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Going Through "modern Magick". Is This Path For Me?


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#1 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 05:58 AM

I like the idea of ceremonial magick over chaos magick. I don't believe that I am disciplined and skilled enough to be successful in chaos magick, so having a set path in ceremonial magick is preferable.

Though, I am having some doubts after going through Donald Kraig's "Modern Magick".

First of all, I know this sounds shallow, but I recently looked up who Donald Kraig is and what he looks like. He did not look like a man who took care of his body. How much can I trust his knowledge, if a supposedly accomplished magician cannot even muster the willpower to go to the gym and eat healthier?

Second, I'm wondering just what can I expect in the next coming months? I took a peek at the later chapters, and there's so much dense material in the kabbalah, which I'm honestly not particularly interested in. I just want to do successful magick, not study a religion. Of course if this is what I absolutely need to do to perform successful magick, then I'll make myself do it.

I'd like to know where I can find some detailed testimonies of people who have followed this book as well. I'm having trouble searching for it. What were the first couple months like? What about the first year? Did the magick come? Were they able to dramatically alter reality as well as improve their lives in various ways?

#2 wren

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:44 AM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 05:58 AM, said:

I like the idea of ceremonial magick over chaos magick. I don't believe that I am disciplined and skilled enough to be successful in chaos magick, so having a set path in ceremonial magick is preferable.

It is 6 of one a half dozen of the other, honestly. There are so many different ways of doing ceremonial magic that you can end up bouncing around just the same. That said, at least ceremonial systems at least try to promote the idea of harmony with the world as it is.

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 05:58 AM, said:

Though, I am having some doubts after going through Donald Kraig's "Modern Magick".

First of all, I know this sounds shallow, but I recently looked up who Donald Kraig is and what he looks like. He did not look like a man who took care of his body. How much can I trust his knowledge, if a supposedly accomplished magician cannot even muster the willpower to go to the gym and eat healthier?

That's not shallow. Unfortunately, a lot of the historical figures within occultism tend to be overweight, underweight, or "eccentric." Crowley was a bit pudgey and Bardon died of a bacon sandwich. I think it speaks to the gnostic denial of the importance of the body that still haunts the occult. That said, their body really only reflects poorly on their physical training, not their ideas. Listen to dieticians about nutrition, and trainers/athletes about exercise. Listen to magicians about magic. Frankly DMK was probably more concerned with reaching higher spiritually than taking care of his body. The euphoria of magic can shift your priorities pretty drastically.

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 05:58 AM, said:

Second, I'm wondering just what can I expect in the next coming months? I took a peek at the later chapters, and there's so much dense material in the kabbalah, which I'm honestly not particularly interested in. I just want to do successful magick, not study a religion. Of course if this is what I absolutely need to do to perform successful magick, then I'll make myself do it.


Me too. If you don't like the religious aspect, things will be hard for you. Getting right with God is the first step of most traditional ceremonies of magic. Magicians in the Modern era stepped a bit back from that, and adopted a more Masonic ideal. You might be better off with following a "chaos magic" coursebook. Liber Kaos, Hands on Chaos Magic, or even Strategic Sorcery. An alternative in the vein of Bardon's IIH is Practice of Magic by Draja Mickaharic. He tends to be very to the point, and I can't remember any weird pseudoscience in it off the top of my head.

#3 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:31 AM

Do you think Ceremonial magick as taught in modern magick has been outdated by newer systems, such as chaos magick?

It's not even the religion part that bothers me the most. It's the fact that I have to get through so much material and put in so many hours of practice doing basically inner work before I truly start attempting to cast magick.

Is that worth it? Or is it just following an antiquated system, and chaos magick or something else is much more efficient?

Edited by s3ker, 02 December 2017 - 07:37 AM.


#4 Imperial Arts

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:49 AM

Some people view Modern Magick as a chaos magic text.

Some wizards are fat. Some are ugly. Some are broke. Some aren't.

Yes, the Western Hermetic Tradition has a lot of religion. DMK doesn't exactly present an orthodox view of Qabalah or any other religion. It is a motif, a symbolic language.

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#5 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:19 AM

If magick is real and strong, why wouldn't a skilled wizard cast spells to make himself not fat, not ugly, and not broke? I can't help but question the skills of a wizard who isn't able to fix those issues with himself.

#6 wren

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:38 AM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 07:31 AM, said:

Do you think Ceremonial magick as taught in modern magick has been outdated by newer systems, such as chaos magick?

It's not even the religion part that bothers me the most. It's the fact that I have to get through so much material and put in so many hours of practice doing basically inner work before I truly start attempting to cast magick.

Is that worth it? Or is it just following an antiquated system, and chaos magick or something else is much more efficient?

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 07:31 AM, said:

Do you think Ceremonial magick as taught in modern magick has been outdated by newer systems, such as chaos magick?

It's not even the religion part that bothers me the most. It's the fact that I have to get through so much material and put in so many hours of practice doing basically inner work before I truly start attempting to cast magick.

Is that worth it? Or is it just following an antiquated system, and chaos magick or something else is much more efficient?

Modern Magic has its flaws, but so does chaos magic.

Yes inner work is worth it.

Yes, old-fashioned spell-work is better for getting things done. Poppets, candles, wax images, oils, and perfumes can work well enough without doing inner work.

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 08:19 AM, said:

If magick is real and strong, why wouldn't a skilled wizard cast spells to make himself not fat, not ugly, and not broke? I can't help but question the skills of a wizard who isn't able to fix those issues with himself.

Magic isn't real. Neither are the Gods, nor Justice, nor Human RIghts real. Numbers probably aren't real either. They can still be useful Fictions.

#7 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 09:28 AM

If magick is purely placebo, then that's one thing. Kind of like how I viewed religion when I was a hardcore atheist.

But I doubt most people on this forum believe magick is all placebo. I imagine most people here believe in Donald Kraig's definition of magick, which is something like causing change to occur through means that aren't understood by science.

If that were true, then an extremely skilled wizard should be very powerful both in spirit and in material wealth. After all, why not? Why not cast a spell to obtain a lot of money, or to be way more attractive, if your skill is at such a high level that doing a spell like that would be child's play? Might as well, right? Unless they're not able to.

That's my thoughts, at least. Maybe I am wrong, and something about attaining high levels makes the magician neglect his health.

#8 violetstar

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 10:06 AM

In my opinion you have so many doubts and a line of thought that is entirely superficial that perhaps magic per se is not the path for you.In any case Kraig was not a good choice to start with.

Edited by violetstar, 02 December 2017 - 10:14 AM.

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#9 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 10:14 AM

Maybe? But I still want to learn, so here I am.

#10 violetstar

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 10:19 AM

I think you can learn more from this forum and the members experiences than by reading New Age books by authors who do not understand the actual material they want to tell you about.On Ceremonial/Ritual Magic I recommend IA or R E Laughlin for advice.On Kabbalistic stuff Spida has some good ideas.

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#11 wren

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 04:07 PM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 09:28 AM, said:

If magick is purely placebo, then that's one thing. Kind of like how I viewed religion when I was a hardcore atheist.

But I doubt most people on this forum believe magick is all placebo. I imagine most people here believe in Donald Kraig's definition of magick, which is something like causing change to occur through means that aren't understood by science.

If that were true, then an extremely skilled wizard should be very powerful both in spirit and in material wealth. After all, why not? Why not cast a spell to obtain a lot of money, or to be way more attractive, if your skill is at such a high level that doing a spell like that would be child's play? Might as well, right? Unless they're not able to.

That's my thoughts, at least. Maybe I am wrong, and something about attaining high levels makes the magician neglect his health.

I didn't say that magic worked entirely on the Placebo effect. I said it wasn't real. For all of the struggle to maintain historic legacy and whatnot, eventually somebody made the stuff up. That's the main takeaway from chaos magic. Magic is mediated through the mind, and mostly takes the form of changed mindsets changing behaviours not mana falling from the heavens. Sometimes there are flukes, but you can't count on them. A lot of young trans-folk look for a magic spell that will change their gender, but polymorph is only real in D&D.

Levels are BS as well. They just represent conformity to a group's ideal, and status within that group. An archbishop isn't a better person than a bishop or a parish priest. Similarly, and adept isn't necessarily "better" at magic than a neophyte; he probably just has had more exposure to the magical system of the group and so conforms to it better by virtue of having better internalised the model that the group works off of. This might mean he knows more about how the group thinks that magic works, but that doesn't necessarily equate to "magic power." "Magic power" has more to do with the practices you engage with than an inherent quality anyways. There is no real equivalent to the WIS stat or the INT stat. There's only understanding of the underlying techniques and the fictional systems on which magic is based.

You don't get stronger at magic, you get better technique, different behaviors, and a better understanding of it.

#12 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 05:58 PM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 10:14 AM, said:

Maybe? But I still want to learn, so here I am.

The reason people who practice magic of any sort still have problems is because magic isn't easy, nor does its practice make one all powerful. You want to learn, that's good. Recognize that you haven't studied nor practiced enough to know what magic should do, nor how hard it is, nor how long it will take to develop some magical powers of your own.

Kraig's book has some value: namely, compared to many other books on the topic, it's very good at getting beginners to do things, which is how magic is learned, by doing. Whether what he gets beginners to do represent the best things can be debated by people with a lot of experience, but not by beginners. I will add that judging Kraig's work because he was fat, or because he died of cancer at an early age, no matter how much experience one has, is just plain ignorance.

Here's a detailed explanation of what's in Kraig's book, and some advice at the end:

The specific practical value of Kraig's book is in the daily work, the rituals. When the full program is in force you're doing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, and the Middle Pillar with the Circulation of the Body of Light every day. The whole sequence takes maybe 30 minutes. There's also a daily tarot contemplation of the tarot trumps, which I'll tie back into at the end. For now, understand that the rituals were developed by and for the Golden Dawn initiatory system. While the GD aims can't be completely set aside, I'll hazard as generic an analysis as I can manage:

The LBRP and BRH can be understood as associative learning events, where some number of things become associated with each of the cardinal directions, which represent meaningful divisions with the overall magical schema. In the LBRP, to each quarter the following are assigned: one of the Classical Elements, a Hebrew God Name, and an Archangel name... and later the magical tools associated with each. Each of the associates of the quarters relate directly to power dynamics within the GD's magical system, but they don't explicitly explain those dynamics to aspirants: they're expected to discover them by doing the work. Kraig also includes a set of Elemental exercises in his book, to be accomplished before making the respective Elemental Weapons (altar tools). Those exercises are aimed at developing Element-specific sensory experiences, and until one develops that level of sensory awareness, they're not really doing the LBRP, they're just waving their arms and humming, akin to children pretending to be ballet dancers. Once the Elemental awareness kicks in, the daily ritual work begins to alter how the aspirants experiences and interprets the world at large. What the ritual work doesn't do is make one thin or protect them from cancer. That aside...

The MPR is energy work, quite similar in some respects to chakra work associated with westernized Tantra. The MPR has associative learning aspects within its structure as well, but also enhances to the LBRP and BRH in concert with the incorporation of Elemental sensations. By the time that stuff should be happening, the more advanced pentagram rituals are introduced, wherein more specific pentagram tracing procedures are observed:

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The idea, at that point, is that one doesn't just draw pentagrams, but effectively creates them by sucking in generic energy (learned from the MPR), flavoring it with the relevant Elemental force (learned from the Elemental exercises). Another way to think of it is that the pentagrams are drawn with ink made of magical energy, a medium (generic magical energy) and a pigment (Elemental energy). Again, if the experience of drawing these pentagrams doesn't undeniably feel like what I just described, they're not really doing it. They're still pretending to be ballet dancers. But again, even if one is doing them, they may yet be fat, or might die of cancer.

The real end target of doing this ritual work comes into view in the later chapters. After the aspirant has been performing the rituals for somewhere around a years, for real as described above, the instruction is start doing it on the astral. The instruction is to sit in a chair centered in the area where one usually does the rituals and the imagine standing up out of their physical body, to imagine their consciousness is housed in an astral body, and then to go about doing the rituals in that astral body. Here's the money shot: because the sequence of events of the rituals have so strongly become associated with a specific sequence of strong and uniquely identifiable bodily sensations, the sensations rather automatically accompany the (initially) imagined performance of the ritual. The result of all this work is that within just a few sessions, the aspirant has developed a fully sensory aware astral body. At the end of the book, the culmination of the work is to use that sensory aware astral body to explore the central glyph of Golden Dawn Kabbalah: the Tree of Life.

Here's where the daily tarot trump contemplation comes into play. Each of the trumps is associated with one of the paths connecting the sephira of the TOL. Some of the implications of the MPR come into view in this context, as well as the more theoretical study (astrological correspondences, etc.) that was provided along the way to this point in the program:

Posted Image


The Pathwork of the TOL goes like this: do some preliminary rituals, get into your astral body, see the relevant tarot trump as big as a doorway, and step through it into the scene beyond, find a path, and follow it, to ultimately reach the sepheria to which that path leads. The resulting experiences foster the magician's personal development. Kraig suggests that his training can grant access up to Tiphareth. The implication is that formal initiation is necessary for higher attainment.

Okay then, that's what the book does if the prescribed work is prosecuted with all due sincerity. Some of the valid criticism of the book includes providing ritual work without some of the necessary accouterments (e.g. the GD Enochian stuff). Personally, I find the GD system itself to be fundamentally flawed, and that doing GD-ish work tends to create more problems than it's worth for aspiring magicians. None the less, as a path to a fully sensory aware astral vehicle, I have found no more efficient and effective method anywhere. If that's something you want, but you'd prefer to avoid the pitfalls of Kraig's treatment or of the GD in general, it is possible to extract the vital bits from the above treatment of Kraig's book and develop your own program.

The key features are in the "energy" work and how it's implanted in the rituals. The bottom line is establishing a specific pattern of sensations of magical energy. Do that with the same degree of nuance and complexity as the Kraig rituals do, and you'll get the same effects. Do it without the GD and pseudo-GD associations and you'll get the beneficial effects without the baggage. I'm not suggesting that it's easy to develop such a program, but it's possible.
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#13 Imperial Arts

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 06:10 PM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 08:19 AM, said:

If magick is real and strong, why wouldn't a skilled wizard cast spells to make himself not fat, not ugly, and not broke? I can't help but question the skills of a wizard who isn't able to fix those issues with himself.

Kraig died not too long ago, but I'm pretty sure Frater U.D. is still alive, so you might ask him. If you do, the reply would be interesting to see.

Some perspectives on the answer to your question:

Magicians are rare, not everyone has the same priorities, and if you restrict your "worthy" teachers to those who have no personal problems, your path will be a lonely one.
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#14 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:44 PM

Eugene, thanks for the post. You've given me a lot to think about.

What are your thoughts on how the golden dawn's system compares, in terms of cultivating "energy", compared to eastern yogic practices?

What are your thoughts on wren's post? On chaos magick?

I am saddened to say that from what I've read, I am starting to feel like the golden dawn system isn't for me. I am really drawn to the imagery and the rituals, but given how long it seems to take to reach a point of proficiency, in addition to just how many external props and tools are needed to perform these rituals, I just don't have the time and it also conflicts with my desire to keep my occult practices a secret from my friends and families.

I am now thinking of taking a different path. I would like to do daily yogic practices to hone my mind and maybe eventually my "energy". In particular, the practices on aypsite.org, if anyone here is familiar.

For magick, I plan to do sigils daily and keep both a magick diary and a dream diary.

I'd really like anyone's thoughts on whether I have made a good decision given my limitations, or if I should still push through with Kraig's modern magick book. Or if anyone has other possible suggestions, I am all ears.

I think the fundamental key here is to develop a daily regimen and make sure to stick with it. Above all else, that will be my biggest priority. But before that is planning what I want to do for my daily regimen, the phase I'm at now.

My end goal is to be a successful magician.

Edited by s3ker, 02 December 2017 - 07:46 PM.


#15 Imperial Arts

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 07:55 PM

Nobody is going to take your opinions seriously for at least another five years, presuming that you actually spend those years committed to learning and practicing. And the good side of that is that competency shouldn't be expected of you in that same time frame. Powerful magicians are often depicted with long beards for a reason.

Most organized systems have you do basic work for at least a year. That typically involves meditation, some rituals, some reading, and the difference is in the details. Despite the advertisements, everybody has you start small and build yourself gradually into someone who knows what you're doing. You can skip the classes, but you can't skip the homework.

Be aware that you have plenty of options beyond Golden Dawn and Chaos Magic.

Edited by Imperial Arts, 02 December 2017 - 07:57 PM.

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#16 s3ker

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:18 PM

View PostImperial Arts, on 02 December 2017 - 07:55 PM, said:

Nobody is going to take your opinions seriously for at least another five years, presuming that you actually spend those years committed to learning and practicing. And the good side of that is that competency shouldn't be expected of you in that same time frame. Powerful magicians are often depicted with long beards for a reason.

Most organized systems have you do basic work for at least a year. That typically involves meditation, some rituals, some reading, and the difference is in the details. Despite the advertisements, everybody has you start small and build yourself gradually into someone who knows what you're doing. You can skip the classes, but you can't skip the homework.

Be aware that you have plenty of options beyond Golden Dawn and Chaos Magic.

I understand. And it makes sense. Altering reality isn't something you do overnight.

#17 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:39 PM

View Posts3ker, on 02 December 2017 - 07:44 PM, said:

What are your thoughts on how the golden dawn's system compares, in terms of cultivating "energy", compared to eastern yogic practices?

I think the culture in which one is reared matters.
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#18 Sheperdess

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:47 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 03 December 2017 - 03:39 PM, said:

I think the culture in which one is reared matters.
I think also it will be how your mind is focus to the ritual so all these different system will be similar to fail if the mind is not set to it.So if witchcraft or the Ceremonial magic the result will not be good with out the right mind then spirits will not hear you if you are not in their area because you are stuck in this level talking to yourself.

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