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Author Topic: Rubbing hands and feeling energy - really magick?  (Read 16826 times)
zeorin
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« Topic Start: March 31, 2008, 07:26:22 am »

Hello all,

I just tried my first 'supernatural' exercise: Rub your hands together for twenty seconds; start slowly and build to really fast and then stop suddenly. After this, hold your hands about two inches apart and you will feel them tingle (seems kinda obvious, but it felt slightly different to 'normal' tingling).

The same book that suggested this exercise also said that the right hand sends out energy while the left hand receives it (other way around for lefties). I put my left hand close to the cover of the book (which was slightly open, and a paperback) and it seemed to attract it, just ever so slightly, and the right hand seemed to repel. Both hands (separately and together) seemed to 'vibrate' the cover (move it back and forth).

What I would like to know, is this really a form of (I am assuming very weak) magick, or is this something that could currently be explained by science?

Thank you for your replies.
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« Reply #1: March 31, 2008, 09:08:45 am »

Hello all,

I just tried my first 'supernatural' exercise: Rub your hands together for twenty seconds; start slowly and build to really fast and then stop suddenly. After this, hold your hands about two inches apart and you will feel them tingle (seems kinda obvious, but it felt slightly different to 'normal' tingling).

The same book that suggested this exercise also said that the right hand sends out energy while the left hand receives it (other way around for lefties). I put my left hand close to the cover of the book (which was slightly open, and a paperback) and it seemed to attract it, just ever so slightly, and the right hand seemed to repel. Both hands (separately and together) seemed to 'vibrate' the cover (move it back and forth).

What I would like to know, is this really a form of (I am assuming very weak) magick, or is this something that could currently be explained by science?

Thank you for your replies.

No, I don't see this as magic. To me, this is more playing/learning with fiction, and the chakra's in your hands.
You'd get better results if you studied some on inner energy/chakras and the like. Learn to move your energy and pooling it into your hand chakras, then when you place your hands a few inches apart you will feel move than just a tingle. It's like polar opposites pushing against each other.  Again, to me this is not magic.
You could use this energy and create a energy ball, add intent and direction to it/spell, then I would say this is magic.

I agree to a point about one hand being a receiving and the other sends but I have also found it's not an always.
Case in point... making an energy ball. When I'm manifesting one I'm usually pushing intent and energy down both arms and out both hands.
Therefore I'm sending with both.
I believe Healers do the same thing. Though I'm not what you would call a traditional healer, I'm thinking Healers do the same thing when they work with someone. 

Curious, what's the book?
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« Reply #2: March 31, 2008, 09:17:54 am »

I think of it as energy work. I've learned something similar as a Chi Gong exercise, though I don't know which hand gives and which recieves or if it's another form of connection. Very interesting question.
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« Reply #3: March 31, 2008, 10:00:51 am »

What I would like to know, is this really a form of (I am assuming very weak) magick, or is this something that could currently be explained by science?

I think it would all depend on your particular definition of magic.  Personally I'd have to agree with the other posters and say this is more specifically energy work, useful energy work and a great place to start (Hey, I started with this excercise), but not magic.  To me magic requires intent to direct the energy to a particular goal.  With this skill you're starting on the basics of learning to feel energy.  Directing it with intent will come a little later.

As far as the left/right split, while traditional literature, at least the books I was reading 20 yrs ago, state that the left hand is receptive and the right hand is projective, in general, I've found that this isn't always the case.  It's useful for categorizing concepts in your mind but not all energy work follows this principle.

For example: In reiki healing both hands are laid upon the recipient's body and the energy is allowed to flow through the practioners body, down both arms/hands and into the recipient.  In this example both hands fall under the concept of projective.  Some forms of healing utilize this concept in reverse where the ailment is drawn out of the patients body using both hands.  Personally, I don't care for this type of healing.  It's to easy to drain the recipient and leave them even more screwed up than when they first came to the practioner.  I've also found, through personal experience, that it can be quite painful for the recipient.  This method of energy work would categorize both hands as receptive.

Also, in martial arts, the practioner, for those who study chi/ki skills, is taught to be able to project using whichever striking implement they are using at the moment, either hand or foot.  Some go beyond this into channeling your chi into and through the weapon you're using.

So, while a dualistic, left-receptive/right-projective mindset is useful for categorization most energy work is more versatile than that.  It's a great way to begin your practice as it fosters an awareness of what you're doing.  Just keep in mind that not everyone works that way and there are a wide variety of skills available.  Being able to move past this mindset will stand you in good stead later.
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« Reply #4: March 31, 2008, 10:53:14 am »

Curious, what's the book?

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner, by Scott Cunningham. I saw it was recommended somewhere on this website.

I agree that perhaps doing something concrete with the energy you can raise in such a manner is probably magick proper. Perhaps I phrased my question rather poorly. I really just want to know if the effect I experienced was due to the existence of principles that could be used to perform magick, if I so chose (and knew how).
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« Reply #5: March 31, 2008, 05:42:05 pm »


Not magic, and barely energy work. It's called friction, and static electricity. Wink

When you rub your hands together, it creates heat. Rubbing any part of your body briskly will create a tingling sensation when you pull your hand away (get your minds out of the gutter people! Cheesy). It has more to do with the nerves in your skin than energy.

Ever rubbed a latex balloon on your hair and then stuck it to a wall? That's static electricity. Friction tends to create static electricity, which is why your hand seemed to 'attract' the cover of the book.

As for the projective/receptive hands, well, I never found it to work that way. Both of my hands are both projective and receptive, depending on what I need them to do. Wink
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« Reply #6: March 31, 2008, 05:56:28 pm »

(get your minds out of the gutter people! Cheesy)

We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde
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« Reply #7: March 31, 2008, 06:08:15 pm »

I agree that perhaps doing something concrete with the energy you can raise in such a manner is probably magick proper. Perhaps I phrased my question rather poorly. I really just want to know if the effect I experienced was due to the existence of principles that could be used to perform magick, if I so chose (and knew how).

Well, yes. Knowing how your body works, feels, and responds to sensation is a useful tool in doing magic.

More seriously, one reason for the hand-rubbing exercises is that it gives a particular kind of feedback that can be useful for many people in the earlier stages. It's really easy in the beginning, especially to go "Ok, so they tell me to do this ground and center thing, but I don't feel anything, and is there any point?" (I do tend to think there is actual energy work going on, not just static electricity, too, in the sense of consciously opening channels of perception.)

The rubbing hands exercise (and a variant we've used which involves doing that, and then holding your hands out from your stomach, and feeling the energy push) give a real discernable effect for many people (and one they can repeat on their own, and that they can feel 'fade') that gives them some sense of the feelings/sensations that they're reaching for with the other energy work.

I am very firmly in the energy work camp, on the whole of 'I am not sure I believe in X. But I do know the practice makes me feel better/helps me do more of the stuff I want to do/has results that make a difference to me.' More so than mundane exercise, actually (perhaps because I do not have the energetic equivalent of asthma reactions making me start back at square one after every cold.) The theory is intriguing, but the actual results mean more to me.
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« Reply #8: April 01, 2008, 05:35:35 am »

Well, yes. Knowing how your body works, feels, and responds to sensation is a useful tool in doing magic.

More seriously, one reason for the hand-rubbing exercises is that it gives a particular kind of feedback that can be useful for many people in the earlier stages. It's really easy in the beginning, especially to go "Ok, so they tell me to do this ground and center thing, but I don't feel anything, and is there any point?" (I do tend to think there is actual energy work going on, not just static electricity, too, in the sense of consciously opening channels of perception.)

The rubbing hands exercise (and a variant we've used which involves doing that, and then holding your hands out from your stomach, and feeling the energy push) give a real discernable effect for many people (and one they can repeat on their own, and that they can feel 'fade') that gives them some sense of the feelings/sensations that they're reaching for with the other energy work.

I am very firmly in the energy work camp, on the whole of 'I am not sure I believe in X. But I do know the practice makes me feel better/helps me do more of the stuff I want to do/has results that make a difference to me.' More so than mundane exercise, actually (perhaps because I do not have the energetic equivalent of asthma reactions making me start back at square one after every cold.) The theory is intriguing, but the actual results mean more to me.
It's very interesting to hear about this exercise from the point of view of a magic practioneer. (Though I may not understand everything.)

I've used this exercise for newbies at Tai Chi Chuan (martial arts) to help them get certain postures right by feeling the connection between their hands. I don't teach it as energy work, I'm not a qualified teacher for that. But you don't have to be in the energy work camp to see the practical results this piece of body experience gives their performances.

The energy work aspect of it makes me uneasy in teaching sometimes, though. This exercise is rather impressive for many people who are new to martial arts and they ask all kinds of questions about it I have to deny them detailed answers for. One reason is that I'm simply not qualified for giving competent detailed answers about energy work.

Another reason is that they need to make their own experiences. Even my teacher who teaches the martial arts aspect as well as Chi Gong wouldn't give detailed answers to a newbie. When I was a newbie I hated this, I wanted to know everything and immediatelly. Now I'm glad he didn't tell me all the details of what a specific exercise is supposed to do energetically at first, because if I'd thought this hand is supposed to recieve and that to project I'd have approached the exercise very differently. (Also my teacher doesn't completly buy traditional Chinese medicine dogmatics about which side is male and female and that kind of stuff.) 

This lack of theory makes me sometimes uneasy (because of course you can make things 'wrong' by not knowing what you're doing), but the positive side of it is that you get a very practical approach to the reality of body experience. You don't try to experience an exercise the way it is supposed to work energetically, but you just copy your teacher and experience what the exercise is really doing energetically.

Summary of long rambling: I didn't start at it because I thought it was great magical energy work with a complete theory how it's supposed to work, but because it gave me body experience and improved my martial arts performance. That way I made my own experiences. I can say how something works for me, but not how something is supposed to work.

But I wonder if Neopagan energy work and magic teachers have a whole different approach and explain much more from the beginning. I don't know, but isn't Neopagan magic a bit more dangerous to mess with than energy work and traditional one especially? Traditional Chi Gong is possibly a bit more safe for newbie-play because it's so old and teaching it in tiny baby steps has become slightly 'idiot-proof' (in the lack of a better expression) in the course of all the centuries it has been taught and refined.

Sorry if I've opened a can of worms here. I don't want to insult any shorter traditions, so correct me if I'm wrong with that assumption.
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« Reply #9: April 01, 2008, 07:34:04 am »

But I wonder if Neopagan energy work and magic teachers have a whole different approach and explain much more from the beginning. I don't know, but isn't Neopagan magic a bit more dangerous to mess with than energy work and traditional one especially? Traditional Chi Gong is possibly a bit more safe for newbie-play because it's so old and teaching it in tiny baby steps has become slightly 'idiot-proof' (in the lack of a better expression) in the course of all the centuries it has been taught and refined.

Sorry if I've opened a can of worms here. I don't want to insult any shorter traditions, so correct me if I'm wrong with that assumption.

Depends heavily on the tradition. Thing is, in many cases, the energy work is a necessary precursor to everything else.

It's theoretically possible to set up a circle without feeling any of the energy. But it both makes it far harder to do (as you can't adjust on the fly) and means you lose a significant amount of input and feedback from workings. Makes it problematic.

I was doing energy work long before I started formal group training: experiences in college (that I hadn't particularly gone looking for) got me to a point where I desperately found myself figuring out how to center/ground/rebalance/shield on my own (that was in spring 1996) because I felt the need. Six years later, I started formal training.

The tradition I trained in teaches formal energy work early and often: it's central to later work in training, and to full practice of the tradition - you cannot be initiated without, for example, casting a circle that others present feel and respond to. (There are probably ways for you to do this without feeling it yourself - but there is no way to evaluate this as a teacher/initiate if you can't feel it, and someone who admitted that they felt nothing and were doing it by rote would almost certainly not pass the requirement.)

The first three months focus heavily on the energy work side. Beside the above reason, it's also done this early because the experience of being in circle, of being a regular part of group ritual, and of beginning to do simple practices like a daily devotion on ones own often start opening people up to perceiving energy (it's reasonably common for people to have a week or so where it happens in fits and starts, and then starts to settle down): the theory is therefore that it's better to teach people to deal with it than to leave them hanging. Exercises start with perception/sensation, but move pretty quickly to what to do about it (rebalancing, centering, grounding excess, etc.)

In watching about 20 students since then go through this stage in training, I have noticed several things.

1) It's the stage where people most often drop out of training. (This is pretty common in many trads: there's often at least a half-reduction between people who start initiatory training and people who finish: we have generally lost the vast majority in the first three or four months. I don't think this is solely due to the energy work: people also hit the "What, you want me to do homework?" wall, or things come up in their life at that time.)

2) That while it shakes people up briefly (1-3 weeks, usually), it doesn't seem (even with people who are really struggling with a specific tool for a bit, like grounding) to do any particular lasting harm - they might have a week or three of having a hard time focusing, or of not sleeping well, or whatever, but it doesn't affect health, job, family, or other relationships particularly heavily - it's mostly distracting to the person in question internally as they learn to process and work with the techniques.

3) That many *many* of those people were already perceiving energy and having trouble managing it in some way before they got to the classes: training kicks it into higher gear briefly, but once it settles, it's much easier and healthier for them overall. This suggests to me that *not* training it, in these cases, might well cause more harm or distress than doing so.

4) That there are a number of ways to baby-proof the process: initial lessons focus on rebalancing and centering, for example, rather than "Oooh, go take huge amounts of energy from here" or things that are out of the normal cycle/range for the person. In traditional training, there's also a huge amount of feedback from the teacher, who will presumably notice if there are issues of any kind.

(This is one of the reasons, incidentally, that I will never teach online-only. Online, I can give suggestions, but I can't be sure I'll spot all of the potential variations. For example, some people, being ungrounded, go isolationist and quiet (I do, about half the time): this is not an obvious behavior online unless you're paying *very* close attention to someone whose online behavior you know well. If I'm seeing someone in person multiple times a month, I'm pretty likely to spot it)

Stopping here, as I need to go dig out the driveway (gotta love Minnesota), but feel free to ask more questions...
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« Reply #10: April 01, 2008, 01:31:17 pm »

What I would like to know, is this really a form of (I am assuming very weak) magick, or is this something that could currently be explained by science?

Explained by science, as I believe someone else stated, it would generally be considered related to friction and static electricity that forms around both your hands and then attracts such things as the pages of your books.

However... When people say this is weak magic, or not magic at all. I'd have to disagree. (Oh...I dislike the use of the 'k.' I'm perfectly aware of why people use it, I just dislike it.) Anyway. I disagree because when I consider magic, I generally think of performing an action which in itself creates or forms the movements for a reaction.

In this instance, the moving of the hands is the action and the static motions, or if you want to consider what static electricity is. Which of course, it is in fact a form of 'energy.' The drive of friction which forms this, 'energy' to which further reactions are emitted. In this instance, the feeling or in said case, the movement of a page.

It may be able to be explained by science but that does not mean it is not in essence of magic. It is merely that it is a simplistic method of demonstrating something. I'm sure many things can be explained which others may consider to be somewhat magical.

Personally I consider everything that forms a reaction from an action to be in essence magic, merely a comprehensive and describable form of it. Though again, in reality, there is nothing mysterious about magic, merely that it is. So yes, from my perspective you performed a magical act. Then again we perform such things every day just by living. The scale of the act is irrelevant, the comprehension for how it was performed or why is personal and entirely perspective. In simplistic reality, you committed yourself to performing an action to which you obtained a desirable reaction from. What else can magic be other than just that?
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« Reply #11: April 01, 2008, 08:45:12 pm »

I was doing energy work long before I started formal group training: experiences in college (that I hadn't particularly gone looking for) got me to a point where I desperately found myself figuring out how to center/ground/rebalance/shield on my own (that was in spring 1996) because I felt the need.

Ditto, but my formal training sucked.

Now, I would desperately like to find *good* training in energy work -- mostly because I have come to believe the migraines are an energy problem -- but have no idea how to find it.  Plus, I don't want the religious aspect that such training often includes.  Or, at least, I don't think I do.
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« Reply #12: April 02, 2008, 08:38:48 am »

Ditto, but my formal training sucked.

Now, I would desperately like to find *good* training in energy work --

Have you considered Qigong or perhaps it's offspring, Falun Gong?  My understanding is that while Qigong pretty much takes a lifetime to master Falun Gong can be mastered in as little as three years.  There is a great deal of controversy surrounding Falun Gong but from what little I know of the society they're really pretty peaceful in their demonstrations.  While both seem to be influenced by Buddhism I don't see where you would have to adopt even the philosophy of that religion to practice the energy work.  I'm no expert by any means on either of these practices so I'll certainly defer to someone who has experience with either.

As far as western energy practices go, especially how they interact with magical practices, I really don't have a lot of information.  My practice uses centering, grounding, shielding, raising energy via the elements, and occasional spell work where the raised energy is then released for a specific purpose.  Of course there are variations on each of these but the underlying skill is still the same, f'ex: If you shield yourself or the house it's still shielding.  Beyond this I'm just not aware of any other western energy skills.  Perhaps someone else can sound off here?
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« Reply #13: April 02, 2008, 04:30:55 pm »

Have you considered Qigong or perhaps it's offspring, Falun Gong?  My understanding is that while Qigong pretty much takes a lifetime to master Falun Gong can be mastered in as little as three years.
What do you mean with mastering Qi Gong? Isn't energy work always a progress?

I've no experience with Falun Gong, but thought it is mainly a spiritual movement working witih Qi Gong.

I find that statement that you can 'master' a specific school of Qi Gong in three years but need a lifetime for 'normal' Qi Gong very questionable. What is it you 'master' in three years?

There are various exercise series in Qi Gong, some are good for beginners some are not. It's not a matter of time, but giving a student what he/she can digest at his/her current level. Qi Gong isn't a system like a specific Neopagan tradition. It's a general term for an exercise type. Saying you need a life time to master Qi Gong sounds like if you'd say you need a life time to master sports or musical instruments, without specifying which sport or instrument.

Also Qi Gong isn't necessarily religious or spiritual. Most exercises come from a buddhist or daoist tradition, but they are not necessarily practiced that way in Western countries, most schools/gyms are focused on health gym or include it into martial arts (that's where I'm studying it).



(Jenett, thanks for your detailed answer, I'm still wrapping my mind around it.)
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« Reply #14: April 02, 2008, 06:10:22 pm »

My apologies for the confusion.  In my post I was attempting to relate information remembered from a conversation with someone who was looking into these two fields of study.

What do you mean with mastering Qi Gong? Isn't energy work always a progress?

My use of the term 'mastering' is intended to convey that someone has studied to the point that they can then become a teacher of the system and train others to that level.

Quote from: Passionfruit
I find that statement that you can 'master' a specific school of Qi Gong in three years but need a lifetime for 'normal' Qi Gong very questionable.

Perhaps I was a little lazy with my terminology.  Perhaps I should have said "My understanding is that while Qi Gong takes about twenty years to master..." which certainly seems like a lifetime when you're looking for results relatively soon.  That would have been more accurate to the conversation.  Is it true?  I have no information on that. 

Quote from: Passionfruit
What is it you 'master' in three years?

My understanding of Falun Gong is that it is a streamlined version of Qi Gong and as such takes less time to master, that is to say, learn all the techniques of the system to the point where you can pass them on to someone else. 

Quote from: Passionfruit
There are various exercise series in Qi Gong, some are good for beginners some are not.

All I can say is that you seem to be more informed on the practice than I am.  As such, I am quite willing to stand aside and let your experience answer further questions.

Quote from: Passionfruit
Also Qi Gong isn't necessarily religious or spiritual.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that it was.  I only stated that it was influenced by Buddhism.  That Taoism could have influenced Qi Gong practices makes sense to me as well.

As I said in my original post, I'm not a practitioner of any type of Qi Gong nor have I read up on it much.  I was simply attempting to pass along to Moon Ivy a couple of suggestions for obtaining good training in energy work.  My apologies for causing anyone confusion. 

Passionfruit, please feel free to answer any further questions on the topic of Qi Gong as we have now exhausted all my information on the topic.
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"Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective. " ~ Delenn, Babylon 5

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