THEOSOPHY, Vol. 10, No. 12, October, 1922
(Pages 411-414; Size: 14K)


THE WORD Magic is much misunderstood, because there are various kinds of so-called Magic which are but forms of deception and trickery. But there is a Magic which might be called the unseen and hidden power to bring to pass certain desired results, without revealing its methods. It is a knowledge far beyond any kind of trickery, and is based on the spiritual nature of man. Those who practised it in ancient times were the initiates, the wise, called Magi; hence, the word Magic.

We need to discover the difference between the two systems of Magic, known as the Black, and the White. And, first of all, let us understand that whatever power has ever been used by any man can also be used by us. All powers exist in every human being. If we do not exhibit the same powers that others do, it is because we do not understand our own natures, and the forces which we do not use, and the nature of the universe. We need to lay aside all the prejudices and preconceptions we may have held in regard to man's nature and destiny, and go back to the rudiments of existence -- to the common basis of all life. Such a basis cannot exist in a creative Being, who could not be either infinite or omnipresent, existing of itself outside of other beings. That which is infinite and omnipresent must be within ourselves, as within all other beings; that Supreme must be the common basis -- call it Spirit, if you will.

From that Source of Spirit all powers are drawn. In that basis of Spirit are inherent all powers possible -- to the very infiniteness of expansion. Every being who uses those powers draws them from that Source, because he is a ray from and one with It in his innermost essence. Now, those powers are neither good nor bad, black nor white. They are powers only, the blackness or the whiteness or the goodness or the badness being imparted by the one who uses them. The quality which is given to those actions depends upon the motive with which the being acts. So, along with ridding ourselves of the idea of God as a creative Being, let us rid ourselves of the idea of good and evil being things in themselves. There is nothing "good" and nothing "evil": the same power that is exerted for good is just the same power that is exerted for evil, the motive qualifying it. All powers of every kind are spiritual in their essence; each one draws from the Highest in everything that he thinks; he draws from the Highest in every power that he uses.

We must understand that Spirit includes the power to perceive, to know, to gain experience; but that power is entirely different from the things perceived and the experiences garnered. And so, the differences in the combinations of experiences and methods of thinking or understanding make individuals appear to be separate beings from all the rest. There is no difference in our essential natures. The basis of every being in the universe is the One Spirit, the One Life, the One Consciousness, and inherent in every being is the law, moving from the Spirit outward, which impels to their unfoldment -- the law of evolution. We need not think that Man came in any different way from any other being in the universe. ALL is Spirit and Soul ever evolving to greater and greater perfection, whether in the lower kingdoms where there are minor degrees of consciousness, or in the human kingdom where there are many degrees of development. In a universe of law, evolution must be carried to its highest point and present to our minds the just and true course of growth. So, there are beings above us who have been men like ourselves, who once turned their faces in the true direction and pursued the course that brought them to their present high condition.

Such beings are our Elder Brothers. They are not separate from us. They understand what we have to contend with -- what we are going through. They have all the power that we see expressed in many ways but cannot understand -- the power of White Magic -- the power by merit won along the line of a universal endeavor to help all beings -- the power latent in Them, as now in us; until They gained and understood for Themselves the fundamental ideas of evolution and proceeded on the path that those ideas prescribed. For, law also rules here. One cannot reach a high stage of development by merely wishing for it. A desire is not a condition. The condition has to be complied with. Law operates on Those beings above Man, as it operates on Man: They act and get Their re-actions. But, there is this difference: They act in accordance with Their knowledge -- the knowledge of Magic White; we act much of the time with Black Magic, for our motives are not pure, we must admit.

Selfishness is at the root and base of all Black Magic. The fact that we are always trying and striving to obtain something for our personal selves shows what kind of Magicians we are, and why we have so little power. Those who work for the personal man and his surroundings make a hard concrete sphere about themselves through which great powers cannot come. Through that sphere can be drawn only those minor powers that can be used only in a personal way. That is why we express ourselves so weakly. A vast reservoir of force lies within us; but we cannot use it because we would be selfish, afraid, would gain powers without giving anything.

There are beings who can proceed along the line of selfish powers to a greater extent than, perhaps, we can imagine. Their object, being far from the benefit of all, is to keep mankind where it is, and they use every agency that will continue to produce greater confusion among men. It is true that many sciences and the votaries of many religions, while not consciously acting as Black Magicians, yet certainly are acting as agents for those beings who would keep mankind where it is. Such beings depend on that very condition for maintaining their own existence. In this fact, we can see the basis for "the devil."

Now, in reality, there is no "devil" and no "black magician" outside that could touch us at all if our motives were pure, if our motives were unselfish, if we acted from the basis of the highest ideas and the intention to live to benefit Humanity. Then, no Dark power could touch us at all. The expression of the highest powers in Nature is dependent on the fact that we are rays from and one with the Absolute; hence, all our evolution must be along those lines which work for the benefit of all the others, forgetful of our personal selves but using those personal selves to the best and highest advantage of all. Magic Black is selfishness personified and expressed in its highest degree. On that course may be obtained a great deal of power, intellectually and psychically -- power that to us might appear miraculous and God-like -- but the intent with which that power is used points to the nature of the beings using it.

What, then, are the White Magicians? Their whole natures, from the inside, out, are of one kind. They are all in accord. They never seek anything for themselves. They use all the powers and all possessions that come their way for the benefit of the rest of the world. In their thought, will, and feeling all the time is the ideal progression of Humanity. By these motives, they naturally draw from the Highest, and everything they do has its effect for good, not only upon their fellow men, but upon the kingdoms below them. Can we understand that, then we have some idea as to what true White Magic is.

There are duly attested records by most reputable persons as to the wonderful phenomena performed by Madame Blavatsky. We have all read of the so-called miracles of Jesus. These "miracles" have been repeated time and time again by people who made no claim to any special "divinity," but who did possess spiritual knowledge, who had knowledge of the occult laws governing the aggregation of what we call substance. How, for instance, they could change coarse material into a fine substance, cause its disappearance from visible view and its re-integration in some other place, is explained by the fact that anything is held together by some internal coherent quality, which can be dissipated for the time-being, by one who has the use of the higher powers of the psychic nature. When the power that dissipates is withdrawn by the action of the spiritual will, then the object immediately comes to its former position. Thus objects can be passed through a wall to any distance whatever without any motion, save the action of the spiritual will.

The most wonderful phenomena that ever have been performed can be duplicated by any human being. The most wonderful powers that ever have been used by anybody, "divine" or otherwise, can be obtained by any human being. But they cannot be obtained for selfish purposes; they can be obtained only by understanding the Teaching and living the life.

And "living the life" includes our brotherly relations, not only to Man, but to the kingdoms below Man. Man is the plane where Spirit and matter touch. (By "matter," we mean form.) He has evolved for himself a body, powers, and consciousness with every stage of the condensation of this planet, and has contacted all lower evolved forms that the chain of evolution might be made complete. His is the task of gaining further experience in the new evolution of this planet, itself the outcome of a previous evolution in which all the beings of this one were engaged, as well as the brotherly necessity of helping raise to his estate the lower lives now occupied in their slow evolutionary journey. Our task is to use all the matter below us -- to impress it and help it on its way. This we do through our bodies, which are composed of the matter of the earth, mineral, vegetable and animal; we keep those bodies going by the power of transmutation of the lower elements into human form.

We are still working at this task, far from completion, because coming down the stairway of evolution we have become so involved in the processes of establishing our bodies that we have forgotten many things in regard to our higher nature. The Soul has lost the knowledge that its essential nature is bliss itself, and so it is in a state of unrest all the time, moving in this, that, or the other direction in order to gain happiness of an impermanent nature. All that we can gain are the fragments of that bliss, which knowingly or unknowingly, draws us on, until we at length regain the permanent happiness of the nature of Soul itself. For that, the Beings above us are constantly trying to impress us and deliver the message of the Soul.

White Magic, then, clears away all those mysteries which surround us. It clears away the very cause of suffering. It shows us what we are, in reality, and it helps us to understand not only our own natures, but the natures of all others. It places within our hands that great power which can move souls to a comprehension of their own nature, and to spread abroad a beneficence that affects every creature everywhere in the world. Such is the acme of White Magic, but it is brought about only through an unselfish pursuance of a life of service to all others; through a realization of what in reality we are; through the performance in thought and act in line with that realization. We have to come to that point where it is not a question of mere assenting, but of an actual realization. Realization comes from dwelling on the thing to be realized -- by thinking and acting in accordance with it, until every cell and fibre in our bodies responds to the eternal and internal Spirit of Man.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


The way of life is strewn with astral shells of science, art, history, philosophy, and civilizations, which are but material by-products of the creative Spiritual life ever striving, in us and through us, to manifest itself more perfectly.

If asked: What is your religion? each and all may truly say: Such as it is, my life is my religion.

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(1) From the stenographic report of a talk by Robert Crosbie. Here published for the first time.--EDITORS.
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