I am a fan of not telling people “you have to believe in magick for magick to work”. No, you don’t. Otherwise, it could be just you trying to trick yourself into thinking something magickal has happened. That and I wouldn’t get so many people in my inbox who summon something nefarious (why nefarious, I will never know) just to see what will happen – this is also why I don’t slow walk people through their idiocies and instead, I just say “welp, next time don’t dabble, have fun with your new problem.” Basically, there is a difference between doing actual occultic work and simply placebo-effecting your way into a better existence, or into a more annoying existence for the actual occultists and practitioners around you.

Magick doesn’t need believing to work. It requires tools and knowledge but not exactly the power of believing it will work. Otherwise, you’ll start reading signs into every little thing and, again, become an annoyance to everyone around you. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a person walking by you wearing all blue is just a person walking by you wearing all blue. I kind of think of it the same way as a car. A car needs a starter of some sort to work – a key, a remote, a button, something. Otherwise, it’s just going to be a 2.5 ton sitting chunk of metal. Doesn’t mean the car doesn’t work (assuming it has all its components, no one or thing has stripped it of its tires, wires, etc). A car has a bunch of different moving parts to make it go, the average person does not know exactly how a car works (seriously, go to anyone of any gender and ask how an alternator works. Unless you’re around a bunch of half-decent mechanics, you will probably get a bevvy of flustered answers) but they still get in and use it. As long as the car is moving and not killing them, the car is functional. Now, a functional looking car can always be non-functional, anyone who has ever been in the market for a used car will know this forwards and backwards. Maybe the oil is bad, maybe the spark plugs don’t work, maybe the transmission was on its last mile before breaking. That means, no matter how much you want to believe the car will work, it won’t. Just because that one car won’t doesn’t mean that all cars don’t work and the automotive trade is fake and full of swishy liars out to separate you from your money and cars aren’t real. (Well, the selling/buying part is full of swishy liars out to separate you from your money – but cars are indeed real) Once it gets a new part or all the repairs it needs, the car will be up and running again. Magick is quite a lot like that, it just needs its tools and skills – and knowledge. Just like you also need to know how to drive a car, or it becomes a super death bullet. And know how to care for a car so it doesn’t become a super death bullet to life and/or finance. 

Believing in magick and psionics is fine and good but it can still work without all the “I wish, I wish”. It is just that magick works using the one thing most people hate: work, long work at that. It takes time (a lot of it) to get decent at energy manipulation (as in, months) and all the various forms of metaphysics, psionics and occultism. It takes listening and reading and working and trying and failing and more working and headaches and … you get the point. Some of this information is easy to access, some of it is lost due to either time or rampant imperialism and colonization, none of it is going to be found on some 16 year old’s instagram couched among pictures of sage and beads. Unfortunately, people want things to work right now. Day one, open a magic book. Day two, be Harry Potter in Book Seven. I see this all the time, actually. Before Covid, I would go roller skating. Surprisingly, people would like to see me skate and sometimes try to mimic my movements (which can sometimes be a bit dangerous, I like to do tricks). They’re new skaters and some of my movements look easy so it becomes a one-way ticket to getting a super quick lesson in biophysics and gravity for them. Thing is, I have been skating since I was seven, so a lot of my movements that look easy do so because I have been doing them for over twenty years. For example, I can walk plainly and hopscotch in skates, I would not recommend a newbie to mimic either of that. But they see someone doing it and go “I can do that, too!” and things get really bad really fast. I have the muscle memory, the learned balance, the learned precision and gained skill to do all sorts of silly things on four wheels. I also have a lot of experience in falling, because I had to lick pavement a lot to learn how to do well. Also, it is insanely easy to pop on skates, cling to the wall for dear life, wonder why humans would strap loose, moving wheels to the bottom of their feet, fall every five minutes and say “People can’t do this! They’re wheels! I can’t control them, let alone even stand up on them! It can’t be done! Those who can are mythical somehow, I can’t do that!” Double so for ice skating, which I also know how to do. Just exchange complaints of having moving wheels on their feet for blades (“Why would people want to strap knives to their feet? Won’t they slice off a finger?”). A beginner can believe they’re going to be Surya Bonaly all they want on day one of attempting any kind of skating but it’s going to take major time before you can get even a little decent, let alone land a single foot jump on ice (by the by, I remember seeing Bonaly on tv all the time. Loved her – and how made she made the racist judges mad and flustered because “No one can do a flip and land on a single foot, it simply is too dangerous and can’t be done!”

 

By the way, that is what “Trolololo” looks like in Black Excellence. Also known as “Just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means you might just suck at it. Lolz. Now sit down and let those who don’t suck do what they do best.”

Back to magick and skating. 

It takes time to build. Always. Magick is no different. You can believe you’ll get better at skating but that believing isn’t necessary, work is. You might not get to Bonaly’s level, most don’t. You might land on Kristi Yamaguchi‘s level if you simply put in the work. As long as you don’t wind up on Tonya Harding‘s level, you’ll be fine. Being on Harding’s level means you did next to no work at all. You tried your hand at it, found you might not be as top shop as you wanted to be and instead of putting in the work to get better, you’re just out here sabotaging and bothering other people just to make yourself feel better. Don’t be Tonya Harding. Either get better or get gone.

I grew up on skating and cars so I know my way around them, that’s why it doesn’t look so mysterious to me. Also, I put in work. I didn’t look at mechanics or skating, go “lol, regular people can’t do that” and call it a day. Improbable but not impossible. I didn’t sit there and go “I believe in me” either, I have too many self esteem issues for that. I tend to go by “if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” And I didn’t look at the first failure I came across and went “Not for me!” It also probably derives from the fact I’m Black – apparently a lot of things are impossible for Black people, so sayeth a very racist society. We don’t like the woods (I go urban spelunking, Black people have been doing that for centuries), we aren’t smart (5+ languages, self-trained in robotics, triple digit IQ – and no tutors or resources, I’m not the only Smart Black Person Ever Existed, either. For example: Benjamin Banneker, who is from my state), we’re not good at anything besides brute sports and being murdered by racists (still touted today everywhere, we can do other things besides get banged up for entertainment and die for sport). So doing occultism, psionics and such doesn’t seem “impossible” or “out there” to me simply because I was told so by the same group of people who are baffled when they meet someone who isn’t a walking stereotype. (Plus, why would I put stock in the same group of people who have those who stormed the Capitol because a plain and fair election didn’t turn out they way they wanted to? That does not sound like a very sensible group.) I just put in work and it works if it does or it doesn’t work if it doesn’t. 

That’s all magick needs, just like anything else. It needs work and knowledge more than “I believe”. People can believe in very foolish things. Like I mentioned above, there are people who believe really stupid ideas. No matter how dedicated they are to those beliefs, it doesn’t make it true. Makes them blind to reality, oh sure, without a doubt, but not true. Hey, I even know people who believe through and through that racism doesn’t exist – makes them a headache to deal with but their personal belief doesn’t make it true, even when they are among thousands or millions who believe the same. 

To ensure I don’t waste my time, I do something called a “sh*t test”, if it cannot take any and everything thrown at it, that means it is not worth my time to pay attention to. I usually apply this to theories regarding race, gender, identity, etc. For example, the idea that “only guys are good at cars”. That is a common and erroneous assumption that many believe, to the point of irritating stereotype. The “sh*t test” involves decentering and tearing the idea apart. For example, why would there be an idea that guys are good at cars? Is it related to the Y chromosome that can be proven over and over? What if the cis-male eventually identifies as non-binary? Does their knowledge about cars instantly disappear? When? When they start considering that they don’t want to adhere to the gender binary or when they have made the solid decision? What about trans men? Do they instantly get a ream of car knowledge like how a phone gets over-the-air updates? Can I go to another part of the world where there is, say, more bikes than cars – or neither! – and if the people in the area were shown a car, the cis-men would automatically know how to fix it or even have a noticeable interest in it, and all the cis-women and girls would immediately not be interested, even though no one in the entire group has ever encountered a car before or have shown any interest of any vibrancy prior? If the idea doesn’t hold water through objective thinking (“an interest in cars is related strictly to gender” -> an interest in cars can be held by anyone of any gender and the physical existence of a car is not needed for such interest). Plus a person can like cars and still have zero idea on how to work on them. I’ve seen that one a lot, especially when I work on my car. Because they believe “I’m a guy, therefore I like cars – therefore I know how to repair a car! At least better than this random lady who has two toolboxes and weird thing she calls ‘an electric impact wrench’. I should go help her even though she told me not to! Because my dick certifies me as a top rated mechanic. Just point me to the carburetor in this electric hybrid and I can fix her car! Because I am a guy and guys like cars, women don’t! That means she needs my help because she is a she and I am a he. No other possible logical explanation.” Remember, just because you believe something you never really tried your hand at, it won’t start to work all of a sudden. An idiot that likes cars but can’t fix cars still can’t fix cars if they never learned how to work on cars. No matter how much they link interest with cars with any given level of testosterone.

If it can’t pass the “sh*t test”, that means it’s sh*t. Granted this takes a bit of skill in learning how to think in a genuinely objective way but completely doable. Just takes work. It is what I also apply to my metaphysics to ensure I don’t waste my time accidentally falling into conspiracies or really hateful views about whole groups of people dressed up as “integral/occultic knowledge”. If you’re on the road to learning psychokinesis or witchcraft, you shouldn’t be ending up hating Jewish people or Black people or Muslim people or any combo of the groups. Or any other groups. Just put in work and keep focus on the work. If you’re going “Well these things aren’t real”, ask why. It’s not to burnish any belief that supports the ideas of psychokinesis or witchcraft or other forms of energy manipulation but simply ask why do you believe the opposite? Because that is a belief as well. And if it is “I simply have never see it before in my life”, how do you know? I have met many who didn’t believe anti-Black racism existed any more simply because MLK Jr existed at one point in history (fun fact: MLK Jr was murdered by a racist. Whoops.) Others because Obama existed (Read: literally anything to do with Donald Trump.) Oh, or simply because they never personally harmed a Black person before (micro-aggressions exist. Whoops, again). And that’s with race and racism, something that is remarkably plain as day to see with the greatest of ease, zero effort. So if people believe things that happen right before their very eyes does not happen, what about things that do not necessarily happen right before their very eyes – or how do they know it does or doesn’t happen right before their very eyes? Nothing is wrong with questioning things, that’s how you get better at something. Just put in genuine work, and test it. Results won’t be immediate – did you know how to perfectly drive a car the very first day you plopped into the driver seat? (For all who say “yes!”, ask the person who taught you, you might get a different, more horrified answer. For those that taught themselves, be honest – perfect and no “I’mma die and kill everyone around me” anxiety?) – but at least you gave it some effort.

This is how I came into pretty much every form of metaphysics I practice, with skepticism and a willingness to try. Not a willingness to believe, a willingness to try. Those are two very different things. It’s how I approached divination, spellwork, everything. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I read up on decent works, I put in countless hours of work, I looked at what failed and what didn’t, etc etc. Yes, harassing other practicing individuals for being “kooky” and “believing in things that aren’t real” is a lot easier but I tend to shut my trap instead of bothering others in their own practices simply because it doesn’t line up with mine. Hey, what can I say? I’m okay with the fact not everyone is a carbon copy of me and that occasionally or more than occasionally, I might meet someone who just maybe, possibly, be at least a little different from me. Doesn’t make them wrong, just different and different is fine. It’s like I live in a diverse society or community or something … wild, right? So my takes on metaphysics is going to sound a lot different from someone who never bother to give things an earnest look or consideration.

Also this does not mean you have to personally try everything you don’t understand. Just at minimum, don’t immediately dismiss it because your favorite talking heads said so. If it can pass the “sh*t test” (assuming you put in enough work to apply the “sh*t test” effectively instead of gunning for “confirmation bias, presented as the Sh*t Test” instead), then just leave it at that. Nothing is wrong with saying “This thing I don’t understand may or may not exist but I don’t know enough to say that it does or doesn’t so I won’t start foaming at the mouth when a person who practices such ideas says that it does.” Yeah, that person who practices the ideas could be wrong but hey, so can you. Unless you put in the genuine work, like the person who practices the ideas, you can’t say for sure. So either, put in the work or clam up.

Believing isn’t everything. Genuine work is. And if someone practices something different from you, mull on it before dismissing anything.