Magic and Psychism Compared and Clarified

Magical skills and psychic abilities are not the same thing. They may sometimes look the same, and indeed there is some overlap between the two, but these are two distinct phenomena that need to be treated separately for the optimal development of each, and to avoid the confoundment of your progress in the study of magic.

It is clear to me that many people today treat magic and psychism as totally interchangeable. I hate to be “that guy”, who kicks up a fuss over terminology; it’s not that I just want to be right or show everyone how smart I really am. The fact is, the aforementioned misconception will likely lead to poor practice habits and improper training of important techniques for the student of magic.

Many old grimoires actually call for the ritual magician to have as his (or her) assistant a capable scryer, or seer. The task of this person, as the magician performs his conjuration or evocation, is to sense or see the spirit when it arrives and alert the magician, so he can cease with his calling and proceed to ask the questions or provide the instructions that are the reason for calling the spirit in the first place.

Think about that. The magician is to call on or hire a psychic to see the conjured spirit on his behalf!

If that doesn’t clarify, in a practical setting no less, the point that magic users and talented psychics are separate entities, I don’t know what would. I recognize that such revelation will disappoint some readers.

For, doesn’t the magic allow the caster to see the spirits himself? Not necessarily, though there are spells to do just that and to mimic or temporarily enhance psychic vision and other psychic senses. Most likely, the authors of these grimoires believed (wisely in my opinion) the more reliable approach was to contract with a psychic seer highly advanced in the use of her talent, thus leaving the magician free to work the complicated magic involved.

Here’s the simple reality;

Psychism is, to a degree, present within every person. In other words, we are all born with psychic traits and talents, at varying levels of potency, unless misfortune or calamity interferes.

Just as we have physical eyes equipped to provide us with physical vision, unless disease or in utero accident bears us blind into this world, so we too have psychic faculties such as the third eye or Ajna, which provides us our ability to view the otherwise unseen and subtle realities we encounter. This capacity for psychic sight can also be damaged or destroyed prior to birth, leaving us “blind” or without the capacity for seeing the unseen, etc.

The acuity of physical vision varies from person to person; some are 20/20 hawkeyed folk with others needing coke-bottle glasses to read. Similarly, there are levels of inherent psychic ability, from vision to premonition and so on, with some individuals gifted from an early age while others struggle a lifetime to grasp basic psychic vision, manage rudimentary ESP, etc.

The encouraging news is threefold:

  • Whatever your inborn talent, psychic sense and ability usually responds well to training & refinement and can thus be improved from the natural setpoint.
  • Regular magical practice typically enhances one’s various psychic abilities.
  • Most people are born with at least one “gift”, or psychic ability for which they feel great affinity and can easily tap into and harness once they become aware of, accept, and begin practicing the use of this gift.

A couple of other things I’ll touch on with some emphases are the points of practice and of development.

It may be true that psychic sensory takes more practice than does use of the mundane senses. This is largely an artifact of the mainstream worldview many of us must overcome to even accept our psychic capability in the first place. Furthermore, does not some practice need to be given to seeing and hearing the world around us with our physical eyes and ears, as we grow from childhood into adolescence, and on to adulthood? Surely we have learned, for better or worse, how to use our senses to navigate our world, hence the idea of exercising psychic senses to improve their use should seem less “unfair”.

Now consider such talents as astral projection, or soul travel or whatever you wish to call the active projection of consciousness into other places and times while your body occupies its present position in time and space. It seems only a few people have access to such abilities spontaneously, at a young age, or without first “learning” the application thereof. Does that not negate the idea of inborn psychism, at least to some extent? Not at all, and why so is a simple matter. Homo Sapien is born with the ability to walk and the talent of coherent, verbal speech (again, unless deprived of these by injury, illness, defect, etc.). Yet, of the more than 7 billion human beings currently on this planet, how many were born walking and talking right away? The abilities remained dormant, yet hardwired, or part of the operating system, so to speak, until the body developed sufficiently to support each potentiality in turn. In this way some of our psychic traits are encoded within us and yet not accessible until a certain maturity is attained.

Magic is an entirely different affair from psychism, primarily in that application or use of the former is mostly a matter of developed skills being put into practice. Magic, as an activity, requires the acquisition of knowledge and the learning of skills beforehand.

Moreover, magical forces and effects are usually driven to a greater extent by currents of force and energy systems accessed from the world around us, be this from nature as known or via the unseen subtle realms, or a combination thereof. I mean to say magic is often fueled more by outside forces and to a lesser degree by drawing on energies inherent within the caster.

At this time, enter the philosopher extraordinaire with his admonishment: “But all things are connected, one, part of the same ALL, etc. This within us vs. external forces is illusionary!”

Illusionary indeed, agreed. I’ll add, however, this point is quite moot for most of us and in most practical scenarios. That all is one, reality as an illusion, and so on are merely talking points and bridges to help us cross some of the barriers that restrain us in this life. We either never or hardly ever will actualize such sentiments through our experience in these bodies.

To prove my point: I’ll get a taser, and our contrarian philosopher can prepare himself with assurance of the illusory or unified or candy cane nature of it all. When I squeeze the trigger and tag him with these two prongs, I gladly bet every dollar and doodad I own the result will unfold, indeed he, his body et al will respond as if the electrical current offered by my taser is both quite real and obviously from outside of him, not belonging within him at all.

The magician aims to direct the energies categorized by Elemental names, and the sorcerer calls the unseen spirits and intelligences from the Other World. Both users of magic have an intent and the Will to act upon said intent, which of course involves physical, mental, and psychic energy they contribute. The overall success of the operation nevertheless relies on the external agents previously mentioned.

It is true that some people, entire families in fact, can possess or be possessed of greater magical potential than others. This is no different from individuals or bloodlines being predisposed to athletics, or musically (mechanically, etc.) inclined.

Psychic capability can be used to improve one’s magic, and infused within magical operations to assist effect, even to the extent of compensating for one’s lack of skill with magical tools and procedures. Herein lies, potentially, the great problem of confusing the two, psychism and magic. Lazily relying on one’s psychic talent to rescue an operation wherein the caster’s skill at this or that magical application is wanton does nothing to actually advance the skills being surrogated. Do what you must when you must but let not such measures remove the responsibility to always practice and work towards the improvement of the base skills required for successful magic.

Ultimately, a supremely well-practiced and disciplined magician will yield greater magical results than even the most powerful of psychics who brings their psychism to bear upon a magical treatise. Even a truly epic telepath will fall short of the most practiced ritual magician when it comes to contacting in a safe and beneficial manner that powerful spirit of Mars or Mercury, as just one example to drive my point home.

I recommend a balanced approach, based of course on your natural inclinations. Some of us are better psychics than we are magicians and vice versa, and we should lean into our strengths while working to develop ourselves in our weaker areas. With the right intention and some discipline, you’ll find the measure and the approach that’s correct for you.

A review of my explanation of The Three Treasures would be a good next step for readers with much interest in the twin potencies of magic and psychism.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for our online magic course. You’ll get a solid, basic education for beginning your magical journey, and you can study at your own pace from anywhere you like.

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