Subjective Concepts of Success and Failure in Magic

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Silenciumetaurum
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Subjective Concepts of Success and Failure in Magic

Post#1 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:32 am

A fairly experienced hoodoo worker once said to me that every year she counts up the number of successful workings she's done and gives herself a percentage grade. If I remember correctly, she was somewhere in the 80%s that year and told me she'd never had a year that dipped below a 70% success rate. I think, if you're going to hang out your shingle as a professional, you probably should be at a 70%+ average. But obviously the way you count some successes is going to be so subjective as to make any kind of self-rating useless for others. Still, it's an interesting practice, if only to get us thinking carefully about our work.

I've found that there are many different kinds of successes—direct successes that are both slow and fast, weird circuitous successes and positive outcomes that fit the intent but not the expectation. Sometimes workings will weave together, while other outcomes just amount to a shift in perception that impacts subjectivitiy in a powerful way. There are so many different kinds of results and no real objective standards. It makes it hard to develop a typology of magical outcomes. I guess this is one reason why, when the skeptic demands proof (i.e. an outcome that can be put on a scientifically accepted materialistic metric), I have nothing to say. The outcome of magic is rarely 100% objective (which is to say, material, tangible, measurable); though, it is often partly that.

Much depends on perception and intuition. And, when one of us goes through a despair-depression-doubting phase (for whatever reasons, I can't accept magic unless I can weigh it on some kind of scale and that upsets me), it can be really hard to look inside and find "the star of the magi," so to speak—that secret fire of inspiration that keeps us going.

So I thought it might be good to pose these questions to the community: how do you evaluate your magical successes and failures? What are some borderline experiences and how do you put those into perspective? If you record the outcomes of your workings, do you use a particular system of notation? And how much work do you typically do in a given calendar year?

These are questions mostly aimed at intermediate-to-advanced practitioners here, for obvious reasons.
“Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.” — Marcus Aurelius

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