Grimoire Insecurity: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s lovely seeing posts from people who discovered Goetia last week and who have now, in their great experience and wisdom, embraced a grimoire purist attitude because anything else would be “ineffective” or “dangerous” or (gasp) “all in my head.” It’s equally wonderful to read smug responses to that from the opposite extreme: “I do it all in my astral temple, bro. I’m beyond tools and rules.” 

It seems to me that both of these extremes are similar and originate in insecurity. The first guy is terrified that he’s going to make a mistake. Maybe an even deeper underlying fear is that none of it is real and he’ll never know if he’s deluding himself unless he follows a strict rule set, which is the closest he believes he can come to an objective success-failure standard. 

The second guy is also afraid he’s going to make a mistake, but he believes following the grimoire purist approach is only for rich people with degrees in metallurgy and their own towers. Since he, like most people, got into magic because he wants things he doesn’t have (especially that tower), he circumvents his horrific doubts by making everything take place in his imagination.

There are many subtle gradations between these extremes, but stick around on magical forums (and on some of the ceremonial magic groups on FB) and you’ll notice the grimoire insecurity before long. It’s how Dr. Lisiewski and Steve Savedow marketed their Goetia methods. They sold a lot of books by exploiting the purist urge with horror stories from their own UPG (Savedow, in particular, reads like Book of Revelations fan fiction). There are also a bunch of Llewellyn and Weiser joksters who put books out in the other direction, some including a “Cicero method of magical tool creation,” but tending seriously towards the all-in-the-head approach.

I’m writing this not to say that purist approach or the all-in-the-head approach can’t work. What works for you may not work for someone else and there are some excellent purists who have a great, beautiful, grimoire practice. The opposite is probably also true, though harder to convincingly document because it’s so subjective (cf. “transvocation”).

But the insecurity, the angst, the defensiveness, the uncertainty is always easy to spot and that is what I’m inveighing against. It is often harder to keep an open mind, to say “maybe,” than it is to get red-faced and loud about your pet method of reassuring yourself that magic isn’t a waste of time.

A Time of Spiritual Ascent

Ascension by eddiecalz on deviantART


Dear Friends,

This post is a follow-up to my previous announcement (here: that I would not be taking new clients, having reached my client limit.  In everyone’s life, whether he or she is a spiritual seeker, a total rational materialist, or anything in-between, there are periods of ascent.  By this, I mean that we spend a long time working, thinking, and experiencing what it is to be human and then, ZANG!, we suddenly progress.  This has recently happened to me. 

I think it is because of all the spiritual work I have been doing for others.  One of the great benefits of doing public conjure and sorcery is that, while you are working on / for others, you are simultaneously working on / for yourself.  It isn’t easy, but it is nonetheless very true that you don’t stagnate much as a magical worker if you’re doing this kind of thing.  Public sorcery isn’t just an art form and a personal passion of mine.  It’s also a way for me to become better on all levels—as a practitioner but also just as a human being.

I’ve had recent experiences, which have been beautiful and uplifting but also largely indescribable here in words.  In the language of western esotericism, you could say I’ve had a new level of “Knowledge and Conversation with my Holy Guardian Angel,” but that doesn’t really communicate anything to anyone who hasn’t also had the experience.  In eastern terms, we might say that I’ve had a satori that has realigned my initiatory perceptions once again.  I am completely humbled and grateful for this, for being alive, and for being thus far admitted into the Sanctuary of the Mysteries.  May it continue.

When I complete the bulk of my current client work (though I can’t say when exactly what will be), I intend to return with a mostly pro bono magical practice.  That means I will no longer be charging for my services (with the exception being if I have to do something extraordinary like travel to a distant location or acquire a rare magical artifact or something comparable).  I have to give this careful consideration, since I have always practiced a kind of magical reciprocity, accepting a small payment as a way to initiate a bond with my client.  But now that I have changed, my practice has to change.

More soon, when I know it.

Dr. Mike

Note to Prospective Clients – Please Read Carefully

Friends and Prospective Clients,

As of 15 Sep 18, I will not be accepting new clients for the foreseeable future.  If we are already talking about work (as I am with one individual), this does not apply to you.

If we have not spoken yet via email or otherwise, please understand that my waiting list is now too long and my current clients have exceeded my 10-client limit for long-term work.  Therefore, in order to work effectively (and for my own health and quality of life), I must preemptively deny any new requests for spiritual work.

Repeated pleas for spiritual help, after being denied and now after I have posted this, are insulting and irritating in the extreme.  Avoid begging and take control of your own life, whether by finding another spiritual worker of value (see below) or simply facing up to your own role in creating problems in your life.  I know this sounds harsh, but it is as honest as it gets.  Spiritual work works, but the client must also take responsibility for fixing the situation as well.

Likewise, I will not be handling registration requests for those seeking to join the Studio Arcanis forums.  If you are having registration issues, please leave a polite note on the Facebook page for SA and someone will get back to you ASAP:

I am also discontinuing my practice of referring people to other spiritual workers.  I will, before you even ask, list the following as who I consider to be the most honest and reputable:

The Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers

Conjureman Ali

Sorcerous Endeavors

Professor Charles Porterfield

Denise Alvarado / Creole Moon

Conjured Cardea

Balthazar’s Conjure

Note also that whenever someone works in this area there will always be unsatisfied and / or unstable former clients who shout on the internet that so-and-so is a fraud.  As with all things, you have to take a risk if you’re going to employ a spiritual worker.  I suggest you read the comments of unhappy former clients to satisfy your own curiosity.  But, at least in the case of the above, for every pissed-off former client, there are 50 happy cases.  Testimonials and puffery don’t reflect the true successes just as the “rip-off reports” do not reflect the true failures.  You simply have to get over it and take a risk.

I wish you the best.

Dr. Mike

The Reality of Inner Worlds

Don’t try to validate any of your spiritual or visionary experiences. You determine what they mean for yourself. Your inner world is wholly and completely yours. And yet, it reaches beyond what you have been conditioned to think of as the boundaries of your everyday self. This is why my teachers used the term “within you and beyond you.” These inner experiences, whether dramatic or commonplace, are taking place in the inner world of your conscious and subconscious, but they are also resonating with the macrocosm (as below, so above). Therefore, your experience as a spiritual being is unique and also transpersonal. Honor what comes to you and what you send forth into this experience and respect the spiritual experience of others. In that respect is a certain parity that contains the paradox of individuality-vs.-universal oneness. It also contains the paradox of free-will-vs.-fate.