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Does It Discredit A Famous Occultist To You, If They Ended Up In Obscure Relative Poverty?


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#1 Mutate

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 03:17 PM

obviously a lot of famous occult figures have had worse fortunes later than in their heyday, as their lives and careers went on and they faded out of fashion. Should this warn people in any way do you think, that this person's teachings were a little weak? I mean, isn't it all about making a good life?

Edited by Mutate, 22 March 2019 - 03:18 PM.


#2 Orlando

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:51 PM

Most magical practises are concerned with the spiritual life, particularly preparation for the afterlife, and not really the worldly comfort of the magician; unless one is talking about basic low magic, or witchcraft (not to be confused with Wicca).

On the other hand, there are some well-known modern day occultists who have made a living out of the occult, and who’s talks and seminars are showcases for their latest bit of merchandising, be it their latest book or spiritual card deck, etc.

An occultist may well become well known due to their books, talks, and seminars, or maybe because they have started a magical order. None of that per se denotes any inner spiritual or magical knowledge.

It does well for anyone to acquire a good dose of scepticism and discernment.
_

#3 Mskied

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 02:09 AM

We are all magicians. Whether we are in contact with the Divine in a fantastic way or the regular way that we all communicate, it is possible that any one of us could contribute to the wealth of knowledge. I agree that it is about life and after life, and I am certain that for every visible prophet there are thousands of independent magicians that are just as Good, only doing it for their own self and not to be a teacher.

#4 Imperial Arts

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 04:09 AM

Mutate: A woman getting into a NYC taxi cab saw the name tag of her driver and remarked, "Phillip Glass... driver, do you know that you share the same name as a famous composer?" He did. The fact had been making him chuckle for years.

People love to talk about how Crowley "ended up broke and on drugs," while neglecting to mention that he was living in an invitation-only home for famous writers and artists, producing The Book of Thoth.

Eliphas Levi believed, for the last thirty years of his life, that his entire preaching mission was a failure, that the populace was as hot as ever for emperors and princes, unaware of the blessings his Theocratic Socialism would bestow upon them.

If anyone can name a "famous occultist" who maintained wealth and comfort throughout life, I'd be interested to hear who you think qualifies. It sure as hell isn't me. I'm at a point in my life where money and property simply doesn't matter to me and is really more of an inconvenience than a goal. The rest of my family finds this appalling, but at least they convinced me to live indoors again.

Orlando: I doubt those guys are really making any money at all, and their "success" is about as limited as that can get. It's basic hype, and they would have fifty times as many followers and subscribers if they were selling hair care products or football jerseys.

I don't want to name any names, but if you want to bring anyone still living up for discussion, it takes about two minutes to discover why their success is not to be envied.

If you have dreams and plan to make them real by magic, your success is determined by how well you achieve that. I doubt any of those guys had the dream of being a webinar guru.

Edited by Imperial Arts, 23 March 2019 - 05:40 AM.

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#5 Mutate

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 09:01 AM

well I guess if you think of the popular Law of Attraction authors like the Hicks or Rhonda Byrne (the secret). They have been bestsellers for a while. Compared to say phil hine and peter carol who are only really read by magick fans.

I didn't know Glass was a cab driver, wow.

Edited by Mutate, 24 March 2019 - 09:04 AM.


#6 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 12:40 PM

View PostMutate, on 22 March 2019 - 03:17 PM, said:

obviously a lot of famous occult figures have had worse fortunes later than in their heyday, as their lives and careers went on and they faded out of fashion. Should this warn people in any way do you think, that this person's teachings were a little weak? I mean, isn't it all about making a good life?

Magic has limits, though it's not common to hear that voiced so plainly in places like this. The truth of the matter is that people who practice magic fare better and worse financially, have good or bad relationships with their kids, and their exes... they succumb to diseases and sometimes recover, but all age, and die... and all for the same reasons and at the same statistical rates as people who don't practice magic.

It's worth noticing the converse of that thought as well, recognizing that the vast majority of people don't practice magic at all, and among those are certainly most of the people in the world that are objectively the wealthiest, the most powerful, the most loved, the healthiest, the most long-lived, the most anything-you-might-like-to-be. Because of the massive disparity in population size, those assumptions are as near to statistical certainties as the world being spherical.

Rhonda Byrne's Secret is the Amway pitch, literally. Telling people they can have everything they want if they just want it enough isn't anymore magic than telling them they can eat whatever they want and lose all their extra weight. Monetizing those claims isn't magic either; it's charlatanism, legal but no more respectable than, say, embezzling, in my opinion. But back to the fact that magicians are as human as everyone else...

Priorities change as time passes, as experience mounts, and as people mature. Concepts of success are ever-fluid, and while the direction in which a person bends their will is rather more than nothing, it isn't the only thing that presses on the way things turn. There's biology writ large, and random chance too, for good or ill and practicing magic doesn't overcome either. What one wants and what actually happens is an ongoing reciprocal conversation. So the thing is, whatever we think we know about famous people, we really don't know much about their actual life and the things they cared about, and how/why those cares changed as their past grew and their future shrank. I suppose there is a cautionary tale there, perhaps about attachment. It's the nature of all things to come and to go, to ascend and then peak, only to decline and pass away, leaving naught but fodder behind. Wishing that magic can thwart that pattern is like wishing the sun won't rise; if the wish comes true, it's not the sun that didn't rise.
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#7 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 12:46 PM

View PostMskied, on 23 March 2019 - 02:09 AM, said:

We are all magicians. Whether we are in contact with the Divine in a fantastic way or the regular way that we all communicate, it is possible that any one of us could contribute to the wealth of knowledge. I agree that it is about life and after life, and I am certain that for every visible prophet there are thousands of independent magicians that are just as Good, only doing it for their own self and not to be a teacher.

What does it mean to you that some of the best known and most respected teachers ended their lives in relative poverty, seeming loneliness, etc.?
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#8 Imperial Arts

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 05:50 PM

View PostMutate, on 24 March 2019 - 09:01 AM, said:

well I guess if you think of the popular Law of Attraction authors like the Hicks or Rhonda Byrne (the secret). They have been bestsellers for a while. Compared to say phil hine and peter carol who are only really read by magick fans.

I once listened to a guy talk about how he had run the same resort for fifty years, was really proud of himself. The whole time I was thinking, what a loser, this guy came into life with a sack of money, hasn't yet made a dent in it, and Saturn has gone around the Sun twice since he last left his backyard. Without the "danger and trouble," the heroic path is a lot less heroic.

Fifty goatherds with a flight manual and some cell phone bombs have outfoxed the US military for more than 17 years in Afghanistan. Is the military weak?

There is simply no success in occult business of any kind. None. I don't count "The Secret" as magical doctrine. There are enough actual occultists marketing themselves. Rather than focus on individuals, if we look at their strategies, they fall into a few categories. There are the people who sell books, and talk or market those books, there are those selling spell-casting or divination services, and there are those who sell paraphernalia.

If you want to be a successful author, write a crime mystery and have it published this time of year by someone with deep pockets. There, you're a star. It's a formula. Most publishers these days are willing to gouge their own eyeballs out for content worth reading, which is in very short supply. Writing an occult book is like saying "You know, I could make money as an author, but I choose to do something else."

The people who sell spell-casting are sort of a different topic, and at this point none are well-known enough for this category to even matter. If you think any living spell-caster has an admirable reputation as such, you are living in fantasyland. The miniscule proportion of these people who are not embarrassingly broke would not tell you that their magic has brought them anything resembling fortune and glory.

Dealing occult supplies is probably a lot of fun, but like publishing, it is just a regular sort of business with a niche market. With the same effort and materials, I can make a plain gold band and sell it for $500 to one of possibly millions of interested people, or I could make a talisman or occult doodad and wait fifteen years for one guy to offer me $40 for it.

What I am getting at, in a roundabout way, is that the success of a magician ought not to be measured by how well they make a buck from marketing it, and that the genius of a magician is not found in books. Even Crowley decided, in the end, that it was better to sell off all of his books and buy floor-to-ceiling boxes of rationed chocolate. That's not broke to me, it's enterprising.
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#9 Orlando

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 08:43 PM

View PostImperial Arts, on 23 March 2019 - 04:09 AM, said:

Orlando: I doubt those guys are really making any money at all, and their "success" is about as limited as that can get. It's basic hype, and they would have fifty times as many followers and subscribers if they were selling hair care products or football jerseys.

I don't want to name any names, but if you want to bring anyone still living up for discussion, it takes about two minutes to discover why their success is not to be envied.

If you have dreams and plan to make them real by magic, your success is determined by how well you achieve that. I doubt any of those guys had the dream of being a webinar guru.

Absolutely, I agree.

That could be why many of the books, of the particular occult clique I am thinking of, are just rehashes of their previous works, just put through the sentence and paragraph re-mixer, so that they have something to sell to pay for their bills.
_

Edited by Orlando, 24 March 2019 - 08:45 PM.


#10 Imperial Arts

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 09:13 PM

View PostOrlando, on 24 March 2019 - 08:43 PM, said:

Absolutely, I agree.

That could be why many of the books, of the particular occult clique I am thinking of, are just rehashes of their previous works, just put through the sentence and paragraph re-mixer, so that they have something to sell to pay for their bills.
_

That's just the thing: they're not making enough to pay bills, even if they were living in grandma's trailer in the Everglades. Some of the better-known among these people I have known for 20+ years, and their total income from occult sales in all that time would not even pay their car insurance, so they are smart enough to have real jobs too. The two biggest occult merchandisers on the market right now, who are very active in social media selling talismans, books, and spell-casting, both live on government assistance and can barely give their wares away for free. And don't get me wrong, they're both decent people, but the "successful occultist" thing is pure hype, it has nothing to do with reality.

I try not to be that. I have turned down offers from both specialty and mainstream publishers who want to carry my writings, so as to retain both content control and minimal advertising. My writing tends to be the kind of thing you don't get elsewhere, rather than a different version of the same story. Donald Tyson, one of the brighter occult lights of our time, had to watch as his work was twisted and repackaged by publishers who demanded that it go a different direction than the one he had envisioned, and despite being a best-seller in this field he is not exactly raking in the royalties.
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#11 Sandalphon

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 10:36 AM

R. Eugene Laughlin asked:
"What does it mean to you that some of the best known and most respected teachers ended their lives in relative poverty, seeming loneliness, etc.?"

I believe that they fully appreciate the quality of Nothing and the sublime state of detachment.  They are their own person.

In this instance, my take on the word "relative" is that it compares a situation to comfort which most people enjoy, to one which is alien and misunderstood as being financially poor and lacking in social diversions.

The most respected teachers have a rich and full private life of spiritual meaning, insight and understanding of the secret knowledge which we occult querists search for.    

Underneath their designer clothing most people are a flock of emotionally- devoid, overburdened sheep.    The best known and most respected teachers are eagles who are not part of a crowd, who are free and fly without the shackles of relativity.  

It's really worth trying to understand that.

#12 Orlando

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 09:47 PM

View PostImperial Arts, on 24 March 2019 - 09:13 PM, said:

I try not to be that. I have turned down offers from both specialty and mainstream publishers who want to carry my writings, so as to retain both content control and minimal advertising. My writing tends to be the kind of thing you don't get elsewhere, rather than a different version of the same story. Donald Tyson, one of the brighter occult lights of our time, had to watch as his work was twisted and repackaged by publishers who demanded that it go a different direction than the one he had envisioned, and despite being a best-seller in this field he is not exactly raking in the royalties.

That sounds very commendable, I.A.
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#13 vives gladio

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 02:10 AM

I think the idea is that if you really wanted to do something, you'd figure out a way to make it happen. Just idly hoping isn't going to cut it. Granted I'm not familiar with the secret and so forth, but I've been called out on the "I meant to ____" as a pleasantry and the truth is that, yeah, if I really meant to I would have. I didn't, so, I didn't. I've pulled off some implausible stuff because I wanted it hard enough to make the sacrifices and ask for the help to get there - from corporeal physical people who were friends, mentors, and coworkers in the here and now. I've let other things slide.

Anybody can make a buck if you can figure out a way to work the angles. The only thing really standing in the way of financial success to someone with a degree of cleverness is principle. I've watched other folks do very well prostituting material I personally could not stomach offering for sale. The very idea is nauseating, and I've seen the beach house I could probably have if I cared to whore something very precious out. This is outside of an occult framework but I have no doubt the general idea applies. You work hard at something, maybe you get some help from others further along the way. After that, you get a choice of how you treat the gifts you were given.





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