The Difference Between Magic and Psychology (And Why It Matters)

We here at The Moth Mage strive for magical quality over quantity, and when it comes to magical understanding, there are certain boundaries one must stay within, or cross, in order to successfully work a spell. When analyzing magical models, or models of operation, we classify them into six major fields:

  1. Psychological Model
  2. Energy Model
  3. Spirit Model
  4. Information Model
  5. Meta Model
  6. Uncategorized Model

We of The Moth Mage have an equal distribution of “Spirit Model” and “Uncategorized Model” workers- Siralonx and Moadiex in the former, and Qur and Velotak in the latter. There exists, on and off-line, a vast repository of information regarding the differences between at least the first three categorizations, with less on the last three. Energy Models generally perceive the universe as being founded on different qualities of energy, while Spirit Models centralize the functions of eternity on spiritual beings and intelligences, usually beyond the scope of (or well within the reach of) humanity. Information Models identify the functional force of the universe as information, which dictates the behavior of energy in a manner akin to advanced programming. Meta Models incorporate most or all models, with primary emphasis on the experience of the individual, however, Uncategorized Models are purely based on personal experience or a functionally different form apart from the previously mentioned.

All of the described models are legitimate vessels of magical experience and functional ways of interacting with power.

That is, aside from the Psychological Model.

Most interpretations of this model of spiritual understanding are not equivalent to magical understanding. Developing the personality of oneself and the confrontation of one’s inner weaknesses is a mental matter- or, rather, at least in the ways presented by this model. It only begins to incorporate spiritual aspects with the introduction of archetypes into one’s routines; patterns of behavior and character fundamentally understood by mankind for millennia. Even these “subconscious legends” tend to act in solely psychological functions, which is not the true scope of sorcery.

The primary failing of the Psychological Model is that in many of its iterations, the “subscriber” is instructed to view the contents of the system as mental constructs or programs that are interfaced with in order to understand the self. It is a human-centric method of describing spiritual experience, which is simply a metaphysical fallacy:

It isn’t about us. 

The universe we cohabit is a place much bigger than we can properly image with our telescopes. There are many layers to our experience in this world, and our cosmic insignificance is part and parcel of this whole. A central concept to our time here is our impending death, our limited amount of actions we get to perform before this form rots away.

The difference between psychology and magic matters because purely mental efforts bring purely mental results. Playing around in the deep folds of your subconscious can be personally illuminating, but it isn’t magic- its mistaking reading the instruction manual for playing the game.

True magical patterns are not born from intricate series of imaginations, but from a metaphysical source oftentimes outside of the sorcerer. Most magic involves the utilization of a power source outside of the caster (if properly created), such as a spirit, location, or object.

Symbolic mental wanderings are not acts of sorcery.

The differentiation matters when it comes to result.

Psychological events often consist of visual stimuli used as a focus for concentration on certain aspects of the self. One may relate the wounds of a Christ figure to their own past troubles, as an example. Most do not produce sensations, regardless of their normal frequency as experienced by the adherent. While capable of facilitating revelations, either personal or regarding interaction between the players of life, it does not produce much else except a distorted sense of reality- oftentimes the symbols used as focal points for their development appear more substantial than they are.

Magical events usually combine sensory stimuli such as smells, tastes, and feelings, but often as a side effect or means of detecting magical phenomena. These phenomena fall under two primary distinctions, with many potential sub-classes of categorization: spiritual change, or physical change. Magic seeks to affect the fabric of reality using metaphysical patterns, to conform to the will of the caster or an outside influence. Magic can change the identity of the self, but it can also rearrange the life of an individual for better or worse. Sorcery can be worked for the self, or for others, and can affect the living, dead, and inhuman alike.

Magic isn’t about humanity.

Magic is about reality…

…and vice versa.


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