reply to post by Saurus
The current generation interested in magical theory, the younger generation, are not capable of holding their interest to a single topic for very
long. I do generalize, as there are many, many practitioners who are capable. The current trend though, as with all other cultural arts, is to
simplify things, make them quicker, less involved, and reduce the complexity. Take angelic magic, for example.
During the Medieval Age and the Renaissance angelic magic was known as Enochiana. This was a very complex system, with it's own fully-functioning
language, an independent set of rituals, maical squares, invocations, tools, and preparations. All of this was collected together by a pair of
extremely dedicated astrologer/divinators, John Dee, and Edward Kelley.
In the 1800 and early 1900s, Angelic Magic blended with Occult studies, Theosophy, and Hermetics. The result was reinterpretations of "ancient"
Grimoires, featuring sigils, rituals, times of day, specific prayers and invocations, and various interpretations of sacred Hebraic works like the
Zohar, or general Kaballistic practices (called Qabala by the adept). Despite the complexity, and ceremonial element of this Occult Angelic Magic, it
was still greatly simplified from the strict guidelines of Dee and Kelley's work.
Now, if you buy a book from Silver Ravenwolf, or some other New Age, Wiccan, or Neopagan, concerning Angelic Magic, you'll find a brand new spin on
things. It usually involves visualization, thinking "good," or "pure" thoughts, and wanting the angel to come bless you, or help you through
whatever trial you believe you are in the middle of. The ceremony, the magical accumulation of will, spirit, and energy, the focus and dedication to
the Art being performed... all of it is gone. Angelic Magic in the New Age no longer requires fealty to a cause. All it requires now is a candle, and
some happy thoughts.
The same thing is occurring all over various magical and mystical schools of thought. I think it is because more modern generations have become
significantly more flighty than their fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors. This is why you have hacks like Carlos Casteneda going around trying to
promote non-native Shamanism, as having been legitimate. Or why writers like Douglas Monroe were blacklisted by other Druids as being full of
misinterpretations, had been mistranslated, or were outright lies. The defining thread though, is always simplicity. Removing the actual dedication
from the magic, and trying to make it viable for anyone and everyone who has five minutes of free time, and is bored.
Not that there aren't/weren't still exceptional magicians, Druids, and Seiðr out there though. People like John Michael Greer, Aaron Leitch, Chic
and Tabatha Cicero, Isaac Bonewits, and Migene González-Wippler, among others, are/were all dedicated writers who did their best to present the
magical theory as close to it's origin as possible. Many of them even (Greer, Leitch, Bonewits, González-Wippler) also have degrees in historical,
anthropological, or comparative fields which accompany their writings and practices.
So really, I think it all depends on who's books you pick up, and with what level of dedication you begin your study of the Art. If you're
not-so-dedicated, and you pick up a book by Silver Ravenwolf, or Konstantinos, then you'll get out exactly as much as you put in. If, however, you
have dedication and devotion to the art, and you pick up a book by any of the other scholarly magicians I've mentioned here, then you'll definitely
get more bang for your buck.
~ Wandering Scribe