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Thoughts FromThe Four Gates

  • Writer's pictureKai

Backing the Work - Considering the Mundane

Updated: Jan 10, 2023


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This is something that I'm actually fairly passionate about. So many times, folks turn to magick when they think that there's no mundane options. Magick is a last ditch effort to succeed, when it seems like nothing else is going to work. While I've written before here on how I think that's the wrong way to approach things, today I'd like to cover something different. Let's talk about why we need to do the mundane things in order for our magic to work.

How magic works, and why the mundane matters.

Let's be honest, nobody really KNOWS how magic works. We all have our theories, and of course I have mine. The thing to notice about why spells fail/succeed here is to notice that it seems to have something to do with probability. This is heavily based on a theory I was exposed to in Peter Carroll's Liber Kaos. (Amazon link, but not currently an affiliate link. This is just a book I think folks that want some theory of magic can benefit from.) The boiled down basics here is the application of magic adjusts the probability of the result you want. Kind of like a d&d modifier, or invoking an aspect or advantage in FATE. Pardon my tabletop nerd coming out for a minute. The mundane actions determine how hard things are, or your base odds, and the magic tweaks things from there.

Listening to your reader

The first step in determining what the mundane actions should be is to assess the situation honestly. If you're feeling stuck or like there's no hope, having a good diviner on hand is a good idea. Sometimes your spellcaster will read on things for you, sometimes you can do it yourself. If not, then find a reader to help you sort it all. The idea here is to lay out in clear vision where you are, and the steps that will have the best effect. Often, I suggest NOT reading for yourself on important issues, as we can have a tendency to lie to ourselves. It's really important that there's clear, solid assessment of your situation. There's power and advantage in that by itself.

Listening to your spellcaster

If you're doing your own spellwork, you know the direction you figure the spellwork is going to go in. That should then be used to develop the plan that you'll use to back your work. If you're going to another spellcaster, quite often they'll give you assignments, both magical and mundane. If you don't follow instructions, the spellwork will NOT work the way it's intended. That's not to say you have to be perfect. Heck, none of us are. It's important that you try though. Especially with the mundane actions, the spellwork rests on a certain approach quite often.

If your worker talks about NOT contacting the target of a reconciliation spell, then the spellwork needs time to work. If the worker talks about needing to reach out, then the spellwork will NOT get them to reach out to you. For job searching, you'll need to not only apply for jobs (which should be standard advice) but you'll likely be given some form of direction. Your cleansing baths MATTER for your healing spell. It's the way it works, and all the wishing in the world doesn't change that.

Common sense

Probably the most important part of this kind of thing is your own awareness. You know better than your reader or spellworker what the mundane situation is. You can and should use your common sense, and your knowledge of the situation. Talk to the experts here, ask questions while you have them, and use your own judgement. Nobody outside of you can replace your own knowledge of the situation. That said, you need to take a step back, take a breath, and consider things logically. The danger here is when we're lying to ourselves. Either convincing ourselves that our situation is better than it actually is, or convincing ourselves it's hopeless when it's not. Keep your head, and think through things.

This is something that I'm not seeing talked about nearly enough. As part of my research for articles, I've taken to looking for things I can link to for you guys. It helps expose you all to more voices than just me, and frankly, it's good for SEO I guess. I googled for this, and I didn't see much in the way of folks talking about it. I think that it's avoided in the community to avoid looking like we're saying it's all your fault. I'm not remotely trying to say that, but I am saying that your actions matter.

Many folks worry about intrusive thoughts during spellwork, or fear and anxiety screwing with the spellwork. I'm constantly telling folks that doesn't matter. What fear does though, is get you to make different mundane choices, and that's a quick way to get in the way of your spellwork. It's important to remember that magic doesn't exist in a vacuum, and the mundane things that you do MATTER. Keep your head, listen to the folks you've hired for their expertise, and you'll be fine.

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