Is it best to start with ceremonial magic?

I’ve been slowly going through “Initiation into Hermetics” and was wondering if that’s a better way to start than chaos magic, or if it ultimately doesn’t matter. I like that the book is very comprehensive, and I fully intend on moving on to his book on evocation (he insists that you start with Initiation first), but it seems very prop heavy. There’s a lot of focus on tools and imbuing them with energy so that you don’t have to use your own.

Is this a better way to start, or is ceremonial and chaos magic really dependent on the individual’s personality?


IIH is a very solid initiation, arguably one of the best methods of practice for a beginner, because it really reinforces the fundamental skills that a good practitioner needs.

Chaos Magick is a lot more difficult to really progress through, because the lack of structure, which makes having all the proper fundamental skills a lot less simple. I’d recommend at least making it most of the way through Bardon’s system before trying to get into Chaos Magick seriously.

Mind you, this is coming from a Chaote who has made it to the Adept level.


Thanks. I’m taking notes and such, and I like it because feels kind of step-by-step as opposed to the GOM books which just present rituals without explaining the how or why.

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Initiation into Hermetics is considered to be one of, if not the, best magical development systems around, and creates very powerful magicians. Unfortunately, in takes a long time to complete, and in our modern culture, most people don’t have the attention span for it.

If you want a Chaos style instruction, I recommend Liber MMM from Peter Caroll’s book Liber Null and Psychonaut. It will give you a pretty solid foundation in trance and concentration.


To be honest I was never a fan of Franz Bardon and a lot of his work, in my opinion, is agonizingly dated.
Ceremonial Magic is one direction to take. It is common to find decent texts such as Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick and Steve Savedow’s The Magician’s Workbook.
You could also study Witchcraft, most of it stemming from Wiccan sources sadly. Most texts are horrible, but you can find bits of eclectic wisdom as you peruse. Works from Janet and Stewart Farrar, Scott Cunningham, Isaac Bonewits & Konstantinos I find palatable, barely.
*Note:I add Cunningham because of massive respect on his intention. Scott Cunningham was a homosexual, Wiccan and open about it in a time when sexually open people were usually ostracized, or murdered. His works are also from the heart and very sound practice. To this day I still use his color charts, oils, herbs and stone/gem charts.
Or you can study what I love, that being what most refer to as Shamanism(I know it as the Grand Medicine.) I am not a fan of Michael Harner but his book The Way of the Shaman has basic techniques from which to begin working with. Do not take his spiritual insight as gold. From a Native perspective, Harner is a hack who anthropologically is no better than Tylor was over a hundred years ago. I recommend Phil Hine’s Techniques on Modern Shamanism. Hine is blunt, to the point and does not draw on the whole noble savage drudgery like every Plastic Shaman.
Though the most important thing to study, learn and focus your whole being on is where you wish to take yourself spiritually. What you devote your time to is where your heart is. Where your heart is is where your life is aimed toward, regardless if you hit the mark or not.

More importantly, be eclectic. Find and use what you like from what practice you study. Better yet, be smart AND eclectic. Eclecticism also requires huge doses of common sense.


Thanks for the recommendations. I’m away of Harner’s core shamanism, but was having a hard time following it. I’ll take a look at Hine’s book. I’ll check out all those other books, too.

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