Magic and Expectations

Weather Magic is something that I’ve been intrigued with for a while. It’s an area of magic that a lot of people avoid and even deride, because it is so complex that it is easy to have unexpected or unintended results and consequences. This has led a lot of magic-workers to assumed that it cannot be done effectively and that it is a fool’s folly to try.

Well, I’m not one to listen to what people tell me. And on occasion, the results have been less than spectacular. And of course, I get crap for that. Because if you try to contact your HGA and fail, you’ll get encouragement and advice from other magicians. But if you try to regulate the weather for a 5-day pagan festival and fail, you get derided and compared to agents of evil and maliciousness.

So I was kind of happy to see Lady Abigail writing about weather magic on the Witches’ voice and not casting too much of a negative dispersion on it.

Well, until I read deeper into it.

We sometimes forget that nature hears our calls, be it for rain or to hold the rain at bay. Our weather is very much a reflection on the energy of request going forward, although in these times, we allow the ideas of the modern world to bring doubt within ourselves. (*Yes, I understand global warming; that is not what I am talking about. That is a whole different ball of worms.)

As a witch, working weather magick is not exactly out of the range of possibility. In fact, it’s absolutely within that range. You know of Shamanic “Rain Dances”. Our history is replete with magickally created droughts, storms and of witches and conjurers who worked to bring good weather for the crops, or to destroy the crops of an enemy.

For myself, bad weather tends to happen when I’m sincerely down. I’ll never forget the lightning storm a few years ago when I lived in Florida; during a storm I did a call of energy spell. Instantly, there was a crack of lightening and we were blacked out for a day or so. I heard fire trucks and alarms, so it seemed as though someone’s home got hit by lightning!!! So be aware of what you do.

All joking aside, do I really believe we can cause the above-mentioned weather, be it drought or storms? Or at least make them worse? Umm . . . well . . . yes, definitely. So I work hard to NOT do weather magick. I may, from time to time, request changes in the weather but only according to the desires of the Goddess.

Why shouldn’t you play with weather magick? Because we are really not “mature” enough to understand the whole system. Chaos theory teaches us that if a butterfly flaps its wings in the UK, it may storm in Chicago. Systems are huge things and one tiny change here can create a much larger situation somewhere else.

There’s a lot being said there. And it’s not all about weather. It about what kind of magic Lady Abigail thinks is good for you. It’s about how competent she thinks you are.

It’s about her expectation for you to fail.

*****

The excerpt from Lady Abigail above is contradictory. It implies that one person’s emotional state can impact a storm system, but then reinforces that storms are too big to mess with. And I’ll start with that.

Storm systems are massive. The unfocused energies of one person are very unlikely to have an impact on any storm system. At best, a huge effort may divert small patches of a particular storm. It is unrealistic to expect that you can influence a storm that is already upon you.

And this is why my weather magic is always done a month or so in advance. I do not attempt to control or direct storms, but to influence the chaotic system that produces them so that it will manifest results that I want. The conceptual gulf between these two options are huge.

And this leads me into the latter part of that excerpt. That we are not “mature” enough to handle weather magic.

Well, with all due respect to Lady Abigail, that’s kind if a bunch of crap.

We don’t understand how cancer works, and we don’t have a cure for it. But people do healing magic all the time to try to do just that.

People very often have a firm grasp of who is involved in the job market and how the local economy is really operating. But they do spells to get better jobs all the time.

We believe all sorts of nonsense about relationships, most of which is counterproductive  and locks us in irrational expectations. But we frequently perform love spells.

Our understanding of psychology and its relationship with biology is still in its infancy. But we love to recommend magical solutions to psychological and emotional problems.

We have no idea how magic works. But we have no shortage of people who claim to. And a lot of people still use it just fine.

We always use magic to influence things we don’t understand. Because we don’t understand much, but we like to pretend we do.

And it’s not just limited to magic. Everything from climate change to the internal politics of Iran and the status of women in Saudi Arabia is far more complex than the vast majority of people are equipped to fully comprehend. But we’re more than happy to get involved, and make declarations, and undertake efforts for change.

That’s what humans do. We don’t adapt to our environments; we adapt our environments to suit us.

Why is the weather sacrosanct?

*****

Lady Abigail says that we should leave weather up to the whims of the Goddess.

I suppose that’s nice and romantic, and sound friendly, but it makes some interesting assumptions.

1) That’s there’s only one Goddess, and she has full control of the weather.

2) That this Goddess sees us as important and cares for our well being.

3) That if we just have faith in this Goddess, she’ll look out for us and the weather will be fine for what we need.

I don’t ascribe to any of these assumptions.

Weather kills people all the damn time. It hampers our activity and has major impacts on out behavior. Why is it wrong to use magic to influence something that can cause us harm?

Mind you, I’m not suggesting we attempt to fully control the weather at all times. And I am more inclined to let natural patterns work themselves out. But the bottom line is this: if it is acceptable to use magic to alter the natural forces that influence and affect us for our advantage in areas of our life such as finance and love, why is it so wrong to try to get the weather to cooperate?

Is Love not subject to the Goddess? Is financial prosperity not? Our safety while driving? Our likelihood of being burglarized?

Why resort to magic at all if the Goddess loves us and will make sure we get what we need or want? Why not just rely on faith? Why not acknowledge that those who have success and love and happiness are favored by the Goddess, and those without are simply lacking in devotion?

It’s not like that mindset has caused problems for the Christians, after all.

*****

As best as I can tell, there are three main reasons why people are against weather magic.

1) It is incredibly difficult.

Weather is a hugely complex chaotic system. Trying to get what you want from it is very tricky: there are too many variable to contend with. You have to know what is likely for that time of year and location, you have to know how geography affects the weather where you are, you have to know what atmospheric resources you have available, you have to know the physics behind the forces you are dealing with, etc, etc. There’s a lot to keep track of. And just delaying rain for a few hours can create major complications to that system.

2) Its consequences affects a huge number of people.

This is a good reason to avoid it, or at the very least use it with extreme caution. A small thunderstorm can affect hundreds of thousands of square miles. Diverting it can potentially affect millions of people. And yes, it can kill.

3) Your failures are obvious.

I honestly think this is the big one. When you screw up, everyone knows. And since your screw ups affect everyone, they eagerly blame you. And they tell you how misguided you were, and how you should have listened to them.

Oddly enough, when your efforts to heal someone with cancer fail, you don’t hear that rhetoric. Because at least you tried. It may have helped, but there was too much to work against. It was just meant to be. It was fate.

But that storm? Nope, your fault. All on you. Jerk.

*****

I’ve already talked a bit about how we eagerly tackle complex systems that we don’t understand with magical solutions. But let’s look at the second point above.

We shy away from weather magic because it has such huge impacts on other people.

I guarantee that a significant number of my readers have done a love spell at some point.

Now, I’m not talking about the “I want this person to fall in love with me!” spell, although I’m sure some people have tried that at some point. But even the generic, “safe” version of the love spell, which goes “I wish to meet a person of X, Y, and Z qualities, who will make a suitable lover for me.”

So, who does this impact?

Well, the other person, obviously. And their families. And their friends. And your friends. And your families.

Oh, you’re dating now? Take time off work? It affects your job. It affects their job. Maybe school. Maybe other people in school. Maybe you innocently miss one class and aren’t there to assist another student having a hard time, or to take notes that someone else might need to copy.

And you’ve attracted a new lover. What about the mate that person was destined to meet? Or the person you were destined to meet but won’t now? And the children you would have had with that person, that now won’t be born?

Okay, that’s getting pretty far down the slippery slope.

Let’s say you did a spell to get a better job. And it works.

What about the person who was supposed to get that job but didn’t now? What about their family? So you’ve got a job that is more fulfilling, but what if they were unemployed?

The collective impact of all of these small factors can build up to major effects. Like that butterfly that changes the weather across the planet.

And you were responsible. It was all your fault. Jerk.

Oh, magic doesn’t work that way? The universe provides? Bullshit. The universe has to get it from somewhere.

When you use magic to create a magnificent feast, someone has to be the turkey. Be responsible. Pick it out yourself ahead of time.

Quit making the Goddess cover your slack.

*****

I don’t believe in fate.

I’m a Chaos Magician at heart. At least in the sense that I think Pete Carroll’s theories on time work pretty well. The universe is probabilistic. This happen at random, but according to probable patterns.

This means that the future is not set. But it also means that certain patterns are highly likely.

So you can predict them with a reasonable amount of confidence.

And this is how tarot works in my mind, You look at the pattern as it is now, and recognize that barring a major change, it will probably lead to a certain outcome.

And this is where magic comes in. Because it allows you to make those changes. Large or otherwise.

So a lot of my ranting above doesn’t really apply. Because there isn’t someone you were fated to meet that is a perfect match. And there aren’t children you were destined to have. At least probably not.

But I believe in destiny.

I believe that you have a certain potential. And that if you express that potentially fully, it will bring you to certain roles and jobs and kinds of relationships and places. And that’s part of your pattern. you’ll be drawn to certain kinds of work, or certain kinds of places. And if you fit that pattern, you’ll meet other people who also fall into that pattern. So you might be destined to meet someone, simply because it’s a high probability event.

But magic can alter those patterns. Because that’s what we use it for.

And changing those patterns does impact a large number of people. And they don’t realize they’re correcting for it, but they are. The patterns can shift.

In short, one person’s actions, be them mundane or magical, will necessarily have an increasingly large impact on the people surrounding that person.

So what does this have to do with weather magic?

Because you’re already affecting a huge number of people; it’s just not as visible. And because it was going to rain on them anyway, and some of them were already going to die because of it.

The trick is to minimize how much of it was because you changed the pattern. Which means divining what the pattern was, and looking for a way to work within it to get what you want.

*****

Magic is a vague science.

It is often open to interpretation, especially with regards to what “success” is.

Phil Hine has a famous anecdote in which he cast a spell with the hopes of achieving a particular sexual fantasy. But when he worded the spell, he enchanted for “experiencing new and unusual forms of pleasure.” And he ended up getting a new video game, which provided him with much pleasure indeed. Just not the kind he hoped for.

Is that a success or not?

Technically, the spell worked as programmed. But he didn’t get what he really wanted. So yes, the spell was successful. But the casting of it wasn’t.

But it can still be counted as a success.

What I’m getting at is that it’s really easy to tell yourself that a failure or mistake is actually success.

Magicians are experts at hiding or rationalizing their mistakes.

Everything from “Well, it didn’t work out as I hoped, but was close enough” to “Oh, the astrology wasn’t in my favor” and even “well, it just wasn’t fated, so the Goddess wouldn’t allow it” it a rationalization for your failure.

Magic affects probability. If you attempt to manifest a low probability event, your efforts will most likely fail. Because it takes a lot of effort to change very low probability.

But that’s what magic is all about. Changing low probability events to high probability ones.

But it’s hard. Magic really is a difficult affair. And we like to pretend that it isn’t. We like to pretend that it’s as easy as positive thoughts and the right color candles. But it’s far more complex and tricky to accomplish.

A success rate of 70% is phenomenal for a magician.

And most of us are artificially inflating our success statistics. Because we can rationalize it. We can ignore weak efforts as “not counting.”

And because most of the magic we do isn’t so public that its results appear as a part of the evening news.

Stay away from weather magic, young one. It’s dangerous. And because as your teacher, it hurts my ego when you fail so spectacularly and publicly. Because when you fuck up and everyone knows it, it’s all on me. And you made it really apparent that I didn’t adequately instruct you in what kind of results are practically achievable, and advise you on how difficult magic can really be. And that’s all on you.

Jerk.

*****

Is weather magic possible?

Absolutely.

Can it be done responsibly?

Of course it can.

Can it be done effectively and successfully?

Yup. I actually do it fairly frequently. I’m still learning, to be sure, but I’m practicing. And I’m getting better at it.

I just don’t talk about it. Because everyone expects me to fail, and magic is hard enough without dealing with other people’s negative expectations. Especially when those other people are accomplished magic-workers in their own right.

Really, that’s kind of a shitty curse to put on someone. “I don’t think you’re competent enough, so I’m expecting you to fail. And I shall remind you of this when you do.”

The biggest trick in successful weather magic (beyond the study of geography and chaos theory) is dealing with those expectations.

It is recognizing your limitations. it is keeping your own expectations realistic. And it is coping with the fact that everyone else is expecting (or actively hoping for) your failure.

And these factors are very important for magic in general. But most magic isn’t done in the public sphere.

And this is one of the reasons I enjoy weather magic. (The biggest is my love of the weather in general, and my natural connection to it and its conditions.) The results are concrete. They are objectively measurable. Failure is obvious. And improvement is easily measurable as well.

*****

Why is weather magic bad?

Because we expect it to be.

Because it’s a very complex form of magic, and we don’t like to  take the time to learns the systems. Because we’re impatient.

Because it’s difficulty is visible. And because we expect magic to be easier than that.

Because we’re supposed to be dedicated to spiritual enlightenment and crap like that, instead of wanting to have nice weather for a wedding. And because when we do practical magic, most of us like to hide it. Because of expectations.

We expect magic to work a certain way. We expect the Goddess to support is in our time of need. And we will avoid anything that shows us otherwise. And we will chastise anyone who steps out of line.

Don’t curse people! It’s irresponsible!

Don’t do weather magic! It won’t work, and it’s irresponsible!

You don’t know what you’re doing!

Well, teacher, who will show me?

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4 responses to “Magic and Expectations

  1. I’m sorry that my comment came off that way, What I meant was that weather magic, in the Western European tradition, seems to be a thing that only ends badly. I did not mean to accuse you of ill intent. I apologize.

  2. Pingback: Expectations and Magic | Magical Experiments

  3. Pingback: Harm None | Blacklight Metaphysics

  4. Pingback: Hello 2014 | Blacklight Metaphysics

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