Sunday, 27 February 2011

Two Cents on Energy... and good old Faust would hate me for it!

By now all of us have been sufficiently saturated with theories and thoughts on 'energy' in magickal practice.  That's why I will keep this post really short. Otherwise we will all need to ask for The Scribbler's support to build a new 'All About Energy' page... 

After reading through many of the related posts I recalled a conversation with my teacher a few years ago... I asked him if the effects derived through magick should be considered effects triggered by manipulation of energy or rather interaction with spirits?

Here is what he answered: "How the effects of magick on reality are brought about will always remain a mystery. However, you are free to chose to treat reality in the way that is most appropriate for you to create a consistent understanding of your own actions. I for myself chose to speak to reality in the language of spirits - because this is how I get the best replies."

So to keep things really simple - let's imagine a room that can be accessed through three different doors. Maybe there are more doors hidden out there; but for the sake of simplicity I will only assume three at the moment. Depending on the door you chose to enter you will find something different in the room:

  • Energy: If you enter through the door labelled 'energy' you will find a reality matrix that is essentially build upon and sustained through subtle forms of energy. These energies can be manipulated and stored by means of all types of 'energy work' - such as meditation, yoga, pranayama, bioenergetic exercises, reiki, rituals, etc.
  • Spirit: If you chose to enter through this door reality will be an organism of living spirits, each of them gifted with awareness and individuality, yet all of them being interdependent and related to each other by being part of the same macrocosm. Each spirit can be contacted and its force and influence can be used by means of all types of spirit communication techniques - such as magick rituals or pacts, shamanic or trance journeys, divination oracles, etc.
  • Information: If you enter the room through this door you will encounter reality as a universal script or code. In this paradigm rather than directing energy or communicating with spirits the magician directly changes the script, i.e. the related underlying information. This can be achieved by means of all types of information related techniques - such as A.O. Spare's sigil magic or Frater U.'.D.'. Kybermagie.  

Essentially, whatever door you chose 'reality' in the room will adjust to the language you are using to speak to it. It will reply and react in similar terms and words, yet your ability to understand and communicate in all three languages might be limited. Thus - in my humble opinion - we should chose the door through which we learned 'to get the best replies' and not worry about the question if what is behind one door is more 'real' than what is behind the others...

Despite the fact that we are still able to perform wonderful acts of magick this might present a huge frustration to many magicians. Think of Dr.Faust who sacrificed everything to solve the eternal riddle "So that I may perceive whatever holds, The world together in its inmost folds" - and all he gets is a room with three bloody doors!

Yet, maybe this also is the answer Faust was striving for so feverishly? That there is no form or shape of reality outside of our own subjective experience. And while we should never mistake form with force, we will never be able to experience force without using the illusion of matter for it to take shape...

So if we dared to solve the riddle - and in case we can bear the huge frustration it brings for any 'truth seekers' - what we actually find behind all three doors might look somewhat similar to this:


  1. Excellent post. I remember feeling very frustrated with the relativity of subjective paradigms when I started to realize that there is more than one way to be effective / to understand. I had to get over that. One thing that interests me is being able to hold competing paradigms simultaneously in the mind. In other words, to be able to see a phenomenon as energy, code, and spirit simultaneously. Often this means embracing a very uncomfortable degree of contradiction. I think it's especially difficult for western thinkers conditioned early on by materialism (no matter how they may have developed in their magical studies). We all probably feel better when we can imagine that there is some kind of objective baseline out there. But it seems that the degree to which we can embrace multiple ways of seeing and thinking is the degree to which we can account for the metaphysical events outside our most familiar paradigms that we sometimes notice in our work.

  2. Interesting thought - to keep multiple paradigms in your mind simultaneously. I would argue the only way to achieve this is to actually forget about the paradigms and just concentrate on 'what is' in the present moment? I.e. to be truly connected with the reality of your subjective experience at any moment in time. Martin Buber's wonderful book 'I and Thou' is all about achieving these kinds of encounters with reality... We better prepare for a pretty long journey! :-)