Tuesday, 25 January 2011 13:46

Using Multiple Intelligences in Magick

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When I was working as a network administrator for a public school, there was a county-wide push to use Howard Gardner's theories of multiple intelligences in order to help students learn.  Basically, the theories state that there are multiple ways that people prefer to learn, and by working with the way the brain prefers to absorb information, the learner will more readily grasp new concepts. 

At the school where I worked, they had the students take a short quiz to determine their preferred learning styles. The teachers worked with the students' individual learning styles by grouping students accordingly, having them work on projects that were most appealing to their style.  They demonstrated new concepts in ways that appeal to multiple learning styles.  It was quite effective; there were marked improvements in students' grades and test scores. More importantly, the students didn't hate their work quite so much because the way they learned worked with, not against, their own nature.

Gardner's learning styles can be summed up as follows:
  • Linguistic - Prefers learning through reading, writing, debate, word problems and verbal discussion
  • Spatial - Prefers learning through images, pictures, drawing, and graphing.
  • Logical/Mathematical - Prefers learning with numbers, formulae, equations, code, and logic puzzles.
  • Musical - Prefers learning through music, rhythms, sounds, and patterns.
  • Kinesthetic - Prefers learning with the body, hands-on activites, motion, and by developing muscle memory.
  • Interpersonal - Prefers learning in a social environment, by interacting with others, in group activities.
  • Intrapersonal - Prefers learning by meditation, reflective activities, soul searching and internal dialogues.
  • Naturalist - Prefers learning by observing nature and working in the natural world.

(There are more in-depth explanations of the learning styles at this site and many others.)

Part of how magick works is that it works through me.  I am one of the primary channels through which the changes I wish to achieve can happen. By impressing the magick upon myself in a way that works most efficiently with my own nature, I can expect my entire body, mind and soul to work more effectively at casting the magick, therefore giving me more consistantly desirable results.

I took the multiple intelligences assesment and I got these results:

  1. Spatial: 5
  2. Social: 4.14
  3. Language: 3.57
  4. Self: 3.43
  5. Logic/Math: 3.29
  6. Nature: 3
  7. Kinesthetic: 2.71
  8. Musical: 1.29

Spatial intelligence is not just my highest, but completely maxed.  That makes perfect sense; most of my hobbies involve the visual arts.  Career-wise, I am a web designer and graphic artist.  I'm remodeling an old house and I design clothing, both of which requires a lot of visualization and spatial awareness. 

Fly Fly AwayI use this knowledge of my strong tendency toward the spatial in my magickal pursuits.  Most of my magick involves sigils, symbols, and art.  I've often painted out spells that I have cast, weaving the magick as I move my brush on the canvas.  This painting, entitled, "Fly Fly Away," was one such working.  I wanted to get out of town for a little bit, go on a sabbatical, clear my head and get a new perspective.  Having summers off was a very nice perk of working for the school system. I just needed a destination and a bit of extra money to do so.  Shortly after finishing this painting, I was invited by a friend in Alberta, Canada (just outside of Edmonton) to visit for a few weeks.  That week, I got a bonus check in the mail from my place of employment; apparently the principal was so impressed with my work, he named me one of the employees of the year, and that came with a nice fat bonus.  On top of that, I found ridiculously cheap plane fare to my destination.  I had a wonderful few weeks exploring the Great White North, I got to camp in the beautiful Canadian Rockies not far from Jasper, and got to have Tim Horton's doughnuts and coffee any morning, noon or night I wanted. I got a beautiful painting out of the deal, too.

I was certainly convinced when I saw my magick work so beautifully, and decided to make that one of my foci in my magickal pursuits.  Currently, I have a desktop background on my computer with sigils on it that is helping with some of my current endeavors. I have numerous paintings and other hand-made creations which house current or past magickal endeavors. 

I enjoy working magic with my coven and I work with spirits a lot.  Both of those directly correlate to my second strongest intelligence, social intelligence.  People with high social intelligence learn best by talking and interacting with others, by bouncing ideas and working with energy that is produced in groups. Obviously, I can't have my coven around all the time to work magick with, so I have a whole host of spirits living around me with whom I can work my magick.

I was doing some reflecting on different types of magick, and how they relate to the multiple intelligences.  Take the MI assesment and see if these suggestions line up with the way you do magick.

  • Spatial: sigil magick, yantras, sacred art, symbols, magick squares, talisman-making
  • Linguistic: mantras, chants, poems, journaling, channeling and free-writing
  • Kinesthetic: sacred dance, katas, repetitive motions, mudras and hand gestures, sign language, drawing symbols in the air, pantomime
  • Mathematical/logical: Numerology, sacred geometry, exploring sacred mathematical patterns such as the Fibonacci sequence, gematria
  • Interpersonal: Group magickal work, work with a partner, working with spirits and other external entities.
  • Intrapersonal: Meditation, guided journeys, workings on the astral plane
  • Musical: Sacred music, singing, drumming, chanting
  • Naturalist: Keeping plants for magical purposes, working with animals and animal spirits, working with natural phenomena such as weather, seasons, moon phases.

Of course, I make it a point to work with all of these from time to time, so that I can strengthen those intelligences which are not so developed.  One day, I'll be able to carry a more complex rhythm than a Beladi, I promise.  I make it a point to not lock myself in to my strengths, but to also work to develop my weaknesses.  Though I will rely on my strengths first when I need to get something done, developing my weaker areas gives me channels through which I may grow.  Since my Great Work requires me to develop all aspects of myself, the multiple intelligences also provide me with a guidemap for areas to improve.