Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Magick Sucks.

It is no secret that I am bothered by a particular approach to magick that is best encapsulated by a quote from Lon DuQuette. In fact, its one that he put on the front page of his website:

"I can only change one thing with magick - myself."

This bugs the shit out of me, and every now and than I go on a rant about how real event-changing magick exists and how this inner-psychological approach cheats the art of magick. Indeed the whole purpose behind me writing "The Sorcerer's Secrets" is to support those that actually want to get their hands dirty by changing themselves and the events and people around them. 

But I am going to go one step further now. 

If all you want from magick is inner change, than you are wasting your time in the wrong discipline. Thats right. If you are really just looking for inner change, magick is inefficient. 

If you are looking for spiritual enlightenment, unity with god, non-dual awareness, or whathaveyou than meditation will get you there faster and better than magick will. Magick is like driving from NYC to San Fran. Meditation and mystecism are like taking a plane. If all you want is to get to San Fran, take the goddamn plane. If for some reason you need to know every inch of the terrain in order to play around with it than you need to drive it, or even walk. 

If you are looking to improve your inner happiness and become a better lover, salesman, psychologist, chef or whatever, than walk away from the occult and new age section and get over t0 the self-help section. You will largely find more effective strategies for accomplishing all these things than you will out of magick. 

If you are just looking to be mysterious and get involved in a cool subculture that has lots of intricate and exotic jewlery, books, wall hangings, and other associated knick nacks than you are probably in the right place but I really wish you would go elsewhere...

Magick is for those that want to not only find enlightenment, liberation, and get that gnostic look behind the curtain of reality to see what the backstage is like, but for those that want to use that knowlege and power to effect the world around them. 

If you only want to change yourself than magick is a waste of time. If you only want to make outer change, magick is also a waste of time.  Its the union of both of these that makes a magician. 


14 comments:

My Gal said...

Sometimes the truth of a statement does not show up at first blush. Perhaps, you change yourself so that you know what exactly it is that you want to effect. Getting what I "wanted" early on the path has caused all sorts of pain and suffering :) It also caused all sorts of joy when I figured out that I really didn't want it and more importantly why :)

People get into magick for all sorts of reasons. Some are more effecient at the process than others. Everyone measures success by different yardsticks.

Jason Miller, said...

I am not arguing that changing yourself is bad or not part of magick, merely that its not all that there is to magick.

Persephone said...

I do love your rants Jay...

P

My Gal said...

I did not mean to imply that meditation and happy thoughts is all there is to it. Trust me we are on the same page when it comes to newage feel good crap.

Get your hands dirty, blow yourself up a few times and learn. It will probably be put on my tombstone one day :)

I have just found that the simplicity of the statement about changing yourself is overlooked. Aligning yourself to the vibrations of the universe puts you in harmony with the rest and makes the process of doing much more efficient in my humble opinion.

Jason Miller, said...

It does indeed, but again, I say that unless you plan to follow that up with outward thaumaturgy as the doing, that magick is inefficient at the task of aligning yourself to the vibrations of the universe. Meditation, prayer, and contemplative trance will get you there faster. Crowley knew this well, which is why he stressed the Yoga and meditation aspect of his training. Everything magick does to accomplish this is done with the intent of being able to isolate and exploit various points of quintessesence and apply them to alter manifest reality.

Samuel Johnson said...

With your permission, I'd like to post a copy of this blog entry to a forum I visit - obviously giving full credit to you and making it quite clear I'm not the author. I've been wanting to make a point like this for a while, but you beat me to the mark and probably expressed yourself a tad clearer.

If you do give permission, if it's also okay I'll just do some minor editing to fix up typos (I'm a grammar nazi), but obviously not change the content at all.

Regards,
Samuel Johnson

Jason Miller, said...

fine by me as long as you let me know what forum it is so I can lurk and see the response:-)

Quaero Lux said...

I just posted a reference to this post on Moloch's evocactionalmagics Yahoo group. Somebody made a post that personal growth was the entire point of magic, so I simply had to reference this =)

Ananael Qaa said...

Magick is for those that want to not only find enlightenment, liberation, and get that gnostic look behind the curtain of reality to see what the backstage is like, but for those that want to use that knowlege and power to effect the world around them.

YES. Way too many self-proclaimed "magicians" people go around these days talking about magick like it's just another system of psychotherapy. Some of that probably comes from the skeptical attitude toward magick that we are raised with in this culture - as long as you're talking about psychology you're safe and nobody looks at you funny, but when you start talking about genuine sorcery regular folks get uncomfortable.

Lon DuQuette is friend of mine and I've always found it odd that he decided to put that particular quote up on his web site. His views on magick are quite a bit more complex and nuanced than the quote would suggest.

magus007 said...

I think you are being a bit literal about the quote in question. The magician works on the microcosm to change the macrocosm. In otherwords by understanding your own sphere of sensation you are changing the sphere of sensation of the bigger universe. It is a bit like the Crowley quote which says "do what you wilt be the whole of the law" people assumed he was talking about doing what you like (which if taken literally he did) but finding ones true will is a religious alignment with your higher. So magic can't change anything but you but changing self changes the universe. It also implies that all magic goes through the sphere of sensation of the person first.

Ananael Qaa said...

The magician works on the microcosm to change the macrocosm. In otherwords by understanding your own sphere of sensation you are changing the sphere of sensation of the bigger universe.

Yes, and in my experience this is pretty much what Lon actually thinks about magick. But that being so, I think that the quote in question is not the best choice for the first thing you see on his web page because it doesn't really convey his actual views without additional explanation.

Jason Miller, said...

Dear Magus 007 (cool handle btw) I am not being to literal. I understand the quote and have read almost everything DuQuette wrote. I am also not new at this, so please dont draw a comparison to people misunderstanding the Law.

You state: "So magic can't change anything but you but changing self changes the universe. It also implies that all magic goes through the sphere of sensation of the person first."

I say: POPPYCOCK!

Magick can and does effect situations directly. It does not have to go through the sphere of personal sensation first or emanate out from changes in the self like a personal butterfly effect. Magick works for those that can work it.

Jon Buckley said...

Thank you for this post it caused a good ruccus on this Forum lol ..

http://www.evocationmagic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=698

Ananael Qaa said...

Magick can and does effect situations directly. It does not have to go through the sphere of personal sensation first or emanate out from changes in the self like a personal butterfly effect.

This is pretty easy to demonstrate, too, despite the confusion about it in parts of the magical community. If magick really did work like a "personal butterfly effect" something like the "Threefold Law" would actually happen. Maybe it wouldn't be "threefold", but you wouldn't be able to cast a curse without hitting yourself as well as the target. Since you can target other individuals without any injury to yourself if you're careful about it, magick must be able to work without passing through your own sphere first.

Magick works for those that can work it.

I sometimes think that what the psychologizers hate the most about practical magick is that there is a real talent involved in working it and not everyone can reach the same level of ability by putting in the same amount of work. I mean, this is how just about every other human ability works so it shouldn't be surprising, but there still seems to be this idea out there that magick is the one thing that should work the same for everyone. There certainly are people who get upset when confronted with empirical proof that it doesn't.