A few words on the general practice of magic or occultism (9) may explain some of the more involved points in the theory.
The preparatory training includes, besides a theoretical knowledge, certain breathing exercises and a strict dietary observance. The purpose of the former is to control by will the whole organism "in all its planes." Only after this preliminary training (we are told), does the occultist become aware of the latent forces in nature and in man, and of the real meaning behind the magic diagrams.
The highest product generated by the human organism, from the mechanical aspect, is the (sexual) nervous energy. All the neophyte's efforts will be directed to generating this nervous energy as "pure" and as "delicate" as possible; then
(9) Compare the little work by Papus (Dr. Encausse), Qu'est ce que l'Occultisme, ed. Chamuel, Paris, 1900, pp. 32 ft.
towards concentrating this purified sex force, as quickly as he can, on some given point of the organism, of the brain, or on something outside the body, for this force can be " projected" at a distance.
Now the generation of this nervous energy is directly connected with diet, and the purity of the force depends on the purity of the diet, aided by the breathing exercises. This point should be noted, because it proves that the occult force is entirely physical. It also explains the dietary prescriptions of the Hindus, of the Jews, and others.
The diet most suitable for the generation of pure sex force is that which contains the fewest animal substances: the Pythagorean diet is the best. But this diet, like certain religious fasts, is followed for a certain period only: forty days at a maximum. Then the student resumes the mixed or attenuated diet, or else remains exclusively vegetarian, according to his temperament, tastes, the climate, etc.
The main object is to avoid introducing into the system what Descartes called " animal spirits." Hence, all animals for the priestly table are killed according to a special rite— e.g., the Jewish schechita, cutting the throat and allowing the animal to bleed to death slowly, to remove all the blood. Stimulants are forbidden, and only incense, myrrh, and some herbs acting directly on the mind (imagination) allowed.
The purpose of the breathing exercise is to increase or diminish at will the quantity of carbonic acid in the blood, by retarding or activating the expiration of the breath. Many Buddhist sects and some Islamic fraternities practise these exercises, especially the Indian Yogis and Thibetan priests and magicians.
Through this training, the student comes in contact more closely with invisible nature: the. world of dreams reveals itself to him first; then 'second sight' (clairvoyance) and intuition develop by degrees.
" Human " magic, or that of the microcosm, has to do with all direct influence of men on other men, especially with that of the trained occultist on the untrained person. The key to it is the employment of the astral body and its conscious guidance,— which distinguishes this kind of magic from that which uses mediums. It is accomplished through progressive training by diet and breathing exercises.
Another form of magic is necromancy, that is, the evocation of spirits. This is more dangerous both for the occultist, and " for the spirit evoked."
Theurgy (miracle-working) is a safer way of communicating with the invisible plane. Only the "Masters," generally disguised as theurgists, are able to act consciously on the spirits in all the planes of visible and invisible nature.
"Natural" magic teaches how to make the "dynamized" human will act on the living forces of nature. Its key is the "astral light," which acts on nature as the astral body acts on man. The study of this kind of magic is chiefly based on astrology. If the astrological condition of the heavens is favourable, the operator tries to act on the "spirits" of different orders whose activity is in the various planes of nature. " For, every advanced occultist knows that everything in nature is the work of spirits of different categories, some higher than others." (10)
The spirits are divided into two main categories. First, the spirits inferior to human nature: these are called spirits of the elements, or " elementals." These elementals act in nature as the embryonic cells act in man.
The second class are the spirits equal or superior to man. These are the "planetary" spirits of the Kabbalah, and the spirits of the dead. This class includes also the spirits called "angels" and "demons" in the Old Testament, and the "astral" spirits. These astral spirits will not come when evoked unless they want to, or unless they are constrained to come. They can only be constrained by conjuration, and
(10) Papus, op. cit. p. 41. Papus (Dr. Encausse) belonged to the Martiniste school and was himself a famous occultist.
"FATHER OF LIES "
if a single detail in the ceremony is wrong, they can do what they like with the unfortunate evocator. The preparation for the magic ceremony is of great importance: it consists in fasting, choosing the right astrological influences, the right spot for the magic circle, etc.
In closing, one may recapitulate some of the points concerning the character of magic as follows:
1. Man is attracted to magic by the notion of " getting something for nothing," of the " secret heritage," as opposed to the idea of " earning an honest living." Magic appeals to man's baser nature, to his greed and appetites, and to his ego.
2. The magic mirror flatters the ego, by making him believe that he is on a par with God. At the same time, it distorts his outlook: leads him to reject reason, and to accept non-reason, lies, and hypocrisy in its place. Vice becomes virtue. Man becomes the slave of his ego.
3. The ego finds its model in the phallic ego. The person, by the study of magic, learns to exploit the intellectualized sex force for the purposes of hypnotism, magnetism, etc. By following a special diet, he escapes (in part) the physical reaction which nature has provided against the abuse of her functions. By remaining subject only, the person thinks to escape all responsibility: it is the "spirits," the mediums, or the phallic god, as the case may be, who are responsible (it is claimed). Man becomes the slave of the phallic god.
4. The person becomes part of a secret society held together by a common hatred, depravity, hypocrisy, and greed. It is one of the thousands of occult fraternities which secretly worship the phallic god and practise magic for their own ends. These fraternities, which are the plague of humanity, have always exploited religion as a screen for their activities: paganism in all its forms is their work.
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