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Making Modern Magick Modern

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig
posted under Magick

I am so very grateful to the many people (over 150,000 of you!) who have made Modern Magick the most popular and successful book of its kind ever published. Many people have told me how Modern Magick changed their lives for the better. It has changed my life, too. It enabled me to meet amazing people, travel the world, and share information. Itís been an incredible ride, and I like to think that Iíve merely finished the first lap and that the future is going to be even more fantastic.

Itís not just me and the readers of Modern Magick who have changed. In the years since Modern Magick was initially published the world had dramatically changed. If you were born after Modern Magick was originally published:

  • Youíve always known about and used computers
  • You probably never played a 45 or 33 rpm record
  • The war in Vietnam was something you read about in history books, not something you saw every evening on the news
  • The Beatles was the name of the band Paul McCartney was in before Wings
  • The USSR was gone and not a nuclear powerhouse to be feared
  • The Berlin Wall was gone and not an icon of terror and repression
  • Everything has always had barcodes on it
  • Youíve always been told to worry about AIDS
As you may know, I teach workshops all over the US. I have had to change various workshops to meet the needs of the changing times. And yet, in spite of a second edition with corrections and an added section (The ďModern Magick FAQĒ), the book Modern Magick was essentially unchanged.

Is Modern Magick Modern?
I have to admit that Iím prejudiced, but I think that Modern Magick is a great book. Its purpose has always been to help people become fully grounded in the basics of practical magick so that anyone could understand, learn, and work with any system of magick. Part of the goal was to do this from a contemporary perspective, bringing old and archaic presentations up to date. Frankly, I donít know of any other book that does this and covers so many topics, including such things as the kabalah and kabalistic magick, ceremonial magick, banishings, divination, Tarot, astral projection, talismanic magick, natural magick, evocation, astral rituals, invocation, sex magick, Tantra, pathworking on the Tree of Life, psychic self-defense, real meditation, visualization techniques, designing your own rituals, inner and outer alchemy, making and consecrating magickal tools, and so much more.

In the world of magick, change occurs slowly. Most of the supposedly new paradigms of magick that have appeared over the past few decades have vanished. They were often simply someoneís personal interpretations of traditional magick, not really anything new. When that personís interest in their supposedly ALL NEW! discoveries of magick waned, their new system was mercifully forgotten.

In all of this, and for over two decades, Modern Magick has held up extremely well. But as I looked over the book, everything from my way of saying things, the art, and even the way the text looked on the page felt old and dated. The information was still good, but Modern Magick just wasnít modern any more.

The Phoenix
Phoenix: A mythological bird that lived for centuries in the Arabian desert. It then burned itself in a funeral pyre and would rise from the ashes with renewed youth and vigor, ready to live for another cycle.

With the encouragement of Llewellyn, I began the process of completely updating Modern Magick. This has taken over eighteen months to accomplish. It is not simply a few words changed here and there; it is literally a completely new book. As it is about to be published I feel as excited as I was when the first edition was published half of my life ago. Modern Magick, like a phoenix rising from the fires, is being born again more beautiful and better than before. Here are just some of the changes:

  • Completely revised. I went through every word on every page. Itís been completely updated and revised. Rituals are more clearly explained. There are dozens of new tips, personal stories, suggestions, and ideas. Iíve incorporated twenty years of experience, study, and practice. This is the Modern Magick for the 21st century.

  • New art. I literally overwhelmed the art department with ideas for art to be included in this new edition. You can see some of my original illustrations and photos used as suggestions by visiting my new website, www.modernmagick.com. Llewellynís art department took the best of my suggestions and created art that helps bring this book to new life.

  • Format improvements. In this new edition youíll find:
    • The contents pages have more information about each chapter, making it easier to access every concept and idea.
    • Stressing the nature of the work, the new edition of Modern Magick is presented the way it always should have been, as a course of lessons, not a book with chapters.
    • The new edition is divided into two sections, the ďOuter OrderĒ and the ďInner Order.Ē While studying in the Outer Order, youíll learn all of the philosophy, history, and theory while you practice the basic rituals and techniques. While in the Inner Order youíll learn numerous rituals and methods of practical magick to improve your life, including how to design your own rituals.
    • The index has also been completely rewritten for even more precise discovery of information. The new index is more concise and more accurate, making it easier to use.
    • As before, there is a bibliography at the end of each chapter and an annotated bibliography at the end of the lessons. These have been completely updated to focus on current, in-print titles.
    • The popular self-tests at the end of each lesson have been expanded to help you determine, for yourself, if you have learned the information.
    • There is a new, expanded glossary, making understanding everything easier than ever.
    • And, of course, Iíve written a new introduction.

  • FOUR new forewords. Modern Magick has become so well known that five people were willing to write a foreword for the new edition. They are:
  • An entirely new chapter. Iíve always felt that Modern Magick would be better if it had a dozen chapters, resulting in at least a full year of training. But what should be included? As I wrote above, most new approaches to magick have been personal approaches that have faded away. But I have noted three new directions in magick. Two are definitely lasting and one could be the future of magick. I cover all three, including rituals and ritual ideas, in this new lesson/chapter:
    • The first system is known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP. Most people think that NLP is some sort of therapy or a means to secretly coerce people to your will. Actually, NLP is a broad set of techniques for making changes in your life. The techniques are often so simple that they seem like magick. The first book on NLP was actually called The Structure of Magic. To learn NLP I went through extensive training and became a certified NLP Master Practitioner. In the first part of this new chapter Iíll share some great methods with you. Youíll discover amazingly simple ways to determine how you relate to time, a way to insert a visualization into your future, and how this will work in harmony with the power of your unconscious mind to make your desires manifest.

    • The second system is known as Chaos Magick. This system of magick is far more popular in Europe and the UK than in the US. For a time, there, it looked as if it would transcend the popularity of Witchcraft and Wicca. I imported books on it from England and wrote for one of the first Chaos Magick journals in the US. It turns out that Chaos Magick is actually a new approach to some old systems. For example, many ďChaotesĒ use the techniques of Austin Osman Spare, a contemporary of Aleister Crowley. In this part of the lesson youíll the history and philosophy of the system, as well as two banishing techniques, one of which is a ritual, and a ritual for charging a magickal sigil by spinning in place.

    • The third system described in this lesson is known as Postmodern Magick. It literally takes the very best of all systems of magick, including NLP and Chaos Magick, and combines everything into a single system. However, it approaches it in an entirely new way, from the point of view of computers and communication. It is truly a method to understand and work magick that is perfect for the 21st century. Included are new methods to create sigils for talismans and a way to enhance evocations by asking a simple question: ďWWBD?Ē Postmodern Magick is not as popular as either NLP or Chaos MagickÖyet. But it may be the future of magick. This lesson includes an introduction to this amazing system. Once you understand the basic concepts you will understand and discover more in Patrick Dunnís books, Postmodern Magic and Magic, Power, Language, Symbol.

  • A new size. With the extensive revisions and additions, the new edition of Modern Magick is about 40% larger than past editions. And when you add in all of the new art, well, the old 6" x 9" size just couldnít hold it all. As a result, the new, expanded and revised edition is a massive 8.5" x 11" and over 525 pages in length. But donít worry. Iíve worked very hard to make sure itís still friendly, cumulative (so each lesson builds on what you learned in previous lessons), easy to understand and easy to use. This does not mean itís been ďdumbed down.Ē Rather, it means itís clear and written to you rather than confusing or written down at you.

  • A new cover. I have always loved the original cover to Modern Magick. In fact, I believe the cover, created by Martin Cannon, is so wonderful that itís one of the reasons my book has been popular. People look at the cover and think, correctly, ďThat could be me. I can do this.Ē To be honest, when it was decided to do a new cover I was worried.

    When I saw the new cover by fantasy illustrator John Blumen, however, I was absolutely blown away! It takes the original cover as an inspiration and moves it into the 21st century with more emotion and passion. Below is a low resolution copy of that cover. The full resolution version of the cover on each copy is absolutely spectacular.

Okay. Iím taking a deep, cleansing breathÖIím relaxing now. If this article sounds like a prepubescent kid hopped up on three bowls of Cocoa Puffs cereal who is about to meet the Jonas brothers, I really apologize. But I canít help it! Iím really excited about this new version of Modern Magick.

I started this article by saying how very grateful I am to all of you who have supported this book. Iím ending it the same way. I am deeply indebted to those of you who have supported me by getting my books and attending my workshops and lectures. I just want to say two more things: First, I think when you see the actual, finished new edition of blogs) and give more workshops and more lectures so I can personally meet as many of you as possible.

Donald Michael KraigDonald Michael Kraig
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy. He has also studied public speaking and music (traditional and experimental) on the university level. After a decade of personal study and practice, he began ten years of teaching...  Read more

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