It came up recently in a discussion the criticism of magicians who don't do magic. It's a strange sort of topic. People like to point the finger despite the three which point back at them. I myself try to point all four, retaining the thumbs up for those who actually do the work. What I mean to say here is, it's reasonable to criticize those who want to be magicians but don't do magic, but often those making the criticism fit the bill too. So we should be at pains, as magicians, to make sure that our magic is in fact magic and that we encourage and develop real magic when we can. Notice, I didn't say we should be at pains to do anything to the fake magicians. We should be too busy doing magic and being awesome to have time to become inquisitors, but we can spend our time being awesome and powerful presences and maybe lead others by our own gravitas towards being magicians who do magic.
Jack Parsons said in the Book of the Antichrist:
“An end to all authority that is not based on courage and manhood, to the authority of lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police, and An end to the servile flattery and cajolery of moods, the coronations of mediocrities, the ascension of dolts. ”
And the Book of the Law says:
“Despise also all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not fight, but play; all fools despise!”
In the first instance we're kind of calling for the unseating of the false from positions of power. There is a definite social commentary element but also a mystical one. For our society to truly flourish we need those who are rooted in strength and forcefully called to grow in the proper manner to not only be its leaders, but also to be its people. We need those who are fully self possessed and ready to commit to the virtues of the heroic that flourish when we know and live in accordance with our natures.
The second statement is a little clearer to our purpose. Both note people whose actions are in opposition to their natures, lying priests, black mailing polices, soldiers at folly. In neither statement is the specific type of individual listed important, but more the point that we see individuals who turn from the work suited to their natures. In both we are set against such people as they are the antithesis of Thelema. Even for those who do not consider themselves Thelemites, this line of thinking is necessary to magic. Thelema simply restates principles which have been part of the Western Mystery tradition for millenia. Most simply we can look to alchemy, and see the idea of removing the gross detritus which hides the fine and subtle truth of a thing. We decay the outer shell and strengthen the pure inner essence to reveal the power of a thing.
With this line of thinking, that removing that which is not a thing and focusing that which is a thing we get to the true strength of the thing, and further that we must seek this in ourselves and our society in order to turn from failure to greatness, we can continue it to the idea that if we're going to be magicians we need to really be magicians in order to be successful.
This is kind of a “duh” moment. Doing actual magic gets you further as a magician than not doing magic does.
To look at it a little more, we have multiple ways in which magic can operate, multiple places from which magic takes its power. There are simple external things, signs and names, spirits, connecting with flows of energy, kabbalistic paths of manifestation, lots of different ways we can externally do simple magics. Exploring more deeply we get to points where the power and authority to do magic is strengthened as we connect more deeply to the elements of our essential natures. Just like the materium of our alchemy, as we decay the outer gunk around ourselves and strengthen our essence we become a more powerful medicine to get shit done.
Alternatively, when we're at odds with ourselves we're fighting against our success. If we are spending energy trying to be something that we aren't we aren't spending energy actually accomplishing what we want to accomplish. No one has to be a magician, but everyone should be themselves. So if you're a magician, do magic.