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where to start?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Re: where to start?
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 23:37:50 GMT

50010813 VI! om Hail Satan! Hail Yes!

"Steven King" :
>>> ...for my purse-string, I'm hoping to be able to make some level of 
>>> progress without the use of any physical tools. 

>>immaterial results with immaterial tools, apparently. (Joe Cosby):
> As opposed to what?  

material. :> observable. tangible.

> Do you think using a charm or something is more 'material'?  

as long as the charm is a physical thing, yes.

> Graveyard dust is a 'material' approach versus an approach 
> using physical tools?

no, I was speaking only of imaginary vs. material/physical.

> ...There is no material relation between a charm and the
> desired effect.  

then how does it work? what *is* the connection, exactly?

> Whether the symbol used is purely mental or is some
> physical thing, the link between cause and effect is purely
> immaterial.

not in all cases. many amulets, for example, contain physical
linkage within them (scripture, blessed scroll, etc.).

>> why do you have hope of any kind of "progress"? 
> How do you suggest he measure progress?  

depends first on toward what one is attempting to move. if he
is trying to get mystical results (spiritual development) then
I would recommend a thorough study of mysticism as a general
field of endeavour, followed by the practice of mysticism using
conventional (physical) means -- whatever tradition suits you,
and an assessment of how, within that tradition, measurements
of spiritual development are made. developing a coherent notion
of what constitutes 'spirit', 'spirituality' and 'progress'
along these lines, one may proceed, using a record of one's
activities and personal reflections on one's own spirituality
as one understands it (or perhaps for the cautious, enlisting
a 'trainer' who will watch for signs outside our potential bias). 

from this point magic may be used in a way that can be assessed 
as to its effectuality with a guard against self-delusion.

> What, if anything, are you trying to say?  That not using 
> 'immaterial tools' would have any relation to some kind of 
> progress measuring?

I'm not a dualist. imagination would seem somewhat different 
in character than the desired result (fundamental shift in 
personal character, experience of the world -- spirit).

> So, doing magic using Foo-foo dust will necessarily 
> allow some measure of progress, but doing magic using 
> the Enochian calls won't?

dunno about Enochian calls, but IMAGINING that one is
doing the calls is questionable as to its effectiveness
because of the differential of character in cause and effect.
I'd instead recommend actual vocalizations and see whether
it yields what you think it should.

>> how will you measure this progress, and how will you keep 
>> yourself from the horrid pitfall of self-delusion to which 
>> so many Hermetic mystics have succumbed?

> So what exactly is the 'horrid pitfall of self-delusion that 
> so many hermetic mystics have succumbed to'?  

inflated ego without real spiritual or material effect.
imagining results and claiming them without evidence either
to themselves or others. Crowley is a good example of this
where it comes to spiritual development.

> Are you saying that a practitioner of hermetic magic is 
> more inclined to self-delusion than a practitioner of 
> another form of magic?

than some other forms, yes, because Hermetic magic

	* centers on mysticism with an objective of what it
	  identifies as 'spiritual progress' in competition
	  with nonmagical mystical systems; this typically
	  includes cosmological presuppositions that bear
	  on "aeons" and hierarchal doctrines of ascension,
	  metaphysical notions of "light bodies", etc.;

	* lauds a variety of individuals whose spiritual
	  advancement is not truly subject to our
	  observation and, in many cases, whose historical
	  record runs completely counter to conventional 
	  notions of what 'spiritual progress' includes, 
	  explaining away deviations from this (cf. Crowley) 
	  by virtue of the 'impenetrability' of the 
	  supposed adept (compare the horrendous stories
	  about figures like Padmasambhava and Khidr and how 
	  their violence is supposedly justified and how
	  real historical individuals like Jim Jones pulled
          the wool over the eyes of their followers)
	* requires a fair amount of study of abstruse and
	  peculiar conceptual frameworks (some mentioned
	  above, but also like Rosicrucian office-ladders,
	  Jewish or pseudo-Jewish personal angelic tutors,
	  etc.) that may easily deceive the initiate into
	  thinking that understanding = progress, where in
	  actuality what has been grasped are only the tools
	  which are purported to lead to the ostensive goals.

>>> Probably a more difficult path for a newbie (I could do with all 
>>> the aids to concentration that I could get!).
>> the conventional Hermetic in alt.magick (cf. M) seems to think that
>> the no-tool method is more difficult, rather than easier, 
> ...When has Mika ever said or implied that [it was more difficult,
> rather than easier]?  

unsure, I got that impression, perhaps I'm in error. I have noticed
a number of Hermetics in the forum will maintain that their doing
it all in one's mind is more difficult because not only is one
learning the rite or spell but also focussing on the internal
imagery being used. the usual terminology they use to describe the
material magical tools is "props". 'prop' is a clear indicator that
doing without it is harder than using it.

>> and that the tools are really not necessary. 

to elaborate: not necessary to get (mystical) results.

>> no justification is given for the purported results of the regimen 

descriptions of how imagination effects a mystical process,
explanations as to why it is so apparent a failure in certain
cases (e.g. Crowley), etc.

>> and adulation suggested. 

glorification of the method (non-physical, imagination-magic)
without a claim to success oneself and a demonstration thereof.

>> taking it all on faith (achievement through works based on 
>> faith) seems to be the answer to 'the method of science'.
> Where have you seen that?  

espoused dogma about how material tools aren't necessary without
an explanation of why this is the case, how they got to this
conclusion, etc., has been pretty common in alt.magick.

> Can you find me one example of anybody advocating or even 
> purporting to practice an approach based on 'taking it on faith'?

presumption that Crowley was 'actually advanced' but appears to
be debased appears to be easy to encounter in alt.magick. going
contrary to the evidence (i.e. taking it on faith) appears to be
more common than presuming him to be a failure. 

>>> It seems to me that in some areas of Magick (such as the Folk Magic
>>> tradition that you mentioned) tools are most certainly required.  
>> folk magic is not a tradition of Magick. there are many different
>> manifestations of magic. mystical magic which has as its objective
>> the transcendance of the material plane with the development of
>> one's "light-body" is of questionable value to the individual (do
>> you have any evidence that it works? what do you hope to get out of
>> it?) 

note that you didn't address these queries yourself. would you please?

> So, compared to that approach, do you have any 'evidence' that an
> alternate approach works?

trying to switch the shells on me? I'd be happy to level the same
criticism of Low Magic. I am unconvinced as yet that there is clear
evidence that it works. I'm still watching, learning, and asking
pointed questions. at the least it functions as a facilitator for 
obtaining the physical results desired (a psychological support).
presuming that (especially mind-only magic) works from the outset 
without an understanding of how or some kind of evidence in that it
does seems to be more common than I think valuable if one wishes
to use 'the method of science'.

>> and may be wholly delusional 
> Oh but sprinkling foo-foo dust on somebody's doorstep certainly
> couldn't be wholly delusional.

could be. at least I can see a physical correlate being enacted
(contact with a magical substance is established). I can
understand it at least.

>>for the purpose of supporting a social attention-sink.

attention-getting; siphoning off attention from *actual* mysticism
by virtue of controversy and competitive displacement (appearing
to be the Kabbalah of Jews (or should we stick with 'Hebrews'?),
for example, or the application of Indian Yoga which these Hermetic
"adepts" never mastered). aka charlatanry. 

>>> However, am I right in saying that this is not necessarily so for 
>>> all branches of Magick?
>> magic requires tools, whether conceptual or material, otherwise it
>> become psychicism. 

> What exactly do you mean by 'psychicism'?  

aka conventionally 'psychism' or 'parapsychology', which typically
includes things like telekinesis, clairvoyance, etc.  usually it
means 'those supposed skills, gifts, or abilities which enable the
psychic to manipulate the world without apparent cause other than
than their own mind'. there is much literature on the subject. you
can find more in groups like alt.paranet and alt.paranormal. it
sounds like you know what I mean but call it 'psychism'.

> I definitely see a difference between magic of all sorts and the kind
> of diluted versions of magic that have appeared under the scientific
> aegis of parapsychic research and so on.

right, these are in some ways semantic differences of terminological
use. however, I maintain that if one looks into the meaning of the
term 'magic', then psychicism (psychism if you prefer) is neither
a qualified example (even diluted) nor is it easy to substantiate.
cf. Crowley in "Moonchild" for rants on this, or the variety of
Hermetics who for one reason or another didn't like psychics but did
like magic.

> I don't think the difference has anything at all to do with whether or
> not one uses tools:  scientific parapsychic research is weakened by an
> implicit theory based on existing physical models into which the
> phenomena are expected to fall.  The inability to account for a wholly
> different phenomenological model leads to a kind of 'psychism', I
> guess, for want of a better word.

see, I knew you'd figure out what I meant. observing the various
manifestations of magic in the world I notice (whether or not they
are actually effective in bringing about the desired change) that
they involve symbolism. paranormal abilities usually do not. mine
is a descriptive definition, rather than one based primarily on
my own biases (descriptive of how those who practice what *they*
call magic and explain it in theory talk about it).

>>> I am trying to develop emotion/will/intent/imagination with the aim of
>>> achieving greater awareness.  
>> how are you going about this? what disciplines have you undertaken?
>>> I am hoping that this will lead to some level of insight so that 
>>> I will have a clearer sense of direction (hopefully this wont lead 
>>> to me onto a path involving expensive ceremonial ritual!!).
>> how will you avoid self-delusion and discern that you have actually
>> obtained a clearer sense of direction (what I would call 'orientation')?
> And what do you suggest?  

physical mysticism until discernment of what I'd call 'true will'
or 'intuition' occurs. adherence to the true will or directing
the predominant portion of one's intentional choice to intuition
(c.f. Sinetar's  "Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics" or
something similar) is what I identify (as does Sinetar) as
'monasticism' that is compatible with social convention (based
on my study of the expression of many mystics, both from books
and in-person).

> You're implying that an approach other than a non-tools approach 
> would provide 'an escape from self-delusion'.  Explain this.

there are ways that self-delusion may be avoided when the entire
process and result is not analyzed internally. I am not saying
there are guaranteed methods to avoid this self-delusion, only
that neglecting this serious pitfall has led many an Hermetic
to proclaim results where they were not justifiable given the 
other evidence surrounding their person.

> I have suggested elsewhere that he keep records of his operations and
> their results.  This does not require tools, and is in fact a
> technique I learned from hermetic magic.

a wonderful answer. :> I have also found this kind of thing valuable,
and would also recommend a thorough grounding in logical philosophy
(such that conventional fallacies of logic may be discerned, for

>>any good religion can provide you with a direction for orientation.
>>why do you think it's called 'Ordo Templi *ORIENTIS*'? 

> It's called 'Ordo Templi Orientis' because that translates to 'The
> Order of the Temple of the East'.  Orientis -> East.

that was a joke. :> it was also an example of utterance which was
false which could be used to support an argument for Hermetic
methods (sorry I didn't include the smiley :>).

>> wayward souls are ripe for those who would use them.
> So you feel that not using 'tools' is going to make him more
> susceptible to being taken advantage of?

no, he wanted direction. obtaining this by means *other* than magic
and then mistaking this result as being due to it seems to be a
rather common problem in the Hermetic community. accepting a New
Religion is all it takes to 'get direction'. this is not the self-
described objective of many Hermetics. I think that orientation
may be obtained via divinatory and mystical means, but I am here
challenging the notion that one might achieve something similar
just by pretending to do them in one's mind.

>I'm not a cruel man.


>>> ...I would like to think that Magick can be learnt and practiced 
>>> without any books or tools at all.  
>> what about people? do away with those too? what would make it magic?
> What does 'practicing without any books or tools' have to do with
> 'what about people'?  

it relates to the elements of the magical practice, may enable the
sounding of one's results off of those who bring critical analysis
and more clear perception to the Work. thus I usually talk about
'peer review' as part of the method of science. I think there are
ways to go about this peer review as a solitary, with accompanying
pitfalls of this method also.

> Does practicing without books or tools imply that he will have no 
> relation to people?

not necessarily, but if one wishes to do away with anything that
might cost or be challenging, then people are another element which
one may choose to avoid. I was more curious here, not objecting.

> Do you mean, what about interacting with other people as part 
> of learning?  Do you mean, what about people as part of the fabric 
> of your work? ....

yes. realistically my question is 'how far will you go in negating
traditional elements of magical practice?'  my correspondent
understood the question and I enjoyed his response.

> ...So, you're saying that 'practicing without books or tools' means 
> he's going to 'do away with people'?  

I was asking a question, not saying something.

>And then 'what would make it magic?'

yes, how much can one eliminate before it stops being magic,
realistically? in his case I wanted his reflection on it and
think it a valuable question for every mind-only mage to
seriously consider. compare bowling. sure, I could imagine
that I'm throwing a ball down the lanes, even bowl consecutive
300 games this way, but have I really done anything? I haven't
really bowled by my standards.

>>> Somehow, that seems more 'Magickal.'
>> as a newbie, how can you tell? why not attempt to find Hogwarts?
> What is a 'Hogwarts'?

Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a fictional school
of magic described within the popular 'Harry Potter' series.
essentially my query is: if one is a newbie, how can one make
a discernment between FICTIONAL magic (i.e. one that only
occurs in role-playing games and fantasy novels) and REAL magic
(therefore training our expectations to a more reliable result)?

how do *you* distinguish between these, as someone who is,
as far as I can tell, NOT a newbie?

thanks for your challenging questions. like M (whose
expression I enjoy), I welcome serious queries for
clarification or as a contrast of experience. :>

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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