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.