"Fear of Success" and the Imposter Phenomena in magick

A common point of discussion surrounding magic – particularly when people ask why their outcome didn’t manifest (yet) – is “Lust for Result”.

In my own experience, there is an equal and opposing force in power, which I have deemed “Fear of Success”.

In my own personal experience, Lust for Result occurs when you first begin practising magic, and Fear of Success occurs when you have a few wins to your name. Usually it rears its head when you achieve something “big”.

First, let’s get our Lust for Result explanation out of the way.

Lust for Result

I don’t think we have many threads dedicated to it on The Occult Mirror, but if you haven’t heard of it, or you’re a lurker and you’ve seen the term thrown around here or on any other occult forum, and wondered what it means:

Lust for Result (or “lusting for results”, etc.) can manifest as any, a combination of, or all of the symptoms below:

  • Thinking too much about your magick/the ritual or spell you performed.

  • Being overly focused, questioning, or obsessed with the speed with which your outcome will occur.

  • Wondering about how, when, where, and why your result will come to pass, i.e., daydreaming and trying to frame a rational and plausible explanation for your outcome.

  • Questioning and doubting whether your magick worked, whether you’re asking reassurance from yourself or from other people.

  • Telling yourself a ritual or spell has failed because it didn’t work overnight, or within 3 days, a week, two weeks, et cetera.

  • Performing a huge variety of rituals (or repeating the same rituals, spells, petitions, etc.) in a very short amount of time, hoping it will speed up your results.

  • Becoming obsessed with divinations (self-performed or asking for readings from others) about the outcome, up to multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day.

Let’s face it, most of us have done it at one point or another, right? I certainly have.

With that out of the way, let me move on to the meat of this thread.

Fear of Success

Maybe it’s not as common, or simply not as discussed openly – maybe because there’s no phrase to really define it – but Fear of Success is something I have encountered a handful of times during my occult practice, and oh boy, I can tell you, it’s not a fun time.

“Fear of Success” is something I see going hand-in-hand with “Imposter Syndrome”, “impostorism”, or “the imposter phenomena”.

The imposter phenomena is a kind of covert sense of guilt and fear related to the things you have achieved as a person. Mostly it can be explained in the context of study/academics and ones’ job or career, but it can be felt in other areas of your life as well.

This phenomena, in short, is defined by insecurity. It is the feeling that you don’t deserve what you have, and that one day someone will discover your unworthiness and you will be outed as a fraud and lose everything you have achieved.

Imposter syndrome regarding magic and outcomes is fairly easy to define. While I always take the stance that one can (and should) take credit for everything good or strange or beneficial that happens to them, from a magickal perspective – it is easier to say than to do. Limited to 3D perception as we are, how can we ever know for certain that it was our spell or petition or evocation or affirmations that resulted in a certain outcome? Maybe we just got lucky, maybe the stars were aligned, maybe we are deluding ourselves with notions of power, and it had absolutely nothing to do with our involvement.

It is not difficult to become ensnared once more into the illusion of 3D reality, and then to try to rationalise outcomes from a linear cause-and-effect perspective, which inevitably causes us to question – then to doubt – our power. I have found this tends to lead to a period of short-term but completely crushing depression, demotivation, and demoralisation.

So, what is “Fear of Success”?

Fear of Success can be defined loosely with these symptoms:

  • You got something you wanted after performing a ritual/petition/spell (etc.) for it.

  • You begin to question whether you actually had anything to do with the successful outcome.

  • You feel demotivated, depressed, and like you’re claiming credit for something “that might have happened anyway”.

  • You feel like you’re lying to yourself and the people around you by taking credit for an outcome that you specifically requested in a ritual/spell/petition.

We achieve something we want, after performing a ritual for it. Then, our attention and thoughts become dedicated, passively or consciously – and firmly, often obsessively – into finding alternate explanations for the success we have achieved. One moment you are certain of your power, and the next moment you are, for some reason, trying your hardest to convince yourself, using any and all debates & arguments, about why it simply isn’t possible that you are responsible for your own success.

A little over a year ago, I had my mind quite set on a certain goal. At the time it amazed me how things seemed to fall into place so quickly and easily to set a straight path forward toward my goal. Because it was so easy and quick (from my limited 3D perspective), I began to doubt myself. After I began to doubt myself, something unrelated but horrible happened, which effectively put my clear path forward on pause, and that I (at the time) perceived as a sort of unintentional side-effect of my previous supremely confident mentalscape.

Do I think the two (my mindset, and the event) are directly related? No. The event itself had nothing to do with the outcome I was trying to achieve, necessarily. But at the time I could not shake off a sense of guilt and helplessness, and the persistent idea that I might have actually caused the bad event: did my supreme confidence fold in on itself and implode? It became a period of almost obsessive self-querying and wondering whether I was truly the operant power. In short: did I cause the bad thing because I was overconfident?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

– Marianne Williamson

It is the glimpse of our own power that can make us afraid, and that fear can easily turns into anxiety, inaction, and depression.

Because then we ask ourselves – if I can have whatever I want, then why don’t I have everything I want? If I am capable of achieving something, anything, with magic, then why aren’t I living in a constant state of contented fulfillment? Or in other words: If I, me, Veil, can personally manifest $1,100 in under a week, why aren’t I already a financially independent billionaire? If I deliberately manifested a new job and a ~$20k pay raise in precisely seven days, why would I feel so anxious and uneasy after it was all signed and confirmed and made real?

Fear of Success seems to scale with the complexity of our intended result. But once you have a handle on it, once you are drenched in the current of magick, it makes it far easier to accept your outcomes as the work of your own hands (or your hands, guided by an entity :wink: )

I will add here that this may not always be the case, and “Fear of Success” is not as common a phenomena as is “Lust for Results”. For me, I was about two years into dedicated practice, with a handful of successes under my belt, before I was hit by this “Fear of Success”. It most commonly strikes when I achieve something “big” within a very short amount of time – like I said, a dream job +$20k per annum in 7 days; not something like getting free coffee for 5 straight days (something I’ve done, but has never triggered “Fear of Success” in me).

So how do you deal with it?

When people ask how to deal with Lust for Results, the feedback is usually the same. Chill. Stop stressing. Change your mental state (forcefully, if need be) from questioning to acceptance. You have done the work, your desire is coming. If you find yourself questioning your magick, forcefully move your mind away from it. If you’re able to, then use emotional transmutation to picture how happy you will be when your results come to pass.

How do you deal with Fear of Success? Well, in a somewhat similar way. You need to be able to tell your conscious mind to shut the fuck up – again, forcefully, if need be – and accept that you are the operant power, and that everything is working in your favour. Ultimately, in my estimation, the answer can only be found within oneself. You as a practitioner must learn to recognise this state, this symptom, for what it is. It is not real. And if you’ll forgive me, the only thing I can think to tell you is to look to the Law… or to remember this:

All is mind.

You deserve your success.

You earned your success.

If doubt comes knocking at your door afterwards, you must have the presence of mind to not only recognise it, but firmly tell it to fuck off. Whatever negative thoughts your brain throws at you, you must make the effort to drown them out. Remind yourself that You are the operant power. You are the conductor, the orchestrator of your own lived experience, your own reality. When your thoughts tell you to doubt yourself, to stop trying, to freeze in anxiety, to give up entirely – then tell your thoughts to get fucked and drown them out with your consciously willed Word. I made this happen. I can make anything happen. I am the creator of my own reality. I am the God of my own existence. My Word is the Law, and my Will is Reality.

Fear of Success is not backlash, karma, or any other hokey-pokey term you might apply to it. It is nothing but simple imposter phenomena – a silly little blip in your brain that almost all people experience at least once in their lives – and you must recognise it and deal with it as such.

With every success, you grow, you become a better practitioner. You must learn to shamelessly take credit for everything that goes right in your life: even if you never cast a ritual for it, then cast a ritual for it after the fact, and convince yourself that it was simply retrocausality at play.

Like “Lust for Results”, your brain will try and lead you astray. You must simply apply the same principles, somewhat reversed, but with the same outcome in mind: let go of questioning, and embrace acceptance.

YOU are the operant power, after all.



Outstanding post, Veil.

I don’t think I got over my “fear of success”, really, until I started my hardcore practice in magic, to include Imposter Syndrome. I’ve seen it when I was a software consultant, in government, military, etc… It’s everywhere.

I grew up on government food and housing assistance, church food assistance, etc… We were really poor and this led to insecurity in myself as an adult and this was a driving factor in my joining the Infantry. It was something I had to earn that couldn’t be taken away or belittled. I would then do similar things, trying to feel like I wasn’t less than others. Yet, I was still plagued by feeling like an imposter, despite having achieved these things without magic.

One of the best ways I combatted this was doing magic for others and seeing results from it. It’s partly why I accept workings and similar from others even now. Not only does it allow them to get better, but there are a load of other benefits, including strengthening friendships. It’s what worked for me and helped embolden not only my magic, but the rest of my Life areas as well.

I see magic as a skill of sorts, a trade, where one gets better as it is experienced and used. Once you’ve “achieved” with it, it’s another skill they can’t really take it away from you. It’s an achievement, in whichever area(s) you pursue and sets you apart as one of those that has put the work in, even if tapping into natural talents.

If I can make it happen with a skill, do I not deserve the rewards from that skill?


Both @Veil and @norse900 have said some important, powerful things here. Thanks for posting on this topic.

I’d like to add something too. I’m definitely not over my imposter syndrome. It’s like every other week for me that I feel it. And yeah, doing magick for others can be nice and validating.

But I also think it’s important to talk about being worthy of deserving from a different standpoint. The standpoint that it doesn’t matter if one is or even feels worthy. My view is that if I do the magick then it’s done. Worth doesn’t get a seat at the table sometimes because I could convince myself all day and night I’m not worthy, haven’t suffered enough, didn’t earn it, and everything else. Sometimes, of course, I think I’m worth what I want, and deserve it. And sometimes I just say, “Fuck it, I want what I want.”


This is the exact way I erased my lust for results (a key element in later developing the tech to erase other’s lust for results). Giving to others, sometimes, is building ourselves up.

Doing magick for others does build confidence in our own practice, because we take distance from the magick and can see it in ways we wouldn’t if the operation was done for our own direct benefit.

And on the topic of worthiness, worth can go fuck itself. Life is unfair, so I don’t give a fuck about what do I deserve, I grew up seeing idiots with money coming out of their fucking mouths. They didn’t deserve it, they had it anyway. Life is unfair. So what?

As the great genius from Argelia said, everyday I have to take a decision to kill myself or not. I decide not to kill myself. Life has no meaning but actions construct meaning. Because that’s what matter, not who you are or where did you born or who raised you, but what do you do with it.

Also, who the fuck decides what are others worth? What’s the criteria?

There you have it. FUCK. IT.


Oh good… so it’s not just me :laughing:

I don’t possibly think such an action could be belittled by others. We might be from different countries, but, I thank you for your service. Wholeheartedly. :pray:

Yes, this resonates. And ties in a lot to what Laurel and Rey said below.

Aye. When you personally know you have put the work in, no one can tell you otherwise.

I think I’m good at getting past it now, mostly, even when I am writing an accounting of visionary magic that sounds like cringe LARP fanfiction. I suppose because I know it happened and I see it as a lived experience, even when on re-read it sounds completely whack. Even when I get confirmation one way or another that what I did actually worked, usually within < 7 days.

I think this is one of the only areas where it doesn’t hit me. If I can do something for others and have them validate it, I don’t doubt myself like I do when I just work for myself. Of course other people could simply be lying or exaggerating, but I never do this when I report back to other so somehow I don’t expect it. Especially when people are truthful with me. I prefer lukewarm truth than someone trying to big up my ego with lies every time.

Preach :pray:

Yes. 100%. Again, I’d rather have lukewarm praise from others, or even a straight-up “no, sorry, I felt nothing” than to think I’m working miracles. Having that measure of balance can actually be extremely beneficial… speaking as someone who likes to go into all endeavours with delusional confidence.

Another thing is that you, @ReyCuervo, and you, @norse900, have been my personal sounding board for so many experiments. And it is so gratifying to send out blind experiments and receive results or experience reports, and so on, that so closely match mine.

Aye :smiling_face_with_tear:


The real reason my posts are watered down and censored.

But I love reading yours!!

So I did several workings for a liar. And I found out they were a liar (to that extend) afterwards. And I’m still not over wondering if/how much they exaggerated. And it still fucks with me. Half of my issues (not like a huge amount, just half of the amount that’s there) trusting my craft come from this human & situation. So frustrating.

This is the straight truth. @Veil @ReyCuervo I agree wholeheartedly. At least the truth is beneficial to my craft at a minimum.

Yes. I like testing things with magicians because we keep it real with each other. I trust the people I do more experimental things with to be blatantly honest with me. Normal people are so much harder because either they don’t understand the value of truth or they care more about something else like being nice or feeling/pretending like they did something cool.

Yes!! This has been so important to me.

Aww! Thanks :relaxed::relaxed:


This is why I try and water down and censor my (journal) posts too :joy: :sob: glad it’s not just me. (And fwiw, I love reading yours too. I hope we can foster the kind of environment where we feel safe to post what we think of as our most LARP-iest adventures publicly. :laughing: )

Aye, this is why I have personally sworn not to lie to others, especially other occultists. How can we improve if we’re basing improvements from false retelling? This is why I would never lie to another occultist. Maybe it bolsters their confidence, but I’d love to think we’re all here to help improve each others’ praxis.


I think that’s a magnificent way of cultivating detachment, which lead us to have full control of the fluctuations of the mind (lust for results, lack of motivation, insecurities).


I’m guilty here, too, but it’s more uncommon than it used to be. I mean, hell, I leave in dialogues where I get berated, seem foolish, and make mistakes.

But sometimes, the things I do can be dangerous and I don’t want someone else trying them without being prepared for it.


I put a danger warning on mine and call it a day.

I’m trying to get better about posting the more “intense” bits and pieces, and I cut out a lot of conversations. The more I post though, the more comfortable I feel about posting the ‘mystical fantasy’ stuff that comes across my desk.


:point_up_2: this. I have only posted one personal pathworking and that was with a note that it’s not for beginners. I like your approach (in some of your threads I have read) of “if you don’t know what this means, then you should not be undertaking this working”.

I was very aware and cautious about what I used to write, because I didn’t want to sound like a LARPy edgelord. These days I’m like, fuck it. When I talk about weird subjective experiential matters, it’s more for myself than anyone else. Even if it does sound like some cringe LARP fanfiction to others, it was a lived experience for me, so I like to be able to go back and read it.

And some of the things I’ve thought were too cringey or LARPy to ever see the light of day ended up being either helpful to others, or helped establish SPG without frontloading. So now I just write whatever pleases me. I figure people who have had similar experiences will understand.


This is a really good point. I stumble into some cool SPG when I’m writing a real account of events sometimes. Always love when that happens.


It’s so gratifying, right?? That’s why I try not to hold back any more. Even if I’m wrong, I’d rather know that I’m wrong so I can course-correct. If we never share any of our information or our successes, we’ll never know if we hit the mark or not. I do find it so thrilling & fulfilling when I write something that makes me cringe and cover my eyes when I hit “Post”, but then someone pops up saying they had a similar experience.