And so another Facebook war has broken out — this time between Aaron Leitch and Alison Chicosky. For those not in the know, Leitch is a highly trained Golden Dawn magician who has published several books and focuses mainly on the Solomonic tradition. Chicosky appears to be a self-trained witch who makes expensive Solomonic talismans, bills herself as a PGM scholar and claims her magic “always works.” You might see her or her followers on Reddit touting her abilities.
Chicosky hit the headlines recently by claiming that Leitch was a “toxic leader” because he blocked her on (his) Facebook, a group in which she had been a member for four years. She claimed it was “because I asked [Leitch] a question about his practice. After that happened, I realised that he treats women and men very differently… I want to stress that of the several male occultists that have treated me badly, I don’t think any of them believes they are misogynists. But if you look at how they treat women, you will see they treat them differently when they disagree. When the woman agrees with them completely, it is impossible to spot.”
Don’t cha know that you’re toxic
Chicosky put her banning in the context of the “me too” movement and cast Leitch as a misogynist and toxic leader. Leitch’s misogyny is impossible to spot because it only exists in Chicosky’s head and was just a whistleblowing call for her followers (who appear to be primarily men) to rally to her defence. Its cynical use in this case is an insult to those who suffer at the hands of misogynists and have bravely stood up against them.
It is pretty clear that Chicosky was no victim in this story and was trying to push her “product” over Leitch’s. Before being blocked, she had mounted a private campaign against Leitch among her followers, which leaked online. In various emails ahe posted snide and passive-aggressive comments to several of his posts. Two of which were reported to me (I help moderate that group) as her more nasty posts were so bad some of the group thought they should be taken down.
I didn’t because Leitch is considerably more “live and let live” than I am. He said: “She sees something in me that instinctively bugs her. She doesn’t like me, and that’s fine. But I can’t change her mind by simply doing what I do in an open and honest manner. And I also feel that what I do is not toxic, nor predatory, nor some kind of joke.”
I have had some dealings with Chicosky online and found her perfectly charming. However, that gloss comes off rather quickly when she finds you will not obey her. By obey I mean it literally. The only thing that Chicosky accepts is praise and obedience from her followers, and you can fall from grace fast. She appears kind and gives her followers favours, and they are even indebted to her.
For example, one person who received help claimed publicly she sent him a “miracle medical cure.” However, a few months later, he appeared in a photograph suffering the same medical problem unhealed no one seemed to question this. He must have known when he posted the glowing review that he was not better. In another case, a friend of Aaron Leitch warned him that if he angered Chicosky, he would suffer because she made powerful talismans that “always worked.”
Magic does not always work
Perhaps, it is my training, but I am the first to admit that my magic does not always work and there are cases where I don’t believe magic can work. In fact, I gave Chicosky a magical case which I could not get to work to see if she could do better than me. She couldn’t , despite her claims.
I have known Aaron a lot longer and have met him several times. We don’t always agree on things, but he, like me, does not make claims that his “magic always works.” What he does do is do his best to make sure that everything is done correctly. So, he will get up at 5 am to stir a potion five times while chanting some Psalm. He does research. He has authored books (his Enochian one is the only one I trust). He also is flexible and understands that none of what we do is a fundamentalist religion.
Aaron has not tried to build a following, set up a group, or do much more than share stuff and none of that for his status. He, like me, can appear to be arrogant shit, particularly to those who turn to magic to prop up flaccid egos, but in comparison to other significant occultists in the world, he is a saint.
I started this occult game very young and held that if I worked and studied hard and became the best example of myself, everything would turn out ok. Unfortunately, what I have seen is the opposite. People who are dumb enough to get on with it and share their work with others end up being the most reviled. They are taken down by those with the loudest voices, the most superficially trained, the people who are not handling their most basic parent complexes.
I read an article by Frater Archer this morning that seems to cover some of the problems that magic in the 21st century is suffering. He said it is easy to come across people who have spent years delving into magical practices yet do not know about magic. He wrote:
While such a statement will make me sound terribly aloof and arrogant, it is actually not an extraordinary thing to observe at all. Magic in this respect is no different from any other liberal art or craft: One can easily waste a lifetime studying it, without ever coming to embody it. These days, many people have gone into the business of perfecting a persona as an artist or magician, without ever creating something worthwhile being called art or magic. One can curate an identity of being on the edge, of being out there, attuned to the weird and Other, while actually doing nothing but remixing other people’s accomplishments. Or not even that.
This is actually not a problem at all; unless people, who major in the business of publicly or privately curating their personas, would actually want to become authentic magicians. Because when we begin to be authentic, out of pure necessity of the process, we cease to curate.
The sorts of people we support as magicians are often the last people who we think they should be. The process of being a real magician precludes the “living god” image building, influencer tactics, or any conscious or unconscious demanding of attention. As Archer says, “being authentic means we stop being a product”, and when we stop being a product, we stop having to sell ourselves and being better than other products. Going to war with others to prove our status in a magical community becomes pointless. We stand alone and get on with it, and it does not matter what our peers think of us.
The best magicians I have met will be the first to admit that they do not get on with that many people. The ones I admire the most don’t even like me much. But those who cause the most trouble are trying to sell themselves as something they are not, who smile too much, are overly supportive, who try desperately to tell you you are OK all the time, never directly critical or will not tell you that you are being fucking stupid. They are the ones who genuinely don’t care about you. These are the real toxic leaders. They end up like EA Koetting, who become so keen to promote themselves as a cool product they end up encouraging weak kids to murder other kids. The speed which Chicosky’s allies (who included Leitch’s friends) turned on him to make her happy was frankly chilling.
So, the claims of making toxic communities, doing things that promote businesses is the projection of a group of people projecting their behaviour onto others. This is the world of modern marketing rather than magic and the act of toxic rather than authentic magicians.