Thursday, 3 March 2016

What Magic Can't Do

Seven of Wands
An excerpt from Chariot's magic section. It might seem unduly negative, but the way that the magic of Chariot works, it's actually easier to define what magic can't do rather than what it can. These limits on magic, by the way, are the ones codified by early Theosophist William Quan Judge in Occult Arts, which you can read here, here and here. Judge was responsible for the US branch of the Theosophical Society, still based in Pasadena, making a decisive break with the Indian/UK branch shortly after Madame Blavatsky's death, leading to there being, now, two Theosophical Societies. Why? Leadbeater, basically. 

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  VII.CHA.BE.CHA
What magic can't do
In Atlantis and Lemuria, magic is everywhere, but certain things are completely outside the purview of magic. Some of the Fated can do these things, but that only underlines how impossible they are, and how unique the Fated.

Magic has its limits, but even the things it can do might be things that can be done better or even more easily in other ways. Just because you can use magic to do a thing doesn't mean you necessarily should.

Even apart from the things that magic can't do easily, these are the things that magic can't do at all and cannot be circumvented (with one exception: some of the Fated can break these rules).

You can't raise the dead. When someone is dead, they're dead, and while you might be able to contact their spirit from the afterlife or even reanimate or reinhabit their soulless, decaying shell, you can't bring them back. Not really.

You can't control minds or feelings. Not with magic. Science and psychology have ways to control people (mesmerism, for instance, or the ghastly combination of parasitic infestation, music and science that creates the Thralls of Leagh) and you can even destroy souls and replace them with new ones with the two Techniques of Akâsha, but you can't directly make someone think something or feel something using magic.

You can't teleport living matter. You can precipitate (teleport) inanimate objects – it's a common way for magicians to communicate, but that involves destroying the thing and recreating it elsewhere using the same components. Living matter is too complex to transport like that, and although the highest forms of magic can create new life, it's not the same life.

You can't bilocate. One soul, one body. Your soul can leave its body and travel in the Astral, you can appear somewhere else as a ghost, and you can even possess a vacant body, but when you leave your body, you leave it behind, connected to your soul by a silver cord. You can't inhabit two bodies at once.

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