Where psychology fits into magic

Jason recently posted about some of his thoughts on where psychology fits into magic. He and I share a similar opinion about the perspective of treating magic as just a psychological phenomenon, but I agree with the point he makes: There is a place for psychology within magic. In Magical Identity, I discuss different psychological methodologies and how they can be applied for magical work, especially for internal work.

One of the areas that I personally feel is neglected far too much by magicians is internal work, i.e. working with your internal values, beliefs, attitudes, and dysfunctional issues. Meditation is one method for doing internal work and when it's combined with psychology, it can be truly dynamic. I've made some amazing breakthroughs using meditation as well as working with a therapist, and applying psychological perspectives to my work, which in turn has allowed me to achieve greater clarity and focus in my life, making the living of it much, much easier. I've actually found that the need to do more overt acts decreases when you do internal work.

Before I did internal work and underwent therapy, I was a mess. I could practice magic as effectively as any of them, but my use of magic was mostly reactive, used to solve a crisis or problem, but with little thought put toward understanding my role in that crisis or problem. Choosing to do internal work freed me from a lot of unhealthy behaviors and provided me the opportunity to become much more proactive and focused in my magical work.

Aside from that psychology can provide a useful avenue of exploration in terms of understanding your magical process and how specific techniques work. It's fair to say that my background in social sciences informs my magical process and some of that background is related to psychology. Where I make a key distinction is recognizing the limitations of using psychology to describe magic. It's a different discipline and where there are insights, there are also limitations.



Giving to Elephant

Last night, I did some searching on google for sites that focused on elephant conservation and once I found one that I felt comfortable supporting, I made a small donation. I don't have a lot of income to spare right now, but I also recognized the value of giving something to elephant and I suspect that this will be something I do at least sometimes in my spiritual work with Elephant, depending of course on just what state my finances are in...but I think elephant can understand that. After I gave the donation Elephant asked me to sleep with my elephant hair bracelet on. No mythical dreams of portent occurred, or anything else, but I did feel pretty good about it and when I meditated elephant came and visited and offered some support and guidance, because I was feeling very scattered. I felt more focused and even now can feel a quiet urging from him.

This could be all in my head, all in my imagination, but it does work, for what it needs to be. That's really all I can ask...and if in the process of that I can give something of myself to help another being as well then it makes it even better.

Review of Integral Psychology by Ken Wilbur

This was a very interesting read, which examined the varying theories of psychology and focused on integrating those theories together and then providing an overarching theory that they could fit into, supplied by Wilbur. The author is clearly very well studied in what he discusses and provides some detailed explanations that provide a successful argument for what he's attempting to do. This can be a dense read and jargon heave, especially with some of the words the author has come up with on his own, but don't let that discourage you. I see this work as an essential read for occultists, a way of expanding their understanding and application of psychology to their own practices. The charts at the end of the book are helpful for illustrating what Wilbur is explaining. My only wish is that he could've integrated the charts more into the book, instead of at the back.

4 out of 5 stars