I think by now everyone knows that I am against any view that reduces magic to psychology or seeing spirits as parts of the brain or anything at all like that. I have been happy to see this view rejected by more and more people over the years.
Unfortunately in rejecting the idea of magic as a type or part of psychology, some people have also rejected the idea of psychology as having any role within magic. I have even run accross some who reject the idea of mind as having any role within magic, at least not any more than driving a car or any other task. This is a grievous error on many levels.
First, If you are not in the game for some kind of awakening, or improvement of the self in a spiritual sense, I really just have no idea why you are bothering. If you seek power, or money, or sex, or anything else there are better and surer ways of achieving those ends than magic. I do use magic for all those things, but that is because magic is what I do overall. If you are in for some kind of awakening or illumination – do you really think mind has nothing to do with that?
On Spirits: even those, like me, that reject the idea of spirits being just in your head usually admit that they communicate to us through our minds, and use the contents of our minds to communicate. They very rarely communicate in languages we don’t know (though it does sometimes happen) and even in English they rarely use words or concepts we have not already grasped – they just use them to communicate new ideas. Sometimes a tutilary spirit will be delighted at my having learned something, so that he can teach me something better. One example of this is my Tibetan training. Hekate latched on to this and started expresssing herself in very Vajrayanaesque ways. Currently Jupiter is doing the same thing.
Also, some spirits are more separate than others. Spirits of the ancestors tend to communicate through our own genes, but are definately separate minds. Nature spirits as well. Goetics and Angels and such can feel more interconnected with our minds because they are more complex and malleable. I often tell people that when communicating with an Archangel you are just a part of their mind more than they are just a part of yours.
A few months ago I posted that I would accept a strategic sorcery field report even if it had no obviously magical aspect to it. This is because many aspects of psychology, herbalism, and even mathmatics, were a part of the magical arts. Because these things are now largely understood by society at large, we tend to cede them to the world and consider them no longer part of magic. If we continue, we will lose more and more ground as society catches up with us. One commentor to that post suggested that I was wrong to accept such reports because to view psychology as part of magic, was the same as viewing magic as psychology. Obviously, I completely disagree.
Frater RO just posted about magic for gaining the favor of Kings. It is an excellent post and one that everyone should read, and more importantly engage in. The thing is that if you do not cultivate the psychological, social, and world skills – the magic will eventually fail and you will be worse off than when you started. In RO’s case he is gaining the favor of his bosses, and also renoun inside his company throughout the country. The magic is surely responsible for spreading the word like wildfire and grabbing the attention of those in power, but without RO’s friendly and confident demeanor (psychological), ability to network, dress the part, and relate to people with different interests (social), and most importantly his ability to excell at his work (world skill) the magic would eventually fail. The magic also supports all these things, and these things all support the magic. It is inseparable.
Lastly, I want to talk about neurosis and shadow work. Many spiritual traditions, including some of the oldest and best from the east, seem to assume that high meditative states fix everything about us. This is most definitely not the case and I think the history of Priests, Guru’s, and Teachers who are otherwise quite profound and powerful, getting embroiled in scandals and even criminal acts of one type or another bear this out.
This has to do with the erroneous notion that the ego gets destroyed or somehow deteriorates as you develop. The problem is that this does NOT occur. The ego gets transcended as you develop. You move from egocentric and ethnocentric grounding to geocentric, cosmocentric, and non-dualistic view – but you never lose the ego. It remains as the vehicle through which your new awareness manifests. Christ had Ego. Buddha had Ego. Every teacher that ever lived had Ego, and the problems that came with it.
Kunzang Dorje, the most powerful wizard I have ever met, a man that could read minds easier than a book, and who could really perform the types of vulgar magic that most of us only dream about, was also an alcoholic. Other students would brag about his seemingly superhuman drinking as if it was a Sidddhi (which it sort of was) and even go so far as to say it was a manifestation of his enlightened mind.
I bought into this myself until one day, in order to continue the teaching, he asked that I go to town and get him a bottle of Dewars. His wife, in tears, stopped me on the stairs and begged me not to. His translator and attendant also suggest that I not get him any more to drink. While he sis usually hold an amazing clarity through whatever thoughts were raging (a test sometimes given for meditative stability), a week or so later I got to see him succumb to drink and spend a couple days crying and babbling and such.
Some who read this will be upset, or accuse me of not having proper respect for telling this story. I do not mean to speak ill of him. I mean to speak truth. He was one of the most profound wizards of the age both in terms of his teaching and siddhi. But he was also a drunk with the problems of a drunk. So were many other profound teachers. Others have been filanderers, con-men, and even human traffickers. They can reach high meditative states, but the ego they manifest through still has issues, and psychology can help with that.
So, dear occult community: please stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Just because we are taking a stand against magic being reduced to psychology does not mean that we should reject psychology as part of magic.