This is an article aimed not at someone who already has the fundamentals of magic down, but instead for those who do not yet practice magic, and are curious as to what it is, what it entails, etc. Enjoy.
An Introduction to Magic
I had originally intended to simply revise a little of my old Introduction to Magic, but after looking over and rereading it some, I’ve decided otherwise. The reason being simply that there was too much irrelevant information in terms of BEGINNING magic. I tried rather foolishly to teach a little about many types of systems, and the result was a lack of definitive criteria for either of them. As such, this article contains the basic information a person should know before having even chosen a path in magic.
In turn, the reader should know and understand that these thoughts concerning “things to know” are all based on my own opinions of what an aspirant should know. Will there be things I leave out? Yes. Will there be things not everyone will agree that you need to know? Probably. But the information herein is based on my own experience both as a magician who has worked successful operations of varying degrees, and as a teacher, having watched many other aspirants become magicians under my wing.
I will endeavor here to explain the nature of magic to the curious reader on a very basic level. What it is by definition, different approaches to it, and of its ethical disposition(Good? Evil?). In the process, I will also try to provide enough basic information concerning spell casting, and how magical operations come to manifest on this plane, that you will at least understand the dynamics of spells to some small extent.What is Magic?
Magic is not the incredibly bastardized image of an old man who can materialize fireballs, hit you with lightning at the wave of a hand, or cast “magic missile.” So then, let us set down a firm definition of what magic truly is on the most fundamental level: The study and application of how to manipulate forces on different levels of existence to bring about effects that are usually outside the common human sphere of influence. One may also see it as the manipulation of chance, or quite simply, bringing about actions in conformity with the will. These are the religiously unbiased definitions of what magic is. One may also see it as the channeling of the god-form’s will, pursuit of the Individual Truth(which all magicians in fact seek, though in many forms), or one may take magic a step further and enter into pursuit of the Divine Doctrine.
No matter what your ethical or religious disposition, magic is ultimately the journey towards understanding the Arcane Wisdom, be it divine or otherwise in origin. The seeking of the occult, or hidden, virtues of this existence, and as such, the magician is not entirely separated from the philosopher. He seeks to discover why things are; the underlying principles of this life. However, the difference exists within the magician taking the philosophical doctrine a step further, and saying to himself “Now that I know the controlling facets of this life, how can I master them? How can I prevent these forces from controlling me, and instead, control them?” The path of magic is an incredible journey through which means the magician learns to answer that last question. The perfect example of this journey to manipulate the ways of the universe is demonstrated by Crowley’s attempt to bind Gamagen, the highest intelligence of the Christian Satan himself, to do his bidding as a servant.
Crowley nearly succeeded in his attempt to become Gamagen’s single master. However, he did not succeed, and the reason, as he discovered and wrote about, is that not all forces in existence can be mastered. Some are simply outside the scope of mastery, being of a superior vibrational origin than the genesis of the magician’s soul. An example of such a force is any of the Kings of Hell, the Archangels of Heaven, and the ruling Intelligence(s) therein. Such intelligences, or concentrated masses of energy with particular virtuous dispositions(if you will), do not seem capable of being bound into slavery by the vibrational powers of the mortal magician. None the less, there have been certain human entities who’s souls have attained a level of potent vibration, and in turn manipulation of the universe’s forces, that their spiritual dominion seems to extend outside their sphere of existence into the heavens and down into The Fires. People such as Jesus Christ, the alleged Messiah of the Christians, to whom the angels were said to be loyal to, and demons outright feared.
Remember in your journey that magic is an incredibly powerful force, however. While fantasy has come to take a place in the position of magic in stories, not all of the feats that seem so incredible and unreal are as such. Indeed, the magician can work things that baffle the mind of the commoner, disorientate the mind of the philosopher, and destroy the mind of the skeptic.
Magic has been around for ages. Many studiers of such things will agree that it has probably been utilized as early as 20,000 years ago. It is believed that our ancestors painted pictures of successful hunting trips vividly to ensure that their own hunt goes as well as the one portrayed. Thus was born wishful thinking, the driving force of any magical operation.
As time went on, the forces of nature and of the energies used therein to create all actions on Earth, be they human in origin(thought) or natural(storms, wind, etc), were given specific names. These were the first gods, and among the first attempts of man to grasp what can not truly be understood, label it anyways, and hope it explains events in existence. There were gods of wind, water, fire, earth, sky, dirt, grass, hunting, painting, and anything else those pre-modern minds could think of. Humans not only believe, but in fact figured out, that by appealing to these ruling forces to which they had given names, they could bring about desired results within the corresponding ranch of possibilities. As such, the first real systems of magic began to be put together, and it became religion; Specific methods of appealing to the desired forces in hopes of stirring to action some type of desired effect.
With the ever progressing psychological evolution of mankind, humans began to refine and establish these methods. They wrote them down, and tried to gather communities of followers to not only increase the results of the worshiping, but create entire like-minded societies. Perhaps a particularly mentally advanced human of that age or two even figured out that the more people who worshiped the force, the stronger it became.
You don’t believe that religion sprung from the first attempts at magic? Think about it logically. What is prayer for? Is not the “Bringing of the Light into the World” simply an invocation of energies? Do we not pray to bring about change indirectly? People pray for healing, for business opportunities, for love, for guidance, even for good scores on tests. Some simply pray for purification, the “Forgiving of Sins,” and others just pray to keep some type of connection between themselves and their god-form. How does this differ from the magicians of old who appealed to the god of storms to bring about rain? The priests who invoked the energies of their gods to heal themselves and others. As you pray to your god-form, so does a magician cast a spell. And wherein lays the difference? Your prayer is a chant to stir energies into action, as our spells are castings of our intent to do the same. The only difference lays within whether or not we chose an intelligence as a medium of our will. Magic is the first and last religion of the world.Why Use Magic?
I’ve argued with many a priest, and quite often is it said “If you trust in the Lord, you don’t need magic.” “If you have faith in God’s power, why do you need any?” Questions one would expect to come from the tongues of the unlearned. Why do knights learn the basics of warfare, though they trust in the power of their kings. Why did the samurai’s learn the martial arts if they trusted in the power of their daimyos? I shall be quite blunt here in saying that the harsh truth is that unless your individual mind is in unity with the divine to the extent that divine forces go out of their ways to do what you wish, simply sitting around and hoping for something to happen will do you little good. Magicians know that effects can only be brought about by some type of action. Instead of sitting their and staring at an annoying bird as it screams, wishing it would stop, magicians take the initiative and throw a rock at the bird(metaphorically). Perhaps the first clans of the magi and shamans began when someone said “I’m tired of waiting.” We don’t sit back and wish. We do.
Here, however, I believe it necessary to say a thing or two about faith. Faith, firstly, applies to much more than religious faith. It applies to faith in one’s self, faith in the power you’ve attained, faith in the benefits of your studies, and in magic, faith in your ability to successfully cast spells. So do not say “You have no faith” to a magician, for in truth, he probably has more than you. Ascertaining to religion, you may find that many of the more powerful and/or learned magicians have no religion. This does not denote that the magician is atheistic, it simply means that he/she has stepped outside the confines of dogmatic belief and structure, no longer needing such things in his/her journey for the Individual Truth. In fact, most such magicians are extremely spiritual, and can usually demonstrate a level of theological knowledge which most priests do not even have. I shall use myself as an example. I was born and raised a Christian, with an Irish Catholic father. At about the age of 10, I naturally began to lose interest in the church, finding my faith, Methodism, to be lacking in completeness. At about the age of 12 I began to examine what I was getting from still going to church, and could not come up with a rational reason as to my continued attendance. At around that same time I decided that the path towards Individual Truth could not be reached using a dogmatic belief structure layed down by a complete stranger almost 200 years ago(in the Methodist faith), which was ultimately designed to fit HIS spiritual needs, not the spiritual needs of a boy two centuries later. That having been personally set down was the first step in my disestablishment. None the less, I kept going to make people happy, until I ultimately proclaimed myself apart from the Christian Church due to my stance on the Church’s gruesome history, their way of doings things, their “anti-everything else” views, and quite simply because I was a student of the Forbidden Arts, as my priest called them. Today, my personal spiritual beliefs have traces of Judeo-Christian thought, Taoist philosophy, Buddhist principles, and Shinto naturalism. However, I have never actually joined another religion for two reasons: One being that I separated from the church to escape dogmatic confinement, and two, because to join another religion would be to suggest that all the ideas of the Christian faith were wrong, and I do not believe that is so.
“For all miracles are promised to faith, and what is faith except the audacity of will which does not hesitate in the darkness, but advances towards the light in spite of all ordeals, and surmounting all obstacles?” -Eliphas LeviThe Ethical Disposition of Magic
What ethical disposition? There is no such thing, I can assure you. Is it good? Is it evil? Having been conceived from the womb of the universal which has always been, it has no dual manifestation, and therefor exists neutrally. It is the sword in the hands of a warrior, which can be used to wreak havoc, restore or create peace, or simply cut wood with. A warrior may cut down a violent criminal, then turn around to destroy the person he just saved. Is a sword good or evil? No. It is a manifest force that is present to be employed by whichever means desired, unto whichever means wished. It has destroyed religions, and sustained religions. Freed territory, conquered territory. But did the sword itself do these great and horrible things alone? No. It was the intention of the wielder. Magic is much the same way. It is available for all to use, and can therein be applied to whatever means wished. Can it be used for evil? Of course, but only when desired by the wielder. It is the magician who decides the application of his powers as reflections upon his ethics, not the powers themselves.
As for the prosecuting Christians who may have stumbled upon this article: To hell with you, quite frankly, being as that’s probably where you’ll wind up in the end anyways. You are no different than any other group of protestors to my eyes. You think magic is evil? Then you no doubt think that rocks and plants are evil as well. After all, you can stone a man with rocks, or poison a man with herbs. The reasoning is precisely the same. I will not endeavor to explain by my usual means of politics, the Inquisition, and linguistic errors, that magic is not evil, but will instead try to appeal to the rational senses of any human being(though sometimes deeply hidden by ignorance). Indeed such a thing I should have already done to one extent or another in my previous paragraphs. Perhaps if you wiped the dirt from your eyes, you’d be able to see a way to apply this art to better carry out your Christian mission. But I would not expect the common person to do such a thing.
However, I say this much to the Christians who simply don’t know what to believe: Leave it alone. I must honestly confess that I will not truly know whether or not the practice of magic was actually damning until I stand before God and He judges me accordingly. Perhaps magic will damn the souls of magicians, perhaps it will not. Indeed, it seems more likely that the more powerful magicians will have a place in Heaven, and the purest of them a place among the saints. If you can not make the decision for yourself, than I have made it for you. Don’t practice magic. If you can not take a chance to find out for yourself the virtues of magic, then it is better you not take the chance. After all, magic is not for those unwilling to put things on the line.The Perfection of Neutrality
And now my reading aspirants, young and old alike, I lay before the concept which upon being posed has stirred the hearts of priests I’ve met into anger, and earned myself many an unpretty nickname, Incarnation of Evil, Beelzebuth and Satan not withstanding. A bunch of unneeded rambling, if you ask me, but let the children play as they will. Their sharp toys will cut them deeply in the end.
The Dual and non-Dual Nature of the Universe: That which enters into existence does so with its opposite. Conception of pain enters with conception of wellbeing, up enters with down, evil exists only because we have good to define it by, etc, etc. But what of God? Do all things in existence have an opposite? I’ve laughed at many a Christian who has proclaimed “The opposite the God of Satan!” This is a technical impossibility, for following Judeo-Christian paradigm, Jehova crafted Lucifer Himself. No no no. The opposite of Satan could be much more logically seen as Michael, but even this was not so at first, for once Lucifer among the Shining Ones, and therefore was not originally opposite of Michael, but instead one of a mass(who were recognized as angels). It was only after the Celestial Conspiracy that Lucifer became an Individual seen as a separate existence(incarnation of evil and rebellion), that he could have an opposing force.
God created Lucifer, and therefore to believe them to have entered into existence simultaneously(and therefore be true opposites) is idiocy. God is the Bornless One. Having never entered into existence, He holds no opposite. He exists with no polarity. Is not good or evil, but simply Is. A concept which the Eastern Mind has already grasped with their concepts of the Tao and the Void.
So here we have the concept: That if the goal of the magician is to attain unity with The One, and therein achieve personal godhood, the magician must shake lose restricting polarities of good and evil, and become VOID of all such oppositions in order to walk a path with no violent wind against him/her. The only sound spot amidst a hurricane is its eye. We are the fencewalkers, the Heggusa, so let us see both sides of the fence, and not be restricted to one. At least the fence is higher than the ground!
However, one must speculate the true nature of The One. For there may be a differentiation between Godly, Good and Evil acts, as opposed to godly being associated by default with good. Striking down the first-born of thousands of other-wise innocent families can surely not be seen as “Good,” nor would infecting an equal number of people with the plague seem so. And what of having your own chosen people destroyed time and time again, preventing any major cultural advancement for centuries? Obviously God acts accordingly to the situation, and a magician should govern himself in a similar way. What must be done, must be done, no matter what operation must be enacted to bring an event to the desired end.
In all actuality, the human perception of good and evil is extremely limited, and has likely been warped over the span of our existence. Only one thing has remained the same, has always been, and will always be: The Void. The Bornless Presence, the No-Mind, the Tao, The One, call it as you will. So what’s my advice, out of this mess of paragraphs within which I have(I must admit) rather crudely provided a grotesquely brief synopsis of this concept? Stick to the source. Pursue truth, for it is the only great path, and bear in mind that truth holds with it the chains of neither good, nor evil.
“The only straight course is to seek out truth, and pursue it steadily.” –George WashingtonThe Individual Truth
By now you have seen me refer to this concept I call “The Individual Truth” several times, and perhaps you would like some clarification as to exactly what I mean by it. It is said, “Do not say I have found The Truth, but instead that I have found A Truth.” The advancement of the magician takes place in phases that occur as what we refer to as revelations, realizations, inspirations, and sometimes is even referred to as ascension. It is the progression from one lower level of perception and knowledge, to the next higher level. This personal progression in the training of the magician occurs upon the finding of “A Truth.” What the magician finds is a personal truth, the truth as has been revealed to them. This is ultimately all the magician can hope for, for there is no “Single Truth” which is comprehendible to the mortal, finite mind. For this reason, you will find that magicians of a learned disposition may often disagree with one another, and it must be understood by all that the truth as is seen to the person you are speaking to is likely not the same truth that you hold on to, and has been revealed to you. The reason is simple. Each magician learns the personal truths required to advance HIM to the next level of understanding(and therein, power), not what is required to advance the person next to him. Once again, I shall use myself as an example. To many magicians, A Truth in elementalism is that the power of air resides within the Eastern Quadrant. However, I have had little success calling air-elementals from that quadrant, and do instead use the West to call upon the wind, and the East to call upon Fire. This works for me(and extremely well) because it is MY TRUTH, the truth as revealed to me(a phrase I can not repeat enough), even though it contradicts the layout of basic western elementalism. It is the truth I found as the result of my own hard training, instead of relying on the information put down by magicians before me. To them wind resided in the East, to me it resides in the West. I believe that finding such personal truths is the only way to achieve maximum individual skill within magic. Don’t believe something just because you read it. Don’t follow a system of belief or practice just because its been written down. Read, analyze, take what’s useful to YOU, then put it to use in finding your own beliefs, and your own approach to practice. The pioneers of magic did not become such by following peoples footsteps, but instead by making their own out into the unknown, and letting those who would come behind them follow THEIR tracks. It is for this reason that I believe one of the greatest steps a magician can take towards finding Individual Truth is putting together his own system of magic, which serves as a model for all the truths acquired thus far from his own training.
The Individual Truth, then, is the ultimate piecing together of all the different truths acquired throughout the magician’s path to create one grand Truth, which is the ultimate truth for the magician, and in which he holds absolute faith of. It is the sum compilation of all the fruits of the magician’s studies and training.
Now one may wonder, “But what of teaching? For if each truth is individual to the magician, then how can magic be taught using only the teacher’s truths?” To answer this question, one must know the goal of teaching. According to St. Augustine in his paper “On the Teacher,” the goal of teaching is to bring about the knowledge already within the student. Being as this can not be done just by staring at someone, some interchanging of information must take placed based on what the teacher believes is truth. This information is then presented to the Inner Being of the student, and if it strikes a nerve as at least relatively true, the Internal Illuminating Light(As Augustine called it) shines upon the shadowed truth, and reveals it to the mind of the student. Using the information the teacher has provided, the student then has enough of a foundation to go out and seek his own truths.The Appliance of Religion
It has come to my understanding that many aspirants shrug off all dogmatic affiliations in some premature act of rebellion, often interpreting religion as an obstacle which shall damn any possible progression on the part of the student. This could not be further from the truth. If you find yourself quite attached to the principles of a particular religion then do not throw off a part of yourself for some fabled “progression.” You have at your disposal a mighty tool to be used.
Sit down one day in a place where you can be left alone and evaluate your religious beliefs. Do they make sense to you? Try to mentally reconcile these beliefs to yourself, somewhat “proving them” to your mind and affirming your faith. Go out and spend a deal of time studying your religion, reading up on what texts are available, and then examine your beliefs once more. Do they still make sense to you? If so, go on to begin studying other religious beliefs. If after some time you find that still only your principle religion feels true to you then do not blatantly try to tear it aware from you.
The aim of religion is spiritual progression, and in this facet it can provide a harmonious compliment to the maturation of the magician. If you belief that all power comes from your god then aspire to obtain communion with that intelligence to receive those gifts. How does this differ from the magician who tries to obtain power by turning to study and analysis? Some find power within themselves, some find it personified in a celestial intelligence; this matters little to those who would seek true progression. It is much easier to work with your beliefs then spend some time trying to destroy them and recreate your spiritual temple(though this shall inevitably be done eventually, though this need not be the concern of the aspirant). In the end those magicians who aspired only for power shall find little change in their overall belief structure. Those who aspired for truth, however, shall have no religion at all. This should be contemplated.
Let us examine the concept of prayer for a moment. Does it seem so wrong to ask something from a particular mass of energy? Is there a difference in asking Nuet for prosperity and simply willing it to happen without any form of prayer to an entity? If anything it would seem to me the former is the more efficient method: not only does the adherent have his desire granted, but he also achieves a relationship with a governing intelligence. Does it seem so obscure that a Christian may pray to The Father? Not when this process is understood as simply casting your will into the depths of the ether. There is no difference in the effectiveness of prayer to YHVH or the release of internal energies to accomplish a task. Once more, the latter shall simply accomplish the task, whereas the former shall accomplish the task as well as obtain a level of harmony with the Intelligence on whom he relied.
It seems to me a good idea to have given names to certain energies and operations. Let the magician call that magnetic fluid principle in the works of magic “Poseidon” if he wishes, or “Wotan” if that is easier to work with. Once more, let him call it “water,” if that seems an easily handled reference. Either way the same principle is invoked. One may find it easier to work with an intelligence than to directly program accommodating energies to his will. This does not seem like such a crime to me.
I have concluded in my studies and observations that this premature dislike of religion is simply the consequence of an inadequate understanding of fundamental occult principles. This I hope to have adequately expressed above. Occult Virtues
Before we delve into the aspects of various laws in respect to system nature, let us first examine a principle which is emphasized in many esoteric texts: That of the existence of certain Occult Virtues. What is an Occult Virtue, and what is its purpose.
An occult virtue is recognized as some manner of hidden, secretive, and yet ultimately natural aspect of something in the universe by which that thing can be governed and is constantly under the influence of. We see these usually as "Magical Correspondences," which are the innate virtues of otherwise mundane things as they apply to the study of magic, and therein those properties by which the mundane thing in question can be made subjective to the will of the magician. All associations are a part of an occult virtue of some sort.
Let us examine mathematics for a moment. Mathematics is essentially a perfect system in so far as its own range of effect is concerned. You have an equation consistent of various aspects which we call numbers and variables, woven together into a proper relationship by multiplication, addition, etc. The beauty of mathematics is that the equation when presented in its entirety(supplemented by a discovered solution) shall ALWAYS bring about the contextual proper solution when the proper equation is performed correctly. Therein, two plus two will ALWAYS be four, just as four times four will always be the absolute value of sixteen. This goes on to apply to more than abstract numbers and traverses into the realm of abstract application, wherein we see such laws as energy of a given thing is seen as being equal to the product of its two variable sqaured; rate becomes the proper solution of a given distance divided by its corresponding time, etc. In so far as these equations are carried out correctly, the result shall in turn always be correct. Mathematicians of times long past found that certain things will, when put together, bring a certain result about, and they simplified these things into equations.
How does this apply to magic? View the occult virtues as parts of an equation which, when put together, will always bring about the previously proven results. Our correspondences and inherent virtues of items and thoughts are parts of the equation which is the magical operation, with the desired result always manifesting when the equation is carried out properly. I shall use the evocation of Hagiel to highlight this to some degree:
Purification bath + Green Candle + East + 49 Green stones + Sandalwood Incense + Direction of Venus + Proper Prayer and Petition, all of which is multiplied by the strength of the magician's will, shall always bring about the evocation of Hagiel, assuming that his skill/faith in his operation is greater than the inherent difficulties. Better simplified, where W = Strength of Will, V = Occult Virtues, D = Difficulty of Task, and S = Success, we have this equation:
(V)(W) = S, if and only if W > D.
With that having been covered, keep one thing in mind: No matter how complex or simple the equation, the ultimate goal is to remove the equation and simply have the result catalyze itself, wherein the faith of the magician directly causes the success of his wish. Neither energy, meditation, contemplation, focus, occult virtues, or any other number of things become needed at that point. At the plateau of true magical attainment only your will exists, and it is made manifest only by your firm faith that it shall be done.Concerning Laws, Codes, etcThe Three-fold Law
The Three-fold law(or Law of Three) essentially proclaims “what goes around, comes around.” While its principles can be seen as fairly true in daily life(for example, you punch someone in the face, and he hits you in the face back), it does not automatically apply to magic, and the magician is not subjective to its results unless he makes himself so.
The only way for the Law of Three to affect the magician is for him to accept this law as true. At that point, what happens is not some universal force which watches you and makes sure to deliver its wrath at three times your actions’, but instead a simple change in the psychological interpretation of why things happen on the magician’s behalf. You may drop a weight on your toe next Monday. I can assure you that it would not be the result of making fun of someone you know today. However, the magician who has mentally accepted the threefold law will believe that the name-calling and the weight dropping are directly related to one another. This belief does not make it universally true, but instead only exists as a truth of perception within the mindset of the adherer.
Ultimately, if you believe in the threefold law, you limit yourself to its ethics and boundaries. If that is all well to you, then do so, as none can stop you. Simply know that in acceptance you have chosen obedience.The Age of the Magician
There exists an idea that the aspirant can not practice certain magical systems until having acquired a certain age. Though this is proclaimed in several esoteric texts, the most firm in the support of this “law” is Abraham the Jew, accredited as the conveyor of the texts known collectively as “The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.” Therein he states that one may not attain the “Sacred Doctrine and most Veritable Science” until passing the age of twenty, being then considered a man in the eyes of the many. The rationale behind that is no doubt the belief that a man is ignorant and undisciplined in his youth, and upon leaving his teenage hormonal years, can govern himself well enough to follow through with the operations, and continue with a steady mind down the path of magic. Here is my charge against that:
“For an honored old age does not depend on length of time,
And is not measured by the number of one’s years,
But understanding is grey hair for men,
And a blameless life is old age.” -The Wisdom of Sirach 4:8-9
Therefore I can say with certainty that the aspirant need not be of some ripened age to work minor miracles and the likes. None the less, it is a fact that until having passed the years of youth, many people(especially in this day and age) are horribly self-governed, and if they attempted such magic as is conveyed in The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage would find themselves wasting their time with no fruits of their operations and long nights. Indeed, if they tried such powerful magic as that of The Grand Grimiore, they would likely be destroyed altogether. But this, my friends, is a matter of discipline and of focus, not of the number of one’s years. Therefore, if you be young, yet find yourself to have the discipline of an older, wiser person, and believe yourself to have the firm will of a magician, then carry on in your works, and perhaps success shall come to you on the wings of knowledge.Celibacy
One will find in The Lemegeton, The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, and even the third book of Occult Philosophy, that the magician should be celibate for a length of time(in some places months, on others, weeks down to days). Is this needed? No. But if its not needed, then why do such great magicians, who have worked such wonderful miracles, say it is so?
The source of the problem is religion, first off, for by exercising celibacy one is displaying mastery over his base lusts, which is far more than most men do on a day-to-day basis, to say the least. Because the Judeo-Christian foundational texts agree that conquering such lust is a victory in God’s eyes, it is only natural that systems of magic revolving around that paradigm would imply into the practice such a victory as being necessary for the working of this “Most True Science.”
No doubt some of you already have a taste of disdain in your mouths for the subject, but here is an interesting notion: Celibacy is effective in aiding magical workings. That’s right, celibacy can be quite effective in boosting the power of the operations, as well as enhancing the faith of the magician that it will be done. Now some would say to me “You fool, this only applies to you if you follow the Judeo-Christian paradigm!” Such people I would beat over the head with my staff. What matters is whether or not you believe celibacy will help, not why you believe it will. If you are a devout Jew, but do not believe that celibacy will help in your magic, then even if you are celibate for months on end, it shall not aid you. However, if maintaining control over your lusts is usually very difficult from day to day, but you believe that if you could for just a week the gateways of energies from the universe would open up to you, then if you can do so, you shall find your magic terrifically enhanced upon the passing of a week in celibacy. Whether you believe it shall earn you the Grace of God(which, in Hermetics, is the grace by which all magic is worked), or simple view any victory of your primal lusts and emotions as a step towards becoming a greater magician, celibacy can help you if employed correctly.
So we see that celibacy can help us in our magic. What of other things? If you believe that carving a wooden figure of a half bat, half spider creature every day at noon will, after such a length of time, enhance your magic, then it no doubt shall. If you believe that taking a ritualistic cleansing bath every night will purify you, and therein help in the undertaking of magic, then it no doubt shall. We can even view this in the complete opposite light of celibacy: If you believe that embracing your lusts empowers you via the stimulation of your primordial nature and lower emotions, then having sex with multiple partners throughout a length of time shall no doubt enhance your magic. It is a matter of the mind, not some inherent virtue of action.To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent
Such is the “code” of the magi, also called The Four Laws. This, unlike most templates of action, actually appeals to me on a magical level, and for several reasons. Indeed, I can see how much merit could come by sticking to this code, and how the code itself outlines in a fair manner the fundamental actions of the magician.
“To Know” here implies that the magician knows things which are not at the disposal of the average person, and therein is able to contemplate things higher than the base ideas of the aforementioned. It is written “– He
can neither be surprised by misfortune nor overwhelmed by disasters, nor can he be conquered by his enemies.” Likewise has it been said about the magician “SAMECH. – To know at a glance the deep things of the souls of men and the mysteries of the hearts of women.” With those two powers, provided by an 15th century Hebrew Tablet, one can see how “To Know” would find its place amongst the code of the magi. After all, they are the “wise men,” and one can not be wise if he is ignorant of knowledge.
“To Will.” There could be no more fundamental a concept of magic than that. The magician is a master of will, be it his own or that of others. Through the superb command of that will, he can bring into manifestation all sorts of things which the vulgar call “miracles,” though which we call “magic.”
“To Dare.” A part of the code supplementary to the former “To Will.” If one has the power of will to work what is called magic, but does not have the firm foundation to pursue what he knows should be done with that power, he is nothing. If the magician is not willing to risk everything for the attainments promised therein, then he has no place amongst The Masters. The Path of Magic is not for the faint at heart.
“To Keep Silent.” If this code existed before The Inquisition, one would wonder if this last part was included, as it was certainly a needed addition thereafter. On the surface, the importance of this law can be seen as a decision of survival. Though today most magicians need not fear the possibility of being murdered for his practices, there was a time where the rumor of magic would cause the burning of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of innocent people. However, though such times have come and gone, there is still the aroma of fear, and therein hatred, of magic. People try to destroy that which the fear, and in many cases, most people fear the idea of magic. After all, if one examines the concept itself, one could make some sense of that notion. The idea of a person being able to kill you from miles away, to destroy your family and bring ruin to your house, to pick you apart piece by piece, or eat you from the inside out, is a frightful idea to many, as it suggests a level of vulnerability and helplessness to the potential victim of such magic. Sure, there are many magicians which work wonderful things every day. Abraham the Jew claimed to have healed over 8,000 people throughout his journeys, and surely that can not be called a bad thing. However, people choose to contemplate only the evil, and notice only the bad fruits of a given tree. Therefore, by nature, you are held responsible for your failures, and never exalted for your wonders.
Now there is a deeper facet of the law “To Keep Silent” which presents itself in various grimiores all the same, and this notion is simply that the magician must not reveal his secrets to anyone. If we view this on a mundane level, then one could say that I have already broken this law many times by writing my articles, as have many great magicians in creating websites, writing essays and publishing books concerning their individual approaches to magic. I personally do not see this as a violation of the law, if we were to call it that, as long as the actual mechanics of the more powerful aspects of magic are not revealed in a manner that any regular person could understand how to command those forces. As giving a gun to a baby is against the law of men, so giving the forces of the universe to an average person would be against the law of the magi.The Electric and Magnetic Principles
As the Kybalion of the hermetic magicians states, two of the seven principles upon which existence was built are the principles of polarity and gender(these two being inextricably interwoven). Our most accurate depiction of these principles are displayed in an understanding of electric/masculine and magnetic/feminine qualities, the existence of which any sane man will testify to. In magic these two principles are largely dominant, and their interplay results in the stability of the universe.
The electric principle is one of expansion and emanation, the key principle of which is “light,” particularly light as the rays of that Celestial Fire which some have called The Divine. In the constant ebb and flow of existence the electric quality is the “push” that precedes the “pull.” By its principles qualities are put out into the world to be received by the magnetic qualities also present in our universe. This principle is most practically used via an understanding of the electric fluid which Bardon writes of and Levi hints at, the likes of which can be manipulated in a manner similar to how one manipulates his vital force(what some would know as “chi,” or prana).
The magnetic principle is simply the opposite of the electric one. It is the receptive quality and the consequent pull of the electric fluid’s push. The interplay of this “push and pull” establishes a tension which is called “weight,” and while a certain analogy exists, is not the same as what we commonly depict as weight. This principle has its expression in the magnetic fluid, the likes of which was employed often by the Magnetopaths for the purpose of healing.Concerning the Qualities which the Mage ought to possess
There are certain qualities which I have found the aspiring aspirant should work up to obtain, the most outstanding of these being patience, stability and the ability to silently observe. These in turn lead to certain traits which I consider the definitive qualities of an adept: An enduring will, a focused mind, an unshakeable faith(be it in some spirit or simply faith in himself) and an emanating sense of inner tranquility from which the world is observed. Why should one aspire to the former traits? If the novice is not patient in his practices he shall cease his journey altogether and quit. If he is not stable then the slightest hint of prosecution and the first onslaughts of confusion shall ruin him utterly, and so also shall he be deterred from this path. If he does not hold the control of himself to silently observe his world then he shall not come to understand it, and in turn shall he become too involved in the affairs of this world, enraptured by whatever lusts are dominant in society; so shall he find no fruits upon the tree he climbs, as he is but entangled by its thorns. The possession of all these traits leads to one end: progress in the study of magic. The ignorance of all these traits leads also to one end: the turning away from the path, i.e, the sorting of the wheat and chaff(those who are meant to be magicians, and those who are not).An exercise to strengthen patience
There is one particular exercise which I have suggested to impatient students in the past, and always does this remedy cure the ailment of anxiety. The aspirant is to take a large collection of marbles, at least forty of them, and scatter them across the floor. Placing a bag or container of sorts into which the marbles are to be deposited on a table, walk around the room and pick up each marble one by one, returning them to their container(preferably on the other side of the room) only one at a time, never carrying more than one. Naturally, this is to be done until all of the marbles are picked up and returned to their containers. If this is done even two or three times a week for some weeks, the individual shall quickly obtain a degree of patience that he has not previously observed himself as demonstrating. A fitting substitute for this exercise is to sit in front of a clock which has both a minute and second hand, and watch the second hand tick second by second for a set amount of minutes, preferably at least five. If the individual can do this for ten minutes without becoming anxious or wishing for the time to speed up so that he may be done with it, he may consider patience obtained; if he can do this for tine minutes without another thought entering unto his mind and with his body entirely still, he may consider it mastered. The aspirant who can do such shall climb quickly in the ranks.The daily practice of stability
There is no particularly effective means by which this faculty may be enhanced on one’s own time and individually, but there are many ways of enhancing it via application and careful observant of opportunity in daily life. If someone confronts you and grows angry with you so as to begin yelling at you for moronic reasons, simply sit calmly a listen, returning no harsh thoughts towards the person yourself. If you in turn grow angry with someone, reconcile the anger within your own mind so as to not express it outwards. When you hear or read something which challenges your beliefs, evaluate it within your own mind for its usefulness and take it neither as a lie or the gospel truth upon first learning of it. When times grow hard in life, see them through always to the end. When you are relied upon by a friend or even a foe, be sure to make yourself reliable. In these small applications and changes to the way we govern ourselves may we grow more firm in our resolutions and faith.The daily practice of silent observation
There is a reason why the wise and cunning men of ages present and past are and have been depicted often as silent figures in the shadows, observing the actions of men and the world together. The cunning are such because of their observations, and the wise because of their silence. The mental ability to observe and analyze the things of this world is, in my opinion, a quality which should be developed early on. This can be applied in many ways, such as(as mentioned above) calmly listening to the yelling of an individual who is angry at you, and then taking it a step further to mentally contemplate why that person is so angry and consider, perhaps, why you are the superior of the two. If you hear people speaking about a matter that interests you, listen and contemplate it as opposed to impulsively jumping into the conversation yourself. These same principles are easily applied to the study of magic, in which you must contemplate thoroughly everything which is presented to you as truth, and decide how well it rings in tone to your individual truth(what feels right to your true self on a deep level).
At least once a week I would advise meditating on certain things in your life, particularly matters which either trouble you or constantly fill your mind. Go through them for at least an hour, sorting through each thought as it comes to you and examining it, dealing with problems within yourself one at a time. When solutions are reconciled within the silence of the mind they no long trouble your thoughts, and therein do not distract your focus during actual operations or cause your mind to wander when in study. I particularly advise doing this if when you lay down to sleep at night you find it is some time before you actually sleep due to thoughts riddling your mind. The magician should try not be troubled by anything which he deems trivial, and the best way to calm these internal rebellions is to deal with them one by one as often as they present themselves.Self Mastery
All of the aforementioned traits are vital steps towards one important attainment: self mastery. The old axiom reads “That which is within is alike unto that which is without.” So do we see that if the magician hopes to conquer his environment and become a master of his own fate, he must first conquer himself. The mind must not be ruled by impulsive desire, but instead the mind and body must be trained to act as a single unit. When this union is achieved so may the soul be brought into the front of the magician’s existence and refined so as to attain true progression. First the mind is conquered, then the body, and finally the spirit. The mind is conquered with volition, the body conquered with the mind, and the spirit refined by the unified operations of the mind and body. It is this cooperation which creates the etheric vehicle within which the soul of the magician “lives and moves and has its being.” In is the true meaning of the Japanense ideal “The resolution of the three conflicts.” To operate from the soul is a true mark of spiritual attainment, and once this has been done it is only a matter of time before this material world is subjugated to the will. I have written a suitable article concerning this subject(entitled “Self Mastery”), and this section is included here only to turn your attention to it.Astral Light: The Soul of the World
There is, testifies the great philosophers and theurgists, a subtle substance which permeates all things in our world. Agrippa gave to it the name “The Soul of the World,” Levi called it the “Astral Light,” the philosophers entitled it the Anima Mundi, Vinncent called it the Archeus, the North Americans called it Orenda, the Tibetan priests recognized it as the Akasha, Christianity/Catholicism knows it as the Holy Spirit, what the Rosicrucians recognize as the ethers, and western occultism has come to refer to it as that fifth element: spirit. For our purposes we shall refer to it as the Astral Light.
This substance exists in a constant state of flux and vibration, being a fluid of itself(which Levi defines as “a moving substance”). Within it exist the magnetic and electric fluids cohesively in the greater electromagnetic fluid which ultimately establishes that spiritual tension known as “weight,” and which therein affirms our existence. It is the fabric of the astral world, and indeed we may see the astral as but a cesspool of this fluid with various densities and pressures akin to the varying water pressures to be found in the same body of water according to depth. It is this substance which is, say the hermetic doctors, the vehiculum of magic, and without it all forms of magic would be altogether impossible.
Why would the above be true? The Astral Light is a receptive substance(gained from its magnetic qualities) which is malleable in accordance to our will. The trained imagination has the power to shape this fluid even as containers shape the otherwise instable substance of water. The trained will in turn can, when issued forth from the cultivated mind of the magician, give this imaginative form a powerful direction, thus engaging it into operation. It receives that which we put into it, swallowing up each thought as it escapes the mind. Because of the Astral Light’s ability to receive our thoughts as mentioned and then reflect them in a manner akin to how water reflects images displayed to it, this substance becomes the vehicle by which the magician’s will is both received and made manifest. Consequently, by these same properties does the Archetypal World(Atziluth to the Qaballists) reflect its schema to be imprinted upon our world for manifestation.
Let us now examine certain analogous correspondences of which the aspirant should not be ignorant. The astral light is associated with the Qaballistic world of Yetsirah, which is the formative world. This correspondence should make sense to those who have considered the already presented information. In the process of emanation as it affects our world the Primordial Light is emanated from the Celestial Fire in the highest Archetypal World. This world is “The Father,” being that original source from which the schema of life is expressed. The world to receive the emanations of The Father is Briah(The Mother), taking into herself whatever The Father gives her. The mingling of their qualities is then expressed in The Son, which is the Formative World to which the Astral Light primarily belongs. The final emanation is our physical world, upon which the influences of the above are imprinted. The Astral Light of the Formative World, having received the instructions of the life-process from the Father and Mother, is also the means by which the virtues of The Daughter(our physical world) are formed. The relation is that The Father is electric, The Mother is magnetic, The Son is the electromagnetic substance of which we have spoken(both receiving and giving), and The Daughter is magnetic. Another correspondence some Ritual magicians may be interested in is that of the Tetragrammatton(the YHVH), in which The Father is “Y”, The Mother is “H”, The Son is “V”, and The Daughter is “H”(sharing the same letter as the feminine Mother).
We should also make mention of the analogy existent between the Astral Light and water. Water is hermetically considered a receptive mechanism into which the celestial rays are easily imprinted, this substance ready to receive what it is given. In a similar manner the electromagnetic fluid of the Astral Light is absorbent of human thought. Likewise this substance is reflective of that to which it is displayed, reflecting back(often times to a different surface) that which was shown. The Astral Light is also “transparent,” in so far as the gross physical eye can not see it, also being a fluid the color of which only “changes” when something is added to it. Finally, in the same manner in which water is largely present in all living things, so does this Anima Mundi permeate all living things as well. This substance is now doubt the “waters” which Moses wrote of in the opening of The Book of Genesis when he said “Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Conclusion
If you have understood the contents and instruction of this introductory article then I would point you towards another one of my articles, “The First Steps,” which was written as a compliment to the present work. This path is no easy one, and I wish you the best of luck upon it.
If my approach to magic and/or style of writing has particularly interested you to the point where you would like to read more of my articles, the following is the order in which they should be read for maximum understanding:
Introduction to MagicThe First Steps The Path Spell Creation The Power of Words
Those five articles I consider to be concerned most with fundamental principles, as they are not as subject-specific as my other works. After reading them the rest of my article may be understood more thoroughly.