Our longtime colleague Inominandum posted his usual thoughtful rumination which I’d like to share. This comes on the occasion of what would have been John F. Kennedy’s centennial:
“I don’t want to debate his policies, but one thing I think few can deny, is that he was an inspiring leader that gave hope to many, and asked us to do great things.
“In another great JFK moment had an anniversary this week. On May 25th 1961 JFK asked congress for funds to do something that he had no plan or precedent to accomplish:
‘First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.’ – – John F Kennedy
“It was not until almost a year and a half later, in the September 12th speech at Rice University in 1962, that he made the famous speech where he asked us to do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” By that time he already had an idea of available funds and a basic idea of how this was going to happen. And happen it did. This implausible but inspiring goal that was the providence of Science Fiction became science fact.
“So what does this have to do with magic? Well, you can talk to Gordon White and Peter Lavenda about how Nazi occultists, Gnostics, The Goddess Babalon, and other esoteric interests got us there. What I want to talk about is the idea of using magic for something that seems just out of reach.
“I talk a lot to people about avoiding impossible goals. No, I don’t think you are going to make stone that makes you live literally forever, and no I cannot cast a spell that makes you look like John Hamm. I also tell people to avoid the really improbably goals. Why do I think its a waste of time to try to win Powerball with Sorcery? Because even if your magic quintuples your chances, its still more likely that you will get hit by lightning… twice.
“Avoiding this nonsense does not mean however that we should stick to the safe and the known. An uninspiring goal that does not light a fire under your ass is no better than the improbable or the impossible goal. Go ahead and shoot for something that is inspiring and just slightly implausible! It will give you energy, it will sharpen your attention, it will take the rest of your life and place it in focus. Best still, it will end the cycle of emergency spells aimed at keeping you in the same cycles over and over.
“Most of the 30’s were spent in career uncertainty, and I somehow managed to lose jobs in both the dot.com crash of the early 2000’s and the housing crash of 2008. I was writing books for sure, but I was also taking increasingly backwards career steps, eventually just taking jobs to stop the bleeding. It was not until I decided to be an occult writer and teacher as my main career, and do it in a way that would support a middle or upper-middle class family life, that everything came into focus and I started to move forward. This seemed implausible at best, but it is something that gave me the fire to: work a full time soul sucking day-job, take care of my infant twins, and spend 20-30 hours a week working on Strategic Sorcery. Not gonna lie folks, it was fucking brutal – but it was worth it.
“So I ask you today, what do you want for yourself that is implausible? What do you want that would brutally hard, but worth the price in the end? Once you know what it is, make a plan to get there. A plan that could work without magic is best. Then you can aim your sorcery at making sure that it does. Why do this? In the words of JFK….
‘because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win .’ – John F Kennedy
How Are You Of Service?
Perhaps the most famous quote of JFK, is from his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Here’s the thing though: most of the time what you can do for your country, your community, your friends, your family IS what is best for you as well.
Despite some calling for the downfall of Pagan Capitalists, most business owners I know who succeed have not only their own interests in mind, but the needs of their customers and clients. This is the sweet spot where great service is rendered and fortune is made. Successful business people don’t just sell to their clients and customers, they sell for them.
Maybe you are not a businessperson, you are still (hopefully) of service in your work. Not just your job, but your magic. I hold service as one of the key pillars to a happy and successful life and so I wanted to take a moment and ask that, while you are considering your implausible and inspiring act I asked you about above, that you also consider how it is of service to others. It is not just altruism, it is often the very key to your own success.