Secret societies, societies with secrets, and societies with spoilers

When thinking about secrets and mysteries in practice, I’ve long tossed about the idea of a difference between secret societies, societies with secrets and a society without spoilers. Especially in this day when so much is being made available online, but that really is just a matter of scale when there are plenty of historical examples of similar things, such as Aleister Crowley revealing the initiatory rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as serialized in the pages of the Equinox, the varied publication and exposé of so much Freemasonic ritual, and so forth.

There are still some pretty legitimately secret societies, which while well-known to exist are not revealed, such as the Skull and Bones society, and recently breaking the Copiale cipher seemed to tantalizingly promise that there might be still some complex and completely unknown societies, at least until it was revealed the material was pretty clearly Freemasonic in nature. But for the most part, I object that when people talk about secret societies they are engaged in flights of fancy about group about which not only their existence but much of their particulars are known. Quite often, of course, such wild imaginings are part and parcel with an agenda of fear mongering, but even still there are otherwise sane and rational people talking about certain societies as if they were actually not completely or almost completely public. Certainly Freemasonic tradition and ritual cannot rationally be called secret anymore, and the membership is in the habit of parading around, not to mention things like having decals on their cars and fobs on their keychains, and thus it cannot be called a secret society. Even traditional boogeymen like Aleister Crowley and Ordo Templi Orientis can only by the slimmest margin come anywhere near being called a secret society, with websites, public spaces, public event calendars, and so forth. There may indeed be legitimately unavailable secrets still, for example within A∴A∴, but that’s not enough to call these fraternal orders by the name of a secret society. In these cases there’s perhaps some legitimate secrets, but there must also be a practical recognition that most material related to these groups is available, outside the structured system of the society itself, somewhere, if one wants to find it.

Of course, just as much as one can avoid spoilers for movies and books and other things sequentially revealed, it is possible to avoid, for the most part, much of that material. It is not that there are no spoilers. Rather that spoilers do very much exist. Which is to say, the existence of spoilers requires one to decide to avoid the spoilers in order to fully enjoy the reveal. This is quite different from a society that pretends it doesn’t exist to outsiders, or a known society with things that it keeps secret.

 

There are modern examples of working with secrets within esoteric systems, and there’s clearly something interesting going on around secrets. There is smoke pointing to something important and useful at the source. There’s a tension, perhaps much as it ever was, between the urge to make information available and the various efficacies of secrets. T Thorn Coyle wrote a bit about the division in Feri between what had been called the “Mystery tradition” and the “public religion” factions, at “The Sundering of Feri“. Thorn, of course, also runs an online Mystery School. I was trying to find a quote where I recall her saying something about how paganism needed to have a Mystery tradition as part of it, but can’t find that right now.

Generally, when I talk about such things to people who ask, I suggest that initiation ritual, especially, is like a good book or movie with a savoury plot twist or two. You will only ever get a single chance to experience the participatory drama without knowing how it develops; that’s if one goes through it the first time not having read the materials. One and only one chance. Ever. So why throw that away by reading ahead? One can always read the materials afterward, as many times as one likes; but to read the spoilers is to waste a wonderful opportunity that cannot ever, barring soap opera amnesia tropes, be experienced once the reveal has been spoiled.

Whether one “gets” it or not (either initially or on subsequent viewings of a ritual or readings, of material) is another question entirely. And, it seems to me, in my experience, what constitutes “getting it” will likely evolve and change over time no matter what else is a consideration. When given the opportunity, I like to point out that one can go to many stagings of a play by Shakespeare and get new things, new depth of understanding and new enjoyment, as well as savour slightly different interpretations, so to me the re-play value depth of meaning of a work or body of work is something that is a different question to the idea of seeing something for the first time without spoilers.

But, still, people freak about things unknown, and try to minimize and control things by figuring things out ahead instead of being comfortable with being uncomfortable as a thing itself. Seems to me the still prevalent modern desire to conquer Nature and the pervaisive post-modern existential nausea about information overload and slavish ‘inbox zero’ mania are examples, perhaps symptoms, of where the ability to just relax about not knowing, not being in control, would be useful for people to practice in specific so they can have skill in applying it in general.

 

Another aspect that always comes up around secrets is the idea that somehow no matter what is revealed, the real secrets are impervious to such petty concerns. Seems to me blather about mystery being unspoilable is semantically empty jazz hands (or worse self deception (or worse-worse deception of others) about “spiritual” exceptionalism), and misses the point of initiation as orchestrated stressful situation intended to create a kind of imprint vulnerability, an altered state, in the initiate, and attempts to diffuse that stress and that experience before experiencing it is an attempt mitigate and in some form to not have the experience at all. The efficacy of secrets in a system are not just about the information, true, but the information is interwoven into an experience, and the experience is changed by the quality and obscurity of the information on which the experience is built. If one knows the rollercoaster has a blind drop at the end, one still experiences the drop in and of itself, but the surprise in and of itself is changed into anticipation, and that’s a different thing entirely which not only changes the experience of the drop but distracts from the experience of what occurs before.

For me, when I talk about “reading ahead” (spoiling) I mean that as a placeholder for activity the diffuses the effectiveness of initiation and mystery, whether written down and read or spoken and heard or whatever and whatevered. For me, being a candidate in initiation and mystery is to be an improv actor stumbling into a rehearsed stage play, and both savoury and exciting. One tends to think all kinds of things about structure and likely scenarios, if nothing else than a rite of passage (exit normal, experience liminal, re-enter normal changed) but it is the actuality, specifics and plot twists, the things that can be spoiled, which I think should be avoided and, yes, allowed as a personal experience.

 

To bring it around, my point of wondering about classification of societies is that there is a kind of society which is not itself attempting to pretend it doesn’t exist, and which has essentially much of its material revealed or potentially could be in future somewhere, but that points out there is a reason not to “read” ahead as a practice of discipline in and of itself; that there is a place for not knowing as a thing, and experience, to be embodied through ritual, especially dramatic ritual like initiation.

The trick of improv is to have characters and bits of business prepared and figure out ways to fit those into any circumstances, so perhaps the corollary is to become good at mystery and a good initiate prepared by building the foundation of skills, whatever those are in one’s tradition, that make the personal experience of the unknown richer.

If an initiatory working is in some form or another purely ecstatic, then perhaps more than one person will have no prior exposure. That seems quite different than a mystery tradition where something is being revealed. But, whether there is an actual script or not, a mystery tradition will have participants who have experienced or developed a relationship with the mystery who are inducting others. If those others have exposed themselves or been exposed prior to some element meant to be revealed, then they have failed to avoid spoilers, they have whatevered the whatever.

Maps certainly won’t always apply, especial when applied outside their intended scope. Just add as given to any structural approach “except where this doesn’t apply”. But, to be clear, there are other structures, but I’m primarily talking about a mystery tradition where something is being revealed. But, whether there is an actual script or not, a mystery tradition will have participants who have experienced or developed a relationship with the mystery who are inducting others. Here the word ‘mystery’ in a religious sense comes from Greek mysterion “secret rite or doctrine,” as in a thing to be revealed to initiates, whether, additionally as previously stated, those are “written down and read or spoken and heard or whatever and whatevered”, a secret doctrine passed on or a secret rite enacted.

Which begs the question: without a mystery (neither secret rite or secret doctrine) to be revealed, whither the mystery cult? Further, without a mystery, one might even be tempted to ask how can there actually be an initiation at all?

 

Perhaps, one might say of a modern non-mystery that an “impromptu ecstatic divinatory rite” took place which offered UPG, such that a previously unknown rite is enacted or previously unknown doctrine is developed. But without the secret rite or secret doctrine, which would have to have previously existed to those initiated few inducting others, there’s nothing to pass on that was previously held sacred, no previously held in secret doctrine or rite, tautologically.

“Nothing to pass on that was previously held sacred” may offer another name, perhaps more tripping, instead of “society without spoilers”: a “sacred society”, a society with things held sacred as in separate, something bound, enclosed and protected.

Unfortunately, one can follow the etymology of ‘secret’ to essentially the same place, the difference being one implies holiness and the other does not, I suppose, which “holiness” seems, to my mind, just a special case of any of the others three terms I suggested.

 

I suspect the apparent failure of the modality of a “mystery cult” in the modern world has to do with modernity, modernism and existentialism, and the lack of acceptance of shared concrete and coherent gnosis, thus the ground on which a modern mystery cult would be built is unsuitable for lavish neo-romantic structures, except for those already conditioned to such things, such as lapsed Catholics and such. Which is to say, perhaps any mystery cult would seem too superficial to a modern person to have the same religious and social impacts, simply because the assumed rich foundation is missing.

So, the feeling one might have that a mystery cult or tradition in the modern age has lost its luster is due not to the mystery cult but rather due to the overall modern age. There is still a lingering notion that something may be missing for rootless moderns which a mystery cult can offer by way of a more structured ritual, initiations, and a focused mythic basis for ritual; more robust spiritual meaning which then, in turn, offers deeper experience of life in general. But, I find myself wondering if the project of modern mystery traditions is undermined by a general lack of cultural foundation, those foundations of community and cohesion being so efficiently eroded in our public, political and even private lives. Not to mention the lack of what is still called a “classical education” with the broad base of and relationship of familiarity with languages, myths, archetypes and so on. This, then becomes a chicken and egg, which can only be resolved by realizing the false dichotomy that one must be completed before the other, and that the development in general is aided by development in specific, and visa versa, synergistically.

One possible route out of the morass, for moderns and post-moderns, I sometimes come to is the suggestion that situational certainty is a tool for meta-cognition. By this I mean, that the ground on which a mystery cult could be built, the solid ground of structured ritual, initiations, and a focused mythic basis for ritual is sufficient when internally consistent for its purpose and held to be true for the time that it is necessary. But, that threatens what is perhaps an entirely different discussion.

 

But, to bring it back around again, a ‘mystery cult’ is a cult with a mystery. A ‘cult’ is the external activity enacting a religious metaphor, a ritual behaviour. A ‘mystery’ is a secret rite or secret doctrine (to be revealed). Therefore, a ‘mystery cult’ is specifically ritual behaviour that involves a secret rite or secret doctrine. ‘Tradition’ is shared belief or behaviour through time. Therefore, ‘mystery tradition’ is belief and ritual behaviour that involves a secret rite or secret doctrine shared through time.

I’m so strongly reminded by this of something. I believe it was something by Karl Kereny (but it might be form Van Gennep or Turner, I can’t recall right now) which I paraphrase: “Ritual enacts Myth and Myth explains Ritual.”

 

It seems possible to conflate a general meaning of “mystery” as more of a kind of ‘gnosis’ or noetic experience with how I understand it is used in the specific sense within the term “mystery cult” which is more what I am talking about here. When speaking of the idea of whether a ‘mystery cult’ within modern systems would be useful in order to ground the work in structured behaviour, I’m assuming that we’re actually talking about ‘mystery cult’ not general unspecific noetic experience or so forth. This of course somewhat ironically points out a possible initial critique of paganism as a generalized, syncretic, eclectic system which lacks the benefit of what a mystery cult offers and hence the possible utility of that structured influence, offering specific external ritual behaviour around a secret rite or secret doctrine.

If you want mystery without mystery cult, that already exists in various forms of wild and wishy-washy moments of gnosis within the ecstatic traditions of modern life; but, why not try adding an actual ‘mystery cult’ back into the cultural mix? In fact, I could easily argue that there already is ‘mystery cult’ in various places within neopaganism, with a facile example being initiatory orders like OTO and others, which are perfect examples of mysteries for which spoilers exist and which spoilers therefore can be intentionally avoided.

A very salient point for this modern information age is the value an experience of not knowing, so that one can and must do less thinking prior to events, not more. Perhaps the suggestion contained within the experience of not knowing is that one should do one’s thinking after: praxis before theory, so that theory is informed by praxis without prejudice. If this is the case, why not work toward maximizing the possible experience instead of minimizing the probable damage of knowing by seeking after spoilers of any kind, even the mundane accidents surrounding specific quanta and quality?

Indeed, I would suggest that one approach an initiatory experience within an mystery tradition not as a result of successful prior thinking or a seal on attainment, like we are so often familiar with from diplomas, certificates and honors; but an invitation to view the world through a particular lens for a particular period of time, determined by the particulars of the ritual and tradition in which the initiation takes place. In other words, the initiation is really the beginning, suggested by the word itself, of an pervasive life experience.

The full experience of a mystery event intended to involve surprises, plot twists or situations unknown can be self-evidently spoiled by prior knowledge of those circumstances. Especially if part of the trigger for the full experience is the stress of not knowing. Certainly, I don’t mean that these things are binary (and it may be possible to salvage some part of the experience even if spoiled, but why not go for the whole thing instead of the tatters?), but that avoiding spoilers is a discipline that seems worthy if one is serious about that experience, and looking to have it be as rich as possible.

And, that this, in specific, will inform one’s general life as well.

 

And yes, one can point out that for completely ecstatic visceral events and such that are not within a mystery tradition, there’s mostly nothing to spoil by prior knowledge, per se. Except that maybe even still, for example, having that ecstatic visceral experience is based on a not knowing, in some fashion; for example, there’s only one time for the first such experience. All subsequent such experiences are informed by prior such similar events; but also, there may be circumstances around how the experience is induced that involve some fashion of not-knowing the mechanisms being used, which after the initial experience become less effective in themselves and experienced practitioners then rely on other means more, such as anchoring past experience to ease induction subsequently.

Also, for purely personal experience based on involvement in a mystery cultic practice, the former requires the latter, so saying the former can’t be spoiled is only true on the former level but it’s a logical typing fallacy to presume that spoiling the more primary function of mystery cultic practice can’t spoil the dependent personal experience of it. Mystery rituals are built around some kind of surprise, a revealing of the secret practice or doctrine at least. One could try to criticize the practices of mystery traditions by bringing up features of non-surprise ritual is not a feature of surprise ritual merely because they participate in the prior category of ritual. But, still the one is not the other. Noetic mystery is not mystery cult merely because the English word mystery is in both. But these are mostly different topics than suggesting the efficacy a mystery cult with structured ritual behaviour involving a secret doctrine or secret rite to a previous practice of generalized, syncretic, eclectic practice.

 

So, for my own part, I have come to prefer the discipline of having structured ritual events with their reveals unspoiled so that I can experience them with as little prior knowledge as possible, because it’s the only time I will ever get that experience in that way, ever. Of course, you go about your experiences however you like, but I suspect if the initial spoiler free experience is not preserved you’re not actually experiencing ‘mystery cult’ anymore, but rather just, one might say, an extended re-enactment of a transcript of someone else’s dramatized experience. And, if you want that, just watch reruns of some reality television program, or another, instead.

the dream broke

Some of the things you said last night and before matched with my nightmare about moving and never seeing you; really threw me for a loop. I think the dream broke. The invincibility of infatuation has worn away to reveal a bleak reality. What I’m left with is the sure and definite fact that I love you like no other, ever; but I’m also left with the burning and sinking suspicion that you’re going to break my heart. I don’t know if I can survive that. I can let that scare me away, or I can accept it. I can accept that I’m in this for hell or high water, and that I’m a dead man walking into his own grave. But, something broke. I felt for the first time since we met that I’m alone. I don’t feel you with me any more. I don’t know what to do. I feel like hiding, curling up and dying.

Superstition

For me, superstition is not characterized by choosing one metaphor over another labeled wrong, but rather in mistaking perception and metaphor for an objective reality; and to banish superstition is to realize this: that truth is never without subjectivity because any truth understood by a mind is conditioned by the limitations of mind, that metaphors and perceptions are tools of mind to understand facets of greater things beyond and bigger than the simple and flimsy container of comprehension. While I do really like my hammer, and it has served me well on many an occasion; it is merely one tool in my toolbox. While I treat my tools with respect, I do not worship my hammer or mistake it for the things I can build while using it, nor do I mistake my hammer as universally useful for all tasks no matter how handy and at hand it seems. Further, although I have a hammer, I try not to seek out only nails, rejecting all other methods of construction, but, and because, I rather enjoy the opportunity to use a screwdriver once in a while too. I recognize that I am enamoured with the possibility that what I think of as my tools have agency, and that I’m actually in relationship with them, but recognize this is also another metaphor. Finally, sometimes I like to try the ecstatic experience of working without tools, and instead rely on my own hands to shape and mould, though I recognize that even still my body is a kind of tool, perhaps even metaphor, perhaps with its own agency, of mind, but that there is a kind of noesis available through the personal and close acts of crafting and creating which is to be enjoyed for its own sake without hammers at all.

Paradigms 2

I previously posted some initial thoughts about paradigms in, honestly, a kind of screed. From the content of that post, it may not be clear why I think the topic relates to my category of esoterica, I think this continuation will tie those together usefully. I note that Mark over at Darkline made some of this connection already based on my previous.

It’s already been over a year since the previous Ask the Initiates panel at Sekhet-Maat, part of a weekend of activity around the annual Thelemic Symposium. Although it’s come up before and since, I recall especially that one of the questions I was asked by the students was what I thought about the reality of magick and magical entities. Now that the Ask the Initiates panel came around again, the topic came around again as well but I may have brought it up myself because I was thinking about it.

My answer has generally been that If I take seriously the notion of “as above, so below”; it simply doesn’t matter whether my experiences are due to some logically positive objective materialism, purely artefacts of my method and mechanics of perception, or even more abstractly simply contained only within a Popperian third world. In otherwords, I reject the premise that it needs must be answered in an Aristotelean way, that I must answer whether these things are either true or false, real or not real, and that I must accept the particular epistemological stratum in which another intends to hunt for snark.

Not only is the snark a boojum, you see; but, these are particularly my boojum. The reality of these entities in question is an epistemological one, not an ontological one; and most definitely not a phenomenological one since the answer is most emphatically about personal consciousness and not a universal. The question of the ontological and phenomenological reality of magick and magickal entities is actually irrelevant to my ability to engage with them and the utility to me and mine of that work. But, the epistemological reality of these same could be of the utmost importance. The real question is not whether these entities have some objective existence, but whether I gain knowledge and experience through the interaction, the relationship. And, moreover whether I have a justified belief in them.

So, I say it doesn’t matter, except, of course, that it does matter in a way. It may be of the utmost importance that I believe, for the efficacy of a particular magical operation, for the usefulness of any knowledge gained in the experience, one way or the other. But, the important issue is that it may also, at some other point in time-space, be equally or more important for me to believe the opposite.

One of my favourite examples of this is Goetic or Enochian work. The operation is one which I might summon specific entities, with whom I work to develop a relationship, or, in cases, mastery over. One view is that the entity has an objective existence independent of my own cognition and experience of the interaction. However, another way of viewing this: I might be simply externalizing parts of myself in order to gain the distance necessary to integrate those parts of my shadow with which I could not otherwise engage. It may be completely necessary for me to not only act as if the goetic entities are real with independent existences, but also to actually, for some period of time, be completely convinced that is an objective fact.

If for the purposes of a magickal operation, I tend to believe one way or another on the question and the operation is not successful, then it may be necessary to change my mind, alter my thinking, or, change my consciousness in accordance with my will (to sort of make a mishmash of definitions). In other words, if a particular paradigm doesn’t seem to be effective, try another. (And I can’t help but wonder how someone unable to change their consciousness in this way is capable of doing magick at all.)

Here’s where I find myself thinking about the quote from the Principia Discordia: “All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.” The corollary to this might be that in doing magick one will likely need to be pragmatic and artful about the power and limitation of dogma. (I’ll stop before I make the claim that this is also the secret not just to magick but also to peace on Earth, but – Oops. Never mind.)

The mechanism by which this happens has, for me, always been about liminality as long as I’ve known the term. But, moreover, before I really had incorporated notions of the liminal into my thinking, this is surprisingly similar to the act of acting, or rather, for me, the act of being, on stage. For me there’s a concept of an “actor’s brain” which is essentially a doubling of consciousness wherein there is both a character and an actor. Where the former cannot know certain things, the latter must know them; and the “actor’s brain” is where these paradoxical states are reconciled, co-located. Similar to the audience’s suspension of disbelief, where they simultaneously believe and disbelieve the theatrical event; the “actor’s brain” is a place where two conflicting sets of wholistic personality and understanding co-exist, and inform each other, but neither completely subsumes the other. (There are things, in my direct experience, that the character side of the “actor’s brain” knows about how to be and behave which the actor side is unable to discover or fully understand or replicate alone.) In addition to being similar in my experience to the “actor’s brain”, I find this paradigmatic liminality to also have resonance with the notion of suspension in dialogue and Bey’s notion of an autonomous zone [also], and from there a whole host of other things.

Of course, there are other paradigms of acting, to continue the simile, than mine. There are those that are merely mechanical and those that are more fully intuitive. My particular paradigm is one I operate in because of the efficaciousness of that paradigm for me. For the mechanical paradigm, I find that more about performance than ritual, and to and for me theatre is always best when it is ritualized; the mechanical paradigm seems shallow and is to treat the theatrical experience, for both actor and audience, as one of simple deception and manipulation. For the more intuitive paradigm, I find that a slippery slope to madness as so many actors get lost on that road. But, that’s about the utility of these paradigms for me. However, for all these three, there are great actors that have operated in each.

Another example that has always come to mind for me is what I’ve come to see as the Renaissance paradigm shift of astrology. There seems to me a significant paradigm shift where previously the upper determined the lower. after the renaissance, the inner determined the outer. It seems to me that the understanding of astrology radically changed as the paradigm shifts of the Renaissance did. Whereas typically a modern view of the universe is that it is determined from the inside out, that the individual mind and perception of the world, one’s consciousness of the world, changes the world; an earlier view would see the individual as being determined from the outside in, that one’s consciousness was the last mile in a cosmic broadband connection to the divine. Whereas astrology might now see the vagaries of an individual reflected in the stars, that the quirks and foibles of the self are written above, that the individual choices are helped or hindered by the influence of the spheres; it seems to me that an earlier world-view would have seen rather that the self is a reflection of the divine whole, a facet of the larger totality of the universe, that the self is a product of the functioning of the spheres. So, in an older overall paradigm, the notion that the personality of an individual would appear and be amenable to study through the outer makes a great deal of sense. On the other hand, in the newer paradigm, the direction of influence is essentially reversed. In one the stars are the environment in which one acts, and in the other the stars are an intermediate layer in which the influence of cosmic order can be traced to either end, the above or below.

Depending on what kind of information I was looking for, I might need to approach astrology in a radically different way. You know, if one does approach it at all.

Paradigms are sets of meanings derived from observations. The observations don’t really change, unless I get better or different mechanisms and methods of observation, but the value of the meanings derived from those observations is directly related to the utility and efficacy of those meanings as they apply to the work; whether that’s the work of daily living, where the notions of newtonian physics and vector maths and a sensory feedback loop are useful to me as I try to cross the street with my life, or that’s when I’m engaging in a magical operation and trying to gain some effect through affecting efficaciously.

In this way the aphorism “as above, so below”, and its corollaries and co-legates under the wings of their ruling dux, the esoteric archidoxes of the seven hermetic laws detailed in the Kybalion, are all ways of saying paradigms matter but it is not necessary to hold on to them for dear life. “As above, so below”; “as within, so without”; and even “solve et coagula” – these are also structurally the same as the interplay between Self and the Other. There is the Jungian shadow to be integrated, and the self to be absorbed into the communal.

Of course, it really doesn’t matter to me if someone else believes in my experience or not. My “unsubstantiated personal gnosis” is justified to me to the extent that it offers some utility to me. As the Book says, “Success is your proof” … The danger is that I become a victim to confirmation bias, but that’s really a separate question of the scientific rigour of my work. However, the utility of UPG requires necessarily neither that it be shared nor confirmed beyond my own practice. My ongoing personal testing of that UPG is part of the work, such that it may become, at least personally, confirmed and possibly maybe even shared, but it is that the work is that matters more than what is the work, so the necessity is of a different order. It matters not what my paradigm is, but that I have one and that it works for me in the work I need to do when I need to do it. What matters is not the reality of what I do, but the reality that I do it.

In this case, as opposed to a more strictly defined view of the sciences, replicability by others is interesting but not necessary strictly speaking for the value of my esoteric science, and the paradigm in which I operate my scientific method of the work, to be valid and sufficient. However, that’s not to say that sharing and confirming with others is not also useful both as a check on my own work, but also in participating in a community of workers on a shared syncopated operation, perhaps as in the formation of an egregor over time. But, this shared work and my personal work can exist, as much as it is possible for anything to do so since things necessarily on some level exist in relationship with each other, independently of each other. Neither is necessarily significantly diminished by not participating in a system-in-focus with the other, though those connections do necessarily exist in some larger or out-of-focus systemic relationship. In each case it doesn’t, except when it does, matter so much what I’m doing, so long as I’m doing it; and visa versa, it doesn’t matter what work the egregor does, so much that the work works.

In this way magick more closely resembles an engineering black-box problem than an effort at scientific experimental replication. Where the latter is attempting to repeat the method to arrive at the same result, the former is trying to sufficiently repeat a similar result through some method to be determined as necessary.