When I was 7 years old I had my first near death experience and what I’d consider to be my first genuine experience with magic. I was drowned by an older kid, held down underneath an intertube in the ocean. I was, fortunately, pulled out in time. That older kid was yelled at, but nothing else was done. But what I remember the most was a sensation of blacking out and finding myself in a space with an entity, which asked if I wanted to live. I remember that experience vividly to this day and it is after that experience that I began to show an interest in magic. I became a voracious reader, and while I enjoyed reading a lot history, I also read a lot of fantasy and found myself wanting to be the magician. I figured the magician was the coolest person to be, and I think I’m still right about that one.
I wanted magic to be real and in the years between 7 and 16, I did look for it, but I wasn’t really sure where to look or who to talk to. What I had access to were fantasy books, and while they were fun to read, they didn’t encompass what magic was. I knew what they presented wasn’t something that seemed possible. I mean as much as I liked the idea of being able to conjure a fireball, I didn’t think it was really possible, and to this day I have yet to conjure one up or see anyone else do it. But still, I knew magic existed and was real. I knew it on a fundamental level. I knew it as something essential to who I am…
It wasn’t until I was 16 that I found magic. I was reading one of my fantasy books and this one kid thought he’d freak me out by telling me about an experience where he astral projected and encountered a demon. Far from freaking me out, I wanted to know more. I felt tense excitement, thinking to myself that at last I’d found something more tangible than a fantasy book. I plied him with question after question and made him promise me that he’d bring me books to look at the next day.
The next day arrived and he gave me a couple of pamphlets on astral projection and Shamanism. I devoured them that night, trying out the exercises and experiencing something. Here at last was the magic I’d been looking for and if it didn’t allow me to conjure a fireball, it did allow me to do something I’d been longing to do since I was 7. That kid became my friend and he showed me a shop where you could get more books. I remember buying a couple on Shamanism and hermetic magic. I read them religiously and did the exercises just as fervently, determined to master this strange new force in my life. Shortly after that I encountered my first “teacher.” But that’s a story for another blog entry.
Book Review: Magick Works (affiliate link) by Julian Vayne
Part memoir and part grimoire, this book is an excellent guide to how magic works. I like how the author weaves in personal narratives from his life to explore and explain how magic has worked for him. I think some of the best essays are on identity and space, but all of them are good and this is a valuable book to have because it makes you think about magic from a different perspective.
5 out of 5