Magick and the ego

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Liam Lewis
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Magick and the ego

Post by Liam Lewis » 08 Nov 2011, 10:05

I come from what I believe to be a fairly grounded tradition of hatha yoga, for which the serious and scientific study of the body and its sensations (both internal and external) is the goal. I am also a student at university, and therefore am continuously exposed to evidence-based thinking. I have done some research into Buddhism and the Sankhya system from India, as well as studying the OBOD Bardic course. The purpose of letting you know this is to give you an idea of where I am coming from when I ask: how much of 'magick' and aspects of ritual/meditation (e.g. imagining that I have an animal who leads me on journeys or imagining that I can send energy to other people across the world) are really tools and tricks that the ego plays on us?

There are many levels on which to think about this question. The examples that I gave above are obviously quite base but they form an inherent part of what many people would call spirituality today. But take, as another example, the western infatuation with the so-called 'chakras' (those spinning whirlpools of energy that lie on certain points of the body's axis). I am more inclined to think that many of these ideas are symbolic with some attachment to subtle sensations in the body. The dilemma is that, in our effort to think 'rationally', do we risk losing these possible real experiences? but at the same time, how do we justify 'magickal' practices that we become attached to and which could lead down a path of falsehood?

Let's bounce some ideas around!
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treegod
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by treegod » 08 Nov 2011, 12:32

Put another way, some "magick" is actually tricks being played on the ego in order to distract it from conventional ego thinking in order to obtain extra-egoic insights.

I don't think thinking "rationally" about things such as chakras necessarily takes out the real benefit from them. To me chakras are simply levels of consciousness, and that works for me. In practice, visualising talking to my "animal guide" is not a rational exercise, and in that situation I'd suspend any disbelief just to allow the real message come through. And then I'd return to "normal consciousness" that would allow me to understand it in the light of my everyday life where their lessons could be integrated.

I understand "magick" in terms of psychology: awe of the universe, inspiration and creativity, exploring the unconscious structures of the psyche etc. I don't feel I'm being "tricked" by such thinking, quite the opposite, it helps me understand in a way that works for me in my everyday life.

But also on the spiritual path there are "golden chains" (I think that's a Buddhist term) that can distract us from the truth of our jounreys. We can become enchanted and lose our way a little. It takes a discerning mind to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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Explorer
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Explorer » 08 Nov 2011, 13:19

Everything what Treegod said.

The trick is perhaps to think a bit differently about ''imagination' in this sense.

In the 'normal world' we perhaps think of it as synonymous for 'not real'.
But in the world of magic 'imagination' is seen as a property of the mind which can be used to focus and enhance (mental) experiences.
And these experiences lead to thoughts, insights, idea's, which can lead to actions and change. Magic can be this simple.
In that sense, what we 'imagine', can be regarded as real.

A big pitfall is to define "the imagined" as something physical. And I think that that is what you are wondering about.
About people dowsing for imaginary lines, taking pictures of imaginary aura's, pointing at imaginary chakra's and prediciting the end of the world because of imaginary alignments.

Treegod couldn't have said it better. It only takes a discerning mind to sort the wheat from the chaff.
To distinguish between the imaginative and the physical, and to understand how both represent different kinds of 'reality'.
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by DJ Droood » 08 Nov 2011, 14:50

Out of curiosity, when did they start appending a k onto the end of "magic" (or, indeed, when did they drop the K from "magick") to distinguish between the fun, entertaining sort and the "eye of newt" type?
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Explorer
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Explorer » 08 Nov 2011, 21:29

DJ Droood wrote:Out of curiosity, when did they start appending a k onto the end of "magic" (or, indeed, when did they drop the K from "magick") to distinguish between the fun, entertaining sort and the "eye of newt" type?
I have no idea, I only know what they taught me in OBOD, I assumed that everybody here kind of means the same by that term. (I could be assuming wrong ofcourse).
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Lily » 08 Nov 2011, 22:02

Haven't I always said it's real - it all happens in the world between my ears!
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by skh » 08 Nov 2011, 22:17

DJ Droood wrote:Out of curiosity, when did they start appending a k onto the end of "magic" (or, indeed, when did they drop the K from "magick") to distinguish between the fun, entertaining sort and the "eye of newt" type?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magick
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Explorer
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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Explorer » 09 Nov 2011, 18:42

Lily wrote:Haven't I always said it's real - it all happens in the world between my ears!
exactly, and the repercussions of that spill over into the world outside your head.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by JohnPaulPatton » 19 Nov 2011, 02:26

Good thread. Thinking something can in a sense make it true-for the ancients I imagine that the fairies and spirits of the elements were as 'real' to them as rock and wind are to us. As Robert Anton Wilson put it 'what the thinker thinks, the prover proves.'

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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Bart » 19 Nov 2011, 13:36

Praying, ritual and magick also gives focus in your desires. If I imagine the exact need of what I want, My subconscious has a good picture of the direction it has to lead me.
Ritual also opens youre conscious up for the possibilities: like with horoscopes. If I do magick to get a result, anything slightly reminiscent of the thought is a result.

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Re: Magick and the ego

Post by Canu Taliesin » 06 Dec 2011, 13:44

As a student of Yoga you would normally find the Chakras to be a little more than symbolic, which suggests you either haven't practiced enough or you're following westernised conceptions of yoga which avoid the more 'mystical' aspects. I don't know what your ego will make of that, but there has been a discussion on a similar topic in the 'I don't believe in energy . . .' thread. I made a rather long response which still hasn't been addressed. Have you looked at Vipassana (the technique not the concept) or Chi Gong? The Buddhist / Taoist dogmas have no problem with energy. Funny that we plunder their techniques without learning their lessons. As far as animal spirit guides go, I think the main link you've missed is that from within the context of it's actual tradition, there are already safeguards built in to that tradition to help you distinguish delusion (or projection) from actual perception. As a plundered technique re-embodied in a New Age context, it's likely that no such safeguards would be passed on. The spirits of dead animals, as well as those of humans, are considered valid teachers in many traditions.
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