Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,sci.skeptic,alt.occult From: firstname.lastname@example.org (nagasiva) Subject: Authority and Science of Magick Date: 13 Jan 1999 03:27:26 -0800 49980510 Rodney wrote: # > >Yeah, and in my school of thought, to hell with both students and # > >instructors. We're all learning from each other. regarding skills this may be problematic. generally I agree. Cavalorn replied: # > In honesty, I don't agree with the everyone-is-equal argument which # > Rodney seems to me to be presenting, in which 'we' are all presumably # > part of one big research group, because I don't see any a priori # > objection to the student/instructor arrangement. It's present in # > _other_ aspects of life, obviously enough. the controversy is whether what is being discussed is 'an aspect of life' or is something unusual in comparison. one star in sight
# ...it is a mistake to apply the social concepts of legal # egalitarianism and democracy to spiritual levels of mastery. a lovely assertion. I agree with its entirety, and yet I wonder whether the attitude toward which it points might not serve us in any case. that is, despite the apparent fact that spiritual levels of mastery are indeed differentiated, why shouldn't social contexts in which the relative level of mastery is ambiguous or disputed (i.e. not a guru and hir chelas) be treated as a round table sharing as opposed to either setting about the establishment of some standard by which these levels may be socially discerned or defaulting to the notions of those who may find it valuable to claim such mastery? there are some humble individuals (some say this is a quality of mastery itself) whose purity would surely be occulted if we were to use the default. # It makes a lot of sense to say that everyone is EQUAL in the eyes # of the law. It makes no sense to say that everyone is EQUAL in # regards to a specific discipline, or even spiritually level - # flatland Ken Wilber calls it. agreed. the real controversy comes once we've agreed about this. # No one really complains about it except when you start talking about # the internal dimension. Externally you can easily measure it. Joe # knows how to fix cars, I dont, teach me Joe, thank you. yes, these I'm calling 'skills'. # Interestingly some internal arts we don't seem to have a problem with # admitting teachers. "My Yoga teacher" "My Zen meditation teacher" "My # martial arts teacher" none of these statements will raise many eyebrows. 'Yoga' is both an internal development of union which cannot be instructed and a batch of sets of disciplines which are taught by a variety of different teachers. without the qualifier we are left to fill in the blanks (Raja Yoga? Tantra? Hatha? Traditional? Westernized? Combination? New Age?, etc.). 'Zen meditation' is a specific activity within a Buddhist tradition (or set of traditions, such as Soto and Rinzai) that approximates to the same basic form. if you were to say 'your Zen teacher' we might take issue with an instructor of 'Zen' in the same sense as that of 'Yoga' -- it can only be pointed toward, not directly instructed. 'martial arts' may have a parallel in the sense of learning any art -- one can only be instructed as to the basic structures and techniques, the rest is the development of an interior process that may be inspired by the techniques or instructed as an ideology attendent with the physical and/or psycho-spiritual curriculum. notice that all of these examples are alien of origin to the West, and in particular to Christianized cultures. # But if you say "My Magick teacher," watch. there is a stigma from the religious cultures of both the Christian and Scientific establishments -- the former deem its unauthorized practice to be forbidden, the latter deem it as a ridiculous affair for the modern individual to take up on account of its primitive and fantastic relations. # ...that is because you can demonstrate Yoga, you can # demonstrate Zen, you can demonstrate martial arts. I hope that I have explained why in each of these cases there is a significance which transcends an ability to demonstrate them. 'Yoga', 'Zen' and even 'art' are, simply put, not observable to the eye which does not participate in the same internal activity, and may be overlooked even having had experience with the associated disciplines. # Why is Magick in such bad shape? opposition from Western establishments. presuppositions about of what 'magick' consists. # "The Problems with Magick" by Robin # Copyright (C) 1998 left in to assign it as such, intending to repost this to public forums and archive. please inform me if this is problematic. # Problem A. # Magical results are poorly demonstrated even by those who claim high # attainment. then they are not doing magick. any who cannot, over time, provided sufficient notice, produce change in conformity with Will is simply not a skilled mage, regardless of the claims. if none can achieve this then either the field is in very poor shape or (and this is usually the contention of those who would save face) those who know the skills of magick are too busy employing them to be bothered with trying to demonstrate that it might be accomplished. # Problem B. # Magick invariably involves a heavily mythic subtext and endless # rearrangement of poorly related mental concepts. Instead of dealing with # magical acts taking place on the level where the result is expected to # happen, it's all mixed up. (We 'go out' on the astral plane and how long # is it before we have deluded ourselves into thinking we're living there. # We send a message to our subconcious to make something happen on the # other side of the world.) the mythic subtext of magick can indeed be problematic in coming to understand magick and its effectuality. however, that it *can* be does not necessitate that it is. being able to discern the tool and the application of the tool is imperative here. # Problem C. # Magick's "secrets" are inevitably exceedly compact, expressed in a few # words. This leads to an overarching impression that the majority of the # disciple and information in the system is superfluous. the central principles of successful magical operations are simply expressed, but sometimes complex in character. it is true that the majority of the discipline and information in magical tradition is superfluous, this is not merely an 'impression'. therefore this is not really a problem except for those who attribute to the magical enterprise a batch of tools which it need not contain or cannot see magick from its accoutrements. # Problem D. # These few "secrets" are not secret at all. They form a sort of # technology. Some people pretend that the technology can be # controlled and this leads to smoke screen, posturing and lots of # ridicule. where magick becomes religion it enters into traditional and cultic proscriptions and prescriptions. the technology as you have it above can be controlled, though different individuals may control it in a variety of ways and this may not always serve the interests of any but the controllers. # ...this kind of attitude make the supposed science of Magick into # an internally self conflicting absurdity. without a central or systemic structure of authority, disciplines which in any way approximate to social or personal power will have contentions as to their nature. magick is more like Science in the way that Buddhism can be seen as scientific: that it proceeds from observation and proof rather than faith, whatever may be accepted as initial hypotheses. since self-delusion is a major problem for solitaries, social systems have, over time, developed to attempt to minimize this. thus mystical traditions were born. these may become corrupted by religious, cultic influences just as easily as any other social venture where power and knowledge are associated. magick doesn't become an internally self-conflicting absurdity until religous cults attempt to delineate authority structures surrounding it, especially in some absolute manner. the humility of a tradition indicates its health. if it says what it itself contains rather what is outside of it then it is more likely to be of relevance to participants, however faulty. # Problem E. # Since the systems of Magick are so filled with apparently # superfluous fluff (Problem C) for the uninformed outside observer, yes. # with no way to reliably measure sucess and failure (Problem A) measurement of success and failure is quite simple, it is just avoided by those who want to seem successes. the way to test it is to observe the activities of a mage, taking careful log of what it is that they say they are attempting; how difficult, given the circumstances, this appears to be; and how often they are able to achieve their intentions. # Magick degenerates far too easily into: # 1 : [Trivia] # 2 : Delusion deluding self OR others. # 3 : Sex # 4 : Politics also 5. Religion (probably covered by 2 and 4) 6. Entertainment (thus, combined with 2, becomes 'Stage Magic') # Problem F. # In order to support the fluffy success promised by Problem E # (success in Trivia, success in Delusion, success in Sex, Success # in Politics) people who would otherwise be working together to # further the art and science of Magick waste thier talents and # energies jockying to satisfy them. there is a problem with this discernment. magick is *used* to achieve things within the domains mentioned above. that these are not considered magical successes illustrates a fundamentally flawed review of success: we are prone to ignore whether someone who achieves something did so intentionally or was carried by the conditions and circumstance to where they arrived, serendipitously. the former is magick, possibly a fluke. when consistently achieved the individual has a penchant for the practice of magick, no matter how they made their practice. the latter is 'luck' and it is said that such 'fortune' may be intentionally manipulated (some claiming that this is the basis of magick). your initial analysis was of "a problem with admitting teachers", and you set out a number of reasons why the science and art of magick might experience these problems. of those you presented, these stand out to me as relevant and sustainable: * results poorly demonstrated * heavy mythic subtext * struggle for control of the technology of magick * degeneration into other pursuits I think the THIRD contributes the most to the problem you are attempting to dissect. those who control or can be said to control the technology of magick will be *able* to accomplish the 'other pursuits' you mentioned by virtue of social flim-flam, and the poor demonstrations and mythic subtext merely add to this deception by obscuring the real discipline involved. that is, admitting a 'teacher' confers an authority which we either do not presume that such an individual would desire (as they would not if their pursuits led them to be or had a prerequisite for success of being humble) or might not wish to allow as we want to be able to contend for this authority for our own reasons. given this, the most reliable books about magick will tend to be those written by people with a broad experience whose life exploits have led them to signifant success in a number of areas, including the areas of self-reflection, critical analysis, and written expression). the same could be said about individual sources save the written expression will be substituted for the verbal and/or bodily. other possible sources are those who, for some reason that we may not understand, have been given insight into the phenomenon of magick, its dynamics and principles. this insight may arise as a result of ritual and/or magical endeavors to acquire it (say, instruction with extramundane intelligences or tutelage with gods of magick), or it may come naturally to the source by virtue of exposure to such individuals or cultures (e.g. the occasionally wonderful observations and reflections of anthro- pologists). blessed beast! nagasiva
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