Experimental Magic: The Evolution of Magic

Experiment with your magical practice by learning how to apply art, pop culture, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines to your magical work, as well as exploring fundamental underlying principles of what makes magic work. You'll never look at magic in the same way!

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The Literacy of Magic Pt 1

Recently Ivo Dominguez Jr published a thought provoking article where he discussed the lack of the literacy in magic in today's Pagans. While I found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of what he had to say (I've observed in the past that there is an increasing amount of emphasis on removing magic from Paganism because it makes Paganism less acceptable to the mainstream*), I also found his use of the word literacy problematic, and by extension it caused me to re-examine his article and some of my agreement with the article in a different light. As a result, I think it worthwhile to examine the concept of the literacy of magic, both in relationship to the word literacy and its variety of meanings, and also in context to the practice of magic vs the "literacy" of magic, which I'll argue are not one and the same (in part 2 of this series). In fact, part of the issue I have with the use of the word literacy is that conjures up the armchair magician, a person has read a lot of books on magic, but has done little, if anything, with that magical knowledge. I would locate the armchair magician on the opposite end of the illiterate Pagan (at least as that illiteracy applies to magic). However, as we'll see, it's simplistic to categorize anyone as literate or illiterate, because literacy itself is a loaded term.

 

In his article, Ivo uses the definition of literacy that many people use, which is that literacy is the ability to read and write. He also touches on numeracy, which is the ability to do math. Traditionally literacy has been focused on understanding how people acquire the ability to read and write, while also demonstrating how people actually read and write, and it also focuses on how people should think about reading and writing. The problem with this definition of literacy is that it doesn't actually describe what literacy is, but rather describes what literacy is supposed to enable someone to do, as well as defining how literacy should be understood by people engaged in it.

In new literacy studies, the focus on literacy isn't so much about the ability to read, write, or do math, but moreso about understanding and critiquing how institutional standards are applied to determine if someone is "literate" i.e. if someone has the requisite types of skills that enable that person be judged as being literate. Literate activities occur within specific social institutions, and for us to really understand literacy (of any type) we necessarily need to understand the social context that informs the application of literacy. We also need to ask who gets to decide what literacy is, as well as which literacies count and which ones don't count. Finally we need to consider the agenda of the people defining literacy. How does that agenda favor the person doing the defining?

In the excellent book Defining Reality by Edward Schiappa (which overtly has nothing to do with magic, but in my humble opinion should be required reading for any magician), the author explores in depth how definitions are created and points out that definitions aren't "is" statements (i.e. statements that describe the essence of something) but rather are "ought to be" statement, which advocate for specific functional relationships between words and people. In other words, a definition describes how people ought to understand the application of the word to people and the actions people take that fit the definition of the word. Schiappa goes onto explain that definitions are always based in institutions and used as a way to enforce the agenda of the institutions. This is important to recognize because when we use a given word such as literacy what we're really using is a loaded word, which carries with it institutional agendas which may not serve our own interests or the interests of other people. The problem with any social institution is that it inevitably excludes certain people in favor of other people, and in that process categorizes those people and their ability or lack as it applies to the definition of the term. We see this in Ivo's article when he argues the following:

"Although I can say that ease of access to ideas through the internet, bookstores, and Pagan and Magickal events has increased awareness of many social issues, ideologies, religious and theological perspectives, and the vast amount of minutia related Pagan culture and fads, there is an increasing percentage of the Pagan community that is magickally illiterate and innumerate.  I’m not saying that people are less serious, less devoted, or less committed to their path. Nor am I saying that the level of discourse has dropped, in fact in many ways it is much more sophisticated in exploring the development of Pagan culture. What I have noticed is that the technical end of things, magick theory, sacred sciences, and the like, are less well known. I've also noticed a trend towards focusing more exclusively on the lore and mythology of a specific people or a specific time at the expense of a generalized understanding of how magickal paths manifest in a variety of cultures and communities."

What Ivo does here is define whether someone is magically literate or not, by what they do or don't know about magic, as well as by what they do or don't know about other related topics, such as a focus on a specific culture, lore, or mythology. He goes on to define what he believes magical literacy (and numeracy) ought to be:

"magickal literacy and numeracy involves an understanding of symbols (the equivalent of letters, numbers, etc.) and of grammar and rules of operation for the manipulation and measurement of subtle forces. Magickal literacy and numeracy also means that a person has a way to read, to reason, to understand, and to make comparisons between magickal concepts, practices, and experiences.  Integral to this is the capacity to analyze and to quantify what works, what doesn’t work, and why in rituals, operative magic, divination, and other similar practices.  Magickal literacy and numeracy are hard to separate from each other, but this last description leans more heavily into the idea of magickal numeracy."

Ivo raises some distinctive arguments, but the problem here is that these arguments are really privileging certain types of magical literacy over other types of magical literacy. And in that process of doing so, we perhaps miss out on the fact that a person could be exploring a literacy of magic, which while not general, still nonetheless speaks to the spiritual practices and experiences that s/he has. When a person chooses to focus on a particular culture, its mythology, and lore, who is to say the person isn't magically literate? S/he may not have the same type of magical literacy that Ivo has, but to assume that the person is magically illiterate is to create an institutional standard that excludes the person from being considered a magician.

Now it can be argued that there is a need to define the literacy of magic, to provide institutional standards, in order to safeguard what magic seems to be, and to ensure that people do have a more general understanding of what magic ought to be, but I'd argue that the problem with such institutional standards again comes right down to who decides what those standards are, as well as who decides what actually is considered magic and what isn't.  Ivo acknowledges the difficulty involved in creating an agreeable curriculum:

"This kind of core capability would probably arise from a basic working knowledge of magick theory (laws of magick), metaphysics (philosophy of being and reality), trusted systems (Qabala, Astrology, Alchemy, etc.), and other related frameworks. This may be a good starting point from my perspective, but the next obstacle is in creating an agreeable curriculum. There are so many different approaches, schools, and systems that it becomes almost impossible for any one individual to have time to truly become conversant in more than a small sector of what is available. Moreover, the choices to be made and what is valuable to be included or excluded in such a curriculum would be determined by the sensibilities of the person’s starting point. There is also the predicament of finding adequate teachers for each of the topics that are included in such a curriculum."

I'll admit that the core capability that Ivo describes is one that I wouldn't entirely agree with because I'm not entirely convinced for example that Astrology is absolutely essential to developing a core understanding of magic. And therein lies the issue with defining a literacy of magic, because if I were to give you my own idea of what a literacy of magic should be constituted of, it would differ in some significant ways from what Ivo suggests, even at the core level. And as Ivo acknowledges it gets more complicated because there so many different schools, systems, and approaches, that it is hard for a given person to fully learn all of the material already in existence (as well as new material being developed).

It may seem odd when I say that I actually agree with Ivo about the need for a general understanding of magic, but I actually do think its essential to have a broad foundational knowledge of magic in order to really understand it. The reason I've made my argument in this post boils down to this: when we try to typify what magic is and what a "literate" magician is we run the risk of alienating the very people who could benefit from that general knowledge, because we get involved in an institutional exclusion of them based on trying to define what constitutes a literacy of magic that may, as a result, deny the actually literacy of magic those people have already accessed. As a person who's been told a number of times that what I do isn't magic, I can tell you that it is highly discouraging when people pass judgement on what you are doing as a spiritual practice because it doesn't fit within their own definition of magic. That kind of discouragement does not lead a person to want to learn more about magic, but rather can end up driving him/her from the very community s/he had wanted to be part of. Certainly, in my case, I purposely spent several years away from the occult/pagan community because of how certain narrow minded people had acted when they tried to discourage my exploration of pop culture and magic. Fortunately, I didn't stop studying magic, but I took a break from the community because I realized that what I really needed was to continue my experimentation and exploration of what magic could be without having to deal with people who thought they knew better than I what magic ought to be. And when I eventually came back, I had a better understanding of magic and I was still doing the practices that other people said weren't magic, but which I knew were magic. Those magical practices include work focused on pop culture magic, space/time magic and other subjects I've written on, which while not necessarily traditional, nonetheless have been found to be legitimate forms of magical practice by not just myself but also by others.

Defining the literacy of magic necessarily becomes an issue of social institutions defining what magic ought to be and who is or isn't practicing magic, but for us to really understand magic, we need to carefully consider that when we define magic as a literacy we limit our understanding of it as well, in a way that can blind us to the evolution of magic, as well as the understanding of magic as a practice as opposed to a literacy.

In my next article in this series, I'm going to share my own explorations of the definition and literacy of magic, because this has been a pet interest of mine for the last 10 years and this topic is, I think, extremely relevant to the evolution of magic and its relevance in our modern society and culture as well as whether magic can continue to be relevant to the Pagan community. We'll also explore in further depth the difference between a literacy of magic and a practice of magic, which I think is essential in understanding how problematic it can be to apply the concept of literacy to magic.

*I recognize that for some spiritual paths such as Heathen or polytheistic practices, magic is consider to be optional, and as such not every person will feel a need to practice magic or see it as essential for their spiritual experience.

Part 2 of this series can be found here.

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Taylor Ellwood is the author of Pop Culture Magick, Space/Time Magic, Magical Identity and a number of other occult books. He posts about his latest projects at Magical Experiments. He is also the managing non-fiction editor of Immanion Press. Taylor lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two kids, as well as 7 cats.

Comments

  • Crystal Blanton
    Crystal Blanton Saturday, 23 November 2013

    I am happy to read this exploration of the social constructs around words like literacy and the implications of using words of such. I think it can be very alienating.... and while I agree that there is not a common core for magical learning, and that could be useful, I also see that it could leave a lot of people out of the acceptable magic category. And that is very problematic for me.

    For example, I think there are a lot of cultural nuances that are passed down from family to family, ones that are a part of our magical paths even if not identified that way by others. These types of magic would not be included in a system like this, and in essence it would serve to exclude those who call into that category.

    So while I can see Ivo's reasoning, I think there are some potentially damaging side effects to this type of black and white thinking in the magical community, especially for those of mixed cultures and people of color.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Thank you Crystal. I think that the problem with a common core of magical practices is that magic is so personalized in the end. I actually find it better to examine magic as a process because I think that any given magical act can ultimately be examined as a process. There may be specific contexts that inform that process, but those contexts can actually be included as part of the process.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Saturday, 23 November 2013

    Ms. Ellwood,

    I believe you have raised some valid points. My understanding is that African Traditional Religions, for example, rely upon a very different metaphysical foundation than heavily Pythagorean and Platonic-influenced paths like Wicca, 'Neo' Platonism, or many forms of eclectic Paganism. It's not just that the spiritual Powers That Be have African names. The metaphysical and theological concepts, the very building blocks of their spiritual universe, are often radically different. Many, like their Heathen spiritual cousins, are loathe to call themselves, "Pagan".

    Despite all my reading of the Divine Plato and His Legitimate Successors, for all my practice and devotion, an ATR practitioner might well consider me 'magically illiterate'.

    I've said it before: Our Pagan family has grown into a collection of tribes. Thank the Goddesses and Gods for it, but there are some things [like this] about which many will never see to eye to eye. Better to preserve and promote our own systems of belief, in my opinion, than try to evaluate the level of metaphysical knowledge of those outside our own traditions.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    I agree Jamie and your example is a perfect illustration of why trying to evaluate metaphysical knowledge can be so problematic.

  • Frater Sincea
    Frater Sincea Sunday, 24 November 2013

    Thank you Taylor Ellwood, Your thoughts find welcome and appreciation.

    I find the ideas of anthropologist Roger Bastide most enticing when thing about contemporary religious and magical phenomena. Bastides observations and interactions with Brazilian and African ritual seemed to lead to an understanding of the process of institutions, institutionalisation and indeed the carefully managed overthrow (perhaps sometimes temporarily) as a much needed aspect of culture. Seemingly inferring, nay stating, that preist-craft, in whatever form, seems to help communities seek to traverse the passage and integration of the journey between profane and sacred (and back again).

    Seemingly, for Bastide, promoting the idea that religions (as institutions) can get seen to resist against religious experiences and become guardians of some form of 'morality' seems a key point.

    In introducing (or at least widening familiarity with) the concept of the 'instituant' experiences, Francois Gauthier in their paper 'Rapturous ruptures' give a 'rule of thumb' to play with:-

    “the institution is always instituted by an instituant, and that the instituant is always a primary moment in the process of institutionalization.”

    Proposing that the ritual that forms an instituant process can become a major source of “major disorder, renewal and reorganisation”. And in Gauthiers thoughts, sits in opposition to (although not exclusive from) the instituted ritual, which seems to serve in maintenance of the institution.

    This tricky business of, perhaps, seeking the wild and vivid and potentially transformative insituant, whilst holding a certain amount of domestication, in order to return – I tend to agree, seems very much part of the practice of the magician.

    In “Le Sacre Sauvage”, Bastide presents the idea that 'organic' society ritual seems essentially; tuned to the notion of transforming the instituant into the institutional – As a methodology to meet the needs of personal and indeed group transformation, whilst conserving precious resources.

    Further, when speaking of the balance of needs and wants, any culture might find its institutions 'degraded' into the guardians of morality (of any sort) whilst the instituant experiences will find expression elsewhere. As Gauthier points out – often with an increase of ferality and wildness.

    All this wordage, I quote liberally, to wonder how this might apply to the topic at hand. In seeking a particular institutional approach to literacy (or not, as the case maybe). I think we can benefit from musing on the purpose of our practice and what experiences it seeks to facilitate.

    If we consider Bastides observations, then perhaps we can see one form of literacy that provides some framework for experimentation with our practice, whether we explore a long established ritual formula, or indeed something of a more novel creation. It seems to me, that in whatever aspect of our paths we muse upon, in finding a useful framework, which can attend to the needs of the passage into sacred experience (and perhaps back or between, and perhaps renewed and newly illuminated) – we might find language and tools that help us on our way and communicate those process' to others; by example.

    Frater Sincea

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hello Frater Sincea,

    I think you hit on some key points above, especially via the examination of religions as moral institution that discourages experiences that fall outside that institution.

    I'm really not in favor of applying literacy to magic because I feel that applying such an institution to magic creates a similar tension as what you've noted above.

  • Frater Sincea
    Frater Sincea Thursday, 28 November 2013

    Thank you Taylor Ellwood,

    I do like to play with the idea that we can visualize our frameworks in something of a network of nodes. Through our experiments, our training, our pursuit, we define limitations, opportunities and connections (amongst other aspects). In exploring the arte, we find a way with experience. I might suggest, that the tension of instituant and institution might simply form the construct of where many of us currently (prefer to?) play. We can of course, imagine and manifest other ways/places to explore.

    I have often found delight in the similes and metaphors that look to other entities, for inspiration. I remember delighting, many years ago, in hearing Ramsey Dukes speak about magic groups getting seen to go through the phases of life - Seeding, growing, flowering, fruiting and then seeding further afield. Perhaps such comparisons, most especially when presented by Lionel, do hold enticing qualities for Pagans - Perhaps they can help create feelings of assurance, that even in the midst of the chaos of a messy group/temple/coven/order etc ending, some of the scattered idea seeds will take root in unexpected places.

    Still, the practitioner can use all of their skills to work amongst the spheres as s/he finds hIr way. But I suspect that the want of institution might ride high, when we see them as structures of success. Letting go of such notions, and finding new ways of doing, might seem a challenge - but the doing proves delicious. And with that, I find myself lit up with an idea for a ritual. So to work, play and exploration I now go.

    Frater Sincea

  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr Sunday, 24 November 2013

    I actually think that we agree more than we disagree but I'd say a close re-reading of my original post is in order for both of us. I actually state clearly that the terms literacy and numeracy were being used as place holders in the discussion. My blog was meant to encourage discussion and I am happy that it has done so. One of the main points I was making was for the need to contemplate what a liberal arts education would look like from a magickal perspective and that is actually major thrust of my post, not the social constructs around specific words. I also specifically said that my quick list of sacred sciences were examples and not proposals. I will do a follow up post to my post. Lore and practices without a theoretical construct to understand how they work is much more damaging to the long term development of communities and the relationship between communities. Please do read or re-read: http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Culture-Blogs/paging-thoth-athena.html

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hello Ivo,

    Thanks for commenting. I have read your article a few times very carefully. I would agree that we have some agreement on this topic, but I also think that the application of literacy as a placeholder unfortunately brings with it the institutional baggage which is associated with the word.

    And I think that a comment made on this post further illustrates the problem, namely that the Western Magical tradition is just one tradition among many and that trying to build a core magical competency around any given tradition as well as the disciplines within that tradition brings out the possibility of exclusion, and the questions of who decides what is magical literacy and in who's interest is that literacy defined.

    Do I feel a similar sense of concern in regards to the place of magic in Paganism? Most definitely and it is something that should continually be examined, because as I'll argue in my next post on this topic, I think that magic is relevant, but defining what is or isn't magic gets complicated fast.

  • Jay Logan
    Jay Logan Sunday, 24 November 2013

    One of the problems that I had with Ivo's post was when he reached this point in the conversation:

    "I've also noticed a trend towards focusing more exclusively on the lore and mythology of a specific people or a specific time at the expense of a generalized understanding of how magickal paths manifest in a variety of cultures and communities."

    When we try to speak about a "general magickal curriculum" or a "liberal arts magickal education", we sometimes forget that we are already speaking from a very specific magickal tradition, what is commonly known as the Western Magical Tradition. Ceremonial magick, Alchemy, Astrology, Hermeticism, all these traditions and more are connected and rooted in this specific lineage, which itself is rooted in a specific historical time and place, the Hellenistic age in the Mediterranean. So to chastise those who choose to engage with a specific people or time period seems to be pretty weak, especially considering that those people might very well be "magickally literate" but choose to focus their energies elsewhere. What comes to mind for me are those who practice reconstructionist traditions: often their first introduction into Paganism and magick is through this heavily WMT-influenced tradition and after spending a great deal of time with it choose to focus on their specific lineages, i.e. Hellenismos, Celtic Reconstructionism, Asatru/Heathenry, Kemeticism, ATR, etc. which, while they each might have magical practices, will come from a very different cultural understanding that will not have any relation to a "general" understanding of magic.

  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr Monday, 25 November 2013

    This is a part of a reply to a similar comment on my blog page but it applies to your comment as well.

    Certainly you do not need a liberal arts education in occult theory to be a devoted follower of a religion, but if you are a practitioner there is great value in understanding multiple systems. There are magickal practitioners that are Heathen. I would say that authors and teachers like Diana Paxson, Kveldulf Gundarsson, and Edred Thorsson are as good as they are because they cross-trained in multiple systems. One of the most interesting conversations that I was a part of included, among others, a spiritualist medium and a spaekona. All walked away with more insights on their practice because we knew enough about various systems to ask good questions and to infer more.

    What I am saying is that we are all different as are our practices and that we could improve what we do my exploring broader perspectives.

    I have suggested to people within my Wiccan/Pagan community to look to the Heathens and Druids for good examples of devotional work which is usually less developed in my community. I have had Heathen practitioners train with me because of their desire to delve deeper into magickal practices that were looked at askance by their fellow Heathens. Not surprisingly they told be not to tell our mutual Heathen friends. We live in the present and hopefully plan for the future. Though it may not be your calling, I know reconstructionists that do want to develop homegrown theories of magick and my blog is as much for them as for my community.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hi Jay,

    That's a key point right there! The western magical tradition is not as inclusive as it might seem and is a tradition in and of itself that may not apply to other spiritual traditions. Thus it may not really provide a general understanding of magic at all.

  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy Monday, 25 November 2013

    I'd maintain that there are a few basic fundamental propositions which make up a 'general' understanding of magic, in both theory and practice, irrespective of any cultural or systemic overlay.
    and...
    That the various cultural understandings are elaborations or developments of those basic propositions.
    In regards to the use of the word 'literacy', working from the basic definition as 'ability to read and write' and modifying it through the adjective "magical" would suggest to me simply the ability to "read" and "write" magic.
    any adjective coupled with the word literacy more or less describes the symbol set within which one has the ability write in and read and understand what is written.
    So yeah there can be, and in my view, there is a general magical literacy which underlies more specific literacy. One can become proficient in a specific discipline by learning the symbol set and applying that general literacy of magic to that symbol set.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hello Henry,

    If literacy is just the ability to read and write that might work, but there's a lot more to literacy than just what it can do, and that's what I've critiqued, because when we apply literacy to this topic, what we're applying is a loaded word with institutional agendas that likely will not empower everyone they are applied to.

  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hi Taylor,
    yet that is exactly what literacy does mean. it is the word used to express that certain ability, and I understand the institutional baggage associated with the word. I can see also how those might be invoked in regard to Ivo's though experiment which uses institutional learning, as well as 'institutionalized" forms of magic as part of the analogy. It's when dealing with those specific forms that I'd say, the 'new literacy' ideas come into play. For me, as I mentioned above, there are only a few propositions that underlie magical practices, and those aren't dependent upon any cultural worldviews, but are for the most part universal, perhaps likened to the 'broad foundation" you mentioned, and my ultimate standard/test of magic is "did it work?"
    I've been teaching magic theory and practice for a few decades, what I teach leads to the ability to "read and write" magic, and for purposes of a discussion what I teach is magical literacy. I just don't call it that.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hi Henry,

    I disagree that literacy is just the ability to read and write, likely because my area of academic studies was in literacy studies, and that particular definition of literacy doesn't seem to work in new literacy studies. The institutional baggage is a necessary part of the definition which needs to be brought out into the open to, among other things, critique and explore exactly what reading and writing really is, but also explores what other forms of literacy there might be. New literacy studies, for example, integrates design in as part of literacy, and that's not something covered in reading and writing.

    I agree with you that there are some propositions (or principles) of magic that underlie magical practices (which seem to be universal). Like you I wouldn't call it magical literacy and I don't know that I would characterize what I teach as even being the ability to read and write magic, so much as to practice it, which I consider to be much more than just reading and writing magic.

  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy Monday, 25 November 2013

    when I wrote "read and write" magic, theory and practice were implied, though I didn't make a point of that. In a manner of speaking, to 'write' magic is to practice it, to 'read' it, is to understand what is being conveyed. I may not call it magical literacy but it may be described as magical literacy, at least from my perspective.
    Should I understand you to mean that this "new' literacy is an issue of a social institution defining what 'literacy' is above and beyond the general meaning of the term? and so it shouldn't be used due to the baggage associated as a result?
    And if part of this 'new literacy' is to explore other forms of literacy, why not a 'magical literacy'?

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hi Henry,

    I see your point, and I think if you were to describe magic in terms of literacy, i would need to go beyond the surface description of reading and writing. I don't think I'd explore it in that way, but certainly nothing wrong with doing so, provided a more nuanced exploration of literacy is included, which is really why I wrote what I wrote in the first place.

  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr Monday, 25 November 2013

    Just as a clarification, I did not say that the Western Magickal Tradition was the only source for trusted systems, only that it was my starting point. I am encouraging people to discuss what they would count as their trusted frameworks and create their own ways to deepen their work and the work of their community.

    I am not concerned about a thought experiment magickal colleges disempowering people or the use of a term as a placeholder in a blog.

    From the blog:
    "By the way, this college is a thought experiment and not proposal" "There is no existing word that I am aware of in a Pagan/Magickal context that is analogous to the core capacities implied by literacy and numeracy so for the moment I am just adding the word magickal as a way of exploring the question. "

    I am concerned so few people that practice magick by whatever they call it in their system/tradition/faith have the tools to analyze and understand what they do on a deeper level so that it can improve and evolve. That is the disempowerment that concerns me.

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 25 November 2013

    Hi Ivo,

    Thanks for the clarification. I really appreciate that you've written that post, because it's gotten some much needed conversation to occur, here and on your blog as well as on the Wild Hunt Blog apparently. I'm looking forward to seeing where the conversation goes.

    I've noted that some people feel magic is optional to their spiritual path and a question that arises for me (and perhaps for you) is if it's optional, why is even part of a spiritual tradition or path (To me optional implies that it's not intrinsic to the given spiritual practice)?

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