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January 24th, 2007


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11:48 am - Magic and some new DVD's . . . plus some storytelling
"Come, come to my house," reads one section in the Semitic language that is supposed to be the snake's mother speaking, trying to lure him out of the tomb. In another passage, the snake is addressed as if he is a lover with "Turn aside, O my beloved."
Classic, this text is, in terms of magical inscriptions. It may be the oldest text in a Semitic language, and, of course, it's magical.

Of course, the researchers are wild about its age and its connection with pre-Cannanite linguistics, which is all well and good, but it's magic, Baby!

Modern magic isn't like its grandaddy. It's been reformatted in a lot of ways to reflect that moderns don't really feel like they can (or, perhaps, should) affect reality in amazing ways. The ancient world's magic involved such creative things as masquarading as Moses (the greatest of Jewish magicians), pretending to be archangels and commanding the legions of lower-order angels to do piddly tasks, and making women "burn until they come to me." In the above example, the magician masquarades as the snake's mother and then as his lover in order to cause the snakes to leave.

In all, ancient magicians sure talked a lot of shit.

Modern magicians don't really do this. We tend to focus on change on a really small scale (generally within ourselves) or a really amazingly huge scale (e.g. changing the world so that it's got more "positive energy" floating around in it). Our results are not measurable, nor are they often testable. We avoid using magic to find things, obtain love (all the ethical "love spells are bad" dogma is amazing), and hurl fireballs down the street.

We talk in very . . . uncertain terms about what our magic can do, or will do. If asked to measure our success, we often don't produce a lot of tangible evidence, or we dodge the question entirely by saying, "Magic is too important to be used for experimentation."

I sometimes wonder: is this because we have little faith in our magic, or because we are afraid of what might happen if it actually worked?

Or is modern magic just not as strong, useful, or (possibly) egotistical as ancient magic? Which then begs the question: is it then inferior or superior to ancient magic, and can we even make that comparison bear fruit?

On a side note, after finishing off the Alias TV series (and feeling like it was rushed and anti-climatic for the most part), I have moved on. With a gift certificate to Amazon.Com, I have the opportunity to get myself hooked on a new series that is much shorter and yet has far more promise than Jennifer Garner in lingerie. . . The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

I have also ordered Jack of All Trades and expect to enjoy that just as thoroughly. It is, after all, Bruce. And Bruce, as we all know, could give God a run for his money in an election.


January 27, 2005, was the last "Rabbit Hole Day" on LiveJournal. My post on that date in 2005 is still fun for me to read. I wonder if it will happen again this Saturday?
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: "Nautical Wheelers", -JB

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:January 24th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Ancient/Modern Magic

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*nods* the Tacere rule is an interesting development, since most of the power of a curse is in letting someone know you cast it on them, after all. What good does it do to cast a spell on a person who's supposed to suffer and not tell them? :)

(btw, "tacere": I like it, but I've never heard it referred to like that before. Yours, or am I just not reading the right occult publications?)

And I agree about the subjectivity. But if it's easier to make ourselves lovable, then why do we tell people that love magic is wrong? Why not just say, "internal magical change is easier," and let those who want to work harder do just that? ("we" being the great Pagan Publishing Czars, I suppose. . . and those of us who repeat their words.)

Also, I'm not sure that subjectivity makes us more likely to ignore external change and magical influence. It is entirely possible, I suppose, that any external angel summoning is really just an internal paradigm shift, but I'm not sure that's an overly useful way of looking at it, either, because we still don't do it all that often.

I have a feeling that we're all talkin' bullshit, though :)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:January 24th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Ancient/Modern Magic

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Yes, I've noticed that, too :) To which I reply: "A confused student is more likely to purchase your next book than one who completely 'gets' it." :)

And yeah, I think you're very right about the Great Occult Secrets.

And I will further agree that yes, telling someone you've cast a hex on them is about all you really need to do. I suppose we could look at it as "results without the ethical quandary."
[User Picture]
From:nontacitare
Date:January 25th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)

Re: Ancient/Modern Magic

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I think it's that different authors, even if published by the same company, sometimes radically disagree with one another.

As long as it's not the same author saying in one chapter, "Don't do love spells," and then in the next chapter showing how to do them, it actually makes sense to me.

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