I've been reading Magick of Thought, a blog by Mike Sententia. It's an interesting blog and his approach to magic is innovative, but it also highlights why I think of magic as a more of a personal experience. When I read his work, I get where he's coming from, but I wouldn't really approach magic from that angle, and I don't think he'd really approach magic from the angle that I take. I find his approach to be a very technical process, that relies on a very precise and somewhat scientific defining of reality and how everything works. Ironically, my own process is not too dissimilar. Much like Mike, I'm a stickler for definitions and my own process is again based on a very precise understanding of how magic works and where it fits into the rest of life. But there are differences, and when I read his blog I see those differences and I actually appreciate them, both in terms of providing me topics to write on, and also for the fact that Mike conveys a very unique vision and approach to magic, which is not something come across everyday.
But what stands out the most to me is that ultimately for Mike, myself, and for many other magicians I know is this: The process of magic, the defining of magic...all of it is a personal experience. You know the joke: Ask five Pagans what Magic is and you'll get six definitions. Actually you'll probably get more. It's the diversity of those experiences which is so important, because it provides a variety of experiences that other people can learn from. Certainly in reading Mike's blog, I've had an opportunity to look at magic from his perspective, and although it doesn't necessarily quite fit into my experiences, it nonetheless provides some perspective that I can and apply to my magical work.
When I first started experimenting with pop culture and magic, what I cam to realize is that all the ritual finery, actions etc., are just props. What matters is the underlying principles. If you understand the principles of magic, you can personalize the props and you can even personalize the principles. I certainly have and nothing has happened beyond what I wanted to have happen.
Magic is a personal experience and although we can provide a methodology and process to explain it, its still subject to interpretation and ultimately to personalization. The effective magician takes what someone else has put out there, and modifies it to fit his/her understanding of magic. And the test: does it still work? If that test is passed, that is what matters.That is what proves it works.