How powerful is imagination

I’ve read somewhere that all physical objects are essentially a type of “crutch” and that if one possesses a sufficiently powerful imagination they can theoretically accomplish any magickal act butt-naked on a deserted island.

Anyone have any thought on this?

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Just did!

Interesting, so I guess that’s the reason why equipment such as wands…etc. are more powerful if created yourself because the details are more strongly imprinted in the mind during their creation thus making it easier to hold in imagination during rituals.

Also then technically any offerings in ritual magick that would be…problematic if done in physical reality can be done in imagination if enough details can be conjured and sustained in the mind’s eye?

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Yes, but you should also know, that when working on the items, you would infuse your own energy in them. Which is also a aspect why they become more powerful.

That is why you would read over and over accounts of practisioners, saying that using a sigil of a spirit that is drawn by hand causes for a better connection with the spirit instead of a using a printed sigil.

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This still has to be within their ability. Typically, they don’t start out without tools and the tools themselves act as a means of further focusing the magician’s power and will.

Magic is something you do and a magician with a lot of practice can usually do more than the dabbler.

You seem a bit obsessed with only using you imagination. Is there a reason for this?

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The reason are two fold.

Academically I study other systems besides western occult. And despite differing traditions and aesthetics, the common denominator among all of the practices seems to be imagination. This is just to confirm that is the case here as well. That way for me concepts and techniques becomes transferable between what I have studied.

Practically, it’s nice to know what are the potentials achievable though imagination as the difficulty of acquiring ritual ingredients ranges from inconvenient to nigh impossible.

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Fair points. Makes sense. Thanks for the follow-up.

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Yes, research the concept of “Astral temple” and you’ll find out more about the issue.

I believe tools form part of the psychodrama of the Great Magician and help the person to get into the right mindset to practice magick.

Honestly, to believe in magick is quite fucking hard, so the wands and tunics achieve the belief through theatrics. I dig it.

Now, I’m not saying tools have no value on its own, what I’m saying is people should always use the frame that works for them, individually.

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Well, it is true that consciousness is existence and so, yes, anything imagined is real but temporarily “blocked” (if you like) by something else you are imagining/thinking to be real. The critical factor is an authentic change in consciousness either in general alignment (emotional alignment, i.e. using any form even different from the desired outcome or simply being at peace with what is) to the desired outcome or a genuine conviction that what you imagine is real. Now, to with what ease you can switch beliefs I cannot be sure – for the individual consciousness, that’s an individual thing–but it is decidely doable for literally anything you imagine Now, what about existence beyond your imagination, i.e. stuff that you can only perceive as a vague “more” and cannot really give any kind of form-based definition to? That too exists in infinite variety in this infinite consciousness we call reality or “the universe” or “God”. However, the literally unimaginable/unthinkable may be incredibly hard to deliberately create for obvious reasons.

Just FYI, while there are many paths to self-realisation, I generally recommend a more classical meditative, i.e. simple Buddhist-type meditation of being present, practice to supplement ritual work because working rituals with a half-arsed understanding (although “blind faith” can have its advantages) typically causes a lot of trouble due a tendency to go into emotional turmoil and can, at times, be “very dangerous” in the delusion we typically call reality.

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This is just one modern popular and trendful view. It is certainly not the only.

To give an alternative view, I’ll present my view: As a traditional astrological magician (primarily focusing on astrological talismans) I would say if physical tools are employed properly and appropriately, it adds immense power to the working.

The first time I created an astrological talisman under a full election (that is, an astrologically auspicious time, which is necessary for a powerful astological talisman), in only the first two months it brought me more results than all the magick I had done for the same goal prior (which was over the span of 3 or so years).

I did not have particularly strong faith in the talisman, and I did not try to avoid lusting for results. And yet, it worked in this way.

The workings I had done prior were mainly with the GoM books, or inspired by those workings. And I was getting results like anyone else.

Now, I do believe an inner dimension is necessary to any magick. Your own spirit must work influence, but when genuinely powerful physical instruments are used in conjunction with it, it perfects the work wonderfully.

Ultimately, the view that rituals require no physical implements are appealing to most modern practitioners. The appeal of the practicality is what has lead to the popularity of it, as it is aimed towards a wide audience. The authors give this opinion that physical implements have no real power, and never challenge this and follow this view without working with other views.

Other times, magicians follow this idea because of a philosophy they have adopted, but that philosophy is not at all universal.

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Now that is very interesting, thanks for sharing.

My original study of metaphysics lead me to practice basics of Buddhism, which has a polar opposite goal of magick, that is to stop all manifestations instead of manifesting specific results.

From what I have read of western occult so far it seems both East and West does share a common view of the metaphysical world joined in the Hermantic Philosophy, even if the goal given such a simliar view differs.

I don’t doubt in a bit the proper use of physical instruments can tremendously empower an individual’s working. What I am really curious about is the larger theory behind why they work.

Do they have power in and of themselves or because they provide a strong anchor for powerful meanings in your subconcious?

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The traditional philosophy that alchemy, astrology and magic was built around in the west is Platonism and Hermeticism.

Now I think you meant to mention Hermeticism in your post, so let me say, be careful of works such as The Kybalion and The Emerald Tablets of Thoth (There is a traditional text called The Emerald Tablet, but there is a different modern text called The Emerald Tablets of Thoth) are NOT Hermetic. The Kybalion is part of the New Thought movement, and The Emerald Tablets of Thoth are similarly modern.

In the traditional Platonic and Hermetic world-view, there is a Material World, Spiritual World, and World of Soul. Spirit is an intermediary between the Soul and the Material World (This is explained further in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophy, or, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, a 16th Century text).

The Soul is superior to the Spirit, and the Spirit is superior to the Body, which we can read further about in Plato’s Timaeus, so with this Spirit is able to affect the material world and cause changes with it, and the Soul is able to direct spirit.

In Platonism, everything Proceedes from The One. Modern magicians commonly refer to The One as The All or The Source. The One is everything, or everything partakes of The One, everything descends from the purest part of The One down through a chain of being, being multiplied by the Soul of the World (The entire cosmos has its own Soul, Spirit, and Body, just as we do), and descending through the Heavenly Spheres, manifesting as all people, creatures, and plants, minerals, all events and everything else that is on the material world.

In this way, as Plotinus says in his Enneads, the Entire Cosmos is One Unified Living Being.
Everything in the material world descends from various Ideas in the Mind of The One (and this is so in Hermeticism as well, although I am not as well read on Hermeticism). This descends as previously mentioned by a Chain of Being. The stars and planets are the visible manifestation of this Chain of Being. All things are, but the Planets and Stars through traditional astrology reveal the cycles of this higher spiritual world very clearly, and allows for prediction through it with Horary, Natal, and Mundane astrology, and allows for the choosing of auspicious times through Electional Astrology. Electional Astrology is also part of astrological magick, as we choose a time when that Star whose influence we wish to call down is most strong and powerful.

In this way, the Material World certainly exists, but pure Spirit and the Soul is superior to it, and able to dominate it. This allows for the creation of the Philosopher’s stone in Alchemy, and the transmutation of Metals by altering the Spirit of an Object, which has been observed and written about much in traditional Alchemical texts.

Here is an Excerpt from Agrippa’s Three Books on Occult Philosophy regarding that:

“For as the powers of our soul are communicated to the members of the body by the spirit, so also the Vertue of the Soul of the World is diffused through all things by the quintessence: For there is nothing found in the whole world, that hath not a spark of the Vertue thereof. Yet it is more, nay most of all infused into those things which have received, or taken in most of this spirit: Now this spirit is received or taken in by the rayes of the Stars, so far forth as things render themselves conformable to them. By this spirit therefore every occult property is conveyed into Hearbs [herbs], Stones, Metals, and Animals, through the Sun, Moon, Planets, and through Stars higher then the Planets. Now this spirit may be more advantageous to us, if any one knew how to separate it from the Elements: or at least to use those things chiefly, which do most abound with this spirit. For these things, in which this spirit is less drowned in a body, and less checked by matter, do more powerfully, and perfectly act, and also more readily generate their like: for in it are all generative, & seminary Vertues. For which cause the Alchymists [alchemists] endeavour to separate this spirit from Gold, and Silver; which being rightly separated, and extracted, if thou shalt afterward project upon any matter of the same kind (i.e.) any Metall, presently will turn it into Gold, or Silver. And we know how to do that, and have seen it done: but we could make no more Gold, then the weight of that was, out of which we extracted the spirit. For seeing that is an extense form, and not intense, it cannot beyond its own bounds change and imperfect body into a perfect: which I deny not, but may be done by another way.”
(Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 1, Chapter XIV)

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Yes, the manifestation principle from the One to spiritual planes to at last the material world is another one of those common denominator in many traditions (Kabbalah, Buddhism, Taoism…etc.). Granted different cultures divide the planes differently and call them by different names but the core idea is the same.

The manipulation of higher planes so that changes trickles down to the physical world is also the theoretical bases for magic in many sects.

But the core question still remains; as far as I am aware though my studies the higher planes are accessed solely through imagination. A physical wand or talisman…etc. remains just a physical object in and of themselves. It’s their spiritual representation in the higher planes that you create yourself through imagination during ritual that effect changes in the higher planes that then trickles down into physical manifestations, would that not be the case?

Also I didn’t know Platonism was one of the bases for western occult (thought it was just Hermeticism), I will check it out and some of those books you mentioned.

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I’m afraid not, no. The traditional view is that the entire cosmos has its own Soul and Spirit, along with its body. The powers and qualities of the Stars are naturally infused into every object, person, and creature.

Many Medieval lapidaries provide the occult vertues of stones. Saint Albertus Mangus’ ‘De Mineralibus’ gives the description of various stones and the natural effect they provide through the spiritual quality infused into it. Simply carrying the stone with you exerts a certain power on you. So it is not the magician that settles it, the power had already been infused into it before mankind even existed.

Now in the case of a talisman, of course such an object needs to be made. The magician is essentially a medium that links the power of the star or celestial factor to the object. Usually, some quality of the star is already in the material, but this infuses it powerfully towards a certain effect.

In other forms of ritual magick, it’s a different system of either exerting spiritual power on something else through the occult links that are there between all things, or by invoking a spirit, who residing in a far higher place than the material world, has power over the material world and can affect it. The celestial spirits also rule over all things in this world, distributing various effects at all times, so they have especial power to affect the things they rule over.

It is probably the most important. Platonism makes up the entire world-view of traditional western occultism. Hermeticism itself was massively influenced by Platonism, even though it is a different world-view.
The works of Plato and Aristotle were highly regarded, and this is an understatement. Iamblichus’ ‘De Mysterii’ was also an important text for magicians.

The Medieval Arabic-Speaking world also inherited the works of Plato and those after him from the Roman Empire, so it had an immense influence on them as well. Medieval Arabic occultism and European occultism during the Medieval Ages and especially the Renaissance is essentially the same in many regards. I just want add that.

Yes, it’s wonderful to see the similarity between Platonism, Hermeticism, and Taoism, Buddhism, and Hindu philosophy. The wise sages of the past explored these things greatly, and I take it as a sign of validity.

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