We Need Plus Size Models…

“People think that you shit because muscles, digestion, and gravity make it come out, but SPIRIT MODEL advocates know that its really Belphegor sending imps to your poop chute to push it out.”
 – Spirit Model Magus

Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but sometimes its not much of one. Once again the Spirit Model vs Energy Model vs Psychological Model has reared its ugly head; and spirit model advocates want spirits to be the explanation of every part of magic. I get it, I do. The late 19th and nearly all the 20th century saw the idea of spirits downplayed as superstition or reduced to psychological mumbo-jumbo in western magic. No one is happier about the resurgence of a more traditional understanding of Spirits than I am. But we need to let go of simplistic models with one active agent. Its dumb.

We also don’t need “Meta Models”. Frater UD posited the Meta model as a way of explaining why magicians adhering to each of these models seem to be able to work magic. He posits that the Meta Model is not really a model but an instruction on how to use the other models. “Always use the model most adequate to your aims” is the way he sums it up.

This sounds good right? Wrong. It totally fucks up the whole thing.

Why? Because by suggesting the need for a meta model to bridge the gap between the other four, you have effectively suggested that the other four are models that attempt to explain ALL magic. By suggesting you need to use “A Model” in your magic, even if you get to jump from one to the other by being “meta”, you neglect the idea that all of these have separate but complementary roles in magic.

We need Plus Size Models.

We very much need plus-size models for fashion and healthy body image like the lovely Sarah Rae Vargas up there on the page in her Witch Costume, but we need a different kind of Plus Size Model for Magic. One that incorporates the actions of spirits, the exercising of personal power of energy*, and the function of mind. There is almost NO magic that doesn’t involve all three.

Think about it. Your car runs on gas, electricity, oil, and water. No gas and the engine wont run. No electric and it wont start. No oil and it will seize. No water and it will overheat. Suggesting that just one of these is what makes the car works leads to neglect of the other elements. Suggesting we need a “Meta Model” to flip back and forth in “believing” our car works entirely by gas, entirely by oil, entirely by water, and entirely by electric is silly.

Go Mega, not Meta

I have sometimes said that I operate under a Mega Model rather than a Meta Model. What I mean by this is:

1. Existence is so large that we not only don’t know everything about, but we can’t know everything about it. At least not at our stage of human development. Making room for this allowance is key to understanding and accepting those elements of magic that are more symbolic and artistic than scientific.

2. The same applies to the nature of Gods and Spirits. The fact is that most people who work with spirits will admit that at various times they behave like parts of your mind, at others like separate beings. Some like friends who are just hanging out and others like forces so great that it would be more accurate to say that we exist in their brains rather than they in ours. In short lets EMBRACE THE MYSTERY instead of rushing to half-assed explanations that don’t fit the evidence but which screw up our future experiments.

3. Spirits, mind, “energy”, etc all have a role in magic. Attempts to explain all magic with just one of them consistently fail. There is a level where things can be explained by something like Patrick Dunns Semiotic Model, but this is akin to stating that all things and constructed of just a handful of subatomic particles and four forces. Technically correct on a very microcosmic level, but once the structures get complex enough, we need macro models to describe how to work with them. Perception may indeed be the underlying reality, but that does not negate or help very much with the more relative reality that presents itself in terms of energy, spirits, astral work, and mental action.

4. By all means we shall attempt to explore and experiment and put forth ideas and models. The difference is that we must not allow our models, even the meta ones, to fool us into thinking that it is the absolute truth.


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Andrew B. Watt


It should also be said that a car ‘runs’ in part on the inclusion of a vast and elaborate transportation network of roads — themselves a combination of crushed stone, concrete, rammed earth, and asphalt. That roads are themselves the by product of bureaucracy and decision-making, engineering and action in the material world. That the car is a by-product of assembly-line thinking, of mining operations around the world, of casting and molding and milling factories, of the sweat and labor of thousands if not millions of people over the course of a century…

If I may extend your metaphor a bit, it is to say that magic is a by-product of a range of processes: some likely physical, in the Albert Einstein/Nils Bohr sense of physics; some likely ‘energetic’, in a Merlin/Deepak Chopra sense; some biological, in a Charles Darwin sort of way; some cultural or societal; some ancestral; and some environmental — environmental here in the sense of many species dwelling in the same bioregion — some like owls and mice and oak trees, and some like faeries and ancestors. I’ve yet to hear of a metamodel that takes all those factors into account, though your ‘megamodel’ comes closest yet!

The truth is that we’ll probably never be able to ‘model’ magic accurately. We don’t collect enough data, since most of us are hobbyist metaphysicans at best. All we can do is point at the Moon in astonishment and wonder, hoping that others stop and look, too.


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