What if Magick doesn’t work, after all?


….or at least, why does it seem like that, sometimes?

Why do some of us believe in Magick, in the first place? When I first started to explore witchcraft, I had the vague awareness that I was either trying to fix my life or escape it. The idea that I could influence the situations in my world sounded so appealing. I really felt like I had no power in the world…not in any practical way. My anxiety was through the roof, which prevented me coming through with a lot of practical solutions.  Looking back, maybe I needed to believe in magick as a form of self-empowerment.  It was the only thing that I could relate to.

The only hope I had for altering the situations in my life was through magick. Whether or not it was true….or to whatever degree it was true….I had to believe it completely. At the time, that was the only thing that could give me comfort….the idea that I would be able to fix everything with magick.

Beginning magicians enjoy “apprentice’s luck”. We are so excited with the idea that all of our spells will work, that it doesn’t occur to us that it can’t. This is the wonderful honey-moon phase where we are usually at our most powerful, across the board.  Basically, my petitions were answered in a very timely manner….at a relatively high success rate.  This immediately validated my belief in magick.

Over the course of our magickal and spiritual journeys, we magicians have our ups and downs….our periods of deep conviction, confidence and painful doubt.  We learn.  We practice.  We are inspired.  And we also have those dark periods, when we lose all faith in our abilities and re-evaluate where we are at….our personal Winters,  times for further personal growth.

Recently, I had a period of doubt in my abilities and capabilities, that left me questioning my beliefs themselves. I don’t believe everything I read, every idea that I am presented with or every story that I am told. I use reasoning and analysis, along with faith and magickal thinking–just like many other religious or spiritual people.  I don’t use purely magickal or purely analytical thinking, exclusively. I use them both. I know how to come at my experience from a purely physical-sense orientation.  I know how to analyze and view a situation through logic-only…but, I have also had enough personal experience that can’t be completely explained in physical-only terms.

I’ve been trying to deal with a particularly difficult person for years, now. The fact that I can’t banish him from my life made me question if I had any personal power at all. Because I haven’t been able to successfully perform this one specific act, I dismissed all of my other accomplishments and feats.  I’m not sure when I decided that I should be able to perform every magickal act.  At some unseen point, I had eventually trapped myself in the black-and-white idea that if I couldn’t complete this one act, I am incapable of successfully performing magick, at all.   I’m not sure when some part of my psyche decided that I was either omnipotent or powerless–that there was nothing in between.

This recent period of doubt has probably been a good thing. It has made me trace back my steps and pick up a book on “beginning” magick. As I am going back to basic instruction, I realize that (in my case) I never questioned the “honeymoon” phase of the apprentice, where I believed that every attempt at magick….that is, ritual or spell….will eventually manifest results, given enough repeated efforts.


This idea is actually more of a big “maybe”. The idea of repeat effort eventually producing the desired effects CAN be successful if it is based on the thoughtform that the idea is true. It’s an amorphous, indirect cause-and-effect….that could have been replaced with a specific number of times of performance. We can also hold the idea that performing a spell three times will make it manifest after that specific number of performances. Maybe it might be helpful to invest time into getting excited about the idea of manifestation after the spell/ritual is performed (once)….before performing the magickal act, in the first place.

Getting back to looking at my personal past in magick–it seems that I had somehow accepted the idea that I was supposed to successfully produce any and all effects that I wanted. This would have been a great idea, if anyone actually trained me on how to remove the obstacles to manifestation and BELIEVE that every one of my magickal acts manifested results in a timely manner. This is a subtle difference–I was taught the technical aspects of how magick should work, but not how to ensure that it manifests at all times. This brings me to another point. There is sometimes this inference to new magickal practitioners that anything is possible. It might be more practical to point out that manifestations are possible to the magician, depending on the level of allowance/resistance and the mental and emotional obstacles that they personally have at any time. Personal belief that a magician can pull off a particular type of magick AND a particular spell are both necessary for success in that area of manifestation.  Belief about personal skill needs to be evaluated.

Depending on the level of self-directed negativity, being able to perceive one’s blessings might not be a concept that the magician can relate to. However, spiritual evolution consists of being able to be aware of how much abundance the universe consists of (not how much each of deserves)….and that the magician is a personal manifestation of the entirety of that abundance. Part of the problem with viewing “blessings” is that many people associate that concept with the negative interpretations of Abrahamic religions….and “blessings” are associated with the judgmental god of those religions.  Blessings are not something that we work for.  Blessings are what the universe is made of–this is an exercise in clear perception, not trying to please an imaginary version of a ‘withholding God’.

On the subject of Deity, I also had a bad perception of “God”–as his behavior was explained to me, by my family and my church. To be honest, I had the feeling that God was out to get me, to screw me over like an unfair and unreasonable parent or boss. Even when I began to work with Deity in the forms of Goddess and pagan gods, I never had the same degree of emotional investment that I had when I thought that my childhood God was mean and petty. It could be that I missed it, but I think that if it were emphasized to me to EXPECT the gods to work positively on my behalf, to actively work FOR me…I think that would have led to more positive manifestations in my life.

Maybe it just was not as explicitly explained to me, as I needed. Or maybe, I was never in the place where I could hear it.

Sometimes, I think in very materialist ways. But, I have also seen metaphysical occurrences that I can’t explain away. I have explicitly detailed clairvoyant experiences that I couldn’t have guessed or calculated in any logical way. I’ve asked for very specific manifestations that have come about, in the detail that I had outlined. I have moved energy and cast glamours without announcing them to anyone–and had people react to them in ways that they had to have registered that shift in energy, at least on some level.  My spells didn’t always work, but when they did, they manifested with too much  or all of the explicit detail that I had outlined.

So, why am I getting so upset that I can’t banish one bad person?

I don’t buy the idea that there is a lesson involved. Most of what people try to pass off as a “lesson” reinforces the idea that we are limited or separated beings of some sort. The ultimate truth is that we are One with the Divine. Anything that does not reflect that experience reinforces our delusion of illusionary separateness.

It must be more of a matter of incorrect perception.    Dealing with the forms of the physical world is dealing with thoughtforms.  And thoughtforms are all based on limitation.  Could this mean that oppositional people are simply based on the idea of obstacles?  Perhaps dealing with abrasive people requires going beyond the idea that they can withhold or block any of the goodness of Divinity.  Instead, it might just be another call to acknowledge that nothing separates us from The Universe.




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