Thursday, August 25, 2005

What Is Magic/k & How Does It Work?

The application to the Initiates of Thanateros, the internationial organization of Chaos Magicians, includes this question in its initial form. I have been struggling for several months with how to answer. There are so many definitions of magic/k, with variants, that it is difficult to answer brilliantly; thus one is tempted to fall back on Crowley's classic definition, which is to say, "The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will." As has been pointed out, probably by Crowley himself, drinking a glass of milk therefore can be defined as an act of magic/k. (I will quit using the hyphen and go with Crowley's spelling, which he chose, as everyone knows, to differentiate "occult" magic from stage magic. Also, there is a cabalistic difference in spelling it with a "k," as I recall...) (Quoting from Wikipedia: "K" is also the 11th letter of the alphabet. In numerology the number 11 represents hidden energies and thereby magick. Therefore to add a "K" to magic makes the word itself more magickal.")

I can see that this blog is going to be long in development, and short on new information for a long, long time. I don't know how else to do it but to just type down what I'm thinking. For most people I know it will be old hat, but I don't know of too many great magick blogs. I will mention all the ones I know as they occur to me, including, first off, Phil Hine's:

Further, Crowley says this: "What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose." Yeah, okay, whatever. The problem with Crowley's definition is that it's too broad. Of course, he is making it so broad in an effort not to separate "magickal" events from "ordinary" events. Like saying that nothing can really be "supernatural," since everything that happens, whether it seems weird to us, whether we understand it or not, is actually, obviously, "in" nature.

Yes. But when someone uses the word "magick," they mean a specific kind of thing. I would say, offhand, that they are referring to influencing events in some way which seems to fall outside the "reality" or "ordinary" cause-and-effect. Thus communicating with spirits, or altering the weather, or etc., is "magick," and, actually, drinking a glass of milk "isn't."

I will end this entry by listing the people who, off the top of my head, I consider most influential upon myself, and whose works I recommend to anyone:

Aleister Crowley
Austin Osman Spare
Lionel Snell/Ramsey Dukes
Ray Sherwin
Lon Milo DuQuette
Edward Peach/Ophiel
Michael Bertiaux

More details on all of them later...


Saturday, August 20, 2005

What is Gnostic Hayride?

I have wanted for months and months to do an occult zine, for the general reader but also for the dedicated magician. My future comments will indicate where I fall in the spectrum of magickal currents--for the time being, I have a handful of items written by myself and friends I'll post here, as in a zine, and hopefully the variety will keep people looking at it frequently. There are no magick zines I'm aware of of either the quality or the frequency of, say, what Ron Silliman does for poetry ( I would like to assay an effort in that direction.

(As for the title, I dreamt it. I was to do a zine called Gnostic Hayride, and in the first issue, as I dreamt it, there was a letter of encouragement from sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick kl(1928-1982). Until that arrives, I will include letters or comments from other readers. Send them to