Women in the Occult, Part 2: Josephine McCarthy

I’ve interacted with Josephine McCarthy off and on over the years and I always come away with something interesting.  She’s taught me a number of things about what she refers to as “visionary magic,” and I think that’s accurate because she is definitely a visionary.  She’s also a prolific author, a no-bs practitioner of magic, has a powerful oracle deck made expressly for people leading the magical life, and has the confidence of an advanced practitioner who has pushed the limits of consciousness and magic.  We can learn a lot from her and so I include her in this series.

Read this excellent interview of Josephine by the very talented Frater Acher on his blog, Theomagica:

https://theomagica.com/blog/josephine-mccarthy-on-the-magic-of-the-arbatel

Check out her website: https://josephinemccarthy.com/about/

And take a look at her and Frater Acher’s magical curriculum, Quareiahttps://www.quareia.com/#main


I’m featuring a series of posts dedicated to women who are witches, grimoire magicians, healers, savants, and all-around badasses.  I’m doing this for one specific reason (aside from the fact that it’s good to give credit where credit is long overdue): young women, especially young witches, need positive role models in the world of the occult.  Like anything else, it’s historically been a male-dominated field (on the surface).  But to say that only men have been great occultists and have changed the world thereby would be false.  Here, I’m going to point out contemporary and historical women who qualify as “badass women occultists.”

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Why I put so many quotes on my blog…

Someone emailed me yesterday and asked if my blog was just dedicated to reposting and quotes. I don’t know what inspires people to take the time to email me things like this without taking a comparable amount of time to actually look through my writings here.  But since I was asked, I thought I’d answer publicly.

First, I hardly repost anything.  I may have done that three or four times total in the history of this website, which began on Blogger back in the 1990s, migrated to Weebly for a few years, then found a permanent home here on WordPress.  In that time, I’ve posted and deleted a lot of content, but mostly I’ve written original things on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.

Writing about the occult, magic, and about what I do as a spiritual worker is an important part of my life.  I do it for me, principally, just like I do sorcery-for-hire mostly for me.  As I’ve said many times, this is why I can charge relatively little for my work—I’m not living off of it.  It’s a labor of love.

As Jim Butcher’s fictional wizard, Harry Dresden, puts it in Skin Game:

The Art can be a lot of work, and it can sometimes be tedious, and sometimes even painful, but at the end of the day, I love it. I love the focus of it, the discipline, the balance. I love working with the energy and exploring what can be done with it. I love the gathering tension of a spell, and the almost painful clarity of focus required to concentrate that tension into an effect. I love the practice of it as well as the theory, the research, experimenting with new spells, teaching others about magic. I love laying down spells on my various pieces of magical gear, and most of all, I love it when I can use my talents to make a difference in the world, even when it’s only a small one.

That’s everything, right there in a single paragraph.  So I don’t maintain this blog as a fancy way of “marketing my brand” as some “spiritual entrepreneurs” do.  I get a lot of visitors here, according to the internal WordPress metrics, but I think I hear from about one-fourth of them.  And very few people publicly comment on what I post.  That’s perfectly okay!  Even if nobody read these things, I’d still be posting them because doing so pleases me and helps me clarify my own thinking about various magical things.  I don’t care about SEO.

do post a lot of quotes from famous magicians and philosophers.  Why?  Because I am only one man with one personal history.  My judgement is limited to the perspectives of an individual.  And, although I am sometimes a magical teacher, I will always be a student.  As the Rose-Croix Code of Life stipulates:

Never cause anyone to believe that members of the Order are sages who are in full possession of the Truth. To those who may ask, present yourself as a philosophical person who is seeking Wisdom. Never pretend you are a Rose-Croix, but say you are a perfecting Rosicrucian.

Paul Foster Case taught that “Rosicrucian” was an inner state of being.  You don’t have to belong to a RC order to be this.  You just have to live your life this way.  One of my old magical affiliations was as a member of a traditional RC order, but I would live the path even if I hadn’t had the experience of that group membership. 

A big part of living the path is humble appreciation of great minds and inspiring teachers.  You can’t lead / heal / learn if you’re not willing to be led / healed / taught by those who came before you.  So there are a lot of quotes, pictures, and videos featuring others on my blog.  It’s important, not just to pay respect where it’s due, but because I believe that what I communicate gets better when I include other voices.

Another thing you’ll see are recommendations.  I recommend other spiritual workers, some who I’ve met and worked with, some who I only know through writings, videos, and online interaction.  If they have impressed me in any way, I want them to succeed in their work.  It makes everybody better.  And that matters to me because, unlike many professional sorcerers, I am not competitive.  The old saying, “Share what you know and your knowledge will grow,” is a powerful magical statement.

Lastly, if you want to browse through my many individual discussions, rants, articles, and essays on this site, just look at the tags on the right side of this blog or click on the archive.  It goes month-to-month and doesn’t include the very old posts because I updated most of those when I moved to this blog host.

I hope you have a pleasant experience on my blog and if you ever have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post one or email me at friendlyoccultist@protonmail.com.

[Courtesy SOL]

Some people are born to paint, to sculpt, to create engines, to sing, to farm the land, others are born to think, wonder, invent, hope and strive for the unknown. Why should everyone be the same? There have always been those born to “see beyond” and who can bring back echoes of what they see. Not everyone has the ability to draw, paint, fix an engine write, a novel. We need each other’s skills.

There have always been priests and priestesses. There always will be. If you are not one of them in this life, be the best you can be at what you do and, maybe next time round, who knows. If it is within you, it will show up sooner or later; no one can predict such a thing. If you are a novice, then wait. If your talent is true, someone will turn up and guide you. Put out a wish for a guide and they will come. But if you want it for the wrong reasons, be prepared to pay a price. It’s not a cake walk. You will be expected to work hard and train your memory.

Read anything and everything. Learn night and day. Don’t do it for titles; do it for the love of the work. Advice? I still consider myself a student. There is always something to learn. So how can I advise? Someone came to me and showed me the way. If it is in you, someone will come.

—  Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

Cycles of Purification

“Purification never stops. As you walk further along the path, you will always have to deal with this. In every phase the questions change, together with the theme. In every phrase you will need to seek an answer to questions related to a theme that is in your life and has surfaced into the light. These inquiries are examinations of the Inner Planes. They can work like stumbling blocks. It can be that certain obstacles within your life cannot be transformed by you, and then the growth stops for a while until you have gained control over the theme. Then, at a later date, the test will repeat itself.”

—The Temple of High Magic: Hermetic Initiations in the Western Mystery Tradition, Ina Custers-van Bergen

The goal of initiation is to bring about the illumination of the human soul by the Inner and Divine Light. A true “initiate” is an individual whose Higher Self (or Higher Genius) has merged with the Lower Personality and actually incarnated into the physical body. The Personality is left in charge of the day-to-day routines of living and working, but the Higher Genius is free to look out at the world through the eyes of the initiate. Through this experience, the individual is given a permanent extension of consciousness which is impossible to mistake.

Many times a student of the mysteries is drawn to a particular mystical current without knowing it. A series of “coincidences” and synchronicities will often direct (or sometimes shove) a person toward that current through books or through meeting other people who also have a connection with the current. During this time, the student’s psychic faculties are still relatively undeveloped, yet the inner spark has been ignited.

Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, Chic Cicero