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The Color of Magic

Author: Katessa Harkey
Posted: November 25th. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,973

We as Witches spend a long time in concentration over sorting out the meaning of what we experience magically. For example, we quibble over the significance of various energy colors in various circumstances, some coming to the conclusion that each individual’s experience will (forgive the pun) color his understanding. Others will spend hours ad nauseum talking the fine points in shades of red for determining the type of passion represented thereby.

Let’s say three different energy workers look at the same participant. One may see the color blue highlighting the participant’s aura, while another may hear the sound of harp music, and a third taste hot chocolate on his tongue. They all interpret from the experience the understanding that the participant was relaxed, though the first observer chose the word “calm”, the second “peaceful”, and the third “comfortable”. There is then therefore no reason to reject the more simple idea of individual bias affecting possible palette.

The deeper truth, however, is that none of these things happened.

The experiences of sensation perceived were synesthetic in nature; that is to say, in order to communicate with the world of Ruach, the truth had to change languages in order to speak with the natives (who, it turned out, had no capacity for understanding what a city was, so Truth had to suffice for “many villages put together”) and in doing so, had to use the closest symbols it could find to get the point across.

“Magic is the art of creating change in accordance with will.”

It has become the quintessential definition given to the roughest acolyte to memorize, thanks to Mr. Crowley, and few would question its elegance and inclusiveness.

If this is so, I ask you, what is this mysterious “other color” we see when we look at a spell being formed? What do we feel at the edge of a circle when we push on empty air, yet find resistance? If not a physical phenomenon in the same sense as gravity (or at least tacheons!) then what else?

At this juncture we must take a side trip into exploring the world of the senses.

From the easiest perspective, our senses have evolved as tools for interacting with the natural world in which we live. To show this, one may quote the cases of the strange little sea creatures living in a cave isolated from the rest of their kind through geological accident.

These little critters had become much paler in comparison to their cousins outside the cave, as they had no further need of pigmentation to protect them from the sun.

More importantly, however, they had lost their eyes.

A costly piece of biological equipment, the eye. It must be formed to very exacting specs to function normally. If must be carefully protected, to make the continued use of the faculty even possible.

It requires saline be produced to keep it moist and flush it out. They wear out easily. They have no warranty. And currently, they can’t be replaced. They are a wonder of nature on the order of the Pyramid of Giza to Egypt. The eye does one thing and one thing only: it collects photon bounce-back.

Whether you’ve seen a dog or an elephant is no concern to it. As a kindly, useful clerk in a factory, it collects the pieces, drops them in a box, and hands the package off higher up on the line. It is the brain that constructs sight. It organizes your visual information packets into sensible chains.

Similarly, this holds true for the other four senses as well. The human psyche functions on a baseline of patterns, and so your personal symbol set is the means of interpretation.

You have not seen the color of magic, you have only experienced magic in a certain fashion, and your personal symbol set has been used as an interpreter of the experience. The mind is the true seat of the senses rather than the physical data collectors.

It is a well-known fact that depriving someone of the use of one of his faculties will cause the others to become more acute in compensation. This is true of those who never had or have physically lost a sense. It is also true that the state may be artificially invoked through the use of deprivation techniques, such as blindfolding, stopping the ears, and the like.

If there is another sense or set of senses beyond the commonly accepted five “physical” senses (that is, those of which we can point to the data-collection point on our bodies) it stands to reason that they should become more acute with the diffusion or distraction of the physical senses.

Here, I recommend an exercise. Find a quiet place and get in a comfortable position for meditation, such as lotus, dead man, star, etc. Breathe into a good rhythm, and then begin relinquishing attention to the physical senses one by one. This may not at first be an easy task, and requires some patience.

Once you have reached a point of complete sense isolation, reach out for understanding without reaching for the tools you have become so dependent upon.

The perceptions you experience in such a state come from your “other” senses.

To come back out of the state, simply re-acknowledge each of your five senses, while attempting to acquaint your physical senses with your non-physical senses. After some practice with this technique, you may wish to issue all your senses permission to collaborate with the others, giving you a greater palette for understanding in general.

This is the essential point of most methods of reaching an altered state of consciousness. The mystic will either force his senses to a point of exhaustion, focus them all in a single direction so as to limit the usual “white noise” affect, or divest himself of their acknowledgement altogether.

Altered states of consciousness are no more and no less than a choice to focus on the other senses that are always functioning, but seldom acknowledged. If we as Witches want to walk between the worlds, it is better we do so with open eyes.

The honing of these other senses in no way changes the simple fact that our language contains no adequate words for the things experienced. Until enough common experience has been built for us to agree upon a method of communication regarding them, we will still have to describe the magical experience in terms of senses we can substitute as approximates.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this fact, but we should endeavor to remember that there is no guarantee that what you are experiencing when you say, for example, the color mauve is the same thing that I am perceiving even in the mundane sense.

How much more so the “other” senses that must pass through so many layers of abstraction! When we communicate our magical experience, regardless of how pretty the words we use, we are singing poetry to one another.

It is good to remember that, and to try to understand the communication in the same fashion one would approach the works of Rumi.


Katessa Harkey

Location: Portland, Oregon

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