Retroactive Enchantment

Chaos Magic, especially the variety that depends upon the equations of Pete Carroll, has some interesting things to say about how time works. Specifically, Chaos Magical Theory posits that the past isn’t set, and instead is a “probable past” that can be as variable as the probable future that is not set even as we await it. Continue reading

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Changing Traditions

Donald Michael Kraig has a blog post about changes to rituals in organized traditions like the Golden Dawn:

One of my favorite examples of this is that some groups have changed the use of the word “Lord” in Golden Dawn rituals to “Lord and Lady” or “Deity.” On a superficial level I fully understand this. At the time the GD was founded, even though the Order was amazingly non-sexist in practice, the members still used a language that, following the practices of the time, was sexist. I am in favor of eliminating sexism.

However, this change deconstructs the rituals, changing life-altering mystical symbolism into an English-only ritualized drama and, for that section, nothing more. Continue reading

More Thoughts on Authenticity and “Being Real”

My post on “Real” Magicians got a decent amount of views, so thanks everyone for checking it out.

And like the original post by Farrell, it has sparked a lot of thinking and some conversation.

One that stood out to me was a post by DON’s, which questions what we mean when we talk about things being “real”:

I think it’s important to consider how we use slippery words like “real,” because they can reveal underlying biases that reflect a lack of compassion, on one hand, and a lack of understanding of ourselves and the world around us, on the other. As a magician, those two things – compassion and understanding – are more important to my spiritual path than anything.

By taking it upon ourselves to decide what is “real” or not, we show a lack of compassion to the things we have left out. Be it a family member, a co-religionist, a person of transgendered experience, or someone who deviates significantly from our experience in any way.

Yes, magic-users can be cliquish and solipsistic. Imagine that.

Continue reading

Sigils

One of the most effective and easiest techniques that I learned from Chaos magic is the use of sigils.

There are techniques in ceremonial magic that produce geometric designs that are sometimes called sigils, but these are not quite the same. It is one thing to trace a pattern from a magic square, and quite another thing to turn a statement of intent into a pretty squiggle that you can draw in the dirt on your car windshield.

I do a lot of sigil work in my magic. I put sigils on (or in) candles. I draw them on paper and burn them. I make tiny copies of them and throw them to the wind. I draw them on balloons and release them (Try this in a mall — it’s more fun and there is less environmental risk). They’re very versatile, can be as complex or simple as you want, and can be done quickly in a public place.

But I’m not going to talk about sigils. Jack Faust is. Because he says a lot more than I really want to, and it’s good stuff.

The ultimate question when making sigils boils down to this: do you want the form to be simple, or do you want it to be complex? How does either presentation affect your feelings about what the sigil represents? How many different variable forms can you imagine given the letters you wish to render into the sigils?

To paraphrase Gordon, there is no such thing as “doing it wrong” as long as you understand the basics of the technique. Any sigil that produces a sense of working for you can be used. All this really requires of you is consistently using it, playing with different means of expressing your desires, or applying the technique where it best fits.

Sigils may be used: to designate specific actions one wishes to have take place while others are watching; simply working on the sigil and then finding a means of empowering it (a fixed gaze for a constant amount of time is often sufficient to mildly empower one) allows you to duck out of intoning “barbarous words” or drawing attention to yourself. Previously constructed sigils representing the spirits one works most closely with can be scratched into the earth if you’re working at the crossroads, particularly around magical circles, and if you don’t wish to use a traditional circle. These can be either used alongside the relevant names, or the names could be omitted altogether. This is particularly useful if one is practicing witchcraft outside the home and suspects that someone may stumble onto what they are doing. In that case, you need only rub out the sigils and circle with your foot, and it is less likely to be noticed in comparison to using chalk or salt.

And a follow up post:

Gordon’s comment on my last post got me thinking… And I decided I’d follow up the last post with another describing other ways I’ve used the technique, and encouraging folks to be more experimental with it. Don’t get me wrong: plenty are. It happens to be precisely the Chaotes that are not that I want to mess with and encourage to try some new shit.
Read them both here and here. Good stuff on sigil techniques and applications.

Magical Self Improvement

I’ve been spending a lot of time realigning my life and refocusing my efforts into what will help me be more effective in getting what I want out of life. And a lot of this entails looking at habits I’ve developed and ways that I frame my experiences.

 

Yup, this is a post about ego magic.

***

Usually when I talk about ego magic, it is as a corrective to excesses in the positive range. In short, ego magic is effective at deflating over-inflated egos and delusions of grandeur.  I’ve told stories of old friends caught up in this trap, and been inspired to other commentary based upon observations of others.

Most of the work I have done in ego magic is inspired by Phil Hine, if not taken directly from his book Condensed Chaos. Hine discusses bad habits, obsessions, and personal demons, as well as how to recognize these things and deal with them.
One of the most useful processes I have undergone in the past is the Charting of the Self, which helps to increase self-awareness so that you can change what behaviors you need to. Continue reading

Links of Interest 19 Jul 2013

Chas Clifton talks about neolithic monuments and assumptions about the ancients telling time

http://blog.chasclifton.com/?p=5862

 

M. Horatius Piscinus discusses daily and morning ritual and meditation in Romana Religio

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religioromana/2013/07/morning-prayers/

 

Frater Barrabbas talks more about the Qiploth and demons:

http://fraterbarrabbas.blogspot.com/2013/07/madness-of-kenneth-grant-evils-of.html

 

Lee Pike talks about what Chaos is and how it works in a magical context:

http://www.chaoswitch.com/what-is-chaos-anyway/

 

Ashka Ryo talk about more pagan cliches and tropes, that often end up being pagan excuses:

http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=uspa&c=words&id=15430

 

Inominandium presents a rather interesting talisman:

http://www.inominandum.com/blog/a-coin-jar-talisman/

 

And Satyr Magos account a rather unusual spirit conjuration:

http://journeythroughtheobsidiandream.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/spirits-of-spirits-conjuring-cannabis/

Magic and Energy

So I was having an interesting discussion with some friends of mine about magic and energy.

Magical energy is very subtle. This is why so few people can sense it readily, and why we work so hard to increase our sensitivity to it. But how does this translate to other forms of energy? Or of being able to “measure” or even “convert” it?

The conversation went like this. If someone is sick, you can do a spell for them to recover faster. You raise energy and direct it toward a goal of healing the target. The energy in some way adjust the probabilities of a speedy recovery by the target, the target’s body generates a faster response, and viola, target is healed.

It may work well for a cold, but it ain’t gonna knit a broken bone.

You see, if you are attempting to spur a healing response, you need a relatively low energy threshold to accomplish this. Stimulate a few cells here or there, in effect, and they stimulate others, and the snowball effect leads to the result you want. This is far different from causing a large scale regeneration of cellular material, which requires massive amounts of energy. (Don’t believe me? Think about how long it takes a bone to knit, and how many calories in food you devote to that process. Still don’t believe me? Study cellular processes and how much energy is involved in the ATP cycle. Lots.)

This is why magic works on probabilistic effects easier. It is easier to influence a chaotic phenomenon than a more deterministic one. What it really comes down to for me, then, is time.

I’ve always considered magic to be an intentional change of the probability of an event. Probability is a temporal effect (at least if you think Pete Carroll’s on to something, which I happen to think he is).

And this, I think, is why you don’t have manifestations of magic like we see in the movies, and why concrete healing of the sort described above doesn’t happen easily, but why I can influence weather patterns a month ahead of time with relative ease. It’s about whether that energy is directed into time or space, and whether you’re trying to influence a probability that hasn’t manifested yet (time) versus impacting an object in a given state or condition (matter or space).

How is this practically important? Magic is more effective if it is directed at events not yet solidly determined, and it takes far less energy to influence those events than to effect actual matter in the present.