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So Where’s All the Advanced Stuff?

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on June 8, 2012 | Comments (11)

Okay. You’ve learned the basic rituals. You know the Tree of Life and its correspondences. You know which herbs to use in spells for any reason. You’ve got the basics down. It’s quite possible that you have a question that bothers so many people. Where is all the advanced stuff? If you’re looking for the answer to that question, you’ve probably already looked everywhere. In books, on the internet. Everywhere.

There’s a story I remember about Aleister Crowley. I don’t remember where I read it or the exact details, but it goes something like this:

They asked me for the secrets of magick, so I told them.

“But we want the real secrets of magick,” they said. So I told them.

“But we want the real, ultimate secrets of magick.” So I told them.

“Be we want the deepest, most powerful secrets of magick.”

“Oh, you want those?” I replied. “That will cost you a thousand British Pounds Sterling.”

They paid me and I told them the secret:

“There’s a sucker born every minute!”

Why Magick?

I once got into an online debate with a person who insisted that the “cool” thing about chaos magick was that you didn’t have to be successful. I wrote back saying, “You do realize that chaos magick was originally called ‘results magic,’ don’t you?” He never responded. So I have to disagree with that person. Of course the purpose of magick is to achieve your goals. If not, why do it?

The thing is, we have many different goals. On one level the goal can be spiritual in nature. We can do magick to become more spiritual and more in tune with the Divine. We can also use magick for practical things, from improving finances and health to overcoming limitations. If we have a goal in any area of life, magick can be used to help us achieve it.

Certain types of magick are binary in nature. That is, either the magick works or it doesn’t. An example of this would be love magick. If you got a new boyfriend or girlfriend after doing magick for that purpose, the magick worked. If you didn’t get a new love interest, the magick didn’t work and you should find out why.

Other forms of magick have success that can judged along a continuum. Money magick can be viewed that way. If you do magick to get $10,000 dollars, but you only get $3,000, that’s not a total failure, but it certainly isn’t a complete success. If you get $9500 dollars it’s not a 100% success, but it’s almost there and many magicians would say you succeeded fairly well.

Why Didn’t You Succeed?

This is a big question in magick. Can you go back through your spell work or ritual design and discover what went wrong? Or perhaps you don’t have the skills yet and need more practice. With the knowledge of what to do and the skills to do it there is no reason why you can’t be successful.

In this discussion of magick I have discussed different types of magick that are rated successful either as binaries or along a continuum. I’ve described that you need the knowledge and skill to perform the magick. Nowhere have I described the need for advanced rituals!

If you can do magick to achieve all of your goals, why would you need more advanced rituals and spells? I have often heard people say they want things that are more advanced that what can be found in books like:

Practical Sigil Magic,
Brain Magick,
Planetary Magick,
Geomancy in Theory & Practice,
Modern Magick,
Hands-On Chaos Magic,
Postmodern Magic,
High Magic,
Northern Mysteries & Magick,
Planetary Spells & Rituals,
Foundations of Magic,
Practical Magic for Beginners,
Charms, Spells & Formulas,
Practical Candleburning Rituals,
and many more.

However, I have yet to meet anyone who has successfully worked all of the magick in all of these books.

So why are people looking for more advanced magick? There are some people who are looking for new concepts, more complex and complete information, and more magickal techniques. Perhaps they’re looking for ancient, lost grimoires for historical information. In my experience, however, most people who are looking for “advanced techniques” are actually looking for a movie magic wand. You know, the type of wand that when you wave it, sparkles flow from its tip and the magick instantly and fully occurs. They want the type of wand Tinkerbell or Harry Potter waves. Unfortunately, those are fictional wands. They’re not real.

Why do they want the fiction? Because the magick they’ve attempted hasn’t worked. Perhaps, they think, with a real magic wand—the “advanced techniques”—their magick will be a success.

I’m sorry. It won’t.

The books that are out there now, such as the ones above, can give you everything needed to be a successful magician. But in order to succeed at magick you must do one thing:

Do the work.

It’s not as romantic as finding an “advanced technique” where all you have to do is mumble some words and servitors from another dimension will appear and bring you gold, gems, and sex partners, but in order to accomplish magick, what you need to do is:

Do the work.

Many of the books above have specific methods you can use to be successful if you:

Do the work.

And then, when you’re actually ready to find the book with advanced techniques that you need, you’ll find it. In the mean time:

Do the work.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Steve
on June 11th, 2012 @ 7:50 am

Good article! If you wanted to know, the book you were thinking of is The Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley. I know it bothers me when I,m trying to make a reference and can’t remember where to find it.

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#2 
Written By Jason Lewis
on June 11th, 2012 @ 9:06 am

I think that people want a “magic pill” to give them the secrets of anything, whether it be weight loss, happiness, or magickal ability. Our culture is is rife with instant gratification and it seems to me that less and less people are willing to “do the work” to get the desired results. Great article.

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#3 
Written By Jolene
on June 11th, 2012 @ 11:20 am

“Do the work.”

That’s the first thing I thought when I began reading the article, Don! Well said!

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#4 
Written By Alison Leigh Lilly
on June 11th, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

I wonder if people asking for more “advanced” books are actually looking for books that explain not just the how-to, but the why. We’re used to scientific and philosophic traditions that offer us insight not just into how to accomplish the things we want, but the underlying forces and natural laws behind how it all works and fits together. I’ve read several of the books you list (and I’ve done the work, and I’ve had my fair share of successful magical works, including some powerful, life-changing ones)… but I’ve never come across a Magic 101 book that offered a really satisfying explanation of the Why behind it all.

(Besides, if a person isn’t having success with the magical work they’re doing, despite following all of the advice in the 101 books, maybe they’re looking for a better, deeper explanation of why and how it works so that they can evaluate what they’re doing wrong.)

Maybe saying “we want books beyond Magic 101″ is another way of saying, “just getting it done isn’t enough.” Human animals crave patterns and meanings. Success is one thing. Meaningful understanding is something else.

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#5 
Written By Peregrin
on June 11th, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

Great post, Don, really good.

This is something that has frustrated me over and over throughout the years. You nailed it! DO THE WORK.

Robert Anton Wilson described how after a while of people praising him for his practical book, Prometheus Rising, he started to ask them direct if they had done all the practices. Only one person said yes, the rest would go shifty and look embarrassed.

As I’ve said elsewhere there continue to be examples of lay Tibetans, with no initiations and teachings, who practice only the Mani mantra, yet when they die manifest the Rainbow Body. This indicates their “high” level of spiritual achievement, through a simple practice.

As you would know, but many refuse to accept, authentic magical practices are as advanced as we make them by doing the work. A classic case is the LRP.

Thanks :)

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#6 
Written By Vinncent
on June 11th, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

I actually disagree that people looking for advanced material tend to be looking for some kind of short-cut… the implication of “advanced” is that it is not simple or easy to perform; it’s advanced.

Things like chaos magick and the entire New Age movement continue to remain popular because they promise the quick-fix solutions… not advanced, complicated information, just “BUY THIS ROCK AND IT’LL ATTRACT MONEY AND POWER”.

There are many reasons people study and practice occultism, and love and money spells tend to get old for those who already have their lives in order. It’s not so much a problem when it comes to books…certainly, the world does not need to see one single more Wicca 101 book written (as that topic has been exhausted beyond death), but I don’t know anyone who has completely exhausted the current supply of occult works in existence.

My main wondering of “Where’s the advanced stuff?” is in regards to the classes held at various occult conventions and the like. I’m not sure what someone would be doing at an occult convention without know about grounding, shielding, energy work, and all that ****, but I suppose if its a large, multiday convention, a class on those things might be worthwhile. But there’s definitely a problem when a large percentage of the classes are covering basic material that it’s safe to assume everyone knows.

And maybe that’s only as far as those teachers have gotten; in which case, they probably shouldn’t be teaching classes, they should spend a bit longer studying and practicing various materials until they have something worthwhile to teach. I know as people progress, they tend to branch out into more specific, and not necessarily mainstream areas.

My main question is, where are all these classes at conventions? Does everyone else really stop at whacking off to squiggles for money? Do dozens of teachers really sit there and think, “I bet nobody at an occult convention has heard of shielding before! I should teach a class on that!” Apparently it happens all the time, every year.

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#7 
Written By Jason White
on June 11th, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

In my experience, when people are asking for more advanced books, they’re looking for something along the lines of Isaac Bonewitz’s “Real Magic” & “Neopagan Rites”, Kaatryn MacMorgan’s “Wicca 333″, John Michael Greer’s “A World Full of Gods”, Starhawk & M. Macha Nightmare’s “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”, or Ly de Angeles et al’s “Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future” They *have* done the work, and are looking for a more in-depth, more thorough, or more nuanced look at the same subject matter. They’re not looking for shortcuts – far from it. More often, they’re looking for even more work, even more to study.

These books exist (clearly), they’re just hard to find among the swamp of 101 materials out there.

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#8 
Written By Carl de Malmanche
on June 16th, 2012 @ 1:59 am

Have you ever asked them what more “advanced” magic is?

more complicated? more powerful? better??

magic is life, people can make more complicated all the time, its getting in tune with the simple that’s “advanced”

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