Magic , being as broad a field as it is, has plenty of room upon its playground to allow for a variety of different approaches, while not loosing its flavour and the usefulness that it obviously has for so many people. Fortunate is the fact that is offers us opportunities for a highly personalized take on it, adapted to our individal need, wants, and style.
Views on magic differ greatly; from writing it off as an outdated superstition to accepting it as an exact science known to the sages of all times. It is both an art and a science: science, since it rests on the laws according to which Nature operates, and an art since it allows an almost limitless amount of personal freedom.
The efficacy of any kind of magical undertaking (be it strictly ceremonial or less formalized) does not rely on the belief system of the practitioner. In fact there are multiple mutually compatible theoretical frameworks within which one can work and still obtain the results one is looking for.
These four models were proposed by a contemporary occultist and author Ralph Tegtmeier (also known as Frater U.’. D.’.), and I’d like to explore each of them here:
The 4 main models of magic are:
1.) The Supernatural/Spirit model
2.) The Energy model
3.) The Psychological model
4.) The Information model
1.) The Supernatural or Spirit model of Magic:
This model is probably the oldest and the most common among the so called ‘primitive’ cultures of the Earth; pretty much taken for granted by many shamanistic societies with an animistic outlook, but also held by many an educated and respectable person, by no means naive, up to the present day.
This view embraces the existence of, and a possibility of communication and cooperation with, individualized superphysical beings that exist outside of the time-space bound consensus reality on planes of being parallel to the material one. These spirits/deities/entities are able to and do interact with our plane, especially with persons of cultivated magical ability, who utilize trance or drug-induced states to overstep the boundries of our familiar mundane existence and receive messages and guidance from the otherworld.
Here we can also include workings with celestial and planetary intelligences, traditional magic being so closely tied with astrology.
This view is taken much less seriously by the mainstream mind of today, but it never completely died out.
2.) The Energy model of Magic:
It is also of considerable antiquity, and under this model the objects of our working are subtle, but unquestionably real forces and cosmic powers of an impersonal nature (known as aetheric forces, Prana, Chi, Reiki, Vril, Manna, Astral light, L.V.X., Pneuma, Orgone, Electro-magnetism or by a plethora of different names), present within and around us, that we then work on familiarizing ourselves with and manipulating to an extent that our ability allows us, and directing to the point of the magical finger to a target either far away or close-by, and using it for predetermined purposes.
This model has an intuitive appeal because of its simplicity and different people have varying degrees of sensitivity to these energies, which of course can also be cultivated with meditation and different kinds of focused energy work.
3.) The Psychological model of Magic:
Magical practice could be simply taken to be merely intra-psychic and not at all depending on any factors external to us; it could be that we’re simply rearranging our mental atmosphere and working on our emotional natures, weeding out unwanted thoughts and feelings and planting seeds of the desired outcome in the fertile ground of our minds.
Under this model, gods and spirits are replaced with archetypes, and hellish and heavenly realms with the subconsious and the superconscious minds respectively.
Finesses of this work differ depending on what view of the subconscious/unconscious we take: The more Freudian one, where the subconsious is seen as a depository of supressed psycho-somatic energy and unprocessed emotions, or a more Jungian one, where the uncoscious is both personal and collective, being a whole new dimension altogether.
Different symbols and/or sigils that have a deep personal meaning for the practitioner may be used to impress upon the psyche states of mind that one wishes to cultivate and thus bring about realization and transformation, expansion and refinement of consciousness.
Notably, Israel Regardie (among others) is a proponent of this approach, uniting the goals of magical activity with modern psychoanalytic theory.
Also, connected with the New Thought movement is the belief in the magical potency
of our iMagination and that our subconscious mind in particular is the possesor of power, so all our conscious will can do is reprogram it (using prayers, affirmations, vizualizations etc.) so that it works in our favour, and ‘attracts what we want’.
This model is particularly appealing to the more secularized Western audiences, leaning towards a more materialistic worldview.
4.) The Information model of Magic:
In our computer age, it’s not suprising that a need arose for an updated version of our magical theory and practise, this is exactly what this model offers us.
It rests on an assumption of the reality of the Universal Field of Intelligence, or the Zero Point Field if you wish, and not on the existence of any kind of personal spirit beings.
(this model being compatible with modern physics)
We’re constantly exchanging (transmitting and receiving) information with this omnipresent Field analogous to the Internet (or Innernet), thus we are able to gain knowledge and insight valuable for our growth and development in the desired direction. In fact, one can argue that that’s where all of our thoughts and ideas originate, being received or ‘downloaded’ by the central nervous system, or more generally our whole biological hardware (et al. Nikola Tesla, and Walter Russel’s Universal Thinker, or the One Mind of God).
The Zero Point Field may rightly be considered to be synonymous with Akasha (a term from ancient Indian metaphysics, popularized by modern Theosophy and Anthroposophy),
signifying a universal field pervading all space and containing within its warehouse the records of all the past, present and future events on all planes of existence.
I would also add that the simple act of asking a specific question and clearing the mind, opens one up for receiving specific answers pertaining to that deeply rooted interest of ours.
The concept of Cybermagick, a relatively recent addition to the scenery of magical ideas, is notable here.
One can adopt one, all, or any combination of the above presented models, according to one’s views and preferences. Common advantages assisting with all of these are: clearly defined goals, concentration and centeredness of mind, and one-pointed intention.
And let’s not forget the breath!
Mechanical reenactment of the steps given by another (as helpful as these can be), without properly understanding the deeper significance of the rituals performed, won’t get us very far. The more advanced a practise is, the simpler it is, so it’s only understandable that we would want to eliminate from our practise all inessential elements. It isn’t always necessary to follow every single little detail of how things are conventionally done, but there’s often a very good reason behind time-tested techniques. Ultimately, only personal experimentation will prove the (in)validity of a given path or system to anyone’s own satisfaction, and direct experience is the highest authority. With the right attitude we can tap into the energy built up around certain words, mantras, symbols etc. during the centuries of repeated and emotionally charged usage by our fellow craftsmen. Just don’t let it become a boring automatized routine! Then it would stop being, well, – magical!
Magic is neither good nor bad, Black nor White by itself, and the produced effects depend solely on the level of consciousness or the wielder of the Force behind the steering wheel.
With rising levels of consciousness comes a greater sense of moral responsibility towards self and others. Hopefully our purpose is mutually beneficial: healing, learning, growth and self-development, and reintegration into the cosmic harmony.
Here’s Ralph’s own article on the subject: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos065.htm
Thanks for reading!
Do you think that something was left out? Feedback is appreciated.
Artwork: Science vs Magic by JacketRockArt