A magical record is a journal or other source of documentation containing magical events, experiences, ideas, and any other information that the Magician may see fit to add. There can be many purposes for such a record, such as recording evidence to verify the effectiveness of specific procedures (per the scientific method that Aleister Crowley claimed should be applied to the practice of magick) or to ensure that data may propagate beyond the lifetime of the magician. Benefits of this process vary, but usually include future analysis and further education by the individual and/or associates with whom the magician feels comfortable in revealing such intrinsically private information.
With each entry the magical journal should include the time, date, where the Sun Moon and any planetary activity which may affect the magical act. One's actions during ritual may be influenced by what happens during one's day, if there is any emotional turmoil or a very exciting instance occurs one should make note of it.
Crowley's Magical Records
Most teachers of Hermetic Magick, from Eliphas Levi to current practitioners stress the importance of keeping an accurate and complete magical record. Aleister Crowley emphasized this in Liber E (from Magick, Book4):
- It is absolutely necessary that all experiments should be recorded in detail during, or immediately after, their performance.
- It is highly important to note the physical and mental condition of the experimenter or experimenters.
- The time and place of all experiments must be noted; also the state of the weather, and generally all conditions which might conceivably have any result upon the experiment either as adjutants to or causes of the result, or as inhibiting it, or as sources of error.
- The A.'.A.'. will not take official notice of any experiments which are not thus properly recorded.
- It is not necessary at this stage for us to declare fully the ultimate end of our researches; nor indeed would it be understood by those who have not become proficient in these elementary courses.
- The experimenter is encouraged to use his own intelligence, and not to rely upon any other person or persons, however distinguished, even among ourselves.
- The written record should be intelligently prepared so that others may benefit from its study.
- The book "John St. John" Liber DCCLX published in the first number of the Equinox is an example of this kind of record by a very advanced student. It is not as simply written as we could wish, but will show the method.
- The more scientific the record is, the better. Yet the emotions should be noted, as being some of the conditions. Let then the record be written with sincerity and care; thus with practice it will be found more and more to approximate to the ideal.
Crowley often ends his instructions on magical practice with the admonition to make a complete record of the activity. For example, in the instructions on Rising on the Planes Liber O, V and VI: "[O]n coming to himself, let him write down soberly and accurately a record of all that hath occurred, yea a record of all that hath occurred."
- Liber E (http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib9.html)— Instructs the aspirant in the necessity of keeping a record, and other topics
- John St. John (http://www.the-equinox.org/vol1/no1/eqi01016.html)—example of a magical record
- Liber 415, The Paris Working (http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib415.html)
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). Magick: Book 4. "Liber E" & "Liber O." 2nd ed. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.