Last week I talked about how we could characterise the mystic and the magician – their differing goals, and the techniques they use to achieve them. I wondered whether there might be a relationship between these two orientations and those two broad categories of personality, the introvert and extrovert. I speculated that since magic is concerned with actively engaging with the outer world, such a pursuit might attract more extroverts, while the more apparently inward-looking way of the mystic might be more appealing to introverts.
Well how wrong I was, if our small, and hopelessly uncontrolled online survey is anything to go by! From a sample of 64 responses, 56 people said they were introverts, with only 8 declaring themselves as extroverts. 25 identified themselves as introverted magicians, 21 as introverted mystics, and 10 as introverted mystic magicians!
Only a small minority identified as extroverts: 3 people as magicians, 4 as mystics, and 1 as a mystic magician.
Perhaps both the mystical and magical paths attract more introverts, perhaps there is simply no correlation, although the high proportion of introverts overall is suggestive, but other factors may be at play, like who is likely to watch these teas, or make comments.
One participant raised a fascinating question. They commented: “I’m a Magician Introvert, but I’m not convinced that there’s an important correlation between the two. A more interesting relationship is between magicians & visual artists/craftsmen — and mystics & musicians/dancers. Broadly put, don’t personalities divide between those preoccupied with form and those preoccupied with formlessness?”
If I understand this comment correctly, the suggestion here is that if you presented musicians and dancers with the two definitions of mystic and magician, they would tend to identify as mystics, whereas artists and craftspeople would tend to identify as magicians. Let’s explore this idea one day with an online poll.
Interesting comments also came in about changes people have experienced over time, like this one: “I used to be very introverted but have become more extrovert, interestingly this happened when I made the transition from mystic to magician a few years ago.”
In fact a number of people reported moving from one preference to another, and this brings me to the theme I’d like to explore with you today: the idea of Mystic and Magician as sub-personalities – as different aspects of ourselves. If you try imagining these two kinds of people as ‘inner characters’, and then engage in dialogue with them, you might find they offer interesting insights and perspectives. Ask each what they want, what they need and what they can offer you.
There isn’t much material on the topic of subpersonalities online, and its Wikipedia entry is poor. Work with it is particularly developed, though, in Psychosynthesis, and the best texts on this subject are by one of the pioneers of Humanistic Psychology, John Rowan, who died a few weeks ago at the grand old age of 93. His Subpersonalities: The People Inside Us is fascinating and comprehensive, and written for psychologists and therapists. His later Discover Your Subpersonalities: Our Inner World and the People in It is written for a lay readership and includes questionnaires and exercises.