Ritual magick or high magick has a certain stigma about it. If one mentions in idle conversation they are a practicing magician; they will be met with three possible reactions. The first is that of the magician who practices card tricks, or other such illusions. After the initial thought of a stage magician passes the next thought goes to, something like “I need to back away from this person.” They either view one as crazy or in cahoots with the devil. On rare occasion one may even encounter someone excited to hear that you are a magician.
These reactions are normal, but how does one dispel this awful stigma attached to magick and the occult?
More often than not this stigma is developed around a certain cultural aesthetic that celebrates magick, or at least the dark and dismal. Despite popular idealism, people love to judge books and everything else by its cover. After all about 9 times out of 10 appearances tend to be correct.
One can avoid these instant judgments by dressing like a “normal” person. I understand many of the reasons people dress in a dark or gothic manner is to “express” their individuality. However with corporate stores like Hot Topic opening up, the styles become less about expression and individuality.
Explain why magick “works”
Most all magick with the exception of a few flops is powered by the subconscious. Many practitioners of magick are so blinded by the whole “mystery” of the thing they do not take the time to understand why something works. This of course opens occultists, wiccans, pagans, up to ridicule.
When one actually examines a magick ritual, spell, or tarot reading, they will see much of it is pure chance. The other half of chance is psychological programming. For instance the reason sigil magick is so effective is because it burns a message into the subconscious. This program causes the individual to do an pick up on subtle differences the mind would not normally have done had it not been given a “purpose”. This also goes behind the old axiom of thought is creative. Magick is just really the first attempts of times gone by at psychological analysis. Carl Jung himself was a practicing occultist and gnostic.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had people relate to me “mystical” experiences, or tales of ghosts and demons, only for there to be a rational and logical explanation. Often people are so over run by the hope and dream of paranormal activity, that they completely forget to look for the mirrors casting the illusion. Any occultist, or magician should be as skeptical as any doctor in scientific study. Much of the mystical phenomena is borderline on coincidence.
In 1947 B.F. Skinner proved this to be the case with pigeons. In a trial of scientific experiments the pigeons were given food at random increments. In an attempt for the pigeons to determine when the food arrived many of them “learned” that if they turned a certain direction the food would appear. This learned behavior is easily applied to odd coincidence within our own human natures.
While these methods would seem like common sense to the more aware practitioner. Most people still perpetuate this stigma around those of us trying to prove other wise. By continually dressing in “mysterious” garb, believing in the fantastic, and not questioning their own actions, practitioners of the occult become nothing more than odd eccentricities that one would expect to see at an old carnival. I am not asking individuals to give up what they use to define themselves. I am asking that they exercise a little common sense before touting their supernatural abilities.