the hands of a magician, unlike the hands of any other performing artist, must have the correct moisture level to function optimally. Certainly the hands of a pianist or a violinist must be supple and strong, but only magicians must be concerned with the exact moisture level of the skin. While it is true of other props besides cards, it is arguably more true that handling cards is affected by the condition of your skin. Dry hands will almost totally stop you from being able to deal Bottoms and will make Seconds "iffy" at best. Wet hands will play havoc when you palm cards. I have heard a story—it may be apocryphal— that Vernon was once asked, "What do you do for wet hands?" To which he responded, "I don't know, but I'll give you a thousand dollars if you tell me how to get them." The point is that even the greats have known the problem. I have from time to time seen mentioned in various magic journals the idea of using Sort-Kwik, a commercial preparation made for people who handle paper, such as bank tellers. I have seen others mention using roughing fluid, hair spray, rose water, glycerin, Vagasil or cocoa butter on the hands. All these "solutions" have one thing in common. They approach the problem as do most doctors: Treat the symptom, not the disease.
A number of years ago, I found a solution to the problem that works for me. I am sharing it here for the first time in print. The substance is called Na-PCA (Sodium Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid). It is the prime constituent of human skin moisture and it regulates the moisture level. We all start out with an ample supply at birth, but it becomes decreasingly available as we age and as our skin is exposed to the elements. This substance is now available in a spray. It is, I
believe, manufactured by Twin Laboratories, Inc. of Ronkonkoma, New York, and can be found or ordered through most health food stores. If you're having a problem with dry skin, use it at least once daily for two to four weeks (best right after your morning shower) and certainly before performances. Once your hands have rebalanced their moisture level, use it every few nights, according to your need, before going to sleep. If you're troubled by wet hands, use it daily but not before performances, and start using Neutrogena or glycerin soap for washing your hands. It will take a few weeks but your hands will improve markedly. While I'm on the subject, regardless of the condition of your hands, never use these products before a practice session. You want the conditions during practice to be as adverse as possible.
(I have been counseled to make the following statement for the benefit of the liti-giously minded: I am not a licensed health-care practitioner and the suggested use of Na-PCA has not been fully tested by the FDA. While I have experienced favorable results, results for other individuals and their side effects can vary widely. The author, publisher, its agents, distributor and seller of this book are to be held harmless from any claims resulting from any problems in using this product.
(What a funny world we live in!)
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.