‘Reader, pardon my self-esteem! As I am introducing a new art to you, I must make you understand me: I claim to be a sorcerer, a magician. Have I a secret ? Certainly, but I am not bound to reveal it at the start:
By an intellectual act I disengage and emit an influence from myself. I behold extraordinary phenomena; they are the result of a force or agent emerging from my own personality. The vital principle which animates us– Though invisible, is not its form very real ? Does not the oak exist unseen in the acorn ? Must we only believe what we can see with the eyes ? Are we not influenced every moment by imperceptible agents ? That which ever escapes our sight is exactly that which makes us what we are.
This vital force can be divorced from its fleshly shell in several ways: in the way of nature, i.e. by disease, poison, etc. But there is another mode. I can isolate and dislodge this vital force from its human abode. It will terrify those who do not know how things can be re-integrated into their primal condition. Ebb and flow, rise and fall, sympathy and antipathy-explain it as you will, nor am am I anxious to explain it for you.
Thus there exists around us in space an agent differing from all known forces, whose properties and qualities have little in common with the dead forces discovered by our scientists. This agent provides the substance of our life, sustains it for a time and receives it back again when disengaged from its material shell. We gain from it our inspiration, knowledge, and understanding. Everywhere and at all times an unknown element tosses us about, as the wind sways the reed. We are, indeed, the toys of unseen intelligence. This, and no other, is the magic element. It has a constant attraction for us, yet is an unknown ally, and we have ceased to use it.
Our body is an inn where many a traveller stops or halts for a brief space: the inn is full of tumult, even night brings no peace; one rouses another and we confuse cause and effect: we are stricken, we die, or we kill. Everything points to a mysterious agency ever near and within us, Magic ever operates in and round us, and yet people deny its existence. The key may be lost: but from the extant facts the ancient science can be reconstructed. “Seek and ye shall find: ask and it shall be given: knock and it shall be opened to you.”
The knowledge on which all this is based is the science of the ancients, but all are by no means ready for it–it would mean madness for many of them. Nor did the sages consider such knowledge safe in certain hands. Moreover, it is so long in coming, that the more impetuous kind of man will not wait- and yet they consider themselves quite capable of ruling a nation. Whether it is better so, who can say ? Magic, at any rate, is not for all, and only a few will understand me. To make progress in magic demands a strong soul and an unshakable determination. One must wrestle with the unknown force, break every fetter, restrain one’s passions and move in a supernormal world.
You think this impossible! You are astonished: yet all your muscular efforts, your locomotion are the result of the same power. You are so blunted, you see only with the eyes of an animal. Instead of looking upwards, you concentrate only on the body’s nourishment. Ranking yourself amongst the beasts, even as you lack their more primitive instincts. Alas ! We can no longer behold ourselves as God created us, resplendent in glorious light, vitalizing our surroundings by our very gaze, shooting forth a mysterious flame into other bodies, as a fire emits sparks- a furnace blazing continually with Nature’s most complete handicraft: capable by our power and will of giving forth life like our Creator : our very look imposing respect on all that is animal: crushing, by a sort of electricity, everything that hinders our progress. We needed no doctor to protect us, or priest to point the way to heaven. We ourselves possessed all the knowledge necessary.
Our priesthoods can perform no miracle, though they believe in God: they can pray, and that is all. Doctors, similarly, cannot ensure the efficacy of drugs: they can produce no sleep save by drugs. Those of ancient days were diviners and seers, those of to-day are mechanics. Nature cannot answer those who do not know how to summon her.
Of the reality of magic my own achievements, not those of others, have convinced me. I am still an apprentice: but not one of those who think they can perform apart from Nature, apart from the principle of life. This is the essential- all else is secondary. You cannot be deceived if you follow this path. I have written all that it is necessary to know at starting. Every discovery of these days is incomplete without that of which I have spoken. Our “fire” will act on all intelligences, and increase their power, a power that can surpass the miracles of old. Man will then have all forces at his disposal : the scales balancing them will finally reach an equilibrium: and the point where the needle halts will be