Magic and Causality

This essay is my way of thinking through the effect of causality on magic. I’m not an expert in either subject, but I do have some ideas that I am exploring.

Is there such a thing as “magical cause and effect”? Philosopher David Hume postulated that because we cannot see the effect of one action on another, we cannot claim one thing caused an effect on another. He claimed that causality was a product of the human mind. To me, he seems to be saying that all things happen via “magic”, since they are not caused by “cause and effect”. I realize that this isn’t what he meant, but if events aren’t caused by cause and effect, how else can they happen?

Immanuel Kant, another great philosopher, believed that an event is a natural result of a cause. The laws of causality must exist to regulate the laws of nature. Again, this brings me to magic, making me think that if we preform a certain action within ritual we can trigger an event to take place.

We tend to rely on the consistency of our actions’ results to determine what we can do in the future to obtain the results we desire. In spell work, we record spells and their results and compare them with similar spells to see if there are any consistences. Records in our Book of Shadows can help us to determine which action to take in order to achieve a desired results. For example, if we perform several successful healing spells in which we use a certain herb as part of our incense, we may come to the conclusion that this herb is the part of the cause of this success. This aids to our understanding of magical cause and effect, and leads to the creation of magical correspondences.

New spells are formed based on what has worked in the past. This brings spell work above the level of simple superstition. Areas to pay attention to include actions or combinations of actions, timing, and tools and reagents. It is also useful to examine if all parts of the ritual are necessary to achieve the desired result. This can be helpful in creating more concise rituals when time is short.

So, what about the Rede and the Law of Three? We must be aware of the result of our actions to ensure that we are remaining within the spirit of the Rede. Awareness of causality becomes constant. With the Law of Three, results are clearly important as well, in that they also have an effect on us. The Law calls on you to preform actions for the good of others, and what effect others will also ultimately effect you. It may sound slightly selfish, but I don’t really see it that way. Helping others often makes us feel good about ourselves, yet we don’t do good deeds just to achieve this feeling. We do them because it is right.

Causality effects mundane things in everyday life For example, flipping a switch (cause) turns on the life (effect), and paying your eclectic bill (cause) makes sure they is power for the light (effect), why can’t it also apply to more magical events? Try keeping more detailed records of your ritual workings and their ultimate results to see if causality works for you.