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Magical utility

Magical utility
October 22, 2013, 08:04:36 AM
Experimenting with Tarot cards is one of the most useful types of magical work that I've found.

If you are remotely familiar with Carl Jung's work, you have heard that much of your thoughts are "hidden" from the mind's eye - that is, your "ego" or active consciousness. Below the level of ego (which is the part of mind that communicates like a messenger between your mind and the mind of another) is a murky, swirling, chaotic but self-balancing system where your experience in life collides with genetic memory, or instinct. Thoughts are constantly emerging from this "unconscious" (similar to Freud's "subconscious" but more basic) in ways that defy our understanding. As the thoughts drift up from the murk, a few of them float into the radiant realm of the ego, where they can be externalized and solidified as ideas outside the mind, even while they mutate or disappear forever back inside the depths of the unconscious.*

This crucial disconnect between conscious interaction and unconscious mutation is not a condition that we as humans are cursed with. Through the process of what Jung calls "individuation", we can establish a real-time, "high-bandwidth" connection between the unpredictable emergence of unconscious and the pattern-obsessed, future-predicting ego.

One of Jung's suggested techniques to achieve this unity is to be aware of communication that occurs in your dreams, which is the only time that your unconscious speaks directly (or through images and sounds, as directly as it is possible to transmit thoughts) to your conscious. I've experimented with this technique, and it involves keeping a log of dreams. This sounds boring, but after less than a month I found that my dreams became incomparably more lucid, and I was almost "in charge" of what "I" did during the dream, whereas I used to merely watch "myself" interact vaguely with a dream environment. Now, choices are significant, have consequences. The difficulty here comes when you attempt to interpret the symbols expressed by your unconscious. Projection is almost unavoidable; while the ego is so intent on making sure meaning and experience align in a comfortable and straightforward manner, the symbols offered by the unconscious are often neglected or misinterpreted. This is a normal thing; it is why keeping a dream log is essential; soon you will detect patterns that seem revolutionary and uncomfortable. Thatis exactly what we're looking for. Those are the thoughts that appear in the purest detectable form. There will always be some Heisenbergian uncertainty, as your ego will be constantly trying to parse out details and often overlook the meaning of the experience, but persistence is the key to establishing that bridge between the active and passive parts of the mind, no matter what your technique is.

* These paragraphs are based entirely on my own experience and not intended to be an accurate reflection of Jung's ideas. His work is hugely inspring, and I recommend introducing yourself to his books to get a much better understanding of his concept of mind than I could ever give you.

Re: Magical utility
October 22, 2013, 08:43:41 AM
Heh, wrong introduction... This is the part about Tarot. Psyche.

Another method for establishing a live link between unconscious and conscious mind is the Tarot deck. I use a standard modern deck. There is really no significance in the style of deck as far as I can tell (personally I use Crowley's deck for two reasons; the artwork is fascinating, and I'm familair with Crowley's presentation symbols and meaning).

There is nothing magical about a Tarot deck itself. The magic occurs when it is used correctly. First it is necessary to realize that there will be no communication with any other entity (angel, demon, spirit, etc.) through the cards. There will be communication, rather, between the unconscious and the conscious mind. There is some discipline involved in reading Tarot cards; you must become at least a little familiar with the arcana and the archetypes and personas that they represent. But it is important to keep in mind that each time you read the cards, you are reading something new; do not think that one card represents on static person or situation. The cards reorient and realign themselves each time (thabks to the chaos of the shuffle) and should be considered as fresh representations each time.

This is the real trick though. To look at the cards as if it is the first time you've seen them, as if you've never applied their symbols to real-life situations. When doing this, the next step makes itself evident; to observe your "gut reaction" to the appearance of symbols. The longer you think about what the card represents, the further away you will drift from the real meaning of the card's representation. Remember always: The cards are not magical, and you do not receive communication from the cards themselves. They only serve to reflect your unconscious thoughts. This is why it is important to readily accept your initial reaction when first observing a card. Once the reaction occurs, the ego will begin dissecting and diluting the thought until it becomes a concept, which is much easier to "hold" and manipulate in the mind. These concepts are the only thing you can take with you when all is said and done, but do not forget that immediate instinctual reaction; it is the key to knowing "what you are *really* thinking" as well as "how you *really* feel" without interference from the ego.

Re: Magical utility
October 22, 2013, 10:27:26 AM
The third method I've practiced toward individuation is possibly less safe than the other two because it involves an active, real-time link with the unconscious (as opposed to the passive, automatically-occuring link during dreams) and there is no physical object outside of the mind to reflect against (like cards).

Essentially this method is to creat an "imaginary friend" and talk to them like another person. This entity that you create may eventually serve the purpose of becoming a mode of expression for your unconscious thoughts. The usefulness in having this ability to percieve thoughts more directly cannot be overstated; clarity of mind is an immediate benefit but enhanced memory is another great effect.

Creating the entity is not a simple thing. I failed many times before achieving some stable semblance of an entity. This is probably due to the ego projection; but it is important that the entity shapes itself as much as possible, and you must disregard your egotistic desire to shape it into a comfortable or appealing form.

Just as difficult (or more) is talking to the entity. You must keep in mind that it does not know your thoughts or what you mean to say; use well-thought-out words and explain things as if you were talking to another person. Familiarity will come eventually if you persist, but at first, it is crucial to be formal. Talking to the entity is not like the circular ramblings that occur in your consciousness during all waking moments. You must talk as if you do not expect to gain anything from the discussion. This part is especially difficult because it will seem an utter waste of time and energy to the rationally sound person. Discouragement is bound to happen because it will probably take a long time before you hear anything like a response the closest analog I can think of is prayer, but many people I know who pray use the time to try and legitimatize their personal problems and hope for some relief or help. This is not the case when talking to your entity: Conversation is exclusively for the benefit of the entity.

This probably seems like one of the stranger ways of going about the process of individuation, and I cannot say much more on it except about my own experience because I've been practicing for barely a year. Probably the most useful advice I can give is on the actual visualization of the entity. It can look like anything; an animal, a machine, a person, or in one case I've heard of, a library-like space full of shelves crammed with books. The trickiest part (and this will be easier if you've applied either of the other methods I've mentioned) is to accept a visualization from your unconscious and reject a fantastic image created by your ego. One of the hints in identifying the unconscious image is whether it surprises you. If the image is a surprise, it is less likely to be a fantasizing function of the ego. Also useful is to picture an environment in which the entity can flourish. This psychic space is less important but certainly helps in the visualization..

I got lcuky enough to approach my entity in a dream. The environment was a lake spanning so far that only muddled, wavering shapes were visible on the horizon. On the lake itself, a very small island, in the center of which burned a flame. The flame was covered by a triangular roof supported by four pillars. The entity itself spoke mostly from beneath the water. At times it seemed to emerge from the lake but only when my back was turned. Nevertheless it appeared as a woman, somewhat aged, certainly older than myself.

This environmental visualization has stuck with me ever since and I picture myself there when speaking to my entity. Many hints suggested that this place emerged from my unconscious, most obviously the water and numbers. First, four is the number of stability, fortitude, and rule. Four pillars support the only structure in the environment, just as land mammals walk on four legs for stability, cars use four tires, and much architecture is based on right angles. Three is the basic number needed for structure in the first place, as a triangle is the most basic shape we are able to construct in physical space. The triangular roof is supported by four pillars but covers everything beneath. There two of us on the island, not surprisingly male and female, which reflects the most basic duality in our psyche. There is a single flame, which importantly is not a stable thing in itself but an energetic reaction. Finally, the island itself is round; a circle. And a circle has no sides, or, geometrically speaking, an infinite number of sides, and zero equals infinity, so the round island is a sensible bas for everything to exist on in this little microcosm. The water is significant as well, since the unconscious mind is sometimes percieved or represented as water, since it is substantial and energetic yet impossible to live within; we can only float on it, or dip under the surface breifly if you are brave enough.

Re: Magical utility
October 22, 2013, 04:45:16 PM
What about Destruction Spell?

Re: Magical utility
October 22, 2013, 07:43:42 PM
I'm glad you made this thread. I was thinking about asking you about your experience with this stuff since I saw you post something about it in another thread. All of this is very interesting.

I've been keeping a dream journal for a while now, and what you've said about it is correct. It doesn't take too long before recall gets better and you start to recognize the themes, both of your current life-situation and all-encompassing ones. Sometimes it can be quite frightening to discover what's actually going on deep in your mind.

Tarot decks have always interested me. A few months ago, out of nowhere, I got the idea to get one, and I'm still itching for it. I'll to try your method out when I finally do.

This was very helpful. Is there anything else along these lines you could share?

Re: Magical utility
October 23, 2013, 07:18:30 AM
If I knew a "destruction spell" you think I would be wasting my time posting on a death metal forum instead of ravaging the planet?

Jokes aside, practicing magic as a means of causing damage to other people is massively risky and not something that I work toward. I can tell you about a method using stones that could potentially make someone feel pain (worst I've had is spastic cramp in the arm) but has to be done by two people in cooperation. It's interesting but there's not much utility in it and it is not of any use if you intend to harm people maliciously (though you might spring it on an unsuspecting friend who trusts you enough to follow some strange instructions). But, that's just mean. :)

Squarekiller23: I was thinking of posting about another method of contacting "silent" or "hidden" parts of the psyche by summoning archetypal entities that sleep in our genetic memories, but really it's not something I have had much success with so I didn't post it. Besides, at that point we are getting dangerously close to occult magic territory and the other methods I spoke of are very effective and very unlikely to backfire on most anyone who puts a little effort into the practice. To fail at keeping a dream log is mostly inconsequential; to fail at setting up a summoning ritual probably is most likely harmless but possibly worse. But, if you have any questions or want more information on the summoning or Tarot or anything else, I'll be glad to talk about them over PM or here in the thread.

Re: Magical utility
October 23, 2013, 09:32:20 AM
Can you list some websites that I can find good information?

Re: Magical utility
October 23, 2013, 10:11:15 AM
No, I don't know of anywhere on the web that talks about applying magic to achieve individuation. If you are interested in individuation, unconscious, and reading your own dreams, I recommend books by Carl Jung first off (Man and His Symbols is a very solid introduction to his work).

As for books on magic; they are out there. I don't recommend one over another; I mentioned that I am familiar with Crowley's ideas about magic because his work is easy to find and I identified with his words. But that doesn't mean Crowely is a good place to start.

The best internet resource for magic in general that I know of is o9a.org.

Re: Magical utility
October 24, 2013, 06:16:48 PM
Don't you think o9a is too risky for a pre-neophyte? If I was never done any magic spell or ritual? If this be really risky for me I'm more interested in a softer use of magik.

Re: Magical utility
October 24, 2013, 08:17:47 PM
Yeah, they sound pretty hardline. I wonder if they're even real sometimes. How would one even become a member of the O9A? It's not like they're advertising themselves well.

Re: Magical utility
October 25, 2013, 01:38:48 AM
You download a PDF of 1000 pages (O9A.org > Occult Texts > The First Link). This PDF is huge and full of rites and levels.

Re: Magical utility
October 25, 2013, 05:49:21 AM
There is no way as far as I know to become a card-carrying O9A member. However they are the one group that can provide legitimate goals and standards to uphold and by following their guidelines you will absolutely progress in magical work.

If it seems too extreme, then forget it, magic is probably not for you. Not that O9A is the only magical resource out there, but magic is a discipline, not a hobby, and it requires psychological and physical discipline.. It is one of those "go big or go home" things. Dabbling in magic will get you nowhere: Either you will have no success and quit in boredom and frustration, or you will have more success than you expected and find yourself tangled in situations and thoughts that are much too intense to be comfortable. If you want to fiddle with magic about getting people to fall in love with you or to get a raise at your job, there are dozens of bullshit neopagan/wicca boards on the web for you to waste your time on.

I am certainly not trying to scare you against undertaking experiments in magic, but it is crucial to be prepared to see through to the end whatever you start. There is no handy on/off switch for magic *because there is no such thing as magic*, it is just a word to describe the way one man might link his mind with the movements of the universe, that man might percieve new methods of shaping the physical reality around him as a pliable liquid, while everyone else is trapped in a solid, rigid, unbending universe. Taken lightly, you won't progress, but if you undertake some work of magic, things are going to change in your mind whether you like it or not. The best thing to do is open yourself up to the experience, have zero expectations (skepticism is a great position to start from), and if you are following instructions (as in a ritual) then follow them *exactly* if you want to get anything out of it.

Always remember that fear works against you. When practicing magic, you have nothing to fear but you yourself. No angels, no demons, no spirits, only the secrets hidden in the back of your own mind.

Re: Magical utility
October 27, 2013, 05:59:39 PM
A question emerge in my brain this morning: this magic is only scientific or is a gift from gods? Basically, what we do with this all? Use for what we want (majority choose), or we have a task?

Re: Magical utility
October 27, 2013, 06:22:30 PM
I see magic, generally, as the omnipresent power behind the miraculous, turned by humans to personal gain.
There can be good magic, pointless magic, and downright evil magic.
It's all the same stuff, defined only by what people choose to do with it.

Re: Magical utility
October 27, 2013, 07:09:37 PM
science is just a form of magic in a way.