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The Magick Of Critical Thinking
What would you think if I told you that the moon is full at 3:17 on 3/17 this year? Spooky & mystical, right? You might dive into the numerology surrounding the numbers 3, 1, and 7, to see what special significance this particular moon will have.
It is pretty cool – and it’s also a perfect reminder to use our critical thinking skills in the metaphysical world, especially when we’re dealing with information we learn on the internet. Because while what I said is true, it’s also technically false.
How can it be both? Well, it depends on your interpretation, and this is where the spiritual community often falls into its deepest traps.
So when is this moon, exactly?
According to space.com, which I generally consider a trusted astronomical resource, the moon reaches its fullest point on Friday, March 18th at 7:17am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
However, translating that to where I currently am on the east coast of North America, that makes it 3:17am EDT.
Technically, it’s full on Friday in the wee early hours of the morning, but that darkness is often culturally considered just a continuation of the night before, right? For example, if you go to a late concert on Thursday night, and it ends after midnight, you don’t say the concert was on Thursday and Friday, although that would technically be true; you say it was Thursday night.
I have a friend who likes to call this “Dark Time rules” – if it happens before sunrise, it’s still the previous day. There are actually a number of different cultures throughout history that marked the passage of time like this!
So, we have a full moon during the “dark time” of the night before, which would be March 17, and in my area, it’s full at 3:17. A full moon on 3/17 at 3:17. Not wrong… but not entirely right, either.
Why is this important?
So why the weird time/astronomy lesson? This is a relatively harmless example of how it’s really important to analyze the information we’re taking in and be able to see where the information is coming from. You can take my word for it that the moon is full at 3:17, but if you live in a different time zone, that’s not true for you, and any magick you might believe resides in the corresponding numbers doesn’t apply to you. But without doing your own research, you’d never know that.
Attributing “incorrect” energies to a full moon isn’t a big deal – at worst, your magick will fizzle out but nothing’s going to explode or anything. However, it can become dangerous if we’re taking this practice and applying it to other areas of magick.
For example, there’s historical evidence to suggest that some people would take Belladonna to relax. It has been shown to have sedative & muscle relaxing properties. However, there’s more to the story – the reason it works is because Belladonna is a neurotoxin that, in doses any larger than minute, can seriously inhibit the nervous system and mess with healthy cardiovascular function. Your heart is a muscle, remember, and if you’re not careful, Belladonna poisoning looks exactly like a heart attack for a reason.
(To hear me rant more about this exact fact, make sure to tune in to this week’s podcast episode on Sunday!)
Taking that first fact at face value – Belladonna tea helps you relax – can be incredibly dangerous without doing your own research into the information. In fact, it could be lethal.
Not everything you come across will be either deadly or harmless; there’s a lot of assumption and misleading information out there in the metaphysical world that falls somewhere in the middle. It’s incredibly important to file each and every bit of information away until you can verify it on your own. It usually takes just a quick few moments of research and critical thinking to figure out what’s accurate from what’s full of shit.
Not everyone is spinning their tall tales knowingly, either. A lot of times, we hear something that seems right, and we parrot on that knowledge without doing our due diligence, unknowingly spreading incorrect or misleading information. But there are people in the world who want to take advantage, and they show up in every community – even the spiritual ones. The unfortunate fact is that you can’t, and shouldn’t, trust everything you hear and read.
So what can you trust?!
At the end of the day, you have to trust your own gut until you’re presented with clear and factual evidence to the contrary. If it feels off, lean into that feeling – honestly, even if it feels right, double check!
What can you actually do to ensure the information you’re taking in is reliable and safe? When you hear something that you can’t immediately confirm, ask yourself some questions:
- Is this plausible?
- Are there any factors that may affect this information that aren’t being mentioned? (Or, is the person purposely leaving anything out?)
- Does the person relaying this information have anything to gain from me NOT questioning the information?
- Are there cited sources or explanations given for the information?
- Could this information harm anyone in any way?
- Is anyone else talking about this information in the same way? (And make sure the other sources aren’t just speaking from an echo chamber, parroting back what they’ve learned from OTHER unreliable sources)
These questions aren’t all encompassing, but they give you a good place to start when analyzing something you’ve recently learned.
I don’t mean for this to sound scary or overwhelming, because the majority of the time, there won’t be a problem. It shouldn’t take you hours or days to dig into an idea, and after a while, you’ll learn to very quickly identify reliable sounding tidbits and sources, and what seems obviously shady or made up.
And as a bonus, not only does analyzing your spiritual info this way help you to verify its accuracy and efficacy, it also helps you gain a deeper understanding of WHY and HOW a thing works, which can only make your magick stronger!
Analyzing and breaking apart information to make sure its correct and safe doesn’t take the magick out of a mystical fact or idea; being able to track and trust in what you believe roots those beliefs in something real and tangible, and can connect us deeper into our belief.
Make critical thinking and info verification a regular part of your practice, so you can build a reliable catalog of information that is reliable, understandable, and works for you – but you can explain it to other people, too.
Like stuff like this? Check out my recent TikTok video on “unverified personal gnosis” – or to see this critical thinking in action, follow along as we apply it to the recent trend of magical TikTok affirmation sounds in this blog post and video.