Sunday, June 22, 2008

Midsummer Message 2008

Magic is where you find it. Some thirty years ago, the Managing Director of a very respectable religious publishing house in England, A.R.Mowbray & Co., was looking into his shaving mirror one morning when the message came to him, out of the blue, "Why not publish a book on the history of white magic?" He cast around what few contacts he had who might have some idea about such an arcane subject and in the end was referred to me. The consequence was, and I hope he did not lose his job as a result of it, the publication of "A History of White Magic" by Gareth Knight.

It caused a few ripples at the time, a bit of fluttering amongst some readers of the Church Times, one of whom wrote in condemning the publication without going to the trouble of actually reading it, though I hope he bought a copy if only to throw it away - unless he was as socially responsible as one of Dion Fortune's readers who returned a well thumbed copy of "The Winged Bull" to the publishers for fear of corrupting the scavengers if it ended up in the trash can. Anyhow, some people liked it, it translated into French and Greek and later had an American edition under the title of "Magic and the Western Mind".

I felt it was an opportunity to present my favoured subject to the world at large, either directly, or for fellow students of the subject to present to their friends and relations as an intelligent and reasonable justification for their taking up with such an out of the way subject. Of course in the years since then, the world has become a less strait laced place, and interest in the esoteric become almost commonplace. Nonetheless what I had to say in the book retains a use and validity I feel. Thus I am happy to announce that it has now been made available again, in the form of a disc you can put into your computer, and bringing for the first time the joys of full colour illustration.

The point I have to make in the book is that the world of magic is one of high imagination, and an art and science with applications as universal as those of mathematics. Yet its unique scope, encompassing both science and religion, has caused it to be denigrated in modern times. Physical science has discarded it as superstition or a pseudo-religion. Religion has regarded it, as it once regarded science, with deep suspicion, thinking it to be an impious attempt to trespass on sacred preserves. But I consider magic to be a middle ground between science and religion, reconciling them in a technology of the imagination, which can bring about personal regeneration and spiritual fulfilment.

In a wide historical survey I show how the higher imagination has been used as an aid to the evolution of consciousness, from the ancient Mystery religions, through alchemy, Renaissance magic, the Rosicrucian manifestoes, Freemasonry and 19th century magical fraternities up to the 20th century occult revival. The message of the whole book is that we have sadly neglected the contribution that the higher imagination can make in bringing about an ecological responsibility to science and a restoration of nerve to religion. Now that we and the environment are threatened with a Faustian disaster, could a re-appraisal of the function and importance of magic be the key to our survival?

To find out, if you have not already read a copy of the book, go to http://www.ritemagic.co.uk/ to obtain a copy of the PDF file.

Review comments:
"It is quite a book. It deserves to do well and to be treated with respect and attention. As to its main theme, I know nobody better qualified to write it, and it is a grand sweep of very well digested and understood - and researched - information which is not available to my knowledge anywhere else in this kind of form." - Publisher's reader.

"As a chronicle of the evolution of consciousness and culture in Western Europe this may be compared favourably to Bronowski's 'Ascent of Man' " - Sangreal Magazine.

And may the sun continue to shine brightly on you all,
Regards, Gareth Knight

2 comments:

Fr S.T.A. said...

A History of White Magic was one of the first books on the occult and magic that I owned! I also used it as my starting point when I decided to begin seriously studying the area.

I found it a really valuable survey. One of the things I really noted was where you deviated from the "history" element to give your kind of unified theory on modern esoteric thought, and what needs to happen to move forward, towards the end of the book. I see now from this post that this was your intention, rather than just letting your mind and pen wander!

Thanks for a fascinating read, nonetheless. I'm also enjoying reading your website.

Sine Timor Ambulo

Pedro Luiz said...

Dear Sir,
I bought a copy of A History of White Magic in 1991. I still find it interesting and informative. Later I read some of your other books - A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, The Treasure House of Images, The Magical World of the Tarot, The Rose Cross and the Goddess, and Experience of the Inner worlds. All of them had a lasting influence on my understanding of the Western Magical Tradition. I have Experience of the Inner Worlds beside me as I write; it's the old Helios hardcover edition, wht the black dustcover with a beautiful Tree of Life illustration.
I would like to thank you for your excellent books. They are an exemple of magical knowledge informed by real spiritual values.
Sincerely,
Pedro Ribeiro