Everywhere we can see now how the trappings of Magic are strewn around with such mindless and perfunctory abandon that it’s obvious to everyone that the morning of cat memes is well advanced. Moreover, the so-called “Occult community” (which is anything but) has produced already so much over- merchandised junk and shadow without substance, that it’s clear no mere grain of salt, appearing alongside that sea of sugar, can expect much attention.But the gems are there, and work is still being done that will help practitioners along the path for years to come.How can we separate the wheat from the chaff ? Sit down, have a beverage, and ask yourself, is the magic I’m doing improving my life? Or am I still jobless, complaining about my life on Facebook and eating MC Donalds twice a day?
In only the most ordinary sense are we “already” magicians. It’s true that only deliberate action which produces a visible ripple over the surface of reality is a magical act. Nature itself endlessly engages in creatively magical acts every moment. But what we are painfully learning for the first time is that magic comes out of our connectedness to the world and is in no way whatsoever the wielding of some mystical power over things from “outside” them.It all comes from within, and the moment you look outside yourself for power, you cheat the very source you search for.
Thus, neither ordinary religion , with its parched, subnatural separation from physical, supposedly “unclean” bodies, nor science with its tedious and incessant denial of all “taint” of self, can be called magic. Continuing in the spirit of that Renaissance pizzazz which began in the 1960’s to raise Hermetic and Occult studies from their immemorial grave, we are now entering a much more technologically advanced era when it comes to the Art, as greater and greater numbers of seekers are putting their work out on the net for the masses to ponder, even though the average postmodern Internet Troll scarcely understand the words being written.But that is a good thing, the less those who don’t work with magic understand about evocation or necromancy, the better.
I say this because Magic is not for the all. It never has been something that gets better if taken for granted.Where the wise of the past and present try to provide wisdom about the Art, only you and your hard work can “Mint” you as a Magician, Witch, or whatever trendy label the hip kids are using these days. I write my own odd insights about the Art and I avoid as much as I can the words and concepts which are high brow or ivory tower. I’ve made it a practice to concentrate on the more esoteric Taoist ideas and most misunderstood philosophical point that faces the occult community, the left hand path. I do this out of a deep respect for those who have come before me, and for the younger Occultists who will stand on my shoulders when I’m dust in a coffin.
Despite our infatuation with the modern world of quick and easy candle spells at $9.99 a pop or “I will make a pact with a demon for you for $666.66”, the work is still being done by both the solomonic traditionalist and the back country herb witch.Such magic must be tied to tradition, be it from a book or at the knee of a wise woman – for, once stripped of tradition, it immediately and bleakly sheds all meaning and quickly degenerates into one size fits all occultism. Once that tradition is absorbed and respected, then by all means go crazy, break the rules, experiment to your hearts content.But walk before you run friends, or often times you end up flat on your face.
The goal of the left hand path magician, or one might also say the Taoist inner alchemist, is transcendence, godhood, and immortality, not just the manipulation of the material world for the puffing up of the ego or for changing the outward face of things. The magician’s aim is to recognize that we are in no way separate from the universe and need to reaffirm our direct and total connection to it. Therefore, we are able to cease acting horizontally in the hopeless trap of cause and effect and can begin acting vertically to link the infernal and the celestial to the terrestrial.
Many of us have, with monumental smugness, shoved magic into one corner, metaphysics into another and religion into a third. Magic in particular, we’ve all secretly fantasized, is a search for “powers”. We tend to imagine that it’s just the childlike, fairy-tale belief in the ability to work miracles – as though ordinary reality isn’t miracle enough. Or, even worse, we act as though magic were just another toy – a Transformer, a Drone, a cybernetic data cruncher, a revolutionary dimension-splitter, a meta-matter transmogrifier – that we confidently expect some great cosmic Santa Claus to deliver, once we’ve achieved, say, celibate purity or infernal foulness.This is all rather like a dog complacently assuming that you will give him the whole turkey if he merely sits on his hind legs and waves his forepaws.
True, we’ve been admonished time and again that the genuine traveler shouldn’t be distracted by mere conjuring. The yogi must not succumb to the call to develop siddhis. In fact, we have been warned that we would do better to avoid conjuring altogether.I will never give such warnings, call every spirit you can. Risk, dare, dream and be bold my friends. But please, do the ground work first. Now, of course warnings serve only to sharpen all the more the appetites of callow youth, and once more I say we need those cocky lads and lasses to remind us of the work WE still need to get done in our own Art.