So I was on Facebook a few days ago and commenting on something Ruth had said. And one of her friends chimed in asking about how prayer is different from magic. I said something wonderfully charming along the lines of a spell being a prayer where you create a way for it to happen… then stopped short of a full rant.
Mandy did a reading on opportunities and the rut she’s been in and how to make that change. She had one idea, I offered another, both were about making things happen. There was more, but I wanted to avoid jumping into the same rant.
This would be that rant.
First things first, magic works. Magic always works. It may not work in the way you expect or on the timetable you want, but it works nonetheless. Skill in magic is knowing how to both encourage things to work the way you want and also to form realistic expectations of how your errors can actually be corrected. Or at least managed.
I’ve read my Hunter S. Thomson, so I can’t completely agree with Rufus Opus about how shit works out. Most of the time it does. The rest of the time, it’s up to you to make it work out. And that’s where your skill comes in, in making it work out.
Last but not least of these presuppositions I’m working from, the actual practices don’t matter. Use a sigil as marital aid, light some candles, chant for hours, sing the songs of drowned dreamers, smack yourself silly with a flogger made of barbed wire dipped in holy water, whatever. It doesn’t really matter, so long as you a) know what your intention is in the clearest possible terms and b) invest fully in the practices that support that intention – wounding yourself to heal yourself is kind of messed-up stupid magic and will likely not get what you want. And knowing that is part of the skill set you need for doing good magic.
I keep saying skill. You don’t learn a skill from a book, kicking back in the armchair in your snuggie (being the proper ritual garb of the Armchair Magician). No, you learn skills by getting off your ass and Doing Something. Likely failing to get what you want. Repeatedly. If you pay attention to how you didn’t get what you wanted, you can learn how to get what you want.
So, what do you want? You can approach the universe as a giant piggy bank and ask for more allowance by begging your parents for more stuff. And usually, like good parents, they let you do extra chores around the house. However, they’re not going to give a job to you that you can’t reasonably make an attempt to accomplish. They might let you break something as a learning experience, but generally even then they want you to ask for help.
That’s the way most people look at manifestation techniques such as “The Secret.” It works, but it’s based on this parental model. It’s permission based. You can be told no. Usually, repeatedly. With great vigor and force in many cases.
A more advanced approach is to look at what you think that you want, then pursue that and allow the people, places, and things to be attracted to that center of yourself that pursues what you want. Which is also kind of crap, in that it’s so passive. That’s not magic, that’s outwaiting the death of scarcity economics. All you have to do to get a Ferrari is wait until no one wants one. Or steal one and ask for forgiveness.
Why not remove this permission-based system from the magic? You can. Easily. Don’t ask. Just do what needs to be done to get what you need. You can get what you want, but you run into that scarcity issue sooner that way. If you stick with needs rather than wants, you can get away with far more. Get far more…
Case #1: back when dropping out of Big Pharma, I took up cooking professionally. It made sense – it was part of how I worked my way through school, I had friends in the business, and I was pretty good at that. So I created a number of NLP triggers and anchors to create that shoaling effect Gordon White talks about. Except that I didn’t create a shoal of intentions, I created a school of fractal bits of magic with a bit of the original intention in each of them.
This was a mistake.
The summation of those fractal bits came down to this: food brings me gain. No walls, no limits. Just “food,” in any form or experience, brings me “gain.” Not riches, not wealth, not abundance – just “gain.” Sure, when I cook for people I tend to get paid… but it’s small amounts that can be expressed as “gain,” not investments or ownership stakes that could be called “wealth.” Even when I just eat normally, I’m triggering that school of sigils… and I look it.
My waistline is proof of the magic working. Not as I wanted, clearly. But it worked.
Case #2: While at cooking school, I had an insight into what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wanted to be the best chef-instructor ever. Again, sloppy technique let me fractalize the intention through the nebulous nature of that desire.
A chef isn’t a cook. They’re the head of a team of cooks. They’re not an accountant, but yet needs to keep careful track of the economics of the food ordered and the pricing of the food served. They’re not an artist, yet they need to create visually interesting dishes. They’re not an engineer, but they need to create processes that ensure consistent and appropriate results for the guests’ experiences. And that list goes on… I’m not even going to bother talking about what a teacher does in the process of instruction. There’s a lot there, more than reasonably fits a blogging attention span.
I’m not the best chef-instructor ever. Yet. But there are a number of those parts that are quite improved from where they were back in 2002, when I set up that intention. The magic works, and if you give it the chance to manifest slowly or in small pieces, it will.
If I had focused on #1 & #2 as needs rather than wants, I’d have had a clearer manifestation path and likely gotten what I needed (v.s.: shit works out). Time could’ve been a part of the intention. Pathway is also part of the intention: food can’t bring gain if you don’t use food, you can’t teach how to be a chef without learning to be a chef.
There’s little clear point to this: it’s a rant. But my failures have taught me much and continue to teach me. As long as I can keep learning, I can become more skillful in manifesting.