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Thread: How Does Magic(k) Work?

  1. #11
    Bronze Member Clive's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Personally, I don't believe in destiny or fate. I believe that the Gods can bless, guide and set us up for circumstances should they so choose, but we most definitely have free will in all cases. Personal experience: I believe that Pele blessed me and my family - I didn't know I had parents out there, and they were set to be in Hawaii months ago. As luck would have it, their move was postponed due to unfortunate circumstances - or not so unfortunate: During that setback, we learned that they were my parents and I was their son. We are now a family and are set to live on the island together. I believe that Pele wanted my parents to have me with them on the island, and set things up so that such could be. Could I have turned down the offer, though? I sure could have.

    That said, no one knows for certain exactly how magic works. Many of us liken the Universe to a spiderweb that is spun by the Goddess/Spider Woman/Female Divine/Divine Source or what have you, and that this web is ALL - the entire Universe and everything in it, including us. Magic works, some say, by learning to manipulate your own strand of the Web, which in turn affects greater parts of the Web. By this explanation, we can say that magic is the manipulation of energies - your spell causes a ripple across the Web, which in turn creates the intended change.
    Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.
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  2. #12
    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive View Post

    That said, no one knows for certain exactly how magic works. Many of us liken the Universe to a spiderweb that is spun by the Goddess/Spider Woman/Female Divine/Divine Source or what have you, and that this web is ALL - the entire Universe and everything in it, including us. Magic works, some say, by learning to manipulate your own strand of the Web, which in turn affects greater parts of the Web. By this explanation, we can say that magic is the manipulation of energies - your spell causes a ripple across the Web, which in turn creates the intended change.
    I've put that very similarly! I liken it to how we each are stones skipping on the water, making ripples.

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

  3. #13
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_Holliday View Post
    But you see, magic by exact definition is "The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces."

    Problem is, Science is, admittedly sometimes mysterious, but never supernatural. Because supernatural by definition is "Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature." So magic instantly surpasses science into a world of nobodies thorough understanding. So asking people how magic works is like asking how babies are made, nobody knows, but seriously there are no answers. And if we knew, it would lose all mystery and all supernatural qualities because no longer would it be beyond the laws of nature and our understanding. It just becomes textbook science.
    If you use the dictionary definition, sure, but it's pretty useless imo because 'supernatural' is a meaningless phrase, both because by definition if something exists, it's a part of the natural order of the universe (unless we're talking some hypothetical Lovecraftian dimensional interlopers), and because the goalposts of what we define as 'supernatural' are constantly shifting as our scientific knowledge of the universe grows.

    But that said, most theories of magic place it firmly in the realm of natural reality, albeit a poorly understood section of it (which is to say, the part you can't see no matter how expensive your microscope is). If you instead use some variation of the most popular non-dictionary definition, Crowley's 'causing change in conformity with the will, (although I'd append that with 'through non-material means' or something along those lines, or else everything is magic), then I think you can absolutely apply the scientific method to reaching a greater understanding of how it works, even if we don't immediately land on a provable explanation for why it works (and the same can be said for many things which we consider scientific, where we know a lot about 'how' it works but not so much about 'why').

    In fact I'd argue that in many ways the approach taken to magic by a lot of traditions is rather scientific in nature: you have a goal in mind, and so you try different methods of reaching that goal, keep meticulous notes, compare what does and doesn't work, then pass on knowledge of what does work for other people to use. The first major problem is the highly subjective and variable nature of magic, and the inability to observe it mechanically due to it operating outside of material reality, but I don't think that's much more of an issue than is for something like psychology, let alone the 'social sciences.' The second is that if you take magic far enough, you start blurring into spirituality and religion and metaphysics, which are much trickier, but then again, look at where physics has ended up. You know what they say about science climbing to the top of the mountain...

    And hell, if you want to drop the labels and call a spade a spade, parapsychology pretty much is a euphemism for 'the scientific study of magic.' Of course they'd rather poke their own eyes out than suffer the embarrassment of using that term, but any difference between what they currently label 'psi phenomenon' and magic is largely semantics. The problem is that despite producing quite a hefty load of published, peer-reviewed, reproducible evidence for the phenomena they're studying, parapsychology gets the shaft from the mainstream scientific establishment because accepting their evidence means a major paradigm shift for science in particular and society in general, and those kind of things just don't happen overnight. But the field is there, and they're quietly chugging away doing some fascinating work on ESP, OBE's, psychokinesis, spiritual healing, meditation, etc etc.

    So yeah, I don't think they're inherently incompatible at all. Sure, one end of magic blurs into some stuff that's pretty hard to look at through a scientific lens, but there's no reason the other end can't at least hang out with science and swap some cool ideas, as soon as science gets over their whole post-enlightenment grudge and gets back on speaking terms with it
    Last edited by Aeran; 11 Jul 2013 at 13:25.

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    Banned! Thothur's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Re: Magic

    I read something once upon a time that went something like this:

    Clinging to 'beliefs' inhibits the gathering of true knowledge. A true magician is a scientist, not a believer. What is true must also be provable.

    Assumption distracts the magician from appropriate investigation. Never assume or you will trade valuable discoveries for comfortable pretensions.

    So, do we want real discoveries, or comfortable pretensions? That's something we all must ask ourselves.

    @Celliehwyn. Mayhap ye might want to look into one of the various so called 'initiatory' organizations if you are actually interested in actual magic vs. what a lot of people these days unfortunately seem to think 'magic' is.

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    Banned! Thothur's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    I've considered a few possibilities.

    The fifth Theory is that magic is a string of delusions, coincidences and looking for patterns where none actually exist. It's all a hoax and the effect would've happened if I did a spell or not. Overlaps with placebo effect.
    ex 1: I curse someone. The next day that person is diagnosed with a terminal illness which has taken months to develop. My curse had no effect on the person because magic isnt real (note: this ex could be applied to theory 2 as well)
    ex 2: I make a sweet dreams spell to combat my insomnia. Because I believe the spell will work I feel better and I can sleep.
    Most of the folks I've met or talked to tend to fall into your 5th theory, example 2. They want it to happen so bad that it does. Not because anything has actually happened, but because they THINK it has. Like when folks are told that they are being given medication to cure them from something, and it's just a placebo. But they THINK they're receiving medicine and so they get better.

    By the same coin, one could be given sugar and told it was poison, and if they believed it, they'd develop an illness. The mind has a tremendous effect upon the body.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post

    And hell, if you want to drop the labels and call a spade a spade, parapsychology pretty much is a euphemism for 'the scientific study of magic.' Of course they'd rather poke their own eyes out than suffer the embarrassment of using that term, but any difference between what they currently label 'psi phenomenon' and magic is largely semantics. The problem is that despite producing quite a hefty load of published, peer-reviewed, reproducible evidence for the phenomena they're studying, parapsychology gets the shaft from the mainstream scientific establishment because accepting their evidence means a major paradigm shift for science in particular and society in general, and those kind of things just don't happen overnight. But the field is there, and they're quietly chugging away doing some fascinating work on ESP, OBE's, psychokinesis, spiritual healing, meditation, etc etc.
    As a friend of mine says, the 'old guard' of any establishment needs to either 1.) Retire or 2.) Die off, before any changes will be made in mainstream anything. I think this is exactly true. Whole careers and legacies are built on what are now known to be fallacies, and they won't risk those legacies whilst they're still able to maintain claim to their incorrect theories.

    Thus, change in academia comes S L O W L Y....

  6. #16
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Exactly. People cling to their worldviews at the best of times, and when you have scientists and academics who've dedicated their lives to, or built a career on, a specific idea or concept, or have fundamental ideas which they were taught at an early age and have had reinforced for decades, it's understandable that they have a really hard time letting them go. Nobody likes to see the world change under their feet, or admit that what they've been saying their whole life is wrong.

    Hell, I had a really hard time moving from a a hardcore, materialist, atheist to, well, whatever the hell I am now, and that was with constant exposure to all sorts of weirdness staring me in the face, but I blocked it out for ages because 'it couldn't be true.' I still find myself scratching my head sometimes and wondering when all this crazy stuff became a part of my life, but at the same time I couldn't deny it any more than I could deny that the sky is blue. So I can sympathize.

    I can't remember who said it, but I was watching a lecture a while back where a researcher made that exact point, new ideas don't become accepted by changing the minds of the current establishment, but by exposing younger individuals to them while their minds are still flexible and they're less invested in their worldview, who then grow up to be the new establishment. Which gives me some measure of hope for the future

  7. #17
    Banned! Thothur's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Absolutely. You'll never convince the vast majority of the old guard of anything. They'll laugh and snicker and giggle and look down their nose.

    It'll be their great great great grandchildren that invent FTL (Faster than light) travel. Not them. Not because it was inaccessible in theory during our age, but because these people will not have all the false presumptions that we've been saddled with. In other words they won't be told that it's impossible. Remember, it wasn't too long ago when manned flight was 'impossible'.

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    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    My father was a lifelong AT&T employee starting around 1955. He rode the wave of computer invention. I remember him telling me that one day, SStar Trek-ish 'communicators would be commonplace. Every time I've used a cell phone I've thought of him!

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

  9. #19
    Newbie Emmerich's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    I'm no professional in esoteric matters. I'm highly skeptical (which works well, as Heathenism doesn't have a lot of magic in it), but speaking hypothetically, if magic exists, I feel it would have to belong to an as of yet undiscovered branch of physics. That's not to say that, if it is ever quantified by science that it will stop being magic, the word "magic" will simply lose its ties to the supernatural.

    In my opinion, "magic" was the olden days psychology and herbalism.

    Note: I'm just stating my opinion and have no intention of offending anyone. If you've worked magic and it has worked for you, great. I just haven't observed it "working" myself.

  10. #20
    Thane Doc_Holliday's Avatar
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    Re: How Does Magic(k) Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
    Heathenism doesn't have a lot of magic in it
    Debatable.

    Considering it is Freyja who taught Odin our chief god how to practice Seiðr and Odin became very adept in sorcery. And most women back in old times used to practice one form of magick or another. And men sometimes would too. Magick is very much a part of our lore tradition and practice.
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