This was written June 2006 and presented at the An Fáinne meeting with a discussion afterwards
Science and Magic
Too many people science and magic seem to be world apart from each other. They could be considered to be opposing takes on the worlds we live in esp. as science has been used to try and debunk magic by many.
I would disagree with this and say that they owe a lot to each other and that we could not have one with out the other.
There was a time when all science was magical and all knowledge was hoarded and passed on with much secrecy, from the parent to child, master to apprentice, magician to adept. Too keep the knowledge of certain crafts with in the craft there were lineages either with in families which can be seen in names such as baker, cooper, smith the trade and the family becoming synonymous with their craft, to the records that were kept in guild houses tracing back the journey of apprentice to master craftsman and under who’s sponsorship and teachings, a different sort of lineage.
This then eventually became as we know it today in the realms of academics and of engineering and medicine, where were you taught and under whom did you do your training and researches. The same ways of vouching and accreditation applies.
There are as ever those who figure things out them selves and debark on the process of trail and error for there are some things that occur to people to test and seek and to see what will or could happen, this curiosity and experimentation has served both magic and science well.
From the person who first discovered striking flint and iron pyrite together to make sparks and create fire, to the person what learned to speak to the fire and the fire elementals, to the person who smelted the first metals to the application of gas and oil fired heating each of these processes had something in common the magical moment of inspiration and imagination that allowed the person to view how things might be done differently or the magical moment they fell on their rear ends and discovered something by accident.
There are schools of science that simply would not exist without the magical or pseudoscience that begat or fostered them. We would not have astronomy with out astrology, chemistry with out alchemy, pharmacology with out herbalism and even psychology with out the head logy of shamans, kenning people, wise ones, druids, witches and medicine women and men.
Even the methodology of experimentation and substitution used in science, of how one carries out an experiment from the listing of tools and ingredients needed, how they are gathered and prepared, the instructions on how to, the what to expect and the conclusion that can be draw afterwards can be found in magical texts from the key of Solomon to grimoires and texts on herbs and simples.
It is the literacy of the many that has moved science forward so much over the last 150 years. The publishing of findings and the open sharing of science that enabled many minds to puzzle out and build upon each other’s knowledge and take discoveries once step further. To the extent reading science text was fashionable and everyone marveled at them and learned.
So much knowledge became less secret and most children now learn the principles of magnets and have how the solar system spins explained to them.
Is magic going through the same process?
Has science now developed from magic and come full circle to give us the tools develop magic in a similar revolution?
The quiet type where things which were magical and fantastical and that only odd people believed in like the earth being round are gaining common creditability were as before hand they were dismissed completely.
How many house holds have oil burners and incense in them, crystals and dream catchers? How many people believe and practice reiki? How many people are seeking out alternative treatments and holistic therapies?
With the many books and writings that are out there will we see more people? Taking up magic or what was perceived as magical practices and making them work for themselves in their lives? how tuned in will we all be when we all or the majority believe in energy workings as much as we believe in magnets and magnetic fields?
As science gains ground and more is learned about energy and particle and wave physics the more it is being seen that everything in the universe is connected and the only difference can be the energy patterns and how they vibrate and react.
This universal communality was considered to be one of the core teachings of alchemy and it has come around again.
Also the seven hermetic principles are being rediscovered by physicists and they are surprised to see how they apply esp.
The Principle of Vibration which embodies the truth that motion is manifest in everything in the Universe, that nothing rests, and everything moves, vibrates, and circles.
The Principle of Rhythm which embodies the truth that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, a to and fro; a flow and inflow; a swing backward and forward, in short, a pendulum-like movement.
The Principle of Polarity which embodies the truth that everything is dual, everything has two poles, and everything has its pair of opposites
The Principle of Cause and Effect which explains that there is a cause for every effect, and an effect for every cause
These 4 alone have scientist wondering about how they are seeing all this in the fundamental building blocks of the universe and that these principles are supposedly over two millennia old and the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus There has been a lot of speculation on the origins of the Kybalion it certainly makes for interesting reading.
So how does science impact on your magical views and magical workings?
If how we view the world and the universe from how we are thought which is for the most part through the tools of understanding that have been developed on a scientific bases (from primary school level we are taught 2 +2 = 4 and to accept it and not ask why or what if it didn’t) how unhinged do we have to let our rational minds become before we can accept things that science has not found ways to explain or measure yet?
I do mean yet for it was the engineer and physicist Lord Kelvin (of the Kelvin scale of temperature), that declared in the 1900 that “X-rays are a hoax.” As they were immeasurable and had no useful applications and we all know how that turned out.
Do we as magical practitioners use magic to bridge the gaps in our science or science to back up our magic or restrict and shape it and can this cause conflicts and blocks with in ourselves limiting what maybe possible ?
Many of the things that were considered magical have been as the human stores of common knowledge expand simply seen as matter of fact.
But of then science can explain the how of things but not the why.
Could it be that we should look again at the world around use with the awe and appreciation of a child who makes paper clips dance to their command with the magic of a magnet, is that less of an act of will and the application of secret knowledge ?
And if we are aiming to live a magical life we should see the magic in science, the science in magic and aim for the middle path between the two for we need both.