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Perceptual Manipulation and Magic

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.magick.chaos,alt.occult.methods
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Perceptual Manipulation and Magic (was Types of Magic and ...)
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 14:34:24 GMT

50010914 VI! om Hail Satan! 

first some bits about Chaos Magick (so called)

"David Cantu" :
>>> In 'merica we got it all second hand, after the 
>>> revolution was over in the U.K.

>> what did the revolution include? when reading Crowley I got the 
>> impression that free-form ritual was encouraged, though social 
>> orgs might benefit from having some kind of standard (which 
>> seems accepted by Chaos mages). too often I've seen modern 
>> mages unfamiliar with Crowley's expressions to pit themselves 
>> against Golden Dawn and Thelemic ceremonialists due to the
>> perception that free-form rite was contrary to these traditional 
>> paths. I have affirmation from members of these traditions that 
>> this is absolutely NOT the case, despite the dogmatic assertions 
>> of the few who may be taken mistakenly as representative.

(then some philosophy)

"David Cantu" :
> ...It was a separation of function from form.  It was, for me, 
> an exploration of the technology behind the various forms of
> magick.  The basic idea, again for me, was that this technology 
> may have unifying factors common to All magical systems.  

yes, that is what I call 'magic' or 'the principles of magic'.
one may profit from a study of Bonewits here, for example.

> Thus the search became semi-scientific, a delineation of the 
> basic "occult" force or forces behind magick, mmmmm Magickal 
> Physics, actually.

ok, I'm hearing two things here. one is about 'the technology
behind magic', which is not a force but a mechanism which would
take advantage of forces. the other is some kind of metaphysical
energy or force which enables magic to take place.

> So with in this view I could fit in fellow "chaotes" (a term 
> I never used) but I though that many were playing with the 
> forms and leaving the underlying functions that these forms 
> mask undiscovered.

this seems to be a popular idea: that some kind of subtle force
is manipulated by magical methods. some even contend that *this*
is what magic is: a force which may be turned toward one's
intentions. I maintain that where it leaves symbolism behind it
is better classed as some kind of psychic ability or skill.

> The function behind magick seems to work in the world of 
> qualities and may not be touchable with ordinary scientific 
> thinking.  In fact, for me, seeing it, getting in touch with 
> it, meant letting go of the control that quantitative thinking 
> allows.  

if I understand you properly, I would have to agree strongly.
in fact, I was so conditioned into materialistic scientism that
I have often had to engage some kind of (mild) psychoactive in order 
to get into what I have called 'ritual space'. what I meant by this
was a state of consciousness comparable to what you are describing
above -- qualitative rather than quantitative, amorphous rather
than discrete, associative rather than discerning, artistically
creative rather than scientifically scrutinizing.

I've been told by many that they recommend against relying on
psychoactives for this purpose, and I have explored a variety
of alternatives inclusive of dance, single-pointed meditation,
mantra recitation, glossolalia, divinatory readings (helpful),
and self-induced trance (interesting but not always as effective).
consistently I find the eating of the Flesh of the Gods or
imbibing of the Elixir of Immortality to be superior, though
these need not be especially potent (I recently discovered
caffeine as a catalyst and am curious, since I have not had very
reliable or valuable results with stimulants in the past).
> Paradoxically, this letting go of control is a joining with that 
> which is in total control:-)  Madness, to be sure.

not sure it is madness, but it does sound like a metaphysical belief.

>> this seems to reflect typical traditional branching: misunderstanding
>> leads to reactionary response and a supposed distancing from the false
>> characterization of one's contemporaries. this leads to the re-
>> packaging of conventional methods and ideas (often in naive ways,
>> reflecting the indiscipline and poor education of the 'groundbreaker')
>> in some attractive new wrapper. what, exactly, the differences from
>> one "old" traditional instruction to another "new" instruction might
>> be is of greater interest to me than how fabulous or 'wrong' the old
>> guard might have been. so far I've seen little that indicates to me
>> that Chaos magic is novel, at least as far as its expression in the
>> works mentioned above, though its emphasis does seem more solitary.

> ...the old traditions are just seen to be variable forms masking 
> the one underlying process. So attachment to a single form is 
> seen as an exercise in reality building. The mind picks and
> chooses what it perceives from a vast array of sensory input.  
> This input coalesces as experience in a given mind in symbolic 
> terms: sights, smells, sounds...The system (sensory 
> organs/brain/mind) is attenuatable.  Think of a sort of mixing 
> board.  By raising a fader here and lowering a fader there
> one alters the over all final mix.  

sure, I'm quite familiar with this from my mystical disciplines.
I wouldn't class this with magic, however, the way you're
describing it. it is mysticism pure and simple.

> So by doing this (I will explain how in due course) 

no need on my part for your explanation. there are countless
texts and instructors who provide methods to change perception.

> one changes the world one perceives....  

this is what I'd call self-delusion. one begins to identify
one's perceptions with the world, rather than (outside the
magical rite or spell) understanding that there is an
important difference betwixt the two. it is true that one's
perceptions may be intentionally manipulated and, if one is
creative, associated with symbols in pursuit of a magical
result, but the manipulation of perception is not the magic,
as I understand it, only an imaginative faculty many of us
learn to engage as a child.

> I stand on the same street corner with a fundie Christian 
> and yet we live in two separate worlds.  For me, experimenting 
> with this was magick.  It still is, but I have added a
> unifying process which seems at least pseudo intelligent, or 
> maybe it is just a vector direction.  Perhaps Realities 
> becoming is a sort of vector. Ah, I'm being fanciful, but 
> what was added is hard to put into any other word but God.  
> I make no real qualifications about what such a word means
> except to say it is here, it is now.

so you added some kind of divinity to your imaginings?

> Lets say I want to become a spz.  First I have to find out 
> what a spz is so I will read some books, and then I might 
> find a zine all about spzs and I might pick it up and look 
> and read the articles and allow the adds to hypnotize me and 
> generally fall into a world of spziness.  Then I will start
> noticing spzs around me, ones that have always been there, 
> but unnoticed to my unspzified state.  I might then, now 
> that I know the spzish language, congregate with other spzs 
> and be perceived as a spz and at that point I have become a spz, 
> my quality of spzmanship is up to me.

depends on what makes it up. for example, to become a blacksmith,
just finding out what a blacksmith is in books, reading some
articles on blacksmithing, noticing blacksmiths around you, 
congregating with blacksmiths, and being perceived as a blacksmith
would not make you one. generally I would call this "pretending to
be a spz without really being one". it is quite easy to do this
if one has an active imagination which one may engage intentionally.

> Then, because I am a magician and unattached to spzing, I will 
> finally remember this, drop spzing and become a zrk.  Got it?

I understand that you think you are a good role-player, yes.

> Now, some might question whether this is magick.  

that's me!

> But look at what you are doing here.  You are consciously 
> engaging in a process that others engage in unconsciously.  

not if you never go through the training required to be a
blacksmith. not if you never actually do the work. then you
are pretending consciously to do what you believe others to
be doing unconsciously (they might be quite conscious).

> Since they are unconscious of the process it is occult.  

if they are unconscious of this, then it is merely imperceived.
it is not necessarily hidden. this is a playing with words in
order to play with true occultism.

> So by doing this we are "correctly" applying occult influences 
> toward an end....wah, lah, magick.

sounds like a game of role-playing to me, rather than magic in
any conventional sense. sure, if you want to reduce magic to a
set of volitional actions, then wah-lah, you're a magician(!).
open a milk bottle when you want to and you do magic. but this
is just a semantical game inspiring delusions of grandeur and
gaining one attention.

> You can do this with mundane spzs or you can do it with 
> transcendent spzs, the process is the same. In one case, 
> where I did it with a transcendent spz, it blew up in my face,
> showed me the "face of God", destroyed all my concepts of 
> reality, and gave me all that alphabet shit and solutions to 
> Liber Al shit and generally all the stuff which could cause me 
> shit.  In other words, it "worked".  

from what I'm seeing here you role-played being a mystic and
then achieved a reverie for the first time, believing that this
was the same experience as the mystics you were role-playing. 
it sounds like a transformative experience for you. but by
'worked' I don't think you can truly compare actually doing
the disciplines with role-playing them. that is, acting 'as if'
is not the same experience, fundamentally, as actually doing.

nor is there really an element of magic here. there is no
symbolism involved. you've manipulated your imagination,
but imagination is pretty malleable. it is comparable to
moving your hand, or doing a headstand. that's nice, but it
has no real magical components.

let me propose a counter-example. 

suppose you intended to achieve the mystical result you've
described above in actuality rather than just in your
imagination, but through a magical means. so you buy yourself
a statue of a god, any god, probably some god you favour or
whose visage is inspiring. for 6 months every day you worship
this statue as the representative or symbol of this divinity.
you light incense, candles, offer food, drinks, etc., all upon
an altar in which this statue (your god) is the centrality.
you read incessantly about your god, you talk with everyone
around you about your god, how beautiful she is, what she is
to you, etc.  you do all of this intentionally. it isn't a
conversion really, though you may eventually become converted
to actual worship. ;> you do not expect anything from this god.
you engage worship in a purely generous and loving way, perhaps
offering prayers and petitions.

near the end of the 6 months you create a small poppet, a doll,
and paste your fingernails to it, your hair, your bodily
fluids, within a ritual, in that associative state of mind,
calling it by your own name. perhaps you even make a set of
robes mimicking your worship robes. all of this you do in a
place away from your temple of worship. perhaps a week you
spend confirming your identity with this doll.

on a Friday (day of love) at the seventh hour (Venus) you
begin a ritual in which you bring the doll into the room
of worship. you play inspiring music, burn incenses of
love such as Rose and Violets in place of the usual
Frankincense and Sandalwood permeating the temple. you deeply 
contemplate the entrance of this doll, reverently present the
doll with covered face to the dais and statue, and then at
the crescendo of the music, in ecstatic reverie, you reveal
to the doll the statue and place it face to face with the god.

granted that you are a potent magician, and have sufficiently
linked the doll with yourself and the statue with the god,
are fervently concentrated upon the result of bringing on
the experience of coming face to face with your god, then you
will achieve a truly mystical result.

this is how I would describe a mystical application of magic.
it can be seen in a particular form in Crowley's "Liber Astarte"
(in Symonds/Grant "Magick", p. 460; an appendix). I don't see
anything comparable in what you are writing about here, though
it sounds like your experience was quite intense for you.

> Whether it's working has meaning or left me sane is still 
> for open debate.

the fact that you leave open for debate your own sanity is no
small matter in my mind. as I see it your words are meaningful
and rationally constructed, though they contain what seem to me
misconceptions about the nature of magic as compared to the
manipulation of perception. I would recommend a greater degree
of focus on *grounding* your perceptions into the real world,
rather than engaging in self-delusion and aggrandizement.

>> my first exposure to these were zines (e.g. Chaos Int'l) and copies of
>> text (Grant, Spare, Savage, Sherwin, others). Carroll's work (e.g. what
>> was in some zines and "Liber Null...") struck me as comparable to
>> Crowley's in that it refrained from pointing out sources (a fault), but
>> also far inferior in its construction and written form.

>Early hits were SSOTBME, Thundersqueak, Sherwin, and Spare.
>Spare attracted me immediately with his puzzling magick-sprech.

is "SSOTBME" expandable? is it, with Thundersqueak, a musical
group? what specific works of Sherwin and Spare do you enjoy most?
> Someone who dosn't know about magick, have at least a foothold, 
> they get shot full of bullets here.

it isn't a function of knowing about magic. many of those who post
to alt.magick don't know about magic, as nyugen has accurately 
assessed. what it comes down to is whether or not someone agrees 
with the presuppositions and metaphysical axioms of those who post 
here. this actively dissuades newcomers from posting and inspires an
insular, limited forum. it is the creation of a clique, guarded at
its borders by barking dogs with little more knowledge of the
forum's content than those who come in looking for information. it
may provide a context of self-importance, but it does not further
any of our understanding of the subject.

the only way to do this latter is to make the forum more *open* to
newcomers, to stop shooting the bullets, to actively dissuade those
who are engaging newsgroup terrorism and sniping or place clear
markers around them with references so that newcomers will not take
them seriously. at that point something new will be learned. until
then, the Battle-Mage contingent consigns itself to abject ignorance.
only a revolution from within the newsgroup or an invasion from
without would thereafter change that consignment.

> Oh, if they ask sincerely some of us try to help if we have 
> time, but this place can kill the spirit of an idealist pretty 
> quickly unless they are prepared.  I don't care about 
> definitions of magick, I care about getting them ready for the 
> rough ride they can have here 

that ride's character can be changed. it is not a function of the
subject, but of the asinine quality of some of the forum's

> and a purpose they can put it to - examination of self and 
> ones reactions, 

so you and your friends want to reduce the forum to a training
ground for the rudiments of mysticism. examination of self and
reactions is but a bare minimum for mystical attainment, and
as a goal for magic it is far less common or interesting than
what may be obtained beyond this. rather than continuing to
subject participants and newcomers to your religious cult, why
not create alt.magick.mystics or alt.magick.buddhists or
something so that you'll be properly contextualized and liable
not to blindside people who are interested in talking about a
subject you know little about beyond your own experience of
imagination control and rudimentary mysticism? I'd be glad to
set you guys up if you like. let me know.

> as Well as tech talk on magick.

I'd like to hear more about what you think "tech talk" includes. 
there have been suggestions (esp. by Alanburger(sp?) and perhaps
nyugen) that most who post to alt.magick are not really mages
at all, but spiritualists and cynics. I'd like to compare what
you and many of the others in this newsgroup have to say about
what magic means to you with conventional notions of magic and
its essentials. this might allow a greater degree of understanding
between us and a reduction (or escalation) of tension. 

I am certainly looking forward to your response to this post.

blessed beast!

emailed replies may be posted  -----   "sa avidya ya vimuktaye"   ----- 
"that which liberates is ignorance"
    hoodoo catalogue: send postal address to

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