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Various: Belief-Magick

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Various: Belief-Magick
Date: 27 May 1997 19:58:25 -0700

~From: Josh Norton 

At 02:07 PM 5/20/97 -0700, Tyagi-as-Noctifer wrote:
>#...he claims that if you just belief hard enough you will get whatever 
>#you want (as long as it is in accordance with the universal law).  
>#It seems to me that in this way he is opposing the traditional magickal 
>#beliefs who teach us to elaborate on a ritual to get what we want.  

>sounds somewhat like _The Power of Positive Thinking_, by Norman Vincent
>Peale.  is the belief supposed to be something specific ("I will have a
>new car in my driveway tomorrow"?) or about God ("I believe in the Father,
>the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen"?), or something else?  what is 'the
>universal law'?

I think it's closer to the Biblical phrase -- I think it's in Mark
somewhere -- "What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that
you have them and you shall have them." IOW, if you can believe that
something is _already_ so, it becomes so. One of Ophiel's old books -- "The
Art and Practice of Creative Visualization" -- goes into this form of work
in some detail.

This doesn't seem to me to be greatly different from what I do in
ceremonial exercises. E.g., if I were invoking Fire with the Pentagram
ritual, I would work to create the feeling that the force of Fire is
entering into the circle as I draw each pentagram and vibrate the
appropriate names. If I do so thoroughly enough, then at the end of the
ceremony I get a response that is many times more potent than the energy I
expended. The ceremony just serves as a focus, and gives the
perennially-doubting parts of my mind something to chew on so they won't

And in a more general way, you have to _believe_ that a ceremony will work
(or at least not disbelieve) or it doesn't work.

The "Act of Truth", which you mention further on, seems to me to fall into
a slightly different category, though I'm not certain I can define it
properly. There is the deliberately-cultivated element of risk, of course,
and also a certain amount of "take no thought for tomorrow", a deliberate
_avoidance_ of any concern with the result. Neither of these quite fits
with the "believing makes it so" form of work. 

As an example, say I decide that I need to spend all my attention on my
magickal work for a time; I quit my job, knowing that I don't have enough
money to maintain my mundane needs through the period and knowing that jobs
are in short supply in the area where I live. I don't think at all about
conserving my money, but spend it as needed, and deliberately refuse to
think about where and/or how I will get more when it runs out. I simply act
on the assumption that I will be able to continue my magickal work for as
long as necessary, and get on with it. That would be an "Act of Truth" by
A.C.'s definition.

Acts of Truth can be quite effective, but IMO it is the sort of thing one
should save for circumstances where the stakes to be achieved are
relatively big, with commensurate risks. Using it to get a new party-dress
(or a parking space) rather demeans it; and if you get accustomed to using
it for small things, it may not work when you need it for something really

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. -- John Lennon

Josh Norton (aka Benjamin Rowe) -- or
Magick code: MEN/AS QO++++ 666* S G Y W C N+++ POT  
Enochian Magick at

~From: Rebecca Blake 


Josh Norton wrote:
> Acts of Truth can be quite effective, but IMO it is the sort of thing one
> should save for circumstances where the stakes to be achieved are
> relatively big, with commensurate risks. Using it to get a new party-dress
> (or a parking space) rather demeans it; and if you get accustomed to using
> it for small things, it may not work when you need it for something really
> important.

I disagree with this.  What you're saying is like material substance is
limited.  I believe that the opposite is true and that by cultivating
this understanding strengthens one's ability to fulfill one's needs,
whatever they happen to be.  Builders of the Adytum have this wonderful
thing they open meetings with called "The Pattern on the Trestleboard,"
which I will share here (note especially #4):
The Pattern on the Trestleboard

This is the Truth About the Self

0.   All the Power that ever was or will be is here now.

1.   I am a center of expression for the Primal Will to Good which
eternally creates and sustains the Universe.

2.  Through me its unfailing Wisdom takes form in thought and word.

3.  Filled with Understanding of its perfect law, I am guided, moment by
moment, along the path of liberation.

4.  From the exhaustless riches of its Limitless Substance, I draw all
things needful, both spiritual and material.

5.  I recognize the manifestation of the Undeviating Justice in all the
circumstances of my life.

6.  In all things great and small, I see the Beauty of the Divine

7.  Living from that Will, supported by its unfailing Wisdom and
Understanding, mone is the Victorious Life.

8.  I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of the
Eternal Splendor of the Limitless Light.

9.  In thought and word and deed, I rest my life, from day to day upon
the sure Foundation of Eternal Being.

10.  The Kingdom of Spirit is embodied in my flesh.

Something to think about.

93 93/93.

~From: Josh Norton 

At 09:12 PM 5/21/97 -0700, Andrew Spitzer wrote:
> the path? If you can't use magic to
>improve your life (starting with making yourself functional), then what good
>is it?

Depends on what you mean by "making yourself functional". I've never seen
much point in doing something by magick if I could accomplish it by mundane
means; the latter are almost always either easier, more reliable, or more
effective. If you want to kill someone, use a gun; if you want to influence
someone, take a Dale Carnegie course, or hire a lobbyist; and so on. It's a
matter of using the right tool for the job.

As well, focus on creating mundane effects constitutes, IMO, a distraction
from the work of initiation, regardless of whether you rationalize it as
enabling you to "do your will". It diverts your "magickal momentum" into a
myriad of back-channels, instead of keeping it focused forward on what
should be the primary goal. I suppose this is fine if initiation is not
your first priority, but it is a definite impediment if you are serious. 

OTOH, making oneself psychologically and spiritually fit is at the core of
initiatory magick; certainly that would count as an appropriate use. 

>What truly impossible tasks have y'all achieved with magick lately?

I don't know what's "truly impossible" -- give me an example. I meant
"impossible" the same way A.C. did -- apparently impossible in the context
of one's own nature, resources, and situation. And please note again that I
was speaking of the "Act of Truth" in particular, not of belief-magick in

In other messages I've given several reasons for seeking impossible goals;
no need to repeat them. But I would add another: you learn a lot more, a
lot quicker, that way than by working for easily accomplished goals. And
you get to many more interesting places along the way.

As for impossible accomplishments, you could say that my entire magickal
career has been one massive Act of Truth. At the beginning of my work, I
took an oath that I would achieve the Master of the Temple grade within a
certain period of time -- 25 years. At the time, this seemed an
impossibility, based on my assessment of my character. Other aspects of
that same oath made it even more difficult; I had to achieve this without
ever adhering to a specific creed, philosophy, or belief-system, and
without ever obligating myself to another person or organization in any way
whatsoever. This effectively cut me off from any of the "normal" paths by
which it might be accomplished -- another condition of the Act of Truth as
A.C. defined it (one which is _not_ met by most of the examples other folks
have presented). Nevertheless, the deed was accomplished, and ahead of time.

Other things: How about a complete and objectively measured change in
personality, accomplished in less than six months without any outside help?
That was a side-effect of the Act of Truth inherent in the oath above.

I've performed the Act of Truth described in my original message to Tyagi
several times successfully. (And before you accuse me of being
hypocritical, note that in that example the emphasis -- and all my effort
-- was on continuing my magickal work uninterrupted, not on acquiring money.)

That's all that comes to mind off hand.


~From: Josh Norton 

At 07:47 PM 5/22/97 -0700, Rebecca wrote:
>I disagree with this.  What you're saying is like material substance is
>limited.  I believe that the opposite is true and that by cultivating
>this understanding strengthens one's ability to fulfill one's needs,
>whatever they happen to be.  Builders of the Adytum have this wonderful
>thing they open meetings with called "The Pattern on the Trestleboard,"
>which I will share here (note especially #4):

[long quote snipped]

Hi Rebecca!

Seems like everybody who objected to that post was missing the point, which
is that an Act of Truth(tm) is _not_ the same as the ordinary, affirmative
form of belief-magick. It deliberately violates the rules of the ordinary
version. Please go back and look at the definitions Tyagi supplied and I
modified slightly; I don't want to retype all that stuff.

The B.O.T.A. document you quote falls into a different category, that of
actively creating magickal links between yourself and higher planes by
affirming that such a link exists already. As such it is the garden-variety
belief-magick, not an Act of Truth(tm).


~From: Navitae 

Josh Norton wrote:

> Noble? Definitely. One should always strive for an unattainable standard;
> it saves one from excessive ego-inflation. And it saves one from the anomie
> that comes with low expectations; a condition that seems widespread among
> magicians in recent years. 

Striving for unattainable standards can be useful in a number of ways,
but why restrict this to nobility, and why that to an Act of Truth?

> And sometimes one gets surprised, and achieves
> the goal despite its seeming impossibility. That's what I see as the
> purpose of the "Act of Truth".

This is antithesis to an Act of Turth.  It is attained because it had to
happen, it could not have been impossible.  If you think it's
impossible, then performing an Act of Turth is certain failure.  If you
are surprised by the outcome then how could you have been performing the
Act?  It requires certainty in one's mind.

I think the purpose of the Act of Truth is in the act itself and it's
resulting influence over the aspirant.  The goal, any goal, is transient
and no better than any other.  It's the Act that counts.

> Josh



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