In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Contra “Armchair Magician Syndrome”

Alfred Dedreux: “Pug Dog In An Armchair” (1857)

Introduction

Several weeks ago, I read an article in which the author claims that “armchair magicians” are actually suffering from a “mental illness” that he or she has decided to call “Armchair Magician Syndrome.” I found this extremely offensive and I’ve been trying to write a post explaining why, but it’s taken me about seven re-writes over the past few weeks to find just the right words. This article is ostensibly referring to people who (1) claim to have had certain experiences without actually having them, (2) have no real interest in doing any work to gain such experiences, and (3) offer opinions that are based on their fallacious claims. And as long as the “armchair magicians” we’re discussing fit that particular description exactly, I would agree that they deserve criticism. But there are three reasons as to why I take issue with what the article actually says:

  • Criticism is one thing; concluding that these people are “mentally ill” is quite another.

  • Not everyone who’s called an “armchair magician” (or some equivalent thereof, like “armchair Pagan”) really deserves it.

  • The article expands its definition of “armchair magician” to include things that can even be applied to “legitimate” occultists.

I will now address each of these issues to the very best of my ability, beginning with what I consider to be the most important one.

Trivializing Mental Illness in the Pagan & Occult Communities

Identifying “armchair occultism” as a “mental illness” trivializes those in our community who actually do struggle with real mental illnesses and other disabilities. People in this category are already having a hard enough time finding support from the rest of us as it is. Contrary to what I expected when I first involved myself in Paganism during the 1990s, there are an awful lot of Pagans who are prejudiced and dismissive toward the mentally ill, who refuse to take their struggles seriously, and who think that any Pagan who requires therapy or psychiatric medication is “just not working hard enough.” This is a completely fallacious view that only reinforces the knuckle-headed prejudices of our greater society.

Mental health is very different from physical health, of course, but it’s also very similar in many ways. Sometimes your mind can get sick in the same way that your body can get sick – and when your body gets sick, you go to a doctor and get treatment, right? Well, the same principle should apply when your mind gets sick, too. But most people don’t think of it that way, and this is because our society continues to treat mental illness like it’s either (1) not as bad as it really is or (2) far worse than it really is. But having a mental illness doesn’t make you a chickenshit or a psycho killer; it’s just like getting the flu or suffering an injury, and it happens all the time (even to the “happiest” and “most successful” people). In some cases, mental illness can even have a physical cause that must be treated with medication, demonstrating that the mind and the body are not islands. So whenever someone claims that a person who’s being treated for mental illness should just go off their meds, it’s like telling them, “Oh, you don’t need that insulin; you don’t really have diabetes.”

There are lots of Pagans who have trouble keeping up their ritual work due to things like depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. (There are other reasons why this can happen as well, but I’m limiting this part of the discussion to mental health reasons.) Let’s say there’s a girl named Sally who’s suffering from depression and who feels ashamed because she hasn’t prayed or made any offerings to her Deities for a really long time. Maybe she also suffers from anxiety and is deathly afraid that if she makes an offering to her Deities now, They’ll become angry with her and make something awful happen. This isn’t necessarily true, but when you have anxiety like that, you can convince yourself of almost anything. Such anxiety can also feed your sense of helplessness, which in turn can feed your depression (turning the whole thing into a vicious cycle). Depending on how Sally found herself in this situation, she might need therapy or perhaps even some kind of medication to help her make the positive life changes she needs to get past these issues. Either way, making her feel guilty by calling her an “armchair Pagan” certainly isn’t going to help (and believe me, there are Pagans who would do exactly that).

(Furthermore, I’m not a person who believes that the Gods actually need our offerings to exist. I realize there are some people who think this way, and that many ancient people thought this way as well. But the way I see it, the Gods are perfectly capable of existing without human help; otherwise, They wouldn’t be Gods. For me, making offerings to Their icons is like calling Them up on Skype and inviting Them to dinner; it’s a bonding experience that generates positive juju for both Gods and humans, but neither Gods nor humans will necessarily cease to exist without it. However, even if I’m wrong and the Gods really do need food and energy from us to exist, promoting Sally’s mental health should come first in the example above. Ideally, her spiritual practice will improve as her mental health does; but if this just isn’t possible for some reason, I think the Gods would want Sally to put her own psychological well-being before her spiritual duties – and I don’t really give a damn what anyone else might tell her.)

Now let’s say there’s a girl named Molly who really wants to participate in Pagan group work. But at the coven meetings she attends, she’s repeatedly touched by people in ways that make her feel really uncomfortable. Since this appears to be normal behavior in the coven, she feels too embarrased to say anything. So Molly eventually stops going to the coven meetings altogether, and her coven mates start calling her an “armchair Pagan” who was never really serious about practicing her faith in the first place. For some reason, many Pagans are very “touchy feely” people who never even consider the possibility that maybe the other Pagans they meet don’t like being touched by strangers. (And some are actually total perverts who take full advantage of this situation to feel people up.) I’ve heard lots of stories about people who were subjected to such treatment by their fellow Pagans and who’ve developed serious anxiety issues as a result. Does Molly in this example deserve to be called an “armchair Pagan” because she’s stopped going to her coven meetings? No; she deserves compassion and help, and those who’ve repeatedly violated her personal space deserve to be slapped. (Repeat after me: “Consent culture!”)

Now I don’t like criticizing someone else’s posts (or at least, I prefer not to do so directly), and anyone who’s been following this blog for a while will know that this is probably the first time I’ve ever done it here. But considering that many people who are accused of being “armchair Pagans” actually do suffer from real mental health issues through no fault of their own (as in the examples I just gave, both of which are based on true stories), I think the tone of the article I cited above is entirely inappropriate.

Hostility Toward the Concept of Pagan Laity

I feel there’s also a certain amount of hostility toward the concept of laity in the Pagan community. There’s this attitude that everyone needs to be doing some kind of ritual work (e.g., casting spells, making offerings, attaining direct gnosis of the Gods or the higher Self, etc.) all the time. This, in turn, leads to the idea that anyone who doesn’t do this is somehow “fake” or “insincere.” Personally, I don’t think you should have to practice magic to be a Pagan. I don’t think you even need to worship any Deities or make any offerings. I think you’ll need to practice some kind of magic if you want to be a magician, and I think you must have a close relationship with at least one Deity to be a priest; but all you have to do to be a Pagan is (1) believe that nature is somehow “divine” (whatever you might think that means), (2) actually treat it as such (whatever you might think that entails), and (3) call yourself a Pagan (again, whatever you might think that means). I know there are lots of people out there who really aren’t going to like that statement, but that’s just the way I see it. Not every Pagan is meant to be some kind of superhuman Jedi Master, and it’s about time our community started creating safe spaces for those who aren’t. That’s partly why I applaud groups like the Atheopagans and the Humanistic Pagans (even if I do disagree with them on matters of theology and faith).

I think a big part of the trouble here is that the modern Pagan movement is mostly founded on principles that we’ve inherited from the Greco-Roman mystery cults. This isn’t to say that such principles are “bad” or that they can’t work for small clusters of like-minded Pagans; but they probably aren’t the best for building a stabilized social network. You see, these cults were revolutionary for their time because they required all of their participants to achieve a one-on-one familiarity with the Divine, which was ostensibly achieved only through the rituals these cults prescribed. You literally couldn’t be a member of such a faith without doing any rituals, and this seems to be the way that we generally see things in our modern Pagan culture today. Yet many of these same mystery cults also existed in conflict with the Roman government (and were even violently suppressed in some cases). Whether they meant to do so or not, they alienated their members from the rest of their society (a society that was “pagan,” I might add). They emphasized the individual achievement of private (and unfalsifiable) goals; they weren’t nearly so concerned with uniting a community toward any concrete social goals.

Compare this to the earlier state-sanctioned cults of Egyptian history, for instance, which were controlled by the Pharaohs and their deputized priesthoods. These cults had their flaws as well – just about every religion does – but they worked very differently. Instead of holding their members to a gnostic or magical standard, they reserved all ritualistic responsibilities for their priesthoods; laypeople were expected only to work secular jobs that would sustain the cults and the nation’s economy. As long as the priests took care of their daily rituals in the temples, it didn’t really matter if the laity made offerings at household shrines or not. (Most of them probably did, but that’s beside the point.) In this model, the emphasis was on unifying people to achieve nationwide goals. And while there was precious little room for any concept of “the individual” in Egyptian society, this form of political and religious government helped their civilization to last for well over two millennia.

If we think of ancient Egypt as an organized church (which it essentially was, with the Pharaohs as its popes), we can see that this model is still used in most religions today. Most Catholics, for instance, don’t perform Sunday Masses; but this doesn’t mean they aren’t Catholic. In fact, it’s usually the laypeople who are put in charge of things like church picnics and fundraisers. Performing rituals is the clergy’s job, and supporting the church is the laity’s job. Yet there isn’t much of an equivalent to this idea in modern Paganism, for we’ve been conditioned to think that laity are either useless or non-existent. This is demonstrated by the fact that Pagans who don’t normally engage in ritual work are almost never called “laypeople,” but are more often dismissed as “armchair Pagans” instead. Never mind the fact that these people might have something else valuable to provide for our community, like being excellent bookkeepers or psychiatric counselors. (If they don’t play with Tarot or gaze at crystals or astrally project themselves to far-off worlds, then we just don’t need ’em, right? Never mind the fact that most ancient people never did these things either, which means that most of them were “armchair Pagans” too.)

Think of it this way. I might be a priest of Seth-Typhon; I might know an awful lot about Him; I might have an awful lot of experience working with Him in ritual; and I might have a knack for helping other people I know offline to develop a similar kind of familiarity with Him (provided that this is really what He and they both want). But I’m also a layperson of Ishtar; I know next to nothing about Her aside from what most other people already know; I have very little experience working with Her in ritual; and I don’t know how to help anyone else build a relationship with Her. I believe in the Scarlet Woman of Babylon and I love Her and worship Her dearly, but I hardly ever interact with Her one-on-one at all. I know even less about most other Divinities; I’ve never met Dionysus, Hanuman or Sedna, and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever make a point of doing so. (No disrespect intended toward Them, but I don’t feel like I have to meet every celebrity I like, either.) Does this mean I’m only an “armchair Pagan” when it comes to Ishtar and these other Divinities? If it does, then it also means that every Pagan on Earth is an “armchair Pagan” when it comes to one particular thing or another. My guess, however, is that no one’s going to like that because it’s such an insulting statement. Hence why I think we ought to ditch that term when referring to Pagan laypeople and simply refer to them as “laypeople” instead.

The thing is, there are lots of people out there who might never do a Pagan ritual and who might never even experience a Pagan Deity, but who still believe in Paganism and who would like very much to support our movement(s). Referring to these people as our “allies” is not enough in my opinion, for it still imposes a line of separation that doesn’t really exist in most other religious communities. Sure, some of the more zealous Christians might try to make “holiday” Christians feel like crap, but churches generally don’t close their doors on the latter; they welcome everyone. And that’s what I feel we as Pagans should be doing. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and even Shinto all contain space for people who aren’t actually that religious, but who still consider those faiths to be true and who like to have clergy around when they really need them. I think more of us need to learn that this isn’t being an “armchair Pagan”; it’s just being a normal person. Those of us who actually have time for frequent ritual work – or who are willing to make time for it – are the “unusual” ones. That’s why there’s always been so much fewer of us.

A Lack of Objective Standards in Determining Occult Authenticity

One day in the mid-2000s, I was floating around some online discussion board where I met a Temple of Set member. He wasn’t the first I’d ever spoken to, and he wasn’t a member of the Temple’s priesthood – I believe he was only a I° member – but he was just tickled pink to discover that I considered myself a “Setian” without actually being a Temple member myself. He thought it was absolutely hilarious that I, a “profane” outsider, could be so “deluded” as to think that I had any chance of ever understanding Seth without the Temple’s help. To put it another way, this guy considered me to be an “armchair Setian”…and he was a complete asshole about it, to boot. Nevermind the fact that I had obviously done a lot more homework than he did (i.e., I’d read Herman te Velde, and this guy didn’t even know who that was), and nevermind the powerful experiences I’ve had as a result of my own unique practices. I asked him, “If you think I’m such a poseur, just what do you think about the ancient Setians of Naqada? They were the earliest Setians on record, and they sure as heck weren’t members of your organization. They also didn’t believe in Satan, magical trapezoids, the left-hand path, or trying to become Gods. Their primary concern was successfully digging for gold and keeping their economy going.” And this fellow never got around to answering my question; all he did was skirt the issue and go on about how I’d “understand” if I just got “wise” and joined the Temple of Set.

Now I don’t have anything against the Temple as an institution; in fact, I have quite a lot of respect for ladies and gentlemen like Lilith and Michael Aquino, Don Webb, and Stephen Flowers (even if I disagree with some of their views). I also recognize that this particular individual was not acting as a representative of the Temple. (Plus, I imagine that with that particular attitude, he probably didn’t last very long in the organization.) However, this little episode represents one of my biggest pet peeves about the whole “armchair occultist” thing, which is the fact that many people who use that term are just assholes. They think their own form of occultism is the end-all, say-all of mystical truth and that everyone else is just a poseur, no matter how effective or well-researched their paths might actually be. The other dudes in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were pretty sure that Aleister Crowley was a poseur, and he was equally sure that they were poseurs too. The same thing happened with Kenneth Grant and the rest of the Ordo Templi Orientis. Don’t like something someone else is saying or doing in their occultism? That’s okay, just call them “armchair magicians” and shit all over them; that’s all it takes to make yourself feel better. That’s how grown-ups are supposed to act, right?

The thing is, occultism includes virtually any belief or practice that pertains to something that’s “hidden.” At a general level, this refers to the hidden meanings behind all observable phenomena in nature, including the movements of the planets, the behavior of animals, and the cycles of life and death. It also refers to experiences or knowledge that you can only acquire by joining a particular “club.” For example, believing that there’s something meaningful about your grandfather dying and your daughter being born on the exact same day is an occult belief, while fraternity members having a secret handshake is an occult practice. Occultism is often far more complex than just these two examples, but the point here is that it’s a very poetic and subjective way of understanding the world. While it is the common root of both science (e.g., the development of astronomy from astrology) and religion (e.g., the idea of “Divine Intervention”), it is different from both in that it is non-scientific (being more interested in why phenomena occur rather than how) and non-dogmatic (since it does not have to involve believing in any particular Deities or creeds). As such, occultism is pretty much a “free-for-all” in which absolutely anyone can make up whatever weird shit they want.

Don’t get me wrong; I consider myself an occultist and I believe there is great value to be found in the occult. But this whole thing is incredibly subjective, and one person’s “golden truth” is another person’s “total quackery.” Even someone like Kenneth Grant – who clearly put a great deal of work into his occultism – can be dismissed as a total loon. His devotion to his work is beyond debate, but for those of us who don’t engage in that stuff, some of the stuff he’s written about (e.g., women being molested by gooey “Trans-Plutonian” aliens during his rituals) sounds totally batshit insane. Now it’s one thing if someone claims to be a practitioner of Grant’s magical system but has never actually practiced it at all; then I suppose we’d be justified in calling that person an “armchair Grant follower.” But this attitude I keep seeing of “People who don’t do what I do are poseurs” is just plain stupid. When Aleister Crowley got all high and mighty about so-called “black brothers” (i.e., magicians who choose not to completely ascend the Qabalic Tree of Life), he just made himself sound like a total hypocrite (especially considering that he died as an impoverished, washed-up drug addict). And when Helena Blavatsky derided the Tantric path of Vama Marga as a form of “black magic,” she demonstrated just how little she actually understood about Eastern religions in general (which is ironic given that she made a career for herself as a so-called “expert” on the subject). Sadly, such rampant egotism is an unfortunate consequence of occultism being such a “free-for-all.”

Which brings me back to the article that started me off on this entire subject in the first place. According to the author, any occultist who seeks to draw attention to themselves has “Armchair Magician Syndrome.” Anyone who’s looking for an easy path to self-gratification also has this terrible “illness.” Anyone who moves from one occult group to another has it, too. And anyone whose ego speaks “boastfully about what it has done, even though nothing has changed” has it as well – not to mention anyone who doesn’t “work for any cause where they do not receive validation or honor.” Does this person realize that each and every one of these statements can be applied to almost every big name in the entire history of occultism? Let’s just take Aleister Crowley for example (since he made himself such an easy target). Consider the following:

  • Crowley was a media-whore.

  • He thought of little else aside from gratifying himself.

  • He roamed from one occult project to another constantly, leaving many of them (e.g., the Rite of the Bornless One at the Boleskine House) unfinished.

  • He boasted of his gnostic accomplishments while continuing to be a self-absorbed drug addict until he died.

  • He never willingly participated in anything where he couldn’t aggrandize himself even further.

And while I would certainly agree that Crowley was mentally ill (indeed, I think most people would), I wouldn’t dare call him an “armchair magician.” He accomplished far too much and became far too instrumental in the development of Western alternative religions for him to deserve such a title. The same is true of Blavatsky, Grant, and many other egomaniacal occultists who said and did a lot of really stupid things. Some of these people might have been total narcissists (and perhaps even schizophrenics), but “armchair magicians” they most certainly were not. (And if it seems like I’m being unduly harsh on these people, it’s only because I think the Gods want us to learn from their mistakes.) This is yet another reason why I consider this “Armchair Magician Syndrome” idea to be pretty offensive. If we were to actually accept it, we’d have to conclude that all (or at least most) occultists have this particular “disorder”…and that would be ridiculous. We’d also have to conclude that anyone who’s an egotistical prick is also a useless couch potato, and that’s just blatantly false. (True, self-absorbed narcissists can be really annoying; but Crowley wasn’t what I’d call a “slacker.”)

Conclusion

As I’ve discussed, I find this concept of “Armchair Magician Syndrome” to be shamefully insulting not only to (1) Pagans and occultists who actually are suffering from some form of mental illness, but also (2) Pagan laypeople and (3) pretty much anyone who’s ever been involved in the occult. Personally, I’m sick and tired of seeing holier-than-thou occult gurus talking down to laity, the mentally ill, or even each other. It’s high time our community started emphasizing compassion and understanding over the rampant egotism that has been keeping the Pagan and occult subcultures down for so long.

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22 responses to “Contra “Armchair Magician Syndrome”

  1. katakhanas April 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    What an excellent cri de coeur of a post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian April 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you. It took forever to write.

      Like

      • David Sherman January 20, 2016 at 12:06 am

        THANK YOU! That “Armchair Magician” article actually had me doubting myself. But I don’t really need to be raising Circles all the time to be a good Pagan. I am. I believe. I KNOW!

        Liked by 1 person

      • G. B. Marian January 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        “Good Pagan” is such a subjective term. No, I don’t think you have to raise circles all the time. If you don’t feel a need to do that, then don’t worry about it. Not everyone needs to be a witch or a high priest or an ipsissimus or whatever, and there’s nothing wrong with just being a Pagan at heart either.

        Like

  2. Laine DeLaney April 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve been dealing with the disrespect for laity in Heathenry lately. Some poor person asked what books to start reading and she was given a warning that she had to start with scholarly work before “tainting” her knowledge by reading beginner’s books. The argument that not everyone is a scholar or cut out to be a Gydia fell on deaf ears – all beginners must start with the Eddas and (ugh) Tacitus.

    If we’re going to develop established practices and religions we’re going to need to get past this insane insistence that every member needs to be a self-reliant guru. Some people aren’t cut out for it, some people don’t have the time, and some people just want to make connection with the divine and go on with their lives.

    It all boils down to the “My Way Is The Only Way” attitude, of course, and that is a sadly prevalent human problem, so I just try to present good counterarguments and move on, agreeing to disagree.

    Liked by 2 people

    • caelesti April 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you for speaking out against that nonsense! (I’ve also heard people say that religion, atheism and particular political ideologies are mental illnesses!) I struggle with being an armchair Pagan myself- my spiritual practice is mainly thinking and writing- but also doing work in my communities. I have trouble finding motivation to do solitary work, because I am an extrovert.
      Re: Laine- Heathens confuse me. They can be hostile to the idea of clergy- hostile to people who they think “only read books” or hostile to people who don’t read enough/the right books. They claim that they want their religion to grow but sure don’t act that way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • G. B. Marian April 16, 2015 at 7:54 pm

        Hi caelesti, thank you for your visit. You know, it’s funny; when I first started out in Paganism, I really wanted to become a priest one day. Well now I sometimes wish I could just be a layperson!

        Anyway, I think you are just fine the way you are, and I look forward to a day when the term “armchair Pagan” won’t be used anymore. I’m not sure how to get there, but the fact that so many people are starting to get tired of all the snobbery is a very good sign.

        Like

    • roseladenmagdalene April 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      IMO the stupid “everyone needs to be a scholar” mentality is something that’s invasive in all corners of the Pagan/Polytheist community. I’ve even seen this attitude pop up in Wiccan/Eclectic Pagan circles. Usually as smug comments about people who “only read those books with the crescent moon on the spine.”

      This type of snobbery needs to go.

      Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian April 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      I agree Laine, and thank you for your comment. I think we will enjoy much more success as a community if we can just learn to embrace the idea of laity. Expecting everyone to be gurus is just an unrealistic and unfair expectation, and it only leads to further frustration for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Charles April 16, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    G.B. Marian, I am quite familiar with the author of the ” armchair magicians syndrome” article that you’ve so conveniently & might I add INAPPROPRIATELY quote, not at any time in the original post were any disparaging remarks made regarding ANYONE who may be suffering from mental illnesses ie.” Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t like to remember or learn anything new. For some people memory is hard to come by, so it is easy to use as an excuse when certain work comes to the forefront. There have been many people who are physically handicapped that overcome such limitations by hard work and effort. Yet, when it comes time to remember incantations, perform meditation, and etc, many people would rather spend the time that could be put into study by surfing the internet and posting their opinions on Facebook, or using some other aspect of social media. There is nothing wrong with the use of these things, except when what we have dedicated ourselves to starts lagging. They have literally become slaves of their own emotions. It is due to such reasons that they can never understand that despite the amount of techniques learned, they are still victims of the same problems year after year”. In fact dear sir the efforts of those who are handicapped either mentally or physically are lauded. I could go on discrediting EVERYTHING in your post, however I will do one better & provide the link to the original post for the readers of your blog to read & to decide for themselves.
    https://cultofnyarzir.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/the-armchair.

    Like

    • G. B. Marian April 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Hello there Charles,

      G.B. Marian, I am quite familiar with the author of the ” armchair magicians syndrome” article that you’ve so conveniently & might I add INAPPROPRIATELY quote, not at any time in the original post were any disparaging remarks made regarding ANYONE who may be suffering from mental illnesses ie.”

      The author’s post uses quite a lot of trigger language. Consider the title itself: “The Armchair Magician: The Occult World’s Fastest Growing Mental Disorder.” As someone who actually knows several people who have been diagnosed with REAL mental illnesses by REAL mental health experts, I find that kind of language disgusting and offensive. In my opinion, the fact that the article even uses such language in the first place is disparaging enough. I’ve already explained my reasons as to why I think this is inappropriate, and if you disagree with them, fine. But I don’t see how I’ve “inappropriately” quoted anything. Nothing you’ve stated here invalidates anything I’ve said above.

      Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t like to remember or learn anything new. For some people memory is hard to come by, so it is easy to use as an excuse when certain work comes to the forefront. There have been many people who are physically handicapped that overcome such limitations by hard work and effort. Yet, when it comes time to remember incantations, perform meditation, and etc, many people would rather spend the time that could be put into study by surfing the internet and posting their opinions on Facebook, or using some other aspect of social media. There is nothing wrong with the use of these things, except when what we have dedicated ourselves to starts lagging. They have literally become slaves of their own emotions. It is due to such reasons that they can never understand that despite the amount of techniques learned, they are still victims of the same problems year after year”. In fact dear sir the efforts of those who are handicapped either mentally or physically are lauded.

      I’ve already conceded that there are situations in which the term “armchair magician/occultist/Pagan/whatever” seems appropriate enough. To quote myself:

      “This article is ostensibly referring to people who (1) claim to have had certain experiences without actually having them, (2) have no real interest in doing any work to gain such experiences, and (3) offer opinions that are based on their fallacious claims. And as long as the “armchair magicians” we’re discussing fit that particular description exactly, I would agree that they deserve criticism.”

      And if the original article had left it at that, I wouldn’t have had any problems with it (aside from my own personal distaste for the pejorative “armchair” label). My issue here is that the article then goes on to say and/or insinuate quite a bit more than that. Perhaps this was unintentional on the author’s part, but it still needed to be addressed.

      I could go on discrediting EVERYTHING in your post, however I will do one better & provide the link to the original post for the readers of your blog to read & to decide for themselves.

      I already included a link to the article in the very first paragraph above, so if you think I’m trying to keep anyone from seeing the original post, you’re mistaken. You’ll notice that THIS post pinged back to the original at exactly 1:49 pm today, which was roughly 6 hours ago as of this writing. I’m more than happy to let you comment here if you want to, but the second it becomes disrespectful, you’re out.

      Like

  4. ubenmaat April 17, 2015 at 10:54 am

    You are brilliant.

    Like

  5. Vincent Piazza August 30, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Just stumbled upon this one my friend, G.B. Marian this is fantastically well written and I agree with all you have said here, bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Leroy Babbage August 30, 2015 at 8:43 am

    While I agree it isn’t a mental illness, I find your article reeks of SJW sentiments. I feel the original article is likely only offensive to those which the term “armchair magician” applies.

    Set doesn’t care about trigger warnings. Dismantling triggers is often what the work is about.

    Like

    • G. B. Marian August 30, 2015 at 10:58 am

      That may be categorically “true” from a Temple of Set perspective, to which you evidently adhere; but the folks in your organization are not the only people who interact with Big Red, and you never have been. Your standards do not apply to everyone else who interacts with Him, and His standards do not apply to everyone in the entire Occult/Pagan spectrum. This post is addressing issues that effect everyone in that spectrum, not just companions of Seth; so while I think your little platitude here is rather cute, it seems especially needless in context.

      Like

  7. davidgnez September 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Very valid and well thought out post! Made me examine some of my past attitudes….

    Like

  8. d0gb0y February 3, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Absolutely agree wholeheartedly, one does not have to practice magic (however it may be spelled) in order to be pagan, nor does one have to make daily, weekly, monthly or dare I say yearly offerings. Faith even in spiritual paths varies from individual to individual, honestly isn’t that what it is about? Finally a septic is as a septic does … I’ve seen folk do things with no pomp, no ritual other than will and intent, I have also seen it done full ritual. In the end if it works it works. All that matters is what you personally know and have the conviction to believe. Let your experiences be your guide, a septic can always find a reason why your wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brycon December 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you for writing this. It made me realize why I am waiting in in all my laity to practice the complex rituals presented in my books. I have school to attend to and work with currently, so I have put witchcraft studies and practices aside. If not for this article I probably would have went out to the local field and did something foolish, like bring a knife and stick and start performing some quickly sprawled out illegitimate ritual. Thanks for showing me why I wait to do such things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian December 31, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      I’m glad this article continues to help some of the people who read it. Thank you very much for visiting, and I wish you success in your studies at school! Don’t worry, witchcraft will still be waiting for you when you’re ready.

      Like

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