Happy Birthday Joss
A gift of knowledge and time.
In 1970, the University of California at Berkeley, that conservative bastion to the north, produced its first graduate with a B.A. in Magic &
Thaumaturgy, the right honorable Isaac Bonewits.
The following exerts are from his book, Real Magic. This is not to push a party line, I’ve no brief for or against Mr. Bonewits. It’s a possible
springboard for ideas; admittedly, many you’ve already used.
Still, ideas, freely given, are lovely creatures. For example, see 1 Esdra
Unless in parentheses, all below are Mr. Bonewits’ work. The good stuff is towards the end.
Bonewits begins here:
Over the centuries a collection of basic magical and mystical axioms has surfaced in culture after culture throughout the world, even in cultures that were totally isolated. These we can, and will, call the Laws of Magic.
The Law of Knowledge is the most basic of all laws. It states that
“understanding brings control,” that the more you learn the stronger you are. Its major sublaw is The Law of Self-Knowledge which says that the most important kind of knowledge is knowledge of the oneself.
The Law of Names states that knowing the complete and total true name of a phenomena or entity gives you complete control over it
The Law of Association. If two things, A and B, have something in common, that thing can be used to control both, and A and B have a mutual influence on each other.
The Law of Similarity basis of sympathetic magic and basically says that effects resemble causes. If you want to make a broom fly, you have to put bird feathers on it, wave it around, chirp over it, and so forth.
The Law of Contagion states that ‘things once in contact continue to
interact after separation. The Law of Identification states that by maximum association between your metapattern and that of another entity, you can actually become that entity and wield its power the instrumental act of role playing the part of the entity gives you still more data, as you begin to get an idea of how the entity feels from the inside out.
The Law of Synthesis, or Union of Opposites, states that the synthesis of two opposing ideas or data will produce a third ideal that will be truer that either of the first two (the ‘sophisticated’ term may be dialectical materialism, but this speaks of Hegel and Marx and will cause your banker to view you with jaundice eye).
The Law of Polarity which says first that anything can be split into two completely opposite characteristics and second, that each of these
polarities contains the essence of the other in its own essence (Okay, it’s “The Replacement”). This law shows up often in mysticism in comments about the ‘blackness of white and the whiteness of black,” etc. In fact, the very essence of black is contained in the essence of white and vice versa. This alone should be enough to take care of those still amateurish enough to believe in pure “Black Magic” or “White Magic,” or similar nonsense. However, knowing how stubborn religious fanatics are, it’s unlikely that anything will get through to them. They will have burned this book by now, anyway, and be vainly tossing hexes in my direction or trying to light a burning pentacle on my front law.
The Law of Balance states quite simply that if you wish to survive, let alone become powerful, you must keep all aspects of your universe balanced.
The Law of Infinite Data states that we will never run out of things to learn Our key phase with this one is: ‘There’s always something new.” (OTOH, Harry Truman is reported saying, “The only thing new is the history you haven’t read).
The Law of Finite Senses All our senses are similarly limited. We
haven’t seen everything in the universe there is to see “We can’t see
The Law of Infinite Universes says that there are an infinite number of ways to view the universe. Remember your universe depends upon your sensations and how you classify them (perception). The former is a matter of your physical equipment; the latter, of your cognitive organization. Change either one and you move to a different universe.
However, it is now time for my Two Minute (condensed!) Sermon on Drugs in Magic: As far as beginners are concerned, drugs have a very limited use in magic. Primarily they can be used to convince oneself that there is indeed more than one way to see the universe (e.g. head down in a toilet) A magician cannot afford to be addicted to anything except possibly fresh air, healthy food and good loving. hallucinogenic(s) require many years of expert training, a kind of training unavailable in this culture. I seriously and sincerely suggest that you avoid taking any drug assisted short-cuts (No booze with golf, that’s for the 19th hole).
The Law of Pragmatism is very simple: If it works, it’s true (OTOH, the Romans decided that the bad air from swamps caused malaria, ‘bad air ,” and staying away from swamps would reduce the risk. This is true, but for the wrong reason)
The Law of False Truthhoods refers to data which contradict one’s usual metapattern but which nonetheless work. Now your metapattern is considered ‘true’ or ‘real’ since you have survived, and therefore it has worked. So we can then have two contradictory truths In magic, more than anything else, ‘it is the thought that counts.’ So the key phrase there should probably be: If it’s a paradox, it’s probably true.
One unexpected benefit of this last law, as well as a slight explanation for those who violate these laws we’ve been discussing and still manage to get good results , is that someone who sincerely believes he can break or ignore all or some of the laws of magic, probably can! This is because his universe doesn’t contain the possibility that his spells might backfire or refuse to work if he doesn’t follow the laws. Therefore they won’t. I should warn you, though, such depth of belief is nearly impossible to instill artificially. If you were such a person, you aren’t now, because I have just entered a bit of doubt into your universe (OTOH, there’s a neat story or two hiding in these thoughts, fair trade). I apologize, and hope that this volume will make up for your loss by increasing your efficiency.
(Nearing the end)
Law of Personification states that any phenomena may be considered to be alive and to have a personality; in short, to be an entity, and that this is often useful and therefore true. The Laws of Invocation and Evocation say that you can conjure up from, respectively, the inside and outside of your metapattern, real entities. These entities are only personifications of patterns, of course, but so is every entity, including your friends. Often, Crowley says, ‘ It is more convenient to assume the objective existence of an Angel who gives us new knowledge that to allege that our invocation has awaken a superpower in ourselves. It is also usually more comfortable to personify, since the
paranormal in ourselves is often terrifying.” (Again, the okay, Mssr. Crowley and Bonewits have nothing on you with respect to this law ).
Here ends Bonewits.
That’s it! I was going to add some findings of Ninian Smart and Susan
Greenwood, but then I’d be short ideas for next year. And they’re better gifts, they’ve shorter lengths.
Oh, 1 Esdra 4:39. I used the Bible for an idea because most writers have access to one and the ordering in each is similar. Would you have me use an Oxford Dictionary? Not have you believe this was the first page I opened to, it was the fourth.
“There is no favoritism with her, no partiality; rather she exacts justice
from everyone who is wicked or unjust. All approve what she does.”
Well, most of the time. Thanks for BtVS.