THE POWER OF THE MIND (Redux in Lux)
“Magick is the art and science of causing changes in Nature
in conformity with the Will. “
– Aleister Crowley.
My young daughter and I had been discussing Magic.
“But is it real?”, she asked. “Well.. yes”, I replied, “but it’s not like in the movies. Sparks don’t shoot out of people’s eyes just because they mutter a couple of words in Latin like with Harry Potter. Magic is generally more subtle in its’ action, when it works right, well.. things just seem to happen.”
“O.K.”, I said, “I will tell you a True Story about the time I proved that there is indeed Magic and then Dear Daughter,
I will show you the proof.”
So I told her the tale of how, long ago, I had come across a book that was a kind of training manual on Magic.
Be reassured, gentle readers, that the book was no ghastly, blood stained Grimoire or tedious medieval treatise on elaborate ceremonial conjurations. It was in fact more of a kind of Sixties Pop version of modern Crowley style techniques mixed with a bit of Tim Leary style psycho-babble. I can’t recall the title now, but one of the authors was that old psychedelic prankster, Robert Anton Wilson, he of Illuminatus infamy.
Basically, the book proposed that we live in a kind of Plastic Universe that could be shaped by your Will. Magic was a kind of concentrated prayer. The New Age Magician simply tuned into the Great Unseen Currents and Patterns that shape our lives, and focused their Will to make things happen. No need for lengthy ceremonies or all that Tantric Sex stuff. Unless you felt it helped create the right mood, of course.
The book spruiked a New Age philosophy of modern Magic, where through training you evolved to Higher Levels of Consciousness, accessing your untapped human potential, your mysterious powers of the mind, etc, etc. It took a “retool your psyche for the Millennium approach”. You know, upgrade the old mental-software routine.
The Rev unleashes his awesome Powers!
Now at the end of each chapter were training exercises. One chapter had a training exercise entitled: “Making Money Appear”. (Yes, for all their New Age rhetoric these modern Magicians’ preoccupations were proving somewhat medieval! Just like all those old grimoires obsessed with finding buried treasure. Poor old Magic, they talk about consciousness-raising but all they really want from you is Money, Sex and Power.
(Oh, and the death of their Enemies.)
Anyways, the Exercise in question advocated that you start small, by mastering the Art of making nickels or dimes appear. You commence by concentrating on the coin in question. Memorise its appearance. Imagine coins appearing. You repeat little reinforcing mantra‘s like “Dimes are everywhere” or “I will keep picking up change” Do a drawing and pin it on the wall. Then you start consciously looking for them to appear while your walking around. Etc., etc..
Apparently this practice will lead to coins mysteriously coming into your life. The book’s authors affirmed you’d start finding money everywhere.
What the hey! I wasn’t doing anything else important at the time so I thought I’d give it a go.
Since I live in Australia it seemed to be stretching the odds somewhat to be looking for dimes so I substituted the local
20 cent piece, (“two bob” in the old currency). Its design was simple and familiar thus easy to memorize; a silver circle with a portrait of Queen Liz II on one side, with the year and some lettering around the edges, and on the other side a swimming Platypus with the number 20.
The Australian 20 cent piece
When I went to bed that night I made sure my last thought was the 20 cent piece. When I woke up there was a note to remind me. I started the day with a focused meditation session on the subject. I repeated my mantras over breakfast. I pinned 20-cent-finding-affirmations on the mirror and walls. When I went out I walked everywhere, ever alert for the presence of 20 cent pieces. When I went to the shop I looked for them in my change.
At the end of a long day I went to bed, grumpy and dissatisfied. I hadn’t acquired a single 20 cent piece the whole day. Be damned, I thought as I fell asleep, if I waste anymore time on this gibberish.
Early next morning, I was awoken by a loud, cheerful knocking on my door. When I open it, there on my doorstep is my old, long-lost, lunatic friend Stuart, with a scowling black cat
tucked under his arm.
To grasp the significance of Stuart’s role in this affair, you have to understand that Stuart is an Agent of Chaos. His Life has been different from most folks since he first ate Magic Mushrooms aged 12 and decided to leave school then and there to become a Musician. He has never had a straight job in his life but has somehow always managed to survive, drifting along, playing his guitar. At heart he is a tie-dyed in the wool Hippy. He is a relic from my long lost, wasted youth when I hung around with the Wild Boys and we Walked Tall with the King!
Ah, crazy, crazy times.
But the long years passed and we drifted apart, following our different destinies. Then, like Banquo’s Ghost, he took to manifesting in my life at irregular intervals. I wouldn’t see him for a year or two then suddenly he’d just appear out of nowhere. Somehow Stuart always managed to track me down. He’d hang around for a week or so and turn my life upside down with manic enthusiasm and crazy projects. Then he’d vanish into the Void again without a goodbye. He was always in the middle of some absurd adventure. One time he turned up in an antique removal van he’d turned into a house. Despite the fact it could only reach 40 mph top speed, he was touring the country in it. Another time he was living in a yacht in the middle of the Brisbane river while he tended a pot crop in the mangroves.
(Of course, I didn’t give my daughter all the details about Stuart I’m giving you, but I gave her enough to get the general gist.)
So, to return to the story, here I am, barely awake, with my old friend the Maniac manifesting on my doorstep for one of his unannounced visits.
And he has Gifts for me. Oh yes, two in fact.
“Here”, he said, passing me the now furiously scrabbling black feline, “this is for you.”
Avoiding the claws I hastily put it on the floor. The cat peered at me doubtfully, then seemed to shrug, and commenced licking its groin. Clearly it had decided to accept ownership of me.
“Er.. ah.. Thanks,” I said.
“Oh, and I thought you’d like this too”, he said reaching into his pocket, “I found it on the way over here.” He fumbled around for a bit but finally pulled out and presented me with, yes, of course, a 20 cent piece!
Behold the actual magic coin!
“Really?!” interrupted my Daughter.
“Yes”, I replied, “really! And I have kept that coin to this day. It’s in that box on the shelf”.
“Can I see it?” she asked.
“Surely”, I replied and opening the box
I held the coin up for her inspection.
“Behold the awesome Magickal Powers of your Father’s Mind!!” I told her.
For a moment she was silent. Then we both burst out laughing.
Why the laughter, you ask, dear reader? Had I not shown her incontrovertible Evidence of the Power of Magic? Did I not hold an actual 20 cent piece produced thereof?
The magic coin, Queen side. Ordinary 20 cent piece on right
Oh it was a 20 cent piece all right, of that there was no doubt, but it was not your average coin. For one thing it was no longer round, but more a kind of irregular, wobbly egg shape. Looked at edgewise, it was bent over like an old man with rheumatism.
On the obverse side you could still see the number 20, but the platypus had been reduced to an ugly smear, mere road kill, which was kind of appropriate considering it had certainly been run over by something.
On the coin’s other side, poor old Queen Liz‘s portrait had been obliterated. Only the letters AUST, and the top of her crown were were legible. It reminded me of how incoming Egyptian Pharaohs used to erase the names and faces of unpopular predecessors from public monuments. Indeed, the coin looked like something you’d dig up on the outskirts of Cairo.
So yes, it was a twenty cent piece, but only just. A bank might still accept it as legal tender but a phone booth or a slot machine wouldn’t.
Magic coin, road kill side & a normal 20 cent piece
I had to admit, as a product of the Powers of the Mind it was spectacularly unimpressive.
One could even say it was impressively unimpressive. Nonetheless it was proof. The manner of its manifestation was clearly Magickal in nature. Yet as recompense for twenty four hours of mental effort, it was pretty poor payback. Perhaps my powers of the mind lacked focus.
Still, my daughter wasn’t entirely disappointed
with the tangible evidence I’d produced,
and so, on that happy note I ended my lesson on Magic.
The Reverend hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,
President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,
and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists
AND the Church of the Universe!
“In a World reduced to statistics,
you will count for Nothing.”