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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

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

(20 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 24th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
I think we have new "magics" now that fulfill the cultural need for what old magic gave us. You say we are missing the drama, the ego, the ridiculous extremity, and the blatant qualities of old magic... and I agree. But perhaps this because we have Hollywood. We have science and fog machines and vibrating toys. We don't really need to work magic as epic as our ancestors because we can create similar effects, and therefore we are less inclined to turn toward the mystic when we can turn to everyday life.

You wanna boss around piddly cherubims? Get some interns, that's why we were made. You wanna be god? Log on the internet and do whatever you will. You can woo a girl by directly seducing her now, something forbidden in many ancient cultures, or you can buy all the porn and sex-toys you want in between your trips to the bar. Love magic will always be a part of our culture, but the drama it had in the old days seems much more unnecessary now.

Nowadays we don't need very much healing because we have medicine enhanced by plastic and science. We use Wikipedia and Google instead of imps and lesser demons when we want information. We have unparalleled mobility, which allows to get wherever we want as quickly as we want, and thus if we use magic for transport, haste, or accomplishing things far away in our name it is highly unlikely we'll feel the need to draft a spirit. Plus we already have e-mail and cell-phones that let us communicate with those who aren't with us, often with as much anonymity as we desire.

Food and beverages are not difficult to obtain, nor are other peoples' identities. Vast amounts of wealth can be accumulated just as quickly and dishonestly through drug-dealing, gambling, shady business practices, etc. And the list goes on and on... our society is already hyperproductive and full of glamour and facades as is.

That's not to say *I* ain't a big fan of the old stuff, as you know... it's just my theory as to why our magic seems to be so small-scale and subtle these days.

I have the personal problem of hardwired doubt in my abilities instilled since birth, but rest assured no amount of doubt in the world could have held me back were I in Greece long long ago.
[User Picture]
Date:January 24th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
I have it on good authority that Wikipedia and Google actually operate using imps and lesser demons.

Or at least daemons.

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