The power to transcend all human limitations?

I am not one for any of these definitions of magic. None seem to fit the bill, and often they seem to promote a certain brand of kool-aid. However,  I came across a quote by Richard Cavendish where he describes magic as "the power to transcend all human limitations". 

And wow, this really struck me. What an expansive idea, and when I examined why I felt roused by this statement it was because it rings so true on a fundamental magical level for me as a sorcerer. When magic works well it feels unmistakably like that. As humans we encounter a limitation that would be hard resolve on a mundane level and then as magicians we decide to to transcend that limit. Good magic does that almost every time.

I rarely like to talk about the psychological components of working magic, partly because I feel this vainly situates magic in the mind as some supposedly psychological product, which I think is wrong. Magic is real. It is an integral part of the functioning whole of the universe and by practicing magic we are participating in that very functioning. We are experiencing the wonder of interacting with our world in an extraordinary way that would be otherwise impossible to describe or imitate. Magic is not mysticism. Magic is not religion. Although these do intersect with it from time to time. No, magic is a direct participation in the ongoing creation and destruction of our universe - even if done in your kitchen!

However, if we genuinely want to progress at the art of working practical magic we need, on a very personal level, to be able to entertain the possibility that we can transcend any limit with our magic. Far fetched? It sounds lofty, I know, but as sorcerers that is what we are in the business of doing. We come up against a barrier, a limit, something that needs to change - often that has resisted change by all conventional means - and then we transcend that with magic. This begins by conceiving it to be possible.

It seems to be a chicken and egg scenario because in order to believe that magic works we need to see it work, but in order to see it work we need to trust that it will. A good practitioner begins to realise anything is in fact possible - because he/she sees that happen often enough to know it on a gut level. So if you are new to practical magic, I would like to encourage you - as an experiment - when next you work an ambitious spell to try and conceive for one moment what it would be like if you could transcend any limit right now? What would it feel like if that gap between the possible and the impossible was flexible and disappeared for even one moment?

That feeling, is the magic. Now, wait and see what happens next.


  1. I think the hurdle for beginners is that you do have to -- as they say -- "fake it until you make it", which means doing things for a while with no results or unimpressive results. It can be quite discouraging. I know. I got downright depressed at one point. But I kept plugging. And then there was that one defining moment: the "Holy crap! That REALLY worked!" moment. From that point on, you realize that you are no longer limited to house odds in the black-jack game of life.

  2. I believe that "limit" is artificial, illusion. What about magic as techniques for realizing true consciousness?