The astral cyber cafe

Posted on February 16, 2011
Filed Under liminal space, Magic | Leave a Comment

I had a person ask me recently if you could use cyber space to enter the astral plane. It’s an interesting question to ask, but as I thought about it, my own response was: “Cyberspace is its own astral space, complete with all the fixings, except you meet a lot more people in cyberspace.”

My reasoning for that response is that I’m not sure there’s much difference between the astral plane and cyber space, except for one key point. I think the astral plane (whatever it is) is linked to a person’s imagination and memory and dreams…and cyber space is created space by someone for specific purposes.

The real question then is: Does cyberspace allow you to access your imagination in novel ways that you already couldn’t do?

I don’t think it does. In fact, in some ways I think it kills imagination, much like too much television does. And I point to video games by way of example, because video games are definitely a cyber/virtual space that’s created for a specific purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing video games and I’ve used them for magical work, but just like television they can be addictive and kill your imagination in the process. I actually have a rule for any video game that I’ll play: It has to have an ending. If it doesn’t have an ending, then I won’t play it, which is why I don’t play games such as World of Warcraft. There is no end…

Now could WoW be an astral space, or a virtual space where you could do magic? It can be…but if it comes to define your existence is it really a space you have control over?

Cyber space in general tends to be an escapist paradise. People spend all day on Facebook talking to “friends” or surfing the internet or looking at porn. And all of it can be used for magical work, but how much of it are you allowing to use you? We’ve become an information rich society. We need information, are addicted to it…but in the process we start to lose some imagination…it gets channeled into specific routes and starts to block out possibilities.We’re cyber-spaced, but do we have access to our astral space? When the images and concepts of a system define our interactions with the world we become trapped in that system, distorted by its definitions. We lose sight of what could be in favor of what we are told should be.

Yes, yes, I know the internet and social media have given us unparalleled access to information and have allowed people to coordinate revolutions and do other things to free themselves of the tyranny and oppression of such systems. And these are good things to note, but the magician is obsessed with more than just personal freedom. S/he wants possibilities, revels in them, explores them…and accesses them not just through information, but also imagination. It’s a fine balancing act you see…Get lost in imagination and it’s all in your head and your off in the astral wanking up a storm to show what an uber magician you are. Get lost in information and you dull your mind with the definitions and realities that other people provide you, stagnating in the viral words and images of all those around you.

A good balance is knowing how and when to use information to provide knowledge and knowing how and when to use imagination to turn that knowledge into experience.

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