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My Second Attempt at Magick—A Failure?

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on April 29, 2013 | Comments (1)

Two Lessons in Life

In my previous post I shared how I performed some magick at a young age. Clearly, however, it was not the result of a truly trained magician. Unknowingly, I happened to have followed a pattern that equated with the practice of magick. It was unintended, natural, and successful.

The second attempt that I remember didn’t happen for another ten years. During that decade I spent time going to school, playing baseball, goofing with kids on my block (I grew up on a street named “Stoner Avenue.” No, really!). I did all of the things a normal guy kid did. By the time I was 16 there were two important things I hadn’t experienced.


I met her at a youth meeting at my temple. I’ll call her Danielle V. Danielle was short (she used to say she was 5-feet tall, but she was actually 4’11”), very curvy, had blonde, shoulder-length hair, and smiled with her entire face, a smile that lit up the room. She and her family had just moved over from England, and she had a strong British accent—not a cockney accent* filled with jargon and omitted letters like Eliza Doolittle at the beginning of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, but the more educated and refined form she later learned. I still find an English accent to be extremely attractive, perhaps due to my relationship with Danielle.

At first we only met a youth group meetings. Finally, however, I got my driver’s license and we could go on dates. I loved listening to her voice. Dani was very…formal…during our dates and our time in public. In private, however, our make-out sessions got hot and heavy! I was in love! That left another common human experience to endure, and it wasn’t long in coming.

Dani went off to summer camp. A few weeks later I got a “Dear Don” letter in the mail. She had found someone at the camp. I had my second experience that everyone goes through. A broken heart.

“You’ll Find Someone Else…”

Outwardly, I was the big, strong, tough guy. Hey, I played offensive line on the high school football team. But inwardly, I was crushed. Really crushed. Friends told me to “get over it” and just find someone else. But how, in Los Angeles, do you find a beautiful blonde with an English accent who was my age and was also be interested in me? I tried to smother my feelings. I tried to find someone else. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Dani. I started to ignore my friends and realized that was not good. I just had to figure out a way to get over this.

And then it came to me. I realize now that what I had done was a beautifully planned out magickal ritual, one that would teach me some important lessons.

Dani had given me a picture of herself. I decided to put all of my feelings for her into the photo, then burn the photo. That way, my feelings for her would burn up with the photo. I both thought and felt it was a great idea.

The Ritual is Performed

I took a box of matches and the picture out to the curb in front of our house. I didn’t accidentally want to burn anything in the house during the photo conflagration. I spent ten minutes focusing intently on the picture, sending all of my feelings for Dani into the picture. I felt my breathing increase and I could sense something flowing from me to the photo. When there was nothing else to flow I knew the time was right for the next step in the ritual.

I held the picture by a corner, lit a match, and held it near the lowest corner. “As this picture burns, so will my feelings for Dani burn away. As this picture burns, so will my feelings for Dani burn away.” I repeated it over and over. I just wanted my feelings for her to be gone. I wanted the heartache to be gone. I used a second match and then a third. In the middle of the ritual I had the horrible realization that the picture would not burn!

My mother and step-father were both heavy smokers. They didn’t use cheap, replaceable lighters. Instead, they used expensive ones that could be refilled with lighter fluid. I went into the house and “borrowed” the container of lighter fluid and returned to the curb. I drenched the photo with the flammable liquid and repeated holding the photo by a corner and reciting my incantation. “As this picture burns, so will my feelings for Dani burn away. As this picture burns, so will my feelings for Dani burn away.” I kept repeating it as I lit a corner at the bottom.

The picture quickly went up in flames, and I had to drop the picture to the ground. I kept repeating the spell, over and over. I closed my eyes to increase the intensity. When I opened my eyes the flames were almost gone, but the picture was barely singed! The lighter fluid resulted in a flame of low heat, not enough to burn the photo. Only the lighter fluid itself had burned.

Enough with my planned ritual. I changed the chant to, “As this destroy this picture, so will my feelings for Dani be destroyed.” I decided to simply tear the picture into little pieces. I built up the new chant, repeating it over and over. When the intensity could build no more, I took the singed photo and started to tear it to pieces. To my dismay, it wouldn’t tear!

I tried to tear it. Really I did. But the paper just would not rip. I tried tearing it from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side. The paper just couldn’t get started tearing. Feeling deflated, but finally realizing what to do, I went inside my house, got a scissors, and made many small snips around the photo’s edge. I started repeating the incantation, but after three failures my heart just wasn’t in it. Still, I had a feeling I needed to complete what I had started.

So I repeated the new chant, and when I was bored with repeating it, I tore the picture to pieces. I hope the ritual worked, but somehow I knew it hadn’t.

The Aftermath

I was right. Now, not only could I not stop thinking about her, I couldn’t stop thinking about the failed ritual. I was in a funk until I met a new girl at a high school dance. “Karen W.” was the opposite of Dani, tall, brunette, very slender, and outgoing. I really liked her, but it was never love. It was just fun and wonderful. I am extremely grateful for the time I spent dating Karen. I’m also sorry that I no longer have a picture of Dani.

Magickal Lessons Learned

  1. Practice a ritual before performing it. Just because you think something should work doesn’t mean it will work.
  2. You need to have your heart and passion in the ritual from beginning to end.
  3. Rituals seem to have a natural duration. If the ritual clearly isn’t going to be effective during that time, end the ritual.
  4. The design of many rituals includes a release of energy or tension at their climax. If they don’t have that feeling of release, success is unlikely.

Well, that’s it. One thing I can say about this experience is that I no longer consider it a failure, just a learning experience. As they say in NLP, “There is no failure, only feedback.” It’s only failure if you don’t learn from what you did. After high school I never saw Karen again. I hope she is happy and well. Although I never saw Dani again, I did hear about her. After I graduated from UCLA I was playing music in a series of rock and roll bands. After one gig, I drove back to where I was living, but I was very hungry, so I stopped off at a small restaurant in Culver City called Johnnie’s (best pastrami sandwich around!). I recognized the cook. We had played football together in high school. He came over and we talked for awhile. It turned out that somehow, he was now dating Dani! I laughed about it with him and wished them lots of happiness, but it still brought up some emotions. They were just far less than before.

Years later, I decided to formally study music. I re-entered the student life at Santa Monica College. In one class there was a young woman with the same unusual last name as my friend who had been the cook. I asked her if she knew him. It turned out he was her much older brother. We shared some stories and I eventually asked her about Dani. Her face turned dark. It turned out they wanted to marry, but because he wasn’t the same religion as Dani her father forbade it. She, the dutiful daughter, obeyed. They broke up. He reacted by joining the army and was stationed in Germany where he met a woman and married her. When he finished in the army he came back to the U.S. with his wife, moved to the midwest, and became a farmer.

After the class I never heard from any of them again. I hope they have all had happy and productive lives.




*A Cockney accent is not an uneducated or lower class accent, it is the particular accent of people brought up in hearing range of the famous bell, Big Ben in Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster. At one time it was considered inferior to standard British English and many people, like Eliza Doolittle, tried to eliminate the accent. Many still do this. More recently, Cockney has come to be considered an alternative form of English.

Reader Comments

Written By Jennifer
on May 1st, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

Reminds me of a ritual I did involving burning people’s names and eating pomegranate seeds. I did a massive ritual to stop my having feelings for ex-friends, kind of a “cord-cutting” sort of deal. I didn’t really have any problems getting it to work beyond once again having to figure out how to not set off the fire alarm, but the feelings didn’t go away either and I am still pretty upset with/missing the lost people. Especially the ones I still see around town, where it’s really awkward. I wish magic could get me over those feelings, but so far it just has not. I guess that’s beyond magic?

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