I had a student write me recently about the interesting synchronicities and “effects” of a recent talisman. I commended them, but noted that the real test would be when they did a talisman and got no discernable effect.
This reminded me of a scene from the movie, “Little Big Man” and to quote Chief Daniel George, “sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t”
This is not what some clients want to hear. They want guaranteed results, they want to be SAVED! They are only putting up with these silly shenanigans because they’ve already tried all of the conventional means and this is their last chance. If it doesn’t work 100% of the time, instantly giving everything they want, the method, the mage and the magic itself are clearly bogus.
It’s not particularly good for sales, but if you are going to practice magic, get used to it, it won’t always work, at least not always as you expect.
Ok, obviously if one is an atheistic/materialist no magic is going to work, or if it does it is solely psychosomatic, the “placebo effect”. We can go a bit further and based magic solely on belief. This fits nicely with the New Age affirmation style, “if you just want something badly enough you can have anything” Oh, really?
But if we’ve moved outside atheistic/materialism then how do we explain magical success or failure? In the traditional view, the spiritual world underlie the material. It makes sense that it is easier to use the spiritual to cause spiritual effects than material effects. Algol, for instance, has been repeatedly reported as causing electronic interference, which makes sense as the electronic is already very spiritualized as compared to a rock or a piece of wood. Material effects need to come from material causes, but the arrangement and order of these material causes can be altered spiritually. For example, I once did a Jupiter talisman and 45 minutes later got a check for several thousand dollars. The check did not appear out of nowhere, I had to do work and bill for it. But the check showed up promptly after the Jupiter ritual.
A key realization is that magic is not the sole factor operating in a situation, it is just one of many. Why can’t a doctor cure every disease or lawyer win every case? Because there are multiple factors operating outside their control. If a client has multiple previous offenses, robbed a bank on video and confessed to the cops, no matter how eloquent his lawyer, he is likely to be going to jail.
Similarly, if you are a blind beggar in a Third World slum and manage to do a Jupiter ritual, you are unlikely to become a billionaire.
Fate, that concept seemingly most dreaded by moderns, materialist or New Age alike, is one culprit here. Our desires are simply not the only factors operating and certainly not the most powerful ones. But the issue is bigger than not getting what we want. Fata volentem docunt, nolentem trahunt, “the Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling” What we see as some evil outside force stopping us from getting what we want, is, at a higher level of wisdom and understanding, Providence, that is the beneficient interlinking of all things and events in the Cosmos. Think of the child that wants to get into the cupboard and eat 50 cookies, giving themselves a bellyache. They will protest vociferously if we stop them, even in their best interests.
Now magic is probably never wasted and I think the planets and stars always appreciate the effort, but still as a magic user you will occasionally not get what you are looking for. Hopefully you can avoid credulously insisting that magic always works or the opposite extreme of righteously stomping off in indignation and roundly condemning it all as fraudulent. That it works sometimes is both sufficient and, in fact, quite incredible!