Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as re-established by Israel Regardie and authors of a vast number of books, including The Essential Golden Dawn, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, and Tarot Talismans.
The phrase “common sense magic” probably seems like an oxymoron to non-esoteric folk. But anyone who is sincere in their ritual practice eventually comes to the realization that magic requires a sensible approach and discrimination. Although magic is meant to stimulate one’s psychic abilities and cause change in one’s environment, it can also stimulate less desirable things such as ego-inflation and ungroundedness in relation to the physical plane. Real-world magicians don’t have the luxury of Hollywood special effects and flights of fantasy—they must use common sense and good judgment in any magical working. Using common sense and intelligence will help the practitioner avoid the pitfalls and make the success of any ritual working more likely.
Have you ever known anyone who accidentally got too close to a candle in a ceremony and set something on fire? Sure. Most magicians know someone who has done this. Nothing will get you out of a godform faster than having to beat flames out on the hem of your ritual robe. Some of the old grimoires tell the magician to have a series of lit candles on the floor around the magic circle. This is obviously one place where the magician can use common sense and either forgo the floor candles entirely or use realistic-looking LED candles.
We know of several examples of magic performed without common sense.
One person wanted to perform a Solomonic evocation, complete with a magic circle and triangle of art. He wasn’t confident about his own ritual abilities, but still wanted to perform the ceremony. So he did what he thought was the common sense thing to do—he brought a phone into the circle of protection in case things got out of hand so he could call a more experienced magician for assistance. (This was before the age of the cell phone.) Of course, things DID get out of hand and he was faced with a very nasty spirit who would not leave the triangle when he tried to banish it. So, the phone within the circle apparently came in handy—and a frantic call for help went out to the more experienced magician. The moral of the story: if you think your magic is going to fail, it probably will!
Another person had no money and was anxious to improve his financial situation. He crafted, painted, and consecrated a Jupiter talisman and meditated on it nightly. However, the talisman did not seem to work. His financial situation never improved. He became convinced that magic did not work. However, he neglected to look in the newspaper for possible work or fill out any job applications. He apparently thought that by doing a magical ceremony a bag of money would magically appear on his doorstep, just like in the movies.
Another person wanted to rev up the power in his practice of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. His performance was fairly standard, except for the fact that his chosen magical implement was a .38 special. He did the Qabalistic Cross and traced his pentagrams in the air, vibrated the divine names … and charged the pentagram by firing the gun through the center of the figure. He did this in all four quarters of his temple space and ended up with bullet holes in all four walls. We’re not sure if he attained his magical objective, but his banishing was effective. (He banished his roommates, his family, and his landlord!)
In cases such as these, the culprit is often the magician’s “lust for results,” which means being focused on the results of a ritual instead of on the ritual performed to attain the results. It throws the magician off balance, drives him or her to make poor choices, and diminishes the success of the ceremony. The way to make sure your ritual work is safe and effective is to use your common sense. You will be a better magician for it.
Our thanks to Chic & Tabatha for their guest post! Chic and Tabatha are Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as re-established by Israel Regardie (www.hermeticgoldendawn.org). The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of which Chic is the Imperator and Tabatha is the Cancellaria, is an international Order with temples in several countries. Tabatha is also the Imperatrix of the Societas Rosicruciana in America (www.sria.org).
Chic and Tabatha share an enthusiasm for Ceremonial Magic and the Hermetic arts. Their books, which are published by Llewellyn, include The Golden Dawn Magical Tarot kit, Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple, The Essential Golden Dawn, Tarot Talismans, The Babylonian Tarot, and Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition. They have also edited and annotated new editions of Israel Regardie’s classics The Middle Pillar, The Tree of Life, A Garden of Pomegranates, and The Philosopher’s Stone.
Visit their author page for more information, including articles and books.