Belief, and doubt, in Magick

In Peter Carroll’s Liber Null, he talks about the correct state of mind for effective magical working, and emphasized the importance of “non-attachment/non-disinterest” in the work. The will can only be effectively worked with when the mind is focused and there is no desire. Thus, it is imperative to act without “lust of a result”:

“If an attempt is made to focus on some form of desire, the effect is short circuited by lust of result…fear of failure…destroy the result”

I’m sure we all know this already- these are the basics of magick working. However, I sometimes find this quite difficult to achieve, even though it is rudimentary. I think the reason for this is because ever since I have started magick-working, half of the challenge has been convincing myself that magick is even real at all.

That might sound ridiculous, but how does one change a belief they’ve had their whole lives? I was born into Judaism, but never believed in Yahweh or the Torah, and developed a strongly agnostic approach to life, which even bordered on atheistic and nihilistic at times. Magick interested me, so I wanted to try it and see if there was anything to the mysticism shrouding it. I didn’t expect to stick with it or come this far at all.

It seems no matter how much proof of magick there is to me, how many books on magick I read, or other people’s experiences that I hear, there’s still that seed of doubt in my mind that any of it is real; it works incredibly to sabotage any work that I do. It doesn’t seem to matter that Bune granted me a job, that Paimon granted me an amazing familiar, or that most of my spells do work- what if it’s all in my head?

Maybe I’m just going through a bit of a rough patch with it. I’m finding it hard to sense my familiar, and my evocations the last few days have not been very successful. These two contradictions exist in my mind at all times. I miss my familiar and want to sense him again.

So, I guess my question is this: Did you immediately believe in magick when you picked it up? If so, how was it so easy for you to change your belief system? How do you deal with doubt?


In the rhp Magickal Order I was known as ‘Doubting Thomas’. Got into Chaos Magic(k) and experimented with subverting the Psychic Sensor. After ritual I laugh. At first it was forced. Then I go-to-town slapping myself across the face. Then I clean myself (I tend to perspire like you wouldn’t believe) and prepare food – sandwich or a main meal. If my mind drifts back to the Magick I’ve performed it just means I need another bitch-slap.

After staying with what had largely been dead-end Magick I noticed outcomes that I couldn’t comfortably attribute to chance or coincidence. After that it gets easier.



I totally understand you, but with Magick you have to dabble until you find a system that works for you. What first convinced me Magick was real when my third eye opened(when I learned how to meditate)after I attempted my first evocation and the entity refused to help me…So I was naturally disappointed. Secondly I set up a altar to a spirit(LOA) and asked for financial help that same night the spirit called my name while I was sleeping and the next day my child dad sent 1,000 (he hadn’t sent me anything in 3 yrs)… BUT the spirit stopped working for me…then I invoked Lucifer… then initiated into the LHP, then met Belial (my patron)… and he didn’t right off the bat help me BUT he guided me to other spirits that would help me…and I used to lust for results because I was new to magick , now looking back I see that whenever I would give up thinking that my magick wasn’t working my spell would manifest… Now, I don’t lust… I perform the spell and forget about it …Also, sometimes it takes time for manifestations to come to pass… MAGICK is real!!! What helped me is working with a patron, asking my patron to guide me to the right spirit and system that is best for me. sometimes you will need to wait because there are certain things you must learn first before you start casting spells etc… peace.


I feel you there, brother.

What if it is so? Because, if it is all in your head (and I’m not saying it is), then it STILL works! You know about the placebo effect, right? That’s a power our mind have and our current science can’t really explain. So what?! You have, you know how to use, so use it! Exploit it. Make stuff work in your favor.

Also, isn’t chaos magick based around that anyway? It is magick. And you’re doing great.

I’ve been an atheist most of my life. So no, the switch isn’t easy. I only tried because an author I respect wrote about it in an article called Pop Magick. And… it worked. But I didn’t have a reason to believe it worked because an external inteligence made it work (not at the time).

But now, you see, right as I write to you, I’m experiencing something very interesting. I’ve lived with an infection for years. Yes, I see several doctors and tried several treatments. Nothing worked. I stopped because of the lockdown, but my doctor told me we’re running out of options.

A great friend of mine performed a ritual on my behalf, shooting quite a lot at this damn infection. And you know what? It is working. I’m not healed, but I’m doing better, and healing is by definition a process. Maybe if you had made this post a week or two or a month or a year in the future I could have tell you that yeah, I’m cured, but you posted now.

There is no way the placebo effect can be healing me. There is no way it is in MY head. And other person’s head couldn’t possibly do it. See? Magick :slight_smile: (My atheist neuron still fight back as hard as it can against the idea, I have to live with it for the time being, if that happens to you, know that you’re not alone).

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Yea just instantly believed it’s possible and because it’s possible I’m going to succeed to witness the magic, I was doing physical magic at that time I’m just now learning energy manipulation visualization stuff.

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Peter Carroll was just on Thoth Hermes. Maybe that will help you.

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this is my predicament

I slip in and out of Belief

it is easy for my mind to come up with excuses/rationalizations/explanations and at times I am very much NOT connected

the fundamental thing is: is there a strong enough desire/motivation to stay on the path? Because you can still WANT to be in it, even if you don’t/can’t believe necesarily. Then you just chalk your disbelief up to a character flaw and ignore it and keep on. You can still be committed without Belief or epic spiritual experience every second of the day

i have an idea that a daily practice (which I have begun already and am perfecting) will keep me grounded in my investment in a spiritual/magic path and have yet to see results TBH but I do remember in the past when I’ve been into it it does work

as well seeing unequivocal results(which does happen) does help cement it

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When I was doing Magick with two other Chaos Magicians it worked, because we didn’t know what the sigils we’d pre-designed were about. Subconsciously we knew, but not consciously.



Wow thank you. The psychic censor is really what’s doing it in for me. I’ll probably try experimenting with that too, along with the laughing part (Though my family might think I’m crazier than they already do). True, I notice many, many “coincidences” that I wouldn’t attribute to just that. It’s just a matter of clearing the doubt in my mind.

pumagami, glad to be of some assistance. Magick is a hard slog, but pre-internet you have no idea. That said, there’s a lot of dangerous material on-line. I got sick to death of all the bullshit and went for cheap, nasty and effective solutions. Back in the day they didn’t know about the conscious and sub-conscious mind, but they knew that if you made your own sword it was definitely going to be consecrated - by your will power and efforts.

Liber Null & Psychonaut really freed me. I know the mind-numbing Golden Dawn/Thelemic theory, but Peter James Carroll helped me to understand Magick in and of itself.
Life changing!


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I became convinced of Magic’s reality once all other rational explanation for certain things I’ve experienced and done had failed. I’m a strong proponent of approaching the occult with high skepticism until you can say the same.

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