When Rogue Priest and adventurist Drew Jacob approached me with his concept of bringing “Magic to the People,” I knew he was on to something special. In an attempt to open the doors of magic service to those who might not otherwise have the means, Drew is removing barriers and changing lives. Here is our discussion about his project and how you can help bring Magic to the People.
Bowen: Drew, what is your background with magic?
Jacob: I got into the art of magic completely by accident. I was fourteen and poked my head into this little bookstore that turned out to sell esoterica. I bought a book I thought was about religion, and the older woman at the counter leaned in and warned me not to tamper with “the dark stuff.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. I ran home and started reading. A couple weeks later I tried a ceremony for the first time.
Bowen: Your initiative is called Magic to the People. What is the story behind this project, its influence and goals?
Jacob: In our religion, as in many traditions, magical ceremonies are offered by priests and private practitioners. The goals of these ceremonies vary. As a priest I only offer spells that are positive and will help change the recipient’s life for the better.
Unfortunately these ceremonies are not always accessible. Practitioners can be hard to find, and often the prices they charge are high enough that the people who need help the most can’t afford it. For example, say you’re unemployed. You want a spell to help you secure a new job, but the magician tells you it will cost $100. This price reflects the hours of work they will put into it, plus the cost of ingredients and offerings for their spirits. It’s not that the price is unfair, it’s that it’s unrealistic for the person who needs the spell done. They shouldn’t have to choose between groceries this week and a job next week.
Magic to the People will offer these spells on a freewill donation basis. Our Indiegogo campaign will help cover the upfront costs, and we’ll open our door at set times each week to help many people at once. Our promise is that no one is turned away.
Bowen: So in a way, you are truly democratizing magic for all. What sort of reaction have you seen or do you anticipate from established practitioners? Is your pricing method a treat to their livelihood?
Jacob: The reaction from established practitioners has been tremendous. I approached many local practitioners before launching this and they were all very encouraging. So far no one views it as a threat. Every magician has to turn away people they can’t help, and I think every one of us wishes there was somewhere we could refer them. Now there will be.
One thing I’ve had to learn in my travels is how to do magic more simply. I couldn’t bring an entire shrine with me, or hunt down uncommon ingredients. I learned to rapidly perform ceremonies with what I had around me, and to involve the person requesting the spell so that they’re collaborating in it. The result is that I can handle doing 4 ceremonies in a row, very quickly, and still get the full effect.
Bowen: You’ve created a fundraiser initiative to help launch Magic to the People. What details can you share regarding start-up needs and what contributors can expect for their patronage?
Jacob: The start up costs are mostly business expenses. For example, we will need to get a dedicated phone line and print a large number of flyers to get the word out, and keep distributing them on an ongoing basis. New Orleans is not as fully in the internet age as much of the US is, and in particular the neighborhoods we’ll serve don’t have a lot of internet access in homes. So, while we will have an online presence, most of our advertising will have to be done the old fashioned way.
It’s also important to have everything on-hand to actually do the ceremonies. We will want a shrine and a good supply of basic offerings and ingredients. When someone asks for help their ceremony will happen right there, with no waiting and no worry about the cost of materials. So we’ll need an initial stock of candles, rum, incense, herbs, potions, and other fun things.
We’re also establishing stretch goals so that we can do even more for the community. For example, we could invite the public to an offering ceremony or other community event if we go over our initial fundraising goal.
When you contribute to Magic to the People you get access to a pretty cool variety of perks. For instance you can have a question answered by an oracle, you can receive ritually enchanted pieces of handmade artwork or you can even get a familiar spirit. A lot of people are jumping up and down for the Vodou perk.
Bowen: What happens if you go over the funding goal?
Jacob: We want to go way over it! The basic $1100 is the bare minimum needed to make Magic to the People viable, and as with any program, the more wiggle room the better.
We’ve also set specific stretch goals, offering to do even more if we can raise enough money. For example, the style of magic I use has developed a lot from working in minimalist conditions on the road with no supplies. I can do an effective ritual in just a few minutes, right in front of the person who asked for it, with little preparation. if we raise $2,000 total, I will create a how-to book sharing this style of magic, and all our backers will get a free copy.
If we can go even farther and hit $3,100, we’ll create a complete start-up kit so that other communities can launch a Magic to the People of their own. This will have detailed information not just on the ceremonial side but the business side, and how to work with the people who visit you. It will be free for all our backers, and will be provided to the public on a pay-what-you-choose basis.
Bowen: What else should people know about Magic to the People?
Jacob: I want people to know that we truly have the power to change our lives and our world. Everything you see in the great myths, in the ancient legends – there is a tiny spark of that in every one of us. And you can awaken that, and cultivate it.
Magic ritual is my way of doing that. It can change everything in a heartbeat. I want everyone to be able to experience that, even if just once, and that’s why Magic to the People matters.
To learn more, you can go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/magic-to-the-people/x/2531098. You can throw in your support, or help us out by spreading the word.