Definitions of magic vary. It may be conceived of as "embracing any formalised practices by human beings designed to achieve particular ends by the manipulation and direction of supernatural power or of spiritual power concealed within the natural world". Manipulation is the key in this view, suggesting that the actor, the magician can be separate to the thing being acted on. A different slant places the magician within the system. Magic consists of those practices specifically concerned with "developing and maintaining", through the application of human intention, "the system of bonds and relationships between the revealed and concealed worlds". For once in such questions there is fair agreement between the academic specialists and the skeptics.
Magical thinking is a participative mode of thought where participation can be understood as a basic human awareness of the interrelatedness of all things in the world. Magic is based on a unique type of consciousness: the awareness of the interrelatedness of all things in the world by means of simple but refined sense perception. This awareness can be called "magical consciousness" or less ambiguously, the "magical experience"… Magic does not seek to "fix" an objective world; it addresses an awareness of a bind that is neither subjective no objective. It straddles the line between the perceiver and the world because the two are part of a unified system, a mental ecology. „Magical thinking” rather than "magic", contains the following passage: magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbols.
The concept of magic as mental ecology takes us far away from any assumptions that it has to be overtly occult, esoteric or mystical. What I would term ‘mundane magic’ In the abstract to their paper on "Magical Thinking and Consumer Coping". The analysis of interview and blog narratives of consumers attempting to lose weight reveals how they adopt practices imbued with magical thinking in the form of creative persuasion, retribution, and efficient causality. Magical thinking allows participants to construct a space of uncertainty and ambiguity that transforms impossibilities into possibilities, thus sustaining their hope in the pursuit of goals. In so doing, consumers demonstrate a chimerical agency where they creatively blur fantasy and reality to cope with cultural expectations of control.
Given that the assumption of a binary distinction between fantasy and reality may raise more problems than it solves, the notion of magic as an act of will then is firmly embedded in the mundane world. Since the word "magic" tends to cause confused thinking, I would like to say exactly what I mean by ‘magic’ and the magical interpretation of socalled reality. The underlying assumption of magic is the assertion of "will" as the primary moving force in this universe–the deep conviction that nothing happens unless somebody or some being wills it to happen. To me this has always seemed self-evident. A chair does not move unless someone moves it. Neither does your physical body, which is composed of much the same materials, move unless you will it to move. Walking across the room is a magical operation. From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy.
Nature worked on man and, by magic, men could take action in return and alter their destiny. So they assiduously visited diviners, magi and astrologers in order to lift curses, know their future or read their horoscope.
The most mundane application of astral magic is for personal advantage, and personal advantage was often best served by medicine, and the use of amulets, talismans and sigils. This example from a Greek text makes the point: Another amulet for the foot of the gouty man: You should write these names on a strip / of silver or tin. You should put in on a deerskin and bind it to the foot of the man named, on his two feet: "THEMBARATHEM OUREMBRENOUTIPE / AIOXTHOU SEMMARATHEMMOU NAIOOU, let NN, whom NN bore, recover from every pain which in his knees and two feet". You do it when the moon is (in the constellation) Leo.
The key point here is one of timing. The Moon is in Leo for around two and a half days every month: all other aspects of the healing ritual are therefore enclosed within a framework in which time is qualitative as much as quantitative, and magical actions can only be effective at certain times.
No matter how powerful the magician, a ritual will be ineffective if performed at an inauspicious moment. From the Islamic world the tenth/eleventh century text known as the Picatrix was translated into Latin in the thirteenth century, and included remedies such as this means of gaining relief from a scorpion sting: Carve a picture on a stone of Besoar in the hour of the Moon and while the Sun is in the first degree of it and the ascendant is Leo or Aquarius. Mount the stone on a golden ring and stamp it with resin of Kundur in the designated hour and with the Moon in Scorpio. Give the bitten person a dose of it and he will be cured from his ailment.
Such remedial magic constituted one sub-genre of the wider practice. Magic designed to facilitate the soul’s ascent might be another. From the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries we find this example from the practices of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. One ritual designed to facilitate astral travel held in 1900, began as follows: We sat in a semi-circle at the north side of the Altar, facing the South, when Mars was in Virgo at the time. Deo Date then made the Invoking Hexagrams of Mars around the room, and the Pentagram of Virgo and the Mars symbol towards the South.
Is astral magic, or astrological magic if we prefer, distinct from astrology as an interpretative and predictive practice based on the use of horoscopes? It certainly has a separate existence to judge from much of the literature: the vast majority of modern western astrological texts concentrate on the reading of horoscopes, rather than activity, whether magical or otherwise. But what if all astrology is magic? This is certainly the way skeptics see it. "In all forms, astrology is a manifestation of magical thinking". Astrologer’s plotting of financial graphs in relation to planetary cycles), the general definition of magical thinking is surely compatible with many modern western astrologers’ definitions of astrology, particularly what "belief in the interconnectedness of all things’. Astrology is the science of certain cryptic relations between the celestial bodies and terrestrial life".
Regarding the consideration of magic as action, as To believe that you are being buffeted by Pluto or held back by some bad aspect is very short-sighted. What you should see from the various chapters in this book is that every difficult thing in the chart can lead us to positive, constructive insights and actions that will help us move along on the spiritual path. We generally grow through the mastery of the adverse circumstances, inner conflicts and difficult times that we go through. With that in mind, you can regard difficult aspects, transits, and sign placements as opportunities to grow. The true usefulness of a chart, as I see it, is to get a better perspective on yourself, to appreciate your own individuality and potential, and to work toward your most positive expression of self. Your chart is only an instrument panel where you take readings on the course of your life.
This is stirring stuff; a call to action and a complete rejection of any assumption that fate has to be passively accepted. Of will taking place in the mundane world, rather than the manipulation of occult forces. While it be absurd to argue that all astrology is magical, for to do so would be to exclude all other possibilities, it seems clear that some astrology is magical. But, then, if, is anything not magical?