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True Magick: A Beginner's Guide

True Magick: A Beginner's Guide

4.1 34
by Amber K

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For fifteen years, Amber K's "little green book" has guided thousands down the life-changing path of magick. Selling more than 200,000 copies, True Magick has truly struck a chord with Witches, Pagans, and magicians around the world.

Presented here for the first time is the revised and expanded anniversary edition of True Magick. It


For fifteen years, Amber K's "little green book" has guided thousands down the life-changing path of magick. Selling more than 200,000 copies, True Magick has truly struck a chord with Witches, Pagans, and magicians around the world.

Presented here for the first time is the revised and expanded anniversary edition of True Magick. It features the same delightful introduction to the history and lore of magick, in addition to several varieties of magick, ranging from shamanism and Norse Magick to Voudun and Qabala. Amber K explains the basics, such as how to find or create ritual tools, establish a temple, plan a ritual, and cast spells safely and ethically. New material includes six more chapters, recommending reading for each chapter, and more than 100 added exercises.

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Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
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Barnes & Noble
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2 MB

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

About Magick-and You

          Why do you want to do magick?

This book is for you-if you want to:

know in what direction your life is headed, so that you may
consciously guide your own destiny;
make wise decisions and solve difficult problems;
cleanse yourself of ignorance, fear, and hatred;
heal yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically;
find new strength, happiness, and skill within;
have all the necessities of life;
protect yourself from harm;
help others when they request it;
help create a more loving world;

. . . and, ultimately, if you want to find spiritual fulfillment and joy in sharing the essence of divinity.

If you want magickal skill in order to harm another, or to control or manipulate anyone, then this book is not for you. Put it down or give it away before you endanger yourself.

If you seek the ancient skills of the adepts for only ethical, beneficial purposes and primarily for your own growth, then read on.

What Magick Is Not

Magick is not an array of tricks or stage illusions. The "k" at the end of the word serves to distinguish it from the "magic" of nightclub acts. Magick is not for show.
Magick is not supernatural. As Janet and Stewart Farrar, prominent Irish witches and Craft teachers, point out, "Magic(k) does not break the laws of Nature; when it appears to do so, that is because it is obeying laws that the observer has not yet understood."_
Magick is not the medieval art of summoning demons to do one's will, at least not to intelligent and ethical magicians. Though it is possible to establish communication with beings on other planes of reality, trying to coerce them into service is both immoral and dangerous.
Magick is not based on a pact with "the Devil." Most magicians, including Wiccan priests and priestesses, do not believe in Satan and would certainly have no dealings with such an entity if he did exist.
Magick is not a good way to get revenge on enemies or force a former lover to return to you. Indeed, there is no "good" way to accomplish such nasty and immature things; but the penalties for misusing magick can be far greater than the consequences of these actions on the material plane.
Magick is not available only to a few talented individuals born with special gifts. It can be learned and mastered to a great degree by anyone with self-discipline and persistence.
Magick does not reside in ritual tools, amulets, magickal swords, etc., unless and until they are charged by a magician. The skill and power lie always in the magician, not in the tool.
Magick does not generally result in spectacular "special effects" on the material plane: strange entities materializing, showers of gold falling from the sky, locked doors bursting asunder, and so forth. Dramatic physical effects are possible and occasionally occur, but most magick aims at internal growth, where results are harder to see. Even magick for material-plane purposes tends to manifest in more or less quiet, gradual, natural ways.
_ Janet and Stewart Farrar, The Witches' Way (London: Robert Hale, 1984), 110.

And magick is not easy to learn or to practice. It is not an instant fix for life's problems, nor is it a shortcut to fame and wealth. It is a set of specialized tools, uniquely well-designed for inner growth and spiritual development. It can be used for more ordinary purposes, but sometimes that is like trying to pound nails with a screwdriver. Magick can be used to bring you safety, wealth, or loving relationships, but it is not a substitute for wearing a seat belt, getting a job, or being sensitive to your lover's needs. And no matter what it is used for, magick requires hard work and discipline.

What Magick Is
A definition of magick is in order. We have already rejected that of Webster's dictionary: magick as "the use of means (as charms, spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces." Here are some other definitions by magicians:

"Magic is the science of the control of the secret forces of nature." -S. L. MacGregor Mathers
"Magic is a comprehensive knowledge of all nature." -Francis Barrett
"Magick is the art and science of causing changes to occur in conformity with will."-Aleister Crowley
"Magic is the art of effecting changes in consciousness at will."-William Butler
"The work of magic involves transformation, and the first transformation is the shift of perception."-Marion Weinstein
"The movement of natural energies . . . to create needed change. Energy exists within all things-ourselves, plants, stones, colors, sounds, movements. Magic is the process of rousing or building up this energy, giving it purpose, and releasing it. Magic is a natural, not supernatural, practice, though it is little understood." -Scott Cunningham

So we can see that magick involves using natural forces to effect willed change, often changes in our own perceptions or consciousness. But what is the goal?

What Magick Is For

Stewart Farrar puts it this way: "The stage-by-stage development of the entire human being is the whole aim of magic."
According to Marion Weinstein, magick can help "get your entire life in harmony mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychically . . . And what is the ultimate purpose of the work? To fulfill the self on an even higher level. To transform, uplift, and so fully develop the self that the whole Universe may benefit thereby."_
William G. Gray, another well-known occultist, says: "Magic is for growing up as Children of Light. Sane, sound, healthy, and happy souls, living naturally and normally on levels of inner Life where we can be REAL people as contrasted with the poor shadow-selves we project at one another on Earth."_

Thus magick exists to expedite, guide, and enhance change. Wiccans might say it is the work of the goddess within: "Everything she touches, changes . . ."

It seems a peculiarly human process, as far as we know. Other creatures can change their environments, but only sentient, self-aware beings can change themselves. Perhaps the cetaceans attempt this too-one day we may explore the spiritual paths and magickal traditions of the dolphins and whales.

Change ourselves? But to what? To a fuller range of possibilities, a broader spectrum of spirit. Not change to something else, but to something more. First learn to know ourselves, and then we expand, stretch our hearts and minds and souls, and explore and develop new territories within ourselves.

We are part of All That Is. With magick, we can experience existence from the perspective of other parts and know that we are One. We can experience at-one-ment with the immanent Source.

Perhaps this is the goal of all spiritual paths: to reconnect with the Source, to bridge the chasm of illusion that makes us feel separate and alone, to come Home.
_ Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic (Custer, WA: Phoenix, 1991), 3.
_ William G. Gray, Inner Traditions of Magic (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1970), x.

But the quest requires us to change, and magick is an effective tool for this. The scary part is this: we can't know who we are changing into until we actually experience the change. By then it's too late for second thoughts. We cannot change back; we can only keep changing, or wither.
Because we give up our old selves, any change is a "little death" that is the necessary first step to rebirth. To choose this, to will it, and to seek it out is an act of incredible courage. Magick requires daring. Not to change is to stagnate and die; but to willingly offer up the life we know is to find a greater life.

In "The Charge of the Goddess," she says, "Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the mother of all things and my love is poured out upon the earth." On one level this is true: killing a lamb on an altar stone does not lead to inner growth.

Yet on another level, sacrifice is required: self-sacrifice, the surrender of your old self. This is the meaning of the Hanged Man of tarot's major arcana (below) and of Odin's act in Norse mythology: "Nine days and nights I hung on the Tree, myself sacrificed to Myself . . ."
To the conscious mind unaware of the immortal Spirit within, this kind of sacrifice, the loss of the isolated little persona-self, seems terrifying indeed. Yet through it one regains the lost wholeness of the Greater Self, which is all of us, which is God/dess.

Thus far our focus has been on that branch of magick called theurgy; or as Isaac Bonewits defines it, "The use of magic for religious and/or psycho-therapeutic purposes, in order to attain 'salvation' or 'personal evolution.'" Though this is generally the best and highest use of magick, we will not ignore thaumaturgy, again defined by Bonewits: "The use of magic for nonreligious purposes; the art and science of 'wonder working'; using magic to actually change things on the Earth Plane."_

Thaumaturgy might include magick to heal physically; to travel safely; to obtain satisfying employment or a new home; to purify and bless a house or one's tools; to draw an adequate income; and so on. If such matters are accomplished without harm to others (as in seeking a job rather than Sam's job), and the magick is performed to supplement material-plane efforts raththan replace them, then there's nothing at all wrong with the practice of thaumaturgy.

Acting in Accord

Understand this: magick is not miracle-working. After you do a spell or ritual to achieve your purpose, you must still take practical steps to allow the magick to manifest. This is called "acting in accord" with the magick. You can do healing magick to get over an illness, but you must still rest and drink liquids. You can do a spell to get a better job, but you still must ask friends if they know of openings, and then apply for them. If you fail to do the logical follow-up steps, you will be like the legendary blonde who prayed night after night to win the million-dollar lottery, until after some weeks a great and weary voice thundered from the heavens: "O my daughter, I will consider your request; but you could help by buying a lottery ticket."

Magick and practical action reinforce each other; but you must do both to make the magick work.
Blesséd be.

_ Isaac Bonewits, Real Magic (Berkeley, CA: Creative Arts Book Co., 1971), 268.

Meet the Author

Amber K is a third degree priestess of the Wiccan faith. She was initiated at the Temple of the Pagan Way in Chicago and served on the Council of Elders there. Her books on magick and the Craft have been widely circulated in the United States and Europe, and for nearly 25 years she has traveled across the U.S. teaching the Craft. She has worked with Circle and the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess, and served as National First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess for three terms. She is a founder of Our Lady of the Woods and the Ladywood Tradition of Wicca, and currently is Executive Director of Ardantane, a Wiccan/Pagan seminary is northern New Mexico.

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True Magick: A Beginner's Guide 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first guide to my craft cant live without it!!"
Jessica Charles More than 1 year ago
This book is so useful. When someone asks for my top 5 on wicca this book is one if them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do recommend this book to most people, but to people who just started witchcraft like yesterday, don't get this book just yet,I did that and it takes me like 15 minutes to read a page! Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little, but don't get it unless you've been on the path for at least a month. ~Blessed Be~
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amber K does a somewhat less-than-adequate job of presenting basics of Wiccan philosophy and ritual structure. Much material necessary to a complete picture of Wicca has been omitted. The information given as cultural examples detract from the core material in such a way that it would confuse the novice - the supposed target audience of this book. Additionally, the title insinuates that the Wiccan system and approach to magick is the only true form of magick, which is more than a little insulting (among other things). On the plus side, its not a terrible book to use in conjunction with other books or under the guidance of a teacher.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When people come to me asking what Wicca is and how to become a wiccan this is the book that I hand to them...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the way she writes and explains. It is a must have for beginers and people who practice it now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was pretty helpful and it was something good to read. I would suggest it to anybody who wants to learn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read on Wicca. While giving a general outline, it doesn't get into specifics. It did give me direction toward which of the different practices I was more inclined. However, it was like getting only a spoonful of ice cream--I must have more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very good. Explains difficult concepts in language anyone can understand. Author keeps a light tone and makes many comparisons to everyday things. The order in which the book covers material is good as well. Best when read cover to cover as many things must be understood BEFORE attempting what most people will be buying this book to do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that allows you to open your eyes to a world of life that exsists today. This books opens your heart and mind to a lifestlye that has been closed by influences. I congratulate anyone who dares to question the question of their present spiritual level. (All of you know that this is not it, there is more to be seen and felt)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book on Wicca I ever read. It was NOT confusing for me in the least, and was an enjoyable read, although I read it all in one night. Although I didn't know it then, it did not cover everything about Wicca and witchcraft, but only an idiot would use this as their only source of learning without exploring further anyway. The author cannot be blamed for the reader's choice to not research the topic thoroughly, only for giving the book such a misleading title.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was the first book i have read about witchcraft wicca etc. and it helped me out alot even though there weren't alot of spells i recomend this book to all beginners
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think ths book is a good pick for beginners. Amber explains the stuff that beginners want and need to know.