Sunday, August 1, 2010

Assessing Magical Workings

Karmagnha posted on sigil magick yesterday. His act of magick worked according to his assessment. In short the argument goes, I did magick for X and X happened. Therefore, my magick worked. There is nothing wrong with this. I have done the same.

The argument works as far as it goes but is more believable as the number of data points increases. There is a limitation one must be aware of. There is a fallacy of logic called post hoc ergo propter hoc -- after this therefore because of this. Precedence does not prove cause. One should keep that in mind when assessing one's own magick.

One of the verification methods I use, came from beginning things within a tradition that employs a graduated system of learning. I found myself seeing the initiation badges of higher grades within my personal ritual work, such as a daily LBRP only discovering them much later as I was actually initiated into those grades. This led me to the ignorance method.

If I obtain information in ritual that I did not possess before, I count that as a magical success. This worked very well with the Helpful Deity. I had no idea of Its lore as I began to work. I saw things in those meetings I later found in Its lore. That is a pretty strong confirmation. Of course, ignorance has its down sides. I'm pretty sure I don't have to cover them here.

I am not sure I'd recommend this technique even within an order as I stumbled across it. It may be one of those things that you let develop in someone rather than encouraging. It is hard enough to get folks to study on their own. 

There will be more posts about how I assess my magick in the coming weeks. Some of these are subjective, some much less so and I'm sure anyone with a scientific bend of mind can discount them all as coincidence. The problem with that is longevity. Any one act of magick can be a coincidence but what of twenty coincidences in a row? Thirty? Magick is a long term practice. Like the divine, magick is ever unfolding before our eyes.

It's About Theurgy

Small acts of magick like Karmagnha's are necessary for those that are at a beginning whether that beginning is with magick itself or simply a new technique. I have no problem with those acts of magic. They build confidence and teach valuable lessons.

That being said, long term magick is still about theurgy to me. Magick has a spiritual component. Every single act of magick links us to the divine in some way. My view is that we may as well do magick with that in mind instead of going the long way around and influencing those around us or our mundane situation as a matter of course, no matter how tempting the scenery. I am aware others have a contrasting point of view. I can only speak for myself.

Thaumaturgy impacts the relationship between people or people and objects. Theurgy defines our relationship to the divine. Every act of magick impacts the relationship between the mage and himself. This leads to another of Robert's Rules of Magick, all magick is relational.


As previously posted, I've changed my version the LBRP (Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram). I have swapped out the archangels. I substituted angels whose names mean the following:

Air - Divine Physician
Fire - Herald of God
Water - Contemplation of God
Earth - Messiah

I am doing invoking pentagrams for each element and then praying to each angel.

Air - Please heal any part of me that interferes with my unity with the divine
Fire - Please reveal to me the path of unity
Water - Please remind me to contemplate the divine and provide me the intuition to understand
Earth - Please teach me how to pray to you. What are you?

These prayers are not exactly what I say, they are more spontaneous than that. I have not tried to hear their responses in words but in how I feel, think and observe.  I have suddenly become more contemplative. I feel magickally charged, like I do in ritual, but all day long. This is a very pleasant thing. I'm not sure it is a good thing. Once can blow out one's circuits. We will see.


Karmaghna said...

I am not as sure about the causality of the experiment as you make me out to believe. It may be that my post is misleading (it probably is). I equate the sigil with my intention only, since the sigil is nothing more than my intent in symbolic form. That my intent came to be actualized is beyond doubt. In fact, it came about in a very literal way. However, your caution about falsely attributing a causal link between a working and the manifestation of the intent of that working is well taken.

Robert said...

chalk it up to my sloppy writing not yours. I try to imply things aren't that one-dimensional but I never seem to get it right.

Apologies if you felt slighted. Not my intent at all.

Karmaghna said...

No need to apologize, Robert. After reading your post again I realize that you used my experiment as a platform to share some valuable insights with your readers and that your comments where not strictly directed to my working. That being said, I wonder why I backpedaled slightly in light of your comments. I have some ideas that I may develop into a post.