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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                          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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