Starting in Magic
Magic is not the kind of thing you can find a topic on and skim through and understand. No, magic is something that will require lots of reading, and lots of practice. There is very little anyone can actually teach you that is not already easily found in books. And in most cases, the entire book should be read so you can grasp the whole theory of it all, though the more advanced section in said books will do you little good aside from give you a motivation to go on and some more theory to absorb.
Specific powers in magic are not its main aim. The aspirant should not take up the art of magic for the sole purpose of performing neat parlor tricks like catching things on fire and instilling an atmosphere of absolute horror that all persons in the room will feel for no reason. These, like the powers of the yogis, are mere byproducts of spiritual advancement in this age old art.
So the sooner the aspirant quits asking trivial questions such as “is this possible?” Or “Will I be able to do this, this and that if I practice real hard?” and actually sits down and reads a book (be it an e-book or hard copy) and then begins practice, the sooner he/she will progress. Most of your questions will be answered in said books. And question the information you are reading, do not dismiss it, but do not take it as absolute fact until you understand it. If you are unable to sit down and read a book on magic, then you are not ready to perform magic.
Now, if you are capable of reading a book, then here are a few I shall recommend you read.
1) Initiation into Hermetics
by Franz Bardon. This book is in two parts. One section of about 100 pages or so is devoted entirely to the Theory of Hermetics. It explains the Tattvas or elements (Spirit, Fire, Water Air and Earth), the occult anatomy among other useful bits. Then section two which is about 200 or so pages, is devoted to the practice of Hermetics and the preparation work for Bardon’s next book, The Practice of Magical Evocation
. There is also a great deal of theory here as well.
2) A Bardon Companion
by Rawn Clark. This book is a companion book that helps further explain Initiation into Hermetics
, The practice of Magical Evocation
and the Keys to the True Qabbalah
by Franz Bardon. An excellent book, but only useful if you have read or are currently reading one of those books.
3) Self Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition
by Chic and Sandra Cicero. This book is a complete guide to the Golden Dawn for the Solitary Practitioner. If you have no access to a temple in your area, this book will allow you to learn all of the golden dawn’s teachings and give you means to self initiate yourself into the various degrees all the way from Neophyte (0=0) up to Portal. Weighing in at about 600 pages, this book will keep you busy for years to come.
4) Liber MMM
. This book is a basic Syllabus into the ITO Order of Chaos magic. It details various exercises in Chaos magic. It’s fairly short and can be finished in one sitting. Though, the practice should take you considerably longer. Includes trances, sigils etc.
5) Liber ABA
by Alester Crowley. This book is also know as Magick Book 4
and includes a very heft amount of information. It is a very large book at 800 pages or so, but it detaisl the creation of various magical “weapons” or tools, the theory behind magic and various rituals and also contains Liber AL vel Legis
or the Book of the Law
, the holy book of Thelema.
These above books are more than enough to keep an aspirant busy for a while and should enable them to have intelligent discussions on the subject of magic. There are however, a wealth more in the lines of books, but they do not all need to be listed here.
You may or may not have noticed, but the above books are each a part of its own little subsection of magic. The first two by or supplementing Franz Bardon is one path of Hermetics that developed independently from the others and is strictly hermetic in nature. Number three is about the Golden Dawn, a British esoteric order that jump started the magic movement in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. The order collapse, but its teachings were published and live on today. It covers Kabbalah, Hermetics, Enochian magic, etc (note, not all of the GD’s teaching are in said book. It does not cover the inner order from adeptus minor to adeptus exemptus). The fourth book is about chaos magic. Chaos magic is a relatively new system where the magician has no set method. Chaotes take on the belief of another system such as hermetics and will believe in it for the duration of there operation, then change there beliefs back to what they were before the operation (providing they had a set to begin with). The application of sigils and gnosis is highly utilized here. Finally, book five is somewhat Thelemic in nature as it was written by Alester Crowley, the prophet of Thelema. Much of the books information is Golden Dawn based, but heavily altered by Crowley and Thelema. However, do not mistake this book as a cheep rip off of the Golden Dawn. It is a highly praised work, but many beginners may become lost in it at some point or another. Do not let that keep you from reading it; this is what online forums are for.
Now, another note should also be mentioned. It is often published in books and taught to students of magic, but some merely forget it as general knowledge, not realizing that the aspirant does not know it. Being a balanced individual is crucial to success in magic. Balanced meaning that you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maintain physical health, you make sure that you are not unbalanced astral with the magical elements by looking at all you character traits, good and bad and then sort them into the elements. If one is dominating, you are unbalanced and need to work to fix it (see step I, magical schooling of the Soul in IIH for further details). Finally you must be balanced mentally. This is where daily meditation and observation of your thoughts comes into play. If you are balanced, you shouldn’t encounter as many problems in magic as you would if you were unbalanced.