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The White Magic Book
To us, the people of the twentieth century, the conquest of the air, the transmission of messages by wireless telegraphy, the harnessing of the terrific forces of electricity to our daily needs are sober facts of our everyday existence, exciting no wonderment and certainly no incredulity. It is a matter of common knowledge now that the skeleton of a living man can be photographed; and for a very small sum it is possible to purchase that amazing device which speaks and sings—perhaps with the voice of one now silenced for ever—or crashes out in the majestic harmony of a great orchestra in which almost every instrument can be identified. Yet, well within our memory these things would have been considered the wildest of impossibilities; and a little farther back down the dim vista of years, they would have been starkly denounced as—Magic.
And that is an absolutely correct definition, for what is Magic but phenomena resulting from the forces of Mind and Will—exactly and precisely the agencies though which these latter-day miracles have been achieved.
The Magi were the wise men of the East, the learned class, who devoted themselves to the study of Magic. They were the priests and politicians, and it was all to their interest to keep their discoveries secret and to invest them with mystery, for so they were able to retain supreme power in their own hands and to awe the uninstructed masses. They ruled through a weak monarch, and aided a strong one. Pharaoh matched them against Aaron when Moses was making his oft-repeated demands for the release of a nation from slavery.
"And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
"For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents."—Exod. vii. 10, 11, 12.
There came a period when Magic fell into disrepute, and many learned men and brilliant inventors suffered the death penalty for being in advance of their time—falling victims, together with innocent and ignorant people, unjustly accused by those who claimed to know what was possible and what was impossible.
Still later on, came the time when Magic was not even considered worthy of serious condemnation. Laughter and cheap sneers were a far more deadly treatment—the contempt of the "sensible" people who set themselves up as judges of what man can do, and what he can never accomplish.
De Balzac wrote of his time:
"It is the word 'absurd' which condemned steam, which condemns to-day aerial navigation, which condemned the inventions of gunpowder, of printing, of spectacles, of engineering, and the more recent art of photography...."
Yet, some nineteen hundred odd years ago the Magi, or magicians, were held in reverence. To this day, the story of their coming to Jerusalem with their offering of gold and of frankincense and myrrh is read in our place of public worship; and in the Scriptures no doubt or slur is cast upon their divination of the birth of the Messiah.
A dictionary, chosen because of its general use rather than for any especial merit, is consistently severe in its definitions of Magic and all allied terms until the word supernatural comes under notice—when it concedes practically everything which it has previously denied. Thus:
Magic (L. Magicus from Magi): the pretended art of bringing into action the agency of supernatural beings.
Theurgy (Gr. Theos, God, and ergon, work): the pretended art of magic.
Psychomancy (Gr. psyche, the soul, and manteia, divination): necromancy, divination.
Necromancy (Gr. nekros, dead, and manteia, divination): divination by means of pretended communication with the dead; spirit-rapping; magic.
Necromancy is the ancient term for the modern cult of spiritism. Divination, the foretelling of future events or the discovery of things secret or obscure by alleged converse with supernatural powers.
Then comes the really essential word.
Supernatural, being beyond, or exceeding the known powers of Nature.
Mark that—"exceeding the known powers of Nature." Therefore, it may be reasonably claimed that what was supernatural even thirty years ago, i.e. beyond or exceeding the known powers of Nature, is no longer supernatural at the present time. Indeed, it is an undeniable fact. And what is today regarded as sheer folly (or supernatural) by the possessors of "plain common sense," may, in the not far distant future, rank as positive science.
Our dictionary does, however, admit psychology to be a science—the science of mind on the data of consciousness. And what is Mind? Never was a term so misused, so little understood. One is informed with authority that Mind is the thinking faculty, the spiritual principle or the soul in man: intention, purpose, inclination, desire, thought, opinion, memory, remembrance, disposition. It is also something else of far more importance.
Mind is your consciousness. It is you.
Immediately you grasp the idea, you will realise that it is the unassailable and simple truth—for only the very primitive human being imagines that his body is himself. Even in early childhood most of us are aware that we inhabit our bodies, and that they are the instruments of our wills and desires.
Man had to learn to develop his hand—so as to oppose the fingers singly or all together to the thumb. Thus was formed the perfect organ which gave him sovereignty of the earth. And man will have to learn to develop his Mind, which will give him powers that only a very few, scattered here and there among the teeming millions of humanity, have even begun to suspect.
Darwin, in his world-famous Origin of Species, made only one reference to psychology, and then in these few words, pregnant with meaning:
"In the future, I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be securely based on the foundation already well laid by Mr. Herbert Spencer, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation."
'The necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation." That prediction was first published on November 24th, 1859—yet the students of psychology are still numbered only by hundreds. We are even now living in the Dark Ages.
Mind is your consciousness. Mind is you. But you are part of the Universal Consciousness, the Universal Mind, by which and in which we live. The distinguished French scientist, M. Goupil, writing to a no less famous French astronomer, has put it very clearly.
"Take a handful of the ocean, and you have water.
Take a handful of the atmosphere, and you have air.
Take a handful of space, and you have Mind.
That is the way I interpret it. That is why Mind is always present, ready to respond when it finds in any place a stimulus that incites it, and an organism which permits it to manifest itself."
How can you develop your Mind—how can you learn to use the power which is latent in every normal human being?
Rely upon yourself and learn to use your judgment in every detail of your daily life. You have free will and freedom of choice, and if you do not exercise them the responsibility is yours—and it is one which cannot be evaded. Realise the power of your Mind, however little it is, and begin to use it consciously and firmly without a minute's delay. The power of your Mind is as real and actual a force as the power of your hand. That which your mind pictures clearly, and your will demands strongly and untiringly, you can draw to you and make your own, sooner or later. No argument is necessary to convince you of the accuracy of this statement, for you can see it working out continually and exactly around you as you go through life.
You wonder why so many people suffer from poverty? Look about you at the poor whom you may happen to know personally. Do they steadily and continuously demand prosperity, make the image of it in their minds, keep on the alert for the coming of it, and plan out the way in which it shall come? No! the people who have done these things and are doing them, are prosperous, and will become more so. They are using their Minds, though perhaps unconsciously. Those who suffer from poverty do so because:
They take what is given to them, and seek for nothing better.
They complain of their hard fate, and settle down to endure it.
They convince themselves that poverty is their lot, and that finishes the matter so far as they are concerned.
Many a friendless, uneducated, delicate, penniless boy has before now risen not only to immense wealth, but to fame, by sheer force of will and power of Mind. Such object-lessons are in themselves sufficient proof of what can be done—unaided—by those who resolve to use their natural forces and persevere in doing so.
Everything that man has made for his use, comfort, convenience or pleasure has existed in thought before it became a reality. Someone made a mental picture of the conveyance which you travel in, of the home you live in, of the pen you write with, even of the very clothes you wear before they could become realities. The will-power of someone was brought to bear upon those thought-pictures, and they developed into actualities.
You can do the same if you still be determined and persistent.
Was there ever a stronger or more ceaseless demand than that of mankind for the power to fly? Was there ever an aspiration more pitilessly derided and scoffed at? Yet the demand has been met, and a lad at play in the air, looping the loop or driving at breathless speed among the sunset clouds attracts no more attention than one who takes his pleasures among the waves of the sea, as his ancestors have done before him century after century.
Man is a much more wonderful and complex creation than he supposed himself to be even a few years ago. You are much more wonderful than perhaps you imagine yourself to be, at present. You can understand and realise your five senses. Try to realise the power of your Mind.
That great investigator of psychic phenomena, Myers, writes in The Human Personality: "Medical observation (Félida, Alma) proves that there is in us a rudimentary supernormal faculty, something which is probably useless to us, but which indicates the existence, beneath the level of our consciousness, of a reserve of latent unsuspected faculties."
A reserve of latent unsuspected faculties—a reserve of latent powers of Mind.
Even an animal can bring its mind-force to bear on sensitive people. Who has not seen a dog intent on watching its owner, silent and motionless, yet obsessed with one idea which positively radiates from it, and which sooner or later will make itself felt by the person to whom it is directed. Perhaps the dog wants to be taken out for exercise, or it needs food or drink—or caresses. There is no doubt that it conceives an idea, makes a mental picture of what it so strongly desires, and then settles down to put into action that force which all living creatures possess in a greater or lesser degree. To my own knowledge, horses developed mentally by human companionship and affection are capable of making similar communications and from a considerable distance.
"The universe is a great organism controlled by a dynamism of the psychical order. Mind gleams through its every atom. The environment or atmosphere is psychic. There is Mind in everything, not only in human and animal life, but in plants, in minerals, in space."—Mysterious Psychic Forces: Camille Flammarion.
Everything that man needs for his happiness and wellbeing is within his reach, and his "latent unsuspected faculties" when developed and brought into constant use will make him more consciously master of his fate than he is now.
Realise your Mind—realise your consciousness. Then, choose wisely, concentrate your Mind steadily and strongly upon what you have chosen until you have made it your own.
To concentrate is simply to steady the Mind to its use, just as a skilled workman would steady his hand for work.
Wealth being the means of purchasing practically everything for the ease of body and gratification of the senses, the mass of people make that the first demand. It is a truism that "wealth does not always bring happiness." Those who concentrate upon the idea of wealth to the exclusion of all else, generally attain it—and prove the saying. I could instance hoarding peasants to whom a hundred or a couple of hundred pounds represented wealth, and who, fixing that sum as a limit, secured it through incredible exertions and deprivations—losing priceless health and domestic happiness by the way; and successful business men, desolate amidst their opulence at the end of a strenuous career—because everything had dropped away from them excepting the wealth which cannot buy youth or health or love—or peace.
Therefore, use your judgment and choose wisely when you bring your power of Mind into action. Be very sure that what you desire will be for your benefit—because if you are sincere and strong and persistent in using this great natural force of yours, you will most certainly draw to yourself exactly what you have imagined and that which you have resolved to acquire.
One fact, accurately and dispassionately observed, is worth countless arguments. There is only one satisfactory way to acquire knowledge, and that is to investigate for oneself. Here is such a fact.
A clever and popular actress, well known to London audiences at one time, was in due course obliged to yield to the younger generation, but as a member of No. 1 touring companies continued to enjoy success, and incidentally to see a great deal of the world; but when a touring company's way lies through English provinces, life is not strewn with roses and a continuous endurance of minor discomforts and petty hardships inevitably produced a condition of profound discontent. A peculiarly atrocious experience in "apartments" brought matters to a climax. Although a woman of hot temper and quick and vivid emotions, she possessed much self-control, but—quite suddenly—she broke down and wept with sheer rage and resentment against fate. It was over in a moment, but the impression left was ineffaceable. "If I only had a home," she said, locking her hands together, and speaking with tremendous intensity, "anything—anything but this ghastly wandering from one hideous lodging to another. Just a home!"
She had formed a mind-picture, it was her nature to hold it tenaciously, and she did so. A few months later, by what was then described to me as "mere chance," she came into contact with a philanthropist who was at the time establishing the first of his homes for the benefit of ladies with extremely small independent means—and through him, her demand was met generously—splendidly. She left the stage and she had a home. It was a mansion, fitted with every modern convenience, luxuriously, even beautifully furnished, well-staffed, well-served in every way. The great-hearted founder was a millionaire, and while he lived it was his chief pleasure to ensure the happiness of those whom he had taken under his care—as much so as though they had been members of his own family. He died, and the management of affairs passed into the hands of trustees whose principal occupation became the making of rules. One rule was to the effect that ladies should not leave the home even to visit friends, excepting for a stipulated number of weeks each year, under any circumstances whatever.
It was exactly what my friend had demanded—the antithesis of her former mode of existence; it was also a gilded prison from which, after some years of endurance, she freed herself, very gladly. To her, at least, the sequence of events needs no explanation.
To quote the celebrated French astronomer Camille Flammarion again:
"At the basis of all is force, dynamism, and universal Mind or spirit.
"Your heart beats night and day, whatever be the position of your body. The embryo is formed in the womb of the mother, in the egg of the bird. There is neither heart nor brain.
"At a certain moment the heart beats for the first time. Sublime moment! ... Who or what wound up this watch once for all?
"Dynamism, the vital energy.
"What sustains the earth in space?
"Dynamism, the velocity of its movement.
"What is it in the bullet that kills?
"Everywhere energy, everywhere the invisible element."
Every one of your thoughts is a part of this vital energy, and it is your duty to yourself and to humanity to develop your force and to use it.
Admitted that this force exists—how can we use it?
First and foremost, acquire the art of self-control. Learn to control your will, your Mind-force, your emotions. Anger creates an actual poison in the blood—people have died of fear. To each, is their own special failing, and quiet consideration will inform you better on this point than any advice which can be offered.
But, above all, self-control. Lightning destroys. Controlled electricity has conferred countless benefits upon humanity.
A medical man is said to have a "bedside manner." What does it mean? Perfect self-control, combined with helpful suggestion. Mind-power consciously and skillfully used for the purpose of healing. A doctor subject to variations of temper during the exercise of his profession would be not only useless, but actually harmful.
A wave of intense interest in psychical research is sweeping over the world, and on the outskirts of the crowd of earnest enquirers, hangs the inevitable fringe of those who take it up as a mode, a fashion, something to enhance the interest of their personality. Remember that there are frauds in every walk of life, and some of them deceive themselves. Do not be discouraged by the man whose talk is all of occultism, and who a moment later exhibits signs of intense annoyance or perhaps depression over some untoward occurrence. Or the woman who will paint her face to simulate the bloom of health, and draw your attention to it with the unnecessary explanation, "What I am, I have made myself." Such as these there have always been, and "by their works ye shall know them."
Excerpted from The White Magic Book by John Le Breton. Copyright © 2001 Monte Farber. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Introduction by Monte Farber
Preface by Mrs. John Le Breton
Introduction by Mrs. John Le Breton
Table of Signs and How to Use It
Signs Corresponding to the Answers on Each Page