Identify, Objectify… Dissociate

Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick has served as an introduction to Hermeticism for thousands of aspirants. For many, it is the first book they will buy. While there is much to be learned from this book there are one or two bits that will likely do more harm than good if utilized.

The main “problem” technique in the book is called “I.O.B.” or “Identify, Objectify, Banish.” It’s a fairly straightforward concept. The practitioner makes an image of a personality trait they want to get rid of, then proceeds to perform a kind of “exorcism.” Not a bad idea, all things being equal.

Until you consider the psychological mechanism known as projection.. What the practitioner has effectively done is split off a part of their psyche, which probably has a history of its own and numerous reasons for having arisen in the first place, and sent it off into the world. They will then go on with their lives, blissfully assuming that their unwanted quirks are safely “banished.”

You cannot “banish” a personality trait. As I hinted at before, each aspect of our personality is deeply rooted in our life history. Persistent patterns or profound shocks to our psyche (for good or ill) shape the complex of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings we call “ourselves.” An unwanted behaviour can be (but isn’t always) a way of compensating for something we don’t want to look at. It has a heart which beats with a rhythm that is harsh to our ears.

I.O.B. may very well remove superficial personality traits. But the buried psychic material behind those behaviors or feelings will remain. And, since we’ve sent them away, they will start to show up in our interactions with others. We will project our shadow material onto our friends, neighbors, and random strangers who, for some inexplicable reason, now annoy us.

A much more effective way to work with these little “quirks” in a similar vein would be to create the telesmatic image as suggested, then merge with it. Identify with it as yourself, as your own (which it is.) Then, search for the burning heart of the beast you’ve become. Ask “why do I do this?” and see what kind of response you get. Sit with whatever it is, then, call down Light into your heart center and ask it to heal the wound.

This is a great deal “scarier” than I.O.B. It’s advantage is that, rather than allowing the aspiring Magus to think they’ve cast out their “demons,” it actually engages with inner drives an impulses and re-owns them.

We find ourselves on an island, the self we have created over the course of our lives. Around us is the boiling sea from which that self has emerged. In it are fragments we left behind, many we’d rather forget. But they are sharp, and if we send them back into the sea, they will one day return with a more jagged edge.

It is better to bring them ashore, and use the fire of our spirit to crush them into diamonds that will add to our clarity, rather than disown them and pretend they are demons that can be banished with little more than a magick word.

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3 comments
  1. nicnevyn said:

    Perhaps a better title for this post, as you allude to in the 6th paragraph is in fact “Identify, Obejctify & Integrate”

    😀

  2. Caris said:

    I thought the main idea of the IOB was to erase the image, dissolve it into nothingness, rather than to merely send it out into the astral world to then be picked up by others. I can see the problem with banishing a personality trait, but what about obsessions/addictions that you do not want to integrate into your personality?

    • The problem isn’t the dissolving part, but the separating out and leaving it on the outside. The psyche simply doesn’t work this way. Obsessions and addictions generally indicate something deeper that needs to be worked on, and techniques like the I.O.B. are more like band-aids.

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