Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Kind of Magic(k).....

Magick with a k - it's different from conjurors' magic. Magick aka sorcery resides in the deepest darkest corners of "woo", and is too vast a subject for a modest blog post; I'm simply skimming the surface of Western-type magick's background.

Astrology may play some part in the supposed workings of magick - the timing of spells or procedures, the preparation of a talisman, for instance. Mediaeval magicians would almost always need some level of astrological knowledge, for them astrology was part and parcel of occult practice. I see it as otherwise - but that's just me.

From relatively modern times, Aleister Crowley is the first name that springs to mind when contemplating magick. The name alone gives me the creeps. A predecessor by several centuries, John Dee, has a much better feel for me. Distance does indeed lend enchantment!

It's well nigh impossible now to get a true feel and understanding of what life was like in John Dee's time and place: 16th century England and Europe. Let's see, what was going on around then? Religious reformation, exploration of the globe, discovery and colonisation of new lands, plagues, The Renaissance, developments in philosophy, science, art, literature and politics continued apace. Magic(k) was an integral part of life in the 16th century. At times it must have been difficult to differentiate between magick and reality, living in the midst of such seemingly eccentric change.

Intellectuals used magick in their efforts to discover "the meaning of life". Men like John Dee, scholar, mathematician, alchemist, occultist, astronomer, and astrologer, had sincere aspirations. They often fell foul of religious leaders who sensed that the knowledge they were aiming to acquire could weaken religion's control of the masses. John Dee was fortunate to enjoy patronage and protection from Queen Elizabeth the First for many years, as her advisor. Lesser mortals, namely women - witches - who involved themselves in magic to help themselves, neighbours and friends, were ostracised at best, tortured and executed at worst.

There's an entertaining article on John Dee by astrologer Dr Z : Who's the Original 007?

Magick in the 16th century, and now, covers a varied range of occult activity, the focus of all: to cause change, material or otherwise. Rituals of various kinds play a major part in magickal preparation. These rituals (I'm guessing) could exert an effect of some abnormal kind upon the proponent's brain function. Sexual connections occasionally crop up too. Don't they always?

A broomstick, accessory of any respectable Hallowe'en witch, was thought, in reality to have been annointed with an ointment made from hallucinogenic plants, the ointment then being transferred to the mucous membrane of the broomstick "rider" for rapid absorption, with the result of...well, a feeling of flying I guess. I feel I should add "Don't try this at home!"

Sex sells - whether car, broomstick or magickal ideas. A sexual link does exist in magick. Some lines I had saved but have now, unhelpfully, lost the link:
The Anglo-Saxon k in Magick is a means of indicating the kind of magic which Crowley performed. K is the eleventh letter of several alphabets, and eleven is the principal number of magick, because it is the number attributed to the Qliphoth - the underworld of chaotic forces that have to be mentally conquered before magick can be performed. K has other magical implications: it corresponds to the power or shakti aspect of creative energy, for k is the ancient Egyptian khu, the magical power. Specifically, it stands for kteis (vagina), the complement to the wand (or phallus) which is used by the Magician in certain sexual magick aspects of the Great Work
The $64,000 question: does magick work? Is it possible to "cause" change? Some obviously think so, otherwise the idea wouldn't still be around. This desire to change things seems to be tightly woven into human nature. A favourite quote from Edward Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:
Ah love! could you and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits -
And then Re-mold it nearer to the heart's desire!
A tale from personal experience. Many years ago, after a period of misfortune, ill health and downright bad luck, as a last resort I enlisted the assistance of a so-called magician to change circumstances, by removing what I sensed as a bad influence affecting myself and my late partner. To cut a long story short what he did (if he did anything at all other than take a lot of money from me) might have been instrumental in our losing everything we owned, almost lost our lives too, in a fire. I'll never be certain that there was a connection, but the timing was sinister to say the least.

My advice about magick: leave it alone. Better to be safe, meeting challenges in more usual ways, than sorry after trying to change things using occult means. Stick with the song....Queen:
It's a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
A kind of magic
One dream one soul one prize one goal
One golden glance of what should be
It's a kind of magic
One shaft of light that shows the way
No mortal man can win this day
It's a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
It's a kind of magic
The waiting seems eternity
The day will dawn of sanity
Is this a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
There can be only one
This rage that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be done
This flame that burns inside of me
I'm here in secret harmonies
It's a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
It's a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic............................


mike said...

That's a wonderful Queen song! And sure like the Terry Pratchett quote, too...LOL.

John Sebastian's "Do You Believe in Magic" (Lovin' Spoonful)..."According to the lyrics, the magic referenced in the title is the power of music to supply happiness and freedom to both those who make it and those who listen to it."

What is magic anyway? Power over our natural world...a new way of perceiving our natural world? I've experienced events that have no worldly explanation. I could put them in the miracle category or call it magic. If some of today's technology could be transported back in time, it would appear to be magical. There seems to be archeological evidence of technology used thousands of years ago that has only recently been discovered (antikythera mechanism, batteries, flying ships).

Do a search for "10 unexplained mysteries"...the results page will offer many more than just 10...pick and choose. One that I'm fond of is the Coral Castle in Florida. How did that guy handle those massive stones?

Nikola Tesla was a magician in his own right...inventing electrical appliances that could do amazing things...worldwide free electricity and communication, create earthquakes, etc. He learned from his mother how to perform physical experiments in his brain...he would check-in on occasion to see how the experiments were going!

Isaac Newton was known to have been deep into alchemy...this is the creator of calculus to explain mechanical physics.

I'm surprised that you sought the services of a crook, Twilight...sorry that it was such a negative event. I do believe there are individuals on our globe that can "bring magic" or alter reality somehow...maybe by using perfectly natural means, but the method isn't known to mankind, except for a precious few.

JD said...

Fascinating character was Dr Dee.
Prospero, in Shakespeare's the Tempest, was a thinly disguised portrait of John Dee :)
Dee was also 'responsible' for the British Empire, encouraging Queen Elizabeth to emulate the Spanish and Portuguese in colonising foreign lands.
And lots more....

Twilight said...

mike ~ At its heart, yes, magick was, and is, just a matter of seeking power - power over something or someone, major or minor power.

Good point that now humans have discovered ways of creating change, which would once have been seen as magic, through technology. True in one way, yet there's still that mystical mental element to magick.
A sorcerer or medieval magician would use various chemicals, diagrams and implements as a help, but I've always assumed the true magick (if there was any) would somehow be coming from the mind, put into a "different" state.

Those mysterious unexplained thing you mention still indicate that we have discovered only what lies on the surface - there's more, and some of it might even have been fairly common knowledge at some point in the far past.

I don't's a very mysterious subject - and another that's "in the eye of the beholder" too.

I learned my lesson well, mike.
I felt very strongly, back then, that there was a kind of black cloak around us, shedding its blackness upon us in various ways. I'd never had the feeling before and have never had it since. It could have been astrological, or maybe a mild depression (but I've never suffered from depression in that way before or since either). I'm not given to flights of fancy as a rule, but must have been feeling "at my wits' end" then, to do such a stoooopid thing! :-/

Twilight said...

JD ~ Didn't know that about Prospero.
I guess John Dee would have been something of a "celeb" of his time.
Good Queen Bess might have started more than she ever realised from following John Dee's advice then!
Magical powers at work? ;-)

You share initials with the old magician too!

mike (again) said...

I've experienced several events in my lifetime that are supernatural...could be called magical. The easiest event to describe is my attendance at a Yuwipi ceremony led by a Lakota shaman.

A new acquaintance of mine asked me to assist him (he was a seeker of something lost...his health). I did not like this acquaintance for a number of reasons and at that time, I was trying to subvert my ego. I decided that assisting him would be beneficial to each of us. I barely knew this person and was surprised by his asking me to assist him, and I was extra surprised when he disclosed the details. I paid for my own transportation and hotel when not at the reservation, so it was a costly trip, plus time-off from work.

We arrived at the reservation and pitched was extremely hot (August?). Each night was a Yuwipi ceremony for each seeker...I think there were four total, so the ceremonies lasted four days. At the end of each ceremony, there was a sacred cleansing in the "turtle", the sweat lodge...first the men, then the women. The day ended about midnight each night. Days were spent preparing for the evening ceremonies...lots of wood and herbs, primarily sage, gathered from the sacred hills, food preparation, tobacco prayer ties, the sweat lodge fire to heat the rocks, etc.

The ceremony itself is as described in the Wiki link, above, so I won't reiterate. The magic(k) or supernatural was in the calling of the spirits. This was performed in a large room...maybe 40 x 40 the dark. Well, sparks galore, bright enough to see from their luminescence, yet they appeared to be free-floating sparks out of nowhere. From one area, then from an opposite side, then right in front of me...rapid, over and over...intermittent loud, thunderous cracks and vibrations...gentle rattles here there, everywhere. Sometimes bright sparks right at the end of my nose or hand, with vibrations, and shaking, yet nothing was visible from the light of the sparks. This would last about 15 to 30 minutes in each ceremony. Each ceremony was distinctly different from the others regarding the "feel" was extremely fast and almost irritating, another was gentle, soft, nice feeling.

The sweat at the end of each was very refreshing, but quite physically intense...those turtles get HOT and STEAMY! The last and final sweat was for the individuals that were helpers, like me. It started as all the others sweats...nothing peculiar. Then, the shaman starts to talk specifically to one guy...starts to guide him...telling him what to do, where to go. Well, I couldn't figure this out! I was sitting right there and here's this guy sitting next to me in a trance! Then the shaman does the same to another, then another, then me! All I can say is that I was staring at a tiny hole in the turtle's covering...I could see the moon through the hole...that's all I remember...I, too, was in a trance...have no idea where I was or for how long! I remember the shaman bringing us back, talking us back to the sweat.

Back in my tent and in my sleeping bag, I was drifting off to sleep and the last I remember is being swallowed by a giant rock that came zooming toward me. The rock was a bit like the sun, less the shine.

Left for civilization the next morning and life was never quite the same!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Wow! Thank you for recounting that! It's not often that I get to hear such stories from someone I feel will be telling clear unvarnished truth....or from anyone at all, come to that. :-)

There's definitely some kind of mind manipulation going on, as happens with drugs, I suppose, but without the intake of drug substances.

I wonder whether the lost health your companion was seeking was found afterwards - did you discover that? That'd be the key. But just the fact that elemental stuff, sparks, cracks etc were evident means that some kind of elemental manipulation had occurred I guess.

Very strange. I'm not surprised the experience affected you from then on.

mike (again) said...

You asked about the guy's health. The spirits (presence known by the sparks, vibrations, etc) talk to the shaman and tell the shaman what to do. After the spirits departed, the shaman was untied-unwrapped...there was a recommendation of a peculiar concoction of herbal infusion this seeker needed to drink. He was then advised to assist anyone requesting his assistance and failure to do so would be fatal. Later, upon drinking the herbal infusion, he became almost hysterical and acted almost like an animal (weird, I know) for about 15 minutes, then became himself again. The next day, his cancerous lumps had diminished to about 25% of their original size and he said he felt much better.

I told you that this guy was a new acquaintance...I didn't care for his attitude...he was a very self-centered and selfish person. When the shaman announced that he had to assist those asking for his assistance, I figured he was a was probably a very difficult thing for him, I'm sure.

We drove a rental car back to Rapid City and stayed at a hotel that night and made our flight back to Boston the next morning. I told him at the Boston airport that I was finished with my task and I didn't want anything more to do with him...I have no idea how his story played-out after that.

I'm omitting lots of interesting details for brevity's sake, but my personal objective to down-grade my ego by virtue of this task had just the opposite was strengthened! And I had the realization that was a good thing and needed. No regrets.

The attendees rarely even saw the shaman other than at the ceremonies each night. I think it was on day three that the shaman visited the site in the afternoon and briefly chatted with each of us. He had an uncanny ability to read our minds and discuss issues that were mere thoughts to ourselves. Of course, his words to me centered on "ego" and "self"...that it was imperative to have those qualities and maintain them...the creator gave that gift. I tended to pal around with other helpers and we discussed the shaman's bizarre knowledge of our brains' contents.

Also, that last night's sweat, part of my thought process as I observed the moon through the tiny hole in the lodge was that I was becoming one with the universe. After that night's sweat, as we got out of the lodge, we had a few minutes together as we tried to regain our bearings...all of us were beyond words...there were brief attempts to convey to each other what had just occurred, but unsuccessfully, but that was OK...we each "knew" without talking.

I know this sounds too strange, made-up, "what a story", but it did happen. Back in 1989. I've told a few close friends and my younger sister about this episode.

mike (again) said...

BTW, I told you some time ago that I'm part Native American and a tribal member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. I did not grow-up on a reservation or have any real concept of my heritage, other than my mother's stories of our ancestry...she was quite proud of the Potawatomi connection.

This Yuwipi ceremony was the first Native American event that I had ever attended. I did not announce that I was Native American to anyone at this Yuwipi...but I suppose that the shaman knew!

ex-Chomp said...

What a K Kan do by its onwn Kens - plural of the Scottish word for magic powers - A K (A K-ey) and all Kan Change at last

mike (again) said...

One more BTW, at that time, transiting Pluto was conjunct my Mercury, Venus, Sun in Scorpio in the sixth house (service to others). Transiting Mars and Neptune were in trine and sextile transiting Pluto and my stellium. Transiting Uranus was conjunct my natal Mars. The transiting Moon and North Node were conjunct natal Jupiter, both opposed transiting Sun...there had just been a full moon lunar eclipse.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Amazing! Yes, it does sound strange, but I believe it. I wouldn't necessarily believe in the "spirits" part though, other than as a way of trying to understand what was going on.

The Native American side of this renders it even more credible for me, because there's less danger of the shaman being a charlatan aiming to sell more books etc. and "put on a show", or to acquire power over someone to bring about fear for nefarious reasons.....though I guess that could happen sometimes, privately, among tribal members.

Thanks for all this extra information - it's fascinating!

Investigating the many rabbit holes of magic(k) can be time consuming - there's so much online, some of it balderdash (of course), but some based in good sense too.

I wandered again into The Library of Halexandria (link is in my astrology links in the sidebar). I could spend all day on that site, it's easy to get lost in the maze of information there. At the end of the brief section headed "Magic", which can lead one to various other pages on related topics, Dr Dan Sewell Ward wrote:

“The problem with this hypothesis is that modern science does not recognize any sort of multiple-world theory of the nature of existence. For modern [mainstream] scientists, the concept of supernatural is indeed self-contradictory because there is nothing beyond nature, and therefore, anything ‘supernatural’ must either be a violation of natural law, or an indication that our understanding of natural law is inadequate. Here we are right back to the original problem of Astrology as stated at the beginning of these articles. Is astrology the result of some kind of comprehensible natural law that simply has not been discovered yet, or is astrology an indication that the universe is much different from what we have thought it to be?”

Someone once said something to the effect that the universe is not only stranger than we might imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. Obviously, we all need to work on increasing out imagination -- not just our word power!

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ "I dinna ken" - my Dad, though not Scottish, in spite of his name, Scott, used to say that often - it means "I don't know". His first name (but nobody ever never used it) was Kenneth too. LOL!

The "K" thing can lead one down several rabbit holes, most at some point involve Freemasonry. That's yet another strand of the magical mystery tour!

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp - An edit - I meant to type "nobody ever used it".