Archive for June, 2011

How to Develop Clairvoyance

Posted in Techniques on June 27, 2011 by P. Dunn

Clairvoyance is the ability to “see clearly” in your imagination, without controlling the image. There are two simple ways to develop clairvoyance, and one way not to.

First, the way not to: don’t try too hard. It’s easy to dismiss everything in the name of rigor and insist that a clairvoyant image should be as clear as a three dimensional hologram standing in your magical triangle. Most things you see with your physical eyes are in fact physical, not metaphysical.

The two ways to develop clairvoyance both boil down to a single principle: fake it till you make it. Yes, it’s possible to deceive yourself, and you must guard against images that speak too clearly to your own neuroses. For example, if you have low self-esteem, clairvoyant images might consist of you being very important or utterly doomed. Whenever there’s a “very,” test for reality (which I’ll explain in a future post).

The first way to fake it until you make it is to act as if you’ve already got it. I know people who don’t try astral travel until they are sure they can leave their body, and don’t evoke spirits until they can summon a clear vision in a crystal. Go through the motions. If you’re unsure of the accuracy of the images you get, make a note of it in your journal and come back later.

The second way is to “play pretend” (yeah, and maybe that’s all magic is, eh, skeptics?). Ask “if I could see this spirit, what would I see?” Then don’t control the image that arises. An exercise I like for this, which has mundane uses as well, is to imagine a deep dark well or a pair of doors. Look at the well or door in your imagination, then let something rise from the bottom of the well or let the doors open. What do you see? What if that image that you imagine came from outside; what would it mean?

Next post: how to test clairvoyant images to make sure you don’t go woo woo.

Ahhh, that’s better

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 by P. Dunn

Nothing like a little Sunday night hocus pocus to put the zing back in the zang. I don’t know why I don’t evoke spirits more often (especially since, as they almost always fail to tell you in the grimoires, it gets easier every time).

“Second Person” Now Available for Preorder!

Posted in Writing on June 20, 2011 by P. Dunn

I am very pleased to announce that my first book of poetry, “Second Person,” has been published by Finishing Line Press and is available for preorder now. Please click the above link and scroll down to “Dunn,” where you can find it.

Preorders determine print run, so if you can preorder, it’d help me out quite a lot. Moreover, you get a discount on shipping, I believe, if you preorder from the publisher.

This book of poetry concerns the mystical connection we have with our world as a “thou” rather than an “it.” It’s about not only the relationship between self and other, but between Self and Other.

Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, Ioan P. Couliano

Posted in Good Books on June 6, 2011 by P. Dunn

If you regard yourself as an intellectual magician, you must read this book. That’s it in a nutshell.

Couliano’s genius lies in the perception of patterns in Renaissance magicians of great importance, such as Ficino and Bruno, and his awareness of the philosophical foundation behind their ideas. Of course, as I’ve written elsewhere, that foundation is a late Neoplatonism, but Couliano sees more: he identifies that the aim of Renaissance magic was the creation of bonds or chains of Eros. Eros is the principle underlying all magic, and Couliano even expresses it in an equation: Eros = Magic.

Eros isn’t just the desire of sexual contact. Couliano doesn’t go there, but as Foucault has argued this concept of sexuality is a pretty recent one. No, Eros is desire itself: the desire, specifically, of a person for the phantasm or image that they construct of the desired object. If I’m hungry, I do not desire a sandwich: I desire the phantasm of the sandwich, and once I enjoy the sandwich the bond I’ve made with the phantasm disappears and the phantasm disintegrates. Magic, then, is manipulating these phantasms.

One of the central technologies that magicians use to manipulate these phantasms is the ars memoria, the art of memory, which had reached a high level of sophistication in the late middle ages, but was all but destroyed by the reformation.

Couliano convincingly argues that, in fact, many of these renaissance techniques have been repurposed, not as a science (take that you “magic is just undiscovered science” folks) but as advertising and propaganda. The renaissance magician believed, as most modern first world people do not, that the screen upon which the phantasms are impressed, the pneuma, was not restricted to humans but to the universe as a whole. Magic is an advertisement to the universe, to create a desire in the universal pneuma to create the phantasm you project, just as an advertisement for a car creates a phantasm that binds you to the car. Of course, the trick is that these chains or bonds aren’t simple: in fact, it’s often more effective to chain one phantasm to another. You don’t sell a car to someone by giving them the phantasm of the car. No, you create the phantasm of the car and chain it to other phantasms they already have: the desire to appear successful, sexy, etc.

Couliano goes so far as to suggest there are two kinds of governments: police states, and magical states. In general, magical states tend to be more “democratic,” because the people running them must control the population with images and phantasms, rather than main force. I’m sure this is a dig at his home nation of Romania, perhaps even the insult that got Couliano murdered at the University of Chicago in 1991. I wonder what he’d say about the current state of Romanian politics, and the strong occult elements there.

Couliano is not an easy read. I sat at Borders with a Latin dictionary, a German dictionary, and a lot of caffeine to get through it. You need to have some familiarity with classical Greek philosophy, renaissance history and philosophy, and it doesn’t hurt to know your Italian magicians. But the book is also a rewarding delight to read, and I’d have finished it earlier if I hadn’t had to write copious notes in the margins.

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