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What Anesthesia Reveals To Us About Human Consciousness: Does It Have Long-Lasting Irreversible Effects?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Anesthesia is commonly used to put people to "sleep." This article is an interesting examination of why we do it, going deep into awareness, consciousness and fear.

  • Reflect On:

    Can awareness continually exists without interruption regardless of the fact that we are not always able to access our experiences, or remember them when given Anesthetic? What is awareness? Can we really be 'awake' when we are acting out of fear?

When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.

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This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.

How does Anesthesia work ?

From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.

In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds. 

Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.

Why we still don’t know…

If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?

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These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.

First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.

The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.

We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness?  Can consciousness ever be represented materially?

A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it.  To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.

What happens when someone goes “under”?

The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.

Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.

There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.

How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively

During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?

What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?

If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.

Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.

What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?

The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.” 

By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.

Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?

Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?

Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.

In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.

Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.

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Consciousness

Feeling Overwhelmed With All That’s Taking Place? Maybe This Can Help

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Sometimes in life, we can become overwhelmed with all that is taking place. Couple this with an increased shift in consciousness taking place, and it can sometimes feel a little 'crazy to get through each day.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you taking time to reflect and understand yourself? How about others? There is no doubt that we are experiencing a great deal of change, the question is are we meeting that change with open arms? Or resisting?

One of the best things about what we do here, I feel at least, is our ability to share personal experiences that others can draw from and share in the feeling of being in this all together. Let’s be honest, if we didn’t have others to share thoughts, feelings and emotions with, we would probably all go nuts in this shift!

I can say this for my fellow team members as well I am sure, we are all going through our own massive shifts and individually are all having a bumpy ride at times. Sometimes, it just gets a little overwhelming and becomes difficult to handle.

When we think of how much of a large-scale shift/change we are experiencing, we begin to realize how much is and will change, physically and mentally, in such a short period of time within our world. It almost seems like everything speeding up, and it’s tough to handle everything at once.

Energy that our bodies have not experienced much of are coming in all the time from the cosmos, and as we make changes within our own personal consciousness.

Mentally we are going from being very stuck and ingrained in our ways and beliefs, to realizing and remembering the truth of our entire existence and it’s purpose. Who we truly are. This truth may not be clear immediately when we are in the thick of challenges, but life is presenting change many ways for us all individually and collectively.

As we experience times of mental confusion or un-ease, we the chance, with awareness and willingness, to break out of some of the ‘stuck states’ many of us find ourselves in. To do this, we must take the time to reflect on what is taking place and our life, and slow things down.

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Uncomfortable?

When the times are uncomfortable and it just seems like it is too much to handle; seeing the world the way it is, watching as we are so disconnected from everything, realizing the differences we have created between one another, feeling like this is just not happening fast enough, and feeling like we cannot help, remember that you are changing – WE are changing.

It is happening very quickly and in many ways all of which may bring up frustration in each and every one of us. Remember to steer clear of creating drama surrounding things that may present, this drama comes from the mind and ego and is not the true self. We can use what the mind and ego has brought up to see what might need to be cleared out within ourselves.

Avoid covering up everything with affirmations and false smiles, this only band-aids the challenges and hides what actually needs to be looked at. Unfortunately, much of the “new age movement” has created some powerful beliefs around band-aiding or spiritual bypassing problems with what we think is “positivity.” Face your problems and your fears, don’t cover them up and pretend its just astral energies. own it, this is how we move forward. This also does not mean we should be reckless and lash out, venting our frustration, it simply means we must take time to be aware, be alone if need be and go easy on ourselves.

Not one of us is alone in this shift, and not one of us will see it pass by without having change take place in our experiences. Feel the knowing that we are collectively in this together, and take note of that when we see what may be presenting in others before we judge them.

My Conscious Breathing Program

Back in January 2020 I released my 10 day Conscious Breathing program to our member’s platform called CETV. The program was enjoyed by a few thousand people and the feedback was inspiring and powerful. People were seeing a big difference in their overall state of being, mood, energy and sleep. Breathing exercises are powerful in bringing peace and calm to our minds, bodies and states of being because they help bring us back to presence and physiological states of calm.

Click here to get access to my Conscious Breathing program.

Please share this course with others as I feel it can benefit many people at this time.

If you get something out of this challenge and wish to support our work, please consider becoming a member of CETV here.  Members also get access to our members-only discussion platform called CE Connect.

If you wish to enjoy the course without any payment, that is 100% fine as I see simply engaging with these practices as helping achieve my overall desire of helping to make the world a more peaceful place.

 

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Libra: Deep Perspectives & Transformations

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We are having a Full Moon in Libra on April 7th-8th, depending on your time zone. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Aries on March 24th and the themes mentioned in that article are still in effect. The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its effects slowly build up after the New Moon prior to it.

Full Moons are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Libra and the Sun in Aries. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic playing out between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Libra side and others expressing the Aries side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Full Moon In Libra Opposite Sun In Aries

Aries season began on March 19th/20th and will last until April 19th when the Sun goes into Taurus. Aries is a self oriented and energetic Fire sign ruled by Mars. It is associated with independence, individual needs, leading, and pioneering. It is assertive, courageous, initiating, instinctual, direct, quick, and bold. Negatively, it can be too aggressive, impulsive, impatient, selfish, hot-tempered, combative, restless, and overly competitive.

The Full Moon highlights and brings the energies of the opposing sign of Libra into this Aries backdrop. Libra is a relationship oriented and intellectual Air sign ruled by Venus. It is associated with cooperation, diplomacy, fairness, justice, relating, balance, equality, peace, harmony, aesthetics, art, codependence, consideration of others, and finding common ground.

It is compromising, sociable, creative, charming, communicative, and is about weighing out different sides as it is symbolized by the scales. Negatively, it can be indecisive, impractical, insincere, superficial, vain, overly judgmental, passive aggressive, and people pleasing.

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Full Moon Quincunx Neptune 

This Full Moon is in a quincunx with Neptune in Pisces. This can reflect the need for adjustments, dealing with frustrations, and/or not seeing things clearly around issues pertaining to that planet. It can also be something that needs to be attended to, or integrated, but may be challenging to do so.

Neptune rules spirituality, ideals, retreating, seclusion, compassion, oneness, dreams, glamour, fantasy, visual arts/media, music, and poetry. It is mystical, psychedelic, creative, sacrificing, and imaginative. Neptune is also associated with intoxication, addiction, escapism, deception, delusion, confusion, lack of boundaries, elusiveness, and a victim/martyr complex.

As far as mundane and worldly affairs are concerned, Neptune rules fossil fuels such as oil and gas. The Covid-19 situation is Neptunian; such as the nature of the illness being portrayed in the media, our perception of it, as well as the potential of deception believed by conspiracy theorists.

Jupiter Conjunct Pluto

Jupiter is currently in a conjunction with Pluto, this is the first time it has occurred since December 2007. This energy has been becoming more noticeable in recent weeks and is peaking this first week of April. However, this energy will play out until the end of the year with it peaking again in early Summer and mid November.

Jupiter is an expansive energy and is associated with learning, education, media, big picture awareness, perspectives, optimism, beliefs, truth, wisdom, travel, foreign countries, and aspirations. Negatively, it can also be excessive, inflated, have blind spots, and disregard limitations and consequences. .

The potential different expressions of Jupiter joins forces with Pluto which is associated with depth, transformation, evolution, regeneration, purging, power, sex, psychoanalysis, inner resources, primal instincts, occult subjects, and looking beneath the surface. It rules fear (or fearlessness), secrets, hidden matters, subversion, jealousy, death, abuse, the underworld, and conspiracies. It can also be intense, violent, destructive, abusive, and dark.

This conjunction is happening in Capricorn and we have already been having so many other significant astrological events occurring in this sign as mentioned in my previous Eclipse articles and recent New Moon content. Capricorn correlates with the structures of the world such as government, authorities, banking, and business. This sign is also associated with our ambitions, careers, mastery, traditions, consolidation, status, and orderliness.

The Lunar South Node (and its eclipses) has been in Capricorn since late 2018 and will transition out this year. Saturn has also been in Capricorn (its own sign) for most of this period which reinforces what it is doing, This process reflects shifts directed at changing/releasing negative qualities or aspects of Capricorn that are not serving us or need to be changed as a result of circumstances. However, some of this process will continue in the coming years as Pluto is still transiting this sign until 2024.

The coming together of Jupiter-Pluto in Capricorn can bring deeper awareness around issues happening in the world yet also in understanding aspects of ourselves or certain areas of our lives. There is opportunity for major changes and transformations. However, this can also feel like a boiling point as Jupiter can expand the negative qualities of Pluto.

Much of it is up to us and how we respond to life’s circumstances, or co-create with this energy,  using our free will. Another thing to consider is that many of things happening now are being seeded into a new Jupiter-Pluto cycle. Many of the combined themes of these planets occurring now and this year will evolve over the next 12-13 years.

Full Moon Square The Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction

The polarity of the Sun in Aries opposing the Full Moon in Libra (mentioned above) is in a t-square with the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. Full Moon’s can trigger conflict, either within ourselves or with others, and this one has a higher potential of that happening due to the Pluto influence.

The potential Aries expressions of self, action, leadership, hot temperedness, impatience, impulsiveness, forcefulness, one pointedness, inconsideration, and urgency can be at odds with the Libra expressions of balance, peace, harmony, seeing different sides, pleasing,  indecisiveness, idealism, and superficiality. This can be tied into the Jupiter-Pluto themes mentioned.

However, the key here is to try to strike a healthy balance or integration of the positive aspects of both Aries and Libra. Also, the positive aspects of Cancer (which opposes Capricorn) are also themes that should be brought into the equation. Caring, nurturing, security, self-care, instincts, feeling, sympathy, family, domestic life, and emotional well being are different expressions of that sign.

Mars Square Uranus, Mercury Sextile Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction

Mars, the ruler of Aries, has been moving towards a square with Uranus since the end of March (when it entered Aquarius) and is at its peak during this Full Moon. This energy can be impulsive, restless, erratic, rebellious, and be hard to focus and direct ourselves. This can also reflect combativeness towards anything progressive, unusual, unconventional, technological, or metaphysical. Alternatively, this can also be good for asserting ourselves in these ways or with authentic individuality.

Mercury in Pisces is a harmonious aspect with the Jupiter-Pluto energy mentioned above. This can reflect communication and discussion pertaining to the combined themes of these planets. This can also be good for research, expanding our minds, investigating, insights, uncovering truths, and embracing a deeper understanding.

Venus Sextile Chiron, Entering Pre-Retrograde Shadow Period

Venus, the ruler of Libra, is moving towards a sextile with Chiron in Aries which will be strongest from April 9th-11th. Venus areas of love, relationships, friends, values, attraction, aesthetics, art, creativity, money, pleasures, and social life can tie into Chiron themes of wholeness, healing, creative solutions, discovery, teaching, and holistic approaches.

Venus is also entering its pre-Retrograde shadow period on April 9th as it slows down before going retrograde from May 13th-June 25th. Some of the themes and developments that occur over the coming month in the areas pertaining to Venus will continue to unfold and perhaps go through a sorting out period during the retrograde process. Some of it will be connected to the Chiron influence mentioned in the above paragraph. I will be covering this more in future content, you can join my mailing list here to ensure that you receive it.

Things To Consider

Do you need to balance your personal needs, perspectives, and independence with diplomacy and consideration of others? Do you need to weigh out different sides? What were you experiencing in 2007 until early 2008 and is there a connection with what was going on then? What area of your life is calling for transformation? Do you need to address the way you assert yourself? What are your relationships showing you and does that area of your life require some sort of healing?

These are just some examples of what to consider at this time. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, cleansing, or clearing, it is best to initiate after the peak of the Full Moon or as it is waning over the following two weeks. The exact moment of it will be on April 8th at 2:35am Universal Time, but will be the night of the 7th in all of the Americas. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

Magic: Thoughts From Plato & Manly P. Hall To Modern Day Scientists – Is “Magic” Real?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Concept of 'magic' has been written about and explored for thousands of years. It's always been a large part of history and ancient mysticism, and today, "magical" concepts are being explored by science, mostly in the form of parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    Are there concepts of our reality we have yet to understand? Are there concepts we turn away from that have ample evidence, but simply push the boundaries of the mind a little too far to accept? Perhaps things are changing

“The underlying, primary psychic reality is so inconceivably complex that it can be grasped only at the farthest reach of intuition, and then but very dimly. That is why it needs symbols.” – Carl Jung

What is ceremonial magic? The works of multiple scholars, from Plato to Manly P. Hall and further down the line, suggest it is essentially the use of rituals and techniques to invoke and control “spirits” or lifeforms that could be existing within other dimensions or worlds. For example, according to Hall, “a magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could by the power vested in certain words and symbols control the invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world. While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery, or black magic.” (source)

Yet if we examine the works of Plato, we see he specifically condemns, both in the Laws and in the Republic, the idea that “gods” can be influenced by the performance of certain rituals — called “necromancy” or “magical attack.” He believed those who try to control the spirit world should be penalized. (source)

Socrates, about whom Plato wrote much, also spoke of an entity that guided him. It was never given a name, but references to it ranged from daemon to daimon. Socrates believed this entity was a gift, and manifested itself in the form of the voice within, something we all possess. His communication with this entity was actually used as one of the charges against him when he was put to death. Socrates believed it to be a link between mortal man and God.

Socrates seems to be an exception when it comes to using these concepts for perverse reasons, and, as Hall points out, he provided evidence that “the intellectual and moral status of the magician has much to do with the type of elemental he is capable of invoking. But even the daemon of Socrates deserted the philosopher when the sentence of death was passed.” (source)

He was put to death for “corrupting the youth” and spreading “false” information amongst the people, but looking back, he seems to be a figure more like our modern day revolutionaries than a malevolent influence, put to death for exposing the aristocracy’s secrets and encouraging people to question the true nature of reality, to question the doctrine that had been provided to the masses by those in power.

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There are also native records containing abundant evidence that the civilizations of Central and South America were heavily involved in these types of arts, both black and white magics. This is well documented in the Popuol Vuh.

If such information is true, it’s hardly surprising. Human beings have always been subject to the lure of power, driven by their ego, greed, and shortsightedness. It’s disconcerting to imagine this power of working with the spirit world in the hands of those who would use it for their own reasons, taken by the power of black magic.

Fast forward to our modern day, and you have stories like that of Dr. Johannes Faust. Through his study of magic, he was able to conjure up an extra-dimensional who served him for many years is several different ways. There is even an excerpt from The Book of Dr. Faust, Wittenberg, 1524 describing his experience. (source)

Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader, is another example. He used to tell of a “Little Red Man of Destiny,” a ‘spirit’ that appeared at a Royal Palace. Apparently when something important was happening, he would appear. This man, and what others now consider to be silly superstitions and folklore beliefs, genuinely influenced Napoleon and his actions and guided his campaigns. (source)

According to Hall, The Little Red Man of Destiny is an example “of the disastrous results of permitting elemental beings to dictate the course of human procedure.” (source)

Phenomena like these appear in various cultures during different time periods all throughout human history, so what makes us think these practices have stopped today?

There is even a modus operandi for the invocation of spirits in various texts, one being The Complete Book of Magic Science that, according to Hall, was first published in the original British Museum. This is also mentioned by other studies of occult philosophy, like Francis Barret in his Magus, where he describes the use of symbols and more things relating to the occult.

Living creatures existing in a world we cannot perceive have been the subject of lore dating back countless years. It’s embedded in the stories and passed down orally, and written about in multiple religious texts like the Bible and the Quran. I am not referring to extraterrestrial beings in this case, but rather to beings existing in realms indistinguishable to our senses.

Black vs. White Magic

A distinction is made early in the article about black magic and white magic. Basically, black magic is the process of using entities to accomplish a goal through ceremonial magic.

Hall writes:

By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy. . . . The most dangerous form of black magic is the scientific perversion of occult power for the gratification of personal desire.  (source)

According to scholars of various philosophies, there occurred, long ago, a systematic destruction of all keys to wisdom, so that no one else could have access to the knowledge. Whoever did it completely inverted the rituals of the ancient mysteries while claiming to preserve them, believing what they did was the right thing to do.

Magic also uses symbols and sacred geometry. Black magic, on the other hand, uses inverted symbolism, taking pure symbols with noble meanings and perverting them. Inverted symbolism seems to be the way to invoke spirits for malevolent purposes.

“They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees (Free-Masonry) he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. ” (1)

It appears there were many black magicians throughout history who strayed from the noble concepts that underly the core of spirituality and working with the spirit world.

White magic, on the other hand, deals with the noble, the morally pure, and cannot be used to accomplish selfish ends. Ego, greed, and personal desire have no place in white magic.

I agree with Socrates that the concepts of white magic exist within all of us and can be used as powerful tools of manifestation, provided one is pure in their heart and intention. It’s simple, and cannot be used as a means to an end, or to fulfil a specific personal desire.

A Scientific Perspective

Proponents of what we now call ‘magic’  include nearly all ancient literature from all parts of the world, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, all the way to Moses, Jesus, Milarepa and Mohammed. Donald Lopez Jr., a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and the University of Michigan provides a great example in describing the Buddha:

With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body…Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)

The crazy thing is there are also modern day examples, but they mostly come from the black budget government programs. In 2016, I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirms the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. It’s titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers.”  and it outlines how documented cases of children and adults who have the ability to teleport small objects from one location to another, using their mind. Why would the CIA archive this document? The study was done under controlled conditions.

Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has published a book called “Real Magic.” It has received praise from multiple scientists, including Nobel Laureates.

Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.

The amount of statistically significant results when it comes to this reality, usually dubbed as “parapsychology,” is very significant. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide for decades.

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. —Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

A lot of the statistical results for parapsychology are just as strong, if not in some cases more significant, than a lot of the results which emerge from hard sciences, like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defense has stated that results in this area are a clear sign that these phenomena are real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat unexplainable. As far back as 1999, a statistics professor even published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications. That study was done by Dr. Jessica Utts, as statistics professor in California who had this to say about Radin’s book:

Real Magic illustrates the limitations of 20th century science and proposes a more comprehensive view that incorporates ideas that have been associated with magic throughout the ages. Blending history, humor, and plausible hypotheses, Dean Radin illustrates that there is a staggering amount of evidence for a broader view of science that offers hope for the future of humanity.”

Another review:

“A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” —Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that matter is not the only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.

“Some scientists are confident that we already know what is and is not possible. But the truth is that science is very much in its infancy. To advance our understanding requires bold excursions into domains some might consider heretical, including esoteric legends about magic that have persisted for thousands of years. This is what Dean Radin sets out to do with Real Magic. In my judgment, it succeeds in blazing new trails. Well worth the read.” — Kary Mullis PhD, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry)

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