What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

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What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Selene » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:10 am

What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?
How do you define the two?

Thank you
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:23 am

Variously (and with each having weaknesses inherent in language limitations, or inherent in the fact that the polarity isn't strict)... but, most generally, I would do it thus:

Mysticism is moving from the diverse, varied, and transient to the unified and eternal. Magick is moving (ideally from a space of eternity and sourceness) into particularized transient phenomena. "From the many to the one; from the one to the many." Or, as one ritual says, "From the Silence of the Wand/ Unto the Speaking of the Sword/ And back again to the Beyond,"

Patanjali defined yoga as the restraining of the mind-stuff from assuming particular modifications or forms. (This is probably the best definition, if not of mysticism itself, then of the method of mysticism.) Complementarily, I define magick as the causing of the mind-stuff to assume particular modifications or forms.

Dissolving the phenomena of yourself and your world into singularity or nothing... vs. coming from singularity or nothing to formulate the phenomena of yourself and your world.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Hermes » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:11 pm

Thanks Jim for providing your own definitions on basics and not only quotes. It helps. The basics are never too much mastered/meditated upon !
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Hermitas » Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:57 pm

Great way of making the distinction, thank you.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby AliceKnewIt » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:02 pm

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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby gurugeorge » Sat May 31, 2014 6:51 am

The most nuggety nugget way of saying it I can think of is:-

Magick is the creation of illusion.

Mysticism is the destruction of illusion.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby David S » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:28 pm

gurugeorge wrote:Magick is the creation of illusion.

Why do you say that? Maybe parlor magic is all about slight of hand and illusions, but how does ceremonial magick "create illusion"?
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Takamba » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:33 pm

gurugeorge wrote:The most nuggety nugget way of saying it I can think of is:-

Magick is the creation of illusion.

Mysticism is the destruction of illusion.


If I have not misinterpret Crowley, he says that "magick is the yoga of the West," and since the purpose of yoga is "Union with God" (samadhi) (mysticism), they are synonymous. Two rivers leading to the same delta.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby AliceKnewIt » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:17 am

gurugeorge wrote:The most nuggety nugget way of saying it I can think of is:-

Magick is the creation of illusion.

Mysticism is the destruction of illusion.


I read that and think you mean: Magick is bad, Mysticism is good, or perhaps Magick is lesser, Mysticism is higher.
Is that what you mean?
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Avshalom Binyamin » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:42 am

I don't speak for gurugeorge, but I think he was concisely echoing Jim's earlier statement.

Jim: "Mysticism is moving from the diverse, varied, and transient to the unified and eternal." and (via Patanjali), "Restraining of the mind-stuff from assuming particular modifications or forms"
gurugeorge: "Mysticism is the destruction of illusion."

Jim: "Magick is moving (ideally from a space of eternity and sourceness) into particularized transient phenomena. "From the many to the one; from the one to the many."" and "the causing of the mind-stuff to assume particular modifications or forms."
gurugeorge: "Magick is the creation of illusion."

In a practical example: A businessman who keeps looking past the layers of illusion in his business world (seeing through marketing, PR, branding, etc.) to see deeper drives and motivations (status, wealth, a public service) is essentially a mystic. A businessman who understands how those layers work, and deliberately chooses to use them in very specific ways to help his business attain to it's goals (status, wealth, a public service) is essentially a magician.

Neither is inherently good or bad. A magician can be doing harmful stuff if he uses his illusion-creating abilities in the service of a harmful or misguided goal (like wealth at the expense of human dignity). A mystic can be doing harmful stuff if he uses his illusion-busting abilities in the services of a harmful or misguided goal (like seeing through marketing or PR illusions to avoid or escape his own painful realities). That's why Jim added to his magick definition "ideally from a space of eternity and sourceness".
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Hermitas » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:08 pm

I keep getting tripped up with exceptions, but the simplest way I can express it would be like this:


Magick is learning to "work it." - learning to "work" a computer, or math, or some mechanical device.

Mysticism is learning to love it. - learning to relate to it, communicate with it, cooperate with it (and in some cases be it or be extinguished in it).

What is "it"?

It's It!

Reality in its Totality.


You can use magick for mystical purposes, and you can explore mystical relationships for magical purposes. I think ideally, they become one thing, but that's not always the case.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:51 pm

At 27, he knew some things and was still pretty green around the horns on other things.

The one thing I want to point out, though, is that this isn't a commentary on mysticism but on meditation. They aren't the same (however useful they may be to each other).
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Selene » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:08 am

Thank you all for the discussion so far.
:angel:

A related question - is the path of the magician different than the path of the mystic? How are the similar and how are they different - or are they the same path?
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Hermitas » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:12 am

Dion Fortune described it using the Tree of Life.

If you go with her presentation of it, then the Mystic's path (without magick) involves going straight up the Middle Pillar on the Tree of Life while the Magician's path also includes experiencing and mastering the (relative) imbalances of the sephiroth in each of the other two Pillars.

One's a straight arrow upward. The other follows back up the zigzag "lightening flash" of manifestation.
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Al-Shariyf » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:07 pm

Meditation is the practice dude.
"To advance—that means Work. Patient, exhausting, thankless, often bewildering Work. Dear sister, if you would but Work! Work blindly, foolishly, misguidedly, it doesn’t matter in the end: Work in itself has absolute virtue." -Magick Without Tears
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:17 pm

kasper81 wrote:
Jim Eshelman wrote:Mysticism is moving from the diverse, varied, and transient to the unified and eternal. .

So is meditation,

Not necessarily. That's too narrow.

First of all, as Al-Shar just answered, meditation is the practice - or, as Tak wrote, it's one of the tools of mysticism. Meditation isn't any more mysticism than a hammer is carpentry.

Second of all, though, this is still too narrow because that's only one definition of meditation (one method, style, etc.) Meditation can be used just as much to increase phenomena and other complexity as it is to decrease complexity. It can be used to invest more deeply in the transient just as much as to invest more deeply in the eternal. It depends (for example) on where you place your attention.

As it will be seen later, the "vision of God," or "Union with God," or "Samadhi," or whatever we may agree to call it, has many kinds and many degrees................................We do not believe in any supernatural explanations, but insist that this source may be reached by the following out of definite rules, the degree of success depending upon the capacity of the seeker, and not upon the favour of any Divine Being.

i.e. that quote from AC in Book 4's preliminary notes is arguing against, "mystical realities" within the pursuit of mysticism.

Uh (doh!), no, not at all. I think you are mistaking "supernatural" for "mystical." The entire mystical process, deep into the most profound spiritual realms, is entirely natural, i.e., within the actual workings of the universe.

I like to zoom in on the practicalities of mysticism on why we are studying mysticism and what the work is.

To unite directly with God (or whatever you call It). That's the simple, "any child can understand it" purpose of mysticism. (There are, of course, lesser goals along the way that can be accomplished with the same methods.)
Love is the law, love under will.
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: What is the difference between Magick and Mysticism?

Postby gurugeorge » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:42 am

Avshalom Binyamin wrote:I don't speak for gurugeorge, but I think he was concisely echoing Jim's earlier statement.

You have the right of it.

Is "illusion" good or bad? It depends. Is creating it good or bad? It depends. Is destroying it good or bad? It depends. Depends on what? One's point of view, one's place on the Path, one's development.

To a mystic, it seems like a great thing to be climbing up the Tree, slaying illusions left, right and centre, as he goes, back to the one, one, one.

But what about God's will? God was perfectly happy being enmeshed in His self-created illusions before the mystic so rudely woke him up! Naughty mystic! :D
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