Expectations and Magic

Posted on November 14, 2013
Filed Under Magic | 2 Comments


I came across this intriguing post from Chirotus Infinitum about weather magic and expectations of failure the other day. What I liked about it is that he really explores the expectation that some people carry around that magic will fail, which is coupled in turn with putting it all on a deity instead. I’m inclined to agree with Chirotus’s perspective, which is that it’s a load of BS to have expectations that magic will fail. But it also doesn’t surprise me that some people try to put a moratorium on weather magic or magic of any type that’s practical. I think that some people find the idea of practical magic to be a bit threatening. Practical magic is all about applying change to the environment around you and when you do that you’re taking something into your hands that typically has been associated with deities and the like. You’re taking power into your hands and all the responsibility that comes with it.

Chirotus is quite right that weather is a complex system to work with, but what I find fascinating is how there is this tendency to discourage practical magic in certain quarters of Paganism. Chirotus discusses how there’s an expectation set up that a person will fail, and I think that expectation comes from the fact that in some cases people don’t know what they are doing with magic. And so the expectation to fail is easily set up because if you don’t understand what you’re doing, you really can’t succeed.

One of the problems I have with spell books is that when you look at your typical spell it’s a recipe that gives you a set of instruction, but doesn’t really explain the underlying principles of magic or how its supposed to work. You do the spell and then you wait and see if something happens…it’s all left up to chance. Chance is a bitch. I have a similar problem with deferring to a higher authority to make things happen. You see that deferment in the Christian religion and sometimes you see it in Paganism, which Chirotus points out in his article. Let deity X handle this problem for me. The problem with doing that is you’re relying on the whim of some other being to actually favor you. On the plus side, if the situation doesn’t work out, you can always blame deity x for not doing anything, but then you might ask a question which is: “Why should deity X care about my situation enough to do something?” And the answer is that deity x probably doesn’t care because deity X is busy doing what Deity X needs to do…or maybe s/he cares, but s/he is busy fielding all the other requests as well (From what I hear this gets pretty tiresome).

There’s a saying that God takes care of those who takes care of themselves. I like that saying, because it puts the responsibility back on you. You take care of it instead of waiting for something else to come along and do it for you. You take the power and the responsibility and you do something. And yes sometimes you’ll fail, but if you’re smart you’ll learn from that failure because you’ll look at magic as a process instead of as something you do in the hopes that something might happen. You’ll look at what you’ve done and you’ll take it apart to figure out what didn’t work and then you’ll put it back together again, better than before.

And get rid of expectations. They are another form of fixating on results to the point that you lust for them. Yes that’s true even with negative expectations. If you expect that magic will fail you are setting up a negative result and focusing on it to the point that you blind to other possibilities. That’s the last thing you need in your magical process. Forget expectations about magic and focus on working your process and learning from it. And do some practical magic to solve your problems instead of waiting for something to come along. Do the practical magic because you know it’s better to take action and push for a change. That’s how magic works really. It works because you do it, because you see a need for it, and you take it on yourself to exercise the power within you to change reality. And for some people that’s frightening…but if you’re a magician its something you take on because you know you have the power and the responsibility to handle it.


Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore

Eastern philosophy teaches the difficult art of letting go (of everything), especially expectations. In the paper I'm writing, I would like to show a culture, especially witchcraft, that depends upon faith, and the expectations of those who really believe in the power of magic. Your article is a good place to start. Thanks for being here.