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Psychology, Magick & Ritual

Moonlit🌙MonkeyDec 15, 2018, 6:17:22 AM

Much of what we think, feel, and experience occurs at the subconscious level.

I’m going to briefly touch on some of those things, and hopefully broaden your understanding of the more subtle ways that you and human beings in general work.

See what I did there?

Transferring Emotions

Emotions can pass subconsciously from one person to another, even if they try to suppress their emotional expression.

For example, mothers can pass on stress to their babies. A person with a happy friend who lives nearby is 25% more likely to be happy. As shown in the controversial study, if Facebook subtly manipulates someone’s feed to be more negative or positive, their posts will tend to become more negative or positive respectively.

Emotion can be transferred via visual, auditory, touch cues and even text. There are many theories how this works, relating to biofeedback via facial mimicry, mirror neurons, Theory of Mind and empathy. However, it’s all a bit mysterious and the main thrust here is that this all can occur at a level below conscious awareness.

Feeling sleepy lol?

Subliminal information

There’s a large body of science dedicated to subliminal cues and so-called ‘priming’, as well as some significant study into hypnosis and also visualization.

For example, if the word ‘death’ is flashed on a screen at a level below awareness, audiences will have increased political polarity (become more extreme in their views). This in part explains people’s reactions at a time of war, and might in part explain some of the current political divide due to threat narratives in the media.

In a single study of the subliminal flashing of the word ‘thirsty’ or a picture of a Coca-Cola can during an episode of the Simpsons, audiences reported being more thirsty. Children who watched a cartoon video of their immune system attacking an infection had measurably increased auto-immune activity for a long period afterward.

Hypnosis has been used on some as an anesthetic for open brain surgery

If you visualize doing something, you are more likely to succeed in doing it.


Studies actually show that rituals increase confidence, reduce anxiety and increase performance

While it might seem odd that instinctively people shower after a traumatic event, or ritually throw away things that remind them of their ex. There is actually scientific evidence behind this, and indeed, a deep wisdom to this symbolic language.

People given a ‘lucky’ gold ball actually do better at golf. Funeral rituals do alleviate grief. Whether it’s 'Washing' yourself clean, using incense to create a feeling, or tidying your room to order your mind, these things are shown to work, change behavior, mood and outcomes. 

There are sources at the end of this article for the skeptical at heart. 

A busy altar. But you can use any object for ritual, not just candles and herbs


How does all this relate to Magick?

The rather excellent mystic primer, the Kybalion, describes the central component of Magick as 'Will'. And Will, it describes as a combination of 'Intent' and 'Detachment'.

Intent is the creative visualization part. It’s where you consciously or unconsciously focus on the desired result. This might be ritualistic, such as throwing out stuff that reminds you of your ex, or something more complicated like a cleansing or blessing. Or it might be mentally picturing the intended outcome as pro golfers do.

Detachment is viewing the potential outcome neutrally. As if it will happen, but one is calm and positive about it, without great desire or any worry. I think of it as a ‘light touch’, but one might also imagine it as a little like a golf swing. Loose, relaxed and centered, but confident.

Bringing in the Subliminal

There’s a lot of ways you can use this sort of information here. 

One is to be aware of the subtle influence that surrounds you. What media you consume. Who you surround yourself with. How you yourself interact with others, trying to smooth out conflict and negativity. Vibes, as you can hopefully see, are an actual thing. 

Another is in embracing ritual in your life. This can be simple, intuitive things. Like cleaning your room to order your thoughts, or bathing or lighting candles to banish negative thoughts. If you use the distilled ancient wisdom described above from the Kybalion, you can make your rituals more potent and also better understand the subtleties of the human heart.

 Bringing in that light air of detachment, the focus of a mindful physical and mental grace and the mental visualization of the intended result.

The Spiritual

Personally, the physical world is mysterious to me. 

We don’t know what quarks are made of, what drives quantum forces, why there is any universe at all, or what consciousness is. The big questions are all unanswered, and knowing a lot of the small details doesn’t make for certainty about the world’s ultimate nature.

I’m a spiritual person and I am do not presume these effects are physical only. Much of the practice of mind is experience-based, and often outside of the easy reach of science. I ask that even if you are a skeptical individual, that if you use these methods that you do so with a sense of open-mindedness.

And people should have that same flexibility regarding the unknown if they are spiritual, I believe. 

If nothing else, doing so will make your thought process purer in terms of the psychology. You can think of all of that in simple, psychological terms. You are more likely to achieve that 'mentally light touch' if you do things in a centered and untangled manner

It's well worth noting that spiritual practices like paying respects to the changing of seasons and making small offerings help foster the sort of detachment that Will requires. By giving away, and by offering respect, you distance hedonism and help create a sense of acceptance of outcomes. 

And if there’s more to the world than meets the eye, you might perhaps discover something by doing so.

May your path be intelligence inspiring, full of peace and small joys. 


Ritual: One, Two

Visualization, and the Immune System

Subliminal Cues Wikipedia

Emotional Contagion: Wiki, One, Two, Facebook Study

Hypnosis Studies

The Kybalion

Note to anyone that delves much deeper into Magick; Be aware that ritual can magnify desire, fear and such. Life likes to teach. Don't try to hurt or bend peoples free choice. And be wary of bargains with seeming otherworldly entities. Take baby steps. Know yourself.