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The Psychology Of Rituals Academic Analysis

ritual psychology cognitive behaviour

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#1 violetstar

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:53 PM

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Organizing Framework: Regulatory Functions and the Underlying (Bottom-Up and Top-Down) Processing.

Interesting academic paper outlining the latest Psychological research on ritualistic behaviour..

https://www.academia...Based_Framework

#2 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:44 PM

I'm interested in going through the paper in detail here, if there's interest. I'd like to see how well the author's attitudes square with the way magic practitioners use ritual. It's a longer paper than the internet-attention span tends to allow for, so it's best to take it in chunks. The definition section frames ritual in a manner that the author's claim should inform it's psychological character. The definition they offer has three main features:

First, the authors claim that ritual performance is exacting and non-negotiable:

Quote

In contrast to habits or routines, which may change each time they are performed, rituals tend to be invariable in their performance (Rappaport, 1999; Smith & Stewart, 2011). Because of this invariability, rituals typically require a “scrupulous adherence” to rules, whereby sticking exactly to the script is imperative.

For any reader who uses ritual in their magic practice, is that consistent with the way you use it? Does “scrupulous adherence to rules" describe your behavior when you do [ritual] magic? If not, what's the difference between what they say and what you do?

Second, they go on to explain why ritual performance must be highly stereotyped: the actions express significant and specific meaning:

Quote

Consider, for example, that a habit and ritual action might appear, at first glance, identical in structure, but the ritual is different (and, thus, considered to be ritual) because it is imbued with a sense of meaning, whereas the habit is not. Indeed, some of our most important rituals would simply appear arbitrary and trivial if the symbolism and meaning were removed.

The second quality pertained to the the meaning of ritual acts. The way I took it is that they presume the acts of ritual are inherently symbolic, perhaps in the way words in a language are symbolic, and so they require something akin to grammar and syntax, in that if the rules of the grammar or the right-order of symbolic acts are violated, the meaning will be muddled up (as it is in language), and the ritual will be deemed a failure.

They may have subtly alluded to another idea but were then dismissive of it: that the acts of the ritual may not be taken as symbolic by the participants, but may rather be presumed to have literally effects. The example that came to my mind is the Catholic Eucharist, which tends to be taught to parishioners as a symbolic act done in remembrance of me, but priestly training emphasizes transmutation of the matter, which is even more prominent in the more Mystical Christian literature.

I imagine that the more common attitude among practicing ritual magicians is most closely aligned with the idea that ritual acts are expected to be more than merely symbolic, but I'm interested to hear from readers on their attitudes about this second part of the authors' definition of ritual.

For the last bit:

Quote

That is, rituals either lack overt instrumental purpose, or their constitutive actions themselves are not immediately causally linked to the stated goal of the ritual (Herrmann, Legare, Harris, & Whitehouse, 2013; Legare & Souza, 2012; Rappaport, 1999). This “causal opaqueness” (Kapitány & Nielsen, 2015, 2016; Legare & Souza, 2012, 2014) results in features that are impervious to rational hypothesis testing, often displaying features that appear arbitrary, characterized by unnecessary repetition and stereotypy (Rutherford, 2006; Smith & Stewart, 2011; Sosis & Ruffle, 2004).

To me, if one takes the meaning issue the way I do, their third point boils down to a materialistic judgment about objective reality. They seem to be saying that because some ritual acts can't be casually linked physically-measurable changes, the scientist has to classify them as arbitrary, or at least as lacking practical utility. While I can appreciate the inherent dilemma of a scientific approach to acts that aim for spiritual change, I feel like their third point is mostly a dodge, or offered up for cover against anticipated critics of what follows.

What do y'all think?
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#3 violetstar

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:13 PM

Many thanks for your learned comments REL which also highlight the need for academics to realise the importance of input from actual practitioners.

I myself contest the “scrupulous adherence to rules" and the "invariability" factor that dictates that conclusion.From my own experiences and from observing the rituals of others,I find it anything but.For example,even though one might be determined to keep the ritual to the letter unexpected events may dictate necessary changes to the usual structure.This is entirely prevalent in outdoor rituals both in a group or solo form and I am sure those who employ rituals will have experienced that.However,such minor changes are unlikely to elicit a shout of failure from those participating and breaking away from rigid formats can in some cases bring reward,
The ritual itself,at least in a general Occult sense will be expected to bring some form of tangible or literal effect by the vast majority of magicians and I feel its symbolic function limited to religious observances as in the articles example of the Passover Feast.
This may sound materialistic but any ritual I undertake is expected to bring results I can see or feel in the real world rather than hoping it secures me the favour of some god in some distant heaven.

I felt this statement failed to understand the actual motives or reasoning behind rituals:

Clinical studies provide relatively strong support that rituals regulate negative emotions, because they demonstrate that rituals are more likely to emerge when performers experience an emotional deficit—that is, an emotional state that diverges from one’s desired state.


This seems to be later contradicted by or maybe taken as an advance apologetic formed as you say in anticipation of criticism:

Although the majority of the anthropological and clinical research on this topic focuses on when rituals emerge in response to negative affective states, there are at least four studies demonstrating the reverse path: that assigning individuals in emotional distress to do rituals can alleviate their distress.

Either one is entering into ritual due to an 'emotional deficit' or the ritual is being contemplated after being 'assigned' to do so by others to alleviate the distress caused by that deficit.Or perhaps the Occultist has a specific reason for contemplating ritual that has so far eluded the authors here.

#4 Sheperdess

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:42 AM

I have the thought that the REL first said he is interested in this if there is interest from other people.This is real as I dont think many will be able to talk on this with his expert view.OK.From my best ability I read this article to find I disagree from a point of my own experience with the group in ritual.
So they are saying
Bottom-up processing.
One mechanism by which engaging in group rituals may regulate an individual’s connection to the group is through shared attention. Durkheim (1915) thought that collective rituals create group cohesion because of the shared attentional and emotional experiences, leading to a joint perceptual state termed “collective effervescence” (see also Haidt, Seder, & Kesebir, 2008). Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that collective rituals bring about an alignment of the practitioners’ emotional and attentional experiences

Well this maybe true for other type like a pop group or sport team but not true in magical group because most times the emotions can destroy the strength of bonding with the group.So this maybe surprise for the academic to know the effect from rituals of magic are having more success if no emotion are there and this stops forming of friends in the group.Once emotions allow the friendship then it will be difficult to separate from the normal life.
I have seen how the reverse is true where if the group maybe have no connection by emotion it is more powerful to bond because the attention is focused only on the target not each other.If the group are using sex magic there is greater need not to have the emotion or this can make problems.

Maybe these idea are from the theory of people who watch type of groups interact but cannot have observed a magical one deeply.So I cannot agree that rituals bring about an alignment of the practitioners’ emotional and attentional experiences as they think or in the magic sense if it did there would soon be problems in getting results.

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#5 violetstar

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:01 PM

View PostSheperdess, on 13 January 2018 - 10:42 AM, said:

I have seen how the reverse is true where if the group maybe have no connection by emotion it is more powerful to bond because the attention is focused only on the target not each other.If the group are using sex magic there is greater need not to have the emotion or this can make problems.

That is interesting because I once heard that the less emotionally based connection between people who form a team in an office environment the greater the productivity levels increased.I could not find any reliable data to support that theory in motion though if it is to be taken at face value then the reason for the increased output may be due to increased levels of competitiveness.

What can be shown is that ways to improve group dynamics in that particular arena is a change of organisational structure, reassignment of personnel, or change of office layout as well as a cultural change programme to introduce new types of attitudes and behaviours to the organisational’s norms.Team dynamics are created by the nature of the team’s work, the personalities within the team, their working relationships with other people, and the environment in which the team works.

I find this correlates well with how say,a magical group could be tailored to combat both negative impulses or any 'over-positivity' that as you indicate may eventually cause problems.Again,this also highlights the flaws in the paper above concerning the laws and rigidity of rituals if applied to my example of office workers who after all are like most of us,involved in some degree of ritual within our jobs and indeed in daily life.

#6 Aurum

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:50 PM

It's a chicken or egg type thing, as the author points out. If there is a group formed, there is already likely to be social cohesion, notwithstanding that there are group rituals. Although, when Durkheim refers to rituals affirming the collective conscience, it was in reference to a mechanical society that is not characterised by industrialisation. Social cohesion is brought about by a different way in an organic society (that is industrialised) by the specialised roles people have, making everyone interdependent upon each other.

#7 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:16 PM

View PostSheperdess, on 13 January 2018 - 10:42 AM, said:

So they are saying

Quote

Bottom-up processing.
One mechanism by which engaging in group rituals may regulate an individual’s connection to the group is through shared attention. Durkheim (1915) thought that collective rituals create group cohesion because of the shared attentional and emotional experiences, leading to a joint perceptual state termed “collective effervescence” (see also Haidt, Seder, & Kesebir, 2008). Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that collective rituals bring about an alignment of the practitioners’ emotional and attentional experiences

I think for us here reading this paper, it's important to acknowledge that they're not investigating ritual magic directly, and certainly not addressing the effectiveness of ritual magic as magic. They're looking at the effects of engaging in ritual behavior as they've defined it in the first section on psychological variables. When they talk about social cohesion, they're not targeting the group, they're looking to the individual, their sense of belonging, the degree to which they feel other group members believe what they believe, share their feelings, etc. Therefore, we can't expect their conclusions to comport well with our direct interests, but we might find interesting and useful things in the evidence they've pulled together.

In that passage they're discussing evidence that generally points to the idea that shared experience fosters social bonding by way of select psychological variables. That idea is quite well-supported, though their reasoning is somewhat novel. A more specific idea they discuss in that part of the paper that interests me is that the sense of shared attention during ritual leads to perceptions of emotional synchrony (also during ritual). While they do go on to claim that perceptions of that nature correlate with group cohesion, because that's what they're talking about in that section, those moments of shared attention and emotional synchrony have magical import in my opinion.

In my experience, group magic is really difficult to pull off. As near as I can tell, the key features that make it work well include shared attention and emotional synchrony: I couldn't have phrased it better The best tool I know of to facilitate those things during a working is well-structured, and very importantly, well-rehearsed ritual. The rate limiter in my opinion is the rehearsal, which I also hold is true for solo ritual. The physical performance needs to be so well-rehearsed that it's actions can be carried out completely free of the need for conscious control, which allows for the true meaning of the ritual to emerge.

The best analogy I have for that (long-time readers have heard this before) is the process a ballet dancer goes through in learning a piece to performance-ready. In the beginning the focus is all on the specific sequence of movements and the demand for conscious control is extremely high. With [excessive] rehearsal, the sequence of movements transitions from highly effortful to second nature, and conscious control transitions from motor coordination to the encoded meaning of the piece, the feelings the dance is intended to express to the audience. And here's the thing: the way a dancer expresses emotional content is the same way method actors do it: they feel the emotions themselves (which they can't do when their attention is on the movements). When that starts to happen for the dancer, the dance transitions from a mechanical craft to an ethereal art, and when an audience sees it performed, they're [ideally] moved.

My beliefs are that... In the context of ritual magic, anything short of that is just so much walking about, arm-waving, and humming. In the context of ceremonial magic (group ritual magic), one distracted moment for a single participant spoils the entire effort, no matter how well the rest of it goes.

Your idea about friendships and emotional entanglements being a problem for group magic, Sheperdess, would be overcome by sufficient rehearsal, so I believe. If the mechanics of the ritual are so well practiced that the performance is truly art, the magic can happen, regardless of what happens between group members before or after the ritual.
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#8 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:16 PM

View Postvioletstar, on 12 January 2018 - 11:13 PM, said:


I myself contest the “scrupulous adherence to rules" and the "invariability" factor that dictates that conclusion.From my own experiences and from observing the rituals of others,I find it anything but.For example,even though one might be determined to keep the ritual to the letter unexpected events may dictate necessary changes to the usual structure.This is entirely prevalent in outdoor rituals both in a group or solo form and I am sure those who employ rituals will have experienced that.However,such minor changes are unlikely to elicit a shout of failure from those participating and breaking away from rigid formats can in some cases bring reward,

I think there are a lot of ways to do magic that don't rely on ritual per se. In recent years I've nearly exclusively focused on magic performed in relatively wild places, and improvisational interplay with the natural elements of the place are part and parcel of the work. I don't think of that as ritual magic though, which is the approach I've employed more than any other overall. You can see my previous post to get a good sense of how I feel about ritual in Ritual Magic™.

From your point of view, what does Ritual Magic right and proper entail, and how much tolerance to variation do you presume?
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#9 Sheperdess

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:23 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 13 January 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

I think for us here reading this paper, it's important to acknowledge that they're not investigating ritual magic directly, and certainly not addressing the effectiveness of ritual magic as magic. They're looking at the effects of engaging in ritual behavior as they've defined it in the first section on psychological variables. When they talk about social cohesion, they're not targeting the group, they're looking to the individual, their sense of belonging, the degree to which they feel other group members believe what they believe, share their feelings, etc. Therefore, we can't expect their conclusions to comport well with our direct interests, but we might find interesting and useful things in the evidence they've pulled together.

In that passage they're discussing evidence that generally points to the idea that shared experience fosters social bonding by way of select psychological variables. That idea is quite well-supported, though their reasoning is somewhat novel. A more specific idea they discuss in that part of the paper that interests me is that the sense of shared attention during ritual leads to perceptions of emotional synchrony (also during ritual). While they do go on to claim that perceptions of that nature correlate with group cohesion, because that's what they're talking about in that section, those moments of shared attention and emotional synchrony have magical import in my opinion.

In my experience, group magic is really difficult to pull off. As near as I can tell, the key features that make it work well include shared attention and emotional synchrony: I couldn't have phrased it better The best tool I know of to facilitate those things during a working is well-structured, and very importantly, well-rehearsed ritual. The rate limiter in my opinion is the rehearsal, which I also hold is true for solo ritual. The physical performance needs to be so well-rehearsed that it's actions can be carried out completely free of the need for conscious control, which allows for the true meaning of the ritual to emerge.

The best analogy I have for that (long-time readers have heard this before) is the process a ballet dancer goes through in learning a piece to performance-ready. In the beginning the focus is all on the specific sequence of movements and the demand for conscious control is extremely high. With [excessive] rehearsal, the sequence of movements transitions from highly effortful to second nature, and conscious control transitions from motor coordination to the encoded meaning of the piece, the feelings the dance is intended to express to the audience. And here's the thing: the way a dancer expresses emotional content is the same way method actors do it: they feel the emotions themselves (which they can't do when their attention is on the movements). When that starts to happen for the dancer, the dance transitions from a mechanical craft to an ethereal art, and when an audience sees it performed, they're [ideally] moved.

My beliefs are that... In the context of ritual magic, anything short of that is just so much walking about, arm-waving, and humming. In the context of ceremonial magic (group ritual magic), one distracted moment for a single participant spoils the entire effort, no matter how well the rest of it goes.

Your idea about friendships and emotional entanglements being a problem for group magic, Sheperdess, would be overcome by sufficient rehearsal, so I believe. If the mechanics of the ritual are so well practiced that the performance is truly art, the magic can happen, regardless of what happens between group members before or after the ritual.
Thank you for helping me understand this.Ok I see that this paper was not only for ritual magic but ritual in everyday thing too.I would not say it was my idea about the emotion and friendship so I was speaking from experience in my own group from the last 3 year where I find in my case these things have sometime block the magic.Maybe because witchcraft may operate more different from the Ceremonial Magic I am seeing something different.Upon this people have said OK magic is magic so it could be true just received in a different way. Readers must also be sure that the older way of witchcraft operates much different than the Wiccan type which use ritual form of drama plus lots of other ideas alien to witchcraft.So no arm waving or humming!

Then I am not sure of this rehearsal.Yes,the actors in a play have the script also maybe the Ceremonial Magician must have rules and the more stern format to follow so I can agree that rehearsing must be important for their ritual.In my belief system there are few rules with a simple format that often has to see change in the unexpected circumstance that can not allow things to happen the way it was planned.For my example I can say that group ritual in the graveyard will be better than the solo attempt for certain reasons.In another way of speaking,when you get to this place of working things will not be as you maybe expect even if you have the experience.But I can agree here that 'the sense of shared attention during ritual leads to perceptions of emotional synchrony' is important but with awareness of the fright factor because if everyone were synchronised in that case of fear we may all be in danger of running from the protection of the circle or barrier set to shield us.

Your experiences tells me you will prefer the solo work and I can agree that with the Ceremonial Ritual strong discipline is needed so I think it must be easier to gain this alone and more difficult to have equal discipline in the group of magicians.In these grimoire I can see lots of rules for their ritual so discipline must be very important and I think most of these magic books are for the solo magician.

It is really good to hear of opinions on this part of ritual mechanism so I hope more members will be sharing their experiences or thoughts.

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#10 Aurum

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:52 AM

The ritual negates the ego that puts people back into a tribal consciousness that helps people feel a kind of closeness, but it disrupts the evolution of the ego. With individualism, there can be selfishness and loneliness, but the I AM can be strengthened through one's own development, consciously finding love and knowledge. True knowledge is love, a higher love for everything around you, an informed one not a compelled one. A love that is a choice.

#11 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 02:55 PM

View PostSheperdess, on 13 January 2018 - 09:23 PM, said:


I would not say it was my idea about the emotion and friendship so I was speaking from experience in my own group from the last 3 year where I find in my case these things have sometime block the magic.Maybe because witchcraft may operate more different from the Ceremonial Magic I am seeing something different.Upon this people have said OK magic is magic so it could be true just received in a different way. Readers must also be sure that the older way of witchcraft operates much different than the Wiccan type which use ritual form of drama plus lots of other ideas alien to witchcraft.So no arm waving or humming!

It would be useful if you described a typical ritual of the sort you're talking about.
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#12 Sheperdess

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:35 PM

Ok,To save some time I was already saying about this before so I can put it again.
We are marking out with our Circle diamond shape to mean cone and vortex of power to stand in Also sometime we have marked tablets in clay with name of deity and some symbols.With this to be put outside Circle on the little mound so the spirit can be seen there so this may be like an area of the magician triangle I was thinking.
Sometime with Celtic way they are also walking in spiral to charge their Circle like you say plus also they have four mound to make the diamond points.We must be having a fire so we cannot be inside of course plus we also put a lamp above the mound hanging and the incense will be smoking at edge of Circle to face mound.

Then with this done we make the call and we wait,soon a mist will come but not always but with the creepy silence.Ok.With this there will be a feeling of something strange is happened to the ambient feel then usually before these spirit appear we can hear the farm animals go crazy with also maybe a dog barking.When suddenly this is quiet these spirit are appear sometimes also they hide to pop up in another place to try of scare people so with not knowing this you maybe being scared.
For the graveyard work it can be more danger so the way there must be particular to protect from sinister spirit that may also come with no invitation.If they are there they have the tricky disguise like something that seem good but this will harm if you go to near.
I was also thinking we are not forcing to summon them so we are inviting them maybe this was one reason they say we are in leagues with them because we did not include the Lord to make them come.

I must add the work in graveyards is not to be recommended for beginners,Also it may be criminal to go there after dark in some countries plus the question of respect and ethics.So the typical ritual can vary for motives,it may be to mark a special time but mostly it will be to invite spirits to join us with the hope they will reveal secrets or warn of things we should know.I think you maybe asking the way of how we do things not why we are doing it so I can tell the basic I will avoid the graveyard so we can look at a more usual ritual.First we will always be outside in the woods where we go before to make a clearing if we are not using a site known to us of being used by witches long ago.So in the daytime we go to choose this place.We are looking for the place away from paths where no-one will see us.Also we must be sure the fire will not be seen but the smoke is OK at night which is the time we work.Then we prefer to find a place with two trees near to the other between these we are making the low Altar with stones or pile of branches.If of stone we hide this with branches plus other bits from the woodland.Then we go.

When darkness come we return and there are no more than 7 people all women usually but sometime 5.On the Altar we have one candle and a cup or chalice plus the food and red wine.We are usually wearing black,sometime robes sometime dresses.The Lamp is colored glass hanging from the tree as I said before.Sometime we make the little mound which in our belief is meaning Trojan burial place for Hero with special symbols in the clay tablet.Then we make the circle with flour or wheat before the fire is light.So in the circle one person is tending the fire,one to keep the incense smoking and the leader or Lady will dedicate the ritual to its purpose,These 3 were the origin of the witch saying With Fire and Smoke I Invoke so this number is the minimum for group ritual.
In old times a man appeared to give food and drink to the witches so the Christians say he was the Devil but mostly it was a woman called in modern time Maiden of Revels.For this role to be explained it will be best behind the closed doors.With some group they have a man to be the Devil or Horned God.

Once we are in the circle the Lady begins the oration sometime in the Latin but more usual to use words passed down from older witchcraft.So there is no chanting humming or dancing like the Christian thought was true,only the call to the spirits and to help with this we use sexual based way of raising or attracting then but this is in the secret way I must not say,Soon these spirit will arrive as I said above before and most will be coming from the NW direction in the area between death and being in their place of renewal.When they cone in it nay be frightening for the first time and to shock if you did not really think they exist then your mind will be like messed up when after you think it cannot be true but it was.Plus sometime they are tricky with the appearing like one of us or that person we know but I have not understood why.Plus it is true they make noise if they are thinking they can scare you or will show up like ghosts flying about.If you have the Henbane you may be feeling these spirit as real to touch if you reach toward them but not to leave the circle.

Sometime these spirit may go on time without asking other time the Lady shows the Blackthorn or Wand of Bone so then they leave,When they are around it is like the lightening that make the heart go fast so this is the change to atmosphere.When they are gone it is safe to go to the Altar for the Remembrance mainly of those past witches and the recognition of what we call the Witch Mother so we have no gods or goddesses like Wicca plus no swords,knives or bubbly cauldron.We will not be taking notice of Moon phase or some wheel of 8 festival so only the seasons but we do not celebrate them in that way of Wicca.For some older witches they call upon Tanat in special cases where they see something called a Lunar Resurrection.With the ritual of Tanat there are more things to note.also there is Sacrifice required for this type of energy to be called in.

Once we are finished we usually drink too much so we maybe drunk then if so we might also dance!We then scuff out the circle and it will not be seen plus cover over the Altar with branches hiding it,The fire will be put out sometime with pee so it was in a large bucket or tin and we can carry this away.Finally we place a secret thing at the entrance to the place to protect it and divert people away in the case they maybe harmed if they come upon it.

This is basic plus also for the experienced witch no circle or fire is used but still outdoor with the Lamp in the tree branch.With that case it will be useful for lust sometime when they call on Inana in the evening star or the Algol but again this is not the place to discuss this plus somethings must not be written you will understand.

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#13 violetstar

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 01:04 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 13 January 2018 - 05:16 PM, said:

I think there are a lot of ways to do magic that don't rely on ritual per se. In recent years I've nearly exclusively focused on magic performed in relatively wild places, and improvisational interplay with the natural elements of the place are part and parcel of the work. I don't think of that as ritual magic though, which is the approach I've employed more than any other overall. You can see my previous post to get a good sense of how I feel about ritual in Ritual Magic™.

From your point of view, what does Ritual Magic right and proper entail, and how much tolerance to variation do you presume?
It entails commitment,dedication and sincerity over a long period of time to bring results.There are many types of magic that could be termed ritual of course if you apply a definition of a set of actions aiming to facilitate a change.

Tolerance to variation is often dictated by unforeseen circumstances that may initiate the need to veer from the original planned format as Sheperdess has shown above.Presuming the ritual is self-formulated there is no limit to variation unless taken to the extent of alteration to a point where any level of success is hampered by the addition of superfluous ideas or subtraction of key components.Improvisation is not necessarily adaptation that allowed for variation.

In contrast ritual instruction set within for example Goetic type works have realistically little scope for adaptation outside of Adept experience.The beginner or in some cases even the intermediary,will be better sticking to the letter in the first instance.Practice makes perfect and if it aint broken dont fix it.

#14 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 08:56 PM

View PostSheperdess, on 14 January 2018 - 06:35 PM, said:


Ok.With this there will be a feeling of something strange is happened to the ambient feel then usually before these spirit appear we can hear the farm animals go crazy with also maybe a dog barking.When suddenly this is quiet these spirit are appear sometimes also they hide to pop up in another place to try of scare people so with not knowing this you maybe being scared.


To your mind, how important is it for everyone present to feel such feelings?
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#15 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:27 PM

View Postvioletstar, on 15 January 2018 - 01:04 PM, said:

It entails commitment,dedication and sincerity over a long period of time to bring results.There are many types of magic that could be termed ritual of course if you apply a definition of a set of actions aiming to facilitate a change.

I was thinking more along the lines of specific ritual performance, rather than one's long term practices. The individual ritual performance was the level of analysis the authors of the paper were using when discussing the strict adherence issue.

View Postvioletstar, on 15 January 2018 - 01:04 PM, said:

Tolerance to variation is often dictated by unforeseen circumstances that may initiate the need to veer from the original planned format as Sheperdess has shown above.Presuming the ritual is self-formulated there is no limit to variation unless taken to the extent of alteration to a point where any level of success is hampered by the addition of superfluous ideas or subtraction of key components.Improvisation is not necessarily adaptation that allowed for variation.

Given that the authors of the paper set forth a definition of ritual that precludes improvisation in favor of strict adherence to protocol, we can't expect the psychological variables they discuss later in the paper to apply to practices in which improvisation is an expected part. This is precisely why science papers spell out their definitions, to limit the scope of their interpretations and claims. In a review paper like this one, it is possible to derive novel interpretations from the sources they assembled. but that's a really hard thing for a lay-reader to do.
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#16 Sheperdess

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:35 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 15 January 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

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To your mind, how important is it for everyone present to feel such feelings?
I do not think it will be important for me because it will not be affecting the results.It can be important for beginners who sometime think if they feel nothing they will not be in connection but it is not true.Also with the experience some change in atmosphere you may not notice but this must not always be certain this change have not been made and I think the magician also knows to be careful to be inside the circle even when you cannot feel or see any change.

I an not always seeing things others may see or they may not see so this is not so important in the group with at least someone will be feeling or seeing so it can be signalled to the others.With solo work sometime we must rely on the inner feelings to sense this change.

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#17 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:18 PM

View PostSheperdess, on 15 January 2018 - 10:35 PM, said:


... so this is not so important in the group with at least someone will be feeling or seeing so it can be signalled to the others.

If you weren't feeling anything, do you suppose you'd know, or care, if someone else was lying about what they feel?
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#18 Sheperdess

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 10:50 AM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 15 January 2018 - 11:18 PM, said:

If you weren't feeling anything, do you suppose you'd know, or care, if someone else was lying about what they feel?
I would care but there would be no reason for the lying so in a group we have trust like all relationship.So if I did not feel something but another did I may know they are saying it for a good reason not to be having the big ego.In case they were lying I would not care if this did not affect the ritual also I can think they will be in the end be blocking themselve.
Sometime people feel different thing in example of changing atmosphere so we must not think because these are differing they will not be true.Will you be able to tell me if you have felt this change and what it was like for you?

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#19 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 04:13 AM

View PostSheperdess, on 16 January 2018 - 10:50 AM, said:

I would care but there would be no reason for the lying so in a group we have trust like all relationship.So if I did not feel something but another did I may know they are saying it for a good reason not to be having the big ego.In case they were lying I would not care if this did not affect the ritual also I can think they will be in the end be blocking themselve.

You seemed to suggest that getting to know people well enough to trust them would be a problem. I must have misunderstood you. Or perhaps we have different ideas about when we trust.

View PostSheperdess, on 16 January 2018 - 10:50 AM, said:

Sometime people feel different thing in example of changing atmosphere so we must not think because these are differing they will not be true.Will you be able to tell me if you have felt this change and what it was like for you?

Ritual work when it's working well the way I do it, makes the air I'm breathing feel (and taste?) different, perhaps makes me feel physically lighter, changes my visual perception in ways I can't describe, and changes my sensory acuity for subtle physical sensations that I associate with the concept of magical energy, which I manipulate as part of the ritual work.

What makes ritual magic effective, from my experience, tracks with maintaining clear focus on the work at hand. The more completely free of extraneous thoughts and feelings, the better. Unrelated thoughts and feelings that arise unbidden tend to have a nullifying effect.

A well-designed (from my perspective) and well rehearsed ritual consumes attention, so the mind is never free to wander to irrelevant things. Consistent rehearsal is also essential to establishing a clear sequence of expectations for when and how the various changes that ritual brings about will occur. If those conditions aren't met, it doesn't meet my personal definition of ritual magic, even if there's a set procedure and the desired effects are achieved.

As I alluded to previously in the thread, I do magic in wild places, where I interact with natural forces, like the ocean, the wind, the flora and fauna, etc. I have procedures for that, but it isn't ritual magic, not the way I think about things anyway.
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#20 Sheperdess

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 10:43 PM

This was very interesting thank you so of course I was speaking of a change that happens with calling of spirits maybe a general evocation of who maybe around at the time.When we feel this change in atmosphere we can think these spirit are near even if we may not see them.So if your way is good for you there can be no need to alter how you work so the 'Unrelated thoughts and feelings that arise unbidden tend to have a nullifying effect' I was saying can happen with too much friendship in the circle.
I always tell of a need to work in the wild place as today many spirits are there like when birds fly there after their homes are destroyed by builders in towns also sometime I have seen cats who chose the wild place to hide away from people.With these cats they know if the spirit is here and can give you the signal you will not be talking to yourself if you cannot see them they are still hearing you.

With these natural forces are you calling their spirits of Elements and those living in the flora like sometime ritual gathering of herbs?Also do you feel these names given in books to spirits you will adhere to or will you find their name given over by your procedures?

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