Deborah at the Witches’ Voice has an interesting article with an interesting article on mixing medications and magical practice:
When I was unmedicated/quasi-unmedicated, it was significantly easier for me to be in touch intuitively. What that means to me is that Tarot reading was easier to “pull”, getting random psychic impulses and having an easier time seeing what’s going on with what I call The Tapestry. The Tapestry refers to everything that’s happened in the past, everything that’s happening right now, everything that will happen and everything that never happened. To me it looks like a huge tapestry constantly weaving and unweaving itself in bits and pieces. Typically I could see about like one billionth of the whole tapestry, and it was mostly my little corner of the world.
However. And this is a big however, my magic has significantly improved since medicating. My spells are much more effectively, I now have the focus to have a personal practice (which I didn’t previously) and my rituals are more effective and meaningful.
So while yes, my general fuzzy random psychic ability was better unmedicated, having the ability to cast better and have a better personal practice to me far outweighed my unmedicated abilities. My unmedicated abilities were more “traditional” psychic aspects.
The ability to get the perfect condo through my targeted magic work far outweighed the benefit of being able to say, “Gordon! I think something is going to happen to you on Wedne- Thursd- No, definitely Wednesday. No idea what though. Cheers!” So for me, being more functional in my daily life and being more effective in my targeted magical practice far outweighed being unmedicated.
I’ve known people that were on strong psychotropics, and I’ve seen them suffer negative effects. The most common symptom of this was a disconnectedness that seemed to impact their emotional functioning, and in the cases of the few magical practitioners I knew that took such medications, their psychic and magical functioning. Impressions such as this have probably fed into the bias in the magical community that often stigmatizes those who are required to take such drugs. There is an idea — one which may perhaps be warranted — that people who take such drugs have their power diminished in some way.
What Deborah points out so ably is that this may not be a bad thing. Magic isn’t all about power — in many cases an overload of power can cause problems — but also about focus and direction. Having a lot of focus and a little power can provide much better results than having a little focus and a shitton of power behind it.
Israel Regardie famous recommended that all magicians undergo psychotherapy. The reasoning behind this was that unknown neuroses and complexes can disrupt our focus, and lead us into drawing nasty things into our lives. If taking a psychotropic drug aides in that purpose — especially if the person doing so has serious disorders — than that can only be a positive thing.
I think that much of the negative rep that people with mental disorders get (in and beyond the magical community) is due to inconsistency in taking such medications, which can lead to unfocused and chaotic behavior. A person whose live in in shambles and who can’t keep anything straight is likely to be a poor functioning magician, whether that person has a mental disorder or not. And an appropriate mechanism that helps that person straighten things out and function more effectively — even if it is a powerful drug with a social stigma attached to it — will most likely positively benefit such a person’s magical practice.