We must all assume that our being, our existence, is real, for if we did not do this, we would have to seriously worry about both the meaning and purpose and the results of our sensory perceptions, which in turn would result in all sorts of ontological speculations, all of which would receive a stamp of relativize. All our lives and the interactions that take place every second are very mysterious, even though the natural sciences always want to convince us of the opposite or that all these supposed “miracles” are quite plausible.
Of course, even magicians do not deny that when they walk or sit down on the ground, they feel a firm resistance under their feet, and that it is not a dream when they lay down with their mountain bike in a dangerous curve of a gravel road, but an accident, which can sometimes cause serious injuries, not to mention the pain feeling also “real”. Completely fatal consequences would result if we even dared to jump from the 8th floor of a skyscraper, with the idea that it was all just an illusion to be stopped abruptly after a short flight by a physical law with fatal consequences. In short: it would be foolish not to store such empirical values with the appropriate care. These and countless other everyday experiences that we physically experience every day underline the assertion: physical = real, but how real is reality and how substantial is substance?
However, we still ask ourselves the question how tangible material things and living beings really are and in this context we find out that other “worlds” or levels of consciousness exist besides the physical ones. The almost paradoxical thing about it is that contemporary physics – namely quantum mechanics (and thus also the basics of theoretical chemistry) – are getting closer and closer to this ancient view. Quantum physics, because of its most modern research results, is considered to be one of the most complicated scientific fields, which with its wave and particle theory has long since left “Newton’s school physics” behind and postulated it: the “solids” or the “physically tangible solid objects” so well known to us are anything but clearly definable things, bodies and individuals, because from a physical point of view everybody consists of more space (emptiness) than of substance. Related to living beings and humans it means that we all represent with every cell and every atom of our body the same amount of energy as matter and are a perfect fusion of energy (wave) and form (particle). The concrete research area of physics is quantum electrodynamics, because it investigates the interactions and similarities between light and matter.
What is astonishing in view of these findings is that even in the “modern” 21st century, the majority of the oh so enlightened inhabitants of the Western culture still cling to the supposed evidence of the once groundbreaking thinkers Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes and it seems to be reserved only for an intellectual elite to confirm magical, shamanic and alchemistic-hermetic ontology’s and cosmogonies. These thinkers believed that in their eyes the material cosmos is indestructible and that matter and spirit are two separate, irreconcilable things and that the surrounding nature, the cosmos – thus matter – represents something objective and consequently something independently real that still exists even when its observer – thus man – is no longer.
This so-called mechanistic notion of the world and its matter building blocks (atoms), which cannot be dismantled any further, is based on the Greek philosopher Democritus of the 5th century BC. but has long been outdated since subatomic quantum physics, where the latter deals more and more with such “unscientific” concepts as “local paradoxes”, “movements”, “abstract principles of order” or “non-repeating patterns” and divides the atom once considered indivisible into more and more “smallest particles” that do not seem to obey any previously known laws; keyword: the so-called “Higgs-boson”. Speaking of tiny particles: Also the “alchemical botchers” so often ridiculed by us with their seemingly naïve experimental arrangements and longings do not seem to have been so wrong at all, because: a linear particle accelerator (cyclotron) or the so-called heavy ion research is meanwhile able to carry out a nuclear fusion by bombardment of the two elements tin (atomic number 50) and copper (atomic number 29), which results in an element containing 79 stable protons in its nucleus. You all know its name: gold!
Numerous other examples could be cited, all of which show that new standards, qualities and definitions for human perception and its conclusions, human thinking and consciousness are emerging. In this “new light” the “occult levels of being” also rise to a significantly higher qualitative level for a “materialist” or atomist. The “objective environment” familiar to us, nature, its inhabitants, the cosmos – all these are not separate building blocks, since they represent “nothing solid in themselves”. All of us are ultimately particles and at the same time energy, wave movement and vibration, are materially inherent consciousness or spirit.
But not only physics, but also and especially biology, philosophy, psychology and sociology are fundamentally affected here; above all because it massively affects familiar and established concepts such as “I”, “ego” and “self” that these are shaken, i.e. the human condition, i.e. the condition of being human and of human nature. In other words: the only truly fundamental thing that has always remained with us, that has always set us apart from others and others, and therefore implied both security and demarcation – an individual organism, an ego in itself – this one in its demarcation (whether as subject or object is completely irrelevant in this case) is non-existent at all, since everything is subject to constant change, movement and renewal.
You don’t believe us? Well, what do you then say, for example, to the fact that all body cells (including all neurons of our brain) completely renew themselves within seven years; yes, you have read correctly: renew, not modify! Do you therefore become a new individual or human being every seven years? Or to put it another way: what is to think of such an ego or feeling of individuality? What makes up the consciousness of an ego? What is “credible, objective, constant reality” at all?
Another example: Each one of us consists of billions and billions of cells, each of which – biologically correctly interpreted – has its own life, is self-sufficient and independent, and each one renews itself every seven years. How can something like individual mental thinking or living or the idea of a “person” arise at all with about ten billion brain neurons? Here the theory suggests itself that not only dead objects – thus the matter itself -, but all living beings are both particles and waves (movement), mind you: at the same time! That which we regard and handle as independence and uniqueness, as individuation process resp. person, is in reality identical with these innumerable independent entities of the tiniest particles.
From the point of view of quantum theory, man interacts with his “quantum ego” both as a particle and as a wave with his environment. This ego can dissolve into different sub-particles as well as merge into a larger ego and both at the same time! And yet the “I” always magically remains “it” itself. This last sentence sounds like an energy model, an energy model of man. An ego-feeling only arises with him when he also has a feeling of wholeness and we all know from our daily experience with the physical world that our so-called consciousness – in the sense of becoming aware of ourselves reflecting on ourselves – is characterized by a feeling of personal wholeness and continuity, which in turn gives us a feeling of unity in everyday life. In terms of the human energy model, however, it also means that all human beings – and ultimately all living beings or even all things in this physical world are connected in a mysterious way and serve a common great whole.
But what do human existence, its nature and the physical concept of reality have in common with hermeticism and magic? Well, they are the classical representatives – independent of a zeitgeist – of the very view of the world which assumes that man as a microcosm is in energetic connection with the surrounding (world) space as macrocosm and that all our sensations are dependent on the so-called reality, on the (qualitative) level of our conscious as well as unconscious perception, which is why these two teachings also proceed from several, equivalent levels of being or parallel existing worlds, analogous to the shells of an onion. The physical as well as the magic space belong to one and the same universe and each of these spaces is reflected in its essence in the other.
Now that we have most likely shaken your familiar paradigm of physical reality, I would like to move on to compare the world of magic with the world of quantum physics at eye level. So let us – in the truest sense of the word – dare the much quoted quantum leap.
In view of the quantum-physical findings, matter is anything but constant, firm and, in the truest sense of the word, tangible and thus unambiguously definable, but consists first of all of a great deal of space and of objects, which we assume to be firm, but which in reality give rise to the characteristics of energetic waves. As we have seen, quantum physics focuses rather on a network of relationships, mutual interpenetration and interaction than on ideas of originality or individual autonomy. This leads us to the premise that on a primarily energetic level all things within the universe communicate with each other and are connected. Many quantum physicists also conclude on the basis of corresponding experimental results in the particle accelerator that consciousness is a property of “matter believed to be dead” and above all in esoteric circles often considered to be inferior matter. Thus illuminated, the entire universe represents spirit, i.e. something alive, albeit not in the conventional biological-organic sense.
The actual aha-experience, however, begins when we compare or relate the magic paradigms with the quantum physical disciplines: they not only resemble each other, but support and even condition each other. The best example is the earliest practitioners of magic – the shamans who have believed since the Paleolithic that all things within the universe are interwoven at a magical, spiritual, or energetic level, and that the whole world is enlivened and spiritualized by nature, worshipping this universal life force as sacred. The shaman becomes accessible to the “true path of being” through exploring a network of sacred interrelationships by contacting these “planes” through rituals and mind-altering techniques, caused by drugs.
Also magicians are travelers, are psychonauts in the still unexplored depths of space, although not in an outer space by definition, which is explored by astrophysicists, but in an initially inner-soul space of introspection, which many practitioners already call mysticism and no longer magic, but for the magical practitioner it’s just another step on his path, because his own introspection and soul-searching is necessary to know his true self. Because of this thousands of years of permanent research into these altered (mystical, magical, etc.) states of consciousness, the shamans, high priests, witches and magicians have learned at all times of the cultural history handed down to us not only to experience the true pulse of being and the so-called unity in relation to human existence, but also to interpret it, which is the very basis of their powerful work. Their conclusions were and are to this day essentially the same as those of quantum physicists: the entire cosmos expands in all directions in infinite space, with the universe in a permanent flow and change, characterized by the universal flow of life energy, and everything we perceive and experience as human beings is part of a universal energy flow. Too banal?
Well, the truth, expressed in just one aphoristic sentence, is not necessarily complicated, although most of us, interestingly enough, presume it, given a philosophically so fundamental insight and its far-reaching consequences.
All magicians – i.e. regardless of their color, traditions and culture – also acknowledge the essential oneness, the unity of all things and have always been aware that spirit and matter cannot be separated from each other and that a conscious intelligence is inherent in the structure of the universe itself, which in turn – in relation to the microcosm of nature and man – means that everything is connected with each other in an energetic sense, also in the physical, the material world. If this were not the case, then magic – once the stochastic laws and probabilities are disregarded – would not function in nine out of ten cases and would rightly be a métier for “eternally die hards” and “stick in the muds”, gullible, superstitious or (religious) madmen.
All magicians are essentially joined on an energetic level. Since energy can also be generated by deliberate, conscious thinking, magicians can first open themselves with their consciousness to all arbitrary possibilities; i.e. to all things that the human being can imagine. Almost every form of magic draws its basic power or energy from this.
Conclusion: Applied magic can be very concrete as well as indefinite, if its power and potential has been generated in the first case in an individual sense, bundled and directed to its destination, then in the second case it must always remain independent of time and uncontrollable in a universal, holistic sense. The latter in turn leads to the fact that all magic is and will remain mysterious for some in the last consequence, for others a dangerous game with their own salvation and life, for others again a tabooed, blasphemous sacrilege.
And also at the risk that the following will disappoint you again: it is also true, that an objectifiable reality and thus a highest “holy” reality will also and precisely because of our magical possibilities – whether we want to call it God, Goddess, Unity, All-Energy, Nous, Logos or the like – always lie outside the reach of our oh so limited human horizon of experience, mind and understanding.
Therefore every disciple of magic has to accept that when he gets involved with magic, he always opens himself to something greater, something higher, something superior to him, even though some of the so-called “Dark Brothers” still do not want to admit it today. It is also certain that what each individual experiences on the magical path of inner-mental and spiritual development will not always be what he intended, imagined or conceived.
If this were so, and we would indeed operate magically exclusively out of our narcissistic, hedonistic and selfish instincts, we would severely limit the possibilities of magic and its results. With our everyday, adopted and profane knowledge of the world and our respective degrees of awareness and cognition (gnosis), we cannot completely guess what the universe has in store for us in terms of experiences, gifts and important path markings. Therefore, freedom from prejudice, paradigmatic openness and consequently the willingness to put one’s own views at one’s disposal again and again in order to be able to correct them if necessary, are an extremely meaningful and healthy magical quality.
History has shown – and will continue to show – that there have always been different philosophical and metaphysical approaches to address and implement the “Opus Magnum”, the “Magnum Opus” or the “Great Work” in order to achieve a transmutation of the psyche, to analogize it in “this world” by means of various internal and external aids, to dress it in symbols and rituals. All this in its sum helps the magician to grasp the central truths of his transcendental nature and to give him and his being a tangible and thus more concrete meaning.
We are convinced that this should be the meaning and task of today’s “modern” magic. True magic is therefore never dressed up as mysticism, wishful thinking or even illusion, even though it is still regarded as such by most people and is therefore avoided. What is more real and thus more important than to give meaning (again) to nature, the world, life, being, being human? Exactly for this reason, this should be our highest task, the highest goal in our lives.