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Magick and the Butterfly Effect

This post was written by Anna
on August 21, 2012 | Comments (0)

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Shawn Martin Scanlon, author of Everything You Want to Know About Magick (But Were Afraid to Ask).

In 1952, Ray Bradbury wrote a short story about time travel. This classic story, one of the most re-published science fiction stories of all time, deals with a man of the future who takes a time travel safari tour to prehistoric times. His goal is to shoot a T-Rex, but he chickens out and runs back to the time machine when the time comes to kill the great dinosaur. Running back to the time machine he steps off the walkway, which he was explicitly warned not to do, where he inadvertently kills a single butterfly. When he returns to his own time, he finds the world changed in endless small, but important ways, not the least of which is that a fascist candidate has just been voted President of the United States.

In 1969, Edward Lorenz, a mathematician and meteorologist, coined the term “butterfly effect,” derived from a theoretical example of the formation of a hurricane: Could the flap of a single, distant butterfly’s wings cause a hurricane several weeks later? This idea is central to the entire field of chaos theory, which defines the butterfly effect as the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change in one area of a non-linear system can result in large and far-reaching changes in another area.

Chaos theory is a field of mathematical study that has applications in dozens of other scientific disciplines, including physics, computer science, engineering, finance, philosophy, and psychology. Perhaps most importantly of all, the butterfly effect can be directly applied to magick and magick rituals.

Your life is a non-linear system. When you take time out from your day-to-life life and perform a magick ritual or cast a spell, you are planting a seed, or rather, letting loose a single butterfly. This butterfly is programmed with your intent, your goal—i.e. something you want to happen, change, or manifest. This butterfly flaps his wings and makes tiny, infinitesimal changes to your subconscious mind, which subtly changes your behavior, which then leads to small changes in your environment, leading to further, more dramatic changes that multiply and expand, until one day, standing on a street corner you would have never come to otherwise, you find yourself pelted with the rain of positive results. The butterfly of your spell has created the hurricane of your desire.

So magick is the science and art of creating the perfect butterfly to let loose into the world. So cast your spells with passion and clarity, and then relax, let the butterfly go. The perfect hurricane will come of its own accord.

(To learn step-by-step how to perform your own magick rituals, consult my book Everything You Want to Know About Magick (But Were Afraid to Ask) or visit my website at whatismagick.com.)


Our thanks to Shawn for his guest post! For more from Shawn Martin Scanlon, read his article “Who’s Afraid of a Little Black Magick?.”

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