Dr Faustus, Christopher Marlowe
There is some kind of discussion/argument going on about lodge magic vs semi-solitary grimoire magic at the moment, although to be honest its hard to see it as it is fragmented across blogs, facebook pages, etc. From what I can gather some people are trying to argue that the grimoires will get you better results than magic designed by a magical order.
In this respect my own background is mainly self-initiation through the A∴A∴, following their syllabus of reading and practices, though I have been supported by excellent mentors and study groups over the years and fortunate enough to remember a lot from last time. As you progress through the A∴A∴ curriculum you learn to refine the various faculties of your being - memory becomes magickal memory, logical being becomes science, emotional being becomes art, mind becomes soul, etc. As this refining continues you acquire various psychic powers or siddhis - memories of previous lives, mesmerism, hyper-referencing, improved reflexes, remote viewing, clairvoyance, prophetic powers, etc. This process is one of self-discovery, of revealing the real being inside you and understanding what it is doing.
You'll also come into contact with the grimoires.
I think the question of the quality of results in magic is a good one and if we are to use the method of science we have to be able to at least roughly compare them. I don't think these discussions have to descend into ''my magic is better than your magic'' at all and I hope we all agree that as practising magicians we are always trying to improve our results alongside our knowledge of the mysteries.
The quality of the magician is going to affect the result though - if the magician is illogical, delusional, or otherwise insane its going to be a little difficult to trust that the result is genuine and precise. The extent to which the will is refined in the individual is also important and one of the key features I believe of a grimoire magician is that they are less likely to be flakey and pay more attention to perfection in detail than your typical new age pick and mix magician and this is bound to have a knock on effect in quality of will.
Before we can compare results though we have to define the aims of our magic. If we are attempting to manifest something in the physical world (lovers, power, prosperity, fertility, health, victory, revenge etc) we have a number of different approaches available. It is certainly possible to employ spirits to do this but with the powers you possess yourself, through initiation, it is more than possible for you to ensure manifestation of the above without their aid. If your aim is material and you have developed some of the powers I describe above then why bother the spirits? In fact one of the dangers of relying on other beings is in the room for misunderstanding - we all know the horror stories of spirits burning the house down or killing grandparents because you tried to get them to give you money. If you are going to employ spirits for this kind of manifestation you need to be as precise as you can be in the communication or expect some havoc.
You should probably also question your motives.
At the level of Practicus in the A∴A∴ you have to study the Qabalah and if you do study Abulafia, the Ari, Isaac of Acco, the Bahir, the Zohar, etc rather than study the Kircher-derived crap of Crowley et al, you will eventually become a practical Kabbalist, the systems of which rely mainly on two books - Sefer Raziel and Sefer Yetzirah. It was during this Practicus initiation that a work involving the summoning of the Archangels of the Sefiroth led to a very brief but powerful communication from Raziel to abandon the Tarot and study the letters. The obvious logical problems with Kircher-derived QBL had always caused me issues and once I started studying Sefer Yetzirah in Theory and Practice by Aryeh Kaplan and applying the techniques my understanding was completely revolutionized.
The results I have had by pursuing my relationship with Raziel and the Kabbalistic grimoire traditions have been exhilirating - walking the paths, summoning Angels, conjuring the letters, developing my astral body, moving to Prague, living in Edward Kelley's Tower, and completely immersing myself in the alchemical and kabbalistic traditions - and vastly outweigh those outside of the grimoires. The Kabbalah made me seriously question what I meant by result.
Can I use magic to manifest change in the physical world, yes - but what change? Do I make myself rich, famous, attractive, powerful, etc by bargaining with spirits? Can I conjure the spirits to material manifestation? Can I raise the winds or rend the clouds? Can I remain eternally young, cure disease, heal the sick, transmute the elements, project into different dimensions and time travel? Can I rectify the worlds? Can I make someone happy? Can I mend a single broken heart?
What do you mean by results?
Perhaps I am not the magician, perhaps Raziel is.
Perhaps I am the result.