The Spiritual Path of Magick
by Jason Augustus Newcomb
Eastern mysticism has gained tremendous popularity in the United States over the past few decades through such diverse channels as Hatha Yoga, Accupuncture and Transcendental Meditation. However, the West has it's own rich, ancient, spiritual history. But the Western mysteries have not been given nearly as much attention as the Eastern ones, particularly in the last few years. The ideas of feng shui and ayurveda seem exciting and exotic while astrology, well, we can read about all that junk in the Sunday funny papers! This is a terrible shame because the western mysteries offer so much that is resonant with our unique cultural heritage.
I think one of the reasons the western mysteries have fallen into disfavor is because the symbols of the west are actually the grandparents of much of our current physical science. The names of planets and stars come from astrology and our early myths. Physical chemistry is the child of ancient alchemy. Because of this, we think that somehow chemistry and astronomy are superior, that they represent a distillation of the useful parts of these superstitious practices. There is a collective feeling that if there were anything useful in these ancient sciences, then surely they wouldn’t have lost their popularity.
However, the sad truth is that our ancient mysteries were not abandoned; they were discouraged and their practitioners punished by the power hungry early fathers of Christianity. It was simply a matter of prudence the Church. The western magical worldview offered a spiritual path that was not administrated by a hierarchical priesthood. It was a personal, inward path to self-knowledge. This kind of spiritual path was not conducive to singular religious authority, feudalism or monarchy. To enable the social order of medieval culture, it was necessary to stamp out magical practitioners and teachers as much as possible. The ideas of magick are revolutionary even today. Luckily, our western mystical and magical teachings were not totally lost. Secret orders and secretive individuals held the lamps of knowledge for us, and the teachings are becoming more and more available to interested students today.
The differences between the western and eastern mysteries are not huge. They both involve practices to bring you into contact with the deepest (or highest) aspects of consciousness for the purposes of transformation and connection with divine knowledge.
The main difference between the eastern path and the western path is in the direction of the psychic current. While the eastern way encourages us to move our psychic energy ever further away from the earth plane until we eventually dissolve into nothingness.
The western school acknowledges this path and contains its own methods for accomplishing similar states of consciousness, internal awakening and connection with divine intelligence and wisdom. But the western path encourages us to direct our divine energy downward, into and through ourselves to transform the world around with healing and light. This is simply because of a difference in cultural temperament. Our western culture is always looking outward and forward, so we have developed interests in psychic phenomena, channeling, creative visualization, all active drawing of the mysterious inner worlds of the unconscious into the physical world. The western path of magick is all about drawing down the divine energy- divination (tarot, astrology, runes, geomancy, chyromancy, pyromancy, etc.) as well as healing, manifestation (wealth, success, love) protection, or negative uses like cursing.
The great danger with eastern mysticism is the seductive escape from the trouble and tribulation of life into a peaceful world that is really just fantasy. It is only when we resolve our challenges that we can truly evolve. Magick offers a spiritual model for our continuing human evolution.
The key phrase of the western mysteries is "Know Thyself." The whole purpose of the western secret doctrine is to lead you to a greater understanding of yourself. This understanding then translates into the ability to act consistently and congruently in accordance with your own true will. By understanding ourselves, we come to understand the purpose of our existence, and with that purpose clearly in mind, we can accomplish anything.
As we begin to really know ourselves, we find that we are actually discovering the nature of the universe. The human spiritual body is a reflection of the spiritual body of universe. We are a microcosm of the universal macrocosm. This gives us tremendous personal responsibility. When we think a thought, it is projected into the macrocosm. So, if we continually think limiting, negative thoughts, our life experience is negative and limited. However, if we begin to think positive, enriching thoughts that contain unlimited possibilities, then the whole range of universal power opens up to us.
The path of magick causes miraculous changes in the world. As you awaken to your connection with the universe, you will begin to change the universe around you. It is a mutual transformation. This is the spiritual path of Magick.