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Proof to the Skeptics(That I do in fact have a basis for the way magic works in the world of the centaurs.)

August 5th, 2006

“Suele olvidarse que (los diccionarios) son repertorios artificiosos, muy posteriores a las lenguas que ordenan. La raíz del lenguaje es irracional y de carácter mágico.”

“It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together
well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.”

I based it on the following influences:

The fictional experiences of Carlos Castaneda. Manifestations include an instinctual kind of future sight, superhuman physical ability and the rare capacity to change physical form. Requires mental and perceptive discipline, experience with alternate planes of consciousness. Castaneda’s sorcery is in large part a spiritual sorcery.

The notion of true words, which is found in mystical, mythical and religious explanations of the nature of existence from pretty much every culture. Plenty of other fantasists do this. Le Guin, Weis and Hickman, Tolkien. Mind you I am trying to distance myself from them, but the influence is there. Of this idiom I am culling specifically the concept of runes, holy symbols.

Which I am promptly and blasphemously cross-sectioning with
The Lacanian perception of language as endless, ineluctable act of transference between meaning and its object. This is a hard thing for me to explain, since Lacan himself can barely string together a coherent sentence about it without half-constructing his own broken and unreasonable sublanguage out of six or seven perfectly organic and legitimate others. The distillation of it is this: Lacan pisses me off, and so I want to laugh in his face by positing a universe where there is a means of breaching the gap of signification, a technique of sheer willpower and mental focus which forces meaning on an object in such violent fashion that the object’s nature is changed to suit your intent. The way this manifests in the world is via symbols, such as the spiral brand Eurytus inflicts on those he claims his own. A sorcerer can impose aspects of his power and intent upon objects and living things via some symbol he assigns to his desires.

This concept has equivalents both in
The native american system of naming, of meaningful affinities between human identities and certain associated abstractions, such as animistic spirits.

The divination techniques of Classical myth, in which the confluence of symbols in the natural world codifys an underlying order to the course of fate.

So what does all this get me?

A magic which allows its initiates to extend their own lifespans, possess superhuman stamina and constitution, and create limited artifacts of intent, such as a knife whose blade goes red hot at its master’s touch. Some more adept sorcerers are capable of creating living extensions of their intent via branding, such as a brainwashed flying electrostatic sea turtle or a colossal man-eating bull–of course only the centaurs would think of anything so unnaturally fucked up. Likewise, certain advanced sorcerers can take a second physical form, that of a bird or animal, or even travel outside of the physical plane–but only human sorcerers are capable of this level of refinement, and centaurs even go so far as to scorn the existence of such power.

Why, oh why, did I make all this so complicated?

That’s a good question, with a long and complicated philosophical explanation about what exactly I am trying to convey with these centaur stories. An explanation which I am way too tired to even try to get into now.

Another entry. Maybe.

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1 Comment »

  • Jeff Howell says:

    I look forward to reading future entries on this subject. You have a lot of good thoughts about magic. I’m sure this sort of deep thinking is what helps make your worlds sound so rich and elaborate. I think it’s probably not a good thing if you could wrap everything up in a nice little bow.

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