Magick and Science
by Lorraine Hammock
While we witches, druids, shamans, and other assorted magical people often practice our craft discreetly, a large number of scientists have been busy, uncovering truths about our universe that prove us right. Most ancient cultures have myths that tell tales of great magick, such as levitation, causing objects to materialize out of thin air, visions, prophecies, spontaneous healing, and the ability to transform from one shape to another. Ghosts, out of body experiences, ESP, and other types of experiences have been labeled “supernatural”, or paranormal. For many years, science frowned on these notions as pure fiction, or even worse, trickery. But over the last few decades, new advances in understanding the underlying structure of our universe, commonly referred to as The New Physics, are causing scientists to reexamine EVERYTHING.
This is a very complex but fascinating subject. Anyone who is truly interested in learning magick can only benefit by learning about it. So the following is my attempt to present, very briefly and simply, how this new understanding validates so much of the so-called “occult” and “supernatural”, and how we, as practitioners of the ancient craft, can use this knowledge to aid our work. We will be venturing in the weird (wyrd) world of quantum physics, but don’t be scared. (If you’ve ever done any spell work in the past you’ve already worked at the quantum level, but just didn’t know it.) So open your magical eyes, and prepare to take a new look at your universe.
Fred Allen Wolf, in his book “The Eagles Quest: A Physicist finds truth at the heart of the shamanic world”, wrote the following:“It was once said by Sir James Jeans, the British philosopher, ‘The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.’ And the more I journeyed into the shamanic world, the more this seemed true to me. It was clear to me that shamans use powers to deal with a universe we in the Western world tend to dismiss as imaginary. But that tendency was gradually vanishing, since the discovery of the hidden world of the atom and subatomic matter made physicists realize that it was impossible to entirely ascribe objective properties to ultimate matter and energy. ‘Shamans enter into parallel worlds. It was now apparent that these other worlds were found in the imaginal relm, not just in the physical relm. Originally I believed that these other worlds were parallel physical relms, just like those predicted by quantum physics. Now I wasn’t sure that this was right. Instead I began to see that the world of mythos was parallel to the physical world in a different sense. Somehow it was a world that eluded the uncertainty principal. It was a world that was determined in a way that my quantum physics training could not fathom. Somehow when shamans dealt with that world, a degree of control- and yes, even destiny- that wasn’t possible in the physical world was manifested. That shamans could tune into that destiny and that prospect, for some reason, frightened me. ‘It was becoming apparent to me that the real power of shamanic physics was the ability to alter matter by altering the world of the mind. This meant that shamans must have the ability to enter the mind world and they must be able to find their way back.’
As witches, or shamans, we use a wide variety of techniques in our various workings. We might be attempting to commune with a particular diety to gain wisdom. We might try to catch a glimpse of the times, future, past, or present, in the stones or cards. Sometimes we try to send healing to our loved ones. We may light candles and cast circles, we may visualize flowing light, or we may just be feeling for vibes. But regardless of what we are trying to do, or how we are trying to do it, what we are actually doing is attempting to connect our conscious will with the rest of the universe in order to effect change.
Now, most of us have no idea how something like that is actually done. So we begin with our imaginations. We enter the imaginal realm Mr. Wolf speaks of in his book. We visualize, we imagine feelings, sounds, songs, and lights. We visualize that the work we are doing is healing someone, and we see them getting better in our minds eye. Or we long to speak with a particular diety or spririt, and we construct an image in our minds, a living image where we can see them, hear them, smell them, etc. With practice, it becomes easier and easier. Our experiences become more detailed, more vivid, more alive. After a while it seems we are no longer using our imagination at all. Our magick becomes real, and alive.
At least to us.
As witches, we know this is true. We know it because we live it, and we love it because the experiences are so very real. Often they seem more real than our everyday lives. But what if these experiences, that started out as our imaginings, were actually much more than that? What if the very act of imagining, visualizing, or having an expectation of an outcome, caused an actual change in the matter and energy around you?
Well guess what, it does. Science calls this the observer effect. It takes place on the sub-atomic level, where the line between matter and energy is blurred. Remember Einsteins famous E=MC2? Translated, it means energy = mass x speed of light squared. In essence, energy and matter are the same thing, in two different forms. Energy is light, heat, microwaves, radio waves, x-rays, and other forms of radiation. We always speak of energy in terms of waves, with different frequencies, or vibrations. According to Einstein, matter is simply energy, or “waves”, in a different form. This has been verified through scientific experimentation. On the subatomic level, it turns out that those little particles that make up an atom, the electrons, the protons, and the neutrons, aren’t solid little particles after all, but tiny energy packets. These energy packets “wave”, or vibrate, and they have either a positive or negative charge. Scientists call these wave/particles quantum waves of probability.
The observer effect is a very strange phenomenom that occurs when scientists try to observe these sub-atomic particles, or quantum waves. When they try to observe a particular objects position, it looks like a particle. IT appears solid, a pin point. But when they try to observe it’s motion, it appears as a wave. It no longer appears solid, and can even seem to be in two places at once. It is as if the object is both a particle and a wave, and it will show itself to be one or the other, depending on what you are looking for. This is very strange, and when scientists first discovered this phenomenom they had a hard time believing it. How can something be both a particle and a wave at the same time, yet only appear as one or the other, depending on what you’re trying to see? And how can something be in more than one place at a time??? After many many experiments by many many different scientists, there was only one conclusion. Their expectations caused that which was being observed to change it’s appearance, or form.
The questions arises then. How does this particle know whether to appear as a particle or a wave, unless it somehow is aware of what the observer’s expectations are? Scientists are again puzzled by this, but a growing number of them have come to realize that some sort of consciousness must exist in all matter and energy in order for this to happen. (To me this sounds very much like the Native American belief that spirit exists in all things.) And this consciousness is obviously interacting with the observers consciousness. They exchange information, even though the observer is not aware of it.
Well, even if this is true, how does this effect me and anything I’m trying to do with my magick, you might be thinking about now? First of all, we are all conscious beings. Think of your own body. It is composed of atoms too, just like everything else that appears solid around you. But we now know that we aren’t exactly solid at all, we are really a seething mass of quantum waves of probability. Each of our subatomic particles has it’s own tiny consciousness. Because of this we aren’t really individual’s at all, but a collection of billions of tiny consciousnesses all working together. (or not. How many times do we feel torn between two or more thoughts or feelings within ourselves?)
It gets even weirder. The vacuum of space itself has been found to not be the simple “nothing” it appears to be. In fact, the vacuum is inherently unstable, a constant flux of what is called zero point energy. It is both positive and negative. Because it is unstable, this zero point energy can “fall out” of the vacuum and into existence. Matter, energy, antimatter, and as certain physicists are starting to suspect, even spirit, soul, and consciousness, have their origin in the vacuum itself. Scientists have actually created electrons out of the nothing of the vacuum in the laboratory. Scientists have also observed electrons going back into the vacuum, disappearing from this universe. Many physisitcs are starting to suspect that our electrons are able to exchange information with the rest of the universe in this way, just as the scientists are able to cause a subatomic object to appear as either a particle or wave by their expectations. Clairvoyance, ESP, prophecy, and other psychic phenomema have a basis in the interactions of your subatomic particles with the fabric of space/time itself. And remember, the vacuum exists within you as well. There is so much distance between your electrons and protons that literally we are all over 99% empty space. So any interactions between your subatomic particles and the vaccum actually take place within you.
So not only is there no difference between ourselves and the rest of the physical universe, it turns out we aren’t even solid beings at all! The solidness is merely an illusion. Just as so many mystics and messiahs over time have claimed, we are beings of light, our atoms nothing more than little vibrating energy packets that are constantly interacting with the fabric of space and time. And the vibration of our universe is like a song, or word, as described by many different belief systems the world over. When the vibration ceases, so does existence. That particular subatomic particle/wave disapeers, it’s energy going back into the vacuum, sort of. (Best way I can think of to describe it.)
The profound implications of this new understanding of the universe are just starting to be realized. The universe was indeed created out of “nothing”. Matter and energy can “appear” out of nothing, and there is nothing supernatural about it. You can “see” into the future if your awareness is focused enough to sense the consciousness of the new electrons you just picked up from the vacuum that may have already been to the future. Miraculous healing can occur if you are able to consciously adjust the quantum vibrations of the part of your body that is ill so that is matches the rest of your vibration. (so that your subatomic parts are all singing the same song, if you will.)
To the practicing magician, this information is invaluable. Visualization is the key to all successful magick. And now we have scientific proof that our visualizations and expectations do indeed effect the very fabric of space and time, and the structure of matter and energy. Of course, to effect very great change would require a great deal of concentration and awareness, very likely more than any of us, swept up in our modern rush rush world so filled with distractions, could ever develop.But back in ancient times, the world was quiet, and nature herself, not our narrow ideologies, dominated our thoughts. So many stories tell of great magick in those times. Perhaps, with the help of science, we can learn to regain some of that. So next time you’re in circle, remember that your visualizations are actually doing something, however slight, on the sub-atomic scale of the universe. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, the universe does indeed hear your wishes.
There is so much more to this approach than I have written about here. It would take many many presentations to cover all I’ve learned in my twenty years of studying magick from this perspective. But truly, in my opinion as well as the opinion of many others who actually hold degree’s in quantum physics, we are reaching a time where science is finding the truth behind many of our deepest held beliefs. There are a large number of books on this subject available, many more than I have read myself or listed below. (You’re all welcome to come over my house and check out my library anytime.) Some of them are a little hard to read for the non-scientifically inclined, but most of them were written with the non-scientist in mind, and they do a much better job of explaining than I have.
The Matter Myth – Dramatic discoveries that challenge our understanding of physical reality ~ Paul Davies and John Gribbin
The Mind of God ~ Paul Davies
The Cosmic Blueprint ~ Paul Davies
A Brief History of Time ~ Stephen Hawkings
The Eagles Quest: A physicist finds scientific truth at the heart of the shamanic world ~ Fred Allen Wolf
Parallel Universes ~ Fred Allen Wolf
*The Spiritual Universe – How Quantum Physics proves the existence of the soul ~ Fred Allen Wolf
Taking the Quantum Leap ~ Fred Allen Wolf
The Big Bang Never Happened ~ Eric J. Lerner
Copyright Lorraine Hammock 2000