a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
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alt.magick Magick HiSTory REFerence file

Newsgroups: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick.moderated,alt.magick.order,alt.history,talk.religon.misc,alt.answers,news.answers
Subject: alt.magick Magick HiSTory REFerence file
Followup-To: alt.magick
Summary: This is a REFerence file for the alt.magick newsgroup.  As such
         it constitutes an attendant file to the alt.magick FAQ, which is
         intended as an introductory file, and its content may be discussed
         within the alt.magick.* constellation.  The FAQ is available at:
Keywords: magick history religion politics
From: (tyaginator)
Reply-to: (tyaginator)

Archive-name: magick/mhstref
Version: 9604
Posting-Frequency: every six months or by necessity

Religion and Magic, History and Politics
Compilation and Commentary, by tyaginator

with this blizzard surrounding me on all sides about Christianity 
and Satanism in these newsgroups, that an ambiguity such as the RCChurch's
position on the occult or its ability to influence the mind and body
of its membership could continue to exist strikes me as important.

there continues a splattered range of human perception on establishments
such as the Church and their operating policies.  its power allows 
multi-partite geopolitical influence without being restrained to 
self-consistency or clarification except as serves a ruling class at the 
whim of its pontiff.

given this, I am initiating a REF file on the history of the term 'magic',
its usage and utilizers, culturally and factionally.  If you see something
in Usenet which conforms to this special focus, please post here and email
a copy to me for inclusion in this document.

[persecution of magicians in Greece, early Christianity]

I think that this only applies to PRIVATE workers of magic.  The
performance of magic in public, for the benefit of ones community,
was nearly always deemed appropriate.  It was when people did things
on their own, or in small and secretive groups, that concerns were
raised.  This, for example, is what led to the persecution of the early
Christians by the Romans:  they were accused of doing horrible
magical practices during their secretive rituals and they refused to
publicly partake in community religious practices.

Rob Von Rudloff, M.Sc., M.A.
[Christian spiritual authority generally and its relation to 
 individual practice]

Early Baptist history is really quite rebellious and anything but
authoritarian. Classically, the individual church decides what it will
and will not do and teach. Pastors have the pulpit, but it is up to the
deacons (laity all, the equivalent of elders or the vestry) to hire,
fire, and make the "big" decisions.

But then, my friend--who had actually studied Baptist history in
depth--told me of a doctrine which lies at the very foundation of Baptist
thought, but which neither of us had ever heard in all of our years
growing up in the denomination: the doctrine of "soul competency."

Mostly a reaction against authoritarian clericalism in the Roman and
Reformed churches, "soul competency" proclaimed the right of each
individual believer to decide for him or herself how they interpret the

This radical idea gives one a glimpse of just how revolutionary the early
Baptists were, and how far removed those who currently use that name are
from their predecessors.

To quote the Psalmist: " O how the mighty are fallen."

Similarly, few of my Roman Catholic friends are aware of the declaration
of "internal authority" found in the Declaration on Religious Freedom of
the Vatican II documents. "Internal authority" refers to the individual's
responsibility to follow his or her conscience regardless of whether that
conscience is in conflict with civil or religious authorities. I
personally know many faithful Roman Catholic people who exercise
artificial birth control, yet agonize over what is, after all, common
sense and good conscience.

Why the secrecy? Why is it a secret that the final religious authority
resides within each one of us, for each one of us? Why do we hand over
our power so quickly, so willingly?

Because we were taught to do so. In their phenomenal book on religious
authoritarianism, The Guru Papers, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad write
that "if children are taught to mistrust adults they will
have little option other than looking for someone else to trust." They go
on to explain that if people are conditioned not to trust themselves,
"they will give away what power they have to those they think can protect
them. The problem is that in doing so, one is no longer protected from
one's protectors.... This leads to corrupt, power-driven hierarchies that
care little about the well-being of people" (emphasis mine).

John Mabry

It appears that the subject of magick and the historical significance of
the term-complex 'magic' is somewhat tangled and completely dependent upon
culture and perspective.  

Within Euro-Am history, which is heavily influenced by the Judeo-Christian-
Islamic (JCI) religious establishment, I have isolated three perspectives as
captured in Usenet discussion and personal readings:

	* Roman accusations of Christian *secret* magical rites (apparently
	  public magic was accepted, likely as long as it did not oppose the
	  Roman Emperor's edicts and it was called this, we presume by some
	  equivalent Roman word; it would be interesting to find out if 
	  there were other restrictions which secret rites might make private)

	* Catholic and Protestant accusations of magicians and each other of
	  participating in magic

	* Modern positive usage among Neopagans and some other liberal 

I suspect that this is a very tangled subject which will merely require 
several reviews of documents pertaining to magical history within the various 
geographic areas (an unending and tasty quest).

Know good sources on Magick's History?  Post them in response to this and cc 
them to me so I can append them to the end of it as a compilation/research/REF 


"Then suddenly the western mind experienced an urgency, almost a demonic
drive toward a more intimate understanding of the realm of matter through
more careful observation and experiment, a drive to pass beyond the external
barrier of the physical world not into any inner spirit or psychic quality
of things but into the inner material forces within things.  For this,
neither numinous presence nor surface knowledge was sufficient.

A feeling existed also that a more scientific understanding would result
in more extensive control over natural phenomena, as though from this
early period there existed a dim awareness of the energies hidden deep
within the component particles of the universe.  An entry into the
functioning of the material world had already been made through knowledge
of metals.  Alchemical procedures were revealing mysterious powers that
evoked further inquiry.  'Curiosity,' Aristotle would say.  But now
apparently something different, a psychic urgency that would not be denied.

Only this could explain the sustained, almost violent assault of western
intelligence on the world about it, an assault encouraged in the early
decades of the seventeenth century by Francis Bacon, an assualt, rather
than a communion, that would be sustained over the next four hundred years
until eventually it would bring about the transformation of consciousness
at its deepest level, a mode of consciousness that would no longer perceive
the universe simply as cosmos but as a self-organizing cosmogenesis, a
cosmic process expressing itself in a continuing sequence of irreversible

_The Universe Story_, by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, 1992; pp. 226.

This section occurs within a discussion on worldviews, with regard to a
direct link between worldview and one's place in the world.  It sets out 
Science as a disrupter of the previous religious beliefs in its urgent 
questioning challenge to cultural knowns.

Alchemy is here associated merely as one of the sources of inspiration
as it revealed technology involving metals.  There is no mention of
astrology at all, and the only other mention which comes close I did
enjoy quite a bit (it supports my previous discussion with you on
this subject):

"The capacity of Einstein to transform the Newtonian science of his day
through his teaching of relativity required a shamanic quality of
imagination as well as exceptional intellectual subtlety.  So we might
say that the next phase of scientific development will require above
all the insight of shamanic powers, for only with these powers can the
story of the universe be told in the true depth of its meaning."

Ibid, p. 238.

One more quote in relation to the history of science and the knowledge
of scientists concerning their own tradition and that of mysticism and/or
the occult over the years.  I realize the limitation of my source here,
but I do think a mathematical cosmologist and cultural historian (with
PhDs) aren't too bad for initial fodder:

"None of the scientists of the seventeenth, eighteenth, or nineteenth
centuries knew the larger implications of what they were doing or the
discoveries they were making.  Yet each of the major figures was
contributing something essential to a pattern of interpretation that
would only become clear in the mid-twentieth century.  Only now can we
see with clarity that we live not so much in a cosmos as in a 
cosmogenesis, a cosmogenesis best presented in narrative; scientific
in its data, mythic in its form.

Most remarkable is the fact that scientific inquiry should for almost
three centuries have pursued a course dominated by a mechanistic sense
of the universe that would eventually dissolve in the world of relativity
theories and quantum physics.

After Copernicus came those archetypal figures mentioned so constantly
in any review of this formative period in the story of the modern world:
Kepler, Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Newton.  These are especially signi-
ficant because of their influence on the scientific process itself.  The
most essential task was establishing physics as the most fundamental of
the sciences, the context as well as the model of the empirical sciences.
Thus there has been the tendency to reduce even biological studies to
molecular physics.  Even in the social sciences the effort has been to
establish these studies within the norms of reasoning developed in the
mathematical and physical sciences.... [skipping a bit on Kepler - tn]

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) discovered analytical geometry and established
the mathematical mode of dealing with the physical world.  He divided
the physical world and the mind into two entirely different realms,
with the mathematical manner of association between the two ultimately
based on a certain concordism established and maitained by a creator deity.  
At a single stroke he did away with the western consciousness of any inner 
vital principle of the living world, the sense of soul in the nonhuman
world.  Until this time, throughout the total course of the various
traditions, every living being had had some inner vital principle, an
*anima* in the classical world of the west.  For Descartes there was no
inner principle, no soul.  Everything was reduced to matter and its inter-
actions.  So too he did away with the sense of inner form as the intelligible
principle giving identity to any reality of the phenomenal world.  Once this
sense of inner form was removed from the material world then the stark
subjection of things to mere quantification could take place....

A fourth person involved in this re-orientation of human intelligence
in its approach to the natural world is Francis Bacon (1561-1626).  He
established the basic pragmatic orientation that envisaged the scientific
venture as serving human welfare, giving to science its commission to
besiege the natural world until nature would give up its secrets in the
service of the human.  This commission of Bacon was so effective because
of his enthusiasm for the new scientific methods then beginning to function.
His _Advancement of Learning_ [note the focus on science as learning - tn]
in 1605 was prior to the work of Galileo in 1610, also prior to Descartes's
_Discourse on Method_ in 1637.  With these three we have the representation
of the English, French and Italian worlds.  After Kepler the central European 
world committed itself to a vitalism and organicism apart from the mechanistic 
sciences of the French and the English.

It was the Englishman Isaac Newton (1642-1727) who gave to the modern world
its first comprehensive view of the universe, a view that for over two
centuries served as the context for the vast expansion of science that has
taken place in this period.  Newton gave us an understanding of gravitation 
as that primary force that holds the universe together in its vast 
extension in space.  Most important, he demonstrated that the laws of 
gravitation that we experience here on Earth apply to the entire physical 
world, including those astronomical bodies that we observe in the heavens 
about us.  Once this larger source of universal order in the universe was
established, then those persons working in the various other sciences could
go about their work with a general feeling of security in what they were
about.  There were no longer any ultimate mysteries, only the limitation
in human efforts to understand.
Ibid, pp. 229-31.

These quotes fairly substantiate many of my 'biased claims' which you
asked me in regards academic support (here it is :>).

And for those of you who wonder what this majestic alternative scientific
paradigm of which Swimme/Berry speak might be, have a referral:

"When Copernicus first broke the spell of the Ptolemaic system, he put
into motion a process that neither he nor his successors would understand,
a process that would not be understood in any depth until the mid-twen-
tieth century, when an appreciation of the universe as cosmogenesis rather
than cosmos came into being.  This sense of the universe as self-organizing
process was presented in its earliest forms of expression by Henri Bergson,
Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Ilya Prigogine.
Even the process thinkers, however, have seldom fully appreciated that the
universe in its unfolding is not simply process but a sequence of
meaningful irreversible events best understood as narrative."

Ibid, p. 227.

Just as Newton glimpsed the edges of a paradigm and proclaimed it truth,
so did other scientists make similar claims regarding Einsteinian and
objectivist explorations, proclaiming the limitations of knowledge as
reflected in material analysis and high-energy particle acceleration or
nuclear experiment.  Little did they know that terrorist philosophers were
lurking on the outskirts of process philosophy (see Whitehead yes!  even
comparable to taoism!), ready to inspire revolt in syncretic paroxyms of
delight (de Chardin is a beauteous mix of Christianity, Evolutionary 
Biology and Transcendentalism, a clear parallel between his 'noosphere'
and cyberspace as a neural network!  His *conflagration point-event*
he called OMEGA POINT is a future involutive self-reflection wherein
the species somehow resists the forces of individualism and meditates
upon the Person (I presume the Person of Christ).  It would be ideal
to fabricate a WWWeb Node called 'The Omega Point' and establish it as
the congregation of centers of consciousness in the noosphere).


I quote Carl Sagan (a popularist of Scientific principles and ethics):

"The transmutation of the elements was pursued in medieval laboratories
in a quest called alchemy.  Many alchemists believed that all matter
was a mixture of four elementary substances: water, air, earth and fire,
an ancient Ionian speculation.  By altering the relative proportions of
earth and fire, say, you would be able, they thought, to change copper
into gold.  The field swarmed with charming frauds and con men, such as
Cagliostro and the Count of Saint-Germain, who pretended not only to
transmute the elements but also to hold the secret of immortality.  
Sometimes gold was hidden in a wand with a false bottom, to appear
miraculously in a crucible at the end of some arduous experimental
demonstration.  With wealth and immortality the bait, the European
nobility found itself transferring large sums to the practice of this
dubious art.  But there were more serious alchemists such as Paracelsus
and even Isaac Newton.  The money was not altogether wasted -- new
chemical elements, such as phosphorus, antimony and mercurcy, were
discovered.  In fact, the origin of modern chemistry can be traced
directly to these experiments.

"There are ninety-two chemically distinct kinds of naturally
occuring atoms.  They are called chemical elements and until recently
constituted everything on our planet, although they are mainly
found combined into molecules.  Water is a molecule made of
hydrogen and and oxygen atoms.  Air is made mostly of the atoms
nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and argon (Ar),
in the molecular forms N   O   CO    H O and Ar.  The earth itself
                        2   2    2    2
is a very rich mixture of atoms, mostly silicon, oxygen, aluminum,
magnesium, and iron.  Fire is not made of chemical elements at all.
It is a radiating plasma in which the high temperature has stripped 
some of the electrons from their nuclei.  Not one of the four ancient 
Ionian and alchemical 'elements' is in the modern sense an element
at all: one is a molecule, two are mixtures of molecules, and the last
is a plasma.

_Cosmos_, by Carl Sagan; pp. 220-1.

This comes up within a discussion on ELEMENTARY PARTICLE EXAMINATION
and ELEMENTAL CATEGORIES.  He shifts from quarks and "great unsolved
problems in science" to transmutation of the elements in the art and
charlatanry of alchemy and subsequently presents the modern elementary
tables elaborated by modern Science arising out of this experimentation.

Thus Sagan treats it predominantly as a means to TRANSMUTE ELEMENTS
which led to "real science" in the form of analytical materialism.
He mentions IMMORTALITY once, but only in association with frauds and
confidence tricksters.  He doesn't even treat of Eastern notions of
Immortality-based alchemy or of Western psycho-spiritual pursuits.

In short, Mr. Sagan does not say very much about alchemy here and
my claims regarding he and the modern scientists which he represents
appear to be substantiated.

Let's see what he says about astrology:

Sagan soundly and I think valuably critiques daily astrology columns
in popular media as overly ambiguous and innane and then goes on to
ask about twin studies and the progression of the charts and their
limitations in describing the differences between the two (I've always
wondered about that myself and figured it might be addressed in a FAQ
somewhere).  during these roastings he writes:

"Here is a typical horoscope from Ptolemy's time, written in Greek
on papyrus, for a little girl born in the year 150: 'The birth of
Philoe.  The 10th year of Antonius Ceasar the lord, Phamenoth 15 16,
first hour of the night.  Sun in Pisces, Jupiter and Mercury in
Aries, Saturn in Cancer, Mars in Leo, Venus and the Moon in Aquarius,
horoscopus Capricorn.'"

Ibid, p. 51.

He goes on to call Astrology a 'pseudoscience', and, quoting from 
Ptolemy's _Tetrabiblos_ and remarks on how the practices of astrologers
has not kept up with science of the day while simultaneously the claims
and practices of astrologers has grown more and meaningless, homogenized,
ridiculous, a tool of merchandizing.  I wonder where he draws his
information concerning today's astrologers.

Sagan does not mention the occult or magick once in his book of which
I am aware.   I consulted the index and did not find other referrals.

Please provide some from *your* library and I'll bet they're much more
authoritative and academic.  Ooo, get bookish on me. ;>
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