The principles of magic in modern times are half truths, misnomers and, more often, bald lies. There is a much romanticised fiction full of robes, candles, chants, swords and sigils but the deep truth is that magic is not truly built of those notions, indeed they act merely as its servants in its purpose. magic is as simple as it is subtle, as wise as it is naive, as powerful as it is constructive and as awesome as it is beautiful. magic, or to be absolutely accurate, the path of magic, is simply the quest for discovery of the keys to existence of the individual in the knowledge that these in turn will unlock the secrets of the existence of the cosmic whole, it is the search for truth in the man to find truth in the world.
The first step is often the most difficult: the given will to acknowledge the experiences of life as having significance and often purpose beyond and deeper than the apparently throwaway unreality it seems. The realisation that each of us is a being of perfect free will, free to pursue our path towards spiritual expertise and enlightenment by a simple process of applying our knowledge to our experience and modifying both accordingly. To sum it up, the path and purpose of magic is the discovery of truth and life without through truth and life within.
There are however several ways of approaching this ideal, all of which have by necessity to make assumptions that are initially unsubstantiatable, the first that I made being that reality and existence are utterly subjective, that the experiences of the individual cannot empirically be shared by either another individual or group of individuals. Certainly we all choose to accept commonality but it is essential to see that this is a convenient abstraction and not an absolute truth. Language is a prime example, we use a concept like colour, we all know what "blue" means to us but however much language we use we cannot ever know what "blue" means to someone else, trying to describe "blue" we are forced into saying it is like something else or pointing to an example, it cannot be done without reference to something else and thereby comparison. We describe in terms of comparison, similarity and difference and never in terms absolute.
The other assumption I made as I set out on my quest was that there is no such thing as complete understanding, nothing in reality is empirical and always there is a further subdivision of understanding than that at which one stands at any given time. I set out with the unshakeable conviction that I am always to be a perpetual student, I learn always, even when teaching, I study and this record I make of my learning is a comparison the reader may wish to make with his own growth of spirit, not an instruction guide on how to grow.
The responsibility of teaching is great but the burden lighter and the lessons easier for the understanding that to teach is not to experience in the pupil's stead but to lead him to the threshold of his own wisdom. I will throw open that door for any who choose to follow me to it, I who have been called Gandalf in good-natured jest, but no fiction am I, I who have been called devil in fear and ignorance, but no incubus am I, I who have been called angel in awe and wonder - imagine yourself being named such, which of these would trouble you the most? Yes, me also . . . .