Nostolgia: Remembering Modern Magick

A few months ago, there was a stir in the blogsphere of fondly reminiscing about Mastering Witchcraft (which ended with me winning a signed copy of it, now a very prized possession of mine! Yay me! And thanks again to Trothwy for the contest)! During this time I wrote about my own experiences with it, but I wanted to reminisce about another book which is just as close to my heart, Modern Magick by DMK.

Last Friday I remembered some info I wanted to look up was in one of the tables in there and I popped open my copy. Total instant nostalgia washed over me. This is the book that really stated it all for me. I must have been about 13 or 14 at the time. I really don’t remember the exact age. Before this I had only ever encountered Spells, Charms, and Formula’s, a book on Hoodoo which belonged to a friend who lent it to me. Finding Modern Magick was like finding the holy grail to me. I had been looking for something like it all my (short) life, literally. I nearly peed myself when I found it.

I found it when visiting my fundy relatives with my family at a huge bookstore (these are relatives who would one day send me creationist books and tapes  for years when they found out I <GASP> believe in evolution, to give you some idea). My own small town didn’t have much in the way of big book stores. I had to buy it under the radar and pray no one asked me what I bought. I kept it in the bag the whole time, and didn’t dare crack it open until I got home from the trip. The suspense was killing me.

I did a first read through in a few days and then started right away practicing the lessons. I remember learning the LBRP. The only knife I had was a butter knife. I knew that it was only a symbol and the knife didn’t matter. A neighborhood friend wanted me to show them “a ritual” so I showed them the LBRP with my butter knife. He made fun of me for using a butter knife and I was shocked that he didn’t realize it was a symbol and I could of used a stick or my finger if I had wanted.

Later I built all the tools with what I could find. The cup was a glass cup from the grocery store that luckily had a tulip shape to it. I painted it to look just like in the book. For the dagger I used a gothic kris knife from the flea market and painted it too. For the pentacle (which Kraig said was supposed to be concave) I literally bought a coconut, cut it in half with a saw, sanded it down, and painted the interior. Best damn pentacle ever honestly. For the wand I bought a dowel rod and a wooden cabinet knob and did it just like in the book.

I made the rainbow wand (DMK’s version of the lotus wand) out of a dowel rod too. I kept it under my mattress so that it would soak up my energy and “bond” with me. I still have it. It has been under the mattress of every bed I’ve ever slept in and throughout my life and every moving, from college, first apartment, subsequent apartments, and now my home. Hmm I bet it’s fully charged now, don’t you think?  I had totally forgotten about it. I should whip it out and try something with it. I haven’t used it since I was a teenager.

I spent the next few years dedicating myself to the lessons. I spent about 2 months on each element, learning of the element in question as deeply as I could. I concencrated all my tools, worked with Talismans, of course to bring girlfriends (what else at 14?). They mostly worked. I did the ritual dedication to set your foot on the path, and the ritual to go back in time and put a sigil on your infant self to maximize your magical potential. While I was supposed to be studying for school I was memorizing the watch tower ritual. Good stuff!

I remember being so frustrated with Astral Projection, and not understanding pathworking at all (Didn’t stop my from trying it). I didn’t get too far with these. However, this whole time had the quality of your first time falling in love to it. This was magic, real magic. That time you will never forget, when everything has a quality which is so vivid it’s burned into your memory. It was the formative time in my magical life. I’m not sure where I would have been without it honestly.

I didn’t have incense so I used cinnamon for every ritual. I did rituals in my basement and just prayed no one would come down while I was doing so. No one in my family really understood except my Grandma (Now one of my ancestors). We would have talks when I visited about her mystical experiences with Christ and the Fey and how no one believed or understood her either. I wonder where I got it from?

Somewhere in my many moves I lost my first edition copy and bought the second edition which is the one I now have. Later, I would find the many Wicca 101 books that glutted the late 80’s and early 90’s as well of course, Mastering Witchcraft, and I showed symptoms for the first time of the “choose one path” syndrome I seem to just now be getting out of, and felt that I had to choose between ceremonial magic and Witchcraft. I chose Witchcraft at the time.

Flipping through that book again brought back all those old memories, right down to the smell of burning cinnamon and hair spray (yeah don’t ask it was the 80’s).

Was there a particular book that brought you to the path? I suspect everyone has a similar story.

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11 Responses to Nostolgia: Remembering Modern Magick

  1. SpiderGoddes says:

    I, too, am rather fond of Modern Magick. It is the first book that my Coven sisters and I chose to work through as a group. I had a background in ceremonial magick before beginning it, but found the book to be a great reference, and I really have enjoyed DMK’s perspective. I gained a great deal from it.

  2. Mist says:

    Oh, how distinctly I remember the book that brought me to the path! It was D.J. Conway’s “Celtic Magic”. It’s not a terribly useful book, but I still keep a copy of it. I recognize well the nostalgia you feel here.

  3. Worsanos says:

    What a great post! I’m working my way through Modern Magick right now. I’ve only gotten as far as the LBRP, but I’m having great results with it! I’m really taking my time with it.

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  5. Gordon says:

    Adorable post. Brings back many memories.

    You really never forget the first time you take what is actually a giant step from reading about magic into actually performing it that fateful day. I was literally shaking with fear/anticipation.

    Thanks for triggering a trip down memory lane!

  6. Peeps says:

    Coming from a SUPER fundy family where my mom regularly searched all my stuff (and found romance novels smuggled from the library), I didn’t have much access to a book I could keep and read through. And then one Christmas holiday, we were at my grandparents’ house, and I found some old book that was an overview of all sorts of occult religions, groups, practices, beliefs, etc. from all around the world. It was awful, I’m sure. I stayed up all night reading it and got discovered with the light shining out from under my door, the book got confiscated, and I was in big trouble.

    I was hooked. If there was a way to sneak reading about occult things into any legitimate exercise, I did it. My mom never seemed to believe that I was trying educate myself about the dangers of worldly pursuits…

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  8. I think Modern Magick may have been my first modern occult work, though I’d read quite a bit of the older stuff prior to that. (Voodoo was the way to get chicks 😉 None of it really resonated with me, however, until (don’t shoot me) The 21 Lessons of Merlyn. I know, I know…it’s embarrassing, but I literally abandoned everything in my home town after that, with the book and my wand of twining hand-carved oak snakes, and ended up on foot, walking into Monroe’s home town a thousand miles away, fully expecting to be apprenticed in the ways of druidry, with no other plans or options. I was dedicated to philosophy, metaphysics – and druidry – from then on. It is not unreasonable to say that I would not be at all what I am today without it, for it gave spark to every potential within.

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  11. Miach Rhys says:

    I discovered Wicca while in the 7th grade. My first book was the infamous “Teen Witch.” Don’t laugh; I know what you’re thinking. I attribute my ability to discern what was right and ignore the wrong to my previous month of online research and continued study beyond. I found the good parts of the book and adapted them over time. I never once did any of the spells in the book while I found the circle casting to be, for lack of a better term, magical.

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