The Role of Proof in Magic

Posted on July 16, 2012
Filed Under Magic, Taylor Ellwood | 3 Comments

Every so often, as a practitioner of magic, I’ll encounter someone who wants me to prove that magic exists. They want me to demonstrate an act of magic on the spot or something else along those lines. My typical response is to blow them off. I figure that what they are really looking for is a way to disprove magic. I doubt anything that I could show them would really sway their opinion one way or another. In my experience, when a person says prove it, what they are really saying is: “I already know the truth and no matter what you say or show me, I’ll find a way to disbelieve it.” And chances are that person will do just that, at least subjectively. What they really want to do is confirm to themselves that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They have a deep seated insecurity within themselves and likely a lot of anger at the world as well.

There is also the question as to what constitutes proof and how you measure proof. What some people perceive as magic others will perceive as happenstance. For example, I have evoked two different people into my life: my ex-wife and current wife. In the case of my ex-wife, I created a collage in January of 2005. This collage was created to bring a magical partner into my life. This collage even contained a picture of her (Bear in mind I had not met her at this point and didn’t know what she looked like). All the sayings I clipped out and pasted into the collage were directly relevant to her life. We met in July, sometime after the collage had been created, but I recognized her instantly from the collage. I even gave it to her. We both felt at the time that something clicked into place when we met, and obviously it did, at least for a period of time. To me, that was proof that magic worked. I created a collage as a magical working with a picture of a person I hadn’t met and didn’t know and later that person and I were significantly involved with each other’s lives. A skeptic might argue that it’s not proof. After all I didn’t meet her right after I created the collage. It might even be argued that it was sheer coincidence that I clipped a picture of my ex-wife and put it on the collage and that her seeing it on the collage must surely have contributed to her feelings (if anything it freaked both of us out just a bit). And that kind of response illustrates the subjective nature of proof. I think any magician reading this would conclude that what happened with my ex-wife and I was definite proof of magic working, but someone not practicing magic would argue it was coincidental.

However, I replicated this process. In October of 2009, right after I finished the year long emptiness working, I created another collage with the purpose of using it to evoke a magical partner into my life. It didn’t include a picture of the future person, but it did include all the traits I was looking for in a partner. In February of 2010, I met my wife. We met at a convention and briefly talked. I honestly didn’t expect to hear from her and was surprised when I did, after the convention. We started emailing each other and getting to know each other and quickly found we had a lot in common. What I noticed is that she fit all the traits I was looking for in my magical partner that I had put in the collage. Once again the collage evocation magic worked and here was my proof. But again, a skeptic might argue that it was coincidence that this person came into my life or that I subjectively assumed a connection between the collage and this person. What I perceive as proof, a skeptic will argue is not proof. And thus we have the trap of the prove it crowd, because such people will take any claim of proof and try and disprove it to suit their own ends. They aren’t interested in proof. They are interested in being right and proving that everyone else is wrong.

As an interesting aside, in the case of both my ex-wife and my wife, I met them within a month after my previous relationship had ended. Coincidence? Possibly, but I think of it as timing, specifically the magic bringing together the right time and space for the possibility of meeting a magical partner, with the recognition that a previous relationship was over and would not be an obstacle to that realization. Magic is a process that involves the right timing and space for a possibility to occur. Thus what seems to be coincidence is anything but. It would be interesting to see if there is a higher rate of “coincidences” for magicians than other people.

I recognize that for the magician there needs to be some realization of magical work, or otherwise the person wouldn’t continue to practice magic. This is why there is so much discussion about results. Results are how we measure and track the magical work we are doing. A result indicates what is working or not working within your magical process. But there is also a recognition that you have to actually engage in the process and realize that it can take some time for the result to manifest. Rarely does a result manifest right away. While reality is permeable to some degree, bringing a possibility into reality involves setting up the right conditions for reality to accept the possibility as reality. That’s what the process of magic does…and all those things that seem coincidental are really signs indicative that the magical work is occurring.

I can’t conjure a fireball up and I have yet to levitate (and I’m not sure why I would want to anyway). I can’t telekinetically move something with my mind. That’s not how magic works. But what I can do with magic is make my life easier. I can turn possibilities into reality. I live life by my rules, make a living doing what I love, live with a partner who I love, and continue to improve my circumstances. Some of that is through mundane efforts and some of it is through magical efforts. Some will argue that I delude myself and others by my belief in magic. I’d argue in return that they choose to settle for a lesser existence. If I am deluded, at least I am happy in my delusion and that seems to be much better than settling for less from life!

Finally, I say if you want proof of magic, dedicate 5 years of your life to practicing magic, learning about it, doing it etc. That should give you enough time to figure out whether its real or not and provide you the proof you so desperately require. And if you are unwilling to obtain that proof through your own efforts, then that speaks to your laziness and lack of discipline. Don’t demand of others what you are unwilling to do! Whatever proof you find or don’t find…that will verify your perspective…just don’t expect me to jump on your band wagon. I know magic works and I’m happy with how it works in my life!

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