It started around 1994 with this question:
Why does magick change the physical world?
Not “This symbol means this, therefore you’ll get this result.” That’s how to use a ritual, not why it works. I wanted all the moving parts that make magick function.
Not “Your unconscious responds to symbols and makes magick happen.” That just names the black box. I wanted to understand how it “makes magick happen.”
Not “Magick works by influencing quantum probabilities.” Even if that’s true, it doesn’t explain the steps that connect a particular ritual to its results.
I wanted a thorough explanation of all the moving parts that make magick work, so I could reason about using them in new ways to do magick better — heal more effectively, get instant results, receive clearer psychic intuitions, etc.
I wanted the science of magick.
17 years later, I’ve made a good start. This series is about where I am, where I’m going, and where I hope you’ll go with me.
Science = Scientific Method
Science isn’t technology. It’s not a microscope or a computer.
Science isn’t the knowledge of a scientific field. It’s not physics, chemistry, or psychology.
Science isn’t in the words you use — trusting science-y terms like “quantum” and distrusting mystical ones like “spirit.”
Science means distilling what works, and discarding what doesn’t, through the scientific method: Systematic explanation, reliable observation, and tests that can disrupt our expectations. I’ll explain how each applies to magick in its own post.
I don’t like science because it’s fashionable or professional-sounding. I like it because it works.
How Science Can Help Your Magick
When someone asks you “how does the internet work?” they might want to know to search with Google, click links, and don’t trust anything promising “a monster in your pants.” Basic user skills.
Or they could want to know how to connect their cable to a wifi router, configure its password, and connect to the network. Advanced user skills.
Or maybe they want to know how to program a website, how movies get turned into electrical signals, and how cookies track you — the technologies that make the internet work.
Now imagine the internet doesn’t exist yet. Or it does, but in the 1994 AOL-era form, before youtube, google and facebook. Which kind of understanding helps you create today’s internet?
Hint: It’s the 3rd kind.
Moving to magick:
Knowing how to visualize energy moving won’t build tomorrow’s magick.
Knowing the symbols of Thelema, Enochian and Kabbalah won’t either.
To build tomorrow’s magick, we need to understand the technologies that make magick work – each piece that helps turn your intent into changes in the world. And science is the best tool to build that understanding.
If Science Isn’t For You
If, as you read this series, you feel like science isn’t for you, that’s fine. Lots of my posts are one-off tips — techniques I’ve developed that you can use without understanding the inner-workings of magick. Click here for a list of those posts.
And you can always come back here later if you want to try science again.
Outline of the Series
How to explore magick through science: Systematic explanation, accurate observation, and tests that can disrupt your expectations. (3 posts, read them in order).
Phases of science: How fields advance from philosophy to mature science, where magick is, and how to move forward.
Getting started: The nuts and bolts of exploring magick through science. (Probably its own series).Other posts in this series:
- Exploring Magick Through Science (This post) (May 12, 2011)
- Modernizing Magick (June 2, 2011)