Science and religion are both based on the idea of absolute truth; and in their zealous pursuit of purity they reject the lie in favor of this truth. The scientific method separates out the truth from the lie, that it calls falsehood; the latter carrying a less despicable connotation than the lie. Whereas in art, the lie is not rejected but actually celebrated in the form of fiction.
Sorcery is not that different from art in that while it recognizes the lie as distinct from truth, it does not try to separate them. If anything it looks to reconcile them. And when the lie is rebranded as fiction, suddenly it does not seem so bad. That in itself is an act of sorcery.
Many so-called spiritual traditions follow fictional narratives – but very often they neglect to inform their followers that a) their content is fictional, and b) fiction is itself a wonderful, magical tool for self knowledge.
On one hand you have the mythologies, or mythos, that include fairy tales and the like – and these are generally accepted as fictional. Nevertheless they serve as useful vessels for imparting archetypal insight and such arcane knowledge. And on the other hand you have those fictional creations of spiritual traditions that are often mistaken to be the real thing: for example the higher self and the ascended masters of theosophy.
A sort of dialectic is formed with one side (the “gullible”) believing in these concepts as divine truth, and the other side (the “cynical”) scoffing at such absurd fantasy. But there is the third type – the magician, or sorcerer – who recognizes it as fiction and yet works with it as if it was real. If fiction serves a useful purpose, as a means to an end, then who cares if it is not actually real? The magician accepts the contradiction without trying to fix it. To him the division between truth and fiction is somewhat tenuous.
All opposites are of God, thereby man must bend to this burden; and in so doing … He becomes a vessel filled with divine conflict.
~ Carl Jung
Sorcery (or ‘magick’) does not necessarily concern itself with the objective truth of a given assertion. It inquires whether an idea – regardless of being true or false – has any practical value. In that respect a sorcerer might speak about the higher self as if it was true, whilst knowing that it is not. The idea serves as a means to an end, and is not an end in itself. When the end has been achieved, the idea can be discarded.
Through belief, one can deliberately and consciously direct attention towards a fictional construct as an act of will. One can also be unconsciously directed to fixate their attention toward a fictional construct, subtly through persuasion from another party. And this other party might also be unconscious of their own methods of persuasion.
It is as if the fictional construct has an instinct to survive, making it somewhat self-intelligent. This is itself might be a fictional narrative – but one that at least could be useful to work with. Staying with this theme, we could expand the fiction so that these fictional entities strive to perpetuate their life span by impressing upon the human organism to believe in them, each vying for attention. In that respect the human psyche is like a breeding ground for fictional entities – ideas, world views, storylines – to wage battle, each competing for attention.
Like any scientific hypothesis this should be experimented with to see how it fares and what is revealed along the way. For it offers a fresh way of looking at the dogged persistence of ideological conflicts, and how successful ideas and thought forms coalesce to form cultures.
Note that the term fiction simply implies something that is not real; but it does exist in psychological space, or ‘story-space’. If we consider that reality is ‘what is’, then fiction must be ‘what is not’ – or ‘what will be’. Fiction implies possibilities, and so it alludes to the future. Magick or sorcery (these are synonyms) is thereby the art and science of effecting change in accordance with will.
The sorcerer is essentially a writer of fiction; and through his craft he brings this fiction to life. The fact that he is not constrained by a preferential belief in an absolute truth, a base reality beyond the senses, separated from the self, is what allows him to do this. He thereby retains a fluid imagination, and it could be argued this imagination is what facilitates contact with the ‘reality beyond the senses’ – with fiction acting as the intermediary.
An important aspect of the sorcerer’s approach that separates him from the average man is he already knows belief is incompatible with truth; but that does not mean he rejects belief. As a practitioner he is adept at using belief to shape his own reality; to write his own fiction and not be resigned to live in someone else’s.
Some personal issues can be difficult to resolve with the usual rational approach. Reason is of course a very useful tool, but it is not always effective – and particularly so for some psychological issues. In this case writing fiction might be a better option to resolve personal trauma; for example conferring with the ‘higher self’. First however one has to create the higher self as a fictional entity, and this is achieved through the deliberate fixation of attention, or belief. Belief is what ‘breathes life’ into the fiction, into the higher self, and animates it.
The higher self is more of a theosophical or new age term, and a sorcerer or magician will tend to work with a daemon instead. If working in a collective this would be an egregore. Both the daemon and egregore are thought forms – fictional entities that can develop intelligence independently of the host. That is key to the practice of sorcery and something that the rational man finds difficult to accept. As always, the proof is in the pudding.
After a period of sustained belief (the “investment”) the individual may feel that he or she is receiving messages from the higher self. This may be in the form of intuition, a voice speaking to them, and synchronicities and affirmations in the physical world.
The sorcerer has the advantage in that he knows that his daemon will only be as ‘good’ as he is ‘instructed’ to be. Like a computer program is dependent on the skill of the programmer. So the sorcerer is careful with how he directs his intent to the daemon. Confused thoughts create confused daemons, or daemons that trick you, or daemons that will just tell you what you want to hear. In that way the sorcerer tends to his own thoughts the way one might tend to one’s garden, with utmost mindfulness and care.
Even a scientifically minded individual that has developed a capacity to intuit or inductively reason solutions to difficult problems has without doubt an intelligent daemon that exists as a fictional extension to his physical self. Such a daemon has been carefully managed by him to be efficient and effective, and in turn the daemon reveals its own secrets during the course of their collaboration.
Problem solving is approached most effectively not through sheer effort but with clarity – in seeing the problem and not rushing the mind into a hasty conclusion. The sorcerer believes in his daemon and so does not hesitate to delegate important tasks for it to independently work on. The scientist may not believe in a daemon as such, but has nonetheless developed the knack of solving problems; or nous – “divine intelligence” or “cosmic creative mind” in ancient Greek.
But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.
~ Nicola Tesla
There are of course more manipulative ways one can use a daemon to satisfy one’s personal desires. There is no inherent morality when it comes to sorcery; morality applies to the real world only, not the world of fiction. However since the world of fiction affects the future in the real world, one must be careful what one wishes for – for it might come true.
If the higher self is the projection of the desired self, then it follows that the default lower self must be the one that is conflicted. The higher self is omniscient and connected to source (another prop in the fictional narrative). By fixating ones attention on the fictional higher self, one becomes gradually more connected to it – while it is being created. Somewhat paradoxically, the higher self also starts to provide intuitive guidance to the lower self, so that the latter starts to sense it is successfully establishing a communication. A self fulfilling prophecy. The magic circle.
This is why those who dabble in the new age arts often appear mad as a box of frogs! They have succeeded in projecting a fictional entity that then communicates with them and validates their beliefs. However many do not realize that what they are dealing with is actually fictional and so get caught up in taking things too literally. It is the communication with the higher self that is the important issue; not to actually become the higher self. Trying to identify with the higher self serves to perpetuate the lower/higher paradigm beyond its usefulness, and so their fallible everyday self forever identifies as the lower self – the very nemesis of their fantasy. This leads to a degree of neurosis with insatiable truth seeking.
The better approach might be to create the higher self in full awareness of its fictional makeup, receive the guidance offered by it, utilize this guidance in a positive way, and then dissociate one’s attention from the lower-higher paradigm altogether. The daemon can be kept until the next time; after all it is self-intelligent.
Other practical applications of sorcery might include dealing with stress, where the stress-body is externalized as a fictional, etheric being, with which the practitioner communicates in order to glean practical intel in how to reduce stress. Sometimes just the act of communication is sufficient to resolve the issue.
Since much of the original folk magic has been lost in post modernist culture, the modern day sorcerer has the additional challenge of redesigning new methods. With the world wide web at his fingertips however, the possibilities are seemingly endless.
Still the fundamental question persists: how is this even possible? How can a fictional entity actually develop its own intelligence and impart instructive guidance to a practitioner of magick?
Perhaps the why is not even important – just so long as the process works. These magicterrapin pages are written largely through such guidance. However a clue might be uncovered by inquiring who is actually asking the question. If it is the lower self, then it stands to reason that it will be in ignorance, as – according to the narrative – it is disconnected from source. And as every lower self knows, as well as every scientist and artist, intuition is the most valuable but least understood part of the process of ‘divination’.
So whether one works creatively with existing fictional entities (such as the Greek muses, or the Roman or Egyptian or Norse pantheon of gods) or he creates his own daemon, it is through deliberate and conscious belief – the fixation of attention through will – that such entities become independently intelligent. In that respect magick can be regarded as a science. The ability to fixate ones attention, and to create fiction through intention, is what separates the good magicians from the lousy ones; and it is in this respect that magick is also regarded as an art.
The magician uses his craft to deliberately abandon reason, as other systems of cognition may have more practical use for a given challenge. That is not to say he ditches reason altogether; in fact he must hone his skill with it. Where the ordinary man has only his reason to make sense of the world and interact with it, for the sorcerer reason is one of several ways he can use to interact with the world, and thereby has an advantage over his fellow man.
Even for a neophyte of sorcery interacting in a corporate workplace, the opportunities are there to be seized. Solving problems can be assisted with the use of a daemon. Dealing with workplace adversaries can become a joyful engagement using practical magick instead of the more usual bitter and paranoid experience. For this one might need to develop other important magical attributes such as charm and charisma.
The possibilities are endless – because the fictional plane is a fourth dimension that ‘surrounds’ the three lower dimensions that the attention of the average man is fixated on. Just as a 3D cube intersecting a 2D plane appears as a manifestation of a 2D plane, so 4D ‘story-space’ intersecting 3D reality appears as random 3D reality. But there really is no such thing as luck. Well there is but it exists also as fiction. If we rebrand luck as fortune then we may be better off for it.