After Modern Magick was originally published, I began to receive a flood of questions. First they came by what we now call “snail mail.” I’ve received questions from all over North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Southeast Asia. Over the past decade the number of those letters has decreased, but it’s been replaced by email.
Although many of those questions are unique, after a time I started to note that some questioners were asking versions of the same question. In the second edition of Modern Magick I addressed this problem with a new section called the “Modern Magic FAQ.” FAQ, of course, is an acronym (or in the Kabalah, a Notarikon) for “frequently asked questions,” and in that section I answered many of those common questions.
One of the most common questions I have received usually goes something like this: I want to do magick and join a coven or magickal group, but my parents wonâ€™t let me. Iâ€™m only fifteen and canâ€™t move away. What should I do?
I understand how difficult it is to really, Really, REALLY, REALLY! want to do something such as practice magick and not be able to do so because your parents forbid it. I was not allowed to play Pop Warner football or school football until I was in 11th grade, even though I desperately wanted to play. At the time it was so very frustrating.
However, let me make this clear: I do not advise you to go against your parentsâ€™ wishes. You may think that they are unfair, but their personal history and backgrounds means that they have had experiences you have not had. It is likely they are trying to protect you from what they see as harm. If your parents were magickians, they might be helping you to learn magick safely.
I regret to tell you that you may simply have to wait until youâ€™re older before becoming more active with magick. Most magickal groups wonâ€™t accept people under eighteen unless both parents are members or without both parentsâ€™ written permission.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. If you really want to make magick part of your life, here are some things you can do now to prepare to be able to learn more and work magick:
â€˘ Magicians need to have sharp minds and be able to communicate well. Stay in school and learn as much as you can. Study everythingâ€”English, foreign languages, history, math, computers and the sciences. The more you know on a wide variety of subjects the more you will be able to bring to your magickal training. And of course, read books on magick.
â€˘ Magicians need to be creative. Study some â€śartisticâ€ť thingsâ€”sculpture, drawing, painting, woodwork, music, creative writing, acting, computer graphics, etc. Not only will these practices help your creativity (excellent when trying to figure out how to make a talisman or construct magickal tools), but it will also make you a more interesting, well-rounded person.
â€˘ Magicians need strength and agility. Be sure to get plenty of exercise. This should include aerobics for your heart and lungs, resistance training for muscles and stretching for flexibility. Also study martial arts, fencing, dancing or a similar activity for agility and grace. Be sure to get the okay from your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
â€˘ Magicians are popular. Contrary to the popular impression, most magicians today are sociableâ€”sometimes very sociableâ€”people. There are several reasons for this. First, humans are social creatures by nature. We need input from others to stay healthy. Second, the knowledge by some people that you are interested in magick might lead them to mock you. As you get older it could prevent you from getting desired jobs. By being able to determine what you can tell somebody of your interests, you can, as it were, â€śhide in plain sight.â€ť Everyone can see you but they wonâ€™t know your real interests unless they are open to them in a positive way. Finally, by being sociable you are able to meet people and hear what they have to say. Itâ€™s possible that some of them have interests similar to yours and an eventual friendship, as well as a circle of friends, may develop.
Many people have trouble meeting and talking with other people. If this describes you, try out one or more of the following:
â€˘ Join one or two school clubs with subjects you enjoy.
â€˘ Observe people around you and see what they like. Then, ask them questions about those subjects. Youâ€™ll find that theyâ€™ll love to tell you all about it.
â€˘ If you have trouble talking with people, listen intently to what they say. Then ask them questions based on what they said or ask for more information. You will find that they will go out of their way to talk with you because you listen.
â€˘ Magicians have a strong will. Make up your mind to do something on a regular schedule and then keep to that schedule. Remember, however, that no one is perfect. Instead of using a missed activity as an excuse to stop, make it a reason to try harder!
There are multiple levels of keeping on schedule. The first is physical. So, for example, make up your mind to do a particular physical action. You might choose to always open a door with your left hand. If you err by using your right hand to open a door, simply make a mark in a small notebook which you carry for that purpose. Or you could keep a rubber band around your wrist and snap it so that it slaps you for going against what you wanted to do.
The next level is verbal. Make up your mind that you will not use a specific word. For example, you might decide that you will not use the pronoun â€śIâ€ť for a week. Make marks or snap the rubber band when you go against your will.
The most difficult level is thought. Make up your mind that you will not think of something specific for a week. For example, you might decide to not think of watching television for a week. Use the rubber band snap or book marking when you think about watching TV.
You will notice that the first day of each level will be filled with snaps or marks in your book. But as you go through the week your control will become greater and the marks or snaps will decrease. This is tangible evidence that your control of your will is increasing.