“Magick is the art and science of causing changes in nature in conformity with the Will. “

– Aleister Crowley.


My daughter and I were discussing Magic the other day.

“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 how it works, things just seem to happen.”

“But how?”

“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 kind of a 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 unseen currents and patterns that shape our lives, and focused their Will to make things happen. No need at all for lengthy ceremonies or all that Tantric sex stuff. Unless you felt it helped create the right mood.

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.


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 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 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 20cent piece


When I went to bed that night I made sure my last thought was the 20cent 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 20cent-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.

The next morning I was awoken by a loud, cheerful knocking on my door. And when I open it, there on my doorstep is my old, long-lost lunatic friend Stuart, with a scowling black cat under his arm.


To understand 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. He is at heart a stone 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.

Well the long years passed and we drifted apart, following our different destinies. But 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 he always managed to track me down. Then 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.

“,” 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!

“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 20cent piece produced thereof?


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.


Left: the magic coin. Right:standard 20cent 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 result, and so on that happy note I ended my lesson on Magic.



The Reverend Hellfire is renowned Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

He could have ruled the world but he’s a very lazy man.


~ by reverendhellfire on May 13, 2012.

13 Responses to “THE POWERS OF THE MIND”

  1. A delightful story. Your daughter ended in the same position relative to magic as the rest of us. And you did sort of gain two bob!

    • Yeah it’s a bit of a shaggy dog story but nontheless I think it teaches a valuable lesson about the magic Arts. And yes, I did make my “two bob” out of it after all.
      I seem to recall Nero wasted a fair bit of time and resources looking for buried treasure on the basis of some lunatics dream.

  2. Great read. and a lovely story, thanks for sharing, Bless.

  3. Great Stuff,love to see this & others in a book

  4. Reblogged this on galaxybureau.

  5. fnord

  6. Hello just stopped by to say I have nominated you you for the ‘A Lovely Blog Award’. I have enjoyed stopping by and reading your words – and thought I’d let the blogging world know they should also visit your pages for a good read! Part of being nominated is passing on the nomination to other people – visit my page here to see if you want to take part in this award:

    • Thanks for your nomination.
      I’m actually a bit hesitant about awards, but I shall check out your site and see what its all about.
      Again, thanks for the thought, its appreciated

      • I know what ya mean – the blogger awards are really more like blogger chain-mails. It is one method of directing traffic – and isn’t necessarily the method of choice 🙂

      • Yes you put it exactly right. These blogger awards do tend towards being chain-letters.
        Personally I find it more rewarding when someone reblogs or subscribes to be a follower. I in turn return their loyalty by visiting their sites regularly to see what they’re up to.
        As to “directing traffic” to your sites, yes we all want more readers and the best way is to read others stuff and see whats out there, but some peoples behaviour is a bit on the spam side.
        For example, not naming names, people who assiduously visit every site they can & check the “like” button without actually reading the post in question in a shallow and manipulative attempt to drive more traffic to their site.
        Its a tempting tactic but we are above that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: