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On the Nature of Magic

Many things have been called magic over the aeons, some of them even were. Many things that were magic were mislabeled as ‘acts of god’, ‘acts of nature’, or explained away as hallucinations, ignorance or gullibility. It is, therefore, very difficult to judge the truth of magic by looking at what has and has not been labeled as magic in the past. It has been said that, to the ignorant, any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic and this is probably true but really does little to explain the great number of varying acts, rituals and objects that have been labeled as magic through the ages. Science keeps trying to find explanations for the miraculous, putting forward theories on every topic that either makes magic out to be something commonplace or a fantasy, but unable really to explain anything satisfactorily and even knowing how it was done doesn’t make it any less miraculous. Neither advanced technology nor scientific theory are capable of explaining away magic.

Countless definitions, expositions and depositions have been given in regards to magic, take your pick, but none of them do the subject justice. magic is an amorphous shadow, given definition only by the belief and the Will of the practitioner. Still, one more definition of magic that takes its amorphous nature into account cannot hurt and will afford the reader some idea of what I base my ideas upon.

Magic is the changing of what is into what one wills to be.

The act of will usually corresponding with the manipulation of invisible or occult forces to achieve that change.

On the Source of Magical Power

Energy flows through everything, is contained in everything, gives all living things their life and power. There are five individual indivisible flows which correspond to the four elements, earth, water, fire and air and to that force which is the bond between all the elements, namely spirit. These are the subtle flows, the subatomic flows which fill the universe with corporality and which, when combined, form the sixth power which many people can sense and is often, not entirely incorrectly, called the Life Force. Very few people can sense the subtle or elemental flows though it is the subtle flows that form the essence of the Elementals and the Spirits (Ghosts, Angels, Demons) which most people can see and interact with. If magic is the changing of what is into what one wills it to be, then it is the Sixth Power, the Life Force, upon which the Will exerts the force necessary to cause the change. It is the only flow that the majority of mages can interact with on a direct basis rather than through an elementary intermediary. I have chosen to call this force y'grénê.

Y’grénê, whatever else it is, is Life. Some say that it is the manifested spirit of the Divine, others that it is a chemical or an element such as iron or gold. Whatever it is, and there is little chance that everyone will ever agree on just what it is, without it a person, animal or plant dies and their physical form returns to the base elements from which it was formed. There has been some debate as to whether y'grénê is in fact the key to consciousness, and convincing proofs have been put forward to this end, but, contrary to some opinions, proof of its connection with consciousness is not proof of what it is, which question will probably never be answered.

The Forms of magic

There are three forms of magic — Aeleythyric, Tethŷric and Numenistic — which are based on the nature of the y'grénê that the mage uses, or rather, where the mage is getting the y'grénê from with which the changes are being made. Aeleythyric magic uses the wild y'grénê of leys and nodes, the flows of power inherent in Nature; Tethŷric magic uses the power generated by the practitioner’s own mind and body; Numenistic magic uses Spirits (Elementals, Angels, Demons, Ghosts or Deity Constructs), who use the power from the Spirit or Elemental realms to perform the mages commands.

Table: Magical Forms and Branches

Numenistic Tethyric Aeleythyric
Chêvolomagy Chiropathy Geoleythy
Platology Clairsense
Templecraft Divination

All of these use the same power, y'grénê, but find it in different places. Y’grénê is present in everything and can, theoretically, be extracted from anything, but in practice there are only three feasible ways to get enough y'grénê to perform magic, draw it from the wild flows of nature before it becomes part of some living organism, draw it from yourself or draw it from the other realms or planes with the help of their inhabitants. Taking y'grénê from a living organism other than yourself takes more energy than you are likely to get from them. The one exception is ritual sacrifice, but this too, unless done with the willing participation of the sacrifice, will garner little more power than what is put into its acquisition.

Of Aeleythyric Y’grénê: Leys and Nodes

Everything is permeated by y'grénê, the ground, the waters, the air, just as water permeates everything, it is in the earth we walk on, in the water we wash in and in the air we breathe. But just like with water it sometimes gathers together into more tangible streams or rivers and with y'grénê these are called leys or ley lines. Sometimes these leys cross one another and where they cross is formed something similar to a well, pool or lake of y’grénic power and these are called nodes. Some of these nodes are quite small, formed only by the crossing of two small leys, others are very large formed by the crossing of many major leys. Not all of these nodes lie underground for whilst water is confined to the surface of the planet by gravity, y'grénê is not and the leys can be anywhere. The leys run through the whole planet, and through the atmosphere around the planet, and some, it is said, even run through the space between the planets, because of this nodes can appear under the ground, beneath the waves of the oceans, or in the air that surrounds us. Some of these nodes are so large that they affect everything around them and anyone can feel their presence though they may not know what it is they are feeling.

It is possible to create a node, though only the most experienced and powerful mages should even think of trying. Most mages can tap into the ley lines but only a few can tap into a node for while a ley line is like a quiet stream or a powerful river, depending on its size, a node is like a boiling cauldron or a storm tossed ocean. Not more than one in a hundred mages can tap into even the smallest nodes and hope to survive the experience. Not more that one in one hundred thousand into one of the great nodes. There have been a few cases in which a failed attempt to tap into a node has caused it to go rogue. Rogue nodes have been known to cause catastrophic changes to the land and the inhabitants of the surrounding area, so much so that whole cities and peoples have disappeared or been changed beyond recognition.

Of Tethyric Y’grénê: the Psychic Powers

Tethyric y'grénê comes from within the mage. The mage uses their own energies, their own life force, and for this reason most of the magic done with tethyric y'grénê is focused inwards or of a minor nature. It is this inward focus, coupled with the usage of the mage’s own y'grénê, that makes tethyric magic one of the hardest to detect and so one of the best for the uses to which it is put which is mostly for communication.

Of Numenistic Y’grénê: Spheres and Conduits

Numenistic y'grénê corresponds most closely to the subtle flows of elemental power, those flows that are too fine for most people to sense. The mage that uses numenistic y'grénê often cannot sense the flows but for numenistic magic it is not necessary to sense the flows, it is enough to know that they exist, where they exist and how to manipulate them.

It takes a particular type of ability to sense the subtle flows of elemental y'grénê or to reach through the veils that separate the spheres and manipulate the flows of power that run through other dimensions but there are, sometimes, born people who are known as conduits or channels who are able to sense the flows or reach through the veils making the power directly available in a manner similar to leys. These people can tap into the individual flows that form the sixth flow and separating it out have pure essence of water, fire, earth, air or spirit. Needless to say that greater and finer works of magic can be performed with the pure flows than with the grosser blend that flows through the leys. Conduits with the right aspect of the gift can also reach into other realms and manipulate the flows that run through other worlds. They are also capable of tapping into the largest of leys or nodes that not even the greatest Adept would dare to touch and are able to survive because, in such a situation, they do not use the power themselves they merely become a living ley that channels the power from the node to some other mage who can then use it as they would any other ley y'grénê. Natural conduits are the most powerful and are even rarer than great Adepts but they are not the only ones who can act as channels, some mages can also play the role of conduit, though they are rarely as powerful as natural conduits and the mage they are working with needs to be someone they trust totally, implicitly, and without reserve for the role of conduit is a dangerous one. If the conduit is not relieved of the power they tap from the node almost as soon as they have tapped it the power can wreak strange changes within them, even turning them into something akin to an animate node, if it doesn’t kill them. There can be no hesitation, there can be no doubts. The consequences for both conduit and mage in a failed attempt to tap a major node, or one of the spheres, can be fatal.

Of True Names

Intimately connected to the numenistic form of magic is the concept of the True Name. The true name of a person or thing does indeed have power in it. The ancients believed that a thing’s name was itself, for the Creator created everything by speaking aloud its true name and so brought it into being. Mages, therefore, seek out the true names of things so that they might have power over that thing and be able to command it.

On Talent

There are five elemental flows which, when combined, form the occult force which mages use. There are, broadly speaking, three ways of accessing this force and there are two types of mage. That is, there are two categories of mage which categories have nothing to do with which of the three paths the mage follows, nor whether the mage is honest or dishonest, and regardless of which master, if any, the mage serves. These two types of mage correspond to the type of Talent the mage is born with. Talent corresponds to what is known as the supra-will, the part of the mind, consciousness, will, that is focused and wielded during magic. The presence of the supra-will, or Talent, is what enables us to do magic. There is only one supra-will, but there are two forms of Talent.

The first type of Talent is called Wild Talent, because it is instinctual. The supra-will awakens within the mage by itself either naturally, when the mage reaches puberty, or suddenly, due to some shock or trauma. This Talent is not usually under the conscious control of the mage but reacts instinctively to situations. They may develop some control over themselves, over what they are able to do, or they may go mad. Wild Talent is associated only with téthyric and áeleythyric magic, for numenistic magic is all intent. Most people, however, are not born with wild Talent but are born with the second form of Talent. The people who do have noticeable wild Talents, telepaths, empaths, telekinetics and others, have a large ability in one area of flow manipulation and can, usually, with training, learn to expand, develop and gain greater conscious control over their abilities.

The second form of Talent is called latent Talent. Those with a latent Talent have the innate ability to do magic but need to awaken or activate their supra-will through rigorous training before they can begin manipulating the occult powers. Latent Talents can learn to harness their abilities, focus them, and strengthen them to the point where they are capable of equaling any untrained wild Talent.

Some claim that those with wild Talent are better at magic than those with latent Talent and there is evidence to support this; others, however, claim that those with latent Talent make better mages than those with wild Talent and there is also evidence to support this. What is probably closer to the truth is that there are mages of both types of Talent who are highly skilled and professional mages, and mages of both types of Talent who are very unprofessional and of very low or erratic skill. Being of one type or the other does not guarantee a great Talent or a great mage. The training the latent Talents undergo to awaken and strengthen their Talent can be very beneficial to wild Talents also, and, by the same degree, the adoption of some of the wild Talents’ flair and innovativeness by the latent Talents can take the rigidity out of their magic and give it a greater scope for practical use in difficult situations.

Very few people are born who do not have either one or the other form of Talent. Those who are born with neither usually do not live long, or well, because almost everyone develops Talent in some fashion, and uses magic in some fashion, usually not in any noticeable way, not in a way that anyone would usually call magic, but almost everybody unconsciously manipulates the flows to a small extent. It is part of how we survive. Other animals have thick hides, sharp teeth, long tails, great size, swiftness, or fecundity, we have magic. The ‘Lucky’ person, the ‘Green Thumb’, the ‘Natural Leader’, or any other ‘Natural’ is unconsciously manipulating the Flows for their own benefit or the benefit of others. We do not normally call these people mages though, for what they are doing is purely instinctual and on a very minor level with no real noticeable changes in the world except within the limited sphere of their own lives. Where to draw the line between these natural, instinctive, but minor manipulations of the occult forces and those things that are properly magic has been a hotly debated point. Purists would have it that anything that is not done consciously, with the complete control of the mage, is not magic, regardless of its scope or effects, thus relegating all wild Talent to the sphere of parlour tricks and stage magic. Others would have it that anything that fulfils the criteria for magic and is called magic by the person performing it, is magic.

Of the Art and Science of magic

Almost everyone can learn magic which is both a blessing and a curse, for magic is neither good nor evil, it is only a way of using a power naturally a part of all living things. The magical systems are not designed to be good or evil, they are only designed to allow the mage to practice his art. The practitioner brings to magic their own good or evil and will bend any system for its use to their own ends.

All Arts and Sciences use a combination of Intuition, Inspiration, Logic and Reason to discover occult knowledge. Both Art and Science are dedicated to perfection, to a better understanding of what is and what is possible. Magic is the perfect joining of these two disciplines requiring intuition, inspiration, logic, reason, and, most importantly, discipline. The path to magic is not for the faint-hearted, the lack-witted, or the conformist. The path is littered with the bones of those who wandered upon it unknowingly, or those who could not withstand the trials and pressures exerted upon them by the path and those who do not understand it. The path is, really, for those who are called. It is true that any may walk the path, but that does not mean that all should. Anyone can join a religious house, giving up all power over themselves, accepting the vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience and live in such a manner with varying degrees of success, but that does not mean that all should or that all are suited to such a life.

The most important aspect of magic, indeed of all things, is balance. All the aspects of yourself must be in balance. In any working there must be balance. Nature dislikes imbalance and works to correct it. Humanity seems to think that it is above, or impervious to, nature’s balance. This is not so. We may have separated ourselves from the level of the beasts in being able, somewhat, to influence or control our environment, yet we still eat food raised in nature, we still procreate according to the dictates of nature, and we still lie under the scythe of Death. We are then, ipso facto, upon nature’s balance, and in order to prosper we must work to maintain that balance in all we do. Some might seek to destroy the balance but this would lead to pure chaos and the dissolution of the entirety of existence back into the primordial waste, perhaps leading to a new creation, perhaps to the complete destruction of even the creator. Some know this and yet seek the destruction of the balance perhaps thinking, ‘Better death than defeat’, but there are other ways to victory, one of which is following the Path of Wisdom which preserves the Balance but gives one control over it, allowing one to choose where and how the Balance will be corrected.

To become a Master requires decades of study and painful work learning to know one’s Self and to control it, but this is not enough. There are three aspects of the Master, control of one’s body, control of one’s emotions, and control of one’s thoughts. When this tripartite control has been firmly established, if it ever is, then one is ready to begin to Learn to Know, to begin the study that will last a dozen life-times.

All things must be arrived at by a series of steps. Each step gained through a combination of intuition, logic, calculation and inspiration. The reality of the finished article does not depend upon any of these steps being true, only upon the proven fact of its own existence. I exist therefore I am is credo, regardless of how you gained your existence. But to be regarded as sentient you must be able to reason, expound, prove, and disprove, your own existence.

The Necessity of A Trained Mind

All other Arts that are called magic are only differing ways of giving outward form to the inner act of Will, of providing boundaries and definition for the Shadow so that it can be controlled by those who are not, in truth, ready for its power. These boundaries and definitions are necessary for the untrained mind for more destruction has been wrought through uncontrolled magic than any other force or power in the last 3000 years. Demonology, Necromancy and Witchcraft, three of the most common expressions of magical working use ritual and ceremony, the careful development of atmosphere and mental tension, to bring the practitioner to the point where they can call upon their innate powers but none of these guarantee the success of the working, only a trained mind and a focused Will can guarantee success.

No magical text deals openly with the true nature of magic or the fact that the successful practice of magic depends upon strength of mind and upon the Will of the practitioner, it being, in most cases, a part of the inner or hidden teachings but the necessity for a carefully trained Will is, nonetheless, there to be seen by those with eyes to see. It is one of the driving purposes behind most of the alchemical texts and lies behind many of the rituals of ceremonial magic. It is revealed by the insistence upon rituals and materials that weaken the body and alter the practitioner’s perceptions, these rituals providing a shortcut to the awakened Will, but a temporary and dangerous shortcut. Such practices are designed to arouse the Will and strengthen within the mage’s own mind the right atmosphere, the right tension, that slight distancing from normality, from the prosaic world of reality that will allow the mage’s Will to be brought to bear upon the ritual most effectively. Such shortcuts, however, were scorned by the Adepts of old. These adepts knew that these rituals were unnecessary to the fully trained Will, that they were, in fact, the accessories of the unskilled, untrained, those yet weak of mind. For the true adept none of these are necessary.

If one cannot master one’s self one cannot hope to master the Path, either the left-hand or right-hand paths which are both merely aspects of The Path. One should have no habits, no addictions, nothing that one cannot do without, no likes of dislikes, no prejudices, no desires, no favourites, nothing that one does not control for if there is a thing over which one does not have control then it has control over you. Sex, alcohol, drugs, food, rituals, all can become addictive, habitual, destructive. The mind should control the body, and all the body’s desires, rather than the body controlling the mind, as is normal for most people. Know thyself. This does not mean that one should be coldly logical but that one should blend Logic with Intuition, and Inspiration. This is the essence of magic, a careful blending of logic, intuition, inspiration and knowledge.

Occult Lore has many schools, and many forms, but all are termed under the headings of either Magic, Spiritualism, Prophesy, or Healing.

Magic, then, is the manipulation of the Life-force to cause results visible on this plane, which Life-force is the power that underlies all things and maintains the balance of the universe.

Spiritualism, then, is the communication of those living on this plane with beings from other planes including the realm of the dead.

Prophesy, properly, is considered one the heavenly Gifts from the gods but has been revealed to be the ability to foresee somewhat of what might happen should events continue to unfold in the manner in which they are when the oracle is cast.

Healing, finally, is the ability to communicate with that power that is within each person and cause it to answer to the healers will and guidance to effectuate a faster and more complete recovery.

Each of these four occult sciences has its own branches and each branch has, as indeed must be, its own schools of thought, theory and teaching. The main branches of Magic are Sorcery, Witchcraft and Necromancy. The main branches of Spiritualism are Shamanism, Druidism, and Mediumism. The main branches of Prophesy are Oracles, Fortune Telling, and reading Omens. The main branches of Healing are Surgery, Herb lore, Massage, Acupuncture, and the Touch.

Though each of the occult sciences is considered to be individually complete and separate from each other, over the millennia since they first began to be studied seriously there has been a great increase in the amount of knowledge that is shared by the students of the different occult sciences.

Let us first deal with the occult science called magic.

There are three main branches of magic generally termed Sorcery, Witchcraft and Necromancy or Mind Magic, Spirit Magic and Soul Magic. The correct names for practitioners of each of the branches are; Sorceress/Sorcerer, Witch/Wizard, and Necromancer (there is no name for a female practitioner of this branch of magic as it is considered to be the purview solely of men though there have been women who have been Necromancers). Let us look first on that branch of magic called Sorcery though the dimensions of Sorcery will only be clearly shown by a comparison with those other branches of magic, Witchcraft and Necromancy.

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