This last week, Mage Against the Machine posted a long podcast that begun to sort through the history of magick. Initially, it seemed an easy task. However, because people have literally been practicing magick forever, the discovery process appears to have already run into a few concerns.
Proving supernatural forces were accepted by the oldest of civilizations has been a challenge at times. Since magick and witchcraft were relatively common concepts, finding specific directions can be difficult. Conjecture is often used, in order to attempt to gain a more clear understanding of purpose
The Difficulties in Uncovering the Evolution of Magick and Witchcraft
History, for the most part, has become a pretty straightforward business. Generally, researching the important dates and events events of certain topics will result with a relatively solid picture of how something came to be. Unfortunately, tackling the practices of magic and witchcraft does not appear to be quite as simple as this. Thankfully, there are some historical references available to at least get started!
Magick and Witchcraft: Evolutionary Stagnation?
Upon beginning this is this sifting of history, it is important to remember the inherent nature of magic. Magick has changed so much, in the minds of man, through the years. However, purposes and practices remain similar today to what they were 5,000 years ago.
This juxtapose in perception about what Magick is and how (or if) it should be handled creates a sort of living history. That is to say, inherently, magic is continuously evolving and expanding. Older historical records become come difficult to to categorize.
Consider that when an aspect of daily life is considered routine, then there tends to be less and less empirical records. This continues to make the process of accurately accounting for magick and supernatural forces difficult to empirically confirm.
A Hidden History Creates More Mystery
Another notable issue with creating a complete historical record of magickal practices is secrecy. In ancient times, for thousands of years, having a magical mindset was just how things were done.
Over time, this changed and magick and witchcraft fell from popular favor. During times like this, the teachings to conjure, cast spells, or to perform a host of other supernatural activities was a secret practice. The wisdom of how to do these things was past down through mystery cults, fraternal orders, or secret societies.
Fresh Faced Witchery Revamps Magick
Sifting through history is a dauntibg task, at first. What many fail to recognize is that Western civilization is very much a baby witch in it’s own right.
Christianity that has relegated the practice magick super off-limits. Practices and spiritual philosophies is spiritual philosophithat had been in play been in play for thousands of years, karma were drew were drastically changed within the course of just a few 100!
The practice of witchcraft, for much of our modern history, has been shunned and shamed. While, it seems silly to blame religion as a whole, there are often shifting religious views or trends in spirituality that can altar the perceptions of practices.
Don’t Hate the Player…
It is a dangerous and stupid plan to ostracize a religion as a whole, or even a religious philosophy simply for changing for changing the dynamics of the spiritual world. If anything, emotion about the recent rifts between spiritual actions or faith actions creates an unhealthy divide. Western civilization is recovering from this exact thing and a loss of knowledge, direction, and faith has been the result.
Broad Strokes and Building Blocks
The Mage Against the Machine podcast hopes to be able to direct and verify all of the practices, important contributors, and any other components of sorcery, magick, or witchcraft that can help to understand modern, Western magick traditions.
During this point in history, there is less direction. Limited descriptions are found to date, detailing specific practices. Rather, what is available thus far, are written scripts from ancient Mesopotamia referencing the existence of witchcraft in the culture.
Surviving the Ages
Surviving artifacts indicate that magick as a supernatural force was practiced in a variety of ways and widely accepted within the societies of Mesopotamia from at least 3200 BCE. Additionally, there is evidence of priesthood rituals, the structure in place for integral supernatural beliefs through religion, and a interdependent nature of lifestyle that often coincides with magickal truth.
Supernatural Perspectives Reflect Ongoing Social Evolutions
There was not this binary relationship that we have commonly today. There was no integration with religion or prerequisite of faith. Magick simply was.
Ironically, within the last 6 is in the last 60 years of Western practice of Western practice, we are seeing a return we are seeing a return to singular learn magic as as a tool.
However, due to the off and on, and sometimes somewhat toxic relationship, the complete history of magic becomes easily muddled. additional research to get to an absolute truth.
Welcome all! We are now officially back in action! With this in mind, get ready to jump right in and make some headway into deciphering more of the mysteries of ancient times. Our first season 2 episode takes on questions regarding the foundations of what has come to be known, in present day, as magick or witchcraft.
Discerning Mythos from Magick
Some of the oldest empirical evidence regarding supernatural activity and celestial inclusion of knowledge is seen in the relations between the daily world and the heavens.
Many ancient temples or other centers for community doubled as trading posts, meeting halls, and other societal practices.
Trends in Social, Spiritual and Religious Significance
Working with the natural energies is the base of magick and witchcraft. These energies appear to be considered as fluid. They can be relative to practices with all kinds of significance.
However, values and importance can change over time. Locations are a great example. This is often because they can reflect more than just a building or project.
Learning Lore Through Local Buildings and Gathering Posts
Important cultural locations often were built to mirror important details in the heavens. Additionally, in many areas through ancient civilizations, there are statues, fountains or other physical tributes were included to suggest importance.
They also acted as large correlation points, or sometimes as a life size representation. Modern historians cannot say for sure that all people believed in the same concepts.
Ziggurats: Mesopotamia’s Mapped Magick
Ziggurats are typically common buildings that became more complex and marked in Mesopotamian culture over the years. They usually were created towards city center. They held special correspondences for the city Godhead. It makes sense that, in time, they reflected the magical mindset of the area, as much as social or economic culture!
These buildings acted as temples for ritual and spiritual guidance. They also captured public interest, at times allowing for economic centers or communal rallying points.
Temples gave a place for people, but not always a purpose. Rituals of all kinds, not just the sources of magick and witchcraft, could be found within ziggurats in Mesopotamia!
Building Babel: Babylon and the Magick of Communication?
It has even been supposed that the Tower of Babel was quite possibly one of these structures!
By studying ancient temples, and then the other important buildings that had similar statuses in a civilization, there is a trend. Certain locations tend to build power and importance over time.
Magick Made Into More?
The source or root can be external or internal. Essentially, be it a combination of inherent willpower or a force that requires intent and direction, for much of human history it has been widely accepted that magick is real and tangible.
Depending on a persons focus, there is a process at work on all actions of magick and witchcraft. Collective actions and common cultural significance can certainly increase the importance of a location. However, typically the buildings and locations seem to correlate as much to a culture, as it does to a collective experience.
As knowledge of practical ritual habits and corresponding details increase, so too does the potential power.
Moving Beyond Labeling and Defining Magick
Magickal influences and influxes through the ages. This should be a simple topic? I mean ,we should know where our craft comes from, right? Modern witchcraft, magick, and pagan religions all have an important place in human history. Understanding the why and the how, I feel, is important, to understand the why and the other mechanics.
The How and Why of Witchcraft
However, with this in mind, before we get too far into it all… It is nice to be back and writing. It has felt so dull and boring doing nothing of the sort the last while. I worked long and hard on the podcast, the opener for season 2, last night. It is coming together, but there is so much magick in our history!
It found it was quite interesting watching the transitions of terminologies as I have been working on our initial timeline of magick and witchcraft. For the longest time, the inherent practices of spells, curses, prayers, effigies, and the like, academically and historically speaking… magick is a common description.
Of course, as we talked about in our article last season, magic was spelled with a c… but it was still that energy and defined by this word. It isn’t until after the creation of the HRE (Holy Roman Empire) that we begin to see Christian, lo… Catholic commentary on sorcery and witchgcraft. Somehow this natural elemen of power moves to something sinister and something that is to be feared.
The Less Wilderness, the More Timid We Become?
It has been the longest of breaks! I feel that weakness in my body. I am sore from laziness and my brain moves slowly. Though, I am waking up. I realize this process, as I am discovering the historical process of how this happened to faith and magick. Maybe, just maybe I am simply connecting dots that aren’t there? I don’t think so though….
I am not going to lie, doing the podcast for this season starter was a doozy! I ended up with an idea, I wanted to track the timeline of magick in Western Culture. I feel that the Wiccan and general pagan books were kind of misleading from the 90s to present. I think that they gave the idea that there has been a statuesque practice that is recognized and practiced since the dawn of time. However, we can see as we go through this that it is so not true.
From Magick to Witchcraft… Sorcery to Satan
Witchcraft and magick definitely do have a long history interwoven with humanity. However, the locations, cultures and societal contributions that have brought us the modern magickal traditions, including Wicca, ceremonial magick, fraternal orders, and yes, even chaos magick…. The thoughts we have as a current civilization about magick and even our rituals and practices, they all come from somewhere. I don’t know, maybe it is just me… but understanding the history of these contributions seems kind of vital.
Those that do not learn from the past [history] are doomed to repeat it!
Sir Winston Churchhill
I have heard it said before that learning from the past is a good idea and I tend to take magick, divination, and all things of this nature in a serious light. Call me old-fashioned. Call me out dated. Just don’t call me under prepared. I was taught to respect the nature of magick, to wield spells as one would a weapon. It is hard to unlearn these trends.
Etymology and Alterations of Magick
I feel like we have witnessed a huge jump in understanding or the evolution of thought and consciousness, but because we were so busy trying to control things perhaps we missed it. The timeline, to present, only a few seem to have it out there in a full thought. It was really difficult tracking magick, the practices, rituals and general concept socially. It reminds me of the old adage of failing to learn from history.
One of the things that intrigued me the most about everything has been the way in which magickal power is so… disregarded. This bothers me and simply doesn’t sit right.
Considering the Source and Seriousness of Magickal Practices
The best way I had to tackle this issue that I have been having was to seek out where exactly this mindset began to take hold. For, much of humanity, there was reverence for nature and the natural power of the earth and conscious begins. That we had will and that we could cast it upon the world around us, seemed to be more than a mere accident.
Working Backwards Through Witchcraft
Scott Cunningham wrote in his Guide to a Solitary Practitioner that the magick of witches has been around since Shamans. It isn’t that it isn’t true, it is that it is vague that bothers me so. I look back at the history as I was taught it, and I feel kind of cheated. I feel like I went too long seeking something other than the source. I imagine this is how many people feel when they seek balance or piece from a religion or practice that is incomplete.
I love the olden authors. I was a fan of Raven Grimasi because I was a dianic from the beginning. I felt a kinship with Scott Cunningham as I began to learn and I loved reading the creation of Starhawk. However, the more I dig, the more I realize that there is a deeper, richer, and more virile magickal history. I don’t think they had the facts, as they didn’t have access to information as we do in the technological era as we do now. I don’t blame them for working with what they knew to be true.
Seeking Sorcery and Magick in the Purest Form
For the furthest back of ancient religions, we see an important status of the cosmic balance and truth, with the Goddess of Ma’at in older Egyptian myth. This balance was represented as a deity. However, so was the power that made it work. The scales reacting to something, is how it seems.
Egyptians promoted the power of magick through understanding the god Thoth, but recognized it in a brute force kind of raw energy through Heka. This was considered the God of magic, magick in it’s true form, as a primordial power. We have written scripts detailing his importance and the vitality of the energy.
Reflecting on the Direction of Magick and Seeking Historical References
The Season 2 Opener should be posted shortly, but I thought I would at least put some thoughts out there. I feel like I have been digging in some area that I shouldn’t. Like I am opening a can of worms best left closed. I don’t feel like I am doing anything dumb or dangerous, not that kind of warning. However, perhaps there was a reason this was all shut up and not talked about? There is a reason that the history of magick and witchcraft is so disjointed? Each traditions has it’s own history and it’s own path.
However, if it all comes from the same source… does it really matter? Is one really better or different from the other? I don’t think it will make a huge difference on the scheme of greater magickal practices… but at the very least there is going to be a change in my own perception.
A Coven is Always Preferred
I have long said that magick is best done in a small group, and rarely at it’s height of success when practiced solo. People need each other and our reference comes from our social ties with others. We cannot diagnose ourselves any more than we can trust our own experiences without reference and context. Other people being involved in the process provide this needed aspect of practice that allows for the great work to truly be great.
Imagine John Dee doing his scrying solo? It would have been harder to verify as a whole, juding the enochian language. It would have been difficult to believe that this much power and intellect lied in one man. However, with the corroboration of his methods, we see a deeper meaningful result in the angelic script that was deciphered. This is because the unbelievable with able to be tested beyond the greatness of simply one man. The message was easier to decipher with multiple perspectives.
Let Us Dig Up the Skeletons of the Dead Arts
I have said that this whole process was a project of me simply trying to verify, understand, and hold accountable, the story of magick many authors have done similar tasks, but I find that not always in the simplest of terms. They also do the digging gone their own
Special Thank You to Support for Season 2
I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all of you that have taken a part so far. You are the only reason we are able to do this, and personally… that I am able to do this. I am grateful for the opportunity to dig through the past and clarify. There has been quite a bit of support, socially, which is cool. People are slowly beginning to speak up, ask questions, and get involved. It is a unique and humbling experience.
Additionally, to the two supporters I have had with me since nearly the beginning, tossing some coin to support this crazy ride. Thank you as well.
Final Word on the Timeline of Magick
So far, the timeline is shaping up nicely. I have left out some major additions, as I would like to add them as we dig into them. For now, I can say that we have broken the information up into smaller parts. I have a tendency to just talk… and talk. I find this fascinating. Thankfully, I do have some editing help to hold me back. That being said, expect this first episode to be super long!
We are doing our best to break up the sections into chunks that are easily digestible and i don’t expect anyone to just sit down and listen to it in entirety. We go back to Pre-Sumerian and Pre-Babylonian tablets to find proof of magick and the magickal mindset. We then go to Babylon, to Egypt, make notations through classical antiquity. From there, we discuss the influence of Christianity, touch on the Jewish mysticism influence, and begin to see where the paths diverge. We look at the sects of Christianity, the secret fraternal orders and the kickback that happens from the Inquisition. That isn’t even the whole of it. It is a brough history indeed and only a work that has hust begun!
Thank You for Your Patience!
See, I definitively bit of more than I had initially planned. That being said, it has been an interesting look at the topic in a way that was new to me. Hopefully, you all get as much out of the work as I have! I believe the timeline should be posted in a rudimentary form in a day or two.
I can’t wait to share and then to move forward and add to it! As soon as it is up, I will make sure to update on here.