Part One of Prospero’s Book is a general introduction to the theory of magic. Part Two, still to come, focuses on what Ronald White called ‘the keys': the tree alphabet outlined by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, which Ron explored in detail, and related to the Tarot trumps. Here are the last few paragraphs of Part One:
To the magician the recent interest in Near Death Experiences is nothing strange. The experiences are well documented, historically, religiously and magically. They are taken as fact.
That there are other, parallel and displaced conditions is central to the ability to see from afar, to bilocate (a sort of soul quantum) and to influence the mundane world through the shifting displacements of the lattice. This other world has been divined but not defined by an odd researcher, now dead himself, T. C. Lethbridge, who found the existence of timeless strata above our temporal existence.
A further instalment from Prospero’s Book:
The core problem in writing about magic is in expressing just what you want to say. It can never be adequate, nor ever just right: precisely the poet’s problem. What can be said can never be the thing itself. It can point, lead and direct but not completely explain.
‘The Tao that can be told is not the Eternal Tao.’
Our blocks and counters of words are but airy symbols capable of being misunderstood, or understood in ways we never planned. We must hope to hold in our word patterns some sense that will say more than the words: an underrun of meaning inexplicable in just those mere words.
This is the task and definition of poetry, to resonate deep images in a receiving mind.
Resonance is important. With our spells, some make superficial sense; others are gibberish, but for that very reason: that behind the rattle and bray of the sounds some super sense and feeling of deep significance is invoked and evoked. Good nonsense poetry can have the same effect. Thus invocation is vitally important to waken the super senses of the mind to their possibilities. Mantras, the intonations of the Mass, and the driving power of some music, strange chants and ululations, all contribute to this effect (distancing oneself from one’s Self, if you like).
More from Prospero’s Book; Ron White on luck, omens and the ‘acausal world':
Now we are entering a different world to the merely material. Already a picture of a different order is building up.
It seems that lessons learnt by a European rat can simultaneously be mastered by an American rat. R. Sheldrake who has studied this gives it the name ‘resonance’. Another good name, and I shall use it, rather than ‘interactive nodal influence’, a lattice term.
We are affected by our surroundings, and that includes non-material matters like thought- patterns, feelings and atmosphere. Ideas in these areas can be transmitted non-verbally and apparently instantaneously. The number of discoveries made virtually simultaneously by people who do not know each other and live half a planet away is considerable. The once much-derided sympathetic magic is another example of resonance as are some of the events of evolution. By extension all this hints at another picture of the world.
There is, it seems, an acausal instant world available to us if we know to set about it. This explains why some people are lucky, why others seem to be blessèd, live a charmed life and so on. They seem to have an inbuilt unconscious knowledge to sense and profit by opportunities in the acausal world; or even to glimpse its lattice workings and its latency pattern. They know by instinct when the time is ripe for action. They do not even have to be aware of this ability.
One of the rituals practised by the Regency was the widdershins or anti-clockwise dance. The next section of Prospero’s Book is headed ‘The Effects of the Widdershins Dance':
One of the effects of an anti-clockwise motion if prolonged and particularly if assisted by humming or some rhythmic device or beat (preferably hypnotic, simple and repetitive) is to promote a sense of displacement. This is of supreme importance. One feels that one is outside oneself or at a little distance from oneself. This is invariably to the left side and somewhat above. We meet this phenomenon in the so-called Near Death Experience, and similar disassociated states. Sometimes it can be drug induced. The known effects of displacement also include the suspension of a linear time sense. (Margin: An effect produced by some poems.) The ability, however dimly, to divine and see a different world and a different order become Present. One of the effects of this state is to trigger small lights, mostly red, which appear and disappear if one is working in the dark. They are lattice nodal points; photons if you like; winking in and out of existence. They are a certain sign of contact between dimensions.
Continuing Prospero’s Book:
Magic is all about the utilisation of chance and change; of being aware of what is “Latent” in the Universe, and of going “with it”: opening doors to possibilities, “Casements unto faery seas forlorn”.
Here is the next section of Prospero’s Book:
In this context let it be noted the Circus figures are all magical in origin; and of course the Fool is of Prime importance. In fact, as we will further discover, the circus is the Universe in miniature. Its moving spirit the Ringmaster; its clown and Fairy Goddesses; the tumbling of acrobats and trapezes weaving a lattice in the big top; the fluxions of order and disorder; the passions of the horses corralled and controlled by the riding ladies; the recognisable, even today, affinities with the Cretan dances and bull dances in the honour of the Great Goddess. It’s all there in the circus tradition, a microcosm of the magic universe.
Continuing Prospero’s Book, Ron White’s essay on magic:
To a certain extent I must refer to Physics, which astonishingly is rediscovering the basis of magic on its own terms. Our present generation has gotten used to the improbabilities of present scientific speculation. One such is the “Uncertainty Principle”. We magicians call this the Fool Factor and it is represented in all magic, and has to be reckoned with. Generals who fight wars are well aware of it. “The Fog of War” they call it.
More from Prospero’s Book:
Our waking time is mostly experienced as a linear progression of events with effects following causes. There are sufficient instances of this being only a simplification of experience for us to handle it with care.
Effects sometimes come first causes afterwards. Once more, “Verdict first: evidence after.”
Here is the second instalment of Prospero’s Book:
Knowing the whole is knowing Magic. All else is just knowing about.
It is a fair guess that like a large number of things in the Universe knowing the whole may be never quite possible. Nearly but not precisely there. Nearly Absolute zero but never exactly that. Like recurring decimals, double spirals and so on.
To understand this at the outset is to realise that this oddity is essential to the manifestation of the Magical Universe. We can never solve it completely, not even in the Magical Keys, which we will study later, where the Fool jumps from one place to another, is in two places at once and carries opposite qualities immediately.
Prospero’s Book is a long essay on magic which Chalky began to write in 1989. It was never sent out to a publisher and exists only in longhand. We shall be posting it in instalments, as it is typed up.
I first began to make notes for this book in 1966. Since then many magical ideas, under one guise or another, have become acceptable to a developing consciousness of the the environment, to a developing physics, and a developing appreciation of the role of consciousness itself.
It has taken a long time to try, and one can only try, to sort and order the material; for the matter of magic is the universe itself.