R u A Magician?

This is a prompted response post based on this one from Patrick Dunn’s Postmodern Magic Blog and this one at Nick Farrell’s Blog.  I will immediately say that I disagree with most of Farrell’s opinions on this subject – Dunn is more on par with what I think most Magicians and ‘Serious’ Occultists would agree with.  But then we all are entitled to our view.

Signs that a Magician is what ye be.

1.  Magicians realize that dress is a factor.  Dress is both for you and for others.  How you dress alters societies perception of you and also alters your own perception of self.  Therefore outfits of any sort, whether they carry a social stigma or not will box you into certain social and self given subsets.  Magicians are aware of this and wear whatever they want.  Magicians should never assume that people who dress a certain way live a certain way or are not fellow magicians because of how they do or do not dress.

2. Everyday a Magician does the Work.  This Work does not mean ritual Work or specific  “I am a Magician” Work.  This Work can be reading, research, or mental practice.  It can even be talking the Work or developing future Work.

3. You grow as a person – Not just a Magician or Occultist.  Your life improves because of your studies and due to your Work as a Magician…If not what’s the point.  The trick of being a Magician is realizing that the Work is not the sole reason for the change in your life but because of the choice to be a more Awake and Alive person.

4. Being a Magician does not cause relationships to end.  Being a Magician is an act of intention, some people don’t like this, many people fear those who live intent filled lives – not just Magicians necessarily.  There is no reason to blame the Occult or your Work for a relationship breaking up and if you do perhaps you have other personality issues to deal with.

5 Stuff.  Don’t get caught up in stuff.  I’d even say to get rid of your stuff on occasion, because it’s a crutch and it holds you in the past.  Stuff isn’t bad – but a Magician shouldn’t be anchored to stuff and that it somehow makes the Work more powerful.  It’s fun to use stuff and it can help, but don’t get caught up in it, it’s peripheral to the Work not central to it.

6. Do the Work.  Magicians do shit.  Reading is good, thinking is good, creating is good.  Doing is IT.  Doing means you’re a Magician.

7. Magicians are curious about the world.  Therefore the Occult is not their only interest.  Have hobbies, enjoy the world.  Any Magician or Occultist who says he doesn’t enjoy anything else or has no other interests but the Occult is a sad individual.

8. Social Lives are important.  Have friends, hang out with family.  Being a Magician means you forge relationships with entities and worlds outside of common experience.  If you can’t handle friendships or relationships with real people you will fail as a Magician.

9. A Magician realizes that the Work is not everything.  Life is large, the Work isn’t everything.

10.  Magicians question everything.  They wonder.  Magicians choose to live within mythological constructs, social norms, and/or irrational fictions at will.  Don’t let Truths and Lies be easily labeled – accept that your questions of them are valid and needed.

11.  Literal and Mental are important distinctions to a Magician.  Enough said.  Once you know this the Work is beginning.

12. The Work of the Magician is about living.  A Magician sees the Work as a benefit to himself and his life and uses it appropriately and in ways that are beneficial to him.

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A Magicians Equilibrium

Where to start with this…

Recently I met up with another Magician, a Magician who I know shares many common interests; Sigil work, Lovecraft Mythos, Crowley, the Enochian work of Dr. Dee, Kenneth Grant, chaos Magic(k)…on and on.

I won’t go over what we discussed, because its not the content that’s important but instead what it seemed to trip within me.

A Magician holds onto two worlds; One is the world of reality – the social constructs that modern man has decided are the normal existing limitations of flesh, bone, and mind.  I’m not at all concerned with labeling such a construct as  “Reality” or as “Perception” or “Awareness” – all three being buzzwords in the magic(k)al world that really mean nothing to the un-initiated.  I’m not one to think that these realities are spiritually maintained or created by any act of subtle intelligence, in other words I do not use the word “Perception” to mean anything other than the most mundane of definitions.  We have all chosen to participate in cultural and social norms, and because of our participation and our socialization reality continues and seems  concrete/permanent. And that’s all there is to it.

The second world a Magician holds onto is the one in which he is empowered to make decisions that effect his world in marked and profound ways.  This world is one that is only understood by the Magician, its not part of the larger social pattern.  For a short while the Magician sequesters him or herself into a world of her creation.  Of course there are maps available to her that will help, such as Mythology or the writings of other Magicians, even fiction.  These tools are meant to suspend the “us” that has been tormented by the rational and scientific modern age, to re-manifest and reconstitute the part of ourselves that was enchanted with the world before science taught us  equations meant to explain every miracle.

So, discussing magic(k) and mystery is probably one of my favorite things to do.  But I’m a rational Magician, I don’t get caught up in fantastical imaginings of spirit manifestations and similar stories.  I consider magic(k)al practice a mental workout, its effects mainly for personal betterment, a way to transform the self through ritual. In fact I separate my religious practice from my Magic(k)al one…Religious practice verifies and confirms my world whereas Magic(k)al practice reminds me that sometimes we need to step out of one world into another, not literally, but mentally.

My equilibrium was challenged during my recent magic(k) meeting.  I was asked, very innocently, about the possibility of bridging the gap between the Magicians world that usually stays calmly and safely within my ritual room behind its closed door, and the world full of constructed and agreed upon norms.

In that instant I couldn’t even verbalize to my ‘colleague in chaos’ how he had shaken me.  On his couch I sat going through the Rolodex of possibilities in my mind, each mental note-card containing tidbits of lore from my twenty years of being involved in magic(k), trying to find a solution to the query he had posed.   I was stunned, and I understood the role of the Magician as no other time in my life.  Like the Tarot card Magician, one hand up with wand pointed skyward, the other pointed down, I felt trapped in the middle between two opposing currents.  The One that says look to the solidity of the ground beneath you for the stable and the assured, the Second which is ethereal and enchanting and found with forethought and difficulty.

The mystery of that moment on the couch is that for once I had nothing to say.  I was the Magician caught in the middle of the two worlds that, like the card image, will probably, one day, be forced to reconcile.

I realized then that I was two people living in two very different worlds.  I am a rational person, choosing to involve myself in irrationality.   The Fool is card 0, the Magician card 1.  Is it because the Fool has no realization of the worlds he inhabits, and the first step, the step of knowledge begins with the effort to understand that the self is the nexus of the stable and the ethereal(?) and the one who defines how they unite and what he will do with that knowledge along the way.

Just something on my mind lately…

Making a Magician

Dee and Kelly: not chaos magician

I took this idea from a post found at Runesoup a few years back.

“How would you introduce someone to magic using only books? He or she has
a month in a lake house and will read whatever you tell them in the
exact order that you tell them to. Not even any peeking at other books
on the list.”

The Rules

1.. Fiction is allowed.
2.. You have to specify what brand of magician you want to build
beforehand. (Hermeticist, chaos, etc.)
3.. You can’t tell the subject this.
4.. You must include books from at least three disciplines. (This is to
stop you just giving the Complete Golden Dawn and then declaring the
subject a GD-style magician at the end.)
5.. It’s only books. No guru teaching, no magical training. Just books.
(It’s a book game.) Presume they will do the exact same amount of
exercises out of the books that you did.
6.. The subject goes into the house without any belief in magic. They
are a smug, modern agnostic.
7.. A maximum of ten titles. Trilogies count as three books.

My Answer: This was a pretty difficult task. I used only books that I
have personally read and used, so there’s nothing second hand on the
list, this was very important to me. You’ll notice that there are no
1st level sources on my list, in other words no mythology or original
cosmological/ancestral sources…In my opinion the task wasn’t calling
for these, it merely asked how to create a magician, not a functioning
pagan or scholar, nor was it worried about how to worship or how best to
integrate a “spirituality” into a persons life, it only asked to expose
an agnostic to magic theory and how to get them practicing competently.

I’ve tracked down a few of the books online, but I would recommend
finding (then reading) magic(k) related books in the material world at
your local used book stores or from half.com, ebay, or some other
second-hand provider.
It’s important to remember that the books will be read in order…


The Magician I’m choosing to create is a Runic-Chaos Magician

Cosmic Trigger #1 by Robert Anton Wilson I’ve seen this book on many
Magicians’ lists, and it was one that popped into my mind right away,
before looking at any others. It’s a great book, the first one in the
trilogy, and really shakes up one’s psyche, and forces them to realize
or at least contemplate the possibility that the world is merely what we
want it to be – manifested from a soup of coincidence, action, and what
we feed our minds.

Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates A good fiction novel informed by historical
events. Exposes readers and future Magicians to a Saxon/Teutonic
inspired world view that isn’t just made up wishful thinking.

Futhark by Edred Thorsson A great primer on Rune magic(K), ritual, and
practice. This book has helpful ways to meditate and begin ritual
practice with the Runes that will aid the flowering Rune Magician. Also
has a bit of good historical data.

Magical Workbook by Donald Tyson Usually I wouldn’t recommend anything
by Donald Tyson, but this book has excellent techniques geared toward
the creation of an able Magician. Most are taken from other sources so
it’s not just Tyson pulling cool techniques out of the air. These
practices are very common among most magical lodges and orders and force
the Magician to think more magically and thus more powerfully throughout
his/her day to day.

Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine This will be the Magician’s first exposure
to chaos magic(k). After working with the Magical Workbook, and
possibly still doing so, a good foundation of practice and technique
will have been established.

Post Modern Magic by Patrick Dunn More good technique here. This is a
very modern look at magic(K). Classics are included like the LBRP, but
it tends to deal more with psychological magic(k) and builds upon what
Phil Hine exposed the fledgling Magician to in Condensed Chaos.

Rune Might by Edred Thorsson Good book that will expose the Magician
to the early days of the Runic Revival in Germany and other Teutonic
countries (mainly Germany). Discusses the use of Runes by various
Occult lodges in the early 1900’s, revealing their techniques.

Pop Magick (Article by Grant Morrison) Grant Morrison is a comic book
writer and a Magician. This article reflects his belief that magic(k)
is nothing to be feared, but played with and experimented with. After
the heavy information in the previous books, the Magician should take a
deep relaxing breath with this small article, and begin to understand
that magic(k) is about living and having fun.

Seidways by Jan Fries Back to the heavy stuff. All about Seid
magic(k). Any good Runic-Chaos Magician should begin delving into this
practice.

Teutonic Magic by Kveldulf Gundarsson Notice that this is the only book
that delves into mythology and how it relates to magic(k)al practice.
Mostly this list is not about gods and goddesses or the beings that
dwell in a more mythic realm. The Magician by this time is probably
wondering about what beings inhabit the realms of Yggdrasil and this
will help. Even though Futhark exposed him/her to gods and other
beings, the focus has been on magic(k) and not necessarily religious
development. This final book will give the Magician more fuel for
enlivening his practice.

*A list I found elsewhere that I would like to delve into:

Brand of Magician; A Contemporary Cunning Practitioner

1. The Way of Mystery Nema Maat
2. Re-Visioning the Earth Paul Devereux Eco- psychology
3. My Life with the Spirits Lon Milo DuQuette Golden Dawn
4. Living Magical Arts RJ Stewart North West European Mystery Tradition
5. The War of Art Steven Pressfield Psychology of creation
6. Visual Magick Jan Fries Freestyle Shamanism
7. Basic Psychic Hygiene Sophie Reicher Modern Magick
8. The Faery Teachings Orion Foxwood, Trad Witchcraft/Conjurer
9. Wyrdwalkers Raven Kalder Northan Tradition Shamanism
10. Traditional Witchcraft A Cornish Book of Ways Gemma Gary