Tuesday, 7 October 2014
“Real Magick” In RPGs, part 666
So, I know that I said when I started this series that it was NOT going to be an instructional series on western Magick; but rather an attempt to help GMs to “fake it” credibly, to be able to imitate the “setting details” of what a modern occult campaign would like in the “real world”.
But I’ve had a few people asking me to please give them some kind of info on where they should start if they wanted to actually get into magick. Which is weird, since you’d think that mainly what I’ve written thus far would discourage people from getting into it; but I guess there are a few who might read all this and say, “shit, its worth it”. And in a way I have to feel that’s awesome, since you’d really have to grok it, to get the point, after the completely stark completely honest fairly brutal assessment of all the downside of western occultism I’ve been doing on here.
So this entry is to give suggestions for those who are looking to investigate some magick for themselves; mainly in the question of who would I recommend for reading.
I guess the first thing I’d recommend, above all else, would have to be the writings and magical system of Aleister Crowley. Now, the thing is that Crowley can sometimes feel a bit intimidating to the casual reader. So if you have no balls, you might want to start with something a bit more approachable, namely, Lon Milo Duquette.
Duquette is easily the most brilliant writer on the occult since Crowley. His books are incredible, though he rarely treads any new ground; what he’s really good at is translating Crowley’s work into a slightly folksy, straightforward style of modern American writing that absolutely anyone could understand. Duquette’s “The Magick of Thelema”, is probably the best introductory book to the magical system designed by Crowley. Any of Duquette’s other books are great too, particularly his “Chicken Qabalah” (written under the pseudonym of “Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford”).
So start with those. Then read Magick in Theory and Practice, by Crowley. Then Magick Without Tears, also by Crowley. Then buy a Thoth Deck, and read The Book of Thoth, by Crowley, and after that read Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, by Duquette.
At this point you should already be familiar with all of the basics of magick, and you should have by now decided if you think its “for you” or not; you should also have probably decided by now if you plan to be one of the 90% who read a lot of Crowley and Do No Magick, or the 10% who actually get off their asses and do magick. If the latter, by this point you should certainly already be writing in a magical diary, performing solar adorations, meditating daily, doing the banishing ritual of the pentagram, working with the Tarot and/or the I Ching (for the latter, I recommend John Blofeld’s translation) experimenting in astral travel, learning all the magical signs and god-forms, “Saying will” before eating, and giving sex magick some serious consideration.
In other words, you’ll be well on your way to being batshit obsessed; and if you do the above you’ll also very quickly be having some initial experiences that will confirm to you why this shit is worth becoming batshit obsessed about. Your ego will start getting little cracks, and you’ll start getting little glimpses beyond the veil that surrounds the tiny little tower you constructed for yourself that you called “reality”, into something way beyond what you could have conceived of.
So yeah, there are a few other writers I could recommend (and after getting a good solid grounding in actual magick, you might want to look at some of these crazy chaos magick types like Peter Carroll, or Dave Lee); but I don’t see the point; the above will be more than enough to get anyone who actually wants to do something to get started.
Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Perique
(originally reposted June 26, 2013, on the old blog)