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.