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My father is a magician.

My mother learned witchcraft during my lifetime.

I was blessed, truly blessed, to grow up in a household where occult practices were taught to me from a very young age. As I was growing up I was not only taught why magic works, the nature of metaphysics, the history (such as it can be properly known) of magic and HOW to do magic that works. That was a big thing that will come into this rant later. I did magic. It worked. This was assumed to be the norm. Magic isn't just a noun. It is also a verb. Very important, that.

I was given, and came to reaffirm, a literalist view on magic. Spirits are real, objective intelligences that exist primarily on the astral plane and beyond but can have limited physical manifestations. Magic that you do works on levels beyond your psychological self. That kind of view makes up how I feel about magic.

Imagine my shock and hurt feelings when I finally grow into my mid teens and meet other people who do magic. Now, granted, I had to take a bus into the city and find the occult shop which was giving a six PM class on the Goetia. That was perfect, thought I, since I'd been working with evocation from the Keys of Solomon since I was fourteen. I had two years of worthwhile experience, I thought. My biggest worry was that I'd still seem like an amateur to most people there who I assumed would be rather like my father: A successful and skilled magician.

I was there for about a half hour before I realized that something was less than I expected. Everybody kept talking about Crowley's intro to the Mathers translation where he suggests demons in the Goetia are just a part of people's minds. I am asked two questions. The first question being why I am there and whether or not I realized that you had to be eighteen to sit in and the second being what I thought about that. I remember my response perfectly and how logical it sounded (and still sounds) coming out.

"I take that to mean that Crowley wasn't a powerful enough magician to actually accomplish evocation properly and said this to not only save face with the magical community but to continue a largely iconoclastic personality cult he had going for him at the time."

Perfect, academic, pompous prose from the sixteen year old me with his hair down to his waist and his TOOL hoodie.

In the next hour everyone in the room, all beautiful, gothed-out people by my estimation, yelled at me. I was mad to actually take it literally. It's all code, after all. Everything I believed literally was only figurative and happened on a psychological level. To make matters worse, all the ritual I'd been doing, all the tools I'd built, they didn't actually do anything but re-affirm the psychological models in my head which allowed the magic to "work."

I went home and cried like a thirteen-year-old stood up on a date. I actually went home and cried to my parents for fuck's sake about how mean and wrong everyone was. My father shrugged and laughed and asked me what I expected. How much had I read about that very common theory of how magic works and how often had I proved it wrong myself? My magic, he reminded me, had tangible, documented results honed through experimentation, daily meditation and the focus on building it like an artisan hones his craft.

After that I very rarely talked to anyone about magic for a long time. This stopped when I fell in love with someone enough to try and prove it. I'll spare you the long, sordid and silly tale of me falling for this person and them convincing me to try and prove it to them. Skip to the attempt... I failed. I did magic I'd done a hundred times in the privacy of my own sanctum sanctorum and it had zero effect. I was summarily dumped and years passed, I moved on, and I never tried to prove it to anybody again.

The thing that cuts deepest is the reason why it failed. It's simply metaphysics, of course. My focus was not on the intent of the ritual but on proving the ritual worked. I'm not able to bifurcate my mind and do both at once and achieve success. It makes so much fucking sense and, yet, is the explanation that falls perfectly flat on its face every time under the scrutiny of any who don't do magic.

It's a truly damning artform, isn't it? The Hermit card in the tarot deck makes so much sense all of a sudden. I can picture, just out of frame, a bunch of delinquents fucking his yard up and he's waving his lantern about menacingly decrying "those damn kids." That makes me laugh. It also makes me want to cry a little.

The question that rattles around in my head is this: Why don't you, Mr. Magus, use the magic to change your shitty life situation? Why is it that we as occultists always shy away from using magic to bring us our own comfort?

I think media is to blame. SO many of our novels and television shows frown on magic users who use the HIGH AND MIGHTY ARTS OF MAGIC to make themselves happy on a selfish level. I don't know where this came from because old, medieval grimoires have zero fucking references to karma and all the references in the world to "so-and-so demon giveth riches and shit, dawg." So, that said, what's my problem? Why am I being such a coward and why don't I step up to the plate?

I think it's because, given the life I've lived this far, I've never had to do anything like this with magic. It's daunting. I don't know how to do it right, necessarily. That means I have to figure it out.

My apologies to anybody who feels the way about magic as did those people in the occult shop I visited nine years ago. I don't mean to shit on your beliefs. I just know my experiences have taught me otherwise. You could be existential on so many levels and ask me how I know anything is real, etc, etc, but I feel like that's too much effort. I'd like to be able to agree to disagree with people or even have been told it'd be inevitable and they'd still probably think I was insane.

Heh. Chaos magicians think Ceremonial magicians are batty. The Cryptozoologist thinks we're all fucking lame.

Unrelated news: I decided to try and grow a beard. This is a horrible idea so far. It's itchy and feels like razor wire is growing out of my face. I've never had more than three day's facial hair growth at a time before. I hope this doesn't end up sucking.

Sigh

Dec. 17th, 2012 07:31 am
ghosthound: (Default)
I wish I could do away with Envy.

I feel it so damn often. It gets in the way of me trying to dig myself out of the life I blundered into. I wandered about only to realize too late that a cave-in has sealed me in here. So, here I am, playing music and writing not one but two novels. I'm a fool. I couldn't just keep up on the one. The second was crying to be born too loudly to ignore and now I'm trying to keep focused on all of it.

I know this girl Elle. She's the stereotype of the short, slight, Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope given flesh. Pink hair, hipster glasses and an absolute certainty that her off-putting and frenetic habits are what everyone wants to see. She's the kind of person who will look down her nose at you for not listening to X Indie Band composed of a ukulele and an out-of-breath singer or having read X Indie Novella that even the most pretentious Liberal Arts program would call tasteless. She's so many frustrating qualities that I could throttle her to death.

But she's free.

The other day I'm on facebook reading a self-indulgent, three-paragraph-length status update about how she quit her job because it was "bringing her down, man" and decided to leave her mother's house with a suitcase and a prayer and hop a train to a different city.

I was so furious with envy that, had she been in the room with me, I would have killed her.

Feeling this way makes me really think I'm pathetic and I'll never escape the underground of debt I foolishly buried myself in while I'm still young enough for it to matter.

Twenty-four years old and growing older by the day. How old is old anymore?

Fuck.

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January 2013

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