There is another meme that has bonded to the blogger world. This time it has to do with one question: Is belief necessary to magick? Hell Yes/No!
My partially flip answer is that who the heck would perform magickal acts consistently if they didn't believe those spells work? Therefor belief in their efficacy is a primary motivator behind magickal acts. Yes yes, a few people put things together not believing they work and get surprised but long term, the magician has to believe magick works in order to fully engage in the process.
Engaging in the process is not the same as performing a magick act. Engaging means that one is so immersed in the process that one's spirit and soul slowly get refined. Though, I prefer to say the soul opens.
My personal example is with my work with the Helpful Deity. When I started doing magick, I was afraid of it. I feared ramifications both directly from misplaced magick and the peril of my soul (i.e. Christian cultural baggage). I distrusted gods and spirits. Yet, I persisted. I fully engaged in watching the magick work and watching the magick slowly change who I am as a human being. Now, I work with the Helpful Deity and Hermes without a net. We don't cast a circle. We don't do much of anything. I simply pray and They respond. If we want an invocation into our bodies, we meditate and I chant whatever mantra They inspire me with. I have full trust in what we are contacting. The more I immerse myself in the experience, the richer it becomes.
At some point, it isn't even magick. The process just is and it is wonderful.
My personal view aside, I really liked the comment below which stemmed form the Post Modern Magick post on the topic The comment was from Scott Stenwick.
I think the problem with the “belief powers magick” idea is that people figure out that doubts can get in the way of doing it successfully and then generalize from there. But once you’ve put your doubts aside you can’t really “believe more” to get a better result. It’s not a power thing, it’s a consciousness thing.
How doubt inhibits magick can be explained well using your information model, belief = power not so much. Doubt in effect divides consciousness against itself so when you communicate your state of consciousness to the target it’s muddled and confused – a bad signal. So your spell won’t work as well.
The other point related to this is that doubt only needs to be put aside while you’re doing the ritual, or if you will, sending your signal. Once that’s done and your mind is back into mundane consciousness mode skepticism isn’t going to affect your spell because you already sent it out. Folks who are invested in the belief = power model call this “flexibility of belief” but I’m convinced that in reality it’s just operating from a doubt-free perspective for a limited period of time.
That about covers the topic for me.