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Why Practice Informs the Development of Theory

By Taylor Ellwood

In my most recent article on Pagan Square, I discussed part 2 of the literacy of magic. I also gotten into an interesting discussion with a commenter. He argued that it was possible for a person to be a theorist in magic without actually practicing it. My response in kind was:

And I disagree with the notion that you can be an armchair theorist and know magic. You may know of magic, but that’s different from actually knowing it. To know it is to practice it, to make it a meaningful part of your life, as opposed to just an intellectual understanding.

Having met all too many armchair magicians in my life, I can safely say they weren’t even theorists, because all they could really talk about was what someone else had done. To be a theorist involves practicing magic because you necessarily need to have experience working magic before you can develop theories of your own on how magic works. Theorizing without practice isn’t theory…it’s speculation by a person too afraid to commit to the necessary rigors that any practice brings to any discipline.

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