Magick is electricity; it can be likened to a current or force, which is
in itself indifferent to intent. This magickal current carries with it
the need to be used responsibly. Magick may be used to fulfill our
destiny, or to revoke it. Solve et coagula, an ancient alchemical
axiom is fitting. For it tells us that magick may be used to build
up or to tear down. And it is white magick which builds up; and
it is black magick which tears down.
August 19, 2009 - WednesdayMagick Is Not A Science (apparently)
Yes, it has been a considerable time since I have posted here. (I have been working on material on other websites.) Today I discovered wikibooks (wikibooks.org). And I was considering moving the magick course material there. However, it seems that site is unfriendly to the subject of magick. Several years ago there was an article or book on the subject there which was voted off the site because "magick is not a science". The prevailing opinion seemed to be that magick does not work. (And a little religious opinion also helped them reach their decision.)
Well, the subject of magick has been around for a long time. And whether or not it is considered a science by some, it is certainly a technology (system of theory and practices). It includes elements of altered states of consiciousness and parapsychology, which have been well documented. Too bad that some people still attempt to supress it. But it will not go away.
May 14, 2006 - SundayReligious Issues
I'd like to discuss religious issues briefly. Many organized religions take a low view of magick and the occult. This is true for conservative Christian and Islam especially. Far be it from me to argue religion. People are entitled to believe what they want, as long as they don't try to pressure me about my own beliefs. If you have doubts about this, by all means go off to your religion and don't pursue magick or the occult.
Sometimes fundamentalist Christians have told me the subject of magick is condemed by the Bible, and that I am going to hell for practicing it. Suffice it to say that I don't personally believe that magick and the occult is morally wrong, or wrong in any other sense. The fact that one reads about, or practices magick is not grounds to jump to the conclusion that that person is evil. There may be ethical issues regarding how magick is used, but that is true of most things. I'm not here to indoctrinate or convert. It is simply my hope that this material will help widen perspectives. My experience with magick, over many years, has in many ways been personal and mystical. I hope the reader will respect this, and not try to convert me to his particular type of religion.
October 15, 2005 - SaturdayThe Three Fold Law and Karma
I realize it has been over a year since I posted anything new on this weblog. However, I am still here, and doing fine. (I have been writing updates to my magick course, and keep revising my revisions, so there are not any visible recent changes online in that department, either.)
Lately I discovered the night time radio talk show, "Coast To Coast AM" (www.coasttocoastam.com) which deals with paranormal and unusual topics. Last night on that program a white witch called in to express her opinion about ethics in wicca. She referred to a widespread wiccan concept known as the 3 fold law or the law of return. This is the idea that if someone sends out negative magical energy, it will rebound back three times stronger. She explained that in her opinion black witches should really be called "stupid witches", and white witches should be called "smart witches", because of the 3 fold law. She said that she had once performed a negative ritual intended to cause harm to someone (who had threatened her), and that although it worked (causing him to visit a mental hospital for 3 years), the law of return had caused her to experience serious health problems. (Now she only practices white wicca, and does not charge for the wiccan classes she teaches.)
Now, as you may know I am not actually wiccan, but I do have very strong opinions about ethics in magick. I have already explained (elsewhere on this web page) about how dangerous it can be to perform negative magick. Whether or not the 3 fold law is exactly true, it does express an important concept. And even if the rebound of energy from negative magick only equals the energy times 1, (or even a fraction of that), it still will have an impact upon the magician (or witch). Add to this the psychological effects from possible guilt the practicioner will probably feel if she/ he performs negative magick, and you get a strong negative effect upon the magician/ witch.
Anyway, I wanted to get my ideas on the topic of magical ethics down in this web log while they were fresh in my mind. Hopefully I will write further articles on this and other topics in this web log more often than in the past.
June 9, 2004 - WednesdayReligion as Spam
From the "you've got to be kidding department"...
We all know and are annoyed by all of those spam email advertisements. Most of them are the "same-old-thing", and many of them are cons at best. (I read that 80 percent of all spam has been sent via illegally hijacked computer links.)
Yesterday, a fairly short spam message came in, attempting to advertise religion. (I wonder, is church attendance down so much that they have to resort to spam?) The email starts out,
"God and saten are both real, the world needs to know this."
I suppose the sender thought he was being profound. But my advice to him is that before he sends out a million or so spam emails like this, he should check his spelling (it is "satan", not "saten"). There is no such word as "saten". To be "sated" is to be satisfied/ full. Satin is a fabric related to silk. Sateen is another fabric. But I don't think it makes the sender's case very well to misspell satan. (It also doesn't reflect well on the sender's intelligence.) BTW, my Webster dictionary capitalizes satan, but I'll give the spammer that point, since I don't personally believe that satan is worthy of the respect that a capital letter would give.
Years ago (in 1989) I wrote a humorous article along these lines. At the time an aledged fundamentalist Christian "organization" had circulated a strongly anti-occult and threatening letter to the pagan community. But the letter was very poorly written and full of spelling and gramatical errors, which were so bad the whole thing was ludicrous. My take on the letter was to write an exagerated "response" to it, in which I purposely used words incorrectly, made illogical generalizations, and misspelled "satan" as "satin". (In the years since, someone actually changed my spelling from "satin" to "satan" and took me seriously. There was even a message thread on this article which took it seriously.) (Here is a link to the article, rescued from another website, re-edited and placed back online at mysteria.com.)
In occult magick we tend to take the concept of a spiritual world for granted. Many of our theories about magick are based on this. Yet in a scientific sense, there is no real proof. For some time I have been seeking evidence on the existence of a soul that survives death, or proof of a spiritual world, for that matter. And, recently I got a new book on the subject by Timothy Owe, called "Beyond Death: Empirical Evidence of the Human Soul" (New Falcon Publications, 2003.) (This book may be too recent for some bookstores to carry, and is available directly from the publisher at www.newfalcon.com/books/beyond_death.htm .)
The book gives a fairly comprehensive survey on the idea of a soul. It includes historical references, philosophical and religious views, and recent scientific ideas. Included are parapsychology, near death experience, and the mind-body problem. There is also a reading list at the end of the book. I was fairly disappointed, however, in that no new ground seems to be broken by this book. And although it has value as a general reference on the subject, the writing style is rather dry. (People tell me I write like that, oh well.) I can think of a number of promising new areas worthy of pursuit in this. Such as the very contemporary theories of a parallel universe (universes?), multiple dimensions (string theory), and even some of the contempory theories and experiments in quantum theory. But for the moment I must leave this subject (once again) open and with a question mark.
April 18, 2004 - SundayThe One True Way
A bit of checking on yahoo disclosed what I already suspected. Magick and the occult is largely frowned upon by the Bible. Especially in the Old Testament. (You may remember, that is the same Old Testament that tells you not to eat pork or work on the sabbath. A lot of other things too, which nobody follows.)
One of the fun things about surfing the web with a search engine is all the tangents that come up. My main search was for magick and the Bible, but I also learned that at least according to some Christian fundamentalists: 1) Mormonism is not Christian. 2) Mormons regard the Catholic Church as an abomination, 3) Jehovas Witness is not Christian, 4) All non-Christian religions are false and their members are doomed to hell. (Of course the Moslems regard Christians the same way, tit-for-tat.)
And so we have multiple religions, and multiple cults within each religion claiming that their's (and their's only) is the one true way. But that is impossible. Obviously they can't all be individually right to the detriment of all the others. Somewhere along the line I think many of the major religions missed the boat. I am convinced the main issue is not about which religion you belong to or which god you believe in, but it is about the ethics of the life that you live. Anything else is just a rationalization.
April 17, 2004 - SaturdayMagick and Christianity
Yesterday I received some email from a Christian lady. It chastized me for practicing magick and for not believing in Jesus. This was presumptuous, of course, but it was also interesting, and we corresponded for a bit. She aledges that all magick is sinful & forbidden by the Bible. She thought there were New Testament references for this. Maybe she will get back to me with specifics, maybe not. Whatever the case, this got me thinking on this topic.
For me, magick is just a thing you can do, like playing baseball or going sports fishing. And magical current is neutral, like electricity (I said that already -- see top of page, smile). What determines if magick is good or bad (a sin or not a sin for you Christian folks) is how it is used. Like anything else. How it is used. It is a tool. That's all it is. The magical current appears to be a neutral, universal force. And the forces that run the universe are impersonal, like electricity.
The idea that the forces that run the universe are impersonal does not contradict the Bible nor any rational modern religion that I know of. And the fact that you can tap into magical force is no more wrong than the fact that you tap into gravity when you stand here on the earth. That is how neutral the magical current is.
I would also like to say that I do not discount Jesus as an important historical and spiritual figure. I'm not exactly sure how credible he is as the Son of God, or what that means (in a way we are all sons & daughters of God, Jewish Cabala, Otz Chieem and all). I used to be much less concerned with these things until recently, when a good friend from my college days sent me some provocative emails. This was the friend that I largely credit for helping to start my exploration of the occult. At first I was only interested in mind training techniques. He channeled my interest into psychic phenomena and paranormal events. (Over the years that interest flourished, until another significant contact started telling people I ran a magick course. Well, naturally I had to write one, and I found that magick was a great way to categorize, organize, and make sense of all my eclectic occult and metaphysical interests. From that came the BBS, and then various web pages, such as this one. The magick course has always been a research tool for me, and I relish any feedback I get about these topics, because it fuels more research.)
When I knew my friend in college, I regarded him as religious. At least he believed in God. But now I find he has become an athiest. And a materialist. I'm not sure he even believes in the validity of psychic phenomena any more, but if he does, he thinks it can be explained in physical terms, that there is no spiritual realm, that there is no immortal soul that survives death. Ah me. And so I have been looking for proof to present to my friend, and to you, oh students and readers. It is an ongoing assignment.
February 29, 2004 - SundayWelcome to my new, experimental weblog, which I recently set up for this web page. The software for this is very simple, but it remains to be seen how often I will actually update this page. (My main problem is that I have numerous projects all running at once.)
Recently I received a letter from an inmate (prisoner) asking me to perform magick for him (he offered to pay me), and this raises several issues with me. I decided not to answer him directly, but I want to express some comments about it here. (The letter was written to my old P.O. box address in Tujunga, which I don't check very often, and I didn't actually see the letter until this morning.)
Although this isn't the first time someone has written asking me to do some magick or other, it is really the first time such strong ethical questions were raised with me over something like this. This individual wanted me to use magick to influence the proceedings and outcome of a his legal case. I'm not sure this is even possible, but if it were, it certainly would be morally wrong to do so. I almost never do "magick by request", anyway, especially for strangers, and I certainly would never do it for profit. I don't believe in selling the occult.
Aside from that is the question of this person's guilt or innocence (I don't know why he was imprisoned, and don't actually care to know). But if he were guilty of a crime, and was then assisted by magick, that would also be wrong. It is a can of worms with me which I don't want to even deal with. (Also I didn't even like the vibes I picked up from the letter.)
I know that some of you may think I am naive regarding this letter, or even regarding my opinion on the ethics of magick. But if you can't look honestly at yourself in the mirror, then you have no life. I know in my heart of hearts that ethics in magick (and in life) is important. I'm not personally concerned about good and bad karma, or sin (or the lack thereof), or the threefold law in wicca. But at the same time, I feel strongly in the concepts of good and evil, and I root for (and live for) the side of good.
Before September 11, 2001 I wasn't especially concerned about these things. My only experience with black magicians had been a "I'll stay out of your way if you stay out of mine" type of thing. But the terror of al-queda makes the black magicians I have encountered look like small children -- it is on an entirely different scale.
I'm starting to ramble. Let me stop for now, and see what I can do about posting this as a weblog...
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My name is Phil Hansford. Please e-mail comments and suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org