The Implications Of Magick
Slim the frequently possessed

What are the implications of magick? The only things we can say with certainty are that magick exists; that it is possible for an individual or group to cause a change to occur in a situation or state that is beyond their physical power. How this works is a mystery. There are as many styles of procedure as there are individual practitioners. Some pray to a higher power and attribute the success of their workings to the deity they worship. Others stand in a circle and thunder out barbarous words of evocation, conjuring up recalcitrant spirits and commanding them to action. There are those who enter a special state of mind and create a piece of art, an image or talisman that portrays their desire manifest. A gifted few merely relax into a meditative state and will their objective into fruition with vivid visualization. What is the common factor amongst all these methods? The mind.

Everyone who carries out a magical procedure performs a number of interrelated tasks, ranging from physical creation of objects to silent sitting. If magick were dependent upon one single specific formula of physical action, it would be impossible for all these methods to achieve results. However, they all involve (at some point in the operation) the attainment of a single-pointed concentration. This when the mind forgets everything but the image, or when the litany carries away the operator. The technical aspects of this have been dealt with at length elsewhere. Here the object is to examine and elaborate upon some of the implications of this fact.

If people with radically conflicting belief systems can achieve personally relevant results by working in ways that reflect the differences of their beliefs, what does this say about magick? Perhaps that no single explanation of metaphysical reality is yet complete. Perhaps that belief is itself tangential to magical success, in which case one must ask, is it another plane of existence that causes magical effects, or is it merely the total focus of the practitioner? Although it is easy to ascribe the action of magick to some hitherto unknown layer of reality, this has yet to find a place in modern physics. Science is limited in many ways, but it is superior to its mediaeval ancestors, yet still has no explanation for magick. There are certainly issues concerning Quantum theory, and in particular Bell’s theorem is suggestive of a universal connectivity that could provide a medium for magick, but this is far from being conclusive. Science is not quite ready to deal with magick.

Is belief itself the key? Does a steady belief in a particular state of affairs actually cause reality itself to change in accordance with the views of the individual? This is another difficult issue. It may appear ludicrous to argue that reality is structured by perspective, but it is accepted fact that the world that any individual experiences is a product of the representational actions of the brain. One does not literally see objects in the world, for the light that is reflected into the optic nerve is interpreted into electrical signals that enter the brain and are developed into a complex holographic hallucination. This incorporates data from all of the senses and is constantly maintained by the brain. If there is information missing, the brain does its best to make up for this by creating illusions based on its ‘best guess’ at the contents of the unseen environment. This is why we do not usually become aware of our blind spots.
If everything in ones perceptual field (including the body itself) is a hallucinatory construct created and maintained by the brain of the real body (which we never actually sense), perhaps magick can be accounted for by positing a solipsistic viewpoint. One is the creator of ones own pocket universe, all of which is subservient to the will of the intrepid mage. This is both attractive and repellant. It is enthralling to consider oneself in the godlike position of absolute control, but it is also inaccurate. No master of magick ever suspended the necessity of eating, even if the food tasted and masticated is illusory.

Maybe it is best to ignore all the peripheral activity and consider the pragmatic element to be paramount. The magician is in control. A position of absolute authority, in fact, once they have succeeded in developing their skills. It is undeniable that the individual who puts in the requisite time and effort has an enviable degree of power. It may not be absolute, but it is considerable. From this premise, it is easy to take the next step of self-aggrandizement and to proclaim oneself god, or at least Emperor of the known Universe. This is not surprising, and it is certainly a pleasure when the work does bring in the gains. However, it is a subtle and dangerous prison to consider oneself as godlike. Magick involves constant learning. If the world no longer surprises you, you’re not trying very hard. The pursuit of this kind of power requires a commitment to learn from every source available, for no information is truly useless. People who stop and declare themselves victors have really given in to stasis. If you ever find yourself tempted to regard yourself as omnipotent, try holding your breath for a few minutes and see what happens.

We must also consider, if briefly, the idea that there really are unlimited planes, inhabited by angelic and demonic hosts. Or gods of the earth, spirits of the sea. Gods of tribes and clans, spirits that guard and spirits that feed on human souls. This is an intriguing notion. It is also very difficult to escape if one practices magick. It is quite easy to practice without involving such beings, but it is hard to avoid them when they take an interest in you. I do not wish to make any statement as to the authenticity of the various heavens or spirit realms. Nor to the objective reality of each god that litters the mythology of the human species. However, I can state with utter certainty that these beings have a subjective existence, that when they choose to manifest themselves in vision or action, it is both unrealistic and impractical to ascribe it all to the imagination or unconscious mind of the mage. For this reason, I strongly recommend the regular use of banishing whenever you are working on any magical project. I also caution against putting too much belief in any deity or entity that you work with. As mentioned elsewhere, obsession has its uses, but it is also far too easy to lose your sense of objectivity and become enthralled and overwhelmed by the beings with whom you work.
Leaving the metaphysical mess on the floor for a moment, I think it is necessary to address the issue of morality. It is helpful at times to regard magick as a tool. Like a knife or a hammer it can be applied to many problems in a positive and productive manner. It can also kill. I do not think there is too much weight to the arguments of those who see “Satanic conspiracies” behind each crime. However, there are those who will use this as a weapon. I make no attempt to judge anyone’s actions at this point, for I think that judgment requires full knowledge of the situation. People have always behaved in dangerous and abusive ways, but this is not a reason to withhold information. A truly murderous individual will find a way to commit their crime whatever restrictions are placed on them. I will say instead that every person who intends to use magick for any purpose must first analyze their circumstances in order to divine an appropriate course of action, and then decide whether they are fully prepared and willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. If the answer is “no”, it is unwise to proceed.

The final point I wish to make here is that magick implies an aspect of reality that is different to the standard conception of physical causality. We may remain unaware of the actual mechanisms that underlie magical work, but once it has been experienced, one cannot deny that there is more to life than the world in which one has lived. It is the gateway to another dimension in which time and space are not absolute categories but mutable media. I can give no final answer to the questions that surround life and existence, but magick has shown me that we are not merely animals. We are not gods, either, but something else. In time, perhaps we will learn what that means.

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