Here’s an excerpt from Jason Miller’s Monday Magic Newsletter:
Sorcery is real.
We all talk about this, but I think this is worth taking a moment to reflect upon because every week I see people who practice it, talk about it in ways that they don’t talk about other real things.
SORCERY DOESN’T HAPPEN IN A VACUUM
Sorcery is real, and as a real thing its influence competes against the influence of other real things. You can be sure that your love spell is hard at work, but so is your physical appearance, social skills, sense of humor, confidence, agreeability, and a dozen other factors.
Let’s pick a number at random… say 8. Your love spell has an influence of 8. How would you rate the influence of these other factors? Maybe your face is a 7. That’s good. Unfortunately your hygiene is a negative 4. Your confidence is a 5, but your narcissistic tendency to make every conversation about yourself is a negative 8. Get the idea?
Sorcery is real and thus competes in the world with other real things.
If those real influences are working against you, your spell is fighting an uphill battle. Some people put so much effort into their Sorcery that they put nearly no effort into any other aspect of getting what they want. You can live in such a way that the most powerful and perfectly executed magic is needed just to get you to the baseline that you could have started at.
FAILING TO ACHIEVE A GOAL IS NOT THE SAME AS “NOT WORKING”
Sorcery is real, and as a real thing it can succeed or fail for entirely mechanical reasons. Magic failing to achieve a goal is different from magic not working. Doctors treat patients with effective medicine all the time and don’t get the outcome that they hope for. It doesn’t mean that the medicine didn’t work, it just wasn’t up to the task it was put up against. Same with lawyers, salespeople, and Olympic athletes. Our efforts must be up to the task. Yet, when a ritual or a spell fails, I rarely see people treat this as a normal part of practice.
When a spell or ritual doesn’t get the effect we hope it does some e will point their fingers and take this as proof that magic isn’t real, but that’s not at all the case. My car jack can’t lift the Empire state building, but that doesn’t make it not real.
Others will resort to extreme explanations to avoid admitting failure at all:
“The gods did not will it to be so.” If we can only do what God or Gods want, whats the point of magic at all?
“Your higher self-guided protected you from yourself.” Really? Where the hell was my higher self when I put money into FTX or dated that psycho in college?
“Your magic will manifest in due time…” Thanks magic, but the mortgage is due on the first of the month.
My favorite of these has to be: “Your magic manifested… on the astral plane….” Ughhhhh.
When we let go of both reflexive denials and woo-woo excuses, and look at Sorcery as a real thing, we can start to see the truth of the situation: what we did simply wasn’t up to the task. We can then look for ways to do it better, find other approaches, or just walk away. In short, we examine and respond to what happened as if magic was any other real thing. Because it is.
MASTERING REAL THINGS TAKES A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT
Sorcery is real, and as a real thing you can be good at it or bad at it. Rarely, some people are heavily gifted. Even more rarely, someone finds that they have no talent for it at all. Most of us though have a reasonable capability for it that can grow and strengthen the more we study and practice. As we progress we find that within the overall art, we have strengths that can affirmed, and shortcomings that can either be overcome or circumvented. In short, its just like anything else. I am not a naturally talented musician, and my fingers are short, but I can still whip out a listenable version of “Me and the Devil” by Robert Johnson when I want to.
Yet, so many students throw in the towel if things don’t come instant and easy. They close their eyes to meditate and give up at the first distraction, forgetting that recognizing and releasing yourself from distraction is what meditation is about at the start. They say the words to an evocation rage quit if spirit doesn’t instantly appear in the crystal, forgetting that it can take significant effort on both sides to make a bridge between worlds.
If magic is a fantasy for you, then of course you want it all to just jump to life because of how magical you are, but if we accept that Sorcery is Real, and everything that implies, then that expectation should dissipate like fairy dust revealing the truth that it takes work to get good at things, and that discipline and persistence will outperform natural talent at every turn.
THERE IS NO NEED FOR “MAGICAL” ETHICS
Sorcery is real, and as a real thing it can be used for good or for ill or for anything in between. Most everything in the real world is in between, and the real world is where Sorcery operates. There is no need for “magical ethics”. The ethics you use to navigate the rest of life will do just fine. If you would use physical violence against someone, then using a curse is probably on the table. If you wouldn’t ever consider hitting someone to get what you want, then cursing them should be off the table as well.
Most situations are not as cut and dry as curses of course, and platitudes about causing no harm simply to do not fit the reality. If you do a spell to get the VP slot at your company, this doesn’t just affect you. It affects the other people who were up for the job that won’t get it and will therefore suffer. So, does this make magic unethical? I don’t think so. Not anymore than being conventionally attractive, going to an impressive school, having good connections, or any manner of privilege. If you do a spell that specifies that your magic not harm anyone, you might just be enchanting yourself out of that job rather than into it.
That said, you don’t want to attain your ends by any means either. There are things you will do to get what you want, and things you won’t do to get what you want. All real actions have consequences; intentional and unintentional. Non-action also has consequences. No one gets out of this world with clean hands, but that doesn’t mean we need to be sociopaths either.
The one thing different about magic is that you won’t get charged with assault or abuse for curses and bindings, but this doesn’t change the ethical considerations. If anything it reveals who you really are. If the only reason you aren’t a monster is your fear of getting caught, that doesn’t make you ethical.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ABSOLUTE SECUITY, SAFETY, OR SORCERY
I remember years ago talking to a friend, an elder really, who was very clearly suffering from a curse. Not only did they have all the constellation of symptoms you might expect, but there was a person with both motivation and ability that all but admitted to performing the curse. Yet, this friend, believed that this was simply impossible.
“I banish daily. Nothing can get through.”
Foreign Policy Advisor. Dan Caldwell once said “There is no such thing as absolute security; it’s a matter of degree.” This is how real things work. You get into a car with airbags, wear your seatbelt, and drive defensively in order to protect yourself and your passengers while driving, but you still can wind up dead. You can become a black belt in Ju Jitsu and still get the shit beat out of you. You can have all the security of a fully fortified military installation, and still get wiped off the face of the earth. Real things don’t exist in absolutes and Sorcery is a real thing.
No matter what you do, something can still “get you”.
So does that mean we shouldn’t bother with protection magic? Of Course Not! We just need to recognize that its a matter of degree. We prevent what dangers we can, we mitigate the damage we can’t prevent, and we recover and rebuild from what harm we survive.
Should we max out protection then? Also no. We need to recognize that whether its spirits or people, most beings are not out to get us. Most beings don’t really care about us one way or another. All security comes with a price. Endless banishing’s can cut you off from the very spirits that you should be contacting and learning from.
When we let go of the fantasy that Sorcery can keep us perfectly and absolutely safe or the delusion that spirits will take any opportunity to hurt us: we can start to evaluate our security needs and the methods we take to establish it. This is how real things work, and Sorcery is Real.
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