I have to admit, if magick wars become the new normal in politics, it probably will work out well for me. Over the weekend I managed to get through some of the aspects related to the Enochian Parts of the Earth that were vexing me for awhile, meaning that Mastering the Thirty Aires is that much closer to being finished. It includes the system of the Parts of the Earth as conveyed to John Dee and Edward Kelley, a powerful method for performing political operations that will likely be in demand in such a future.
Last Friday, on February 24th, a group of magicians performed a magical operation to "bind" President Donald Trump. The ritual was leaked to the Internet, passed around, and modified. I believe "2.1" was the final released version. I posted an article about it last week, and noted that while the spell itself wasn't very powerful, it was being cast at a time with a good final aspect and appropriate chart victor. I have no idea how many people actually performed it, and that will probably be the determinant of whether or not it has much of an effect.
Peter Carroll noted years ago that sitting politicians are extremely hard targets. In order to get elected, any politician needs a following, so to some degree that concentrated attention helps to repel negative spells. Even though only a small percentage of people have significant magical talent, you're still looking at approximately between one person in thirty and one person in fifty. So in a group of millions of supporters, you are going to have a significant number of talented individuals.
Magical rituals are force multipliers. If you happen to be a talented person, a focused intent can have an effect. If you learn to do magical spells, that intent can have a much greater effect with a properly constructed ritual. So it's safe to say that a trained magician is worth somewhere between, say, ten and a hundred talented individuals with no training. The problem, though, is that there are so few occultists in the world that they are far outnumbered by the merely talented.
On top of that, Trump is supported by Dominionists pushing for an extremist Christian theocracy, who pray for him constantly. Prayer is more effective than focused attention alone, though how much more effective can vary a lot. Years ago I provoked kind of a stupid argument on this blog when I suggested that magically talented people might have trouble getting along in restrictive religious systems like fundamentalist Christianity. I still think this is true, though my evidence is mostly anecdotal and could be colored by a small sample size.
Finally, a pro-Trump magician posted a "counter-spell" based on the same structure as the original for those magicians who wanted to work against the original "binding." Despite the crowing of a couple pro-Trump folks on the Internet about how the counter-spell works whereas the original doesn't, it seems to me that they both have the same shortcomings. The counter-spell is simply an opposite rework of the original intended to reverse it, so pretty much by definition it should work (or not work) just the same.
In the wake of Trump's election, I've made no secret of my political affiliations. As a left-leaning independent, I'm no fan of Trump and expected him to be a terrible president from the start. And so far, that's what I've seen in the actions of his administration. It's possible that I'm wrong and the various missteps are due to Trump being a political novice, and he will eventually work out an effective way to govern. But as I've posted a number of times now, I'll believe that when I see it.
I also will say that I fundamentally don't understand why occultists would ever support the guy. About the only somewhat-reasonable argument I've heard is from folks worried that Vice President Mike Pence would be worse. The rest strike me as a bunch of gullible conspiracists who think that "pizzagate" is a thing and that the Clintons represent unspeakable metaphysical evil - which is totally pointless, by the way, because now there is absolutely no way Hillary Clinton could become president.
If Trump goes down, it's Pence. If Pence goes down, too, it's House Speaker Paul Ryan. And so forth. The Republicans control both houses of Congress, so there isn't even a way to get a generic Democrat into the White House, let alone Hillary Clinton. So all the whining about Hillary-this and Hillary-that strikes me as just plain dumb. If the Clintons really go around murdering people who are political liabilities, why is Anthony Weiner still alive? Does anybody have an explanation for that one? I'm still waiting.
But I digress. What I really wanted to do here was go over the anti-Trump ritual and the counter-spell and do a critique. Before you ask, I will neither confirm nor deny any involvement in either operation. But speaking completely hypothetically, I'm not a Trump supporter, and if I were going to do an anti-Trump ritual I would do something a lot more powerful than this simple candle magick rite. So there's that. Many such rituals can be found right here on this blog, for those who are interested.
My first critique of the anti-Trump ritual is the whole issue of a "binding" versus "cursing." I get that there are people out there who believe in nonsense superstitions like the "threefold law" or "backlash" or the twisted, incorrect Western concept of "karma" that no Hindu or Buddhist would recognize. Even the more technical idea that you can't do negative magick without "getting some on you" is just wrong - all you have to do is use a containment structure like a Table of Art, and you're good to go.
And this is a curse - make no mistake. It is negative magick to bind somebody else's will, period, and if you want a ritual like this to work you need to own that. Having a wishy-washy understanding of what you want to do magically is probably not going to work. So that's problem number one, and it's a big one. I do think that a lot of the people involved probably understand that and just wrote it this way to attract a larger audience, but if that larger audience really is ignorant of real magical principles, it's hard to say how much their participation will help.
Let me also be clear on this point - just because something is negative magick, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it. There's a time and a place for everything, and while I believe such magick should be used sparingly, self-defense is an entirely valid reason to do it. Seeing as Trump's policies already target religious minorities, there's good reason to think that it's only a matter of time before he gets around to targeting pagans and other occultists. The Dominionists have been pushing for a crackdown like that since the 1980's.
The second issue is more technical. Since the ritual doesn't call upon a spirit or spirits, the entire thing is running off the individual power of each magician. So it is heavily dependent on the number of talented individuals involved in the casting. The same is true of the counter-spell, and I have no idea what the relative numbers were. In my original post about it, the astrology was good for midnight on the 24th, so that's going to help. But of course, the counter-spell is casting into the same astrological landscape.
It is not true, by the way, that either spell is going to create some sort of "artificial spirit" as a side-effect. The creation of artificial spirits does not just happen automatically whenever people focus their attention, as some chaos magicians believe. Rather, that needs to be done very deliberately because it is a fairly precise process. A spirit isn't just raw attention, but a structured intelligence - and the magician creating it has to define and implement that structure to enough of a degree that the resulting consciousness can become self-sustaining.
The anti-Trump ritual uses the Tower card, attributed to Mars. The pro-Trump ritual uses the Sun card, attributed to the Sun. Mars corresponds to "works of wrath and vengeance," which is okay for a curse but not optimal for this sort, but the Sun corresponds to "the power of acquiring wealth." The Tower would seem to be a passable choice since the "binding" really is a curse, but the Sun is quite poor. Both seem to be selected on superficial grounds, with the pro-Trump ritual being the worse of the two. Wealth is probably the one thing Trump doesn't need more of.
Both spells use orange candles. For Mars, the candle should be red. For the Sun, orange is actually correct, but for a wealth spell. The original ritual seems to have selected orange because Trump has a vaguely orange-ish complexion, whether from a spray tan or some sort of skin condition. But again, this appears to have been chosen for superficial reasons rather than magically effective ones. Even the pro-Trump ritual, which happened to get it right, only did so because it was matching the original in order to facilitate undoing it.
In fact, the best force to call upon for a binding-type curse is Saturn. So that would be The Universe/The World, and the corresponding candle should be indigo (or purple, if you can't find a decent indigo). Yes, this is all from Liber 777, but since the Tarot is being used the only real options are the Golden Dawn/Crowley arrangement (777) or the Levi arrangement, which very few people use. I am aware that attributions within the Hoodoo/Rootwork system are different, but if those are being used, the Tarot component should probably be discarded.
And if the point is to remove Trump from office, the best aspect for that in the 777 system is actually Jupiter. So the Tarot card would be Fortune/Wheel of Fortune and the candle color should be violet (again, purple works). This is true for the pro-Trump spell too, since Jupiter rules "political and other ascendancy." One group wants to weaken Trump politically, and the other wants to strengthen him politically. Both of those charges are within the sphere of Jupiter.
The Jupiter operation from my Planetary Work series is going to be a much more effective ritual than either of these. And for a "binding," I could say the same about my Saturn working. They may be more complex than what novices are used to casting, but I do outline the full procedures and the instructions shouldn't be that hard to follow. The Tarot card can be added to my structure as a focus without disrupting anything - Fortune/Wheel of Fortune for Jupiter, The Universe/The World for Saturn - and you would want to trace the final figure with the sigil of the angel over the picture used as a link.
Moving on to the counter-spell, the author leveled a couple of criticisms of the original that do not reflect a deep understanding of magick. The claim that closing with an LBRP shuts down the spell you just cast is flat-out wrong. This would be true if you were closing with the full banishing field (LBRP/LBRH), but the LBRP alone is microcosmic and does not cancel macrocosmic spells. It works more like a "disconnect," which you always want to do when casting negative magick. As a microcosmic ritual, it affects your sphere of awareness, not the spell itself.
Second, the claim that if something in your charge specifies that the spell harm no animals, and then you use a feather in the rite, the spell will be cancelled out is so bizarre and incoherent that the only reason I think a magician would bring it up is to make fun of vegans (which the author does proceed to do). Magick is a technology, and specifying that a particular spell harm no animals has nothing to do with any of the tools involved. You might as well argue that dish soap won't clean your dishes because the process by which it is made generates pollutants.
I do think that a strict vegan probably shouldn't use a real feather when doing this ritual, since you shouldn't be doing anything that violates your deeply held values while attempting to cast an effective spell, but I highly doubt any strict vegan would do it in the first place. They would of course make some sort of substitution, which alleviates the problem entirely. A small change like that isn't going to undermine a spell like this. And somebody who doesn't see the need to do that probably isn't a strict vegan, so for them violating a deeply held belief would not be an issue.
And speaking of contradictions, the counter-spell includes as part of the charge to strengthen Trump so he can lead "our people" to "a golden age of prosperity," and then in the next stanza specifies that he should "keep all his promises." No serious economist thinks that Trump's campaign promises, followed to the letter, will generate much prosperity. Tax cuts and tax breaks generate far less economic growth than conservatives claim, because the money the government takes in as taxes is paid out and goes back into the economy. Take a look at what is happening right now in Kansas - tax cutting your way to prosperity just doesn't work, and it never has.
Here's another thought experiment that highlights a similar problem. Let's say Trump pays for his wall with a "border tax" on goods coming in from Mexico, as he promised during the campaign. Distributors in the United States pass the tax on to American consumers, whose goods are now more expensive. The vendor in Mexico charges the same as before, and makes the same amount of money as before. The distributor, meanwhile, passes the tax along. Now who is paying for the wall? It isn't Mexico, it's American consumers, who have to pay higher prices.
The point being, the charge in the counter-spell is self-contradictory. I'm totally down with Trump creating a "new age of prosperity" for "our people" - note, not "our citizens," as the Constitution reads "persons" - and if he really can pull it off, I'll have a lot fewer negative things to say about him. I imagine that's probably true of the Trump-binders as well. At this point, though, I'm still of the opinion that Trump voters got conned - the guy is a great salesman, and he successfully pitched an impossible-to-deliver bill of goods.
It remains to be seen what happens here. If neither spell has an effect, or the spells cancel each other out, nothing will happen. The status quo will be maintained, in which the administration continues to go about its business. And regardless of whether the counter-spell is any good, as Carroll noted all those years ago, the odds are still against the anti-Trump folks. He is president now, after all, so the status quo works in his favor. So my guess is that any effect will be small, and we may or may not hear anything about it.
I've seen a few comments on the Internet about how people shouldn't do magick for this, but rather put their energy into mundane steps that will help the political situation along. Where I disagree is with the suggestion that you somehow can't do both. I say you should do both. Don't let your participation in a mass spell like this dissuade you from mundane actions, but at the same time it takes what, twenty minutes at best? In the middle of the night? It's not like that gets in the way of activism work.
I also take issue with the contention that doing magick against a politician is somehow "cheating" or an attempt to "bring down the Republic." I don't think that's true when magicians do it, and I don't think that's true when the Dominionists - who, mind you, I totally despise - do it. After all, their prayers are just weak, poorly focused spells. Magick isn't fundamentally different than any other activity you can undertake in the political arena, and if you want political change you need to make the best use of the skills that you have in order to get it done.
So if your skills lie in lobbying, be a lobbyist. If they lie in fundraising, be a fundraiser. If they lie in activism, be an activist. If they lie in being a candidate for office, by all means run. And, if they happen to be magical, always cast your conscience. It's really that simple.