I think I’ve read this interview before but this is more or less how I feel about the occult and magick right now:
The trouble with successes in magic is that you can look back and describe some things that happened and they are so amazing when that when you tell them to people they think you must be the world’s greatest Magician if you could do things like that. But you know that actually they didn’t happen in the way magic ought to – ?I just want this to happen and I make it happen’. Very little have I managed to achieve in that way, life has a habit of springing surprises however hard you try to direct it. Some of those surprises are uncannily close to what you asked for, and yet they have a way of occurring which is not what you expected. I am very much aware of what is happening to me and it’s a sort of theme which occurs in fairy stories; the wish is granted but it doesn’t work out the way it was meant to. I think it must be a cosmic law that that should happen.
Are you still involved in the occult for the same reasons or have they changed?
That’s a difficult one. I can’t give a tidy answer to that. It’s very much my nature to be involved in the occult and that hasn’t changed. Involvement carries a certain momentum – the friends one has made, the practices I am performing and so on, all that adds up to a reason to stay with the occult. Yet I realise I am looking for different things now than I was earlier on. But those reasons are fairly superficial. It really is just curiosity about life and that is the strongest motive and that, in a sense, has not been changed.
Why do you think that people are still drawn to mysticism and the occult when the terrain is so obviously dominated by frauds, wastrels and knaves?
Now that’s a bit like saying why are people still interested in sex when obviously the sex industry is so full of corruption and sleaze. I think for some people there is actually a fascination in the sleaze, fraudery and trickery, which actually adds to the subject – sex is actually more intriguing because of the aura of sleaze about it. I’m not sure if that is so for me, but I think the occult too is something which you can be put off by the sleaze of it or actually you can find that as a rather intriguing element in it. One of the ideas I was putting forward in ?The Charlatan and the Magus’ (in ?Blast….’) was that maybe existence itself is sleazy, and that mankind’s instinct always attempts to eliminate sleaze, which is as misguided as swallowing a load of antibiotics, which although they may kill the germ, they kill off certain other things in your gut which then has to recover; or as misguided as trying to make a clean compost heap by putting a lot of disinfectant on it which actually would stop the composting process. In other words, sleaze is itself inherent. The universe itself has a strong element of sleaze in it and it’s part of the nourishment of life. We need to work on our own exaggerated concepts of hygiene.