Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Beware Tilting Against Windmills

A ritual magician can be effective when working his or her magic on a local level, but does that also apply to working grandiose operations against or for celebrities, corporations, organizations or even nations? Can a magician perform magic upon a target that is remote, aggregate or famously known through the media without having some kind of actual and tangible connection? I would like to answer that question because it has been declared by a group of Golden Dawn magicians who have ambitiously claimed to have put a binding spell on the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State or Daesh. A few years ago, some famous Salem witches attempted to bind the actor and media star Charlie Sheen because he jokingly said that he was a warlock. Is this a serious claim, and can a group of magicians perform this kind of magic successfully?

What we are talking about is the supposed efficacy of a simple binding spell. For those who are not up on their thaumaturgic magic, a binding spell seeks to bind a target subject and make him or her incapable of any action, good or bad. It is a way of paralyzing someone, and any effort on their part to break the paralysis for any reason will, in fact, cause them harm. A good analogy is tying someone up with a good hemp rope so that they are immobile. If they try to fight against their bonds they will be harmed, either in a minor way, such as rope burns or circulation constriction to the limbs, or in a major way, such as falling down, choking, or even worse. The idea is that as long as someone remains relaxed and at rest, all will be fine. Of course, in real life, that never really happens. Like being tied up, a binding spell does cause harm to the target.

Another similar spell is what is called the mirror spell, which reflects back on the sender all of the negativity, violence and anger that is being emitted. These two spells are distinct and completely different. You would never use a mirror spell if you had cast a binding spell, since if someone was successfully bound it wouldn’t be needed. I guess where these two spells might be employed together would be a situation where the binding spell was too weak to work or could possibly be broken. When one spell fails perhaps the other will work, is what I would imagine the logic for grouping these two spells together. (For some reason the GD group claims to weave both together into a single spell.)

Whatever spell is deployed, the most important component to any such targeting magic is to have a good magical link. A magical link establishes the psychic connection to the target, and by the process of the Law of Similarity and the Law of Contagion, a magical link can be a representational simulacrum with a connection to the actual target. The Law of Similarity allows for a given object or person (the target) to be depicted in a symbolic manner (photograph, sigil, poppet, etc.). The Law of Contagion allows a link to be established through the possession of something that was in proximity to the target, such as a garment, hair, nail parings, blood, semen, etc. If a magical link consists of a combination of items that satisfies both the Laws of Similarity and Contagion then it is considered a strong link. Having just a photograph or a sigil of the target person’s name without any component of contagion would be considered a “weak” link. However, whether one has a strong or weak link, it is still the mind of the magician that associates them and thereby channels the generated magical power through the link. Other elements can be used to help generate a strong enough charge, such as the use of a godhead, spirit, elemental, planetary spirit, or just through the emotional powers drawn up from the magician’s reservoir. Additionally, this kind of magical link works best on a single individual or object.

A binding spell itself uses the Law of Similarity where the magician takes the established simulacrum of the target and uses charged and consecrated cords to tie it, therefore mimicking tying up and binding the target person. The resultant bound simulacrum is then buried or hidden somewhere where the target individual will cross or encounter it. The target’s home is considered the best place to put such an empowered fetish. It is also sometimes advised that the target be informed about the spell being been done so that the psychic impact becomes fully conscious and active. Still, the most important part of this working is to break the connection or link between the caster and the target. This can be done very easily if the bound simulacrum has been hidden in a place associated with the target. However, if the target individual discovers and takes possession of the simulacrum, he or she can take actions to reverse the spell and cause it to rebound on the one who cast it.

Binding spells are not perpetual spells because the target individual typically finds a way to break out of it, but not without a period of paralysis and the associated harm caused by breaking the bonds. A powerful binding spell could even cause someone to be greatly harmed or killed over time. It can cause a period of listless paralysis that can ultimately lead to complete physical neglect, causing bodily deprivation or deadly psychic-based illnesses. For this reason, binding is not considered a benign spell or one that can be cast for the sake of just immobilizing someone. The spell can be broken by the one who cast it, but that would require retrieving the simulacrum and cutting its bonds. Typically, the binding is allowed to last as long as it continues to exert an influence on the target, causing all sorts of maladies and collateral mischief as the target struggles to escape the bonds. 

As you can see, a binding spell is a very intimate type of magic that requires a close connection between the caster and the target. Even in the category of impersonal magic for hire, the target at least has some kind of relationship with the client, which makes the magic work. With that in mind, could such a spell work when the target has no relationship with either the one who is casting it or a client? Can a magician or witch cast a binding spell (or any kind of intimate spell, such as a love spell, etc.) upon a target where there is no pre-existing relationship? This question would include such individuals as celebrities, corporations, politicians, dictators, organizations, and even a rogue terrorist nation/organization such as the Islamic State.

I would propose that such a magical working would not be feasible. Could you imagine someone casting a successful love spell on Chris Hemsworth or Kim Kardashian without any prior intimate connection? I won’t say that such a working would be impossible, but it is highly improbable. The same kind of logic would apply to working a binding spell on Charlie Sheen or the Islamic State. Without an intimate connection upon which to build an effective magical link, it would be highly improbable that such a working would work. When dealing with amorphous organizations, such as corporations, nations and rogue terrorist organizations, there is the additional problem of identifying a single target upon which to focus the magic. Without a clearly defined target, it becomes obvious that such a magical working would fail.

Magical energy, which resides in the consciousness of the one casting the spell, cannot simply disappear or evaporate. It has to move somewhere, and without an intimate magical link or a clear focus, the magic will likely rebound on the spell caster. This can be either subtle or it can be magnified until it becomes a problem. The greatest enemy of anyone practicing magic, particularly spells of an intimate type, is obsession. If some ordinary guy were to work a love spell on Kim Kardashian, and really put all of his emotional power and desire into it, then I can tell you what would happen to him once the spell was cast. It would immediately affect his mind and emotions. He would become obsessed with the target of this magical working, and it is highly doubtful that Kim Kardashian would even know that he existed, unless of course he were to actually stalk her. The power generated by such a spell has to go somewhere, and it will find the path of least resistance, just like electricity. A spell performed in this manner will only end up in one’s own mind and be empowered by the imagination, perhaps even causing a significant obsession to occur. Such individuals will see any kind of unrelated public occurrence associated with the target as an indication of a successful outcome, adding a certain degree of delusion to the obsession.

This reminds me of the famous story about Don Quixote written by Cervantes. Don Quixote thought the windmills that he had encountered in the plains were giants terrorizing a village, and he attempted to defeat them by jousting with them. I will quote the passage in the famous novel to give you a better reference point in enjoying the irony.

    Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”

    “What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

    “Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”
    “Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”
    —Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record.

This was the famous scene that became known by the phrase “tilting with windmills,” which has the implied meaning where adversaries are misperceived and courses of action that are based on misapplied or misinterpreted heroic, romantic or idealistic justifications. It represents a vain effort against imagined adversaries for a vain goal. Of course such an effort when performed magically is not completely vain, since the target and the source are irreparable bound together within the mind of the one who casts the spell. It is just as foolish to perform this kind of spell within the context of magic as it is to “tilting with windmills” in real life.

So, for those Golden Dawn magicians who have performed a binding spell against the terrorist organization IS-Daesh and invited others to do so, what will be the result of such a spell? Since most of us in the U.S. perceive this organization to be a kind of boogeyman similar to how the former Soviet Union was perceived during the cold war, it could be stated that we are unable to clearly recognize and objectively understand the actual organization and the individuals who play a key part within it. None of us who are outside of this organization either knows or can grasp the nature of it, nor do we possess any kind of intimate link to key individuals. Focusing a spell on this organization to somehow bind it will do nothing but empower our own fears and feed the dark shadow that we have made of it. It could cause an obsession of fear and darkness that might have serious consequences.

The only reason that anyone would perform and promote this kind of magical working would be someone who was looking for the fame and attention that it would accrue. I think that this is the case, since anyone with even a small amount of magical knowledge and experience would realize that such a working would fail. The fact that this Golden Dawn group is touting the recent reversals in fortunes for the IS-Daesh organization and declaring that it is due to the binding spell that they and others have performed is not only ridiculous, but it is just the purest expression of hubris and vanity. It is another manifestation of the kind of “hucksterism” that we have learned to expect from David Griffin and his brand of the Golden Dawn. Not only are they promoting bad magic, but they are engaged in public expressions of delusion and credulity. I think that my recent declarations about David Griffin being a “milk-toast” Donald Trump-like salesman is quite true and on the mark. I think that we can now ignore him and his delusional ranting about how powerful and successful he and his compatriots are compared to the rest of us. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before something dreadful happens to him, since this kind of magic is subtle and ultimately pernicious.   

Frater Barrabbas


  1. Astrological magic could provide the necessary targeting method. Similarly there are forms of angel magic meant for such large scale political targettings. So a magical assault on such a target is reasonable and supportable using traditional grimoiric and related methods. Griffin's approach was highly misguided and the method and manner were wrong. But magic against a Nation or military power is hugely attested in historical sources.

  2. As a proponent of large scale magickal activism, I rather disagree.
    Certainly, you make some good points on the difficulty here, and I'm sure it's not having quite the effect they are touting (though that, in itself, can be a component of successful spellcraft- harnessing mass belief to further empower your effect- this Does work)

    Indeed the resonant connection to the target is a tricky one if you don't have a personal connection, but the Daesh/IS I am sure haven't taken measures to keep their resonance out of say, their flag- that just makes it a matter of good old sympathetic magick, even if it's not a very good link. The trouble you run into is the Opposed Will- I don't see a Single magus managing to have much effect on the reality inhabited by a pack of zealots, especially those who delight in human sacrifice after a fashion. Even a Large group of mages would have a hard time directly opposing that sort of hardened Will. As such, true, I would not try a binding- you can however come at that tricksy and sideways but that's a different discussion.
    But a binding thrown by a load of experienced mages could, perhaps, have some small effect, making things not work out quite as planned, or making them a little more difficult (at least that's the sort of thing I experienced when I was laboring under a binding for a bit): I completely disagree with the notion that it would rebound. In my experience that only happens with active magickal defense, or if you violate your own ethics and you nail yourself for it (*admittedly, my practice is rather different from most occultists, old school ceremonial rotes might rebound as you say, but I've not had a problem with it beyond what I said)

    As far as throwing on celebrities- yes people do that all the time, consciously and un, for both good and ill. Part of the trouble, apart from the connection, is... well it's a lot like trying to win the lottery. A specific result like a love spell is terribly difficult to pull out of that miasma of attention/intention. Too many Wills in that pot, empowered or not (not least that of the target). However a more general influence is, perhaps, possible. As in the case of Pastor Mark Driscol (megachurch asshat) who came to the attention of a particular occult group and they decided he needed to go. A few months later, his congregation had turned on him and his life was in shambles. Claiming full credit in such circumstances is, of course, unwise, but the sudden confluence of bad luck was rather uncanny- that must be recognized as well.

    Tilting at Windmills- it's funny to me, I take the exact opposite view of this notion. "Finding the Giant that isn't actually there, and killing it Anyway, because, Magick" that is, co-opting a chunk of reality, and through your own imposed symbols and perspective, forcing a sympathetic connection where there was none, or forcing an "As Above" that influences the "So Below". Sort of a Quixote as trickster deity idea. Pancho only saw the windmill. Quixote was slaying giants. Reality perspective matters. This is a tricky view to master, if one is not to fall into an impotent story of their own making, but it can be Quite effective and I use it a often to great effect... That was just a tangent with little bearing on your essay, however.

    Lastly, I would merely ask "Have you Tried to influence large scale doings, egregores of thought, or currents moving in the world?"
    Most who argue against such attempted workings, have Not, because of the assumption that it won't work.
    My view, of course, is that one should give it a shot anyway, if it's something that matters to you. Magick Works. We know this. It will generally do Something, even if it's not quite what we were going for. People tend to forget how subtle and strange this business is.
    And maybe such things Are like screaming into a hurricane, and do nothing.
    That's no reason not to give it a whack and see what happens, in my opinion.

  3. Just stumbled upon this and noticed that we came to the same conclusions (not that this is too much of a surprise). But you expressed it very eloquently and I full-heartedly agree. It's like binding a giant to a tree with nothing but a piece of yarn and then congratulating yourself on a job well done.

    I believe that it doesn't have to take many men to achieve great things but it would take an entirely different strategy than this crap.