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The purpose of magick is to alter the self and the environment according to the will.
The ability to think seems to set us apart from other creatures. And although we are concerned with living in the physical world, we are mental beings. The fact is we are thinking all the time. We plan, we brood, we get depressed or elated -- all of it is thought. But the universe is mental too, and if we could control our thinking we would see magnificent results in the everyday world.
Many systems have been developed over the ages to help us control our thoughts. A great amount of dogma too has been kicked around in an attempt to make us into better people. Magick (the occult kind, spelled with a 'k') is one of the oldest and most general of these systems. Magick is the study and application of psychic forces. It uses mental training, concentration, and a system of symbols to program the mind. The purpose of magick is to alter the self and the environment according to the will.
Most of the magick we see today comes to us from ancient Egypt and Chaldea. The Chinese, Hindus, and Tibetans developed their own unique types of magick. Western magick was locked up by the Egyptian priests for thousands of years and then supressed by the rise of Christianity. It was not until medieval Europe that magical knowledge was rediscovered by the alchemists and Cabalists. Only during the past hundred years or so has western culture been open minded enough to permit widespread investigation of the subject. Only since the start of the twentieth century has science shown much interest in it al all.
Parapsychology and Psychic Phenomena
Through parapsychology, we are gaining insights into the hidden nature of man. Parapsychology is a branch of psychology which studies psychic phenomena. It remains something of a frontier, even today. Perhaps one reason for this is that psychic phenomena are somewhat inconsistent. Nevertheless, there is strong evidence from numerous cases and experiments in support of psychic phenomena. Somehow, under the right conditions, the mind can directly affect the environment.
We may theorize that the human mind and body broadcasts a kind of psychic energy or force, much like a radio station. Kirlian photography, temperature effects, cloud chamber tests, and other experiments tend to support this theory. Although the exact nature of this psychic force is subtle and unknown, it is undoubtedly the energy behind all psychic phenomena and magick. However, it is not a radio wave, since it behaves somewhat differently. The psychic force is too weak to be measured directly (at least so far as we know). Everyone has some psychic ability. There are numerous types of psychic phenomena. Parapsychology separates them into two groups: ESP and PK...
Examples of ESP
ESP, the abreviation for extra sensory perception, means the reception of information through paranormal means (ie. not regular physical senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste). In theory, this is accomplished by receiving psychic force from outside the body. Here are some examples of ESP:
Examples of PK
PK, the abreviation for psychokinesis, is the active or sending side of psychic phenomena. The theory here is that psychic force is sent out from the individual. Examples of PK include:
Some occultists feel a magician producing PK effects is simply a channel for universal energy. Others think the force originates some way directly within the magician.
Postulated by Freud and others, the concept of the subconscious mind is an important one. Basicly, this is the idea that part of the mind normally operates below or outside of ordinary consciousness and awareness. Dreams and hypnosis are examples of this. Also subconscious are the many automatic functions of the physical body such as respiration and digestion.
Why Do Magick?
Magick encompasses many things -- science and art, philosophy and metaphysics, psychology and comparative religion. Magick is an adventure at the borderlands of the unknown. It can fit the pieces of the puzzel of life into a meaningful whole.
Magick is fun and interesting. Use magick to help raise consciousness without drugs. Gain new experiences. Fantacy can come alive through magick. Psychic phenomena can be controlled and be fun and helpful.
Magick is beneficial. It can help you to have excellent health, and bring you good luck. With magick life runs smoothly; life is good. Also use magick for personality improvement, to control bad habits and to develop new motivations.
Magick is powerful. Never underestimate the tremendous power of magick. Use magick to alter events and to achieve your goals. Exert an influence over people and phenomena. But power for its own sake is self defeating. The power which magick can give you should not be your primary reason for studying it.
Magick and Witchcraft
A number of other occult disciplines are prevalent today besides magick. There are many cults and sects which profess their own views, but there are really few differences between them. One popular area in the occult today is witchcraft. This is far removed from the cliche of devil worship. Real witchcraft is a nature religion (pagan). Witchcraft has much in common with magick.
Alchemy also has much in common with magick. It's heritage comes from the middle ages. Alchemy fathered chemistry and the physical sciences. But the avowed purpose of alchemy, turning lead into gold, is too limiting to be called magick. Sometimes the goal of alchemy is interpreted in another way, as the transformation of man into a spiritual being.
Then there are the numerous modern day seers or 'pychics', as they like to be called, who operate within their own somewhat unique systems. Although many of these people are deluded frauds, some are very powerful occultists indeed.
Of course, everything I have said here is a generalization. Magick, witchcraft, alchemy, or any occult field are complex subjects. Suffice it to say that magick includes them all (it is eclectic). For magick is undoubtedly a philosophy which has, as the late Aleister Crowley wrote, "The method of science -- the aim of religion."
1) Define magick.
Hal N. Banks, An Introduction to Psychic Studies.
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