When I was very young, because of the death of my father, my mother, brother and myself were very poor. My grandfather had made a deal with the bank (they did that back then) so we could stay in our house until my mother was able to get her life together and earn money. Still, although we had a nice, small house, we lived in poverty for a long time.

I remember driving in our old, smelly (the upholstery was molding) Plymouth to the Fairfax district where my uncle worked in a butcher shop. I believe he probably gave us food for free or at a deep discount. I always hoped to get a piece of spicy, smoked meat known as a “schtickle for a nickle.” For me that was a great treat. My “new” clothes primarily consisted of hand-me-downs from my older brother. “Don’t worry,” my mother would say, as she rolled up cuffs on the legs of his—and now my—well-used jeans. “You’ll grow into them.”

My grandfather owned stock in several companies, including a small toy manufacturer named Wham-O. Once, after going to a stockholder’s meeting, he told me the story of a man who was working for a tire manufacturer, trying to come up with a stronger form of rubber. He applied heat and pressure in the forming of the rubber. When he was finished, he cut it into pieces to examine it. One piece fell on the floor and began bouncing all over. It was hilarious. He started tossing pieces of rubber all over when the head of the company happened to walk in. The man was immediately told to walk out and was fired.

He took the formula and method to Wham-O, and they nurtured it until they created the high-bouncing Super Ball. Still being made today, the Super Ball toy made its inventor a millionaire.

I used to tell this story all over. It’s what my grandfather told me. Wikipedia disagrees somewhat, but it makes a great story.

Another popular toy made by Wham-O was the “Hula Hoop.” This was a simple hoop made of plastic that you could spin around your waist, arms, legs, or neck. Although children had used metal and wooden hoops as toys for centuries, the lightweight, hollow, plastic hoop became a sensation. I desperately wanted one! Within a few months, knock-offs were being made and sold more cheaply by other companies. For a gift, I received a knock-off, not the real thing. I couldn’t think of anything worse and didn’t hide my disappointment from my mother, who had given it to me.

My mother had always had the attitude that quality, not name, was what mattered. The knock-off she had given me—and had probably saved for over weeks of time—was not what I had wanted. It was just as good as the genuine product, but it didn’t have the name or exorbitant price. Instead of being thankful and grateful for this wonderful gift, I was disappointed with what I didn’t receive.

A Magickal Understanding

There are a few magickal understandings that can been seen in this story. Let’s look at some of them:

  1. The power of focus: If you spend all of your time focusing on obtaining something, that one thing is the only way to resolve your desire. Even if you obtain something decidedly better than your focus, you still may not be satisfied. Using all of that focus and energy directed to that focus can be harnessed to obtain your magickal goal. If, however, you do not expend all of your energies (in this case it would have been me earning some money to get the toy myself), your focus may not be complete and your magickal result unsuccessful.
  2. The power of specificity: In magick, the more specific you are the more likely you are to achieve your goal. For example, if you want a book, describing the edition, condition, color, smell, how you’ll feel when you read it, title, author, etc. is more likely to help you achieve your result than magickally working to get “a book.” In this case I did work with specificity, but because I did not focus my energies on achieving the results, the power of focus and specificity was not successful.
  3. The negative effect of having expectations: In many, if not most situations, our expectations are one of the key things that get in the way of happiness. We expect a boyfriend or girlfriend to behave in a specific way, but they do not.  We’re unhappy. We expect a new car, computer, toy, book, to do a certain thing (or set of things) and it doesn’t. We’re disappointed and unhappy. Expectations, especially those we don’t share with others who are involved, are often not met. This leads to unhappiness.

Some people might say if we don’t have expectations for the future, we have little or no reason to strive for something better. I would respectfully disagree. Merely having expectations for the future will not make them happen. Actually doing the work to make your desires come to fruition—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, magickally—is far better, in my opinion, than simply hoping your expectations will come into being. When we have goals—manifestations of our desires—we can work for them.

In a discussion of expectations, here’s the important part: be satisfied and grateful for what you have today. If you want something different, create it! That’s the essence of magick. Simply having expectations that you should get something will constantly result in disappointment and unhappiness.

As I look back, I realize now—especially at this time of year—that I should have been more thankful and grateful for what I had and received, not ungrateful for what I didn’t have. I hope people reading this will understand what I’m saying. Be grateful for your families, for your homes, for your life, exactly as it is. As I like to say, “I’m grateful that my body temperature isn’t room temperature!” This does not mean you have to accept the current situation in the future. Magick and magickal methods can help you create a better life.

This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

Black Friday

Immediately after Thanksgiving comes “Black Friday.” It’s called this because, in the U.S., it marks the beginning of a huge buying season. For many retail businesses, the income through the year has been negative, and they barely stay in business. They’re in debt or “in the red.” On the Friday after Thanksgiving, they earn enough money to finally move into profit and are “in the black.” That’s why this day is said to be Black Friday.

So what are you going to buy for gifts for the holidays this year? Jewelry? Electronics? Clothing? Perfumes? Something else?

I’d like to recommend something that isn’t as flashy as any of those things. I’d like to encourage you to give books.

Every time the person reads from that book, they’ll remember you gave it to them. When someone reads a non-fiction book, they increase their knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, something that cannot be taken from them. Years from now, the perfume will be used, the jewelry will be forgotten somewhere in a box, the clothing will have been discarded, and the electronics will be broken or obsolete. What is learned from books, however, goes on and on.

Naturally, I’d hope that you’d consider giving my own Modern Magick. I am very grateful that it remains the most popular, step-by-step course on magick ever published. 9780738715780

If you don’t have the latest, 3rd edition, pictured above, I can tell you that compared to the previous edition it has 40% new material with new concepts, even clearer explanations and writing, new art, and a new lesson on the future of magick. If you don’t get this book I have written other books you might enjoy, too.

There are lots of books on the Runes. In one book on the Runes—from another publisher—the author admits he made everything up! If you’re looking for an accurate, basic book on working with the Runes, I strongly recommend A Practical Guide to the Runes by Lisa Peschel. 9780875425931

This time-tested book that remains one of the most popular books on the Runes ever published.

There are so many great books on the Tarot, it’s difficult to know where to begin making recommendations. Barbara Moore’s Tarot for Beginners is wildly popular and for good reason. 9780738719559

it’s clear, easy-to-understand, and easy to use. For more advanced work, see world-famous author, historian, and teacher Mary K. Greer’s The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals9781567182859

Learning to interpret reversed cards is a challenge for many Tarot readers, even more advanced ones. This book provides great knowledge and understanding even for experienced Tarot readers. And if you’re looking for even more advanced work, perhaps seeking to share your Tarot expertise with others, see Christine Jette’s Professional Tarot. In it you’ll discover all the tricks and nuances to move from reading for yourself to reading for others or even becoming a professional reader.

9780738702179You can learn about other books on Tarot by going to this LINK. Llewellyn publishes and distributes one of the largest and most popular selection of Tarot decks and kits in the world. Go to this LINK and click on the selections at the left to see what we offer.

When it comes to magick, I’m proud to say we offer one of the widest ranges of magickal topics in the world, including books on alchemy, animals & mythical creatures, Enochian magick, Gnosticism, the Golden Dawn tradition, grimoires, the Kabalah, ritual books, theory and technique, and more. Of course, I hope you’ll consider sharing my book with friends and loved ones. For those seeking rare, high-end, collectible and practical books, look at the wonderful books from Steven Skinner. Although any of the books from him would be a fantastic and usable gift, right now my favorite is The Goetia of Dr. Rudd9780738723556Beautifully hardbound, this book contains material not found in any other version of the Goetia, material vital to safely performing the evocation of spirits.

If you’re like many people, trying to get through Regardie’s The Golden Dawn can be daunting and confusing. If you want a good general purpose introduction to magick that will make Regardie’s book easier to understand, give my Modern Magick. If you’re looking for a specific introduction to the Golden Dawn system, I suggest giving Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero’s The Essential Golden Dawn4.1.1

It’s currently the best introduction to the system available.

For all my Pagan friends, there is currently so much available it would be challenging to know where to start! So I’d suggest going to this LINK and selecting from the categories on the left.

Books are one of the few gifts that that can last forever—maybe the pages won’t last, but the knowledge will.

What is the best book you ever received as a gift?

What is the best book you ever gave as a gift?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by Donald 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 courses in the Southern California area on such ...