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The Magician's Dictionary
An Apocalyptic Cyclopaedia of Advanced M/magic(k)al Arts and Alternate Meanings
Second Edition 1996
die jovis, xxxi oct. mcmlxxxxvi, minvs iii: era
by E. E. REHMUS
Provided with courtesy of http://www.heart7.net
Everywhere we can see now how the trappings of M/magic(k) are strewn around with such mindless and perfunctory abandon that it's obvious to everyone that the morning of barbarism is well advanced. Moreover, the so-called "New Age" (which is anything but) has produced already so much over- merchandised junk and shadow without substance, that it's clear no mere grain of salt, appearing alongside that sea of sugar, can expect much attention.
In only the most ordinary sense are we "already" magicians. It's true that only deliberate action which produces a visible ripple over the surface of reality is a magical act. Nature itself endlessly engages in creatively magical acts every moment. But what we are painfully learning for the first time is that magic comes out of our connectedness to the world and is in no way whatsoever the wielding of some mystical power over things from "outside" them. Thus, neither ordinary religion , with its parched, subnatural separation from physical, supposedly "unclean" bodies, nor science with its tedious and incessant denial of all "taint" of self, can be called magic.
Continuing in the spirit of that Renaissantial pizzazz which began in the 1960's to raise Hermetic studies from their immemorial grave, we are now entering a much more psychically advanced era. . . ready, as greater and greater numbers of seekers are putting it, for "specific" instruction, even though postmodern minds scarcely understand the words.
Where the wise of the past and present fail to provide, I've interpolated my own quirky insights. Avoiding as much as I can the words and concepts which are abundantly defined elsewhere. I've made it a practice to concentrate on the more esoteric arcana and most misunderstood philosophical or related terms. On the other hand, there are a good many magical buzz words that everyone takes for granted as self-evident, when the truth is, hardly anyone really understands them at all, so I've included some of those as well.
Despite our infatuation with contemporaneity, magic must be tied to tradition - for, once stripped of tradition, it immediately and bleakly sheds all meaning and quickly degenerates into "black" magic, or the search for private power. In all magic, the figures summoned, *daimones* (good and bad), are summonings from the self, but that is not to say that they don't have their own steam and direction.
The goal of the magician, or one might also say the alchemist, is psychic transcendence and not just the manipulation of the material world for the puffing up of the ego or for changing the outward face of things. The magician's aim is to recognize that we are in now way separate from the universe and need to reaffirm our direct and total connection to it. Therefore, we are able to cease acting horizontally in the hopeless trap of cause and effect and can begin acting vertically to link the celestial to the terrestrial, avoiding, if possible, the much easier connection of the infernal to the terrestrial.
Many of us have, with monumental smugness, shoved magic into one corner, metaphysics into another and religion into a third. Magic in particular, we've all secretly fantasized, is a search for "powers". We tend to imagine that it's just the childlike, fairy-tale belief in the ability to work miracles - as though ordinary reality isn't miracle enough. Or, even worse, we act as though magic were just another toy - a superbot, an FTL spacecraft, a cybernetic data cruncher, a revolutionary dimension-splitter, a meta-matter transmogrifier - that we confidently expect some great cosmic Santa Claus to deliver, once we've achieved, say, celibate purity or some pinnacle of self-hypnosis. This is all rather like a dog complacently assuming that you will give him the whole turkey if he merely sits on his hind legs and limps his forepaws.
True, we've been admonished time and again that the genuine traveler shouldn't be distracted by mere conjurings. The yogi must not succumb to the call l to develop siddhis. And even Christ refused to be daunted by Satan's insistence that stones are not easily turned into bread. In fact, we have been warned that we would do better to avoid conjuring altogether. But of course warnings serve only to sharpen all the more the appetites of callow youth. Let's grab the power first, they say, and worry afterwards about whether we have acted wisely or not. Such is the nature of Time that eventually it delivers all things. Such is the nature of man that he can't wait.
Yes, there are the two famous opposing systems: "black" magic versus "white" magic. And yes, there is a gulf between them. For the most part, however, these labels derive from our ordinary religious background, which serves merely as a convenient hook to fetch up the metaphysically unsophisticated. The genuine magician is undaunted by labels. Black and white are no more than reflections of one another.
Magic's inner meaning is more valuable than its outer glamour. If you suddenly found a priceless diamond in the gutter that would be a perfect example of how the ordinary world is the source of the transcendental. Unfortunately, for those who are not initiates, such lessons go unheeded. "Ordinary" reality continues to bore hoi polloi to death.
Madame Blavatsky, G.I. Gurdjieff, Aleister Crowley and the like were wise enough to ignore the multitudes and to write directly to their small circles of friends who sought truth and did not beg to be flattered. I find little reason to stray from that course. In any case, there are but ten remaining years for the world (as of 1989, when this was written) and it would not be seemly to waste them trying to interface with hostile technocrats, "impious xtians", prime-time consumer units or any of the rest of the millennial rag-tag rabble.
It cannot be said often enough, M/magic(k) does not tolerate belief. Therefore, we must neither cater to popular superstition nor seek to avoid offending it. Nor shall I apologize for exercising prejudice. Although all are potentially suspect, despite a widespread misconception, not all religions are equally virulent. And why should we be tolerant of intolerance? Christians refer to all non-Christians with the prejudicial labels of "heathen" and "damned". Muslims betray their intolerance by referring non-Muslims as "infidels". Comitas adfabilitasque contra barbaros? But my objection to Christianity is more subtle and harder to explain than the usual reasons people give. I object on the grounds that Christianity per se has a habit of pretending to "live and let live" while insinuating itself into other practices and beliefs, like a tumor, growing until it gradually takes over entirely. It then rejects the shell, the original teaching as having been but a poor and shameless imitation of Christianity (as, it insists, all alternatives are) henceforth to be replaced by the orthodox Church.
In any case, the proselytizing religions of Yeshu's Galileanism and Mahomet's Allahism exercise vast control over the minds of hopeless billions and do more irreparable harm to the human spirit than any force on this planet, including nuclear fission.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
The first edition contained many errors and omissions which this second edition hopes to correct.
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