October is my favorite month of the year. It's National Magic Month. This month was selected to honor magic and magicians whose profession is probably the oldest in the world.
When humans first became civilized, a magician was probably there as a leader or sage in the first tribe. Call them magicians, oracles, seers, shaman, wizards, priests, holy men, entertainers, rogues, scoundrels or whatever term suits you, these were the wisest people in their societies. These people dedicated themselves to studying nature, the world around them and the natural laws that govern our world. They used them to sustain, to inspire, to intimidate, to lead, to counsel and to fascinate their societies for millennia and it is only fit that their contributions be recognized.
The first magi or priests in the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek societies knew principles about fire, hydraulics and pyrotechnics and they used them to scare, control and assist their leaders in governing the people. Evidence exists in the ruins of temples that showed how pyrotechnics created special effects in the temples. Also, there is proof in the ruins of these once great landmarks as to how water pressure and fluid dynamics was used to magically open doors and animate parts of the temples to bewilder the masses.
Magic produced alchemy which was the forerunner of modern chemistry. Alchemists of old exhaustively studied the principles of metallurgy and chemistry as well as history in an attempt to turn worthless metals into gold and in their quest for the mythical "Philosopher's Stone". The stone was supposed to be the result of ancient knowledge that granted its owner eternal life and youth. To the best of our knowledge, neither of these specific goals were accomplished but along the way much was learned about the nature of compounds and elements that laid the foundation for chemistry.
While proof of the Philosopher's Stone was never established publicly, some alchemists of yore claimed to have succeeded at the quest. One such claimant was the infamous alchemist the Count of St. Germain who supposedly lived from 1712 to 1784 although he would claim to be much older than that. This claim was never substantiated although there is apocryphal tales of him being spotted in Europe after his death.
Magic continued to live on and thrive throughout the Middle Ages and gradually morphed into an entertainment form as science became less prosecuted by the Catholic Church. In the early 19th century, the man who became known as the Father of Modern Magic, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin was born in France. This inventor and clockmaker would set the stage for the modern magicians with his incredible illusions and automatons.
Today magic is primarily an entertainment form far removed from its influential and integral past although the original purpose of magic now spelled magick has not been forgotten. The "old religion" still exists and thrives in the world today especially since the loosening of the grip of organized religion on society. No longer are witches and wizards afraid an ignorant population will burn them at the stake. In the magician's world, magick spelled with a "k" to differentiate it from the art form. It is still a study of nature and how a person with strong belief and faith can shape the world according to his or her will.
If one stops to think about it, magick has never ceased in the world. It's lexicon has mutated and has been made more palatable to those whose spirituality teaches us to fear magick, but all of us have practiced some form of magick or have imposed our wills to craft a favorable result for us. We just don't call these practices magick. Instead we call them psychology, brain washing, wishful thinking, creative visualization or even the law of suggestion.
At this point, I believe that science is doing us a disservice by ignoring the ideas of magick which ironically gave birth to science. Scientists have allowed themselves to be compromised by money in the form of funding and obtaining grants. This reliance on external support has created a situation in which an institution, read government, dictates who receives funding and suppresses alternative viewpoints especially when they deal with humanity and religion.
For example, quantum physicists will not blink when they tell you a sub-atomic particle floating in front of you could be projected or a companion to an identical partner trillions of miles in some direction and that the particle could instantaneously blink out of existence at the exact moment the distant particle does the same. They firmly believe in the "God particle" called the Higgs-Boson particle which is supposed to be the unit that gives all matter its mass yet they still have not discovered it. Just this week they reported finding subatomic particles that rocket beyond the speed of light indicating that time travel just may be possible.
Yet with all these fantastic claims about which these scholarly people will accept as possible with no corroborating proof, many of them will claim the soul is imaginary, no civilization before ours could possibly have known anything about advanced technology and humans could not have existed with dinosaurs. Mainstream science will not entertain these paradigm changing theories of life.
In a similar vein, no matter how much evidence is provided to archaeologists they will not accept that perhaps an intelligent civilization could have been here before the Europeans. They are consistently ignoring any evidence that disagrees with people being here before Columbus.
If all these ideas are the nonsense scientists claim they are, then it should be simple for them to prove any one of those ideas to be farcical, but they won't. They will claim it's not worth their time but I will leave you with this thought. Perhaps the enemy is not the value of knowledge, but the possibility that the knowledge could reshape given beliefs and create a whole new game.
Til next time…