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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in magic

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For the witch, the seat of magic is the mind.

Animals know. Human beings know that we know. The wise know that we know that we know: we can observe our own thought processes. And the witch is the one who can consciously and with intent aforethought manipulate her own thought processes. (Terry Pratchett, that not un-astute observer of witchdom, calls this “having third thoughts.”) The witch knows that it's not good enough to think: Oh well, that's how I think, so that's that. The witch thinks: Hmm, that's how I think; how do I think myself into thinking differently?

And that's the heart and pulse of all our magic.

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I'll take my magic without the K, please.

Ah yes, magic-with-a-K: that pretentious archaism that supposedly differentiates the genuine article from illusionism. The new magical realism at its most twee.

Why, Posch, why?

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Maybe 10 years back a coven-sib and I spoke to the local Unitarian Pagan chapter about our group. Afterwards, someone came up and
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I'm glad to know that the post was not meant to be scornful. But when you say that magick is a "pretentious archaism" you imply th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Far from it. Gods help me, Diotima, I care very deeply about our people--so old and so young, so wise and so foolish, so courageou

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

This post was previously published as part of the 2014 Ostara Tarot Blog Hop.

 

Previous Blog | Master List | Next Blog

 

Our topic this time is creativity and what springs forth. Well, that’s my loose interpretation of our Blog Wrangler’s theme. Joanne Sprott charged all of the Tarot Blog hoppers to discuss creativity.

 

Zentangle by Arwen Lynch Poe, 2014There is so much I could do on that subject.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Magical Marketing

Making my living with my magic, I am intrigued with marketing. Deep down, I understand marketing IS magic. We are now deeply immersed in the trend of elevator pitches and Tell-Them-In-One-Word. People spend only 15 seconds on a webpage, we are told, so tell your message fast!!!

I freak at this. I just can’t, and I know I don’t want to. I left science to become free, to follow my heart, not to become the slave of the marketing guru’s. AND, on a deeper level I can tell you they are wrong. Maybe they can help you earn big money. But they are not helping you do the work of your souls calling.

It is simply not how magic works. Magic is about raising energy and creating a field around a specific intention. Ha, you might think, cannot that intention be said in one word? Well, actually not. Because magic is also about aligning with how nature really works. And if there is something everyone agrees upon, from mystic to management prophet to priestess, it is that the world is complex, paradoxical, and full of miracles. So the unexpected truth is, that in order to create your dreams you need to be full of ambiguity!

An example. Ever heard of One Trait Breeding? It is used widely in our cattle industry. Say, someone wants chickens with more breast meat. Then in the breeding all the focus comes to this one trait. Researcher Temple Grandin came across the shocking results of this. She came to a farm where the roosters raped the hens, and if the hens refused the rooster simply murdered them. Temple was shocked, of course, and went to the farmer to ask if he had noticed this. He said: ‘yes, and it hurts me to see it, but you know that is just as it is among roosters and hens’. Temple researched this, and this is what she found: it USED TO BE not normal between roosters and hens. That changed when one trait breeding came in. Within not more than 5 years, the roosters became super macho to the point of being rapists and murderers.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Enjoyed your article and agree with it - but would also like to point out how we overlook misspellings in advertising, nowadays.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    As you say, common marketing wisdom tells us to be faster and more succinct. It's One Trait Breeding's offspring, but there are o

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Transitioning into the Mother Weaver

As a child I experienced everything around me with awe and wonder. Receiving magic was natural and seamless. The path of the Priestess helped me to keep this channel open, and as a Maiden Priestess I revelled in my role as Receiver of Magic. In ceremony and ritual I was taken away on the wings of the energy, the music, and the Spirit helpers that joined us. During retreats I was guided through meditations that opened my crown chakra, I would soak in sacred waters, and spend hours practicing yoga. I could walk the Earth, still and contemplative, or run wildly with the wind rushing through my hair. I was an adult, yet I was still a Maiden, my life was still my own. Just when, where and how I served the Divine and her children was still my prerogative.

Pregnancy was the beginning of my transition from Maiden to Mother. I knew that I was walking through the fires of my rite of passage when I was in it, but I could not have anticipated what it would mean for me as a Priestess. I was prepared to lose my freedom in exchange for devoted service to the nurturing of my daughter Gracious and her soul's descent into the flesh. It was the dimming of the magic and the loss of space and time to consciously receive it that I wasn't prepared for. The elation of new motherhood was tempered by surprising feelings of grief. In prayer I realized that the tension of transition had brought a feeling of loss for the former phase of my life. I was grieving because I was becoming ready to embrace a new phase.

With each passing moment I could see the Maiden I once was reflected in my daughter. I watched my daughter’s eyes as they scanned the room in wonder, in awe of the twinkling lights adorning our bookshelf, smiling at the ceramic butterflies fastened to the wall above her as she breastfed. I would remember how it felt to sit in front of Christmas lights as a child. I would have moments of clarity where I could recall staring deeply into a flower or a ladybug . As a child I could feel the essence of the life that flowed through these beautiful creatures and creations. My daughter's birth highlighted how much I missed that innocent state of wonder. This longing was all part of my gradual release of the past, and as I accepted that, I became conscious of a new role I was growing into, that of the Mother Priestess. My transition had taken me from me from Maiden to Mother, from the Receiver of Magic to the Weaver of Magic.

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  • Candise
    Candise says #
    thank you sister xc
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    beautiful
Everything Is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

My circle sister, Donna got hit by a car while she was taking a walk down a residential street with her husband.  She died on Wednesday, February 5th.  How do I make sense of that?  How does Donna taking a walk with her husband + Jason Lutz not paying attention for a moment = we will never see Donna again?

I don’t know.

If we perform magic, shouldn’t we know?  Shouldn’t my circle have been able to save Donna?  What is the point of this if we could not have saved Donna? I think it’s very easy when things are going well to say that if you are alert enough, canny enough, good enough at magic that you can lessen the pain of all situations.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    So sorry to hear about your friend. The loss of my baby brother when I was 13 (and a Christian) led me to doubt that any such loss
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I feel your pain, too. There doesn't seem to be any religion, whether mainstream or far out, that can keep its practitioners from
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I am sorry for your loss too. I hear your anger and confusion; I felt the same when my husband was in a horrible, life-threatenin

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Magically Unsticking

Tarot readings aren't magic, but they can create magic. I've been doing a lot of three card readings via email lately. Normally I do SKYPE or phone or in person sessions but have been guided towards more email readings.

These are short readings since they are only three cards, but I'm finding that the questions asked are creating magic for my clients.

In these readings, I'm getting asked many things but one question keeps coming up.

How do I get unstuck?

To that end, I wanted to share a three card spread you can use for yourself. I will also show you how you can craft a spell using the three cards you get.

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  • Kasey Leavitt
    Kasey Leavitt says #
    I tried this one and loved the results. Thank you so much. I felt stuck on my novel, so I asked about that. I have a non-standard
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Is that the Vision Quest deck? I love that one. I love your reading on this.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Agreed. It's a fabulous thing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I had been slowly acquiring archery equipment since Christmas.   While Katniss was admittedly and unashamedly the tipping point for me, there have been others.  Buffy.  The Amazons from Xena.  I wanted to know what it would be like to be able to kick ass.

Buffy is not interested in excuses.

I took my intro to Archery class and it was a stark moment of clarity for me.  Not in a I AM MOMENTS AWAY FROM KILLING AND EATING MY OWN PREY AND BECOMING A PREDATOR sort of way.  More in a, girl this is going to be a looooooong journey. Our class was taught by a perky geeky girl wearing a red shirt with the Chinese blessing cat playing with string.  She was relentlessly upbeat while she drilled safety issues into us, all the while managing to be incredibly assertive.  Her calm demeanor had a steel undertone from being Olympic trained in competitive archery and the Vice President of the NJ Archery association.  She would decide who would be allowed range privileges.  She was a little younger than me and I was deathly afraid of her.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Your instructor's whispered words were a balm to my traditionalist soul. I was a devotee of the recurve bow going as far back as
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I thoroughly enjoyed this. And your point about priorities? Yeah, ouch. I needed to hear that. Don't know that I WANTED to.

After I wrote about liminality recently, I have been thinking about change and how we create it in our lives. Affirmations are a magical tool that can be very powerful, but only when constructed well. Using the present progressive tense to craft affirmations puts them in a form that draws on the Element of Fire and makes them much more effective tools for transformation.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Druid Magic

Druids aren’t associated with magic in the same way that other Pagan traditions, such as Wicca or Witchcraft seem to be.  Yet I’ve found that in every spiritual path, there are elements of magic contained within that are often very similar in nature.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
How Magic can be Innovative

One of the books I'm currently reading,  The Necessity of Strangers, discusses how important it is to be open to different perspectives, outside of what you normally know. One of the intriguing stories they share is about a hair dresser, Vidal Sassoon, and how he developed his hair styles based off the Bau Haus architecture style that he'd seen in Germany. Now you might not think that architecture and hair design would have a lot in common, but Sassoon saw something in the architecture that he could bring over to hair design. He understood that certain principles of the architecture, especially the simple geometrical focus could also be applied to hair. The result was a change in hair styles and the formation of a brand of hair care products still used today. And all it took was a person being open to considering alternative perspectives outside of the obvious ones found in his discipline.

Now what does that have to with magic and how magic can be innovative? Occasionally I get asked how I've developed my ideas and techniques of magic, especially since some of them aren't based on traditional perspectives found in magic. The answer is that I'm always looking for different perspectives, inspiration, and ideas from other disciplines outside of magic that I nonetheless feel can inform how I approach magical work. For example, I'm reading Understanding Comics and When: The Art of Perfect Timing. Neither book as has anything overt to do with magic, but both books provide some intriguing perspectives on time and space and how people perceive and work with both elements. In turn, what I've learned from these books has been and will be applied to my own magical work, both with space/time magic, but also in other areas of magic where the perspectives inform how magic can be done.

Something I tell my students is that there is no tried and true way of doing magic. There are paths that have been blazed by other people and those paths provide a foundational knowledge of magic which is valuable, but to assume that the paths already blazed describe the one and only way of doing magic is to block out other potential avenues of exploration and to close ourselves off from possibilities of evolving magic. We need to acknowledge those who've come before us and provided us the foundation we draw on, but I'd argue that its equally important to draw on other disciplines and other perspectives in order to evolve as a magician. By being curious and open to discovering what a discipline such as architecture might offer you as a magician, what you provide yourself with is a way to challenge what you already know with what you are learning. There may be no immediate connection, but you'd be surprised at how much a different discipline can inform your magical practice or anything else you do.

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  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    I am getting my certification in coaching, and one of the ways we get our clients to experience growth is by assigning them practi
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Hello Hope, I'm a coach myself. It's quite a fun journey and I wish you success as you become certified and explore it in whateve

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

“Liminal” is a concept that Pagans and especially Witches use frequently, but it’s not so well known to non-Pagans, at least not by name. A liminal time or space is the transition between one thing and something else. This time of year is an example of liminality in the overculture. How do you experience that? Do you use it for magic?

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  • Cynthia Savage
    Cynthia Savage says #
    Liminal time occurs daily-one doesn't need to wait until the end of the calendar year! The Celts of Ireland and Scotland (the Scot
  • Literata
    Literata says #
    It is wonderful when the cycles coincide like that!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely this time of liminality and how it magnifies our magic. I am particularly excited by the overlap of the lunar cycle and th

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Literacy of Magic Pt 2

In my previous post, I explained how literacy is an institution, and how a literacy of magic would be an extension of the institution of literacy, in the sense that a given institution typically determines who is or isn't included in the institution and also establishes what constitutes institutional legitimate actions vs actions which don't fit into the institution. I explored why I felt literacy is a loaded term and why it can be problematic to apply it as a concept to magic. I also explored how trying to define magic as a literacy would inevitably end up excluding certain people or practices because of the institutional aspects of literacy. In the 2nd post to this series, I'm going to explain why the literacy of magic isn't the same as the practice of magic and why it is more useful to examine magic as a practice instead of as a literacy.

Literacy, as it applies to magic, would seem to deal with the ability to read, write, and design magic, which could include among other things the ability to read, write, and design rituals, spells, and other associated magical activities. However, once again we are left with a question: Who determines what the literacy of magic is, and what is their agenda for defining it in the way they have? An additional question that is useful to ask is: "What activities, techniques, etc., are left out of the literacy of magic?" I'd argue that a variety of activities, techniques, etc., are left out if we look at magic as a form of literacy. Now some people might argue that I'm being overly literal by exploring magic as a form of literacy and perceiving it in terms of what are considered traditional activities of literacy, but I think that we need to be particular about the words that we use when trying to define a concepts such as magic or literacy. When we conflate these two concepts together without being particular, what results is a lot of theoretical confusion and armchair arguments that do little to substantively advance the discipline of magic.

Thus I don't think it's useful to define magic as a literacy. If anything, I find literacy to be too confining and limiting in terms of describing what magic seems to be or what one can possibly do with it. At best a literacy of magic can describe certain activities and how those activities are performed, but even in that case the above questions should be asked.

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  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy says #
    I didn't get the idea that Ivo intended to define magic as a "literacy" and not a practice. What he did do is draw an analogy usin
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Hello Henry, At this point i'm not really Ivo's article anymore, but just taking this into my direction. His article was a good p

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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So I had a half written post about using magic, specifically a magic spell to find a home, using a combination of Kiwiana, and perhaps other more ‘traditional’ magical stuff, but I stalled and have only written about one object, the 21st Key Mirror, a Kiwiana staple for 21st gifts, generally given to you by your family.  It has strong significance of love, family and independence, which is for most of us, what we are looking for when finding a new home, rather than just a place to live.  I was also going to include things like tiki’s, and teapots, but in actually that was nothing like what I actually did. 

What I did looked nothing like the spells in books or described in blogs, I did not wait for the waning/waxing dark moon, or other significant timing, I did not purchase a Mirror Key or make one myself, in fact I didn't really use any of the Kiwiana objects that I had been contemplating.  I also didn't set up an altar, with the correct red blue orange candles, and matching altar cloths, even though I do love my altars, and have quite the collection of wonderful altar cloths,   I didn't’t call on any specific deities who help with such things...  What I ended up doing looked nothing like ‘magic’ spell work, that you read about so often in those instructional spell books, actually what I did I have never really found in any book or blogs.  What I did looked like me walking into town one morning.   

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for sharing! As some who frequently incorporates found objects into my shrines to the Deathless Ones, I ca
The application of Magic to Being Human

One of my fascinations in life is human behavior. I'm reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and it's a book about irrational behavior, and ultimately human behavior and why people make the choices they make. Reading it is enlightening, but even more than that I want to apply it to my magical work. See, one of the things that I like about magic is that I think it can be applied quite productively to human behavior. But that can only occur when you take the time to study human behavior and ask yourself the question as to how you could apply magic to that behavior. Whatever being human really means, when we apply magic to the mix what we seem to ultimately be doing is changing behavior and habits. We uncover and examine the unconscious behaviors we've taken on and use magic to bring them to a level of conscious awareness that can then be applied to change that behavior. Here's a few thoughts on how magic can be applied to human behavior:

1. Stop an expression of behavior. This is a typical act of magic that many people do. If you are doing a behavior that you find to be harmful, use magic as one of the ways to help you stop the behavior. When you use magic to help you stop a behavior you are finding some way for the magic to actually redirect the behavior. So you'll also want to think of what behavior you want to redirect it to. If you want to stop smoking, you typically start by cutting down on the smoking and or replacing it with a supplement, such as chewing gum, but you also need to change the behaviors associated with smoking, in some form or manner. For example, there may be specific hand gestures you did when you smoked, that you might need to change in order to avoid calling up the associations with the smoking.

2. Enhance or construct a behavior. When you think of the concept of a glamour, it's an illusion to used to enhance an image, but why not apply the principle to a behavior? For example, let's say you want to feel confident when you are speaking to people. You might observe someone you really admire for their confidence and analyze how they behave or act, and then construct a persona that allows you to access similar skills in order to improve your own confidence.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Halloween Masks and Invocation

Halloween is the first cosplay convention that ever was, and the longest running one, but Halloween is more than just that. It's a time for people to connect with the pop culture they love and embody that pop culture. For example, the recent Verizon commercial shows a family dressed up as characters (and more) from Star Wars. What strikes me about that commercial is that for that family Star Wars is real that night and in a way they get to become those characters while they trick and treat (though they do seem more obsessed with Candy than anything else).

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it's also one of the inspirations for my approach to pop culture magic. This isn't surprising because its during Halloween that pop culture comes out in force. People dress up as the characters they love and for an evening embody those characters in one form or another. This occurs across ages, with little children dressing up to go trick and treat, while adults dress up to have fun at a costume party. Now not all of these people intentionally set out to work magic, but Halloween is a night of masks, and as such it can be useful for magical work to explore the idea of taking on a mask.

A mask allows a person to become something else, to invoke a different presence into his/her life. The mask isn't a permanent change in identity, but rather is a temporary change that allows the person to access what the mask represents. And what the mask represents is a chance to let go and allow yourself to connect with something that isn't you, that is different from your usual identity. Of course there are potential dangers when you do this without the right constraints, and I think that one of the constraints that is present in Halloween is the idea that it's all make believe. It's a useful constraint for people who aren't magicians, but for someone who practices magic, putting on the mask is never make believe. Putting on the mask is a connection with the character, entity, deity, etc that the mask represents.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Great post, thanks!

This week has been very busy here in Geek Central, NV.  Pokemon X and Y just came out, and three of us have been exploring the wild world of strange talking animals for quite a while.  This isn't actually terribly unique, considering that six months out of the year, there's a heavy amount of obsession over My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

In this house, a geeky obsession is more than a sudden-and-inevitable commitment of time and finances.  It's a chance at initiation into some of the magicks of the world.

While sitting here and watching two of my boys froth over their Pokemon battles, I myself was exploring the online wikis for these games, learning about their legends.  There were, of course, the expected stats: growth and evolution progressions, abilities and special skills, elemental types...

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Cultural exchange vs cultural appropriation

Recently I attended a workshop run by R. J. Stewart and he related a story of a discussion he had with a Lakota Shaman. Something she said to him was that she didn't want white people trying to take the practices of her people and make them their own, but rather that she wanted them to find their own practices and then meet with people from other practices and share what each of them was doing. When I heard that story, it made me think that something which is really important for all of us is cultural exchange, where we appreciate what a given person (and his/her culture) brings to the table without feeling the need to steal from it. Instead that appreciation allows us to learn from the other person and reflect on our own practices in context to what we've learned. We engage in a cultural exchange, so that everyone can benefit from what is learned.

Cultural appropriation is the wholesale stealing of a given culture's practices. The reason people do it may be a result of feeling disconnected from the culture they are in or identifying spirituality as only residing in the cultural practices of the culture they are appropriating from. Regardless of what the reason is, such appropriation ultimately creates a mockery of the original practices, because while the person might steal away the practices, s/he can never truly know the culture. S/he is always interpreting the other culture through the lens of his/her own culture.

One of the grey areas in this kind of discussions involves the choice to study a given culture's practices. I likely fit into that gray area. I study Tibetan and Taoist meditation practices. I am not of the cultures where those practices originated and I don't try to be. I study those practices to learn from them and implement them in my life, without trying to identify with the culture. It's a grey area, because I'm not trying to appropriate the overall culture and pretend to be something I'm not, but I am learning and practicing from that culture's spiritual practices. However, I think that such learning can fit into cultural exchange if it is done respectfully and with an intention to respect the original culture without trying to become part of it.

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  • Jennifer Tindell
    Jennifer Tindell says #
    Thanks, this is very good.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    The story I tell about cultural appropriation is that I once approached a Native American practitioner and inquired about learning
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Hi Carl, Thank you for commenting. I wrote an essay for that anthology. It's a good anthology, and some of the other ones that we

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Inner Child Is A Goddess

Dark clouds snaked through the overcast sky like an airborne river, grumbling warning of impending deluge that summer afternoon in Orlando, Florida.  I was a ten-year-old sorceress with blonde curls and a need for magical sand.  My nine-year-old cousin and apprentice sorcerer collected the sand beneath the overhead bars as we discussed his infant sister, whom we knew was destined to be the most powerful sorceress of all.

The river in the sky grumbled louder, flashing a bit of lightning at us in warning.  I leaned against the metal bars, raised an eyebrow.  "Larak," I said, calling the thunder god by the name I'd given him, "You can just wait until we get home.  When I'm standing under the carport, you can pour all you want then."

My cousin cast a worried look heavenward.  "I think we have enough sand," he said.  "Let's get back before we get soaked!"

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  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    Lovely post! I wonder how many of us have the connection with magic from childhood, and if that's just natural for children to e
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Lia! I think we are most of us born with the connection, and lose it because the people around us keep setting limits
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    That would be neat! I bet it would bring up forgotten memories in everyone, too.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
What Happens when your magic fails?

What happens when your magic fails?

This is a question most magicians and pagans never want to ask or answer, but I think it's a question we need to ask and answer. It's a question that likely makes you squirm just a little bit, because it raises the spectre of "What if all this is just in my head?" The thought that it's all just in your head and that perhaps what you're doing is just a deluded fantasy is hard to face. It can cause you to feel some real doubt about magic and whether its real or just make believe. I think feeling such doubt can actually be healthy, because it teaches you to question critically and carefully what you're doing and how you're doing it. It also teaches you not to take magic for granted. If you assume that your workings will always be successful, you may be shocked when a working isn't successful. By cultivating just a bit of critical awareness, you can look through your magical workings and figure out why it didn't work as well as what you can do to improve your workings.

A good place to start is to actually determine how many of your magical workings have been successful. See if you can calculate a percentage and then determine what types of workings they were. Was it practical magic to resolve a problem, or was it a working to make contact with a deity or inner contact?  Was it some other type of magical working? So for example, perhaps you calculate that 90% of your magical workings in the last year have been successful and you realize that a quarter of the workings were practical magic and the rest were devotional, theurgic workings. Once you have estimated the successful number of magical workings, then you can look at the remaining magical workings, the ones that didn't work and determine what type they were. You might discover that 75% of the workings that weren't successful were practical magic workings. What this will tell you then is what you need to work in your magical practice. It shouldn't be hard to determine these figures if you are keeping a magical record of some type and diligently updating it.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Very nice, Taylor. Reminds me of the end of Little Big Man, when Chief Dan George says to Dustin Hoffman, "Sometimes the magic wor
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Thank you Ted. I think it's worthwhile to explore why it didn't work. A failure can teach you a lot, if you are pen to learning fr
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Point well taken, Taylor; I think you are right. At various times in my life I have been guilty of all 7 of the mistakes you have

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