Soapbox: Once a week I pay homage to the ancestors, but I have a pretty loose definition of these. I don’t just include relatives, but also pets, friends who have passed beyond, and even a few inspirational figures.
Of the friends who are dancing jigs amongst the stars or in Valhalla or whatnot, a lot of them were magicians who engaged in what I call unsafe practices or what I sometimes describe as not practicing “clean.”
The list of things I consider unsafe is lengthy and controversial, but they include traffic with demons and objects contaminated by the same. (As per Al Biruni, demons cast rays.)
Most of these friends died young. The causes of death were sometimes fairly ordinary, sometimes pretty exotic, yet never something like spontaneous human combustion. I would not make calls to their spirits if I did not think they were remarkably good and pretty capable persons, but ones whose reach exceeded their grasp– and perhaps met the dooms akin to Faust or Solomon.
I also know many living practitioners whose practices have floundered for decades, ever trying to find the right combination of factors to turn their enterprises into great successes but mysteriously blind to certain things. I often discover these individuals rely on demons or engage in unsafe, unclean practices. I wish them the best, but do not wish to work with them.
I do not come at this attitude out of fear or prejudice for religious reasons. I have abundant experience.
My first two magical acts were demon summonings, the second of which resulted in a full apparition that was tangible and in front of two witnesses. Full apparition is quite rare. I will not identify the entity but merely say it was one of the most powerful of its kind.
I spent the next ten years trying to undo the damage resulting of having a horrific demonic infestation in my own home, because nothing would make it go away. I learned several traditions of magic between 1981 and 1993 because it was necessary for my own survival. Nobody who I spoke to during this period could figure out how to fix this; I had to do it all myself. So much for the experts.
When the demon was finally banished, upon departing it told me that it hadn’t encountered anyone as tough as me in a very, very long time (presumably centuries or millennia.) Then again, demons are liars. Since then, a lot of stuff which ought to have killed me has mostly rolled off.
Not quite learning my lesson, I participated in a large group magical ritual which evoked a powerful demon in Chicago. Most of the people actively participating in this ritual were damaged horribly by the experience; two of which ultimately died and a third may well have suffered a fate worse than death. (I honor the two as ancestors.) I had been promised that everyone involved was an expert in their specialty of magic and nothing could go wrong. This was the second domino to fall which led to my extreme skepticism regarding the purported competence of occult community’s leadership and experts.
Still not learning my lesson, a close friend and colleague taught me a safer version of practicing the Goetia, and I spent much of the following year attempting to summon the vast majority of demons in that book. Results were strong, but after a working with a Solar demon a visit to my eye doctor informed me that my corneas had become perforated and were on the verge of bursting and permanently blinding me. Apparently the Solar demon had penetrated the magical circle (which they most definitely can do if they’re inclined) and decided to scratch my eyes out. He nearly succeeded.
This ended my career as a demon-summoner. I learned my lesson at that point. I concluded that demonic magic could not be conducted safely, that magic circles were easily penetrable, and that once a demon is called upon it basically runs the show and only lets the magician believe he’s in control. Because demons see arrogance both as a vulnerability and a food source. They encourage it through their behavior with magicians.
Demons did provide me boons. Every last one of them were poisoned or perverted in some capacity so that I ultimately wished I’d never asked for them. Ever heard of the Monkey’s Paw? Demons can no more do good than a fire elemental can serve you a nice glass of iced tea. It is against their principal nature. Even when used as weapons, the victory is inevitably pyrrhic.
Sometime later I met a young woman who claimed to have a demonic familiar of great power. I did not believe her. She decided to prove me wrong. One morning I woke up and the entity was in my head for about 24 hours. I learned more about how demons behave and think from that terrible experience than all of my prior years of experimentation. Three friends got together and helped rid me of the unpleasant passenger.
Nowadays my only interactions with demons are exorcisms, or unbinding demons attached to sorcerers so they get devoured by their own supposed servitors. (They do kind of ask for it.)
I have so many more stories to tell about the follies of my friends. Nearly everyone who engages in unsafe practices gets hurt.
Frequently, people close to them die as well. That’s one of the things the books don’t tell you. If you act like a moron, innocents are actually more likely to get hurt. I was always puzzled why my pets died so horribly, until I realized the connection.
When it comes to my own practice, I’m actually a bit of a daredevil when it comes to experimentation. At the same time, I know that fire will burn my fingers pretty reliably the fourth or fifth time I’ve tried to touch a bonfire, and see no benefit in any further tests.
I see no value in demonic work, except the voyeuristic kick of watching my worst enemies become damaged by demonic parasitism and beguilement while thinking they’re great successes. The schadenfreude factor is immense.
What I do know is that my magic has become in every way superior since I learned that the real power does not emanate from spirits of disobedience and corruption.
If you are an active proponent of demonic magic, I do not believe you are evil or wicked or whatever. You’re probably a nice guy. Just a little too trusting, a little too optimistic. You are a victim. You have been tricked into swallowing tapeworms to lose weight, to drink radium-laced beverages to make your complexion more brilliant, arsenic for greater pallor, and things of these kinds.
The compassionate side of me wishes you would stop, to save yourself and your loved ones some heartbreak.
The misanthropic side of me hopes you hurry up and finish the inevitable, because I plan on using you as a negative example. And if you’re particularly nice, adding you to my list of “ancestors.”
I do hope that there will come a day that demonic magic will be considered obsolete, and an ugly phase magic had to mature its way out of. I hope to further things in this direction as best as I am able.
I should also mention I have a long track history of encountering magicians who scoff at these things I say, and then they come around to my point of view after a catastrophe of some kind– often with me applying bandages and mopping up the blood. Sometimes quite literally.
In any case, I don’t talk about this every day but these are my strong opinions.
I don’t usually personalize these things. I can get along with you just fine, even while potentially believing you’re completely and awfully wrong.
If you strongly disagree enough to find my views offensive however, do whatever you need to. I believe it is unethical to conceal my viewpoint on this matter, but rude to be a pest about it.