I want to share my journey direct magick: How I developed the style* and why I continue to practice it as an adult. Today, I’ll start at the beginning, with the first question that set me on this path.
*Not that I developed the idea of doing magick without rituals. But I developed the form that I talk about on this blog.
I started magick at age 11, feeling energy in trees, interacting with things I thought were spirits (more likely, they’re just images conjured in my brain by absorbing various energies), and generally playing with energy the way many kids do.
A few years later, I asked my first direct magick question: Why are there so many approaches to magick? See, I’d heard about lots of systems of magick. (I didn’t have the words the time, but I was thinking of ritual styles like Thelema, energy healing like Reiki, and so on.) They all accomplish similar things. Why is that? And, while I didn’t ever write it down, this question was coupled with an implicit unease: How is it possible that symbolic actions influence the external world?
Today, I realize these questions also form the basis of Chaos Magick, and probably some other styles. I’m sure they were floating around the AOL* chatrooms on magick in the early 90s. But I was raised in an aggressive atheist family, so I didn’t read anything about magick until college (beyond what I could find on AOL). At the time, I was exploring these questions on my own.
*For you whippersnappers: America Online was how we talked to the internet through our phones. And phones were something with buttons you plugged into the wall. You’d look silly walking around town with a 90s-era phone in your pocket.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already know my answer: Ethereal software, though I called them “systems” at the time. I hypothesized that there were these intelligent forces responding to your rituals and intents, and driving the actual magick. That explained how symbolic actions caused change: There’s an intelligent intermediary, like a computer. It also explained why all these different styles cause similar results: They all run on similar ethereal software.
Today, ethereal software is something I’m quite certain is actually there. I interact with it all the time, use it for magick with verifiable results, and so on. But at the time, it was just a vague speculation: There are these forces that respond to intents and rituals. It worked out well, though, because with such a vague idea, I was able to adjust it to the external world as I gained actual experience with these things. It’s much easier to refine an idea than it is to admit you’re wrong and change course, and I don’t think the teenage me would have been able to do that.
At the end of the day, direct magick grew more from curiosity than from a search for results. Something about magick just didn’t add up, and I started telling stories until it did. (And was lucky enough that the stories were somewhere in the neighborhood of accurate.)
Should you follow that path? Probably not. It took a decade to get useful results, and I could just as easily have fixated on something less useful than ethereal software, or made up a wildly inaccurate story that didn’t map to anything in the external world.
I do think it helps to be more interested in understanding how magick works than in getting useful results right away. I just don’t focus on that because I feel like I’ll get a lot more people interested by talking about impact and growing magick into a mature field than if I talk about exploring how magick works and satisfying your curiosity. But really, I think both are important. Thoughts?Other posts in this series:
- My Journey into Direct Magick - The First Question (This post) (April 16, 2012)
- Exploring Mental Muscles - My Journey into Direct Magick (April 17, 2012)