Is magic real? One simple question which opens up a myriad of others. What do we mean by magic? Do we mean illusion and entertainment or are we speaking of practices and/or rituals that change our material world? Indeed, how can we define reality? Is it something that’s fixed and immutable or is reality fluid and dependent on our experiences?
Is magic real or illusion?Questions, questions let’s dive deeper. Is magic real or fake? For the sake of this blog let’s assume that we all understand that there is magic designed for entertainment. The kind of magic we see on our televisions or on YouTube, is just that, illusion for entertainment. What we’re talking about here is, does magic designed to change reality, really exist?
The Definition of MagicLet’s start with definitions of magic, the famous, or notorious, magician Aieister Crowley, in the book on his work Thelema, defined magic as:
“The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will”Dean Radin - chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences - defines magic in his book Real Magic, as:
“Real magic falls into three categories:
I would add a fourth category to these definitions, that of using magic to spiritually and magically evolve yourself. "As I change, the world around me changes." Empowering your inner child and balancing your chakras can be powerful starts to creating these shifts within yourself. In his book The Bible Of The Adversary, Michael. W. Ford defines magic as:
Mental influence of the physical world
Perception of events distant in space or time,
And interaction with non-physical entities.“
“Magick is the art of causing change internally and externally in accordance with the Will. Magick is the art of transformation into a sense of divine consciousness, thus it is meant to improve and assist.”
How Steve Defines MagicWhen I come across this kind of question, Is Magic Real? I usually have to assume that it’s been asked by someone who hasn’t experienced the ecstasy of collective magical ritual. Perhaps they have never had a solo connection with a god or goddess, demon or angel. Magic, by its very nature, is experiential.
Magic is the art of organizing reality your way - Steve Wilkes
- Magic is the art of organizing reality your way and the stimulus of spiritual growth.
- Practicing Magic supercharges your spirit to blossom into its highest potential, stimulating your spirit with your will, desire, and power.
- Magic is the honoring of your independent path, infusing your life and spirit with its genius.
Given this, it’s very hard to know whether magic is real from a position of objective observation. The central thesis of science is that nothing can be known unless it can be externally and consistently tested and tested by many people. If you were to accept this, then magic would surely fail what scientists would call reality. Yet, neither magic nor spirituality function that way. The working of magic in your daily life develops a relationship with the very magic itself. Therefore, building your practice changes you, changes the magic, and its results. As Alan Chapman puts it in his wonderful book Advanced Magic for Beginners:
“It follows then that the more you do magic[k], the more you will encounter revelation and the more you will be transformed.“
To know the magic you have to be the magicDean Radin would argue to the contrary. That is, he has argued that science can prove that magic is real. Most scientists refuse to accept that. The question Is Magic Real brings up conflicting perspectives. We feel the only way for you to know if magic is real, is to go on your own journey as a magical practitioner. Incidentally, as a chaos magician, I would answer the question of whether magic is real both with a yes and a no. Let’s leave that hanging in the air for now and move onto the second half of this equation: what is reality?
What is the nature of reality?In the Western world, what is reality has been a central political question, in one way or another, for centuries. Historically a mixture of the state and the church dominated these considerations. Only the priests could communicate with God directly and the monarch was the defender of the Faith. Reality was defined by biblical interpretations of the monarch and the church, and these interpretations were dominant.
The Church's ViewIn the modern Christian (or monotheistic) world there are two competing ideologies. Both are politically and institutionally tied to the state: Christianity (Protestant and Catholic) and science. Christianity tends to view magic as evil and anti-God. It holds a dualistic concept of the all-powerful God and his nemesis Satan. This philosophy places both magic and magical practitioners squarely in the camp of the hell bound devil worshipers. Whether they be witches, magicians, sorcerers, shamans and sometimes even energy healers. The jealous, all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent Jehovah, apparently views people with esoteric knowledge, in need of saving. If his followers are unsuccessful in enlightening you, Jehovah confines you to an eternity of fiery condemnation and damnation in the afterlife.
A story of controlThe story of god controlling knowledge goes back to the first two people according to the Old Testament. The garden of Eden story shows how Satan tempted Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This resulted in Adam and Eve being cast out from paradise by God. Even the earliest monotheistic stories reduced those who flirted with knowledge to a rejected status in the world. For more on how Jehovah or Yahweh, the jealous God and the myths of evil became so culturally and politically powerful, read the works of Michael W Ford. And check out Steves blog on the Mental Universe.
Reality Defined by ScienceScience, the rebellious child of monotheism, usually dismisses magic as illusion or delusion. Science has a dual history of development. It is both a method of inquiry based on reason and investigation, and as an ideology, a definition of reality. When science grew out of the Enlightenment, it was (and still is) a vital part of our evolution as a human race. The scientific method has brought many improvements to the people of the world. However, like any mask of reality has brought its challenges too.
Where Science Falls shortMy beef with science relates to the ideological role it plays in society. Often its proponents present themselves as if they were the latest incarnation of the priesthood. They interpret, and dictate what reality is, yet won’t reflect on their ideas objectively. Like religion, science usually won’t examine its own treaties, particularly in relation to what reality actually is. Similar to religion, it all too often claims intellectual and moral authority around the question of what is real. Rupert Sheldrake, an established and brilliant scientist in his own right, presented a major challenge to the ideological assertions of science. In his book, The Science Delusion, he challenges a number of unproven assumptions made by the priests of science:
Rupert Sheldrake, like a number of other eminent scientists (Deepak Chopra, Judith Orr, Bruce Lipton to name but a few) are often shunned. They are attacked or dismissed by their scientific peers for their views, yet their criticisms go unanswered. His TED talk for example, on these very questions of reality was banned for being unscientific.
- First, the idea that science has pretty much figured out the nature of reality and everything. All it needs to do is fill in the gaps.
- Second, the idea that nothing is real unless it has been exhaustively tested.
- Finally, the belief that consciousness and thoughts are just chemical reactions in the human brain...
Rupert Sheldrake Banned Ted Talk Video
So What Is Real Reality?Think about what happens if you place your hands on the table. Each of us experiences the illusion that our hands, skin, fingers, feel the texture of the surface we are touching. We know, however, that electrical messages (information) are sent from sensors on our skin to our brains or minds. In fact our hands don’t feel the table at all, our minds do. The same is true of our other senses. Our eyes don’t see, ears don’t hear and tongues don’t taste etc. They all transmit electrochemical messages to our minds. Well one thing is for sure. Even if there were such a thing as objective external reality, we would have no way of experiencing it. Literally everything happens in our minds.
NLP and Perceived RealityNeuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) states that our conscious minds have the ability to perceive 134 bits of information a second. While our unconscious minds can manage 11 million. I have no idea how those figures are calculated, but the difference is staggering. NLP asserts that our unconscious minds delete, distort, or generalize information that they pass to our conscious minds. This processing is based on what it is we consciously or unconsciously believe. The idea that reality can be dictated by religion or science appears to be at best very questionable. As Anil Seth, a neuroscientist explained in his Ted talk on YouTube: Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality:
“...we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it ‘reality’”.Reality should be seen as something fluid then, something created by consciousness itself. The question is magic real becomes can we manipulate reality since it all takes place in our minds?
The Key To Spiritual PowerSo how do you know if magic is real, and a key to your spiritual power?
- It seems unlikely that you can dismiss this concept through the usual channels.
- Religion, science, other people’s opinions, all prove unreliable as shown above.
- Magic probably needs to be experiential.
Perhaps the only way for you to answer this question is by doing magic for yourself.Magic has been around since the dawn of human history, from the cave paintings to the powerful shamans of the tribes. There are many kinds of magic that have evolved over millennia and beyond. Much has been lost due to religious suppression, but we are remembering old magic and finding a great deal more new magic too. In his fascinating book Lucifer And The Hidden Demons – A Practical Grimoire From The Order Of Unveiled Faces, Theodore Rose explains this well:
“ ...the finest academics are producing the best works of magical research that have been written, eclipsing the texts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”Indeed, over the last 50 or so years the magical knowledge accessible has evolved dramatically. There’s probably more information available to you than ever before. Will you choose to discover your own truth about whether magic is real or not?
What are the benefits of magic?For me, it is the opportunity to reach beyond societal and familial programming. Magic creates an opportunity to beat my own spiritual path and define my own reality. It frees me from being answerable to a God /god or the ethical pronouncements of others. It’s the journey towards my own highest potential and the acceleration of my evolution. Theodore Rose expresses it from a more cautionary point of view:
“Striving for an enjoyable and fulfilling life without the powers of magick brings depression, sickness and an overpowering feeling of having gone astray.”So, if magic is your key to spiritual power, what other considerations do you have? Or to put it another way, which path brings you the greatest growth and freedom?
What kinds of Magic Exist?There are many classifications of magic and, obviously, it would be beyond the scope of this conversation to discuss them all. So let’s look at some kinds of magic that have surfaced. Many have come to light since the repealing of the Witchcraft Act in the UK in the middle of last century. In terms of magic there are three primary distinctions:
There’s also another path that came to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s with the emergence of Chaos Magic. Within the confines of this particular blog any discussion of the ideas behind these paths is bound to be incomplete. I have included them in order to give you a taste of the thinking on your own path to self. Our goal at Magic Self and Spirit, is to support those people who seek their own independent spiritual path. A logical starting place for this journey is the question: is magic real?
- There’s the right-hand path or White Magic as it is also known,
- The left-hand path, often called Black Magic
- And somewhere in between Grey Magic
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White Magic: The Right Hand PathDue to popular culture, many of us are used to the surface ideas that the goals of white magic are selfless. Primarily they seek to influence events and the evolution of humankind for good. The range of this thinking is indeed wide:
Although, there’s a whole area of white magic that may well not be that pure and selfless, and should best be described as grey.
- Christian magic and the works of people like Alice Bailey in the first half of the 20th century,
- The magic of white light and angels (and much more besides) of practitioners like Dion Fortune. There are now magical schools that grew from her work.
- The magic that emerged from modern Wicca since Gerald Gardner, a neo-pagan perspective.
Goals of White MagicAlice Bailey published her treatise on white magic, The Consciousness of an Atom. It seems that her goal was to spiritually evolve herself and others to become one with the divine being:
“ I suggest that just as self consciousness is the goal for all the subhuman forms of life, and as a group of consciousness, or the consciousness of the Heavenly Man, is the goal for the human being. So for him, also there may be a goal, and for him the achievement may be the development of God consciousness.“ - The Consciousness of an AtomThis kind of white magic is passive, in fact, all white magic in this context is entirely passive. The magician builds a relationship with the holy guardian angel. He then seeks to integrate himself as one with the godhead, surrendering every part of self to divinity. White magic functions as a science working with sacred symbols on ancient pathways. Examples might be the pathways of Qabbalah or the Barque of the sun god Ra. Often these magicians work with Secret Chiefs (so called evolved spiritual beings related to the Golden Dawn). These figures seem to have some kind of authority over their paths. It’s a journey of renunciation or transformation of the self into the godhead. We find the magic of Ancient Egypt particularly fascinating and have developed a series of books unpacking it. It discusses Chakra Healing, empowering your Inner Child, and Sigil magic, from the perspective of Star Magic and the neters of Ancient Egypt.
White Magic and DualismThis kind of white magic is dualistic, favoring light over darkness, good over bad and right over wrong. Sure, it’s a sacred path. But as a chaos magician it brings up questions for me. If the divine is an all powerful and perfect being, is white magic any more than a ritual based mystical path? Indeed, is it necessary at all? I enjoyed the right-hand path pagan priest training that I did. But I felt that it was always about other people (and spirit beings) defining who I was and what I should be doing. It was a sense that “who I am is wrong”, ultimately I moved away.
Other Kinds of White MagicThe other kind of white magic that’s prominent, is neo-pagan, primarily the Wicca of Gerald Gardner and Alex Saunders. Wicca is a nature based spirituality and has some obvious connection with other witchcraft and pagan traditions. Yet its magic is still about worship and the elevation of the goddess and the god over self. Its magical rules are ‘to do no harm’ but it does not appear to be strictly selfless magic. So in that sense we can perhaps label Wiccan magic as grey magic.
What is Black Magic: The Left Hand PathIn the same way as the idea of white magic is part of our culture, black magic is often defined as its opposite. Popular culture sees black magic as working with supernatural powers with the intention of hurting others or to do evil and/or selfish things. In all honesty these ideas are delusional. Black magic just doesn’t accept the moral and ethical structures of monotheism, particularly Islam and Christianity. If you were to reflect on the histories of both of those religions it wouldn’t be a great stretch to realize why. Black magic is an umbrella term that covers a range of practices from voodoo, traditional witchcraft, Satanism, and Luciferianism (and many more besides).
Is Black Magic Evil?The whole question of evil has much of its roots embedded in the Judeo Christian Muslim history. Based on a small and rather violent shepherd tribe from what is now southern Israel. It spread its influence and power by conquering other tribes in native lands. In a tiny leap of logic it’s god (Yahweh) became the one true God (as obviously they had won the war). The gods of the other tribes were cast out as demons and therefore became what they called evil. Some black magic, and the religions attached to it, are in a literal sense adversarial. They identify their practices as the opposition to this conquering god. Magic working with the demonic beings is common place and freedom and spiritual growth is identified as rebellion against a repressive deity. This then, in simplified terms, is the traditional left-hand path. Black magicians don’t often see their practice as evil. For them it’s more about hidden knowledge and spiritual power. Take for example the writings of Michael. W. Ford from his book Dragon Of The Two Flames.
“... our definition of black magic is different: Black is the ‘hidden’, that has associations with knowledge and power. We care little for cursing and the idea of white magick is pure idiot fantasy!.. We heal, protect and empower ourselves and assist ones we care for. We don’t see that as ‘white’ ...there must always be a balance of creation and destruction” [ibid]
Other interpretations of Black MagicOther black magicians, see the concepts of angels and demons, for example, as the higher and lower parts of self. Angels are messengers from the higher mind, while demons are the expressions of the unconscious mind. Working with both is about balance of self and therefore personal growth and power. The vast unconscious mind melts into the collective unconsciousness. Symbols and rituals in the form of a massive psychodrama unlocks the magic of the All and power is experienced. Incidentally, both black and white (or at least grey) magicians work with demons. The first in harmony and honoring. The others frightened in a circle of salt, with large swords chanting ancient names of the Hebrew god whilst threatening demons with entrapment. Guess which magic is more effective?
Balancing Light and Dark with Moon MagicWe dig into the balance of light and dark in our study of Moon Magic. Each cycle of the phases of the moon show us the balance of yin and yang, light and dark energy. The darkness or the Nun as described in the Magic of Ancient Egypt, is primal chaos, the unmanifest, the unconscious. The Light represents the power of creation, the active outwardly moving expressions of the Will. We explore each of the 7 Magical Phases of the Moon and the most powerful workings for that moon phase.
Check out our other blogs in this series
The Six Principles Of Chaos Magick
Video - Kelly Ann Maddox defines Phil Hines principles of Chaos Magic from his book Condensed MagickChaos Magic differs from the other paths in a number of ways. Because there’s no strict system you must follow, as you would expect, there are really no rules. It’s a philosophical approach, a point of view. Indeed, any two Chaos Magicians would have different thoughts about how they can execute their magic. It’s an individual approach to magic usually based on the practicality of what works. In contrast, other magical systems often work differently. Although there’s now a lot of information available, many of the other systems of magic have initiatory secrets. These are kept inaccessible to outsiders. Examples include:
These preclude the personal, totally independent magical paths I am encouraging.
- Thelema of Aleister Crowley
- Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn
- Dion Fortune and the more modern Mystery Schools
- The higher levels of Wicca
Belief as a Mask of RealityWe discussed above that reality is at best fluid, a hallucination. This gives us the ability to work with beliefs as if they are just tools. This idea is both powerful and liberating. Imagine the Magician card from the tarot. The Magician with one arm pointing to the heavens and the other to the earth, stands in front of his altar. On the altar are a range of magical symbols and tools. Imagine now that there are many masks on this altar and that each mask represents a different structure of beliefs. One may be a religion, another, a representation of spirituality, a form of magic, or a philosophical or political belief system.
Belief and DualityBecause all belief systems are dualistic, right/wrong, good/bad, real/unreal, they’re all congruent, and that is they all work. If you were to wear one of these masks, follow its rules and actively live as if they were true. Then you could choose to experience whatever the central benefits were of that particular mask. You may choose to experience the benefits of unconditional love from Mother Mary and ignore all the negatives of a Catholic mask for example. Or you may choose the experience of magical and spiritual empowerment from a Luciferian one. The point is that you can use any mask to create the quality or experience you so choose. When you've finished that experience you can cast it aside and wear another mask and create reality in another way. Reality then is not just a thought or a belief, it’s a lived experience. It’s through thought, word and deed or desire, will and action played out together that you realize the key to your spiritual power.
Do I believe magic is real?Why yes and no, it really depends which mask I am wearing at the time.
“There are only two ways to live your life, one is though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.“ -Albert Einstein.
Are you ready to begin your Magical Practice?Every person alive has the ability to take hold of their life, work their magic and experience life at phenomenal levels as yet unrealized. We live in the most exciting times of explosion of knowledge, and we all have the ability to master reality itself. Our courses and services offer speed, direction and clarity as you step onto your unique magical and spiritual path.
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FAQ'sWhat is the true meaning of magic?
- Magic is the art of organizing reality your way and the stimulus of spiritual growth.
- Practicing Magic superchargers your spirit to blossom into its highest potential, stimulating your spirit with your will, desire and power.
- Magic is the honoring of your independent path, infusing your life and spirit with its genius.
Is Magic Real or illusion?
Magical illusions for entertainment certainly exists. But we believe that Magic to designed to change your internal and external reality exists and can be learned.What is Black Magick? Black magic, or the left-hand path, is an umbrella term that covers a range of practices from voodoo, traditional witchcraft, Satanism and Luciferianism (and many more besides). Is Black Magic Evil? Black magicians don’t often see their practice as evil. For them it’s more about hidden knowledge and spiritual power. Black magic rejects the moral and ethical restrictions imposed by monotheism, particularly Islam and Christianity. What is White Magic? White magic, also called the right-hand path, functions as a science working with sacred symbols on ancient pathways. The magician builds a relationship with the holy guardian angel. He then seeks to integrate himself as one with the godhead, surrendering every part of self to divinity. What is Chaos Magic?
In Chaos Magic, there’s no strict system you must follow, as you would expect there are really no rules. It’s a philosophical approach, a point of view. It holds that all of reality is an illusion, and therefore reality can be manipulated by the magician.