Saturday, September 6, 2008

Criminal Witchcraft?

As reported earlier, I picked up Paul Huson's Mastering Witchcraft. I found Huson after reading Jason Miller's excellent book, Protection and Reversal Magick. Mastering Witchcraft is in the bibliography of that work.

Despite my opinion of Jason's book, I was not impressed with Huson. I put Mastering Witchcraft down after reading it halfway through.

Several things made this work incompatible with my world view. The first was referring to the target of a spell as 'the victim'. This wording was even used when discussing seduction magick. If you're trying to get laid and refer to your potential partner as a victim, I'd say it is pretty likely you're a predator. At the very least, you probably have no respect for the other person involved. Words matter. He flatly says engaging in sex is the first duty of a witch. I'd not follow a god or goddess that took such a disrespectful/near rape coupling as an offering. This wasn't some sort of BDSM kinky "near rape" thing, the word 'victim' applies.

I found one portion laughable -- the large chapter on seduction magick. Magickally, he says to add this and that to the food of your 'victim' and to get the person (a word he doesn't use) to look into a charged bobble. He then goes on to suggest that very mundane activities such as low candle light, looking someone in the eye, preparing his favorite food, and giving him some alcohol are part of the magick. Frankly, if you did everything in this elaborate seduction scene and left out all of the so-called magick, you'd have just as good a chance of getting laid and probably better. Most people I know have a 'creep-o-meter' that would have gone off long before Huson and his ilk got into anyone's pants. While I agree mundane settings can enhance what you do as a magician/witch, this was the equivalent of calling the act putting a key in an ignition part of magickal act of driving to work in the morning. Give me a break.

Before my reader thinks that I believe using magick to gain a partner either for the night or for life is immoral, let me put that to rest here. There is simply an underlying creep factor to this book that makes my blood run cold.

There was nothing about self-exploration or building relationships with the gods. It is rare to read a theurgic book without some reference to thaumaturgy. I assumed that reading about thaumaturgy would at least contain some reference to theurgy but no. This book never even asked you to explore why you want this particular victim in your bed.

I did read some words regarding making offerings but these referred to quid pro quo activities not what solid friendships/relationships are made of -- as above so below. Even though I think those offerings and interactions would eventually lead to relationships and spiritual integration that is not the point of Huson's work. I can't place my finger on any wording that lead me to this conclusion but his interaction with gods bordered on disrespectful.

His work is about controlling others to meet your basest needs. Others may find that appealing, I do not.

I do recognize that there is no part of me that is not of the gods. That would include base wants and desires. However, that doesn't mean we have to pander to such things in such a violent manner. By violent, I mean actions that take place with no consideration whatsoever about their effect on the 'victim'. Shudder.

Please Note:

I believe Jason found this work to be influential and it may have been in his early years. Yet I can not imagine the present day Jason having such a negative or even such a "non-thought" attitude regarding a potential lover, even if that lover was a one night stand. I mean no disrespect to Jason by panning something he found useful.

I also recognize that the buzzword victim may have soured my attitude to this writer that I may have missed other useful things. But as I said above, words do matter. I did make an earlier post about his ideas for using a kamea that I did like.


Jason Miller, said...

No disrespect taken.

Husons book is written with a bit of a tongue in cheek diabolism that was part of its mission: to antidote the squishy hippy witchcraft that was being pushed at the time. It is more than a bit dated, but I love it.

You wont find any theurgia in there, thats not what the book is about.

As for the mixing of mundane and magickal tech, its one of the most missed asects of magick and is one of the primary focuses of my next book. WAY to many people feel that magick alone will save thier business even though they have a shitty business plan, or get them a girl even though they smell and live in thier moms basement. If it doesnt, than they blame the magick.

I think you would find the vision of witchcraft presented by people like Robert Cochrane and later by Andrew Chumbley and Daniel Schulke to be more to your liking.

Frater BH said...

Perhaps I will. I will add those names to my Amazon list.

The idea of advocating slipping things into people's food to gain sex and calling that magick is just so abhorrent. If I did that with a rufi, I'd be a rapist. This guy says doing is legitimate witchcraft. I disagree. I know witches that wouldn't consider such a thing.

I think I made clear that mixing the mundane with magick is great. However, you have to admit, with that seduction scene, no magick was remotely necessary.

Jason Miller, said...

Actually slipping love philtes into food is one ofthe most common forms of witchcraft from Ancient Greece to England. It is still widely used in America as well.

There is a difference between a magickally charged philtre and a rufi though. One has a magickal effect, the other chemical. There is a BIG difference.

There are Witches who would never consider anything at all in the book, which indeed was part of the point of the book. That the craft of witchcraft was being lost amidst the neo-pagan religion that was calling itself witchcraft.

Frater BH said...

It looks to me that both cases, the philter and the rufi, are attempts to make the other party incapable of saying no. I see little difference.

The rufi will make on unconscious and the philter would not. I suppose that allows the victim to feel as if the encounter was their own choice and thus lessons the trauma for them. However, for me, that is still WAY over the line.

Either one is forcing the victim to have have sex. I think there is a word for that. It amazes me the things people would do with magick that they wouldn't do physically.

Jason Miller, said...

The philtre is not designed to make it so that you make the other party incapable of saying no. Its there to improve the chances of the other party saying yes.

If philtres could make the other party incapable of saying no, occult and pagan festivals would be filled with supermodels hanging on to the every word of dorky guys.

I think that the delivery system is throwing you a bit. Its not significantly different than slipping love me powder into someones shoes or the old trick that Anita Hill and Clarence thomas made popular of feeding one of your pubic hairs to someone.

The reality is that you cannot not influence someone. Magick is just another type of influence. Only the most extreme magick can actually dominate the will of another person and there is nothing in Mastering Witchcraft that even approaches that.

As for the book asking you to explore the reasons that you want to get laid and such, all I can say is that my drivers manual doesnt ask me to explore my reasons for driving, so I dont see the conflict.

Its fine that its not your cup of tea, and I am not trying to change your mind about that. Not everything in it is mny cup of tea either, but I respect what he tried to do at the time it was written and I respect teh system of sorcery that he put forth as its a bit closer to how magick is done in most of the world than what Wiccans were presenting at the time.

Mike Rock said...

"As for the book asking you to explore the reasons that you want to get laid and such, all I can say is that my drivers manual doesnt ask me to explore my reasons for driving, so I dont see the conflict. "

Jason, you rock.

I love this book too, and don't look to books to tell me what morality to choose. That was my parents' job as a minor and now as a mature adult, my own personal responsibility. I don't appreciate being patronized by my witchcraft authors.

This book is an awesome contrast to Cunningham's "roll your own witchcrap" book which is so overbearing with the author's morality in every second paragraph I wanted to toss it across the room many times when I reviewed it back during my Dedicant studies in Wicca to see what it was about.

Huson's book is definitely a work of its time -- a time much more earthy and less "politically correct" than our current milieu.