Drew Jacob, Rogue Priest and the former Twin Cities resident, has been on a spiritual journey that has led him to create a new project. Jacob is currently fund-raising a successful Indiegogo campaign called “Magic to the People,” to establish a magical work-site to provide free magical services to New Orleans residents and visitors. Jacob, featured previously on PNC-Minnesota for his work at the Temple of the River and then on his incredible cross-country travels on the heroic path, has found a new home in Louisiana.
The Indiegogo campaign, which is going on right now, has already reached its initial goal of $1,100. This exciting news led Jacob to revise his plans to reach a new goal of $2,000 to create a book of magic for the fundraising backers. On top of that, if they reach $3,100, then Jacob will have a guidebook sent to backers that shows a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Magic to the People work-space.
Jacob is a hounsi (initiate) of New Orleans Vodou but not yet a Vodou priest. He is a fully initiated priest of the Irish gods holding the rank of clí in draíocht (druidic practices). He has practiced magic for 17 years, founded and ran an Irish polytheist temple for 7 years, and is now traveling as a journeyman to learn from other traditions. He blogs about his spiritual journey at http://roguepriest.net.
Jacob took a little time out of his busy campaign to speak with PNC-Minnesota:
At the Open-door Workspace, what kind of ceremonial magic will be practiced? Will it mostly be a Vodou practice, or will other varieties of magic be included?
My magical practice has become very compact. Because I travel by bicycle, it’s impossible to have the wide assortment of ritual tools and trappings that many practitioners use. I had to learn to work without them and still get results.
Most visitors to Magic to the People will be given a hand-made charm created right in front of them. Typically this will be a sigil painted onto a card similar to the ones I create at altmagic.com. The paint is mixed with potions from a local botanica, though if I didn’t have access to those I would mix it purely with offerings such as liquor or spices. The sigil is “charged” and enchanted rapidly using a process of pouring out offerings, inviting in the spirit and empowering it on the spot. Everything is very physical, for instance using the ash of the incense, the crumbs of the offerings, or the flame of the candle to mark and enchant the card.
I also focus on involving the person in their spell. Not only are they there for the casting, which is unusual for many magical practitioners, but when they get home they are asked to make offerings over the spell card and recite a charm that I will give them. This is repeated daily for a set number of days. They have to put in their own focus and energy.
How will the Workspace continue to be funded? I read that the site will mostly be funded by continued donations. Will there be a website or a way to send donations to you after the Indiegogo closes?
Our current funding campaign is to cover the up front costs of launching the project. After that the whole program is designed to have minimal operating costs. It will be covered entirely by the people we serve – those who walk in the door.
I don’t want to fall into the problem that many magical and spiritual spaces do, of launching strong and then being unable to cover monthly costs. That has killed too many projects. So we are not focusing on building an expensive space such as a storefront or temple. Our current space comes to us cost-free and we are portable so we could easily move to a new space if needed.
The only ongoing cost of Magic to the People will be continuing to purchase materials to use as offerings, paying for a phone line and occasionally printing flyers. We estimate that the freewill donations made by the people we serve will be enough to cover these costs.
If we are successful in this initial funding campaign, we will be able to operate indefinitely.
Will there be any goods or services sold at the Workspace, or will it purely be a site for ceremonial magic only?
No, nothing will be for sale there. We provide a service and it is strictly pay-what-you-will. You drop the money in a jar. People who can give nothing will be able to drop in a symbolic penny so that they are putting something toward the work they are requesting.
The idea of a book that you mention on the Indiegogo site is exciting. Can you describe a little more what will be in the book if you get the funding you require?
Yes! If we meet a goal of $2,000, we will not only open Magic to the People but also publish a how-to book. This book will focus on the kind of minimal magic that makes a service like this possible.
Many Neopagans aren’t aware that in most cultures, magicians charge for their services. It could take hours, even weeks to perform a full ceremony for a client, which means they charge high rates (which is fair) and some people make their living at it. A big part of this is not just because magic is draining, but because it is so time intensive or uses expensive materials.
In Neopaganism, most people do not charge money for spells. It’s frowned upon. But this also means that some communities don’t have a dedicated magician offering their services openly to whoever needs them. It’s hard to do that on top of a full-time job.
The ritual style I use is quick. An intense ceremony can be finished and a charm made in minutes. And it uses only ingredients you can find in a neighborhood store. Part of that comes from experience and part of it comes from the closeness of my relationship with my spirits.
I love the rich symbolism of magical tools and symbols, but I don’t find them necessary for effective magic. This is road magic, minimalist magic, straight up conjuration. That’s what I’d like to share in the book.
Are there other ways that someone can help your cause in addition to the Indiegogo campaign?
I think it would be great if other communities had this service. If we raise enough will create a starter kit so other communities can easily launch their own Magic to the People. We’re learning a lot hands-on here and I want to share it.
Beyond that, it’s not just about the money. Help spread the word. If you can’t donate, maybe post the link on your Facebook page so other people know about it. The more the word gets out, the more we will raise and the stronger we will start. We’d like to start off with more than the bare minimum to get the service going.
The Magic to the People indiegogo campaign is going on right now and will continue until Friday, April 5th. The link to the campaign is: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/magic-to-the-people/x/2531098