More Thoughts on Authenticity and “Being Real”

My post on “Real” Magicians got a decent amount of views, so thanks everyone for checking it out.

And like the original post by Farrell, it has sparked a lot of thinking and some conversation.

One that stood out to me was a post by DON’s, which questions what we mean when we talk about things being “real”:

I think it’s important to consider how we use slippery words like “real,” because they can reveal underlying biases that reflect a lack of compassion, on one hand, and a lack of understanding of ourselves and the world around us, on the other. As a magician, those two things – compassion and understanding – are more important to my spiritual path than anything.

By taking it upon ourselves to decide what is “real” or not, we show a lack of compassion to the things we have left out. Be it a family member, a co-religionist, a person of transgendered experience, or someone who deviates significantly from our experience in any way.

Yes, magic-users can be cliquish and solipsistic. Imagine that.

And then there was this brilliant comment on the Twitter:


Sunfell brings up a mindset that someone such as myself who has studied Chaos Magic should have seen instantly: by being “unreal” you are allowed much more freedom. By rejecting the limitations of living by someone else’s, or yours, or any other definition, you are free to simply do what you want to do. As I said in my earlier post, Farrell’s definition of a “real” magician would have excluded Crowley and DuQuette. It would have also excluded Carroll and Hine. And look what those magicians accomplished because they eschewed the degree of authenticity that Farrell wants to impose. Crowley is notorious not because he followed all of the rules and definitions exactingly, but because when another magician said “You can’t do that, because you wouldn’t be a proper magician” he responded with some variation of “Fuck You” and blazed trails in a heroin induced fury.

And now we hold him as a standard, because he refused to abide by them.

Farrell can tell me I’m not a magician because I use certain tools or don’t satisfy time requirements for my practice. And I can say he’s not a magician because his magical toolbox doesn’t include essentials like silly putty and balloons. And such pronouncements will have no impact of the efficacy or authenticity of our magical work.


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