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Finding Truth—The Path of the Real Magician

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on June 16, 2012 | Comments (14)

One of the things Israel Regardie has written is that all students of magick should get into some form of psychotherapy. Of course, this is supposed to help the student not become ego-inflated. However, there was another reason for this. Regardie told me that working with a therapist would convince students of the reality of the unconscious mind.

Today, most people accept the concept that we have both conscious and unconscious minds (or at least conscious and unconscious aspects of our mind). But when Regardie started on his magickal career at the beginning of the last century, many did not believe this. It was only with Freud that the idea became accepted, and that acceptance did not occur immediately. So going through some form of psychotherapy (Regardie was a Reichian therapist) would help the student learn truths about the nature of the mind (generally) and the nature of their own mind (specifically). The path of the real magician is one that seeks truth.

Truth vs. Media

Here in the U.S., there is nothing we like more than a winner…unless it’s the chance to gloat at the winner being taken down. Many people who never met him really loved Apple’s Steve Jobs because he started from nothing and built a small empire. Then he was booted out of that empire, started again from the bottom and built himself up again. It’s a win-lose-win story.

Many of us are amazed at the histories of some televangelists who reach the pinnacle of popularity. Then we gloat when they fall due to their own personal failings. In German this is called Schadenfreude, taking pleasure at the discomfort of others. Entire websites and TV shows are dedicated to the paparazzi who seek to reveal the supposed personal flaws of those who have become our popular heroes.

Have you ever seen a photo in a tabloid journal, or online, of one of your favorite persons showing a shocked and ugly look on their face? One of the traditional techniques of the paparazzi is to yell something insulting at someone famous in order to get that shocked look, take a photo, and attach the photo to story unrelated to the photo and that doesn’t reveal the truth about the picture.

Taking photos out of context. Taking words out of context. This is the stock and trade of people trying to bring others down. It’s sad, but it happens all the time. Today, it’s even easier to do. For next to nothing you can get a bunch of websites and misrepresent politicians, movie stars, actors, musicians, authors, just about anyone you want.

I Wanna SLAPP You!

Have you heard of a SLAPP suit? It stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” The typical use of a SLAPP suit is by a large, well-funded organization or business against a small group protesting the policies or practices of that organization. The goal of the SLAPP suit is not to win its case in court, but to simply make the smaller group pay lots of money for lawyers and spend their time in court rather than protesting. The large organization typically has lawyers on their payroll so filing the SLAPP suit adds little to their costs.

The SLAPP suit does more than occupy the time and money of the small group. It’s also a form of intimidation: Warning to other small groups! If you dare to disagree with us we will sue you and take away all of your time and money!

Quoting out of context is like a SLAPP suit: If you say anything that even vaguely appears to us to counter our point of view, or if you merely talk positively about others we disagree with, we will take your words out of context and make you look bad! It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose. You will simply have lost a lot of time and energy and we will have intimidated you and others like you. Don’t disagree with us or even vaguely appear to disagree with us!

The Path of Real Magicians

Many people would respond to being taken out of context directly: “Those so-and-sos quoted me out of context. They’re bad!” But this is not the response of real magicians. Real magicians are interested in results. Respond to those who have taken you out of context and they’ll simply do more of the same. Their actual goal is to get attention for themselves. It really doesn’t make sense to make a big deal or even comment upon those who take things out of context. It’s a waste of time and effort for real magicians who are more interested in actually doing magickal work.

So I repeat that one of the functions of being a magician is to discover truth; the truth of how the universe functions, the truth of how people function. In the previous aeon, known as the Piscean Age, it was common for most people to simply listen to leaders and mindlessly obey what they ordered. As we move more and more into the Aquarian Age we discover things for ourselves. This means, as real magicians of the Aquarian Age, discovering the truth is up to you and me.

One of the things I have consistently said is that real magicians are skeptics. By that I mean magicians approach things with a point of view of not knowing. Somebody has made a claim about person X. Is that claim true? We have to find out for ourselves. For example, many of the bloggers making claims about politics and politicians have no journalistic training and publish rumors as if they are true. They do not make retractions when what they published turns out to be false. These days, we can’t depend upon the words of others—even those we may respect—for finding out what is true. Discovering truth depends upon you and me. In fact, when I begin workshops, I’ll often begin by saying, “Don’t take my word for any of this. Check it out for yourself.”

What to Do

Whenever someone claims that another person said or wrote something that doesn’t seem like that other person to you, check it out for yourself. Recently, one blog site reported that a movie actor was rushed to the hospital after being found non-responsive. That’s what was published. That’s what readers will remember. Later reports revealed that paramedics were called and gave treatment but didn’t take the actor to the hospital. Still later it turned out that the actor—who previously (and allegedly) had trouble with drugs and alcohol—had been working on a role on a set for two days without any sleep. Paramedics came, saw that she was just exhausted but okay, and left. The truth finally came out. But it wasn’t found in what the blogger originally posted.

So if someone makes a claim about another, check out the sources! Don’t rely on bloggers (including me!). Check things out for yourself. If someone is quoted by a blogger saying something that doesn’t sound right to you, check the original quote in context. Don’t just read the immediate words, read the paragraphs around it to see what the person actually wrote and meant.

Discover the truth, not what some blogger says. Even if you like the blogger, if you’re a magician, or claim to be a magician, check claims out for yourself. In books or workshops where you are told that some author claimed XYZ, go find the sources and check it out for yourself.

Can finding the truth be time consuming?
It can be.

Does finding the truth take effort?”
It can.

For real magicians, is finding the truth necessary?
Absolutely!

One More Thing…

Earlier, I mentioned Steve Jobs. His comment, “One more thing…” quickly became popular as a way of saying, “I’ve also got something else that’s very important to share,” and I do a concluding idea that is important.

The most difficult bit of checking we can do is on ourselves. Sometimes, when people spread information that’s false, it’s not because they think it’s false. They think it’s true. This isn’t because they’ve necessarily been misled or know what they’re saying is false. Rather, it’s because they believe in some concept so strongly that when something fits into their predetermined beliefs they simply assume that it is true. They can’t believe in anything else because it would damage their mind-set, the very way the interact with the world. It’s true because they want it to be true.

This is what comedian Stephen Colbert called truthiness, which Wikipedia describes as something that feels correct “without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.”

Sometimes, we desperately hold onto our beliefs and will do anything to support them. That’s why mystics honor the phrase, “Know Thyself.” Self-examination is always difficult. When we actually have feelings that something should be true, when it’s part of our very mode of thinking, it’s challenging to even consider that deepest thoughts—part of what makes each of us unique—might not be accurate. But that’s what real magicians do, even if it leads to the discovery that our long-held beliefs are anything from errors to a cover for a lust for power and money. What’s the solution?

Do the work.

Examine your own motivations.

Examine sources of the statements of others.

Do the work.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Peregrin Wildoak
on June 18th, 2012 @ 9:51 am

Hi Don – brilliant, brilliant post. You sir, are a true gentleman :) I have posted on the same theme a little while ago, pointing out that sometimes some things are simply made up. Then once shared, people believe them, and they become ‘true’.

This post hits the nail squarely on the head, better than mine. Thanks a bunch! I will be sharing :)

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#2 
Written By Michael Lloyd
on June 18th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

Another great post, Michael.

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#3 
Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on June 18th, 2012 @ 10:42 am

Thank you for your kind comments!

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#4 
Written By myprentiss
on June 18th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

Always inspiring, thought provoking and informational. Bravo1!

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#5 
Written By Mary K. Greer
on June 18th, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

Good for you, Don. That’s integrity.

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#6 
Written By Nick Farrell
on June 18th, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

I find that people don’t read enough. Some people have got back to me about stuff which is in my books only to discover that it was not there in the first place. They have either read a review (from someone who did not read the book either) or didnt read what I wrote carefully.
In one case I had a screaming online row with someone about what I wrote… only to have him discover that me and my book agreed with him completely. He just did not read it properly. I think in the modern world there is tendency to outsource thinking to others because it is quicker. Sadly it means that in the magical path they will never amount to anything.

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#7 
Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on June 18th, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

Nick, I, too, have experienced this. One person who supposedly read one of my books claimed I had written something totally foreign to the tradition and for no reason. In fact, I mentioned three times that what I was presenting was different and explained why it was totally in line with tradition. Another claimed I hadn’t given sources for a section, although the sources appeared both in the section and in the bibliography. And of course, I’ve also had people accuse me of writing or saying things which I never wrote, never said, and don’t believe.

My friend, Raven Grimassi, told me about a person who wrote a review that severely criticized one of this books. Curiously, it made all sorts of claims that were unrelated to what Raven had written. Raven finally got in touch with him and asked if he had read his book. The man replied, “No, but I skimmed through it in a bookstore.”

Several years ago I was shocked, surprised, and disappointed to hear one radio talk show host say, on the air, that his listeners don’t have to think. He’d do all the thinking for them. I take the opposite view and start almost all my workshops saying, “Think for yourself. Question authority.”

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke told me that one of the purposes of Llewellyn publications was the “democratization of magick.” Democracy does not require people to study and think before they act, but at least we can provide the tools so that those who wish to become magicians can follow a magickal path.

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#8 
Written By Morgan Eckstein
on June 18th, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

There are some people that misquote and take so much stuff out of context that I just presume that everything that they say about others is a lie. And yes, they like to threaten me with lawsuits.

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#9 
Written By Blackbird "BB"
on June 18th, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

Hi Don,

I have to agree with the above, wonderful post. :)

I have to say it really resonated for me, my personal window on the Magickal life is the Tarot; and very early in my relationship with my guide, whom I think of as Nan, I came to realize that she had a tremendous and fierce commitment to the truth.

I went through a long string of readings where-in there was always a temptation to side step or soft petal what I saw in the cards; for surely it was not my place in the universe to say #### to the Q. And yet time and again a course of firm integrety proved the proper course. I would tell the Q, just what Nan had put in front of me, they were often relieved, or vindicated; or freed; it was never the reaction I would have expected; never that moment I thought I would have if a given truth had been revealed to me.

Because of this Ferocity and Sharpness I have long held in my own mind
Melanie Gendron’s Princess of Swords, as my mental image of Nan; and while I have ‘known’ her for over 10 years now; just who Nan is I still do not know, is she a Priestess of Innana? the Goddess herself? Another Spirit that somehow resonates with that fierce desert energy; I really don’t know. I know a great deal about her, but not that, not really.

My point here is not to brag on myself, but rather to I hope expand just a little on your comments about being skeptical; while I have no doubt Nan is real, while I have no doubt she has proven a true and valuable guide both to myself; and to those who have come to me for readings over the years; I have an obligation to them, to myself; and to the Truth not to confuse who I imagine Nan might be, with what I know; I hope that makes sense.
Blessings, BB.

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#10 
Written By Deanna Bonds
on June 20th, 2012 @ 8:24 am

Well said Don. One would hope most people would think for themselves and always checkout the facts. But if that were true we wouldn’t have the grocery store tabloids doing the very same thing you are describing. I agree with your approach though. Let people make up their own minds and don’t waste your energy getting involved in it.

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#11 
Written By Joseph Max
on June 21st, 2012 @ 11:55 am

Well said, Don.

The “SLAPP”-like method of over-the-top reaction (both legally and in publicity) to the slightest of perceived offense was, of course, pioneered and refined to an art by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology, where it is known as the practice of “Fair Game”. No slight is overlooked, but responded to loudly, with vicious indignation. Critics are not simply mistaken, they are malicious and evil, and therefore deserve no respect. Critics’ arguments are not to be debated, but the critic mocked, denigrated and personally destroyed by any means possible. Deny everything and attack endlessly. And all the while, incessantly complain about being the persecuted victim.

The CoS doesn’t even deny this practice, but defends it as a core religious belief.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_controversies#.22Attack_the_Attacker.22_policy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_%28Scientology%29#Policy

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#12 
Written By mist42nz
on June 28th, 2012 @ 3:01 am

On the note of “fair play”, “out of context”, “truthfulness”, “skepticism” and “ego”

I try to encourage people to reconsider the aspect of “expectation”. Also in connection to this is “entitlement”.

*Why* would a magician ‘expect’ truth? Or for some other person to treat them in a certain way (especially one that is congruent with their perception of advantage).
Is it our importance? Is it from a order which we ‘belief’ to be the Proper Way the universe ‘should’ behave (as if the universe should be beholden to Obey us)

I find this connects to much of what causes discomfort and anticipation, to feelings of betrayl and of hope

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#13 
Written By Greg
on July 7th, 2012 @ 7:49 am

Wow, Joseph, your Hubbard comment sounds so very familiar to me, but in a different context. Well put.

Great article, Don. It’s so easy to get caught up in the righteous indignation mode that we sometimes forget to consider what ends we are actually working toward.

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