Got Problems? – What Use is Your Magick?   21 comments

Greetings Faithful Readers!

A subject has recently come up on the Solomonic Yahoo Group that I’ve been wanting to address for some time.  All too often, I see folks (specifically Western folks) point out issues of poverty, sickness or other hardships faced by either individual magicians or cultures where magick is prevalent, and suggest that it is proof their magick doesn’t work.  How many times have you heard that some magician “died penniless” as proof that they weren’t much of a magician after all?

Here is a quote from the original post on Solomonic, and my response to it:

Re: So everybody is a Sorcerer. What then?

— In, Julian <belfire1@…> wrote:
> However, there might be some who look at social conditions in places
> like Brazil and Mexico and Cuba, and wonder in what way their magical
> culture has made then happier, healthier, safer, more prosperous, and
> more free—such that we might benefit from emulating them.

As I see it, this is one of the fundamental misunderstandings about magick in the Western world. Magick does not exist to *stop* bad things from happening, magick exists *because* bad things happen.

I think we’ve been conditioned by our fiction and Hollywood fantasy to see magick as a “cure all.” If a person is truly a powerful wizard or sorcerer, then surely their lives will reflect it in that they will never want for food or money, never be sick, never have bad things happen to them, etc. Why, because a *true* wizard should be able to wave his wand at any problem and make it vanish in a puff of smoke and a flash of light. If he doesn’t live up to the Harry Potter standard, then surely he’s a fraud…

Then we look at the real world and see just what you’ve described above. We see that magick is more widespread in cultures that don’t have it so good. We see that magicians don’t come from lives of happiness and comfort. And so we think: then what good is the magick?

But magick doesn’t make you immune to hardship. It doesn’t make your problems vanish. It exists to be invoked in times of hardship, to make the hardship something we can overcome. It is, in this way, synonymous with medicine.  Medicine doesn’t stop all disease or suffering from happening. And when you do get sick and miserable, you don’t expect to be completely cured the moment you walk out of the doctor’s office. You take the medicine he prescribes to you, hoping that it will eleviate soem of the suffering and possibly aid you in returning to a state of health.

And so it is with magick. When bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it. And that is why we see more widespread magick use in cultures that don’t have it so great. If they were all fat and happy, then why would they seek magick in the first place?


Believe me, it took me many years to come to grips with what I say above.  I spent plenty of time angry at my Guardian Angel, Patron Gods, familiars and spiritual helpers for “letting bad things happen to me.”  Until they finally drove it into my head that they weren’t there to make me some kind of superhuman, impervious to any hardship.  They were there to make sure I made it through the bad things.

There is a great illustration of this in that old Nick Cage movie “City of Angels.”  In the opening scene, we meet Nick and his buddy in a convenience store in a bad part of town.  At first, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why these two angels would be hanging out in some random gas-n-go.  But then a man comes in and pulls a gun on the store owner.

Do our heroic angels spring into action to subdue the evildoer?  Nope.  Instead each angel stands behind one of the humans involved and places a hand on his shoulder.  This calms the humans slightly, and the robbery goes down without anyone getting killed.  The angels didn’t seem to consider the morality of the robbery of much concern.  They just influenced the situation enough to get the humans through it in one piece.

And if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you might know why I find something a bit personal in that scene.  😉  And though that case is a bit on the extreme side, I have found much the same to be true of my entire magickal career.  Whatever I learn about magick, it doesn’t remove me from this physical realm full of hardship and danger.  It sure as hell doesn’t make me rich.  And, to be frank, I’ve found that my guardians are much more likely to shove me into the pitfalls of life than to steer me around them.  (Angels don’t let wimps hang around with them.)

But I am still here, and I’m in a position in life that is a damn sight better than it would have been without magick.  In complete honesty, I really don’t have to worry much about a place to live,  or lack of money or a thousand other things that could afflict me.  Yet I got here by paying serious dues along the way.


All Magic comes with a price, Dearie!

As it is said in the Golden Dawn’s 5=6 initiation ceremony:  Hate not suffering, it was but the purification of the Gold.



Posted May 26, 2013 by kheph777 in magick

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21 responses to “Got Problems? – What Use is Your Magick?

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  1. Very well said. brother! It still amazes me how many of my magus cohorts are still trying to conjure that magic bullet, or elixer, angel, or demon, that will “fix” their life. Trying to explain that to them sometimes is like explaining color to a blind person. Soooo many books on the shelves with sooo many promises. Thanks for this post. I hope many wander across it and ponder long.


    • Agreed wholeheartedly. There aren’t any shortcuts or magic bullets and the magician who seeks them is a fool. Well said.


      Aatenku Het Aku N Sekhet
  2. In the more “prosperous, stable and secure” countries, there is no shortage of self created personal problems. They arise from neurotic fixations, unrealistic expectations, unattainable desires, or in other words a chronic disconnection from reality. Part of this comes from growing up in a profoundly neurotic social matrix, part from deliberately created propaganda and indoctrination.

    Some people turn to Teh Dark Occult in search of instant, easy ways to make their most absurd and impossible dreams come true. When they find that this does not work – learning the easy way through a little common sense, or the hard way through a series of progressively more damaging failures – they reject Magick as “nonsense” and return to the normal misery of business as usual.

    But some people know that there is something missing from the life their parents and teachers and peers showed them, something completely different from what the TV taught them to want and feel and be. Something just out of sight and reach that is terribly important but completely elusive: A missing link. In Magick they may discover tools that bring that missing link much closer. Not instantly, not easily, but a door opens and a path appears. Those who follow that path with stubborn determination learn many things that are beyond the understanding of their peers. The longer they stay on that road, the more of their intrinsic human nature they recover, and this is the key to recognizing and implementing real solutions to real problems.

    Along the way, a “real Magician” may acquire substantial mystical insights and a few unusual powers: I would be the last to discount the reality of the psychic phenomena associated with Magick, or the objective reality of the non-human entities encountered therein. But the most important supernatural power available though Magick is the ability to recognize and alter one’s own neurotic fixations, and on rare and special occasions, to escape INTO reality with life-transforming results.


  3. Very good Aaron.
    The phrase: “Angels don’t let wimps hang around with them” is to remember one must do the work instead to expect others will do.
    No miracles, but opportunities.


  4. curious – read the caption under the pic about magic ‘coming with a price’… and, if that’s the case, how can one determine whether or not the price would be too steep to pay before utilizing their skills/craft? also, does this apply to magic done simply in order to recuperate from an ordeal?


  5. To know exactly what you need is to be wise, and I fear I am not that wise, and I doubt I ever shall be.


  6. The documented record of Western magic is all about weather magic, power magic, legal magic, treasure magic, health magic, love magic–all about fulfilling basic needs in a hostile wolf at the door world.


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  8. A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor!


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  10. Much depends on the student, to what the teacher looks like.
    There is magic to create money, love, power etc – there is even ways of doing so with enough force to hold back natural forces for a while.
    But those forces are constant; how can someone out of tune with the natural tides and forces expect to stand against them forever and have a strong enough creation and tools to build a strong enough bulliwick without being prepared to learn (and adapt to) the principles involved. Thus one can create love or money, but one cannot keep these things unless one is willing to understand their nature as well as the magicians own.
    And counterpoint…having accepted the nature of these things and themselves, how can the magician willing to do the work, fail to achieve them.

    Be not persuaded by the publishers of books. Such things are done for editors and publishers and to share a few grains of truth with far flung associates, thus their nature, is that of entertainment and of curiousity. Seldom is the daily work worthy of publication for such audiences.


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  12. You hit the proverbial nail on the head, Aaron in that what’s wrong with Magic & Sorcery in the world today is the often confused misperceptions of Fantasy VS Real in Occultism. Fantasy is both film & fiction and sadly THIS is where people get their silly notions from. For all of the so-called education people receive, they still want to believe that Magic cures everything. It doesn’t. And you are correct in that even if you are powerful, that doesn’t mean everything is going to go smoothly for you all the time. In fact a life like that would be boring after a while as we all need something to cause us a bit of a hassle so that we can learn from our mistakes.

    I will say that practicing real Occultism and using some critical decision making in one’s life SHOULD lessen the problems one normally runs into in life however some people are DAM’s (Dramatic Attention Magnets) and thus whatever befalls them, it is the greatest calamity ever to come their way. The applied use of Sorcery is in this case null & void since the individual must first overcome their need to be a DAM in the first place. Why? Because no matter what they do Sorcery wise, they will always make mountains out of hills. Social media is rife with people who are DAM’s and no matter how much JuJu they or anyone summons on their behalf, the pitiful ‘woe is me’ still surfaces regularly.

    Sorcery has helped put food into my children’s mouths, clothed them & purchased a few things they enjoyed as children. Actually the Spirits provided those things for my kids and I always took time to thank Them for being so generous. I tend to think that is a major flaw with Western Esoteric teachings – saying Thank You to the Spirits regardless of whether you revere a God/dess in Wicca or Secret Chiefs or Uncle Al himself, not saying thank you to the Spirits even once in a while tends to cause Magician’s to remain broke and have all sorts of problems in their lives. But is it the fault of the Spirits? Nope. It all goes back to the practitioner & how they were raised. Funny how even born-again MagicKians who claim to be Xian seem to forget their Spiritual leader’s words: “Ask and ye shall receive…” It doesn’t say demand but ask. And what are you supposed to do after someone has granted your request? Ah that’s right, say ‘Thank you’.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Jason Miller has added his thoughts to this topic. 🙂


  15. Excellent and thought-provoking article. This is something that I have spent a great deal of time thinking of, sometimes in response to lousy events, sometimes when I am afraid of some event and want to rail at the spirits for not giving me the means by which to become bulletproof. It occurs to me, though, that even in fiction magick is not a perfect solution – in the Potterverse, say, the protagonists come out victorious by some measure, and yet they experience loss and pain and times when magick does not fix everything perfectly. Somehow I find this consoling.


  16. This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read. Thank you again, and thanks to everyone that commented. I am revisiting this issue again and these words helped me.


  17. It’s not about having an easy life but how hardships are met and resolved. What to an ordinary person may appear to be a failure on behalf of a magician, can in fact be a critical event to transform life as he knows it. Sometimes adversity is just a necessary step to unfold onto the next stage of our destiny. Magic, yes but only in situations that would obstruct or prevent the accomplishment of that destiny.
    Otherwise it would be like walking on crutches.


  18. I know you wrote this post quite a while ago, but I stumbled across it at an “interesting” time; dealing with the terminal illness of a grandchild and wondering what use any of my knowledge or magic is, if I cannot save the life of a little boy. I’ve spent a lot of time being angry about that, and I don’t have any answers yet except that … everyone experiences hardship and bad things happen to everyone; and wasn’t it ridiculous of me to think (however unconsciously) that I would be immune from this particular form of grief and hardship? While I think my question is a *little* different from the issue you were discussing – that there’s an ingrained notion that if a person isn’t living in perfect conditions, then they were a fraud and not a “powerful” magician at all – your post speaks quite well to a larger condition.

    By the way, I think that the notion you describe is fostered in part by writers of occult fiction. For instance, I enjoyed the “Adept” series by Katherine Kurtz, but did Adam Sinclair have to be minor nobility, live in a vast manor house, have the perfect car, clothing, and household help for every occasion? In fact, the character ultimately falls flat because its almost like he’s a magical “Batman”. Where’s the effort, where’s the struggle, when the conditions are always perfect, yes?

    Anyway, lots to ponder; thank you.


    • Rhovanien, thanks for posting this – it touches my heart. I wish you the best and may blessings be upon your grandson and upon you.

      Your situation most certainly falls within the realm of what I’m getting at in the post. No magick doesn’t stop all of life’s hardships from happening. But they do offer us an incredible tool set to deal with problems when they DO arise. Though your magick may not save him if it is truly his time to go, you can bet you can use your magickal knowledge to make things better for him now.

      As for the Adept – one of my favorite series too! – that’s just wish fulfillment. Same thing with Harry Potter – who was whisked out of an abusive household where he lived in a closet and into the wizarding world where he was both famous and insanely rich. Same goes for Batman, etc. Notice that even the old fairy tales told by peasants were about princesses and princes, kings and queens – hardly ever about the peasants themselves. (Unless it was a peasant becoming a prince or princess – a la Cinderella or Aladdin. Wish fulfillment in every case!)

      And that is, indeed, exactly what some people look for in magick.


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