Taken from a discussion between several people and myself on a mailing list. My present and previous responses have all been shown in red.
Here are some misc. thoughts and responses for you to chew on if you wish. Take them as you will - I don't expect a debate since such a proposition would be ridiculous given the subjective nature of consciousness and reality.
>>What would you consider to be 'of value' in your study of magick?
>Something true, or usable; something that expands my capabilities.
I'm very surprised that you haven't found anything. If it makes you feel any better the problem is entirely internal on your part heheh.
>>How would you know if you had found it?
>By being able to do or know things I couldn't before.
I suspect that due to preconceived views and rigid expectations, you're possibly not making proper use of mind in order to achieve that result. More on this further down.
>> Hmmm for that matter, how do you know your present expectations and beliefs aren't limiting your results?
>Because when I did believe, nothing happened.
It sounds like you weren't applying your energy and consciousness properly to create any effect. Belief is a big part of it, but there is definitely a deeper science and skill behind magick that you won't learn about in any book. From what I've seen, Franz Bardon's texts probably come closest to discussing this skill and the necessary steps to achieving it. If you aren't able to sense and manipulate energy, then you won't be very successful in practical magick. Deep relaxation and loss of sensation of self are two of the keys, but if not combined with practical hands-on experimentation under supervision of experienced practitioners then they might not be enough for some.
>>>Once you strip away the wishful thinking, fuzzy-headed misunderstandings, and outright lies, there doesn't seem to be much [of anything real in magick].
>>Lack of observed evidence by one person wouldn't necessarily imply lack of existence on the whole.
>Indeed. But since there is no experimental evidence whatsoever --- at least, none that has been distinguishable from pure chance or some sort of delusion --- I feel justified in doubting.
There is plenty of evidence or else scientists and the military wouldn't keep spending money on researching it. But, I can see where you might think there was none if you had not been able to personally experience any. I was once where you are. For your enjoyment here are a few very minor examples of some of my own personal 'evidence' and why I cannot help but believe through experience now. (I'm not divulging any personal info that I hold as private/sacred by doing this so these are only the most trivial events.) I hope you find them interesting if nothing else:
This example is quite minor: I needed extra money once a couple years ago so I did a few workings to set up currents of energy that would assist me to find money in places I hadn't looked. Within a couple days I received a check in the mail for money I should not have been entitled to. I continued to receive a check for a couple months (it was some severance pay for a job I no longer worked at - a computer glitch appears to have allowed me to get it…coincidence? Who knows? I certainly didn't care which at the time since I got what I had wanted.)
This happened when I first got into magick several years ago: I was watching television one day and suddenly (for no reason) found myself thrown into a mental 'vision' I suppose you could call it. It involved a person I was going to meet soon but whom I knew absolutely nothing about. In the vision (which was more intense than any daydream and more vivid than ordinary reality) I saw everything about that person including his involvement with the occult. I had no way of knowing this since NO ONE had ever told me that this person was in any way associated with such things and his appearance when I saw him later had no tip-offs either. (I had neither seen nor spoken to this person prior to the vision.) After I met that person a couple days later, I kept hinting around about magick/occult arts hoping to get his attention. After a couple days of subtle hinting he took me aside and admitted his involvement in such things in a private conversation and, without prompting, confirmed those things I had seen in the vision. There was no possibility for coincidence or suggestion here. I knew things that I could not have known by any other means other than the astral vision I was presented with spontaneously.
Once when young and stupid I was doing some things (rather malevolently to some jerk - yes an ignorant thing to do) in a working years ago that involved fire. When I began burning a likeness of that person (yes I know the method of working is primitive - I was a complete novice at the time) some inexplicable force ripped the items out of my hands and whipped them up into the air over my head and somehow managed to get them on the floor far behind me. This happened very quickly. I'm completely at a loss on how such a thing could have occurred by natural means, especially since there were no drafts, the thermal energy from a tiny candle flame nearby wasn't strong enough to do it, and I had a rather tight grip on the items as it was. It felt like someone had grabbed them.
A friend of mine used to live in a house that had a tiny entity of unknown nature living in it. (We think it might have been one of the handicapped foster children who had died there years before.) Apparently this particular one was fond of touching people for the hell of it - nothing more, just walking up and touching them. I was not informed about this phenomenon (which my friend later mentioned had gone on for many years) at all until one day it happened to me! I was standing in his kitchen talking to him when I felt someone pushing my body gently from my left side. At first I thought it was my friend, but when I turned instantly to look and see who was doing it, I noticed that it was geographically impossible for him to have touched me. He was more than 10 feet away! After I got through freaking at the fact that 'nothing' just touched me and managed to push my body sideways, he told me that everyone in the house knew about the 'entity' that liked to touch people there. (He wasn't lying - his brother and sister both confirmed this when I asked them later that day. They were surprised that no one had told me about this sooner.)
I was driving at night in my car a few years ago and doing some energy work on some things I was building astrally at the time. (Hey, some people put on make-up or read while driving, I happen to prefer doing magickal operations heheh.) Because the car trip was so routine I slipped temporarily into a heightened state of awareness and intense concentration - which was a bit unusual for me at that time since normally I had to really work at it to get to that state. Immediately after I slipped into this state of mind, I noticed that the voltage meter on the dashboard had shot up into the 18 - 20 volt range and that the headlights were way too bright. After I had looked down and seen this, I also noticed (because I am sensitive to it) that energy from my own aura was somehow flowing into the car through my hands on the steering wheel. As soon as I saw that, I relaxed my mind with the intention of stopping the flow of energy from my hands and the lights and voltmeter went back to normal. It was triggered by psychic activity and it stopped exactly when I ceased any psychic activity.
A friend of mine had a certain talent for causing inexplicable fires. Whenever someone pissed him off, he would always go down to his basement and get into a type of meditational state wherein he would release his anger toward that person so he would no longer be bothered by it. On two occasions (that I know of personally), each time he did this the person(s) he was angry at ended up with a car fire. A fire had started under the hoods of two different vehicles on two separate occasions (both cars were both in good condition) approximately 2 hours after my friend had done this. Coincidence? I think not.
More recently, my girlfriend and I noticed some interesting trivial side effects from having a large mental connection. Everytime she watches TV late at night, I usually end up dreaming about whatever it was she watched. She once watched a program about a serial killer who had buried his victims in the backyard, and sure enough I ended up with a dream about dead bodies in the backyard of a house in the woods. This sort of thing has been going on for months (much to her amusement lol), so I finally asked her NOT to watch freaky weird stuff late at night before bed since I'd prefer to have more pleasant dreaming experiences.
Several months back I received a harassing email from an annoying adolescent that had previously been trying to get in contact with me to talk about magick via my website. In this supposedly anonymous email he made several derogatory remarks about my girlfriend since he figured that no one would be able to trace the message under a fictitious account (especially since he had a completely different tone in his normal messages to me). Without thinking about it, I forwarded the email directly to this kid's regular account and told him I wasn't impressed. He of course denied that it was him, but I felt VERY strongly that it must have been from him (keep in mind I get emails from many people all over the world every day). Every brief scrying attempt showed up with his name all over the results. I later found some software to trace emails and was able to prove that my 'psychic' intuition had been right. The search I did showed that the harassing email came from the same location as his other normal non-anonymous emails.
This is probably the most interesting and recent event: Just a couple months ago, I had a vivid astral visionary experience while sleeping that depicted the brother of a good friend of mine committing suicide. I recognized the tone/feeling of the dream to indicate that I was being shown something that was to take place very soon. When confronted, my friend's brother was completely blown away by the accuracy of my dream since he had been having serious thoughts about suicide for a few days but had told NO ONE. There was no possible way I could have known anything since he had neither told me nor anyone else, and I hadn't been in contact with him in several weeks. He couldn't understand how I could possibly have known how he was feeling or what he had been thinking. Him and I had a long talk about his problems after that and he decided that he didn't really want to kill himself as much as he had thought he did. (Hmmm suicide prevention…now if that's not a useful practical application for magick/psychicism, I can't imagine what is.)
>>I'm curious...if you aren't personally finding much for all your trouble, then what drives you to continue?
>Who says I do? Or perhaps it's that I don't like the thought of having been a fool for years.
You could consider all those years as tests of your sincerity toward the work.
>At any rate, it's an interesting exercise in mental gymnastics. And like Pope Pete said about astrology, one can make money with it easily; sometimes you can get people into bed with it; but otherwise, forget it.
That's precisely the attitude that ensures that the rest of us won't be plagued long by unworthy skeptics who only seek to disprove and distort our serious art ;)
Nothing worth having was ever easy to obtain.
>Or maybe I'm just hang-gliding over the Abyss.
Doesn't Abyss derive from 2 words meaning 'heart-wisdom'?
The heart does not think within the parameters of logic and reason.
>>It's certainly a strange beautiful (and infinite) universe we live in.
>Indeed. But too bad there's no such thing as ESP and the rest.
There isn't??? Shit, now I'll have to ignore all the dreams and spontaneous visions I've had that came true in front of me later when awake. I think your only problem so far is that you're expecting things to manifest in a particular way, and applying your visualizations and exercises incorrectly while reinforcing negative beliefs and expectations. Turn off the left hemisphere of the mind for a while and you might stumble onto the real stuff you've been hoping to find. I've personally witnessed telekinesis, and experienced very obvious telepathy on several occasions. I've even been yanked out of my body astrally by talented people and (to avoid any chance of delusion or suggestion) those same people were able to tell me in detail the next day everything that I had seen while I was with them. If none of that is real and all in my head, then how could they have known in such great detail? I was very shocked, but I got over it (it took me 2 years to modify my worldview enough to accept that this stuff is real so I wouldn't think I was going insane every time something inexplicably weird happened to me). If you're lucky you'll one day run into someone who can demonstrate such things for you in such a way that you will experience it personally and without a doubt. If I (an initially rigid and rational person like you) could find people like that, then I think you can as well. Just be careful what you ask for - actually GETTING it could be the most mentally unbalancing experience of your life.
>> Words aren't going to prove anything, experiences do...
>Hear, hear! More to the point, demonstrations in controlled circumstances do.
I totally agree. I just find it very strange that you've been unable to find any proof in your own workings. Perhaps you're hanging around the wrong people while retaining a materialistic view of reality. That usually tends to limit any possibility for experiencing anything psychic/spiritual. That's why some practitioners in the past would separate themselves from society for long periods of time. The presence of the worldview of rational 'normal' people can reinforce one's own rational materialistic programming and make success in magick VERY difficult.
>Well, there's an easy way to test this theory: make something happen. Make the sky green, or a pot of gold appear, or read someone's mind, or fly.
Your expectations are a little off-center of how things normally occur. Physically flying would be difficult (though I hear not impossible - I don't know because I really don't care to do it. An airplane is so much easier). Making the sky green would involve far more power and skill than any human has, but I'm sure it's possible to alter someone's perceptions until they see a green sky. (It still might require a team of practitioners to pull it off though. It depends on the strength of will of the victim/volunteer and the skill of the practitioners.) Reading minds is the easiest of the lot, but I've only been completely successful in terms of accuracy with people that were well known to me. The thoughts of strangers can often feel/look like completely foreign languages since each person's mind is different. You might find that you can sense the thoughts of others, but accurately interpreting what you're sensing can be difficult since most thought is not in words and all feelings/thought-patterns are not universal. Each person has different connotations for the same words/concepts and his/her mind will symbolize them or comprehend them in different ways. Thus, different 'patterns' of energy/thought will occur. To accurately read a mind, you must first speak its own personal 'language'.
Which reminds me of another simple past experience: Two friends of mine moved to the other side of the U.S. for 6 weeks once. While talking to one of them on the phone, I suddenly saw a vivid mental picture of the place he was staying at. I was able to describe to him that he was standing in a yellow kitchen looking toward the living room, which had a brown carpet, and that my other friend was behind the house having a smoke. (I said the place itself looked abnormally small - to which he informed me that it was a house trailer.) This whole experience appeared as though I was temporarily seeing through my friend's eyes. Again, he told me nothing about the place he was in before I informed him what I was seeing. There was no possibility for suggestion.
Psychic perceptions involve subtle feelings, and mental images from outside of one's consciousness are usually the result of your own internal image-making components attempting to interpret an external psychic stimulus. From what I've found, the abstract feelings and impulses are usually more accurate than the images (which exist on lower frequencies of 'reality').
I don't expect you to agree with me on any of my comments here - I'm only speaking from my own experience and views of reality. That's all any of us can do anyway.
>>So, IMHO: If your mind is a function and your 'perceived reality' is the output of that function, then this is how I see it:
>Heh. Wait until you start considering mind as a mental construction!
But it IS :) Your mind (the non-physical aspects) could be considered a type of energy machine (or an interface of sorts) made from energy and directed/animated by formless/massless consciousness.
>>when you do magick, you are probabably adjusting the parameters of that 'mind' function just a bit. A different output is the result.
>But not, alas, one that exists outside of your imagination. *That* is the key: anyone can imagine something >happening, but it's real only when someone else perceives it as well. (Or close enough as makes no difference.)
Having someone else perceive it is possible and I've personally experienced it. You're making the assumption that just because you haven't experienced it, that no one else must be able to either. You're wrong of course heheh. Keep looking and you will find someone who is able to show you, but you'll need to be open enough to experience anything. The biggest problem is having preconceived views about the way things are. For a long time I thought I couldn't 'see' astrally until I eventually figured out that doing such things involved making use of your mind in completely new ways that are impossible to describe in a book. Attempting to relate the 'feeling' of how energy feels or how to become sensitive to it to someone who isn't yet, is like trying to teach a native from the bush how to drive a car via email when he's never even SEEN a car before much less a computer. It's no wonder half of all magick/mystic texts are written in metaphor. Language is far too limiting.
>You can imagine turning your boss into a toad, but that doesn't make it happen. I know; I've certainly tried enough!
While altering someone's physical form would be difficult (and far-fetched considering the average human's psychic abilities), it IS possible to create physical maladies that manifest over time and/or unbalance his/her mind (mental imbalances are easier and can manifest immediately). But you'll need more than ridiculous chanting of spells for that. You'll have to be able to sense and work with energy spontaneously, and then be able to tell the difference between energy/consciousness originating from inside of you, and energy/consciousness from outside of you. (Of course, you have to keep in mind that there is no absolute real division between inside and outside, but there are differences in the 'feeling' of one's immediate consciousness vs. the consciousness of others around you.) If you can get to that point, then the rest will likely be obvious to you.
>>I don't know about that. There are many things that could be talked about there. It is by no means a simple issue.
> Yes, it is. Wave your hands, speak a weird language, dress up in outdated clothes: if you can make a pot of gold appear, or fly, or see inside a closed room, you've done magic, not to mention managed to look silly. If you can't, you've just succeeded in looking silly.
Seeing into a closed room is possible - I've met people who could do it accurately. It's all part of learning to tell the difference between energy from inside/outside etc. and then making use of your subconscious image-making components in such a way that they become a highly polished mirror with which to accurately reflect the energy patterns in that room (without adding any made-up filler information from your subconscious in the process).
I never dress up in strange clothes or wave my hands, but yet I've been privileged to witness some unusual things. I won't go so far as to claim or even pretend that I have any great ability or anything since that'd be completely foolish. Most of the people I've seen who claim to possess great ability usually don't have any. And the ones I've met who were pretty damn impressive generally don't brag, so you'll probably have some difficulty teasing them out of the woodwork enough to show you anything. I only stumbled upon a couple individuals of that type by accident. It scared the crap out of me but I'd probably do it the same all over again if I had to. If you are sincere in your seeking then don't give up hope. Keep in mind that outward skepticism and a desire to disprove magick won't attract anyone with skill who might be willing to show you something. It will however attract other skeptics who've also failed to find anything (and such types will only reinforce your current beliefs and further prohibit your success). I suppose if nothing else you can form a support group of non-seers heheh. Pushing onward toward success with an open mind would be more noble however.
I hope that long rant of misc. responses and ideas gives someone some interesting things to think about. If nothing else be entertained, view me as completely insane, and return to your normal hum of everyday existence - I don't care which ;)