How I evaluate my magical workings

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about results and magic and how a person goes about evaluating magical work. The obvious answer is that you look at whether or not you’ve gotten the result, and certainly that is helpful, but what I’ve been realizing about results is that too often we stop short at the result itself and fail to examine the ramifications and consequences of achieving or not achieving the result. The focus is just on the result itself, but not what comes after.

I’ve observed before that one of the tendencies I see in magical workings is a tendency to treat the desired result as the end itself. What’s problematic about that approach is that the result rarely is the itself. Instead the result is typically something just another means to the actual end, but we’ve ignored the actual end to focus on the result, because on the surface the achievement of the result seems to resolve the problem. I got the result and the problem is solved…but is it?

4 Reasons you aren't getting the results you want

One of the frequent issues I notice magicians experience is they don't always get the results they want, or they get the results, but then the results slip through their fingers. So they went to all that effort to get that result, and yet it hasn't worked out. It's enough to make a person really doubt whether or not magic works.

Yet, so many people do practice magic and do get results, so surely it works. The question is, "Why aren't you getting the results you're shooting for?" And in this article I'm going to share 4 reasons you may not be getting the results you want as well as what actions you can take to remedy that issue.

The Role of Proof in Magic

Every so often, as a practitioner of magic, I'll encounter someone who wants me to prove that magic exists. They want me to demonstrate an act of magic on the spot or something else along those lines. My typical response is to blow them off. I figure that what they are really looking for is a way to disprove magic. I doubt anything that I could show them would really sway their opinion one way or another. In my experience, when a person says prove it, what they are really saying is: "I already know the truth and no matter what you say or show me, I'll find a way to disbelieve it." And chances are that person will do just that, at least subjectively. What they really want to do is confirm to themselves that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They have a deep seated insecurity within themselves and likely a lot of anger at the world as well. There is also the question as to what constitutes proof and how you measure proof. What some people perceive as magic others will perceive as happenstance. For example, I have evoked two different people into my life: my ex-wife and current wife. In the case of my ex-wife, I created a collage in January of 2005. This collage was created to bring a magical partner into my life. This collage even contained a picture of her (Bear in mind I had not met her at this point and didn't know what she looked like). All the sayings I clipped out and pasted into the collage were directly relevant to her life. We met in July, sometime after the collage had been created, but I recognized her instantly from the collage. I even gave it to her. We both felt at the time that something clicked into place when we met, and obviously it did, at least for a period of time. To me, that was proof that magic worked. I created a collage as a magical working with a picture of a person I hadn't met and didn't know and later that person and I were significantly involved with each other's lives. A skeptic might argue that it's not proof. After all I didn't meet her right after I created the collage. It might even be argued that it was sheer coincidence that I clipped a picture of my ex-wife and put it on the collage and that her seeing it on the collage must surely have contributed to her feelings (if anything it freaked both of us out just a bit). And that kind of response illustrates the subjective nature of proof. I think any magician reading this would conclude that what happened with my ex-wife and I was definite proof of magic working, but someone not practicing magic would argue it was coincidental.

However, I replicated this process. In October of 2009, right after I finished the year long emptiness working, I created another collage with the purpose of using it to evoke a magical partner into my life. It didn't include a picture of the future person, but it did include all the traits I was looking for in a partner. In February of 2010, I met my wife. We met at a convention and briefly talked. I honestly didn't expect to hear from her and was surprised when I did, after the convention. We started emailing each other and getting to know each other and quickly found we had a lot in common. What I noticed is that she fit all the traits I was looking for in my magical partner that I had put in the collage. Once again the collage evocation magic worked and here was my proof. But again, a skeptic might argue that it was coincidence that this person came into my life or that I subjectively assumed a connection between the collage and this person. What I perceive as proof, a skeptic will argue is not proof. And thus we have the trap of the prove it crowd, because such people will take any claim of proof and try and disprove it to suit their own ends. They aren't interested in proof. They are interested in being right and proving that everyone else is wrong.

As an interesting aside, in the case of both my ex-wife and my wife, I met them within a month after my previous relationship had ended. Coincidence? Possibly, but I think of it as timing, specifically the magic bringing together the right time and space for the possibility of meeting a magical partner, with the recognition that a previous relationship was over and would not be an obstacle to that realization. Magic is a process that involves the right timing and space for a possibility to occur. Thus what seems to be coincidence is anything but. It would be interesting to see if there is a higher rate of "coincidences" for magicians than other people.

I recognize that for the magician there needs to be some realization of magical work, or otherwise the person wouldn't continue to practice magic. This is why there is so much discussion about results. Results are how we measure and track the magical work we are doing. A result indicates what is working or not working within your magical process. But there is also a recognition that you have to actually engage in the process and realize that it can take some time for the result to manifest. Rarely does a result manifest right away. While reality is permeable to some degree, bringing a possibility into reality involves setting up the right conditions for reality to accept the possibility as reality. That's what the process of magic does...and all those things that seem coincidental are really signs indicative that the magical work is occurring.

I can't conjure a fireball up and I have yet to levitate (and I'm not sure why I would want to anyway). I can't telekinetically move something with my mind. That's not how magic works. But what I can do with magic is make my life easier. I can turn possibilities into reality. I live life by my rules, make a living doing what I love, live with a partner who I love, and continue to improve my circumstances. Some of that is through mundane efforts and some of it is through magical efforts. Some will argue that I delude myself and others by my belief in magic. I'd argue in return that they choose to settle for a lesser existence. If I am deluded, at least I am happy in my delusion and that seems to be much better than settling for less from life!

Finally, I say if you want proof of magic, dedicate 5 years of your life to practicing magic, learning about it, doing it etc. That should give you enough time to figure out whether its real or not and provide you the proof you so desperately require. And if you are unwilling to obtain that proof through your own efforts, then that speaks to your laziness and lack of discipline. Don't demand of others what you are unwilling to do! Whatever proof you find or don't find...that will verify your perspective...just don't expect me to jump on your band wagon. I know magic works and I'm happy with how it works in my life!

A commentary on Evocations

There's this idea about evocations that if you do them and you don't see the spirit, you aren't doing them right. Some of this attitude comes from Joe Lisiewski's books, with his focus on doing traditional evocations. The consequent result is this elitist belief that people who don't see a visible entity clearly are doing it wrong.

As someone who's done a lot of evocations, I can safely say that the criteria that you need to have a visible appearance of an entity to prove you've done it right is just a bit biased toward a traditionalist perspective of magic. Then again, I've also successfully evoked three people into my life, so that not only have I visibly seen them, but also physically felt them. To be clear though, I've never approached evocation as a mental experience that just happens in my head. The concept that an entity is just a psychological aspect of yourself is the excuse of people unwilling to apply themselves.

But what I disagree with is this notion that you have to do evocation a particular way in order to establish contact with the spirit of your choice and achieve the result you desire. Although I have a background in ceremonial magic, I've long since stopped using the props and focused on personalizing how I do magic. I figure as long as I understand the underlying principles, the entity in question isn't going care how I evoke it.

More importantly, if I'm doing it right, it won't matter if it visibly shows itself to me. I will know its presence. I will feel its presence. And maybe this just a case of semantics, but I've never visibly seen an entity, at least not with my eyes. I've visualized an entity and I have felt its presence in the room with me, but I've never physically seen one. Nonetheless I have successfully evoked entities and achieved measurable results with the aid of those entities. I've developed and maintained relationships with those entities. They have moved me.

It could be argued that if I took the time to evoke the entities using the traditional grimoires I might actually see them. Yet nonetheless, I know that my approach to evocation seems to work well. It's not traditional, because I find traditional boring. Nonetheless there is still real work involved in the practices that I'm doing. Genuine communion with an entity is not something that can be judged solely on if it appeared before you. Genuine communion is an experience and how that experience manifests may differ from person to person. Nonetheless if a person is genuinely moved by the experience, what speaks to the success is not just the manifestation of a result, but a true relationship with the entity that brings about a consequent change in the person's life that is truly sustainable.


The role of results in your process

Last week Mike wrote an article on results vs mechanics. I agree with his stance that doing magic for results is different from doing magic that is focused on process (or mechanics). A process oriented is focused on tweaking your process in order to improve it, and understand how it works. Nonetheless I also think that results play an integral role in a process oriented approach to magic.

Results are indicators that tell you if your process is working. If you don't achieve the desired result, it indicates you need to do more tweaking, and if you do obtain the desired result it indicates your process works. Nonetheless it can also tell you if you need to improve that process. I use results to tell me what works in my process and what doesn't work. Without results, I can work on a process, but I won't know if its viable until I've executed it and gotten a result.

Results matter in your process. So even though my approach to magic is process oriented, I know I need results to measure my process and evaluate where changes need to be made.

Do you think results are relevant to a process or mechanics approach to magic. Why or why not?

Book Review: The Power of Habit (Affiliate Link) by Charles Duhigg

This is a must have book if you are a business owner. The author provides case studies that show the power of habits and how habits can make a difference in your life and business. He also supplies excellent ideas on how to change negative habits. The book is well-written and the core concepts are easy to understand. You'll come away with a new appreciation for habits as well as tools for how to change them!

Results and their role in the magical process

We always get results. We don't always get the results we want. In magic, we are told not to lust for results, but conversely we look to results to prove that magic is effective, and that our magical process works. The reason we are told not to lust for results is because if we do, the obsession we put toward that desired result removes the obtainment of it from us. And I think there's some truth to that reason. I've known people who've become obsessive and let that obsession consume them, which has stopped them from recognizing opportunities that were coming their way. At the same time, you need to know what result you want to achieve in order to create a magical process that will (ideally) get you that result. It is also helpful to be as specific as possible in defining and describing the result. A vague description of a desired result isn't very helpful or useful. For example, if your result is: "I want a job", that's fairly vague. On the other hand if you state: "I want a teaching position, where I make at least 60,000 a year and have opportunities to advance in my school district.", then you have a more specific result that you are aiming for.

Principles of Magic

Developing a specific result allows you to develop a specific magical process to help you achieve that result. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you define your result:

1. What is the result I want?

2. What are additional details I can include to make the result more specific? Additional details should include anything that you would consider important or helpful.

3. Why do I want this result? How will it benefit my life to achieve this result?

4. Is there any part of this desired result that I don't agree with or feel resistant toward? If there is part of me that feels resistant to it, why do I feel that way?

5. How will I feel once the result is achieved? What will I do with the result?

All of these questions can help you not only develop a specific result, but also determine if it's a result that you can achieve. If you discover that there is resistance toward the result, it's a good idea to spend some time looking at the reasons for that resistance, to determine if the result is something you really want.

Would you include any other questions? If so what would you include?



The role of results in your magical process

I think results play an integral role in a person's magical process. If you don't know the result you want to achieve, you can't develop a process that will help you achieve that result. Results help to define and shape the magical process you use. Watch the video to learn more:

Process instead of results

For many magicians, my work still falls into the category of chaos magic, and so to them I am a chaote. I, on the other hand, disagree, because while there are certainly elements of chaos magic I draw on, I also utilize a wide variety of other systems. To which one might say, "Wait a minute Taylor isn't chaos magic all about taking different systems of magic and mashing them together and using what works to get achievable and demonstrative results?" Yes it is, and there's a very distinct difference from my own approach, because while I acknowledge that results are important, my focus is on process, specifically understanding how what I'm doing works and how to refine and improve it. Process is key to truly understanding magic. Results are just road signs showing you the way, but process is how you get there. Without understanding process all you have is push-button magic. You may get results, but just achieving results isn't enough. Process is how you refine and define those results. Process is how you experiment, instead of just doing magic. When you know your process you can change it, test it, develop it further. So while my work may seem similar to chaos magic, it's really not, because it's mainly about process, and less about results.