At some point enough is enough. A few years back I finally lost my patience with inexperienced practitioners coming to me wanting a bigger, badder, more effective “spell” or “ritual” because the previous one I gave them didn’t work, or didn’t work quickly, or didn’t give them exactly what they expected.
I started telling them the truth of the matter. Spellwork and low magick rituals can only get you so far. If you’re not doing the inner work, the high magick (and the rituals therein), to compliment whatever else you’re doing — you’re going to get stuck. The reason an experienced magician’s low-magick manifests so well, is because they’re doing the high-magick alongside it. Don’t expect you’re going to get the same results as someone who has been working at this a long time!
I’ll come clean with you — when I started out – I was exactly like most beginners. I wanted spells and rituals that were quick one-offs to solve all my earthly problems. What I learned though is that A. Quick one-offs rarely last long term. At best they’re a bandage or temporary solution to something that has to be fixed. and B. My expectations for the manifestations brought to me via spell work and ritual needed some serious adjustment.
That’s the hard reality for a lot of beginners. They do the magick, it works (or it doesn’t), and hours, days, weeks, or months later they find themselves in the same situation, but this time wanting something more powerful. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had people come to me to tell me they bought Daemonic Prosperity Magick, did all the spells/rituals in it in three months, and nothing worked.
Of course it didn’t, because those folks were using the book as a series of one-off spells/rituals and NOT doing the inner work also required. They were simply handing off their problem to the Daemonic and saying, “Let go, let Daemon” in a Jesus-take-the-wheel sort of way. I’ve been working on my own prosperity for the better part of 20+ years, and I assure you it didn’t happen overnight. Oftentimes, you have to do a LOT of self work to pull yourself out of the place you’re in, into a better place. It can require you to rewire your own thinking about your situation. It can require better planning, or actually making compromises and sacrifices (not blood sacrifices – sacrifices of time and certain luxury’s usually) before things get better. It may require learning to compromise and work with others. It could involve facing some deeply ingrained fears or modifying some personality traits holding you back.
Magick isn’t about doing a quick spell/ritual and getting everything you desire. There’s visualization involved, self work involved, raw emotion involved, willpower, intent. And yet I can’t begin to tell you how many times I meet folks who think that all they have to do is raise a Daemon and give it some offerings, or write a pact and ::boom:: instant wealth. But when that doesn’t happen, these folks blame it on the magick, not the fact that they’re shitty magicians. So let’s put the blame where it belongs up front. If the magick that works for a lot of magicians doesn’t work for you — it’s not the magick that’s the problem. It’s you.
Serial spell/riutal seekers try my patience. When they’ve finally exhausted all spells and rituals without getting the results they want, I explain to them the difference between high and low magick and tell them if they’re really serious, it’s time for them to do some high-magick (i.e. some self work) because low magick can only work with what you give it. And if you have some habits, thought patterns, etc… contrary to what you’re trying to get — there is not a single spell/ritual out there that can help you without you addressing your personal issues.
At this point, some of these people will come back and say, “I’m willing to do anything. Help me!” That’s often when I explain that one of the better ways to get started is to start practicing a daily ritual like the LBRP, modified if necessary (some people really freak out about the angel thing). Then I give them the FIRST reading list of books to work through.
- Initiation into Hermetics, Franz Bardon
- Practice of Magical Evocation, Franz Bardon
- Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia, Godwin
- The Magician’s Companion, Whitcomb
I always choose Franz Bardon because, well, those are books you work through. The reading is dry, but the books are solid foundational knowledge for Western Ceremonial Magick. I throw in the symbolism book and encyclopedia because foundational knowledge is important. I might sometimes throw in there Crowley’s Magick Without Tears and Magic in Theory in Practice if I’m feeling cheeky. Modern Magick, by Kraig is another one I will occasionally recommend depending on the individual magician and their leanings.
IF, and that’s a big if, the person comes back for more after the initial reading list, I give them the next list of books to read/work through. Just a side note here – 98% of those people who get the first list never come back. The next list is:
- Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy
- Agrippa’s Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy
- Levi’s Transcendental Magic
- Grey’s Qabbalistic Concepts: Living the Tree
In the past 20 years, only two people have emerged from this second list for a third list. On the upside, the spell seekers I give these reading lists to never come back to me for another spell/ritual, and that doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.