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magical taboos


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#1 Brennan

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:56 PM

In another thread, I read mention of 'primitive taboos' which got me thinking about some other pieces of info that I've read about how some folk will intentionally set up taboos as a means to accomplish a goal. I've searched the forum to find mention of this & found some similarities, but....

While I've managed to set up a few of my own, I honestly have no clue on how to consciously set something like this up, as in the mechanical aspect of it... ..subconsciously though, well.. i'm not going to be cutting my hair anytime in the near future. Any ideas?

It sounds to be a form of sympathetic magic in some abstract way, but i'm not really sure on that.. as i wrote earlier, it seems awfully similar to a geas but there is enough of a difference between the two in my perception whereas what I'm describing seems to be more voluntary whereas a geas seems to be more like a form of binding. splitting hairs?

furthermore how can you tell the difference between whats a taboo and what isn't? For instance, "if i shave only half of my face, the stoplights will be green when I get to them" is a clear instance of a magical taboo, but what about "if i refrain from eating the flesh of animals, i'll remain spiritually potent"? Is that a cultural taboo or is it an actuality? A taboo so strongly followed that it became truth?

so, any info on this would be greatly appreciated..

Edited by Brennan, 05 March 2012 - 07:57 PM.


#2 Spraypaint

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:14 PM

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"if i refrain from eating the flesh of animals, i'll remain spiritually potent"?

According to the author of "The Exorcist's Handbook", veggies only allows her to do things within her system of magic others can't due to deity.

I get what you asking for, but beyond my own speculation and things based on hearsay, I'm not going to be much use. Others may know more based on experience, but I think you are going to need to be more precise and clearer in your wording.

The best answer is develop a keen BS detector and even keener survival instincts.

The way I do this is ask my self, "If I were to meet a person who is trickster, how could it out wit me?"

Then I re-adjust my beliefs (thus my actions) in accordance to the answers said question provokes.
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#3 Brennan

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:44 PM

well.. I suppose.. to word it with absolute clarity, I am curious about the nature of magickal taboos & how to enact/create a taboo for personal, magickal usage with a smaller emphasis placed on how to detect if a thing is a magickal taboo or if it's actually so.

Uhm, to give a few examples of what I'm tryin' to figure out how to do..

If I don't cut my hair, my energy-sensitivity is increased; the longer the hair, the greater the sensitivity. But if I were to shave my head, it would rid me of all magickal afflictions, good or ill, and enact a form of 'reset'. The taboo in this instance is the not cutting hair. The boon from this is an increase in energy sensitivity. The consequence of breaking this taboo is then described.

another example is..

If i sing this certain song every time I pee, I'll become more lucky. Each time I sing it, my luck will get better and better, but if I don't sing that song even once, all "accumulated luck" will deplete.

...so it's very curious to me, how to create these ..'traditions'.. in a way that's actually effective.

The advice on BS detection, though, is always welcome. :P

#4 Spraypaint

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:00 AM

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If i sing this certain song every time I pee, I'll become more lucky. Each time I sing it, my luck will get better and better, but if I don't sing that song even once, all "accumulated luck" will deplete.

If I were a non-magical trickster, I'd do what I could to make you do this at work in the restroom with your co-workers. Suddenly you would be that "weirdo" and I would laugh and laugh.

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If I don't cut my hair, my energy-sensitivity is increased; the longer the hair, the greater the sensitivity. But if I were to shave my head, it would rid me of all magickal afflictions, good or ill, and enact a form of 'reset'. The taboo in this instance is the not cutting hair. The boon from this is an increase in energy sensitivity.

Solution? Shave your head and wear a tin foil hat.

Once again, how does this practice affect your mundane life?

If however I were to get into a fist fight with you, I'd have something to grab unto, and pull your head right into my knee. Where you can't do that while I have short hair.

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if i shave only half of my face, the stoplights will be green when I get to them

Actually no, traffic would stop. Half beards are a rarity and rare things are show stoppers.
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#5 Imperial Arts

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:22 AM

View PostBrennan, on 05 March 2012 - 11:44 PM, said:

...so it's very curious to me, how to create these ..'traditions'.. in a way that's actually effective.

The whole concept of "planetary hours" is a good example of Magical Taboo. There is no reasonable way to approach planetary hours - they are totally fictional. There are several mutually-exclusive ways of determining which planet rules which hour, and all are arbitrary. Some people, who realize how the invention of accurate clocks really screwed up the world of ceremonial magic timing, use astrology; but even then you have debates over whether to use tropical placements and which system of houses is appropriate. The question of time in horary astrology for divination is even more absurd when "right now" is used as the time for the chart, since "right now" may be irrelevant to the circumstances in question.

Despite all of this, plenty of people (myself included!) use the idea of magical time, planetary hours, and astrological placements as an integral part of their work, and find it beneficial.
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#6 Spraypaint

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:28 AM

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Despite all of this, plenty of people (myself included!) use the idea of magical time, planetary hours, and astrological placements as an integral part of their work, and find it beneficial.

In this case, I think learning about such hours and using them is a means to align oneself with the spirit, then dealing with the spirit itself.
Is this correct?
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#7 Brennan

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:01 AM

Either I'm doing a horrible job of communicating my meaning or I'm not understanding what's being said. Not sure which.

#8 voidgazing

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:08 AM

The way to effectively create a taboo is to really believe in it. Simple as that. The planetary hours Imperial Arts is talking about are found in hoary old tomes, authoritative guides to magic. You can tell they are true, because as Levar Burton would tell you, "take a look, it's in a book!" Or perhaps your guru explained to you that all true power derives from a combination of painful poses, abstinence, and facing the right direction when you do your morning exercises. Clearly this is correct, as he is only the latest in a long line of gurus in his tradition, which trace their lineage back to Atlantis.

Now after much application of this esoteric knowledge, you might find yourself realizing a couple things: 1, your magic was more effective when you followed the taboos. 2, the taboos are arbitrary. The basis for them seems occult at first because you don't know what you don't know. Yet as time passes, you come to realize they are occult because they aren't the result of anyone reacting to a set of objective circumstances. They are the result of some individual practitioner (or closely collected group) who had this crazy idea and in all likelihood enjoyed being right about things. Turned out they were right!

And ever after, the adherents to their way of doing things would get into intense and pointless arguments with the adherents of other systems, because everybody was right except about the part where the other guy was wrong because this is Magic, and it doesn't care if you've contradicted one another.

So, simply put, these taboos are just one more way to frame and explicate intent. This spell will work because I said the right words and I haven't eaten meat in two weeks and I took the special bath.

All the same stuff. So to create your own taboo, you either draw on some principles you've seen somewhere, or you get good enough at sleight of mind to make some up and have them stick. Or I guess you could contact a spirit and ask for some- that has the 'authority' advantage to belief.
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#9 Adumbra

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:48 AM

I think it really depends on the 'why' of the taboo in question. I would agree that vegetarianism seems a bit silly, but there are also taboos that have a special meaning within the context of the working.

Take for an example the taboo against ingesting salt before doing a necromantic evocation. Why salt? Because salt is a preservative against rot and decay and necromancy works with the dead -- embodiments of death and entropy.

Fasting for a particular number of days may have some occult significance.Seven, in magical lore, 7 represents a complete cycle.

As for nonsense words sometimes encountered in grimiores? This is tough question. Personally, I don't see how reciting a string of words which seem to have no meaning (or an unknown meaning) can help you at all. But then again, you have to ask yourself why the author included them? I'd rather play it safe.

What I want to caution against is completely ignoring a given taboo because it seems like nonsense. Sure, it may just be a silly superstition, but maybe not. Ideally, you would know the purpose of the taboo before observing it.
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#10 Spraypaint

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:50 AM

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What I want to caution against is completely ignoring a given taboo because it seems like nonsense. Sure, it may just be a silly superstition, but maybe not. Ideally, you would know the purpose of the taboo before observing it.

What is the practical reason for this taboo and how does it benefit the self?
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#11 Adumbra

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:30 AM

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What is the practical reason for this taboo and how does it benefit the self?

A taboo can almost be considered an element of a spell, though a negative one.

An example: just as you would want to include some kind of sexual symbolism (a phallic shaped object, for instance) in a lust spell, you would also want to EXCLUDE anything which could detract from it such as the color white (purity, virginity) or religious icons (because sex is baaad). You might also want to refrain from any masturbation for a week or so before the rite to increase the sexual energy available to you. Such taboos would be rational in the context of that particular spell.

Edited by Adumbra, 14 March 2012 - 06:31 AM.

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#12 Spraypaint

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:18 PM

I'm of the view that working with symbolism that isn't associated with desired result breaks up the consciousness, making easier to go into Gnosis mode.

For example, for a lust spell, I'd use a shopping cart as symbolism. Or a car tire.

Edited by Spraypaint, 14 March 2012 - 03:22 PM.

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#13 Adumbra

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:05 AM

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For example, for a lust spell, I'd use a shopping cart as symbolism. Or a car tire.

Wow, that is really odd. But as long as it works for you....
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#14 Spraypaint

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:16 AM

View PostAdumbra, on 15 March 2012 - 06:05 AM, said:

Wow, that is really odd. But as long as it works for you....
No, the idea is to break up associations and create new ones. By constantly doing this, creativity and ability to going into a chaos gnostic form becomes easier.

For example, a shopping cart can represent your lust. Its empty, lacking in fulfillment. By imagining it being filled up with what you want, (such as boobies) would represent the desire being fulfilled, thus coming true.

As for a car tire, well, what often happens in the back seat of a car?
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#15 Curtis Penfold

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:17 AM

So if I understand what's being said, what is excluded from a spell with a purpose can be considered a magickal taboo?

In Hebrew, the word holy is qadosh, which means, "to be set apart for a special purpose." To make something holy, we take away that which is profane, that which is taboo.

So creating magickal taboos could be just a way to separate the magickal experience from the mundane experience. For example, a magickian, could perhaps talk very different when having a magickal experience than when having a mundane (or profane) experience. Thus, talking normal could be a taboo during the magickal experience. Or he could veil anything that reminds him of his normal life, thus making objects from his normal life a taboo during the magickal experience.

Chaos magick would, theoretically, only find use for such a taboo for a limited time, as the idea of chaos magick is to try new things, be creative, don't be robotic, break the norms. What would happen if you did a spell without your lucky charm bracelet? Let's try it and find out!





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