Magic Quotes

The purpose here is not to provide a handy list of soundbites, but to give you something deeper to ponder on. All the magical quotes below have been carefully selected for their profundity – do give them some real thought (and yes, there are a couple of mine from Applied Visualisation.)



Sacred nature reveals to [men and women] the most hidden mysteries. If she impart to thee her secrets, thou wilt easily perform all the things which I have ordained thee. And by the healing of thy soul, thou wilt deliver it from all evils, from all afflictions.

– Attributed to Pythagoras (c. 582 BC – c. 496 BC)


In Nature … there is an agreement of like forces and an opposition of unlike, and [a] diversity of those multitudinous powers which converge in the one living universe. [In magic] there is much drawing and spell-binding dependent on no interfering machination; the true magic is internal to the All, its attractions and, not less, its repulsions … The magician too draws on these patterns of power, and by ranging himself also into the pattern is able tranquilly to possess himself of these forces with whose nature and purpose he has become identified. Supposing the mage to stand outside the All, his evocations and invocations would no longer avail to draw up or to call down; but as things are he operates from no outside standground, he pulls knowing the pull of everything towards any other thing in the living system.

– Plotinus, Enneads (4.4.40)


Many secrets of art and nature are thought by the unlearned to be magical.

– Roger Bacon (as quoted in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction : An Illustrated A to Z by Peter Nicholls.)


I discovered an instructive account [of magic] … which says that a certain power to alter things indwells in the human soul and subordinates the other things to her … When … the soul of a man falls into a great excess of any passion, it can be proved by experiment that it [the excess] binds things [magically] and alters them in the way it wants.’

– Albertus Magnus (13th century cleric) – De Mirabilibus Mundi


Moreover, in this Art nothing is more true than this, though it is little known and gains small confidence: all the fault and cause of difficulty in Alchemy, whereby very many persons are reduced to poverty, and others labour in vain, is wholly and solely lack of skill in the operator … whence it ensues that, in the course of operation, things are wasted or reduced to nothing. If the true process shall have been found, the substance itself while transmuting approaches daily more and more towards perfection. The straight road is easy, but it is found by very few.

– Paracelsus, The Book of Vexations


The control of the environment must begin with self-control, and until we cease to be influenced by surrounding conditions we cannot hope to exercise any mental influence over them. Paradoxically, it is only when our environment ceases to matter to us that we have the power to change it by mental means.”

– Dion Fortune – Practical Occultism in Daily Life


The belief in magic, the word being used in its best sense, is older in Egypt than the belief in God, and it is certain that a very large number of the Egyptian religious ceremonies, which were performed in later times as an integral part of a highly spiritual worship, had their origin in superstitious customs which date from a period when God, under any name or in any form, was unconceived in the minds of the Egyptians.

– Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic


Magic is that which it is; it is by itself, like the mathematics; for it is the exact and absolute science of Nature and its laws.

– Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry


The late John Lennon, in an interview with a Fleet Street writer, once remarked upon the comments of a witch who was asked on television whether she was ‘black’ or ‘white’. Her reply was to the effect that no such distinction exists and she referred to a power which can be used for either good or evil … This power to create emanates from us whether or not we are aware of it … Even though we are both the engineers of, and vehicles for this source, many of us continue to remain blissfully unconscious of ourselves.

– James Lynn Page, Applied Visualisation


I once found myself in conversation with a somewhat benign looking gentleman in the confines of a spiritualist church, and one of his remarks suggested to me that he may have had strong religious leanings. That utterance was:’ . . . whatever it is you accept about life, the Lord will bring it into existence’… I [then] learned that he was a magician who had studied Crowley and W. B. Yeats. Those two words of his, ‘accept’ and ‘Lord’, can be translated into psychological parlance thus: accepting is the … belief that something will come to pass, and if one understands the Lord to be that enigmatic, creative power in the unconscious, then the dictum is seen to be empirically valid, since it has been borne out by experience many times over.

– James Lynn Page, Applied Visualisation


Then comes another question—the great esoteric doctrine of the invisible planes of existence These teachings tell us that what the five senses see or contact does not constitute the whole of existence This exoteric science can confirm, by means of the microscope, etc. But the occultist goes further and says there is a whole kingdom of mind and spirit as well, which you do not see with your physical senses. In these live the great Forces which actuate life and its circumstances. In it you will find the key to conditions of life on the physical plane, and you will never find it anywhere else.

– Dion Fortune, Applied Magic


If we understand these conditions, we shall be free we shall then be able to work with these forces and manipulate them ourselves. But we can manipulate them only within very definite limits … The occultist does not try to dominate Nature, but to bring himself into harmony with these great Cosmic Forces, and work with them. You can see an illustration of this if you watch the Thames bargees pushing off when the tide is on the rum; they are taking advantage of their knowledge of the tides, and the river does the rest. With us in life, we should have the same knowledge and wisdom. We ought to understand these natural laws of the Unseen… We can make life a very different thing if we do understand them.

– Dion Fortune, Applied Magic


From the religious books of ancient Egypt we learn that the power possessed by a priest or man who was skilled in the knowledge and working of magic was believed to be almost boundless. By pronouncing certain words or names of power in the proper manner and in the proper tone of voice he could heal the sick, and cast out the evil spirits which caused pain and suffering in those who were diseased, and restore the dead to life, and bestow upon the dead man the power to transform the corruptible into an incorruptible body, wherein the soul might live to all eternity. His words enabled human beings to assume divers forms at will, and to project their souls into animals and other creatures; and in obedience to his commands, inanimate figures and pictures became living beings and things which hastened to perform his behests. The powers of nature acknowledged his might, and wind and rain, storm and tempest, river and sea, and disease and death worked evil and ruin upon his foes, and upon the enemies of those who were provided with the knowledge of the words which he had wrested from the gods of heaven, and earth, and the underworld.

– E. A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic


Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.

– Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice


What should it be, that thus their faith can bind?

The power of Thought, the magic of the Mind!

– Lord Byron, ‘The Corsair’


The true nature of the gods is that of magical images shaped out of the astral plane by mankind’s thought, and influenced by the mind.

– Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah


Symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand–an extended application of its powers.

– Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah


All the terms used in the science books, ‘law,’ ‘necessity,’ ‘order,’ ‘tendency,’ and so on, are really unintellectual ….The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, ‘charm,’ ‘spell,’ ‘enchantment.’ They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a magic tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched. The sun shines because it is bewitched. I deny altogether that this is fantastic or even mystical. We may have some mysticism later on; but this fairy-tale language about things is simply rational and agnostic.

– G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy


There is a single main definition of the object of all magical Ritual. It is the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm.

– Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice


Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind that looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10 000 years ago.

– John Maynard Keynes, in an address to the Royal Society Club (1942), as quoted in A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations, by Alan L. MacKay


Magic is as ancient as humankind, but it has been forgotten in all the rush to make a buck and to fulfill other people’s expectations. Now the time for magic has come around again. Magic and astrology will rise once more if the human race is to survive, not to mention prosper.

– Bob Makransky, What is Magic?


I see magic as a vantage point from which one can look down on the rest of consciousness. It’s a point outside normal consciousness from which you can look at normal consciousness, it’s a point outside beliefs from which you can look at beliefs. All beliefs are reality tunnels, to use Anton Wilson’s phrase. There is the Communist reality tunnel, the Feminist reality tunnel, all of which seem to be the whole of reality when you are in the middle of them. The whole universe is based on Marxist theory if you’re an intent Marxist. Magic is having a plan of all the tunnels, and seeing the overall condition in which they all work. Being aware of different possibilities.

– Alan Moore, published in Alan Moore: Conversations (edited by Eric L. Berlatsky)


Love works magic.

It is the final purpose

Of the world story,

The Amen of the universe.

~ Novalis


The imaginative transformation at the heart of magic is recognition, not creation.

– Susan Palwick


I believe it was Wittgenstein who said a thought is a real event in space and time. I don’t quite agree about the space and time bit, Ludwig, but certainly a real event. It’s only science that cannot consider thought as a real event, and science is not reality. It’s a map of reality, and not a very good one. It’s good, it’s useful, but it has its limits.

– Alan Moore, published in Alan Moore: Conversations (edited by Eric L. Berlatsky)


Most people believe that they and the world surrounding them are real. Magicians believe that the world and the self are merely projections, like a movie on a screen or the shadows in Plato’s cave… The secret of magic, which is commonly misunderstood, is to adapt to circumstances rather than try to dominate or control circumstances. It’s by adapting yourself as best you can without losing your hope and intent, without letting your circumstances crush you or surrendering to your self-pity, that you can change your circumstances. The first step in magic is to get beyond your assumptions. This means seeing them clearly in the first place. It implies seeing yourself as others do, for starters. Magicians don’t take anything for granted. They have no specific expectations, and the only assumption they make is that whatever happens will be a big surprise. Isn’t it usually the case that when the solutions to your problems finally do come, they scarcely ever happen the way you anticipated and fantasized that they would?

– Bob Makransky, What is Magic?