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“Out of the past comes this new thing.” – Austin Osman Spare
The beliefs and symbol systems traditionally employed in magick are not in any way arbitrary. Rather, the following models represent the evolution of a conceptual technology, from the dawn of time until the modern day. Just as our sciences, representing a progressive accumulation of knowledge, have steadily become more esoteric with time, so have the technologies of magick become steadily more scientific.
The essential paradigms of magick are as follows;
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This is the principle that people or events may be remotely effected through objects having sympathy with them. The paradigm may be further sub-categorised as imitative magick and the law of contact and contagion.
The first is the principle of ‘like attracting like’. Material objects are employed which bear some resemblance to the intent of the magick, such as plants, stones, or animal parts whose names or appearance bear association with the intent. For example, in traditional witchcraft Mandrake roots have power due to their resemblance to the human form. This is the principle presumably applied in prehistoric cave paintings of successful hunts, or where an effigy is made resembling the victim which is then tortured with pins and burned with candles. Modern sorcerers may also use photographs and sound recordings to similar effect.
The common understanding that sympathetic magick of this kind works through the naive superstition of the victim, who supposedly dies through fear, falls down at this point; it still works, indeed works even more efficiently, if done in secret. Similarly, how could a cave painting of a successful hunt have been effective magick if the animals were not superstitious?
The law of similarity also includes such things as omens, and divination by sortilage; gaining insights through the fall of a handful of bones, or Tarot cards, or to be (p)reminded of certain principles through the flight of birds, shapes in the clouds, or tea-leaves at the bottom of a cup.
The second is the law of contact and contagion; the principle of the ‘magical link’, such as the use of a target’s hair, nail-clippings, or footprints. It is the idea that an object that once belonged to someone may be used as a channel to reach them through magick; anything that might conceivably provide a DNA sample may effect the target’s DNA in ‘magical sympathy’. It is common wisdom that such links are all the more effective if given voluntarily. This principle also works in reverse, for example when a witch binds a man to her by feeding him a meal secretly containing her own menstrual blood. Another case is when a thief is cursed using the object they have stolen as the link.
The principle is observed also by physicists in the phenomena of quantum entanglement and the theory of morphic resonance.
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The reader will already be comfortable with the concept of energy. We all know that when we do not eat our energy is low. We know that many of our household items rely on electrical energy, even if nobody is really sure what electrical energy actually is. We know that energy may be chemical, kinetic, or potential, and that it changes between these states but never vanishes.
As with sympathetic magick the origins of the energy paradigm are prehistoric; there are many cave paintings depicting the flow of energy. The energies that circulate through the body will be familiar to anyone who has ever taken up a martial art, or an interest in oriental healing methods. Mystics agree that this same energy flows through our landscape. Common ‘occultural language’ includes many terms for energy in the esoteric sense; most of us know what ‘vibes’ are, or what an ‘aura’ is, even if we are adamant that we have never seen or experienced them.
The physiological energy centres within the body are recognised by most occult schools, being known most commonly in the modern day through the Tantric yoga system of ‘chakras’, which awaken the Kundalini. In the traditional witchcraft of England this same power was raised with the Saracen’s Kiss, called also the Osculum Infame. Parallels to this chakra system may also be found in Buddhism, the Middle Pillar of Kabala, and the ‘Gnostic Vowels’ of the German Ordo Franternitas Saturni. This magical energy, which flows through the body and along the spine, is also in the blood and breath.
The magician typically empowers their spells by charging them with this Force. This may be released from, or channelled through, the body by many methods, such as the use of the blasting rod, or the manos cernutos. The most immediate and easy method is to rub the hands together vigorously to produce heat, then stretch the palms over the spell to be empowered.
Modern science has expanded its theories of energy to include information. The relation between information and energy is illustrated by the fact that computers need cooling systems, and that the deletion of information from the hard drive produces heat. Energy as information is also central to the study of black holes, being the only known conditions where the otherwise consistent laws of physics break down and energy / information simply cease to exist, and through which scientists have come to the realisation that our universe may be holographic.
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The belief in spirits has also persisted since prehistory. The earliest forms of spiritism were likely to have been animist, recognising all nature as conscious. This eventually gave rise to paganism, embodying humanity’s principal concerns as the gods. It then declined into monotheism, recognising only one God while declaring everyone else’s to be demons or – in the case of Catholicism – absorbing them as saints. It declined further into atheism, upon which the most advanced modern sciences appear to be back-tracking.
In the days of paganism, these personified laws were called gods. During the reign of monotheism, these same principles became the angels, saints, prophets, and demons. In this day we are often embarrassed to talk about such things as spirits and gods, since these ‘primitive’ beliefs have supposedly been proved superstition. Instead, we speak about the functions of the mind to produce material (such as art, or dreams) as manifestations of the archetypes.
We might further designate the manifestations of these psychegens to result directly from certain functions of the brain; that is to say, they have a basis in neurology and pre-exist any one of us as individuals. It is ironic, then, that the psychologist Carl Jung, who originated the concept of the archetype, observed in his privately circulated work Seven Sermons to the Dead, “.. All things considered, all theses metapsychic phenomena would be explained better by the hypothesis of spirits than by any qualities and peculiarities of the unconscious.. in the long run the spirit hypothesis yields better results in practice than any other.”
Nevertheless, the existence of ‘spirits’ in post-Enlightenment culture is simply denied, while those who claim to interact with them are perceived as the victims of delusion and mental disorder. There is, therefore, an extreme sensitivity towards this kind of experience, most often leading to repression and marginalisation. However, this is also what has made these same experiences attractive and fascinating to those who have developed a sense of cultural criticism and resistance to dominant values.
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Another aspect of our scientific age is the quest to understand ourselves and the nature of consciousness. To this end we have developed the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, and neurology. These may also provide the modern practitioner with a language by which to understand and perform magick.
Many psychological phenomena, such as those of hysteria or schizophrenia, were originally attributed to the workings of spirits and witches. This meant, of course, that witches and spirits would also be called upon to bring an end to such disturbances. It may well be that the apparent victims were mentally ill, and that this had nothing to do with any kind of secret influence. However, I have many times been called to the aid of the mentally ill using magick. The methods I have used have brought at least temporary relief, and have never been ineffective. This is more than may be said for many forms of modern psychiatry, relying as they do on a theory of brain chemistry, for which there is no evidence whatsoever.
The mechanisms of magick may be described by the activity of the subconscious mind. Its symbol systems are effective because they appeal to these deeper realms of consciousness, bypassing awareness and ego identification in much the same way as hypnosis or subliminal mind control. This may take the form of a glyph, gesture, barbaric invocation, and a great diversity of other forms, or any combination of them. The symbol is concentrated upon during trance, or while the mind is otherwise open to suggestion; during quiescent meditation, sexual release, exhaustion, intoxication, or when inspiration takes possession in any of the arts. This creates a kind of synthetic neurosis, which works through consciousness to create change in the self, or in the external world, through generating what Jung referred to as synchronicity.
It is easy for us to understand that objective events in the outside world may have an effect on our subjective inner consciousness. What is much harder to understand is how subjective inner events may have an effect on our objective outer world. As some of our most advanced scientists are just beginning to comprehend, “Mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of your whole and unbroken movement” (David Bohm). This is no revelation to magicians, of course; as it says in The Kybalion, “All is mind: the universe is mental.”
The paradigm we call here psychism has given rise to a number of government funded experiments such as Project Stargate and Project Jedi. It includes all those abilities regarded as psychic, such as remote viewing and influence, telepathy, psychokenesis, or even simply that some people have hunches that more often than not prove to be true.
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That part of our brains that processes everything we think of as ‘I’, our sense of individuated consciousness, lies in the frontal cortex. The rest of the brain, whose structure is shared with most similarly conscious animals, is in constant communication with the electromagnetic field of the planet. Together with the discovery of mirror neurons this has profound implications for our concepts of self, identity, and the will. The ‘I’ is a product of its environment, and effectively a very small node of information processing within a wider field of consciousness we might call the Greater Mind.
In the microcosm, mind consists of its contents, which expresses itself as information. Similarly with the Greater Mind, which in turn gives generation to the Matrix; the illusion of space-time and our experience of reality. Yet information itself, while it may seat itself to a medium such as a storage device or human brain, does not consist of mass or energy; therefore consciousness is not bound by the space-time continuum. As mystics have been saying all along, the ego is an illusion; yet this is not an abstract metaphysical opinion based on personal prejudice – it is hard science supported by mounting empirical evidence.
Mind scientists such as Dr. Michael Persinger and Stanley Koren have employed these discoveries in experiments with the CIA’s top remote viewers, such as the infamous Ingo Swann. Their research has presented empirical evidence that psychic abilities are most readily accessed during the dominance of Theta brain-frequency – at around 7Hz; the same resonance as the planet. They have even developed technology capable of boosting such abilities, or negating them.
Furthermore, the observations of quantum physicists suggest that ‘the observer’ plays a role in bringing the ‘matrix of matter’ into existence. In this sense the search for God is over; we have found it in the least likely place it could ever have hidden – ourselves. Yet this is not the solipsistic self deification of the so called Left Hand Path, as it has been widely misrepresented in occulture. Rather, it is the recognition that we are all God, collectively, and have been all along; for we are each a part of the Greater Mind. To the hardcore atheist, there is nothing to believe in but the ‘self’, and ‘God’ is the delusion, yet the combined scientific evidence of neurology and quantum physics suggests the very opposite to be true.
Is it not also a meaningful coincidence that a universal magical symbol for consciousness may be found in the butterfly – and that this symbol should then become associated with both mind control and Chaos theory? It is no great revelation to magicians that a butterfly, or perhaps a mind, could send out ripples that eventually – through simple ’cause and effect’ – result in a hurricane on the other side of the planet. The smallest of actions can have the furthest reaching consequences; we are none of us ever insignificant and powerless, if only we would know it.
All magick is based upon a singular understanding that may be expressed in countless ways – as it says in The Zohar, “the Infinite extends without end”. This understanding is expressed in Hinduism as Maya, in Buddhism as Samsara, by the heathens as the Web of Wyrd, by modern science as the holographic universe, and in this current work as the Matrix. The principle asserts that there is no truth anywhere that is not balanced by an equal yet utterly contradictory truth. Only perspective and circumstance determine what seems to be true at any given time. We cannot perceive two contradictory truths, or process contradictory information, without becoming entangled with apparent paradox and cognitive dissonance.
The Matrix of consciousness arranges all things into dualities; a binary code where the is becomes defined as either / or; something is (as rationality dictates) either true or false, while all physical matter is (as the alchemists observed) either heavy or light, soft or hard, wet or dry, hot or cold, or (as quantum physicist have observed) a particle or a wave, and so on.
The essence of all magick is the act of communication, the exchange of information, whether from neuron to neuron, subconscious and conscious, servitor and the mysteries, star to star, or from me to you. Just as words and symbols define the content of mind, the charaktēres and vocēs magickæ of magick provide the programming codes of the Matrix. While divination includes all methods of extracting non-localised information from the data-pool of the Greater Mind, enchantment includes all those methods of hacking the Matrix.
Make no mistake – magick is a dangerous enterprise and should never be entered into lightly..
Excerpt from THE NEURONOMICON by Nathaniel J. Harris
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