Critical Thinking, Intuition, Success, and Magic

I've had some really intriguing discussions lately about the role of critical thinking in magic, which consequently has also lead to discussing the concept of success and showing it, intuition and it's role in magic, and of course magic itself. Now I'm of the stance that critical thinking is an important tool in magic. This comes from my days in academia, wherein critical thinking was applied laboriously to every and all things. But from those same days, I've also seen how easily critical thinking can get abused and become something which dulls the mind and creativity of the inquirer. I saw this happen to fellow grad students and for a while had it happen to me before I decided I valued my creativity and decided to depart academia for more creative ventures. So on one hand I think critical thinking is good and on the other hand, I know all too well what happens when critical thinking becomes dogma. In fact, when it becomes dogma, it's no longer really critical thinking, so much as it is the guise of being critical thinking, with a whole of bitterness thrown in, because there's no creativity left to challenge the belief that one has to analyze everything into bits and pieces.

Critical thinking, in magic, is asking questions, of yourself, of what you're doing, and how this process is supposed to change your life. Critical thinking really works when you also add in a component of success. And what is success? Depends on the person, I suppose. For me, success is based on living a life of fulfillment and service. My success is defined by the fulfillment I obtain from it, but also the service I offer to others in the act of living. And critical thinking applies to this when I can ask myself the hard questions as to how magic enables me to achieve this feeling of success in my own life and what is the benefit of doing magic, and many other questions.

Intuition involves creativity, and learning to let go of rationality to sometimes listen to emotion, and a variety of other ways of knowing that aren't encompassed in critical thinking. Intuition is not just a kinesthetic awareness of the self, but also an awareness that extends into how we interact with the environment around us. Intuition balances critical thinking by providing us a different medium of experience. In fact, intuition is based on while critical thinking provides an intelelctual approach to magic, intuition gives us the experience to make the intellect come alive with wonder.

Tarot Reading Experiments

If you've read Space/Time Magic, you know that my stance on divination is that it's best not to do it to determine what might happen in the future if you do a certain act. However, I also think reading Tarot can be much more subtle, particularly when it's focused on analyzing a current situation as opposed to trying to determine a potential future. When I do tarot readings for people, I ask those people to create their own spread. My reason for doing that is simple: I think pre-defined spreads limit the possibility of interpretation and may end up creating inaccurate readings. I prefer it when my clients create their own personalized spreads. A spread is a pattern, a way of interacting with the world, and a personalized spread is more effective because it shows the client's thinking process and also helps the client understand the reading.

Another way I experiment with tarot readings is to make sure the client doesn't tell me about the question or situation. I prefer to not know because it forces me to really rely on my intuition and also is a good gauge for determining how accurate the reading is. If I don't know the question or situation, I can't read that into my ends up being more unbiased and consequently is more powerful and accurate...Not knowing frees the intuitive side and allows access to the super consciousness.

Over the weekend I found that my readings were very accurate. Each time my clients were amazed at how applicable the cards and interpretations were, even though I didn't know much beyond the name of the person. The real test for someone who utilizes tarot cards or other divinatory devices is a test of not knowing and relying on intuition to guide you.