Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Good a Magician Are You? Try This Formula

Maybe I am just cranky as I have a cold. Maybe. However, every time I see a debate on magick, model X versus model Y or "is belief necessary" I have the same question. Who cares?

Crowley said it doesn't matter if spirits are real because the universe behaves as if they do. That is good enough for me.

This is why I responded rather tongue in cheek to the do you need to beleive debate. Of course you believe in magick or you wouldn't do it! I know the rest of the world was asking if it is purely mechanical or purely belief. Yawn. Who cares? As long as your tech works.

My belief is that attitude is what matters. If you get into magick for power over others, you'll get a measure of that. If you want power over your environment, you'll get a measure of that too. The same holds true for authority or any other form of power you are seeking. That said, there are other factor that can be made into a formula. This just fell out of my head as I typed. So, some revisions are likely necessary. That said, plug some numbers into your spread sheet and see how you rate.

The Formula

One component is attitude or perspective. Perspective is seeing what you've programmed yourself to see. You'll see what you're looking for be they spiritual cues from the universe, methods of climbing up the tree, self-purification, spirits doing things for you, raw power etc. Perspective is a blessing in that in aids focus and a curse in that it limits what you see. For the latter reason, it is the denominator in the formula. In this case the more narrow the perspective, the higher the number used. This is a 1 to 10 sliding scale

Another factor is wisdom. Wisdom is not binary. Instead, wisdom exists on a sliding scale. Those residing on the lower end of the scale will do silly things that distract them from the work they are doing. They also have a tendency to believe they are important. Those on the higher end of the scale tend to be much more subtle creatures, use measured force less often, and are quieter. Since unwise actions can really derail one, this scale can go into the negative. The scale used is -5 to 5. This is still a 10 point scale.

The rest of these are a simple 1 to 10 point scale. The larger the number the better you are on that particular item.

Effort counts as well. This may also be termed applied energy. Simply put the more you put into it the more you get out of it.

Immersion is slightly different. Immersion is living the life totally. If someone says, "What do you do?" and you're first thought is "volley ball salesman" you are not immersed. You are a magician, witch, etc. Immersion gives you a 24/7 input/output cycle that aids in focus, accumulated wisdom, and technical compentancy.

Knowledge matters. This is no slam on the intuitive practitioner. Book knowledge helps you teach others, gives you are credibility and other like things. That said, the value of knowledge to the individual practitioner is that magick has a way of connecting the dots to create enlightenment. The more dots you have the more connections you can make.

So the formula of magick is this

 Wisdom x  Effort x Immersion x Knowledge / Perspective = State of Magickal Being

The best score you can get is 5 X 10 X 10 X 10 / 1 = 5,000. If you think you are that good, may I suggest you lower the wisdom scale a bit? The worst score you can get is -5,000. If you think you are that unwise, see a therapist. For God's sake see a therapist. You'll be doing a world a huge favor. A lack of wisdom can really mess you up. Odd that the better you are in other areas the more the lack of wisdom hurts you. I like this part about this formula.

So this is my formula, it is only fair to see how where I fall on this from my own perspective.

Wisdom - I have grown here. Five years ago, my rating would have been dumb ass. I am going to give myself a 3 here. A year ago it would have been a 2 or 2.5. Calming down the anger/debate tendency helped a lot.

Effort - I work hard at this stuff but I fall off at the study portion of things, 7.

Immersion - This is a high score for me. I am always considering magickal ramifications to things and ascertaining if I can do magick in any given situation, 9.

Knowledge. This is a low one one for me. I've used the Ignorance Method of confirming my magickal abilities. This meant that I'd encounter a deity I knew nothing of, get info, and then study. If things matched up, that confirmed the contact. If not, I missed. I think this is a very valid method of determining one's skill level with magick and invocations, evocations in particular. That said, it became a habit to my detriment. My score, 4.

Perspective - my focus is narrow. Spiritual evolution, theurgy, personal alchemical work.  I am spreading out a bit with things like the Geomantic Working and American Goetia. My score: 7. Remember the less 'specialty focus' you have the higher the denominator. This is the wonkiest part of this formula. I may change it.

Hyper focus can be a very good thing but it is discounted in the formula for reasons mentioned above.

3 x 7 x 9 x 4 / 7 = 108

I am sure my readers and fellow bloggers can kick this around and make it much better or determine it is a useless. I thought it was rather fun. The idea is fine actually plugging in numbers may have little value.


Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

I don't understand the placement of 'perspective'. Does this mean that the wider your focus (a 10) the lower your score? Or should 'perspective' actually be 'focus'? I'm confused when you use a big number for perspective, and when you use a little number.

Robert said...

inverse, the narrower your focus the higher the score. My thinking was this. A broader perspective allows you to see more things in your magick and spirituality. Therefore, too narrow a perspective hurts you.

My conundrum is that the generalist often lacks meaningful depth that that the specialists achieves. This is the wonkiest part of the formula. Any suggestions on how to fix it?

Scott Stenwick said...

The idea is fine actually plugging in numbers may have little value.

That's pretty much my take on it as well. It's an interesting analysis that takes into account some factors that are often overlooked, but the factors themselves are too subjective and with the way you multiply them together small errors can have huge effects on the overall number. For example, if your objective score on one of the first four factors was 1 but you misestimated it as 2, your final score would be double the objective value even if you got everything else right. This is true for all of the factors, meaning that without perfect estimates on the part of everyone involved the final scores won't really be comparable with each other.

Personally I rely on probability testing. Cast a spell versus a known probability, check the shift above chance, and repeat to get a decent sample size. A bigger shift at least implies that you're a better magician, and it has the advantage of being an objective measurement.

PhoenixAngel said...

This would be a great method for judging people on their magickal skill level (and true interest), especially the immersion and effort part. This equation implies that the magickal state is directly proportional to perspective, immersion and effort. The perspective variable was a bit difficult to understand since the sliding scale appears to be counterintuitive

The variable of wisdom is a bit tough for me because your previous post implied that sometimes a person who truly believes in their own wisdom, may not be truly wise.

Will a truly wise person call themselves wise, and if so, would they be rating themselves relative to themselves (past-self) or the universe.

As for fixing your equation, you need to come out of the X,Y (linear) perspective and into a 3 dimensional (at least)coordinate system. If you are looking for depth, you cannot do that with just scalar quantities

PhoenixAngel said...

...oh and one more fix to your equation, you need to include the variable of time. I think the equation should include, t sub "actual", or the amount of time spent actually doing the work.

Great post Frater! Good way to get my brain going

Robert said...


I tend to agree with your analysis. Though, I also think using this would certainly highlight something a magician subjectively feels s/he needs to work on.

On the other hand, being a magician is more than just spell work. Apparently, I think that so much, I didn't include spell work in the formula!

Sometimes these exercises reveal unexpected things.

Scott Stenwick said...

@PhoenixAngel: Those ideas would probably help a lot as far as putting together a formula where estimation errors don't get multiplied to nearly the same degree. The formula needs to be able to absorb some variance in the parameters and still wind up with a value thats "about right" for it to be a useful tool for comparison between practitioners.

@Robert: I certainly agree that there are mystical factors that are part of magical practice as well, it's just that those are a lot harder to quantify. That's what I mean when I say that a bigger probability shift implies you're a better magician. You have to allow for variances in natural talent, among other things.

Still, I think that the shifting of probabilities is dependent upon the microcosm and macrocosm being united, at least on a temporary basis, and the ability to accomplish this is one of the factors cultivated by mystical work. So there's a relationship between realization and spellwork, even if it's not a direct and deterministic one.