own slow, wandering, meandering, dragging, disjointed, gradual magical development. That “aha” moment is conspicuously absent from my magical career (although the realization that I could use magic to increase my chances of getting laid came pretty close).

But I have had epiphanies.

Merriam-Webster lists one definition of “epiphany” as “an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being.” The initial word had the implication of a religious revelation. And I insist on seeing religion and magic as separate things.

“Epiphany” implies a religious or mystical phenomenon, not a magical one. Magic is about process; mysticism is about ontology. And my epiphanies have been mystical/religious in nature: the moment that I heard the call of the Dii Consentes is certainly the most powerful, and my audience with Jesus was pretty significant as well. I suppose you can have a mystical experience that makes you aware of the possibility of magic, as well as revelations from entities on how to do magic more effectively. And it’s possible that is what the querent was getting at: a mystical experience that opened Sententia to the possibilities of magic. But in my experience, and the experience of many I’ve worked with and talked to (and according to Sententia, his experience as well) is that for most magicians, magic is a carefully honed, developed, and practiced skill.

I think that’s what differentiates a magician from a mystic. Magicians have to work at it. Mystics get it blasted into their heads, via gods, drugs, or mental illness.

You want an epiphany on magic? It’s real and it works. All else is technique, and very little of that is agreed upon.

magician vs mystic?


2 responses to “Epiphany

  1. You know, I hadn’t put that together, but it makes sense: Epiphanies are religious, and part of the mystic’s path.

    And now that you mention epiphanies along the way, I have had a few: Realizing about how to awaken ethereal muscles, or figuring out how shielding works. I think of them as science-type epiphanies, the end of a lot of work, where a tough problem starts to make intuitive sense. But they’ve always been the end of a path for me, rather than some unlocking that lets me start doing magick, (which was the question that prompted my post).

    Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, just something I thought of reading your post. Thanks for replying to mine, and know that I’ve been enjoying your blog, too.

    • Most magical traditions blend magic with some degree of mysticism. There’s nothing wrong with that if it works, but magic and witchcraft in my mind have always been technical skills. Like you said, you still have epiphanies, but they’re of a different quality somehow. The “aha” moment of sudden inspiration you get to solve a problem is different from the “aha” moment that comes unbidden and inspires the pursuit of divine experience and revealed truth.

      And that’s not to say that mysticism doesn’t take work, which DON was quick to point out on Twitter. But I’d say that magical epiphanies tend to be the result of that work, while mystical epiphanies tend to be the motivator for that work.

      Thanks for reading, and know that your work has helped mine quite a bit. I eagerly await the completion of your book project.

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