hile on our way to and from the one hundred sixty-ninth annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, a conversation was had which inspired this month’s impromptu submission to our Trestleboard, putting on hold the subject matter of last month. The topic of discussion while traveling was the nature of magic, not as some flashy Criss Angel or David Copperfield trick, but as a scientific reality unknown yet knowable to the majority of man. Neither is it some entirely abstract phenomena which lies beyond the bounds of human comprehension. It, like all things in the universe both seen and unseen, stands to and abides by the laws, rules and regulations of the steady will of the Great Architect of the Universe. The laws of Nature are, after all, said to be the manifestation of the will of Deity, by the observation and emulation of which we may come to know Him, as Masonic tradition informs us. Mother Nature provides the substance into which the life of Father God is breathed, as described in the Book of Genesis. The two can be likened to Hiram, King of Tyre, providing the materials which were to be utilized by and directed under the will of King Solomon in the building of His temple to the Everliving God.

Albert Pike himself sums up the concept of magic as it was understood and practiced by history’s many great and reputed magicians such as Paracelsus, the great Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, and Eliphas Levi, excerpts from the writings of whom Pike copied and used practically verbatim in Morals and Dogma. “Magic,” as declared in chapter thirty-two, “is the exact and absolute science of Nature and its laws,” (Pike). Knowledge of the laws which appertain to things imperceptible to the senses of the physical body allows an individual to carry out and perform phenomena which have historically been described as magical or miraculous. To reference a source from a previous article, “[Knowledge of the] Principle of Vibration underlies the wonderful phenomena of the power manifested by the Masters and Adepts, who are able to apparently set aside the Laws of Nature, but who, in reality, are simply using one law against another; one principle against others; and who accomplish their results by changing the vibrations of material objects, or forms of energy, and thus perform what are commonly called ‘miracles,’” (The Kybalion).

The ancients recognized in the universe one cosmic vital energy, principle or force from which all things imaginable are but temporary manifestations, and which itself is the very life which flows through and animates such manifestations. Everything from the human body and ordinary matter to heat, color, electricity, magnetism, and even emotions and thoughts are but different expressions of this same one thing. It is “in him we live and move and have our being,” (Holy Bible, Acts 17:28). Essentially, magic is the conscious or unconscious utilization whatsoever of this cosmic substance or force to which Eliphas Levi refers as the “astral light;” Judeo-Christian lore refers to it as the Holy Spirit. This provides a key to understanding what would otherwise be, like most others, a strange and obscure Aleister Crowley quote. He asks, “Why should you study and practice Magick? Because you can't help doing it, and you had better do it well than badly,” (Crowley). Here is the next clue to piecing together the ancient understanding of the nature of magic. This implies that everything from the mere blinking of an eye to the thinking of a thought or the most magnificent miracle are all acts of magic, as they each are, like all other things, simply expressions of the one universal principle. There is suddenly a wonderful and necessary disillusionment as to how magic is conceptualized in the light of the explanations given by the authorities on the subject.

It would be worth mentioning at this point, however, that all things differentiate from each other only by the frequency at which the cosmic Spirit has been made to vibrate. Just as clay is made into many forms and figures, they are still made of the same clay Naturally, only those phenomena or utilizations of Spirit which are regarded as miraculous or superphysical by nature are deemed magical. After all, metaphysics is the study of visible phenomena in their relation to invisible phenomena, and the operation of some of the more generally unknown laws of Nature can produce effects which have historically been regarded as miraculous, for they appear to be beyond both Nature and human comprehension. This is not the case, however, as the famous Swiss physician and alchemist before mentioned, Paracelsus, explains. “A miracle,” he says, “is an effect, the cause of which is unknown, but must be equal to the effect which it produces,” because we live in a lawful universe (Hall). The perennial Mystery tradition from ancient Egypt to modern Masonry has ever exemplified and demanded moral and ethical examination, instruction, and discipline regarding the use and direction of this cosmic substance in any way. We will remember Solomon’s most efficient and effective planning for the building of the Temple.

B. Tanner Willhite
Senior Deacon
Redmond Lodge #154


Crowley, Aleister. “Chapter II: The Necessity of Magick for All.” Magick Without Tears, 1954.

Hall, Manly P. “Miracles Are Not Miraculous.” PRS Journal, vol. 47, no. 3, 1987, manlyhall.org.

The Holy Bible. New International Version

The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece, by Three Initiates, “Chapter IX: Vibration,”

Pike, Albert “XXXII - Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, 1871.