There are many different forms of witchcraft: shamanism, voodoo, black magic, white magic, kitchen witchery, et cetera. As I wandered forward on my eclectic spiritual path, I came up with a method of coming up with a method for how to personalize and effectively utilize magic. I call it Scientific Witchcraft, and yes I made it up.
Scientific Witchcraft is the practice of using scientific processes for magical results. This means using observation, experimentation, and analysis. While sometimes this may include making hypotheses and testing results, more often it means using the knowledge gained through experimentation to create magic for specific purposes. In this way, it is more of a technology than a science. In fact, it is not a science at all in the true sense of the word (hence why the word “scientific” is used as an adjective to describe witchcraft and not the other way around). It is a magical art – it just takes a more scientific approach than other more spiritual or myth-based approaches. Yet it still has to do with magical results rather than physical results.
In order to understand this, we must distinguish between magical results and physical results. First of all, let me delve a little deeper into the word magic. As stated in a previous blog post, my version of magic is defined as 1) the invisible and ineffable source of energy in the universe; 2) the conscious mental, emotional, and spiritual engagement with the flow of various forms of energy; and 3) the process by which a person, creature, or thing can intentionally influence or be influenced by these energies in a physical or psychological manner.
The first definition is a bit abstract and requires a more in depth examination involving quantum physics, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, which I am not going to get into here. But if we can accept this definition as somehow true, then let us focus instead on the second and third definitions. A very basic way to understand these is to compare “magic” to “imagination”. Imagination is the formation of new thoughts, ideas, or associations (whether based on memories and sensations already experienced or born anew from the void) that are not immediately experienced by the senses. This is basically where magic, as we understand it, begins. It is the ability to imagine that something could be real and then use certain energies within nature in order to make it so. Sometimes this requires more imagination, more belief. Other times it requires specific materials and actions. Often it is a combination of both.
Now that we have a basic understanding of magic, let’s get back to distinguishing between physical and magical results. A physical result is the product of a combination or reaction of physical elements. A magical result is the situational outcome of the intermingling of various energies. For example, a physical result is soup when you cook vegetables in hot water for a long time. It is the chemical reactions within your body when you consume the soup that allow nutrients to disperse throughout your body and into your cells. In contrast, a magical result is the feeling of comfort that the soup has on your psyche. It is influence that the soup has on your overall health even days and weeks after you eat it. Psychology is really what connects the spiritual realm to the physical realm, because it allows magical and spiritual ideas and emotions (remember: imagination) to manifest physically.
Human psychology is very complex and individualistic. Some people feel more relaxed when listening to music while others feel more relaxed with silence. Some people are overstimulated more easily than others. Some people believe that symbols are arbitrary and useless and that illusions should be shed to reveal true reality, while others believe that rituals and stories (which are essentially symbols in action) can help us to connect more deeply with nature and our true selves.
Scientific Witchcraft is also very individualistic, as it is a process that the individual enacts in order to better understand oneself with respect to the universe. It is the constant learning, the trial and error, and the eventual application of knowledge and wisdom within one’s life. It is based on nature and fueled by love.
Just a moment ago, as I was writing this, my brother sat on the sofa, mentally and physically drained. He wanted to get up and do something productive, but decided that making coffee first would help to give him more energy. If he left it at that, he could have just made the coffee, his body waking up from the caffeine with no overt magical reaction occurring. (I would argue that even this is magical in its own way, but I won’t get into that as it is more clearly physical.) However, before he got up, he gently pet his dog and touched his forehead to hers, requesting that she bestow some of her vibrant energy onto him so that he could have the motivation to get off the sofa in the first place. Besides the potential “happy” chemicals in his brain as he made contact with a creature he loved, this verbal plea combined with the act of their two foreheads touching had no direct physical function to help energize his body, and yet this little spell did help him achieve the motivation to get up. He probably would have gotten up anyway, but this ritual added a boost that probably made the following activities less painful and more fulfilling, because they weren’t just for him, they were because of her.
That is what everyday magic is – using the properties of natural elements and beings for your mental, emotional, and/or physical benefit so that the results, otherwise mundane, will be charged with more of whatever energies go into them. Behaviors will be more aligned with goals, actions will be more effective, thoughts will be more focused, and life will be more enjoyable. Scientific Witchcraft is the conscious practice of learning about the best methods for each individual to achieve this within his or her or their own life, as a body within a universe and a universe made up of cells. It the process of experimentation and modification for the purpose of yielding certain results. It is also the active cultivation of a mindset that enhances awareness of oneself, and the active creation of an environment that enhances the flow of energy through the universe in harmony with everything else. It is the alignment of these, combined, intertwined, ever growing and evolving.
Note: I realize that most serious witchcraft is approached very much like the above, with experimentation, trial and error. I think the difference has more to do with the combination of magical properties and physical properties, not just within a ritual but within the function of the spell itself. I will get more into this concept later on.