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Spiritual-Psychology & Paradigm Shifting

“Magic is a doorway through which we step into mystery, wildness, and


Definition of the day:

Paradigm - a set of basic ideological or technological assumptions or

beliefs; therefore a model of explanation.

Since magic is always a ''reality dance;' it would be logical to experiment

with various paradigms.

Psychology vs. Spiritualism

The question as to whether magical phenomena are actually projections of

our own internal abilities and powers, or might be caused by the influence
of nonhuman beings (spirits, demons, astral beings, or the like) has
interested parascience for decades. The principle that supports a more
psychological explanation and believes that everything magical arises from
deep inside the magician's soul itself. This is called anin1ism (from the Latin
word anima, soul,); the other principle that's based on the existence of real
non human living beings (and those made up of subtle energies) is called
spiritualism (from the Latin word spiritus "spirit"). It's important to
remember this difference since it appears in literature over and over again.

But in reality, these two models of explanation are not all as different as their
supporters like to think. We can illustrate this by using the example of the
wave-particle dualism of light, which has puzzled physics for quite some
time. Light sometimes behaves like a wave and sometimes like a particle
regardless of the conditions of the experiment! It would therefore be wrong
to unilaterally refer to light waves while simply ignoring the physical reality
of the light particles, and reverse. In the end, the physicists themselves
decide which way the light should behave in their experiment or in their
concept of the world.
The same holds true for the practitioner. The concept that our reality is
always the reality of the description should be confronted at an early stage;
our reality merely reflects that which we are able to express and perceive in
one way or another.
You'll be running into this important principle of modern magic again
and again throughout the course of this book.
In practice, we need to choose the approach that's most likely to work,
and whatever that might be depends on a number of various factors, such
as one's own spiritual composition and ideological preferences, but also on
practical aspects as well. As antirationalistic as it may seem, experience has
shown that it's wise to not worry about the apparent contradiction between
animistic and spiritualistic models of explanation; the easiest way to do this
is by simply ((ignoring, the temptation to ponder their degree of truth.

During a ritual, it's the experience or perception of energy that counts.

Intellectual or even academic concepts such as animism or spiritualism have
no business here. If you prefer the spiritualistic approach and want to
believe that you're dealing with real spiritual beings, that's just fine. If, on the
other hand, you prefer the psychological approach and view your ritual work
as the external (((projecting,') confrontation with your own soul, you get
good results as well.

Paradigm Shifting

The practitioner should become familiar with various philosophies of

life not only in theory, but more importantly in practice as well. Only then
can one control every aspect of his or her own reality production (and magic
is nothing more than that!) to fit one's individual needs, regardless of
whether these concern everyday practical magic or are of a more mystical
nature. After all, there's a little bit of truth in every philosophy of life in the
sense of ''probability," just like there's a good deal of falsehood in the sense
of improbability. Nothing is absolute; at best, it just may seem that it is .

Traditional churches, theologians, and cultural historians have often

accused occultism of being a “pseudo-religion" with syncretic influence, and
therefore dubious.
The dictionary defines "syncretism" as "a fusion of different religions,
denominations or philosophical doctrines, generally without any form of
inner unity. Surely occultism and magic in general can rightfully be
described as such a mixture if you disregard the fact that this much-abused
"bastard philosophy" was born out of the attempt to recognize at least a
minimum amount of inner unity in all religious, mystical, and magical
systems and institutions (which in turn fed this philosophy with energy and
convincingness), and that occultism is now widely tolerated due to its
respect of all other paradigms, a fact which some of the more homogeneous
systems of thought and belief could learn a lesson from. In any case,
regardless of all this, the great strength of occultism and magic lies in their
variety and diversity.

Example of Paradigm Shifting

We can illustrate this with an example that was, in turn, borrowed

from Hermetic occultism. We’re familiar with the Roman god and
astrological planet Mercury that represents the principle of the intellect;
however, it's also equated with the Greek god Hermes and ancient Egyptian
god Thot (also called Tahuti, pronounced (Djahuti, or Dahaut). One quick
look at Crowley's list of correspondences and analogies in Liber 777 shows
that these three gods also share similarities on a practical level for example,
the number 8, the color orange, and the metal mercury. But analogy is not
the same as equality: Mercury is not Hermes or Thot, even if all three aspects
are one and the same basic principle.
Mercury is far more playful than Thot, and even though he cannot
deny his relationship to Hermes considering their shared cultural history,
he's nevertheless quite different from him in many ways. Ibis-headed Thot,
on the other hand, is much stricter than both other deities and he was
originally a moon god who was considered the master of time ·· a function
that was assigned to Chronos or Saturn in the Hellenic and Roman
But they at least reflect the value of this magical skill of being able to
comfortably work with several systems at the same time, or, to put it in
more modern, colloquial terms, changing paradigms like the shirt on your

This results in the following mnemonic phrase that should definitely

not just remain theoretical, but should also be applied in daily practice as
The magician chooses one's beliefs like the surgeon chooses his or her

Let’s give this piece of information the finishing touch by adding

another guiding principle that stems from modern-day Chaos Magic,
making it particularly effective through its fairly clear-cut wording:
Belief is just a technique.