So... Magic and stuff.
I figured out why it's so hard to use magic to do anything useful. I've spent most of my time lately going in depth into the whole process of manifestation for a number of different projects I'm working on, and it hit critical mass. I get why it's so difficult to get specific results, and why general influential type magic works better than laser-focused stuff.
It's because manifestation is fucking hard. And complicated.
First, it takes shitloads of raw power to add layers to Ideas before they get dense enough to manifest. Most of the power coagulates into form, and it takes a ton of power to make a very small amount of mass. You know Einstein's equation, E=MC^2? It's how we get so much energy out of a little bit of mass. Well, it's true the other way, to make mass, you need a ton of energy. One gram of gold takes the equivalent of the energy released if you explode 21,481 tons of TNT.
Twenty-one THOUSAND Tons of TNT. To make an ounce of gold.
Got that sitting around? Have you been initiated to the degree that you could handle that much power on any of the planes of pre-existence without burning out? Assuming you've got the reinforced, remodeled, re-engineered sphere of power to handle that kind of raw energy, have you looked at everything that goes on to get that power to manifest?
It goes from the Idea-world to the Form-world, and takes on layers under the careful administration of vast powers and principalities. By the time a thing manifests, it's been influenced by the Intelligences and Spirits of 12 constellations, 7 planets, and 4 elements. They've got power and wisdom and skill in making things happen you just can't have. You're not old enough. They know the recipes for grass, the proportions of each planet that have to work together influencing the proportions of the elements for the specific manifestation to occur. They know who to nudge with what inspiration when it's just right to get the thing they're supposed to make happen to happen when it's supposed to.
So what's the solution? How do you get your magic to be effective? What's the secret? I think I can sum it up rather simply, by stealing an observation one of my favorite students made the other day in an email. We were talking about hoodoo rites, specifically the one Balthazar posted on Gnostic Conjure, and he said "Magick that has a style like Hoodoo is awesome. They create little Microcosmic stories of the thing you're trying to manifest."
That's it! That's how magic, successful, practical, results-oriented magic really works! You tell a story about how the idea manifests in the mind of God and then materializes as it goes down through the spheres before hitting this one. You have representations of the spheres involved, you conjure the intelligences to manage the proportions, you involve multiple fronts strategically, hitting multiple layers to shepherd the desired result into manifestation. Jason's testimonials from his blog lately show how this works, you conjure an opportunity, and then you conjure the result, you anoint your hands and shake on the deal, you dress your paperwork, you bend over the dude you need to agree with you. You shoal your sigils or whatever.
You take a symbol and do something symbolic with it, but you tell a story.
Crowley once commented that the tools of the Magician are the tools of a scribe, because he saw that the Magician is a story teller. Look at the Magus card in his Toth deck if you don't believe me.
I think the overall reason most magic is weak or fizzles out is because people like to pretend it's really easy to make things happen, and it's just not. It's hard. And complicated.
I've been watching Pirates of the Caribean: At World's End a lot lately. Actually, my kids have been, and it's been on in the background. At the end, when they're all set to destroy the East India Trading Company's ship, they yell, "Full Canvas!" That means they unfurl all their sails and go as fast as they can. They release their full power, not just the main sail, or the littler sails with fancy names that I don't know about, the full canvas, everything they've got. That's how the stories have to be told, fully, not just a piece of the story, not the plot with no characters, or the characters with no plot. The whole thing.