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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19 comments

  1. Dear Ben,
    You make a very valid and interesting point. I wonder sometimes, however, if the idea that writing and publishing a book on magick, for the pure reasoning of gaining money, fame, or a selfish purpose, has not been done since magickal workings were originally written? There are slews of books out there, some hundreds of years old, with false, misleading or downright dangerous information. Some seem to be directly misleading (changing symbols or sigils, mispronouncing words, directing readers in opposite directions, etc.). Was this done on purpose? Some say indeed. One of the great things about following this path is that we that actually practice vs. simply debate, begin to develop a sense for what seems factual, truthful, and done with correct intent, instead of that which isn’t.
    I have come to a point in my magickal practice, where my viewpoints on what is “right or wrong” no longer seems to be the point, rather, my personal understanding, experience, and discernment helps to guide and direct my actions.
    It seems to me we can only do the best we can, with the best intentions possible, and not worry or direct our actions based on the actions of others. Magick has always seemed to me, to weed out those with the wrong intent. One way or another.
    Thanks for what you are doing, and the efforts you have put in. It is always good to hear from another who has the guts to describe their own experiences, as a way for the rest of us to understand, learn and grow from. Best to you.

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    1. Apologies for the time taken to reply. I agree with you, and even know that some of the books I have treasured were written for nothing other than profit, which does not concern me. I also agree that minor and frivolous books will not last, but it made my heart ache to see that a reader’s first purchase in the realm of the occult could be something that makes them lose interest in the subject forever. I believe all will be well.

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  2. You do not come across as someone seeking praise at all Ben, I would just like you to know that at 57 years of age my life has become something that I have control over.I understand myself way better and where I need to make improvements or adjustments I now have the tools to do that.Two businesses just presented themselves to me, I have had money turn up just when I needed it (500 pounds from one of my ex wives who won a load on the football tips thing),I have improved my salary beyond what should of been possible, met a whole load of new friends and stopped a crimewave with magic.I appreciate the everyday pleasures more have no anxiety or worry or negative thoughts I am nicer, I hope you get the point!This week I have done 3 of your rituals for example and I know they will come through like the others,I do not even have to think about it.There are loads more of examples I could give but what I want to convey is, how much do you think I respect magic when it has done that for me? I can say that Magic has become a passion, transforming my life is an adventure and a game I wake up ready for action EVERY DAY!If you and some other serious occultists had not shared with us, my life would not be like it is now.You write because you think it is important to teach magic to empower people and I want to say that you are right and please continue doing it.

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