Gordon White, Is Magic Outdated Tech? |405|

#21
no smiley face there so I'm assuming yr serious... so, just to let you understand our perspective, us yanks see it the other way around. we offer a watered-down version of the pomp and ceremony your "royals" made famous.
Ha! From a culture that has graduation ceremonies from kindergarten? I actually think Americans do ritual better than the Brits, who probably do ceremony to the hilt, but don't go that extra distance. I see the US as a deeply ritualised and ritualistic culture - and that's not a criticism. Sometimes its admiration and sometimes its bemusement.

Your military funerals are something else in terms of intensity. You have turned the POTUS into a semi-divine being, next to whom QE2 must feel underdone. The difference is that the POTUS functions in the real world (even if their sense of reality can be doubted by many) while QE2 is rolled out for ceremonial occasions and otherwise left to her own amusements.

A lot of pageantry can be form with no substance and signs and symbols with meaning only discernible to a few. But see then more potent US rituals as being direct and unambiguous - very accessible - more democratic.
 
#22
In response to Alex's tee'd up question of is a government/military/corporate attempt to break into the spirit world OK? I think this entirely depends on the disposition of those in the power positions of said agencies.
My immediate response was that any attempt to 'break into' the spirit world is hideously stupid and doomed to catastrophic consequences. The premise its wrong for starters. The I figured that this is what you'd expect from crass materialists - so where would you expect them to start from? It is not unlike the other blundering, stupid and arrogant intrusions.

I might allow that if the dispositions were benign I could be kinder, were it not for the fact gentler folk are not disposed to such brutal extremes. No, the 'break in' mentality is uncompromising in asserting its premises as the governing logic. The link between trauma and psi ability has to do with the 'breaking' of the normal mindset. It is not a permission giver to torture children. The link between initiatory trauma as part of a transitional phase is well known, but to translate that into expecting that intentionally inflicted trauma will do the trick is idiotic at best and culpably sadistic at worst.

Trauma per se does not lead to psi powers. There must be a 'breaking' and 'recreating' method. The difference between trauma that transforms and trauma that injures has to be finely managed by agents who know what they are doing. It is not something amateurs can engage in.

There is no way the government/military/corporate powers are best placed to confront existential threats to humanity - actual or imagined. While their sense of an imperative to protect their collective and aligned interests is clear, that hardly constitutes a representation of the collective and aligned interests of a population in general - even if many are induced to think it does.

ET quite pointedly does not go via government/military/corporate (GMC) powers exclusively because ET does not see those powers as either supreme or representative. GMC powers like to induce us to believe that they are the arbiters of our reality, and hence the proper representatives, on our behalf, to face ET. Mostly, however, few people believe this. In fact the notion that a delegated representative is needed is quite ludicrous. ET (whatever that means finally) interacts with humanity with no regard to any known protocols established by those who think they run the show. That does not mean that some ET do not engage with GMC powers for their own purposes. It is just not the exclusive mode of interaction - or the primary one?

I do not see ET as being physical plane extra-terrestrials only. I think 'spirit' expresses to us as ET because that's what we can allow. For example it is well known in advertising that we respond to people is white lab coats well - so we see lots of actors in white lab coats. At the same time there are real 'clinicians' in white lab coats - and we really can't tell them apart without a decent level of knowledge.

This isn't a digression. We don't know what we are 'breaking into' at the best of times, unless we do actually know the distinctions. There are plenty of indications that ET appears in spirit encounters - as a mask? As a metaphor?

So while GMC powers imagine they have an interest its not their right or duty to get involved - and to involve individuals. Nuns don't run brothels for similar reasons.
 
#23
yes and no... seems to matter how you frame it. we live in a culture where the dominant paradigm suggests that all the behaviors you've mentioned are 100% brain stuff... and when I say dominant I mean dominant. you and I think differently, but we are on the outside. so, now on top of that, we're going to layer our limited understanding of how the spirit world works? I'm ok with this exercise, but more in the "inquiry to perpetuate doubt" camp :)

I'm also very open to the possibility that schizophrenia is related to spirit communication in some way we don't fully understand:
I have close on 25 years working with intellectual disability and mental illness - and both are misleading terms. Both suggest a deficiency of self in some way, rather than an injury or illness that is entirely physical.

In relation to 'intellectual disability' we are mostly talking brain injury of some kind - pre-natal or at birth. What is 'disabled' in relation to the 'intellect' is the brain's capacity to function normally in variety of ways. If intellect is an attribute of the brain then the disability is intellectual.

But the idea of the mind was invented to supplant the idea of the soul. And Intellect became synonymous with Reason, which was a higher oder interaction between soul and rational thought rooted in physical being. In a sense, then, an intellectual disability can be inferred to be a soul disability - which it isn't.

Mental illness can also be construed to be a soul illness. But, in fact, a great deal of so-called 'mental illness' is rooted in emotional dysfunction because of trauma.

The deeper self or soul is not impaired so much as the vehicle of expression is - whether that be in a physical sense (eg brain damage) or a psychological sense - the personality (damaged because of trauma).

I don't validate the standard psychiatric model because psychiatry does not validate the metaphysical dimension of human reality. If you want to buy the premise that sells schizophrenia as a bona vide illness I think you are walking a perilous path. Its a materialist's model. You want to validate that?

I get your curiosity, but you need to reframe your question.
 
#24
the props are not needed, neither are robes.
Yes, for some, and maybe ultimately - depends on your school of thought. But to get to not needing them may mean needing them. They focus our consciousness and refine our focus. Besides there are sensual elements that are valued, and even essential in some instances.

If the purpose of ritual is to 'get in the mood' - to heighten focus, awareness and anticipation - another words to bring the practitioner to the peak of awareness and receptivity - imagine what you would excise from a romantic dinner. I presume that folk still do such things -as opposed to a drive by at Macca's (that's MacDonalds for yanks) and a casual 'A root wouldn't be out of the question, would it?" (root = recreational copulation). In days when romance was considered the thing to do there were ritual steps to be taken (have a shower, dress up, buy flowers (if a bloke) etc, find a romantic place for dinner (not Macca's- sorry), create a mood and an anticipation that heightens it). Here Eros and Venus might be invoked, but the rules of ritual remain pretty much the same and vary only depending upon the object.

Ritual is not for all gods and spirits, bu some do require demonstrations of appropriate conduct and attitudes.

I know some contemporary practitioners say magic can be an entirely inner process, and that is true for some - just not everybody.

I don't do ceremonial stuff these days, but I recall doing so with great fondness, and I would chuck a robe on (still in the wardrobe) in a heartbeat if I had a good excuse to do so.
 
#25
Agreed. Then again, the evidence for us as "individuals" (whatever that means) having willful control over our ability to interact with other souls / people / living-beings, also seems well-established / obvious. so I'm just calling into question the assumptions were making about how our will is able to open and close with regard to other entities in the "spirit world."
Such a sensible thought. We are so used to screwing around on this planet with the conceits of the Enlightenment we are clueless about how we fit into a grander scheme beyond the horizons of our conceit.

I remember reading Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis (end italics is not working) a few years back. Our sense of self is the rider on an elephant. We have so little control here and bugger all in the metaphysical. That should make us sober about what impacts we do have - how much have we missed?

And this is the weird thing - we do so much [harm] here with so little control. How much do we really know about what we do?
 
#26
I am puzzled by the lack of discussion here. Asking if magic is outdated tech is useful - if that question relates to magical practices currently being employed - can we do it differently? Do we need to?

I think we need to begin by defining magic. Is it causing a thing to occur in conformity with will, and with the assistance of spirit? Gordon observed that shamans are 'selected by spirits' rather than by human agency. This leads to then question as to whether magic itself is effect permitted by spirit, as well as aided.

I trained in ceremonial magic and in Wicca. I quit because I had huge difficulty in finding a motive to engage in elaborate rituals that seemed not to have a clear intent related to the performance. The effort expended seemed to be unrelated to anything meaningful. In the groups I was associated with I found the passion for power unbalanced balanced, with hardly any sense of spiritual or moral development. It would not be fair to say that this pertained to ceremonial magic in general - I can speak only of my experience. I have retained a deep affection for Wicca as a practice and value framework.

For me the Western Mystery Tradition, at level of publicly accessible content, is outmoded. The emergence of Chaos Magic was understandable, but did not, I think, address the underpinning problem. It is one thing to see magic as a technology, but another to frame its application within a set of moral values. Power technologies are not grounds for spiritual development, and just because magic deals with gods and spirits that does not mean it is 'spiritual' per se.

So this is interesting in that 'spiritual' people can develop magical powers. But magical people do not develop spiritual powers. By 'spiritual' I mean an outlook on life that has a moral dimension at its core (Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Gentleness etc). We can work lovingly with spirits, and Spirit, to bring about effects that are 'positive' (supportive, healing, nurturing etc).

Or we can pursue power and influence on terms we set. My beef with the two groups I worked with was that there was no sufficient examination of motive. The exhortation to be good was entirely rational, and to the extent that there was a code of ethics it had more to do with avoidance of getting into trouble thanks setting a standard of conduct. In essence the ability to exercise power was being developed while development of the individual on a psychological, spiritual and moral level was ignored.

It is certainly so that the Western Mystery Tradition is not uniformly problematic. A matter of motive remains, I think, central to its validity and value. The notion of the scientific/military community wanting to 'break into' the magical because it can be seen as a technology is comprehensible if the motive is strategic and commercial. Is this necessarily distinct from the 'spiritual'?

Magic has been abused by materialistic science and religion, so we have no shared coherent cultural markers to guide us. We are making our own way - stumbling as individuals or communities (like this one) - into a new age. Something Dean Radin senses too.

I want to suggest that magic is old tech in the sense that it is about developing the tech rather than the attributes of character that may, as they evolve, deliver the means to apply the same tech in a moral framework.

Before I engaged in training I had skills to make stuff happen. I thought training would help me understand this, but it did not, because there was no accommodation for natural ability. Indeed having that natural talent caused problems. Those familiar with occult orders will understand when I say that one group's inner plane teacher observed of me that 'Magic is not his problem. He is.' It was true. My psychological state was my problem. What I needed was a stronger moral and spiritual focus. That took some time to develop.

Magic, for me, has been about power and knowledge with less emphasis on the divine - on the love/wisdom side of the ledger. In this respect it has that utilitarian quality we see in materialism - which caps the moral dimension at the level of human intellect and does not extend into the realm of the soul. Power and knowledge unanchored to the divine is what our culture is about essentially - and we are coming progressively to see that - and see the need for change.

Can we re-attach magic to the moral? By that I do not mean crude and contestable notions of good and bad, but what the esoteric tradition refers to as the Love/Wisdom stream. It is worthwhile noting that our culture hosts magical, esoteric, mystical and religious streams of thought and practice. All 4 have natural confluences - and when we fold science back into that mix we can make major alliances of thought and action that will influence our world in good ways.
 
#27
I am puzzled by the lack of discussion here. Asking if magic is outdated tech is useful - if that question relates to magical practices currently being employed - can we do it differently? Do we need to?

I think we need to begin by defining magic. Is it causing a thing to occur in conformity with will, and with the assistance of spirit? Gordon observed that shamans are 'selected by spirits' rather than by human agency. This leads to then question as to whether magic itself is effect permitted by spirit, as well as aided.

I trained in ceremonial magic and in Wicca. I quit because I had huge difficulty in finding a motive to engage in elaborate rituals that seemed not to have a clear intent related to the performance. The effort expended seemed to be unrelated to anything meaningful. In the groups I was associated with I found the passion for power unbalanced balanced, with hardly any sense of spiritual or moral development. It would not be fair to say that this pertained to ceremonial magic in general - I can speak only of my experience. I have retained a deep affection for Wicca as a practice and value framework.

For me the Western Mystery Tradition, at level of publicly accessible content, is outmoded. The emergence of Chaos Magic was understandable, but did not, I think, address the underpinning problem. It is one thing to see magic as a technology, but another to frame its application within a set of moral values. Power technologies are not grounds for spiritual development, and just because magic deals with gods and spirits that does not mean it is 'spiritual' per se.

So this is interesting in that 'spiritual' people can develop magical powers. But magical people do not develop spiritual powers. By 'spiritual' I mean an outlook on life that has a moral dimension at its core (Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Gentleness etc). We can work lovingly with spirits, and Spirit, to bring about effects that are 'positive' (supportive, healing, nurturing etc).

Or we can pursue power and influence on terms we set. My beef with the two groups I worked with was that there was no sufficient examination of motive. The exhortation to be good was entirely rational, and to the extent that there was a code of ethics it had more to do with avoidance of getting into trouble thanks setting a standard of conduct. In essence the ability to exercise power was being developed while development of the individual on a psychological, spiritual and moral level was ignored.

It is certainly so that the Western Mystery Tradition is not uniformly problematic. A matter of motive remains, I think, central to its validity and value. The notion of the scientific/military community wanting to 'break into' the magical because it can be seen as a technology is comprehensible if the motive is strategic and commercial. Is this necessarily distinct from the 'spiritual'?

Magic has been abused by materialistic science and religion, so we have no shared coherent cultural markers to guide us. We are making our own way - stumbling as individuals or communities (like this one) - into a new age. Something Dean Radin senses too.

I want to suggest that magic is old tech in the sense that it is about developing the tech rather than the attributes of character that may, as they evolve, deliver the means to apply the same tech in a moral framework.

Before I engaged in training I had skills to make stuff happen. I thought training would help me understand this, but it did not, because there was no accommodation for natural ability. Indeed having that natural talent caused problems. Those familiar with occult orders will understand when I say that one group's inner plane teacher observed of me that 'Magic is not his problem. He is.' It was true. My psychological state was my problem. What I needed was a stronger moral and spiritual focus. That took some time to develop.

Magic, for me, has been about power and knowledge with less emphasis on the divine - on the love/wisdom side of the ledger. In this respect it has that utilitarian quality we see in materialism - which caps the moral dimension at the level of human intellect and does not extend into the realm of the soul. Power and knowledge unanchored to the divine is what our culture is about essentially - and we are coming progressively to see that - and see the need for change.

Can we re-attach magic to the moral? By that I do not mean crude and contestable notions of good and bad, but what the esoteric tradition refers to as the Love/Wisdom stream. It is worthwhile noting that our culture hosts magical, esoteric, mystical and religious streams of thought and practice. All 4 have natural confluences - and when we fold science back into that mix we can make major alliances of thought and action that will influence our world in good ways.
I am glad you brought this up, because I feel that most of us are way removed from magic - how it is performed, whether it works, how risky it is, etc.

I really wish that Gordon White would start with the very basics, rather than engage in a very general discussion. I'd like him to talk through one piece of his magic, and explain the evidence that it achieved something, etc.

David
 
#28
I am puzzled by the lack of discussion here. Asking if magic is outdated tech is useful - if that question relates to magical practices currently being employed - can we do it differently? Do we need to?

I think we need to begin by defining magic. Is it causing a thing to occur in conformity with will, and with the assistance of spirit? Gordon observed that shamans are 'selected by spirits' rather than by human agency. This leads to then question as to whether magic itself is effect permitted by spirit, as well as aided.

I trained in ceremonial magic and in Wicca. I quit because I had huge difficulty in finding a motive to engage in elaborate rituals that seemed not to have a clear intent related to the performance. The effort expended seemed to be unrelated to anything meaningful. In the groups I was associated with I found the passion for power unbalanced balanced, with hardly any sense of spiritual or moral development. It would not be fair to say that this pertained to ceremonial magic in general - I can speak only of my experience. I have retained a deep affection for Wicca as a practice and value framework.

For me the Western Mystery Tradition, at level of publicly accessible content, is outmoded. The emergence of Chaos Magic was understandable, but did not, I think, address the underpinning problem. It is one thing to see magic as a technology, but another to frame its application within a set of moral values. Power technologies are not grounds for spiritual development, and just because magic deals with gods and spirits that does not mean it is 'spiritual' per se.

So this is interesting in that 'spiritual' people can develop magical powers. But magical people do not develop spiritual powers. By 'spiritual' I mean an outlook on life that has a moral dimension at its core (Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Gentleness etc). We can work lovingly with spirits, and Spirit, to bring about effects that are 'positive' (supportive, healing, nurturing etc).

Or we can pursue power and influence on terms we set. My beef with the two groups I worked with was that there was no sufficient examination of motive. The exhortation to be good was entirely rational, and to the extent that there was a code of ethics it had more to do with avoidance of getting into trouble thanks setting a standard of conduct. In essence the ability to exercise power was being developed while development of the individual on a psychological, spiritual and moral level was ignored.

It is certainly so that the Western Mystery Tradition is not uniformly problematic. A matter of motive remains, I think, central to its validity and value. The notion of the scientific/military community wanting to 'break into' the magical because it can be seen as a technology is comprehensible if the motive is strategic and commercial. Is this necessarily distinct from the 'spiritual'?

Magic has been abused by materialistic science and religion, so we have no shared coherent cultural markers to guide us. We are making our own way - stumbling as individuals or communities (like this one) - into a new age. Something Dean Radin senses too.

I want to suggest that magic is old tech in the sense that it is about developing the tech rather than the attributes of character that may, as they evolve, deliver the means to apply the same tech in a moral framework.

Before I engaged in training I had skills to make stuff happen. I thought training would help me understand this, but it did not, because there was no accommodation for natural ability. Indeed having that natural talent caused problems. Those familiar with occult orders will understand when I say that one group's inner plane teacher observed of me that 'Magic is not his problem. He is.' It was true. My psychological state was my problem. What I needed was a stronger moral and spiritual focus. That took some time to develop.

Magic, for me, has been about power and knowledge with less emphasis on the divine - on the love/wisdom side of the ledger. In this respect it has that utilitarian quality we see in materialism - which caps the moral dimension at the level of human intellect and does not extend into the realm of the soul. Power and knowledge unanchored to the divine is what our culture is about essentially - and we are coming progressively to see that - and see the need for change.

Can we re-attach magic to the moral? By that I do not mean crude and contestable notions of good and bad, but what the esoteric tradition refers to as the Love/Wisdom stream. It is worthwhile noting that our culture hosts magical, esoteric, mystical and religious streams of thought and practice. All 4 have natural confluences - and when we fold science back into that mix we can make major alliances of thought and action that will influence our world in good ways.
Hi Michael
I was brought up Catholic and still occasionally get dragged to church by my wife so thats just about as much ritual as I can take anymore.
As to magic, I had a friend who was very involved so I read up on a few of the big names and they all seemed to get consumed by it in a sad way
and it always seemed to end in tears.Saying that it seems that the intention is paramount, but then thats the same with anything really.
 
#29
Hi Michael
I was brought up Catholic and still occasionally get dragged to church by my wife so thats just about as much ritual as I can take anymore.
As to magic, I had a friend who was very involved so I read up on a few of the big names and they all seemed to get consumed by it in a sad way
and it always seemed to end in tears.Saying that it seems that the intention is paramount, but then thats the same with anything really.
And this is the sad fact of it. The term 'ritualistic' is often applied to what is thought to be the enactment of repeated and empty performances. Yet it can and should be powerful and beautiful. Like so many things it can be spoiled and debased by insincerity and in authenticity.

If you are not engaged and the performance is not gripping there is no point in being there. Dragging another to something you value, and which they merely suffer, is never a good idea.

Magic on the public stage is never good idea either. By that I mean there really should not be 'big names' in magic. Crowley is especially misrepresented by foes and friends - and he ended badly if you take the merely overt rendition of his life - and there is no reason why you would would not. Magic is pretty much like sex and poetry - to be performed by consenting adults in private - and with a good motive.

In a sense you are right, in saying the intention is paramount. But what are the presumptions, the knowledge, that forms that intent? At a deeper level we have to examine the grounds upon which we form an intent., For example a magical act might be performed to aid a friend in strife, because they are a friend and in trouble. But on a deeper level perhaps the better thing might be to do nothing. How do we know? How do we judge?

There is the Wiccan Rede which say "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will". But exactly how do we know whether an act we intend to perform harms none? There are Buddhists whose commitment to doing no harm means they will not step on an ant. In my days of being involved in Wicca (which I continue to esteem highly) I found few people actually able to think through what constituted harm.

Its actually a deep, profound idea - to do no harm. The interesting thing, I found, was that there are no discussions about the Rede, even while it was being promoted. The idea promoted was that we had to come to our understanding of what the Rede meant. Well, of course we did, but where was the guidance to think through the very real complexity of the idea.

The Wiccan Rede is, I think, borrowed from Mill's essay On Liberty. Despite the adornment, there is nothing magical about it.

So I agree. Intent matters, but how to do we know our intent is well formed?

I have to say I do not have any use for old school magic these days. My motive to intervene is tempered by what I hope is a deeper sense of necessity. And when I am moved to intervene I seem to have more subtle ways - still 'magical' in some ways. I think the formulation of intent and the expression of will is different and deeper as we mature.

I'd say that magic is old tech for most of us. I really can't speak for others - to praise or criticise. Some evidently still find value in it. Its not my path, that is for sure.

As I think on this, it strikes me that a better question from Alex might have been "Is magic of value to us now'? In which case my answer would have been 'Yes', because if we understand how it works we understand something crucial about the nature of our reality - something proper shamans and mystics already know. Does this mean it is the proper subject of science? Yes.

Does it means we should be worried? Yes. Any human undertaking that is not governed by a proper code of conduct should concern us.

I may make myself immensely unpopular in saying that questions about whether magic is old tech or not have no real meaning until we address the more fundamental question about the nature of human morality.,What does it mean to be a 'good' person. Pre-Enlightenment the answer to this question was presumed to be answered - but it wasn't. Post-Enlightment we still thought we knew, but we could not agree. So we didn't know at all.

I agree that "intention is paramount". But we have a quagmire of sentiment, bluster, nonsense and bullshit to wade through. We no longer know what good is. For example I look at POTUS Trump and see a man manifestly unfit to hold that high office, and yet a very substantial portion of the US population (not a majority, but that is not the issue) disagrees with me. How and why? How are our estimates of fitness so divergent? Why are they so?

I have said it before on this forum that I am an Australian with no investment in US politics. For me it is an utterly compelling drama - my Game of Thrones really. I am engaged, but not invested. Domestic politics depress the crap out of me, so the only way I can indulge my love of politics without entangled angst is go abroad. UK politics is a train wreck with no redeeming qualities. Once again the US delivers the biggest and most spectacular.

So if you can't answer the Trump dilemma you can't answer the Wiccan Rede's problem of interpretation - and that means you can't work through the intention issue and come up with a universal answer.

Of course there will be those who will insist that there is no problem here and they have the answer. Really? Let's hear it, read it.
 
#30
I am feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Where has everyone gone? Here is what should be an interesting and engaging discussion, and its like somebody farted in the lift and nobody dares say anything.

Is that the subject of magic is too specialised and too few people have anything to say on the subject? If so, I get that. Am I putting people off?

I have noticed that now and then the forum goes deathly quiet when some themes are discussed, and that may because the subject is too specialised. I thought Gordon said a bunch of interesting stuff I thought would have generated discussion.

As much as I esteem Gordon in many respects I found his comments that implied government was demonic to be pretty close to being paranoid. I am really interested in what other forum members thought about his comments. How did you react? What did you think?
 
#31
I am feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Where has everyone gone? Here is what should be an interesting and engaging discussion, and its like somebody farted in the lift and nobody dares say anything.
Since Gordon isn't here, I'd really like get rid of the fart with a can of airfreshener and ask you for answers to a few simple questions, please!

1) How certain are you that magic actually achieves something paranormal?

2) Have you witnessed an event that you were certain was paranormal. Describe it if you feel able.

3) Is there a way in which anyone can explore this subject safely?

4) When it is done well, how likely is it to work?

Regarding Gordon's comments about governments being demonic - I was inclined to accept that part of government probably is demonic!

Regarding President Trump - I am infinitely happier with him in power than if Hillary had won the election. My partner and I opened a bottle of wine in the evening to celebrate his success. Hillary had more or less promised to (re)start a major war in Syria with US forces right up against Russian ones. As compared with other US presidents, he seems to be fairly decent.

David
 
#32
I am puzzled by the lack of discussion here. Asking if magic is outdated tech is useful - if that question relates to magical practices currently being employed - can we do it differently? Do we need to?

I think we need to begin by defining magic. Is it causing a thing to occur in conformity with will, and with the assistance of spirit? Gordon observed that shamans are 'selected by spirits' rather than by human agency. This leads to then question as to whether magic itself is effect permitted by spirit, as well as aided.

I trained in ceremonial magic and in Wicca. I quit because I had huge difficulty in finding a motive to engage in elaborate rituals that seemed not to have a clear intent related to the performance. The effort expended seemed to be unrelated to anything meaningful. In the groups I was associated with I found the passion for power unbalanced balanced, with hardly any sense of spiritual or moral development. It would not be fair to say that this pertained to ceremonial magic in general - I can speak only of my experience. I have retained a deep affection for Wicca as a practice and value framework.

For me the Western Mystery Tradition, at level of publicly accessible content, is outmoded. The emergence of Chaos Magic was understandable, but did not, I think, address the underpinning problem. It is one thing to see magic as a technology, but another to frame its application within a set of moral values. Power technologies are not grounds for spiritual development, and just because magic deals with gods and spirits that does not mean it is 'spiritual' per se.

So this is interesting in that 'spiritual' people can develop magical powers. But magical people do not develop spiritual powers. By 'spiritual' I mean an outlook on life that has a moral dimension at its core (Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Gentleness etc). We can work lovingly with spirits, and Spirit, to bring about effects that are 'positive' (supportive, healing, nurturing etc).

Or we can pursue power and influence on terms we set. My beef with the two groups I worked with was that there was no sufficient examination of motive. The exhortation to be good was entirely rational, and to the extent that there was a code of ethics it had more to do with avoidance of getting into trouble thanks setting a standard of conduct. In essence the ability to exercise power was being developed while development of the individual on a psychological, spiritual and moral level was ignored.

It is certainly so that the Western Mystery Tradition is not uniformly problematic. A matter of motive remains, I think, central to its validity and value. The notion of the scientific/military community wanting to 'break into' the magical because it can be seen as a technology is comprehensible if the motive is strategic and commercial. Is this necessarily distinct from the 'spiritual'?

Magic has been abused by materialistic science and religion, so we have no shared coherent cultural markers to guide us. We are making our own way - stumbling as individuals or communities (like this one) - into a new age. Something Dean Radin senses too.

I want to suggest that magic is old tech in the sense that it is about developing the tech rather than the attributes of character that may, as they evolve, deliver the means to apply the same tech in a moral framework.

Before I engaged in training I had skills to make stuff happen. I thought training would help me understand this, but it did not, because there was no accommodation for natural ability. Indeed having that natural talent caused problems. Those familiar with occult orders will understand when I say that one group's inner plane teacher observed of me that 'Magic is not his problem. He is.' It was true. My psychological state was my problem. What I needed was a stronger moral and spiritual focus. That took some time to develop.

Magic, for me, has been about power and knowledge with less emphasis on the divine - on the love/wisdom side of the ledger. In this respect it has that utilitarian quality we see in materialism - which caps the moral dimension at the level of human intellect and does not extend into the realm of the soul. Power and knowledge unanchored to the divine is what our culture is about essentially - and we are coming progressively to see that - and see the need for change.

Can we re-attach magic to the moral? By that I do not mean crude and contestable notions of good and bad, but what the esoteric tradition refers to as the Love/Wisdom stream. It is worthwhile noting that our culture hosts magical, esoteric, mystical and religious streams of thought and practice. All 4 have natural confluences - and when we fold science back into that mix we can make major alliances of thought and action that will influence our world in good ways.
This was my experience, very similar and what drove me to manipulate my group to remove me as I am a master manipulator. I know each members thumbscrew and I started drilling. It was about power and working up to the teacher. 1 member of my group admitted it was about power for him. Then they pick favorites. I was told I hide alot of my energy which is true. I'm able to master things easily and I have a mysterious vibe. I tend to make people very jealous. When I found out the direction of my group was going I knew has to eject. My magick was better than most people in the class and I barely tried cause of the many moral issues that confronted me. Most people practicing were egotistical people who wanted more money or a better sex life or love spells etc. They cared nothing about the moral issues. Bunch of rejects looking to fit in and add something to their underdeveloped lifes
 
#34
1) How certain are you that magic actually achieves something paranormal?
Completely certain that some acts of magic. But not all do. Gordon has made that point too. Magic is an art, not a mechanical methodology. Its not like if you do A you will get B every time. But, if you are competent shaman appointed by spirit that may not be the case. It is, however, for westerners who engage in whatever version of magic they have chosen.
 
#35
2) Have you witnessed an event that you were certain was paranormal. Describe it if you feel able.
Many. Long before I thought I knew anything about magic - in the early 1970s, 2 women approached me for assistance. I cannot recall why they thought I was a person to approach. They were sharing a house with a guy who was constantly sexually harassing them. I asked them some details and then I performed an act I am not going to describe here. I had no idea why I thought what I did was going to have effect, but I told them to go to the guy and tell him to leave them alone. They reported that they found him with an intense fever that came upon him suddenly and strongly. They said he promised to leave them alone, so I did a thing that I had no idea I knew about. I was later told the fever lifted suddenly and the guy not only left them alone, but was actually fearful of being misinterpreted.

Around the same time I accompanied a friend to her home while she changed clothes and got something to eat. It was winter in Melbourne and very cold. Typical of the time she had a one bar radiator for warmth. It worked slowly so I decided to heat the flat up by radiating my own warmth. I sat on her lounger and projected heat to such good effect that she took off the coat she had put on and I took my coat off.

While bushwalking in Tasmania in dense scrub, we camped in a rare clearing and as night fell we need to find water. Visibility was down to a few metres. I placed my hand on a tree and tried to sense where I would find water. I had a vision of a tree that had fallen over with a hole where its root based had been removed - and that was full of rain water. I immediately knew the direction and found exactly what I had envisioned about 30 yards away.

I have many such stories.
 
#36
3) Is there a way in which anyone can explore this subject safely?
The trouble is that I know of nothing that is written on magic from a dispassionate point of view, and which might be considered to be skeptic's guide. That means a commitment of years of inquiry. There is no 'theory of magic' beyond saying that spirits make it happen. How and why is a secret - even though some say they know - they don't. But you have to start somewhere.

In doing so you can be guided by ego or spirit. If the former safety is unlikely, if the latter it will, be safe, but you will have no control over content. You won't come to harm, but you will probably suffer.

You can't be an armchair magician. In fact I don't think you can be an armchair anything other than a maker, seller, tester or user of armchairs. I get the logic of asking if its safe, but what if you asked the same of skydiving - it mostly is. Magic is probably mostly safe because it doesn't work a lot of the time.

There are decent reputable schools that will teach you the basics and beyond. But I have to say that I worked with a recognised international school and found it badly flawed. Many others do not, however. If you do not abandon your core principles you may be safe, but you may also suffer for them. If you are not prepared to take the risk then its not a path for you.
 
#37
4) When it is done well, how likely is it to work?
This should be an easy question to answer. But its not. If the core of your magic is a connection with spirit, so much depends on the character of then spirits you work with. You may do all the right stuff and they will not play. You may have contacted spirts who would play, but you have guardian spirits who have other ideas.

I was able to do stuff when I had no idea what I was doing, so the idea if doing something well wasn't a factor. When I learned what to do I became aware of impulses not to act. How is important, but whether is more important.
 
#38
Regarding Gordon's comments about governments being demonic - I was inclined to accept that part of government probably is demonic!
I entirely agree that people in governments may behave in ways that indicate deep exposure to adverse metaphysical agents. But that is not what Gordon said. Gordon referred to past professional roles that gave him useful insights. Government was not one. I have spent my adult life with a spiritual and esoteric focus in government service most of the time. There may be an argument there is a dark/deep side to our governments, but making comments that are lacking in nuance and specifics, as Gordon did, is, I think, reckless and inexcusable for a person who represents himself as a serious commentator on the world state. There's a lot Gordon says that I respect, He has a singular capacity for insight. This was not one of his smarter utterances.
 
#39
They treated magick more aesthetically, which is technically true about one aspect. Many dive in to the misunderstood practice of black magick, which is not evil or bad per se
That's not a statement a lot of people would feel okay with. And that's then problem with talking about magic in an open forum, where the level of knowledge of the subject is unknown and likely to be mostly zero to very little, as well as a bunch of very negative POVs inherited from religious or general cultural habits of thought.

I know what you mean, but few others reading this would. You also made the point about ego and morality being issues from your experience, and I assume also that you found the desire for power and status a real problem. The public face of magic often involves very strong characters, and that is because it may be problematic that magic has a public face at all. Why do you need others to know this is what you are into?

There are perfectly good communities of magicians doing what they do in private. I have no doubt about that. The posers and pretenders are sincere, but locked into a culture that repels many. I thought studying magic was going to be my path. It wasn't. I came close enough to learn some useful things, and then I was spun off. I was told, in fact, by a 'spirit guide', that it was not for me. Maybe this the same for you?

I come back to the question of whether magic is old tech. For most of us I think it is. We have to redefine and reframe the ideas. But that also means knowing enough about the 'old tech' to get a sense of what to redefine and reframe. In that regard I think people know what they need to know and when they have enough.

I, by no means, pose as an expert. I just know what is enough for me, and would not presume to opine on other's needs. Magic is an intensely personal matter. We have, or do not have an innate skill. We and our spirit guides have decided we will, or will not, get into magic. We are, or we are not, curious about our ability to make stuff happen. We will, or will not, meet people read/hear stuff that changes our thought and leads to experiences that are transformative.

I do not see any fundamental distinction between magic and spirituality. We each define our relationship with the metaphysical side of our reality as we will - and it plays out in the physical world. In an ultimate sense the idea of magic simply formalises an innate human sense to make the link between desire/intent/imagination and the reality in the physical world immediate and potent.

Gordon touched on the roles of defending a person/community from adverse spirit agents. That's another dimension that is vitally important - and not one I am involved in.

What we call magic is known by many other names and has subsets we will not immediately recognise. It can found in all the faith and mystical traditions - as esteemed acts (miracles) and things to be feared and loathed - but what is propaganda and slander?
 
#40
I am feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Where has everyone gone? Here is what should be an interesting and engaging discussion, and its like somebody farted in the lift and nobody dares say anything.

Is that the subject of magic is too specialised and too few people have anything to say on the subject? If so, I get that. Am I putting people off?

I have noticed that now and then the forum goes deathly quiet when some themes are discussed, and that may because the subject is too specialised. I thought Gordon said a bunch of interesting stuff I thought would have generated discussion.
I'm not at all interested in magic. I don't want to try to try to enhance my control over things even if that's possible. Life seems interesting enough without that. At times maybe I've been helped in some way without having the faintest idea by whom or what; but if so, I'm not that interested in knowing how or why. I just note how I've been lucky and offer prayers of thanks to the universe.

Nor have I experienced notably paranormal experiences -- just the occasional possibly by-chance seeming oddnesses that most folk have from time to time. I have had the occasional spiritual experience (don't know how or why they occurred), but to my mind that's not a lot to do with magic. Also, I do have this instinctive inclination to avoid messing about with things I know nothing about -- don't want to, and quite possibly am not meant to. Like I said, I find life fascinating and remarkable enough by itself without my trying to influence events with magic.

In addition, you do seem rather certain that you know what you're talking about. Maybe that's true, who knows, but I rather enjoy uncertainty and just going with the flow of my life. Despite my uncertainty, things generally seem to work out in the long run. Maybe the magic, in its being obscure to me, is something that just happens if you don't try to force it; and if you do, maybe you end up going in directions that aren't in the long run useful. I guess I'd say that going with the flow is what's interesting: just observing and quietly reflecting is something I find satisfying enough.

Any road up, that's why you don't find me engaging much in this kind of dialogue; or in discussion of ETs, spirits, conspiracy ideation or whatever. They may or may not literally exist, but if so, they simply don't interest me that much, and don't seem to have played much part in my life so far -- and I'm in my 70th year, so I'm not holding my breath...
 
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