Believe it or not there are people wandering the streets that are wizards. Really, owls and broomsticks. Don’t scoff; not only can these wizards work magic, they can spout what might sound like total bollocks to us normal mundane folks but it’s actually seriously clever stuff that explains how the universe is structured and how spells can bend light. Or something like that.
Here’s a sample nicked from a site for budding magicians called Spectacularium. If you can make sense of it get yourself a pointy hat and cape, make a wand, write something similar and doors will open. Probably as you get asked to leave.
“Thus I went looking for evidence of multidimensional time concealed in the data of fundamental physics. I think that I may have found it.
I present my hypotheses in two major parts, HD8, (Hyperspin 8-Dimensional), shows evidence for multidimensional time in particle physics, and VHC, (the Vorticitating Hypersphere Cosmology hypothesis) shows evidence for multidimensional time in cosmology.”
I suppose it starts when you are very young. Books, cartoons, films maybe. You come across witches and wizards who can turn people into frogs, fly about on broomsticks or carpets and dress rather nattily. Now when you are seven, you tend to take it all as granted, make a magic hat out of newspaper, say “Alakazam”, join in the fun, the days were just perfect. Then (surmising here) the older you get the smaller the percentage of people that take such matters as Wizard Pong and Witchey Poo seriously, without smirking. This then leads to a very small minority of people who either genuinely believe in it all; lost souls that need to believe in it all; and then the type that quite clearly don’t care so long as it allows them to impress the gullible and take advantage of them.
To get a handle on this you have to look back to remarkable and mysterious events in the mid to late 1800s. One damp autumn afternoon a pile of dusty tomes were ‘discovered’ in a second hand bookshop in London containing a folio of ancient parchments. Freemasons Kenneth MacKenzie and William Wynn Westcott set about deciphering the text and found a name and address in Germany of ‘The Secret Chiefs’. Well no one would miss an opportunity like this, so a letter was popped in the post and by return mail, the Secret Chiefs gave Westcott the green light to set up a magical temple with no less than himself and his friends MacGregor Mathers and William Robert Woodman (more Freemasons) as the ‘not so secret’ bosses, as by now everyone knew what they were doing. Having jumped up the ‘impress people’ ladder quite a few notches compared to just hanging round the Freemasons Lodge, these chaps were to be respected as the chosen ones by anyone else they could rope in. Woodman died soon after and Westcott quit, having left some embarrassing occult paperwork in a London cab (they never learn do they?). This left everything to Mathers, who having established contact with spiritual entities took to playing chess with them, though he moved all the pieces. Things were certainly paying off for these gents!
The eventual outcome of all this was something called 'The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn' plus various offshoots and higher orders all with Mathers using the basis of ‘The Secret Chiefs’ and being the only person with their address as a pretext to dress up, wail on about various made up gods mostly from Egypt and generally having a good time. Now this was before the advent of television, the theatre in London was basic and pompous, no Mama Mia or Blood Brothers back then and Jack the Ripper might well still have been out there so much better to stick together. On top of that unlike the Freemasons, the Golden Dawn admitted women, and as we all know everyone likes something with a bit of a secret edge to it - the whole concept of the magical group was reinvented. Now the belief in magic is an odd thing to have to explain, it’s a Greek word originally meaning ‘art’ and sod all top do with wands and spells, the corruption seems to have grown along with our thirst for mystery and all Mathers & co did was borrow wholesale from various previous secretive organisations, particularly the Society of Rosicrucians . But just as today, everyone likes the latest gadget and so The Golden Dawn became the buzz word in esoteric bohemian London.
Soon after the Secret Chiefs got the hump and cut off all communication, so unfortunately no one could ask them if it was genuine. To make matters worse it was noted that the original spooky ancient manuscripts were all written in Kenneth MacKenzie’s hand writing, the ‘Secret Chief’ letters turned out to be a hoax to give credibility and those bloody cynics started doubting the whole thing.
The Golden Dawn did the usual thing that happens when people jockey for power, they all fell out with each other. Big time. No one predicted that! That didn’t quite knock things on the head however, it fragmented and soon mini offshoot temples and order were all over the place with various other people (mostly men), getting secret messages from secret people giving them and them alone more secret knowledge and planning permission for more red curtains and chanting.
During this little schism a certain Aleister Crowley had started ruffling feathers by forcing his way up the ranks a little too quickly. Now recall the disparaging remark made earlier about the state of the theatre - Crowley missed his forte, he dabbled with performance, his writing skills were extraordinary and if he’d applied his time and imagination he could have been the Andrew Lloyd Webber of the early 1900s. Instead he fell out with almost everyone he met, particularly when MacGregor Mathers created and promoted Crowley and himself into another hitherto unknown higher order without asking or telling the others. Or what was left of the others. That was that, toys out of the pram. But that was only the start of it, Crowley fell out with Mathers, promoted himself twice and started his own temple, more nights round the pentacle then he’d round the evening off with ceremonial shagging and requests for his disciples for financial support in exchange for more of the same.
Then he’d clear off to another country and start the whole process again, leaving a trail of shattered minds in his wake. Crowley was then contacted by some spiritual entity called Awaiss who made him write a rather cleverly confusing thing called The Book of the Law whilst he was tripping on a natural form of LSD one night in Cairo, which rather amazed Crowley probably because Awaiss wrote very much in the style of Crowley himself. Ever grateful Crowley then set off on what amounts to a ‘round the world’ shag and drugs marathon spending his own family inheritance and then plundering the wealth of his fan club. Fully throwing himself into his own legend of being the ‘Great Beast 666’ he went on to create his own religion and pseudo church Thelema, with him as the godhead. Introducing more truth seekers to mind and mood altering substances and a repertoire of red curtains, gowns and chanting, he managed to convince them that they’d seen other worlds. Then he shagged them. Quite a few of them finished up penniless and insane.
Tuning into the concept of it being hard to kill off a good idea, following Aleister Crowley’s death in 1947 there was another resurgence in magic by people who claimed to have met him, some of whom may actually have done so. This stuff dates back into the mists of time, it’s a bit like Morris dancing, so long as you don’t doubt its authenticity and ignore the fact that it’s a recent rehash you’re fine. Crowley gets talked up as the Antichrist and into a legend rather than just a very literate and admittedly interesting drug addict with a predilection for shagging anyone he took a shine to before helping them divest themselves of their money. Nowadays he’d be caught out by those two blokes on the motorbike and turn up on BBC’s Watchdog.
Of the view that all this magician stuff was totally utter bollocks, I recently came across a job lot of ancient texts in a charity bookshop in Cromer. There tucked away with some other heavyweight material about flying saucers and people being taken into space to shag Valkyrie she-warriors was an attractive selection of books that brings the Golden Dawn up to date. For just a couple a quid apiece that will go towards feeding rescue greyhounds somewhere in the flatlands beyond Norwich, I came out with enough literary armour to really put me on the map to sorting my future out. These crumbling tomes date back to the early 1990s and have titles such as Liber Null, Psychonaut and Condensed Chaos. In them is the secret knowledge. Here we go again I thought, so I set about looking for secret addresses – this being modern times I had to settle for a few websites.
Now I’ve read them, made a cape out of some old curtains and I’ve basically got the gist of what a magician is and what he (it seems to be exclusively male) can do. You use your own internal will to manipulate events and happenings that dictate how your future will pan out.
So here I am with all these similarly ancient text books trying to get my head round it all. Mostly printed and published by a company called New Falcon, authors like Phil Hine and Peter Carroll garble on about how adept they are in the secret knowledge. Their books come with full praise from other authors, so if you read a book by Phil Hine you get Carroll heaping praise in copious amount on the back cover and vice versa so there’s a bit of mutual back slapping going on but that’s missing the point. What matters here is what’s inside. The books really deliver the secrets, although ancient Egyptian Gods are now blended in with quantum physics and the laws of chaos just to make the whole thing impregnable to us filter feeders. Having parted company with my £8, in the true benevolent spirit of Now or Never! I’ll share a few tips to set you on the road to being a magician.
Part of the success in using magic to achieve your own ends it would seem comes in choosing subjects or aims where you can roughly grade your success with or without using your special new found powers, so the greater the chance of success without magic the more chance you have if you use it. Now you are confused aren’t you? So let me explain. I was in a hurry to get into town a few weeks back and there I was stuck at a set of traffic lights. So I invoked the spirit of Sheera Noona an ancient goddess with a badger’s head who came to my aid. I said her name a few times, nine if I recall and behold the lights changed. I use this trick all the time without fail, some days it works instantly, sometimes before I’ve invoked the goddess and one of the spin offs is that I no longer get stressed waiting for the amber light to show as I know that I am in charge. No one was more surprised than me!
If you use magic to say help pass your finals, by revising a lot you’ll help the magic work. Same goes for going out on the pull, do the magic ritual but help it along by having a wash, being interesting sociable and not aiming too high, then success will come all the easier. But don’t forget it’s actually the magic that gets results!
And that, to be blunt, explains the whole process, it’s a confidence building trick of sorts and this ‘magic’ seems to a somewhat sad but possibly effective way for a certain type of person to face life and cope with all the crap that comes with it. The magical means by which the insecure, the unstable, the whacky or just a particular type of joker are better placed to deal with things. Being fair, some people go fishing, play drums (good for stress) enjoy drawing or whatever. As for magic, total rubbish from first ’til last with little groups producing their own books and other writers praising the master on the back cover. But if it helps them get through the day maybe it’s me that’s missed the happy bus?
Much of the mystery of the Order of the Golden Dawn came with the fact that most of the original participants, apart from Mathers and Crowley, remained low key and went along either for a laugh or because they enjoyed the spectacle. The legend only took off when Aleister Crowley became the focus of all attention. Writer Arthur Machen saw Crowley for what he was and spilled the beans in his autobiography Things Near and Far. A skilled writer with a genuine interest in alternative views of religion, after the death of his first wife in tragic circumstance, Machen by his own admission went in search of answers but went on to describe the Golden Dawn and the similar Order of the Silver Star as having nothing of any meaning other than dressing up, bit of chanting like a punk version of the Freemasons, praise some made up god, have a social afterwards then go home. If you hung about you might get groped by Crowley or take a bit of something but if you wanted demons, horned gods appearing in smoke and the sort of stuff that Dennis Wheatley got rich on you really had to wait for him and Hammer films to do their stuff. Wheatley by the way based many of his devil worshippers on Crowley.
And over a hundred years later the Golden Dawn is still about. Several actually, all claiming quite vociferously to being the true descendants of the original. Have a little look on the web - there’s bits of footage of the red curtain brigade chanting and waving talcum powder, the Secret Chiefs have morphed into being invisible space beings that can get in your head and make you write things so the forged letters it turns out really were sort of genuine. Stop sniggering - you too could harness the power to change traffic lights! As for my ancient books, I’m going to create genuine magic by giving them back to the charity shop safe in the knowledge that some greyhounds will get fed.