• Why I can’t teach you magic

  • July 06, 2020

  • Was that a clickbaity enough title to grab your attention? It may not have been because you can still see this text in the preview box before you click through, but it was worth a shot.

    However, as much as I would love to, I can't just teach you magic. At least not in this format, by which I mean, I can't just go and put tutorials online in the form of either a blog post that describes how a magic trick is done and how a secret is accomplished. Nor can I put up a YouTube video teaching you how to perform an effect, or how a magic trick works. I can't do it on TikTok, Instagram, or any other social media platform.

    Why not?

    The answer is quite simple, and that is because I am a member of the Magic Circle. One of the conditions of being a member is that you can't just go around revealing secrets to the wider world. Well, at least not without repercussions.

    I, of course, learnt this the hard way when I foolishly sold my soul to Sony to be involved with a commercial advertising a new phone and its high powered slow-motion camera. But we're not here to talk about how much of a moron I can be. No, we're here to re-iterate why I can't teach you magic unless certain conditions are met.

    What do you mean?

    In the magic circle's rules, one of the most critical lines is the following:

    Rule 2.5 - To oppose the wilful disclosure of magical secrets other than to magicians or bona fide students and historians of magic.

    So, there it is. The "rule" that I am bound by the magician's oath to obey. I'm sure you can see why it could be an issue to uphold this rule, as there is plenty of room for interpretation as to what constitutes "willful disclosure". We can all agree that the video I took part in some years ago, was precisely that, wilful disclosure.

    A different interpretation

    Having spoken to various members of the Magic Circle on this very topic, there is a more commonly used guideline to help members know what is and isn't acceptable. After all, I am teaching magic to students and am looking to put out some videos across social media on specific topics. So is there some loophole that I didn't mention, or am I just completely ignoring the rules of a community that I love? Well, it's neither.

    Many members of the Magic Circle teach magic, give lectures on magic that are open to almost anyone and sell or promote magic-related products to the world at large. So how do they justify such behaviour? Well, it comes back to that "interpretation" I keep mentioning without explicitly stating. Members of the Circle have advised me that the rule is more akin to the following,

    "A member shall not reveal secrets to any person who has not made a physical, emotional or financial commitment to learn magic."

    Again, what does that mean?

    Well, it means that you, as the person wanting to learn magic, will have to cross a barrier of some sort so that you show your desire to know the secret is sufficient to learn it. A physical commitment means you have to go and be somewhere to learn it. Emotional means you've made a personal effort to learn, say proving to a magician that you want to learn magic to perform it rather than just to learn it. And a financial commitment I think speaks for itself.

    So I'm going to have to pay for magic?

    The short answer here is yes. However, that payment will most likely be dependent on what you are looking to learn. The more basic the magic you want to learn, the less you will have to pay. I'm not specifically talking about financially here.

    Also, I should point out that I'm only speaking as to how this all relates to myself as a member of the Circle. If you wanted to and had the cash, you could go and buy any magic prop, magic DVD or whatever it is you wanted, and you would have those secrets in front of you. Many websites online give away magic secrets for free to gain viewers, and so on. That is their prerogative, but as a member, I am held to a higher standard.

    For example, while I haven't done it yet, I am currently working on creating a small e-book going over how to perform specific basic card manipulations to improve your skills that I intend to give away for free. Well, almost free. It would be in exchange for your e-mail address, so I can pester you with e-mails about other new products such as the deck of cards I'm designing with my brother, who is an artist.

    But providing your e-mail address is a form of emotional barrier (I think?) that you are crossing and making that commitment to learning the secrets.


    So, if you want to learn some magic, then get in touch and let's see what we can do together!

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