Sunday, September 9, 2007


In my last letter, I said that we are all magic-users, not, to use J.K. Rowling’s term for ordinary mortals in her Harry Potter books, “muggles.” I use the term “magic” here not in any metaphorical sense or as a way of expressing the wonderment of life, but as a statement of fact. Magic describes a way of relating to life, and it’s a relationship we all have and express.

If I believe that the world is only what I can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste and that the appearances of things are the sum total of reality, then this magic won’t make any sense. But it will still operate. I cannot avoid being a magic-user, though I can be an unmindful, unaware one.

A usual (though not the only) way magic is defined in the Western esoteric traditions, magic is as the shaping of events in the physical world in accordance with the will, imagination, thoughts, and feelings of the magician. Other definitions may include partnering with beings and forces of the spiritual worlds, that is, the use of inner allies.

Both these definitions assume the existence of an “inner world,” a world of life and energy existing behind the appearance and surface of things. This is a world our senses cannot directly reveal. Actually, we experience exactly such a world everyday in our thoughts, our feelings, and our spiritual experiences. Magic is based on the simple idea that this world within ourselves is connected to and in fact part of an energy field that is part of the world around us. In effect, like amphibians, we live in two worlds, one that is revealed through our senses and which we can thus call a “sensible” world and one that is revealed through means other than our senses and thus could be called “supersensible.”

Magic can be nothing more or less than the result of the relationship between these two worlds, a relationship we all have. This relationship can be relatively unconscious and automatic, one to which we give little thought or practice, or it can be the focus of our attention, one that we work on to develop skills and capacities to make it conscious and deliberate. Most of what we call “magical training” is designed to do the latter, and it doesn’t have to take place in any kind of esoteric or occult setting. Courses in positive thinking, in motivation, in coaching, in advertising and marketing, all deal with ways of enhancing the power of our attitudes, beliefs, will, thoughts, and feelings to affect not only our own lives but outcomes in the world around us.

It works because we are all interconnected. The inner world possesses a “Commons,” just like the commons of old New England villages, a shared space that all within the village can use and participate in. We each have our “private homes,” our bubbles of sovereignty and subjective identity that are unique to each of us, but these radiate into, and receive from, and participate in the “energy commons” of which we are all a part. We are individualized but not isolated.

The participatory nature of this common energy world we all share gives us great power to affect the world around us, beyond the physical actions we may take. It’s what truly makes us magicians and not muggles. My thoughts and feelings about another person don’t necessarily remain locked up in my own head, for instance, but can become part of a local energy commons that that person shares; they can be taken by that person into his or her individual energy field and have an effect. Depending on the nature of my thoughts and feelings and upon the strength of the other person’s sense of sovereignty and well-being, this could have a positive or a negative affect.

The invisible, supersensible energy world and the visible, sensible physical world are deeply intertwined and are reflections of each other. One is not necessarily the product of the other; nor are they completely hierarchically related. Each affects the other in an ecology of mutual co-creativity. For this reason the nature of our magic is both physical and non-physical. But when magic works, when synchronicities occur, when manifestation happens, when outer things change because of inner changes we’ve made, it’s because a shift in the inner energy world has very likely caused a corresponding shift in the outer visible world. And the reverse is true, that outer changes can cause changes and shifts in supersensible energy conditions.

I am a fairly good natural singer. I can carry a tune, and people don’t run screaming from the room or cover their ears when I sing. I have a friend, though, who is a trained opera singer, a soprano, and the power and range of her voice, as well as its effect on those who hear it, is amazing. My singing is like hers only in the fact that we both open our mouths to let sound come out. She can do things with her voice and produce effects that I can only dream about.

We are all magic-users; we are all part of the supersensible Commons and participate in that Commons in ways that affect our world. But we are not all trained magicians, with developed skills of imagination, will, attunement, and lovingness.. There are many systems of training that a person can engage with to develop the skills and capacities that work with this innate relationship we all have. Lorian offers in its classes one kind of training.

However, a trained magician in the sense I’m using the term may not know any esoteric or occult knowledge but simply have a dedicated and practical sense of participating in a loving, imaginative, and disciplined way in the world around him or her. Some of the best magic-users and manifestors I know, for instance, wouldn’t know an occult lodge from a movie theater and have never heard of any Mystery or esoteric tradition. But they can shape the world around them in loving and blessing-filled ways for the benefit of all who come into their sphere of influence, empowering others to recognize the richness and power of their own individuality. In their presence, the Commons we all share blooms with possibilities and an invitation to success.

What better magic is there than that?