MAGICK SOUNDS WOO-WOO, BUT IT ISN'T

 

Magick has potential to transform the way we look at science and spirituality, and Spookywood is a resource for secular occultists interested in rational enchantment.

One thing religious people and secularists can both relate to is having a body. Sabrina Scott illustrated Witchbody, a graphic novel about every day magic. In the novel, even a trashy plastic bottle is magic. How is that?

Over many centuries, philosophers have been interested in existence (the definable nature of something) and essence (the work of the nature). Why is there something rather than nothing? Does life have any meaning and, if so, what is it?

Philosophy is important to people because it addresses a person's encounter with questions like this. From there, based on our questions, we know what problems need to be solved. 

Many ancestors believed that spirit and matter are separate. The supernatural was thought to not have physics, but now we understand that physics isn't only hard objects and space. Physics is also force, energy and optics. Virtual reality is physics, too.

God, if it exists, should be measurable. Most religions make claims about particular gods without verifying those gods exist outside their thinking. To do this, they would need science. But if their idea begins to show less credible in the scientific community after testing it in various situations over time, people may be less likely to accept their claim as truth. 

If you enjoy learning about history, developing experiments and testing your questions or ideas, you may enjoy secular magick.

Magick as I've grown to see it is the design of function. This definition is likely to be reinterpreted and revised time and time again if bodies continue having language, but the concept boils down to the coexisting relationship of form and function. It doesn't make sense to have substance without structure.

Work happens as a body, and there are various types of bodies. It's important to look at body and definition because there is something about existence giving itself cells and blocked off parts and processes. My consciousness is related to yours, but it's not entirely dependent on it. Somewhere, you stop and I begin. At a certain place, a restaurant island turns into the sea, a foot — a toenail.

Magick is taking place all around us, and from an occult perspective, occultism has always been interested in science. It's only been in recent decades that we've had an explosion of possible paths forward, and we're each existing in a new combination of relationships and reasons. We each must face existence, process it and respond to it.

One reason Spookywood isn't exclusively a science blog is because of the simultaneous usage of magick in language. Magick isn't a concept in science books, but you may hear a chemist come up with a useful solution and say, "Not that is magic!"

We know about stage magic and illusory magic. In The Magic of Reality, Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist) describes magic existing only in an illusory or poetic sense. This is because he realizes the supernatural is measurable, and anything with a nature of enchantment will also have a process. Processes are scalable.

This is why Spookywood's perspective of secular magick could be useful. It's not an isolated, random best guess. It's based on the philosophical inquiry about existence and essence as well as occult interest in art and transformation.

Most religious people already believe that science is useful. They may not accept everything that comes from the scientific community, but you will often see them using technological devices, receiving pharmaceutical medicines and asking scientific questions among themselves.

One difference between secular magickians and religious magickians is in the relationship to the scientific process. Science is the knowledge we gain through observation, experimentation, and logical reasoning. It's not as if religious magickians aren't thinking scientifically. Most people naturally operate by doing what works for them or at least attempting to. We all process information and make predictions about it.

Occult science may not have a reliable theory about existence, but it is usually always testing some combination of chemicals and their outcomes. People living our generic lives are still designs and functions with computational property and affect.

What's interesting about life is that it doesn't always have to know about itself. Nonetheless, there continues this phenomena of substances interacting, and within that chemistry is a solution. Substances, processes — with them comes solution. Maybe this is why many of us feel networked by the triangle. If things are so evidently measurable and moving, how is magick woo-woo?

Magick and the occult is a potential space for people to align. This doesn't mean we'll align when we reach other specifics (religious versus non-religious, politics, interests, etc.). We can choose to preserve magick and occult interest by keeping the terminology alive.

What's useful about magick defined as "the design of function" is that it's more compatible with science. If you consider Crowley's definition of magick, that wouldn't be so useful for describing how a lightning storm works. Crowley emphasizes human intervention with will. You could argue that being is a scientist is the aspect of Will, because if there were no scientist to observe the storm, there would be no way of describing or knowing it.

However, a lightning storm could exist whether or not there is a brain to know about it, and this is why it's important to consider that magick may not be completely intentional. This would align with Jean Paul Sarte and Albert Camus' interest in meaninglessness. Just because things exist relationally and in various forms of work doesn't guarantee it is all governed by sentient purpose. If there is or ever has been a state where only chemicals existed as substances or structures and were interacting, magick still exists.

Scientists and religious people alike are interested in understanding the core of consciousness and chemistry. We want to know what the solution of energy's substance for its most basic functions and reusable particles. We want to know, "in what conditions can an experience like mine be reproducible?" That is, how we can preserve the conscious experience where we are born into observation of existence and are able to know about and manipulate it?

Magickians may not have always existed even though magick probably has. The evolution of the magickian is one that we can trace with evolutionary biology and genetics. Secular magickians do not have to consume religious magick books for education about this. It's completely OK to realize your property as a magickian and pursue a more science-based approach to life.

You may never be a part of a church, coven or special initiation. Perhaps you're a secular chemist, construction worker or restaurant server. You may not be practicing Shamanic magick, but you are indeed participating in the magick of your field. What is your field?

If you're a hospital worker, you are practicing magick pertaining to hospitality and medicine. If you're a veterinarian, you're working with animal chemistry. If you're a hair stylist, you do salon magick. If you are indeed a Shaman in the woods, you're applying Shamanic methods and tools. 

There are differences in how we do things, and we're able to make decisions about the ideal way to do things. We can definitely disagree about many things, but there is going to be some outcome of whatever we choose. Many religions exist whether or not Spookywood is established by religiosity. 

We can all make claims about what our practices result in, and that's measurable. It's possible to withdraw into a sociopathic, solipsistic idea that everyone is just a mirror of you that you've created in your own lonely video game, and nobody else's opinion actually matters or bears any weight. This doesn't guarantee that other people are your intellectual property and won't rebel against your apathy, and you could find yourself at a disadvantage due to that blindspot.

Spookywood's content is based on secular magick and non-religious ways of exploring existence and essence.

It is useful for us to always consider how everything has substance and solution. We can be ignorant about this, but if we're consistently faced with occasions of substances having reactions, we're inevitably aware of function. It doesn't matter how stupid you are. No matter how big or small, conscious or unconscious, it's all magick.

Secular magick urges us not to be lazy about this. Magick as the design of function is just an ABC lesson. It's an attempt to establish some consistent common ground that not only all people but all aliens and chemicals can be inclusive with.

From there, you don't get the luxury of pretending as if there are not any contradictions and uncertainties about magick despite our greatest efforts. We work tirelessly to keep civilization alive so that we may contribute our learning and consciousness. This phenomena may not have any special or divine purpose and plan at the root. It could all boil down to something more accidental or unintentional and chemical rather than conscious.

However, now that consciousness has emerged, we may as well try to preserve it! There are a few reasons for this, and there are reasons why magick is a useful concept for the journey.

 

1. Consciousness may not have a divine or transcendental purpose, but it is a form of work, and the purpose is in the work. Humans do not wish to preserve ourselves only because they are affiliated with gods or a religion. The heart beats without us consciously approving, and there is some purpose about the heart.

Likewise, there is work in consciousness. If we're preoccupied with ideas that consciousness is a mysterious substance of divinity that cannot be measured, it's going to be difficult feeling any sense of personal purpose. At that point, you need religions to accommodate for feelings of meaninglessness.

However, secular magickians can feel just as satisfied believing that the purpose of life is in life itself. The simple work of circulating blood, breath and being is the meaning. 

 

2. Secular magick, since it is directed towards rigorous sciences, develops morality based on the magickian's exposure to choice. It's important for secular magickians to embrace how they are born individual, and it's not possible for anything else to completely understand them. We're each responsible for addressing nature as we emerge in it, and this does have affect.

Morality is biologically related to chemistry and cause and effect. Before there was ever a religion, lots of different species have acted in all sorts of bizarre ways through adaptations based on other chemical reactions. It's not guaranteed that the process has any supreme purpose or direction or was originally sparked with intention. 

The outcomes of life are established by limitations of previous states and chemical reactions, but this does not guarantee that it's earliest and primordial states had any sort of consciousness let alone morality. Morality is an adaptation to outcomes of chemistry, and we need science to help us conceptualize this.

 

3. Magick reminds us to pay attention to process and substance. Don't lie to yourself about contradictions in your magick. If your spell isn't working, it's not helpful to exaggerate results to sound cool. Depending on what it is that you want, what's most important is whether or not your magick process actually works they way that you think it does. Details do matter.

Secular magickians are more likely to factor in human risk of error. There's more realism about ignorance, and that's why science is sought after. Science doesn't explain everything, but it's a careful way of dissecting topics of concern and putting hypotheses to the test.

 

4. Secular magick isn't about superiority. It's about efficiency.

It's not bad for magickians to seek what's right on wrong even if it's challenging and morality is meaningless aside from effects of chemistry. The reason things are immoral to us is often because they hurt or disadvantage us.

When magick is defined as the design of function, magickians remember to consult process and substance for direction. Religious faith is an expression of magick, but a religious magickian claiming to be the creator of all things (even though they exist naturally) is not guaranteed to be correct or not cause harm in their portion of the solution.

Things run a bit wild and untamed probably because there is no supreme entity asserting itself in all expressions. There are patterns that eventually root and bubble into conscious and love-filled choices, but there are also fowl and dark areas and probably areas where morality isn't even of concern. Not every part of chemistry is evidently self-aware or intentional or even has the capacity to be those things.

Therefore, secular magickians may be a minority today, but based on the progress of secular sciences, religiosity may continue to be a filler from the past. It's reasonable for ancestors to be religious if they were exposed to lightning storms but didn't have any technical understanding of thermodynamics.

 

5. We're built to be magickians. The human brain is able to process its surroundings with light, sensation, memory, emotion, attachment and internal simulations or dreams. This combination creates a sense of enchantment but isn't divinely sanctioned to be invincible. Magickians make mistakes, and secular magickians gravitate more towards science to innovate.

Just because we have no divine purpose, we are currently an outcome of a lot of chemistry that's happened before us. Because this solution is not bound to any particular divine source or plan, we do each have to make decisions about what we'll do with our bodies and abilities.

Whether or not we approve of our situation, there is no escaping your design and function. There is no "breaking the matrix." To believe you can personally break the matrix would mean that you have dominance over all things, but secular magickians realize there are lots of realities (past and future), other bodies and possibilities that aren't accessible.

What works best is to work with what you have. We make predictions based on what's reliable and evident. The Earth rotates and the sun shines consistently. This doesn't mean they will forever, but they've done this for so long that Earth developed biological bodies who now have astronomy centers and astrological charts.

Secular magick is about working with elements, physics and manipulating our places in relation to existence and essence. We are bodies that work, dream, form relationships and so much more, and secular (scientific) magick is a non-religious and science-based approach to being this way most efficiently.

 

6. Magick isn't only secular. God exists conceptually although secular magickians reject God in theory.

However, religious magickians do exist, and their beliefs are also energy and a part of chemistry. Religious beliefs do affect the brains of believers even if they are inaccurate theories. All scientific discoveries are also subject to being errored, so again — it's not a race for superiority. Most people interested in science care more about what works for reasons that don't just benefit individual being.

We care whether a method works for a friend. This is how we're able to innovate technologies for disabled and diseased people. We're able to ensure a certain wildlife species doesn't go extinct. We can avoid setting our world on fire with nuclear battle and ensure Earth isn't our only planetary resource. 

Many religious people do agree to some extent that science is useful and efficient even though it's gets stuff wrong sometimes. And don't forget infiltrators of science who may not have the same ethics as other scientists (perhaps they care more about a publication for social notoriety, so they're willing to manipulate raw data to make their idea seem more significant than it is).

How do we determine when we're being told a lie or seeing something insufficiently? It seems like we can withstand a bit of uncertainty and error, but at some point, things tend to meet a point of degradation where ideas aren't aligned, systems aren't cohesive and perhaps things are falling apart. 

Secularists also understand that there's a transcendental reality, but we disagree with religious magickians that it's best addressed via religion. There's plenty of other topics we can mutually enjoy and dissect, but it's useful to distinguish secular structures from religious systems because it does have some fraction of influence on values, expectations, goals and activities.

 

7. If magick can be established as the design of function, this makes it more compatible with science and may improve communication and community between people of all types.

Magick has a long and complex history of reaching us in every way — neutrality, darkness, religions and god concepts, dreams of supremacy, Lifetime movies, race cars, heartbreak, cocktail bars, paranoia, supernatural ghosts — these all have design and function.

Philosophically, magick is the entanglement of existence and essence. However, it's not just existence and essence that are important. As they both express, there's also a process to consider when any change occurs. Magick may sound simple, but a quick look at Earth and ourselves reveals a paradox.

 

 

Some people might say that our personal experiences are useless in scientific terms. That's not true, I don't think. Any experience, even if it exists conceptually, is important because it exists. 

However, it matters what we want. As humans, what do we want? The reason Spookywood emphasizes secularism is because of personal experience. It was the personal experience of being raised in a household that denounced the validity of evolution and psychology that caused a particular suffering in my childhood.

It was the personal experience of believing I made contact with a supernatural entity on its way to scoop me up in its UFO only to be left alone in a field, eventually recovering from psychedelic-induced psychosis months later. There is measurability about magick defined as the design of function, but that's precisely what magick is. It's a process. 

Now that we have computers, we're studying more about this computational nature of chemistry. Why else are occultists so drawn to sacred geometry, sigils and symbols, altar assembly and the proper steps of an initiatory ritual? Even concepts like Divine Predestination follow a process-like system or structure. The Kabbalah Tree of Life has celled spaces and relations that may appear in contrasts of shapes.

Spookywood hopes to contribute something sustainable about magick. This will keep us connected. Religious extremism or secular intolerance should not be the downfall of the human species. Despite any disagreement, please note that Spookywood prioritizes safety and sustainability. I vow to care more about whether or not you and your family have access to food, shelter and sustainability before I'll care whether or not you believe in God.

I also realize that sometimes I might need to remember when I was religious myself so I can continue to communicate with you even through religious terms if that's the only way I'll be able to network with you. For example, maybe you're a Baptist minister who won't ever be watching Spookywood vlogs. However, I'm a secular sociologist who may not retain your claims of truth in my private beliefs, but I do still run your ideas through simulations of scenarios to see how they could work.