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Basic Questions in Occultism

To: (Occult Elist)
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: (O) Basic Questions in Occultism (Wicca, Black Magick, Practice)
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 15:16:15 -0700 (PDT)

980827 IIIom

from a correspondent:
# I've read your death spell and it is interesting.  

not very historically-based, though inspired by studies.

# I am a student of magick and I am interested in pure magick, 
# not some religion.  

the subject of the elist to which this is sent (Occult).  good 
luck trying to separate out magick and religion.  I doubt that 
this can be achieved with any finality except within the lexicons 
of certian churches or fanatics.

# I have a few questions for you:

I respond publically for the benefit of all who have interest.

# 1.  What do you think of Wicca and their law 
#     ( also what do you mean SOCIAL law)

a social law like laws against murder, violation, and
thievery in that it is a compensation for a specific act
which is condemned by moral authorities.  a social law
like principles of human behavior, comparable to what
are called 'Laws of (Physical) Nature' by scientists.

it might fall as a field of study most firmly into the 
subject of sociology or ethics rather than cosmology
or thealogy.  there is no reason to presume it has some
kind of retributive or ontological status, so I have
instead looked to more elegant rationalizations.  if you
have evidence to support the more controversial then I
urge you to provide your evidence and testimony.
I think Wicca is a beautiful religion.  I think for a
religion it does what it sets out to do and well.  its
edges are, like all religions, somewhat fragmentary and
syncretic, and I think this also is to its credit as a
body of sects, liturgies, rites, and instructions.  the
Wiccan Rede is a valuable guideline for beginning and
advanced occultists alike, subject to revision based on
the depth of one's insight.

it is unfortunate that the Law (of Threefold Return) is
at times confused with the Rede (harm none and dwtw), but
this is to be expected among those new to the Craft.  let
us hope the Elders remain in tune with the gods.

# 2.  Do you consider your magick to be black?

'black magic' is like 'satanism' in that they are both
used as epithets to condemn the activities of others.
unless you define what these terms mean to you or I
provide some definitive lexicon of my own (which I will
not do, therefore leaving me with greater freedom), 
then there is no way to ascertain it finally.

sometimes I consider it black, yes, but not usually in 
the sense that I intend harm to another person.  as I am
aspiring to the principle of ahimsa, you can see where my
ethical interests lie, though I think single individuals
can become too powerful and I prefer opposition to
hierarchical relationships.

# 3.  How long do you practice magick?

what is 'practicing magick'?  does that include the
exercise of the will, acting within the orbit of one's
Thelemic destiny, or do you mean concocting potions,
weaving spells, constructing ritual tools?

whenever I feel like it.  lately I've been conducting
rituals of change, shifting domestic land-base for the
first time, negotiating the variables.  if you mean how
many years, then I would only say that I read but didn't
understand my first real text on the subject (MiTaP) 
about 15 years ago, so I'm a relative newcomer.  I've
experimented with a variety of forms over the years,
typically spontaneous, not always ceremonially-based.

# 4.  How do you defend yourself against other spellcasters?

I prefer the Simon Iff method.  this might also be said to
be the power of Quan Yin, or Lakshmi, using the Word of Love
to resolve any differences that might be outstanding.  for
a strong defense I would study martial texts of East and West,
such as Musashi's _Book of Five Rings_, Agrippa's _Three Books
of Occult Philosophy_, perhaps a few grimoires, some other
Solomonic material, maybe some Dion Fortune (_Psychic Self-
Defense_ is popular), or if you're really white-lightish you
can go with Weinstein's _Positive Magic_.  use the materials
found in these texts to construct for yourself an entire
system of defenses.  use as inspiration comic book heroes
the Scarlet Witch or Doctor Strange.  draw from fantasy novels
like _Master of Five Magics_ by Hardy or role-playing game
supplements like _The Grimoire_ by Hume or card games like
Magic the Gathering.  no source which inspires is too childish.

defensiveness is an important part of life experience.  putting 
up boundaries and securing them an important part of magical 
work and we can draw firmly from imaginative sources to express 
our most profound feelings of vulnerability and insurmountability.
ultimately the strength of the will and the expertise of its 
application will determine the outcome.

blessed beast!
nagasiva --;
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