Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about results and consequences. Often times in practical magic workings we focus on the results that we want to achieve, but what isn't always considered are the consequences that come with the results. Yet consequences are a natural reality of a result. The problem that happens is that the result is treated as a point of closure. You've created and executed the magical working and then the result has occurred and that's the end of the story. But is it?
I think of a result as a rock you've thrown into a river. You through the rock in the river and it's now part of the river bed, but when it first hits the water, it creates ripples and in this metaphor those ripples are the consequences that occur because the result has been achieved. Now consequences, in and of themselves, aren't inherently good or bad. They're just something that happens because a change has occurred, and it should be obvious that we don't need to do a magical working to deal with consequences. We deal with consequences everyday of our lives, because of our actions, regardless of whether those actions are magical or not. So it might seem like I'm making much ado about nothing.
But I think what makes a magical working a bit different is this: We're purposely and consciously choosing to do a magical action in order to achieve a result. There's premeditation involved. So if we're putting this time and effort into creating a magical working that will help us get a specific result, should't we also do a bit more forecasting and look at the possible consequences that could occur?
Now it could be said that this is where divination comes into play. Some people will say that before you ever do a magical working, you ought to do a divination in order to get insights on that working and discover potential consequences. And so divination can be one way to discover potential consequences.
But another way to discover your potential consequences is to spend some actually defining your result. When you define your result, you also are looking at the environmental variables influenced by the result, and so this helps you plan for and anticipate potential consequences. The more defined your result is, the easier it is to anticipate possible consequences. The less defined your result is, the harder it is to plan for consequences, because you've leaving a lot up to chance.
Let me explain...
If your defined result is vague, then there will be a lot of unanticipated consequences. For example, if I do a working to get a job and the defined result is simply a job, without anything else defined, then not only have you settled for whatever you get, but you've also accepted the consequences that come with it. Those consequences could be less pay, bad co-workers, and a micro-managing boss.
But let's say you take your time and really define your desired result. What you're defining as well are consequences of achieving that result. So you end up defining not just the fact that you want a job, but also what kind of job, the salary and benefits, the people you work with and other details that are important to you. And by defining those details you actually plan for the consequences and make them part of the result, instead of something that happens because of the result.
Now this doesn't mean there still won't be unanticipated consequences, but as you can see when you take your time to define your result, the amount of unanticipated consequences goes down significantly.
Some people argue you shouldn't define your result too much. I used to feel that way myself, but as I've continued to experiment with results based magic, and helped other people out with their results based magic, what I find is that when the result is defined it helps you understand the magical working you'll do and the consequences. Defining the result can help you decide if you really want it, which is better to figure out before doing a magical working or taking other actions...for once something is manifested you do have to live with the consequences of it. If you figure out what those consequences are ahead of time and incorporate them into your defined result, it helps you get very specific with your working and also allows you to measure the effectiveness of your working.