The Mechanism of Magic
The Purpose of This Essay
The function of this short paper is singular in its ambition: to provide the reader with a hand-shaking apprehension of the means by which magic functions in the world. It desires to eradicate the apocryphal notions regarding the operations of magic, dispelling the enchantment of fantasy which has enticed many wishful neophytes stepping into magic to believe in balls of fire, mass telekinetic interference, the physical operation of spirits and direct influence over events.
It should be clear, then, that this paper is not for the already experienced magician who has worked many feats himself and therein understands the manner in which his desire works itself into the world. Likewise neither is the content of this paper pertaining to various vast arrays of meta-paradigms, each describing what it calls “magical theory” in a fantastical and often complex manner; such things as these are left for other essays, and are written for another audience. Dabbling in such sciences here shall only confuse and perhaps discourage the hopeful student. Instead this paper shall consider sequences of events and the nature of stacking probabilities, those being two entirely natural manifestations while simultaneously presenting themselves as the two ultimate means by which desire is expressed into action.Probability and the Cycle of Manifest Magic
Nature is the theatre of probability, and “fate” being the stage director we are the audience upon which the play is impressed. Though we are born with certain characteristics, both expressed and latent, nature is ultimately the architect which shapes the clay(the ego) she has been given. Our lives are largely facilitated by extensive chains of probability, with many events magnificently intertwined. These random events which collect together in our memories to be called “our experiences” or our “lives” are expressed by our characteristics, and our egos are ultimately shaped by them. Each experience adds a specific mark or twist to the clay, which after many years results in the sculpture which you are.
Mankind has taken an ambiguous approach to this situation, the schism having been created by the often oppositional stances of the intuitive mind and animal mind. In our intelligence and philosophy we have reasoned that our lives are helpless in the hands of a phenomenon we have called “fate,” or perhaps even “God” when the circumstances fit. By our nature, however, we have fled from the fear of helplessness and have tried to take greater control of our lives. We try to predict the weather, even control it when money permits. We schedule things to organize our lives in a manner that will allow us to foresee what will be happening at a given time, establish laws to make given events less likely throughout a population, issue “standards” by which characteristics are imprinted upon the young in mass projection. All of this has likely been subtly urged on by our silent fears of unpredictability, trying to escape “fate”; trying to escape “God.”
Magic, perhaps, is a product of that fear as well. It is foolish to believe that man has always intuitively sought for transcendence of spirit over flesh, though the fear of mortality has likely always existed. Instead we may infer by reviewing what we know of our early ancestors that many things were based on practical value, and so magic would have only had value in so far as it was capable of being applied to daily life. It did not matter, necessarily, whether or not a given set of doctrines would strengthen your soul or ensure a place in the highest heavens after death. What mattered was if those practices were capable of yielding good crops, favorable hunting conditions and agreeable weather.
If our interaction with nature is shaped by probability, then conversely so is nature subject to that same probability. Therein the chance of a given event affects both ourselves through our perceptions and activities as well as nature. The problem, and therein the origin of the fate concept, is that nature projects probability outwards upon us; we are the singular recipients of the randomly influenced events. This, however, is not the case with the operation of magic. The effects of probability become reflective, and originate not with nature but with the magician. The situation is created and communicated by the magician, then expressed through nature back upon him. To break the operation down, it would look like this:
1.) The magician forms his desire and makes it concrete within his mind.
2.) The magician attaches his desire to a vehicle of communication: energy.
3.) The desire is communicated to the magician’s environment.
4.) The energy of the desire and the energy of nature interact
5.) Nature is impregnated with the desire as a set of probabilities
6.) The naturally random chance of the magician’s precise desire occurring influences the probability of other events, making itself more likely to be expressed.
7.) The desire is expressed as an event in nature.
8.) The desire, now having been made into a physical circumstance, interacts back with the magician or the specified target
Steps one through seven may be called the order of manifestation of the will, whereas when step eight is included it may be called the cycle of manifestation of the will, or simply the “cycle of manifest magic.” Granted that these eight steps simply provide a fluid template to work with, I believe that if you experiment with practical magic yourself you may be able to categorize the process into at least one of each of those eight. In my experiences, most of those eight steps are necessary, and in most cases all eight occur when probability is the factor being manipulated.
Before advancing further onto the examples(for this paper is primarily meant to provide examples of magic in action so as to clear certain misconceptions), I should clarify my use of the word “necessary” in the former paragraph. By “necessary”, I do not mean that the magician must operate all eight processes himself. As should have already been noticed at this point in the paper, the magician can be completely ignorant of any steps towards manifestation and still perfectly work his magic. For that reason the template that is the Cycle of Manifest Magic is provided here only for theoretical knowledge, as theory and not practice is the primary focus of this particular essay. With the exception of steps one and three, which are commonplace amongst almost any spell template, all of those eight steps will happen quite naturally without the conscious will of the magician supporting the process. One may, for example, simply hold his desire in mind, meditate upon it, then in some verbal oration pronounce his desire and purpose, at which point the spell is complete. Only steps one and three have been consciously taken by the magician, but the other six steps shall fall in completely none the less.Hypothetical Scenarios
In order to transmute the former information in such a manner that you may see how it functions in practical magic, I will here endeavor to provide several general scenarios, walking you through the cycle beginning with the spell and ending with the result. So that you may clearly see how the order of manifestation applies to a given magical operation, I have attempted to provide two differing situations: the first concerning human interaction as the context, and the second concerning physical nature as the context.
Financial Trouble(Human to Human)
One of the most common applications of basic or “low” magic is to escape financial ruin or to enhance one’s financial prospects. Within this, a common goal is to obtain either a promotion or a raise, depending on one’s own situation. In this particular situation, the goal was a raise of four dollars an hour(the desire was simply a raise, but the result was a four dollar raise).
This particular operation began with a basic “money spell” the likes of which you are likely to come across if you bounce around the internet looking at wiccan sites and the likes. The young aspirant sat down at a table on night, lit a few candles, spent some time focusing on his desire, then went about with an oration that lasted about ten minutes(the latter portion of the oration became a mantra to be recited many times). Overall, about thirty minutes was spent on the spell between the meditation, the oration, and the closing. When the aspirant is done, he often notices that a certain weight or pressure leaves his body at the end of the oration, and that after the closing he feels less “enthusiastic” and somewhat exhausted.
Steps one through three have here been completed, though the second step is often a silent and backstage event(meaning it is not consciously done). The spell begins with the aspirant sitting in solitude for fifteen minutes meditating on his desire, “becoming” it perhaps. In this particular stage step two begins to occur: the meditation on the desire builds up energy within the magician, and this energy is made malleable to the will by the concentration on the spell. Energy with traits complimentary to the desire are drawn via homeopathy to the magician, and ultimately though is impressed upon energy as it builds up either within or around the individual. I should mention that if the magician is aware of this step and consciously takes lengths to advance it, such as drawing up his own energy, then the power of the entire operation is dramatically enhanced.
Step three in this particular circumstance is a symbolic action of verbal communication. The magician speaks his intent aloud to the universe, which simultaneously casts his energy into the world. In many cases, as was noted in this particular email, one can feel the energy build up throughout the oration and often reach a somewhat ecstatic state of mind when the climax of focus and emotion is met during the spell. At that climactic state the energy is dispelled, to be let off in small amounts throughout the remainder of the spell, and finally cease with the closing(which is often accompanied by a symbolic physical gesture or verbal comment). This communicates the desire of the magician in a form understood universally by a sort of encoding which energy offers.
From step four and on the conscious will of the magician is often not involved, nor is it required for that matter. These steps simply become natural reactions of the original three steps, and whereas the first three are carried out by the magician, the remaining five are operated by nature. In this case the energy of the magician interacts with the matrix of energy associated with his financial prospects, specifically the influences which act upon his own performance at the work place and the perception the manager has of that performance. The energy directed by the magician finds its niche within the work place and begins influencing the natural tides of energy thusly associated. At this point step four is complete.
Step five here deals with nature and a set of probabilities under the context of the work place and the chance of receiving a raise. After the desire is communicated to nature, the corresponding energy of that particular environment is impregnated by the qualities of that desire. The effect is somewhat akin to adding a drop of dye to a glass of water, the strength of the diffusion being decided by the power of the magician. At this point the manager’s mind is first impregnated with the possibility of giving the individual a raise. If we consider individual thoughts within the manager to be marbles the size of which are decided by the prevalence of the thought, then this process adds a new marble to the sack. The manager may not yet realize it, but somewhere in the back of his mind exists the possibility of giving the individual a random raise.
The job of step six is here to make that marble larger, more prominent, and thus more likely to push the other marbles towards the back of the mind. This allows the desired thought to be far more likely to cross the conscious mind of the manager, and therein more likely to be considered seriously. Gradually the occasional thought of giving the magician a raise shall advance itself into an actual desire, which leads us into step seven.
In step seven the thought is grasped by the manager and transmuted from thought into action. The employer gives the employee the raise, and so step eight is simultaneously completed, the magician having now received something directly from his contextual environment. So completes the long circular travel of the magician’s desire. Brewing a Storm(Human to Nature)
Perhaps the most common operation for the beginning magician who seriously wishes to embark upon the study of this science is that of manipulating weather. Within this component of elemental magic, the calling of a rainstorm is perhaps both the easiest and most common.
Step one begins with the typical holding of the magician’s desire. Step two, however, differs in this particular hypothetical scenario in that the magician is consciously aware of its happening, and therein spends some time in meditation drawing upon the energies required. In this way he has prepared himself for the operation, and may then control the exact device of step three, the communication of his desire. As has been mentioned, the first three steps are generally similar in every scenario.
Steps four and on in a human to nature operation differ somewhat from the previously outline human to human operation. Whereas the latter deals with the concept of thought formation and the principles of influencing free will, a human to nature communication deals instead with naturally occurring phenomena, influencing ultimately unintelligent forces. In step three the energy left the magician to inhabit an appropriate niche, in this case perhaps a nearby body of water and its connection to heat(creating evaporation). Some energies will diffuse amongst the air, others into the water, and yet other components of the energy into those forces which influence wind circulation. The same thing occurs as before: the energy digs itself into place, and roots the desire of the magician into the contextual environment.
Nature is then impregnated with the desire for rain, and because of the programming of the spell, begins to go about creating a storm. The probability of a storm at this point exists, being the marble added to the sack, and step six follows up within proportion to the magician’s own prowess in this area. If his influence is powerful, the chances of a storm occurring within a decent amount of time shall dramatically increase. Likewise, the probability of that storm occurring in his desired area due to carefully manipulated wind patterns will increase as well.
Step seven is particularly noticeable in a human to nature operation. When the desire of the magician is finally expressed in physical form, it takes the place of the actual storm. For step eight to follow, the magician must be the recipient of the spell, that is to say his desire is communicated back to him so as to create a full circle of events. The magician calls and the storm answers. Things to Remember
You may have noticed that these operations, when dissected as they have been here, seem somewhat complex. There is no need to be worried by this, as the complexity disappears in the grand scale of things. Someone once asked me, for example, by what means I was able to influence something as grand as the very tide of the ocean. After all, there is an evident complexity to the issue: there are magnetic patterns, tectonic shifts, volcanic vents, and celestial movements all involved. However, the operation could be accomplished without acknowledging any of this, just as it had been long before men of science ever discovered such things. To move my arm I do not need to know every tendon, muscle, neuron and bone involved: it is sufficient that I will my arm to move, being the master of my own body. Magic, in a way, can be broken down into that principle as well. When the world becomes simply an extension of your being, and you realize that you are connected to it all as a part of the very same “All in All,” it is sufficient only that you will move the world upon its axis as you would role your eyes in their sockets. “If you have but faith.”
You should bear in mind that though the eight step template provided in this essay applies generally to most manifestations of desire via magic, it does not include telekinetic force or pure elemental condensation. Such activities as these act directly upon the environment, allowing a bypass of probability. As a result, these acts are far more difficult to accomplish.