Three Models (That Don’t Work Out) for Explaining Magical Mechanics
In modern occult philosophy the term model is used to describe a paradigm for magical practice, wherein an attempt is made, however tentatively, to explain the mechanism driving the actual magic. At the time of this writing there are actually at least five models in circulation, with Information Model and Meta Model being the two I’ve left out.
Perhaps I’ve omitted these because of their association with Chaos Magic (CM hereafter) and CM thinkers. I don’t need to add further refuse to that enormous and growing-daily pile of metaphysical shit. Probably not, if I’m honest; I left them out because they strike me as redundant and unnecessary. My little jab at CM was mostly just for kicks.
Here are the three models old coots like me, who refuse to update our thinking, ascribe to magical paradigms.
Here is, I believe, your standard or most widely accepted model of the day. The paradigm holds that all of life is experienced and engineered from within the consciousness of the experiencer and, thus magical operations need only be, perhaps can only be of a psychological nature, affecting user consciousness and thereby altering, preserving, whatever the experienced reality. There are better ways to define this one but I’m not making the time for that today, relying as I often do on the astute nature of my readers (both of them!) to make the connection.
This model is sometimes clumsily referred to as Mentalism. A piss-poor term in the first place that woefully misses its mark here and sounds more like a psych diagnosis from the 1970’s than a philosophical vehicle. Proponents of the Psychological Model (which can also be dubbed the Consciousness Model) are found hanging around every metaphysical shop in America and when you pull their strings they’ll jabber away with: “Blah blah blah blah blah consciousness! Blah blah-dy blah blah consciousness! ” and so forth.
This paradigm is rooted in the pseudophysics movement that took the world by storm in the early 2000s, though said movement is not the originator of the Energy Model. I believe the latter 1700s and perhaps early 1800s were the birth era for this one, but I’d have to look it up to be sure and I just don’t care enough to do that right this moment.
The foundational tenet of the model is actually bang on: Everything in the experienced universe is energy in one or another form. We understand this to be true as a matter of grade-school science, and this is not a pejorative comment on my part. Magic, according to the Energy Model operates by the command of and integration with appropriate energetic currents and fields for the desired result.
Ok I’m with you so far Mrs. energy Model Advocate. It does seem clear, however, that elements of the previous (psychological/consciousness) model would be needed to provide the impetus. Should we then, not simply combine these two for a more cohesive… [sound of breaking glass and a woman crying.]
Nevermind. I apologize for speaking out of turn. Let’s move on.
This paradigm relates closely to Animism, which is the idea that life is in all things and spirits are the custodians of this life. Spirit the permeating force and spirits the individual occupants of every creature, object, idea, and phenomenon are the combined causal force of magic, indeed of everything that can and does occur in reality.
I’ve always felt an affinity with this ideology. From a very young age I had the sense that even supposedly inanimate objects somehow had a life about them.
It does occur to one, however, that spirits must consist of and be driven by something like energy, which as we already established in our 8th grade science class is the fundamental basis of everything in and about our universe. Wonder, can we just swap the words “energy” and “spirit” between the second and third models as we see fit?
The Models are More Perspectives than Paradigms
Since each of these models tells a truth, they must each handle a perspective, or point of view rather than all-encompassing theorem. This is exactly why I prefer to examine with emphasis the approach to magic while leaving my ideas and beliefs about the actual mechanisms in the study or on the table by the armchair.
To be fair an in-depth study of these models, especially when the 4th and 5th models of Information and Meta are added, will cover approximately the same approach, i.e., focus on methodology rather than paradigm and allow for implementation of whichever model is best for the magician in any given scenario.
I didn’t mean to spend so much spaced on the models. My initial idea was to simply list them with a brief description and then carry on with my Three Treasures explanation. Oh well, it appears you survived my enormous introduction, so let’s get on with the main point of this post.
Three Treasures Awaiting Discovery
What are the. attributes of a treasure, generally speaking?
- It’s a thing of great value.
- Often a concentration, or repository of wealth, or again, value.
- In many cases a treasure must be discovered before it may be possessed. You can’t (usually) go out and buy a treasure, or ask for one (again, usually) on your birthday. You must seek and search and perhaps overcome conflict and hardship in order to find and lay hands on your treasure.
- Once found, located, etc. another process of discovery unfolds, which is determining the nature of the treasure’s actual contents. This is the biggest rush of all for many treasure hunters.
- One definition I found denotes a treasure as “usually from the ancient world”. Now that’s interesting!
- This priceless thing or set of things from humanity’s distant past, the definition goes on, “has been lost to time, no longer known to exist for certain, and must be rediscovered and brought into the light.”! I’M NOT EVEN PLAYING! IS THAT PERFECT?
I’m a total nerd when it comes to mysticism and magical practice (two distinct things btw as I discuss here), and really most things metaphysical. I love digging in for long study sessions and I love running experiments (spells, etc.) for the pure joy of feeling the magic course through me and watching it play before my eyes in the world of the causal, then finally into the manifest real (this reality as we call it).
So, these activities or experiences, at once pursuits and talents, truly are treasures and gifts as far as I’m concerned. As a sort of bonus, they can also teach us a little about how magic works, or at least how it functions, as the true mechanics are likely unknowable within our current capacity for interpreting objective reality.
First Treasure: Psychism
Far more than mentalism (see how clumsy that term feels??), psychism is the naturally occurring set of senses and capabilities manifest in the human being, as part of the psychological and physiological makeup. Psychic abilities are present in the mind and in the body. To some degree attributes are present at birth with other assets remaining latent during infancy and becoming apparent during childhood, adolescence, or even adult life.
Simply put, we all have an array of psychic senses and capabilities, just as we are endowed with mundane senses (unless born with a deficiency such as blindness, etc.) and capabilities, with many of the latter (walking and talking come to mind) coming to fruition with age and instruction.
It’s a reasonable bet that ESP, premonition, empathy, some level of manifestation abilities, are all inherent to Homo Sapien (sapien?) with individuals possessing variant degrees of acuity per category, and sometimes experiencing deficiency due to genetic predisposition, in utero calamity, etc. In other words just as some folks need glasses, some people will have a lesser psychic or mind’s eye vision than others and just as some are born blind, so perhaps one can be born without psychic sight.
Also, in the same way we must develop a bit before learning to speak or walk upright, so to must we grow in some ways before we can recognize empathic or telepathic skills or astral travel. Likewise, some pre-existing condition or developmental trauma may prevent our acquisition of these psychic abilities altogether.
The point here is that natural psychic ability, while not magical in the strict sense, is the first treasure to discover and develop along your magical journey. In centuries past the lore of the era said a person either had psychic talent, or they did not. Similar ideas were advanced about magical ability, though many also regarded magic as a skill that could be learned by anyone of sufficient intelligence. In the present-day we students of the arcane generally understand that both are available to everyone, though in different manners as covered above.
You can and definitely should use your basic magical instruction to enhance and refine any psychic abilities you are currently aware of, and even to awaken any latent potential that will respond to such effort. You have probably heard or read about the notion of developing your magical senses, such as the ability to sense energy as you direct it in ritual or being able to see a person’s aura as you perform a Tarot or other reading on their behalf. These articles of practice and application are part of your psychic composition and hence, jewels within your First Treasure. A lifetime could be spent exploring and pushing the boundaries of sensitivity, ability to project, and more.
Psychic experiences take place typically within and can be categorized under the heading of the Personal Energy Matrix (hereafter PEM). This includes your aura, chakra and meridian system, etheric principal or etheric body, etc. and the term subtle energy(ies) is a reference to any or all of these aspects of your being.
Second Treasure: Natural Magic or Integrated Energy
The Second Treasure I call Natural Magic or, more recently, the Integrated Energy Matrix (IEM henceforth). The IEM is the result of bringing the PEM into work and harmony with the Universal Energy Matrix (You guessed it, UEM from here on.), which in turn simply covers all the energetic forces, currents, pools, and phenomenon outside of and beyond the reach of your energy body or bodies.
At this point, I recognize the need to cover in detail the fundamentals of (mostly subtle) energy systems. I’ll post on that topic soon and link to it from here.
HERE’S THE SHORT VERSION OVERVIEW/RECAP
- Personal Energy Matrix (PEM) is a closed energy system of the human mind and body, including conventional measurements like heat and magnetism but largely composed of the subtle energies of etheric, astral, and other natures. PEM expresses via the acupuncture channels, chakras, aura, brain waves, vital or life force (chi, ki, prana) and a few other processes.
- Universal Energy Matrix (UEM) is the system of myriad forces and connections we candidly refer to as Nature, reality, and so forth. This includes All known and unknown phenomena, events, permutations, et al. We interact with this matrix constantly, usually as a matter of being but sometimes as a conscious decision. In fact you can turn any given moment into a deliberate interaction with UEM by focusing on your breathing (one of many possible examples). Following your breath in, then out relaxes you into state of One, or oneness with the moment, at which point you can start to channel energy from your breathing into your body movements or visualization or any number of things really. In this manner we may achieve integration.
- Integrated Energy Matrix (IEM) Integrating, harmoniously combining, properly joining your own energy with the pulse of the room you’re in or the tides of a waxing moon or just “the vibes” of a creek in the back yard results in a third matrix. This blended state gives you access to greater volumes and diversity of energy than you can achieve with your individual resources and is the basis for much of what has for centuries been called “Natural Magic”.
- A footnote of sorts: We are never truly separated from the great whole. As everything now in existence emerged from earlier states and movements which ultimately derived from the matter and energy “contained” (surely not the correct term) within the singularity present at or before (cringes again – I know that’s not right) the Big Bang. every particle and wave of reality is connected to the rest. God bless, that’s a wretched mess of a run-on. Sorry I’m getting tired so just going to leave it for now.
- Addendum, because two footnotes for a list of three items is just bad form: Combining two or more PEMs will also result in a type of IEM, to be clarified perhaps in a future posting.
In a seed husk exterior (nutshell if you prefer the boring approach.) the Second Treasure is about guiding and directing, perhaps truncating, diverting, transmuting, etc. natural currents and utilizing the same for the working of magic. This is of course precisely what a magician is doing each time he or she sets an intention and begins aligning correspondences with said intention to eventually create the desired outcome.
Third Treasure: Sorcery
Having dealt with the magician’s personal energy field(s) plus the myriad energies of the big, wide world around him/her, what’s left to consider? Names and dispositions, of course!
The remaining type or category of phenomena a magician is likely to encounter, and the substance of the Third Treasure, is the realm of named (and normally unseen) intelligences. Other terms for this category include spirit world, angelic or demonic realm, faerie kingdoms, elemental planes, etc.
I’m talking about those “other” critters who inhabit our world or at least travel through and about it. The souls or spirits of our departed are in the mix as well, but primarily I mean to refer to nature spirits, angels & demons, and beings from the planetary spheres, as these are most often the work force behind the magic we weave, whether or not we are aware of or even believe in such creatures.
Discovery of our Third Treasure is coming to know the words of power that enable us to connect with and perhaps command the named intelligences. It is working with the various species of spiritual beings and learning about the hierarchies that bind them and the laws that drive and regulate their movements through the ether and astral. Such is the domain of the planetary days & hours, and the substance of magic squares and the names we can derive from them.
It’s probably easy enough for you to imagine the invisible currents moving through nature, many of which you can reach out and take hold of as part of a ritual operation. Consider the subjects of Sorcery, these intelligent energy systems our ancestors anthropomorphized and organized neatly for our benefit, as the caretakers or even manufacturers and deliverers of those aforementioned natural currents and processes of force or energy.
Whether or not these beings actually exist, I can’t say because I don’t know. What I do know, and so I will say, is that our universe, reality behaves very much as if the demons, faeries, angels, and elementals of our lore are real, and that’s all that matters. (Last sentiment, if not statement, stolen from Skinner, run through the chop shop, and then shamelessly shared here as if it were my own.)
It’s not difficult, at least I suspect, to see correlation between the mainline Models and the Treasures from my private philosophy. Psychological/Consciousness Model formulae and challenges can both be found within and applied to First Treasure treatises and circumstances, and so on.
I honestly don’t recall if I deliberately kept close to the outlines of the models, or if this is just a lovely example of Princess Serendipity passing through my study. Either way, should you find value in my Three Treasures construct, please take it in part or whole and make it your own, with whatever edits and additions you are led to make.