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Not a Believer....??
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Post: #1
Not a Believer....??
Allow me to relate one of my experiments with focus. years back, i was dabbling in...."magic."

mine was of the school that self constructed ritual focused personal energy, or even just intent (I was influenced some by casteneda) in order to achieve effect.

I was stationed in twenty nine palms, CA on the Marine base there. it was friggin HOT...and we had already spent four days laying on asphalt slabs at the rifle range qualifying.

I decided to try and make it rain, no joke, because it would cancel our trip to the range. I wrote a poem, made up some other steps, did them all (burned the poem from my mind, which i thought was interesting) and waited for the next day.

Well....we went to the range, spent the whole time there. then, just as we were loading the trucks...one single little cloud drifted over us, low, and spat on us enough to make us hot and sticky.

So what happened?

did i achieve effect with my energy??? or...

-did god do it to pick on me, teach some humility, advise not to screw with the weather?
-did some wicked spirit do it to tempt me into dabbling further
-was it a freak coincidence?

Damned if I know. I'm surely not concluding that i'm some budding wizard.

The point of all this? Well first, what IS magic? Personal definition is most welcome as it is likely a personal thing.

I would define "magic" as focusing energy/will/intent in order to bypass normal routes in order to achieve a desired result. I figure I'll need an example of "normal." Well the normal way to get a job would be to apply, write a resume, and excel in an interview then just hope..... A way to bypass that might be to use "magic" to implant a suggestion in the HR person's mind so that the interview doesn't happen or is just a formality because they know they want you.

using that definition, I can't say that I have any reason to believe in "magic." I've never seen any evidence that people can actually wield energy, or whatever, in such a way as to force a result. Additionally, as seen above in my account, there are other possible explanations.

Now, if :magic" is the beseeching of other entities...then that would be different. i can totally see that.
2010-07-24 15:50
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Seraphyna
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Post: #2
Re: Not a Believer....??
I believe that magic is focusing energy via will and intent to achieve a desired result. Magic can either be using one's personal energy, or energy from another source (such as nature, a source of divinity, etc.) or a combination of the two.

That being said, I certainly don't beleive that magic always turns out as intended. In your example of the rain, it could be a coincidence, or it could be that your magic begot rain afterall...just not exactly rain in the way you would've liked. Magic can be finicky at best sometimes, and I notice that often when magic is employed for a rather trivial cause, it often finds a loophole.

[Image: seraphyna11_zps47e1e313.png]
"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost."-Tolkien
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."-Poe
2010-07-24 15:53
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Post: #3
Re: Not a Believer....??
That brings up a bit of trouble...

...who decides what is trivial?
2010-07-24 15:58
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Post: #4
Re: Not a Believer....??
I suppose it does not matter if it was your magic that caused the effect or not as its all the same in the end. magic is in many ways just as much a way of looking at the world as it is a practice. It's like doing a spell to not catch any red lights... you could sit and statistically prove that it was just chance you managed your feat, or you can view it as your magic taking effect. neither side is wrong or right... as its all a matter of perspective.

Now as for the actual practice part of things I like the idea of magic being change in conformity to will. I think its important to remember all magic works.. people have a habit of shorting their magic out by letting the thought of hoping it works sneak into their thoughts, and as such you get exactly what you asked for: you hoped it would work. I have also found that magic tends to act like the metaphorical genie... it tend to answer things in the easiest and often worst possible fashion... which is one of the reasons you have to be so specific when asking for something like money unless you want your money in the form of insurance for falling into a combine harvester.

"Let every fox tend to his own tail"
~Italian Proverb
2010-07-24 16:07
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Post: #5
Re: Not a Believer....??
if it doesn't matter, then what is the point of the entire concept of magic? Why do we even have the concept?

Now, this has gotten me in trouble before, but I believe 100% in an Objective reality. Either your wielding of magical energy caused an anomaly in the street lights, or it didn't. It's actually not up to perspective, IMO. One side is right and one side is wrong, as per the law of non contradiction.
2010-07-24 17:18
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Post: #6
Re: Not a Believer....??
I have a little trick I play with on Howls - I play with the stream of smoke coming off the fire. But what happens is that, after a while it starts working contrary to how I want it to work.

In other words, magic tends to backfire on me.

Now, what I believe is happening is that I play with chaos - the flow of smoke is very sensitive to forces working in the environment. Bodies are very energetic things with lots of infra-red, static, and electrochemical things going on all the time and, to a certain extent, those energies can be projected.

The human brain is an exquisite pattern prcessor that can take input from incredibly complex processes, make some sense out of them suconsciously, and do what needs to be done to affect a desired change.

The brain itsef is a continuous (analog) machine. It doesn't break things down into steps and it doesn't analyze them so that we get a readout of how to do things or why things are happening. Pattern in - pattern out. We do have peripheral equipment associated with the brain that can, to a certain extent, break things down into discrete, linguistic information, but it doesn't work well on the subconscious. The subconscious works best if you just leave it alone and let it do it's work. That's why it's not a good idea to over think intuition.

I believe that there are four kinds of magic:

Language magic - informaton, both verbal and nonverbal, has effects on the world. When you send out a message, it doesn't come back void. People are suggestible and, to a certain extent, so are other minds, like local and planetary minds. Language works on densely connected systems.

Natural (pre-scientific) magic - Some magic workers may be working with completely natural principles that science hasn't elicidated yet. Contrary to populat opinion, we don't know it all ye, and probably never will.

Invocative magic - The calling up of entities to do what we want.

Projective magic (includes divination). Projecting those subtle energies that we have into chaotic situations and projecting what our minds know subconsciously onto objects to allow us to come up with linguistic interpretations for what's in our subconscious.

As for God and magic, the language used in the Bible for magic is very specific - there are certain things that it rejects - using chemical substances for selfish means - one word that translates into witch or sorcerer has the same root as our word "pharmacy". Divination is also frowned upon, not because it's divination but because God wants us to trust Him.

In other words God doesn't care whether we use magic or not. The maji that came t see Him at His birth were, after all, literally, magicians. He cares about obedience and trust.

A related issue is how science has finally begun to realize that it has limits. One is that it can only make short term predictions about how chaotic systems are going to work. Weather, ecology, the human body are all chaotic systems and science is limited on how much control it can exert on them. For instance, trying to calculate the amount of hunting to contol wild game populations is ludicrous. That's why you can't drive sometimes in Alabama for the deer - science keeps trying to control deer populations with hunters.

THe subconscious mind is ideally suited to deal with chaotic systems so, where science finds its limits, a well trained intuition can manage situations. The way to control a chaotic system is to get inside it, become a part of it, and, instead of controlling it, influence it.

So, whereas magic can be imperfect science (in the sense of pre-science), it can also be the transcendence of science because it can go where science can't.
2010-07-24 18:51
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Post: #7
Re: Not a Believer....??
Biblically magic actually had more to do with attempting to contact the dead and messing with familiar spirits. This was understandeable because the messing of with spirits led to things like the nephilim. Thus YHVH does care if we are using "magic" as defined as messing with spiritual forces that we shouldn't be.

Additionally, it can be seen as a violation of the first commandment.

the Magi, from what i learned, where Chaldeans. They were basically astrologers from the type that would have been in the employ of babylon. Thus they likely had knowledge of Daniel and his prophecies.

I agree about pre-science magic. It wasn't that long ago that gun powder was "magic."
2010-07-24 19:18
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Post: #8
Re: Not a Believer....??
Certainly, God doesn't want people playing with demonic forces because He doesn't want people to be destroyed and that's the ultimate goal of demonic entities.

As for the Magi, they dealt with magic also as the old folktales from that area emphasize. Linguistically, magi - magic. "Wicca" is a cognate of "magi" and both mean "wise one" and implies knowledge and wisdom beyong tha usual.

Idolatry involves worship - serving other gods. The goal of magic is to have other entities serve you - that doesn't sound lke idolatry to me.
2010-07-24 19:25
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Post: #9
Re: Not a Believer....??
How would astrology not count as knowledge beyond the usual?
2010-07-24 19:47
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Post: #10
Re: Not a Believer....??
Oh, it certainly does, and it's divination - I was just saying that it's not the only magic they involved themselves with.
2010-07-24 20:45
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