Brazil was the name of a strange and wonderful film by Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam. Whenever I think of that name, however, I think about the famous song of that name. It has a melody and rhythm that keeps repeating in one’s mind.
The full name of the song is “Aquarela do Brasil” (“Watercolor of Brazil”). It was written in 1939 and it began a new form of the samba called theÂ samba-exaltaÃ§Ã£o (exaltation samba) which was considered very patriotic. Some claimed it was literally pro-fascist (this was at the very beginning of World War II, a time when fascism was considered by many to be just an alternate political system and not a fountainhead of evil), although its composer,Â Ary Barroso, also wrote a very anti-fascist song. It didn’t immediately become popular, but after it was used in the 1942 Disney animated feature, Saludos Amigos, it became a wordwide hit. In fact, it wasÂ the first Brazilian song ever that was played over a million times on U.S. radio. That may not seem so important today, but in 1943â€”before the internet, before eight tracks and cassettes and CDs, before TV became popularâ€”radio was the ultimate form of public media.
So what brought my attention to thoughts of Brazil? It seems that there is a class action lawsuit that was filed in Brazil against Apple (formerly Apple Computer). Apple introduced the 3rd generation iPad, known as the “New iPad,” in May, 2012. A relatively small upgrade was made in October, 2012, giving the iPad a faster processor, an extra camera, a new connector, and a few other things. So why the lawsuit? It claims that people who bought the New iPad thought they were getting high-end equipment, but, the suit claims, it was actually an obsolete version.
So essentially, then, this is the claim: even though millions of people were, and remain very happy using the New iPad, because an even newer version of it was going to become available, it was no longer any good. Apple knew this and deceived purchasers.
Millions of people are still using the 1st and 2nd generation iPads and have no desire to get something new. Millions more are very happy with the New iPad. If they had never heard of anything newer becoming available, they’d might still be happy with it. But because it’s no longer the top-of-the-line, the unknown number of people forming the class filing the lawsuit claim it’s obsolete.
I don’t think so.
A new Ford Focus doesn’t have all the bells and whistles and technology of a Lexus LS. That doesn’t mean the new Focus is obsolete, it just means it’s not state-of-the-art. And in today’s world that state is always evolving. There must be something else the people making the lawsuit actually want, and I think I know what it is.
The Magick Pill
In my opinion hope is an important and valuable trait. But there is realistic hope and fantasy hope. Realistic hope gives people something to strive for. It gives direction in life and a reason to continue on no matter the odds. Fantasy hope takes people away from achieving goals. Realistic hope is struggling to study and pass a difficult class. Fantasy hope is wishing that something will instantly install all wisdom into you so you will pass the class while you do nothing. Realistic hope is fighting to win a virtually impossible battle. Fantasy hope is for angels to appear in the sky and win the battle for you while you do nothing. A name I give to such fantasy hopes is the magick pill.
A magick pill is a mythical substance that immediately gives you everything you want. If you don’t want to smoke, just take a magick pill or patch. If you want to lose weight, forget about exercise and dieting, just take a magick pill and by tomorrow morning you’ll go from looking like Orson Welles to looking likeÂ Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jude Law or Â Matthew McConaughey. What? You’re willing to work? Take these magick pills, or DVDs, and follow them for just 90 days, and you’ll go from looking like Bruce Vilanch to looking like Bruce Lee.
Coming back to Apple, their famed CEO, Steve Jobs, chose an alternative healing form of magick pill, excluding Western medicine. Had he worked with both it is quite possible he might have lived much longer. Unfortunately, he wanted his version of the magick pill.
The Magick Pill Excuse
When I first became interested in ceremonial magick, there were very few practicing magicians. Most had a “magick pill excuse” for not actually practicing any magick. “As soon as I get…I’ll start actually doing magick,” where that blank space is the name of another book, a magickal tool, working space, etc. They believed they couldn’t do magick without access to a magick pill. As soon as they have that magick book/wand/dagger/area/pill, they claimed they’d actually do magick rather than talk about it. Of course, what actually happened to many is that when they acquired one magick pill they’d discover they needed another greater, stronger, better magick pill before they’d start doing magick.
The Magick Pill Today
Today, even for practitioners of ceremonial magick, the search for the magick pill remains. Many will try one ritual or another, or will perform a ritual with such a lack of interest, intent, and energy, that the rite will not be effective. The assumption by themâ€”which is rather one of extreme egotismâ€”is not that they could be doing something wrong, but that they don’t have the magick pill. “I need newer and better magick,” they think. It’s not them, it’s that they don’t have the secrets. There’s something even deeper and will give them all the power and magick they want. Instantly. It’s a magick pill for magick.
This, unfortunately, is nothing new. There have always been purveyors of magick pills. On TV they sell mops, cleaners, diet products and other magick pills that will give you everything you want without you doing any work. The same is true for magick. Those old rituals are a waste of time. Try our new rituals! These replace the old rituals which are no good any more.
Crowley tried it. But he offered different rituals. In my opinion while they are effective they are not necessarily better. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say they are more effective for people who are drawn to Crowley’s system, but not for all people. Chaos magicians tried it. Again, however, Chaos Magick offers different rituals, rituals that are good for some people and not effective for others.
None of the purveyors of magick pills have offered anything that replaces the traditional methods of ceremonial magick. They offer different parallel paths that may be better for some people, but that does not make traditional ceremonial magick obsolete. Some of the magick pill pushers do so to make money off of fools. Well, as I like to say,
If it’s true that when the student is ready the teacher will appear
then when the student is ready to be ripped off,
the person who will commit that fraud will appear.
Dodging the Magick Pill Pushers
There will always be the magick pill pushers. They will try to make money selling you their products, claiming it is a magick pill. You don’t have to do any work; just take this magick pill and it will do all the work for you. Besides, nobody else offers our magick pill which is new, New, NEW!
You don’t have to be their victim. When it comes to ceremonial magick you can use the published techniques and methods that have worked for hundreds of thousands of people over many hundreds of years. Then, just do the work. I’ve seen many dozens of versions of the LBRP. Some are just modifications by magick pill pushers to make money. Some are by people trying to make it more appropriate to their path. But if you’re using an iPad 1, 2, 3, or 4, please remember that the technology is there to help you achieve your goals. If you can achieve all of your goals with the 1, you don’t need the 4. And likewise, if you can achieve all of the magick you need with the traditional methods, you don’t need a magick pill pusher to take your money. People use traditional methods for a simple reason: they work.
A good way to learn the basics of magick is through the use of the LBRP. Here is a free set of lessons on this basic banishing ritual and how it forms a basis for magick:
Once you have finished this, start studying and practicing the Middle Pillar Ritual
These free trainings, written by me and brought to you by Llewellyn, will give you the beginnings of magick.
Yes, it requires study. Yes, it requires practice. Yes, it works.
No, there’s no magick pill, no matter what the pill-pushers say.