“Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”
Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice
This is a plan for a participatory act to take place during my musical performance tonight:
While on stage, present in your hands a bundle of oranges to the audience.
Ask them to raise one or both hands toward the oranges.
Request that they make a sound of happiness. As they make this sound, they can imagine that the sound is creating happiness and transmitting it to the oranges. Let them know that they needn’t believe it is real. They need only imagine. Try to stimulate a big feeling, in yourself, the room, and the audience.
Finally, after the sound is made and the action is complete, give the oranges to willing volunteers. Thank them.
Feelings can be triggered by events or we can choose to activate them ourselves, simply by imagining them and acting as if they are real. When we imagine something to be real, the effects of the imagined form can be experienced as real, felt effects. In this case, it becomes irrelevant if it is real or not. The effects are felt regardless.
When the audience is asked to imagine they are transmitting happiness to the oranges, they are pretending. When we pretend something is happening, we can receive the effects associated with the imagined occurrence.
In this act, the audience is invited to create a feeling. The oranges are used as a tool to help stimulate the imagination. They are objects that give us something to play with. They help provide the incentive to create the chosen feeling. The real magical act here isn’t to create mystical fruits.
The magical act is to intentionally use our imagination to alter our experience of life.
Shifting our physical, mental, emotional state changes our reality immediately. In this act, different processes are used to assist this inner shifting. To shift the physical, we raise the arms and make a sound. To shift the mental, we entertain the idea that we are enchanting oranges. To shift the emotional, we imagine the feeling of joy. Each of these aspects--the physical, mental, and emotional--are intertwined. Altering one of them affects the others. Actively creating a change in each of them reinforces the effectiveness of the whole process.
Really, the oranges, the sounds, and the raised arms are not necessary. They are tools used to shift the focus of our attention. Whatever we give our attention to will increase its presence in our awareness.
For example, if I give my attention to the thought of a skeleton bleeding into the mouth of a crying man lying on a bed of dead squirrels, I might not feel so great. If I give my attention to the thought of those same squirrels being resurrected by the man’s tears of joy in order to dance with the skeleton upon a road of rainbows, I might feel a bit nicer than before.
The focus creates the effect.
In the case of the ritual with the oranges, we give our attention to the feeling of happiness. By pretending that we are activating a feeling, we end up doing just that! Beginning with an act of imagination, we achieve real effects. By real, I mean that they are felt and cause a discernible difference in our experience.
Consciously shifting our attention toward a chosen form (a feeling, a thought, an object, etc.) allows us to influence our experience “in conformity with will”, as Crowley put it. That is, we can begin to direct the shape and quality of our life, rather than feeling it is only something which happens to us, something about which we have no say.
This isn’t meant to say that I want to always control my attention and the world around me. There’s certainly benefit to surrendering control and opening up to whatever happens. The process described above is just one option we have at our disposal. Something to play with.
The writing above was written in preparation for a performance at the monthly event Lyrically Minded, hosted by Jackie Carillo at The Alley Bunker in Seoul, South Korea, December 17, 2016.
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Photos: Lawrence Blackman.
- Magical Thinking