As I went through notes and materials for the expanded and revised edition of Quantum Sorcery, I found this, which was intended to be my talk for the International Left Hand Path Consortium 2016 in Atlanta Ga. Unfortunately, due to a catastrophic injury, I was unable to attend. Here is the text of the talk:
Magical Mechanics: Spooky Action at a Distance
This presentation examines the relationship and parallels between the magical principles of Similarity and Contagion, and the scientific principles of Entanglement and Entrainment within a non-theistic system of sorcery. Methods of categorizing and overcoming barriers to achieving a mind state conducive to magical practice will also be discussed.
Magic is the name most commonly applied to the faculty of causing change in the phenomenal world via the exertion of will. The vast majority of ostensibly rational people in the western world hold that magic isn’t real. Some of us refute their assertion, and believe that magic is real, that it works, and that we can do it. We disagree on the mechanism, origin, and nature of this phenomenon, but on some level, we believe in it.
Belief is a loaded word in Chaos Magic. We use it as a tool, but try not to collapse into it. We believe that we make our own reality, and that belief is the kernel upon which magical practice is built. If you don’t believe that magic works, then it never will for you, plain and simple.
I practice sorcery. Down and dirty. Simple. Sometimes with tools and rituals, sometimes with sigils and servitors, sometimes with nothing but a picture in my head of how the world needs to be, my very magical wand, and my lovely assistant. I don’t call spirits, I don’t trouble whatever gods or entities might be out there in the ether for their assistance, other than the ones that I have myself created. I assert that Magical acts are transactions between me and the universe. So since we’ve established that I’m enough of an egotistical bastard to think that I can alter the world with a thought, let’s look at how I think I do it.
Fundamentally, everything that IS, is energy. Some of it has slowed down enough to become solid matter, some of it in phases and forms that we are still just discovering. Further, as Hermes Trismegistus observed in his Divine Pymander (pim-Ander), everything that exists is in motion. It is my position that magic originates when the mind of a magician interfaces with the fabric of the universe at the most fundamental level of existence. The perturbations caused by this influence then cascade upward from the subatomic level as movements of matter and energy, into the mesoscale world of human activity, and bring about the circumstances that I dictate. The process is analogous to tossing a pebble into a stream. The ripples are subsumed by the current, but they in turn affect the flow in a measurable way.
How does one make ripples in reality?
Similarity and Contagion = Entanglement
Transmission of Will = Entrainment
The fundamental principles of sorcery are analogous to fundamental principles of energy and quantum behavior. Many of the seminal minds in Chaos Magic have reflected on this. Peter Carroll, Stephen Mace, and Dave Lee are just a few of the pioneers of this school of thought.
The principle of similarity is that of modeling. The representation of a thing is connected to that thing. This is the principle of the macrocosm and the microcosm. This is best exemplified in the words of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus:
What is above is like what is below. What is below is like what is above.
This is the magic of poppets and cave paintings, fertility rites and visualization.
When a pair or a group of particles interact in such a way that that their quantum state can only be described as an aggregate sum, this is known as Entanglement. Einstein referred to this concept as “Spooky action at a distance.” The implication that information could violate relativity by travelling faster than the speed of light didn’t sit well with him. But where he saw a flawed theory, his student David Bohm saw the implication that reality had a hidden structure. Bohm called this The Implicate Order. In this framework, time and space are interpreted as crude surface phenomena that are artifacts of a deeper universal order.
A magician can take advantage of this point of view. In this theoretical sub-microscopic realm, where the true underlying principles are beyond any physical perception, the magical link between simulacra and reality occurs. Since this work takes place at an imperceptible level of existence, manipulation of symbols arises as the only valid mechanism of describing the system. Fortunately. we live in a world rich with symbols, ready to be subverted for nefarious purposes. Besides the more traditional magical and alchemical examples, I also use icons and formulae from mathematics, meteorology, circuit diagrams, and even road signs. Semiotic appropriation is your friend.
For magical purposes, if you have a piece of something, you have influence over that thing. In this case, the link between fragment and whole is innate. Through this link, the whole can be made to react in kind to actions worked on the fragment. Again, the system of two entities constitute a single system, and is analogous to an entangled system.
Once the magical link is established, a mechanism must be used to change the state of the system to that which is desired.
Entrainment is the state that occurs when two oscillating systems enter into a relationship by which their frequencies synchronize with one another. When one of these systems compels the other to fall into phase with itself, this is known as forced entrainment. In the normal state of things, we as residents of physical reality fall into a state of entrainment with the world around us in which we are subsumed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Within our own locality, if we can generate enough intensity, we can cause reverse this order. We can cause the reality around us to fall into the patterns that we dictate.
When in a state of entrainment, information is transferred between the participating systems. There are only two possible states. If you’re not transmitting then you are receiving and thus allowing the universe to have its way with you.
In order to bring reality around to your way of thinking, you must first set your mind with clarity of purpose.
Tuning the Magical Mind
An essential part of doing magic is achieving a mind state in which we are convinced that our workings can have an actual effect. To reach this state, there are several possible impediments that must be overcome. These impediments can be loosely grouped into those that are external to the self and those that are internal.
French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin coined the idea of the noosphere as the collective sphere of human thought that surrounds us. I refer to the collective constant press of mundane thought and mental noise in the noosphere as The Static. It is the antithesis of the state of gnosis, as the magical mind state is often referred to. The Static is the sum of randomly received signals of all varieties. It is mental white noise that constantly bombards us. There are various ways to suppress it, from meditation, to evocation and banishing, to entheogens.
On the other end of the spectrum of impediments are the internal ones, which are often more daunting. The best known instance of this type is what is often referred to as the Psychic Censor. It is that part of our subconscious mind which performs the essential function of keeping us operating within consensus reality rather than frolicking with the machine elves or following the magic mirror to a nearby star system. Unfortunately it also has the effect of nullifying magical operations by shutting them down via uncertainty and doubt like a disapproving parental figure:
“Magic isn’t real, you must be crazy! Do the neighbors know you think like that? Stop it.”
The Censor must also be subverted for magic to be successful. Ironically, many of the same methods can be used to counteract The Static and the Censor. Inhibitory or excitatory states can work equally well. Ultimately, how this is done is irrelevant, as long as it is done. Calm your mind or blow it. Either way, banish The Static, and shatter the barriers that stand between you and seeing your will manifest. This is the first and most essential act of magic.
Lastly, magic works with probabilities and possibilities. The difference between improbable and impossible is vast. Know the difference. Anticipate the possible outcomes, and give reality a nudge toward the one most favorable to you.
You are of the universe, but it is also of you.
Thanks for your time.