Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exactly Backwards

After writing the previous article, I came across this article on "Manifestation vs. Magick." I've written about this topic before in the context of comparing the "Law of Attraction" explained in books like The Secret to formal ceremonial rituals. While the author sees a connection between the two concepts just like I do, he comes at it from the opposite direction.

The article defines the two terms thus:

Manifestation is the sponataneous creation of the things we need in our lives, generally something we've wished for or something necessary for our path. This can be as simple as having a lane suddenly open up for us in busy traffic or as unexpected as having a job offer drop into our lap from out of the blue.
Magick is the conscious and intentional attempt to manifest that change through energetic means. It is always something we're aware of and something that stays with us after the moment of its working has passed.

Energetically speaking, the process behind each is almost identical.

Let's be clear on our definitions:

Magick = creating change using ceremonial forms.
Manifestation = creating change without using ceremonial forms.

So far, so good. But then we get to this:

So why is manifestation so successful and magick usually subtle, at best?

Um, because you're doing it wrong?

According to all of my empirical trials, forms work much better. There's really little comparison between form and no-form. You have to do magick for years before you get good enough to reliably "manifest" things by just willing them to happen unless you have a lot of natural talent, and even then forms make everything work better. What universe is this author living in?

Well, maybe this helps:

While we can almost always look back and find the exact moment we consciously wanted the shift in energy to take place, it is usually not something we place any amount of thought into and generally something we forget about in the next moment.

So apparently, anything positive that happens to you is "manifestation" regardless of whether or not you willed it to happen. Seeing as life is a mixture of positive and negative experiences, if you assume manifestation "succeeds" whenever good things happen to you it is certainly possible to rack up a success rate higher than what magicians can generally produce. Not only that, but as the quote makes clear this determination rests on hindsight, which psychologists have found to be notoriously inaccurate.

In the light of this, the author's recommendation makes little sense.

If you were to pay attention to your own energy when manifesting, you'd realize that it comes from a completely different area than when you're consciously working a rite. We'll look at this in later material. The key isn't to find some missing incantation to power your intentional workings. The key is in projecting energy from the same place you do when you're manifesting changes to your path. And when you're capable of projecting energy in the same way for your rites, you'll discover that your magick begins to work in ways you never imagined possible.

Trust me, doing magick from a place of selective memory is useless. The only reason that "manifesting" looks more effective is that according to the author's model it is given credit for all sorts of things that really are unrelated to any sort of psychic or magical energy. Something good happened? "My manifestation succeeded!" Something bad happened? "My manifestation didn't work that time." Do you see how silly this gets?

The key to making your magick work has nothing to do with this sort of psychological trickery, and everything to do with maintaining regular magical practices and learning to use the ceremonial forms properly. One of the side effects of diligent practice is that over time things will begin to go more your way in general and you will experience more serendipity in your life, but that's more of a secondary goal and doesn't depend on some mysterious energy that's different than the energy you use when working magick. It's more like a general tendency that surrounds anyone who is really walking the path.

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