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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Suspension of Disbelief
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Fancy trappings don't make a spell. --shiari
Original post at Tysha's forum (tysharina)

In my annoying, weird, think-twice way, I have to wonder if that's entirely correct for some varieties of magick by those prone to attempting the more ritualistic varieties without really contemplating exactly what they're doing.

Think about it. The greatest obstacle that I, personally, have encounterd to success with magickal working is self-doubt, A.K.A. "Wait, this is impossible, scratch the fact that I've done it before" syndrome. Allowing myself to really think about what I'm doing in any light other than what I want to do and how to do it is a very effective self-counter to whatever it is I'm trying to do.

It can be inferred, from this and what others have stated in a wide variety of places, that self-doubt is the greatest overall obstacle to success in magick. (And pretty much anything, for that matter, albeit less directly.) Therefore, to be successful, one must achieve a form of "suspension of disbelief"-- allowing onesself to stand back and, if only for the short time required to lock the effect, stop doubting, or at least not think about it.

Allow me to throw this idea out: that using GREAT and SHINY objects acts as a way for some to suspend their disbelief. Magick, in western cultural expectation, doesn't go itemless- ever read a fantasy novel where the wizard/mage/priest/etc. doesn't call upon some higher power to create the effect, doesn't use complicated (and frequently rhyming) invocations, and doesn't use items? ("And", not "or".)

Western expectations of magick include a reliance on items or semi-intricate actions to make it work. The key to magick is the suspension of disbelief. With such a cultural background, a lack of direct energy manipulation experience, and questions about it all, wouldn't it seem more plausible to use objects/invocations to work magick instead of a simple, unshowy, not blatantly elaborate act of will? (Not that it can't get elaborate, but it doesn't externally show exept, perhaps, as a facial expression more usually associated with intestinal constipation.) Items and ritual assist with suspension of disbelief not because they're really related to the magick, but because Western culture expects them to be related to magick.

The items/invocations/etc. can serve the additional benefit of a focus for the mind. Human thought patterns rely extensively on symbols; just look at any geometry book. Therefore, with physical totems and symbols, or a structured chant, to guide the mind, magick can be easier for those who think that way- although moderately less spontaneous.

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Oh, and if anybody's wondering: The reason this isn't behind my Metaphysical filter is because I'm a publicity whore so others can link to it and stand a fair chance of having it get seen.

Also note that use of "k" in "magick" isn't my normal phrasing style- it's a convention of the forum this came from. Apologies if that retroactively confuses anybody. (I refer to stage magicians as "illusionists.")

If you have a metaphysical filter, I'd be honored to be included in it. (If I'm not already. It's hard to tell with these things unless posts are labeled.)

You're already on it, and were from when I set it up. Posts to it are extremely infrequent and always flagged- I label posts to the filter in the first line.

It's true! I like energy, I like praying, but yes, yes, yes, it's true -- I use my own lil' "shinies" to "let the magic happen," yes, yes.

I don't consider myself a magick-user (as some put it) though. That takes certain kinds of rituals which I don't think are necessary for me to achieve an altered state, although it is for some other people. It depends.

That's the line to question: does magic require ritual?

I'm contemplating the significance of the "k." It's been presented, on the forum in question, as a differentiation betwen illusions and actual magic, but it's got the more ritual connotations that I don't hold- which is why I don't usually use the "k." Everything I've done has been direct energy manipulation, with the closest thing to a ritual being dropping into a trance state- which I only do about 1/10th of the time anyway.

It's a person-to-person variance, most certainly. I'm just hypothesizing about part of why some people may find themselves reliant not just on generic objects for symbols, but for expensive, flashy, and finely-wrought items.

I don't believe that successfully working magic requires any ritual at all--for some people. For some people, it's not possible to do without ritual, and the rest are likely to snatch bits and pieces of whatever they like from wherever they want.

There is no best way to do magic. The best way to do magic is one that works for you. I'd guestimate that different relationships to ritual in magic are more reflective not of particular styles of magic but rather of the mindset of the caster and what -they- prefer. You want your shinies? If it makes you happy or helps you to remember spell components, go for it. Don't want to be bogged down in a spell that takes two hours to set up? You don't have to be. But for people who want to do a spell that will absolutely work without them having to think about why or check and see if it did, there are some real attractions to ritual. Follow the ritual and bam! it worked. Less room for inovation if you follow things strictly though.

But it's really all about mindset and where you are mentally at the time.

I agree with your assessment, which is why I'm a firm believer that eclectic (i.e. non-ritual) magic is the way to go.

If you pick up the basics without ritual as a "crutch," and you understand the deep theories and the foundations, then you can later add ritual as a framework if you want the focus. Whereas if you go the other way around, I'd find it a lot tougher -- especially when ritual magic "works" and just seems so much simpler and with more immediate feedback, there's a real temptation to just keep relying on it.

The disadvantage of that particular path, to be fair, is that it can lead to a kind of elitism where "The magic works with or without the ritual; why go to all the bother?" -- or an addiction to flexibility, or a distaste for the pretentiousness of (insert specific, relatively effective ritual framework here), or what have you -- that spawns an unwillingness to invest the time to build up enough faith in a ritual system to make it useful. So that ossification can happen on both sides. But it's easier to add framework than to tear it down; and I'd rather err on the side that I have been.

Yeah, after I realized that you were the one who made this post [and not Shiari... god, I'm tired], I'd have to say I pretty much agree as well, even though I didn't read through it all. It sounds legit, though I'd have to say that tools/incantations can help you. Zerak tested one day when he was gathering energy; he started muttering mumbo jumbo words as an incantation, and it did help him get energy more quickly. I think he arrived at the conclusion that it was just another tool alongside his raw energy gathering. Though it could also fit your theory.

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