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#1 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:58 PM

So kinda inspired by the revived Jerry Alan Johnson thread, I was wondering if we could open up a more general discussion about Taoist magic. What do you guys know about it? What good resources have you come across?

Taoist Sorcery is a book that seems to come up frequently in searches. But from what I've seen of it, most of it seems to be from a religious Taoist angle- lots of prayer over alters, making offerings, usage of charms, and appeals to deities. Quite interesting, and no doubt useful for someone subscribing to a religious Taoist system, but I don't know how accessible it is to someone working a less regimented paradigm.

Jerry Alan Johnson's books certainly seem to be quite numerous and detailed in terms of the information they contain. Are they practical in terms of usage? Or do they tend to lend themselves more towards someone who is involved with Taoism as a religion, and who is already familiar with rituals to use and deities to appeal to?

Daoinfo is another interesting site I've recently come across. But rather than teaching methods to actually use, it moreso (from what I've explored and read) talks about stuff that exists, but doesn't really explain/teach.

This book on Maoshan certainly looks interesting, but I've only come across a few excerpts of the text, and most of it seems rather scholarly and historical. I don't know if any methods are included, except as kind of a record like, "this is how they do stuff."

That's all I've managed to discover so far :) Hope to hear from you all as well!

Edited by Sloppy Zhang, 14 October 2010 - 07:05 PM.

"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#2 aku

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:05 AM

I dont know about taoist magic, but you can find on internet Initiation into hermetics, a book supposedly writen by Hermes Tristmegistus, the greatest wizard of all times.
I remember a strange news a few years ago-in Sahara desert an old artefact from Hermes is discovered.There, inside, were written only one sentence;"As above,so below.As inside,so outside."

#3 Martial Development

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:53 AM

Taoist Sorcery is a book that seems to come up frequently in searches. But from what I've seen of it, most of it seems to be from a religious Taoist angle- lots of prayer over alters, making offerings, usage of charms, and appeals to deities. Quite interesting, and no doubt useful for someone subscribing to a religious Taoist system, but I don't know how accessible it is to someone working a less regimented paradigm.


Your comment is truly puzzling. It works or it does not, and it is based in truth or it is not.

What were you hoping to find? Secular magic for the agnostic and casual philosopher? If so, here is a magic spell for you:

This statement is a lie.

Behold the wonders! :D

#4 Stigweard

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 05:32 PM

One form of Taoist magic, Fu Jyeo 符咒, is similar in principle and is subject to the same misinterpretations and misappropriations as all forms of magic.

Magic is based on the premise that power plus the sustained alignment of intent creates an outcome. In order to sustain intent and to generate power "tools" were introduced -- spoken and written words, symbols, physical components, physical actions/practices etc. However it all comes back to the underlying formula:

Power + Intent = Outcome

How to generate power:
  • Dissolving unnecessary investments of energy into artificial personality constructs which both frees up energy and stops leakages.
  • Vitalizing and nourishing Jing, Qi, and Shen through traditional Taoist practices like Qigong, Neidan etc.
  • "Summoning" energy of natural energy sources (sun, moon, stars, earth, etc.) and deities through pray, ritual, offerings
How to sustain intent:
  • Articulating an intent through a written word. Interesting that the art of stringing together letters (originally magic symbols to signify spheres or phases of energy exactly like the I Ching) is called "spelling"
  • Using physical components (i.e. crystals, herbs, charms etc.) to be anchors of intent
  • Performing rituals that achieve the purpose of focusing intent
Most people fail in magic, regardless of which tradition, because they either can't generate energy or can't sustain intent or both.

:D

#5 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:09 PM

I dont know about taoist magic, but you can find on internet Initiation into hermetics, a book supposedly writen by Hermes Tristmegistus, the greatest wizard of all times.
I remember a strange news a few years ago-in Sahara desert an old artefact from Hermes is discovered.There, inside, were written only one sentence;"As above,so below.As inside,so outside."


Initiation Into Hermetics was actually written by Franz Bardon (who may or may not have been a reincarnation or had knowledge from further back). It's a good method, there are lots of great resources online (such as commentaries, discussion boards, etc) for it online. Worked with it, and other methods of western magic (such as stuff from the Golden Dawn, a bit of Crowley's stuff) for a little over a year. It's not for me.

Looking for something of a more taoist flavor :)

One form of Taoist magic, Fu Jyeo 符咒, is similar in principle and is subject to the same misinterpretations and misappropriations as all forms of magic.

Magic is based on the premise that power plus the sustained alignment of intent creates an outcome. In order to sustain intent and to generate power "tools" were introduced -- spoken and written words, symbols, physical components, physical actions/practices etc. However it all comes back to the underlying formula:

Power + Intent = Outcome

How to generate power:

  • Dissolving unnecessary investments of energy into artificial personality constructs which both frees up energy and stops leakages.
  • Vitalizing and nourishing Jing, Qi, and Shen through traditional Taoist practices like Qigong, Neidan etc.
  • "Summoning" energy of natural energy sources (sun, moon, stars, earth, etc.) and deities through pray, ritual, offerings
How to sustain intent:
  • Articulating an intent through a written word. Interesting that the art of stringing together letters (originally magic symbols to signify spheres or phases of energy exactly like the I Ching) is called "spelling"
  • Using physical components (i.e. crystals, herbs, charms etc.) to be anchors of intent
  • Performing rituals that achieve the purpose of focusing intent
Most people fail in magic, regardless of which tradition, because they either can't generate energy or can't sustain intent or both.

:D


Nice overview of general magic mechanics. :)

Edited by Sloppy Zhang, 24 October 2010 - 12:11 PM.

"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#6 Birch

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 03:42 PM

Most people fail in magic, regardless of which tradition, because they either can't generate energy or can't sustain intent or both.

:D


Oh, I think they're not failing in it. I do think they're doing it (if the "it" follows your steps) and they're doing it so well, well, here we are :angry:
"Chi is free!"- "Don't give your chi to your practice" Both unknown, if you know where these come from, let me know!

#7 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:38 PM

Your comment is truly puzzling. It works or it does not, and it is based in truth or it is not.

What were you hoping to find? Secular magic for the agnostic and casual philosopher? If so, here is a magic spell for you:

This statement is a lie.

Behold the wonders! :D


I somehow missed this post on my first read through, sorry MD!

I highly suggest you (and anyone interested, for that matter) to take a look at Franz Bardon's "Initiation Into Hermetics." It operates quite from dominant religious organizational structures. It basically sticks to the framework that Stig outlined. So for the non-denominational magic practitioner, it's still pretty good. And that's kind of the model that I'm looking for.

It stands in contrast to a method of magic that, say, requires you to subscribe to religious Taoism. So all of the "magic" it teaches you goes, "go to your alter, write a fu in this particular way, dedicate it to this particular entity, burn, and magic happens." Which is great if you're a religious Taoist, and already subscribe to that particular view. And if you DO subscribe to that view, then the underlying structure that Stig put forward is there.... but if you aren't a religious Taoist, you won't get that much of an effect.

However, as nice as it was, Initiation Into Hermetics IS rooted in another kind of overarching structure, and that is the western four/five element model (earth, water, fire, air, void), some Hermetic principles, and things of that sort. So it's a lot more open because it tackles the framework more so than the ideology that is draped over it, but it does still have ideology that is draped over it.

I've been working in the western magic model for a year, and it just doesn't have the same feeling that the Taoist model gives me. But at the same time, I'm not a religious Taoist at the moment (maybe one day I will be, then again, maybe one day I won't be), so a magic system based on Taoist religion isn't going to be the best at this point in time. Hopefully I can find a method, or group of methods, that is direct as Initiation Into Hermetics (and IIH is one of a kind, so I'm not necessarily holding my breath).

But cool stuff always turns up here, so I thought I'd ask :)

Edited by Sloppy Zhang, 25 October 2010 - 05:40 PM.

"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#8 RyanO

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 08:20 AM

I hear ya Sloppy.

I too have been looking for a comparable system of magick that works with the Taoist system in the same way that Bardon's works with the Western. I was considering doing Bardon's program but for one thing couldn't get past the discrepancy in the element system (since this is a huge aspect of his work).

I've been researching how to synthesize the element systems. Eric Yudelove writes in his Tao and the Tree of Life (a comparison of Kaballah and Taoist alchemy) that since Bardon recognized the polarity of air and it's role in mediating fire and water that in fact wood is air(+) and metal is air(-). I like this analysis.

Here is a link to my question to him and his response:

http://www.thetaobum...es/page__st__80

I recently read this book and recommend it, especially for this topic.



Fiveelementtao is coming out with a book on his Thunder Wizard path, which is distinctly Norse.

http://www.thunderwizard.com/

However his understanding is heavily influenced by the Taoist system, in that he understands the elemental truths as being phases. So he has matched ether (spirit) with wood and air with metal. It makes sense but personally I prefer Yudelove's intrepretation. The spirit element in Bardon's system is akasha and doesn't seem to share the same properties as wood.


I also have a book called Magick, Shamanism, and Taoism which attempts to combine Crowley's style with Taoism but I think it fails. Though it might be worth a look, as it contains ideas for tools, altar set up, etc.:

http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000B8K7L8


I have a Kindle and purchased the Taoist sorcery book because of my interest in this topic, haven't read it yet though, thanks for the link. Though I don't like the title (art of getting even).


I currently do Healing Tao practices and my primary teacher has been Michael Winn. Though he doesn't label it as such, it is very much Taoist magick. I practice Primordial Qigong, which is very powerful and magickal:

http://www.taichi-enlightenment.com/ I dont like the tai chi enlightenment thing but I guess that's marketing.

It deals with the directions, elements, etc. Might be worth a look. It's 'sister' form, Deep Healing Qigong, is also very magickal.

In general the Healing Tao is a kind of internal magick (alchemy). It's not so much focused on the outer. But Winn says that holding an intention and doing primordial is a powerful way to manifest that intention. Though he's careful to say ask for what you NEED and not what your ego desires, though what that means is another topic in and of itself.


Anyway, thanks for bringing up this topic!

#9 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:17 AM

I hear ya Sloppy.

I too have been looking for a comparable system of magick that works with the Taoist system in the same way that Bardon's works with the Western. I was considering doing Bardon's program but for one thing couldn't get past the discrepancy in the element system (since this is a huge aspect of his work).

I've been researching how to synthesize the element systems. Eric Yudelove writes in his Tao and the Tree of Life (a comparison of Kaballah and Taoist alchemy) that since Bardon recognized the polarity of air and it's role in mediating fire and water that in fact wood is air(+) and metal is air(-). I like this analysis.

Here is a link to my question to him and his response:

http://www.thetaobum...es/page__st__80

I recently read this book and recommend it, especially for this topic.



Fiveelementtao is coming out with a book on his Thunder Wizard path, which is distinctly Norse.

http://www.thunderwizard.com/

However his understanding is heavily influenced by the Taoist system, in that he understands the elemental truths as being phases. So he has matched ether (spirit) with wood and air with metal. It makes sense but personally I prefer Yudelove's intrepretation. The spirit element in Bardon's system is akasha and doesn't seem to share the same properties as wood.


I also have a book called Magick, Shamanism, and Taoism which attempts to combine Crowley's style with Taoism but I think it fails. Though it might be worth a look, as it contains ideas for tools, altar set up, etc.:

http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000B8K7L8


I have a Kindle and purchased the Taoist sorcery book because of my interest in this topic, haven't read it yet though, thanks for the link. Though I don't like the title (art of getting even).


I currently do Healing Tao practices and my primary teacher has been Michael Winn. Though he doesn't label it as such, it is very much Taoist magick. I practice Primordial Qigong, which is very powerful and magickal:

http://www.taichi-enlightenment.com/ I dont like the tai chi enlightenment thing but I guess that's marketing.

It deals with the directions, elements, etc. Might be worth a look. It's 'sister' form, Deep Healing Qigong, is also very magickal.

In general the Healing Tao is a kind of internal magick (alchemy). It's not so much focused on the outer. But Winn says that holding an intention and doing primordial is a powerful way to manifest that intention. Though he's careful to say ask for what you NEED and not what your ego desires, though what that means is another topic in and of itself.


Anyway, thanks for bringing up this topic!


Wow, great stuff! Thanks for all the resources.

Glad to know I'm not the only one pursuing this topic :)
"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#10 Stigweard

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:33 PM

I think the most profound "link" between Hermeticism and Taoism is in the path of Alchemy.

For Hermetic practitioners the "ultimate" goal is the Great Work:

The alchemists attempted to perfect the One Thing of Hermes, which they called the First Matter, by using specific physical, psychological, and spiritual techniques that they described in chemical terms and demonstrated in laboratory experiments.
However, while the alchemistic philosophers spoke in terms of chemicals, furnaces, flasks, and beakers, they were really talking about the changes taking place within their own bodies, minds and souls.
Alchemy: The Great Work


And of course success of the Great Work yielded the legendary Philosopher's Stone:

The philosophers' stone (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance, said to be capable of turning base metals, especially lead, into gold (chrysopoeia); it was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality.
Philosopher's stone - Wikipedia


In Taoism we have 內丹 Neidan, or Internal Alchemy, or more literally translated: Internal Elixir.

One of many ancient Taoist practices was alchemy - the search for an elixir that would make a people immortal. This search led many individuals to experiment with strange plants and compounds that were poisonous and so caused death to many seekers. The search for alchemical elixirs also resulted in the development of internal alchemy: also called spiritual alchemy, (內丹術 - nči dān shů Traditional Chinese, 內丹术 - Simplified Chinese). Spiritual alchemy is a series of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines intended to prolong the life of the body and create an immortal spiritual body that would survive after death. In Inner Alchemy, the human body becomes a laboratory in which the Three Treasures of Jing, Chi, and Shen are cultivated for the purpose of improving physical, emotional and mental health, and ultimately merging with the Tao, i.e. becoming an Immortal.Neidan - TaoWiki


Taoist texts speak of the 'medicinal elements' of internal alchemy, using metaphors ... such as 'red lead', 'black mercury', 'cinnabar', 'white snow', 'green dragon', 'white tiger', 'sun rays', and 'moon beams'. in fact, these metaphors simply refer to various aspects and elements of the Three Treasures -- essence, energy, and spirit -- which are the only real elements of internal alchemy.
Daniel Reid, "Guarding the Three Treasures"


The culmination of Taoist Alchemy was the procurement of 金丹 Jindan, "The Golden Elixir", sometimes also referred to as the "Sacred Immortal Medicine".

Once you achieve success in your cultivation the result is eternity. Your body will become light and your elements will be harmonious. Jade marrow will fill your bones. If you succeed, this Golden Elixir, the goal of your cultivation, will certainly be achieved. If you fail to obtain the Sacred Immortal Medicine, you energy resources will eventually become exhausted and you will be bound to your biological destiny. This sacred medicine is to be found within your own body, but its subtlety is beyond the perception of black and white.
Ni Hua Ching's translation of "The Jade Emperor's Heart Seal Sutra, Daozang.


So, beyond the charms and trinkets of lesser magic, both Hermeticism and Taoism are united in the path of the Great Work -- to bring the 'elements' of one's life into the inner cauldron of one's being and there to purify these elements through "the processes of fire and water", and transmute them into the "highward spin state" of the 金丹 Jindan / Lapis Philosophorum. That's where the "True Magic" is to be found.

:D

#11 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 03:16 PM

So, beyond the charms and trinkets of lesser magic... That's where the "True Magic" is to be found.


Now now now, let's not get too ahead of ourselves! Everyone is always so quick to jump over to "true magic" of internal yadda yadda, and inter connectivity yadda yadda, and ever present loving awareness warmth and hugs, yadda yadda, but I'd like to look at lesser magic for a little bit.

Would I like to become immortal? Sure. Would I like to be a compassionate person who helps people out? Sure. Do I want to escape from this endless cycle of birth and rebirth? Sure. But I'd also like to be able to move mountains, summon storms, appear and disappear at will, know things psychically, transform myself, travel thousands of miles as if I was taking a single step, and many other feats of "lesser magic."

As amazing and wondrous as it may be to change your consciousness, I find it of great interest to accomplish "lesser feats".

Your information on internal alchemy was very good, and your contribution was much appreciated. But, in this thread at least, I'd like to get away from the prevailing attitude of what seems to be present in lots of spiritual communities, and that is that "lesser magic" isn't what you should spend your time on!
"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#12 Stigweard

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 07:27 PM

Now now now, let's not get too ahead of ourselves! Everyone is always so quick to jump over to "true magic" of internal yadda yadda, and inter connectivity yadda yadda, and ever present loving awareness warmth and hugs, yadda yadda, but I'd like to look at lesser magic for a little bit.

Would I like to become immortal? Sure. Would I like to be a compassionate person who helps people out? Sure. Do I want to escape from this endless cycle of birth and rebirth? Sure. But I'd also like to be able to move mountains, summon storms, appear and disappear at will, know things psychically, transform myself, travel thousands of miles as if I was taking a single step, and many other feats of "lesser magic."

As amazing and wondrous as it may be to change your consciousness, I find it of great interest to accomplish "lesser feats".

Your information on internal alchemy was very good, and your contribution was much appreciated. But, in this thread at least, I'd like to get away from the prevailing attitude of what seems to be present in lots of spiritual communities, and that is that "lesser magic" isn't what you should spend your time on!

OK ... here's the thing tho, referring back to my earlier post, you need both power and intent to create any magical effect. So, if you want to be a sorcerer and do really cool stuff, where are you going to get your power from?

You would want some kind of 'super power', am I right in saying so?

Hermeticists and Taoists came to the same conclusion and spent generations of empirical research and experimentation developing systems to achieve such a super power. The Hermeticists arrived at the Philosopher's Stone whilst the Taoists discovered 金丹 Jindan. Both refer to their discoveries as a super powered elixir, both use uncannily similar descriptives (both say its color is "red gold" and both attribute it to immortality), and both lay down an almost identical method of it's achievement.

It is because of this that I suggest that the Philosopher's Stone of Hermetics and the Golden Elixir of Taoism are precisely one and the same.

You want magic? That's exactly what Jindan offers. From the Daozang: "With it [Jindan] you can enter the densest stone and soar freely in the ethereal sky. Water cannot drown you and fire cannot burn you."

Here's another thing. Most of us would be familiar with Monkey Magic ... King Monkey Equal of Heaven ... right? He was the famous character Sun Wukong in "The Journey to the West". Were you aware of the fact that all the feats of Sun Wukong were regarded as benchmarks for the aspiring Taoist immortal? All the transformations and cool stuff Monkey did where signs of progression for the adept.

Remember the scene where he stole the "Immortal Pill" from the mountain sage? Well guess what? The immortal pill of Sun Wukong is Jindan, The Golden Elixir!

So basically Taoists are saying that if you want to do all the cool magical stuff of Sun Wukong you have to achieve Jindan and the way to 'get' Jindan is through the Taoist practices of Neidan, Neigong, etc.

Is that magic enough for you?

:D

#13 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:18 AM

Is that magic enough for you?


Yes yes, people have been saying that stuff all the time. "focus on the higher stuff and the lower stuff will be there already."

Right. Okay. So how do you do it?

"Guard the three treasures. Return to stillness."

Okay, that's cool.... a lot of people have been sitting in stillness for a long time, but nobody seems to be flying around, breathing underwater, or living for thousands of years.

And before you say "you have to not want it", well, if I recall correctly from the story of the monkey king, he started cultivating with the exact goal of becoming immortal, and apparently so did all the people who discovered this secret, so if that's the case, wouldn't it have been impossible for them to discover it if they wanted it the whole time?

Let's get away from the cryptic messages here. "Eyes shut immortal must ride dragon through hidden door." Okay. That's nice. What does that mean? What method do you use? Where did the method come from? Who's done it?

Edited by Sloppy Zhang, 27 October 2010 - 06:19 AM.

"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#14 Aetherous

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 07:11 AM

But I'd also like to be able to move mountains, summon storms, appear and disappear at will, know things psychically, transform myself, travel thousands of miles as if I was taking a single step, and many other feats of "lesser magic."


I think stories of these feats shouldn't be taken too literally...maybe these things don't work in the way that we assume at first. But I guess you never know.

The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress Free Living is an excellent practice that all people can benefit from, and is particularly healing for the mind and emotions.

Om.


#15 Sloppy Zhang

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:12 AM

I think stories of these feats shouldn't be taken too literally...maybe these things don't work in the way that we assume at first. But I guess you never know.


What leads you to think that?
"That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force."
"What's in there?"
"Only what you take with you."
―Yoda and Luke Skywalker

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

#16 Martial Development

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:44 AM

I somehow missed this post on my first read through, sorry MD!

I highly suggest you (and anyone interested, for that matter) to take a look at Franz Bardon's "Initiation Into Hermetics." It operates quite from dominant religious organizational structures. It basically sticks to the framework that Stig outlined. So for the non-denominational magic practitioner, it's still pretty good. And that's kind of the model that I'm looking for.


Thank you, I was not familiar with that.

Nevertheless, it strikes me that someone who is literally looking for magic spells and advice on the Internet, has forsaken their right to disbelieve in, or "unsubscribe to" anything at all. Certainly including the lineages of a half-dozen real living masters whose names regularly come up here, just because their practice has some patina of "religious ideology."




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