A guest post shared by Chloe.
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Is magic “magic” or is it psychological?
I was asked this recently, and my answer is yes, and yes 😀
Let’s start with the psychological side of things…
As I understand it, magic is a way of effecting change in our lives by changing our own thoughts, words and actions. The best way to do this is by tapping into our subconscious, what some people call our Higher Self, Younger Self, or Emotional Self. When we do that, we can consciously make changes that will then alter the way we respond to life – the black box theory of magic.
The Black Box Theory of Magic
The basic idea here is that magic alters the way we respond to what happens in our life. So, where before you might see chocolate and want to eat it, if you cast a spell to remove sugar cravings then when you next see chocolate you’ll respond quite differently to it. And changing your response to chocolate is likely to also change your weight. Therefore, the effect isn’t purely psychological, but will ripple out into the rest of your life.
It’s not only our own responses and behaviours that change, though. By altering how we act, we will also influence how others perceive us, and respond to us. For example, if you cast a spell to increase your self-confidence, you are likely to come off better in a job interview, and be more likely to get hired. So, these effects ripple out to others, changing their view of you and how they act towards you.
There is another way we can influence others with magic, too: the placebo effect.
The Placebo Effect
Using the notion of a placebo, we can influence other people by helping to effect change in their own subconscious. For example, if I cast a spell for healing someone else, then it will be more effective if they know that I have cast it. Even better is if they in some way take part in the spell casting, or are present for it.
Still, as has been shown with Reiki and other distance energetic healing practices, as well as the power of prayer, it can be done remotely and still be effective. Here, I believe we are helping the other person harness the power of their own mind. As they think about us and our spell, it affects their own sense of what is happening, tapping into their own ability to heal themselves.
So, where’s the “magic”?
You might say this is a very psychological approach to magic, and that’s true, as far as it goes. I trained as a psychotherapist, and that influences me. And I have no hard evidence for a deeper, more spiritual or mystical side to magic.
My personal experience is that it is there, although I cannot explain it from a rational perspective. Faith is a quite personal matter, and I don’t like to push my spiritual beliefs on others. When I cast a spell for myself, though, I call on deity.
And, in a doubling back to a rational/psychological perspective, there are studies that show that having some kind of life-affirming faith improves medical outcomes, such as recovery from surgery.
I would encourage everyone to find any tiny spark of belief in magic or deity and fan it – it’s good for your psychological and physical well-being 🙂 So, there you have a psychological reason to believe in the wonders of magic!
If you’d like some help with creating some positive changes in your life, I will be running a webinar on Tarot Magic on 23rd May at 4pm.
It will give you all the tools you need to create effective, powerful spells. We’ll design a spell during the webinar, and you’ll also get an ebook on Tarot Magic, as well as an mp3 of a magical meditation to activate your spell!
Chloë holds a Masters in Social Anthropology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychotherapy. She has been practising magic since 2001, and reading tarot professionally since 2006.
You can find her at innerwhispers.co.uk.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.