The Difference between Magick and Faith
Some may say that magic is just faith, wishing, or believing something to be true and because of this behavior, reality is affected. faith, in itself is the act of thinking something to be true when a person knows that it is false, or accepts a position of belief without knowing the true facts. This implies a certain lack of knowledge in the reality of a situation. The lack of knowledge is that we do not know the outcome. Because of this, we wish for a good result or we accept what we think will be the outcome. While this can be beneficial for a good outlook, it does nothing to help a magician in actually creating effects. Believing something to be true when a person knows that it is otherwise, or just for the sake of believing, is a means of self deceit and it only leads to disappointment or delusion.
The magician is neither self-deluded, nor reliant on faith to produce results. Since magic, and magicians work with metaphysical philosophies, tools, specific traditions, certain literary sources, symbolism and other creative means, the act of using magic is certainly not based on a lack of knowledge. The magician is able to act because the knowledge is known and the magician has the wisdom to be able to apply it. The more a magician knows about the universe the more they are able to affect it. A magician who is aware of the self and of the universe, and who has knowledge to be able to use tools and symbolism and other aspects of the occult, is prepared to create the effects of magick.
For some who are new to the practice of magic, it might seem natural to want to believe that it works in order to deal with the idea that one is using magick. A method like this is no better than pretending that one is using magick and it stifles the whole experience into nothing more than a mental exercise. A much better method is to read, study and practice, and actually experience the effects of magic by suspending belief or disbelief.
It is good to be able to suspend disbelief or judgment while in the early stages of learning magick. This is a suggestion that helps a person to deal with the concepts of magic in a better way, so that faith or belief are not even a factor in what the magician decides to do. In this way the magician is working toward results without expecting to see a return. This suspension of belief, or disbelief will aid the magician in a good way. It will allow for results to come about without the magician influencing them [after the casting].
It is the magician that takes the time and effort to practice and learn that will soon have the experience to be able to judge the effects of the work that they are creating. The actual knowledge of your ability to do magic comes with experience and time and soon you will have the wisdom enough to know that you can. This knowledge is fundamentally true for the magician because the magician has the wisdom to be able to see its effects. In this way, believing or having faith that it works is not the same as knowing that it works.
The faith or belief in something is not the same thing as actual will. Faith is the belief in something even if it is unproven or untrue. Will is the absolute force of the power of your intention. Faith can affect the direction of will but it is not will itself. This means that if you let your faith in something affect you for long enough it will be your intention.
An example of this is the person who believes that they are unlucky or unworthy, and who subsequently has unlucky experiences. What happens is, the cycle of belief perpetuates within this person's life, allowing them to experience what they believe to be the truth. They create their own reality in this way. The same goes for the person who feels that they are very lucky in circumstances; it is their way of thinking that molds their belief in these lucky or unlucky circumstances, and this creates the results.
Faith based religions such as Christianity or Judaism rely on the use of faith to guide their members in what they feel is right and wrong. It is this faith which keeps their spirituality alive and it is also this faith that creates the desired effects for them.
The people of these religions have to rely on the faith that it was their god that authored their holy books. Within these religions it is the faith that their god will also be benevolent to them or provide for them what they need. From an ontological view, the existence or even the non-existence of God can not be proven. Even if this is true, there have been many cultures with many gods besides the god of the Judeo-christian faith. To the peoples of these religions, however faith and the results of this faith is all they need to know that what they are experiencing is real.
At the other extreme of faith is doubt. Doubt is the questioning of a truth or an assumed truth. Doubt is a powerful thing because it can either stop us in our tracks or allow us to move ahead in a situation. When doubt is used in such a way that it reveals the truth. The Occultist and Satanist Anton LaVey certainly knew what he was talking about when he said that truth never set anyone free. According to his view, it is doubt that brings a person to emancipation, which brings about freedom from oppression and self deceit. Doubt is what allows a person to be able to discern the truth from what is possibly false.
Doubt and skepticism are not the same thing. Doubt is the inability to know the truth, and skepticism is the inability to accept a truth or something that is false. Being able to suspend judgment before the facts are known, allows the skeptic to neither be right or wrong or assume that either outcome will occur.
Doubt and skepticism can be a good thing, when it is used wisely. A magician who is able to use this type of skeptical judgment when working with magick or studying the occult has the ability to be able to see with more clarity and to deal with situations in a pragmatic way.
Even though skepticism or doubt can hinder results, the process of skepticism can be useful in the practice of the occult arts. One example of this is called the method of Occam's Razor. This practice is used to find the simplest, and best explanation for a phenomenon or situation that is encountered. It is often the least complicated solution that makes the most sense and is the wisest choice.