THE LAWS OF MAGIC

THE LAWS OF MAGIC

The Laws of Magic are not legislative laws, but, like those of physics or
musical harmony, are actually fairly practical observations that have been
accumulated over thousands of years. These laws describe the way magic seems to behave.  Most of these laws will make sense to you (I hope), and even the more
obscure ones should make some sense to you, but if they don’t, ignore them, or
send me some e-mail, and I will try to explain.

The LAW OF KNOWLEDGE: This is probably the most widely used law, and probably encompasses all the others in some way.  The basis of this law is that
understanding brings control.  The more that is known about a subject, the
easier it is to exercise control over it.  Knowledge is power.

The LAW OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE: An obvious derivative of the LAW OF KNOWLEDGE, this law carries additional connotations, as a mage who does not have knowledge of himself does not have knowledge (and therefore control) of his own magic.  This law is one of the reason’s “evil” mages are very rare – a dedication to “evil for evil’s sake” is usually do to a lack of introspection and awareness of oneself.  It is difficult to do harm to others when you understand fully what that kind of harm would do to you.  Know thyself.

The LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT: A simple scientific understanding – if exactly the same actions are done under exactly the same conditions, they will be associated with exactly the same results. Magicians have at least as much belief in cause and effect as modern physicists do, they just realize that a good ritual, like a good theatrical performance or a good bread recipe, isn’t always predictable. In truth, a spell involves so many variables, that controlling or even
understanding them all is impossible.  The key to magical success is learning
which variables are the most important, and how to keep them constant.  Control
over the variables is icing on the cake.

The LAW OF SYNCHRONICITY: Two or more events happening at the same
time are likely to have more in common than the merely temporal. Very few events ever happen in isolation from other events.  There is no such thing as a mere coincidence.

The LAW OF ASSOCIATION: If any two pattern have elements in common, the patterns interact “through” those common elements, and control of one pattern facilitates control of the other(s) depending (among other factors) upon the number of common elements involved.  This is a very important law, up there with the LAW OF KNOWLEDGE.

The LAW OF SIMILARITY: Having an accurate physical or mental represent-tion of something facilitates control over it.  This one is fairly obvious in it’s usage
– having a model, picture, or other representation of your target (like a voodoo
doll) gives you power to effect the target.  Look alikes are alike.

The LAW OF CONTAGION: Objects or beings in physical contact with each other continue to interact after separation.  Everyone you have ever touched has a magical link with you, though it is probably pretty weak unless the contact was
intense and/or prolonged or repeated frequently.  Magical power is contagious.
Naturally, having a part of someone’s body (nails, hair, spit, etc.) gives the
best contagion link.

The LAW OF NAMES: Knowing the complete and TRUE name of an object, being, or process gives one complete control over it.  This works because a name is a definition (yes, even “Harold”, “Marie”, “Kunte”, and “Jasmine” were at one
time) as well as a contagion link, and an association (if you call something the
same name over and over, that name becomes associated with the thing).  This
also works, because knowing the complete and true name of something or someone means that you have achieved a complete understanding of  it’s or their nature. This is why, in most pre-industrial cultures, people are given “secret names”, as well as “public names”, and why the sharing of a secret name is such an act of  trust – because the secret name is considered to be very close to, if not
identical with, the person’s true name.

The LAW OF WORDS OF POWER: There exist certain words that are able to alter the internal and external realities of those uttering them, and the power may rest in the very sounds of the words as much as their meanings.  Many of such words are names, though the meanings may have been lost or forgotten.  Very many magical tools require words to be inscribed upon them and/or said over them during their construction and/or use.

The LAW OF PERSONIFICATION: Any phenomenon may be considered to be
alive and to have a personality – that is, to “be” an entity or being.  Anything
can be a person.  Most weather mages personify the winds and the clouds, for
example, and thus find focusing their magic on the atmosphere much easier to do.

The LAW OF INVOCATION: It is possible to establish internal communication with entities from either inside or outside oneself, said entities seeming to be
inside of oneself during the communication process.

The LAW OF EVOCATION: It is possible to establish external communication with entities from either inside or outside oneself, said entities seeming to be
outside oneself during the communication process.

The LAW OF IDENTIFICATION: It is possible through maximum association between elements of oneself and those of another being to actually become that being, to the point of sharing it’s knowledge and wielding it’s power.  This is the law that controls most lengthy or permanent possession phenomena.

The LAW OF PERSONAL UNIVERSES: Every sentient being lives in and quite possibly creates a unique universe which can never be 100% identical to that lived in by another.  So called “reality” is in fact a matter of consensus opinions.  This law is nowhere near as obvious as the other laws in it’s applications, but if
you can figure some out, you can use it.

The LAW OF INFINITE UNIVERSES: The total number of universes into which all possible combinations of existing phenomena could be organized is infinite.
Anything is possible, though some things are more probable than others.  You
might consider this to refer to the “alternate probability worlds” of science
fiction, but it also has a much wider application.

The LAW OF PRAGMATISM: If a pattern of belief or behavior enables a being to
survive and to accomplish chosen goals, then that belief or behavior is “true”
or “real” or “sensible”.  If it works, it’s true.  Another rather obscure law,
but it does have some very useful applications.

The LAW OF TRUE FALSEHOODS: It is possible for a concept or act to violate the truth patterns of a given personal universe and still be “true”, provided that
it “works” in a specific situation.  If  it’s a paradox, it’s still probably
true.  This law is basically useless, except to justify use of the above three
laws without screwing things up in your version of the real world.

The LAW OF SYNTHESIS: The synthesis of two or more “opposing” patterns of data will produce a new pattern that will be truer than either of the first two were. That is, it will be applicable to more levels of reality, and this new pattern
may not be a compromise, but may be something rather new indeed.

The LAW OF POLARITY: Any pattern of data can be split into (at least) two
“opposing” characteristics, and each will contain the essence of the other
within itself.

The LAW OF OPPOSITES: A sub-law of POLARITY.  The “opposite” of a pattern
contains information about that pattern, by providing information on what the
pattern is not.  Thus, control over a pattern’s opposite (or close to it’s
opposite) facilitates control over the pattern itself.  (Note that this one I
alone take the blame for, as it is my own extension of POLARITY and SIMILARITY)

The LAW OF DYNAMIC BALANCE: To survive, let alone to become powerful, one must keep every aspect of one’s universe in a state of dynamic balance with every other aspect.  Extremism is dangerous, as the extreme being becomes so
associated with the extreme aspect, that they lose the ability to avoid that
aspect at all.  This is another reason “evil” mages are rare, as continuous
association with pain or death will cause a mage pain or death, ending the
mage’s ability to continue actively with “evil”.  This is also why “good” mages,
especially healers, tend to live a long time.

The LAW OF PERVERSITY: Sometimes known as Murphy’s Law.  If  anything can go wrong, it will, and in the most annoying manner possible.  Magical associations sometimes operate in the reverse of what was desired, and meaningful coincidences are just as likely to be unpleasant as pleasant.  Even if nothing can go wrong, some element of the universe may change so that things will go wrong anyway.  Whether we like it or not, the gods (or fates, or what have you) do have a sense of humor.  Emotionally healthy mages have less problems with this law than others do, as the mages own subconscious mind is probably a major perpetrator of this law.

The LAW OF UNITY: Every phenomena in existence is linked directly or indirectly to every other one, past, present, or future. Perceived separations between  phenomena are based on incomplete sensing and/or understanding.

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The Laws of Magic

The Laws of Magic
[Excerpted from _Authentic_Thaumaturgy_ by P.E.I Bonewits]

The Laws of Magic are not legislative laws, but, like those of
physics or musical harmony, are actually fairly practical
observations that have been accumulated over thousands of years.
These laws describe the way magic seems to behave.  Most of these
laws will make sense to you (I hope), and even the more obscure
ones should make some sense to you, but if they don’t, ignore
them, or send me some e-mail, and I will try to explain.

The LAW OF KNOWLEDGE: This is probably the most widely used law,
and probably encompasses all the others in some way.  The basis of
this law is that understanding brings control.  The more that is
known about a subject, the easier it is to excercise control over
it.  Knowledge is power.

The LAW OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE: An obvious derivative of the LAW OF
KNOWLEDGE, this law carries additional connotations, as a mage who
does not have knowledge of himself does not have knowledge (and
therefore control) of his own magic.  This law is one of the
reason’s “evil” mages are very rare – a dedication to “evil for
evil’s sake” is usually do to a lack of introspection and
awareness of oneself.  It is difficult to do harm to others when
you understand fully what that kind of harm would do to you.  Know
thyself.

The LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT: A simple scientific understanding –
if exactly the same actions are done under exactly the same
conditions, they will be associated with exactly the same results.
Magicians have at least as much belief in cause and effect as
modern physicists do, they just realize that a good ritual, like a
good theatrical performance or a good bread recipe, isn’t always
predictable.  In truth, a spell involves so many variables, that
controlling or even understanding them all is impossible.  The key
to magical success is learning which variables are the most
important, and how to keep them constant.  Control over the
variables is icing on the cake.

The LAW OF SYNCHRONICITY: Two or more events happening at the same
time are likely to have more in common than the merely temporal.
Very few events ever happen in isolation from other events.  There
is no such thing as a mere coincidence.

The LAW OF ASSOCIATION: If any two pattern have elements in
common, the patterns interact “through” those common elements, and
control of one pattern facilitates control of the other(s)
depending (among other factors) upon the number of ccommon
elements involved.  This is a very important law, up there with
the LAW OF KNOWLEDGE.

The LAW OF SIMILARITY: Having an accurate physical or mental
representation of something facilitates control over it.  This one
is fairly obvious in it’s usage – having a model, picture, or
other representation of your target (like a voodoo doll) gives you
power to effect the target.  Look alikes are alike.

The LAW OF CONTAGION: Objects or beings in physical contact with
each other continue to interact after separation.  Everyone you
have ever touched has a magical link with you, though it is
probably pretty weak unless the contact was intense and/or
prolonged or repeated frequently.  Magical power is contagious.
Naturally, having a part of someone’s body (nails, hair, spit,
etc.) gives the best contagion link.

The LAW OF NAMES: Knowing the complete and TRUE name of an object,
being, or process gives one complete control over it.  This works
because a name is a definition (yes, even “Harold”, “Marie”,
“Kunte”, and “Jasmine” were at one time) as well as a contagion
link, and an association (if you call something the same name over
and over, that name becomes associated with the thing).  This also
works, because knowing the complete and true name of something or
someone means that you have achieved a complete understanding of
it’s or their nature.  This is why, in most pre-industrial
cultures, people are given “secret names”, as well as “public
names”, and why the sharing of a secret name is such an act of
trust – because the secret name is considered to be very close to,
if not identical with, the person’s true name.

The LAW OF WORDS OF POWER: There exist certain words that are able
to alter the internal and external realities of those uttering
them, and the power may rest in the very sounds of the words as
much as their meanings.  Many of such words are names, though the
meanings may have been lost or forgotten.  Very many magical tools
require words to be inscribed upon them and/or said over them
during their construction and/or use.

The LAW OF PERSONIFICATION: Any phenomenon may be considered to be
alive and to have a personality – that is, to “be” an entity or
being.  Anything can be a person.  Most weather mages personify
the winds and the clouds, for example, and thus find focussing
their magic on the atmosphere much easier to do.

The LAW OF INVOCATION: It is possible to establish internal
communication with entities from either inside or outside oneself,
said entities seeming to be inside of oneself during the
communication process.

The LAW OF EVOCATION: It is possible to establish external
communication with entities from either inside or outside oneself,
said entities seeming to be outside oneself during the
communication process.

The LAW OF IDENTIFICATION: It is possible through maximum
association between elements of oneself and those of another being
to actually become that being, to the point of sharing it’s
knowledge and wielding it’s power.  This is the law that controls
most lengthy or permanent possession phenomena.

The LAW OF PERSONAL UNIVERSES: Every sentient being lives in and
quite possibly creates a unique universe which can never be 100%
identical to that lived in by another.  So called “reality” is in
fact a matter of consensus opinions.  This law is nowhere near as
obvious as the other laws in it’s applications, but if you can
figure some out, you can use it.

The LAW OF INFINITE UNIVERSES: The total number of universes into
which all possible combinations of existing phenomena could be
organized is infinite.  Anything is possible, though some things
are more probable than others.  You might consider this to refer
to the “alternate probability worlds” of science fiction, but it
also has a much wider application.

The LAW OF PRAGMATISM: If a pattern of belief or behavior enables
a being to survive and to accomplish chosen goals, then that
belief or behavior is “true” or “real” or “sensible”.  If it
works, it’s true.  Another rather obscure law, but it does have
some very useful applications.

The LAW OF TRUE FALSEHOODS: It is possible for a concept or act to
violate the truth patterns of a given personal universe and still
be “true”, provided that it “works” in a specific situation.  If
it’s a paradox, it’s still probably true.  This law is basically
useless, except to justify use of the above three laws without
screwing things up in your version of the real world.

The LAW OF SYNTHESIS: The synthesis of two or more “opposing”
patterns of data will produce a new pattern that will be truer
than either of the first two were.  That is, it will be applicable
to more levels of reality, and this new pattern may not be a
compromise, but may be something rather new indeed.

The LAW OF POLARITY: Any pattern of data can be split into (at
least) two “opposing” characteristics, and each will contain the
essence of the other within itself.

The LAW OF OPPOSITES: A sub-law of POLARITY.  The “opposite” of a
pattern contains information about that pattern, by providing
information on what the pattern is not.  Thus, control over a
pattern’s opposite (or close to it’s opposite) facilitates control
over the pattern itself.  (Note that this one I alone take the
blame for, as it is my own extension of POLARITY and SIMILARITY)

The LAW OF DYNAMIC BALANCE: To survive, let alone to become
powerful, one must keep every aspect of one’s universe in a state
of dynamic balance with every other aspect.  Extremism is
dangerous, as the extreme being becomes so associated with the
extreme aspect, that they lose the ability to avoid that aspect at
all.  This is another reason “evil” mages are rare, as continuous
association with pain or death will cause a mage pain or death,
ending the mage’s ability to continue actively with “evil”.  This
is also why “good” mages, especially healers, tend to live a long
time.

The LAW OF PERVERSITY: Sometimes known as Murphy’s Law.  If
anything can go wrong, it will, and in the most annoying manner
possible.  Magical associations sometimes operate in the reverse
of what was desired, and meaningful coincidences are just as
likely to be unpleasant as pleasant.  Even if nothing can go
wrong, some element of the universe may change so that things will
go wrong anyway.  Whether we like it or not, the gods (or fates,
or what have you) do have a sense of humor.  Emotionally healthy
mages have less problems with this law than others do, as the
mages own subconscious mind is probably a major perpetrator of
this law.

The LAW OF UNITY: Every phenomena in existance is linked directly
or indirectly to every other one, past, present, or future.
Perceived seperations between phenomena are based on incomplete
sensing and/or understanding.

Danger! Divination Works

Danger! Divination Works

Author: geascian

I don’t divine. Even though I have taught others divination techniques and written about their use and possible method of operation I haven’t tried to use any divination technique for over 15 years. Why? Well not because I don’t believe it works anymore! In fact quite the opposite – it is because I do believe that it is possible to divine the future that I do not do it.

This reluctance is part of my general reluctance to use Magic at all, and yes I do see divination as operating in generally the same arena that Magic operates. The same questions we need to ask before working Magic need to be asked before divination:

  • Do we fully understand the situation? Generally we are asked to look into the future for somebody because they wish to know the outcome of a current situation of to see if a particular desire or fear will happen. Do we understand why they are asking well enough to know how the knowledge will impact them?
  • Is divination the right tool? Even if we were to divine the future, is doing so the right or best response to the question? It might be much better to suggest relationship counselling to solve the current issues.
  • Do we understand the possible outcomes of performing the divination? Even with a great deal of thought our interference may well have unforeseen consequences.

All of these questions parallel the sort of questions we ask, or at least should be asking, when we plan a Magical working.

However with divination there are a couple of other issues that we need to consider. These questions have to do with the fact that what we are doing with divination is working not just with the present but with the future and past. Our future and past.

The Future

When we divine the future we do so in the hope that we can profit from the knowledge. This involves, in some part, changing the future. If the answer we get from the divination indicates that something unpleasant is going to happen then quite naturally we will work to try and either avoid the event or mitigate the impact. Even if we don’t actively try to change things the very fact that we do have this knowledge will impact on our behaviour thereby changing the future to a lesser or greater extent.

If the future is malleable, and we will see that potentially this is the case, rather than static and preordained then in gaining knowledge of the future we need to ask not only whether we understand the consequences of the actions we take to change this situation, just like in Magical working, but do we understand the consequences of even having that knowledge? But how can knowing something change what is and what is going to be? Surly if we don’t act on that knowledge then no damage can happen? Well having that knowledge will impact on our decisions whether or not we want it to. That knowledge will tune our subconscious and therefore our intuition and decision making.

Additionally prophecies tend to become self-fulfilling. If you believe that you are going to have good luck then you will tend to. This has been shown to be true even in scientifically tested situations. It is thought that believing that you are lucky makes you more likely to take chances and have a positive outlook.

Equally believing that things will be bad for you tends to produce a negative outlook on life and subsequently things then tend to go wrong.

Even believing that you have knowledge of the future can have a massive impact so imagine what impact having the knowledge for real – and if divination is real then that’s the case – will have.

But surely changing the future isn’t a problem? After all every time we make a decision the future changes, it moves in one direction or another based on our choices. So what is the problem with divination and acting on the information it gives? Well time has been compared in the past to a river, flowing from the past to the future with eddies, rapids and periods of smooth calm flow. The general direction of the flow is stable, maybe changing slowly in response to major events, just as a river changes its course due to a rock fall, but even then the general direction is usually unchanged, just a small diversion.

Unexpected Loops!

However with divination we are taking information from the future and using it to affect the present and hence the future itself. We are setting up what is often called a feedback loop. One example of such a feedback loop is when a microphone is places too close to a speaker. Most of you who have been to concerts will have heard the loud screech caused by that sort of feedback loop. What is happening is that the sound from the speakers is picked up by the mic, amplified and played out thorough the speaker to be picked up again by the mic and back through the loop.

These loops can, and as we have seen do, cause large changes in the output. One of the dangers that we face when using divination is that we will be setting up a temporal feedback loop causing a large change in the course of the future. Now I suspect that this change will tend to be localized, that is to say only impact on the person for who the divination has been done. Again we can see this effect when considering rivers.

When a change is made the local impact can be devastating; local conditions can change dramatically, for example where the river becomes blocked it will tend to find a new route possibly causing massive erosion locally and devastating the local landscape.

However the long term course of the river tends to be unaffected by these local events; this we would see perhaps as a dramatic change in an individual’s future but with only limited impact on the general flow of history. Now sometimes this dramatic change is what is desired but more often only a small more controlled change is wished for. Few people would accept their lives being turned totally upside down when all they wished for was an improvement in their financial situation.

This effect is well known in the practice of Magic, in that a spell will work in often unexpected ways, where a spell to draw money may well lead to, for example, the person loosing his job through injury but receiving a lump compensation sum. Not what was intended at all! The difference here is that Magic allows the spell to be focused to try and prevent such unintended outcomes whereas divination has no such focusing mechanism

There is another type of effect that taking the output of an event and feeding it back into the system can have. This time not only is the outcome potentially vast but it is also inherently unpredictable. When we use divination we are in danger of setting up a chaotic system.

A good example in the ‘natural’ world is the weather. Everybody knows how unpredictable the weather can be; one day may start very much like another but how the weather develops during the day may well be totally different.

From experience we all know that even the professional weather forecasters with all of their experience, knowledge and expensive machinery and computers can’t always get it right.

The reason for this is that the weather is an example of a different type of system, what is known as a chaotic system. One of the main properties of chaotic systems is that very small changes in the starting situation can lead to very large and totally unpredictable differences in the outcome. This is why the weather on one day develops totally differently to a previous day even though they seemed to start out the same; somewhere there was a small difference that caused the sun we had been expecting to turn into rain and thunder!

Chaos!

These chaotic systems tend to have a large number of factors contributing to their initial state as well as having the result of one situation being fed back into the system at the start of the next. With the weather for example we find that many hundreds of thousands of factors influence how the weather will develop including how the weather developed the previous day.

Divination is similar to a weather system in that it too has many, many factors contributing to the initial situation and that as time passes the outputs of each day feed into the next.

When the divination changes some of the initial conditions, as it by its very nature will, then we can expect to see large changes in the outcome and in a totally unpredictable way. As with the other impact of divination we do not have any way to focus the ‘Magic’ but in this case even if we did the very nature of the system would still mean that the outcome would be unpredictable.

Do Not Touch?

So does this mean that all forms of divination should be avoided? Well surprisingly no. Only those forms of divination that actively use information from the future to provide insights would cause the effects mentioned. If there was a divination method that worked by revealing the current state of the system, that is to say provided knowledge of the situation now rather than how it will develop into the future, then no change to the present will be made and the large unpredictable results should be avoided.

So what is needed is some way to determine what the method of choice is actually doing. Is it retrieving information from the future or simply revealing the current state of the system? Well I feel that there is such a way and it quite neatly splits divination methods into two groups. The way we differentiate the divination types is based on how the process is done.

The first group, the future knowledge techniques, all seem to have a common thread in that they all rely on random chance being present. It is, some would say, the existence of chance that allows the future to act in the present. For example the following techniques all seem to rely on the existence of some form of chance in their operation:

  • Tarot
  • I-Ching
  • Ogham Sticks
  • Tea Leaves

The tarot for example relies on the fall of the cards and the Ogham the selection of sticks. Both introduce the element of chance for the future, through the person doing the divination, to act on the present.

A good example of a type of divination that provides information about the present and allows the diviner to work with that is Palmistry. Here the information is build up throughout the life of the person whose palm is being read and can offer insights into the present as well as the person in question.

Interestingly the fact that the palm of the person who is having the reading is by definition personal it allows for a degree of focusing in very much the same way as sympathetic Magic operates.

The future in this case isn’t ‘read’ but inferred. A simple example can illustrate this. Knowledge of the present, say a large and frequent intake of alcohol, can and probably will lead to unfortunate circumstances in the future. This knowledge is inferred, projected from the now, and probabilistic; it gives a likelihood of what may happen, and so wouldn’t seem to be having the same direct impact on the past, present, future system that other direct divination techniques have.

The Bible, as we all know, has something of a downer on Magic in general and divination in particular:

“There shall not be found among you anyone that…useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter or a Witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” Deuteronomy 18:10-11 (KJV)

However the original Hebrew words mainly refer to contacting the spirits of dead people, or to performing evil sorcery which harms others; only two actually refer to divination and only two forms of divination are proscribed. Casting stones or sticks and predicting the future by their position and foretelling the future by looking for signs in nature. Is it possible that the writers of this passage understood the danger of certain forms of divination? Is that why only those two types are banned but others allowed?

In My View!

Now obviously I can’t say for sure that this is how the past, present, and future system operates but it does show all the hallmarks of such a system and many people do report the sort of effects – large changes in future events in a very unpredictable way from those seen in the divination or expectations.

Like many forms of Magic it is inherently difficult to show conclusively how, or indeed if, divination actually works and most of us operate by feel and experience. My feel is that most forms of divination have inherent risks and produce results that are far from our control. That is not to say that they don’t have their uses but that most of them shouldn’t be used in a cavalier way. Like all works of Magic divination should only be used when it is the most appropriate method and then only after you have considered the consequences and what you can do to try and ensure that there are no unexpected results.

Divination puts a great responsibility on us, perhaps more so than other forms of Magic. We need to rise to that responsibility.