Night Vision
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Night Vision

Sarcasm is a Magic-Killer

Two ways to work with habitual and debilitating word-abuse

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

There I was, snuggled into the arms of my new boyfriend, heart-eyes emoji beaming from my face.

“Do you want to stay?” I purr, looking up into his eyes.

He smiles wryly. He chuckles, “Ah, no I think I’m ready to go, this is getting kind of awkward.”

I feel the needle of his words scratch across the record of my psyche. All my inner-selves turn to look, like that awkward moment of silence at a party where someone gets caught saying just the wrong thing.

The mood was killed.

Sure, I could feel him wanting me, feel his arms around me, see in his gaze how much he wanted to stay.

And sure, I get that it’s just a joke, but — he used his words as a protective shield to avoid having to vulnerably say, “Yes, I want to stay.” This blocks intimacy.

But more crucially to the magic-killing power of sarcasm—

“Ah, no, I think I’m ready to go. This is getting kind of awkward.”

These words were taken in by my unconscious mind.

The Unconscious Mind

The unconscious mind, which generates every magical happening, does not have the conscious mind’s ability to discern sarcasm from statement of fact.

She just hears what people say. And believes it.

The Power of the Unconscious

The reason that sarcasm is a magic-killer is because magic works through the deliberate interplay of conscious and unconscious mind.

Doing magic — by casting spells or making charms — is done for a desired outcome: A big fat Christmas bonus; a fun encounter where our latest crush asks for our phone number; a fix for our seemingly endless financial insecurity. Casting a magical spell involves:

  • Collecting words, symbols, and meanings that the Conscious mind understands that have the same meaning as the desired outcome.
  • Creating a condensed “ball” of meaning (sometimes called a charm or a spell) that contains this meaning in order to communicate that meaning to the Unconscious.
  • Allowing the meaning to gestate in the Unconscious mind until…
  • The unconscious mind gives rise to the desired outcome as rhyming with the meanings that were attached to the outcome through the spellwork.

The important thing to understand here is that this so-called “magical process” is happening literally at all times and in all places because all places exist in your mind, where they instantly mean something.

The process of becoming a powerful magician is the process of artfully managing the contents of one's unconscious mind— by making it conscious and therefore malleable to the Will of the magician.

The words and meanings we consume have impact on our psyche, and therefore on our reality.

Throwing sarcastic, off-handed, careless comments into your mind and the minds of others can have unintended, but very real, consequences.

The Collective Unconscious and Sarcasm

When I say that our unconscious minds create our reality, I mean this quite literally.

But that is not at all to say that this reality is “our fault” individually or to suggest in any way taking overblown personal responsibility for the state of the world.

Patterns that seem to hold millions of people in gridlock most likely belong to the collective unconscious. It is our duty to make the unconscious contents of the collective mind conscious — and to do our best not to make the mistake of sarcasm in our roles there, as well.

An Example

We were driving down an Iowa State County Road, through endless acres of corn & soy, and my activist-lecturer friend called from the back seat: “Oh yes! We sure do love it, don’t we? All this GMO, Industrial Ag. Really keeps the gears of progress moving, doesn’t it!”

The ire and hatred was palpable in his energy. When I say he “spat” his words, I literally mean that spittle came out of his mouth as he spoke about the state of modern Midwestern agriculture.

And yet — the words that he spoke were the condensed spark-noted version of the ConAgra or Monsanto sales brochures.

“Oh yes. We sure do love it, don’t we? All this GMO, Industrial Ag. Really keeps the gears of progress moving, doesn’t it!”

Each year, my lecturer friend and his activist students get more frustrated, burned-out, and discouraged. While every year, Industrial Agricultural Corporations grow ever more successful, wealthy, and influential.

Sarcasm Blocks Magic

Both of the examples above illustrate the damaging power of sarcasm:

  • Saying something that means the opposite of what you really mean sets you up to get outcomes that are the opposite of what you really want.

Many of us are guilty of this kind of self mis-representation. Some people even pride themselves on their cutting, withering, sarcastic wit.

And yet.

It is not at all magically effective (read: it does not get you what you want), to feel strongly one way about something and then say you feel a completely different way.

Not only does the sarcastic comment contain word-meanings that are different than the meaning of what-you-want, but often there is another layer at play.

Often, when we make a sarcastic comment, there is a usually unconscious feeling of “I’m not really going to get what I want anyway, so why put myself out there?”.

This usually unconscious attitude of non-deservingness or non-belief-in-receiving has a devastating power on magic.

More so even than the mis-match of word-meanings, this layer of jaded bitterness is completely anti-magical.

Innocence is the Path to the Kingdom

Growing up immersed in the Western tradition, I have often heard the teaching stories of Jesus.

Seeing as Christ-Consciousness is synonymous with being a Great Magician — I pay quite a bit of attention to what the Great Witch Jesus might have been pointing to in his quips.

One of the Jesus memes that I come back to often is the one where he says “To enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must be as a little child.”

He is also known as the Shepherd and seen holding little lambies.

Now — I’m a big powerful magician, not a little lambie or a baby, but let me tell you what I take from this:

To become able to perceive the magical world, and to be able to have transformational, fulfilling, whole-ness-creating influence on the world, you have to adopt a sort of demonic childlike innocence.

  • You have to forget to remember all the limitations you have been taught.
  • You have to forget any shame around your emotions.
  • You have to forget to censor yourself.
  • You have to just be, as you were, before you learned to be anything else.

Ways to Banish Sarcastic Patterns of Thought

To become a tremendously more aligned being, and therefore a more powerful magician, you must banish sarcasm from your life. There are essentially two ways to do this:

  1. You can experiment with saying exactly what you really mean.
  2. You can experiment with really meaning exactly what you say.

The first path is a bit more obvious, though it is more vulnerable and visible. This makes it easier to get help with, and also can make it a truly challenging practice for the chronically-sarcastic person to take on. Much can be learned by taking this on.

The second path is less obvious and more challenging initially to grasp — but it can be done in the privacy of your own psyche, and yields rapid, tangible results.

Following the second path is what is known as “shadow integration”, or the integration of unconscious desires. This method is a rapid-fire way to grow your personal power by bringing the unconscious mind and the conscious mind into alignment.

Doing this opens you up to bigger and more powerful magical happenings.

In the Beginning Was the Word

The Word is of primal importance to the creation of reality. This metaphor is present in nearly every world religion, and it is central to the practice of magic.

When using your words, it is important to treat them as the powerful agents of magic that they are.

Sarcasm, or saying things that are contrary to how you actually feel, or contrary to what you actually want is a terrible abuse of the power of our Word.

Contrary to popular manifestation and Law-of-Attraction-type thinking, it is better to say that you hate something you actually do hate than it is to “affirm” the hate away by saying that you love something you don’t love.

Be unified in your will, not divided.

Being magical involves knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what you know will be, will be.

To speak otherwise is counter-magical.

Night Vision is a blossoming publication fed by the grit and greatness of navigating the unconscious and inner worlds, reconciling fear in all its forms for endless liberation into the pleasure of the dynamic human realm we inhabit.



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Laila M Bernhardt

Laila M Bernhardt

Radical agent of transformation & shedder of light. Lover, rebel, wise counsel.