Magick: Whether & If So How It Works

Moth Twiceborn

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On Saturday, I came home to find a van parked outside my house. I've seen it before, a heap of crap that a local company use solely for advertising purposes with all of the business details emblazoned on all sides. They just leave it where they can for weeks at a time before enough people complain and it moves on. I was not happy with this because not only was it taking up parking space, it looks a bloody mess.

I phoned the number on the side of the van to explain that I would like it moved from the front of my property, but office hours were Mon - Fri, so I was stuck with it. After initially being extremely pissed off, I decided it would be better for my health if I simply tried to forget about it. I've just been getting back into meditation and I realised there was little I could do, so I would stay calm and let it be.

I'd looked at a book recommendation that @Moth Twiceborn made somewhere on these forums in the last couple of days, and in the few pages I read I saw something that even I could do.

On Sunday morning's meditation, I visualized the parking space outside my house as empty and kept repeating to myself 'you'll be gone soon'. This really made me feel a lot better about the situation and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day.

This morning (Monday) I was loafing about at home when I heard the bang. Dashing to the front window, I saw that a council van had smashed the wing mirror off the offending vehicle. They stopped (not always a given on my street) and I was able to hear the council worker as he phoned the number on the van to explain to the owner what had happened.

I had intended to phone or email again today to complain but after this I thought I'd wait and see what happened.

The van was driven away at 7:00 PM.
Congratulations, you are officially a wizard :D
 

skinny

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^ Because the universe hates you.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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So why oh why oh why have I not won the lottery when practicing similar rituals every evening before the draw?
Because using magic on something where the odds are something like 14,000,000 to 1 is like trying to land a jumbo jet on a ten pence piece :D

To put it into perspective, your chances of dying in a car accident are estimated at 300 to 1, and William Hill once gave odds of the biblical apocalypse occurring at 6000 to 1 :D
 

stu neville

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Because using magic on something where the odds are something like 14,000,000 to 1 is like trying to land a jumbo jet on a ten pence piece :D
Possibly rather than one procedure to cause one event in which six balls are picked it's more like six separate events in which one ball is picked and then another to ensure it all happens in sequence (or at least near-simultaneously.) Again it's a pattern thing: we think of happenings as one event. They're not - they're a sequence, in turn the outcome of hundreds of mini-actions and mini-decisions and uncontrollable (discuss) external influences.
 

Tempest63

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Because using magic on something where the odds are something like 14,000,000 to 1 is like trying to land a jumbo jet on a ten pence piece :D

To put it into perspective, your chances of dying in a car accident are estimated at 300 to 1, and William Hill once gave odds of the biblical apocalypse occurring at 6000 to 1 :D
So magic doesn’t work when the odds are stacked against it then?
 

Moth Twiceborn

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So magic doesn’t work when the odds are stacked against it then?
According to my ideas, you are basically trying to pick a particular path out of all possible outcomes. The more outcomes contain your desired result, the easier your job is to successfully pick it - just like normal life :)
 

AlchoPwn

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So why oh why oh why have I not won the lottery when practicing similar rituals every evening before the draw?
Well that's easy. How can you win in a tug of war between 10,000,000 warring wills over something as ephemeral as the drop of numbers?
 

feinman

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I know that digging up four year old threads is bad, mkay - but this is my wheelhouse. I've spent thirty years researching how and indeed why magic works. I finally finished writing my book "The Engineering of Coincidence: a scientific explanation of magic" at the end of last year, and this month I was lucky enough to have it reviewed in this month's FT.

I say "lucky" but I did magic for it, so I would count this a successful event.

As I say to people "If the explanation could be put on a t-shirt, I'd be selling t-shirts instead", but the rough idea is this:

Imagine the multiverse, each possibility spreading out into a 'tree' of other possibilities. Now imagine that all of that tree exists at once (the 'timeless multiverse'), and it is a limitation of ours (and physics :) )that only allows us to see the single path we take through it, like a person playing through a choose-your-own-adventure book.

Normally, you choose to do things and select your path normally and think nothing of it. But, under certain circumstances using certain methods, it is possible to choose paths for which there seem to be no causal connection.

The point being is that you do not change the universe; you move to the place where it is changed.

Most of the famous problems with quantum physics are because people don't appreciate that, because of this, they are figure and ground problems.
Very interesting! I'm going to have to have a look at that! Thanks.
 

Tempest63

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According to my ideas, you are basically trying to pick a particular path out of all possible outcomes. The more outcomes contain your desired result, the easier your job is to successfully pick it - just like normal life :)
I was thoroughly engrossed in the occult/paranormal from a very early age, mostly Astral Projection, Ghosts etc. A good friend had an older brother who was heavily into ritual magic and he, on finding of my interest, introduced me to Ophiel, the Golden Dawn and practical magic, (and most importantly the Atlantis Bookshop). I read and practiced for 20 or so years until I realised that everything I had tried had never born fruit. The practice of ritual magic is no different than than getting on your knees at bedtime, and asking God to help mummy and daddy. You can look at coincidences and claim them as proof that magic works, but until someone can show me absolute proof I will stick with my relatively new found scepticism. I feel like I have rubbed many many years of mud out of my eyes and can see clearly now.
 

skinny

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Time for a little payback, then?

The reformed ex-participant so often resorts zealously to antagonism. I was the same when I surrendered my christianism, and also after the resulting Dawkinsian atheism inevitably dissolved in a fizz of its own sulfuric acid. From this I've come to conclude that mocking those who draw their own perceived benefit from whatever gets them through the night only diminishes oneself, not the hapless target. Absolute certainty comes from within, not without. So chill out and dance to the ambiguities.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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20 years and *nothing* worked? I think it's worth pointing out that a big negative result over chance is as significant as a big positive result over chance. Doesn't help you ofc :-/
One of the big questions I felt I needed to answer was: why is magic so unreliable? No supposed explanation would be complete without addressing this issue.
 

escargot

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Meanwhile, some of my most fortunate real-life plot twists have been unforeseen with long-term (happy) consequences.
Like being flipped upsidedown by a giant, cosmic spatula.

A deeply-held belief of mine is that every few years my life will be flipped like that and I'll have to deal with it. Nothing supernatural. Just how things go.
 

escargot

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On Sunday morning's meditation, I visualized the parking space outside my house as empty and kept repeating to myself 'you'll be gone soon'. This really made me feel a lot better about the situation and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day.

Some people visualise a vacant parking space on their way out in the car and reckon the Car Park Angels or whoever arranges it for them. Maybe they did a little job you as a sideline?

Anyway, four dollars a pound.
 

feinman

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According to my ideas, you are basically trying to pick a particular path out of all possible outcomes. The more outcomes contain your desired result, the easier your job is to successfully pick it - just like normal life :)
To me part of it is to attain a trance-like transpersonal state ("gnostic state"), a both "yes" and "no" and "maybe" state, achieved traditionally drumming, chanting, dancing, seething, drugs, cones of power practices, etc., building up energy without concentrating on the result (which would "collapse" the whole process, and drain away threshold, tipping-point energy). This can be seen in magical practices from many cultures across time. All of the "energy" is then released in an instant on the target or desired result.
 

feinman

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There are also many kinds of "magic" some of it more like pranic healing.. Or using one's subtle energies to harm or heal or communicate with something at a distance. Doing yoga and various other exercises similar to practices found in The Secret of the Golden Flower can greatly enhance these abilities and provide other attainments.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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To me part of it is to attain a trance-like transpersonal state ("gnostic state"), a both "yes" and "no" and "maybe" state, achieved traditionally drumming, chanting, dancing, seething, drugs, cones of power practices, etc., building up energy without concentrating on the result (which would "collapse" the whole process, and drain away threshold, tipping-point energy). This can be seen in magical practices from many cultures across time. All of the "energy" is then released in an instant on the target or desired result.
The gnostic state and the avoidance of the result are indeed part of the 'how'. I attempted to find out why it works, and ended up remodelling the universe :D
 

Frasier Buddolph

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Taking a cue from the Buddhist prayer wheel, I fabbed a small wind spinner which has a space inside for a slip of paper, on which I can write a wish or a prayer for blessing. The idea being that each rotation of the spinner accumulates merit. Of course, I would NEVER use it to call down malediction, imprecation, or execration on some good-for-nothing son of a-- Oh, heavens no. Mercy me . . . my stars . . . gee whillikers . . . no, no, no . . . heavens to Betsy . . .
 

feinman

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Taking a cue from the Buddhist prayer wheel, I fabbed a small wind spinner which has a space inside for a slip of paper, on which I can write a wish or a prayer for blessing. The idea being that each rotation of the spinner accumulates merit. Of course, I would NEVER use it to call down malediction, imprecation, or execration on some good-for-nothing son of a-- Oh, heavens no. Mercy me . . . my stars . . . gee whillikers . . . no, no, no . . . heavens to Betsy . . .
Ha! Love it. Sometimes a malediction creates blessings, dunnit? :D
 

skinny

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I am looking for some good suggestions for beginner level magick, books and/or websites please.
There are some recommendations for more formal scholarly texts at the end of this video, really for those wanting to explore the theoretical and historical foundations of western esotericism. It's great to see the field has been starting to garner serious academic attention in recent years.

The channel seems pretty well-researched and the presenter has completed a PhD in esoteric studies. I found it after his review for A Dark Song (2016) popped up on my interest list.
 

Mikefule

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One of the big questions I felt I needed to answer was: why is magic so unreliable? No supposed explanation would be complete without addressing this issue.

This depends on what you mean by "reliable." A reliable car starts every time and never breaks down. A reliable employee is always punctual and has 100% attendance. However, that is not the only way to be reliable.

Imagine a drug that improves survival rates from a given disease. Without the drug, 10% of sufferers survive. With the drug, 25% of sufferers survive. Most people would call that an effective drug. They would accept that it did not work every time — probably due to a variety of unquantifiable variables — but they would not use the word "unreliable" to describe it. Indeed, if competing drugs produced a 20% survival rate, the one that produced 25% may be called "the most reliable".

Ditto with an eminent surgeon whose patients survived 90% of the time, when other surgeons at the same hospital treating similar patients achieved only 85% survival rates. He is a reliable surgeon, but some of his patients die.

So now imagine a form of magic that demonstrably and measurably improves the probability of a favourable outcome but without guaranteeing a favourable outcome.

If, for the sake of argument, it were possible to do control studies with measurable results and you consistently demonstrated that there was a favourable outcome 65% of the time with magic, and only 50% of the time without magic, that would be evidence supporting the hypothesis that magic is efficacious (capable of being effective), without it being effective every single time.

There are various popular theories and models for how magic might work.

If it relies on the intervention of a paranormal entity (demon, angel, spirit of the deceased) then the entity may be capricious and choose not to intervene, or may have a conflict of interest if another practitioner is invoking it to achieve the opposite effect.

if it relies on psychological or psychosomatic factors (placebo, nocebo, fear of the curse, suggestion, etc.) then the effectiveness may vary with the intelligence, education, mental health, and cultural background of the subject.

If it relies on some sort of blast of psi energy from the practitioner, they may be fallible. Alternatively, the subject (victim?) may be particularly resistant or resilient. Even Mike Tyson landed blows that did not knock out his opponents.

If it relies on some sort of release of power from a concoction of herbs and entrails, there may be some variation in the quality of the ingredients, or in the way that it is prepared, stored, or administered.

If it relies on some sort of twisting or selecting of consensus reality — choosing one reality out of the countless possible ones — then the combined effect of all other consciousnesses may be strong enough to prevent the change or selection.

And so on. In every field of human endeavour, nothing is 100% reliable. The best lawyer still loses some cases, the best boxer may be floored by a lucky punch, a top cyclist may hit a discarded water bottle and crash, a fill of bad fuel may block the carburettor of an otherwise reliable engine. Why should magic be any different?

I am not a believer in magic, but I am just following the argument where it leads.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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This depends on what you mean by "reliable." A reliable car starts every time and never breaks down. A reliable employee is always punctual and has 100% attendance. However, that is not the only way to be reliable.

Imagine a drug that improves survival rates from a given disease. Without the drug, 10% of sufferers survive. With the drug, 25% of sufferers survive. Most people would call that an effective drug. They would accept that it did not work every time — probably due to a variety of unquantifiable variables — but they would not use the word "unreliable" to describe it. Indeed, if competing drugs produced a 20% survival rate, the one that produced 25% may be called "the most reliable".

Ditto with an eminent surgeon whose patients survived 90% of the time, when other surgeons at the same hospital treating similar patients achieved only 85% survival rates. He is a reliable surgeon, but some of his patients die.

So now imagine a form of magic that demonstrably and measurably improves the probability of a favourable outcome but without guaranteeing a favourable outcome.

If, for the sake of argument, it were possible to do control studies with measurable results and you consistently demonstrated that there was a favourable outcome 65% of the time with magic, and only 50% of the time without magic, that would be evidence supporting the hypothesis that magic is efficacious (capable of being effective), without it being effective every single time.

This is exactly it. The best evidence I found in my travels for this was from Robert Jahn's PEAR lab, where the quantumly random output from a number generator was influenced, by a tiny amount overall.
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one of the things I found most interesting was when they added up the PK- and the PK+, they got the average curve, suggesting that you are choosing from all the possible paths, but the total cannot change.
 

ramonmercado

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Will the Sigil Engine work for you?

The Sigil Engine adapts an ancient practice for the internet age, creating mystic symbols that true believers say can bend the universe to their will.
https://www.vice.com/en/contributor/tamlin-magee
For thousands of years, runes, glyphs, and icons have been used in occult rituals and spiritual practices to mess with reality. Today, drawings imbued with the desires of their creators—called sigils—are undergoing a resurgence. Advocates insist they really work, and a new app called the Sigil Engine automates the whole process, aiming to make inventing reality even more accessible. ...

Users of the Sigil Engine, though, rely on code to do much of the legwork. When visitors land on the URL, they're greeted by a sparkling black background and a prompt to type their "intention." Doing so will set the Engine in motion, drawing the sign in bright red. Co-creator Darragh Mason, who hosts the Spirit Box podcast, describes this flourish as "a prayer or a moment of reverence to the goddess Babalon," found within the Thelemic system first synthesised by British occultist Aleister Crowley. The backdrop alludes to "the great expansive void from which all things spring". ...

To ensure the final sigil is almost guaranteed to be unique, the application logs the speed of typing, the time between keystrokes, and compares these to the entirety of the Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, a Thelemic text that's contained within the code. ...

The final illustration generated by the Sigil Engine is placed within a circle—a nod, its creators say, to the Goetic seals of demons in the Lesser Key of Solomon, a medieval "grimoire," or magical book, from the mid-17th century, that more recently made an appearance in Ari Aster's Hereditary. ...

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjp...g-to-change-reality-with-a-magickal-algorithm
 

Moth Twiceborn

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Will the Sigil Engine work for you?

The Sigil Engine adapts an ancient practice for the internet age, creating mystic symbols that true believers say can bend the universe to their will.
https://www.vice.com/en/contributor/tamlin-magee
For thousands of years, runes, glyphs, and icons have been used in occult rituals and spiritual practices to mess with reality. Today, drawings imbued with the desires of their creators—called sigils—are undergoing a resurgence. Advocates insist they really work, and a new app called the Sigil Engine automates the whole process, aiming to make inventing reality even more accessible. ...

Users of the Sigil Engine, though, rely on code to do much of the legwork. When visitors land on the URL, they're greeted by a sparkling black background and a prompt to type their "intention." Doing so will set the Engine in motion, drawing the sign in bright red. Co-creator Darragh Mason, who hosts the Spirit Box podcast, describes this flourish as "a prayer or a moment of reverence to the goddess Babalon," found within the Thelemic system first synthesised by British occultist Aleister Crowley. The backdrop alludes to "the great expansive void from which all things spring". ...

To ensure the final sigil is almost guaranteed to be unique, the application logs the speed of typing, the time between keystrokes, and compares these to the entirety of the Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, a Thelemic text that's contained within the code. ...

The final illustration generated by the Sigil Engine is placed within a circle—a nod, its creators say, to the Goetic seals of demons in the Lesser Key of Solomon, a medieval "grimoire," or magical book, from the mid-17th century, that more recently made an appearance in Ari Aster's Hereditary. ...

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjp...g-to-change-reality-with-a-magickal-algorithm
Excellent. This is the best example I've seen of these online sigil gens :)
 

Frideswide

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I like mine. Instant warm attraction.

Um... what do I do with it?
 

skinny

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Taking mine to the crossroad later tonight, This could be interesting.
 
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