Magick for Idiots

Is magick being made so trivial that it no longer works? I think there’s a danger, and I may be partly to blame. There has been a push in recent years for practicing occultists to share secret knowledge, based on a blend of tradition and experience, and to share it quite freely, at a low cost. My book is a part of this publishing movement. When magick is so widely available, people can flip through the most divine and devastatingly powerful rituals and say, ‘Well, it was ok.’ Worse yet, we tempt copy-cat ‘authors’ to write books that look like the real thing, while they actually mock and sneer at the reality of magick.

Magick is meant to work without being complicated, so I still believe, at this point, that the current movement is a good one. But I am alarmed by some of the things I see. There are some occult authors publishing books that seem to me to be mocking the occult, and mocking people who buy occult books. Are we truly to believe that books of supervillain magick, toy puppet rituals, and magick to turn your enemies into whores, is to be taken seriously?

In one recently published book the author presents a ritual to make Satan Dress in Drag. No real reason is given as to why you should do such a thing, except, according to the author,  to show that you are more sick and twisted than a demon. His style of writing suggests that he’s seeing how far he can go before everybody realises he’s mocking occultism itself.

It seems like he thinks it’s one big joke. But perhaps not. Perhaps he believes this is good magick. Such authors could just as easily turn on me and say that I have done nothing more than peddle myths and mysteries to make money out of the gullible. It’s an easy accusation to make, but I hope that it is clear that if there is one word that covers my approach to magick it is this: sincerity. Sincerity is, as you will know if you’ve read my book, the key to magickal success. Sincerity is the light the burns within magick.

The author that I’ve singled out above isn’t the only one to be so trivial, and many of these books that seem to me to be a joke, have 100% 5-star reviews. They are doing better than I am! I should add, I’ve done no magick to make my book popular, and I never will. I want my books to be found, read, worked with and reviewed by those who believe in the power of magick. If you are one of those people, then thank you.

Making magick seem trivial is not new.  I was recently alarmed to see a book all about the musical Wicked, and to find that it was strewn with copies of the Seals of Solomon. I shouldn’t be surprised. Film and TV Production Designers have been using real occult symbols in their shows for many years, even when the writers appear to have no knowledge of how the occult actually works. But when occult symbols are so casually placed in a mainstream book, I fear that magick is leaking into our culture as a distraction, an amusement, rather than the serious and effective practice I believe it to be.

You can see from the reviews of occult books that people expect magick to work like the latest phone app. There is a sense of entitlement that ignores the true power and potential of magick. The might of magick is lost, and it’s seen as another product to be consumed.

I am not one to say that magick should be reserved only for the elite, but I do wonder about the wisdom of putting powerful magick into the hands of people who are, if we are honest, too stupid to know what to do with it. You can buy, for just a few dollars, secrets that people have fought battles to attain, and spent lifetimes perfecting. That may be a mistake.

My fear is that magick will be seen as just another self-help gimmick, as something you add on to your life, rather than the life you lead. Its popularity will make it seem less than it is. Already we see some of the better works being scorned for being too difficult, too complicated, when their simplicity is actually profound. I begin to wonder if the movement I am a part of – to simplify and share magick – is a mistake.

This blog is meant to inspire you to work magick, not to create fear. I have taught many students the art of magick, and I tell them to worry less. I should probably stop worrying, but I will not look away from this problem, and I will continue to weigh my options.

Terrible books about magick will continue to be published, and wonderful works will exist alongside them, and the only way we ever know what is worthwhile, is when we discover what works. Sincere magick, performed simply, and with a powerful intention, is an unstoppable force, and that is what really matters.

– Ben Woodcroft

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10 thoughts on “Magick for Idiots

  1. I think it Is worth to keep publishing true magick. Many people have changed their lives and started to learn more about it, but started with this practical books. In anything nowadays there are false things between them, but not because of a few we should we should stop, changes in society are lead by a few people but last generations. Let’s be a step stone for something great!

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  2. LOL. I know who you are referring.
    I think some his books are good (I like his advanced astral projection book), but many are just joke and easy money grab..

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    • I wasn’t targeting just one author, but using him as an example, and it’s quite possible he’s a lovely and sincere occultist. I can only guess. The troubling thing for me is to know that his work is popular, liked and that this is what people are looking for. It makes me feel like a boring old fart to be writing what I write. And that’s sad, because the work I’ve dedicated my life to, and that I have begun to share, feels like part of some giant post-chaos magick soup. We live in strange times, but that is probably always true.

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      • I truly enjoy the this presentation of the material…other books are SOOO complicated! I came across the 6th and 7th books of Moses years ago and it baffled me…your system is easily apprehendable and I performed my first ritual this evening after a few hours of study…thank you for an enlightened, coherent and elegant presentation! I have used angel tarot-oracle cards and guided angel meditation in the past, but i have always sought a more concrete and direct manner of contact, connection, and assistance w angels…I also enjoy the absence of ritual altars and tools normally called for in magick books

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  3. I tried few things from your book and got astounding results. I can say that I was more then pleasantly surprised but working with angels and archangels, that is serious stuff. I mean it doesn’t have to be hard but you don’t screw around with angels right? You respect them and work with them while trying to resolve personal issues and various real life problems. On the other hand if you want some fun, then you go with other kind of books (the books of author you mentioned). At first sight he is kind of crazy (in a funny way) but what he really tries to do with number of his books is to make a hyper-sigils which will be unconsciously powered by all his readers (while reading about and performing his magic) and he also tries to create and power up few servitors. So he is not so crazy after all, but from time to time he goes out of ideas for yet another book and then he publishes something super weird like how to make Satan dress in drags, just for attention sake. You may not like that theme but it will catch your attention and after you click on that title, you’ll get bunch of his other books on display with considerable number of titles related to how to become rich with different kinds of magic. So as usual it is about the marketing and earning more money which is cool. What is not cool is the fact that while reading some of his books (which is never an easy task) a couple of times I suddenly sensed that I’m not alone in the room where I was alone (if you catch my drift). Nothing super evil but unpleasant vibe nevertheless which had to be addressed immediately. Not warning about that possible side effect is just not cool although understandable from the marketing point of view. (Fear sells so many things but not the magic books)

    So I don’t know what to say … I mean magic should not be disrespected and yet it should be not taken too seriously cause you will go crazy (not in a funny way). Walking that thin line in the middle is not an easy thing, but it is very exciting that is for sure.

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    • I’m pleased to hear you got good results from my book. I appreciate your point, and although my post used that author as an example, I was not attacking him or his work directly. As I reluctantly acknowledged, people like what he writes. The post is more about the personal conflict this builds within me. It’s fair to say that my book took over thirty years to research and perfect, but occult publishing appears to thrive if you knock a book out in an afternoon, on any subject, no matter how bizarre or fictional. As a writer, what is one to do? There’s no money in this business anyway (a point missed by many, so even that author will only be making small amounts), so why do it? If it doesn’t make much money, why go to the effort of writing it? For myself, because I believe in its importance. For somebody who writes about ‘Satan in drag’, I continue to think he must be mocking the occult, and those who read his books. I may be wrong, and am certainly confused about what people are actually looking for when they buy a book. But thank you for your thoughts.

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  4. Personally, if I was to give such books a second thought it would be a matter of wondering what motivates one to write such, then I’d realize that any emotional response regarding it would be “feeding” it. As a society in general the “drive through” of immediate gratifications in life are what the majority want. Do not let this discourage you, and please don’t feed it, it has already taken too much via your emotional response and free advertising (yup, there will be those who will look for it). There are a great number who seeing the titles of such simply keep on going. You and your work ARE appreciated and that IS powerful energy. Magick will take care of itself and will always be, the “drive through” will attract the curious and passerby looking for a snack but that which is solid is going to attract those looking for substance. Please continue to provide nourishment that is timeless.

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  5. Ben,
    I have just ordered your book and have bought others by reputable sources. My comment would be that there will always be morons that like something stupid and I just choose to ignore them. Especially in this day and age when the internet contains all types of misinformation and falsehoods. The truly enlightened people will always find sincere publications and the idiots will continue to find and purchase their junk. We appreciate the sincere information put out by reputable authors and couldn’t care less about the morons. Thank you for your teachings and honesty.

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