Esoteric Magic as a Method for Personal Development


  • Author Ash L'har
  • Published February 16, 2022
  • Word count 1,249

I find it odd that, amid this new millennium’s spiritual revival and self-growth renaissance, relatively few people are interested in or even informed about magic. When I say “magic” I’m referring to the true arcane art in its historical and traditional context. Think Persian Magi, Celtic Druid, Egyptian Priestess, etc. and we’ll be on the same page. These and other people from past cultures practiced a variety of mystic and metaphysical arts that allowed them to alter (or protect) the world about them and the people within that world, including themselves. I admit the contents of this art need a little updating for the post-modern context of our world, and that has largely already been done by authors and teachers of the past 100 or so years.

Before you balk and call nonsense, you should at least hear me out. Many years ago when first presented with the notion of using magic as a means for bettering myself, I think I said “bullshit” right out loud. It was next politely pointed out to me that I apparently believed I could play-pretend I was a giant magnet, capable of attracting to myself, through space and time, whatever I desired. Furthermore, came the inquiry: Didn’t I also think by vividly seeing some circumstance in the privacy of my mind, I could somehow and perhaps “magically” convert that visual into an objective reality? I had to admit either magic was sounding more reasonable, or I was beginning to look like a buffoon; I preferred the former over the latter and became an attentive listener.

What is an Act of Magic, After All?

The magician, through his or her means and methods, essentially seeks to change reality in a way more suited to what he or she desires. Magical operations work to make the intentions of the magic-user, called the will in the trade lingo of magic, a reality. The only real difference between formal traditions of magic and the standardized methods of a new-age, spiritual, self-helper, type person are the vastly superior models, skill sets, and procedures these arcane traditions employ.

That last statement was heavily nuanced. On the surface there are numerous differences and distinctions between formal magical practice and just sort of freestyling a so-called spiritual approach to self-improvement.

Isn’t Magic Part of a Religion, and Thereby Somewhat Dogmatic?

Notice I keep saying “formal”, and this does imply some structure and specifications. All right I’ll just blurt it out: magic involves that “R word” many a purple-haired, starry-eyed, rockhounds abhor; it involves rules, even treatises if I’m brutally honest.

Magical philosophy begins with a rather complex and complete view of reality. This theory or theorem as it may be called, covers in depth the nature of the human being as a system of material and energetic synergy, part of and in harmony with a greater, or universal energy matrix which is itself alive and intelligent.

Here’s the thing, magical theory is technical and articulate stuff that goes way beyond the limp-wristed “it’s all just energy” mantra of the new-ager. Well studied and practiced magicians can consistently and predictably get specific results with their formulae. These results can be adjusted, refined, etc. through changes in the formula or operation. It’s also possible to blow the whole effort by skipping crucial details or ignoring steps that don’t fit into one’s warm-fuzzy ideology. In other words functional magic is underpinned not by dogma, but by real, albeit typically unseen and unmeasurable, nuts and bolts that either support the overall system or fail to do so, relative to the care and capability of the practitioner.

In the very distant past, virtually all magic belonged to one religious group or another. Ancient magicians served as the monarch’s prophets or the temple priests, among other roles.

Over the millennia students and teachers of the Great Art pried its study and practice out of the hands of the gods and carried these fundamentals into more profane arenas. The Cunning Folk who served their villages and brought magical aid into the lives of ordinary men, women, and children are a great example of practical magic put to good use.

What Does the Phrase “Esoteric Magic” in the Title of this Article Mean?

As alluded to above, practical magic involves the kind of operations that get things done in day-to-day life. Healing charms, love potions, divination for finding a lost pet, and delivering a few good nightmares to the 20-year old college student who is secretly courting your 17-year old daughter, are all examples of this sort of arcanum.

Esoteric Magic escapes from the mundane world of material problems and conflicts with flesh and blood creatures like you and I. This form of the Art deals with the inner landscape of the personality, true desire, fear, bliss, etc. and with the unified, subtle realities of the Soul, collective unconscious, spiritual entities from other planes of existence, and so on.

Practices associated with esoteric magic include but are not limited to contacting spirit guides and/or angels (of your zodiac sign, for example), out-of-body journeying or astral travel, tuning and balancing the energy centers of your energetic body, and channeling energy from elemental or nature spirits to gain wisdom or to enhance your auric field. The magical maxim “Magician, know thyself.” is in part drawn from these and similar fields of study.

In essence, esoteric magic can be applied to any of the self-help or personal growth scenarios you are currently working on or planning to tackle in the future. It’s also quite possible the alternative, magical techniques are more precise, more powerful, and more predictable and subject to fine-tuning than the grand majority of methods currently in your metaphysical toolbox.

Please give me the chance to qualify this claim.

First, I could obviously be wrong. There are talented folks among us who, by example, are just amazing at creative visualization and tend to nail one target intention after another.

I firmly believe, however, due to the vast history and spiritual influence behind humanity’s magical traditions and philosophies, most of us will soar higher through study and practice of arcane wisdom than we would if we only stuck with “manifestation meditation” and the occasional upbeat seminar packed with industry celebrities and hot-coal-walking finales.

I personally just find greater depth, more metainformation if you will, in the Tree of Life than in all the Law of Attraction books I’ve ever read combined. I’m a technician. I love to nerd out on the details and take my hands-on energy work to the next level, then on to the next, and so on. It thrills me to discover a connection between a ceremony the Egyptians performed after a battle and a secret ordeal my Celtic ancestors underwent in an effort to contact their deceased lover. That’s just me. I’m an oddball, but then most magicians are, so I hear.

Thanks for reading my pro bono pitch for magic. She doesn’t pay me for this. My effort to “convert” you is sincere and from the heart. It is out of love for her, the mysterious Goddess, and appreciation for you, fellow seeker of the best version of yourself, that I offer these words for your consideration.

If you’ve made it this far and at least one line stirred something in you or gave you food for thought I’ll consider my work a success.

Check out more content about practical or esoteric magic by visiting the author's blog. New content is posted regularly and questions are always welcomed and answered in as timely a manner as possible.

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