Magical Wording

Magic is very caught up in language. It seems to be the best way for us to encode our desires for processing during the act of magic. Our words and metaphors for magic reflect the importance of language: we cast “spells” and keep them in “grimiores.”

But there’s a problem. Because our language embodies a lot of ideas, and not all of them are conducive to magic.

I’m of the opinion that this can be a good thing. Word have power, and I think that some mechanism to take some of that power out of our words is useful. I imagine it as a kind of short-circuit effect built into our language to keep everything we say from working spells.

I once worked with a friend to develop our own magical language, complete with its own syntax and grammar. It actually included a “magical tense” using infinitive roots, and any other use of certain words had a special conjugation to “negate” the magical action of the word.

But I’m getting a little off track.

Chaos Magic has an issue with the concept of “being.” You will hear a lot of religions talking about things in terms of “states of being” and of the “having, doing, being” triad. Chaos Magic regards this as nonsense: the Universe is about doing, about motion, about action. You cannot describe anything in terms of “being” without describing what it does.

So in a magical context, the phrase “I Am” is worse than useless — it can actually negate the process of magic. “Being” halts the active process, and magic is a process.

Well, there’s a way around that.

When constructing sigils or mantras or spells, render your instructions in V-Prime. V-Prime is a mode of writing or speaking in which all forms of the verb “to be” are removed.

So instead of saying “I want to be powerful” you say “to increase power” or “to attain power.”

A spell or sigil is an instruction to your subconscious. It should reflect those instructions, not what you want to be. Magic is a process, and processes require instructions, not desires.

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One response to “Magical Wording

  1. Pingback: Magical Wording | Practical Pagans

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