Frequently Asked Questions About Sorcery
Please read the FAQ sheet to see if your question (or a version of it) has already been answered. My time, like everyone else's, is limited due to heavy scheduling. There has never been a time where I've been stand-off-ish to serious inquiries but time itself is precious and rather than re-invent the wheel answering the same question a multitude of times, I've put this FAQ together to explain some things.
Q: What is Sorcery?
A: Sorcery is what Agrippa and others in medieval times referred to as Thaumaturgy or Wonder Working. It is a pragmatic type of Magic that focuses on getting results on the material plane and has zero to do with Psychological or so called mental magick.
Q: Is Sorcery a 'spiritual science'?
A: No it is not. The aims of a Sorcerer (an asexual term) are more materialistic rather than the focus of on elevating one's spiritual state. Sorcerer's see themselves as more Pantheistic or as already being a spiritual being and usually they have adopted a personal philosophy, such as Pantheism, Taoism, Buddhism, or other such system of philosophy as their core belief system. Besides, a Sorcerer can be either an agnostic or atheist since the focus is on elevating and honing one's personal, magical techniques and successes.
Q: Isn't Sorcery evil?
A: No more so than standard Magick as practiced by countless adepts and occultists. The techniques of Sorcery can be a little unsettling. While primitive forms of blood letting are practiced at the edges by the fringe element, pure Sorcery is learning and applying the art of getting what you want out of life. Some traditions have a misguided belief which are a holdover from the Theosophy-Blavatsky school of thought where if you wish to work a miracle for yourself, then it is a selfish act and thus selfishness equates with evil.
Q: What then are the aims of Sorcery?
A: There are five principle areas that Sorcerers seek to elevate and these are: Success, Peace, Happiness, Prosperity and Love. To expand these qualities in your life will reflect on the greater whole of human consciousness. When the Microcosm is more in harmony within itself, then the Macrocosm will be a better place for all and not just the one. There are times, however, when a Sorcerer must act upon the fabric of the Macrocosm for a reason be it personal or impersonal. These instances are rare and when they do occur, the quick application of potent Sorcery is useful much like a syringe of medicine to a hapless victim of some illness. First and foremost a Sorcerer is concerned with helping themselves. This is not an evil choice mind you because once an individual Sorcerer reaches a stage where s/he is secure in their own person and are happy with the level of achievement they've reached, they can look about them to help elevate others as well.
Q: Does Sorcery have ethical considerations?
A: Not to the extent that we Sorcerers live by a strict code of ethics. Most Sorcerers apply situational ethics to every situation. This is more befitting our beliefs rather than having a 'moral code' or some ethical commandment wherein one's practices can become stymied.
Q: Do Sorcerers believe in Karma?
A: We don't believe in 'karma' which is an eastern construct that is highly dangerous as it can cause stagnation within an individual which can result in dire consequences from inaction to the rest of his or her macrocosmic sphere of influence. This stagnation is a result of 'fear to do anything to help oneself' because one might anger the illusory "Lords of Karma". What we do try to live by is the universal golden rule of "Do unto others as they have done unto you". Thus this means if someone does evil unto you, then do evil in return to them with spite & malice.
Q: Since Sorcerers don't believe in Karma and have no set ethical code, do they cast curses and hexes at will?
A: Not indiscriminately they don't. No one likes a bully especially another Sorcerer. It is not wise for you to go around hexing and cursing innocents as you'll soon be found out by another Sorcerer who may make you their hobby! Hexings and Cursings are done by Sorcerers yes, however, these Sorceries aren't performed without thought behind it.
Q: Sorcery sounds like pretty scary stuff, is it?
A: It can be yet such is not the norm. There is much normal work to be done for things like Uncrossings, Jinx Removing, Healing, Prosperity, Fertility, Protection, and more. Those who focus solely on doing evil usually end up on the wrong side of things.
Q: Are Chaos Sorcerers the same as what you're describing?
A: Up till now, all I've been focusing on are the philosophical aspects of Sorcery. The techniques are different. A Chaos Sorcerer's ritual includes making up a personalized sigil and then implanting that sigil in a Psychonaut fashion. This means Chaos Sorcerers primarily use Psychology as their tool of choice.
Whereas my brand of Sorcery involves summoning living spirits, talking with the dead, Divination, saints, angels, demons, making/using potions, and much more.
Q: What is meant by 'old fashioned' Sorcery?
A: This kind of Sorcery makes use of what is called 'focal points' (one's point of focus). A focal point is any physical object such as candles, herbs, rocks, crystals, etc. The focal point is impregnated with the desire of the practitioner and then charged and then left to continue working. Most focal points are considered to be akin to a capacitor that keeps charging and unloading its current of energy. A Sorcerer with an old fashioned bent will see the usefulness of Magical concoctions and potions such as the legendary Double XX or Horn of Plenty incenses, oils and powders, as well as the efficacy of customized group rituals and spells performed to assist an individual in some goal or fashion. The potency is there in the mindset as previously conditioned to action, then action taken while the 'iron is hot', so to speak.
Q: But what if I don't believe in Sorcery to begin with?
A: Then as a practitioner, you have already defeated yourself before you've begun. It is not my job to make you understand that. If you do not believe in Sorcery, then pray tell WHY investigate it at all?
Q: What if my target or victim doesn't believe in Sorcery but I do; will my Magic work then?
A: Of course! Those who eschew Magic or the Occult only condemn themselves to ignorance and these people are indeed the easiest to work on both psychically and Magically. This is because they will have no wards in place and will not take time to work any counter-magics. Their dis-belief opens them up to full vampirization if you will. Spells work best on these people rather than even a neophyte of Sorcery.
Q: You've mentioned the term 'Magic' but isn't that the same as "Magick" with a "k"?
A: No. 'Magic' is pure Thaumaturgy; 'Magick' is a some new age thing lodge magicKians made up in the late 1800's in order to differentiate themselves from stage entertainers. Which was wholly unnecessary since there two already two common terms in use at that time, Prestidigitation (sleight of hand) and Ledgerdemain (stage magic). Yet today so-called lodge magicKians still feel the need to use the K in Magic. Go figure.
Q: I always thought 'Magic' was Houdini or Copperfield stage magic?
A: Incorrect. These charlatans have belligerently stolen our terminology for their silly tricks and showmanship. Actually what they do is called 'prestidigitation' or in other words 'sleight-of-hand'. Tricks. Parlor games also called 'ledgermain'. In Medeival times, such were known as 'jugglers'.
Q: Can Sorcery be integrated into my Wiccan system?
A: The techniques of Sorcery can, however, Wicca's religious ethic's have a problem with being able to work Thaumaturgy unequivocally. Otherwise yes Sorcery can be practiced within your system as it is a series of techniques.
Q: How does one become a Sorcerer?
A: It is a difficult path to follow and I've found it more difficult than most Neo-Pagan paths out there. One of the first steps is to make a life goal for yourself. This goal should be something material and attainable but just out of reach like a new, affordable to your salary and NOT a career in aeronautics or a home in Hawaii if your personage is not capable to obtain it. Take some immediate steps to plan out a spell or ritual to obtain that goal then do the ritual/spell. Now that you've accomplished some minor thing, allow yourself time to practice.
Q: How often should I practice?
A: As often as you feel you need to until you obtain your chosen goal.
Q: Why the importance of goals?
A: Without goals, life is both dull and boring and you have no way of measuring your progress in this life. "What can be measured, can be improved."
Q: What should I practice first?
A: Read through this website. There are some articles and essays which give some specific instructions that are, albeit, basic in nature, but with time spent practicing them and honing your Psychic skills, they will become formally potent indeed! Work to develop your mind first. Breathing exercises help to strengthen the flow of oxygen to the brain and central nervous system. Work on honing your visualization skills and energy flow abilities so that when your concentrate on a goal, you will be able to pour a full fluid force of energy deep into it and then on to manifestation on the material plane.
Q: What's next?
A: Mastering of the Magical Elements which are the building block to the Macrocosm. In my book, Pragmatic Magics (www.hulu.com) I give specific techniques on how to work with the elemental energies. The Sorcerer who doesn't know how to manipulate Magical Elements is no Sorcerer at all. This doesn't mean the physical aspects of the elements such as a tornado or earthquake but rather the archetypes behind these forces. Eventually you should be able to help a storm blow by your home simply by communicating with the Elementals of Air a.k.a. Sylphs. Next, study the formula of Magic which is M=ICV(d). "M" equals Magic; "I" equals Imagination - the ability to pull ideas from the formless void; "C" equals Concentration - the ability to lock on and focus on one thing intently; "V" equals Visualization - the ability to see in full detail and vivid display within the mind's eye; "d" equals desire - the intense longing for something. Of the equation, desire is the most important as it is the fuel for the rest of the equation but without the other parts thrown in your desire can become warped and shifted beyond all recognition.
Q: What kinds of books should I study and practice from?
A: Esoterically I'd recommend my The Basics Of Metaphysical Empowerment to start off with. This will give you a firm and solid foundation from which to work from. Next I'd get a copy of my UpStart: A Beginner's Manual In Sorcery and then move on into learning to work with potions by getting my Moloch's Guide To Using Sorcery Formulas and when you're ready to step up into the big leagues, then you'll want to get my forthcoming Moloch's Sorcery Course. Note all of the forgoing books are available from www.hulu.com.
Q: So I should forget Magical theory entirely?
A: No! But why spend hundreds of dollars on occult books from mainstream "authorities" who only allude to great powers and the like when you can buy one or two of them for their hypothesis and then obtain the spell books or "cookbooks" as they're called and start making your life better? Remember in-action can result in a stagnant condition and stagnation is another form of death.
Q: Do I need to invest a lot of time in making or finding suitable tools?
A: No. Sorcerers usually only have a Power Bag - a Gris-Gris bag filled with power items and some relics to link it to you; a Power or Sorcerer's Staff - to be used in place of a Wiccan's Athame, a Ceremonial Magickian's Sword and Goetiac Magician's Wand; a good Tarot Deck - to be used to help you divine the future trends and to help in meditational practices through the use of its archetypal symbolism. The Tarot Deck will probably be the only cost involved if you make your own Power Bag and staff. Some Sorcerers tend to use a fortune telling deck in leiu of the Tarot deck as the answers gained are much clearer and less ambiguous.
Q: Where can I meet other Sorcerers?
A: Well Sorcerers are difficult people to find and once you do find them, they normally won't be as open about their affairs. They tend to be subtle and adept at changing the topic when it comes to their personal metaphysical beliefs. If that sounds vague, then I've succeeded in making my point. This may not indicate that a Sorcerer has anything to hide however most Sorcerers are too busy working on their projects to dally around seeking counsel with others. We occasionally come across another out there and yes we do talk shop and share ideas.
Q: Are there 'covens' of Sorcerers?
A: Unlikely since most, not all, Sorcerers are lone-wolves. Their egos usually don't mesh well with others and most don't like to diminish their power by giving in to one sole leader in a grouping. However I've known some Sorcerers who've banded together for a common cause from time to time. This banding doesn't last as it isn't supposed to. Sometimes the mind of a Sorcerer is like a gunslinger who comes to town, finds trouble, cleans it up and leaves. Other times they are so damn obnoxious that no two can work together due to differences in how things should be done and clashing of personal attitudes. Since they are usually quiet and to themselves, they are potent enemies for those who lurk out there causing trouble. Sorcerers will also police themselves. If they find another Sorcerer going overboard and playing in to the fears of innocents, believe me when I say that the antagonizer will be dealt with in a quick and dirty fashion via Sorcery!
Q: Is Sorcery more powerful than Wicca or Ceremonial Magick?
A: Not more powerful since the power lies within the mind and desires of the individual practitioner. There have been cases of one lone Sorcerer taking down a whole group of Ceremonial Magickians and there have been cases where this has happened to a Coven of Wiccans as well. But is it commonplace? I sincerely doubt it unless either of these two groups have over-stepped their boundaries. Consequently a group of highly trained practitioners of another system can certainly defeat one lone Sorcerer but that group better be well oiled and confident else a magical war could end up getting quite messy with a pissed off Sorcerer! One final thought on this is that where the Ceremonial Magickian and Wiccan will most likely believe in the eastern concept of Karma and thus will worry about casting hexes and curses whereas the Sorcerer does not buy into Karma and thus s/he will not pull his Magical punches but rather most likely go for the jugular so-to-speak.
Q: Are Sorcerers all powerful?
A: Only within the confines of their Microcosm and even then, with the way the Macrocosm affects us each, the illusion of Godhood suffers immeasurably. Even one as emboldened as Crowley, whose Magical skills were quite potent for a Ceremonial Magickian, had limitations. Godhood is not a desired result as then challenge of Life is gone. We survive for the opportunity to struggle ever higher on the evolutionary scale not to dominate it completely. Once our species does that, then we are totally doomed.
Q: Do Sorcerers have a patron Deity?
A: Not one in particular. When I've encountered other practitioners of Sorcery, what I've found is that most have chosen a deity of the crossroads such as Hecate, Hermes, Mannan Mac Lir, Heimdal, Mercury or Kokopeli. But choosing a patron deity is a personal decision to make and there are no hard and fast rules. Essentially the role of a Sorcerer and his deity is different than God & Worshipper, but rather as Master & Servant. Not slave, mind you but one who offers up to the divinity and thus receives power from the divine to use when necessary. Then again there are Sorcerers I know who'd never think of calling upon a deity as that is 'beneath' their dignity. They bow their knee to no one and refuse to offer their services to anything other than themselves. Fine. That's okay too. Like Burger King, you can 'have it your way'.
Q: Isn't Sorcery really about power trips?
A: For some perhaps but for the majority a definite no. The Wiccan and Ceremonial Magickian may be more concerned with the elevation of the soul into divinity so they do not have to reincarnate again, but the Sorcerer seeks balance.
Q: Why balance?
A: Well as Sorcerers we are pantheists, which means that we are not separate from the Infinite or Divine. Essentially we are already spiritual beings to begin with and we need to merely balance out our natures. We can accomplish this by affecting our world around us as well as the universe which is within us. We balance ourselves by treading lightly upon the fabric of our world. When we see that it is time to heal someone, we thus take the initiative and heal the person but when it is time to hex someone, we perform that as well. We also seek to touch our inner natures by dredging up that which is no longer necessary to us and then purging ourselves from its grasp.
Q: How do I find a teacher who can guide me in Sorcery?
A: The best teachers are the Spirits themselves! It is said that a prospective student can go bare ass naked into the wilderness and after a long period in solitude, can return a full fledged Sorcerer. The Spirits can teach you all that you will need to know. In fact, in many Haitian Voodoun Societies, the initiate is left alone in the Houmfort (temple) for a long time, usually a week or more, and the Spirits instruct him/her in their mysteries. What happens is that the student is ready for the teacher and demonstrates this to the Spirits by subjecting themselves to the rigors of solitude and long periods of meditation and silence. This opens up the initiate's psyche faster than anything else can. Human teachers are around, as I myself have taught in the past, but for the most part we are inferior to the age old wisdom and knowledge that the Spirits have at their disposal. Seek the Spirits with a good heart and they will guide you in all that you need to know. ;)