“The underlying, primary psychic reality is so inconceivably complex that it can be grasped only at the farthest reach of intuition, and then but very dimly. That is why it needs symbols.” – Carl Jung
What is ceremonial magic? The works of multiple scholars, from Plato to Manly P. Hall and further down the line, suggest it is essentially the use of rituals and techniques to invoke and control “spirits” or lifeforms that could be existing within other dimensions or worlds. For example, according to Hall, “a magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could by the power vested in certain words and symbols control the invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world. While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery, or black magic.” (1)
Yet if we examine the works of Plato, we see he specifically condemns, in both the Laws and in the Republic, the idea that “gods” can be influenced by the performance of certain rituals — called “necromancy” or “magical attack.” He believed those who try to control the spirit world should be penalized.
Socrates, about whom Plato wrote, also spoke of an entity that guided him. It was never given a name, but references to it ranged from daemon to daimon. Socrates believed this entity was a gift, and manifested itself in the form of the voice within, something we all possess. His communication with this entity was actually used as one of the charges against him when he was put to death. Socrates believed it to be a link between mortal man and God.
Socrates seems to be an exception when it comes to using these concepts for perverse reasons, and, as Hall points out, he provided evidence that “the intellectual and moral status of the magician has much to do with the type of elemental he is capable of invoking. But even the daemon of Socrates deserted the philosopher when the sentence of death was passed.” (1)
He was put to death for “corrupting the youth” and spreading “false” information amongst the people, teaching them how to question what the ‘elite’ at the time were doing. But looking back, he seems to be a figure more like our modern day revolutionaries than a malevolent influence, put to death for exposing the aristocracy’s secrets and encouraging people to question the true nature of reality, to question the doctrine that had been provided to the masses by those in power.
There are also native records containing abundant evidence that the civilizations of Central and South America were heavily involved in these types of arts, both black and white magics. This is well documented in the Popuol Vuh, a foundational sacred narrative of the Kʼicheʼ people from long before the Spanish conquest of the Maya.
If such information is true, it’s hardly surprising. Human beings have always been subject to the lure of power, driven by their ego, greed, and shortsightedness. It’s disconcerting to imagine this power of working with the spirit world in the hands of those who would use it for their own reasons, taken by the power of black magic. Humans are not ready to harness such energies, and this type of activity, if ever used, should only be done so by the most purest of souls, those who are guided by, above all else, morals, ethics and service to others.
Fast forward to our modern day, and you have stories like that of Dr. Johannes Faust. Through his study of magic, he was able to conjure up an extra-dimensional who served him for many years in several different ways. There is even an excerpt from The Book of Dr. Faust, Wittenberg, 1524 describing his experience, and the words/rituals he used to evoke the entity.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader, is another example. He used to tell of a “Little Red Man of Destiny,” a ‘spirit’ that appeared at a Royal Palace. Apparently when something important was happening, he would appear. This man, and what others now consider to be silly superstitions and folklore beliefs, genuinely influenced Napoleon and his actions and guided his campaigns.
According to Hall, The Little Red Man of Destiny is an example “of the disastrous results of permitting elemental beings to dictate the course of human procedure.” (1)
Phenomena like these appear in various cultures during different time periods all throughout human history, so what makes us think these practices have stopped today?
There is even a modus operandi for the invocation of spirits in various texts, one being The Complete Book of Magic Science that was first published in the original British Museum. This is also mentioned by other studies of occult philosophy, like Francis Barret in his Magus, where he describes the use of symbols and more things relating to the occult.
Living creatures existing in a world we cannot perceive have been the subject of lore dating back countless years. It’s embedded in stories and passed down orally, and written about in multiple religious and ancient texts. I am not referring to extraterrestrial beings in this case, but rather to beings existing in realms indistinguishable to our senses.
Black vs. White Magic
A distinction is made early in the article about black magic and white magic. Basically, black magic is the process of using entities to accomplish a goal through ceremonial magic.
“By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy. . . . The most dangerous form of black magic is the scientific perversion of occult power for the gratification of personal desire.” - Manly P. Hall. The Secret Teachings of All Ages
According to scholars of various philosophies, there occurred long ago, a systematic destruction of all keys to wisdom, so that no one else could