The Path of the Magician
A short paper concerning its trials and hardships
“And you shall drink your cup alone, though it taste of blood and tears, and praise God for the gift of taste.” -Almustafa, Garden of the Prophet.
Truly the path of the magician does from the eyes and perspective of a child’s soul seem full of promises. A life full of adventure and excitement, doubled in glory by its promise of power. Dreams of grandeur are conjured as the child imagines a powerful man wielding fire balls about the air and riding upon dragons as he battles evil. These are the thoughts of children, and the fallacies of fantasy.
The path of the magician is from the eyes of another by no means as glorious as fantasy would induce. This is even more so today, in a society where such wisdom as was held by the magicians of old is no longer appreciated, and sadly, even welcomed. Once there was a time when the prominent magician was not only respected in his community, but was indeed welcomed among the imperial courts of all lands, and even held a level of respectable political power. Indeed there have been times in history where magicians were the puppet masters behind the curtains of the throne. But of course, such magicians as were among these were among the most powerful and respected magicians of all time. Magicians powerful enough to sway the outcome in a war, to create peace, or to dispel it. Those were days when not having a royal magician was a disadvantage.
However, these are not those times. The magician is no longer a prominent figure in society, and perhaps it is because those with truth chose not to be. Yet at the same time, the magician is not exactly welcome anymore either. Religious prejudice and pure ignorance on the highest levels has enraptured the image of the magician with devils, evil matters, curses, hexes, destruction and chaos, anarchy, etc. This is an age where all magicians are often considered evil, despite their honorable practices. And yet behold, the catholic priests are today child molesters, and those same priests often have the nerve to try and cast down the magicians.
Before going too much further into this paper, I would like here to make a distinction as to what I personally consider to be a true magician, as opposed to a simple conjurer of tricks and gimmicks, amusing only to the jester. You see, the idea of magic today is that the magician can unlock doors, call storms, make fire, etc. This is magic, but practicing magic does not truly make one a magician. It is then necessary to consider the actual linguistics of the words magic and magician. You see, magic comes from the word magia, which means literally “wise arts.” The adept of this wise art was called a magus, or “wise man,” from whence we pull the word “magician.” So you must therefor consider if doing the occasional neat trick actually makes one a wise man, or a simple entertainer. I believe it does not. You see there are magicians, and then there are people who can do things that are called magic. There is magic, but then there are gimmicks and feats that, though interesting and entertaining, are not worthy of pertaining to the class of the wise arts.
And so I will offer my distinction between the two right here and now, before continuing with the paper, for this paper concerns the hardships and trials of the magician, not the entertainer. A jester will call upon the wind to impress those whom he has gathered, and an idler will call upon the wind for no reason other than the fact that he can, but a magician will call upon the wind because he is looking upon a group of sweating workers who have been laboring in the hot sun all the windless day. A jester will turn to those who will listen and say “observe, for in two days a storm shall come,” and a useless idler will call upon a storm simply to see his own power, but a magician will call upon a storm because he looks around and sees that the grass is brown and the trees are dry from drought, yet none shall ever know the storm was called by him. The entertainer will call a crowd around an injured person and heal him only to hear the applaud of the audience, and the idler will cut himself just to heal himself, but the magician will stand at a distance where he will not be noticed, and mend the bones of an unknowing person whom has injured himself, and the magician shall walk away without saying a word. Therefor we can say that the jester users his feats to entertain and gain recognition to extend his ego. The useless idler knows such feats, but does not seek to gain recognition from them, yet only applies them uselessly. The magician then knows how to work such wonders as the others, but does so only to the benefit of others, and humbly rejects the idea of using them to expand his own recognition. In the same way we can class those three types of magic users in an order from the most bastardized to the truest way of applying magic. The jester learns magic only for self betterment, and is therefore the lowliest of the three. The idler does not seek to increase his ego and recognition with his magic, and is therefore above the jester. Yet nor does the idler properly apply such knowledge, and therefor is useless to the world. Finally, above them all is the magician, who uses his knowledge only for the betterment of the world around him, completely devoid of selfishness, and who devotes his entire life to study and sweats blood not for himself, but for the people he crosses on the street everyday, whom will never know his greatness.
The spiritual path of the magician, then, is much like that of any spiritualist seeking a higher truth and a level of spiritual enlightenment. It is one devoid of selfishness and full of self denial. It is in its purest form a path of purity and righteousness, just as beneficial, yet just as difficult, as that of the true Christian, or true Buddhist. And so therefor the path of the magician is similar to any spiritual path seeking higher truth and enlightenment.
The magician is ultimately a servant, and perhaps the lowliest of all servants, to the universe. Indeed a petty slave is the magician, who can only wrought such feats as he is accredited by falling to his knees and begging as a child that something happen. All the while, the request the magician has made, which we call spells, can be examined and rejected. Magicians are beggars that beg for the well being of others in that sense. We pray for their souls where they can not, or help others in ways they can not.
The Lure and Promise of Power
The world of magic is, of course, full of temptation. Indeed it has one of the most luring temptations in existence; power. Power being one of the principle temptations in all areas of mankind, and lust for power being a major sin, it is equally devastating to the undisciplined magician. Indeed it is this lure that has probably caught the eyes of many younger audiences, pushing them to practice and study magic for the wrong reasons.
In the beginning, as mentioned earlier, many young adepts strive only for power, filled with media induced ideas of grandeur. This is not entirely a bad thing, because it often gives the young, restless mind some motivation to keep studying and keep practicing. However, when the thirst to become more powerful and to continue the path lead only by such dreams of fantasy continues into the years it becomes a very dangerous force that can lead the aspiring adept into damnation. Blinded by himself, he will unknowingly stumble into a pit of spikes.
If you are lured by power, in which case my words no doubt disgust you, then at least understand that you need to be careful, and sit down and try to think about why power may not be the best motivation. Many a person has fallen to the temptations of power my friends, and they should all be seen as potent examples because they all truly are. This lure has even gotten to potentially great magicians, and even some magicians who already were great, and then forgot themselves one day and pursued a path of power. Many of those magicians died a horrible, poverty-stricken, lonely death.
And so I tell you truly my friends, do not seek power, and believe instead that it will come to you in the form of blessings and gifts as you aspire to obtain harmony with the world around you and purification of the self. Even then, do not seek harmony and purification only for the reward of power, for if you do so, the power shall turn its head, and favor shall turn its eyes. You will be a fake, a fraud, and the universe shall see you as such. And if you seek only power truly, then the universe shall perceive you only as an ignorant child, blinded to the harshness of reality, and only interested in having a new toy to play with. Seek union, not control. Seek harmony, not power. When you have achieved both these things, and turned down control and power, only then will you be made a king among men, a shepherd to lost souls.
On The Lifestyle of a Magician
I hate to break it to you, but if you look around most people who have devoted themselves to become great magicians are not exactly bringing in a hefty income, probably haven’t played the latest video games, seen the latest movies, or seen the latest shows. In fact, if you know anyone who is actually a serious student, he’s probably the guy that’s always “busy” on the weekends, though you know he doesn’t leave his house often. The kid that spends hours in his bedroom who won’t even let his parents in to see what he’s doing, or sits quietly with a stack of books in the back of the library, where no one can see him. He’s probably the guy that always seems to have a few candles in his rooms, always placed in the same areas, and who always seems to be carrying some type of stick, staff or sword when you’re at his house. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to truly study magic with the fervor it deserves, practice it with the dedication it calls for, and make time for it with the sacrifices that are required. Not flesh and blood sacrifices, but time and activity sacrifices.
You see my friends, it should be no secret that humanity as a race has grown lazy, and if it weren’t for sports we would be a race of stubby, fat people. Why? Convenience, perhaps. The plain ability to sit down for hours and stare at a relatively small screen playing pictures. The ability to be able to take a quick trip and get enough food for a week. Sure, some people have jobs, but even the most high paying jobs consist of not but a few hours in a small cubicle making a single arm motion to retrieve and put down the telephone, or the wrist and finger movements required to type on a computer. And now if this has effected general humanity in such a way, imagine how it effects aspiring adepts, who socially and economically truly do not get anything from their studies. Once upon a time if you were a worthy magician, you were not only a prominent figure in your town/city/village, but also a recognized political authority. Indeed being a magician was once practically a career of its own. But no more. Where we were once embraced, we are now even more potently shunned. And so now the only benefit of practicing magic has truly been refined to the spiritual advancements that happen slowly and rigorously along the path.
If you are aspiring to be a magician, then I suggest setting aside an hour a day to either read, meditate, or practice magic. With time, the length of that also needs to be extended. There is plenty to read out there, plenty to meditate upon, and more than enough energy in the universe to practice with, giving most people no real excuse not to practice at least an hour a day. School is anywhere from 5-7 hours, and if you attend work afterwards you may be there for somewhere between 2-5 hours. At the most the average highschool or college student will be looking at about 12 hours of occupied time(assuming they lead a very active life-style). You can still squeeze in a good meditation and some reading time before you lay down that night. However, most people do not lead that time-restricting of a life-style. Indeed most highschool students in particular(being as most college students should have jobs) sit around their houses with nothing to do for hours on end. Bad work ethics. Pick up a book and read. If you don’t have any books on magic, then get online and download some. If there aren’t anymore to download, then browse various sites to get a basic idea of the many different views concerning magic as used by your peers. If you’ve done this to the point of boredom as well, then you are no doubt coming along in your studies, and can begin to right down thoughts to meditate on, and eventually begin to put together long, organized segments of your thoughts to create short articles. Even if these articles are only for yourself, they still serve as useful sets of notes to refer to.
One thing to remember however, is that there are other things in life as a young man to be involved in. Most people don’t have entire days to dedicate solely to magical thought, and that is actually a good thing. Stay in shape, don’t push friends and family aside, and don’t forget about your life in general. There is much to do and see while you are still youthful my friends, and there will be more than enough time to devote your entire life to the studies when the fruits of your youth have been spent. However, though I wouldn’t want anyone reading this paper to drop everything social and start practicing magic like a mad man, I do still advise that whenever you have some open time to do something relating to magic. You’d be surprised what a simple half an hour of meditation every day would do for you.
Sacrifices and Compromises
There are, however, many sacrifices that must be made along the way if you truly want to be a magus. For those of you familiar with Suba’s writings on the Elemental Adept, this concept will not be foreign to you, as he speaks of some of his hardships. There can be much pain and sorrow along the way for the magician to truly break past the barriers of this life and world and become an embodiment of the divine essence. Relationships destroyed, possessions lost, neither are unfamiliar to the magus. The both will and must happen at times. If you truly contemplate the quote at the beginning of this paper, you will see that it sums up the sorrow in the path quite well.
My friends, the path of the magician has become an increasingly lonely path over the years, as now we must not only compensate countless losses to obtain the spiritual advancements we desire, but must also be shunned by our society, which we ultimately work so hard for the betterment of. This is perhaps good, though. If we realize a degree of loneliness from the beginning, then it will not be so hard when we must ultimately walk alone. But why walk alone? The answer is quite simple. In the end, all spiritual paths must be walked alone. This is true in all faces of spiritualism. The holiest god-fearing man will not be Christian, Jewish or Muslim. The man most in touch with the universal essence will not be Buddhist, and the list goes on. Yet they all started somewhere. You may start your path with the church, and walk it with the church family for a great time, but if you ever really wish to move ahead further in your spiritual path, then you must break apart from that family and find your own path. When finally you walk upon the side-road that calls for you, leave the masses while they are unaware and slip into that smaller trail that leads you to the Truest End. For I tell you my friends, the path gets harsher and narrower as it goes on. So narrow that two people can not walk side by side on it, for indeed one can barely walk alone on it. This is the lonely truth of following the path. That ultimately you travel it alone. And yet, the universe is prone to work in circles. And so when you find your way to the top of the mountain, and gather your first breath of true fresh air, you will then realize that you are no longer alone, but instead standing equal with all those who also found the top of the mountain. You see, all paths start at the top of this great mountain, and they all have different ways to get to the top. But when you finally get to the top, you are together with the others. Truly a hard thing to describe in words, and so I shall not go on to try and describe it.
And so ends this truly short paper. Though I know it is not entirely in-depth, I do pray that the young, aspiring adept may read it and find at least one sentence, one word even, that is useful to their path later if not now. In no way could I truly make a complete article concerning the path of the magician, but here I have at least tried to make a small collection of some things to know before truly starting that path. My blessings upon you all.