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Thread: Magick Theory

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    Default Magick Theory

    From Magick Without Tears


    Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity
    with Will.

    (Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts
    within my knowledge. I therefore take "magical weapons," pen, ink,
    and paper; I write "incantations" --- these sentences --- in the "magi-
    cal language" i.e. that which is understood by people I wish to
    instruct. I call forth "spirits" such as printers, publishers,
    booksellers, and so forth, and constrain them to convey my message
    to those people. The composition and distribution is thus an act
    of --- MAGICK --- by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity
    with my Will.8)


    ANY required Change may be effected by application of the proper kind
    and degree of Force in the proper manner through the proper medium to
    the proper object.

    (Illustration: I wish to prepare an ounce of Chloride of Gold. I
    must take the right kind of acid, nitro-hydrochloric and no other,
    in sufficient quantity and of adequate strength, and place it, in a
    vessel which will not break, leak or corrode, in such a manner as
    will not produce undesirable results, with the necessary quantity
    of Gold, and so forth. Every Change has its own conditions.
    In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are
    not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance,
    or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms. But it
    is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which
    that object is capable by nature; and the conditions are covered
    by the above postulate.)


    1. Every intentional act is a Magical Act.9

    (Ilustration: See "Definition" above.)

    2. Every successful act has conformed to the postulate.

    3. Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the postu-
    late have not been fulfilled

    (Illustrations: There may be failure to understand the case; as
    when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis, and his treatment injures
    his patient. There may be failure to apply the right kind of force,
    8* By "intentional" I mean "willed". But even unintentional acts so seem-
    ing are not truly so. Thus, breathing is an act of the Will-to-live.
    9* In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the

    as when a rustic tries to blow out an electric light. There may be
    failure to apply the right degree of force, as when a wrestler has
    his hold broken. There may be failure to apply the force in the
    right manner, as when one presents a cheque at the wrong window of
    the Bank. There may be failure to employ the correct medium, as
    when Leonardo da Vinci found his masterpiece fade away. The force
    may be applied to an unsuitable object, as when one tries to crack
    a stone, thinking it a nut.)

    4. The first requisite for causing any change is thorough qualita-
    tive and quantitative understanding of the condition.

    (Illustration: The most common cause of failure in life is ignorance
    of one's own True Will, or of the means by which to fulfill that Will.
    A man may fancy himself a painter, and waste his life trying to become
    one; or he may be really a painter, and yet fail to understand and to measure the difficulties peculiar to that career.)

    5. The second requisite of causing any change is the practical
    ability to set in right motion the necessary forces.

    (Illustration: A banker may have a perfect grasp of a given situa-
    tion, yet lack the quality of decision, or the assets, necessary to
    take advantage of it.)

    6. "Every man and every woman is a star." That is to say, every
    human being is intrinsically an independent individual with his own
    proper character and proper motion.

    7. Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the
    self, and partly on the environment which is natural and necessary
    for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through
    not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes in-
    to conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.

    (Illustration: A man may think it his duty to act in a certain way,
    through having made a fancy picture of himself, instead of investi-
    gating his actual nature. For example, a woman may make herself
    miserable for life by thinking that she prefers love to social con-
    sideration, or vice versa. One woman may stay with an unsympathetic
    husband when she would really be happy in an attic with a lover,
    while another may fool herself into a romantic elopement when her
    only true pleasures are those of presiding at fashionable functions.
    Again, a boy's instinct may tell him to go to sea, while his parents
    insist on his becoming a doctor. In such a case, he will be both
    unsuccessful and unhappy in medicine.

    8. A man whose conscious will is at odds with his True Will is
    wasting his strength. He cannot hope to influence his environment

    (Illustration: When Civil War rages in a nation, it is in no condi-
    tion to undertake the invasion of other countries. A man with cancer
    employs his nourishment alike to his own use and to that of the enemy
    which is part of himself. He soon fails to resist the pressure of
    his environment. In practical life, a man who is doing what his
    conscience tells him to be wrong will do it very clumsily. At first!)

    9. A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe
    to assist him.

    (Illustration: The first principle of success in evolution is that
    the individual should be true to his own nature, and at the same
    time adapt himself to his environment.)

    10. Nature is a continuous phenomenon, thought we do not know in all
    cases how things are connected.

    (Illustration: Human consciousness depends on the properties of
    protoplasm, the existence of which depends on innumerable physical
    conditions peculiar to this planet; and this planet is determined
    by the mechanical balance of the whole universe of matter. We may
    then say that our consciousness is causally connected with the re-
    motest galaxies; yet we do not know even how it arises from --- or
    with --- the molecular changes in the brain.)

    11. Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of Nature
    by the empirical application of certain principles whose interplay
    involves different orders of idea, connected with each other in a
    way beyond our present comprehension.

    (Illustration: We are able to light cities by rule-of-thumb methods.
    We do not know what consciousness is, or how it is connected with
    muscular action; what electricity is or how it is connected with
    the machines that generate it; and our methods depend on calcula-
    tions involving mathematical ideas which have no correspondence in
    the Universe as we know it.10)

    12. Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers.
    Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the past.
    and every step in his progress extends his empire. There is, there-
    fore, no reason to assign theoretical limits11 to what he may be,
    or to what he may do.

    (Illustration: Two generations ago it was supposed theoretically
    impossible that man should ever know the chemical composition of
    the fixed stars. It is known that our senses are adapted to receive
    only an infinitesimal fraction of the possible rates of vibration.
    Modern instruments have enabled us to detect some of these supra-
    sensibles by indirect methods, and even to use their peculiar quali-
    ties in the service of man, as in the case of the rays of Hertz and
    Roentgen. As Tyndall said, man might at any moment learn to per-
    ceive and utilize vibrations of all conceivable and inconceivable
    kinds. The question of Magick is a question of discovering and em-
    ploying hitherto unknown forces in nature. We know that they exist,
    and we cannot doubt the possibility of mental or physical instru-
    ments capable of bringing us in relation with them.)
    leave your life alone

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    13. Every man is more or less aware that his individuality comprises several orders of existence, even when he maintains that his subtler
    principles are merely symptomatic of the changes in his gross vehicle.
    A similar order may be assumed to extend throughout nature.

    10* For instance, "irrational," "unreal," and "infinite" expressions.
    11* i.e. except --- possibly --- in the case of logically absurd questions,
    such as the schoolmen discussed in connection with "God."

    (Illustration: One does not confuse the pain of toothache with the
    decay which causes it. Inanimate objects are sensitive to certain
    physical forces, such as electrical and thermal conductivity; but
    neither in us nor in them --- so far as we know --- is there any direct
    conscious perception of these forces. Imperceptible influences are
    therefore associated with all material phenomena; and there is no
    reason why we should not work upon matter through those subtle ener-
    gies as we do through their material bases. In fact, we use magnetic
    force to move iron, and solar radiation to reproduce images.)

    14. Man is capable of being, and using, anything which he perceives;
    for everything that he perceives is in a certain sense a part of his
    being. He may thus subjugate the whole Universe of which he is con-
    scious to his individual Will.

    (Illustration: Man has used the idea of God to dictate his personal
    conduct, to obtain power over his fellows, to excuse his crimes, and
    for innumerable other purposes, including that of realizing himself
    as God. He has used the irrational and unreal conceptions of mathe-
    matics to help him in the construction of mechanical devices. He
    has used his moral force to influence the actions even of wild ani-
    mals. He has employed poetic genius for political purposes.)

    15. Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed
    into any other kind of force by using suitable means. There is thus
    an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force that we may

    (Illustration: Heat may be transformed into light and power by
    using it to drive dynamos. The vibrations of the air may be used
    to kill men by so ordering them in speech as to inflame war-like
    passions. The hallucinations connected with the mysterious energies
    of sex result in the perpetuation of the species.)

    16. The application of any given force affects all the orders of being which exist in the object to which it is applied, whichever
    of those orders is directly affected.

    (Illustration: If I strike a man with a dagger, his consciousness,
    not his body only, is affected by my act; although the dagger, as
    such, has no direct relation therewith. Similarly, the power of my
    thought may so work on the mind of another person as to produce far-
    reaching physical changes in him, or in others through him.)

    17. A man may learn to use any force so as to serve any purpose,
    by taking advantage of the above theorems.

    (Illustration: A man may use a razor to make himself vigilant over
    his speech, by using it to cut himself whenever he unguardedly utters
    a chosen word. He may serve the same purpose by resolving that every
    incident of his life shall remind him of a particular thing, Making
    every impression the starting point of a connected series of thoughts
    ending in that thing. He might also devote his whole energies to
    some particular object, by resolving to do nothing at variance
    therewith, and to make every act turn to the advantage of that object.)

    18. He may attract to himself any force of the Universe by making
    himself a fit receptacle for it, establishing a connection with it,

    and arranging conditions so that its nature compels it to flow to-
    ward him.

    (Illustration: If I want pure water to drink, I dig a well in a
    place where there is underground water; I prevent it from leaking
    away; and I arrange to take advantage of water's accordance with
    the laws of Hydrostatics to fill it.)

    19. Man's sense of himself as separate from, and opposed to, the
    Universe is a bar to his conducting its currents. It insulates him.

    (Illustration: A popular leader is most successful when he forgets
    himself, and remembers only "The Cause." Self-seeking engenders
    jealousies and schism. When the organs of the body assert their
    presence otherwise than by silent satisfaction, it is a sign that
    they are diseased. The single exception is the organ of reproduc-
    tion. Yet even in this case self-assertion bears witness to its.
    dissatisfaction with itself, since in cannot fulfill its function
    until completed by its counterpart in another organism.)
    20. Man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is
    really fitted.

    (Illustration: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
    A true man of science learns from every phenomenon. But Nature is
    dumb to the hypocrite; for in her there is nothing false12.)

    21. There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man
    with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself one
    with any idea, the means of measurement cease to exist. But his
    power to utilize that force is limited by his mental power and
    capacity, and by the circumstances of his human environment.

    (Illustration: When a man falls in love, the whole world becomes,
    to him, nothing but love boundless and immanent; but his mystical
    state is not contagious; his fellow-men are either amused or an-
    noyed. He can only extend to others the effect which his love has
    had upon himself by means of his mental and physical qualities.
    Thus, Catullus, Dante, and Swinburne made their love a mighty mover
    of mankind by virtue of their power to put their thoughts on the
    subject in musical and eloquent language. Again, Cleopatra and
    other people in authority moulded the fortunes of many other people
    by allowing love to influence their political actions. The Magician,
    however well he succeeds in making contact with the secret sources
    of energy in nature, can only use them to the extent permitted by
    his intellectual and moral qualities. Mohammed's intercourse with
    Gabriel was only effective because of his statesmanship, soldier-
    ship, and the sublimity of his command of Arabic. Hertz'; discovery
    of the rays which we now use for wireless telegraphy was sterile
    until reflected through the minds and wills of the people who could
    take his truth, and transmit it to the world of action by means of
    mechanical and economic instruments.)

    12* It is no objection that the hypocrite is himself part of Nature. He
    is an "endothermic" product, divided against himself, with a tendency to
    break up. He will see his own qualities everywhere, and thus obtain a
    radical misconception of phenomena. Most religions of the past have
    failed by expecting Nature to conform with their ideals of proper conduct.
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    22. Every individual is essentially sufficient to himself. But he
    is unsatisfactory to himself until he has established himself in his
    right relation with the Universe.
    (Illustration: A microscope, however perfect, is useless in the
    hands of savages. A poet, however sublime, must impose himself upon
    his generation if he is to enjoy (and even to understand) himself, as
    theoretically should be the case.)

    23. Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one's condi-
    tions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.

    (Illustration: A golf club is intended to move a special ball in a
    special way in special circumstances. A Niblick should rarely be
    used on the tee, or a Brassie under the bank of a bunker. But, also,
    the use of any club demands skill and experience.).

    24. Every man has an indefeasible right to be what he is.

    (Illustration: To insist that anyone else shall comply with one's own
    standards is to outrage, not only him, but oneself, since both parties
    are equally born of necessity.)

    25. Every man must do Magick each time that he acts or even thinks,
    since a thought is an internal act whose influence ultimately affects
    action, thought it may not do so at the time.

    (Illustration: The least gesture causes a change in a man's own body
    and in the air around him: it disturbs the balance of the entire
    universe and its effects continue eternally throughout all space.
    Every thought, however swiftly suppressed, has its effect on the
    mind. It stands as one of the causes of every subsequent thought,
    and tends to influence every subsequent action. A golfer may lose
    a few yards on his drive, a few more with his second and third, he
    may lie on the green six bare inches too far from the hole; but the
    net result of these trifling mishaps is the difference of a whole
    stroke, and so probably between having and losing the hole.)

    26. Every man has a right, the right of self-preservation, to ful-
    fill himself to the utmost.13.

    (Illustration: A function imperfectly performed injures, not only
    itself, but everything associated with it. If the heart is afraid
    to beat for fear of disturbing the liver, the liver is starved for
    blood, and avenges itself on the heart by upsetting digestion, which
    disorders respiration, on which cardiac welfare depends.)

    27. Every man should make Magick the keynote of his life. He should
    learn its laws and live by them.

    (Illustration: The Banker should discover the real meaning of his
    existence, the real motive which led him to choose that profession.
    He should understand banking as a necessary factor in the economic
    existence of mankind, instead of as merely a business whose objects 13* Men of "criminal nature" are simply at issue with their true Wills. The
    murderer has the Will-to-live; and his will to murder is a false will at
    variance with his true Will, since he risks death at the hands of Society by
    obeying his criminal impulse.

    are independent of the general welfare. He should learn to distin-
    guish false values from real, and to act not on accidental fluctua-
    tions but on considerations of essential importance. Such a banker
    will prove himself superior to others; because he will not be an
    individual limited by transitory things, but a force of Nature, as
    impersonal, impartial and eternal as gravitation, as patient and
    irresistible as the tides. His system will not be subject to panic,
    any more than the law of Inverse Squares is disturbed by Elections.
    He will not be anxious about his affairs because they will not be
    his; and for that reason he will be able to direct them with the
    calm, clear-headed confidence of an onlooker, with intelligence un-
    clouded by self-interest and power unimpaired by passion.)

    28. Every man has a right to fulfill his own will without being
    afraid that it may interfere with that of others; for if he is in
    his proper path, it is the fault of others if they interfere with

    (Illustration: If a man like Napoleon were actually appointed by
    destiny to control Europe, he should not be blamed for exercising
    his rights. To oppose him would be an error. Anyone so doing
    would have made a mistake as to his own destiny, except in so far
    as it might be necessary for him to learn the lessons of defeat.
    The sun moves in space without interference. The order of Nature
    provides a orbit for each star. A clash proves that one or the
    other has strayed from its course. But as to each man that keeps
    his true course, the more firmly he acts, the less likely are others
    to get in his way. His example will help them to find their own
    paths and pursue them. Every man that becomes a Magician helps
    others to do likewise. The more firmly and surely men move, and the
    more such action is accepted as the standard of morality, the less
    will conflict and confusion hamper humanity.)

    Well, here endeth the First Lesson.
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