Some thoughts on esoterism, magic, occultism and christianity
OUR Society believes in no miracle, diabolical or human, nor in anything which eludes the grasp of either philosophical and logical induction, or the syllogistic method of deduction. But if the corrupted and comparatively modern term of "Magic" is understood to mean the higher study and knowledge of Nature and deep research into her hidden powers -- those Occult and mysterious laws which constitute the ultimate essence of every element -- whether with the ancients we recognize but four or five, or with the moderns over sixty; or, again, if by Magic is meant that ancient study within the sanctuaries, known as the "worship of the Light," or divine and spiritual wisdom -- as distinct from the worship of darkness or ignorance -- which led the initiated High-priests of antiquity among the Aryans, Chaldæans, Medes and Egyptians to be called Maha, Magi or Maginsi, and by the Zoroastrians Meghistam (from the root Meh'ah, great, learned, wise) -- then, we Theosophists "plead guilty."
We do study that "Science of sciences," extolled by the Eclectics and Platonists of the Alexandrian Schools, and practised by the Theurgists and the Mystics of every age. If Magic gradually fell into disrepute, it was not because of its intrinsic worthlessness, but through misconception and ignorance of its primitive meaning, and especially the cunning policy of Christian theologians, who feared lest many of the phenomena produced by and through natural (though Occult) law should give the direct lie to, and thus cheapen, "Divine biblical miracle," and so forced the people to attribute every manifestation that they could not comprehend or explain to the direct agency of a personal devil.
Plato, and even the sceptical Lucian, both recognized the high wisdom and profound learning of the Magi; and Cicero, speaking of those who inhabited Persia in his times, calls them "sapientium et doctorum genus majorum." And if so, we must evidently believe that these Magi or "magicians" were not such as London sees at a shilling a seat -- nor yet certain fraudulent spiritual mediums. The Science of such Theurgists and Philosophers as Pythagoras, Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus, Bruno, Paracelsus, and a host of other great men, has now fallen into disrepute. But had our Brother Theosophist, Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the telephone and the phonograph, lived in the days of Galileo, he would have surely expiated on the rack or at the stake his sin of having found the means to fix on a soft surface of metal, and preserve for long years, the sounds of the human voice, for his talent would have been pronounced the gift of hell. And yet, such an abuse of brute power to suppress truth would not have changed a scientific discovery into a foolish and disreputable superstition.
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of powers natural
but superior to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the laws of Nature, except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the Occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an Adept becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws of the universe, without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an experienced medium, Spiritualism becomes unconscious sorcery; for, by allowing himself to become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows nothing, save what the latter permit him to know, he opens, unknown to himself, a door of communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits.
A powerful mesmerizer, profoundly learned in his science, such as Baron Dupotet, and Regazzoni Pietro d'Amicis of Bologna, are magicians, for they have become the Adepts, the initiated ones, into the great mystery of our Mother Nature. Such men as the above-mentioned -- and such were Mesmer and Cagliostro -- control the spirits instead of allowing their subjects or themselves to be controlled by them; and Spiritualism is safe in their hands.
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelations
is but a series of historical records of the great struggle between white and black Magic, between the Adepts of the right path, the Prophets, and those of the left, the Levites, the clergy of the brutal masses. Even the students of Occultism, though some of them have more archaic MSS. and direct teaching to rely upon, find it difficult to draw a line of demarcation between the Sodales of the Right Path and those of the Left. The great schism that arose between the sons of the Fourth Race, as soon as the first Temples and Halls of Initiation had been erected under the guidance of "the Sons of God," is allegorized in the Sons of Jacob. That there were two schools of Magic, and that the orthodox Levites did not belong to the holy one, is shown in the words pronounced by the dying Jacob. And here it may be well to quote a few sentences from Isis Unveiled.
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