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Magick and The Powers

Objective benefits of Magick?

Objective benefits of Magick?
3/27/18 8:15 PM
Let's assume that I'm not looking for material gains in the 'real' world, and I don't give a shit about summoning entities. Let's also define 'magick' as specifically 'ritual magic in the western occult tradition'.

I've been reading about it recently, and just seems... all over the place. I don't 'get' what the purpose of it is. Is it just to make people feel powerful, special or different from the crowd?

And, the whole subculture also seems to be filled with complete degenerates like Aleister Crowley and pals, so it's not even like the great figures are even worth emulating (unlike the Buddha for example.)

Let's take a little extract from Israel Regardie's book, the 'One Year Manual', where he recommends doing the '4 adorations' practise:
Who travellest over the Heavens in Thy Bark
At the Uprising of the Sun
Tahuti standeth in his splendour at the prow
And Ra-hoor abideth at the helm
Hail unto thee from the Abodes of Night

Come on now, what is this shit? Speak this gibberish in the four directions, based off of the sun's position everyday and you'll recieve some sort of  esoteric benefit?

Maybe I'm being a little too caustic, but even after reading up on it, it still makes no sense whatsoever. Every book has a different conception of it(From magick being simply a different style of thinking or whatever, like in Ramsey Dukes' books, to full blown reality manipulation.)

But, I'm open to having my view changed. What is an objective benefit of conducting magick, that you can acquire in a small timeframe, with normal concentration powers, and with small risk?

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/27/18 11:38 PM as a reply to D..
All right, considering I'm the guy with the ongoing Thelema thread, I guess I'll bite.

To answer your questions in bold:

What is this shit?

Liber Resh vel Helios, the fourfold adoration to the sun, written by Crowley, to answer your question literally. But you knew that already, right? What you're actually asking is "Why bother?" I can only speak for myself, of course. For one thing, I often find that I like to have an element of devotional practice on my spiritual path, and Resh provides that pretty nicely. To me it doesn't seem any stranger than someone chanting "Nammo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhasa" or visualizing Amitabha Buddha. I don't necessarily believe that I'm literally channeling occult solar energies such as Crowley suggests one does by the practice in the text. (Although who knows? Maybe. It's immaterial one way or another as far as I'm concerned.) I also find that the fourfold practice of Resh begins to create an automatic structure in my magical practice, dividing the day into clearly defined segments, and serving as a regular reminder of the Work. It's a discipline, just like any other spritual practice. Either one finds it useful, or one does not and discards it. (Isn't this the sort of practical attitude advocated by the pragmatic dharma community? It's exactly the same attitude Crowley advocated in his Scientific Illuminism way back in 1909.)

What is an objective benefit of conducting magick, that you can acquire in a small time frame, with normal concentration powers, and with small risk?

I don't think there are any, necessarily, at least that meet all those qualifiers. Again, I can only speak for myself. For me, magick represents a living syncretistic wisdom tradition which is entirely life-affirming as opposed to life-denying. It's fascinating and it's fun and at times it's scary and it's probably even a little bit dangerous. It can be an ego trip, but even that in itself can be an important and necessary step for certain kinds of people. (I have found in my own life that it was necessary for me to build up a healthy ego before I could responsibly even begin to work with notions like anatta without spiraling into an existential crisis.)

Magick, for me, is less of cure-all and more of an adventure.

For what it's worth, all of the criticisms you brought up are true, to an extent. The world of magick is messy and convoluted and all over the place (though depending on the tradition you're in, I believe there is actually a profound simplicity to all of it, merely surrounded by glamors, so to speak), and it's full of assholes. The occult in particular seems to attract its fair share of charlatans, the mentally ill, and the socially inept. At the same time, I think this can be a blessing in disguise. I think it's easier to spot the nutjobs in occult circles when you've got your own head on straight. The fact that the founder of Thelema is a man I would never want to fully emulate myself is, to me, actually a good thing, because it's a foil to putting the guy on a pedestal. The point is to discover who YOU are, not to emulate some jumped-up ego with nasty mother issues.

Is it for everyone? Not at all. Neither is playing Dungeons & Dragons or watching horror movies or eating spicy food, but it works for some people. Though I would say that I think that people who are genuinely interested in following a magical path as a means of enlightenment would do well to work on themselves a lot in a non-magical sense beforehand. I consider myself lucky in that I fell down the Buddhist rabbithole before I delved headlong into the magical one, and this (plus a couple years of therapy) really helped to put me in a good and sober headspace to approach the Mysteries.

It's a whole encompassing system in itself. No one can give you a satisfactory answer "Why," because that's ultimately the sort of thing you have to answer for yourself. I have my own Why, although it's more like a Why Not in a lot of ways.

Anyway, just my own two cents.

Do what thou wilt.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/28/18 3:28 AM as a reply to D..
Daniel has a great article on Magick which I guess would help make sense of western occult magick

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/28/18 1:14 PM as a reply to Andrew S.
Well for me Magick is about curiosity and having fun, know other ways to use the mind etc.

Have to say MagicK for me is "supernatural" expirience like lucid dreams, fire kasina, moves of energy doing archetypal work and  alchemy so is more like taking the Hero Jounrey.

MagicK is much more, I will recomend these autor : Donald Tyson.

This is a very good workbook written by him : The Magician's Workbook: Practicing the Rituals of the Western Tradition
Have fun, take whats works , disacrd what not emoticon

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/28/18 11:43 AM as a reply to Andrew B..
Okay, perhaps I haven't been viewing Magick as a serious spiritual discipline.

I'll try out a few certain rituals, in service of a simple goal, and see what happens.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/28/18 4:57 PM as a reply to Jordi.
Thank you, and everyone else for the reccomendations. (Especially Gordon White's books, they pretty much are what I'm looking for.)

Also, I'm not really into materialism/secularism, I wholly believe in reincarnation and all the supernatural aspects of Buddhism, it's just that I failed to identify anything worthwhile in the magick books I had previously read. Perhaps, they're for a more advanced reader.

Anyhow, I will definitely educate myself a little more, and see if there is truly something worthwhile for me to gleam from magick.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/29/18 10:22 AM as a reply to D..
Also, are there nicer... entities to evoke? I must admit, one of the reasons I don't want to interact with them is that they seem a little too 'otherwordly' and 'evil'.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/29/18 10:47 AM as a reply to D..
Gordon White's good. I like his RuneSoup podcast. (Though I don't always agree with his points of view--but often that just makes listening even more enjoyable!)

I can't speak from much personal experience in evocation, but I would ask, which entities are you refering to, and what purpose would you have for evocation?

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/29/18 1:01 PM as a reply to D..
I don't give a shit about summoning entities

Please don't do this emoticon  I have had an EXTREME amount of trouble due to malevolent beings.  Summoning anything what-so-ever runs the risk of this.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/29/18 4:15 PM as a reply to Bailey ..
I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot stick.  There is no reason to take refuge in anything other than Buddha.  He brings the most benefit and is the most powerful being in the universe.

I had to learn that my issues stemmed from demons here in the first place, Hermetic Seal pretty much saved my life.  The bad guys are tircky and can disguise them as good. Stick with Buddha.

If you want indepts disccusion:

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/30/18 5:24 AM as a reply to Bailey ..
All your comments are very well said, S.

I think for some people magick is simply something that happens along the way and you either learn to use it skillfully or spend a lot of time suppressing it/denying it/using it in unconscious ways that lead to trouble. It can help shed light on our shadow side or fuel its unhealthy tendencies. Why some people and not others? I've spent a lot of time pondering this and the best I've come up with is that it's some combination of heritable traits and life experiences--nature and nurture. Karma, if you will. 

As for "objective" benefits, I've never met a perfect person and that includes the awake ones. Probably every human has at least some degree of trauma or psychological baggage and there are clear benefits to using magickal approaches for dealing with that sort of thing. If we're going to start poking at our deepest, most painful wounds (and I definitely think we all should)*, why not do it in a way that is fun and playful? You don't even have to have a natural aptitude for concentration for some of it. Uncle Ramsey's Little Book of Demons: The Positive Advantages of the Personification of Life's Problems is a hilarious little magickal self help book, basically refurbished Tantric but an engaging read and quite accessible even if you aren't a total occult nerd.

So while there is obviously a lot more to it than just the psychological benefits, let's not forget or discount them. Cleaning up the psyche is training in morality and a desirable end in and of itself. Not only that, but dealing with our unresolved crap improves concentration and frees up processing power that can be used for more magick or whatever other other goals we might have, or at least this has been my experience.

*Standard disclaimer: this is not to say that magick should necessarily replace talking with a good therapist/counselor/etc., depending on what you're dealing with.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
3/30/18 6:41 PM as a reply to Andrew B..
Hmm.. I'm pretty interested in working with aspects of Mercury(perhaps the Olympick spirit, Ophiel?) to aid me in more 'mundane' areas of my life.

But, everything I've read about entities always has some strange horror story about getting terrorised by a  malevolent one.

Or, Servitor magick, but I don't think those count as 'entities'.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
4/1/18 6:09 PM as a reply to Jordi.
maybe HGA is an emanatory primordial yogic guru,
Interesting that you mention this. (If you don't mind me asking.) Have you attained the Knowledge & Conversation with the HGA?

The Bornless/Headless ritual seems to pop up everywhere I read about magick.

RE: Objective benefits of Magick?
4/30/18 8:33 AM as a reply to D..
Excellent scholarship as usual, S. I learned a lot from that and particularly enjoyed your overview of how Crowley's understanding of the HGA evolved over time. When you get right down to it, wouldn't any relationship with and understanding of the Divine have to evolve over time just as we do? It only makes sense. 

Crowley is on my list of Terrible Role Models Who Wrote Useful Things, like Chogyam Trungpa. I used to think you could just separate the works from the author, but changed my mind. Now I think it is inadvisable to try and you will get a much more useful reading of someone's work if you view it carefully through the lens of their flawed humanity. And I think this is a more respectful way to relate to people who are in a teaching role, as if we aren't learning from the lessons of our teachers' mistakes then we are failing in our duty as students to learn as much as we possibly can. The best teachers want their students to eventually surpass them.

I think using the Headless Rite (or really any ritual magic) as a "spiritual depth charge" to go fishing for whatever spirits bite is a neat idea and it makes sense that would work as a sort of magical initiation. Funny enough, I actually see some parallels here with a form of Christian contemplation described in the 14th century text The Cloud of Unknowing. In this case, one "goes fishing" for a particular fish: God, but with no preconceived notion of what that even means. As the quote near the end of your post says, "If the Will of the magician is aligned with the Will of God, there lies no difference between angels and demons." Ultimately, whatever bites will be some manifestation of the Divine no matter what you call it. I'm more of a lumper than a splitter and prefer not to argue about semantics, so I choose to call it all God. Whatever language we use, it takes a lot of courage to just open yourself up to the unknown and in my opinion that courage is a key component of the entire endeavor, perhaps even THE key.

I think your recommendation that Buddhists wait for at least stream entry before diving into Western occultism is a good idea. For one, it can be a major distraction and turn into an interminable rabbit hole that leads nowhere productive. But also, for some people who reach a critical mass of vipassana the magical stuff just starts happening on its own or at least get a lot easier so the effort/gains ratio is more favorable. Might as well see if you're one of those people before wasting time and effort. And then there's the risk of going temporarily or even permanently batshit insane doing this stuff. It makes sense to wait on flirting with crazy until you have a relatively solid baseline of sanity and functionality. I might add that in addition to stream entry, some proficiency with CBT might also be helpful so people will have the tools to keep their shit together and successfully navigate school/work/family/etc. if/when things get really weird. Safety first, kids!