I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between magic done for the sake of experience and magic done for the sake of results. I don’t think either type of magic necessarily better than the other, but I think the underlying purpose for doing the magical work is significantly different and worth recognizing because it also informs your own motivations for why you’re doing magic.
I’ll admit that a lot of my thought around this topic is driven by my own magical experiences and experiments of late, which have driven more by a desire for the experience than for a specific outcome. Practicing magic for the sake of experience I find is changing my perspective on magic. Before I get into that further though let’s briefly define and clarify what magic for results and magic for experience looks like.
Magic for results is results driven. You are practicing magic to obtain a specific measurable outcome that changes your life in a way that is favorable to you. Practical examples of this might be doing magic to get a specific job or to resolve a problem in your life or influence an opportunity. Generally when people do results based magic, its performed to improve your health, your wealth, or your place in the world. And let me just say results based magic is a perfectly acceptable to practice and use in your life. I’ve practiced lots of results based magic and will continue to do so as and when needed.
Magic for experience is experience driven. You are practicing magic to have an experience, for the sake of having the experience and letting that experience transform you in ways you may not even fully anticipate. Practical examples of this (for me) include the elemental balancing rituals, the Sphere of Art, and Inner Temple of the Inner Convocation workings I’ve been doing. It seems to me that when people do this work, they are doing it so that it can help them change their relationship with the world, or to become closer to an aspect of it. Or they are doing it as a way to achieve closer access with spiritual forces. Regardless what drives the working is the experience. I’ve been practicing a lot of experience focused magic of late and its played a significant role in my magical practice from the very beginning.
So now we’ve defined both. Earlier I mentioned that experience oriented magic has been changing my perspective on magical work, so let me share what I find is changing.
My choice to focus on practicing magic for the experience has changed my perspective on magic because I’m focused on simply doing the work for the sake of doing it and letting that work permeate my life and speak through me. The experience is what becomes important, and its not about controlling the experience, driving to a specific outcome, but instead simply being open to the experience and letting the transformation happen.
The elemental balancing ritual work is a good example of this kind of work. When I’m doing this work there’s no specific outcome in mind. I’m simply doing the work with the element in order to bring purposeful transformation to my life. Yet though the transformation is purposeful, its something that is mediated through me and the changes that occur are done as a way to bring me into closer alignment with the the element through the experiences I have.
Doing magical work for experience isn’t about achieving a specific result or influencing a desired outcome. Instead its choosing not to attempt power, but instead simply working with the magic and whatever forces are being called in, all for the sake of the experience. Again magic for experience isn’t better than magic for results. Both have their uses and purposes, but I think its worthwhile to do magic for the sake of the experience and transformation (whatever it may be), just to see how it changes your perspective on magic and your own practice.