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Magic Definition Analysis

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.pagan.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Magic Definition Analysis (was Magick, ...)
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 19:39:58 GMT

50020323 VI kaos day! just woke up with these ideas....

nagasiva quotes Silver RavenWolf:
> "Magick is the art and science of changing thought into form through
>  the use of your belief combined with divinity...."

>	"Silver's Spells for Love", Silver RavenWolf, 
>	 Llewellyn, 2001; pp. 3-4.
>        =============================================

theurgical wish-fulfillment. sounds good.

the problem with definitions such as these is that they 
exclude natural magic (formulaic, object-based, not really
founded on conceptuality or belief for effectuality) and
can be mistaken by the newcomer for the entirety of what is 
associated with the term 'magic'. this would be unfortunate 
outside certain religiopolitical objectives.

I've noticed that most theurges and mystics who, knowingly
or not, co-opt the terminology in favour of their religious
or spiritual enterprise, pay great DISrespect to those they
see as 'competing magicians' -- those engaged in magical
matters which run contrary to their preferred objectives or

we might also consider other quotations being compiled within
the alt.magick DEFREF at:

such as from

#	Magick is the study and practice of the
#	training of one's True Will, what the Hindus
#	call _dharma_, the followers of Muhammed call
#	_kismet_ (the path in life which Allah has
#	given you for your destiny;  deviation from
#	it is, then, sin), libertarians call Liberty
#	and the Bill of Rights, the ninja call the
#	Way of the Kami, the Eleveners call the Way
#	of Life [the Eleveners: followers of the 11th
#	Commandment:  Thou shalt not devastate Mother
#	Earth, nor any part of Her Life].  True Will
#	has ten thousand thousand names in as many
#	cultures and on as many worlds, but always it
#	comes down to this:  The Way of Life, the Way
#	of Life's Wisdom.  The Torah of the Jews is
#	like the containment vessel of a rocket,
#	constraining the enormous, explosive force of
#	human spirit in such a way that it can reach
#	the very Stars;  the Way of Islam is another
#	way of doing the same thing, in the
#	environments preferred by its followers;  the
#	Way of the Gods of the Hindus, the Way of the
#	Tao, Magick, the Way of Life, Torah, Islam,
#	the Bill of Rights, all are ways which Life's
#	children have worked out to optimize their
#	well-being and endurance as whole peoples
#	(and therefore as the individual souls who
#	are truly one with those peoples).  Magick is
#	a sort of trans-cultural study of all such
#	ways, and extraction by the Magickian over
#	many years of a way of life for him- or
#	herself that ultimately makes him or her into
#	a citizen of the whole living world....

universalist mysticism. keen.

the problem with those following after many mystics in
positing that magic is "The Path" is that more often
than not what is included in this "The Path" varies,
and typically any skewed approach to the subject of
combining or massaging cultural knowledge sets into a
Grand Picture of Unity omits through ignorance far more
than what it excludes through dogmatism. its primarily
mind-based activities are far afield from folk magic
or the cantrips of some hedge-witch, for example.

the rough equivalent of this error would be if someone
called magic "The Arte" and described how, despite the
language use, what is used to effect symbolic change in
the world through spells and rites in very many cultures 
amounts to the same thing, and that all we need to do is
see how "The Arte" appears in each cultural knowledge set.
how it is that each culture goes about conjuring treasure,
getting someone to love them, makes them sick, etc., is
less important than that the means to do so (magic) is 
a fluid generator of willed change, the goals merely 
variables in the function of magic.

in fact, mysticism and magic both vary across cultures,
both in method and in goals, which is why I'm going about
collecting definitions of magic, for the purpose of 
comparing and contrasting them, seeing the limitations
of the expressions of those who write on the subject.

'The Path' should usually be extended to 'The Hermetic Path'
or 'The Mystical Path' or perhaps 'The Esoteric Path' in
order to be more respectful to the varieties of magic and
magician not intent on the same goals, states, and events. 

blessed beast!
nagasiva --;

Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.pagan.magick,alt.lucky.w
Followup-To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.pagan.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.religion.wicca
Subject: Re: Magic Definition Analysis (was Magick, ...)
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From: nagasiva 
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Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 03:03:03 GMT
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50020323 VI kaos day! 

continuing ....

(quoting the Farrars)

	It is our experience, as practising witches for
	twenty years, that provided they are properly
	performed, with an understanding of the principles
	involved -- yes, spells do work; if not always,
	then at least far more often than either
	coincidence or alternative explanations would allow.
	In recent years... serious scientists are
	investigating psychic phenomena on the assumption
	that there is something to investigate. And witches,
	and many others (including Christian faith-healers),
	are actively putting psychic powers to practical use.
	Much of this activity can be classified as 'spells',
	even though some of the activists would shun the word
	-- and there is overwhelming evidence that, properly
	done, spells do work.
	...a spell is merely a deliberate process for achieving
	a desired aim; what differentiates it from other such
	processes is that it uses levels and laws which mechanical
	materialism disowned. ... what is prayer but a form of
	spell, an attempt to achieve what you want by putting
	yourself in tune with the non-material levels of reality?...
	... our experience, and countless other people's, spells
	are not superstition. They are an effective method of 
	achieving legitimate aims.
	"Spells and How They Work," Janet and Stewart Farrar,
	 Phoenix Publishing, 1990; pgs. 11, 

the Farrars thereafter go on to describe these "levels" as:

		SPIRITUAL: Upper (Solar) and Lower (Jovian)
		MENTAL: Upper (Mercurial) and Lower (Saturnine)
		ASTRAL: Upper (Venusian) and Lower (Martian)
	        ETHERIC (Lunar)
	and     PHYSICAL (Terran)

which seem to come out of traditional European occult sources
(Medieval? confirmations?). here's what I found in Cooper on 
the subject:

	Taken together, the major planets symbolize the mixture
	and interaction of all the essential forces of the
	universe and nature. The sun is the centre of the sphere
	of the universe, and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are in
	the upper region, with Venus, Mercury and the Moon in
	the lower half. The planets, with the exception of the
	Sun, are higher in rank the further they are from the
	earth. In Islam each of the planets governs a climate.
        "An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols,"
	 J.C. Cooper, Thames and Hudson, 1990; p. 132.

the Farrars explain further: does not even have to accept the effect of Venus
	and Mercury in trine, or the promies of the Nine of
	Pentacles, or the baleful warnings of the Basilisk[!],
	or the existence of Ishtar, to realize that they are
	useful symbols for relationship, categories, attitudes
	and qualities. And the more we learn of their traditional
	meanings, the subtler and more complex a communication-
	system we can build up between the levels.


	Spell-working depends on understanding, and deliberately
	using, the laws of interaction between the levels. So if
	that involves building up such vocabularies of 'irrational'
	symbols, is not that a rational step to take? We may even
	find, in the process, that some of these symbols are not
	quite so 'irrational' as we once thought.
	"Spells and How They Work," Ibid., p. 17.

they then explicate the ethics of spellcrafting, explaining that
ethical spellcasting is beneficial, and that 

	an understanding of what Starhawk calls the distinction
	between 'power-over' and 'power-from-within', is not
	just morally praiseworthy. It is also one hell of a lot
	Ibid., p. 21.
and later say more about the necessitites of spellcasting:

	A spell can be as simple or as complicated as the occasion
	demands. But be it simple or complex, three factors are

		precise visualization of intent, 


	and     will-power.


	Will-power includes confidence -- and that depends largely
	on an understanding of the various levels of reality and
	their interaction, and the sure knowledge that they exist.
	Given that understanding and knowledge, it is much easier
	to have confidence that, if you have done it properly, your
	spell will work. And that in turn makes it easier to apply
	your will-power.

	Both concentration and will-power contribute to the building-
	up of magical power -- the psychic charge, whether of an
	individual or of a group, which must be brought to the maximum
	possible intensity and then discharged to achieve the intended

	The aim itself should be expressed in words before you start
	-- and in words as exact as a solicitor's document designed
	to leave no room for possible misunderstanding or loopholes.
	Very little experience with spell-working will teach you that
	sloppy or metaphorical wording leads time and again to unexpected,
	and somtimes unwanted, results....


	Discharging the psychic energy raised is important in all
	magical working, and particularly in spell-working....

	Susa [Morgan Black] stresses the importance of a literally
	childlike frame of mind during spell-working. 'In their minds,
	children can make anything happen; and sometimes, what the
	children play at, actually manifests itself in their life....
	...magic is a return to that wondrous state of "anything can
	happen", and that frame of mind is the one we seek to create
	magic. The closer we can come to that mindset, the more
	effective our rituals and spells become.'

	A spell must never become routine, or genuine concentration
	will be impossible -- even for children. A prayer is a spell
	too, of course, since it involves clear visualization of a
	desired aim, plus the conscious effort to tap the ubiquitous
	source of power, however one names it....


	For the concentrated building-up of power required in spell-
	working, strongly-rhythmic music can be effective --
	particularly if the music itself builds up as it develops....
	And once you know the music you may be able to time your
	working so that the power is released at a moment of musical
	climax; this can be dramatically (and therefore practically)
	Ibid., pp. 31-5. 

and amusingly:

	Sex magic without love is black magic. Sex magic should
	be used only by a couple to whom sex is a normal part
	of their loving relationship -- in other words, by husband
	and wife or established lovers -- and always in private.
	It should be used within a Magic Circle, even if it has
	'only' been cast mentally round the bed.

	These rules are not mere conventional morality. They are
	based on the fact that magic and spell-working involve
	multi-level reality.

	Sexual intercourse between a couple who genuinely love
	each other activates all the levels simultaneously, from
	physical to spiritual. Therefore, when such a couple use
	sex magic, their mating powers the intent of the spell
	on all these levels, leaving no loose ends or vulnerable
	areas -- which is both more effective and safer. Also,
	their deep mutual attunement means that their understanding
	of the intent, and their visualization, will be more
	completely harmonized.
	 Ibid., pp. 48-9.

they go on to discern between "gender magic" (symbolic sex-polar
ritual ceremony, such as the communal and more conventional
"symbolic Great Rite") and "sex magic", which is the "actual 
Great Rite" with physical intercourse, whose purpose is

	the harnessing of the great multi-level power of
	harmonious intercourse for a given magical aim.
	 Ibid., p. 51.
this is a reasonable interpretation of the phrase, and falls
within the taxonomy which I've described elsewhere and
sri catyananda has wonderfully adapted): 

later they claim that every amulet and talisman should be
ritually blessed or consecrated before it is put into use.
They claim that aggressive, attack-spells are unethical and
dangerous to the spellcaster. they provide materials for the
construction of a symbolic association scheme in the appendices,
but note regarding 'Planetary Hours' that "the traditional sources 
differ on the subject or are unclear, so the only thing to do is
to settle on the method which feels right to you, and stick to

this indicates that it is not, to the Farrars, method that
is important so much as mentality and a concretization of mental
language and symbols for the effect to be commanded (psychically)
with clarity and precision.

nice bibliography and index.


sri sri:
-- hey, where's the adapted/changed version of the sex magic taxonomy? 
   any idea?

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