Modern Wizardry

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Image: Jared Tarbell / CC BY 2.0

I have just found my new favourite wizard. Here is a talk where he explains himself.

“What if we’re in a reality, and there’s a reality parallel to this one, and that one’s slightly better. In that reality, I’m more of a wizard. Well that wizard can travel through dimensions, so by summoning him here it’s very easy for him to come over and take over my life, which last November I invited him to do.”

He has studied occultism, eastern philosophy, Jungian psychology, neuro-linguistic programming, personal growth, and ritual magic. “Through this research, he uncovered the psychological processes underlying what shamans and sorcerers call ‘magic’.”

Question: is magic mainly psychological processes? Is it only psychological? Is there more going on? Can we ever know for sure – no. But is there any reason to believe there’s more going on? Apart from the mind-expanding practice of believing there’s a lot going on in the world, which I think is entirely useful.

Another point he makes: maybe it’s alright to sound a little crazy, in the modern world. In past times, singling yourself out as crazy and different could be dangerous; in the present world, if you live in a big enough city, you’ll find some people who are also a bit crazy. I’m intrigued by the idea of magicians toeing the line between sanity and madness. Maybe you need to be a little crazy to get into magic in the first place, but maybe you also need to be a little crazy to get deep enough into it for it to be really effective. (On that note about the big enough city – maybe most of the strange art (and magic) that we make comes from living in cities. Is it true that people make less art that is really “out there” out in the country?)

He explains himself further in this interview, which I mentioned with regards to gigglesnorting in the previous post.

Some of my favourite quotes:

“Art doesn’t have to be logical and narratively structured to convey meaning and emotion; wizardry works best when you keep things light and fun, avoiding the snares of dogma and self-seriousness.”

“Like religion, art, and science, magic is a way of looking at the world. I think magic is interesting because it embraces paradox, is comfortable with confusion, and tends to be holistic and subjective rather than empirical and objective. So, in a world where there is no “default perspective,” the idea of embracing that uncertainty has significant appeal.”

It is really refreshing how he can joke about these things and also be genuinely interested in what makes them work, what’s effective and what’s not. I have little patience for people who call themselves experts, who say “this is how it’s done”, rather than simply offering suggestions. I’ve tried reading Crowley, and it’s just a great big bag o nope for that reason. I find that so many Wiccans and neo-pagans who have written books on magic are more authoritative than I think they really should be, too. Maybe I’m more inclined to trust someone who doesn’t speak with so much authority.

 

Reading recommendations from Person:

"One Nervous System’s Passage Through Time": GRANT MORRISON interviewed by Jay Babcock (Arthur No. 12/Sept 2004 cover feature)

http://glycon.livejournal.com/13888.html

Another interesting Pecha Kucha I found, that is possibly mildly related 🙂 :

http://www.pechakucha.org/presentations/magic-words

 

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Walking as a Spiritual and Magickal Practice

After a bit of a siesta, I’m back at this blog :). It won’t be a regular practice (remember that post about consistency? :D:D), but that’s alright. I pick it up when I need it, when I’m excited about it.

Right now I’m reading Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine, which I am rather excited about. Also listening to a bit of Rune Soup. But the topic of today’s post is: walking.

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One approach to magic (I drop the k when I feel like it ;D), and spirituality, is basically shifting one’s perspective, changing your perception of the world, opening up to new possibilities. (I don’t think that magic is limited to that, but it’s an interesting avenue to walk down. (Heads up, many sidenotes in this post.)) Walking is a good practice for this.

Anthony Alvarado talks about it in his book D.I.Y Magic, which I absolutely love. He mentions that walking can reshape the way you think. (Also, his first question in this interview made me gigglesnort.)

There are many different ways to approach this art. One of my favorites is to follow the stoplights – if it’s red the way you were going to go, follow the green. I tend to aim for quieter streets and back alleys. (To do on a future walk: follow the routes that appeal to you least – the highways, the ugly places! Ugly places have magic too. And people can’t hear you sing next to a highway, that’s nice.)

A few thoughts I had on the two hour walk today:

  • I usually don’t enjoy talking to people. I realize that it’s something that I need in order to be happy, but it generally isn’t easy, and rarely is really enjoyable. And that’s alright. It’s a bit of a paradox, and those do make life more interesting. Isn’t it interesting when two opposing things are true at the same time?
  • The wind. What if it was sentient? Yes, technically wind is created by the movement of air particles due to differences in atmospheric pressure. But what if it is also just spirits/beings twirling leaves around themselves so that they can be seen in some way? What if someone is trying to show you something when it blows garbage around on the street? I realize that’s not a scientific way of approaching the question, and that doesn’t particularly bother me. I think we need a balance of science and poetry in our lives. It’s good to embrace these ideas that we can never really be sure about, one way or the other. (I love those. It’s so good to be reminded that those exist. So many people seem to be living under the impression that we basically understand most of the way the world works and what’s in it. I think that is not very accurate. Or interesting!)
  • I also made up a really terrible pop song. Or at least, the lyrics popped into my head and set themselves on repeat for a good half hour. I won’t share it here. That’s definitely one of these things from a walk that doesn’t need to be immortalized.

So, I would call this a spiritual practice because I think it can be a way to gain insight on yourself, to touch the world in a different way. And I would call it a magickal practice because it can certainly shift perception, alter your mood, help to solve problems, and deliver new ideas.

Also – there are walks when I’ll take my camera or my phone, and there are walks where I won’t. Sometimes it’s good to leave an experience undocumented. Maybe you’ll see more interesting things if those things know you can’t catch them on camera. 😉

To try in the future:

  • Walking for a while, stopping in a cafe where you’ve never been to refuel, and continuing on.
  • Walking with a specific problem to solve, or question to answer. Walking as a spell, with a specific intention.

Onwards! ❤