“Many persons have endeavoured to investigate and make use of the secret magic of these wise men; but it has not yet been accomplished. Many even of our own age exalt Trithemius, others Bacon and Agrippa; for magic and the cabala – two things apparently quite distinct – not knowing why they do so. Magic, indeed, is an art and faculty whereby the elementary bodies, their fruits, properties, virtues, and hidden operations are comprehended. But the cabala, by a subtle understanding of the Scriptures, seems to trace out the way to God for men, to show them how they may act with Him, and prophecy from Him; for the cabala is full of divine mysteries, even as magic is full of natural secrets. It teaches of and foretells from the nature of things to come as well as of things present, since its operation consists in knowing the inner constitution of all creatures, of celestial as well as terrestrial bodies: what is latent within them; what are their occult virtues; for what they were originally designed, and with what properties they are endowed. These and the like subjects are the bonds wherewith things celestial are bound up with things of the earth, as may sometimes be seen in their operations even with the bodily eyes.” ~Paracelsus
Secret Magic of the Wiseman
The magic Paracelsus is writing about is not simple stage magic. Neither is it the use of healing herbs or putting spells on people to heel or harm them. He is talking about spiritual magic. It is secret magic because it is not taught in public schools, or even in universities. It is taught only in mystery schools and advanced spiritual schools. It is not about tricking or controlling others. The secret magic is about self-transformation and transformation of the world.
Secret Magic and the Kabbala
Paracelsus says that Bacon, Agrippa, and Trithemius were exalted by some for their knowledge of magic and the Kabbala (which he spells “cabala”). He then states that these are two “apparently” distinct disciplines. I think the keyword in that phrase is “apparently”. I believe he is wording it that way to tell us that they are not so different, and in some ways may be the same thing. He doesn’t seem to truly explain the statement, yet follows it with two sentences stating what each discipline is.
He says that magic is an art for understanding the physical world and the properties of the things in it, both obvious properties and hidden ones. Then he says the Kabbala is more about leading people to God by showing them the path to God and the higher dimensions where God and the angels and found. Hat sounds like they are two very different things, but not so fast.
By learning through magic the secret properties of physical things, we find that those secret properties are spiritual in nature. So magic is also a form of awakening to the spiritual. So secret magic may be thought of as an early stage of the Path to God and enlightenment, and the Kabbala is a further continuation of that training and discipline. So they are different, but only in the way that grade school is different from high school.
Things to Come and Things Present
It is understandable why someone would want to belong to a discipline or learn a secret magic that allowed them to know at least some future events and trends, but why the present? It is because while the present is all around us, we are aware of only a tiny part of it. Often the part we are aware of, the part we are dealing with on a daily basis is not the most important part, or the most meaningful part. On a personal level, we may feel perfectly healthy, but have a dangerous disease beginning to grow in us. Or we may think we are perfectly safe walking down a street, not aware that a driver has lost control of his car and is about to slam into us. The ones with secret magic on their side, or as Paracelsus says, the ones who study the Kabbala would know.
And in addition to knowing about personal things in the present and future, the secret magic can help us know how the world is changing, how our country is changing, and how the entire physical universe is changing (which it is!). Having that knowledge can be of great advantage. It allows you to prepare for what is coming, and even participate when it is something good.
Gaining Secret Magic
Fortunately, the secret magic is not something found only in the mystery schools of the distant past or in secret mountain monasteries in Tibet. It is available to nearly all of us with the right training and the right disciplines. The most important discipline is to practice spiritual sun-gazing. Not ordinary sun gazing, but a spiritual variation of it. That is the secret magic of sun gazing. One can do ordinary sun-gazing and get some physical benefits, but you can also go beyond that to spiritual sun gazing that awakens and nourishes the spiritual faculties. The secret magic comes to those who have awakened and developed those faculties with devotion and dedication.