Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Models of Magic

I have noted in the last year or so a lot of people talking about Models of Magic. Many people adhere to the "energy model" and do not accept the reality or usefulness of spirits in magick. I can sort of understand this model because it is somehow easier on modern sensibilities to think of energies, morphogenic fields, and such than to believe in actual entities that normal people cannot sense.  Same with the "mind model" which basically boils it all down to psychic phenomina. You are wrong but I get it.

What I cannot for the life of me understand are people that are popping up claiming to adhere to the "spirit model" at the exlusion of all else. Most of these folks are practicing in the "old system" paradigm and focused mostly on the Grimoires. While a great deal of this material does indeed deal with the conjuration of spirits, not all of it does. There is a lot of sympathetic magick and folk magick in the Grimoires as well that doesnt work through the agency of demons and angels. 

One of the funny things that I have noticed is that spirit model, people often get taught energy work by the spirits they contact. They get told to hold their hands a particular way, and breathe a particular way and visualize various things. Cuz, like it or not all these models have a place, and I cannot for the life of me understand folks that want to promote one above another. 

If you are trying to attract something to you or open up opportunities than my suggestion is to summon a spirit, and perhaps give that spirit a leg into your life by linking the conjuration to some sympathetic spellwork like candle burning, powdering, etc. If you are looking to influence the mind of another, than you can summon a spririt to help, but you will be better off if the bulk of your work is working directly on the energy body and mind of the target. If you are trying to heal, than I really recommend a strong energy work regimine linked to physical action like the taking of specially prepared medicine and phycial movements. 

Almost every model I have seen people come up with to explain magick has done nothing but limit how they practice magick. By all means folks, think about how these things work, but when you come up with an idea, don't cling to it like its gospel. 


Patrick said...

I agree: No paradigm explains every experience. We must be flexible. I like the information paradigm precisely because it *is* so flexible. It's hard to meld energy and spirits; it's less hard to imagine energy and spirits as different systems of information, all of which is manipulated through symbolic actions.

It's interesting that you say that those who practice spirit magic get taught energy paradigm stuff. Do they? Or do you just perceive what they do as energy paradigm stuff because that's your paradigm? It's not so easy to break free of a paradigm

Dohmnaill said...

It is funny...
I was just wandering about www.chaosmatrix.org the other day and I drifted onto the section about magickal models.

Best quote:
"...models do not really explain anything, they are only illustrations of processes, albeit rather useful ones."

It also occurs to me that anytime I begin to believe that I have discovered some singular theory regarding magick - something comes along and blows it away....




Prenna said...

Starting out in Chaos magick I noticed that the majority of people in that milieu I came across seemed to subscribe to the psychological model. There seemed to be a kind of fear in this uber-cool, post-modern era, to believe in such things as energy or spirits. It's just all mind tricks to a number of Chaotes.

I'm always glad when I find people who subscribe to other models of magick or blends of models.

Rufus Opus said...

Speaking as a spirit modelist... Modeler?

Anyway, as one who strictly practices spirit magic, I can agree with you about spirits teaching what you would consider "energy work." And they do teach sympathetic magic. Per Ficino, the things that make them "sympathetic" are links on the "chain of manifestation" hanging down between here and the Ideal realm. Per my understanding tha seems to be shared by Ficino, anyway.

Point being that the chains include the spirits, and for the magic to work, you'd need an initiation, or a tuning of your sphere to be aware of the things about the plants that make them sympathetic with each other. Like the water dowser isn't just dowsing "water," he's got a wider and deeper grasp of himself in relation to the things around him.

The initiate senses the things that are sympathetic, and can weave them together using the harmony of her sphere to create what looks like Folk Magic. And it gets passed on, and works well enough when the information is passed on in a way that harmonzed the student's sphere to the instructor's. Oral teachings, hands on teaching, training that wasn't just book work, but actually involved working with the teacher. The transformation, or activation of the part of the magician's resonance that allows them to make folk magic, sympathetic magic WORK gets passed on. Even then it's a form of Spirit initiation. The adept magicians become the Heroes, Daimons, Angels, and even Gods of Iamblichus' hierarchy of spirits.

The techniques you can find by sticking within a single system and exploring the depths, the edges, the limits (or lack thereof) are incredible. I don't think there's enough time in one lifetime to truly learn the limits of the Spirit Model.

The teachings are life-changing, the system is powerful and effective, and at the end, if you've played your cards right, your physical body gets transformed "as befits a God" by your Spiritual Assistant, Genius, or HGA.

The deeper I get into the Spirit model, the more Animist I become, and I find that everything I can imagine speaking to has an intelligence that can be talked to and influenced. I'm sure other models would interpret this in different words or concepts, but I don't see anything the spirit model can't provide.

Riley said...

Excellent post, btw I think the psychobabble model is the worst of them (personally I think a patchwork model with personal ideas and mythology is the best way to go).

Riley said...

Also I think the psychobabble model is a wee bit egotiscal; a lot of people can't except that there are entities superior to - or at least on a different wavelength - humanity, so to deal with this they lie to themselves and say 'it's all in my head.' Plus I'm really sick of people trying to reduce magic down to one thing "it's just energy" "it's just psychology" etc. They're silly attempts to simplify complex matters for small minds.

Jason Miller, said...

Good thought as always RO. Of course at the point that you are taking the spirit model to level where you can "talk" to anything you are starting to blow out of what most people would consider that model. I agree with your assessment completely. All space is alive!

Clearly though people work energetic magick and sympathetic magick without traveling the spheres in the way that you did, or for that matter at all. I am thinking of Qi-kung masters and so on. However, at the extension of most of these models, the model itself falls away.

Also, dont confuse model with system. You might be following a system that is all spirit work, but you aknowlege that other people work magick successfully using other means.

VenusSatanas said...

There are no 'modeels' of magic. rather, they are different methods, instead of models. the use of the word 'models' was also featured at the Library of Knowledge site where they promote 'models of magic'.

as intelligent as this view may seem it is not as realistic as if you were to consider that all magicians work with the same model of magic - ie. it does what it does but only because of specific actions or *methods*.

this is a great topic!