Magic is all around us, but we often lack the eyes to see it. Children do – to them sticks are magic wands, trees rustle their leaves to point them in the right direction when lost in a forest, animals speak to them in secret languages. Magic is a doorway, a threshold of perception through which we can step into immanence and mystery and reconnect to the murmurs of the world.
Secondly, magic is about power. Magicians (magi – masters, adepts) pronounce secret words, point their fingers, and their will is immediately materialized. Is it the power everyone secretly dreams of, the power revolutionaries and activists have fought for. But as magicians and alchemists know, in order to create an external transformation in the world they must achieve self-mastery. All magic is first of all about a self-transformation that balances inner energies so that the adept can become integral and sovereign, no longer torn apart by contradictory drives and unconscious forces.
This book is both a philosophical investigation of magic in various traditions (tantra, greek philosophy, hermeticism, alchemy, rosicrucianism, psychoanalysis, and the revolutionary movements that fought for the liberation of desire in the 1960s) and also a systematic, practical guide to self-transformation that includes exercises in self-observation, accessing the subconscious and higher self through trance states, balancing chakras, working with archetypes and creating rituals of power. It is a book I felt called upon to write for some time, but have kept avoiding out of hidden resistances and easy excuses – that I hadn’t achieved my own sovereignty and was not ready to write it, that my journey is too idiosyncratic to be communicated to others, or that anything resembling a practical guide would be a waste of my talents as a writer. After some inner struggle, I decided to just do it.