Select: 95 To: All Msg #95, Oct-04-93 18:02 PM Subject: The Zen Of Magic XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
To: All Msg #95, Oct-04-93 18:02 PM
Subject: *** The Zen Of Magic ***
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X | The ZEN of Magic - Overview (Parts 1 to 6) | X
X | -------------------------------------------- | X
X | First Release: Wizard's Tower BBS | X
X | Author & (c): Wizard (from them there hills) | X
X | Penned (as it were): September 1993 | X
X +----------------------------------------------+ X
The ZEN of Magic
1 A - Introduction 4 - Magic and Karma
B - Intent 5 - Magic and Ethics
2 - Magic as Energy 6 - The 1st ZEN of Magic
3 A - Magic and Life
B - Magic and Man
This first part is by way of introduction, a possible insight into
the mental mechanics of the author. This may or may not assist in
relating to that which follows. As such is not to be considered
essential reading. (Feel free to pass it by).
AUTHOR: Entered this world 20/01/57. From age five, had recurring
premonitions of global disaster (before there was any
understanding of "global" or "disaster"). These diminished (being
replaced by a multitude of distractions) as life became
progressively more complex. Interest in the "Occult" began at
around age 13, by age 15 was in at the deep end. Having
investigated, studied and practised in many areas, the synergy
"The ZEN of Magic" is the result.
My main failings: Though I respect all belief systems, races etc.,
I have a deep intolerance (bordering on hatred) for bigots and
hypocrites of any denomination. I adhere to two "Golden Rules": I
reserve the right to change my mind with the acquisition of new
information and I believe all persons to be created equal until
they prove themselves otherwise.
I consider myself neither oracle nor scholar. I am, just another
adventurer who tries to go through life with eyes and mind open.
My gift (perhaps a curse) is an ability to see the interrelations
of life (them what makes things tick). Parts of my experience I
can relate, others defy words. This treatise is a
conceptualization of experience. It is NOT "the experience". It
is offered for your consideration in the hope that it will
generate or provoke further thought. Any constructive contribution
or debate will be welcomed.
INTENT: With no axe to grind or cross to bear, the following
(Parts 2 thru 6) are presented in the fashion of an overview. The
use of generic terms specific to particular occult groups or areas
has been deliberately avoided (or at least minimised). (There are
simply too many ways to say the same thing.)
 MAGIC as ENERGY
The most concise (yet explanative) definition of magic that I have
yet encountered comes compliments of Aliester Crowley (though I
dare say he was probably not the first to think it):
MAGIC(K): To cause a change in conformity by an act of will.
To elaborate: It is the manipulation of energy (and therefore
matter) under the direction of mind(s). The implication is that
mind pertains to a human or animal component. Where this component
is (or at least appears to be) lacking we refer to "Nature" or in
the broadest sense the will of "GOD".
The active ingredient (in this fruit-cake of life) is energy.
Physics tells us that it can not be created or destroyed, but may
be changed and/or redirected endlessly. (I excuse myself at this
point for not wishing to place parameters on such concepts as
"GOD" or "Infinity".)
As part of the human process of understanding, we choose to
categorise the elements of life. This too we have done with
energy. We refer to its different aspects by a host of terms Eg:
Fire (Heat), Earth (solid), Water (liquid), Air (gaseous), all
manner of electromagnetic radiation from sub-hertz gravity waves
to the visible light spectrum and far beyond. Depending on its
perceived manifestations we add a tag as seems appropriate.
If one thing has been proven by science, it is this: What we can
measure and quantify is minute when compared to that which we
cannot. As always, it is the things most subtle that elude us the
longest, and so I believe it to be with many of the manifestations
of energy. I do not find this to be a failing of science, because
science is driven by perceived need. At this time that perceived
need is very physical and absolute, there is a planet at stake.
(Not that I suggest for a second that all scientific endeavour is
for the good of all, but then, the same can be said of Magic.)
Science (broadly speaking) considers itself governed by empirical
results. The necessity to be able to repeat a given procedure and
get a repeat of predictable results (sounds a little ritualistic
doesn't it). In recent years a "bug" has crept into the equation
that the scientific community has had more than a little
difficulty dealing with.
When performing experiments (leading edge stuff) involving
derivatives of sub-atomic particles it was discovered that the
results followed closely to the expectations of the experimenter,
ie: those who believed "saw", those who disbelieved "saw not".
The conclusion drawn was that operator involvement was effecting
the outcome of the experiment. This subtle effect has since been
traced into other fields of study and research (how surprising!).
MAGIC(K): To cause a change in conformity by an act of will.
A common perception of energy, is as something that moves.
Therefore if we do not perceive the movement we often do not
relate to the energy. This is a problem of perception, not of a
lack of energy.
We also tend to see the redirection of energy in physical terms.
When you put up a sail you can relate to the energy in wind, if
you light a fire it is easy to relate to the energy of heat
(especially on a cold Winter's night), and its movement or
transference. Invariably though we perceive that the physical must
in some way interact with energy to cause a change.
Physical is indeed a poor term, because it implies a distinction
between matter and energy that (even the physicist will tell you)
simply does not exist. Matter, the so called "physical stuff" of
our universe is just one of the many manifestations of energy.
Energy (Life Force, Manna, Chi, Power, Electricity, Radiation,
Light etc. ad infinitum) is moved, changed, redirected and
transferred by ENERGY!
Thought and "Will" are manifestations of energy. If thought can be
sufficiently focussed it will bring about change, if not it will
be affected and of itself be changed. That's Life!
[3A] MAGIC and LIFE
Magic is all-pervasive. Where there is sentient life, there is by
definition Magic. The energy is always there, it requires only a
Will to redirect it. Every creative thought that brings something
new into the world is of itself an act of magic.
A sceptic will say: "Why then, is the world not filled with
miracles?" I would suggest to you, that it is, and that the fault
is with our perception of life, and not with life itself. We are
educated to see ourselves, our lives and the world in a manner
deemed socially acceptable (and don't we all just keep on paying
BUT! Where are the sparks, the lightening, the helfire and
brimstone? For that I would suggest a tour of a Hollywood film
studio. Energy (like the water in a stream) can be diverted,
stored and even transformed, but it will always obey one
fundamental tenet and seek the path of least resistance. That path
is only occasionally a visual spectacle.
Our world provides many spectacular displays of energy, Solar
Flares, Volcanoes, Storms and Lightening. But these are not forms
of energy which we can directly control. There is so to speak a
slight mismatch of scale and a problem with adaptability (not
unlike trying to make wind energy travel down an electric cable).
Having access to energy is one thing, being able to control it is
another matter altogether.
Still, there are forms of energy which we can control, and these
may used to control yet others. This is as fundamental to
technology as it is to Magic. Being resourceful appears to be a
hallmark of humankind (sometimes to our own detriment).
[3B] MAGIC and MAN
The popular image of magic is that of sleight of hand (rabbits in
hats etc.) or of elaborate ceremonial ritual (and thanks to
Hollywood, at best up to no good and at worst intending some great
evil). This is quite humorous when one considers that those who
believe in it the least, compose the largest single group of
magic's users. (albeit a somewhat inept group, and I hasten to
add, probably just as well.)
As children we explore magic, then in most cases have it educated
(or beaten) out of us. Yes, we may still be taught to be
creative, but within acceptable social guide-lines, naturally.
Socially speaking this is not as terrible as it seems. To use
magic irresponsibly is to play a very dangerous game (Psychic
Russian Roulette), and I suspect humankind is still to learn the
required self-control to do so safely "en masse". (I regret to
confess, that most of the practioners of magic that I have
encountered in my life have only served to confirm my feeling that
as a species we are just not ready!)
Ready or not, magic is here and it is here to stay. It is already
as common as sliced bread, thankfully most people just don't
realise it. Magic is NOT the reserved domain of any social or
religious group (though, as always, there are those who would like
us to believe otherwise). Magic is intrinsic to Life, and we use
It is difficult to separate magic into "classes". Yet there are
demonstrable differences between the groups employing magic.
Mostly these differences are of intent and precision of execution.
To make specific distinctions will ultimately "put noses out of
joint", by the application of labels and groupings that most would
prefer to disagree with. As a compromise I will refer to only two
groups, "Common" or untrained magic, being the inate capacities
shared by all sentient life, and "Intentional" magic, where some
kind of training and defined purpose are encompassed.
Life is no accident and those who find themselves drawn to
Intentional magic to so for a purpose. That purpose WILL have
global implications but the underlying root is personal growth. To
accept magic is to take a path that will forever alter the way in
which the world is seen.
Common magic, is magic in its crudest form (but make no mistake,
there is no lack of power implied). Our world is awash with the
visible results of Common magic. Thoughts and emotions are energy
and where the motivation is great enough these will be projected
onto the world at large.
Personal Desire is the single most significant motivation for
Common magic. The acquisition of power and "sex" would have to be
the most common desires (no moral judgement implied). The desire
to be the "top dog" and to have a mate are both an integral part
of our evolutionary and social development. (As with all things,
this too will change, but since evolution tends to work on the
scale of millenia, don't hold your breath.)
Common magic is generally rather diffuse, poorly aimed, localised
and initiated by an individual with a personal goal in mind. Our
sexual relationships are a classic example of Common magic. When
the desire is great enough to fire up the "Will", we project an
image of ourselves that is less tarnished than the reality.
How often have you heard someone say, about an EX-partner: "I
didn't realize they were like that". When the desire fades, so
does the "Will" and with it, the smoke-screen. It is all a part of
the mating game (dare I say ritual), and its older than Moses. The
humorous aspect of the above is that both parties frequently
employ the same magic on each-other. Even more humorous is the
fact that its not thought of as magic, BECAUSE ... it is
considered perfectly NORMAL.
(As to the ritual component: A single person (prowling or dating)
will bathe, perfume and quite likely spend in excess of an hour in
preparation, apart from the mental concentration on the
"objective" which may have begun days before. I don't know about
you, but this sounds like a ritual to me.)
Most Common Magic is overlooked because it is simply accepted. (As
an Illustrator and designer, I get paid to be creative. To turn
concepts into physical realities.)
Any form of "success" has employed magic. Success is the result of
focussed attention, the "Will" to make it happen.
 Magic and Karma
The pitfalls of power, are its abuse and the consequences thereof.
Make no mistake, any form of energy if misused can be dangerous
and even quite fatal. In life you cannot "undo" mistakes.
Occult groups which work toward the use of magic, usually have
rules (to be strictly adhered to) for the purpose of avoiding
disastrous mistakes. Even the element of sworn secrecy is a
protective mechanism. To outsiders it may appear as paranoia, but
its intent is to prevent the foolish from creating untold havoc
(and lets face it, the wise can do that well enough on their own
So, what of Karma. The general perception is that by doing
something "good" you will attract goodness in return, by doing
something "evil" you will in turn attract evil. This is a commonly
held (and unfortunate) over-simplification. It implies that Karma
is some kind of universal moral accounting scheme, where you can
accumulate brownie points for good deeds.
In a physical sense Karma is the Law of Action-Reaction. By
thinking or acting we create ripples that radiate outwards (on the
face of that great universal pond within which we swim). The
ripples effect other life forms, and interact with all the other
ripples to form very complex patterns. (Precognition is the
ability to make of these patterns an image of "Future".)
Karma can be viewed in many ways. It could be seen with respect to
the life of an individual, a group, a nation, a world ... etc. It
could be viewed in terms of a moment, an hour, a lifetime, a
millenia ... etc.
(For the mathematically inclined, Karma is the sum of all the
energy vectors operative on the subject in question over the
selected time. And if you can work that out you're a better
mathematician than I would ever want to be.)
On a personal level, Karma is "state of mind". When happy, we
think, do and say things in particular way (usually bright and
positive). When angry our thoughts and actions tend to violence
and hostility (if these are internalised, you get sick). Our state
of mind will naturally effect those around us (if they're smart,
they'll stay out of the way).
A state of mind allows us a particular view of life, Eg: the
cuddly kitten just isn't as cute, when your angry. Our emotional
and mental state will colour our view of reality (whatever that
is) and effect the nature and quality of the decisions and choices
we make. Those decisions set up our future, and that my friends,
Magic is a means of using energy to amplify the "Will" (a bit like
turning the Karmic ripples into tidal waves). The significance of
this should not escape anyone with a brain between their ears.
Here I must utter a personal gripe to the "movers and shakers" of
the world. How many of you, know so well the destiny of life,
that you would choose to direct it? I add for good measure the
following old adage; "The road to Hell is paved with good
You have been warned!
 Magic and Ethics
To be, or not to be, is indeed the question. There have been
occasions in my life where, had the world been my computer, I
would have given it the royal "Ctrl-Alt-Del". It can be very
difficult to look at the world (particularly the damage that the
virus called humanity has caused) and still believe that it is "on
track". But it is, and my thanks go to all those who keep it that
Energy knows naught of purpose and motive. It is what it is, and
does what its nature dictates it must do.
We, ascribe labels to the forces around us in an attempt to make
them intelligible. To bring the unseen into the realm of
understanding. Yet, if I use electricity to light a dark place and
make the road safe, that does not make electricity "Good". If I
use it to kill someone, that will not make electricity "Evil".
For millenia humanity has searched out (and documented) the
energies available to us and attempted to define their nature. It
is always easier to perform a task if one has the right tool, and
this fact did not escape the originators of the various magical
There are energies that are better suited to creative ends and
others better suited to destructive ends (though even destruction
can be viewed as a positive and even creative process, definitions
are a real bitch!). But what ever the nature, the energy cares not
for good or evil. These are the domain of the USER.
So, what are the ethics of magic. With respect to Common magic,
none. (It is perhaps a bit rich to expect someone to follow a code
of ethics when they don't even realise what they are doing.) In
the case of established magical systems, there are the rules.
Whether explicit or implied they exist. They exist to provide
coherence, and whether the members realise it or not, provide an
ethical framework within which to operate.
I have no inclination to rate the different magical systems since
I think it absurd to assume an individual's standards could be
usefully applied to such a diverse area of knowledge. Those who
wish to explore the magical systems can gain useful insight by
studying their underlying mythologies. The nature of the God(s)
and Goddess delineate the nature of a groups practices.
The majority of magical systems profess "White" or beneficial
magic, just how much grey sneaks in there on occasions is a moot
point. To identify the "Black" Arts is much simpler. The towering
egos and aggressive attitudes are usually a dead giveaway (not
that over-fed egos are exclusively the domain of Black magic).
It is difficult to quantify what actually constitutes "White" or
"Black" magic, for when you begin to alter the order of the
universe, undoubtedly repercussions will result that could not
have been foreseen. Shifting energy around may be beneficial to
some and yet detrimental to others. An over-enthusiasm to do
"good", could easily produce the opposite effect. History can
supply copious examples.
(This is one of the reasons for my great admiration for Buddhists.
Their goal is to pass through the world and disturb it as little
as possible. To achieve that would indeed be magic!)
Good and Evil are like all human definitions, relative. They exist
by comparison. In belief systems, a wonderful example of this
point can be found in Satanism. Being the inversion of Catholic
belief, dogma and ritual, Satanism is meaningless unless you
believe in Christ and the Eucharist. That does not imply that
their magic is a religious joke. The energies they employ will not
be caring what they call themselves.
The necessity for opposites is fundamental to occult belief
systems. Where a belief system refuses to supply them (Eg.
Christianity) the world provides them to fill the void (Satanism).
It is worth noting that this is not just to achieve some universal
harmonious balance. It is in fact to ensure that there will always
be movement, change, evolution ... and a whole lot of other words
that mean the same thing.
The bottom line of all this is (as far as ethics are concerned):
Do we have the right to inflict our "Will" on the world?
Please excuse me if I'm sounding perhaps a little Buddhist
, I'm not. I have answered this for myself, and the answer
is not what I expected. I leave you with the question to find your
 The 1st Zen of Magic
Life is spontaneous. You're standing on a high cliff edge
overlooking the sea. The view is breathtaking in its enormity.
The salt air is brisk and refreshing. Your thoughts drift to the
sublime timeless wonder that is life. As your mind floats beyond
the golden horizon of the rising sun, so the ground beneath you
begins to fall away. If you don't step back now! you will get
first hand Knowledge of eternity. That's ... Zen!
Be good my friends, and if you can't be good, be good at it.
What you have read stands, as is. I have no inclination to waste
the next 5 years of my life dredging up book references, articles,
journals and quotes to back up what I believe (though I have no
doubt that with prudent research amazing arguments both for and
against could be developed). My life leads me to these
conclusions, more so with each passing day. If your life sees
otherwise, I have no problem with that. I wish you well on your
journey, as ultimately all paths lead the same way. I bid you
Greetings and Well Met,
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank