Credibility, causality, and magic

Posted on June 10, 2011
Filed Under alchemy, book review, Magic | 3 Comments

When I think about causality and magic, one realization I have is that trying to make the causality of magic credible is really trying to apply a different model of thinking that may not fit magic. Magic doesn’t really operate on Scientific laws of cause and effect. It has its own rules, and those rules involve a different angle and take on causality, as magic applies to it. Trying to fit magic into some box or hole of another discipline isn’t useful, if you are strictly applying that discipline to magic as an explanation of it. It can be useful to draw on concepts and practices from other disciplines in your magical work, but that’s a different post altogether.

Wanting magic to fit some kind of scientific, rational explanation is really taking the wonder out of magic, in my opinion. Even in my own work of defining magic, I’ve never really tried to fit it into another discipline, so much as I’ve tried to explore my own experience of it. And when I think about it, magic is really about experiences. Yes it can be a technology, and an art, etc., but its more than that. It’s experiences and its stepping into a frame of mind that is willing to accept those experiences and find meaning where most people wouldn’t. It’s not about credibility in the standard sense of the word, because such ideas of credibility are based off specific disciplines that try to structure the experience of the world in very specific ways, different from magic And to be fair, magic also is about structuring experience in a very specific way.

My point is this: Trying to approach the causality of magic in terms of credibility as derived from other disciplines doesn’t work too well, because there’s a predisposition to view magic as some kind of primitive activity done by people who don’t know any better.

We do know better however. We know that magic works and we can even explain how it works, but the explanation we provide won’t necessarily fit within the accepted perspectives of other disciplines. Nor does it need to. If the result occurs consistently, the process works and that’s all the credibility you need. The causality is involved in the process and your understanding of that process is a large part of the causality of magic, and how it’s bringing desired change into your life.

Book Review: The Emerald Tablet (Affiliate link) by Dennis William Hauck

This book provides a good explanation of the seven stages of alchemy and how they can be applied to a person via psychology. The author does have a tendency to mix in some inaccurate history and also tries to connect alchemy to UFOS, but even with those flaws, this is still a useful book for someone wanting to learn about alchemy and begin applying some of the concepts to his/her life. I recommend it primarily for the explanation of the seven stages of alchemy, which you can apply to your life via your own internal work.


Karmaghna Ulrik
Karmaghna Ulrik

In many ways your post mirrors the concepts in Ramsey Dukes' "SSOTBME - An Essay on Magic."  If you are not familiar with this work, you may want to take a look.

Pallas Renatus
Pallas Renatus

Absolutely true. Early on in my scientific education I realized that seeing the sciences as a subset of magic was infinitely more helpful than trying to force a viewpoint the other way around. It's one of the things that makes me glad I started exploring magic (at least intellectually) early on, because I can honestly say that learning some of the more difficult concepts of biochemistry, physics, virology, etc, led me to great realizations in my magical studies. They're really quite synergistic in that way, if you're not trying to "prove" magic on the limited grounds of the sciences.

I find that trying to prove magic ends up being an exercise in futility, so it really is beneficial to approach it the other way. And like you, I've found that learning other disciplines and applying their concepts via magic has been very helpful.