Thursday, April 07, 2011

Quantifying Results and Expectation Management

RO, Flying & Invisible at the Same Time
So Jason says that grimoire magic is not the best magic in the world. He says it's not clearly superior until he sees people turn invisible and fly.

For the record, I turned invisible and flew. Swear to gosh. I even have a picture. That's me, invisible, flying over on the right.

Like most skeptics though, even this clear evidence won't be enough to sway him, I'm sure.

But anyway, I'd like to take a moment to address something he said for real. In talking about someone who expressed the following experience:
They were convinced that following these texts [The Grimoires] as close to the letter as possible was the key to real success, but after a few years of spending lots of time and money on doing just that, they were not getting any better results than anything else he tried. Even worse, when he really looked around at the reports from the people that are trumpeting this approach as the key to magic, they really are not reporting results that are markedly different than what anyone else reports. No one is turning actual lead to gold or learning chemistry directly from the mouths of spirits.
Jason goes on to say that all systems, if practiced diligently will tender the same results. I'm paraphrasing.

I've got mixed thoughts on the subject. On the one hand, like Jason, I went through the pop magical trends as they came up, though I was a few years behind him because I'm younger than a coprolite. My path was neopaganism, Ceremonial Magic ala Kraig's Golden Dawn stuff in Modern Magick, followed closely by Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice, and then Chaos Magick. And to their credit, all this stuff worked. I got results. I could change the world, sort of, using the techniques of each system.

But then I got into the grimoires of the renaissance, and started using them, and fuck me, dude, the power was just incredible. I did the same kinds of things I did as a neopagan, ceremonial magickian, and chaos magickian in terms of goals aimed for and achieved, but the speed that the changes came internally, the speed that the changes came materially were just totally off the charts in comparison. The time to manifest went from three months to a couple of weeks. The time for the internal changes I sought through initiations and contemplation/vision questing (pathworking) went from months to weeks too. I went from thinking "it's all in my head" to talking with entities who knew more than I did, and could do a lot more than I can, and who were clearly not me. They were other.

But, as you know, no piles of gold showed up in my garage, no matter which spirits I Worked with, no matter how I treated them. I'm not bitter. Really.

Ok, maybe just a little.

So I managed my expectations a bit. I accepted that at my level of attainment and initiation, the way the spirits manifest stuff for me is the way they manifest everything else, through natural law. No such thing as supernatural or natural, let these two asses be set to grind corn and all that. Bending the laws of manifestation the way Reb Shimon did, piles of gold filling a valley to prove how little money mattered to a student of the KBL and such takes the kind of single minded and physically devoted focus that I just don't have time to do at this point in this incarnation.

Oh, but man, I catch glimpses. Eighth Sphere stuff, the reason I'm always on about it, it's the shit. It's the True Shit that blows everything else away. And ever since I had that sweet little taste, I haven't been able to do much exploring. What good is what I've got so far? Not much, except it manages my expectations. It teaches me what I need to know: It's possible, but not yet, for me, because I've made other choices.

Quantification. How do I tell you that Grimoire Magic is superior to everything else I've experienced when I can't Midas everything around me literally? How do I quantify the difference between the results I get form grimoire magic compared to chaos magic or GD magic or Thelemic Magic? All I can really do is point to the time differences I've found. Weeks instead of months. Great. Still not instant.


  1. In the words of Charlie Sheen, you Sir are WINNING! Launch those torpedoes of Truth and let the world know what a Warlock can do!

    (Perhaps I should ease up on the caffeine).

  2. To be clear I am demandin the extraordinary proof not to say whether a system works, but to say whether it is delivering something that is so good and true as to declare other systems wrong or lesser.

    I would say that when it comes to the types of improvements that you are talking about that it falls under what Buddhists sometimes call "the 84,000 different methods".

    The idea is that there exist different methods suited to different individuals. The speed of your success with Hermetic/Grimoire magic speaks more to:
    1. Your individual suitability to that path based on gift, history, prior incarnation, and general destiny.
    2. The fact that you worked that path harder and longer and faster than you worked any other.

    I could be wrong, but I think that both of the above are true.

    I certainly felt the same about Tibetan Magic and to some extent still do, though spirit has forced me to branch out from it to be of benefit to more beings.

    In the end I think Krishnamurti had it right: "Truth is a pathless land".

  3. Excellent post RO; Could not have said it better myself and it echoes my own experiences. I started out with Golden Dawn & Thelemic CM, and to be fair I was impressed with what I achieved; But when I finally opened up the Classical Grimoires and put them to use there was just a power there, something beyond anything I could imagine realizing using Crowleyan methods. I still use some of the more modern techniques and am loving some of Jason's stuff from Sorcerers Secrets, but nothing I've worked with yields the sheer power of the Grimoiric Work I've done. And, like you said, while I can't produce long hidden treasure chests from the depths of the sea, the results are tangible and practical. (I'm a HUGE fan of Black Dragon's "To Make a Modest Lady come To You")

    M. Cecchetelli

  4. Another relevant question here (says the scientist currently reviewing a grant proposal) is the effect of your prior experiences on the efficacy of grimoire magic. The fact that you've spent so much time and energy and practice on honing your abilities in those other systems before is a major variable here. I'd be interested to see how someone much less experienced with other magical systems felt about the power inherent in grimoire magic.

    I tend to agree with Jason in that some people seem to be more attuned to particular systems or practices. As a scientist and (relatively) concrete thinker, I find that what works for me is not the same as what works best (for example) for my husband, who is a storyteller and highly experiential in how he encounters the world, as opposed to myself and my (over)thinking through every little detail.

  5. I love Jason (otherwise I wouldn´t be doing his course) but sometimes I think he is too polite with everybody.

    I agree in the sense that there is no sense in discussing if vodu is better than hoodoo, if sometimes you can see a baptist church lady kicking ass...

    But as he himself wrote a long time ago (or at least my memory says he wrote, I can´t hold responsible on this) the matter is not if a system works, but how quickly, how good, how easy it gives results.

    And, let´s tell the truth. Would you be more worried to be cursed by a Palo or by a Wiccan? Would you call the seven powers or would you masturbate to a chaos sigil?

    For instance, augoiedes is now having a discussion about his operating field system and polemic. I tried his system, and the truth is that it didn´t work at all. Not even a sign of effect. Maybe the method is not suited for me, but I would expect that a least a partial effect would raise, and I tried the method at three times with very high probability events!

    Now, when I tried some simple vodoo stuff, like oils and candles, and in three days, wow!. When I called a goetia he delivered in three days! St Martha and GAnesha also delivered! So I have a hard time to believe that it can all be summed up into individual suitability.

  6. I also started as GDner and then became a grimoire magician. In my experience the difference lies in that with GD you do a lot of psychic stuff, while the grimoires having so many prayers, invocations, orisons you are doing a LOT more spiritual stuff. Second, most GD derived systems of magic got astrology all wrong so they have many internal flaws. Third, GD magic is way too based on visualization, which altough it's a good and effective technique is not as essential as many modern magicians believe and in many cases all those exercises end up in nothing else than mental masturbation.

    Blessings in Christ,


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  9. I apologize for the post and then deletion as I had to edit and spell check what i wrote:

    Ohh how I love this discussion! It is such a fun topic… even though it goes round and around, etc.
    I enjoy it with each new flavor that becomes added.

    Like RO, I began within a certain sect of Neo Paganism. However, unlike many I was not originally drawn to it (magic) by media portrayals, friends who experimented with the taboo, or by desperately grasping for alleged power, to help myself out of failed attempts at social status in high school. My passionate pursuit of grimoric magic has always been the ritualized and formalized exchange which occurs between spirit and magician during these magical ceremonies. I wanted to explore beyond the culturally refurbished conglomerate of the so termed: ‘New Age’ magick. Visualization and subtle integration is great and worth while, but nothing is quite like being in the presence of a being you can fully see but not comprehend.

    My main reasons and decisions for pursuing grmoric magick as it is given -first-, are in the paragraphs below:

    Dedication, Discipline, and appeal of the Medieval magician/Wizard/Sorcerer-
    OKAY! I admit, after years of exploring various groves, coven’s, and lodges and after reading from various gurus of the time, I felt some key elements were missing. Much of what I saw was quasi-intellectual musings from the hippie infested hosh-posh of what most modern pagans and ‘magicians’ have devolved into,
    Without hubris I aspired to be among the few serious magicians who actually ‘did the work’. I wanted to be one mage who hadn’t jumped to magick after failed attempts at social and economic assimilation, only to meddle with new age fads. I wanted to DO magick like it had been done in the days magical books (grimoires) were actually written! The procedures, tools, and methods are so difficult and complicated but I wanted to try them and SEE!

  10. Part 2 (sorry long)
    Very few HAVE, few still DO, and many will NEVER even attempt magick like the grimories write about. Its very expensive and time consuming! (So is building Helicopters, its not for everyone!) For me it was (and still is) not JUST about the results. It is about knowing that I have DONE this type of magick. I’ve made the equipment; I’ve memorized the conjurations, studied the methods, and DONE THE EXPERIMENTS AS CLOSE TO THE WORK AS I COULD POSSIBLY MANAGE. I didn't just pick up where another modern magician left off. If someone had already done this and said, "It doesn't work!",it wouldn’t be good enough for me. I’ve done and can do many things other people have not been able to manage. I had to try it for myself.
    Very few people are these types of magicians or even have the means to be. That’s okay, its meant to be that way. Like Hardcore martial arts, the discipline alone is enough to weed out the dabblers, and those who are not meant to maintain a practice on such a huge scale this lifetime around. Nothing wrong with it. I just smirk at the pouters who voice “Well it doesn’t work that well anyway”. Or, “You don’t need all that stuff, just do this guided imagery with me.” Most of these folks have never EVER tried actual grimoric work to the letter. No one may ever speak with wisdom on something they have never experienced before.

    Most of my exasperation comes from the side handed claims of young 'magicians' who barely know their elbow from the wand up their ass. Imagine a western teen punk who claims he can "Talk to the Voodoo gods and goddesses and command them to cure or bless whomever he chooses!" Hes read a few books, tried a few hoodoo workings and even talked to a claimed Shaman once or twice.
    Now imagine your a Haitian native who's family has lived this tradition for generations and you have personally been chosen and filled with the utter being of your patron god(dess), know their every particular passion and feeling and it defines your very being. Imagine hearing the claims made by Mr. White-teen-shaman, and tell me you wouldn't see it as little more than an insult. No one can convince me that these two would have any where near the same results and experiences.
    I am unconvinced that anyone is working with (contacting) a Goetic demon who simply includes a sigil into their sympathetic magical workings.

  11. I'm not flying around invisible yet but the effort and work has been far worth it.

    Appearance and manifestations of spiritual beings:
    The spirits and 'beings' I, my family, and close friends have seen during the earlier parts of my life have been profound, dynamic and in no way subjective to those who experienced them. These beings were clear, affected physical matter at times, and very present without any need or aid of ‘astral vision’. Though rare, situations like these happened in the similitude of something you'd see in a fantasy movie or at least a few of the paranormal specials that air on tv. These experiences were so disturbing (at times) that my parents and others still do not care recalling the events. These things actually happened, these beings ACTUALLY appeared right in front of us at the same time. I had never been able to manifest events like this before, and never made it happen under controlled circumstances. Since the grimoires are among the few to actually claim to achieve such feats, my interest would seem obvious.

    Previous success..Trial and error:
    Experiences I had years ago (when I began this type of work) lead me to believe grimoric (or at least work with the Lemegeton) was viable and complete enough to be practiced with success. The first time i saw a spirit appear before my eyes, linger in the space of the triangle, and communicate directly, I was HOOKED! Like any art however I have come to realize that it’s a matter of DEGREE. Degree in the sense that it takes talent, dedication, and much PRACTICE to garner further ‘treasures’ which the book promises. This is not a one shot deal. A 'misty shape' and telepathic conversation is a great start but not the end all!
    Ancient scrolls contain the martial knowledge, techniques, and applications of many martial arts. Without years of experience however there could be no understanding or correct interpretation of what those scrolls were ACTUALLY showing. Even an expert continually finds deeper understanding/integration decades later and after hundreds of readings. Unfortunately, applicable Information is not instantaneously osmotic.
    I find it is similar with the grimories in the sense that many modern, intelligent people try to decipher and understand their (the grimoires) methods without REALLY working it out for themselves –first-. You can’t skip ahead! You can’t jump to conclusions and ASSUME you know what the book is trying to convey and then apply modern alternatives. Vital pieces will always be missed.

    This is my continuing argument after reading scores of books from EXPERTS in this field. Few are as obsessive about following a traditional method as I am. Not many find the 'outdated' methods necessary anymore or practical. No matter the tradition or methods, magic will always be highly personalized in the end. Not only that, but ( IMO) magick will NEVER be consistent and cohesive between people in any agreeable sense. This is a human condition and has little to do with the sprit world. People very rarely experience anything with identical recollection.

  12. So then…?
    So this leads to the argument I tend to agree and side with myself: “If this stuff works better, lets SEE it and get some proof or results that it does!”
    I agree with this in the most base, skeptical, and mundane portion of myself. Part of my work has been to better catalog and record my own magical workings which might be dissected and analyzed by more scrupulous observers. I’m not looking for PROOF ( well, okay I was and am looking for more from what experienced so far!), I know it when I see it. I do know that since my full immersion in the Lemegeton, my experiments have been much more profound and dynamic. Its a far step from astral scrying or visualization of any kind.

    Grimoric working is definitely NOT for the mage who is mostly concerned with quick, practical, expression and results.

    When I've garnered further experience and hopefully reached some aptitude in the art, I hope to better record or share the results with a few others.
    I’m cautioned by what some of those actions might mean however. I’ve used hypnosis to cause people to ‘see’ various things which did not fit in with their concept of ‘belief’. At one time this caused issues with a (at that time) close friend of mine, which I regret deeply. Nothing HUGELY serious but a good lesson was learned. Its sometimes difficult to judge which people are able to handle certain manifestations or even perceive them.
    As technically and culturally ‘advanced’ as we are,…we must remember, ’what the mind cannot put to place it either discards (disregards) or tries to account for by using an alternative support’.

    In the end, we take ANYTHING we do ( art, practice, passion) to the DEGREE we are capable. The biggest fear we have is that the ‘ANYTHING’ will not meet our expectations or be the grave of crushed fantasies.

  13. I was thinking about this this morning RO. We actually both had a similar experience with K&C of HGA in how we attained it and what our angels told us after.

    We both used Crowley's Liber Samekh. You even did it in the body of light and recommend people do it that way to this day. That is pretty much straight up modern magic. I ended up converting mid-way to something closer in line with the PGM, but still we both used modern magical GD/Crowley methods to attain K&C of HGA.

    Our angels also told us the same thing once we attained it: "Stop using that stuff and do something with more of a firm root".

    In my case it was Tibetan Magic. In your case it was Grim/Hermetics.

    Even though we switched up, it was still the modern stuff that got us the result.

    I aknowlege that Grimoire based magic summons spirits better than GD based stuff. It does it faster, stronger, and with firmer results almost all accross the board. I do not aknowlege however that summoning spirits is the only metric by which a system should be judged, and that more modern methods have aims that they tackle just as well or better than Grimore magic did. A lot of these are psychic, meditative, and dare I say energetic.

    Anyway, I was musing on that last night on my drive home from originals.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.