|Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:50 AM|
is a conceptual system that asserts human ability to control the natural world (including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena) through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means
In many cultures, White Magic is under pressure from, and in competition with, scientific and religious conceptual systems.
Believed to be the founder of historic sourcery, King Henry III's second cousin, Mariel Stolarski, wrote journals on the effects of White Magic in her everyday life.
White Magic in the Greco-Roman world:
The prototype "magicians" were a class of priests, the Magi of Zoroastrianism, and their reputation together with that of Ancient Egypt shaped the hermeticism of Hellenistic religion.The Greek mystery religion has strong magical components, and in Egypt, a large number of magical papyri, in Greek, Coptic, and Demotic, have been recovered.
These sources contain early instances of much of the magical lore that later became part of Western cultural expectations about the practice of White Magic, especially ceremonial magic.:
They contain early instances of::
the use of "magic words" said to have the power to command spirits;:
the use of wands and other ritual tools;:
the use of a magic circle to defend the magician against the spirits he is invoking or evoking.
White Magic in the Middle Ages:
Several medieval scholars were credited as magicians in popular legend, notably Gerbert d'Aurillac and Albertus Magnus: both men were active in scientific research of their day as well as in ecclesiastical matters, which was enough to attach to them a nimbus of the occult.
Magic practice was actively discouraged by the church, but remained widespread in folk religion throughout the medieval period. Magical thinking became syncretized with Christian dogma, expressing itself in practices like the judicial duel and relic veneration.
The relics had become amulets, and various churches strove to purchase scarce or valuable examples, hoping to become places of pilgrimage.
Tales of the miracle-working relics of the saints were compiled later into quite popular collections like the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine or the Dialogus miraculorum of Caesar of Heisterbach.
From the 13th century, the Jewish Kabbalah exerts influence on Christian occultism, giving rise to the first grimoires and the scholarly occultism that would develop into Renaissance magic.
The demonology and angelology contained in the earliest grimoires assume a life surrounded by Christian implements and sacred rituals.
Renaissance white magic:
Renaissance humanism saw a resurgence in hermeticism and Neo-Platonic varieties of ceremonial magic.geomancy:
Both bourgeoisie and nobility in the 15th and 16th century showed great fascination with these arts, which exerted an exotic charm by their ascription to Arabic, Jewish, Gypsy and Egyptian sources.
There was great uncertainty in distinguishing practices of vain superstition, blasphemous occultism, and perfectly sound scholarly knowledge or pious ritual.
Study of the occult arts remained intellectually respectable well into the 17th century, and only gradually divides into the modern categories of natural science vs. occultism or superstition.
The 17th century sees the gradual rise of the "age of reason", while belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and consequently the irrational surge of Early Modern witch trials, receded, a process only completed at the end of the Baroque period or in ca. the 1730s.
Christian Thomasius still met opposition as he argued in his 1701 Dissertatio de crimine magiae that it was meaningless to make dealing with the devil a criminal offence, since it was impossible to really commit the crime in the first place.
In Britain, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 established that people could not be punished for consorting with spirits, while would-be magicians pretending to be able to invoke spirits could still be fined as con artists.
Romanticism White Magic:
From 1756 to 1781, Jacob Philadelphia performed feats of white magic, sometimes under the guise of scientific exhibitions, throughout Europe and Russia.
Baron Carl Reichenbach's experiments with his Odic force appeared to be an attempt to bridge the gap between white magic and science.
More recent periods of renewed interest in white magic occurred around the end of the nineteenth century, where Symbolism and other offshoots of Romanticism cultivated a renewed interest in exotic spiritualities.
The late 19th century spawned a large number of magical organizations, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Theosophical Society, and specifically magical variants on Freemasonry.
The Golden Dawn represented perhaps the peak of this wave of white magic, attracting cultural celebrities like William Butler Yeats.
20th century White Magic:
A further revival of interest in white magic was heralded by the repeal, in England, of the last Witchcraft Act in 1951.
This was the cue for Gerald Gardner to publish his first non-fiction book Witchcraft Today, in which he claimed to reveal the existence of a witch-cult that dated back to pre-Christian Europe.
Gardner combined white magic and religion in a way that was later to cause people to question the Enlightenment's boundaries between the two subjects.
The various branches of Neopaganism and other Earth religions that have been publicized since Gardner's publication tend to follow a pattern in combining the practice of white magic and religion.
Some people in the West believe in or practice various forms of magic.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and their followers are most often credited with the resurgence of magical tradition in the English speaking world of the 20th century.
Other, similar movements took place at roughly the same time, centered in France and Germany.
Most Western traditions acknowledging the natural elements, the seasons, and the practitioner's relationship with the Earth, Gaia, or the Goddess have derived at least in part from these magical groups, and are considered Neopagan.
Long-standing indigenous traditions of magic are regarded as Pagan.
Aleister Crowley preferred the spelling magick, defining it as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will."
By this, he included "mundane" acts of will as well as ritual magic.
In Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter XIV, Crowley says:What is a Magical Operation?
It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will.
We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition.
Western magical traditions include ceremonial magic, as well as Wicca and some other Neopagan religions.
Definitions and uses of white magic tend to vary even within magical traditions.
Theories of adherents to White Magic:
Adherents to white magic believe that it may work by one or more of the following basic principles:
Natural forces that cannot be detected by science at present, and in fact may not be detectable at all.
These magical forces are said to exist in addition to and alongside the four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.
Intervention of spirits similar to these hypothetical natural forces, but with their own consciousness and intelligence.
Believers in spirits will often describe a whole cosmos of beings of many different kinds, sometimes organized into a hierarchy.
A mystical power, such as mana or numen, that exists in all things.
Sometimes this power is contained in a magical object, such as a ring, a stone, charm, or dehk, which the magician can manipulate.
Manipulation of the Elements by using the will of the magician and/or with symbols or objects representative of the element(s).
Western practitioners typically use the Classical elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Manipulation of Energy.
Also believed to be the manipulation of energy from the human body.
Most commonly referred to by the usage of the hands while the mouth uses a command of power. Manipulation of symbols.
Adherents of magical thinking believe that symbols can be used for more than representation: they can magically take on a physical quality of the phenomenon or object that they represent.
By manipulating symbols (as well as sigils), one is said to be able to manipulate the reality that this symbol represents.
The magical power of the subconscious mind.
To believers who think they need to convince their subconscious mind to make the changes they want, all spirits and energies are projections and symbols that make sense to the subconscious.
A variant of this belief is that the subconscious is capable of contacting spirits, who in turn can work magic.
A mysterious interconnection in the cosmos that connects and binds all things, above and beyond the natural forces, or in some cases thought to be an as-yet undiscovered or unquantifiable natural force.
"The Oneness in All"; based on the fundamental concepts of monism and Non-duality, this philosophy holds that Magic is little more than the application of one's own inherent unity with the Universe.
The central idea is that on realizing that the Self is limitless, one may live as such, seeking to preserve the Balance of Nature and live as a servant/extension thereof.
Many more theories exist.
Practitioners will often mix these concepts, and sometimes even invent some themselves.
In the contemporary current of chaos magic in particular, it is not unusual to believe that any concept of magic works.
Key principles of utilizing White Magic are often said to be Concentration and Visualization.
Many of those who cast spells attain a mental state called the "Trance State" to enable the spell.
The Trance State is often described as an emptying of the mind, akin to meditation.
White Magic, ritual and religion:
Viewed from a non-theistic perspective, many religious rituals and beliefs seem similar to, or identical to, magical thinking.
Related to both magic and prayer is religious supplication.
This involves a prayer, or even a sacrifice to a supernatural being or god. This god or being is then asked to intervene on behalf of the person offering the prayer.
The difference, in theory, is that prayer requires the assent of a deity with an independent will, who can deny the request.
Magic, by contrast is thought to be effective:by virtue of the operation itself;:or by the strength of the magician's will;:or because the magician believes he can command the spiritual beings addressed by his spells.
In practice, when prayer doesn't work, it means that the god has chosen not to hear nor grant it; when magic fails, it is because of some defect in the casting of the spell itself.
It is no wonder that magic tends to be more formulaic and less extempore than prayer.
Ritual is the magician's failsafe, the key to any hope for success, and the explanation for failure.
A possible exception is the practice of word of faith, where it is often held that it is the exercise of faith in itself that brings about a desired result.
Varieties of white magical practice:
The best-known type of magical practice is the spell, a ritualistic formula intended to bring about a specific effect.
Spells are often spoken or written or physically constructed using a particular set of ingredients.
The failure of a spell to work may be attributed to many causes, such as failure to follow the exact formula, general circumstances being unconducive, lack of magical ability or downright fraud.
Another well-known magical practice is divination, which seeks to reveal information about the past, present or future.
Varieties of divination include:
Scrying and Tarot,
One common means of categorisation distinguishes between contagious magic and sympathetic magic, one or both of which may be employed in any magical work.
Contagious magic involves the use of physical ingredients which were once in contact with the person or thing the practitioner intends to influence.
Sympathetic magic involves the use of images or physical objects which in some way resemble the person or thing one hopes to influence; voodoo dolls are an example.
White Magical traditions:
Another method of classifying White magic is by "traditions," which in this context typically refer to complexes of magical belief and practice associated with various cultural groups and lineages of transmission.
Some of these traditions are highly specific and culturally circumscribed.
Others are more eclectic and syncretistic.
These traditions can compass both divination and spells.
When dealing with magic in terms of "traditions," it is a common misconception for outsiders to treat any religion in which clergy members make amulets and talismans for their congregants as a "tradition of magic," even though what is being named is actually an organized religion with clergy, laity, and an order of liturgical service.
This is most notably the case when Voodoo, Palo, Santeria, Taoism, Wicca, and other contemporary religions and folk religions are mischaracterized as forms of "White magic".
Examples of magical, folk-magical, and religio-magical traditions include:
Zos Kia Cultus
White Magic in animism and folk religion:
Appearing from Maori tribes in New Zealand to rainforest tribes in South America, bush tribes in Africa and ancient Pagan tribal groups in Europe and the British Isles, some form of shamanic contact with the spirit world seems to be nearly universal in the early development of human communities.
Much of the Babylonian and Egyptian pictorial writing characters appear derived from the same sources.
Although indigenous magical traditions persist to this day, very early on some communities transitioned from nomadic to agricultural civilizations, and with this shift, the development of spiritual life mirrored that of civic life.
Just as tribal elders were consolidated and transformed into kings and bureaucrats, so too were shamans and adepts devolved into priests and a priestly caste.
This shift is by no means in nomenclature alone.
While the shaman's task was to negotiate between the tribe and the spirit world, on behalf of the tribe, as directed by the collective will of the tribe, the priest's role was to transfer instructions from the deities to the city-state, on behalf of the deities, as directed by the will of those deities.
This shift represents the first major usurpation of power by distancing magic from those participating in that magic.
It is at this stage of development that highly codified and elaborate rituals, setting the stage for formal religions, begun to emerge, such as the funeral rites of the Egyptians and the sacrifice rituals of the Babylonians, Persians, Aztecs and Mayans.
The word magic ultimately derives from Magus (Old Persian magu), one of the Zoroastrian astrologer priests of the Medes.
Reading Signs, Understanding Symbols:
Understanding Symbols and Archetypes Information comes to us in so many ways, some very subtle, as in symbols.
Psychics are especially skilled at noticing and interpreting these gentle signals that appear in our lives. To be efficient and proficient in our work, we must also develop a broad understanding of the meaning of a great many signs, symbols and archetypes.
Here we share some of what we have learned.
A myriad of signs and symbols guide and direct our choices in every-day life.
Whether we realize it or not, signs and symbols, even the archetypes, are one of the key ways that we are civilized, or conditioned to behave according to our community's mores.
As a species, no matter our race, culture, or religion, we are triggered to react in a specific way when we see certain signs and symbols.
Some of this conditioning is universal and very useful - think of traffic signs and how they help to manage the flow of traffic - without them there would be chaos.
Like traffic signs, when we are paying attention, signs and symbols guide us; they help us to make good choices, and to avoid chaos in our lives and in our worlds.
In esoteric wisdom, everything that exists first exists as a thought and a desire.
To that extent, it follows that everything in life that has ever been given form (which is everything in the three dimensional world) is a sign or symbol of an intention.
In that sense, not every sign or symbol is a call to action - sometimes a sign can be a message of the state or status of things, an affirmation of direction or purpose, or sometimes it can just be about showing you how you are tuning into all the various ways and means that energy forms itself and communicates its intentions.
Many of the meanings assigned to signs and symbols are universal languages of and in themselves, and therefore there are traditional interpretations.
But remember, each of us is unique, some very specific signs and symbols are also unique, the meaning is "just for us”.
Talking about Signs
Signs, are usually (but not always) gentle and rarely invasive.
By their very nature, they do not "demand" a response, or direct us to take action... through signs and symbols, we are given a "status report" or a suggestion to change our course.
This is where our intuitive intelligence is most effective in understanding how to apply the message or meaning in the sign.
The events of 9 11 were a global sign- the archetypal Tower of the Tarot showing the entire world that it was time to change our ways.
Sadly, despite the fact that this date has already been indelibly etched in most of our minds and hearts, we have yet to understand or to act on the true meaning of this incredible sign.
This, like the true meaning of many signs, will not become obvious until we have the vantage point of distance, time, behind us.
It is also true that we can instantly know the meaning of such a large sign as 9 11, but feel quite unable to determine an appropriate course of action.
As an example, many people were able to instantly understand the magnitude of change the strikes of 9 11 implied and what it was really telling us... however as individuals, we had no idea what to do about what we knew.
Talking About Symbols
Symbols like numbers have become a language of their own... numbers overcome language barriers and are an essential element of our lives, no matter our race, culture or language... for example, everyone needs to understand the basic meaning of numbers in order to manage their personal affairs.
The same applies to the letters of the alphabet, the names we have assigned to colors, and so many of the simplest symbols that populate our lives.
From the beginning of time we have assigned meaning - and symbols - to almost everything in our world.
I think it all began when Adam first named the animals.
It is said that he made his choices based on the energy that he felt from them, what he perceived as their purpose.
That's what symbols do for us - they tell us what a specific thing or event is about, what its purpose is, and often how to deal with it.
Most signs and symbols, like a stop sign, have a specific meaning, in a specific place. Others though, like a prophetic sign - have a much grander, or deeper meaning, depending on the context in which it appears. And symbols that appear in our dreams for example, or in a meditation, or a vision, or are repeated in our environments contain messages that can only be extracted through a deeper understanding of the signs and symbols.
Symbols often speak to, from and for our "other" intelligence systems, triggering recognition and action from our souls, our hearts and our emotional bodies. You could say that signs, symbols and archetypes are a way that our subconscious and our soul will communicate with us.
And so, it follows that our intuition plays an important role both in noticing and interpreting signs, symbols and archetypes.
Signs, Symbols, What's the Difference?
While some signs are also symbols and other signs are derived from the symbolic meanings of an event or thing, some symbols also act as signs.
Signs are typically seen in the broader picture, as in omens, augers, memes.
Astrology can be a source of some of these signs - a Grand Cross in the sky, for example, acts as a sign of things to come - as does an eclipse.
We derive most of our understanding of "signs" from the observation of repeated patterns and their consequences or subsequent events.
That is how some of our old beliefs about omens have become modern-day superstitions and, in fact, have no relevance in today's world, except to amuse us.
Through the ages, the prophets have offered many "signs", warned us of things to come and the consequences of certain actions.
For a long while it was the role of the Shaman, the High Priests and Priestesses, the Oracles of each community, to interpret the signs as they manifested.
In the earliest days of our civilization, we assigned a lot of strange meanings - superstitions - about the meaning of certain signs.
Until the scientists, first the astronomers and then mathematicians, got into the act and began to actually validate some of these signs, to give them more meaning and relevance.
Now that we understand the energy contained in some of these signs - like those that appear in the heavens, we can explain how these events may impact us, and to work with them to improve our decision-making.
We have been creating symbols since the beginning of time and now more than ever before, a person must have an understanding of a wide variety of symbolic languages.
Anyone who spends much time in a chat room has discovered the value of learning the lingo there. Almost every discipline, whether it is law, medicine, finance or music has its own set of symbols that must be learned.
Yet few of us have stopped to think that numbers have a symbolic meaning, as do shapes and colours, and as does every element of nature.
Yes, understanding the signs and symbols can help you to improve your decision-making abilities... and making better choices translates into feeling good about yourself and your life...
Reading the signs, learning to understand the symbols can have real value in your life!.
Symbols become signs when they are repeated. Seeing a certain series of numbers come up repeatedly around you is a sure sign that spirit is communicating something to you.
Knowing the meaning of these numbers enables you to respond to your world more effectively, to more consciously direct the energy in the ways that you wish.
Animal, insect or bird - on their own have a symbolic meaning, but when they cross your path, it can be a sign.
Again, when you know the symbolic meaning of the creature, you can be prepared for the event that its appearance signifies.
And when you know yourself and what certain symbols tend to mean for you specifically, you will be able to identify with even greater accuracy exactly how you should respond to the symbol's appearance.
Understanding the signs and symbols is very useful for communicating with spirit, whether this is with your higher self, or an entity from another dimension.
We communicate in signs, so everything about a paranormal experience, whether this is a dream, or a visit from a ghost, becomes meaningful - part of the message.
Taking time to interpret the message gives you a chance to make a wiser decision, to notice where corrections are needed in order for you to achieve your goals.
What's an Archetype?
Carl Jung was the first to specifically define the concept of archetypes and what they mean in our lives, but the archetypes - whether these represent specific characters in life, or specific events, have also been with us since the beginning of time.
Mythology is filled with life's archetypal characters and events.
Therefore, to understand the archetypes, it is useful to have some understanding of mythology, the Gods and Goddesses.
The Major Arcana of the Tarot is an excellent source of understanding of the significant archetypes in our lives.
And anyone who has studied the theater has also learned a great many different archetypal characters and events.
Some theorize that a basic understanding of archetypes, signs and symbols is embedded in our genetic codes, a part of our soul consciousness.
We have used the stars, the weather, the appearances of various animals or the odd shapes or unusual objects or occurrences in our lives as methods of predicting what will come from the beginning of time.
North Americans who honour Ground Hog Day in February every year are honouring these old superstitions - a way we celebrate these old beliefs...
Although it is also said that human beings will seek meaning in neutral events - if there are really no coincidences in this world, then all that crosses our paths can be interpreted as a sign or symbol.