a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Magic, Methods and Ethics

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.pagan.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Magic, Methods and Ethics (was BOOK REVIEW - Before You Cast a Spell)
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 22:08:41 GMT

50040122 vii om 

thanks for the reviews, Mike, they are often valuable. except Llewellyn.

"Mike Gleason"  [shiftage] re where Carl is going:
# On page 9 of this book the first paragraph tells it all:  "This book does 
# not contain any spells, or any specific instructions on how to cast 
# spells, raise and direct energy, or perform any other kind of magical
# procedure."

that's important, probably the reason for the "Before" in the title.

# Carl's intent is to focus on the spiritual principles of magic....  

are there any, beyond doctrines which people apply to it?

# There is a tendency for some folks to dismiss this author's works as being
# too basic.  Perhaps that is because there is a tendency to want instant
# gratification and instant success in our society.  

the popularization and fictionalizing of magic-as-instantaneous gives
those who approach the subject of magic some predispositions and 
prejudices about magic which may be impossible to satisfy. it is 
for this reason and more that some argue 'magic is all about belief'.

# The author believes, as do I, that magic should be the last weapon 
# in your arsenal.  

this is in the tradition of those who see magic as a limited resource,
stemming from a forbidden or scarce energetic origin, or in some
manner problematic, evil, or harmful at base. a conservationist or
'limited arsenal' mentality predominates. I'd say this is largely at
variance with most folk magic, which is pragmatically-valuable as a
ready-assist at all times by those who persistently employ magic.

# First you should try every mundane approach you can.  

I've heard many Neopagans tell me that they thought this should be
an *accompaniment* to magical practice, but few went as far into
conservatism as Carl and you do here except within trads that were
heavily inhibited or strongly mystically-based.

# Too many Pagans do a ritual to achieve their ends and forget to 
# put any effort into the non-magical approaches.

this was the criticism of the above. note that because this is true
does not mean that the mundane should be exhausted first.

# [Carl] asks [the objectors] to explain why they object to his 
# position or statement....  

because magic isn't so scarce or problematic that it has to be
'the last resort'. it is that kind of thinking that gets the
witch or mage fearful of repercussion, lacking in experience,
and generally unfamiliar with magic in the slightest.

# He stresses the need for each person to take responsibility....

magic hand-wringers sometimes stress this and morality. it is
also what ties some political hand-wringers in knots (what if
I'm *wrong*? I should never vote or support a candidate at all!).

# It is an all too human trait to claim the credit and disavow 
# the screw-ups.  

I'm not sure this is true. this type of rudumentary scientism
seems to operate with other mammals at least.

# ...If you live an ethical life, both in your mundane and your 
# magical life you may encourage others to do so as well.  

only if you're interested in putting forth such encouragement.
in some locales this is considered akin to proselytizing.

# ...he does not oppose payment for teaching....

very big of him. I'm more interested in what he says that backs
up the rules he *does* wish to promote (e.g. magic as last resort).
if it is just that people don't ground their magical activities in
mundane activity, that is insufficient justification for refraining
from practicing magic at all unless and until all ordinary methods
have proven fruitless.

# Before You Cast a Spell  by Carl McColman  (c) 2004  
# New Page Book 143 pages  + Appendices & Index paperback, 
# ISBN 1-56414-716-9 $13.00 (U.S.)

thanks again,


The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races