Crash Course on “energy” from the magical perspective
smackdown on empty words and bunny fluff
Right out of the gates let me admit that words like “energy” are sorely abused within the broad community of magic, mysticism, psychism, and New Age or spiritualism. I am painfully aware of the fact, and I work really hard to move against the tide on this issue, but I know I’m outnumbered.
You can watch a person’s eyes glaze over and their gaze become detached and distant as they murmur some handy escape phrase like “it’s all just energy”. I say escape phrase because most of the time this is some sort of copout to avoid a technical discussion, wherein they would be lost, or an attempt to not be accountable for the previous dumb shit that fell out of their mouth.
Forgive my harsh tone, but I take the topic of magic seriously. I know how absurd that sounds to the agnostic or materialist who comes here for a good laugh, however the fact remains that I believe with a deep conviction in the importance of distributing clear, logical information on subjects like magic, mysticism, et al.
When someone tells me they “do a lot of energy work”, it pisses me off. My knee-jerk reaction is to ask what kind of energy they are dealing with and what does the work involve. Typically, my inquiry is met with stuttering and more word salad, meaning a bunch of nice-sounding terms arranged in a non-explanation and delivering no intelligible information.
let’s get clear on the whole “energy” thing
When we speak or write of energy in magical or mystical circles, we (should) make a distinction between the two base categories of the phenomenon, which are gross energy and subtle energy. That matter and energy are somehow interchangeable ala e=mc2, all matter and energy consist fundamentally of some crazy “wave and particle duality”, and most of the energy in the known universe is of a “dark” or undetectable nature, are taken for granted thanks to the brilliance and diligence of the physicists, chemists, biologists, and other scientists who have informed our paradigm through their painstaking and lifelong efforts.
You won’t catch me, on this blog or in any of my published material or even in a casual conversation, making backhanded comments about academic science, materialism, or empirical epistemology in general. We live, after all, in the castle built by science. It’s quite bewildering to me when I see a resident of the developed world, healthy at an age young to us but years beyond the lifespan of our ancient forebears, using his handheld electronic device to broadcast across a wireless information network his thoughts on the “arrogance” or “narrow-mindedness” of science, all because, in general, those working in the scientific disciplines don’t believe in things like reincarnation or magic or the astral plane. This paragraph really calls out for a separate article in the near future, but for now I ask you to forgive my tangent and join me back on topic below!
Before we dive into the differences between gross and subtle energy, allow me to provide a few useful definitions that will apply to either category. I see these words often used interchangeably when in fact they are distinct in their meaning and, while related, should not be confused or tossed haplessly in a word salad.
NOTE – These definitions include ancillaries to fulfill relevant magical connotations. Any listing may have a 2. or 3. etc. which I added to include the magical properties of the word being defined.
Energy 1. the ability or capacity to perform work; fuel or sustaining factor 2. a quantifiable and qualifiable state or system that is typically a potential influencer of circumstances or phenomena.
Two primary forms of energy in a magical paradigm:
- Gross Energy is mundane energy, acknowledged by modern science and detectable by current means and equipment.
- Subtle Energy is psychic or magical energy not currently acknowledged by academia but nonetheless detectable through mystical means and capable of asserting an effect upon material reality.
Force 1. measurable exertion (of energy) upon an object, creature, energy, or anything capable of being affected by an outside exertion, such as a push or pull 2. a movement of x by y, against the consent or will of x 3. organized phenomena that exist to exert said push/pull etc. onto the materials and circumstances of reality as they are encountered or under a specific set of criteria.
Power 1. work done over time (and hence measured accordingly) 2. measure of force, relative or absolute, applied or received, observed 2b. potential thereof, potential measure of force that could be delivered 3. In magical terms, the word power is sometimes interchangeable with sphere, planet, deity, or other energy or collection of energies dedicated to one or more specific (possibly intelligent, sentient) intentions.
A deeper look at subtle vs gross energies
Gross energy is any or all of the myriad currents and frequencies composing our world and acknowledged, measured, and at least to some extent understood through methods of physical science. This is mundane energy in the form of light, heat, electricity, chemical reactions, sound energy, mechanical energy, atomic energy, etc.
Gross, or mundane energies, sometimes also called natural energy, can be accessed and manipulated by the magician, albeit indirectly via adjoining subtle energies. It is also possible for magicians, mystics, and psychics to detect gross energy that is not available to the “naked” senses, but normally requires special equipment to detect.
Subtle energy is the matrix, or web, of vibratory patterns and currents, i.e. energy, that is not currently accepted, nor understood by academic science. It is the magical, mystical, and psychic energy that includes etheric energy, astral energy, vital or life force, psi, ki, and much more. The rejection of these energies by empiricism is due to the fact that subtle energy cannot be uniformly detected via the five senses, meaning these substances are not readily visible, audible, tangible, olfactible, or gustable so can’t be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted by the population in general. Only individuals with the innate psychic capability or those who have developed adequate psychic sensitivity can detect subtle energy. As far as we in the general public know, it is also impossible to detect magical, psychic, and life-force frequencies via current technology and accepted scientific methodology.
This admission about the generally undetectable nature of subtle energy makes trying to explain anything about it or its use a ridiculous affair indeed. Such is the plight of a simple magic blogger in this day and age. I can only offer the suggestion that one keep an open mind and investigate the matter long enough to perform some of the experiments and operations suggested on this site. The diligent initiate will in time conclude that either these energies in fact exist, or the reality we share on this planet deems fit to behave as if they exist and in the manner here described.
Which is it? Are the etheric and astral planes a reality, or are they merely devices for reaching a deeper reality, by which the material world around us may be altered or otherwise commanded and observed to obey? I don’t know. I care, and would very much like to have the answer, yet it evades my grasp at the present time.
Regardless, the fact remains that magic is quite real, and has undeniable, predictable, and repeatable-by-design effects on objective, manifest experience. It (magic) will likely nonetheless remain forever unscientific because we (its practitioners) are unable to specify the mechanism by which it operates and renders its effects on the material plane.
Bummer, that. Perhaps we need additional models of scientific inquiry to move past the limitations of the current paradigm.
As I’ve already said, I’m not the guy who knocks the hardwired materialist researcher or engineer for his apparent obtuseness toward magical matters. The man builds aircraft that fly, or makes vaccines that kill diseases, or designs artificial intelligence that can drive an eighteen-wheeler across the country more safely and efficiently than a human who has done the same job for 30 years. Why should he listen when you try to tell him he can make the neighbor’s dog stop pissing on his shrubbery by getting up at sunrise on Saturday morning and chanting some silly sounding shit while burning a black candle and facing due north? Seriously, why?
At the same time, can we really provide no alternative to a scenario like this?
Helen I’m serious, Henry. I get this heavy feeling over my stomach every time he says that, and I also see, really I see a sort of murky, dark gray substance like a film around him. It almost has a liquid quality about it and it sort of hovers around his outline. I think he’s lying to us; we need to go.
Henry: Oh honey, you are clearly either a liar or a lunatic. Yes, I know we’ve been married for years and you don’t lie to me, and have no history of mental illness, but this is just one of those things. There simply is no other possibility, because the folks at Yale and Cambridge can’t verify anything you’re saying with any of the meters or scopes at their disposal. Plus I’ve never experienced anything like that! How can my subjective take on this game not be the obvious standard by which I judge the possible experiences of the other 7 billion and change experiencers on the planet? Also something about hoofbeats and, what is it… horses instead of zebras? Right and it could just be a guy in a monkey suit. I don’t remember but I know you can’t be on the level here, I’m just supposed to know that in a very definite, smug way and make a comment about what you may or may not have been smoking, so there ya go.
it’s all just a big ol’ synergy of energy ya’ll
As alluded to above and as I regularly cover throughout my writing, it is through access to subtle energies that a magician may impact the subjective/internal, (not just for herself but for others as well) and the objective/external that we all share in. In short version she initiates upon the mental plane, builds on the astral plane, and methodically forms and fulfills through the ether, leaving her work in that state to ultimately be fulfilled here in the manifest world in due time and course.
All this can be and typically is done without a direct knowledge of these highly specific energetic interchanges and interactions, because such considerations were implanted within the methods and techniques of magic many centuries ago. It is still important to gain an understanding of these hypothetical energies, states, and processes, because this knowledge is the impetus for refinement and empowerment leading to one’s personal pinnacle of magical prowess.
seriously it all is just energy!
The various forms of gross and subtle energy exist in the two states of kinetic, or moving, and potential or stored energy, and any one of these forms can be converted into another form of the same category. We all understand how the state of mundane energy can be changed from potential to kinetic or vice versa. Also, any gross energy, per Einstein’s reckoning, can be transformed or converted into another form of gross energy or into matter.
Likewise, any subtle energy can be converted into another form of subtle energy or into magical substance (a concept counterpart to the gross state of matter). Excessive, heavy, earth energy can be shifted into lighter and more dynamic water energy, or surplus, expansive air energy may be distilled and focused into fire energy more immediately useful for certain tasks.
Etheric substance is absorbed by the sixth central chakra (part of the astral body) and, working with the physical-etheric lattice, transformed into vital energy or life force. Knowing this, certain meditative and channeling operations can be undertaken to deliberately charge oneself with or store specific forms of sublte energy.
It is also possible to conduct and transform energies between the gross and subtle categories. Operations of transmutation, for example, can neutralize the physical energy of and cause to anxiety, filtering it into a subtle form and recycling it in a manner more appropriate to a healthy state.
While much of this discussion and the work related to it can be considered psychism, or relevant to the energy and capability of the human energy matrix and body, the same concepts are at play when harnessing energy from the environment or the unseen realms via natural or ritual magic. The cultivation of a strong and high vibrational personal energy matrix can only aid and improve one’s practice of magic.
I recognize this article only begins to scratch lightly at the vast surface of this topic. I do hope I have provided some clarity and dispelled some of the useless fuzz so readily provided within the scope of this topic.