Why Magic Works Better than Logic

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

Shift Into the Magic of the Dark Woods

Often I am reading several books at once, as I was when I wrote this. And frequently they seem to comment on each other. Last year, just as I was putting together a class on using the magical power of symbolism, but feeling like my voice was lost in the wind, these three authors came together to remind me of exactly how right I was. You can’t logic your way through life. Well, you can, but you’ll drag your feet the whole way. Logic is not motivational. It doesn’t move you. So rather than beating ourselves up for repeated failures, let’s learn the real force behind change. As we explore, we’ll see why magic works better than logic.

I wrote the following last year as an introduction to my Heart of the Dark Woods full-day workshop. Because it expresses why I developed the class and what its benefits are, I thought you might find it interesting. I’ve edited it for clarity and optimization, and added a conclusion. I hope you enjoy it! And if it sparks interest in my Heart of the Dark Woods workshop, please click one of the links to find out more information.


Reason Doesn’t Run the Show

A cloaked woman in dense trees looks around. What will you find in the Heart of the Dark Woods? Why magic works better than logic and how to overcome blocks and reach your goals.
“The Lady Enters the Forest” by Arthur Rackham, 1921.

I’m reading three books right now: The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, Ph. D.; Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph. D.; and The Diet-Free Revolution by Alexis Conason, Psy. D.

All three of these authors base their theses on the frustrating idea that our cognitive brain, our reason, does not run the show.

That’s unfortunate because we love reason. Western culture, most notably in the classical Greek period and in the Enlightenment, has emphasized the role of reason in our decision making. Not only do we glorify the idea of reason, but periods of our history that deemphasized reason, such as the Dark Ages, we abhor as uncivilized.

The Subconscious is the Elephant in the Room

Jonathan Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider and an elephant. The rider is our conscious reason. The elephant embodies everything in our body and brain that happens outside the control of conscious choice. He says that no matter how firmly the rider holds the reins, if a mouse startles the elephant, it will rear and possibly throw the rider.

“Click, Run” Automatic Responses

Robert Cialdini describes experiment after experiment in which people display a “click, run” response to certain external stimuli. His focus is primarily on how one person influences another to do something. One of his main examples is how a boy scout managed to sell him two chocolate bars (he hates chocolate) through a reject-and-retreat technique. The boy scout asked him to buy two five-dollar tickets to an event. He said no and started to move on. Then the boy scout said, well, would you be willing to buy a couple of chocolate bars for $1 each? If the boy scout has proffered the chocolate first, he would have said no to that, and easily dismissed the more expensive suggestion of event tickets. But because the boy scout retreated, essentially conceding the loss, a “click, run” program in the author’s brain automatically took over and mirrored the boy scout’s concession by agreeing to the smaller purchase. The author goes on to outline a series of ways to influence others that will set up these automatic responses.

The Kickback From Reason

Meanwhile, Alexis Conason, after extensive work with patients who were trying to lose weight, makes a powerful case demonstrating that not only is it not possible to control food choices via reason alone, and when such weight loss occurs it cannot be maintained, but further that restriction leads automatically to overindulgence (restraint theory). Moreover, she cites studies that conclude that those “unicorns” who do lose and maintain a medically approved “healthy” goal weight all owe their success to identical habits of restriction, exercise, and obsession that in a thin person is diagnosed as anorexia nervosa.

Change is Magic; Magic is Change

So if the Age of Reason is wrong, what are we to do? To find the answer, it’s useful to switch away from a psychological model into a spiritual one. There are ways of planting conscious suggestions into the unconscious in order to reprogram the “click, run” protocols that come as standard features in the animal kingdom. According to twentieth century author and mage Dion Fortune, magic is the art of changing consciousness in accordance with will. All our plans, checklists, and good intentions don’t seem to bring results when it comes to deep-seated, internal obstacles. We need an art that will help us change. This is why magic works better than logic.

So how do we bypass logic and create inner change? In his book Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell describes an “affect image.” This is an image that bypasses the conscious mental processes and affects us on a deep, emotional level. These images can come from anywhere, including art, dreams, everyday life, mythology, or any human experience that transcends time and culture. Astronomical constellations, tarot illustrations, and other magical images all bring about this immediate bypassing of conscious thought, resulting in a direct, visceral experience. Moreover, glyphs, geometric patterns, and organic shapes often resonate with us in a way we can’t explain. These living symbols move us. They vibrate us, break stuck patterns, and reform us at a primal level.

The Empyrean Key Unlocks the Symbols that Magically Work Better than Logic

The Moon from the Green Witch Tarot by Ann Moura and Kiri Østergaard Leonard, Llewellyn 2015.

I’ve always been particularly attracted to glyphs and shapes. Anything from a Spirograph to high school geometry to the magical use of the planar figures to the powerful energy of the Reiki symbols. I also love tarot, mythology, astrology, and symbolism. In 2010, a number of factors came together and I developed the Empyrean Key system as my form of magic to create change in my life. (You can read my story here.)

The Empyrean Key system functions by slowly transitioning us from logic to magic. It takes us through a rational analysis of a problem or part of ourselves we want to change. Then it opens up the intuition, doorway to the subconscious, using the imagery of the tarot. Through a step-by-step process, we concentrate and crystallize our logical and emotional processes into a simple glyph or basic line drawing.

This resulting Empyrean Key symbol acts as an affect image. Long after we’ve forgotten all the logic, intentions, or instigating problem, this emblem, which encapsulates the experience of the solution, will wash over us and resonate on a deep, emotional level, continually bringing about our desired outcome.

Empyrean Key Opportunities

Currently, I offer my Empyrean Key work through my one-year program, the Empyrean Way. In this program, first we learn the Divine creative process and how to apply that to our lives. Then we descend planet by planet through our chart into a fully realized manifestation of our true self. Finally, we learn to reinforce our strengths, bolster our weaknesses, and align our work with the heavens for cosmic support. This twelve-month program is demanding and requires fearless commitment. But at the same time, it’s fun, creative, revealing, educational, and ultimately transformative.

But if you’re not ready for the full commitment, let me tell ya what I’m gonna do. My Heart of the Dark Woods is a one-day introduction to my Empyrean Key process. With just an eight-hour commitment, you can experience the magical transformation of the Empyrean Key system.

Do you have a goal that has stubbornly eluded you? Maybe you’ve tried to achieve this for months, years, or even all your life. Something is blocking you, but nothing you’ve tried has solved the problem. You also know that no one can do it for you; you have to find it yourself. You love tarot, want to go deeper with astrology, crave more user-friendly spiritual practices, and are most fulfilled when you’re creative.

Magic is found in the deepest, darkest places. You know your goal, your know your fear, you know your heart. What will you find at the Heart of the Dark Woods?

If this sounds amazing to you, sign up now at the Heart of the Dark Woods registration page.

Identify and release your most stubborn blocks with tarot, astrology, and spiritual practices so you can find the freedom and fulfillment of reaching your goals. Click the image for more information and registration details for Heart of the Dark Woods one-day workshop.
Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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