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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thoughts on Magic

Magick takes every thought and act for its apparatus; it has the Universe for its Library and its Laboratory; all Nature is its Subject. […] There are a great many people who quite misunderstand the nature of Magick. They have an idea that it is something vague and unreal, instead of being, as it is, a direct means of coming into contact with reality.

Aleister Crowley - Magick in Theory and Practice

A universal science exists through which we can know and work on different planes of reality and different levels of Consciousness. Through it we can contact and connect together laws, entities, natural and spiritual forces of whatever order or grade, both inside and outside of us.

Today we might define it as the ‘ dynamic of the dimensions’, or the science of correspondence that – calling upon Hermetic principles[1]:

·        through true Will
·        applying the correct Knowledge
·        employing the necessary energy

allows us to overcome the limits of space and time, acting ‘as Above so Below’, on ‘similar responds to similar’ and where ‘Thought creates’.

During the Renaissance, Magic was correctly referred to as the “Art of making things happen”. In fact in its most abstract sense magic was seen as a method of obtaining precise advantages from the relationship between Will, Knowledge and Energy.

More recently, in a certain sense, magic has also been defined as the unknown or forgotten ‘science’.

We can read in the Lemegeton, or The Lesser Key of  Solomon, that “Magic is nothing more than the highest, most absolute, divine knowledge of Natural Philosophy, made to progress towards the complete efficacy of its wondrous workings through a correct understanding of the inner and hidden virtues of things…”.

Papus (GĂ©rard Encausse, 1865-1916), in his Methodical Treatise of Practical Magic says: “Magic is the projection of vital energy driven by the human Will“.

Aleister Crowley writes, in his Magick:

Magick is the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.
Man is capable of being and using anything which he perceives, for everything that he perceives is in a certain sense a part of his being. He may thus subjugate the whole Universe of which he is conscious to his individual Will.
Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.

Effectively in the sixteenth century Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), in his De Electione Gratiae Questiones Theosophicae describes the determining mechanisms of the power of Will in this way:

The will is the ‘mysterium magnum’, the great mystery of all wonders and secrets, and yet it driveth forth itself, through the imagination of the desiring hunger, into substance. It is the original of nature; its desire maketh a representation; this representation is no other than the will of the desire, yet the desire maketh in the will such a substance as the will in itself is. The true ‘Magia’ is no substance, but the desiring spirit of substance; it is an unsubstantial matrix, and revealeth of manifesteth itself in the substance. The ‘Magia’ is a spirit, and the substance is its body. The ‘Magia’ is the greatest hidden secret, for it is above Nature; it maketh Nature according to the form of its will.

Another interesting definition is supplied by Evelyn Underhill in Mysticism (1930):

Magic in its uncorrupted form claims to be a practical, intellectual, highly individualistic science, working towards the declared end of enlarging the sphere on which the human will can work and obtaining experimental knowledge of the planes of being usually regarded as being transcendental.

Today we can define magic as a form of active and aware mysticism. I would like to discuss those aspects of magic knowledge that can be found among the basics of the discipline of ‘Esoteric Physics’[2].

Aldous Huxley, citing the Philosophia Perennis of Leibniz, spoke of

A metaphysics that recognizes a divine consubstantial Reality in the world of things, lives and minds; it is a psychology that discovers in the soul something similar to divine Reality or even identical to it: an ethic which assigns Mankind as its final goal, the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Foundation of all that which is.

Spiritual realization does not consist of reaching any particular certainty but of a continuous openness to change, of the continuous capacity to ask questions, to search, to grow and to renew oneself.

Man is a microcosm: that is, an image (concentrated around the point of consciousness) of the macrocosm, or Universe. This theorem is guaranteed by the hylo-idealistic demonstration that the perceptible is an extension, or phantasm of the nervous system.

Aleister Crowley – Little Essays Towards Truth

According to all creation myths, the human being is a great primordial Consciousness that ‘decides’ to have a new experience by renouncing its oneness to reflect itself in a multiplicity of Form, renouncing all omniscience to explore unpredictability and therefore free will, to  transform an existential mechanism into a conscious process. Mankind, forgets immortality to live in time and to experiment with transience and death, adventuring into the labyrinth of the possible to re-comprehend the cosmic sense of Self by means of life; our same life.

Form, worlds and every being are thus the pieces of a puzzle to be put back together according to a unitary and complete design that we conserve inside ourselves; that incorruptible memory of the All. We are Gods all intent on becoming human: we are humans in gestation. 

[1] Hermes Trismegistus is a legendary figure from the Hellenic Age, venerated as a Master of wisdom and the author of the ‘Corpus Hermeticum’. The foundation of the philosophy known as Hermeticism is attributed to him. Hermes Trismegistus literally means ‘Hermes the threefold greatest’. With this name he wanted to assimilate Ermete, Greek god of logos, Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, numbers and geometry. According to the scholar Athanasius Kircher of the XVII century: ‘The Arabs called him Idris, the Hebrews Hadores(...), the Phoenicians (...) Tauto, the Egyptians (...) Thot, but also Ptha, and the Greeks Ermete Trismegisto.’ Hermeticism had a notable influence over Medieval and Renaissance culture.
[2] ‘Esoteric Physics’ is a term that I still use as a result of the experience I had in Damanhur up until 2004, during which I was the author of numerous essays on the subject. Having left that Community experience many years ago in order to pursue my own research in a freer and more authentic way that was closer to my feelings, I have taken it up again, integrated, compared and developed it in a direction all of my own – having discussed with many researchers in the broadest of multi-disciplinary contexts the exploration of what is an exceptionally vast subject.

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