Monday, October 1, 2012

Fasting for Romney

With about a month to go before the presidential election, most polling analysis shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney lagging behind President Barack Obama. The race remains close, however, and Romney's best hope of pulling off an upset probably hinges on his performance in the two presidential debates scheduled for this month. In addition to being a politician, Romney is a prominent member of the Mormon Church, and some of his brethren organized a fast yesterday to improve his chances. The first presidential debate is this Wednesday.

A group of his fellow Mormons is organizing a fast Sunday so "that he will be blessed in the debates" with President Obama, which begin on Wednesday. "I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles," reads an email reportedly sent by a fast organizer. "I also know of no power greater than our Father in Heaven."

Fasting is nothing unusual for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church holds one fast day a month, usually the first Sunday of the month, and asks members to donate the money they would ordinarily spend on food that day to help feed the needy. Mormons often dedicate their fasts to asking God for special blessings.

Fasting has a long history as a spiritual practice, and many find cultivating the discipline that it requires to be rewarding. However, as a magician I can tell you that fasting does not make the transition into the practical magical realm very well. The practice appears in the old grimoires, but as part of the initial purification stage of the operation rather than the evocation itself. That is, even in traditional magical texts its efficacy is directly related to the state of the practitioner rather than the goal of the operation. The idea that in and of itself a fast will produce some sort of miraculous benefit seems to be rooted in the just-world hypothesis, in that self-denial is apparently assumed to result in some completely unrelated benefit manifesting in a paranormal manner. I've never seen any reason to believe that such things happen in the real world.

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Frater Serpentis et Aquila said...

Magickally speaking, I agree. I have fasted before as a preparation for evocation work, and the greatest effect it had was on myself in terms of sensitivity and receptivity, which was the goal.

As a former Pentecostal, however, I must say that within the tradition, fasting, coupled with praise, prayer, and supplication, can and will move God's hand at times. It's not foolproof or even necessarily repeatable, but I have seen this stuff work.

Scott Stenwick said...

See, in my opinion the effectiveness there is coming from the prayer itself. Prayer is a magical action by any definition, and Pentecostals certainly make use of it to good effect. I would posit that the fasting itself has little to do with the outcome, except as preparation for the prayer (the actual magical work). That is, Pentecostal prayer has more in common with grimoire procedures than many of them would probably be willing to admit.

Hypnovatos said...

The way i have always viewed fasting is that it removes my bodies focus on the food process. In this way, it is less focused on the material allowing me to focus more of myself on the spiritual, and better connect the two worlds. This is why a fast is generally done for an extended period of time. In the beginning, the body thinks it will starve, and the result is a hyper focus on the physical. After a few days, the body adjusts to the new norm,assuming you stay calm through the first few days.
The second part is the light headed feeling from fasting, whch adds an altered state of consciousness to the equation all of its own. No need for drugs or other chemicals which again make the body focus on the physical.