By Maurice Tuck
Intro and a Note for the Skeptic – The art of not seeing magic
Magic – Expressive / Receptive
The Magical Mindset
Science and Magic
The Laws of Magic
Esoteric and Intuitive Magic
White Magic / Black Magic
Mundane Magic; High Magic; Deep Magic
The Compleat Magician
Everywhere in this site I should like to write ‘magick’ instead of ‘magic’. My concern here is with ‘true magic’ – the metaphysical art and science. The spelling ‘magick’ is often used to distinguish stage illusion from the metaphysical reality. But, as a bow to practicality, I am sticking to ‘magic’ – the spelling won’t affect my ultimate goal.
– My goal is to get at the heart of what magic truly is.
Let me repeat this goal in different words: I am not interested in selling you anything – no products, books, or courses. I don’t want any disciples. I refuse to coddle any egos or traditions. I don’t want pretense or talk about what I wish magic were. I want to know what it is, how it works and how to call on it in a practical, reliable fashion. If you find something useful in what I have to say, you are welcome to it. If you have something you think I might find of interest, please email me. I would love to find some colleagues as hard-headed as I am about getting to the reality of magic, but the fact is that
– Most people want an illusion.
They want a set of rules that other people believe in, so they can be buoyed up by a shared illusion – whether this is religion or a mystic philosophy. Humans are social beings, and it is more comforting to have companions in delusion than to stand alone in truth. I don’t mind walking a lonely path. I want the truth. So I will be stepping on some toes. I am going to try to tread that fine line between denial (ignoring the evidence of magic before our eyes) and delusion (leaping into a metaphysical interpretation, where it is not warranted, because we want so badly to see something magical).
My first introduction to magic came in 1962 with Ophiel’s small tome called The Art And Practice of Creative Visualization. A thin, black, bumpy hardback, filled with vivid illustrations, it inspired me to hours of mental imagery – and to combing the library for more open doors to ‘other worlds’. Soon I had read Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi; Gina Cerminara’s Many Mansions; Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking, Edgar Cayce, Aleister Crowley and nearly everything else our small library had to offer. I am not suggesting any of them. They all had something to offer me, but most of them have serious flaws.
Since then I have seen the same messages rehashed, reworded and republished a hundred times as if something new were in the offing. There is, however, nothing novel in any of the more recent releases – not a single idea you could not have found in print in 1962 . That’s fine. I am not criticizing the new works. The material is a revelation to each generation that has not seen it before, and the presentations – how the ideas are introduced and explained – are updated to speak to the younger minds eager to reach beyond materialism. The older books are not going to be re-published with the same fanfare, and most of them have deficiencies and even wrong-minded ideas. Nonetheless, the fact is:
– I have not seen a single fundamentally new insight concerning magic written in the last fifty years.
Or perhaps in the last one hundred years. Or perhaps since the Egyptians. And what’s worse – we haven’t yet gotten to the core of magic.
As far back as the first written treatise, or even back to the beginning of the archaeological record of modern man, we see the human preoccupation with magic – from the burial rites of the Cro-Magnons, the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh, and Egyptian spell books to Australian and New World aboriginal religions.
Nothing can be that universal and enduring without reflecting some basic truth. Something exists beyond material reductivism – and humanity senses it, and woos it in a thousand ways. From the prayers of Buddhists, Moslems, Christians and Jews, to the ecstatic chants of voodoo, candomblé or obeah; from wyccan gods, to the sidhe and the hindi, Roman, Greek and Germanic pantheons; from every corner of the earth in every conceivable way, our lives are impregnated with a belief in ‘otherness’, the metaphysical, magic.
In each case the laws, rules and manifestations are different – different with a sameness. Hold a crystal in your left hand; paint your face red; sacrifice a goat; chant arcane words; work up a passion; purge yourself of passion; visualize; empty your mind; beat drums and dance; burn candles; stick pins in a doll – there are a million different paths, but they all must somehow lead to the same end; they must all be ways of entering the same secret room. My goal is to find that room, to root out the sameness, the commonality, the essence behind the façades, to find Kolwynia.
This wonderful word, Kolwynia – the Key That Was Lost – is the creation of Roger Zelazny. This was the name he gave to the fundament of all magic, the quintessence stripped of spell and ritual, the master mystery – the secret room where magic lies naked in its truth. I use it in my mind as a shorthand for my search.
– The tale of the flying elephant.
Let me remind you of the story of Dumbo, the flying elephant. That raucous group of his friends, that razzmatazz gang of crows, convinced Dumbo he could fly if he only held a magic feather (freshly plucked from a crow rump) in his trunk. And, indeed, he could. Using that trick, the small elephant with the enormous ears became an overnight sensation. jumping from a platform atop a great pole, appearing to be falling to certain death, and soaring out of danger at the last minute – until one time, during a leap, he lost his feather. He fell precipitously. A crushing fate awaited him at the end of the fall. The crows had scant seconds to convince Dumbo that the feather was a trick – it was only a way to get him to believe he could fly, and with belief in himself, he really could fly. If he could only find that mindset, that belief in himself without the feather, he could save himself. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending – Dumbo found his magic – his ability to fly – without having to use the feather to trick himself into believing in himself.
This is the best allegory I know of for what those religions, rites, rituals, chants and incantations are all about. They are a feather. With that feather you will allow yourself to believe in yourself; to believe you can fly. Well, of course, the path to true magic is not so simple as to say, ‘believe in yourself’. That is only a first approximation, a small step in the right direction. So now I will keep my promise and tread on some toes – those mystical insights such as: the three-fold law of return, creative visualization, magical spells, prayer and incantation, the cant about positive thinking and surrounding yourself with positive vibrations, all of it and all the rest of it –
– all magical laws and rituals are just horse feathers to trick yourself into the right magical mindset– the only thing that matters is the mindset, and not how you get it.
I am not going to pretend that I can give you (or me) a certain and simple guide to this mindset (the key to the essence of magic – Kolwynia). But I do have some observations to make that might help you get there. However, I wish to state with absolute clarity – if you have found a feather (horse or crow), that allows you to achieve the mindset with some reliability – then stop reading, and stick to your system. There is some truth to each path or it wouldn’t get passed on. If it works for you, don’t try to fix it. The feather worked for Dumbo. (Until he found himself without it.) But it won’t work for me. I cannot help seeing through the illusion and therefore it does not convince me – it does not lead me to the magical mindset. I cannot abide tricking myself. I need to find the reality behind the feather.
People often ask, very reasonably, “If there is such a thing as magic, why haven’t I ever witnessed it?” I answer, “You have. You have. But you live in denial.”
The art of not seeing Magic.
I love science more than most – I avidly read science and technology magazines. But it dismays me to see the thinking of some ‘scientists’ who are as sloppy in their rejection of magic, as some mystic enthusiasts are in their embracing of it. Even worse is arrogant rejection. Nothing requires more humility than true science, and nobody is less humble than a self-righteous ‘scientist’, certain in his knowledge, received from his high school physics class. (Please do not mistake me to say that this is all scientists. I have known wonderful, humble scientists, including my physicist father). I am criticizing precisely those who would have been members of the inquisition, condemning Galileo, had they but been born in the 17th century. The inflexibility of mind is the same – clinging to whatever ‘received wisdom’ is prevalent in their culture, whatever mindset they can feel self-righteous about without having to actually do any genuine thinking.
I give an extended example of such wrong-mindedness later in the section on the Pendulum. For now, let me just say that such an attitude arises from: misunderstanding, understanding only a little, being unable to measure magical phenomena, or from the existence of the Law of Ambiguity, which requires magic to be interpretable as coincidence, if the viewer is really determined to do so. The skeptic’s mind gets lost in a vicious circle – 1) there is no such thing as magic (this I know because my textbook tells me so) 2) therefore, when I see something that purports to be magic, it is not (it is hokum or coincidence) 3) therefore there is no evidence of the existence of magic 4) therefore, there is no such thing as magic.
Yes, there are such things as hokum and coincidence. Yes, often enough magicians attempt to enhance their performance with theatrics, sleight-of-hand and stage magic. (They have to impress their patrons if they want to make a living.) Yes, quantifiability and repeatability are missing (there are reasons for this, explained later in this monograph). But, ….
– Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Science requires quantifiability and repeatability, but the lack of these does not imply something does not exist. These are simply not criteria appropriate to art – nor to magic. If you insist on them, you will miss a whole world.
If a device cannot measure something, does it cease to exist. What about Life? Awareness? Art? Can a machine quantify when words or tones elevate themselves to poetry or song? No – yet even the most skeptical of scientists does not dispute the existence of art. Let him apply the same criteria to music that he does to magic, and Mozart cannot endure. Can a device detect Life? Not the side effects of Life (pulse, brain waves, a smile), but Life itself? No – but you can. Have you sat beside a dying man and known the exact instant when Life left, when he changed from a being to a corpse?
There is a device for detecting such things – the human brain and nervous system. It can sense what no machine can. I don’t know how, but that does not in the least affect the reality that it can do so. You already know, and accept, that you can tell music from bedlam. You know when notes move from dissonance to melody, and no machine can duplicate that knowing. You know when doodles become drawings, as does no machine. (Yes, people disagree – that changes nothing.) There are many wonderful metaphysical phenomena the human mind can sense, but most people deny themselves the affirmation of the sensing.
You can tell when somebody is looking at you, even if you cannot see him, even if you are asleep. But you train yourself (society trains you, but you accept the coercion) not to notice this, or not to remember that you briefly noticed, or not to accept what you noticed – to reinterpret it as coincidence or as your physical senses working so subtly that you are not consciously aware of the clues they observed (for instance, hearing what in reality you know you could not hear).
I have made a commitment to watch, to observe and to deal with the data as objectively as humanly possible. I discipline myself not to inject meaningfulness into coincidence, and I don’t, out of our prejudice against the metaphysical, dismiss meaningfulness. I have seen, countless times, other people be aware of the fact that somebody is watching them, and then suppress that awareness.
I saw a woman who was riding an elevator up in a noisy store, suddenly turn 180 degrees with a startled look, to stare unerringly at the face of man, located directly behind her, but at some distance, who was staring at her (at a hinder part of her). The look on her face, as she turned, was indignation. His reaction at being caught staring, was obvious embarrassment. The scenario was clear to everybody about, for we looked at each other knowingly, half-smilingly. Yet not a person exclaimed out loud, “Folks, we have just seen something that has no ‘rational’ explanation by science as we know it. Take note. Accept it. Liberate your minds from your fear of the metaphysical.” People, these things are true receptive magic! Don’t un-see them.
Everybody there, I assume, noted the event, laughed at it, then tossed it into the oblivion of the mental trash can called “Events that don’t conform to the world view I have been taught.” It is easier to un-see events than it is to wrestle with altering one’s world view, especially a world view received as the common reality of your culture. This is the art of not seeing magic.
– If everybody else believes something, no matter how absurd, it is hard to resist believing it. If everybody else disbelieves something, no matter how obvious, it is hard to believe.
I remember when (Before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring) practically nobody believed human activity was harming the environment to a dangerous point. The consequences of pollution, strip mining, deforestation, overfishing etc etc are so obvious that the younger generations cannot fathom how the older generations closed their eyes to them. Easy, the group mindset can coerce individuals into ‘unseeing’ the obvious – into agreeing to not act on what you see, into settling into conformity, into illusion.
I have personally had the experience, more than once, of entering the room of a house mate, who was sound asleep, snoring loudly, with the television on. I tiptoed towards his remote control with utmost quiet, although had I walked casually, no living human could have heard my footsteps over the noise of the TV. I had stood for thirty seconds watching him sleep (debating whether or not to shut off the TV), when he suddenly awakened with a start, staring right at me, knowing full well even in his deep sleep that somebody had entered the room. It is easy enough to accuse, “How do you know he knew? (I questioned him. He knew he had known even in his sleep that somebody was in the room.) How do you know it wasn’t just a coincidence? How do you know he didn’t hear you?” How do I know a cat is not a dog? Or that my mother is not a robot masquerading as a person? The fact is, one knows, beyond any doubt, but we ALWAYS have the option of pretending that what is, is not. And we do so with great frequency with anything that smacks of the metaphysical. We, like the scientist I berated above, say, ‘I have no evidence of its existence, therefore it does not exist, therefore what I have just seen cannot be an example of its existence (since it does not exist), therefore I still have no evidence of its existence. Therefore it does not exist.” And on and on in a degenerate circle, until we un-see what we have seen. The art of not seeing magic.
– DON’T – don’t dismiss without examining with an open mind.
Don’t dismiss as coincidence your knowing that the phone is going to ring, or knowing who is calling, or thinking of a long lost friend just before he shows up again in your life, or knowing that a relative just died, or that you are going to get a traffic ticket, or knowing what card you are going to be dealt at poker, or singing a song just before hearing it on the radio. Don’t dismiss without examining. ALL co-occurrences can be explained as coincidence. Some things are coincidence. Others are not. Look with absolute honesty, neither hoping for a metaphysical experience, nor dismissing the possibility.
You have seen magic. Open yourself at least tentatively to that possibility, or you risk quashing your own magics. Open your mind and come on this road trip with me, and let’s see if we can find some fundamental truths.
What is magic? I’ve asked myself this question many times. Sometimes I to get closer to an answer. Ultimately, I am not trying to find a definition – I am only trying to lead you through some thought processes that you might find useful. In the hope of helping you to an ‘ah-ha moment’, I’ll offer some insights, experiences and, as immediately below, some ‘analysis’ – ways to break down magic into meaningful categories. For now, just think of this as agreeing on our terminology.
– Magic can be expressive or receptive
(active or passive; an act of creation or an act of perception).
Expressive magic means imposing your will upon ‘reality’ without a chain of physical causality. That is, you will something to be done or to happen or to come into being, and what you willed comes to pass, WITHOUT your taking physical action to cause it. The only explanation traditional science would have to offer is – ‘coincidence’.
Let’s look at three cases.
One – you are sitting at the table in your mother’s kitchen, chatting with her, and you mention you would like a cup of coffee. She gets up makes some coffee and pours you a cupful. This is not magic because there is a physical chain of causality (your words, your mother’s ears, the pleasure of mothers in pleasing their children, the physical act of her getting the coffee and putting it in front of you).
Two – same setting, but you don’t mention you want a cup of coffee – you only silently will one to appear. The neighbor happens over and says, “I brought an extra cup of coffee – anybody want it.” This is magic. Your will affected reality and there is no physical chain of causality (nobody told the neighbor you wanted coffee), BUT a skeptic could very easily say, “That was just a coincidence.” A law of magic called the Law of Ambiguity requires that it be possible for a skeptic to pass the magic off as coincidence, if he is determined to do so. (In later examples we shall see that sometimes the ‘coincidence’ is so improbable that it takes an act of willing self-blindness to discredit the magic.)
Three – same setting, but this time when you will a cup of coffee to appear, one jumps into existence in front of you on the table – poof. This is simple fantasy. To the best of my knowledge this never happens. It clearly violates the Law of Ambiguity, because there is no possible explanation of ‘coincidence’. If you know somebody who can do this, ask him why he isn’t ruling the world and helping humanity out of its many and varied problems. Magic lies between the two extremes of ‘physical chain of causality’ and ‘poof.’
Receptive magic is knowing what traditional science cannot account for, whether what you know is a fact or an event past, present or future.
This is a personal example that has been of great reassurance to me. It is absolute truth – even though it has the fairy-tale element of three repetitions. If you accept it as true, but explain it away as coincidence, we will not be able to have a meaningful discussion about magic. I would consider you to be engaged in an act of ‘willing self-blindness.’ To my mind, this goes beyond the possibility of coincidence.
In the early seventies, I went to a barn dance that easily had seven hundred attendees. As we entered, we were given a raffle ticket that had a matching stub. At midnight the prize, a citizen’s band radio (costly in those days), was raffled off. The MC had a large (maybe three feet in diameter), wire drum cage with all the ticket stubs in it. He rotated it a number of times, the tickets stirring vigorously, and visible to all. As he reached his arm in to get a ticket (wearing a short sleeve shirt leaving all his movements in plain sight), I turned to the man standing next to me and asked him, ‘Would you like to trade tickets with me? I have the winning ticket.’
I have no explanation whatsoever for why I said such a foolish thing. I remember that a small part of my mind stood in amazement at my own mouthing. The CB was reasonably valuable (but not of interest to me – I already knew that if I won it, I would give it to my brother). I was not drunk (although I felt somehow high – maybe on the music). The closest I have ever come to explaining my state of mind, was ‘playful’. At any rate the MC drew forth a ticket and read the number. My neighbor looked at me skeptically, and I looked at my ticket. Not the winner. My neighbor gave a wry smile. The MC read it three times, decided that the winner had already gone home, and started whirling the cage for another draw. I turned to the same man and said again, ‘Would you like to trade tickets – I have the winning ticket.’
This time I guess I can partially explain my words as some kind of follow-through. Otherwise, the first claim would have been left as ridiculous (again, some part of my mind did find the situation ridiculous). My neighbor just shook his head. The MC drew a ticket for the second time and read the number. I checked my ticket – not the winner. My neighbor smiled his small smile again and shook his head at my silliness. But nobody claimed the CB. The MC read the number three times, gave up and started whirling the cage. Now I looked at my neighbor, who was already looking at me in anticipation, and I said, ‘This is your last chance.’
Offering the exchange had become an inevitability – even my neighbor expected me to keep up the pattern. But why, oh why, did I say that it was his last chance? The drum stopped, the MC withdrew a ticket and read the number – MY number. I had a moment of genuine shock, and yet no sense of surprise. I looked at my neighbor and found him wearing an intensely interesting look – his facial expression was that of man who had been betrayed, filled with anger and suspicion. I realized immediately that he had to believe either that the raffle was a fix, or that his reality had been compromised, for what had just happened could not happen in his world. Not for an instant did he believe that it was a coincidence. Not for an instant did I.
I have thought over this incident a thousand times, trying to analyze my state of mind (my magical mindset), or tease out the special circumstances that resulted in my knowing I had the winning ticket. Know, I incontestably did. The rational part of my mind had stared at my knowing with incredulity, but did not override it. I think that at the time I indulged myself only because I was in a party mood, and it felt okay to make a silly statement. But the experience was formative for me – I had had a true psychic experience, a receptive magic, and I can still taste my mindset to this day. (I don’t mean this was my first ‘psychic’ experience, but it was the first where I myself wrestled with it, not trying to ignore it or explain it away as coincidence. I had to confront it as a genuine, and intense, magical moment that needed my intellectual acceptance.)
– ‘Extra-sensory’ perceptions are the foundation of receptive magic.
The antenna of your nervous system picks up signals, and, if you can train yourself not to systematically negate, deny or ignore this reception, you can have a TV window onto the metaphysical world. You are ‘magically’ receiving information about what is, what was, what will be. How can you receive information about what will be? Like the bow wave of a ship plying through the waters, events, too, plow up bow waves in the ‘ethers’, announcing their coming. If you feel the message in the ethers, you can know the imminent advent of an event (a card to be dealt), or a present occurrence (somebody looking at you) or a past incident (you walk into a room and suddenly know from a dead silence that you were the topic of conversation).
I don’t know what this signal is, except to say that no machine yet exists which can pick it up. Only living cells can sense the message and the best cells of all to do so are central nervous system cells, including, of course, the brain. I think it is likely that animals can, to some extent, sense these signals (and don’t reject their existence on the grounds that science rejects them).
Your nervous system is the antenna that picks up this signal, but like any other antenna, it works both ways – anything that receives can also transmit or express.
– Your extrasensory antenna is also the basis of expressive magic.
Your will power can transmit a signal into the ethers which will affect reality. This is how you impose your will on reality to practice magic. Etheric vibrations affect the mind, which affects the brain, which affects material reality (receptive magic), and and vice versa (expressive magic).
I will give several examples of expressive magic in the material to come. For now, I want to point out some ordinary appearing terms I use in a ‘technical’ sense. That is, I need to discuss what I mean by the terms – ‘will’ and ‘ethers’ and ‘magic mind’. As more terminology, I include a paragraph on the nexus of being and the magical circuit.
‘Will’ is the first universal principle that I extract from the nearly infinite varieties of magic (expressive magic). It only makes sense that if you want to use magic to accomplish something, you are going to have to state that objective at some point. Whether your statement is a form of pleading (please let me have this), or a demand (let this be); whether it is passionate (a burning desire) or passionless (the cool, egoless presentation of your objective) – it still gets down to this: ‘I want this. I will it to be mine.’
Will interacts with the magical mindset, which we will look at in the next section. For now, let’s just look at some –
The word ‘amen’ (or its close variants in Arabic etc) is used to conclude prayers in Christian, Hebrew and Muslim traditions. Its meaning is: ‘so be it; truly’. That is to say, that after stating one’s desires in the body of a prayer (which is a form of the practice of magic), a statement of ‘will’ is added. This will can be modified to be humble (‘not my will, but thine’) in an attempt to achieve the correct magical mindset, but will it is, nonetheless.
The wiccan phrase, ‘so mote it be’ has an identical purpose, meaning ‘let it be so’. I.e., I (humbly) will it to be so.
The magical exhortations to a god (or energy) to come to carry out your objective are also an expression of will – something like, ‘Come Isis, come.’ or ‘Let it be; let it be’.
Creative visualization is the practice of visualizing what it is you will to come into existence and then setting it free to manifest itself.
The power of positive thinking, or affirmations or surrounding yourself with the vibrations you want to attract are all exercises in willfulness.
Richard Bach, in his wonderful book Illusions, gives us an idea for an exercise in magic – lie on the lawn on a summer day and use your will to transform clouds. Will them to increase, disappear, merge or separate. In such an exercise, it seems clear enough what ‘will’ is. It is such a fundamental thing that I cannot break down into components, but you know what I mean from the circumstances of its use.
Yet there are magical moments when ‘will’ is less clear. The act of ‘willing’ is closer to an act of ‘knowing’. Let us suppose (as actually happened in the case of a niece of mine), that you have decided to get a house. Perhaps you have neither the funds nor the credit rating to qualify for a loan. Yet, you know the time has come for you to get your home. Needless to say, this story ends with my niece getting her home. I cannot begin to tell the obstacles she had to overcome and how little likely it seemed anybody could succeed in her circumstances. I asked her mother if she thought my niece would succeed. ‘Oh, yes. She has made up her mind. When I see that look of having made up her mind, she always succeeds, no matter how improbable success may be.’
Then I have to ask myself, did my niece know (receptive magic) that the time had come? Or did she make the purchase happen (expressive magic)? Certainly, it was not like my earlier example with the CB radio, where I had a moment of knowing and simply had to wait for confirmation. She truly had to make things happen. Yet it was clear that she was acting on a kind of knowing that the time had arrived.
For the moment, let me leave this as – there are moments when ‘magical will’ is a kind of ‘willless will’ – more of a knowing, more of a submission to the flow of the moment, a going with the tide. Yet that going with the tide might be anything but passive. It may very much require your actions to let it happen.
In any case – this ‘will’, whether it is a knowing or an exertion, is an essential element of magic. We will come back to it again, in our attempt to understand the core of magic.
This is an old term from the world of physics – it continued in use until Michelson and Morely performed their famous experiment (1877), providing some physical refutation, and Einstein formulated his Special Theory of Relativity, providing a theoretical context for a non-aether physical world.
In the realm of physics, I am convinced that, indeed, such an aether (ether) does exist, although one might want to call it ‘the medium’ or some other less discredited term. Folks, light does not propagate through nothingness (a vacuum, yes, of course, but a vacuum is just a lack of material matter). It propagates like vibrations through jello that has been jiggled. Well, this is just a pet peeve of mine, and matters not at all for this investigation into magic. There is an ether, an all present jello, through which metaphysical information can be transmitted. This may or may not be the same ether as that which has been (temporarily) abandoned by physics.
You can find books that will break the non-physical world down into astral, spiritual, etheric etc etc planes. In this monograph, I neither subscribe to these ideas, nor reject them. They are irrelevant to my work. There is some medium that carries psychic information, and I call that something the ethers. (By medium, I do not mean a clairvoyant person – I mean a medium, like air, water, metal etc.)
The Magical Mind
Your mind is not a monolithic phenomenon. It is a composite of various ‘subminds’ that coordinate so seamlessly that ‘you’ are unaware of the divisions. Scientists who focus on the mind/brain have been documenting this for decades through studies of brain-injured individuals. The left lobe can function surprisingly independently of the right lobe, having different knowledge and different perceptions. We are unaware of these differences when our two brain lobes are communicating and co-ordinating normally, but they can be seen when an injury disrupts their interaction. This concept of subminds applies in the experiential world, but on a level beyond ‘left and right hemisphere’.
There are many examples known to psychiatrists and neurologist (think multiple personalities, conscious-subconscious, hypnosis, right frontal lobe injury vs left frontal lobe injury etc). For my own work, I recognize subminds not mentioned by neurologists, two of which I call the Dreamer and the Timer. In delving into my dreams, I have become aware that they are created by somebody other than myself. By myself, I mean that part of my mind-conglomerate which manifests as conscious awareness – my ego, my sense of self . For instance, the Dreamer knows at the beginning of the dream how it will end, while ‘I’ (myself) am just the passive audience for whom the dream is created and unfolding. I do not know how it will end, and sometimes I find myself saying, ‘Oh, that is why a particular character had a particular object early in the dream – because he would need it later on.’ Also, my dreams can be full of original symphonic music, or can be entirely sung like the movie The Umbrellas of Cherbourg or contain arias like an opera, even though my conscious self is essentially devoid of musicality and has no possibility of composing a ditty, let alone an aria. I have many evidences that the Dreamer operates independent of my conscious self, but it is not my point to ‘prove’ this here. It is just an anecdote about ‘subminds’.
The Timer is, to my conscious self, completely amazing. He knows with astonishing accuracy how long (to the split minute) it will take for me to do something (for instance, to return from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Boulder, Colorado during a hurricane’s aftermath). He can awaken me unerringly from sleep at whatever time need be. He knows the second before the bell dings when the microwave is done, without my looking. He knows when I need to leave to make a seven o’clock meeting, so that I arrive not at 6:58 or 7:02, even though the meeting is in another city and the traffic is chancy. He communicates to me the time I need to depart through a sense of mounting unease, like a spring clock being wound tighter and tighter until suddenly ‘I’ know that I must leave NOW, not twenty seconds later, nor ten seconds sooner. This is some of the clearest communication I have with my subminds: a sense of anxiety builds – the Timer is telling me, ‘Get ready’; then a near compulsion pushes me out the door – the Timer is saying, ‘go.’
Another submind is the Magician (I am not saying these are clearly separate, maybe the Timer is part of the (Inner) Magician; maybe they intercommunicate without going through ‘me’). The Magician is the ‘magical mind’. I sometimes use the terms interchangeably, depending on whether I want to emphasize that this is a submind. The Magician is that submind which interacts magically with the ethers, or with the rest of reality via the ethers. It feels events and facts that are inappreciable by the normal senses. It is the Magician who receives psychic perceptions and passes them on to the conscious mind. It is he who sends out magical messages for the universe to fulfill, or reaches out a magical hand and works the wonders, or upholds a magical shield to protect. Learning to communicate with the (Inner) Magician (Magician with a capital ‘M’ = the magical mind) is one of the greatest tasks faced by the would-be magician (with a small ‘m’, magicians means ‘you’ – the conscious you that wants to learn how to control magic).
Yes, the terminology here is confusing – sorry. By the magician, or would-be magician, I mean what we normally think of as the conscious mind of the student of metaphysics and magic. By the Magician (or the Inner Magician), I mean that part of you, that submind (the magical mind), which receives psychic impressions (receptive magic) or broadcasts will to accomplish magic (expressive magic). It is difficult and essential for the magician to learn to communicate with the Magician. I return to this later (see for instance the section on the pendulum).
Nexus of being.
Akin to the concept of a point in the space/time continuum, but expanded to include the magical perspective, the magical space/timelessness/will continuum. Reality is a skein of probabilities in constant flux, existing in a the ethers in a timeless realm (past, present and future all being present), consisting of the connectives between all things (including events), the laws of science and the wills of all living things. Wherever you are located in this multi-dimensional weave, is your nexus of being.
From this point – your nexus of being – your magical perception can view the multiverse, including the nexi of other beings and events, and the connectives between them. But there are many difficulties in translating the perceptions of the magician into something our conscious mind can grasp. For example, an event that is far off (in the illusion of time or space) but forceful in its impact, may loom as large as one that is nearby but mild – much as the moon, far off but huge, may seem to be the same size as a balloon only a few feet up in the air.
The Magical Circuit
You are no doubt familiar with the concept of an electrical circuit, and you know that for the circuit to work (the motor to turn, the light to burn), the circuit has to be closed – that is, it must make a complete ‘circle’. (In a flashlight, electricity leaves one terminal of the battery, flows through the lightbulb and back into the other terminal of the battery.)
The important point to remember in magic is that there is a circuit through which magical energies move. This circuit includes the magician and the Inner Magician, the ethers, and whatever external objects lie in the path the ‘will-energy’ takes (the path of least resistance) to accomplish the magician’s goal. That there is a complete path can be as unobvious as the fact that there is a complete path for a bolt of lightning – the eventual balancing is indirect and subtle. But remember, magic does not occur in isolation – it flows through a circuit and can involve many external elements.
Magic can be receptive or expressive – the receiving or sending of signals through the ethers by means of your psychic antenna, which is your magical mind (the Inner Magician). Expressive magic is the art and act of radiating your will; said differently, your will powers your psychic antenna. Your magical mind determines how to encode the message into the vibrations sent into the eithers. This is the magical expression of what you will. A major element in the training of the magician is learning to communicate with his Inner Magician.
No place in this monograph am I going to write about specific spells to accomplish specific objectives. There are books aplenty to do this, and some of them very good. (Anything by Marion Weinstein is sure to be worthwhile.) I am trying to write about what I consider to be the ‘heart’ of magic, why it works, how spells work, and what is essential to make magic work – the ‘magical mindset’, the mental attitude which allows magic to happen, the Key That Was Lost, Kolwynia.
The Magical Mindset
This is the most important, and naturally the most difficult, section of what I want to write. From it all else flows. Achieving the magical mindset, you can work magic. Without it, nothing avails. Of course it may be, and most frequently is, achieved without conscious thought of its existence, and if you can already fairly consistently bring it about, no need to read any further. It is not just a case of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. You run the risk of losing your subconscious knack, if you start meddling with it consciously. However, if you don’t have the knack, then this is my best attempt to coach you in an endeavor in which I myself don’t have solidity. Here goes –
Why does magic sometimes work and sometimes not? If you have been careful in your preparations and the magic still failed, then the answer may be simply that you did not have the right mental attitude, or mindset, when you attempted the magic or performed the spell that miscarried. I am neither advocating nor decrying spells. Just remember they are ‘feathers’ and their entire justification is to bring you to the right mindset. With it, you don’t need the ritual. Without it, the ritual won’t work.
What is the mindset? Remember that magic is the influencing of reality with your will, with no apparent chain of physical causality. The thrust of this definition is the importance of will. Magic is largely an exercise in will. Isn’t everybody applying his will any time he does magic? No, usually not, and if so, usually feebly.
What people are frequently doing is begging. “Please let me have this.” Even if they don’t subvocalize those words, that is their attitude. Magic does not respond to begging per se. (Although begging – humility – might help you achieve the mindset.) It does not respond to bluster, nor to threats, nor to false certainty. Use your will as clearly as if you were trying to use your mind alone to pick up a pencil.
The conscious mind should be free from all thoughts, doubts, emotions, hopes, fears, and self-awareness. Its purpose is to supply the goal and then to get out of the way and allow the will to flow. Freedom from doubt is something like Humble Certainty or even “earned arrogance”, although this has nothing to do with arrogance, which must be absent. It means that you know you are going to succeed, but you don’t know it arrogantly – you know it because you are going to make it happen. This is the same certainty that an experience auto mechanic might feel when tackling a problem he has seen many times before. He knows that if he applies himself to the task, he can succeed – even though he also knows that unexpected issues can pop up.
The opposite of humble certainty is a sense of unworthiness – self-doubt. ‘Do I really deserve this? Can I really have such luxury? Could I really make this work?’ This kills magic. The trick in prayer of making God the author of the magic and adding, ‘Not my will, but thine.’ is to counter this mental trap. If God wants me to have this, then I don’t have to worry about whether I deserve it.
Perhaps the image can be seen in a scenario of you versus a wolf. A feral animal is partially out of its cage, and trying to get loose (the door was left open by somebody), and you are going to force it back in. You only have a stick or a chair, but you know you must get it back in (otherwise it will kill your sheep). There is no room for failure; there is no room for fear or self-doubt; there is no room for paying attention to the fact that you are succeeding or failing. ALL of your awareness is focused on forcing it back in, and all of its awareness is focused on getting out. It is a battle of its will against yours (a battle of magic), and your will must prevail, must be imposed on reality. Every time it darts to the left, you counter it, to the right, you stop it, forward and you meet it, pushing, forcing, as feral as the beast. You are not even thinking ‘back, get back in’. You are not thinking at all, because thinking arises from the conscious mind, and that has to be set aside to let the Magical Mind operate. The Inner Magician perceives and does what needs doing. The conscious mind sets the goal and then makes way for the Magical Mind to do its job. This is the mindset (or at least a significant part of it).
This does not mean that you cannot be filled with passion or some other emotion. (I have worked magic when I was filled with anguish, or desperate need.) It also does not mean you cannot be dispassionate. (I have created magic when I felt transcendent, beyond human concerns.) It means you cannot have doubt or fear or misgivings, or other emotions that give control to your conscious mind. It means you cannot monitor your progress with your ego (‘Good god – it’s working. The magic is happening.’) This will immediately take authority away from the Inner Magician and place it in the conscious mind (the part of you that feels like ‘you’.)
Let me emphasize the importance of lack of fear. If you fear, when you undertake to do magic, it often means that part of you does not feel ‘righteous or appropriate’. You feel that you are doing something that you should not be doing and are afraid of the consequences. This fear opens up a door for a negative magic to be worked. Your mindset, under fear, is the creation of a negative reaction; you have the feeling something bad might happen, and, indeed, you are magically creating that ‘something bad’. Walk away from that magic and don’t go there again until you can work it ‘righteously’.
Achieving the ‘magical mindset’ is the goal of all ritual or ‘spells’. The rites and words and objects all must help the magician create the right mindset to resonate with the energy the magician wants to manifest.
Let me share some examples and observations.
Throughout the last century variants on the ‘power of positive thinking’ appeared in print (and continue to do so to this day, as each generation discovers anew this age-old secret). It works – if you can use positive thinking to generate the right mindset, the magical mindset. But for many people, the affirmation that, for instance, “I am rich.” or “I am healthy”, when this is patently false, just elicits the response, “No, I’m not.” Many people (myself included) cannot successfully pretend black is white. Then this power fails. There are various tricks one can play with the words, such as: ‘I am becoming rich.’ Or, ‘I am attracting wealth to myself.’ But it still demonstrates the point that the ‘trick’ is to generate, by whatever means brings you success, the right magical mindset. If these affirmations work for you – great. Go for it.
Prayer is another mechanism for achieving this and is by far the most common practice of magic. It is instructive to think of a catholic army fighting a protestant army and both sides praying to the same God to wipe out the other side. What is a poor god to do? Well, almost certainly, he has nothing to do with the situation. The warriors are just practicing magic. But they obtain the sense of being humble by asking God to perform the magic. ‘Not my will, but thine.’ Every prayer is something along these lines (I am by no means condemning prayer – it is a great exercise of the soul, of magic, of communication with higher self or higher forces). But do you think God does not already know what you want? Does he think, “I am not going to give this guy what he wants, unless he begs for it.”? The prayer does not affect God – it affects you, the petitioner; it helps you attain the magical mindset that will allow the magic inherent in prayer to become actualized.
What profound human need powers such ideas as “Nothing is free, there is always a reckoning somewhere; I can’t really work magic can I? I’ll never succeed. I don’t get to be rich.” Most people feel some sense of ‘guilt/unworthiness’ when they try to get something by magic (or any other way their culture doesn’t approve of). I don’t know from what deep-seated evolutionary process this arises, but I have seen it again and again. People can be made to feel guilty (or ashamed), for instance, about sex. They need a church to tell them, ‘you may have sex in this fashion, for this purpose, at this time’ and then they are all right. The song “Amazing Grace” is among the most beautiful tunes extant, but it contains a precise and concise summary of this point in the line, “T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved.” First you are instilled with fear or shame, and then you are shown how to overcome them (at a price, of course). Humans are apt to fear, shame and guilt, but they are deadly to magic.
These killer feelings brings us to offer sacrifices as a means of neutralizing them. “I have not in any way earned what I am asking for, and am not worthy, but I will sacrifice by whipping myself, or doing a good deed, or not having sex for two months, or…………, and then maybe God/fate/Life will deign to allow me to have what I am trying to accomplish magically.” (Of course, it is much worse when they sacrifice somebody else because they themselves feel unworthy to get what they are asking for – ignoble, but oh so common.) If you don’t feel you deserve something, don’t seek it. Wait until you can work magic righteously and bring it about through your own will. Learn to recognize that these deadly emotions are levers that others (church, society) can push to manipulate you. Calmly set them aside. Outgrow them.
You have to steer between Scylla and Charybdis – between guilt/worthlessness and arrogance. Set them aside. What about need and passion? Is it not in need that we turn to the universe – “help me, help me, help me”? Oh, yes, and it is the most natural thing in the world to do; it is a valid magical ritual. But, in the end, you must help yourself – reach out with your will and bring to pass what you need. The need and passion are what drive you; your will is what accomplishes. The need and passion are the measure of the commitment you bring to the act of applying your will. If you have little need, you will tire easily of a task that takes a lot of will. What I mean to say is that it is not the need that accomplishes the magic – that is done by the will – but the need gives you the will to exercise your will.
Here is an example you can watch with your very eyes – a moment of magic caught on film. Yes, of course, it is just acted, but it is oh, so authentic. It is an example of need and passion, driving the will to manifest, free of shame, guilt, arrogance; free of everything, but will.
Run Lola Run – This movie plays with time and causality, which by themselves would make the movie interesting, but there is a moment of pure magic which makes the movie sublime. The heroine, Lola, must accumulate some tens of thousands of dollars to save the life of her foolish boyfriend, who lost a drug lord’s drugs and money. If she does not, he will be shot. This is the source of her need. Her passion is her love for him. The sum of money is totally beyond her means. She fails, but time is magically reset to give her another try. She fails again, again time is reset. But the true magic occurs during thirty seconds towards the end of the third iteration, when Lola gathers a little money and goes into a high-class gambling casino. I think all her money turns into a single chip, which she places on an all-or-nothing bet. She is out of place, outclassed and her presence is barely endured by the society folks looking down their noses at her. It would be easy for her to die of embarrassment or sink into oblivion. She does neither. She places her bet on the roulette wheel, and when the ball is set into motion and is slowing down to its final moment of truth – Lola screams. The scream rises from the bottom of her soul and rages its way through her body, out her mouth, lasting endless seconds. Her entire being is in the scream. It says, ‘do or die.’ And it means it. Her will expressed in that complete commitment and utter passion, that total indifference to the presence or opinions of the snobs – that is the essence of magic, of the ‘magical mindset’. What is absent is as important as what is present in that scream. There was no greediness (total need, yes; but not greed), no attachment (an awareness that her lover would die if she didn’t win, yes; but not attachment), no embarrassment (she knew herself in humiliating need in the presence of wealthy society matrons, but that knowledge did not touch her), and no involvement of her ego (just a complete commitment of will). In just this way, with just this commitment, she would have caged the escaping wolf. This is an essence of the ‘magical mindset’.
How can one commit himself without involving his ego? Every so often I am fortunate enough, when typing, to experience a magical state. It is, in a small way, akin to the cosmic consciousness mystics seek, or the zen state sought by monks in meditation or kyudo – the art of zen archery. When this state comes upon me, I am usually copying something from a text in my normal stumble-fumble fifty words a minute (with errors) manner. I gently, unknowingly, slip into a state of consciousless-ness, or, more specifically, egoless-ness, where my ego has vanished and my mind is filled with emptiness. There is a circuit from the text to my eyes, to some awareness in my mind that knows the appropriate task, to my fingers, to the typewriter (computer nowadays), which by-passes my consciousness and ego. I perceive and perform, but do not process – my ten fingers just fly, speeding up to eighty words a minute (with no mistakes), until my conscious awareness suddenly interrupts with an, ‘Ah, I’m doing it again.’ And there will be a small thrill in my being that I have entered ‘that state’. But that thrill is attachment. That, ‘Ah’ is an involvement of my consciousness. And instantly the zen typing state evaporates, and my fingers stumble over each other again. I don’t play the piano, but I am sure that great pianists must experience this state often (or perhaps always, I don’t know). It is pure magic, pure zen. The ‘I’ disappears, and one’s being submits to a flow of energy from the notes, to the fingers, to the keys, bypassing the ego.
I have had this same sensation when wadding up pages of rejected drafts into balls and tossing them towards the wastebasket. I could not, by dint of skill, throw them into the basket even if the basket were accessibly located ten feet away. But it is not; it is under a table with no direct shot. It is behind me to the left, and I am not normally a southpaw. However, time and again, when my mind has no role other than to provide the awareness that the magical circuit is: paper ball, arm, wastebasket; then, without so much as looking in the direction of the sheltering table, ‘I’ disappear, and my arm submits to (or harmonizes with) the will flowing through the circuit, and the paper ball flies across the room, bounces off a table leg and jumps into the basket. And I know, as soon as the paper ball flies, whether it will go in or not, by the flavor of my mindset when the ball left my hand. This, I am sure, is the same phenomenon practitioners of zen archery seek (or wish to allow to happen, without seeking – I am not sure how to speak of a state of ‘ego-lessness’). It is my conscious mind which decides what the goal is, but then I submit to the ‘flow’ of the energy which will accomplish this goal. It feels like I am a feather in perfect submission to the wind, and yet, it was my will that set the wind in motion.
I think that the total commitment of Lola’s scream, the total surrender of the zen archer, and the complete freedom from shame, embarrassment or fear – this goes a long, long way towards the ‘magical mindset’. I do not say, ‘the freedom from need’. I do not say ‘the freedom from passion.’ But these are not the magic, merely the energy that feeds it.
I take another movie example from The Natural with Glenn Close and Robert Redford. It is a re-make of the theme of Damned Yankees, and is full of magic (and magic). The key moment is also towards the end of the film, when Redford is on the baseball field and about to be defeated by an evil spell. Glenn Close (his long-lost) childhood sweetheart simply stands up in the stands, shamelessly, clothed in righteousness (not self-righteousness, which is a hideous arrogance). Through her simple will for his protection, the evil spell is neutralized. (Yes, it is a film, but magical moments can be captured on film.) She stood firm without judgement, without letting the world evaluate her or tell her what was right or wrong, living outside any known laws of how the world works or even the question of whether magic is or is not. She stood in a moment of pure energy, shapeless and formless, in a space of peace and certainty devoid of ego – she was the mother protecting her family with no thought in her mind at all, just an endless will to succeed.
Everything I’ve written above addresses expressive magic. What about receptive magic? What about clairvoyance, extra sensory perception, clair audience, psychic impressions and any other name for knowing what cannot be known by simple application of the laws of physics? Sad to say, I don’t have any ‘trick’ for ‘fishing’ information out of the cosmos using just your mind as a psychic fishnet. But I do have a few pieces of advice.
The attitude of disbelief kills psychic awareness. It’s a negative feedback system. It’s arrogant and self-destructive. The talent withers. Our society disbelieves in metaphysics, and most people follow along. If everybody believes something doesn’t exist, it doesn’t – for them. If you want access to your magic, you must not pretend it away, because it will ‘un-exist’.
Here’s a mundane example of the effect of belief that you experience twice a year – setting your clock forwards and backwards for daylight savings time. The time is changed by government fiat, and everybody pretends the new time is the real time. After a week or two, the new time becomes real, because everybody believes it is. Of course there’s the larger issue of the reality of time at all. That, too, is a question of believing something into existence.
Here’s another example of receptive magic, which (alas!) happened to me – an incident with foresight which I have experienced more than once, and ignored more than once to my detriment. I had driven to the bank and then wanted to go to the tire store just across the street from the bank. I could either go out the bank’s south entrance, wait against traffic, make two left turns and drive out of my way, or I could simply go out the east exit, ignore the ‘right turn only’ sign and hop across the street for a total trip of fifty feet. As I had left my home, a thought had come to me very clearly – “Gee, I have not had a traffic ticket for years and years.” You already know the rest of the story. After the bank, I waited at the east entrance until there were NO cars, jumped across the street, into the open arms of a police cruiser, who was lying in wait by the tire store like a shark expecting his prey – me.
The lesson was that when the thought came unbidden to my mind that I had not had a traffic ticket in years, I should have immediately realized that traffic ticket energy was floating about, and my antenna had picked it up. What should I have done? – I should have scrupulously followed all speed limit signs and other traffic signs and paid special attention to protecting myself against that energy. New Orleans had many warning signals far in advance of the danger from a severe hurricane. (I still have a Scientific American article I saved from several years before Katrina, warning explicitly of the dangers.) What to do with the advanced warning? You cannot stop the hurricane from coming, but you can repair the levees and make sure they are high enough. The wave will come. Without using your advanced knowledge it will sweep over the levee; but if you raise and reinforce the levee, the wave will crash harmlessly against it. The energy your psychic sensors picked up is present – you cannot change that. But you can use the information to prepare and evade.
(As an aside – people can fall into the trap of worrying about predestination. A petitioner may visit a ‘card reader’, as an example. He thinks that if the psychic claims to have a vision of the future, then this must be The Future. If it is The Future, then it is predetermined and the petitioner can do nothing about it. It is, however, not The Future that the psychic saw. It is the energies that are present. Without the warning provided by the psychic, these energies would cause the future the psychic saw. With the warning, the petitioner can take precautions.)
For me, this traffic ticket brought home an important realization that I would not otherwise have noticed. Had I obeyed the traffic sign (and not gotten the ticket), I would never have known that there was a policeman in ambush. I would have done my errands, gone home and let the memory of my ‘traffic ticket thought’ fade with no further processing. I would have missed the fact that this had been a genuine receptive magical experience, a psychic warning – simply because there was no whiplash, no painful result of ignoring the message, no way to distinguish it from any other random thought passing through my head. It was only getting the ticket that brought home the relevance of the passing thought.
So how can we distinguish between random thoughts and psychic messages? The synapses in the brain do not fire randomly. They always have some impetus. It might be a subtle connection between a roadside sign you pass and a concert performance you suddenly remember. Or it might be a prevalent psychic energy (a connective of high probability seeking to manifest) floating around your nexus of being.
Even so are dreams. They are not, very surely not, random firings of neurons. They always have roots in something experienced (or being experienced, or perhaps even yet to be experienced). This is clearly so when you have a dream of, say, being in a snow storm, awake with a start, and discover that the night has turned cold and you have left the window open. It is trivial – your feeling cold has worked its way into the dream. It does not have any deep spiritual significance about your future – but neither is it random.
Nor are the thoughts that come into your awareness while you are awake. You simply have to pay attention to them and weigh them – are they the trivial results of remembering (or transforming) a recent event? The upwelling of a yearning? The product of a bodily function (like hunger). An association with something your companion has just said? Or a manifestation of the perception of an energy floating around in the psychic space surrounding you (the ethers)? You don’t have to do a deep analysis of every thought – but don’t let them pass through without giving them some critical awareness.
This is the same principle that should be taught to people who open their mouths and verbalize any thought that enters into their mind. I have sometimes asked a friend who has just said something socially inappropriate, “Why did you say that?” He looked at me with a blank expression. “Because I really felt that way.” “Yes,” I reply, “but why did you say it? Is it your rule to say everything that enters your mind? Don’t you have any filtering processes whatsoever? Don’t you ask yourself your objective for speaking a thought? – Does this enhance the conversation? Does this make somebody feel better? Does this help somebody? Does this advance my social standing? Surely you have some reason for opening your mouth, other than to let escape whatever thought entered your head?” My friend continued to look at me with the same blank expression until I realized that indeed, he never examined the ideas that entered his mind and passed on to his tongue. (He and I are still friends.)
Examine your thoughts. It may be important to do so. Your mind is not a train station through which strangers may pass anonymously. Familiarize yourself with its inhabitants; scrutinize them at least long enough to categorize them and give yourself a chance to recognize which might be messengers, which are visitors, and which are tramps. Acknowledge, at least fleetingly, the possible messengers.
Simply ignoring psychic messages lets the faculty wither, but the active rejection of such magical possibilities (from mind reading to a ‘voodoo hex’) is, in fact, the practice of magic. That is to say, it is a counter-magic which can protect you or shield your mind and body.
I saw a movie in the fifties (I cannot dredge up the name of the movie or the actors) of a missionary who had gone to Africa to ‘civilize’ the natives. A tribe welcomed him into their village and made a hut for him. The shaman put a spell on the hut to protect it from fire. The missionary, in order to open the eyes of the natives, told them that their magic was nonsense and set fire to the hut to disprove the power of the anti-fire spell. Even as a youth, I knew the missionary had been foolish.(I hope the natives did not build him a new hut.) Of course the spell was to protect the hut for him, not against him. Of course it would not ward off a fire of his own making. More explicitly, his disbelief was a counter-spell that neutralized the protection spell that had been made for him.
There are a few more points I want to touch on in with regard to receptive magic – the art of using the ‘witching sight’ to see the reality behind the physical reality.
This sight allows the perception of ‘connectives’, which is perhaps another way of saying lines of karma. Imagine crystalline lines (like threads of frost) representing, reflecting, the relationship between things, people, events. If there is no active connection between two people, there is no frost line between them. If there is a strong connection between a person and an event, there are many, complex connectives. The connectives are not absolutes – they represent branches of probability, laws of physics, and filaments of human will. If you can open yourself to this vision, you can flow with the connectives, releasing karma, instead of miring yourself in new involvements with people and events with whom you have little connection (except for the fact that you fabricate new lines by the exercise of your will in mingling where you had no karma). This helps you avoid what will simply turn out to be ‘entanglements’ which do not guide you along the paths which are the Power Path of your life.
Magical timing is another discipline of magical perception. (I am restating the concept written earlier about the Timer.) If you want to attend a wedding in a nearby town, you’ll normally want to calculate how much time it will take you to get there by car, and therefore what time you need to leave home. This is an intellectual exercise. Another approach is not to calculate, but to perceive; not intellect but awareness. Turn your eye inward towards your magical time keeper. Feel as the time to leave approaches. As it gets closer you can sense a building tension, a spring winding tauter and tauter until you know, ‘now’ – now is the time to leave. If you achieve this perception, you will feel a building restlessness, culminating in almost an anxiety to leave when the ‘now’ moment arrives. The advantage of this approach, besides strengthening your receptive magic, is that it is based on a magical perception of the past/present/future lines of connectives and includes elements that intellectual calculation cannot take into account – such as a street closed for repairs, an extra long train or an accident. The magical perception flows along the entire line of connective between your home and the wedding, and the ticking magical clock includes every twist and turn of that connective. It automatically takes into account the rain storm, the football traffic and the wrong turn.
You can use essentially the same concept – perception of the underlying connectives – to answer ‘how much does X weigh’ or ‘when did Genghis Kahn live’ or ‘how many beans are in the jar’ etc etc. For instance you let your mind run along the number line to the right, and when it has gone too far, you feel a pull back, so you reverse and go left, and when you have reversed too far, you feel a pull in the other direction. You ’pendulum’ back and forth until you reach neutral – the number of beans in the jar. You can generalize this experience with anything that has polarities, letting your inner sight (for me it is a feeling, not a vision) find the balance between yin and yang that applies to the situation – how far should my business expand (yang)? when should I consolidate (yin)? or even, how should I light this room (for a concert or for an intimate dinner), balancing the yin of soft lighting with the yang of brightness. Dominance, submission. Hot, cold. Any polarity has a ‘correct’ balance for your situation, and you can use the sense of perception to find that.
Have you ever known (and secretly envied) somebody who was unusually lucky? Who led a ‘charmed’ life? Always had the cards fall his way? Isn’t it harder for you to accept this as coincidence than to acknowledge he has an edge brought on by a life-long magical attitude that either allows him to take advantage of foresight or actively bends reality in his favor (even if he is consciously unaware of the magic he is working)? Wouldn’t you like to walk on a path opened by fate, and strewn with primroses? Pay attention when your antenna picks up a warning and passes it on to you.
Even more telling is the phrase, “beginner’s luck”. The very existence of this phrase tells us that our culture recognizes the existence of the phenomenon and that it has been stuffed into a compartment called ‘folklore’, so that we can dismiss it at the same time we recognize it. In other words, when we see an example of beginner’s luck, we recognize that something amazing has happened, but we don’t want to say, “Seeing that causes me to change my whole perception of reality in order to admit of the existence of Magic.” So our culture has nicely created this little garbage chute whereby we can notice it, then throw it down the chute and forget about it without ever having to disturb our received worldview. But what, in fact, is “beginner’s luck”?
Somehow the confusion that arises when we do something for the first time causes us to set aside our intellectual command of the situation and, unknowingly, to rely on the Magician. Or taken from the other end – once we have mastered a field to some extent, we can exclude the randomness (the lack of intellectual control) inherent in magic, and, in fact, take control. For instance, when we know the odds of a particular draw at poker, we play the hand in accordance with those odds. But the beginner, ignorant of the odds, relies on his Magician – his receptive magic – sensing when a play wins, even though (unknown to him) it is a statistically foolish play. And the beginner wins – often enough for the phenomenon to have been noticed and named.
A final observation for this section on the magical mindset. You can, of course, use magic to attempt anything you can think of, but you won’t always be successful. The physical world’s underlying reality – the world of crystalline connectives – consists of all the laws of science plus all the wills of all living things. If you attempt a magical influence of something that is light and loose (not tied by many connectives), you can succeed relatively easily. Walking through an orchard, you can will the appearance of a delicious apple. Your wish is easily granted – there are so many windfalls with nobody’s will attached to them that you won’t have to wait but a minute. But if you try to change the overall course of the stock market – it will be much harder. There are SOOOOOOOOO many wills attached to the stock market, trying to pull it hither and yon, that no one will can easily have much impact on it. So my final observation is this – reach out to take only that which is yours to take by right. If a connective to you is there, then dare to fight the whole world to take what is yours. If no connective exists between you and a temptation, then gently forego that alluring desire. Otherwise, you create sticky karma that might take the rest of your life to disentangle. (Billy Joel succinctly presents this idea in his song, “The Great Wall of China” – ‘You take a piece of whatever you touch; too many pieces means you’re touching too much.’)
To end this section I will cite some examples in movies or books where you might get a sense of somebody else’s perception of the magical mindset.
There is a movie scene from D. H. Lawrence’s The Fox (I cannot find the movie available on the net), where (as I remember it from many years ago) Keir Dullea tells Sandy Dennis that to accomplish a magic feat (like killing somebody), one should wind the will tighter and tighter like a spring, until it is totally taut, and then release it to find fulfillment in ‘reality’. There is a calm (and deadly) certainty in the power of his will, but no attachment, no ego – just an exercise in power. I sensed the magic in the portrayal.
In Lord of Illusion (readily available from online services), Daniel von Bargen (playing the evil character ‘Nix’) marvelously portrays calm certainty in his plan to ‘murder the world’. His ego-maniacal goal is not an expression of greed. It is, strangely, ego-less – just a reaching out to take what he perceives he can take. The film is worth watching for his performance, and display of magical certainty (the other characters are good, too, but irrelevant to the issue of magic), although to be an attractive role model, he needs to be cleaned up, physically and spiritually.
In books, Mary Stewart finds magical moments in her Merlin series. Her magician achieves power not by wielding power, but in going with (submitting to, harmonizing with) the wind and the will of his god, being a horn through which his god can speak. This idea is a wonderful ‘trick’ to attain the humility in ‘humble certainty’. It is the same trick employed in prayer (which is, of course, the practice of magic under the imprint of religion) – ‘not my will, but Thine’. ‘If it be Thy Will.’ etc. The same approach is used by Tanith Lee in Volkhavaar, her tale of the dark sorcerer Volk, who finds his power in the black stone idol of an evil god. He wears the idol about his neck and the stone imbues Volk with enormous power. Thus he is humble for the magics are worked not through himself, but through his god. He does not ask himself who imbues the god with power, for the answer, of course, is Volk. At the price of this one humility, he exercises limitless arrogance until his climactic encounter with Shaina, a truly humble slave girl who worships the same god in his gentle, nurturing aspect. She confronts Volk to win back the soul of the man she loves. And, as Shaina tells Volk, her love is as strong as Volk’s hate. Passion and humility – not ‘I’ but my god, Zen ego-lessness. ‘I’ am a simple vessel of the will of one greater than I. I ‘submit’ myself to the flow of a greater force for which I am the simple conduit. Lack of shame, guilt, fear, attachment. The dancer caught up in the music, which uses him to dance itself into reality.
These are examples of the magical mindset as seen in some books.
Science and Magic
Friends often remind me that to a technologically primitive peoples our science must seem like Magic, and that a sufficiently advanced science (think, Star Trek) could do feats that we would consider Magical – in other words, Advanced Science incorporates Magic. I object. I object twice.
Before I register my objections, let me return to a point made early in this monograph, and make reference to an oft noted contrast between True Science and Scientific Fundamentalism. As has been said, “Science is not Truth, but the Pursuit of Truth.” This is a marvelous and humble distinction and is the essence of True Science. With the few who truly embody this outlook, I have no quarrel whatsoever. I revere them. But the great majority of those who think of themselves as scientist – from high school and university professors, to corporate test tube jockeys – are innocent of such humility. To a greater or lesser extent, they are Scientific Fundamentalist – dogmatists who are sure they are privy to the Truth, and are determined to imprison the minds of everybody else with their ‘Gospel’. The only difference between them and Religious Fundamentalist is that the religion of Science does produce tangible, workable results. Unfortunately for the Fundamentalists, this results in heavier chains upon their minds. Unfortunately for the great mass of humanity, these chains are also laid upon them, and they have no mental weaponry to resist. What I write hereafter is in reference to this dogmatic science, this haughty mental contagion which is spread by a school system which does not even try to teach its pupils to think, but rather traps the wheels of their minds in the same ruts the teachers fell into. Having indulged myself in a small rant, I’ll move on to my two objections.
First, the arrogance of science bothers me. I remember in 1976 when Red Dye Number 2 was under attack for its allegedly causing cancer in rats. A highly respected biochemist on campus at our state university posted an arrogant, condescending letter besmirching the touchy-feely “uneducated” detractors of Red Dye Number 2. Later that same week the FDA banned it, and the arrogant letter came down. It is not known to this day how dangerous Number 2 is, but what bothers me is the arrogance and presumption. Science presumes that Magic is hokum and that science is fact. There was a time when hypnotism and magnetism were labeled hokum and swept under the table with Magic. Later, when enough scientists (usually the young for the older generation of scientists seem incapable of adjusting to new realities that impugn their vested interests) became convinced of the reality of these phenomena, they suddenly became science and no longer Magic, because Magic is, after all, hokum and these things are not. In parallel, anything embraced by science that is later found suspect, is shed. The illusion is that science is, and has always been, righteous, while Magic is constantly being stripped of its jewels and burdened with coals. I am an avid reader of science journals and know full well that they are always publishing articles disproving what a previous article proved – then I see more articles re-proving and re-disproving. But the general public is fed, “Science works”. Sometimes and sometimes not. Science should abandon its arrogance, admit to its share of hokum, and stop slapping Magic with its left hand, while stealing its jewels with the right hand.
My second objection is vastly more important. Science, as it is practiced by the Fundamentalists, cannot ever embrace Magic because it contains basic Axioms (explicit or tacit) that are at odds with those of Magic. But Magic is large enough to embrace Science, much as geometry includes Euclidian geometry, but is not limited to it. Geometry, the entire realm, can have parallel lines that meet. Euclidian geometry, which is useful and interesting but self-limiting, cannot.
There are five points in specific where science is incompatible with magic.
1) Science sees time as moving in one direction only. (There are many modern schools of theoretical thought which ‘violate’ the prevailing current of science. Some of these do not view time or causality as does the ‘received’ worldview which informs the mainstream of both lay and scientific thinking.) Actually science has only the vaguest notion of time. In Magic time does not exist, only timing, that is – relative co-occurrence.
For science (as nearly everybody understands it) there’s a past, present and future, and it is only the present that exists. The past did exist, but does not. The future will exist, but does not.
To understand how a magician can see a different worldview, imagine time as a string and yourself as a ring threaded on the string. Our sense of perception is the inner surface of the ring, and the ring is moving slowly down the string from one end to the other, from the point called birth to the point called death. We perceive that part of the string where the ring is located at the moment. To us it seems to be all that there is, yet at all instants the entire string exists, not just the small part that we see – the present. The past and the future co-exist with the present, and with different perceptual arrangements – looking from the outer surface of the ring, instead of from the inner surface – we could see them.
This same image can be accessed by thinking of a road system. The whole system exists, even though we only experience that portion of the road where we are located. If we see a tree to the left and a barn to the right, these items ‘co-occur’ in the same location. A mile down the road, there might be a field of sunflowers. We do not perceive it; it does not co-occur with our present location, but it still exits. Future events already exit in a certain sense. Yes, they are mutable; they lie along lines of probability. But their existence is real enough that a magician can sometimes foresee them.
This is only a first approximation. It raises a lot of issues about free will and why bother to do anything if it all already exists anyway, but the analogy was only a first step. In fact the string is alive and mutable. The future can be changed. But so can the past and the present. What’s more, a future event can affect a past event.
For second – deeper – image, picture a three dimensional net, hung from a framework. Let time be gravity and the time arrow points up from the ground to the sky. We move along a given string of probability arriving at one node with branching possibilities, but we follow (by living) and experience one, and only one, branch. Yet all the other nodes and strings exists – both the past and future, and all the other possibilities that we do not end up experiencing. Our sense of time arises because we perceive only the reality of our current location, even though the future exists as surely as the whole complex of a road exists at all moments, even though we only experience that part of the road where we are currently located.
2) With this image in mind we can see how magic differs from science in the concept of causality. For science causality proceeds so that past events affect the present and present events affect the future, like dominoes which can fall only to the right. It does not conceive of dominoes falling in reverse, or the upper nodes of the net affecting the lower ones. But consider, if I were to tie a string to one node of the net, I could affect a whole area of the net by pulling on the string. I could change the position of one node, and all the nodes around it would move about to accommodate the change.
A node closer to the earth – an event in the past – would be affected by a movement made above it – an event in the future. Of course, a person moving along the thread of the net, coming up from the lower nodes, will simply experience the net as it is, without realizing that its shape was determined by a future event. For him time will seem to have proceeded in the fashion he thinks orderly. What this means for us, is that, under certain conditions, a magician can change the past. This does not mean that a magician can go back and change an event that has already been experienced. It doesn’t mean we can right the wrongs we have done or that have been done to us.
This means that a magician can engage in a creation which is to manifest, say six months hence, but which requires years of preparation. Those years of preparation are past events, which must already have occurred before the magician begins his magic, but which will, indeed, have occurred as necessary to support the future event.
For example, the magician uses his magic to heal a child with a brain tumor. The magic will manifest itself through the physical conduit of a competent surgeon. But the tumor is such that only a particular kind of cutting edge keyhole surgery can be used. By the end of the six month deadline, if the magic is successful, a surgeon who can perform the surgery will be available. He will have decided, years and years ago, to become a surgeon; his interest in keyhole surgery will have been piqued years ago and he will have studied and possibly pioneered research in that technique; then he will have decided to move to the locale where the young patient-to-be lives. He might be the only surgeon in that region capable of performing the surgery and he might be so newly arrived that he has no track record. Yet there he will be, as the magician conjured, and all the past events necessary to support the child’s surgery will be in place. The magician has pulled the string tied to a node and all the past nodes have moved to accommodate the magician’s will. Yet nobody experienced any temporal displacement. No past event experienced was undone. But the past was affected to accommodate a future event.
A simpler example is simply to note that a magician can often sense a coming event and he will base his present actions on that foresight. In other words, a future event is affecting the present, via a human awareness.
3) Another serious divergence between received science and magic is the question of repeatability. This is, perhaps, the essence of science, and is both its strong point and its downfall. Science demands that a principle be demonstrable on demand – it must be repeatable under the same circumstances. This is wonderfully practical; it means science works and works reliably. I assure you that I appreciate this aspect of science as much as does anybody. I love knowing that when I throw the light switch the lights, if the circuit is sound, will come on. (Please note, however, that there are dangers, even to science, in this concept. There may be a world of limitless energy available through cold fusion, yet Fleischmann and Pons became pariahs because their experiments were not reliably repeatable. Even today highly respected scientists sometimes, but not reliably, get sudden excess heat in cold fusion experiments. Because of the lack of repeatability, the phenomenon is excommunicated from Science. Folks, this is a problem. Science inches forward in such areas only because of the sacrifice and vision of heretics. Think continental drift and Alfred Wegener, whose theory was anathematized by George Gaylord Simpson, a reincarnated Spanish Inquisitor. Think Channeled Scablands and J. Harlen Bretz, demonized by the established geological societies, or Linear B and Michael Ventris, suppressed by the august Sir Arthur Evans. The examples of the science of tomorrow being retarded on dogmatic grounds by entrenched authority are legion.)
Magic, on the other hand, does not ‘do tests’. It is not repeatable. It is not reliable. This does not mean that it is not useful. It does not mean that it does not work. You cannot guarantee, when you sow wheat, that all the grains will germinate. Farming is not one hundred percent reliable. This does not mean that it is not useful, or that planting does not work. You have to have the right nourishing environment to farm, and even then failures occur because the seeds themselves can be defective. Magic, too, must have the right nourishing environment (see the Magical Mindset) and even with a perfect magical attitude, a magician might fail – other wills might oppose his; the flow of reality might greatly overwhelm his magical will. And it is the nature of magic to resist being tested. Its purpose is to create, not to prove itself. I do not mean to anthropomorphize magic – but the magician himself knows whether he is ‘testing’ or creating, and his knowledge of testing will kill the magical mindset.
I further expand this concept below with an example drawn from Tarot readings.
4) The fourth point of divergence is that science acknowledges only four fundamental forces (gravity, the electro-magnetic force and the strong and weak forces – of course, theoreticians are striving to find a model to reduce even this number); magic recognizes five fundamental forces. In the magical viewpoint, will is a force, like gravity (or an energy like lightning). It is the basis of expressive magic. The magician’s will, unmeasurable by science, reaches out and affects reality, or even effects reality. Nobody doubts the existence of life, yet it cannot be seen or measured by instruments. Will is a force, but not one which can, as of now, be measured by machines. To the magician, the fabric of reality is only probabilities made up of the physical laws and our wills. Since the wills of all things contribute to reality, reality is constantly in flux.
5) Point five – there exists some medium (which I usually call the ethers) through which psychic information (and possibly electro-magnetic phenomena) can travel. I discussed this earlier and will repeat just enough to say that the ethers are like jello which can transmit vibrations when jiggled. These vibrations are information, which the antenna of your Magical Mind can pick up and interpret.
In brief, the five most important concepts that magic includes but science excludes are: the non-existence of the stream of time; the multi-directionality of causality; comfort with non-repeatability; the human will as a fundamental force of nature as surely as gravity, the electro-magnetic force and the strong and weak forces normally acknowledged by science; the existence of the ethers.
The world of the magician is the physical world of the scientist, including matter and energy, the laws of physics, the four forces of physics, the ethers, the will of the magician and the cumulative wills of all living things, and the laws of magic.
Far from being the case that magic is contained within a highly evolved science, we can say that science is a special, restricted subset of magic, as Newtonian physics is of modern physics.
Getting a boat across a stream.
You have a small outboard motor boat and need to get across a fairly wide stream, landing upstream from where you are. You discover that the motor won’t start, you have no cell phone nor oars, and, feeling a sense of despair, you decide to try magic to get some help. You apply yourself to the creation of succor. You could wish for an outboard motor to come by on a donkey’s back, or you could just pray for help. The motor scenario is so unlikely that the magical will you’d have to generate would be unrealistic. So you ask for unspecified help and a hiker comes by with a fold-down tent. He wants to help you and between the two of you, you jury-rig a mast and sail from the tent and poles. A stiff breeze has been working up. Both of you jump in the boat and try sailing across the stream. You want to go upstream – can you? Both of you are willing the breeze to carry you upstream, but the current would like to bring you downstream. If the current is very mild and the breeze responsive to your will, you might arrive upstream. If the current is strong – you’re going downstream. Physical reality is part of the input into the overall picture. It cannot be ignored. The more you have to fight the physics of the situation, the stronger your magic must be. In this little example, it is easy to imagine a current too brisk to be overcome by the magics of two people..
The Laws of Magic
Magic, like its child – science – has laws, which, in a certain framework, are immutable, and in another framework, have leeway. (Just as Newtonian physics are immutable on the macro scale, but quite bendable in the quantum world.)
Here’s a list of a few of the important laws with brief explanations.
The Law of Ambiguity
The first law of magic is The Law of Ambiguity. This means that it must always be possible for a skeptic to claim the magical act was an instance of coincidence. Magic must happen in such a way that the results could be explained by the usual laws of science and coincidence (ie, a break in the apparent chain of physical causality).
Sitting in your corporate cubicle, tired of working 8-to-5, you wish out loud for a bar of gold, and a billionaire, in a sudden fit of charity, randomly comes into your office, and gives you a bar of gold – your co-workers overheard your wish and saw the results. It gets hard to explain this convincingly as coincidence, BUT A REAL SKEPTIC CAN AND WILL pass it off as coincidence. So, it does not violate the Law of Ambiguity, and therefore is possible in the realm of magic.
The Law of Tests
There is a corollary law which explains one reason why testing magic in a lab setting produces such poor results: Magic doesn’t submit to tests. Why? Well, this has to do with the Magical Mindset, but in short derives from the fact that the magician, by ‘doing tests’, is not imposing his will on reality, he is trying to impose it on magic. He is not creating magic, he is doing tests. And, if the magic (or the coincidence according to the skeptic) turns out to be reliably repeatable, it will no longer be explainable as a coincidence, and will violate the Law of Ambiguity.
This rule comes into play when reading Tarot cards. The magician is acting as an antenna (see Receptive Magic). The magical circuit is the client, the client’s question, the magician’s understanding of the question, the energies present that act on the client and that would affect the answer, the magician’s hands (or the client’s hands magically interacting with the magician) subconsciously and magically picking the cards which reflect those energies, and, finally, the magician’s reading of those cards. What if the client wanted to confirm the reading and asked for a second throwing of the cards? Shouldn’t they fall in exactly the same pattern? After all, it is the same question, the same energies, the same magician. But the cards will never re-produce exactly the same layout on a second throwing. Why? If this were to happen (reliably), there would be no room for a skeptic to be skeptical. There is no ambiguity and the law is violated. On the magical plane, the true answer is that it is impossible to ask the same question twice (just as you cannot step into the same stream twice – the stream is always changing). What is different? – the fact that the question has already been asked once is the difference. Therefore, the second time it is asked, it is asked in light of the first answer, so the question mutates to, ‘please clarify an aspect of the previous layout’. Or it becomes a test. The energy will flow down a different path, which takes into account the fact that the question has already been asked and answered and which will obey the Law of Ambiguity. There is always a magical reality behind this law, but the result is always the same – an act of magic must be sufficiently ambiguous that it could be explained by the laws of science plus coincidence.
Testing for clairvoyance, controlling the roll of dice, trying to film a ghost in a haunted house – must all respect the Law of Ambiguity. This does not mean that these phenomena are hoaxes; it means you cannot stretch magic out on a microscope slide and examine it.
The Law of Silence
The Law of Silence includes not speaking of magic unnecessarily. If you are casting a spell, and the magic is taking effect, don’t speak of it. For instance you might have cast a love spell and you can see by the love light in ‘his’ eyes that ‘he’ is responding. Don’t go babble this to your sister. Speaking of the spell while it is still in play, can discharge it. Why? Because speaking of it will affect the magical mindset that you have to maintain. This law includes being silent even within your own mind.
If you are working a spell, successfully, and you suddenly think, “Wow, it’s working. I’m really doing it.”, it will almost surely stop working immediately, and for the same reason – you have disturbed the appropriate magical mindset through the intrusion of your conscious self. (If you find this happening, release it back out; change it to a “Thank you. That the magic is working; that I am allowed to see the magic working.” – An affirmation of awareness and appreciation, and leave it at that.) What if you have need to speak of the magic before it is fully manifested? Then ‘knock on wood’, or do the equivalent. How could such a chestnut as knocking on wood possibly work? Because your cultural heritage has created a certain mindset in your subconscious concerning this phrase. It neutralizes your own tendency to destroy your own magic. It is a form of recognition that you are messing up and a humble request to neutralize the mess-up. It is a magical mindset fix. My own equivalent magic for this situation is to form my right hand into a ‘Y’ shape (the thumb and little finger being the legs, the three middle fingers bent lightly downwards). I touch the middle fingers to my forehead, then quickly turn my palm outwards while saying (or thinking) ‘avert’. It works for the same reason – I have created a mindset associated with this gesture, that repairs or undoes the mental mess-up I have committed.
The Law of True Questions
Laws do not exist in isolation; they are balanced by other laws (and by commonsense), or else they would expand infinitely. For example, one law balancing the Law of Silence is the Law of True Questions. This means that if somebody sincerely asks a True Question, you should answer as part of your service to Life. A True Question is one that is asked humbly and sincerely with the honest objective of understanding to enhance Life. Most questions are not True Questions. Most questions are idle prattle, or tactics designed to let the Questioner get an opening for the purpose of telling you what he thinks. Or they are designed to gather ammunition to injure the Answerer later. If it is a True Question, the Questioner will listen humbly (and appreciatively) to your answer. He will not attempt to argue or to put forward his own view. He might, of course, ask further and deeper or seek clarification or examples in his attempt to understand, but he will not attempt to batter down your answers or to test them or disprove them. So, if somebody does ask you humbly and sincerely about the Craft, you can safely answer for True Questions limit the Law of Silence. When a True Question is answered, understanding of magic is spread and grows, and Life receives the benefit.
The Law of Non-arrogance
Perhaps somewhat related is the Law of Non-arrogance. This is a law that you, as Questioner, Pupil, Observer, Disciple need to remember. When you have asked a True Question, or when you have been allowed to witness somebody else’s ritual, you have to set aside all judgement, all foreknowledge and received wisdom, and trust your senses. Whatever you see or seem to see, accept without questioning. If you don’t, you’ll close off the magical experience through doubt and rationalization. By all means, after the ceremony, use critical judgement, (review, question, critique) but not during. Open yourself to infinite possibility.
The Law of Equal and Opposite Reaction
This is perhaps the most misunderstood law of magic – so often misinterpreted to mean, “If you are evil, you will receive evil.” Unfortunately, this is not so. It is soooooo hard to accept because built into the fundament of being human is a longing for justice – you get what you deserve (and therefore, if you are good, you will get goodness heaped upon you, and all the bad folk will be punished). But it is not so. This is not the meaning of equal and opposite. This is a wonderful example of a law of physics being a harmonic of a law of magic. It will help you understand this law, if you remember that for the action of dropping a stone into a still pool of water, part of the equal and opposite reaction is the series of concentric circular waves produced. In other words, the ‘opposite reaction’ can be very complex and not have any apparent relationship to the action. It absolutely does not mean, if you drop a stone into a pond, a stone will pop out of the pond. Nor does it mean, if you do something ‘bad’, you will get something bad done to you. This is not to gainsay the righteousness of the ‘Law of Threefold Return’ which you will find (under various names) written about in books on white magic. But remember that what you find to be ‘bad’, and what another finds to be ‘bad’ do not necessarily coincide. For instance, to some folk, extra-marital sex is sinful. To others it is not. The first set will think that the lustful sinners will have something bad happen to them, and when something bad does happen, as it does sooner or later to almost everybody, they will feel smug at the thought of the sinners reaping an evil harvest for their sexual transgressions. This is sheer nonsense and it shows up the error of thinking that equal and opposite means, “Do something bad, and something bad will happen to you.” What is true, is that acts have consequences and those consequences are, in some very complicated fashion, equal and opposite. But equal is not a value judgement (‘do bad, get bad’ – bad is a value judgement). Equal is a simple fact, as devoid of value judgement as a law of physics.
Imagine a well-meaning driver heading down a busy lane. The driver sees a mother wishing to cross the street with her child. The driver slams on the brakes to stop traffic and allow the mother to pass. (A ‘good deed’) Unfortunately, slamming on the brakes, causes a rear-end crash by the driver behind, paralyzing the first driver (a ‘bad consequence’). One can see readily enough that the consequence is, indeed, a reaction to the act, but the ‘bad begets bad; good begets good’ equation fails.
Do ‘good’ (as best you understand it – to me it means trying to enhance Life) because you want to serve the interests of Life; not because you want to avoid being punished.
So we have seen what the law of equal and opposite does not mean, what does it mean? It means that acts have consequences, and you have to plan for them when you are working magic. See the Law of Greatest Efficiency (below) and Monkey’s Paw. In brief, you have to think of what could go wrong as the magical energy seeks to actualize, materialize the result you are working towards; then you have to include in your spell protection against those undesired possibilities. (This assumes you are working with spells. I am not advocating doing so – magic works through the mindset, not through spells – but neither am I suggesting you do not use spells. I am just recognizing that doing so is common.)
The Law of Greatest Efficiency
also called the Law of the Path of Least Resistance. Imagine that the human will is like gravity, and the complexities of the world are like a mountain, and your magic is like water. Just pour out the water at the top of the hill and let gravity find the way down. You don’t have to plan out the details of the path – the magic will find its most efficient expression.
Another image for the will is lightning, which, as we have all heard many times, takes the path of least resistence. And, as terrible as lightning can be when it runs amuck, magic can be worse. See my personal example of a money spell, which I had not properly insulated against the possibility of ‘wild lightning’. Such dreadful side effects are called the “Monkey’s Paw.” (After a short story by the same name [“The Monkey’s Paw” (1902) from The Lady of the Barge (1906, 6th ed.) London and New York, Harper & Brothers, Publishers by W. W. Jacobs] Of course, sophisticated spells include words and intent to hedge against such a result (‘for the highest good for all involved’ etc), but that makes the path of least resistance harder to overcome and requires a greater working of magic to achieve any results at all.
The Law of Humble Certainty
I include this under the heading on the Magical Mindset as it forms a part of the mindset.
There are, of course, other laws but this sampling is enough to give you the idea of what a magical law is like. I would like to return now to the task of analysis of magic (which we began by stating that magic can be receptive or expressive).
Some Analysis of Magic
This constitutes one great divide in magic.
Esoteric magic means you have to learn the traditional function of each symbol, herb, element and so on that you want to use in a spell or ritual. This is esoteric (meaning known only to a few) because it can only learned if a school of magic reveals its ‘secrets’. (Kabbalism, Rosicrucians, Ordo Templi Orientis, Golden Dawn, Brotherhood of the White Temple, etc.) That is, there are special, traditional spells to accomplish a given end, and they involve very specific magical elements, words and gestures. Once upon a time, it was truly difficult to come by this information, but today there are innumerable books, and many of them are in large accord as to the esoteric influence of various objects. Salt is used to purify; silver transmits energies, while certain gems or stones store it. These are the ‘parts’ – the transistors and resistors – of magic spells, and the novice has to learn their traditional influences and memorize the words of the rituals. It takes time and dedication, but has the advantage that the thought patterns of many, many people support the esoteric influences through long years of association in the rituals of expressive magic. And, this readily conditions your mind to the magical mindset.
This same idea applies to receptive magic – the meanings of the tarot cards, hand lines in palmistry, planetary signs in astrology, etc are all esoteric knowledge, gained by study. But some people have enough self-confidence in their intuitive ability that they prefer to create their own rituals from scratch and read tea leaves or other media that are not structured.
Intuitive magic mostly ignores the traditional associations. The magician intuitively selects and places the props to receive, direct and magnify the energies the magician wants to manipulate. Like blowing into an empty bottle, you can expend a lot of energy, with little return, unless you hold the bottle at just the right angle. Then you get a resonance effect – with a small stream of air, you get quite a loud noise. The magician arranges his/her props so that the energy she wants to invoke will resonate through the ceremony, while other energies are dampened. Some times just a small change in the placement of a single prop can make the difference between success and failure. This is the downside of intuitive magic – your rituals have no historic depth to them to assure your undermind (your Inner Magician) of their validity and help you create the magical mindset. But you can create your own totems, objects of power, by infusing them with meaning FOR YOU over years of practice; and, since you begin by selecting correspondences meaningful to you, you should end up with very effective rituals.
Of course, this type of ceremonial or prop-oriented magic is not the only kind of magic. (See high magic for instance.
White magic and black magic
This is a topic of such scandal among the established schools and practitioners of magic, that I fear giving offense where it is not meant, but I also want to present my vision of reality without pretense or window dressing as a bow to political correctness.
On one level I don’t have to tell anybody that there are these two kinds of magic or what the difference is – everybody has an intuitive understanding. That said, let me deconstruct that understanding on two points.
First, let’s tackle the oft quoted Law of Threefold Return, which very simply implies you reap three times over what you sow, so do ‘good’ and not ‘bad’. This is a very well-intentioned, but very misleading, restatement of the Law of Equal and Opposite Reaction. (Although it looks like triple and same.) In the worst sense, it is designed to scare you into being a good magician. But it is simply not true as it is generally understood. There is nothing threefold about it (equal and opposite for the simple reaction – the ultimate result might be many times more than three) and it does not return good for good (how is this opposite?) and evil for evil. The law has nothing to do with good and bad or any other value judgement. It is a law of physics as well as of magic, and operates with no thought as to reward or punishment. Unfortunately, we all know (or know of) evil folk who prosper very nicely indeed, and fine folk who suffer and wither with no apparent return for all their goodness. As a last resort we are told that the scales will be balanced in a future life time. Ahem.
Life is not fair. Justice is a human concept and exists only to the extent we institute it. Bad is a human concept, and bad folk are punished only to the extent humans punish them. I am content to believe that the overall growth of Life is towards godhood, which is, I hope, incompatible with what humans understand as ‘Evil’, so that sooner or later (unfortunately, often much, much later) Evil will get its come-uppance. In the meantime it gets down to whether you choose to be a servant of Life or choose to diminish Life. And to the fact that those who chose to diminish Life, will make enemies of the servants of Life. How scary is that? Depends on the time and relative strengths. Please note that somebody who might (righteously) have considered himself a servant of Life three hundred years ago, might be a hopeless impediment to Life in this age of humanity (including, of course, most fundamentalists of any stripe). At any rate, in its simplest form, this is the battle of good versus bad, with neither side getting a boost from the Law of Threefold Return.
Second, any magic can be used to diminish life and any magic can be used to support life. It is not the magic which is white or black, but its use. (The analogy with science and technology is obvious.) However, if you are in doubt, there is a rule of thumb available: Spells need energy to work. White Magic engenders that energy; it brings more Life into being through the magical act, the same way that great music fills an audience with passion and leaves them feeling more alive. Lacking any other source, white magic resorts to some kind of physical energy – light from a candle, falling water, music, a passionate feeling – any of these can fuel a spell.
Black magic consumes energy. The magician feeds off the fear, pain and life force of the sacrifice or of the other participants. When the spell is finished everyone but the magician is drained – or dead.
But sometimes those energy sources are willing victims. Even though they’re left drained, they get a thrill. Perhaps this is grey magic. That’s the essence of consensual vampirism and Sado-masochistic sex. Such things are black or grey magic, but not necessarily evil. So long as the partners are willing, who’s to say it’s wrong any more than any activity which leaves you drained, but satisfied. But when victims are taken without their meaningful consent, and tortured, mutilated or killed to feed the vampire or the magician’s power, then it’s clearly evil.
It is a mistake to equate good and evil with what we’re taught is right and wrong. ‘Good’ is striving to enhance Life, all Life, Life with a capital ‘L’–even at the expense of our own interests, or those of our culture. Cultural ‘right’ is merely what our culture thinks will preserve its status quo. We internalize these values uncritically as children. It takes years and a great effort of will to break out of these cultural traps.
So, it is important to distinguish between practicing, say, dark grey magic and doing evil. Evil, for it to have any useful meaning, is the diminishment of Life, and many are those who practice their villainy from the pulpit or their congressional seats without the slightest thought of magic.
Mundane magic, high magic and deep magic.
There is a three-fold divide of magic worth mentioning – that is mundane magic, high magic and deep magic.
Mundane magic is that magic which most books deal with – rituals, rites, spells, words and gestures and days of preparation to accomplish a goal in the near future (the sooner the better). This can be a full-out ceremony, finger magic, string magic or whatever. The spells make the mindset and the mindset looses the energies to accomplish the goals. It is a sign of our poor integration with the rest of the parts of our mind (especially the ‘magician’ within us) that we have to cajole ourselves into the right mindset to work the magic.
Decades ago, my niece, all unbidden, presented me with a love spell she had lovingly made, wrapped in a small piece of white fur, inverted and bound with runes. I was taken at complete surprise and, floundering for a gracious way to accept without any protest (not wishing to negate her magical efforts), I totally spontaneously said, ‘itadakimasu’, which is the Japanese way of saying ‘thank-you’, but which literally means, ‘I will receive’ – that is, ‘by accepting your efforts, I don’t nullify them. Thank you sincerely.’ I had no idea why my response came out in Japanese – she did not and does not speak Japanese, although I had studied the language off and on since I was ten (and have a university degree in it). Two weeks later, at a party, I met a Japanese student studying in Colorado, who became my lover for the next four years, including the two years that I lived in Japan. Then I understood why I had accepted in Japanese. This was mundane magic, but oh, so fine. Thank you, Lisha.
High magic is essentially spontaneous and powerful, usually accompanied by (or effectuated by) a hand gesture or a word of power (but usually not done with the aid of a spell). The result is instantaneous and dramatic (although it must still obey the Law of Ambiguity) – a healing by the laying on of hands, an avalanche from uttering a word in a powerful voice (the Great Voice), the slaying of an enemy with a single deadly glance. High magic takes no preparation of a ceremony (although years of preparation through practice, practice, practice).
I will give one example concerning my best friend. One summer day with the usual scattered clouds, but no threat of rain, my friend had need to enter a stranger’s domain. In order to reach the front door, she had to cross a ditch via a bridge. When she arrived at the front porch, she discovered that the owner did not respond to the door bell and that a large violent dog had come racing around the corner of the house and parked itself at the other end of the bridge, salivating, barking and ready to rend flesh. My friend went from panic to complete calm with a silent prayer. The dog waited at the other end of the bridge (the only way off the porch), teeth bared, growling, threatening, but not attacking. She somehow knew that as long as she remained calm, she would be safe. She also realized she could not just stand there until the dog’s owners returned. “Let this dog be gone,” she ‘prayed’. Almost instantly, with no clouds directly overhead (just a general overcast to the sky), a heavy rain began pounding down, and the dog, with a last growl, (and a look that said, ‘next time, babe’), turned tail and went for the shelter of its dog house in the back yard. My friend beat a hasty retreat across the bridge and down the driveway. By the time she reached the next house, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun. She looked up and down the street and sidewalks of the locality. The downpour had been intensely localized in the immediate neighborhood, and had turned off and on as though at command.
I want to assure you that this story is true in every detail. I have known this lady since 1963, and she doesn’t even know how to exaggerate for the sake of telling a good story. She is, alas, honest to a fault. When she later told me this happening, and I commented that not only was this magic, but high magic, she said she hadn’t thought of it as magic at all (just the answer to a prayer) because she had not thought of calling for rain, just making the dog leave.
This is my best high magic story, and, as always with high magic, it seems associated with urgent need. That part of your mind which is the magician recognizes that a strong and immediate response is necessary and goes into action. The potential for integration of our mind and close coordination is there. How nice it would be to access high magic even without a dire situation, or to be able to call upon it reliably whenever emergencies arise.
[For those of you who know Ted Sturgeon’s writings from years ago, compare this with synapse Beta sub Sixteen, from “The Widget, the Wadget and Boff”.]
[Note: Sometimes ‘high magic’ is used to mean full ceremonial magic, much as ‘high tea’ means tea with all the ceremony and pomp. This is not my meaning when I use the expression.]
Deep magic is almost the complement of high magic – it takes years, maybe decades, to work, and the result has no clear relationship to magic. If high magic is the dramatic wave on the ocean’s surface, deep magic is the upwelling of the ocean itself. A small craft on the ocean will surely notice the wave, but might not even perceive the upwelling. Yet the upwelling is vastly the greater of the two, being unseen while it is still at deep sea, but able to flatten a whole city if it arrives on the shoreline as a tsunami. Deep magic is the long molding of your life by the underlying magical mindset you form in relationship to yourself, your world, your goals. It cannot turn on a dime, it cannot lightly be averted or undone, for you will have spent many years in its making. It is the most important and the least visible magic. It is the spell you spend your life weaving, and more than anything determines your moment of truth.
I won’t give an example drawn from life experiences, but one from a movie. I think it is agreeable to be able to ‘go see’ an example on demand. The movie was called ‘Windwalker’. I saw it in 1980 and am drawing only on memory at the moment, so forgive me if I err in the details. An old Cheyenne chief has reached the point in his life where he is ready to lie down and die with grace. His only regret is that one of his twin sons was stolen by the Crow, and the Cheyenne chief never saw him again. Still, he lays himself to rest, still alive but anticipating imminent death, far from his tribe under the open sky on a raised platform. He awakens, cold and hungry but too alive to deny that it is not yet his time to die. He rouses himself, has adventures, saves his family from an attack by the Crow and finds his long lost son. Then he returns to his ‘burial’ site to finish dying. As I recall he looked up at the sky and said, ‘It was a great joke Grandfather.’ – meaning letting him fulfill his life’s ambition after he had ‘died’. Or, looked at from the other end, his own deep magic didn’t let him die until the tidal wave he had created, by longing for his son for decades, crashed against the shore in self-fulfillment, bringing his son back to him. Admittedly the movie is a bit hokey, but if I ever see it again, I am sure I will choke up when the Chief says, ‘It was a great joke, Grandfather.’
This is the end of my ‘analysis’ section. Now let’s take a look at magic spells, which form the heart of most people’s idea of magic.
Magic spells are almost always an expression of mundane magic.
How does a ‘Magic Spell’ work?
I’m going to use an AM radio as an analogy of a magic spell. A radio has an antenna which is sensitive to thousands of frequencies (sign waves with varying amplitudes). The antenna attempts to pass those frequencies onto the next stage of the radio – the tuner. The tuner is just a capacitor and an inductor in parallel, which simply means parts arranged in such a way that they have a natural resonance frequency. When anything has a natural resonance frequency, it will accept and amplify energy (signals) coming into it at that frequency and ignore all other frequencies. (A tuning fork will resonate in the presence of the frequency it is tuned to, but will not be activated by other frequencies. If you blow at the correct angle into a bottle, it will produce a tone – at the frequency that resonates for its shape.) So the tuner accepts signals from the antenna only at the frequency it is tuned to and rejects all other frequencies. The energy of this particular frequency is passed on to the next stage of the radio to be processed as the engineers so desire. (In the case of the AM radio, this will be to extract the audio information from the carrier wave, to amplify it and to turn it into sound waves using speakers.)
In a magic spell, you are the antenna, filled with many different energies. You want to select one particular energy for your spell – say, the energy of healing. You arrange parts (crystals, colored candles, feathers and whatnot analogous to the capacitor and inductor) which, in the configuration you select, will resonate with a particular energy. Is this hokum? Can such parts resonate with a particular ‘energy’? Yes it can, if you remember that you are part of the system. If you look at a particular painting it might give you a feeling of calm, a different one might engender anger, pity, humor, etc. These are simply ‘parts’ (paint arranged in a particular configuration on canvas) resonating with you, selecting one energy to reinforce. If those parts, in that arrangement, invoke the desired feeling in you, then they have done their job. The rest of the ‘parts’ for the spell (a photo of your friend) are to process the energies as you desire (send them off to a friend for his healing). Again, this works because YOU are part of the system. Your conscious knowledge defines the end and the ‘parts’ included in the spell help you direct the energies, help you create the mindset that allows the Inner Magician to do his work. It is your will that powers the magic.
How can gew-gaws magnify an energy? They only do so in a complete system, which includes a human mind (its psychic sensory apparatus, and its knowledge and will) – they help the magician slip into the right mindset. It’s like getting ready for a hot date. If you take two hours to get ready, sure you look great, but more important is the fact that you feel great. You feel sexy and secure and when you feel that way, you exude that energy. Magic is an exercise of the will, but you have to capture the right energy to work your will.
How does one figure out all the details? See esoteric magic. But the short answer is: One doesn’t figure out the details. A money spell doesn’t actually make money, it just causes it to flow from one point to another. As I mentioned earlier, it’s like getting water to flow from the top of a mountain to the foot. Your will is like gravity. You don’t have to plan out the path the water will take. Just apply gravity and the water will find its own way down. But it is also like lightning – it takes the path of least resistance, and this is the basis for the Monkey’s Paw Effect – getting what you asked for, but in a way that makes you wish you hadn’t gotten it.
Here is an example from one of my first experiences in the 1970s when I was lucky enough to have a teacher. I was full of eagerness to see ‘proof’ of the existence of magic (now I know that magic doesn’t submit to tests or provide proofs). I ask my teacher to help me make a money spell (a novel idea). She oversaw my collection of gew-gaws, their laying out, the candles, words of the spell, etc. Then I impatiently waited for my money, money, money to flow in. In the meantime, that weekend, she and I went to a dance at a ranch, where the parking was in the pasture. I drove my new (my first new) car (well, two years old at the time). When we arrived, the obvious place to park was at the end of the line of cars forming up, but for some reason I distinctly did not want to park there. I parked in a space that didn’t yet have a line of cars. I can remember saying, “Yes, that is the exact spot I want to park in.” We stayed some hours at the dance and when we returned I found my car with the fender and hood crumpled and a long dent in the driver’s door. I felt betrayed by myself since I had so intently chosen exactly that spot in which to park. But the car was drivable. The next day I did the insurance reports and estimates. The car would cost $700 to fix (an enormous sum to me in those days) and I had a $150 deductible. In short, I was going to be $150 poorer. Then my father took a look at the car. He told me all it really needed was some banging on the fender, some paint and a new headlight to make to workable. With his help I fixed it for fifty dollars. It looked terrible, but was completely functional. My ‘new’ car was a thing of the past. A few days later my insurance check arrived in the amount of $550. It was only when I actually looked at the check (my new found wealth) that I realized it was the manifestation of my money spell. The money had taken the path of least resistance between me and it. The price I paid as a result of conducting the money to me was the Monkey’s Paw Effect. Of course, sophisticated spells include words to hedge against such a result (‘with harm to none and good to all’ etc), but that makes the path of least resistance harder to overcome and requires and greater working of magic to achieve any results at all.
That is all I want to say about spells. As I mentioned before, you can find spells aplenty online or in books. Just be sure to include words to hedge against harm to others or to yourself. This may make the manifestation more difficult, but it will make the results more pleasant.
The last section in this monograph hopes to wrap things up in applying them to the magician in actuality – what it means to be a magician.
The Compleat Magician
This does not pretend to be the complete exposition of the compleat magician, rather it is a hit or miss selection of admonishments, suggestions and observations.
First, let me suggest you pay attention to the image you present, not only for its impact on others, but also for its effect on your own magical mindset. In your outer (or upper) life, you may be a clown or a level-headed corporate president, but in the realm of magic, you must invent yourself as the compleat magician – every detail from clothing to gesture needs attention until the magician’s aura has become your second skin. Even as an actor portraying a king on the stage is partially empowered by the props, the costumes, the deference of the other actors and the expectations of the audience, so the magician will find that making an effort with supporting details can pay off in the mental attitude that enfolds him, and it is this that fuels the magic. Buy or make yourself some special clothing that has a magical feel to you, practice gestures in the mirror, learn to set aside humility, fear and doubt. It is, of course, oh so much easier if you have someone else to assist you in this effort – whence the advantage of a ‘coven’, or a supportive spouse. There are people from Cleopatra (we are told) to Hitler to Mae West, who had much greater impact than their objective physical appearance would suggest. They had their aura act together. (On the point of auras, more is said on my website concerning Sentience.)
A good example image making the magician is Barbra Streisand’s double performance in On a Clear Day. As Daisy Gamble she is a totally middle-class, boring woman devoid of charisma. Yet in fact, she is loaded with magic, but has no sense of it or how to live in harmony with it or even to acknowledge it. As her persona in a previous life – Melinda plus three or four other names – she was charismatic and very magical. The movie is a musical comedy, so don’t take it as too serious an attempt to present this dichotomy, but Streisand pulls it off well enough to demonstrate the principle – right down to dress, gesture and voice.
An example in literature is seen in the Illuminatus trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea where the hero (or anti-hero) Hagbard Celine transforms Marilyn Monroe into the goddess of discord by rewarding her whenever her personality moves in the right direction and giving her negative feedback when she fails to manifest the attributes of the goddess. Although this is of course madcap fiction, Wilson shows an adept’s knowledge of magic and metaphysics and his insights into their functioning are definitely worth reading.
Possibly the most important aspect of the compleat magician is his voice – calm, vibrant, self-certain, commanding but never strident or imploring. To attain this goal (unless you have the voice as birth right), there is nothing for it, but to practice. Practice with a tape recorder, reading material from theater pieces that give play to a powerful voice. Practice with your colleagues. Take voice lessons from the theater department – seating the voice, lowering the register of your voice, and projecting it to strike a precise target twenty feet away. The voice should flow from your throat like molten gold. Imagine you are the tiger trainer in the circus and your voice must manifest that you are in absolute command with no slightest weakness, doubt or hesitancy. Your voice purrs like the rumble of a well-tuned Porsche, confident, with power to spare.
An even higher manifestation of this is sometimes called the ‘great voice’. Let me refer you to Frank Herbert’s Dune series. This is pure science fiction, but if you read his descriptions of the great voice, he can lead you in the right direction.
Daniel von Bargen in the movie Lord of Illusion (after he is resurrected) captures a hint of the voice – not the deep, overwhelming aspect of it, but the calm, self-certain element is very present. James Earl Jones, at times, has the voice magnificently. Strangely, the burning bush in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille spectacular, captures, as I remember, the voice as well as any other episode on film.
Power Paths – The first time I ever experienced what I call a power path was when I began ice skating regularly and wanting to learn to do something besides going round and round. I was practicing a ‘three-turn’. The skater is moving forward on one foot (on, say, right foot on the outer edge), and without putting the other foot down, he turns around and skate backwards. If you look at the trace of the skate after doing a three-turn, it looks vaguely like a ‘3’. To do this, the arms have to twist in the direction of the turn. At first I had to set myself and hurl my arms mightily to get around. But as I did the turn over and over and began to find the way of it, I discovered it required less and less effort. Finally I reached the point where it was totally effortless. I simply positioned myself and willed the turn. I am sure that one must slowly rotate the arms, lean and sink in the knee, but when I do one, it truly feels as though I do nothing and what things must happen, do so of their own accord. It is effortless and joyful.
Imagine sliding down a winding toboggan run that takes you effortlessly down its trajectory. A power path has the same feel. It is as if there exists an incorporeal toboggan run – a path of power – and if you allow yourself to enter into that path, if you submit to its flow, it will carry you in effortless perfection along its trajectory. But you must not, through clumsiness or willfulness, move yourself even fractionally off the path. If you do, you will spin out of control, even as you would if you twisted your body athwart in the toboggan run.
This applies to the performance of magic. Coordinating the great voice with perfect gesture, you can enter a power path, resulting in great returns for little effort. This is the beginning of ‘high magic.’ Of course, this same concept can be applied to your entire life, so that you move along a path of perfection, in total harmony with everything in your ambit, and your least gesture can move mountains. You find your life full of synchronicities and amazing coincidences. Even walking close to the path will fill your life with what I call broken patterns – coincidences and resonances that do not, in themselves, lead to anything of significance, but still ‘decorate’ your life with astonishing happenings. It is fun to start singing a song a minute before you hear it on the radio, or find a five dollar bill on the sidewalk. When such things begin to populate your life densely, then you know you are close to your life’s power path. Also, needless to say, ‘easier said than done.’
Most magicians use props and magical tools of some kind, and there is no shortage of information on the net about such things as crystals and athames. (See for instance: http://jksalescompany.com/dw/tools.html)
(By the way, I have no affiliation with this web site. I know nothing of them, and they know nothing of me, except I found them on the net, and they seem to present some information that might be useful.) Props are entirely optional. Use them if they enhance your own inner feeling of being magical or the charisma you exude. I think a coronation is much improved for the presence of regalia; all the actors feel more convincing, and the audience feels it has seen the real thing. In the same way, a ritual will be more successful if you capture a sense of solemness and power, and that sense can be enhanced by wearing your ritual robes, wielding your sanctified scepter and surrounding yourself with tools you have imbued with special magical significance for yourself.
I am going to write at some length about a particular tool called the ‘pendulum’ – not because I want to suggest its use above anything else, but because it is so well-known (I cut my eye-teeth with pendulum work), and it typifies the use of magical equipment and the attitude of the lay skeptic regarding it.
The pendulum can really be anything that dangles from a thread or chain. Typically your teacher takes you to a rock shop and has you sort through the enormous collection of thumb-nail sized, polished stones until you find one that ‘speaks’ to you – one you feel some sympathetic energy with. The rock shop will be glad, for a small fee, to attach it to a thin silver chain. Then you begin to practice patterns with your pendulum holding it by the chain in your right hand over the upturned palm of your left hand. Frequently the student is taught that if the pendulum moves in a clockwise direction, this indicates a positive response; counterclockwise is negative, back and forth is ‘cutting’ or separating, etc. etc. The student is exhorted to calm his mind and carefully set will aside, so that the pendulum’s movement reflects the energies present and NOT the energy of what the practitioner wishes the answer were.
[visual of a pendulum swinging]
Ways in which it is typically used include ‘asking’ if a particular substance is healthy for the body (usually with respect to a disease the petitioner wants cured). For instance a petitioner might seek the aid of a magician (specializing in healing with herbs) for something against kidney pains. The magician could place a mixture of herbs (horsetail, cranberry, corn silk, buchu etc.) in the petitioner’s left hand. (The left hand is traditionally the hand that receives or takes into the body, while the right hand is the hand that gives, or projects energy outward.) If the herbs are harmonious with the healing of the disease, then, ostensibly, the pendulum will circle in a clockwise fashion. In other words, there is a magical circuit of energy flowing from the herbs to the petitioner (in particular his kidneys), through the conscious mind of the magician (which defines the task), through the Inner Magician (which provides the magical awareness) and finally through the pendulum, which rotates clockwise to show the harmony of the herbs and the petitioner. The same principle can be applied when asking about a bottle of vitamins or medication instead of herbs. [Water dowsing is a similar or parallel process, using special dowsing rods to find water (or buried gold, or oil or whatever).]
I use this example because I want to point out what is really happening, since it is obvious to me that the lay skeptic (and even some practitioners) misunderstand the magician’s claim. I have seen in writing, a well-known scientist/skeptic ‘disprove’ pendulum work by claiming that the pendulum is really moved by the magician (apparently an honest magician is ‘subconsciously’ moving the pendulum, while the charlatans are simply faking it). This can be shown by fastening the pendulum to a fixed stand, and letting the magician lay his hand on the top of the stand, and – the pendulum does not move; fraud exposed; pendulum work does not work. When I read this I wanted to ask the skeptic what kind of idiots he thought magicians are? Of course the pendulum does not move by itself. Nothing moves by itself; movement requires the application of energy. Of course the magician (guided by the Inner Magician) is moving the pendulum. There is no pretense otherwise. The skeptic set up a straw man and knocked him down, and proceeded to prove nothing except that he operated out of ignorance and had made no effort to investigate what was going on. He elaborated on his ignorance by saying that, in the case of the magician testing the usefulness of a bottle of vitamins, the pendulum might be answering the question, “Will the glass bottle, the metal lid and the cotton topping help heal the petitioner’s condition?”
The following is the actual process. Let us put a bottle of vitamin A in the left palm of a petitioner with failing eyesight and let the magician test the circuit with his pendulum. Now it is seen that the circuit begins with the mind, knowledge and awareness of the magician, including his awareness that the question being asked is with regard to the vitamin, and not the fillers, the glass bottle, or the metal lid. The energy then flows through the filter of the magician’s conscious awareness of the question, through the Inner Magician and (assuming the vitamin would be useful to the petitioner) it flows through the pendulum in a clockwise pattern, through the bottle (ignoring the irrelevant parts), through the petitioner and back to the magician in the closed magical circuit. How does the pendulum move? THE MAGICIAN MOVES IT. The pendulum is simply a tool to amplify and objectify the magical awareness that is inherent in the Inner Magician. The magician has trained his body (via the subconscious) to move his arm, oh so slightly, and quite unconsciously, in a clockwise pattern to indicate that the magical part of his awareness senses harmony between the two things (in this case, the petitioner and the vitamin). Why do this? Because the magical part of the magician’s awareness is not his conscious mind, and it can be difficult and error-prone to get the information from the Inner Magician to the conscious mind (the conscious part often sabotages the response because of its pre-formed opinion, its desire, its fears etc). So the magician trains himself to respond in a way that by-passes the conscious mind and thereby minimizes the possibility of sabotage. The conscious mind participates only to provide the task, not to provide the response. The Inner Magician communicates directly to the body, and the magician (the conscious ‘you’) simply observes his body’s response to obtain the Inner Magician’s answer – instead of trying to capture that answer with the conscious mind.
There was a university study which recorded the brain waves of students who were assigned the task of predicting which of four cards a computer was about to select via a random number generator routine. The students did not do better than chance at foretelling the correct card – BUT, when the scientists looked at the brain wave records, they saw that the waves in fact indicated the to-be-selected card with a frequency significantly better than chance. That is, when the students looked at the correct card, their brain gave off a distinctive pattern, but the students did not verbally identify the correct card. In other words, the ‘psychic’ information made it into the subjects’ brain (was perceived by the Inner Magician), but got lost in the subconscious. The information was not accurately transferred to the conscious mind. Much of magic consists of learning to communicate with the Inner Magician – to turn over to him/her the task that we consciously desire – to get the consciousness out of the way, and then listen to the Inner Magician’s response. And this is precisely the problem that a tool such as the pendulum is designed to overcome – it bypasses the conscious mind – letting the subconscious (or magic mind) communicate directly with the operator’s hand, which can then be simply observed.
Our mind and nervous system form an antenna that can pick up vibrations/information that, as of yet, machines cannot. But (like a radio selecting only certain frequencies of the many, many frequencies its antenna picks up) our conscious mind sets up filters to indicate exactly what information we are interested in. These filters can be marvelously complex. It doesn’t matter at all to the flow of the energy. It will pass through whatever pathway is presented, including a filter that says, “The only energy that can pass is energy reflecting the Indian name for an animal that is the totem animal for a woman whose name I do not know, but who used to wear this ring on the little finger of her left hand.” This works even though the magician has no idea of the Indian name, the animal or the woman – it is the task of the magic to deal with that, and to express it as the magician directs (for example, by making a pendulum swing). Be it ever so detailed and complex, abstract and outrageous, it does not matter. If there is a path for the energy to flow through, flow it will. Creating the goal – the filter – is the job of the conscious part of the magician’s mind. It is the job of the Inner Magician to detect the vibrations and pass them on to the magician as the energy flows through the completed magical circuit.
The magician must learn how to stay out of the way of the energy flow (how to restrain his conscious mind from intruding with desires, ego, preconceived notions of the ‘answer’ etc), while, at the same time, finding some way to convey the information from the magic mind to the conscious mind, so that he can communicate it to the petitioner.
Reading minds is part of the magician’s life and work. What does mind reading mean?
If you have known somebody very well for years, you’ll have many shared experiences and memories. Sometimes, in certain situations, you can look at each other and both smile because each knows what the other is thinking because of one of those shared experiences. Or you are so familiar with the other’s way of thinking that you know what he must be thinking in a new situation with familiar principles. You know what he would say and the exact way he’d say it – if he were to speak. You can almost hear his voice saying it; in fact you do hear it, or an echo of it.
With practice you begin to realize what other people must be secretly thinking in situations where strong emotions are probable. You become canny at knowing what thoughts the situation would evoke and how a certain kind of person would express that thought (though he suppresses it for decorum). Then you get so clever at guessing what people might say, that you can hear the voices of casual friends and eventually of total strangers.
Eventually you realize that the quality of ‘hearing’ these thoughts is no different than the quality of picking up energies present in the psychic space (such as thinking to yourself, “I haven’t heard from Jim for a long time”, just minutes before he calls you on the phone). It is the same phenomenon as knowing that somebody is looking at you. You simply have a ‘knowing’ that cannot be accounted for by the five senses – a ‘kenning’ picked up by the Inner Magician and passed on to the conscious mind – you. This does not mean that you hear the mental voice of another person (although maybe so) – rather you simply know, without hearing, what he was thinking.
It is always easy to dismiss (or unconsciously fail to even notice) these happenings as meaningless coincidence. This dismissal is a stone wall you have to get over, around or through, because it blocks nurturing your receptive powers to a higher level.
If you consciously project information to another person for him to pick up, and he pays attention to the ‘random’ thoughts that pass through his mind, you can achieve the beginning of mutual mind reading, however inexactly or uncertainly you perform the deed. (Don’t dismiss it as just knowing the person well enough to know what he would be thinking in such circumstances.) Even if it begins as simply knowing the person (or people in general) so well that you know what they would think in such a situation, it will eventually turn into something qualitatively different – mind reading.
I need to mention the issue of illness (both physical and mental) with regard to magicians. Simply – Why is so much illness associated with magicians? Equally simply – the power cracks open imperfections. A small flaw in an electric cord might cause no problem if only six volts of electrical pressure is applied. Apply one hundred-ten volts and you might get sparks. Apply five hundred volts and you’ll get an explosion. Nearly everybody, I imagine, has insignificant flaws in his body and mind – insignificant under normal conditions. But when a person dedicates himself to magic, allowing much greater energies to flow through him than normally would, tiny flaws can become very significant or even fatal. Can’t the magician heal himself? It is hard to turn an injured tool back on itself to heal itself. Magician friends can work with him, but he is constantly re-injuring himself doing his normal magical work. With time, patience and a good teacher from the start, these problems can be overcome and then the flow of energy will strengthen the magician, not injure him. But the sad fact is that many magician will spend their whole lives contending with illness. Magic occurs in a non-conscious part of the mind. If mental illness overwhelms the conscious mind, the Inner Magician might find it easier to step onto the stage. The result is the well-known co-occurrence of mental illness and magical abilities.
Embrace your magic
If you have latent magical talent (I assume it is nearly universal), but you do not use it, it will wither. It will especially wither if you actively deny its existence. Like any thing else, to change talent into skill, you have to practice. When you have had a magical experience, it is important to affirm it, and thereby strengthen the magical muscles. It is equally important not to fool yourself into thinking magical what was merely coincidental. This strengthens nothing except your gullibility.
How can you keep from fooling yourself? Only with an absolute commitment to integrity and honesty (to yourself at least).
We’ve reached the end of the insights I have to offer. If something was useful to you, you’re welcome to it. If you have an insight you think I might find useful, please email me. As I mentioned, I would love to have a colleague in the search for the magical essence. I think I have stripped away some of the illusions draped over the magical mindset, but I not yet reached the point of conscious and reliable access to the magic. I petition the Powers That Be for help in finding Kolwynia.
To the lover of science, the rational intellect, the sincere skeptic, I submit – it is not scientific to dismiss – without inspection – the evidence of your own senses, simply because you have been by ‘authority’ that you cannot be seeing what your eyes report. You, the Scientist, have been told the world divides into five realms: Science, Culture (in a broad sense), Art, Religion and Nonsense. You have learned that Science, pure and rigorous, is the only realm that needs no apology. Culture is all the things we accept simply because traditions of some sort enrich us, but we know they have no eternal verity. They are indulgences. Art lends beauty to our lives. We don’t try to justify valuing beauty, but it is too precious to us to forgo. Religion is a sacred cow. We don’t touch it; don’t eat it; don’t even cattle-prod it. If it makes some people’s lives more bearable, that is reason enough to let them indulge – not to mention the consequences (political and martial) of confronting fundamentalists with reason . Everything else is unjustifiable Nonsense, including Magic, Yoga, Meditation and Hokum. No need to dirty your hands or mind looking any closer. The few times you have knowingly brushed up against it (water dowsers and haunted houses), you skittered away, your disdain reinforced. Obviously those dowsers move their dowsing rods and pendulums themselves, and the hauntings are all in the willing minds of the ‘sensitives’, eager to experience something they can interpret as paranormal.
The bow wave in the ethers effect – you might not be able to distinguish between a small event soon to happen and a large event far off. Just as a ball up close can look to be the same size as the moon or sun, oh so far away.
“just as a pebble creates vibrations that appear as ripples, which travel outward in a body of water, your thoughts create vibrations that travel outward into the Universe, and attract similar vibrations that manifest as circumstances in your life.”
Infinitely rich universe. You can have anything you want (what if somebody else wants, it, too?) What about recovery from a spinal cord injury?
There is SOME truth to this, otherwise it would not get repeated over and over again. A smile often begets a smile. The whole world loves a lover. A bad self-image makes it hard to sell yourself. BUT it is at best a half-truth, otherwise the whole world would be healthy, wealthy and wise.
Can etheric vibrations directly affect material reality? An event approaching builds up bow waves in the ethers, therefore material reality directly affects the ethers (yes?) Therefore the ethers can affect material reality. In other words, a spell does not need a person in the manifestation end? Mind affects cloud formation, fall of lightning etc???? The flow of electrons in a computer. Rainfall. Each cell can sense each living cell, so there must be a link there (without the intermediation of mind), but what about inanimate objects? Can’t I be aware of a chasm in the dark? I think so.
A pesky issue is whether the magician is practicing expressive magic or receptive magic. Yes, most certainly Lola’s scream was expressive. But did a receptive magic, an unknowing awareness of the future, entice her to the desperate choice of gambling, accompany her to that casino, lead her to that roulette wheel, and urge her to bet on that particular number? In other words, did her scream cause the ball to move to the number that she chose, or did receptive magic allow her to bet on the number that fate had already chosen? Or is that the same thing? In any case, I am sure, had she not screamed, the roulette ball would not have landed on the number she bet on.
In the same way, will can’t flow without a physical conduit. Everybody uses this force every day, but they don’t think of it as magic because of another law of magic – the Law of Ambiguity. Magic must happen in such a way that the results could be explained by application of the laws of science and coincidence (ie, a break in the chain of causality). If a boss tells his underling to bring him a cup of coffee, it’s hard to think that this is magic – yet the boss’s will causes a cup of coffee to appear before him. But this is not coincidence. There is a clear chain of causality. The physical conduit is the underling. (IS this magic? or must we remove the physical explanation?) If so, what is the conduit?)
The Magical Circuit
Reality is composed of physical matter and energy; the 4 laws of science (strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravity); the will of the magician; composite will of all living things.
Copyright 2012 by Maurice Tuck
Use only with permission of the copyright holder.