The Heretic : (editorial to The Waxing Moon Imbolc/Bealtaine 1971)
I am constantly being asked, since I am involved with the Craft, about the one subject that holds little interest for me. Magic. Now I will admit that it seems strange for a ‘witch’ to express a lack of interest in the one thing that is traditionally attributed to all witches. But the facts are that I am a religionist - and not a magician.
Nevertheless I have practised my share of magic and have a few thoughts on the subject to pass on to layman and practitioner alike.
First I don’t have faith in any book ever written on the subject no matter how practical it may seem. If the author knew what he was doing he more than likely wrote the things that worked for himself. Usually incompletely. That does not necessarily mean that it will work for you.me or your aunt Clara. This goes equally well for the secret handwritten books so popular among certain traditions.
On the other hand I do recommend that the aspiring magician STUDY everything on the subject that he can get his power hungry hands on. Not just read it, or listen to it, but absorb it and practise everything to some degree or another continuously. Then when he has found out that everything that he has tried fails he should go back and THINK about what he has done, and why it has failed. He will more than likely realize that what he has been doing has been mere plagiarism of of what has gone before him, and that he has not had one original thought on the matter. That realization is the aspiring magician’s first step to success. His second, and the most important step he can make, is to have an original (to him) thought about magic, or a spell, or what have you. That in itself is a magical operation.
Now that our aspiring magician has had his original thought he will realize that everything that he has read, as it concerns him, is bunk and, if he is serious in his magical profession, he will finally begin his long and difficult study - a reworking of what has gone before heavily spiced with sweat and original thoughts. He will experiment and keep records or his experiments - and discard the useless crap that he runs up against. Useless crap? That is anything that does not work for him.
That is the third important realization - if it doesn’t work it’s useless. Forget it. That other stuff should be kept in a book - perhaps one entitled SPELLS THAT WORK.
Lastly one must realize that in order to become even a half competent practitioner of magic you have years of hard work ahead of you. Without the hard work you are wasting your time - and the time of the person who may be trying to teach you. There are no short cuts, not even the fabled initiation into the Craft.
Remember - magic is hard work. Most of the time it is easier to get what you want by more conventional means.