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last updated April 8th, 2008 and is permanently morphing...
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1.The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.a. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature. b. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3.The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4.A mysterious quality of enchantment: "For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past" (Max Beerbohm).
1.Of, relating to, or invoking the supernatural: "stubborn unlaid ghost/That breaks his magic chains at curfew time" (John Milton).
2.Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.
magicked, magicking, magics
To produce or make by or as if by magic.
[Middle English magik, from Old French magique, from Late Latin magica, from Latin magicê, from Greek magikê, from feminine of magikos, of the Magi, magical, from magos, magician, magus.]
Magic (conjuring), art of entertaining with tricks that are in apparent violation of natural law. The principles of deception that magicians use are psychological; the methods are manipulative and mechanical. The psychological principles are misdirection, suggestion, imitation, and concealment. The spectators do not see everything that happens, and they believe they see things that do not happen. Such faulty perception leads to false assumptions, fallacious logic, and, in the end, to the conclusion that the performer has achieved an impossible result.
The first magicians of recorded history were those of ancient Egypt. Jacob Meyer, whose professional name was Philadelphia, was the first American to achieve an international reputation as a conjurer. Italian Giuseppe Pinetti was the most imitated magician of the 18th century. French magician Jean Houdin revolutionized the art of magic with his ingenious stage mechanisms and effective presentations. His textbooks were the first to treat magic scientifically, and he was the first to use electricity as an aid in stage mysteries.
One of the outstanding inventions of French magician Joseph Buatier, known as Buatier De Kolta, was the vanishing birdcage trick, in which a live canary and a metal cage disappeared at his fingertips. American magician Harry Houdini won world renown by effecting sensational escapes from handcuffs, straitjackets, and prison cells. He frequently jumped from bridges in shackles, releasing himself underwater.
One of the greatest box-office attractions in the history of magic has been the feat of appearing to saw a person in half. In 1921 British magician P. T. Selbit cut through a box that contained an assistant who emerged unharmed. Several months later, Horace Goldin presented an even more puzzling variation of the act, in which the head, hands, and feet of his assistant were in full view throughout the performance.
During the 1970s German magician Siegfried Fischbecker and his American assistant Roy Horn began performing in acclaimed productions in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canadian Doug Henning and American David Copperfield performed in films and stage musicals as well as on television, and American Harry Blackstone, Jr., produced lavish touring shows and a Broadway show.
Magic (sorcery), art of attaining objectives, acquiring knowledge, or performing works of wonder through supernatural or nonrational means. Techniques of magic typically include chants, spells (special gestures and actions), and use of supposedly magical substances.
Types of Magic
Anthropologists distinguish three types of magical practice: homeopathic magic, or the use of small portions of a thing to represent and affect the whole; sympathetic magic, in which a symbolic action affects an object; and contagious magic, the influencing of one thing through contact with another that is believed to be magically charged. Magical practices are based on a belief in hidden relationships among entities within the universe.
Magic is widely practiced in primal and traditional societies. In such contexts, it is often associated with religion. However, religion is generally regarded as the public acknowledgment of spirituality, while magic tends to be private and oriented toward power and gain rather than toward worship. Magic, both for good and bad ends, is sometimes referred to as witchcraft. Magic in the supernatural sense is different from stage magic and divination.
Origins and History
Euro-American traditions of magic can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. During the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century), science, religion, and magic often were not clearly distinguished in Judaism and Christianity. From the 15th century to the 18th century, during the period of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment, the relationship between science and magic underwent a fundamental readjustment as Western society entered the scientific era. The Roman Catholic church and Protestantism, as well as the new scientific models for understanding the world, undermined belief in magic. By the end of the 18th century, magic had lost many of its believers. Folk magic and so-called underground magic, however, have continued.
super: super, superduper, fantastic, way-out, out-of-sight, fabulous, fab, groovy, magic
magic, spell, sorcery
sleight: magic, sorcery
instrumentality: occult power, paranormal power, magic, sorcery
miracle-working: miracle-working, wonder-working, spellbinding, magic, sorcery
prestige: prestige, aura, mystique, magic
sorcery: magic, jugglery, illusionism, sleight
occultism: secret art, esoteric science, occult lore, alchemy, astrology, psychomancy, spiritualism, magic, sorcery
bewitch: magic, magic away
Indubitably, Magick is
of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is
opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgement and practice than in
any other branch of physics.
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), British occultist. _The Confessions of Aleister Crowley_, ch. 20 (1929; rev. 1970).
Great music is that which
penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory
with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.
Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961), British conductor. Quoted in: Sunday Times (London, 16 Sept. 1962).
I think that cars today
almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the
supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists,
and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which
them as a purely magical object.
Roland Barthes (1915-80), French semiologist. Mythologies, "The New Citroën" (1957; tr. 1972).
Exploration and Colonization, 1926
The rocket launched March 16 by physicist Robert H. Goddard is the first liquid-fuel rocket; it demonstrates the practicality of rockets and convinces Goddard that rockets will one day land men on the moon (1921). Goddard sends his device on a 2.5-second flight from a field on his Aunt Effie's farm near Auburn, Mass., it travels 184 feet at a speed of only 60 miles per hour and reaches a height of only 41 feet, but Goddard writes in his diary, "It looked almost magical as it rose, without any appreciably greater noise or flame." He continues his research, and beginning in 1930 will get financial support from copper heir Harry Guggenheim.
Science is always
odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), British occultist. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, ch. 64 (1929; rev. 1970), referring to Freudian theories.
In man, the shedding of
is always associated with injury, disease, or death. Only the female
of humanity was seen to have the magical ability to bleed profusely and
still rise phoenix-like
each month from the gore.
Estelle R. Ramey (b. 1917), U.S. scientist, educator. "Men's Monthly Cycles (They Have Them Too, You Know)," in The First Ms. Reader (ed. by Francine Klagsbrun, 1972).
Sex pleasure in woman . .
. is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon; if words or
oppose the magic of caresses, the spell is broken.
Simone De Beauvoir (1908-86), French novelist, essayist. The Second Sex, bk. 2, pt. 4, ch. 3 (1953).
Freud thought he was
the plague to the U.S.A., but the U.S.A. has victoriously resisted the
psychoanalytical frost by real deep freezing, by mental and sexual
They have countered the black magic of the Unconscious with the white
of "doing your own thing," air conditioning, sterilization, mental
and the cold media of information.
Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929), French semiologist. Cool Memories, ch. 2 (1987; tr. 1990).
A river seems a magic
A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself- for it is from
soil, both from its depth and from its surface, that a river has its
Laura Gilpin (1891-1979), U.S. photographer. The Rio Grande, Introduction (1949).
Magic trick: to make
disappear, ask them to fulfill their promises.
Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Sixth Selection, New York (1989).
For tribal man space was
the uncontrollable mystery. For technological man it is time that
the same role.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian communications theorist. The Mechanical Bride, "Magic that Changes Mood" (1951).
Criticism and the Arts
It is critical vision
which can mitigate the unimpeded operation of the automatic.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian communications theorist. The Mechanical Bride, "Magic that Changes Mood" (1951).
Better beware of notions
like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should
used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), Spanish essayist, philosopher. Notes on the Novel, "Decline of the Novel" (1925).
Life and Living
Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony.
Lou Reed (b. 1944), U.S. rock musician. "What's Good," from the album Magic and Loss (1992).
The magic of photography
What you see in the photograph isn't what you saw at the time.
The real skill of photography is organised visual lying.
Terence Donovan (b. 1936), British photographer. Guardian (London, 19 Nov. 1983).
Cats exercise . . . a
influence upon highly developed men of intellect. This is why these
Graces of the animal kingdom, these adorable, scintillating
have been the favorite animal of a Mohammed, Cardinal Richlieu,
Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch (1835-95), Austrian novelist. Severin, in Venus in Furs, "Confessions of a Supersensual Man" (1870; tr. 1928).
It is thus that the few
lucid well-disposed people who have had to struggle on the earth find
at certain hours of the day or night in the depth of certain authentic
and waking nightmare states, surrounded by the formidable suction, the
formidable tentacular oppression of a kind of civic magic which will
be seen appearing openly in social behavior.
Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), French theater producer, actor, theorist. Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society (1947; repr. in Selected Writings, pt. 33, ed. by Susan Sontag, 1976).
The product of the artist
has become less important than the fact of the artist. We wish to
this person. We wish to devour someone who has experienced the tragic.
In our society this person is much more important than anything he
David Mamet (b. 1947), U.S. playwright. Writing in Restaurants, "Exuvial Magic: An Essay Concerning Fashion" (1986).
Why not walk in the aura
of magic that gives to the small things of life their uniqueness and
Why not befriend a toad today?
Germaine Greer (b. 1939), Australian feminist writer. The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause, ch. 16 (1991).
As the unity of the
world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair,
the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight
the real direction of our own collective purposes.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian communications theorist. The Mechanical Bride, "Magic that Changes Mood" (1951).
The profession of
is one of the most perilous and arduous specialisations of the imagination.
On the one hand there is the hostility of god and the police to be
against; on the other it is as difficult as music, as deep as poetry,
ingenious as stage-craft, as nervous as the manufacture of high
and as delicate as the trade in narcotics.
William Bolitho (1890-1930), British author. Twelve Against the Gods, "Cagliostro (and Seraphina)" (1930).
That is your trick, your
bit of filthy magic:
Invisibility, and the anaesthetic power
To deaden my attention in your direction.
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), British author. The Mosquito.
Medical research progresses at the Benedictine school associated with the monastery established at Monte Cassino in 529. Arabian, Jewish, and Greco-Roman medical works are translated into Latin by Constantine the African, a physician who has studied medicine and magic at Babylon and who is now disguised as a monk. His translations of Galen and Avicenna help to emancipate medicine from the religious bonds that have held it.
Man, became man through
who stepped out of the animal kingdom as transformer of the natural
the artificial, who became therefore the magician, man the creator of
will always stay the great magician, will always be Prometheus
bringing fire from heaven to earth, will always be Orpheus enthralling
nature with his music. Not until humanity itself dies will art die.
Ernst Fischer (1899-1972), Austrian editor, poet, critic. The Necessity of Art, ch. 5 (1959; tr. 1963).
_Courtald Talks_ (1989)
by Killing Joke - Jaz Coleman delivers a monologue and is
eventually backed by constant percussion and sporadic guitar. His talk
on demonology and numerology suggests that only the present day
magician (sometimes masquerading as musician,) can hope to survive the
imminent arrival of the "elder gods."
In one of the most celebrated feats in magickal history, Jack Parsons and pre-_Dianetics_ L. Ron Hubbard performed ‘The Babalon Working,’ a daring attempt to shatter the boundaries of time and space and intended to bring about, in Parsons own words, "love, understanding, and Dionysian freedom [...] the necessary counterbalance or correspondence to the manifestation of Horus."
Alan Kay's emphasis on magic indicates that the supernatural metaphors that saturate technoculture may have a more substantive basis than the fondness that many hackers have for _Sandman_ comic books or D&D.
These metaphors arise and take power because, as William Irwin Thompson noted in a discussion of computer games, "the conventional worldview of materialism is not subtle enough to deal with the complexities of a multidimensional universe in which domains interpenetrate and are enfolded in one another." The science-fiction author Vernor Vinge came to a similar conclusion in _True Names_, a brilliant novella whose vision of a networked virtual world predates _Neuromancer_ by three years. Unlike the bright neon grid of Gibson's cyberspace, the Other Plane of Vinge's story is a Tolkienesque world of swamps, castles, and magic, a half-dreamed environment that is generated partly through electronic cues that stimulate the "imagination and subconscious" of its electrode-wearing users. The hacker denizens of the Other Plane band together as covens of witches and warlocks, and at one point, a few of them discuss how magical metaphors came to dominate "data space":
The Limey and Erythrina
that sprites, reincarnation, spells, and castles were the natural tools
here, more natural than the atomistic twentieth-century notions of data
structures, programs, files, and communication protocols. It was,
they argued, just more convenient for the mind to use the global ideas
of magic as the tokens to manipulate this new environment.
- Erik Davis - _Techgnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism In The Age Of Information_
Magical realism already denotes a strain of
Latin American fiction exemplified by Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez, and Isabel Allendein which a fantastic dreamlike logic melds
seamlessly and delightfully with the rhythms of the everyday.
Lovecraft's Magick Realism is far more dark and convulsive, as
ancient and amoral forces violently puncture the realistic surface of
his tales. H.P. Lovecraft constructs
and then collapses a number of intense
polarities between realism and fantasy,
book and dream, reason and its chaotic Other. By playing out these tensions in his writing, Lovecraft also reflects the transformations that darkside occultism has undergone as it confronts modernity in such forms as psychology, quantum physics, and the existential groundlessness of being. And by embedding all this in an intertextual Mythos of profound depth, he draws the reader into the chaos that lies "between the worlds" of magick and reality.
- Erik Davis - _Calling Cthulu_
When Data Became Dada
If information was no longer the known statistics of dead data but fresh experience -- spontaneous, unknown and alive -- then twentieth century culture began with its creative assimilation. What the scientist finds out through thinking, the artist discovers through new ways of perceiving, hearing and feeling. While Einstein made scientific history with his theory of relativity and Heisenberg with his uncertainty principle, the Surrealist "dada" revolution (Dali, Cocteau, Satie, etc.), James Joyce's omnicultural _Finnegans Wake_, and the music of Jazz brought the living experience to the people. Both scientists and artists recognized this dynamic shift from a "reality" that was once "predictable, solid and set" to one that seemed wilder, more plural, malleable and unfathomable. To those minds awakening from the slumber of nineteenth century "certainty" trance, our so-called "reality" entered the realm of immeasurable possibilities with countless interpretations. Any culture failing to assimilate this transformation in perception, never enters the twentieth century let alone, the twenty-first.
Alli - _Occulture: The Secret Marriage of Art and Magick_
604 release _The Technical Use of Sound in Magick_ compilation CD (1996)
The mind, like a computer with unlimited access to any programs, roams freely. A present event becomes charged with profound emotional significance, a cosmic phenomenon becomes identical with some personal quirk. Metaphysical realities are juggled and bounced around. Listening to this music initiates us into illumination, the power generated by the absolute universal goddess, a heady mix of exaltation and horror that accompanies her. Each party a ceremony, each piece of music a ritual which blasts us through dimensions, galaxies unknown, to places deep within our own consciousness.
Dedicated to the
spirit of Timothy Leary.
604 track _Black Magic_ off of _Black Rhino_ 12"x3 on Flying Rhino (1997)
samples - from the film _Strange Days_ (vhs/ntsc)
604 release _Dance, Trance
& Magic Plants: Otherworld_ compilation 12"x2
album, _Presence_ 12" (1976),
featured a strange object of the cover— an obelisk that many
wondered what it was, and what it was supposed to symbolize. In the
‘of the Furnishings of the Temple’ section in _Magick and
Theory and Practice_, an obelisk is mentioned. When speaking about what
should be on the altar, Aleister Crowley states, "on each side of it
should be a pillar or obelisk, with countercharges in black and white."
THE CYBERPUNK AS MODERN ALCHEMIST
The baby boom generation has grown up in an electronic world of TV and personal computing screens.The cyberpunks offer metaphors, rituals, life styles for dealing with the universe of information. More and more of us are becoming electro-shamans, modern alchemists.
Alchemists of the Middle Ages described the construction of magical appliances for viewing future events, or speaking to friends distant or dead. Writings of Paracelsus describe a mirror of ELECTRUM MAGICUM with telegenic properties, and crystal scrying was in its heyday.
Today, digital alchemists have at their command tools of a precision and power unimagined by their predecessors. Computer screens ARE magical mirrors, presenting alternate realities at varying degrees of abstraction on command (invocation). Aleister Crowley defined magick as 'the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with our will,' and to this end the computer is the universal level of Archimedes.
The parallels between the culture of the alchemists and that of cyberpunk computer adepts are inescapable. Both employ knowledge of an occult arcanum unknown to the population at large, with secret symbols and words of power. The 'secret symbols' comprise the languages of computers and mathematics, and the 'words of power' instruct computer operating systems to complete Herculean tasks. Knowing the precise code name of a digital program permits it to be conjured into existence, transcending the labor of muscular or mechanical search or manufacture.
Rites of initiation or apprenticeship are common to both. 'Psychic feats' of telepathy and action-at-a-distance are achieved by selection of the menu option.
- Erik Davis
One of the most compelling snares is the use of the term metaphor to describe a correspondence between what the users see on the screen and how they should think about what they are manipulating ... There are clear connotations to the stage, theatrics, magic; all of which give much stronger hints as to the direction to be followed. For example, the screen as 'paper to be marked on' is a metaphor that suggests pencils, brushes, and typewriting....Should we transfer the paper metaphor so perfectly that the screen is as hard as paper to erase and change? Clearly not. If it is to be like magical paper, then it is the magical part that is all important...
Alan Kay, "User Interface: A Personal View"
"Magic, in light of modern physics, quantum theory and probability theory is now approaching science. We hope that a result of this will be a synthesis so that science will become more magical and magic more scientific." - William S. Burroughs
In the 1960s the CIA became interested in the Voynich Manuscript because the CIA is in the business of code making and breaking, a huge amount of energy goes into this. If you know anything about the enigma project in WWII you know that vast energies go into the making of unbreakable codes and so they very systematically sought out all examples of encrypted material throughout history and just lickety-split deciphered it, one after another. All occult and magical codes known to exist in Europe can be traced back to one person, virtually to one person, to Trithemius, Bishop of Spawnheim who was the great teacher of Henry Cornelius Agrippa.
As far as the relationship between John Dee and Giordano Bruno, the relationship is that they were both derivative of the school of magic that can be traced back to Henry Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettleshine who was another model for Faust. Agrippa wrote De Libro Quatro De Occulta Philosophia, four books of occult philosophy, and that was the core work for European magic. All European magic can be traced back to the Agrippan system and Agrippa was the direct student of the Abbot Trithemius of Spawnheim that we mentioned yesterday as the source of all the magical codes of the middle ages. If you're interested in a brilliant but fictional treatment of John Dee and Giordano Bruno, I'd like to recommend a novel to you. It's called _Aegypt_, it's by John Crowley, the same gentleman who wrote Little Big which is a wonderful novel about the magical interface between two worlds. But his book _Aegypt_, fully half of the book is given over to a wonderfully rich retelling of the relationship between Bruno and Dee. Some people have wanted to say that Dee and Bruno actually crossed physical paths in London but I've looked into it and they missed each other by about two weeks. Bruno was setting sail for England as Dee was setting sail for France and the Rosicrucian enlightenment episode that I talked about.
- Terence McKenna lecture on Alchemy
The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of you can make of it whatever you wish.
- Terence McKenna
The emphasis in house music and rave culture on physiologically compatible rhythms and this sort of thing is really the rediscovery of the art of natural magic with sound, that sound, properly understood, especially percussive sound, can actually change neurological states, and large groups of people getting together in the presence of this kind of music are creating a telepathic community of bonding that hopefully will be strong enough that it can carry the vision out into the mainstream of society. I think that the youth culture that is emerging in the nineties is an end of the millenium culture that is actually summing up Western civilization and pointing us in an entirely different direction, that we're going to arrive in the third millenium, in the middle of an archaic revival, which will mean a revival of these physiologically empowering rhythm signatures, a new art, a new social vision, a new relationship to nature, to feminism, to ego. All of these things are taking hold, and not a moment too soon.
- Terence McKenna - liner notes from ollaboration: The Shamen and Terence McKenna on the track _Re:Evolution_ off of _Re:Evolution_ 12" (as well as _Boss Drum_)
"In some sense Magic is merely a way to know the future and know where to stand next." - Space Time Continuum w/Terence McKenna
Trance music in Morocco is magical in origin and purpose, concerned with the evocation and control of spiritual forces. In Morocco musicians are magicians. Gnauoa music is used to drive out evil spirits. The music of Jajouka evokes the God Pan, God of Panic, representing the real magical forces that sweep away the spurious. It is to be remembered that the origin of all arts -- music, painting, and writing -- is magical and evocative, and that magic is always used to obtain some definite result.
- W. S. Burroughs
"Magic, practiced more assiduously than hygiene in Morocco, through ecstatic dancing to the music of the secret brotherhoods, is, there, a form of psychic hygiene. You know your music when you hear it, one day. You fall into line and dance until you pay the piper." - Brion Gysin
"The Master Musicians are a special caste
from farm work. The sons and grandsons of Master Musicians, they
have done nothing else since birth and perhaps before. While they
differ widely in age and appearance, they all have the mark of the
of someone who does what he does superlatively well. Musicians
magicians in Morocco, and they bear the mark of the conjurer, the magic
man. They are evokers of the djenoun forces,
spirits of the hills and the flocks and above all the spirits of music."
- liner notes from _Apocalypse Across The Sky_ CD by Master Musicians Of Jajouka on Axiom (1992)
Besides providing ideal fantastic maps, SF and fantasy work in MUDspace because the magic and future science of these genres bend the same rules ofreality that MUD code does. In MUDs, you can communicate telepathically, shape-shift, teleport, create little machine selves, and conjure birds and pleasure domes out of thin air. As Vernor Vinge recognized in the novella _True Names_, which placed his (pre-_Neuromancer_) vision of cyberspace in a world of D&D medievalism, magical imagery functions as paradoxically pragmatic metaphors for the odd laws that rule the digital astral planes of VR.
Even the binding spells wielded by 13-year-old necromancers in combat MUDs express of that virtual fact that changing language changes the world, for the world itself is made of language. And both poets and programmers have the power.
- Erik Davis - _It's A Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World_
"...the word maya, by which this peculiar unreality is described, is not necessarily a term of contempt, as if the world were merely an illusion to be dismissed. Maya also means art and magic, and thus a seeming solidity evoked by divine power. But under the spell of this power, one does not feel oneself entirely a victim. However obscurely, one knows or feels that the source of this enchantment is in some roundabout way oneself - as if being alive and human were to have got oneself deliberately lost in a labyrinth."
Alan Watts, _The Two Hands of God_, 1963
Peter Carroll points out that his conception of ether is merely a model to explain existing phenomena, and should not be thought of as necessarily having an independent existence outside of this conception, just as physicists make models to explain events in physical interactions. According to the magical model, ether 'acts as though it were a form of information emitted by matter that is instantaneously available everywhere and has some power to shape the behaviour of other matter' (Carroll, p21). This vision of a fundamentally interconnected, dynamic universe is in a sense a return to an ancient, Aristotelian vision of an organic, interconnected cosmos; it is also a concept of reality which is particularly apt in terms of chaos theory, with its fractal maps of infinite space.
Edward Witten calls this deeper understanding of superstrings "Mtheory," with M standing, he says wryly, for "mystery, magic or matrix, my three favorite words." Before, string theorists envisioned strings and loops. Now, those strings and loops are anchored to sheets and bubbles. Hence the term matrix: Mystery and magic are self-explanatory.
The animating purpose of Dada and Surrealism
was to smash all accepted values and expectations; to jolt
perception awake from robotic sleep and into seeing the world in a new,
fresh way that is nonlinear and multidimensional. Picasso's _Man with a
Violin_ depicts an ordinary scene, but from all sides and angles at
once. In Marcel Duchamp's _Nude
Descending A Staircase, No.2_, we see what the title descibes, but from
a perspective of nonlinear time.
The Surrealists investigated dreams and the unconscious, automatic art
and writing, the art of "primitive" peoples and the art of children
and schizophrenics. They were
on a quest for magickal perception,
a shaman's view of the world.
Dance was performed in the original labyrinth in Crete as the magical act that would enable the spell of the Minotaur to be broken.
The Greeks even had two words for these two types oftime: khronos, meaning clock-time, and kairon for this other, suspended, magical, party time.
Rave culture allows the hologram of another dimension to shoot out of the two-dimensional poster of everyday existence. When the lone dancer connects with the collective experience by moving to the music, the latent magic of life becomes blatant. It is an experience accessible to anyone prepared to let their 'self' go.
- Roger Griffin - from the liner notes of _Deep Trance and Ritual Beats_ CDx2 on Return To The Source
"The belief in the magical power of language is not unusual, both in mystical and academic literature. The Kabbalists - Jewish mystics of Spain and Palestine - believed that supernormal insight and power could be derived from properly combining the letters of the Divine Name. For example, Abu Aharon, and early Kabbalist who emigrated from Baghdad to Italy, was said to perform miracles through the power of the Sacred Names."
- _Snow Crash_ byNeal Stephenson
"The second definition of a melody is *expressionistic*. In its primordial aspect it is magical or sacromagical. In its modern individualistic aspect it is meant to communicate transformative states of consciousness -- the struggles and passions of individuals... In their transpersonal aspect beyond individual passions, expressionistic melodies assume a deliberately transformative function, reviving at a higher level of human evolution the magic of ancient chants associated with evocative tones.
- Dane Rudhyar, _Dissonant Harmony, Pleromas of Sound, Music Physician for Times to Come_ an anthology by Don Campbell, p. 281.
Kenneth Grant, a British
magician, has made some -- to say the least -- astounding
Working. He writes that: "The Working began in 1945-46, a few
Crowley's death in 1947,
and just prior to the wave
of unexplained aerial phenomena now recalled as the "Great Flying
Flap." Parsons opened a door and something flew in...."
...in the Vedic classic, _The Mahabharata_, we read that Maya was the name of a noted astrologer-astronomer, magician, and architect, as well as the name of a great wandering tribe of navigators. - Jose Arguelles - _The Mayan Factor_
Sufi term for spiritual power.
(Sufi.) Blessed Be.. A baraka is a blessing or power used by the Sufis. Baraka is another name for the X-Factor, conceived as a magickal fluid that pours forth from the saints.
All occult and magical codes known to exist in Europe can be traced back to one person, virtually to one person, to Trithemius, Bishop of Spawnheim who was the great teacher of Henry Cornelius Agrippa. - Terence McKenna lecture on Alchemy
"The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - Bertrand Russell
[Emotion] is a
transformation of the world... We try to change the world, that is, to
live as if the connection between things and their potentialities were
not ruled by
deterministic processes, but by magic. - Jean Paul Sartre
The nam-shubs suggest a magical theory of language, in which the only kind of utterance that can cause the breakdown of language is one which also happens to talk about the breakdown of language. In other words, the surface meaning of the incantation is crucial to its deep effect.
Words do make the
world. This is the basic teaching of all the magical traditions
I've encountered; each takes a different approach to broadening the
lexicon of the postulant. - Mark Pesce
Historians have been wrong in concluding that magic disappeared with the advent of "quantitative science." The latter has simply substituted itself for a part of magic while extending its dreams and its goals by means of technology. Electricity, rapid transport, radio and television, the airplane, and the computer have merely carried into effect the promises first formulated by magic, resulting from the supernatural processes of the magician: to produce light, to move instantaneously from one point in space to another, to communicate with faraway regions of space, to fly through the air, and to have an infallible memory at one's disposal.
- Ioan Couliano
"What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Johann von Goethe
Quantum mechanics has given rise to the modern semiconductor technologies behind the new computing and information infrastructure. When considered magickally, a workable interface between psi phenomena, consciousness, bioenergetics and synchronicity is established. We're getting quite near to where we've been trying to hasten us: the frontiers of science, where mathematics and mysticism almost visibly blur. Mathematics is the universal language of physicists, and as such perhaps the most powerful magickal language in daily use on this planet. A language in which 'work' 'force' 'power' 'acceleration' 'field strength' 'energy' 'mass' and 'current' all refer to well defined concepts, and observable quantities. Mathematics has provided the most effective magickal framework yet for enquiry into the nature and structure of matter (which we now know to be a form of energy, and vice versa.)
Magick is an archaic spelling of magic, revived by Aleister Crowley to differentiate "true" magic from illusion or stage magic. His definition treats magic in the context of the paranormal and magic in the context of religion as special cases.
Crowley defined magick as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will." By this, he included "mundane" acts of will as well as ritual magick. In Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter XIV, Crowley says:
What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose.
Some in the Neopagan and occult communities have amended this definition, using the word "magick" in an exclusively paranormal sense. However, "Uncle Al" still appears to wield significant influence in these circles.
Concentration or meditation plays an important role in Crowley's system. A certain amount of restricting the mind to some imagined object (or will), according to this theory, produces mystical attainment or "an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object." (Book Four, Part 1: Mysticism) Magick, as defined previously, seeks to aid concentration by constantly recalling the attention to the chosen object (or Will), thereby producing said attainment. For example, if one wishes to concentrate on a god, one might memorize a system of correspondances (perhaps chosen arbitrarily, as this would not affect its usefulness for mystical purposes) and then make every object that one sees "correspond" to said god.
Aleister Crowley wrote:
Now what is all this but to do in a partial (and if I may say so, romantic) way what the Yogi does in his more scientifically complete yet more austerely difficult methods? And here the advantage of Magick is that the process of initiation is spontaneous and, so to speak, automatic. You may begin in the most modest way with the evocation of some simple elemental spirit; but in the course of the operation you are compelled, in order to attain success, to deal with higher entities. Your ambition grows, like every other organism, by what it feeds on. You are very soon led to the Great Work itself; you are led to aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and this ambition in turn arouses automatically further difficulties the conquest of which confers new powers. In the Book of the Thirty Aethyrs, commonly called 'The Vision and the Voice', it becomes progressively difficult to penetrate each Aethyr. In fact, the penetration was only attained by the initiations which were conferred by the Angel of each Aethyr in its turn. There was this further identification with Yoga practices recorded in this book. At times the concentration necessary to dwell in the Aethyr became so intense that definitely Samadhic results were obtained. We see then that the exaltation of the mind by means of magical practices leads (as one may say, in spite of itself) to the same results as occur in straightforward Yoga.
(Crowley, Yoga for Yellowbellies)
Crowley also made claims for the paranormal effects of magick. However, he defined any attempt to use this power for a purpose other than aiding attainment as "black magic".
Systems of Magick
Modern practitioners of magick often rely on one or more systems of magick to produce their effects. These include Chaos magick, Enochian magick, Grimoire magick, Goetic magick, Astrology, Tarot, I Ching and Qabalah. These magickal systems often intersect, and modern magicians are fond of drawing from, and creating correspondences between, different systems.