In this volatile time, many folks feel compelled to improve themselves and their lot — to walk a different path than the narrow career track their modern overlords have deemed is essential to their identity. They’ve grown to suspect that technology doesn’t liberate them so much as overwhelm them, and to reject wealth as being the sole arbiter of their worth as human beings. Indeed, many yearn to learn and use the wisdom of ages past and resolve to devote their lives to practicing ancient spiritual arts that benefit themselves, their loved ones, and the planet.
When considering changing their ways to become magical, the first query I typically receive worldwide about such matters is, “How can I best study magic without being misled by drivel?” This shows an appropriate beginning humility about a vast subject and mirrors their knowledge that innumerable origins, translations, and varying degrees of depth of Craft writings exist. There are magical recipes, lore, and liturgy, as well as the multiple divergences of the Path that exist from previous timelines to contemporary cultures — branches of fascinating minutia to explore as infinite as the limbs of the World Tree.
Having taught magic to a variety of students, from soccer moms to Mensa members, I believe that the best way to succeed in magic is similar to that of any complex endeavor. For example, if a person wants to master wiring, they probably shouldn’t use “Electronics For Dummies” as their primary resource. Sure, such might coach you to be able to fuse the red wire with the blue wire, but your home might burn down because the pamphlet didn’t fundamentally explain how electricity works and its dangers.
Obviously “book larnin’” isn’t the sole means of attaining magical expertise. Traditionally Seekers who desire to become a part of the august heritage of millennia of wise folk should train in the physical presence of a Priest/ess adept. However, for those who’ve made a New Year’s resolution to walk the Path of the Craft of the Wise, I recommend becoming first rightly informed about our spirituality’s contexts from the following five-star rated books that entertain, explain, and empower them — tomes that give beginners an instant abundance of ways to magically succeed — and which in turn, impart the devotion to the Path that only personal experience wreaking wonders can instill:
• The Goodly Spellbook: Olde Spells For Modern Problems (Lady
Passion & *Diuvei, Sterling Publishing, 2005)
• Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, And Forbidden Plants (Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl, Inner Traditions, 2003)
• A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science (Michael S. Schneider (HarperCollins, 1994)
• The Fortune-Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying (Raymond Buckland, Visible Ink Press, 2004)
• The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism (Raymond Buckland, Visible Ink Press, 2002)
Once you realize how the Universe works with such exquisite diversity, you’ll find it increasingly impossible to be careless, greedy, or intolerant in your thoughts, motivations, and actions.
When you’ve fully absorbed the wisdom in the five “must-have” books above, you’ll be ready to start applying their concepts to your daily life challenges. For example, reading about Craft history will enable you to counter fundamentalist opposition to your Path. Equally, reading about how sufferers in antiquity ignored wise women’s herbal advice and overdosed themselves, will help explain the Inquisition which followed and why men continue to suspect and attempt to dominate women today.
Use the Bibliographies in the backs of these tomes to further your studies. Practice some kind of magic every day — even if it’s just “wish magic” or “superstitious” rituals such as blowing out birthday candles. When ready, seek out an experienced, consistent teacher of goodly repute to mentor you.
This time next year, you’ll be amazed at how you’ve grown, deepened, truly wizened. And you’ll be glad that this is one vow that you made and were joyfully able to keep.
Viva la resolución, everyone!
Lady Passion is co-author of The Goodly Spellbook: Olde Spells for Modern Problems and High Priestess of Coven Oldenwilde in Asheville, NC. She may be reached via: www.oldenwilde.org