by Arjun Walia, The Pulse:
“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)
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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)