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Thaumaturgy, part two

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January 2010
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Okay, after the distractions of the holiday, I return belatedly to magery.  In my previous article I aimed to consider terminology.  The mainstream development of English without words for magical concepts, has left us in a halting state when trying to communicate such.

I suggested the following definitions:

Wizard: (n) Any practitioner of the magical arts, male or female.  This word has no negative connotation and implies that wisdom and magery go hand in hand.

Mage: (n)  One who practices magical arts, male or female.  Pl. “magi”.

Magery (n)  The use of symbols, chant, music, words, and rituals in various ways to effect change upon oneself, others, or one’s environment. The use of such arts to bring about improbable or acausal results. Synonyms: Enchantment, Glamoury, Wizardry.

Wizardry (n):  Magery combined with wisdom and prudence.

Glamoury (n):  Magery employing the art of glamour.

Glamour (n):  A spell cast over the senses of another person to make them see or feel differently than they would using only their physical senses.  Note:  it really isn’t possible to perceive the world using “only” your physical senses because feelings and emotions always bias and warp one’s perceptions. Glamoury, however, is the deliberate intervention of another person.  In more mundane useage, “glamour” has become synomymous with the kind of cosmetic beauty and charisma of the fashion industry and professional fashion models.

Magic (adj.):  (1) Of or pertaining to magery or used in its implementation.  (2) A phenomenon without understood causes. An apparent breach of normal causal laws of nature. Also, “Magical.”

Thaumaturgy (n).  The practice of magery which draws the power of intention from the mage and directs in on an object.

Theurgy (n):  The practice of magery which directs intention through a divine intermediary.

Maleficium (n):  Magic spells intended to harm or manipulate others against their will.

Spell (n.):  A form of magery that employs words, incantations, or chanting.  May be supplemented by other ritual forms, the use of cachets, amulets, potions.  The spell is the basic and most general magical action.

Potion (n):  An herbal magical concoction brewed to embody and deliver a particular spell, often for healing purposes, or to induce certain emotional states, such as fear, love, or indecision.  Poisons are an extreme example of a magic potion designed to bring about death.

Poison (n):  An herbal extract or decoction, or raw herb, or a chemical of any kind which when ingested will bring about death.  Some would say this is a purely “natural” cause, not “magical” but that error lies in supposing that magery does not work by “natural” means.  (see “nature” and “natural”).  Though common, and often inadvertent, poisoning is not difficult magic because living organisms are very easy to kill.

Concoction (n):  (1) A combination of herbs and other ingredients brewed together to work magically to effect healing or some other result. (2) The process of making such a mixture or brew.

Decoction (n):  (1) The liquor extracted from an herb, plant or concoction of such for its essential properties. (2) The process of distilling and extracting such a liquor.

Nature (n):  (1) From Latin “natus” born.  The qualities with which a person, place, or thing was born into the world.  As distinct from characteristics or qualities added after birth through nurture and/or transformation. (2) The whole world of things unaltered by human intervention.  From materialist standpoint this idea excludes the spiritual dimensions of reality.  From a magical standpoint nature includes material, ethereal, astral, and archetypal dimensions, emanating from the Divine plane of existence.  Moreover, one may speak of the nature of ethereal or astral beings who, by nature, have no material form.

Natural (adj.):  (1) Having the unaltered qualities given at birth, without transformation by human arts.  (2) wild.  (3) The opposite of “supernatural.”

Supernatural (adj.):  Phenomena or qualities that go beyond (“super”) those inherent by virtue of simply being born.  Also, unusual, and beyond the ordinary.  Cf. “extraordinary.”  The concept is predicated on the idea that the spiritual dimensions of existence are not a part of “nature,” a claim that is demonstrably false.  The term “supernatural” is applied, by those not trained in magery, to ghosts (spirits) as well as divine, semi-divine, quasi-devine and other ethereal beings and their acts.

Ethereal (adj.): Of or pertaining to the ethereal dimension of a person, place, or thing; that is, the organic, living structure that connects material atoms and molecular structures to the astral dimension.  See: Ether.

Ether (n):  Also Aether.  An essential substance intermixed of the four primary elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), which is sometimes identified with spirit.  See: spirit; element.

Element (n):  Adj. “elemental.”  One of the four basic metaphysical components from which all persons, places, and things are constructed.  These four elements are Air, Earth, Fire, and Water.  They must not be confused with the ordinary meanings of those words, for they are metaphysical essences rooted in the archetypal dimension and extending in combination through the other dimensions.  Even divinities are considered to have elemental properties, though in fact it is the elements that emanate from divine qualities.  The divine dimension is considered to be a realm of Spirit or Ether, substance which contains all four elements in potential but united into the quintessence.  Not to be confused with the use of the word “element” in chemistry to denote distinct atomic forms.

Quintessence (n):  The fifth element, Ether or Spirit.  In Hindu terms it is called akasha.

Spirit (n):  From Latin “spiritus” breath.  The ancients considered that the immortal part of human beings could be expelled from the material body through the breath.  This was a logical hypothesis based upon the observation that dead men don’t breathe.  The concept of the breath was abstracted philosophically into the idea of an immaterial or supernatural body that would continue on after death into an Afterlife of some sort.  Among the early Greeks, this was visualized as the Underworld with places of torment and pleasure.  Among the ancient Hebrews it was conceptualized as a place of shades and shadows – ghosts.  Among the Hindu scholars, the Afterlife was to be reborn into another material existence.  According to this hypothesis, the reborn spirit lost most memory of its previous existences.  The Spirit aspect of a human being is thus consciousness extended in space and time farther than a single body or lifespan.

Soul (n):  A religious concept akin to Spirit but adding the hypothesis that the soul may be immortal and retain its memories and integrity after death.  While “spirit” refers to the substance of the immortal self, the soul is its ethereal vessel, carrying it from one material manifestation to the next.  “Soul” may also be understood as a complex of feelings, experiences, and memories that make up a personality and give it individual meaning.  In this sense, the soul is the element or substance of spirit arranged into complex patterns that make up the personality within a particular physical form.  The soul is thus always embodied, while we may speak of spirit as distinct from a material vessel.

Earth, Elemental (n).  Elemental Earth is not first and foremost the atomic structures of matter in a chemical sense.  The essence called Earth is the potentiality to have fixed form.  As such it underlies and makes possible all atomic and subatomic forms.  It is also manifest in geometric forms and so also number.  Finally, Earth is expressed in organic forms,  always in conjunction with elemental Water, Fire, and Air.

Water, Elemental (n):  The element of Water is the primal potentiality to flow.  It is manifest in physical bodies of water of all kinds, and also in bodily fluids.  As such it is essential to sexual reproduction, growth, and life.   Water is also manifested in subtler forms such as human emotions and feelings.

Fire, Elemental (n): The primary potentiality of motion manifested in physical motion, action, and the energetic actions emergent from emotions or urges generally called passions or desires.  In its most spiritual form, Fire manifests as will, the will to action.  In material forms it is manifest in heat and corrosive or digestive processes. Some ancient philosophers equated fire with life because warmth leaves the body upon death.

Air, Elemental (n):  The primary potentiality for invisible flow manifest in all gasses, the atmosphere, and in animal organisms, thought and communication.  The invisible flow of thoughts and ideas, pictures in the mind, imagination — all are elementally Air.  Moreover, of course, breath is also air, and for this reason the element of air is sometimes considered to be the most rarified and closest to Ether or Spirit.  It is a substance in constant movement like water, and easily moved by fire.

Classifications of Magery

Magery can be classified in various ways.  The first of these is the classification of magical abilities, or as is more correct Astral Abilities.  Each of these comes from the awareness of one’s astral body or the astral dimension of self.  There are eighteen.

Astral Sensitivity Ability to sense the presence of Astral beings or influences, such as enchantment, curses, blessings, sanctity, etc. May also sense the past presence of such forces (i.e., “traces”).
Psychometry Ability to sense information about an object, the maker of an object, or people who have handled it. Touching the object is required.
Mediumism Ability to link minds with other spirits in trance. Extreme forms of this ability can manifest as possession by Ethereals or even ghosts.
Telepathy Ability to sense the thoughts of others directly as if they were one’s own thoughts, and in more advanced degree, to project one’s own thoughts directly into another’s mind.
Empathy Ability to feel the emotions or physical sensations of another person as if they were one’s own. Rarely, one’s own emotions or sensations can be projected into another person’s mind and body.
Clairvoyance Ability to see objects or events that are far away. Distance is not a factor but the ability is limited to the present and does not always allow the clairvoyant to recognize where the object or events are.
Clairaudience Ability to hear objects or events that are far away. Distance is not a factor but the ability is limited to the present and does not always allow the clairvoyant to recognize where the object or events are.
Prescience Ability to divine the future, usually through visions that may or may not include an aural component. At a rudimentary level this ability may take the form of hunches and the ability to sense impending danger.
Charm The ability to project one’s will or personality over others to produce a certain effect. Most often this is manifested as the ability to attract others as friends or lovers by causing infatuation. It also sometimes manifests as an uncanny ability to put others to sleep or to calm people or animals.
Projection Ability to project one’s spirit into other places, persons, or things. This ability can manifest as “Astral projection” or shamanic vision-journeys, “out-of-body” experiences.
Telekinesis Ability to move objects by the Astral manipulation of gravitic forces. Ability to move massive objects or to move any object long distances is extremely rare, but it is possible to amplify and extend this ability artificially. It is the basis of gravitic propulsion.
Pyrokinesis Ability to ignite inflammable objects by the Astral manipulation of elemental fire.
Levitation Ability to Astrally manipulate gravitic forces within one’s own body. Applied to others, this is a form of telekinesis.
Healing Ability to spontaneously bring about healing of wounds, disease, or other illness. Usually requires touch of some sort. May include healing of Astral disorders such as possession or disassociation — i.e., the ability to exorcise.
Growth Related to Healing, the ability to cause unusual growth or regeneration in plants, animals, or rarely, oneself. In some cases a slowing of the aging process occurs, but the talent is usually discovered before this can be noticed.
Luck Ability to affect one’s circumstances in generally fortunate or unfortunate ways. Usually individuals have good luck or bad luck.
Bless Ability to affect  others for good by projection of astral desires. This ability is frequently manifested unconsciously, i.e., without the agent realizing he or she is doing anything.
Hex Ability to affect others adversely by astral projection of desire. This ability is frequently manifested unconsciously, i.e., without the agent realizing he or she is doing anything.

The second way of classifying magery is into the three principal types of effect, or modes of magery:  Transformation, Information, and Circumstanciation.  These can be explained as follows.

Transformations:  Acts of magery which change something about the object of the action itself, whether the object is the mage herself, another person, or an object of any other kind.

Informations: Acts of magery which draw knowledge and/or understanding to the mage, or which draw knowledge or sources of communication (e.g. books, teachers) to the mage, or to another person for whom the action is performed.

Circumstanciations:  Acts of magery which alter the circumstances of the mage or another person for whom the action is performed.  Circumstances are defined as all the causal forces at work surrounding a person, both physical and mental, that is those influencing  thoughts, feelings, and actions.

The third way of classifying magery is according to the purpose or field of the magery, as distinct from its mode.  Traditionally these fields are assigned to colors and the colors are used ritually as supporting symbols of the field of magery.

Red.  The body, blood, vigor, physical healing or disease, killing — in a military context especially.  Sexual attraction and urges, enthusiasm, love deeply felt in the body (from sexual intimacy or family ties of blood, e.g. mother love).  Buckland places charity in this field.

Orange.  Material wealth and strength, mental ego strength, pride, self-confidence, courage, security, and endurance, attraction of abundance, prosperity, success in work or career, investments, etc.  Buckland also places encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, and kindness here.

Yellow.  The mind and nervous system, thought, abstract ideas, logic, mathematics, learning, organizing ideas, theorizing.  Also charm or charisma, persuasion, applications of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and prescience.  Most Informations fall into the field of Yellow Magery.

Green.  Agriculture, fertility, plants, herbs, trees, growth, creation.  Also, in the U.S. this color is connected to money spells because our money is green (or is our money green because of the magical resonance of the color?).  Probably from this connection with money and fertility comes the use of green also in luck spells.

Blue.  Emotions, feelings, relationships, astral perception, intuition, divination of all kinds except astrology (for which see Indigo below).  Emotional healing, mental health, meditation, tranquility.

Indigo.  Sky and weather magic, flight, and space travel, ocean voyages, astronomy, astrology, and star magery of all kinds.

Violet.  Passions, i.e., love, hate, fear, anger, ecstasy, sexual lust, lust for social, economic, or political power, domination of others.

Ultraviolet.  Pure power and extremes or universals, often the attempt to become divine by means of self-transformation.  Often the magery of demonology and necromancy, the power inherent in the violation of taboos.

Brown.  The animal world, its fertility, fecundity, health, and nurturance.  Magery of animal husbandry, hunting, and animal familiars, guides, or guardian totems.  Also, transformation into and of animals.  While arguably not a color of the spectrum, brown is used to distinguish this field of activities from the more fundamental areas treated in the red field.  Also, used for spells involving homes and houses.

In addition to these nine fields (sometimes reduced to eight by including the brown field with red), there are three “colors” that are defined in relation to helping or harming and may be applied in addition to actions of the colored fields.

White.  Goodness and light, devotion to Deity, and helping others. Protection, peace, purification, truth.

Black.  Absorption of negativity or destructive power.  Rejection of goodness and helping others in favor of helping oneself regardless of the means used to do so.  Often devotion to demonic forces or entities and the use of theurgy in connection with such entities.  Magery motivated by revenge, and criminal or murderous intent.  Employed in a positive way, black may be used to banish negative or destructive influences.

Gray.  Magery grounded in philosophical and existential neutrality, denying the supremacy of both good and evil as traditionally defined, and therefore seeking a middle ground between the black and white fields.  Particularly devoted to magery of dreams, sorrow, and dispassionate contemplation of the cosmos.

So, there you are.



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