Tales of Magic 7: The SA Coffee mornings
It was there I met Ray Sherwin and later Pete Carroll. Other luminaries include the remarkable Richard Bartle-Birtelli, a gentleman who illustrated that magicians didn’t have to be in their 20s. This was a man who’d survived the 2nd World War and ended up living in Dewsbury in West Yorkshire and teaching art. At that time I’d never met a magician who had survived so long and was still doing magic. He came and gave a talk at the LUUOS.
Other interesting characters included a pair of young magicians from Batley. One of them told us how he’d grown out of armed robbery into Qabalistic magic, and his friend described meditations in which he saw ‘visions’ of his motorbike. We started calling them the Batley Visionary Society.
In October 1978 I started keeping a magical diary. One of my first entries described my consecration of a robe I’d made. I took the first bus to Ilkley and walked up onto the moor, along a ravine called Spicey Gill and washed the robe in a stream at first light. I was rewarded with the sight of a great big dragonfly hovering over the stream as I finished, its wings iridescing in the morning light.
Tales of Magic 8: Lucidity
Starting keeping a magical diary pushed my identity firmly into ‘magician’ mode. Things started happening. In November I met a new lover who turned my life upside down. She was a natural magician, resistant to ‘book-learning’, but with astonishingly accurate clairvoyance and an intuitive grasp of energy-magic. For some miracles I experienced with her, check out Bright From the Well and Life Force.
At this time I took on a magical idea which is popular with magical beginners: the Astral Battle. These usually occurred on the edge of sleep, and were often terrifying, but with a triumphant quality. That triumph emerged from the radical freedom of dream lucidity; the conflict had pushed me to overcome the division between waking and sleeping. Sometimes I woke up knowing I’d just uttered some magical words to overcome my assailant.
I was determined to develop this dream-lucidity, initially because I wanted out-of-body experiences. Finally, I got one. Here’s the diary entry:
“Before going to bed, smoked a little hash. Then did some cycles of pranayama. This felt very intense.
For the first time ever, I was able to keep a watch on my going to sleep, and I exteriorised! I was suddenly right out of the house, floating over the street outside, looking downwards. The shock was so great I returned to my body.
I let myself fall asleep with that watchfulness again… and managed it once more: a moment when I was hovering in the bedroom.”
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The book mentioned above, Bright From the Well, is available from Mandrake Press.
Life Force is available here.