Belief in Magic? The theosophy of H.P. Blavatsky

Since the word ‘magic’ is often associated with the word ‘miracle’ or with parlor tricks, I think it’s useful to quote H.P. Blavatsky on this:

Our Society believes in no miracle, divine, diabolical or human, nor in anything which eludes the grasp of either philosophical and logical induction, or the syllogistic method of deduction. But if the corrupted and comparatively modern term of “magic” is understood to mean the higher study and knowledge of nature and deep research into her hidden powers—those occult and mysterious laws which constitute the ultimate essence of every element, whether with the ancients we recognize but four or five, or with the moderns over sixty; or, again, if by magic is meant that ancient study within the sanctuaries known as the “worship of the Light,” or divine and spiritual wisdom as distinct from the worship of darkness or ignorance, which led the initiated High-priests of antiquity among the Âryans, Chaldaeans, Medes and Egyptians to be called Maha, Magi or Maginsi, and by the Zoroastrians Meghistom (from the root Meh’al, great, learned, wise)—then, we Theosophists “plead guilty.”

(H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 2, p. 32 – Magic)

In other words: the standard theosophical position is that nothing happens by supernatural means. But a lot more is possible to human beings than the laws of physical science allow. All that does happen is subject to laws as stringent as the law of gravity. But the law of gravity does not prevent planes from flying.

Blavatsky showed in her career as a spiritual teacher a lot of things that one could consider ‘miraculous’. These things were called ‘phenomena’ in her day, because they were actually happening and were not claimed to be done by supernatural powers (just by very unusual powers – there is a difference). As her biographer A.P. Sinnet noted: one might want to ignore these things, except that in Blavatsky’s life they became normal. (More on Blavatsky’s ‘miracles’)

I may in future go into the difference between black magic and white magic. Suffice to say for now that many of those into the law of attraction these days would fall squarely within the first category by Blavatsky’s (high) standards.