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                         The Dangers Of Magical Thinking In Magick 
              Magicalthinking is a psychological term for making a naive assump-
          tion of cause and effect  without consideration of intervening mechan-
          isms. In plain English,  it is the assumption that if  I do THIS, then
          THAT will  happen even  though I  have no idea  how or  why. Prominent
          examples  of magical  thinking can be  found in  Economics (if  we cut
          taxes  on the Corporations, they  will invest more  money in upgrading
          their  production facilities and create more jobs) and Politics. It is
          typical of the world-view of very  young children, who have a somewhat
          simplistic model of How-Things-Work.
              To many outsiders,most Magick seems to bebuilt on this
          me guy mutters some weird words and waves his hands and expects to get
          a lot  of money  soon (sounds  like a  Management Consultant, come  to
          think of it), or to make it rain, or to be rid of an enemy. Then  they
          shake their heads, call the Magick-users children or  worse, and go on
          with their lives.
              Within real Magick-use, this  sort of sloppy thinking can  lead to
          anything  from  disappointing  'fizzles'  to  disastrous  misfires  of
          spells. Our  cultural heritage's are  filled with "monkey's  paw" type
          stories of the results of ill-thought-out Magick use. While dilettante
          New  Agers are more  likely to blindly  'cookbook' a spell  or ritual,
          some of us have been known to skip a few steps in the process as well.
              Just think of the consequences of invoking Diana or Aphrodite in a
          ritual  designed to "keep those foolish women in their place." (Anyone
          remember "Good-bye, Charlie"?)
              While I am not saying thatyou need to understand thephysics/chemi-
          stry/etc. of  each step down to  the subatomic level, I  am suggesting
          that  you think  through  each step  and  each mechanism  (and  likely
          consequences)  of any major working BEFORE you perform it. A black-box
          understanding  (detailed  knowledge of  the  inputs and  outputs  of a
          mechanism and  the relationship between them  without an understanding
          of the internal details  of the mechanism) is  usually enough for  mot
          purposes. For instance, if invoking or  evoking a deity, make sure you
          know  the strengths,  weaknesses, character,  and personality  of that
          deity. If  using herbs (ingested or  in balms or incense)  be sure you
          know the pharmacological  and combinational effects  of each. Most  of
          all, when  going for a long-term  effect think of the  ecology of that
          effect: where it can come  from and what it may causelater.  You can't
          always anticipate  all side  effects, and  you certainly can't  always
          avoid them,  but with a  bit of work you  can give yourself  a shot at
          handling them.
              Do a  reality check before  you start a  working. If you  just pay
          attention to  the beginning (the ritual  or working) and the  end (the
          desired effect) and leave the rest to wishful thinking, you are asking
          for trouble.
              NOTE:  The above  is an excerpt  of a  1988 seminar  on Magick and
          Psychology: Insights and Interactions.


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