I read a lot of blogs, articles, and books on various magical topics. One of the things that keeps me going back is whether or not the author is “real”. An author may have the best writing style, discuss topics that are important to a lot of people, but if they fail to add the realities of life — our struggles, our pain — readers can grow disenchanted quickly. This is my personal experience anyway. It’s like starting a new relationship. In the beginning, there is excitement, joy, and we can generally let everyday life roll off our shoulders like rain. Then, as the relationship begins to settle, the obstacles of life are still there…waiting. I see this as “normal”, if there even is a such thing. It is much the same way with magic.
I have met quite a few people who have what I would consider unrealistic expectations about what can be accomplished through practice. They often get high at the idea of what they are reading. They can read a book, go through the steps, and then expect the earth to stand still when they clap their hands. What they fail to understand, or perhaps don’t want to acknowledge, is that the art of magic is a lifelong process. You cannot simply read a book and then call yourself an adept. Well, you could, but that doesn’t do you any good, nor does it help anybody who might seek your advice!
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned through magic is that in order for my practice to evolve, I too must evolve. It is my Will that creates change after all. And if I sit back, expecting the Universe to bow before me, I’m going to be in for a big shock! Magical development takes dedication, countless hours of experimentation, working and re-working rituals, and although we may come to a place where we feel that we are ahead of it all, there is also the factor of change to consider. To be successful, we have to work really hard. This is part of life, and it’s also what it takes to ascend. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
There seems to be a belief among many practitioners that as magicians we are devoid of our human aspects. This is yet another example of how to trip yourself going down a mountainside. Whether people want to admit it or not, we are human and we experience the human condition in various ways. Magic alone will not cure the mind, body, and soul. There must be a balance. We are going to experience pain, illness, depression, and a variety of other conditions. Mental health itself is of great importance. With that being said, if you have a chemical imbalance or a history with depression, this is something that is part of your existence. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging we have issues and that we’re human. I have struggled with depression for most of my life and I went through that mindset of being void of my humanness. It didn’t “cure” me, and it certainly didn’t stop me from going through the same cycles of depression. There is no magic trick where you wave your wand over the top hat and presto the rabbit appears. It is what it is.
Our ability to work through such concerns will benefit us later during our practice. The act of creating and maintaining our sacred space as well as finding ways to keep ourselves motivated to forge ahead will also help us learn better methods of dealing with life’s problems. Nobody, no matter how spotless their social media profiles may try to paint them, is perfect. Nobody knows every answer. You are responsible for your own path, progress, and evolution. Look deep within yourself and acknowledge those inner demons — embrace them, work with them, and keep flowing!
I very rarely recommend books, but if you, like me, have a history of depression and would like to explore the topic in terms of the occult, I highly recommend “Sol Tenebrarum: The Occult Study of Melancholy,” by Asenath Mason. Here is a portion of the book’s description from the back of this amazing book:
“This book is concentrated around the traditional view of melancholy and its interpretations in ancient and modern history of the Western esotericism. It attempts to translate ancient concepts into contemporary context and rediscovers melancholy as the central part of occult philosophy, representing the most critical stages of ecstasy, lycanthropy, acedia, spiritual journeys, into the Underworld, inspired insanity, Dark Night of the Soul, Saturnian contemplation, qliphotic initiations, and the mystical meaning of the Black Sun — these are only a few themes from this fascinating book.”