Doing Magick and That Silly Feeling of being Ridiculous.
I’m a person who hesitates a lot, believe it or not. It’s always been like that. Maybe it’s something that can be traced to my childhood, as a bullied chubby boy in a school packed with superior-minded, spoiled rich kids. It’s easy to feel inadequate in that kind of circumstance and the result is to hold back, be discreet and stay out of their way. This can reflect into one’s own being also and influence your whole existence. I feel I’ve left most of that behind me by now, at the tender age of 44. The once shy boy is now a quite outspoken and sometimes radical rugged middle-aged man who enjoys, to a certain degree, to be seen and heard and has gained some kind of respect among fellow travelers.
After years of being a hardcore atheist and skeptic I slowly transformed into a more open-minded person (but not, as Terence McKenna put it: “You don’t want to become so open minded that the wind whistles between your ears.”), a human being that learned to embrace the high strangeness of life and this, at moments, grey and hopeless life — which also made me enjoy it a lot more than before. Accepting the otherworldly, whatever it is, has for sure enriched my life. When a dear friend introduced me, with the help of a Thoth tarot deck, to the world of chaos magick my life changed even more. Suddenly I understood, still with some kind of skepticism, that there’s more to all of this than just materialism. I can pick up my shoes and toss them around and I can also do that with my own reality. Listening to Alan Moore, reading Peter J. Carroll and Phil Hine truly blasted my mind into realms I didn’t think was possible. Before that I’ve read Anton LaVey, and came to understand the basics of magick (though LaVey found the magick spelling silly, and referred to it only as magic) and how I can use manipulation, psychology and will to get where I want. But also, finally, the ether. The magick itself. My own universe.
The second part of The Satanic Bible has never been my favorite. I’ve read it of course, twice I think, but always had the strong feeling it’s… not something I would do myself. Dressing up, chanting demonic names, wave daggers and light candles. When I got into chaos magick I felt a relief, as I could do whatever I wanted and it still would work. The only thing important was will. But there’s still that thing with rituals, even if it’s just doing something minuscule. It felt silly. Yeah, it still feels silly — and I’ve been doing it quite a lot over the years now. There were many times in the beginning I didn’t finish what I set out to do, or just had that lingering thought in my head that this won’t work because it IS silly. Just imagine if someone saw me doing this?! What would they say?
My path to understanding the feeling of being ridiculous and silly started, somehow, with a very dark and disturbing incident. Not for myself, but for actor David Carradine. The famous character actor was found hanged in a closet at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The cause of death was autoerotic asphyxiation — and Carradine was dressed in female underclothing. I began thinking of this, and had this thought that just the slightest notion of being found in such an embarrassing situation and not being able to do something about it could have been one of several sexual triggers for Carradine when putting himself in this situation. Now, I apologize for speculating there (and I’m not judging anyone) — but that’s what came to my mind. I decided to embrace this thought and look at my magick work through it. I hope my now deceased favorite actor would approve.
Because almost every time I do magick I feel silly, awkward and ridiculous. Sometimes, standing out in the forest with my Thoth and burning a sigil, saying words out loud — and I always look around to see if anyone heard me. They would think I’m insane, a lunatic roaming the wild doing obscene things — or worse. I don’t know, but thoughts like that have a tendency to grow in me. It’s not an earworm, it’s a mindworm. What if I look at the mindworm and not let it get out of my mind? What if I just pushed myself all the way through, despite the feelings of being a loony, until I reached the other side of the ritual? I did that, and it worked better than I ever could imagine.
It’s powerful to take that feeling and do it anyway. The relief of that energy that flows afterwards is something we all can recognize. It’s like doing something dangerous and surviving, getting out of a car after a crash, slip on an icy street and stumble away just with a few bruises. Go up on a stage and receive the enthusiastic (or just even polite) cheers and applause afterwards. It’s a kick to behold. You know it.
Don’t be put off by feeling ridiculous/silly/awkward when doing magick rituals. It’s part of the process, and it’s good. If you’re feeling it, even alone in front of your lit candles and oracle deck, and manages to push your way through and finish what you set out to do — the results will come faster, more effectively and more successfully than you’d ever could imagine.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, occultist and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of three books. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats. Join him on Twitter and Instagram.