Greetings Seekers of Magick!
As I have said in previous posts, the first rule of writing is that if someone can take something you’ve written the wrong way, they will. And the second rule is that someone will always take what you’ve written the wrong way. ;) And, of course, that has happened in the case of my most recent blog post about magick and life’s hardships.
This time, it was no one less than Donald Michael Kraig himself! Now, before I go on, let me stress that I consider Don to be a friend. That is, in real life and not just someone with whom I’ve had an exchange or two over the internet. So please, dear reader, take everything you are about to read in the spirit of one brother confronting the other.
That being said, I’m afraid Don really missed the boat on my last blog. If you want to update your score card, you can go read his post before going on with this one. But I’ll also sum up the issue briefly here:
My previous blog was intended to address a specifically Western (and I dare say capitalist) misconception of magick and magicians. That is, if magick really worked (or if a particular wizard were really any good at it), then certainly one should be rich, never sick, never harmed, never psychologically off-balance, etc, etc. He should, in effect, be immune to all the down sides of life here on Earth, able to deflect all hardships with a simple wave of his wand and a hearty wingardium leviosa!
The point of my post was to say that this isn’t how reality works. Magick doesn’t stop bad things from happening. Cast all the spells you want, and I promise you hardships are going to come your way. In fact, I would go so far as to say, as one who walks the magickal path, you’re probably going to have more than your fair share of shit to deal with.
Sadly, Don seems to have taken that a step further and into a direction I never intended. He rebuts as follows:
I have to respectfully disagree with the implication here. It may not be the intent, but the idea I get from this is that [Aaron] is saying if things are bad, tough. Just deal with it. Don’t do magick to improve your situation. Instead, do magick to mentally and emotionally deal with hardship. To me that sounds like a sort of religious approach: “We can’t help you, but if you pray to our God[s] He [they] will give you courage.”
No, no, no and emphatically no! My post merely addressed the fact that bad things are just plain going to happen in life – and that this fact neither proves that magick is false nor that any given magician is a fraud. Never did I say, or even imply, that one should not use magick when those hardships arise!
Quite the contrary – I stated that “magick exists because bad things happen.” And that “when bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it.” Magick is a toolkit that mankind has developed over thousands of years, intended to help us through the hard times. Magick can allow you to live where you might have died. It can allow you to eat where you might have starved. It can even allow you to achieve things in life where you might have otherwise failed or faded away into obscurity.
My stance is exactly the opposite of what Don has suggested. Here is the response I made on his blog:
I think you misunderstood my post entirely. I was not at all suggesting that magick should be only for the spiritual, and that one should just allow bad life situations to continue. In fact, if you look at the rest of my blog, it is chock-full of uncrossings, exorcisms, cleansings, defense spells and angelic invocations all geared toward dealing with real-world practical problems.
My post was addressing a specifically Western concept that, if one were truly a powerful magician, then one should be rich, never be sick, have a perfectly balanced psychology, etc. In effect, the concept is that a true wizard should glide through the world like Dumbledore or Neo, having hacked reality and therefore risen entirely above the hardships that life can bring.
Yet in the real world, magicians are as prone to hardship as anyone else. For example, I’m a wizard – but I still got into a nasty car accident a couple of years ago. There was no “invisible wall of force” around me to repel the oncoming car so that my car remained untouched. The car was totaled, and all the legal and financial hassles and hardships that followed were the same for me as they would have been for anyone else.
*However*, I firmly believe that my practice of magick is what allowed me to walk away from that car accident relatively untouched. There is just no logical reason at all for me to have lived through it. I believe without a doubt that my Guardians intervened in that situation, and tweaked reality just enough so the oncoming car hit mine just *in front* of where I was sitting, instead of t-boning directly into me. In fact, I have reason to believe that either some kind of time-travel took place, or that I was yanked out of one reality (where I died) and into a nearby reality (where I walked away).
Magick saved my life that day in a *very* real sense. It didn’t “magickally” make the bad thing “not happen.” But, where it *really* counted, it kicked in and saw to it that I made it through in one piece. And it’s not the first or last time that has happened either.
To say that I believe practical magick just shouldn’t be done is frankly ridiculous. Yet, I feel it is equally ridiculous to suggest that magick should make one 100% impervious to any and all hardships in life. It just doesn’t work that way.
Of course you should use magick to improve your situation! That’s what it is for. Whether it is to rectify your soul and allow you to better serve humanity (see Peregrin Wildoak’s blog on this discussion), or to just keep the proverbial wolves away from your front door (see Morgan Eckstein’s blog), or to advance your social station in life or any combination of these things – magick should indeed be used to improve your life.
I’m a big advocate of down-to-earth practical nuts-and-bolts magick (aka witchcraft) that makes things happen! Even my pursuit of the high magickal arts intended to elevate my soul closer to God is undertaken to obtain the spiritual authority necessary to direct the forces of nature right here in the material realm. (That, and to give me a choice over where I go after I pass on – but that’s a concern for later. Much later, I hope! lol)
On the other hand, one cannot point to a wizard (or even an entire culture) and say “well they aren’t rich” or “things aren’t so great in their lives” and assume that means their magick is worthless. Magick proliferates in situations where people need it to survive. And the existence of poverty or other hardships in the lives of those who use or rely upon magick is no proof the magick isn’t working. The fact that they are still alive, still eating and still making it year after year might just be evidence that their magick is working pretty damn well.