You have now completed this introductory course covering some of the basic concepts of magic. The aim has been to offer some concepts and exercises to enhance your understanding of magic and the philosophy surrounding it. The information and exercises are outside of any one particular system or tradition, although common themes will be found amongst all such systems and traditions.
As stated in the introduction to this course:
“The key to this brief course, and the entire magical world view, is summed up in the ancient words: Know Thyself.”
Now would be a good time, if you haven’t already done it regularly, to read over your journal. Consider any questions you had written down, and look for patterns in your thinking, as well as noting any changes you have undergone through this process.
Below is a quick recap of the concepts covered.
This course contained two lessons on beliefs. This reflects the importance that beliefs have in shaping our lives, as well as from a magical point of view. While I have avoided adding quotes from third parties throughout the lessons, it is now apt to consider a quote from Paracelsus that illustrates the importance of beliefs in regards to magical acts:
“Determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (magical) arts are so uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain.” (emphasis added)
[More quotes can be found in the Additional Readings appendix to this course]
This quote ties together three of the important concepts covered in this course: will, imagination, and beliefs.
The Magic Mirror
It is important to cultivate the belief and understanding of the interaction between the internal world and the external world. Keep in mind the sayings, “Know Thyself” and “As Above, So Below” as you continue to develop your magical practices. Self honesty is an important personal attribute to develop, and finding ways to keep your ego in check will be immensely beneficial to your magical development.
Imagination & Will
You will find it beneficial to discover new ways to develop and enhance your Imagination. Creative writing, solving puzzles (such as cryptic crosswords), and visualisation are all useful for honing this skill.
The Will is perhaps the critical concept to understand, explore, and develop. It is a concept that is mentioned time and time again in the Western Tradition, and a concept that is in the background of many practices and techniques, whether explicitly described or not.
Again, developing your knowledge and understanding of the three concepts of will, imagination, and beliefs will be a continuing process throughout your magical studies.
Successful Inner Work can be achieved by developing a significant understanding will, imagination, and beliefs, and how these concepts interconnect within one’s self, and externally, to transform both the inner world and the external world. Aspects of Inner Work can be found under various names and guises, including creative visualization, trancework, conscious dreaming, astral work, and willed daydreaming.
Understanding symbols and how they can be utilised to transform and synthesis energy is essential to magical development.
Identification / Disidentification are also critical concepts to understanding your own psychic processes. Learn to identify and disidentify at will.
A concept of some form of higher consciousness is a basis for all magical and spiritual training. If there was nothing beyond normal, mundane consciousness there would be little or nothing to aspire to or develop. Conceptualising higher consciousness into an archetypal form is useful for inner work. Understanding the connection between the higher consciousness and a higher power (God) is another key to developing your magical understanding.
Synthesis is a natural process. Synthesis is the basis of alchemy – spiritual or physical. Learning to reconcile opposites, through the higher self, is key to transformation of one’s self.
Magic is the term popularly used for the knowledge, skills, and practices of transformation – internal and external. It has become popular to use a terminal –k to differentiate between illusionism (stage magic, magic tricks) and supernatural (for want of a better term) magic. A point to consider – both practices work with the realms of illusion, trickery, and transformation. Principles of illusionism can in fact be related to occult principles, although they are of a different kind. One important thing to consider is the use of deception, and how our minds can so easily be tricked and fooled into seeing and believing something, when the actual process and wisdom is hidden from view. Both types of magic and occult arts.
Morals and ethics are something that provide a personal challenge for anyone studying and practicing magic. Magic has been popularly polarised into white and black, with varying definitions of what is good and what is evil. At some level, all magic must transcend polar opposites. If postulates about reconciliation of opposites, and transcendent states of consciousness and being are correct, then how can powerful magic remain locked into concrete beliefs of right and wrong, good and evil, black and white?
Where to from here?
Where you go from here depends on your needs, desires, and current level of understanding – some people would suggest your destiny plays a big part also. The ideas and concepts that I have presented in this course provide a foundation for further research, study, and practice. It is up to you to adapt and extend this knowledge, and discover through intuitive means exactly what you need to learn and implement in your own practices.
The type of research I advocate is primarily through experiential means. While there is nothing inherently wrong with someone who only wants to study occult philosophy, it is a self-enforced type of limitation. Keeping things only on a safe thinking level will do little more than provide diversion for the mind. It will not reveal any occult secrets or allow you to genuinely understand the processes involved. If magic is being practiced, then it must have real, tangible results. That is, transformation must occur, internal and externally.
While the division of levels of reality, consciousness, and being are somewhat arbitrary, it is necessary to consider developing and transforming all levels as you understand them, or believe them to be. A simple classification of levels or divisions is the following: physical (body and physical existence), mental (mind), spiritual (spirit), and emotional (emotions and feelings).
The Additional Reading document contains quotes for you to contemplate, as well as links to articles and books that you may wish to consider reading.
I suggest you spend some time reading through the lessons again, making notes in your journal about aspects you want to explore further. Take note of things you disagree with. These can be essential for your learning and growth. It may be that what you currently believe and understand is incorrect (completely or partially) and you may need to challenge yourself to dissolve the old belief structures and develop new ones. On the other hand, you may well be correct (completely or partially) and have experience to back you up. Keep in mind, your personal experience and belief may be correct for you, but not for others.
I suggest that you write (in your journal) a complete review of what you have learnt and gained from this course. Aim for about 2000 words, which means only one or two paragraphs (100-200 words) per lesson / concept. The idea is not to be exhaustive, but to narrow your focus to several key points.
Okay, you now have the opportunity to give something back to me. Whether you have found the course beneficial, or not, I request your feedback. You are welcome to include part (or all) of your course review (as per the suggestion above). What have you learnt from this course, and how has it benefited your magical practices?
However, don’t focus only on positive points. What were the negatives or downsides to the course? What do you feel is lacking? What would you have preferred?
I will take into consideration all feedback, and over time I will adapt and extend the course so that future participants can potentially gain more from course.
Email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org