I can still remember the very first time I performed a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. It was sometime in the spring of 1990, and I was on a job assignment in a small city in rural upstate New York. I was 20 years old, so I couldn't go to the regular bars, because I could get arrested. There was an underage bar in town, too, but once I saw all the VERY young girls hanging out there, I figured I could get arrested just as quickly there.
But perhaps the very thin social scene wouldn't have made any difference for me. I was a smart but painfully shy guy, who could have easily been the poster child for social anxiety disorder (if such a diagnosis had existed at the time). My small but close circle of friends were either back at college an hour and a half away, or back home two and a half hours away. Suffice it to say, I had copious time on my hands, I wanted to do something constructive with it, and getting hooked on 21 Jump Street wasn't in concert with that agenda (although Johnny Depp was pretty good even then, but I digress).
I had already been dabbling in matters esoteric for a number of years by then. Astrology was my best focus, but tarot, astral projection, crystals and other such new age stuff was also in my mojo bag. Magic was still taboo for me then, and having been raised Catholic only doubled down on that dogma, but one cool, rainy spring evening, I made the decision to put my soul in jeopardy and give this LBRP thing a try.
My living room was quiet and dark, save for two lit tapers on a square end table, now situated in the middle of the room. I sat down and started the four-fold breath, and I distinctly remember a loud boom from an M-80 going off, making me practically jump out of my skin. I could have taken that as a sign and ran screaming from the room, but I instead chose to face my fear and do the LBRP anyway. I took my time, taking great care in every little part of that ritual. When I was done with the ending Qabalistic Cross, I sat back in my chair to feel the change in the room. What I actually felt was a change in myself. It was a change that I could not identify right away, but I soon realized that my mind was just as quiet as the room was. Then I found the word for what I was feeling: serenity. It was a feeling entirely foreign to me, but extremely comforting. I was hooked. My life changed forever that night.
The source from which I got my instructions for performing the LBRP? "Modern Magick" by Donald Michael Kraig. I spent the next six months working through the entire book. The magic and meditations became a daily practice. As my mind became healthier, I started to work on my body as well, and lost about 50 pounds overall. I started gaining self-esteem and began to break out of my anxiety-ridden shell. I became a healthier person. I became a better person. I started to attract better quality people into my life. Those who were not good for me found creative ways to spin themselves out of my life.
Don wrote that "Magic is not something you do. Magic is something you are." I'm that period of time, I became magic, and I am forever in Donald Michael Kraig's debt for it.
So here I am, again on job assignment, when I got the news this morning that Don passed beyond the Veil into the Company of the Gods. It was an inevitable, but very melancholy moment, and it was hard to focus on anything else throughout the day. Fortunately for me, I had this little tool called the LBRP to get rid of those unhappy and distracting thoughts. After that, my mind shifted towards contemplation and reminiscence of the magical life that started 24 years ago, thanks to Don and his seminal work.
I never met Don in the flesh, but had the good fortune to correspond with him through email regarding my research and writing on the Rosicrucian Vault, and got the chance to chat with him over the phone once for about half an hour. That was very special to me, and I was sure to thank him for what he did. I wish his soul peace and godspeed. I wish his family and cherished ones love and consolation. If you can, please send a few dollars to help out with the outstanding medical bills. As I personally move forward, I will continue to hold out the Lamp of Knowledge best I can, the same Lamp that Don made available to so many a generation ago. How can I not? Magic is not something I do. Magic is something I am.