Monday, July 31, 2017

Magical Self-Defense and Thwarting Attacks

Recently, there has been some discussion on Face Book about a reported magical war that has pitted a loose confederation of Witches and Pagans who have directed their magical powers to magically marginalize Donald Trump and the Trump administration against members of a Golden Dawn faction. I am referring to the infamous binding ritual that was and still is supposedly being performed during the dark of the moon by Witches with a particular liberal bent, and aggressively opposing them is a certain Golden Dawn chief and his wife and their supporters, whose names are better left unsaid. I had decided not to offer my opinion about this so-called magical war because it seemed to me to be ridiculous and nonsensical at the outset. I have my reasons for considering what has transpired to be dubious and not particularly worthy of comment. That is because, as an experienced Witch and ritual magician, I understand how a binding ritual is supposed to work and to what uses it can be successfully applied, and where it would be practically useless. I also have my theories about the efficacy of working magic to impact a celebrity or a person in a position of national prominence. A national figure-head, like a president, is probably beyond the means for most magical practitioners who would like to bend or influence his or her decisions, manipulate, or even cause him or her to experience misfortune or worse, without some kind of direct access to that individual.

This is not to say that such magic is impossible or that magical attacks do not happen, but in my experience they occur rarely for some not-so obvious reasons, namely the efficacy and competence of magical practitioners who are mostly from the privileged economic classes, such as the white middle class in the U.S. It would seem that not living in disadvantaged poverty removes some of the cutting edge of ruthless passion needed for aggressive magic that fighting for survival would give a person who lives day to day in the urban blight of a third-world life-style. I myself have been magically attacked just twice in my long history, but in both cases these actions were performed by people that I knew and who had intimate contact with me. I will briefly discuss later in this article what I personally experienced when I was attacked so my readers will have something to compare against when attempting to determine if they or individuals they know have been or are under magical attack.

In all of the decades that I have practiced magic I have never experienced the kind of polarized world of black magicians fighting against white magicians for the ultimate cosmic supremacy of the world, or good vs. evil as depicted in stories, comic books and the tall tales of some magicians. As far as I am able to deduce, the world just doesn’t work that way. We don’t live in a Manichean world dominated by the constant struggle of good against evil, or light against darkness. As a Witch, I see the powers of light and darkness always mingling and interchanging, and that they represent a kind of natural cycle that is much more like the seasons experienced in the temperate latitudes of our planet. Life and death are part of the naturally occurring cycle of manifestation that determines the nature of corporeal existence, and with it are the constant changing seasons, the natural flow of day and night, and the many variations in these cycles that happen quite naturally.

Nature has no moral high-ground, and the laws and religious doctrines of human ingenuity are based wholly on the culturally determined beliefs and opinions of people that change over time, and that are different, depending on one’s location in the world. If anything, the natural interplay of light of darkness makes for a world that is impermanent, at times ephemeral and always locked in the constant forward movement of time itself. It is also important to understand that all of the national players in the world of geopolitics are beset with flaws as well as virtues, and they have as much darkness about their world persona as light. There is no solely good actors fighting against completely bad actors. It’s more like variations of bad actors - some better and some worse. The US is just as much a negative force in the world as it is a supposed force for good, and in some cases, it’s a kind of mindless force of destruction and calumny. 

When it comes to human-based social morality, the world of mankind is decidedly gray. There are many layers of complexity when attempting to determine moral truths, and what seems to be valued as something good could actually be harmful in the long term, and of course the inverse can also be true. A case in point is where religious based law (seemingly good) is used to govern a group of modern people regardless of their actual beliefs (an enforced theocracy - very bad).

Equally sticky is where economic justifications are used to reinforce the terrible inequalities between economic classes, such as when the propaganda for a meritocracy is used to hide the inherent inequalities of class and privilege (basic libertarianism). Another case is where radical changes are required for the world economic model that is dependent upon fossil fuels which are not sustainable in the long term, but denied any veracity by those currently in power. Here, the short-term gain is considered “good” for resisting such change as opposed to the long term consequences, such as the immanent decline of available fossil fuel sources and the climate changing pollution that they cause. Preparing and making changes today for the future often has an immediate price tag that might seem to be harsh and difficult (bad) , but in the long term, will be more than compensated for in the future (good).

It is sufficient to say that we live in world of opposing views and even sometimes, polarized politics; but still, there are provable facts which cannot be denied except by willful deceit, blind ignorance and the greed of short term gain. This kind of complicated and troubling morality particularly besets those who practice magic, whether in engaging in unethical practices, or believing that one is a victim of someone else’s unethical practices.

Anyway, one of the things that I wanted to discuss with my readers is that a practical Witch has a certain variable body of lore in which to perform various types of magical operations. A binding rite is one of the more malefic kinds of magic that a Witch might deploy. I call it malefic because it causes the target to experience a kind of paralysis of action, and it can be specific to a situation or type of action or it can be generalized. In Hoodoo, this kind of magic would be classified as a “crossing” and is usually quite common, although it is more often a kind of self-crossing where the individual is engaging in self-defeating actions or pursuits. It is not a harmless kind of defensive magic, since it represents an aggressive action against an individual or group.

If someone who is under the power of this kind of spell, through their own stubbornness or passion, attempts to push through the magical obstruction or somehow overpower it then that person can experience real physical pain or even death. Imagine someone tugging against their bindings if they were tied up instead of just relaxing (or flexing) until they could be loosened. They might accidently choke themselves to death. There are ways to get through or around a binding as well, but the best way is to initially relax and not attempt to force a release. Then when the binding loosens somewhat, as it will, an uncrossing rite can be quickly and efficiently performed. Like most magical work, it is not fool-proof and subject to the variations of the circumstances and individuals involved. One important consideration is that the Witch who is performing a binding must have something specific at hand that can be used as a direct link. A binding rite is an intimate kind of spell, which means that it must be employed on someone with whom the spell caster or his or her client has some kind of close social connection.

All forms of curses, love spells and any other kind of manipulative person-to-person magic has to be performed against targets that are intimate in order for the spell to have any chance of succeeding. There are also consequences, since such an intimate spell connects the issuer to the target, however briefly, and also there is a need for mundane actions or steps to increase the probabilities for success. Spells like these require a powerful link, since they are operating through the Thaumaturgic rules or laws of magic, such as the Law of Association (which contains the Law of Contact and the Law of Similarities). That magical link can assume many different forms, but the best kind would be what I call a material or gross link, such as hair follicles, nail parings, blood, or some other similar object extracted from the target individual. It could also be something once worn (and not washed) or a stolen prized possession. Still, any kind of intimate object or mental association that can tie or connect the subject with the object can function as a formal link. There is also a need for an emotional passion, similar to personal hatred or a strong desire to inflict or victimize someone - that is the magical power associated with this kind of working. The mundane actions that would accompany this working would consist of a form of contact, a means of providing a kind of subtle emotional blackmail, enabling the victim to helplessly realize their plight.

As a rule, then, these kinds of spells are best employed by someone who is close to the target, and the closer that relationship is, the more focused and successful the spell will be. The farther away and less intimate the subject is to the object, the less likely that the results will be successful, particularly since there will be little or any mundane steps employed to help the spell. That means that a binding rite is a very poor choice to influence or manipulate someone who is a complete stranger. For that kind of magic it is better to employ the assistance of a spirit that can be used to perform a malefic act and function as an intermediary. Obviously angels couldn’t be readily used, but certain classes of demigods, neutral spirits or demons could be so employed. Still, the simple lack of any kind of mundane steps to help the spirit evocation produce the expected results would be problematical. In other words, I believe that such a magical operation would be something of a long-shot to produce any useful results.

Another factor that would be operating is that a public figure has an egregore in addition to his or her actual intimate personality. If someone were to attempt to work magic on a public figure without some kind of intimate connection then they would be focusing on an egregore that is actually shared by many people in the public domain, and it wouldn’t likely have much of an effect on the person behind that persona. This is the primary reason why long-distance magical spells that are directed at a celebrity or a politician have little or no effect. A magician has to find a way to penetrate the egregore in order to reach the person behind it. It is a difficult proposition when using the correct magical tools and an impossible one when attempting to use a spell that is associated with an intimate magical link, such as a binding.

The Witches who consorted to work a binding spell against President Trump showed at the very least a complete lack of knowledge and understanding about how such a magical operation would work. Of course, if the binding spell was guaranteed to fail, as I believe it would be, any counter magic using the same technique reversed would be just as ripe for failure. What I saw in this action and counter action were two groups of people who were more likely to get some risible publicity from the general public (except maybe from Christian Fundamentalists) than they would have any kind of impact on Trump or his administration. It was, overall, a publicity stunt simply because you never broadcast your intentions about a potential magical working if you intend it to work, and both parties engaged in this kind of grandstanding. So, I saw this war of words and intentions and just ignored it as actually meaningless and poor press for both parties. It did show me that both groups failed to understand the basics about magic, such as what I have outlined above. Yet that didn’t stop them one bit, and the antics that are now being played out with ever greater stakes and imaginings are even more ridiculous. Magic doesn’t work that way, so if you really want to know anything about magic, you can be assured that neither party knows what they are talking about.

Consider for a moment, if you will, that Donald J. Trump has been a public figure and a celebrity for decades. He has done enough in his lifetime to various individuals and groups to earn him a great deal of justifiable hatred and animosity. He is, in a word, a monstrosity of a human being with little or no redeeming values. He is also loved and cherished amongst a certain crowd of individuals, although whether through ignorance, naivety or spiteful affirmation is not actually relevant. The fact that there are people who love and believe in the Donald will in fact make it nearly impossible to penetrate his public egregore in order to perform some kind of magical operation against him and the members of his administration.

Perhaps when his popularity tanks and thereby weakens his egregore, it might be possible to target the man behind the persona, but with someone as narcissistic as Trump, I think that it would be a waste of time and effort. For the Donald, any attention, whether negative or positive, is energy that feeds his beast. The most painful thing for him would be getting ignored or shown to be wholly irrelevant. While he is the POTUS, he will be getting an enormous amount of attention, both positive and negative. Where Trump is vulnerable is with those who have an intimate connection with him. His close advisors and members of his administration work under a tacit agreement of loyalty and fealty, not to mention a non-disclosure agreement. His friends are few indeed, and they must continually show a kind of steadfast loyalty that only kings, emperors or madmen would require in order for such friendships to continue.

It is for this reason that I feel that magic directed against Donald Trump just feeds the beast and doesn’t really make any difference. Donald Trump has lived a charmed life so far, since every action that might have sunk him or his businesses has instead found him with new avenues to exploit and new resources to use in his many business and political ventures. If Trump were anyone else, without such monetary power, celebrity and such an overarching business persona, he would have been brought to ground a long time ago. Instead, he has the knack for pulling off amazing scams and landing gently on his feet no matter how dire things seem to be. This is still true today, since how he has behaved as a president would caused anyone else to be quickly impeached. I could say that Trump already lives a charmed life, but I would never say that it will continue like this for the foreseeable future.  I believe that things are already changing, but they have more to do with Trump doing stupid things and trying to get away with greater outrages while pretending to function as the POTUS. Eventually, things have to give, and Trump’s charmed life will ultimately fail to protect him from the consequences of his own actions. In the end, it will be Trump who will damage and destroy himself because he pushed even his own good fortune far beyond the threshold of what is tolerated and acceptable even by those who fervently support him.

If Donald Trump falls, it will be his own fault and not attributed to the actions of some magician who tried to bring him down. His fall will be the epic lore of the Hero Myth tragedy, where the hero is ultimately brought down by his own hubris. We can only hope that in time our democratic traditions, checks and balances, and the rule of law will prevent Trump from destroying our representative democracy, and I feel a certain confidence that these forces along with the energized political opposition will bring down Trump and his presidency.

If anyone wants to work magic against the Trump regime they could do no better than registering to vote, joining the political opposition, getting politically engaged, running for office and becoming an active member of the resistance. What better magic is there than uniting with like minds and taking on the establishment that has become corrupted and moribund. This is a case where people-power takes back the country so that it is a nation run by the people and for the people, and not one that favors just the 1%. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one, so this is a political and even a magical rule that will seal the fate of all would-be tyrants and wealthy power-brokers. That is, at least, my fervent hope and how I am guiding my own path in these dark and troubling times.

Where does that leave the magical war that is going on during the New Moon phases between those who seek to thwart Trump and his administration and those who seek to thwart those who are seeking to thwart Trump? They are engaged in a bit of notoriety and minor celebrity, and not much else. Even the claims by that Golden Dawn chief and his wife of having near death experiences due to evil black magic, i.e., the destruction of a fancy sports car and the death of a pet must be seen as a kind of Kabuki theater that has little or no magical substance behind it. It is easy to blame accidents, neglect and personal foolishness on the malefic actions of some nebulous foe of evil Witches and Satanists practicing black magic and sending out lightening bolts at the duly elected President.

The purported harm supposedly occurred when these two individuals decided to channel all of that black magical power through themselves and harmlessly into the earth. The only problem with this idea is that first, a binding rite doesn’t send out any kind of bolt (it emanates, like all intimate magical spells) and the fact that the magic likely went nowhere, there wasn’t anything really to defect or absorb. In their sacrificial act, they might have taken upon themselves all of the negative ill-will that everyone who dislikes the Donald is sending to his egregore. However, I actually doubt that they even managed to do that, since it would have been more like a chaotic cacophony of various emotional energies and thoughts without any real directive or cohesion. If anything, such a connection would have been merely one of countless millions, and it would have been confusing and perhaps even overwhelming, but not dramatically so. Yet they reported an immediate deflection of negative forces that nearly killed them. How very melodramatic, and also for me and many others, unbelievable. 

For their presumed sacrifices, I suspect that they might think that they should get some kind of award or medal from Trump, except that few are paying any attention. I have shown that it is very doubtful that a magical battle was the cause of these dramatic occurrences, so what did happen was the product of a very untethered imagination, that and maybe rampant paranoia and some truly irrational thinking. As a story, it mythologizes the processes and the persons, so it is obviously a form of extreme hyperbole or self-delusion.

The real question is how can you know when you are indeed being magically attacked? What is the difference between experiencing a real magical assault or one that is imagined for various reasons? There are some things that can be done to help make this determination, and this is where having a good peer group and a rational mind that can examine phenomena with the help of critical thinking are priceless gifts.

The two times that I personally experienced a magical attack were not at first easily identifiable as an attack. It was only obvious to me after some rational consideration, and also eliminating all other possibilities. In both cases the people who magically assaulted me did not tell me they were going to attack. How I determined that this was happening was that I experienced emotions, thoughts and inclinations that were not my own. I felt a tremendous guilt for things I hadn’t even done, and a form of self-loathing unlike my typical buoyant and forgiving manner. I had bad dreams, morbid thoughts, unreasonable fears that would suddenly strike and then disappear, and more importantly, I found myself dwelling on the person who had attacked me.

This process wasn’t sudden, it was a lot like getting a cold or the flu. It started out making me feel that something was not right and the feelings of something bad continued to grow over time. The real determiner is that all of this phenomena was alien to my being - it was another mind, emotions and even a will seeking to subdue and overcome me. Divination rites revealed a general state of complete confusion and indecisiveness that was overpowering me. Discussions with others revealed that I seemed to be emanating something that was palpably negative and self-destructive.

Another clue is that when I engaged with my spiritual discipline, performing liturgical rites, all of these effects completely disappeared for a short while. As you can imagine, undergoing a spiritual regimen (fasting, meditation in sacred space, performing liturgical rites) for a set period of time could readily defeat this external phenomenon altogether. In fact, that is exactly how I short-circuited and eliminated what was externally trying to invade my being and overcome my will. It was similar to an exorcism, except that I was functioning as both the exorcist and the subject of the exorcism.

Magical effects, as far as I understand them, don’t produce pyrotechnical phenomenon, so what is realistically experienced is more subtle, unexpected and stealthy. Being magically attacked is a lot like getting ill and slowly unraveling instead of being instantly blasted by a lightening bolt. People who tell me stories involving their dramatic experiences with ‘awesome’ magical pyrotechnics are usually engaging in excessive exaggeration or the ‘telling of tall tales’ rather than telling the truth. Those who claim to have engaged in mythic epic battles with the powers of darkness wielded by evil black magicians are either writing a fictional work or just plain lying. It doesn’t matter if the lie is due to self-delusion or it is a deliberate falsehood to glorify oneself, it still is a troubling personal defect that is a warning to oneself and others.

This rule of thumb can also apply to someone who complains about being magically attacked by someone or some group. As an author I get occasional emails from individuals requesting my help because they are being magically attacked. They usually describe an implausible or unbelievable series of occurrences and blame someone or some group for all of the bad things that are happening to them. I find myself feeling sympathy for them, but it seems obvious when I examine what they are claiming that they are actually suffering from some kind of mental illness or experiencing an internal psychic trauma. Their stories are full of bizarre imaginings and fanciful considerations, and of course, it all happened so suddenly.

Often these individuals live far away from me, and I feel that there is nothing that I could do to help them other than to tell to seek out professional help. I am not in the business of working magic for paying clients, and I think that I would dislike taking advantage of someone who is broken and experiencing psychological trauma. My heart breaks to read their emails, but I try to keep a level head and advise them to get professional help from someone near by.  I have no desire to add to their confusion or pain, and I hope that my lack of engagement doesn’t make me look cold or cruel, but that is the reality that I have to face. A good magician always knows his or her limitations, and I am not a licensed therapist. Someone who hasn’t learned that lesson yet or refuses to know their own boundaries are setting themselves up for a world of hurt.

Frater Barrabbas


  1. Thanks! I learned about an egregor of a public persona in this post. That thought had never occured to me before.

  2. Interesting post, and I must admit that I agree that this kind of magical war is fantasy. Otherwise, Governments would be overturned continuously and magick users would be the masters of the world! How silly, in my opinion this is a publicity stunt and the above mentioned couple are riding the wave. But in my opinion this only shows how little they truly know and understand about magick. Not impressive for a Lodge leader and a High Witch!

  3. Part of the problem with high profile government leaders, such as a president, especially a conservative one such as this one, is that Christians are praying to put an enormous blanket of protection over him. I know personally of Christians, within my family, that pray daily and constantly at regular times. Our only hope is that his failed policies of ridiculous tariffs are a tremendous failure - that voters see their errors in their decision and decide to get this guy out after 4 years. So, it isn't so much the power of attack that is really at stake here. It is the massive level of spiritual protection.