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OEITH #203 Transformations

OEITH #203 Transformations

Update: 2021-11-27
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Borrowing concepts from psychotherapy we explore how magick produces its effects, considering along the way: how nothing in what we are about to discuss should be construed as causal; magick as acausal; the sense in which magick does not work; how magick is not therapy, but how therapy might be magick; how therapy has its effect; a personal example of a therapeutic effect; possible similarities with teaching; Freud's idea of "impossible" professions; the impossibility of predicting effects in certain fields; magick as an impossible profession; why some people might be better at contending with the impossible than others; a certain way of being; not "doing", but changes in being; why there cannot be a theory of magick; our current, primitive theories of magick: spirits, belief-shifting, and quantum physics; borrowing from theories on the efficacy of therapy; not what a therapist does but what they might become; the work of Wilfred Bion; its mystical dimension; transformations and invariants; communication as transformation; the transcendence of meaning by the invariant; Platonic resonances in Bion; transformations in magick; the essence of ritual; Chapman's definition of magick; the priest or priestess as not causing an experience but offering a transformation; understanding as the recognition of the invariant; Bion's idea of "The Grid"; beta elements and alpha elements; beta process as the acting out of an invariant; transformation of beta elements into alpha elements; alpha process as the cognition of an invariant; transformation as a means of bringing the invariant into focus; the therapist as not doing something but offering her alpha process; therapy offers the possibility of experiencing truth; the similarity of psychotherapeutic change to synchronicity; the feeling of synchronicity; therapy as a synchronicity in understanding rather than in external events; how the magician's therapist is reality; understanding as inherently synchronistic; understanding as transformation; a kabbalistic perspective on understanding; every act of understanding as a miniature crossing of the abyss; Bion's concepts of K and O; transformations in K contrasted with transformations in O; O as the absolute truth and reality; the possibility of connecting with O; the function of the therapist as becoming O; this assisted by the absence of preconceptions; Bion on achieving freedom from memory and desire; the role of interpretation in therapy; abuses and misuses of interpretation; Charles Rycroft's liberating take on interpretation; the function of interpretation as opening up rather than closing down meaning; the possible tyranny of interpretation in magical culture; connection with truth is becoming transformed by it; the experience of this as a synchronicity between past and present; becoming O in magick; the occult idea of the evolution of different bodies; a body as a function that has become objective; the physical, etheric, astral, and mental bodies; the mental body as only partially developed; the experience of the mental body in enlightened beings; Bion's transformations as transitions between different bodies; sorcery versus mysticism from this perspective; becoming O in magick as a transformation of self through understanding, in the process developing the mental body.


Wilfred Ruprecht Bion (1965). Transformations: Change from Learning to Growth. London: Heinemann.


Wilfred Ruprecht Bion (2004). Attention and Interpretation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


Charles Rycroft (1991). Psychoanalysis and Beyond. London: Hogarth.



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OEITH #203 Transformations

OEITH #203 Transformations

Duncan Barford