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Chapter 3
Ceremonial Magic
eremonial magic embraces those magical practices in which there is more or less
definite ritual, and in which, often, specially prepared equipment, such as
wands, circles, pentacles, inscriptions, formulas, etc., are used. Such magic may be
black, white, or gray; depending upon the motive and the effect produced, or which it
is desired to produce. And at the outset it may be well to differentiate between these
types of magical practice.
Regardless of the method employed, black magic embraces all those mental
practices which have for object the injury of another, the gaining of an unfair
advantage over another, or which result in the enslavement of the individual
practicing it to other entities.
White magic, on the other hand, has for object the benefit of another; and employs no
practice which injures or enslaves the one using it.
Gray magic is the use of mental practices for the satisfaction of curiosity about
phenomena, or for the gaining of something without injury to another and without
depriving another unjustly; yet which does not greatly endanger the liberty of the one
using it.
With or without the ceremonial element, magic may be white, black or gray; all
depending upon the motive of the person employing it, and the ultimate effect both
upon others and upon the magician. The New Thought method of Demonstrating
Success, for instance, is white magic when the success is sought so that there may be
a wider usefulness to others. It is black magic when it endeavors to deprive society of
wealth without giving society something of equivalent value in return. And it is gray
magic when the success chiefly is desired from selfish motives, yet with no desire to
deprive or injure another in attaining it, and resulting in no detrimental effect to
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After all, New Thought Practices, Metaphysical Healing, Mental Treatments,
Christian Science, Mental Alchemy, Practical Psychology, and Realization Through
Prayer, are each the utilization of those forces or entities which at an earlier date, and
before material science lent to the word magic its meaning of charlatanry, were
considered magical. Sitting in a chair and giving a distant person an absent treatment
is magic, but it is not necessarily ceremonial magic. Yet if this treatment is preceded
by a specific prayer, or is preceded, or accompanied by, certain gestures, fixed
phrases of speeches, or even by Coue's formula, "Every day, in every way, you are
getting better and better", it may rightly be considered ceremonial magic.
The Three Functions of Ceremony in Magic
--The ceremonial factor in magic is not a simple one, but may perform one or more
of three distinct functions. And to understand these functions it is requisite that we
understand the relation of the astral plane, the astral body of man, and astral entities
to magic in general. Magic, if worthy of the name, utilizes forces of the astral plane,
even though such forces are limited to the astral energies of the magician.
Yet going still further afield, we must recognize that what is built upon the astral
plane by the mental imagery of an entity either incarnate or discarnate has an actual
concrete existence on this inner plane; and under suitable conditions of contact with
the external world may become more or less completely manifest on the physical
plane. That is, once formed in the astral spheres, if it makes proper contact with the
astral forms of those on the physical plane which connect it up with electromagnetic
energy, or if through other contacts it gains a suitable electromagnetic energy supply,
it has a power to mold and shape physical environment and circumstances to coincide
with this astral state of affairs.
Now, to build anything on any plane, or to do work anywhere in the universe, there
must be an energy supply of sufficient volume available. Nothing can be done
without consuming energy. And to build any condition on the astral plane, or to direct
its contact with the physical plane after it has once been built, requires energy. The
energy suitable for such astral work is mental and emotional in character, the
emotional property of the thought being especially important, for a thought not
endowed with feeling has a very low energy content. One function of ceremony and
ritual in magic, therefore, is through INDUCED EMOTION to supply in the most
abundant manner the energy which is directed into magical acts.
But energy is not sufficient to build a house, to move a hill, or to attract gold. To do
work of a desired character, the energy must be directed into carefully selected and
suitable channels. In building a house, it must be directed into those avenues shown
by the blue-print of the structure. To move a hill it must be made, by means of manual
labor armed with shovels, or by an engine governing a mechanical shovel, to attack
the hill in a particular and predetermined way. To attract gold it must be diverted into
the channels of trade, or into wise speculation, or into some other well thought out
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Energy also, to perform any magical function, must receive specific direction just
what it is to do. It must be guided accurately into those avenues which will work
toward the accomplishment of the desired result. And this is a second function of the
ceremony in magic, through DIRECTED THINKING to steer the energies into the
specific channels which will cause them to labor for the anticipated result.
And there is just one other function of the ceremony.
When the task of building a house is too great for us, or when an object to be moved is
too heavy for our strength, or even when we desire to conserve our own energies, we
frequently call in help. The skyscraper is not built by one man, but by many men who
are employed in its construction. A plow is no longer pulled by man power, but by
horses or a tractor. And to move the iron beams that go into the framework of a
modern office building, engine and crane are employed.
Ceremonies, rituals, and various kinds of equipment are employed in magic for the
definite purpose of enlisting the aid of entities which have their abode on the astral
plane. This is done in the hope, or expectation, that these entities will aid in the work
at hand, and thus enable the magician to accomplish what he would be unable to do
alone. This is the third function of ceremony in magic. By the aid of demons, of
spirits, of elementals, or of angels, the magician endeavors to accomplish his purpose
much as the modern "big-shot gangster" attempts to carry out his plans through
criminal underlings; or as the industrial owner hires mechanics to run his factory.
The kind of help enlisted, of course, depends upon the type of work they are expected
to do.
Contacting Invisible Help
--Now let us suppose that you have never personally had any dealings with
bootleggers, yet for some reason you become intensely interested in getting illegal
liquor. What would be the first thing you would do under such circumstances?
You would probably endeavor to think of some friend or acquaintance who would be
apt to know a bootlegger. And you would ask this friend how to locate such an
individual. If you desired to employ a yegg to crack a safe, or a gunman to commit a
murder, it is still less likely that you would know how to locate efficient help; but
you, under such circumstances, would make inquiry in those quarters which you are
led to believe do know about such matters.
And the individual who becomes predisposed toward magic, especially the black and
gray varieties, must follow about the same method of procedure. He desires the help
of invisible beings to bring him power, wealth, or to perform some iniquitous injury
upon another. To commence with he is unacquainted with such invisible entities; and
he does not know how to enlist their aid. But he makes inquiry among those whom he
thinks know about such matters, and is either given some personal instruction, or is
directed to some book on ceremonial magic.
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In the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses, in The Greater Key of Solomon, or in The
Lesser Key of Solomon, let us say, he finds certain circles, diagrams, or seals, each
bearing either names or symbols, or both, of strange significance. These names
commonly are in a language with which he is unfamiliar; but they are the names of
invisible entities.
Should he enter the underworld of one of our large cities he likewise would encounter
an argot which he would find difficult to understand. One better informed could tell
him that a "rod" means a pistol, that a "typewriter" means a machine gun, that a
"dope" signifies a drug addict, and that one individual's name is "Lefty" and
another's "Sleepy Joe"; the latter, perhaps, not as he might at first think, because the
individual so known is drowsy by habit, but because of unusual ability to put those
whom he robs to sleep with a deftly delivered blow from a black-jack.
What I am endeavoring to explain is that people on earth who follow questionable
pursuits usually have a language somewhat apart from that employed in more
straight-forward circles, by which they convey ideas to one another. To "take him for
a ride" is an instruction they understand; but is quite different in meaning from that
which the high-school girl conveys when she thus mentions transportation to her boy
friend on a Sunday excursion. And people who follow illegal occupations also have
the custom of calling each other by names other than those with which more upright
people are familiar.
Let us suppose that someone having no previous contact with a criminal or a
bootlegger is advised by a friend who knows more about such matters. He is given a
telephone number to call, just as the practicer of doubtful magic is given a seal, or
diagram, such as are to be found in the books mentioned, and in other treatise on
ceremonial magic.
In addition to a telephone number, when he makes the connection he is given the
name of someone to ask for. So, around the magic circles, or inscribed on the seal,
and also as a part of the conjuration, are names. These names mean very little to one
unfamiliar with their argot import; but they are the names of invisible entities.
Then when the individual called by `phone makes response, he may want some
assurance that the person calling him is not prompted by mere curiosity, but actually
desires conversation with him on his own ground. So it is customary for those in
illegal pursuits, when their aid is asked, either to furnish illicit drink or for some more
serious crime, to demand some password, or symbol, of one making the request. If he
gives this sign, whatever it may be, he is considered to be on the "inside", and of a
character safe to do business with. But if he does not know the secret sign of the gang
with which he tries to deal, they tend to look upon him with suspicion, as an outsider.
And thus it is that magic rings, seals, and diagrams have certain symbols traced upon
them that are the badge of entrance into unhallowed groups.
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Innocence Is No Protection
--Nor should we consider that the use of circles, signs, symbols, names, and
incantations given in books on ceremonial magic are without danger to one who uses
them under the belief he will contact some good noble angel.
If you have been given the telephone number of a bootlegger, and call that number
while under the impression it is the telephone number of a college professor, your
intention does not alter the result that it will be the bootlegger who answers the
telephone. And if you have actually been given the name of the bootlegger, but have
been told it is the name of the professor, when you speak that name it will be the
bootlegger who acknowledges it, and not the professor.
Let us suppose, also, that you have been given a number of sentences in a language
you do not understand, and that you repeat these sentences to the bootlegger under
the impression that you are asking the professor to send you a book on the electronic
structure of the atom. Yet in reality, though unknown to you, these phrases mean to
the bootlegger, and are so used by his customers, that he is to deliver a dozen quarts of
gin at midnight to your address, and that you will have the cash to pay on delivery.
You may be sure that you will not get the electronic treatise, but that the gin will be
delivered. Furthermore, under these circumstances, you will probably be rudely
routed out of bed, and unless you have considerable cash with which you are willing
to part for the gin, there will be trouble that night on your doorstep. The fact that you
thought you were talking to a scholar and expected to receive a book does not prevent
difficulty arising with the bootlegger.
He will feel that as you called him up, talked to him by name, and gave an order in the
terms used by his other customers, that you should also pay as his other customers do.
Even though he believes your excuse of ignorance, he has been too much trouble, and
will not feel pleasant about it. He will demand some settlement of the account. And
likewise those who dabble with ceremonial magic, using names, giving signs, and
placing orders to be filled by invisible beings, are called to account, even though they
think they are contacting highly benign beings.
In this matter of calling up astral entities for assistance, before illustrating how such
calls are put through, even when the one making the call thinks he is calling a quite
different type of character, the time element should be mentioned. The books on
magic are quite explicit that certain positions of the moon must be observed, and
suitable times of day or night, and the correct planetary hours used.
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And this is quite logical, and true to fact. Whether you call up a college professor or a
bootlegger, either probably has hours when he is accessible to call and other hours
when he is not so easily reached. Even the gangsters of earth observe times when they
can commonly be found in certain haunts, and other times when they sleep, are out on
criminal business, at the home of a sweetheart, or otherwise so engaged as not easily
to be reached. And we may be sure that entities of the astral plane are under
somewhat similar conditions as regards to time. The astrological conditions, through
their correspondences, indicate when it is easier to contact any such astral being.
Let us understand that names and symbols, such as are used in ceremonial magic on
seals, circles, and other diagrams, have a definite vibratory rate. For that matter, any
name or number has its own vibratory rate. But those names vibrate to the same key
and frequency as does the astral entity whose aid is thus being invoked.
When we visualize a person intently, this automatically tends to raise or lower our
own mental vibratory rate to the same frequency as the vibratory rate of the person.
That is, thinking concentratedly about a person tends to tune in on his vibratory rate;
and if the tuning in process is fairly complete it makes possible an exchange of
energies with the person so thought about. Those who give absent treatments, some
under one cult and some under another, nearly all recognize this process as requisite
to obtaining satisfactory results.
When the appearance of the absent person is unknown, it is customary to touch some
article-a pen, a handkerchief, a lock of hair-which has been worn by him, which
carries his vibration. Through this article the vibratory rate of the one sending the
thoughts is tuned in to the same vibratory rate as the person to be treated. And
because it is a map of the astral body, nothing is more potent for this purpose than the
birth-chart of the one to be reached.
These seals, circles, and written symbols which are said to represent certain spirits,
are the names of astral entities, and diagrammatically portray the true nature of the
entity to which each belongs. And one familiar with such diagrams, even though he
has never seen a particular one before, can at once discern the character of the astral
entity to which it belongs by the structure of the diagram.
For instance, the seals given in the Sixth Book of Moses show characters which are
unsymmetrical. That is, they indicate forces that are distorted and inharmonious.
Lines which seemingly should be entire, are at times broken, indicating the influence
of the entity to break up and destroy. The symbol of the moon, when it is used, shows
it as it appears in the decrease, and not as it appears while increasing in light,
indicating that the entity possessing this astro-chart is disintegrative in character, and
works to bring things about that are dark and evil. To anyone familiar with the
language of universal symbolism it is quite plain that an astral entity whose vibratory
rates correspond to any of these seals, or diagrams, could have no good influence, but
is devoted solely to perversion, as shown by the twisted lines, and to injury, greed,
passion, and destruction.
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If you are a student of universal symbolism, a little examination of the characters
used in these seals will convince you that they are the signatures of gangsters of the
invisible world.
The individual who uses one of these seals in magical work tunes his own vibratory
rate to that of the invisible evil being. He takes down the receiver of the astral
telephone, calls up the number, as it were, of a head gangster, speaks his name over
the telephone, and if he goes through with the formula of invocation, he asks the
astral gangster to do some definite thing.
However, in the books of magic previously cited, and in other magical books and
instructions, the magician is not content merely to call up the invisible entity and ask
his help. Instead, he calls him on the `phone, and conjures him. That is, he demands
that certain things be done, and threatens him if he fails to do them. He conjures the
astral entity in the name of certain powerful and terrible beings. He gets in touch with
him, and at once starts to talk of coercion.
What would you think of an individual who had been given the telephone number of
some powerful criminal ring, and called up the "big shot" of the gang and
commenced to tell him to do certain things, and threatened to report him to the Chief
of Police, to place before the District Attorney a full record of the gang's criminal
activities, and to ask for an indictment by the Grand Jury unless the gang at once
complied with these demands of blackmail?
To be sure, coercion is the language best understood, and most often employed, by
the Lower-Pluto forces on both planes. One employing such tactics places himself
thereby on the gangster vibratory level. He reveals himself to be driven by the
common gangster motive, and trying to employ common gangster tactics. But if the
individual thus giving orders to the gang were merely a private citizen actuated by
greed or curiosity and without powerful backing, you would expect him to be
missing in a few days. And even if he were a man of some intelligence and
considerable backing, you would be quite certain that there would be some kind of
fireworks. Not only so, but if the one making the demand were powerful enough to
enforce it, you would be quite within the bounds of the probable to suppose that
henceforth that gang would watch its opportunity to get revenge.
The idea I am trying to convey is that you cannot enlist the aid of criminals in
advancing your own selfish ambitions. or even unselfish ambitions, without making
connections that ultimately will prove highly dangerous. And this is quite as true of
astral entities thus enlisted as of those that might be contacted on the earth.
To enlist the aid of a criminal, either he must be made to believe he will personally
gain by the work he does, or he must be made to fear the consequences of not
rendering the service asked.
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Those Who Sell Themselves to the Devil
--Thus we have ample traditions of various individuals who, for a price, sold
themselves to the devil. What they really did, of course, was to enter into some kind
of agreement with an astral entity. Having opened their psychic faculties sufficiently
to hold converse with, or at least to get impressions from the astral plane, they have
agreed to do certain things in return for certain other things. The stipulation may have
been that if they were given a certain amount of wealth to enjoy a certain number of
years, at the end of that time, in return, they would become the servant of the astral
entity and do his bidding, on this plane and in the next.
Such compacts are not mere figments of the imagination. Astral entities can be
contacted. Some of them are intensely malicious, evil, and cunning. They can use an
individual whom they get control of for many selfish purposes. They are keen to
strike bargains. Perhaps they keep their part of the bargain, and perhaps they do not.
Sometimes the "big shot" gangster keeps his word with the simpleton whom he has
entered into relations with, and sometimes he does not. But of this we may be
confident; that the powerful criminal on either plane, when he makes an agreement,
sees to it that he does not get the short end; and in so far as possible that the individual
who joins forces with him, or who uses him for getting something, pays in full, and
remains within the gangster's power. In spite of the trite saying about honor among
thieves, the facts, as shown by court records, indicate that commonly they do
double-cross each other whenever it is to their advantage, and they think it safe to do
so. Crooks on either plane strive for unfair advantages. That is why they are crooks.
For purposes of protection from the astral entities thus invoked, the books on magic,
such as the Old Book of Magic, advise that with due ceremony a circle, or double
circle be drawn about the magician who, while communicating with the astral being,
stands within the circle, which astral entities are supposed to be unable to enter. In
addition, certain implements are consecrated and use 1, such as a magic wand, sickle,
robe, and what-not. By the use of the circle the magician is supposed to be immune
from harm, and by means of the implements he is able to compel a reluctant spirit to
do his bidding.
The idea is about the same as if an individual wished to compel the members of some
criminal gang to do some dirty work for him, or even some work of a better character.
He would go to the headquarters of the gang to enforce his demands, or he would
have the gang leaders come to see him. But whether he went to them in an armored
car, or they visited him in an armored room, he would keep himself behind steel walls
thick enough to stop their bullets. There would be grills through which he could look,
and carry on conversation. And he would keep at hand a proper arsenal of weapons,
so that should these criminals refuse to do his bidding he could level a gun at them
and compel them to do as he desired. The magic circle serves the purpose of an
armored room, and the wand is used as if it were a pistol.
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An individual who would thus summon and compel criminals might be foolish
enough to believe that after he got what he wanted the criminal gang would forget all
about the incident. He would therefore go about the common duties of life without
armored protection, and with no side-arms or body guard. But if he were a wiser man
in the ways of either physical or astral criminals, he would know that they would in
time try to collect in full, and that if he, at any time subsequently, relaxed his
vigilance, or strayed too far from adequate protection, he would be in great danger.
His life, from this time on, would be under the threat of retaliation.
Nor is this merely figurative language. In the more than forty years I have devoted to
occult matters it was inevitable that I should have brought to my attention, from time
to time, those who practiced ceremonial magic of the black variety. Some of these
individuals, for a time, wielded tremendous power; some, for a time, had much
wealth; some, for a period, were able to draw to themselves, with irresistible force,
those of the opposite sex.
But I have never known prosperity or selfish advancement gained from such a source
to last. Invariably, those whom I have known who practiced such arts have had stark
tragedy enter their lives. One still lives, but is serving a long term in the penitentiary.
Another fell from a water tower, had almost every bone broken, yet lived to suffer
terribly before his death from this accident. Still others I have known who became
maimed and crippled for a time before death, or who suffered for years from some
strange disease which finally was fatal. Tragical lives, all of them, in some respects,
and usually ending in untimely and terrible deaths.
It is a noteworthy fact that those who enter the criminal gangs of earth often prosper
for a few years. At times the rewards seem great. But it is very seldom that they
prosper over a long period of years. Fully as many of them are killed, or otherwise
disposed of, by members of their own, or of rival gangs, as suffer conviction in the
courts. And astral entities of the criminal type-that is, such as are willing, or can be
compelled, to work injustices, or to help another obtain a selfish advantage-seem to
take comparatively as large a toll of those who join them, or fall into their clutches.
Enlisting Elementals
--The entities whose help may be obtained through ceremonies in which seals,
circles, pentagrams and such charts of their astral nature are used, which I have so far
considered, are those possessing full human intelligence. But even as on earth man
has domesticated the cow, the horse, the goat, the pig, and other creatures to render
him service; so among a certain class of magicians there is the attempt made to use
nonhuman creatures of the astral plane in the performance of their work.
To take an unfair advantage of another, or to take to oneself an unjust share of what
society produces, is the reverse from spiritual; and is no more evil because an
invisible entity is employed to do it than if it were done at the point of a gun or by
tricky bargaining. But the use of invisible intelligences for such purposes is far more
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The animals we use for domestic purposes on earth have been made tame through
long generations of service. But the elementals of the astral world have not been so
domesticated. They are wild yet; and such of them as can be called upon to render
compulsory service in the attainment of selfish ends are apt to be fierce as wolves.
Yet, by one skilled in such matters, they can be pressed into servitude; even as the
part-wolf dogs of the North are trained to draw a sled. But these elementals, so
drafted into the service of human beings, are more vicious than the worst sled dogs.
And some such dogs will attack their driver if he stumbles or falls.
Yet once the contact is established with an elemental, even though it is dismissed
with a proper magical formula, any one of a variety of otherwise not very significant
conditions are sufficient to recall it. At the time of its return the clairvoyance of the
magician may be at low ebb; for this return may be years later, even after the
magician has lost interest
in such matters. He may be unaware that the savage creature has once again been
attracted to him, and is lurking about, ready to work some dreadful injury upon him.
He is quite unprepared, therefore, for its onslaught, and quite unable to fend it off,
even if he is conscious of the cause of his terrible misfortune.
It is true that unusual and startling phenomena can be produced with the aid of
elementals. And it is true that they can be invoked and sent on missions that
successfully perform some work. But the hazard involved is out of all proportion to
what thus can be accomplished.
For the accomplishment of white magic, that is, the kind that benefits society and is
not grounded in some species of selfishness, there is no call consciously to invoke the
aid of elementals, or other non-human entities. It may be that non-human entities will
respond actively to the noble desire, and work energetically with the thought form
sent out. But commonly the white magician will not know that they are so working,
and certainly does not compel service from them. What they do in the interest of his
idea thus sent forth, is done in a spirit of loving kindness. Fine thoughts and desires
beget a sympathetic response on both planes. Elementals never need be invoked or
commanded by the white magician in the performance of his work; for he does not
desire to produce amazing physical manifestations, nor selfishly to advance some
interest beneficial solely to himself.
White Magic
--For the purpose of benefitting or protecting another, the white magician may need
to reinforce his will with the proper ceremonial practices. But he has no need for, and
can receive no help from, either the gangster type of discarnate human beings that
can be invoked by the aid of a seal, or for any elemental of the type that is savage
enough that it must be invoked or compelled. The only elementals that can give him
any real help are those sympathetically responsive to his thoughts, that spring to his
aid voluntarily because of this sympathy, that do not need to be called, and of which
he need take no cognizance.
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The white magician never calls upon entities with which he is not completely
familiar as to their nature and aims. He often uses prayers, but these prayers are
directed to Deity, or to such saints as he believes in. That is, they are to intelligence's
of a very high order. And even if the saint is a mythical one, nevertheless its name has
been so thoroughly linked with definite holy qualities that the prayer offered it must
be high in vibration, and exalted enough to penetrate above the lower astral spheres.
That is, the thought of the saint, or holy name, tends to tune the individual offering it
prayer to a level corresponding to the noble qualities attributed to it.
There may be individuals-departed loved ones, for instance-on whom, in stress, the
individual may call for help. At a critical moment in his life many a child has been
thus assisted by a departed parent. And such assistance asked, or rendered, is no more
reprehensible than if both were still in the flesh. Under seance room conditions, of
course, there is the chance of deception as to identity. But the person who has no such
seance conditions, but needs help in some crisis of his life, and calls upon a loved one
who has passed to the next plane, not infrequently receives needed advice or
On the inner plane, also, there are orders and brotherhoods whose characters are well
known because of their representatives on earth. When need arises, the white
magician does not hesitate to call upon the invisible representatives of such
organizations for assistance; if the assistance desired is of the kind that comes within
the province of the activities of such a brotherhood. That is, he feels free to call upon
the invisible members of the brotherhood for the kind of help he would have no
hesitancy in asking from members yet on the physical plane.
And in the performance of a task, or the attainment of some worthy end, he may enlist
the aid of appropriate ceremony. In fact, internal energies are only directed at their
maximum potency through the employment of some ceremony. But in seeking the
aid of benign brethren of the inner plane, he uses no words of compulsion, no
conjuration, no extravagant terms, no flattery, and no mysterious names. He asks of
the invisible person the favor he wishes in very much the same words he would ask
the same favor if the invisible one were a man still upon the earth. He asks earnestly,
and gives his reason for asking; even as he would to one yet on earth. And as the being
so addressed is supposed to be kindly disposed and quite just, he is not foolish enough
to ask for something that deprives someone of what justly belongs to another, or
which gives an unmerited advantage over someone else.
Brotherhoods and orders on earth usually have some insignia, symbol, or gesture by
which they commonly are known. And this insignia may be used as a seal, and the
symbol or gesture may be employed in making the contact with the brotherhood on
the inner plane. It focuses the mind on the individual there is desire to reach. In a way
of speaking, it puts through the telephone call. But no such sign, symbol, token, or
insignia should ever be used unless the one using it is completely aware of its import
and to whom it belongs.
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He may be sure, of course, that the cross will assist him to contact Catholics on the
inner plane, that the Compass and Square will put him in touch with Masonic
brethren, and that the common lodge emblems of other organizations will be safe to
use in making contact with their invisible members.
For magical work of much importance, either white or black, there is usually a
preparatory period of considerable duration, in which, by fasting. chastity, rising at
an early hour, and other strict obedience to a set routine, the magician puts himself in
training to perform the contemplated work.
It is not infrequent for the performance of some magical process of high import, for
the one who undertakes it to observe such a strict training for a period of six months
preceding the final ceremony. During all this time he conducts every act of his life
according to prescribed rules. He rises at a certain hour, offers up prayers of a given
nature at certain intervals of each day, clothes himself in a certain type of robe, and
enters a specially prepared room for an hour at a certain time each evening, where he
goes through a prescribed ritual.
Then there are the instruments of his art that must be prepared according to a rigid
formula. The robe which is to be worn at the final ceremony must be of a certain
color, and composed of a certain material. It must be washed in clear running water
for so many minutes on each of seven consecutive days, at a time ascertained from
the position of the moon. A prayer, or mantram, then must be said over it, and it is
then laid in a new cedar box, and it is not to be again touched until it is removed to be
worn at the final ceremony. The wand, of courses must be witch-hazel, cut at
midnight of the Full Moon. And it must be consecrated at a later date, with due
ceremony, at midnight of another Full Moon. Then it likewise must be placed in a
specially prepared receptacle to await the time of the final ceremony.
Then there is the wooden sword to get ready, and the bowl, and whatever other
implements that shall be required. And each of them must be prepared in a very
special and painstaking manner, and carefully guarded from human touch until the
time they are to be used in the great magical process.
The room in which the final ceremony is to take place must be purified thoroughly.
Fumigating with a good disinfectant is a good way to start this; to be followed by a
thorough scrubbing with soap and water. Then incense may be used to place it still
more in tune with the ultimate purpose. And if a table is to be required in the process,
it should be made specially of new pine, and appropriately consecrated.
Because things can be magnetized, and because certain times of the moon conduce to
receptivity of an article in the taking and retaining of both human magnetism and
thought-impressions, these procedures are not superstition. That is, they do
contribute to results.
But the most important function performed by such a strict and undeviating routine
of procedure is fully to concentrate all the internal energies and direct them
completely into the task to be accomplished.
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--To the extent there are devotional exercises in connection with the preparatory
rites, or that otherwise through the process the emotions are aroused, the additional
function of contributing energy also is performed. To the ordinary individual the
going to a distant patch of timber at midnight in the cold weather of January (so that
the Moon is in Cancer when it is full, and thus directly overhead in its most potent
sign) and cutting a witchhazel switch, is not without some emotional
accompaniments. And if, for a period of months, the individual must kneel at three
different and specified times a day, facing in a certain direction each time, and
repeating a mantram or prayer of specific import, he will no doubt feel rather intently
about the matter; and it is feeling which furnishes magical energy.
To the extent, therefore, that the preparatory process, and the final ceremony afford
stimuli to the emotions, they give energy that may be used in the performance of the
work at hand. But the chief function of long and painstaking preparatory periods is to
direct all the available energy into the desirable channel of work.
Every act performed according to the ritual focuses the attention of the unconscious
mind upon what it is expected to do. It not only concentrates the inner attention upon
the work to be done, but through repetition and symbolic acts it builds up a powerful
faith in the unconscious mind that the thing actually will become an accomplished
fact. It is the application of suggestion in its most powerful form.
Every act of the preparatory period, performed according to the predetermined
schedule, drives home into the unconscious mind that a certain result is going to be
obtained at a certain hour on a certain day in the future. The suggestion is driven
home not merely from one angle, but from a dozen different quarters. Each
implement constructed, and each ceremony of consecration, hammers home the
suggestion in a little different way.
The result is that if the formula has been rigidly followed, and no relaxation of
discipline allowed during the period of preparation, the magician enters upon the
final rite with all the energy of his inner being concentrated to give a terrific impact
toward the magical accomplishment of the work he has planned. Consequently, he is
able to do what under normal circumstances would be quite impossible.
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Inner-Plane Activities Are Essential
--The physical brain has very little power to handle the electromagnetic energies
which make magical processes of any kind possible. Cerebral concentration tends to
generate electrical frequencies which are not suitable for either inner-plane activities
or the production of psychical phenomena. For use in white magic, the electrical
frequencies generated by the nervous system while the mind is in a state of exaltation
are most suitable. These not only tune the individual in on inner-plane levels which
are spiritual and constructive in character, but they readily become converted into
inner-plane energies which permit the soul to become highly active on the inner
The work accomplished by magical procedure always first brings about some change
on the inner plane. And to bring about this change the soul, or as it more commonly is
referred to, the unconscious mind, or subjective mind, needs to be active on the inner
plane. If its attention is glued to physical interests through continuing its habitual
thoughts about them, it is unlikely to be active enough on the inner plane to direct the
energies furnished it to bringing about the inner-plane changes necessary for the
results desired.
For changing the inner-plane pattern of a physical thing or condition, it is highly
advantageous that cerebral thinking cease and that the soul abandon its close
attachment to the physical and move out on the inner plane to do its work. When the
inner-plane pattern of the physical thing or condition has thus been changed, or the
inner-plane trend of its movement, this in turn exercises extra-physical power upon
the thing or condition to the extent there is electromagnetic energy available for that
Without being aware of the exact process employed, mental and spiritual healers
make use of this process. And the thought-cells within each of us employ the same
principle to attract into our lives events characteristic of the planets and houses of the
birth-chart involved when progressed aspects form to planets in our horoscopes.
All of which may seem so amazing to those who have been grounded in the traditions
of material science that it may be well here to indicate where indisputable proof can
now be found that physical objects can, and are, influenced by just such nonphysical
energies, which university men term the Psychokinetic Effect. Ceremonial and all
other magic depends upon this Psychokinetic Effect.
Coincident with the experiments conducted since 1934 at Duke University on
extra-sensory perception, other experiments were conducted there in great volume
on what is called the Psychokinetic Effect. The first report on these exhaustive
experiments was made in the March 1943, issue of The Journal of Parapsychology.
The experiments as conducted were to determine if by mental power alone
Hand-Thrown and Mechanically-Released dice could be influenced in a
predetermined way. The conclusion of the article starts with this sentence:
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"At the end of the first PK report, we have to conclude that we know of no better
explanation for the result of the tests in dice-throwing herein described than that of
the PK hypothesis; i. e., that the subject influenced the fall of the dice without the aid
of any recognized physical contact with them."
Each issue of The Journal of Parapsychology since has contained further reports and
statistical analyses on tests of the Psychokinetic Effect, and the March 1944, number
of this Journal issued by Duke University Press in the first three paragraphs states:
"The issue of the PK hypothesis can be decided within the scope of a single article.
We refer to the paper on the quarter distribution (QD) in this issue.
"This abrupt departure from the earlier position is due to the fact that a superior order
of evidence has been found which was not known at the time of the first report. In the
analysis for the QD there have emerged evidences of Lawfulness in hit patterns
throughout so large a portion of the available experimental data that all reasonable
doubt of the validity of the PK hypothesis has, we maintain, disappeared, and all
counter-hypotheses seem to us manifestly out of the picture.
"These statements are, we recognize, very strong, and they must seem to the reader
who has not yet read the QD report very bold ones; but they are made with due
deliberation and with what we regard as good reason."