Introduction to Ceremonial Magick
Lesson 3 -- The Four Worlds

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The ancients described man as mind, body, and soul. Psychologists of the twentieth century added the subconscious to that deffinition. This produces a four-fold classification. The universe is also divided into four corresponding parts ('worlds'), as shown below:



spiritual world

mental world

astral world

physical world


spiritual body (soul or kia)

mental body (conscious mind)

astral body (subconscious)

physical body



rational thought


physical senses

The universe is reflected within us and we are projected into the universe.

The astral body (subconscious) is the intermediary for intuition, magical and psychic phenomena, and is the 'psychic link' to the physical world. J.H. Brennan says that the astral is the realm of visual imagination. It seems to be both a 'place' and a 'state of mind' at the same time. Most occult and magical phenomena originate in the invisible, non-sensate, non-physical realm (ie. without physical senses). Each of the four worlds interacts with the other worlds. Psychic energy flows from the spiritual to mental to astral to physical. The physical world is a projection (manifestation, reflection, or shadow) of the higher worlds. Our center of consciousness is generally within these higher worlds. "We are", to quote the rock music group the Police, "spirits in the material world".

There are many similar terms used by other occult groups. For example, 'astral light' is another name for astral world, although it may sometimes also refer to the entire non-physical realm, as may 'inner planes' or 'the invisible world'. Planes are essentially the same as worlds. Vehicles or sheaths are the same as bodies. Some groups include an etheric or vital body between physical and astral: it is mostly 'physical' with a little of the lower 'astral' besides. And sometimes astral and mental are each divided into two parts (upper and lower). The 'causal body' is the upper 'mental'.

Microcosm and Macrocosm

We have been describing 'traditonal' occult philosophy here, and certainly an important part of the tradition is the idea (and terms) microcosm and macrocosm. The greater universe, known as the *macrocosm*, includes everything that exists. It corresponds with the *microcosm*, or tiny universe, ie. man -- who is thought of as a miniature replica of the macrocosm (whole universe). This basic magical relationship is demonstrated in the Bible (Genesis 1.27), where God is the macrocosm; and in the writing of Trismegistus ("As above so below"). Since man is in the image of God (universe) it follows that God is in the image of man (in other words, man and the God/universe match each other). The magician, as a microcosm is thus connected with the macrocosm. There is an intimate relationship of energies between you and everything else. The universe is reflected within us and we are projected into the universe. This is an important theory behind magick and astrology.

Magick: White and Black

'Personal magick' is that magick used to affect the self; often involving affirmation, self-suggestion, and self-hypnosis. 'Active magick' is outer directed magick (as in PK) used to affect someone or thing, or to bring about an event. 'Passive magick' is to be affected (as in ESP) by an outside non-physical cause. Everyone possesses some magical (and psychic) potential. Some are especially gifted. Usually people are better at one kind of magick (ie. active or passive) than they are at the other kind; only rarely does an individual excel at both. Traning and practice will, of course, improve ability somewhat.

Although the forces of magick are neutral, various systems may take on the qualities of good and evil. There is so-called white magick or good magick, black magick or evil magick, and gray magick between them. When many people refer to white magick they mean magick for unselfish purposes, also healing and mental influence with specific permission. By black magick they refer to magick for self-interest and healing *without* specific permission. Using magick to forcefully control another's will is, in a sense, black magick too. There are also some people on the occult fringe who claim to be, possibly even think they are, 'Satanists', devil worshipers, or black magicians. These people are most likely charlatans, hoaxters, dablers, or merely misinformed. They may be attracted by the 'art' of black magick, or even by the 'glamor' of doing something against the 'rules'. But a real black magician is very dangerous. Because he has dedicated his life to evil. We usually think of 'white magick' as having *unselfish intent*, and (in the extreme case) of 'black magick' as being actual Satan worship, human or animal sacrifice, dangerous unconventional magical practices, and other bizarre stuff as makes a nightmare. It is all a matter of degree. Most mild self-interest magick (one of the most common kinds) would be called 'gray'. Better terms may be *constructive magick* as being beneficial; and *aversive magick* as magick intended to work against the natural order, and to tear down. There is also the *high magick* of spiritual alchemy (ie. spiritual growth), also known as 'the Great Work'; and conversely there is 'low magick' which is concerned with materiality.

Any magick act is likely to produce side effects regardless of whether or not the desired result is achieved. Such side effects are no problem for constructive magick, since they are benificial as well. However, aversive magick can produce aversive side effects which may even harm the magician -- aversive magick is dangerous!

Magick is a Continuous Process

What we have been calling 'magick' is actually a continuous process. Since your subconscious never rests, your environment is continually being shifted into line with your model. This is true whether you study magick or not. For most people, these effects are usually very subtle, and they are probably not aware of them. However, as you work with the occult, the flow of psychic energy and your awareness of it increases. Your true will is more likely to be strongly expressed. Your luck may be affected (either in a positive or a negative way). Remember, our lives tend to follow what we want down deep. That is why a positive outlook is so very beneficial to us.

The Magical Diary

Sometimes it is helpful to keep a diary of your magical experiments and research. Such a diary should include the date, perhaps even some astrological data (or anything else you think may have a relationship to what you are doing). This is also a good time to begin recording your dreams -- at least the important ones -- in a dream diary. Your dreams can tell you a great deal about yourself, and may sometimes reveal premonitions. Dreams are personal. Don't fall for the commercial 'dream book' gimmick.


The mind is always open to suggestion -- especially the subconscious. Most of the time we censor any suggestions according to the model; but one way to break through the censor is with repetition. An affirmation does this exactly. By suggestion, we mean any statement which is capable of affecting your model. Usually suggestion is in the form of a positive statement (such as the hypnotist's patter -- " You are becomming sleepy"). An affirmation is the same kind of thing -- a positive suggestion, which you repeat (affirm) to yourself aloud or silently (for example, "I remember my dreams"). If there is some quality you wish to change or develope within yourself, an affirmation is ideal. Repeat it several times every day at several different times throughout the day, expecially when you go to bed. Affirmations are subtle and may require a few months to work. Use them for changes, not miracles.

Simple Banishing Technique

Visualization is another important method we use to influence the subconscious. A good example of this is the simple banishing technique which follows. Banishing is used in magick to 'clear the air' of negative 'vibes' and interference...

Visualize a strong white light flowing out the top of your head, flowing down around you and covering you. At the same time imagine you are throwing away any 'problem' vibes. Maintain the visualization for a half a minute or longer. Good way to help you handle your emotions, and to control worry or anger.

Review Questions

1) What is a microcosm?
2) List the four worlds. Explain.
3) What is an affirmation? Give an example.

Book List

Geoffry Hodson, Theosophy Answers Some Problems of Life.
Marc Edmund Jones, Key Truths of Occult Philosophy.
Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic.
Nelson & Ann White,
The Wizard's Apprentice.
Beatrice Bruteau, The Psychic Grid.






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