It began when a sixteen year old kid met the creepy-looking, gimpy owner of a seedy occult bookstore in an Appalachian college town in the middle of the 1970s.

No, it began when a middle-aged American man living in Central Europe began picking up esoteric threads he’d dropped decades ago and seriously re-embarked on the voyage into arcane knowledge.

Well, maybe it began when that man finally recently decided to teach himself how to properly perform magic rituals.

Or,… well,… it might be best to say it really all began among a race of people forgotten to recorded history, who knew how to shape their world, and how to communicate with beings from other worlds, using techniques only dimly reflected in the records we possess. Their knowledge was passed on, imperfectly, from races we’ve never heard of, to temples within civilizations that we, in our short-sightedness, consider ancient.

Apparently there were people in possession of such knowledge among the ancient Persians. This class of learned men, and the seeming miracles they could perform, must have greatly impressed the Greeks. The Persians called these powerful men magush. That word made its way into the Greek language as magos, forcing out the native Greek word. Significant Greek ideas tended to impress themselves on the Roman mind, and so the Latin word for people with the power to commune with spirits and manipulate the world in a super-physical manner became magus, and the things they knew and practiced were called magia. During the middle ages and renaissance, knowledge was spread across Europe through the medium of the Latin language, giving rise in every European language to some cognate of the English word magic.*

So magic is basically an ancient Persian word for knowledge that was already ancient to them. A thought worth meditating on.**

The six paragraphs above contain seeds that shall sprout and grow as this blog progresses. Obviously, I was the sixteen year old boy who walked into that occult bookstore 34 years ago, unaware I was about to have an encounter that determined the course of the rest of my life. And, of course, I am the middle-aged American who has lived in Mitteleuropa one third of his life, and have in recent years begun picking strands back up that I angrily tossed aside as a young adult. But now, I find that esoteric studies, though still challenging and frustrating, bear more fruit when you are older, more patient, more experienced, and more disciplined. And when you have learned to be more loving, and less selfish.

And, yes, last summer I decided to methodically teach myself to apply all the esoteric knowledge I’ve absorbed over the years, and to actually do magic.

On the one hand, it might be seen as a bit presumptuous for a rank beginner like myself to write a blog about learning magic. But I offer these qualifications that just might make my journey worth noting:

  • –Anyone who can do arithmetic has figured out that I’m fifty years old. I’m way past my wild youth (and even my “second wild youth”). Though I’m aware I’m not totally safe from the traps of inflated ego, I’ve had the wind knocked out of me several times already, and tend to be pretty level-headed, and reasonably humble. If worse comes to worst, my wife (hereinafter: Very Aries), will knock some sense into me.
  • –I have five children; four of them still in my house. My focus is on making life work, not on flights of fancy. I have responsibilities.
  • –I’m a long-time member of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC. I have a source of initiatory knowledge and fraternal society that has given me very stable ground to build on. I’m not just some IRABE (I Read A Book Expert).
  • –I’ve accomplished a thing or two that required discipline. I have a black belt in aikido, and even taught for a few years. I earned an MA in German Lit. from UCD, a notoriously competitive university. Should I mention that I’ve continuously been gainfully employed for seventeen years (knock on wood!)? So, no, I don’t live in my mother’s basement.

But I still feel like a beginner. And I think that’s a good thing.

Stay tuned to read about this zelator’s experiences and observations on this ancient path. Although ancient and well-trodden, over the millennia it has become overgrown with weeds and brush. Only those with perseverance and a good machete should even step foot on the trail.

P.S. The graphic accompanying this posting is meant as a sort of mutlti-level occult joke. Please comment if you get it (Twisted occultist humor! Jeez!)

*I’ll admit the narrative of this paragraph doesn’t meet the strictest standards of scholarship, but is the truth painted with a very broad brush. If you’re really into the history of the Magi, then you can read further here.

**For those word and etymology freaks out there, you should read this page I discovered while doing research for this posting.