The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
April 2000 Vol. 3 Issue 2
The Science of Magic
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of natural powers, 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.
Powerful mesmerizers, profoundly learned in their science, are magicians, for they have become the adepts, the initiated ones, into the great mystery of our Mother Nature. Such men control the spirits instead of allowing their subjects or themselves to be controlled by them; and Spiritualism is safe in their hands. In the absence of experienced Adepts though, it is always safer for a naturally clairvoyant medium to trust to good luck and chance, and try to judge of the tree by its fruits. Bad spirits will seldom communicate through a pure, naturally good and virtuous person; and it is still more seldom that pure spirits will choose impure channels.
To doubt magic is to reject History itself as well as the testimony of ocular witnesses thereof, during a period em-bracing over 4,000 years. As in modern times, the Sibyls and Pythonesses were mediums; but their High Priests were magicians. All the secrets of their theology, which included magic, or the art of invoking ministering spirits, were in their hands. They possessed the science of discerning spirits. By this power they controlled the spirits at will, allowing but the good ones to absorb their mediums. Such is the explanation of magic - the real, existing, White or sacred magic, which ought to be in the hands of science now, and would be, if science had profited by the lessons which Spiritualism has inductively taught for these last several years.
Thus magic exists and has existed ever since prehistoric ages. Begun in history with the Samothracian mysteries, it followed its course uninterruptedly, and ended for a time with the expiring theurgic rites and ceremonies of christianized Greece; then reappeared for a time again with the Neo-Platonic, Alexandrian school, and passing, by initiation, to sundry solitary students and philosophers, safely crossed the mediaeval ages, and notwithstanding the furious persecutions of the Church, resumed its fame in the hands of such adepts as Paracelsus and several others, and finally died out in Europe with Cagliostro.
In India, magic has never died out, and blossoms there as well as ever. Practiced, as in ancient Egypt, only within the secret enclosure of the Temples, it was, and still is, called the "sacred science." For it is a science, based on the natural occult forces of Nature. -- H. P. Blavatsky
Does Chance or Justice Rule Our Lives? by Nils A. Amneus discusses many aspects of karma from a theosophical view-point, and is now available at Theosophical University Press Online.
New on the Northwest Branch site is A Nosegay of Everlastings by Katherine Tingley, containing excerpts from her speeches made in 1913, the year of her International Peace Conference in Visingsö, Sweden. Also available is The Science of Nature, four essays by Oluf Tyberg, head of theosophical University in the 1930s and early '40s, who examines modern science from the standpoint of theosophy and Kantian philosophy, maintaining that the distinction between organic and inorganic is artificial and that science cannot properly be separated from philosophy. It is a plea for studying nature as a whole and dealing with realities instead of abstractions.
Monthly Discussion Group
"Magic and Miracles: Do They Exist?" is our subject. We will discuss such questions as: Is magic trickery and superstition, or something real beyond our common know-ledge? How much do we actually understand about the universe, visible and invisible? What are miracles? Do divine beings interact with our physical world? What are the "laws" of nature, how did they originate, and can they be changed? Can anything be supernatural - above, beyond, or contrary to nature or natural law? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
Upcoming TopicsMay 11 - Evolution: Unfolding Inner Potentials (Room #4)
For centuries, in every land where Christians worship, Easter has been celebrated in solemn and joyous ritual, for the story of their Lord's entry into the "hell" or earthly existence and triumph over death remains the climax of their spiritual hopes. Despite the clouding of dogma, the wonder of his sacrifice shines through, bringing each year at the vernal equinox a timely reminder that every human being, as an expression of the Father within, has the potential to become, as did He, a risen Christ.
There are thousands in every denomination who maintain that Jesus was the only Son of God. But it would be well to look into other scriptural writings to discover whether Jesus is in fact the only Son of God, or whether other peoples in other eras might not have had their own type of Savior or Avatara. No, Jesus was but following the tradition of millenniums: his "miraculous" birth and death, his descent "to those in Hades as well as to all in earth" (Clement of Alexandria) were according to the archaic pattern. The Persians tell of the trial and conquest of their Zoroasters and Mithras; the Hindus had both Krishna and Rama crucified and then glorified as risen divinities; Osiris of Egypt as well as the Sun-gods of Asia Minor suffered on the cross of matter, later being resurrected as full-fledged deities.
Oral and written testimony thus affirm that Jesus is indeed a Son of God, one among many. His glory rests not in his uniqueness, but in his being one of that ancient line of Messiahs who periodically leave their divine realms: to liberate the "spirits in Prison," as Peter in his First Epistle graphically expresses it, that we enchained in our self-made bonds might once more turn our eyes in the direction of the light. But each individual must determine his own future course: there is not salvation except which is self-won.
Crucifixion, death, resurrection: is this procession of events to be taken as having actually happened? Or do these words signify, in mystical terminology, the crucial testing of interior worth: that through the crucifixion and death of all that is less than godlike, a man, if successful, could rise from the "tomb" of his humanhood into divine stature?
The birth of Jesus at the Winter Solstice and the culmination as the Christos at the Epiphany is but part of the drama. After the years of ministry during which he had gathered a few at least who seemed to understand his message, the time came when Jesus must prove his integrity. Ascending with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, we read of his betrayal by Judas. That very betrayal would seem to have been an essential requisite for the consummation of the initiatory trial when the soul must stand alone, without protection of disciple or friend, and triumph. Of the supreme moment, when the Master on the cross of matter is forsaken by all but his own self-disciplined soul, Matthew records the following: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
In the Greek translation the significance of this Hebrew phrase is obscured. In reality, we have what amounts to a cry of exultation. From the Hebrew, the last word does not mean to forsake or abandon as the King James version has it; on the contrary, it means to glorify, to bring peace, to raise in triumph.
Matthew and Mark may well have intentionally confused the matter in order to conceal what was in fact a Mystery-teaching. In short, the Greek illustrates the anguish felt by the human part of Jesus when in utter loneliness he had to face the dread regions of the netherworld and conquer all. The Hebrew cry, on the other hand, was a cry of the Christos, Jesus triumphant: O my god, how thou hast glorified me, how thou hast brought me out of darkness into the light!
The Passion of Christ is verily a universal experience, undergone by every Savior willingly - as an act of pure compassion - that the ideal of spiritual conquest might be firmly enshrined in the consciousness of man. This does not imply a promise of victory without merit; each must achieve self-mastery by individual effort. Chains of selfishness bind us fast, yet at Easter something of rare beauty enters the heart, giving fresh courage and a deepening of hope. "Spirits in chains" we may be, but we are spirits, not chains, and there is no power on earth or in heaven that can imprison forever the human spirit.