The element of Uncertainty has played a significant role in several aspects of my magical development.  Specifically regarding results magic, I’ve had great trouble with divination and possession.  Reaching an appropriate state for the interpretive act and releasing personal boundaries in the context of invocation require such a light touch with the symbolic gestalt, it causes me nothing but trouble.  With practice, I have progressed a great deal with the art of invocation – through the embrace of Uncertainty.

My first successes with invocation and atavistic resurgence occurred while experimenting with chemognosis.  These experiments led to varying levels of possession, which I adopted as my gold standard for invocation.  Yet, in other ritual contexts, I found I could not approach these states, leaving me with a problem.  Excitatory techniques of gnosis, particularly dance and spinning, would bring on a light possession but required a good deal of room and were not appropriate to certain godforms or qualities I wished to work with.  Dependence on them also left open-hand magic completely out of the question.

Further exploration with invocation finally made it clear that possession was not necessary, or even desirable most of the time, for the magic to work.  In Visual Magick, Jan Fries makes the penetrating point that dependence on extreme forms of gnosis leads to a poorly equipped magician, and postulates a root in overly rigid character structure.  Still, I wanted to reliably access those states of possession, for I love when qualities external to the ego sweep it away.  Perhaps I simply needed a softening.

My current techniques of practice came from my work with the t’ai chi form.  The ideal form allows each movement to arise, without force, while the practitioner remains completely present.  It takes quite a balancing act, to avoid “doing” without thoughts drifting all over the place.  Practicing in this manner, the state of possession that develops feels quite clear to me.

Generalizing this experience, I developed a new procedure for practicing possession.  First, I choose the principle to work with and evoke it.  Then I go out for a jaunt and use the Right Way of Walking to enter gnosis.  With just a light focus on the quality, possession builds easily and progressively.  The results have fascinated me.  Resistances to the invocation appear as tension within my body and relaxing into it provides the only way deeper.  I generally work with polarities, and the most difficult pairs always involve some identification one way or the other.  By freeing up these identifications and relaxing the tensions that sustain them, the appearance of novel behaviour or information reliably arises.  The magic happens.

These experiments have revealed to me a more effective standard for success in invocation and possession.  When I “knew” where the process should arrive at, I increasingly limited the breadth and depth of results.  Adopting the expression of novelty as a measure opens new avenues, both for growth and for the manifestation of results.  Uncertainty appears, everywhere I look.

First published on 29 May 2010.