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  • Writer's pictureMateusz Zalewski-Grzelak

Methods in Magick VI: Approaches

That the God is no less philosopher than he is prophet appeared to all to come out directly from the exposition which Ammonius gives us of each of his names. He is 'Pythian' (The Inquirer) to those who are beginning to learn and to inquire; 'Delian' (The Clear One) and 'Phanaean' to those who are already getting something clear and a glimmering of the truth; 'Ismenian' (The Knowing) to those who possess the knowledge; 'Leschenorian' (God of Discourse) when they are in active enjoyment of dialectical and philosophic intercourse. 'Now since,' he continued, 'Philosophy embraces inquiry, wonder, and doubt, it seems natural that most of the things relating to the God should have been hidden away in riddles, and should require some account of their purpose, and an explanation of the cause. For instance, in the case of the undying fire, why the only woods used here are pine for burning and laurel for fumigation; again, why two Fates are here installed, whereas their number is everywhere else taken as three; why no woman is allowed to approach the place of the oracles; questions about the tripod, and the rest. These problems when suggested to persons not altogether wanting in reason and soul, lure them on, and challenge them to inquire, to listen, and to discuss. Look again at those inscriptions, KNOW THYSELF and NOTHING TOO MUCH; how many philosophic inquiries have they provoked! What a multitude of arguments has sprung up out of each, as from a seed! Not one of them I think is more fruitful in this way than the subject of our present inquiry.'

- Plutarch, “E” at Delphi; II; C.W. King (London: George Bell and Sons, 1889)

Each piece, or part, of the whole of nature is always merely an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet.

- Robert Feynman, The Feynman lectures on Physics, Volume I.

Moving amidst anomalies, strange events, how not to breathe poetry into the world, this esthetic game. When others barely swim on the surface, the bold dive into the depths to shoot into the unknown space above infinite oceans. Courage, boldness! This world is for the intrepid, where others barely stepped, some of us crossed the deserts to find eerie oases when divinity meets this world, where chaos triumphs and our dust stands like an emperor over this world, until time does not erase us and a senile age of dementia will not triumph over genius - this invincible spirit!

Because of the complexity of the systems we can boldly assume that the results of magic are never certain, but only potential, they are not objective, but interrelated. In a given internally coherent system, these potentials can arise when they encounter others. Like a Venn diagram, they are intelligible, but to an extent bound by dynamic, often unpredictable laws - this picture is never static.

We have to be honest, we can not prove the effects of magic, we can not be bothered with effects to prove, and that would be foolish. Some attribute its wealth to industry, others to magical operations, but it is the rational, skeptical and reasonable that should be considered between force circumstances, personal efforts and possibilities. Magic, as a subtle art, can be evaluated either subjectively or intersubjectively. Most magical phenomena cannot be grasped by a linear mind, and the obvious, crude occurrences of insight rarely stabilize to be repeated, hence their non-reproducibility.

It is a delicate art that requires profundity and rigor. It resembles the world of watchmakers or artisans who make porcelain, the delicate art that can arch sublimity, subtlety and storms of black fire in this art. It is a dangerous art that mixes with the invisible worlds, often exposing our minds to combustible, dissociative, psychotic interactions, to quote Confucius, "Keep spirits and gods at a distance," but respect them first and foremost. It is an art that requires close exploration of the territory in which one is acting. It is a determined step of a blind man over an empty abyss to set his foot on an invisible bridge, and yet we walk as if on solid ground, knowing where we are going and how to avoid the obstacles. We can extract parts of the general laws of magical working, keeping in mind that they are dynamic laws, with many variables and laws that interact and can cancel, accumulate and complement each other.

A versatile magician approaches his activities apophatically, with reason, skepticism and yet positive affirmation, relying on the thyrsus when something works as it should. It is a person who has an infinite arsenal of "I can" but knows that he is operating within a system of limits of phenomena and physical and occult laws that prevent certain actions and limit delusions of grandeur, inflation, idiocy. Such a person knows that regardless of whether his actions produce results, he acts continuously - without stubbornly dwelling on false assumptions, but correcting them and constantly evolving. A magician experiments and gains experience until he skillfully trains operational techniques that prove effective in "winning" the other side to his vision.

The point of understanding is to discover what kind of actions lead to significant effects. The field of action for rituals, prana, ceremonies, meditations, musings, contemplations is the phantastikon of the noema. The effects are always limited by what has been judged superficial, meaningless or ineffective. Often people may wander through the deserts all their lives, often they may dwell in Platonic caves, this is one of the reasons why cognitions and magic are relegated to the phantasms of human imagination, at best to infantile phantasms, from where all approaches and efforts of education are abandoned not even halfway, but before they really begin.

Consciousness and perception are the field of operation of magic, phenomena and illusions are its substance, but they are only a means to achieve goals. The attainment of siddhis or helpful means for their own sake is meaningless unless they are a vehicle for the soul to attain greatness, surpass its own condition, overcome inadequacies, and unite with supernatural essences. It is not a consciousness reduced to psychological effects on one's mind, or a training in neurodivergence, but it interacts with one's modalities, tastes, possibilities and realities. It influences the soul, the mind and the hearts, inspiring ideas and working from behind to foster visions of wonder in people.

Magic is a wise art of perceiving the effects produced in the world of causality in such a way that we philtre out the true patterns of the workings of the magical process by excluding cognitive distortions, fallacies, deceptions, blinding illusions, charlatanry, self-deception, Excluding obscuration - this is a skill of critical thinking and discernment, both in the world and, most importantly, in our own selves, and the greatest deceivers are those who are in a fortress of illusions and delusions - like madmen.

What is a clear, precise, strategic and tactical insight into emergent co-dependent causality is also a commitment, a commitment to spinning one's own networks of causal patterns while preserving one's own perception, sense and reason, ideally detached from the sea of phenomena, passionate, striving for metaphysical objectivity, observing one's own mental processes, mastering perception and cognitive-emotional processes in great balance.

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