(Theosophy - 17.04.2017)
Magic, Magician [from Persian magus a wise man, great; cf magi] The great art; a knowledge of the mysteries of nature and the power to apply them. In its true sense it is gupta-vidya (divine knowledge), the aim of those who tread the path of wisdom; but in ages of decline its chief secrets are withdrawn from public access, and what remains passes through transformations and gradually degenerates.
“The ancients believed in the power of man, by magic practices, to command the services of the gods:
which gods, are in truth, but the occult powers or potencies of Nature, personified by the learned priests themselves, in which they reverenced only the attributes of the one unknown and nameless Principle. As Proclus the Platonist ably puts it: ‘Ancient priests, when they considered that there is a certain alliance and sympathy in natural things to each other, and of things manifest to occult powers, and discovered that all things subsist in all, fabricated a sacred science from this mutual sympathy and similarity. . . . and applied for occult purposes, both celestial and terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain similitude, they deduced divine virtues into this inferior abode.’
Magic is the science of communicating with and directing supernal, supramundane Potencies, as well as of commanding those of the lower spheres; a practical knowledge of the hidden mysteries of nature known to only the few, because they are so difficult to acquire, without falling into sins against nature” (TG 197).
White magic or theurgy is knowledge used for impersonal and beneficent purposes, the bringing into human life of the pattern and powers of nature as these exist on the spiritual planes. . Those who follow the pathway of self-renunciation, self-sacrifice, self-conquest, and an expansion of the heart, mind, and consciousness in love and service for all that lives are called white magicians or Sons of Light.
Black magic or goetia is knowledge used for selfishly personal or evil purposes. Any selfish, self-seeking, or selfishly restricted use of nature’s laws or powers is against the impersonality and universality of nature: “The smallest attempt to use one’s abnormal powers for the gratification of self makes of these powers sorcery or Black Magic” (Key 346).
In theosophical writings, advanced students of occultism who have acquired some knowledge and use of spiritual powers but misuse them for selfish purposes are called black magicians, Brothers of the Shadow, followers of the left-hand path, or sometimes dugpas. In their highest class they are adepts in spiritual evil. Whenever the forces of nature are used for selfish purposes, such misuse by anyone marks such person as a black magician, whether conscious or unconscious
Natural magic is the knowledge and employment of the natural powers, forces, and substances of nature — practically what today is called science. If the knowledge gained through the study of natural science is distorted in its use to selfish or ignoble ends, it becomes de facto black magic.
While a hard and fast distinction may not be applicable to all cults of magic, where the student or practitioner has not yet made a conscious choice between the two paths, yet in the end he must choose the one or the other.
For nature’s forces must be controlled, either by a pure or an impure will, if the practicer is not to fall victim to them. The motive and use that a person makes of his faculties and will are the deciding factors as to whether the magic is beneficent or maleficent.