Friday, November 13, 2009

Magick and the Mind - Psychology Model of Magick

We have already covered some basic assumptions about the psychology model of magick, stressing the importance of mind control and the techniques of obtaining altered states of consciousness. Some might even say that discussing higher states of consciousness that are transcendental, as I do in conjunction with magick, opens me to accusations of harboring mystical pretensions. I would agree, however, that there is a mystical side to magick, particularly when we consider that the objective of all magick is conscious union with the Deity.

The Psychological model of magick proposes that all of the phenomena of magick are based on mental constructs, projections, assumptions and the effects of higher states of consciousness. We have already made the point in a previous article that this particular model can be easily abused, especially if one were to make the mistake of believing that all magickal and paranormal phenomena are just subjective mental processes having no objective reality. Magick is not just a mental phenomena, or else the other models of magick (especially spirit and energy) would have no validity. This line of thinking also feeds into beliefs like the Law of Attraction, which states that through positive affirmations alone you can change your world, forgetting that such affirmations also require hard work and a lot of strategic planning. So we must use the psychological model in a careful manner, making certain that we don’t over-use it or rely on it too greatly, distorting our perspectives on spirituality and magick.

That brings us to our main consideration in this article, the proper use and definition of the psychological model of magick. There are four major areas of the psychological model of magick that I use extensively in my system of magick.

  • Altered states of consciousness and Mind Control
  • Archetypal Symbols of Transformation and the Super-Symbolic Domain of Consciousness
  • Levels of the Unconscious Mind, including Jung’s Collective Unconscious
  • Metaphorical Allegories (“As If..”) and Psychodrama

Mind control is probably one of the most important mechanisms of the practice of ritual magick, using the techniques of asana, pranayama, mantra, mandela, trance and concentration/contemplation. One could assume that powerful altered states of consciousness would be an important part of the practice of ritual magick, but not all systems of magick employ them.

Another important factor is the deliberate use of symbols of transformation. These find expression in the many uses of occult symbols, sigils, characters, signatures, and archetypal godhead aspects. The Qabbalah and the Tarot are two of the largest repositories of occult symbols and devices. However, some occult devices are wholly magickal inventions, such as the sigils, characters and signatures of various hierarchies of spirits. In ritual magick, the combination of powerful altered states of consciousness and symbols of transformation trigger the emanations of the paranormal world, opening the magician to the reality of Spirit.

Metaphorical allegories are situations and practices where the magician unfetters the creative imagination and through it experiences a metaphorical reality ruled by the acting principle called “As If.” For instance, the magician behaves as if the spirit world were as sensible as the material world, and creates hierarchies and domains to develop an intricate structure of that world, even though all models and structures are actually incapable of really describing it. The magician acts under the assumption that these structures and spirit lists are real, using the power of imagination and belief to make it so. This logic can be expanded to include all of the models of magick, particularly Spirit and Energy, where metaphors are used as if they were physical phenomena.

The “As If” principle states that whatever a magician conceptualizes within deep trance and through the apprehension of symbols of transformation will produce something that is both allegorical and real - a kind of empowered myth. This empowered myth is then experienced and realized as a real psychological phenomenon. Expanding on mythic archetypes, there are also mythic patterns or themes, which are analogous to the mythic stories and parables of one’s culture. Acting out a mythic theme, the participants engage in a powerful psychodrama whose psychic impact resonates on many levels, from the individual all the way to the collective. Engaging in such mythic plays, the magician as actor assumes a role and a part for the duration of the story, and plays that role with a deadly seriousness and all-consuming commitment. Such a role becomes for a time, a powerful reality - a world of magick and myth come alive.

Such creative play-acting has two important considerations that are always present in the mind of the magician. These are that the role is made real through the imagination and that the dramatic play has many levels of meaning, not all of them wholly realized. The psychodrama is the most powerful and transforming group experience that one could have when it is fully realized and successfully deployed. It can also be absurd and horribly boring when it fails. The rule of “As If” must be thoroughly consistent. It must be faithfully observed and engaged in by all who participate, so that the empowered myths and drama are expressed in a wholly believable fashion.

Psychodrama is a form of magickal theater. It has been incorporated in many magickal and religious ceremonies, and in fact, it is the essence of all meaningful and significant public rituals, even those that are completely divorced from religion and magick. It is also the mechanism through which the magician creatively explores the mythic and symbolic universe of the domain of Spirit. A magician learns that reality has many layers of meaning through this kind of magick. This kind of magick teaches that people can assume a perspective where the mythic and the real converge to become one world of wonder and mystery. In the story about “Steppenwolf,” by Hermann Hesse, the pivotal transforming force is the magick theater and the individuals who play in it - all are powerfully changed by it and there are no spectators.

One other important condition to the “As If” principle is that the magician never loses the ability to know that he or she is using it to create assumptions and different perspectives of reality. A magician never loses the knowledge of what is real and what is a fantasy, for such a loss of grounding and objectivity would signal that he or she has become confused and possibly even delusional. This is a potential aberration that the magician always needs to be cautious about, limiting its effect through the use of objectification, peer review and periodic grounding. Losing objectivity is how some magicians lose their sanity, which demonstrates how powerful and even dangerous psychodrama and empowered myths can become if not controlled through objectivity and grounding. Thus, all tools have their utility and their hazards, and one should use them with care, skill and artistic exuberance, but never with abuse.

The mind is a very powerful medium that the magician creatively employs in his magick, since it effects both the individual and the collective masses. Psychodrama and empowered myths can influence and even transform the conscious minds of not only the individual magician, but whole nations as well. The middle of the previous century saw the creation of powerful national myths that destroyed whole nations and plunged the world into a devastating series of wars.

It appears that this phase of geopolitical fantasy still has a great deal of power to influence us, although fascism and communism have been replaced by ultraconservative politics and religious fundamentalism. These national level psychodramas continue to cause destruction and foment proxy wars across the globe. Hopefully, these collective delusions will be shown to be based on cultural fantasies, and they will lose power and cease from violently disrupting the collective good will of world organizations and their peaceful intentions. Such delusions melt away when faced with the objective truth, which is always the rational and practical way of the world and human existence. This is an import factor that a magician must realize, even collective fantasies can be short-circuited by objective truth.

However, the magician uses empowered myths and psychodrama to develop spiritual and magickal themes, trigger spiritual transformation and unlock reservoirs of creativity. Therefore, the Psychological Model of magick is quite potent and critically necessary to the practice of ritual magick such as that performed by the Order of the Gnostic Star. This model is used in practical combination with the Energy and Spirit models of magick to produce a hybrid system that is quite profoundly intense, meaningful and self-empowering. It is a tool worthy of the coming New Age, when ritual magick will be shown to be both necessary and pivotal in the growth and development of occultists and ordinary people.

Frater Barrabbas

1 comment:

  1. "We have already made the point in a previous article that this particular model can be easily abused, especially if one were to make the mistake of believing that all magickal and paranormal phenomena are just subjective mental processes having no objective reality."

    Could you link that article so I can find it? Thanks.