William G- Gray

The Expansion and Contraction of Consciousness

William G. Gray has a way of explaining magical principles that really cuts to the heart of how magic works. For example he says the following:

Expanding and contracting consciousness is equivalent to muscular exercises in bodily terms, though when we use symbols we are contracting consciousness in one world by expanding it into another, the symbol being a common link between both. Our exercises therefore, must consist of reducing the time-event extent of a mass consciousness into a single symbol...We can reverse the procedure and extract masses of consciousness from the symbol.

It's an excellent explanation of sigils (though Gray never used the chaos magic version of sigils), but its also a good explanation of how consciousness can be contracted and expanded through magical work. The contraction of consciousness is the ability to distill a complex idea into a symbol, and the expansion of consciousness is to apply that concept to the world. It's one of those processes that is fascinating because of how we can learn a lot about the world through the application of it to our lives.

I've used the contraction of consciousness for public speaking, where I'll contract specific ideas into symbols and then when I'm speaking I'll access those symbols and extract (expand) the information. I've used the expansion of consciousness in my writing, with the idea being to pack concepts into writing and then let them expand through the act of reading them. That's actually how I approach teaching magic. Plant the seed, and then let it expand through the act of reading and application of the concepts.

When we recognize that consciousness can expand and contract, we realize just how flexible it is. Consciousness isn't static, but we can purposely play a role in its changing states and apply those to magical work as well as mundane situations. Actually if you think about it, invocation is a contraction of consciousness or multiple consciousness into one vessel, while evocation is the expansion of consciousness into the world, which has its own consciousness.

There's an interesting exercise where you visualize yourself becoming as tall as possible, and then keeping that visualization of tallness in place, you visualize another you becoming as small as possible. One fits into the other and you contemplate them together. When you can hold that concept pretty well together in your mind you understand contraction and expansion of consciousness.

Inner Transformation

In Magical Identity, I discussed at length the importance of internal work to the magical process, and to creating an empowered identity for the magician. I also noted that at least in Western Magic there seemed to be a tendency to gloss over the internal work in favor of achieving practical results. Or on the opposite end, the focus would be on a model such as the Tree of Life, but with little focus on doing internal work. I've found a couple of exceptions, and one of those is R. J. Stewart's work. Actually reading him, in some ways, is like reading William G Gray's work, which makes sense when you consider that Gray was one of Stewart's mentors. But I think the difference I see is a much more articulate focus on internal work.

In Living Magical Arts, Stewart discusses the following about transformation: "Magic begins by changing yourself, but eventually it changes the whole world if enough selves partake of it." He goes onto to note the following about magical symbols (which would includes physical tools such as your cup, rod, sword, wand, etc.: "The main, indeed the only, real function of magical symbols is to transform the magician." This is where he reminds me of William Gray, especially in Magical Ritual Methods, because Gray discusses at length that for the magician to master a tool, s/he ultimately needs to make it part of his/her consciousness.

Now on an aside, one of the reasons I favor a paintbrush as a magical tool is because there is a level or practical work that can be done with it that goes beyond being a symbol. A paintbrush or pen for that matter is a more potent tool and symbol precisely because it offers a level of transformation that goes beyond the symbolic. There is something very magical about touching a pen on paper or a brush on canvas and consequently transforming something into something else. In fact, there's a level of internal work that occurs in such artistic expressions (more on that in a later post).

But getting back to the original topic, I think that magic becomes truly effective when you understand that it fundamentally involves change through intentional transformation, and when you also realize that the most effective magic works by changing the internal reality of the magician first, and then changing the environment around him/her. Results based magic that doesn't factor in the needed internal work is typically reactive magic, done more as a reaction to a problem and as an attempt to solve said problem. Results obtained through a reactive approach to magic don't last long. The magician will sabotage him/herself because some part of his/her internal reality doesn't agree with the obtained result.

To truly understand transformation and change, you must be willing to shape yourself as well as shape the environment around you. It might even be argued that you need to be willing to be shaped by the magic, in order to truly benefit from it. Fundamentally what is being asked is: "Are you truly ready and willing to handle the responsibility of changing your reality?" You can only answer yes when you've done the internal work that allows you to critically examine your place in the universe and willingly change that place by changing your internal reality. Place, or space isn't just a physical placement...it is a metaphysical, emotional, and mental place as well. It is the embodiment of your relationship with the universe. To change your place, work from within, and let it manifest without.

In the majority of the magical work I currently do the focus is on embodying the magic, starting from within, or bringing the desired possibility into my space, and choosing to become it and letting it move me accordingly. Genuine transformation is the understanding that you are moved by the magic and by your own commitment to doing the necessary internal work that paves the way to the new expression of reality that expresses your connection with the universe and the space you embody.

Zeroing Time

The first author who really introduced me to Space/Time Magic was William G. Gray. In his book Magical Ritual Methods he talks about the Zero exercise, where a person created three circles around him/herself and brought them into alignment with each other to create space/time point of zero possibilities, where nothing existed except the person and what/she brought into the Zero. I've lately been reincorporating this practice into my daily work as one of the ways I can align with the elements of space and time. The concept of zero is a place where all possibilities can exist, but no reality occurs. Reality can only occur when an action is taken that moves a possibility into an actual reality. Zero is a state of being, a way of looking at space and time and the intersections of the two elements and the possibilities that spring out of that intersection.

Actually it's fair to say that Zero, as a concept that Gray introed to me, has been around since I first learn about it. It's an integral part of my mythology as it applies to space and time, and emptiness. What we can learn from zero is to how cultivate a state of being that's simultaneously removed from the present and connected to every possible moment that was and could be. The benefit is a temporal-spatial awareness that enables you to find possibilities that might otherwise be missed. It does make you somewhat non-linear...and zeroing is just the first step to hitting this state of awareness.


Magic vs Magick

This is an article that was originally published in 2004 on Suite 101. In my Magical Experiments class, a question was asked about magic vs magick and one of the other people searched and the first result was this article...so I decided to republish it on my blog. To me it illustrates how much can be read into the even spelling of a word. The other day, in my livejournal, I got into a discussion about the word magick and why people use it. It occurred to me that I had been using this word for a long time, so much so that it had become automatic for me to write the word magick, without even thinking about it. I suspect this is also the case with many other magicians who use this word. If we use a word automatically, without thinking about it, can we really appreciate it, or what it represents?

My argument here is basically this: A word such as magick is a word that is loaded with meaning and ideology. A person who automatically uses such a word without thinking about that ultimately doesn't appreciate or realize that s/he is representing more than just his or her own take on a word. Am I being pedantic? Perhaps, but then again how you use the language says a lot about your ideologies and what traditions or beliefs you hold valuable.

The urban legend about the word magick is that Aleister Crowley appended the k to magic as a way of differentiating it from the magic practiced by illusionists and stage magicians. However, in looking through his writing on the subject, I was unable to find any explicit reference by Crowley for the reason he chose to add k to magic. The closest I came to finding a reference to the matter is in the following quote: "I chose therefore the name 'MAGICK' as essentially the most sublime, and actually most discredited, of all the available terms. I swore to rehabilitate magick, to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated, and feared" (Crowley, 1994, p. 127). Now Crowley clearly states a reason for choosing the word magick, but not a reason that justifies the spelling. This matter gets even more complex because many magicians, in fact, use magic, not magick, when talking about their beliefs or spiritual practices.

In the discussion that occurred on my livejournal as a result of my post, one person told me the following: "I'm so used to seeing scholars and other outsiders spell it "magic," and practitioners spell it "magick," that it looks like I'm pretending to be an outsider when I drop the k" (Ulbh-Livejournal Comment). The irony here is that its not just scholars or other outsiders who use the word magic, but also fellow magicians. What's equally fascinating to realize is that the majority of writers in the occult industry do not use magick, but do use magic. Why is this important?

To me, it suggests that the use of the word magick is associated with one specific ideology, in this case Thelema. This word is not necessarily associated with other pagan belief systems and in fact there is sometimes tension between the choice of using magick or magic: "What follows is unashamedly and perhaps blatantly about something which up till recently has always been called 'Magic' (Without the k please, Mr. Crowley!)" (Gray 1984, p. 9). As can be seen, despite the seeming lighthearted joke, there is in fact some tension between the choice of magick and magic. And one author's choice to use magic as opposed to magick is indicative of not just a choice in words, but also ideologies and the traditions that inform those ideologies.

Unfortunately I haven't found any other writing that suggests an overt disapproval of either word. At most what I find are different definitions of what magic is and why it's practiced. And I find two discourses, one discourse which promotes magick, and Aleister Crowley, and another discourse, which uses magic and seeks to distance itself from Crowley. Neither word is inherently wrong to use. I think what it really comes down to is personal choice. But it's also important to know the history of the word you use. Knowing that history allows each of us to make an informed choice. Further it allows us to understand our cultural and spiritual history, which is something we need to know. Such history is easily lost and without knowing why a word is used, you cannot really know the power behind that word or what that choice says about your beliefs and ideologies. You may think as well that using magick or magic says nothing about your beliefs and ideologies, but it does, because people will identify, correctly or incorrectly, the traditions and beliefs that you draw in your spiritual practices. This, again, is why it is important to know the word you use, as well as what it means to others.

When we know our cultural and spiritual heritage, we will also know much of what informs what we do today and why. The attitude that it doesn't matter why you do something or use a particular word is ultimately apathetic, suggesting as it does that you don't really care about what informs your beliefs. Knowing the why of a matter, the how it came to be, is essential to knowing what can be done by using a word, by representing yourself and potentially other people of your beliefs. I know, if nothing else, that for now I'll use use magic, if only to question why I previously used magick so automatically that I didn't think about it.

Integrating concepts into your life through your subconscious

One of the skills I've picked up over the years is one where I integrate magical concepts into my life on a practical basis by imprinting those concepts into my subconscious and then allowing those concepts to integrate into my life via my actions and life occurrences. Sounds really similar to sigils, right? The main difference however, is that instead of focusing on a specific desire, what I'm actually focusing on is a concept that isn't focused on a desire, so much as it's focused on attuning myself to a particular energy or force. William G. Gray wrote about this practice in Magickal Ritual Methods, describing how you could take a ceremonial tool and imprint that tool into your mind so that you would then understand and embody the conceptual force that the tool as a symbol represented.

I've taken that approach and used it lately to integrate the Chinese Element model and classical Planetary energy model into my life. For example, I've worked with the planetary energy of mercury through my networking. By integrating that planetary energy into my subconscious, I'm using it to influence my conscious decisions when it comes to attending networking events. This kind of integration allows me to work with these types of concepts and energies on a deeper level, while also gradually aligning them with my conscious mind, for when I can work with them more overtly. And how I do this? I have a table of correspondences tacked to my wall that I look at each day for a couple minutes in order to imprint those correspondences on my mind. I've found it useful for not just memorizing, but also integrating those correspondences/concepts into my life, so that I'm more open to their influence in my daily activities.

Elemental Love Work Month Ten

I have two more months left to the elemental love working. It kind of amazes me that in such a short, but also long time, my yearlong working with babalon and the element of love will be receding into the background to make way for the next element to be worked with. This month has been interesting in Three different ways.

1. I recently had an opportunity to choose to be honest about a situation...and I chose honesty. I have to admit, making that choice is when it comes to personal matters is not very easy for me. I've sometimes lied or concealed things to my later detriment, because there's that distinct voice within which says, better to keep this from someone then let them find out and see the real you. The real detriment of lying isn't even the broken trust of the other person, though that is definitely detrimental. It is the punishment one puts him/herself under every time the truth could come up...because make no mistake a liar does punish him/herself because no matter how well hidden a truth one person always knows it and that's the liar.

For me, honesty in love has been one of the hardest lessons to learn. I can easily point to my past and say that it was because of my past, what I learned early on, which was that lying sometimes ensured I didn't get caught, didn't get grounded, didn't get told I was a disappointment, and most importantly I didn't get hurt if I lied good enough. If I lied and no one else knew, they might even accept me...no it's not rational, and it may not make much sense, but it is a reaction that is writ deep within me, and so naturally is something that has come up time and again throughout these ten months, in various different forms and flavors. Coming to grips with the lie of lying, and really seeing how much the truth can set a person free is in someways the central theme of this year's lesson for me. And of course Babalon has been very insistent I learn this lesson, which completely makes sense, because she is a goddess of desire, and desire is only truely known when you can be true with yourself and others.

So earlier this month, an opportunity came up to be honest about some things and I decided to take it. It wasn't easy. There were a couple moments where I felt like it took everything I had to say a simple sentence. Yet the feeling afterwards, of relief, of release, of no longer keeping something in secret, of being able to really open was so empowering, so strong, so different from keeping something to myself. I felt liberated...and in one respect I felt as well that my word as a magician was strengthened. I believe both William G. Gray and Franz Bardon wrote something to the effect that the magician's power is only as strong as his word. The truth does set you free, from your fear, from your worry...but it takes a lot of work. I wish I could say that being honest is an easy thing for me...in most areas of my life it is...but love is deep...there's deep wounds and letting them heal takes work, takes trust...I'm learning that trust, learning how to trust myself so I can trust others. Trust and love start from within. Before you can have trust or love with someone else you really have to trust yourself and love yourself. For me, the sign that I'm changing is that while I still struggle with myself sometimes to tell someone else how I feel or about something I did that I know wasn't good to do, 9 out 10 times I succeed in telling that someone...and that one time it doesn't occur right away, it does happen, if a bit later down the line. It's an accomplishment for me to be at this point of honesty with myself. And yes sometimes I still lie...but it's less and less.

2. In a conversation with a friend I was told I'm trying too hard...specially trying too hard to be his friend, which accounted for his tenseness around me. I really appreciated his honesty with me and ended up agreeing that was the case, so I relaxed and that friendship is getting better. But in thinking about his comment, I can say it's been true in other situations as well. I've caught myself a few times this month trying too hard when it came to other matters. So I'm learning to relax more...try less, do easy...it's interesting and it's given me a better look at some of the ol' thought stream in my head, and what it is I tell myself sometimes. Not sure where this will go beyond just trying less, and relaxing more in my relationships with others and myself.

3. finally read this in a book. Sex and love are two different needs. You might think this would be obvious, but I don't know...so much focus in this culture on true love and what constitutes true love, including all the sex that is supposed to happen all the time. I'm not saying sex can't be something important to a relationship you have with someone, but sex and love aren't the same need. Sex can be an expression of love, but it can also be an expression of hate or lust, even sorrow (in one case I heard of). And sex is its own need, something which we need, but love is also its own need and again something we need. It's funny, but as I've done this love working and really faced what love seems to be for me, I've seen the difference in these needs more clearly. Yes I like both love and sex and want both in my life, but they are different. Sex doesn't always bring love with it and yes I've known this for a while, but reading that sex and love are different needs...it kinda hit me with a clue by four that helped me get this understanding in a different way that all my prior experiences never really showed me.

I won't say love is more valuable than sex or vise versa, but feeling that need for love is a different than needing sex and in retrospect sex definitely fills or hits a different area of the psyche than love...love is much more subtle, less obvious...it does something, but it also takes a lot more work than sex might.

So that's month ten for me...each month is really amazing...I've learned so much in each month, in each moment of vulnerability that working with this element has provided.

Some occult authors to look into

In my last post about Julius Evola's works, one of my commenters asked if I'd include a list of lesser known occult authors that people might consider looking into. So here's a small (and not complete) list of occult authors that I personally think people should read. Note that I'm not including Crowley's work or any work derived from Crowley, as obviously they are already very well known. I want to focus on the authors people may not know about.

So the list:

Franz Bardon. He only wrote three books on magic (not counting the fictional book Frabato the magician): Initiation into Hermetics, Evocation, and The Key to the True Quaballah. I've only read the first two at this point, but I'd suggest both as excellent books that detail how hermetics work without the usual flowery language or focus on obsfucation.

Julius Evola. He wrote a number of books, some of which were political commentaries, and some of which were occult works. His political commentaries would be far right/fascist works, which I'm sure would upset some of the more activism/leftist oriented occultists I know, but might be a good read precisely because they represent a different perspective than is usually found in occult activism. The books on magic Tantra: the Yoga of Power and Introduction to Magic are useful books to read. He does an excellent job of presenting an accurate perspective of Tantra and what I've read so far in Introduction to Magic is also an excellent work. He's written other books on the occult, some of which are in print, some of which are not. I haven't read them as yet, but most of them either focus on sex magic or hermeticism, and I'm sure are worth getting. They are on my amazon wishlist.

William G. Gray is another writer who presents some excellent works on both quabalah and ceremonial Magic. One of my favorite books is Modern Ritual Methods, but Inner Traditions of Magic is also good as is his books focused on quabalah: Ladders of Light, The Talking Tree, and Quabalistic Concepts. Recently some of his books have gone back into print, so now would be a good time to pick them up.

On a side note, Gray and Evola's works are some of the few occult works I'd consider spending money at this point, in part because what they write about are advanced concepts, and also because of the thoroughness of what they write about.

Kaostar by Francis Breakspear looks to be an intriguing work...and I'd also recommend the Art of Memetics by Edward Wilson and Wes Unruh for contemporary perspectives on magic.

To get an alternate take on demonology, check out books on Demonolatry by S. Connolly and J. Thorp They provide an alternate take which is useful to read, and will provide some intriguing perspectives in that area.

Jan Fries is an intriguing author who offers up different perspectives on chaos magic, seith workings, runic workings and even a perspective on celtic. I've read several of his works and found them to be insightful.

Dale Pendell offers a trilogy called pharmakon...not overtly occult, it still is some useful works to read.

There's more authors I could refer to...many, many different authors on a variety of topics ranging from Far Eastern energy work and mysticism to alchemy, but what I mentioned here is a good start to expanding the foundation of knowledge a person has as well as getting different perspectives on occult practices.

Methods for organizing your mind

Recently I was up in Seattle, talking with several friends and I mentioned a couple projects I was working on. One of my friends shook his head and asked me how I managed to be so prolific with how busy I am. I thought it was an interesting reaction to have, but it relates to some degree with some of the experimentation I've done in the past as well as ongoing work that focuses on multitasking in order to achieve more. I've always been a multi-tasker and also a person with a very non-linear approach to time and concepts of the self. While some people have a single track mind, my mind is always working on multiple tracks, in multiple directions, doing multiple projects. Even when it seems like I'm working on only one project, there's always other parts of me working on other projects in the background. The same applies to books I usually read five to six books at a given time, switching between each book when I ever overloaded on a particular subject, so that I can give that part of myself time to process and digest information.

I have a variety of techniques I use to help myself process and organize information. I'll share one today, which is based off of a technique from William G. Gray's books: Modern Ritual Methods and Inner Traditions of  Magic. The other techniques you'll have to wait on until I finish writing my sequel to Space/Time Magic. In MRM, Gray posits the concept that a ceremonial tool is a symbolic representation of concepts. We use the tools to symbolically access the concept or information they represent. Gray further suggests that through meditating on a particular and the symbolic associations linked to the tool, a person can imprint that information into his or her consciousness and either invoke or evoke it as needed without the presence of the physical tool. The physical tool can aide in the invocation or evocation of the information because it is a physical embodiment of that information. Gray's approaches to interacting with tools as symbolic constructs is somewhat similar to Spare's alphabet of desire. The goal, with either technique, is to create strong associations that can be drawn on to mesh the magician's identity with the information that the symbols represent.

In ITM, Gray discusses the concept of a Telesmic image. The Telesmic image is an evocation of internal resources or information. It's similar to the concept of a servitor, egregore, or a thoughtform.  It serves as a mirror or reflection of the magician, while also embodying particular aspects of the magician or embodying particular archetypes. From Gray's perspectives deities would be Telesmic Images, which have been suffused with all the information that their worshippers have provided the deity through the devotion given to it.

One of the ways I organize my mind involves the use of symbols for containing information. I can bond the symbol to an image as well, in order to create an entity which represents information or concepts of a specific type. This is useful, because I can then direct information to that construct and draw on that same information when I need access to it.

This then is one method I use for organizing my thoughts...Though I plan on going into much more depth in my sequel to STM.

Further discussions of definitions of magic

In psyche's latest post on the definitions of magic, she attempts to use Crowley's definition of magic to address arguments by a podcaster named Deo who had shared an essay on his podcast wherein he challenged the veracity of magic as a real force (Actually his essay is part of what started the initial post she wrote). As I noted in this post, Crowley's definition is not a good definition of magic, because he is sloppy in his attempts to define what magic is, and is unable to distinguish from any other discipline or approach that could be used in a similar way to explain how a person uses a process to manifest something. However Deo poses an intriguing challenge to Psyche and others in this thread on his forum. Something which is brought up is the "models of Magic" Both Deo and Psyche seem to agree that these models are most effective as understanding practical applications and possibilities of magic and magical systems as opposed to being definitive theories or explanations for how the process of magic works. I'd agree with that myself, but Deo then raises an interesting question: "Is there such a thing (ontologically/metaphysically) as magic?..Does magic deserve to be an ontological category? If not, then it's metaphysically uninteresting and a worldview that lacks it can still be a complete worldview."

Deo's question is an excellent question to ask. It highlights the problem with Crowley's definition, because Crowley's definition cannot answer or explain magic in a way that differentiates it from anything else, something which Deo aptly notes, "I don't consider magic to be 'real' as an ontological component of the universe if it merely names a style of activity irrespective of any kind of mechanism underlying its alleged efficacy" An activity is not automatically magical, simply because it is named magical. A process needs to be described that shows how magic is different from something else...in fact a good definition not only persuades someone what something ought to be, but also shows why something is different from everything else.

Instead of relying on the models of magic to answer Deo's question (I've never really used them and I have my own reasons for thinking that while they provide perspectives on practical applications, the perspectives offered are not necessarily the most efficacious), nor will I rely on an aesthetic approach to magic, because while I think making meaning is a function of magic, I don't believe it is the only function. Plus, in keeping with Deo's criticism, it can be argued that making meaning is does not fall strictly in the domain of magic (as a study of semiotics will quickly reveal to a reader).

I choose to take a different tack to defining magic, based on my own definition of magic, one gained from years of personal experience and experimentation. In Multi-Media Magic, I defined magic as: "Magic involves making the improbable possible. It's learning how even the slightest change you make can have a radical effect on the internal system of your psychology/spirituality, and the external system of the environment and the universe you live in. Magic is the realization of an interdependent system of life that needs every part to bring forth the hidden potential. It is also a methodology that can be used as a stress on the interconnected system, to manifest change in it." I go on to note that magic isn't the only stress on a system. In Space/Time magic, I also noted that magic involved being aware of probabilities and manifesting those probabilities into your life.

A definition of magic then is not so much about doing everything with intent as it is about recognizing probabilities and using a process (which we call magic) to manifest those probabilities into reality. Seems simple enough, but even the definition I wrote above has problems with it. I haven't overtly identified the process that magic utilizes which allows it to be an ontological presence. I identify a benefit of magic, that it makes a person aware of probabilities and enables manifestation of those probabilities, but the underlying mechanism still isn't defined. I note that magic can act as a stress on a system, but that could still use further clarification.

What I define as a system is a recognition that all life is interconnected. Everything lives within a system that necessarily requires everything to work together in order for the entirety of the system to be sustained (And we can note the effects that occur when a system is taken out of balance, global warming anyone?). In a systems approach, both intent AND impact are considered. Impact needs to be considered in order to determine if efficacy has occurred, since impact is one means for measuring the process used to generate it (As a side not, it amazes that most definitions of magic do not consider impact at all...too much focus on intent, not enough awareness of impact). The system is not entirely a physical reality, though it is based in a physical environment. It is also based in the mentality and even spirituality of what lives within it. Any system is effected by stress. A stress in this case is a mechanism used to change the system. Different disciplines of science are stresses on a system, because they utilize mechanisms to change the system.

Likewise magic is a stress that can be used to change the system, because of the mechanism that magic provides, which is not provided by the different disciplines of science, because while science enables from a purely physical end of the spectrum, magic enables change through a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual resources. An example of this resource would be the example of embodying a physical/mental resource of the human body, a neurotransmitter as an entity (thus creating a spiritual resource) which could be used to manifest a variety of possibilities, including creating altered states of mind, healing a person's mental state by working with the neurotransmitter, etc.

But what is the mechanism that makes magic an ontological presence, and enables its efficacy? That mechanism is Identity, specifically the ability to shape and change identity in order to mesh it with the identity if the possibility one wishes to manifest into reality. Identity can be considered to be both a state of existence and, in a system, a point or node of influence, connected to other nodes of influence. Magic uses identity as a means of manifesting probability into reality, by creating resonance between the identity of the magician and the identity of the probability the magician wants to make into reality (Think of magic as a string in a web, connecting one node of identity to another node of identity). The magician anchors a potential identity in the form of a probability to his/her actual identity, via magic to enable the probability a greater chance of manifesting than would occur if methods were not used to link the two identities together. Magic is a process of identification that allows the magician to change reality by altering the identity of that reality, or for that matter altering his or her own identity to conform to reality.

Magic uses methods to create resonance between different identities, or if you will between one version of reality and another. Probability becomes reality, when enough resonance is created between one identity and another so that the probability in essence becomes an extension of the existing identity of the magician.

This is my answer to Deo's question. It's also part of my ongoing work and experimentation with magic.

0 and 1, all and none til something is done

I came across an intriguing question that asked, "What would there be, if there was nothing?" My answer is, "The potential for everything, waiting to be manifested into something"

This answer boils down one of my approaches to magic and life into ten words. I relate it to magic, because it was in the works of William G. Gray that I first discovered 0 and 1, which is an intricate of my private mythos and relates to the concept of nothingness, everything, and something. This concept is also explored to some degree in the fantasy works of Raymond E. Feist, when his characters discuss some of the metaphysics of the fantasy universe, metaphysics which I might add are very workable and sane as a magical paradigm when it comes not only the relationships one has with the spirits, but also as a way of explaining something of how the universe itself works, but I digress.

I came across the concept of zeroing in  Magical Ritual Methods by William G. Gray (one of my favorite authors of magic).  The concept boils down to the idea that creation cannot occur without a void. What this means is that nothingness needs to exist in order for something to have a place. Some of this concept is echoed in the jazz musician Sun Ra's philosophy, particularly the cult film he did in the seventies about the outer space employment agency. What I get from Gray's concepts is that in zero, in nothing, lies the potential for everything. But until something is actually done with that potential, nothing can occur. ) is the embodiment of all and none. It represents both nothing and the potential for everything. 1 is the direction, the manifestation of potential into something. Once 1 occurs, and something is manifested the potential has been shaped into reality.

Much of Gray's approach to magic was based on the idea that you had to, as much as possible, return to a state of zero, of nothingness, before you created any magical act. The reason for that was to create a state of objectivity or neutrality, from which you were free of contaminating influences that might taint the manifestation you wanted to shape. The zero that a person used is the magical circle meant to represent that state of neutrality, wherein a person begins to take the potential for everything and shape into something that can be manifested into reality.

Much of what Gray wrote about in Magical Ritual Methods continues to influence my own approach to magic to this day. If there was ever a book I would consider to be a definitive manual on how and why magic works, I'd probably refer people to Magical Ritual Methods and tell them to read the book and then re-read and take copious notes while also integrating the practices described into their magical practice. I can guarantee that working with Gray's concepts will definitely challenge a person's perspectives on magic, because Gray is very thorough about exploring what magic seems to be, as well as explaining what he believes a person needs to be able to do, in order to really work with magic.

For me, 0 and 1 represents infinite potential within nothing and the capacity to shape that potential, to evoke it into something. Of course to do all of that, it's essential to train yourself, train and shape your internal reality so that it can mesh up with external reality while also working within nothing to achieve something. I first read Gray's works in my early twenties and even now I can still safely say that it influences how I think about and approach magic, right down to how I develop processes for working magic.

I've even used some of his concepts in meditation, diminishing a senses to a minutae of potential within a see of potential. This concept can also be used to speak to the soul of a symbol...which is a concept wherein a person finds the meaning of a symbol in meditation by zeroing the sense of self and integrating the symbol into him or herself to experience it directly.

So that's a snippet of my personal mythos when it comes to magic.

From nothing...came something...From 0 came 1.