The Far Away Centre

Teaching the Esoteric and Occult Arts and Sciences for Today

Courses & Training in Magick, Ritual, Witchcraft, Kabbalah, Tarot and Alchemy + Magickal Retreats & Apprenticeships

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Free Beginners Guide to Witchcraft, Western Esotericism & Magick

Tarot Weekend Workshops

Witchcraft Weekends

The Adepts Path Weekend

Become a Magicians Apprentice with Individual Personal Tuition

Thelema & Magick Weekends

Kabbalah Courses

Inner Guide Meditation Workshop
(IGM Charts & Worksheets available)

Golden Dawn Weekend

Egyptian Ritual Day (Summer)

Practical Alchemy Weekend

About Your Teacher


Links to More Magick

Free Books

Contact Us Now

Location & Transport Information

For more information about Keswick, Cumbria, where courses are held, and our venues, click here


The Far Away Centre in the Media

We are able to assist media enquiries into all aspects of occultism and news-related items. See the links below for our most recent article contributions.

Samhain

Statesman

Cumberland

Times

Witchvox

We have a great relationship with local and international media and as a result we produce well-informed, sympathetic and non-sensationalist articles.


OUR RECENT NEWS OVER 2009

August 2009: The Far Away Centre is featured in the book, "Mysterious Lake District".

Mysterious Lake District

July 2009: The Far Away Centre is featured in "The Book of English Magic" and Marcus Katz named in the acknowledgements.

Book of English Magic

July 2009: The first TAROSOPHY® Tarot conference is held with Rachel Pollack and leading teachers of Tarot & Astrology.

Tarot Workshop

June 2009: Marcus is contracted to write two books - one on Magick and another on Tarot. These will feature unique and unpublished work from thirty years of practice and study and will be published in Spring and Summer 2010.

April 2009: Marcus delivers an academic paper on Tarot at the PCA/ACA conference, New Orleans.


"Marcus is someone who Knows - who really Knows, where others can only guess".

- Rachel Pollack, Author of "78 Degrees of Wisdom".

"... The Tarot reading all came together and for the first time I actually feel a sense of achievement. It wasn't just the individual cards that seemed to speak through me but also their juxtaposition,  overall patterns and then other patterns within those patterns (like wheels within wheels) and we  literally identified a cycle of behaviour that the Querent had played out over a number of years ... the Tarot felt like a living breathing organism that was holding my hand and each card contained aspects of every other card. My biggest challenge was to put into words the feelings that the cards and spread conveyed to me. The querent said she expected nothing but a professional reading as it was me but was amazed at how I wove and told such an accurate story of her life from pieces of brightly coloured card!"

Julia, Advanced Tarot Student, 2009

EXCLUSIVE ESOTERIC/OCCULT BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

Alchemy CourseThe Alchemical Amphitheatre: Learn to live a Transformative life through Magical Alchemy! An Alchemy course in six monthly modules available as a download or paperback book. (136 pages with rituals, exercises, experiments & meditations).

Planetary MagickThe Zodiacal Rituals: Learn to empower your life over twelve months with the rituals of a secret magical order! The book also presents a guide to Sigil Magick, how to write your own powerful invocations and focus your Will to achieve magickal effects! (136 pages including all rituals and solitary version notes).

Tarosophist International - buy copies of the world's best Tarot magazine, Tarosophist International, download or print featuring innovative articles, spreads and reviews by leading tarot authors and readers! Now with an Annual special. See the Lulu store on the link to preview the cover and contents of all issues.

 

Our Vision of a Magickal Life

  1. What is Magic(k)?
  2. How do I become a Magician?
  3. How do I become a Witch?
  4. What is the difference between the different styles of Magic and Witchcraft?
  5. What do I need?
  6. What are the best books for a beginner?
  7. Where do I get further help?
  8. Why do things have latin titles, why do folk wear robes and do weird things, and what else do I need to really know?

What is Magick?

Magick is "the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with will". This is the definition given by the occultist Aleister Crowley, who was one of the most influential occultists of the early 1900's. It basically means that any act that you undertake, so long as it conforms with your will, is a magical one. To begin with, it sounds like a loose description - surely it means that everything is a magickal act, and everyone is therefore a magician? This is partly true - the Universe has to be a magickal place for magick to work - but as you will see as you undertake your studies and work, few people understand their own will and the nature of the universe around them. In that sense, we begin ignorant and only through our enquiries do we uncover our own nature and begin to perform real acts of Magick in accord with that nature.

Crowley also introduced the spelling of Magic with a "k" to distinguish it from stage magic - if he were developing his system now he would have done the same again to distinguish what he was talking about from the popular collectable card game, Magic!

So, if we are to understand our Will, surely this is just psychology then? There is a whole school of Psychology, "Psychosynthesis," dedicated to the discovery and use of will. Is that not enough? Well, most magicians begin by studying psychology to gain a deeper understanding of their psyche, and this is recommended before further study is undertaken to ensure that later work does not overbalance the person and turn them into a stark raving lunatic. This is probably the worst danger to any occultist - and those around them! It is like building a house of cards; you have to have a nice solid foundation, as wide as possible, before adding anything else on top of it. It doesn't stop you (witness the hundreds of 15 yr. old wannabes on the newsgroups asking how to summon demons), but it damn sure makes life easier later on!

Everything we do is an act of enquiry - the Magician simply takes this further and says, "what sort of Universe is this where I can do this?" and tries to influence events, foretell the future, change himself from one form to another, but always using such experiments to test the nature of the Universe - this is the science of magick. As time goes on, the Magician finds himself in a very strange Universe that is far deeper and more complex than first he imagined, and at this stage begins a stage of enquiries more suited to Mysticism than Magic.

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How do I become a Magician?

Well, the first thing to do is be clear on what you want to be. Like any subject, that of Magick has its divisions and overlaps. Most Magicians have dabbled in Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, Science, Theology, and much more, so you are likely to find references to many other schools of thought within each other. When I first picked up an occult book, I soon realised that I would have to learn about something called Kabbalah first, because that was the language being referred to. I then picked up Tarot because that was referred to, and Tarot seemed to be partly based on Astrological principles, so I had to learn that ... and so on! If you have an artistic, creative approach to the world, and like nature, then you might naturally incline to Witchcraft. If you have an enquiring, scientific approach, then Magick might suit you. This is very simplistic - start anywhere and you will soon come to find where you are suited.

Web Sites like this can assist, as can books. Starting with a few self-practice books (see list below) is no bad way to start, so long as you don't try anything too advanced. Don't run before you can walk! Find your local shop, where others of a like mind might congregate, look for discussion groups, mail order courses, anything to start you on your way. Don't immediately jump into joining a group until you have at least some solid grounding and practical experience all by yourself. You will know when it is time for you to join a group. Also, ask others - on the Internet or elsewhere - before getting involved in a group, as there are some that are better than others.

Some suitable techniques for your first year as a Magician include dream-journals, keeping a magical journal, Tarot, Astrology and Alchemy, the lesser banishing ritual of the Pentagram, meditations and pathworking, and theoretical study of as many traditions as you can manage!

Here's a useful site to visit next - the AvatarSearch Engine, which specialises in Occult Sites.

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How do I become a Witch?

The best way to become a Witch is to spend time outdoors! Watch particularly the way the seasons change and the way their ebb and flow reflected in human activities. Learn the phases of the moon and observe the eight festivals, even if to begin with it is only by lightly a particular-colour candle. Witchcraft is at heart an individual pursuit, although coven-work is challenging and can broaden your outlook. Choose a God and Goddess form that appeal to you, such as Pan, Artemis, Herne, Hecate, and find out about their rituals. By opening yourself up to these Gods and Goddesses, you can soon attune to a very basic and strong current that runs in our very bodies, and this can lead your practices onwards. Tree Magick and divination could form part of your first year studies, as well as one form of healing. Aromatherapy is a fun place to begin, if you like getting scented and messy!

Here's a great site to go next for Witchcraft - a guide to creating your own Book of Shadows.

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What is the difference between the different styles of Magick and Witchcraft?

Contemporary occultism is fractured into a variety of sub-groups most easily categorised by the general system of thought being worked with (although even within each category one might find a variety of shades, approaches and heresies!). Several popular areas are:

Thelema, Chaos, Wicca, Golden Dawn, Ma'at, Alchemy, Kabbalah ...

Thelemic groups such as the Ordo Templi Orientis (two main versions of this group exist; the Caliphate and the Typhonian) work with the systems developed by Aleister Crowley in the early 1900's. The main focus of thought is contained in Crowley's "Liber Al" ("Book of the Law").

Chaos Magicians work with systems of thought influenced by notaries such as Robert Anton Wilson and Pete Carroll. The approach is more free-style shamanism mixed with eclectic techniques and modern science (although the latter point is debatable). Some groups, such as the Pact and the Z-Cluster, have significant Internet presence.

There are a variety of generally nature-based, often magickal-thinking, often polytheistic (or pantheistic) religions; Wicca, Paganism, Witchcraft, Shamanism, and many other forms. They are religions which often honour both a God and Goddess in multiple forms. There are an incredible range of variants, many covered in "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler (ISBN 0 8070 3253 0).

Golden Dawn groups work a system based on a masonic synthesis of esoteric thought which draws together ceremony, initiation, Kabbalah, and Egyptian lore. There are a number of public groups and a number of private, closed groups.

Ma'at Magick is a system building from Crowley's Thelema and is of particular interest at present in that it postulates various ideas dealing with the future of society that are positive and can be seen developing across the world. It's main proponent is Soror Nema, whose book "Ma'at Magick" (ISBN 0 87728 827 5) collects together most of the current thought in this system.

When I first started practising Witchcraft, I only knew two schools of thought, which were the Gardnerian and the Alexandrian. As time moves on, other forms will emerge. To be frank, there should be a form that suits your own way of working out there, and it is best to find out what that is first, then find a group that accomodates it, rather than the other way round.

Alchemy, Kabbalah, Christian Mysticism, Divination, Astrology there are many other approaches to the Great Work, and groups or individuals that pursue them. In the end, it is up to YOU to choose the most appropriate for YOU.

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What do I need?

What do you need to be a Magician or a Witch? Well, forget about the Cloaks, Cauldrons, and Magic Wands. At least, to begin with. To be a magician you need to have an attitude of open enquiry, and to be a Witch you need to be able to open to nature. With those tools under your belt, you can enter the labyrinth! Patience, to grapple with the obscure, and Honesty, to deal with the experiences that enquiry will open within and without you are also valuable tools in your kit.

Eventually, you will need a place set aside to work in, even if it only the one room apartment you already live in. This can be transformed into a Temple by your imagination if need be. When you are ready and undertand their use, you will need a set of ritual tools, as per your path, and these can be bought or created by yourself depending on your skills and resources. Just be careful with Athames or Ritual Swords, and Candles - the stories I could tell you about circle dances ending up at the hospital or indian robes going up in flames, well!

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What are the best books for a Beginner?

I created this table by imagining that you could only afford three books, otherwise there were too many to choose from, and not every book can hope to cover all aspects of a subject. These books are the three then that I believe give a reasonable introduction and entry point into the subject. This list has been modified (with thanks) in discussion with the alt.magic newsgroup. As always, buyer beware!

ALCHEMY The Elements of Alchemy

Gilchrist, C.

ISBN 1-85230-205-4

The Western Mandala

Mclean, A.

The Alchemists Handbook

Frater Albertus

CHAOS MAGICK Liber Null

Carroll, P.

Prometheus Rising

Wilson, R. A.

ISBN 0-941404-19-6

The Collected Works

Austin Osman Spare

GURDJIEFF (by others - easier to read!) Waking Up

Tart, C.

ISBN 1-85230-053-1

The Gurdjieff Work

Speeth, K. R.

ISBN 0-85500-080-5

The Fourth Way

Ouspensky, P. D.

ISBN 0-7100-7256-2

GURDJIEFF ("All and Everything" series, by Gurdjieff - all *very* hard reading!) Meetings with Remarkable Men

Gurdjieff, G. I.

ISBN 0-7100-7032 2

Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson

Gurdjieff, G.I.

ISBN

Life is real only then, When "I am"

Gurdjieff, G.I

ISBN 0-7100-0887-2

MYSTICISM The Experience of No Self

Roberts, B.

ISBN 0-394-72693-6

The Knee of Listening

Free John, B.

ISBN 0-913922-43-9

The Essential Mystics

Harvey, A.

ISBN 0-06-251379-6

OVERVIEWS (Magick) Techniques of High Magic

King, F. & Skinner, S.

ISBN 0-7221-5256 6

Magic, An Occult Primer

Conway, D.

ISBN 583-12179-9

The Rebirth of Magic

King, F. & Sutherland, I.

ISBN 0-552-11880-X

OVERVIEWS (Witchcraft) Drawing Down the Moon

Adler, M.

ISBN 0-8070-3253-0

The Rebirth of Witchcraft

Valiente, D.

ISBN 0-919345-39-5

Dreaming the Dark

Starhawk

ISBN 0-8070-1025-1

RITUAL (WESTERN TRADITION) The Golden Dawn

Regardie, I.

ISBN 0-87542-663-8

Modern Magick

Kraig, D. M.

ISBN 0-87542-324-8

The Ritual Magick Workbook

Ashcroft-Nowicki, D.

ISBN 0-85030-467-9

RUNNING A GROUP

Inside a Magical Lodge

(Western Tradition)

Greer, J. M.

ISBN 1-56718-314-X

School of Kabbalah

(Kabbalistic Study Groups)

Halevi, Z'ev ben Shimon

ISBN

The Spiral Dance

(Covens)

Starhawk

ISBN 0-06-067535-7

SOURCE REFERENCE BOOKS The Book of the Dead

(Egyptian)

The Magus

(Francis Barrett)

Three Books of Occult Philosophy

(Agrippa)

TAROT The Tarot

Cavendish, R.

ISBN 1-85152-021-X

Archetypes on the Tree of Life

Compton, M.

ISBN 0-87542-104-0

Jung and Tarot

Nichols, S.

ISBN 0-87728-515-2

THELEMA (CROWLEY) Magick

Crowley, A.

ISBN 0-7100-7423-9

Magick Without Tears

Crowley, A.

ISBN 0-941404-16-1

The Magick of Thelema

Duquette, Lon Milo

ISBN 0-87728-778-3

WITCHCRAFT The Spiral Dance

Starhawk

ISBN 0-06-067535-7

Wicca

Crowley, V.

ISBN 0-7225-3271-7

The Witches Bible

Farrar, J. & S.

ISBN

YOUR FIRST YEAR BOOKS

(Books to get you to start to know yourself ... stage 1!)

The Inner Guide Meditation

Steinbrecher, E. C.

ISBN 0-85030-300-1

The Dream Game

Faraday, A.

ISBN 0-14-00-4158-3

Tarot Transformation

Greer, M. K.

ISBN 0-85030-622-1

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Where do I get further help?

From me, if you have immediate questions or comments on anything on this site.

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Why do things have latin titles, why do folk wear robes and do weird things, and what else do I need to really know?

Occultism and Esoteric thought has a long history, but much of its current manifestation in modern western society is drawn from the works of Renaissance and post-renaissance scholars such as Barrett, Agrippa, and Dee. As well as that, a lot of esoteric thought developed in small groups who were to some extent at odds with the society around them, and therefore developed a view that sought to work towards a better future or who harked back to some prior "golden age". Such work was hence very eclectic, drawing from other ages, philosophies and languages as appropriate, sometimes without too much discernment, at other times with spectacular insight as to hidden connections between independently derived systems. That is why the western ritualists of the Golden Dawn practised a little understood form of Egyptology, mixed with Dee's Enochian Squares, but also had influences of spiritualism and freemasonary in their teachings.

The use of robes, titles and paraphernalia is partly by requirement, partly by design, partly for the theatrics, and in part to separate one's esoteric work with one's mundane life. This division is artificial, but useful to the beginner; when you plug magical forces into the mundane world, you can achieve spectacular results, and so you have to work from a reasonably secure position before you can get away with wearing your robes to work and blessing people in the street! Once you have studied occultism for a while, you will soon understand that in some cases the experiences and processes being described have no other language than that of weird symbols, and that those weird symbols and ritual activities express and reflect your experience precisely. Then you will know, and things formerly obscured will become clear!

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Far Away Centre 2006