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Magick for the Real World

One couple's dream of being the change they want to see in the world.

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Magickal Dangers and Random Tips


I have been practicing magick for a while now and though I’ve tried to temper my eagerness for results with the caution that experimentation requires, I’ve failed at times and have witnessed the dangers firsthand or realized just how close to the ledge I have been.  I feel that when my children are old enough to start experimenting–with magick that is–that they read or are told what happened or could have happened when I was not safe in my practices.  And so, I have decided that it is probably a very good topic to write about.

Tip 1:  Don’t do magick in your home.  I’ll start with my first words of warning:  be wary of what kind of magick you do in your own home.  Spirits/demons/ghosts/energies of all kinds/things that go bump in the night are all attracted to energy and magick is big-time energy.  Just because you cast a circle and close it and all of the other things that you’ve learned to do, it’s inevitable that your home will become well known as an energy source.  If at all possible, do your magick somewhere else whether that’s in a field, your backyard, a park, or even just your garage.

I learned this through two of my own residences becoming energetic feeding grounds.  As I’m sure that you know if you’ve read much of what I’ve written, I know the basic protections and fail-safes that circulate magickal circles.  I have kicked my fair share of not-so-nice things out of my apartment, but I promise, you don’t want to deal with the trouble every night when you really would rather be getting some sleep before work or a final or even just to watch a good movie with a particular someone.  The bad thing about it is that no matter how many spirits you banish from your home, every time you do it you’re releasing more energy and you’re only making it worse.  I don’t know a fix for this, and the only way that I eventually rid myself and my family of this trouble was to move.  That’s why I would suggest that you didn’t start the cycle.  If you must do magick in your home, remember to cleanse well afterwards so that the energy doesn’t build up.  It’s not hard to clean it up quickly before your home becomes an energetic hotspot, but it’s very difficult to clean it up once it’s known in darker circles.

2.  Leave the innocents out of it! The things that go bump in the night are attracted to those of us that can deal with them.  They’re attracted to the energy that we put out when we practice, when we worship, and when we simply move about.  On the other hand, they can affect people that they aren’t drawn to, so when you are doing magick even remotely close to other people, please don’t just make the spirits leave you.  The entities were drawn to you, and therefore they are your responsibility.  Don’t cause harm simply through neglect.

This one really hit me hard when I realized what had happened.  I was dealing with a rather difficult entity one night and it was causing a lot of pain to my wife, so I did the first thing that came to me–I pushed it away.  Well it went up…to my upstairs neighbor’s apartment.  I didn’t think too much of it for a while.  I figured that it would be back like most of them ended up doing, but it never really came back.  A few days to a few weeks later, the family that lived upstairs and to my knowledge had never really had any real problems split up.  The dad left and I never saw him again.  They had had a serious fight that we heard downstairs after never hearing anything from them in a year, not even their 2 year old crying.  This family had done nothing to draw the entity to them, had no way of knowing that it was an entity causing pain and turmoil, and had no way of dealing with it.  Don’t be the cause of someone else’s pain, even unintentionably.  Trust me, it really sucks.

3.  Don’t forget the basics.  The basics are there for a reason.  We all learn to cast a circle.  We all learn the basic protections.  We all learn the basic idea that yes there are things out there that can hurt us and yes we should make sure that they don’t come near us.  Remember these all the time.  Especially when you’re doing something new.

Not too long ago, my wife and I were working through a rather intense invocation ritual.  I did the unthinkable and didn’t cast a circle.  I made a circle in order to contain my wife in the event that something bad did happen, but I didn’t make a circle to insulate her from any unintended participants.  Yes, I know that this was a very very poor decision.  Luckily nothing bad happened (that I am aware of *knock on wood*), but it was very clear how close we came to an unintended invocation.  My wife left her body for a very short time, but that was only after feeling the multitudes of entities that were coming and pushing against her.  The intended spirit was invoked successfully, but her only communication was to basically tell me that I was an idiot.  Let me tell you that not only did I feel like a complete idiot in front of a very powerful spirit, but I ran the risk of injuring my wife or having her be possessed.  This is not something to play with.  Regardless of how invincible you feel, do not forget the basics.  They’re there for a reason.

Well that’s it for now.  If anyone has any other hard-earned tips, please post them for others.

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Dark Magic–The Origins of Light


“It is far better to learn to see in the dark than to shine a light and be blinded.”

The New Age movement has brought with it a flood of metaphysically inclined people that push for a love and light philosophy.  There are very few mentions of the darker side of magick within the basic magick 101 books, and though that may be a good thing for many reasons, it also limits many people’s view of the people that do darker magick.

Dark magick, by my personal definition, is acknowledging and accessing the entire spectrum of possibilities in magick, even the dangerous and scary aspects such as demon evocation, sex magick and blood magick.  This is probably not the most perfect of definitions, but it will work for my purposes.

Dark magick is not in opposition of the lighter sides of magick, and in fact works with them.  They cohabitate every part of the world and cannot exist without the other side.  The dark is the realm of difficulty, of temptation, and of possible failure.  This is the place where strength is derived.  Darkness is the natural state, and it is only through surviving and triumphing in darkness that light can be made.  Therefore, every light comes from darkness and the aspiring healer must first face the darkness before he can bring the light to others.

The shamans of old were not shamans until they had faced the darkness and triumphed.  They had to walk roads of shadows–deathly illnesses, “schizophrenia”, and physical trials–before they could ever do good for anyone else.  Our society understands that darkness is the realm of creativity.  It is more uncommon to have a true creative genius without any darkness in their life than one that is full of depression, hardship, and darkness.  Women must go through the darkness of pregnancy and child birth before their bundle of light is brought into the world.  The journey of bringing light to the world is always full of darkness.

The problem is not that darkness exists, or that people are unaware of it.  The problem is that rather than respecting the darkness as a way to personal strength, they fear it and those that walk the darker roads.  Not everyone chooses to embrace darkness, and it is understandable why people would not.  It is the place of unknown, and humans by nature are fearful of the unknown.  It is also the realm of danger, of destruction, of death, and of pain.  All of these are necessary parts of the road to strength.  It is not in comfort that we gain strength, just as the sword is not strengthened without the fires of the forge or the pounding of the hammer and anvil.

In closing this post, I must say that every magician must confront the darkness at some point.  Do not be reckless when doing this, but do not be afraid to do it.  It is a necessary road for all that wish to bring light to the world and to bring light to yourself.

The Symbolism of the Scorpion


There are very few references to scorpions in mythology or modern symbolism books.  I have no good theories on why this would be the case, but many of my searches for information on the scorpion have been in vain.  In response to this lack of information, I’m going to post my thoughts and personal symbols for the scorpion as well as the little information I’ve found.

In every case that I’ve found, the scorpion has represented the death that comes unsuspecting.  It does not attack with ferociousness like a tiger or bear, but instead dances around its enemy, drawing their attention to its pincers while it slowly draws near enough for the fatal strike from its tail.  This teaches us the value of the never letting your enemy know the true danger until it is too late.

On the other hand, there is no cruelty in the scorpion.  It is simple, emotionless, and deadly at the same time.  Cold-blooded simplicity at its finest.  The scorpion will fight, kill, and then devour any rival scorpions and even their mates.  They teach us that we are alone in the world, and that it is often best to rid the world of competitors.  Unlike people though, this is not done through hate or distrust, simply the cold knowing that all competitors can turn around and destroy you if you do not destroy them first.

Strangely, they are one of the only “bugs” that cares for its young.  As soon as the eggs hatch, the baby scorpions climb up on the mother’s back and completely cover her.  She then protects them until their first molting.  This cold-blooded killer knows that it must protect her young from the world until they are ready to fight their own battles.  She knows that in this world, there is no mercy to be had, even for the young.

The scorpion represents death in its most simple sense.  It represents the world in its harshest most destructive nature, and yet with a very protective nature.  Crowley integrated the scorpion into his Death card in the Thoth Tarot, along with the serpent and eagle, the other two pieces of Scorpio.

In the Ritual of the Portal, an initiatory ritual of the Golden Dawn, it is said that

“The Scorpion is the emblem of ruthless destruction; the Snake is the mixed and deceptive nature, serving alike for good and evil; the Eagle is the higher and Divine Nature, yet to be found herein, the Alchemical Eagle of distillation, the Renewer of life. As it is said:–’Thy youth shall be renewed like the Eagles.’”

There are many parts of the Golden Dawn that I disagree with, but on this series of transformations I agree.  It is necessary to learn the destructive nature of the scorpion before you can learn the trans-formative nature of the snake who can travel between the upper and lower world.

This post is not about this Golden Dawn ritual and so I will not go deeply into it, I was simply showing yet another example of the symbolism of the scorpion.  If there is any interest in this topic, I would have no problem writing about it in more detail.

Altars, Altars Everywhere, But Not a Bit of Spirit to be Found


/start sarcasm

My exaggerated view of a Barnes and Nobles metaphysical bookshelf

Hmmm… this is a pretty big Barnes and Nobles, maybe they’ve got something different than the one from my small town in South Texas. Oh yeah, there’s some Silver RavenWolf, that’s what I’ve been looking for. Sweet! I’ve been needing a sixth book on Magick 101! This one’s got a pretty picture of a flower on the cover and it’s all sparkly! Oh yeah, and there’s the section on Cunningham, definitely haven’t seen those before. I hear they’re good especially if you’ve never heard of primary sources. Oh and here’s the section on meditation. Probably much different from the meditation that’s taught in Asian philosophy and everywhere else. Oh yeah, and there’s the 270 page fairy book that has absolutely no information that can’t be found in a child picture book. Definitely my choice purchase. Oh wait, it costs $31.99? I’m sure it’s worth it. Oh yeah, here’s what I was looking for, the section on altars. So there’s Altars for Different Seasons, Basic Altars, How to Make Your Own Altar, and the ever popular Different Crap You Can Buy to Decor…I Mean Honor Stuff With Your Altar.

/end sarcasm

I wonder why the average Pagan creates an altar. I also wonder why there is such a market for books on the subject. I know that some people need ideas for their first altar, and most books are marketed to the novice in their practice, but the idea of an altar is fairly simple and doesn’t really require buying anything–even books on the subject. An altar’s three-fold purpose is to create a sacred space in a home that is normally filled with non-sacred emotions and actions, to honor spirits, and to use as a magickal tool for filling something with energy and power.

When taking the purpose into account, can you really tell me that you need to buy a bunch of overpriced stuff for an altar? And how can you make an altar out of a book? I know that my altar has a few things that a book would suggest, but I wouldn’t ever go buy the items just to build an altar (which the books seems to suggest that you do). I’ve got a chalice that I used long before I ever had an altar. Yes, I’ve got a few crystals that I had before I was Pagan and was using them for meditation practices. Yes, I’ve also got an incense burner that is actually a mortar filled with salt. I’ve got a few feathers…that I got as a gift my spiritual teacher.

So what is it that I’m trying to say? An altar is supposed to bring you closer to “God” as the Christians say. It’s supposed to open you up and allow you feel safe and calm. It’s no different from the sacred temples of the ancient Greeks or groves of the Druids. Do you really think that the priests of old went to their local Magick-Mart for a bunch of stuff made in China or Korea in sweatshops to put in their brand new temple? We don’t have to hand-make everything like they did, but please remember that the energy in these cheap foreign-made products is likely to be less that awesome. I would rather have an incomplete altar than one filled with items that will bring negative energy into my workings. Magick is a subtle art that is heavily influenced by the nuances of the practice rather than the basics, and so in this case, yes you should sweat the small stuff.

The other thing to think about is that an altar is not so much a tool like a rake or steak knife. It isn’t just something to use in order to get results. It becomes a living extension of yourself. That is one of the primary reasons that taking care of it is such an important task. It needs the love and attention that you give in order to put you into that place of spiritual openness.

How is it so necessary to own 7 books on a subject that is simple. Put pieces of yourself into the altar above all else. Put spiritual pieces that mean something to you next. Yes, it’d be nice to honor the elements and certain gods, but remember that the altar is your gateway to the infinite, and so it should be a part of you rather than some altar template that you found in a book.

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