a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
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alt.magick Noise-Reduction Frequently Asked Questions (NRFAQ)

alt.magick Noise-Reduction Frequently Asked Questions (NRFAQ)

The Noise-Reduction FAQ
for Usenet's alt.magick

a newsgroup-generated response to the routine inquiries
synthesized from compilations of posts spanning
between 1995 and 1999.

( )


          To: alt.magick, alt.magick.ethics, alt.magick.folk,
              alt.magick.order,, alt.magick.tantra,
              alt.magick.tyagi, alt.pagan.magick, alt.answers and news.answers
     Subject: alt.magick NRFAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
 Followup-To: alt.magick, alt.magick.tyagi
    Replaces: 200501
  References: REF Master
     Summary: This is the hypertext edition of the alt.magick NRFAQ.
              The NRFAQ is intended as an introductory file, supplemental
              to the alt.magick FAQ at
              and its content may be discussed within the alt.magick
              usenet newsgroup and contrasted with any other file.  
    Reply-to: tyaginator (

Archive-name: magick/nrfaq
Updated: 200507
Posting-frequency: half-yearly or whenever conditions warrant

        00 FOREWORD

        10 NEWSGROUP
        11 Why do you spell (alt.)magick with a K?
        12 Shouldn't there be limits to what people can post here?

        20 SUBJECT
        21 What is magic(k)?
        22 Is magic real, how does it work, what influences it?
        23 Is magic black/white? Should we do black magic?
        24 Is magic compatible with modern Science?
        25 How are magic and religion/mysticism related or different?

        30 STUDIES
        31 How should I start learning about magic? teachers?
        32 What are the best books for a beginner to read?
        33 Where is online information about magic to be found?

        41 Antagonistic Spells
        42 Love/Lust Spells
        43 Summoning and Pact-Making

        51 Archives
        52 Magic-Related Newsgroups
        53 Card Game Magic (e.g. 'The Obsession')
        54 Role-Playing Game Spellcasting

        60 AFTERWORD
        61 Footnotes
        62 Credits
        63 Copyrights



        The alt.magick NRFAQ may be obtained at:




        This section pertains to the newsgroup itself; specifically
        its name and its customs.

11 Why do you spell (alt.)magick with a K?

        alt.magick was created with a 'k' to avoid confusion with stage 
        magic. @01  

        'Magick' is a spelling popularly associated with Aleister 
        Crowley, yet the spelling precedes him by hundreds of years. @02

        Many people presume a difference between conjuring tricks and 
        occult spells; between magic and magick. There may be grounds 
        for comparing them metaphorically to chemistry and alchemy.   

        Sr. Virakam and others maintain that it separated Crowley from 
        his competitors (and thus served as a marketing or elitist 
        scheme). @03

        Symonds and Grant contend that the 'k' is a conceit of 
        Crowley's and that it is related to potentially dangerous 
        ("demonic and chaotic") energies, as well as life-oriented 
        symbols such as 'khu' and 'kteis', for which they say it 
        stands, "the complement to the wand (or phallus) which is 
        used by the Magician in certain aspects of the Great Work." @04 

        The alt.magick FAQ itself has a more specific ANSWER
        to the question, which see.

12 Shouldn't there be limits to what people can post here?

        The newsgroup FAQ attempts to set SOME RULES down, and
        a comprehensive list of posting suggestions was generated
        in the document called 'alt.magick RULES'. These are
        quotes from usenet authorities regarding posting content.

        There has been movement, off and on over the years, to work 
        toward some sort of moderated alt.magick.* forum, but this
        has never been successfully carried out. The newsgroup was
        created (alt.magick.moderated), but the posting
        address has not consistently functioned for contribution.

        There are many subgroups of alt.magick to which specific 
        types of discussion should be taken if you wish to cooperate 
        with newsgroup regulars. Here are a few of the discussion-
        oriented newsgroups to get you started:
alt.magick.ethics (philosophia:ethics)
alt.magick.folk         (primitivas)
alt.magick goetia        (daemonos)
alt.magick.order        (politicos)
alt.magick.tantra      (eros/tantra)
alt.magick.tyagi        (synthesia)
        In terms of limiting the *substance* or *topic*, some 
        copyrighted files have been under intense heat from occult 
        organizations to keep them from being posted to the newsgroup.  

        There is often a great outcry anytime someone posts a ritual 
        or spell which conflicts with the morality or maturity level
        of participants (as this ANSWER from the alt.magick FAQ
        demonstrates), yet as alt.magick is not moderated, complaints
        and morality tangents can virtually obscure salient threads
        without the skillful use of a killfile.

        In short, there are no technical limitations, but there are
        some factions (participants, occult groups) who have a very
        sincere interest in affecting what is posted.

        The alt.magick FAQ itself has a more technical and specific
        ANSWER to the question, which see.



        There are a few questions about magic(k) which arise
        consistently. These concern an analysis of occult magic, 
        its workings and principles, and its relationship to 
        science, religion and morality.

21 What is magic(k)?

        Magic has been defined by many people in many different 
        ways. One infamous mage defined it as "the Science and Art 
        of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." @05

        Some see magic as a kind of energy which pervades the cosmos.
        Others see it as a psychic tool by which we may influence the
        material world using symbols and ritual. Many see it as a
        means of coming to unite with the divine, some consider
        it to be the exercise of will or Will, or the manipulation
        of reality.

        Whatever the word means, and however we choose to spell it,
        magic (or magick) is the subject, generally, of the newsgroup, 
        and will likely be given many differing and contradictory 
        meanings during discussions there.

        Check out the ANSWER in the alt.magick FAQ.

22 Is magick real, how does it work, what influences it?

        Many have suggested the differentiation of magical 'currents' 
        or 'energies' based on style and/or intent. Some posit the 
        notion of principles, a la scientific structure, 'laws of 
        magic' and whatnot. Others approach it more subjectively,
        considering all knowledge about the elements of magic to be 
        personal and therefore particular only to the individual 
        condition, variable of form.

        All of these are popular responses to this question, though 
        more inventive theories would be welcomed. Conventional 
        approaches may be cross-posted to sci.philosophy.meta.

        Check out the ANSWER in the alt.magick FAQ.

23 Is magic black/white? Should we do black magic?

        For discussion about the ethics of magic,
        see alt.magick.ethics.

        A description of black, white and *grey* magick may be
        found within the alt.magick FAQ.

24 Is magic compatible with modern Science?

        An oft-asked question, particularly with reference to 
        Heisenberg and chaos theory. Hang around a little before 
        getting into one of these discussions. They can take quite 
        a while to untangle. The newsgroup FAQ has a pretty
        specific ANSWER.

25 How are magic and religion/mysticism related or different?

        There have been a number of different discussions on these 
        subjects. The more popular hypotheses include the 
        magic/individual:religion/group model, and the idea that 
        religion is the devolution of magic. Some do not seem 
        to discern between magic and mysticism at all, and many 
        have never considered the subject, being unexposed 
        to the latter.

        Thelemites might equate magic with will and mysticism with 
        love, and the association has been made between mysticism 
        and theurgy, magic and thaumaturgy.  

        For more on how magic and mysticism combine, check out the
        upper portion of the Esoteric and Occult directory of the 
        Open Directory Project!



        How to learn about magic and what ought be considered the 
        best sources are frequently discussed topics in the newsgroup.

        Occasionally someone will compile a REF file of newsgroup
        posts for a common topic. Make a collection of posts and
        assist in the project yourself by adding to their number
        and send them to the Editor.

31 How should I start learning about magic? teachers?

        As CHenningsson writes:

          "Books are one answer. There are actually books which 
           try to take you from your first tentative attempts 
           at relaxation into holding a ritual....  
          "Other than that....  Just do it!  If you like to, you 
           can see this as one of the very first exercises in Will; 
           you Will yourself into making a ritual." 

        Some recommend the use of particular mechanisms or tools, 
        such as tarot, a magical diary, meditation or dreamwork.   
        Some recommend specific books or teachers, others place more 
        emphasis on the aptitude and imagination of the student.

        Robin provides marvelous advice:

          "Resist the temptation to believe what anyone else 
           tells you.  Try to invent ways to find out things 
           for yourself.  Remain skeptical.  

          "Look for ways in which you may have been 
           doing magick without realizing it.  Think about 
           what it might mean if you could use it with 
           intention, and how you might go about that."

        MKampe offers: 

          "if you have clear notions of what magick is all 
           about, it might be better for you to pursue your 
           inner course and avoid outside contamination 
           [from teachers/books/etc.]."
        There are REFerence files on such things as the kabbalistic
        Abyss, Chaos Magick, Wicca, and the Golden Dawn.  Teachers,
        masters and adepts are often a topic of discussion in the
        newsgroup, and magical organizations may wrangle out their
        political issues in alt.magick.order.

        I would echo Lilith Darkchilde:

          "Take heed of those who say that they can teach 
           you all about what is magickal.  Especially if 
           you must join their 'coven' or group to do so.... 

          "I hold the key to my own self knowing."

        The alt.magick FAQ has a more pragmatic ANSWER.

32 What are some books for a beginner?

        There's are a few booklists available 
        as well as one list of book mailorder houses.

        The alt.magick FAQ has ANOTHER booklist.

33 Where is online information about magic to be found?

        Try Dmoz, or see what the alt.magick FAQ CONTAINS.



        Spell-exchange within the alt.magick.* hierarchy is at
        times discouraged by newsgroup regulars or newbies
        concerned with considerations of ethics or expertise. 
        The only newsgroup apparently designated for such an
        exchange is alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic.

        The spells contained within the following compilation
        files may be dangerous to your health, but we welcome 
        contributions to them and will be happy to source them 
        properly so that those who taste of their repercussions 
        can adequately compensate you.

41 Antagonistic Spells
        Jinxing and death-oriented spells are collected from 
        alt.magick.* over the last 10 years in a REF document.

42 Love/Lust Spells

        Spells to Secure Love or Passionate Embrace are
        collected into a handy REF.

43 Summoning and Pact-Making

        Demon-Summoning and Infernal Pacts are collected into one REF,
        while another contains a lists of demons.



        After consulting the various resources listed in this FAQ
        and lurking in the newsgroup for a few weeks, feel free to 
        bring up any relevant subjects there.

51 Archives

        Usenet posts make up a part of the Arcane Archive
        (which hosts this document), plus Google keeps
        a good number also.

52 Magic-Related Newsgroups

        See the MaGI for much occult-related information.  
        Valuable usenet alternatives include:

         Ref: FAQ 
         Ref: FAQ
         Ref: FAQ
         Ref: FAQ
          Ref: (Original alt.tarot FAQ)
          Ref: (Tarot and alt.tarot FAQ)
          Ref: Layouts (REF)

        (darkness and power)
         Ref: FAQ
         Ref: Another FAQ
         Ref: Another FAQ
         Ref: Another FAQ
         Ref: Another FAQ

        (eastern and mystical things)
        alt.philosophy.taoism (Moderated)

        (psychology and consciousness) 

         Ref: FAQ
         Ref: FAQ


53 Card Game Magic (e.g. 'The Obsession')

        There are many newsgroups in the
        hierarchy from which to choose.  Also see MOXPERL.

54 Role-Playing Game Spellcasting

        If you are looking for spells which may be found in fantasy 
        and role-playing games, special effects in movies, or occult 
        television series, such as casting fireballs, creating 
        ice walls, animating skeletons, or polymorphing, then check 
        out the Great Net Spellbook.
Great Net Spellbook. 
        It is a delightful resource for the imaginative world of 
        games and fantasy.



        Thanks to all the fine authors of files I came across during my
        sift for networking documents to fill out this edition of the NRFAQ.
        May it remain unblemished by violence or imprisonment.

61 Footnotes

        @01  -  See alt.magic (stage magic).

        @02  -  Due to his many writings and the orders which
                he crafted, Aleister Crowley is revered by
                many and despised by as many more, and his magical
                treatise ("Book Four, Liber ABA") may likely prove
                his most popular text.

                For a list of Crowley's publications, see:


        @03  -  "Aleister Crowley (if Soror Virakam may be relied upon) 
                is said to have adopted "the old spelling of MAGICK...
                in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from 
                all its counterfeits." 
                      ("Magick", eds. Symonds/Grant, p. 45 note).

        @04  -  "Magick", p. xvi.

        @05  -  "Magick in Theory and Practice", by Aleister Crowley; p. 7.

62 Credits

        Those who assisted by reviewing the FAQ whose ideas 
        and/or networking were utilized to good measure: (AShub) (Peggy Brown) (Kim Burkard) (Dshoem) (Karen) (peter kim) (Rick) (robin) (catherine yronwode) (josh geller)

        If you have suggestions for changes or additions to this
        document, send them to the Editor (
        Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. -- W. Occam

63 Copyrights

        This document is Copyright (c) 2005,

        All rights reserved.  Permission to distribute the collection 
        is hereby granted providing that distribution is electronic, 
        no money is involved, reasonable attempts are made to use the 
        latest version and all credits and this copyright notice are 
        maintained.  Other requests for distribution should be directed 
        to the Editor or to the individual authors of the quoted 

============================================================================= (tyaginator)
             Editor, alt.magick noise-reduction FAQ


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