The saying that magic is not what it seems may be more prevalent today than in the past. Today when ones hears the word magic one often thinks of the tall, slender, dark haired gentleman on stage or the television screen in his black tuxedo who pulls the white rabbit out of his top hat, and juggles balls and glasses or both, and saws a thinly clad, pretty girl in a box in half. Amazingly, he always somehow puts her back together again. At best, this could be called theatrical magic or just theatrics.
But, it certainly is not serious or real magic--the magic which has been practiced and believed in for thousands of years. Such magic as this is based upon laws, if not fully believed by the practitioners, at least adhered to. These laws have been recognized as the governing structure which makes the magic at least seem to work, gaining for the practitioners the desired results, and making people believe in it.
Many have observed the acts which practitioners attempt and sometimes do perform. From such observations a classification of the types of laws used was constructed. One of the pioneers to achieve such a classification of laws involved in magic is Sir James George Frazer in his "The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion." Many others have discussed such a classification including Isaac Bonewits, to whom this writer is indebted for his brief classification of the magical laws, and Richard Cavendish.
Briefly within this article these laws of magic will be discussed and examples will be given. The reasoning for this is two fold: first to acquaint the visitor to these laws, and to give a reference from which they can be pointed out when appearing in other articles in this encyclopedia.
The most basic of all is the Law of Knowledge because with understanding comes control and power. The more the person or magician knows about a person or phenomena the more control he has over it. This is an absolute rule which applies to the human organism as well as modern technology.
By knowing a person's daily routine, if one desires to alter that person's behavior, all one has to do is change a factor or two and the person's behavior will probably change. A native may walk a certain path daily, but once he keeps seeing little manikins resembling himself which he believes are signs of danger in the path he will choose another path.
A person with computer knowledge is able to control the computer; whereas, a person without such knowledge cannot operate a computer.
Within the Law of Knowledge is a specific sublaw of Self-Knowledge or "knowing thyself." The principle which is essential in the Law of Knowledge is equally applicable and essential to the Law of Self-Knowledge. One who does not know himself, having never tested himself or his limitations does not know what he can do. Here is the example of the insecure person.
But, the reverse is also true too. The person who has trained himself and tested his abilities is the secure person. He has by
knowledge and training perfected his abilities to the extent that he has control over them and knows what he can make them do.
He is the person who controls the computer, or any activity which he endeavors to do. This also includes the real magician who
has practiced his art until he is proficient at it. Many magicians will say their proficiency lies in their self-knowledge.