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Posts Tagged ‘aleister crowley’

The Three Magi

A friend recently asked me: what is the difference between magic and magick?  Most people are familiar with magic-with-a-‘c’: pulling a rabbit out of a hat, card tricks, sawing in half a pretty girl with a smile on her face.  These manipulations of our attention require distraction and sleight of hand.  The better the magician is at distracting her audience, the more magical the act will seem.  But everyone who watches a magic show knows that the magician is not actually making anything appear or disappear, is not altering future or past.  We may wonder at the abilities of a magician, but we can be sure it isn’t actually “magic”.

Magick is not the same as magic.  There is a distinction I see which I will attempt to explain.  This is, of course, my own viewpoint from within my own reality tunnel.  I am not “correct”.  Magic is manipulation of attention and relies upon the ability to distract.  Magick is the art of changing consciousness.  Magick may involve magic, but magic does not involve magick.  (Maybe…)

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"Consulting the Oracle" by John William Waterhouse, showing eight priestesses in a temple of prophecy

In America, we have words to describe the experience of hearing voices: wacko, delusional, crazy, schizoid, etc. To hear a voice speaking to you, whether out loud or in one’s mind, is not allowed. Hearing voices, especially those of God, is viewed as insanity within the rational paradigm that provides the framework for everyday life. To talk about such insanity is to open one’s self up for a trip to the loony bin and forced medications. As Horselover Fat made note of his crack-up theophany in Philip K. Dick’s novel Valis, “When you are crazy you learn to keep quiet.” However, hearing a voice might be more common than you may think. Just because no one talks about it doesn’t make it a false reality. As psychologist philosopher Paul Watzlawick remarked,

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Beauty is a tricky word, as we’ve been brainwashed into believing that it means something like the poet Amber alludes to: skinny, pale, photoshopped models in provocative poses. It’s been so drilled into our heads that this bizarre conformity is the only guise beauty takes that most people walk around feeling particularly unbeautiful. That’s unfortunate, because as those amazing CrimethInc. kids declare: “Beauty must be defined as what we are, or else the concept itself is our enemy. To see beauty is simply to learn the private language of meaning which is another’s life—and recognize and relish what is.”

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