Even though a lot of us don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and even mock others for making them, just talking about (not?) making them can get us thinking about things we need to change or do. While I resolved to not make a resolution, I did start thinking about how big my magic to-do list has gotten in the past few months. Between the holiday season, work, and Civilization 5 I have been neglecting my practice a bit. While it’s a regular topic of conversation, actionable ideas and projects have just fallen by the wayside.
My wife gave me a nice calligraphy set for Christmas which I have been using to practice my Theban, but I don’t really consider that to be spiritual work, it’s more personal art with a magical flare. Spiritual work for me involves reading, meditation, and practice of my trade. Reading is always a part of me, even during the holiday season, but it was just reading some Grimoires and writing for the fun of it. Serious work involves me paying heavy attention and taking notes.
The notes are worthless after I take them, they just implant things into my brain. I got through college with a 3.753 GPA because of my ability to absorb information. I did every scrap of homework, and wrote everything I could during the lecture. Before my next exam I would write down key points from those notes and throw it all out. I wouldn’t need them ever again. No studying previous materials for a cumulative final, total recall on my statistics from two years prior in a logistics class, and I still use my calculus and statistics in our demographics studies here at work.
That’s what I aim for when I’m exposed to new materials within the magical world too. I want total recall at any given moment from any source I’ve ever read. I know I don’t quite have the ability to go that far, but full recollection from the important ones and conceptual recollection from the others is well within reason in my perception.
I ramble like this in person too.
Back to my original subject: I haven’t been getting anything done except a bit of pondering over past experience and trying to draw lines between some of the existing dots. Nothing big has come up; just a to-do list of crap I need to learn, do, and experiment with. The biggest thing I need to figure out is the transferral of terrestrial magic into the ether. I need to take it with me to see what it does when it’s out in the wild. That will be the first step towards learning to properly cast within the ether. Rather that just think I’m casting, as with all my magic, I need to have things confirmed and tested. The imagination is too strong to rely on such esoteric things. If not, you could just be yelling ‘pew pew pew’ in your own mind as something shows you exactly how ineffective you really are.
Astral magic will be an interesting concept for me to explore. The astral removes all the constraints that limit us in the physical world, and things like fireballs flying out of your ass become possible, but only within the astral. The part I’m interested in is protection while in the astral (some ugly things can learn out there) and how spells within the astral can be used to affect the physical world. If the origin of the magic has no physical boundaries, does it maintain that freedom as it transfers into the physical, or does it get to keep all/some of those freedoms as it passes over? The spiritual embodiment of a person that appears in the astral, while their body exists in the physical world, could be interesting to manipulate to see the effect it can have. If you blow an ass fireball at their astral self what would it do to their physical body? Something mental? A blow to their spirituality? Nothing?
It’s those kinds of questions that I want to start answering in my work. Obviously the ass fireball is quite the facetious example, but I’ve always used ‘blowing a fireball out of your ass’ as an example of the reasonable physical limitations of magic. Sure, the odds are technically there, but making it actually happen is quite a different story, and hopefully not the focus of anyone who considers themselves a serious practitioner of anything.
As with all questions that are asked, many questions must be answered before those can be explored, and the testing of those hypotheses will only lead to more questions and testing. For me to take magic seriously I have to approach it with the part of my mind that enjoys both the scientific method and statistics. The scientific method gives us a model to question and test our hypotheses in a structured way, while statistical assumptions can be used on background information that we don’t have, and can accommodate (reasonably) concepts such as faith and other information we simply can’t (or don’t yet) know. Statistics can also help us understand how the magic formulas that Peter Carroll provide can be applied in actual application. We can apply our assumptions, confidence levels, standard deviations, outliers, and other things that help us make sense out of what we do. While all things are Chaos, and Chaos is in all things, we rely on faith to blow the final fireball, and for some (me especially) that faith comes from knowledge. It sounds a bit backwards, but it’s what works for me.
If people knew the extent to which they were exposed to magic every day they would probably crawl in a hole and cry. Perhaps that would be a good topic for another post.