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Magical Powers -- Innate or Induced?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Re: Magical Powers -- Innate or Induced?
Date: 26 Apr 1999 12:58:35 -0700

IIIom 49990426 

catherine yronwode you have to have some magic powers in you to use magic?

# ...Some people -- that is, people in some cultures -- believe that to
# practice magic one needs certain inherited powers....  In some 
# cultures, the pre-destination to a magical path implied by a 
# favourable birth-sign or a transformative spiritual event is so 
# important to the legitimacy of one embarking on the practice of
# magic, that in lieu of a birth-sign, the seeker will subject him- or
# herself to numerous trials to gain a sign, including the use of
# dangerous drugs and the endurance of self-inflicted physical torture.

the 'trials' of the mage, initiation of sorts, by fire.

# In other cultures, however, it is assumed that one can gain magical
# powers through applied study and practice, either via books..., or at 
# the feet of a teacher or guru....

this leads to tales of 'books of power' whereby one may become
affiliated with hazardous knowledge, arts forbidden to those whose
scruples or courage are insufficient and of the wrong character.

# ...some people are highly interested in the subject of magic, 
# just as some are highly interested in sports or music -- and those 
# are the people who generally take up the study and practice
# of magic....

there is a third category which may be a special condition or an
explanation of the first you mentioned: that some people seem to
have an APTITUDE for magic, whether or not they have an interest
or have obtained signs or studied. these individuals may have a
'calling' to become a mage, they may not need to study or practice
so persistently as their contemporaries, and they may find that
the Art is 'easy' for them to learn and master. some might contend
that they have learnt the Art in previous lifetimes, or that this
indicates that they have been tutored by spirits or deities in
their dreams, or that they were 'ripe' and 'an old soul' or

when I was in high school we took aptitude tests which supposedly
indicated jobs and careers for which we were suited based on the
responses we gave to a set of questions about our interests and
predilections. as "mage" is not a viable career option in the
Western US where I grew up, they did not, of course, identify
those who had what it takes or were perfectly suited for magic,
though I'm sure such an evaluative test could be devised by those
who were not overly-attached to their particular form/tradition.

and yet the question that the correspondent asked you is strange.
'do you have to have some magic powers in you to use magic'. it
seems to admit of the perspective on magic where one draws from
a well of power and applies it, almost like superheroism, 
psychicism or some ESP deal. and yet the question isn't whether 
magic is ITSELF a special power (e.g. a 'siddhi' as you 
mentioned), but whether one needs to HAVE powers to do magic.

in this scenario one might also need to undergo some sort of
'unlocking experience' (common in fantasy text on the subject)
that allows the mage to harness the power dwelling within.
until that time the power lies dormant, inaccessible or does
things which the potential mage does not want or like. such an
experience might include illness or questing, but it also might
include an encounter with death, facing hazardous adversaries
or some B(ig)E(vil)M(eany) who (unwittingly?) catalyzes the
heroic process.  this is very popular in fiction about magic.

blessed beast!

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