Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 4th. 2017 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
February 10th. 2017 ...
Understanding the Unseen
Kitchen Magic and Memories
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
The Evolution of Thought Forms
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Sessiomagus: The Armchair Magician
Article ID: 11042
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,753
Times Read: 3,239
RSS Views: 84,109
Author: Chirotus Infinitum
Posted: December 17th. 2006
Times Viewed: 3,239
“Armchair Magician” is a term used to refer to an individual who has memorized countless metaphysical data and theories, yet hasn’t derived any of his information from actual experience.  Similar to the Armchair Quarterback, the Armchair Magician sits in the comfort of his library and gladly explains the Way Things Work, What Went Wrong, What You Need to Do, and other life-guiding principles which he has read about in great detail but never actually tried out himself.
While offering a potentially good source of technical and theoretical information, the Armchair Magician is often ill equipped to offer practical advice to those having difficulties with their magical practice, as he has little personal experience to guide him or those he seeks to counsel.
The Armchair Magician, or Sessiomagus,  is essentially a more sophisticated version of another potentially troublesome personality, the Know-It-All. As the name implies, the Know-It-All, well, knows it all, and will continue to insist so in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Know-It-Alls may indeed have accurate information, but often invest so much ego energy in knowing everything that they will pretend to know things that they don’t, and will rely upon their own authority as an informative source (and often simple strong-arm arguing techniques) to assert that anyone who disagrees with them is found to be in error.
Sessiomagi can show this same type of aggression, but often employ more subtle means, such as (mis) quoting obscure sources or obfuscating and overcomplicating what they are saying so they sound more profound.
Sessiomagi embody the archetype of the eternal scholar – always studying and analyzing, but seldom putting their information to practical use. The pursuit of knowledge is indeed a noble one, but at some point knowledge needs to be applied in some way that is of use, or at least transferred to someone who can put it to use.
A failure to apply occult information – or any information – is the equivalent of amassing a huge library on mathematics and physics and then barring any engineers from perusing the material. It may look impressive to those who see it as a mark of knowledge or other theorists who respect your collection, but it doesn’t help any buildings get built and doesn’t do much to improve the neighborhood.
Magic is very much about doing, and while abstract theory has its place, at some point magic must be done to be fully understood. In that respect magic is a lot like sex – no matter how much you read about it and study the mechanics of how it works, you’ll never understand it until you experience firsthand the euphoria of success or the shame of failure.
A Sessiomagus who forgets that abstract speculation can easily miss this point and mental exploration can substitute for subjective experience, and who may assume that theoretical knowledge alone establishes him as a powerful magician. In extreme cases, this assumption can generate delusions of grandeur, although a Sessiomagus of this type is usually seen for what he is and dismissed.
This self-image of power, however, can still be present in cases less severe (and obvious) than full-on delusion, and it becomes a very appealing incentive to continue magical study, as it allows the Sessiomagus to develop the image of a magician while putting little real effort into it.
The true drug of the Sessiomagus is not actual skill in the occult arts, but the image of possessing such skill. Clinging to the glamour of a powerful magician allows the Sessiomagus to present himself as powerful and competent while providing a cover for social or personal inadequacies. This image can be developed into a weapon used to stifle criticism in social circles, or simply as a means of acquiring social status.
In cases where the Sessiomagus adopts the role of a teacher, he may use this image to infatuate followers – as well as to keep them in line – and hence revel in the potential adulation of inexperienced neophytes who have been taught no real skills and are both ill equipped and afraid to challenge the pompousness of their teacher.
Projecting and maintaining an image of competence and power is vital to the well-being of the Sessiomagus, and the more successful he is at this, the less he will actually have to prove his abilities. Sessiomagi eventually settle into abstract mysticism, from where they can claim that they are not allowed to demonstrate abilities or take action in certain situations because that would be succumbing to ego, violating some obscure application of karma, or any number of excuses which sound enlightened at first but make less sense when analyzed. These tactics of vagueness and double-talk allows the Sessiomagus to avoid the possibility of failure while making himself seem nobler for doing so.
Typically, the Sessiomagus is reluctant to demonstrate any of the techniques he may claim to have knowledge of, and is usually reluctant to engage in anything other than the most basic magical work. It is infinitely easier for one to hold on to an image of authority if one never has to demonstrate a basis for that authority.
Even worse, the fear of failure may override any interest in actually performing magic – losing face by failing to get a spell to work would serve to undermine a Sessiomagus’ authority, and is a risk too great to take. On a more simplistic level, it may be that the Armchair Magician is afraid of interacting with occult forces, and settles for theorizing about that which he is too afraid to explore firsthand.
Of course, as with any field, abstract theory and speculation has an important role in the practice of the occult. Sessiomagi often possess keen insights into why some things work and why some don’t, or what actions might give the best results. In this respect, the Sessiomagus is often vital to the student of the occult, and can often point aspirants into the needed direction to find what they need. It is not the intent of this paper to single out and criticize Sessiomagi as a class, but to point out that many of them fall into the rut of eschewing practice for theory.
This choice creates the awkward paradox of an expert who is out of the field for so long that all of his skills and knowledge are useless, and thus he is of little use to anyone but other abstract theorists. The same pattern can be seen in the teaching profession, where the joke says “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
By standing up and experimenting – just a little bit – Sessiomagi put themselves in a much better position not only to relate to other magical practitioners, but also to test and further their own theories. Such experimentation benefits us all.
 The glossary at Chaosmagic.com ( http://www.chaosmagic.com/discussion/dcs-glossary.shtml) describes an Armchair Magician as “Someone who practices the Art as a matter of mental exercise rather than getting down and doing the ritual.” It is not entirely pejorative, but can easily be used to describe someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about but is trying to convince you otherwise. It is with this more negative connotation that this paper is concerned.
 From the Latin “sessio” meaning chair or throne, plus “magus.” I permit myself the luxury of bragging that I coined this myself.
Copyright: Copyright 2006 Chirotus Infinitum
Location: Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Author's Profile: To learn more about Chirotus Infinitum - Click HERE
Other Articles: Chirotus Infinitum has posted 15 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Chirotus Infinitum... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).