It might come as a surprise to learn that ancient Christians practiced magick. In fact, they had elaborate systems of magick ranging from healing spells, charms, amulets and erotic love spells to revenge curses as varied as separating a man from a woman and a curse against a woman’s face and work.
These were mainly Coptic Texts dating from the first century C.E. to the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Many of the texts invoke the Archangels. They include prayers, hymns, magickal words and involve chanting sacred vowel sounds while performing elaborate rituals. Upon studying them, the reader quickly gleans that these must have been powerful spells, indeed.
From my own life, growing up as a Catholic, I look back now and realize that we practiced our own cultural form of magick. This was a magick practiced by my ancestors for many centuries. And, yet, I could never see it as magick, until now.
We certainly didn’t consider our pious practices as being a form of magick. Our faith, our belief was absolute. The outcome was certain in our minds. We foresaw the end result in our imagination. Those three things, belief, direction of will and visualization are the basis of magick.
The saints were our version of the Gods and Goddesses and the Blessed Mother was our Queen of Heaven, our own veiled Divine Feminine. A crown of stars shone above her head and her feet eternally rest on a crescent moon.
There were many spells that we Catholics practiced, not realizing that they were spells. For example, place a dollar bill beneath a statue of the Infant of Prague and you will never lack for money. Or, pray the blessing before and after meals and nothing you eat will ever make you sick. Keep holy water at home to bless your house against demons, storms and evil and to bless yourself for health, grace and protection. Light a candle at church for a particular intention and leave a small offering of money for the candle. Novenas are nine days of prayer to the Blessed Mother, Jesus or to a saint or archangel, nine being a magickal number. I’ve never, ever known a novena to fail.
Pray the daily rosary and fifteen promises would be obtained. Wear a blessed medal and you will be protected. Go to church the day after Candlemas on the feast of St. Blase and have a priest place two candles on your throat in blessing. The candle blessing will heal and protect your throat. Bring the blessed palms home from church on Palm Sunday and place them in your home for yearly protection and blessing.
The important thing to note is that the work depended, not upon the person performing it but, upon the deity or saint invoked.
The Traditional Catholic Church has maintained a beautiful ritual that was performed each year, in every parish, before the vast changes of the council of Vatican II occurred. Every year, on May 15th, the parishioners would form a long, out-door procession in front of the church doors. The priest, carrying a silk pillow upon which lies a crown of fresh roses, lead the way round a winding path to a large statue of the Blessed Virgin which was flanked by meticulously trimmed shrubs shading pockets of marigolds and zinnias. A troupe of altar boys, the eldest carrying the processional cross, dressed in traditional white and black flowing robes, swung their incense from side to side while chanting the prayer responses in Latin. Girls followed along, dressed all in white, their heads were draped in white lace mantillas while a basket of rose petals graced their wrists. Garlands of flowers crowned their mantillas.
A long parade of the faithful, women and girls in skirts and long mantilla veils, men and boys dressed smartly in their Sunday suits and ties, followed along behind the statue of Our Lady with deep reverence and heart-felt love. They clutch rosaries and wear the Miraculous Medal, in honor of Our Lady.
Forming a ring around the statue of the Virgin Mary, the crowd sung sweet, uplifting hymns and devoutly recited the prayers, heads bowed low or eyes gazing hopefully at Our Lady.
Sweet, exotic smelling incense wafts towards the statue and billows over the crowd. The priest ascends a small step-ladder and places the precious crown of roses upon the statue. Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, is now also Queen of the May, as the hymn pronounces Her. This can be performed as a solitary within the home sanctuary.
How magickal, how Goddess-honoring, how beautiful is this ritual? It’s an ancient, yet still living, unbroken tradition held within the remnants of today’s Traditional Chapels.
Modern day Esoteric Christians (and anyone else who would find this of interest) inherit the ancient Judaic-Christian tradition of a wide array of magick and ritual. Kabbalistic magick both esoteric and practical, kabbalistic tarot along with esoteric meditations on The Sphere, the Fiery Spear, The Grail and The Lance of Light all figure greatly in the Esoteric Christian tradition. Other Christians, including many clergy, are attracted to Enochian magick.
A potent form of healing and protection magick may be practiced by anointing the forehead with a biblical oil while praying specified psalms. There is also the Templar Tradition and other magickal Orders from which to choose and learn. Mojo bags accompanied by psalms or prayers fit quite nicely within the Christian magickal tradition.
Novenas remain a powerful source of help no matter what the need. Each saint is the patron of a certain cause. St. Lucy is the patron saint of eyes. St. Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers and young children while St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases. There are hundreds of saints all with a particular area of specialty. At the beginning of the novena, one may light a blessed and consecrated glass-encased novena candle with appropriate herbs floating beside the wick.
The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 spells by Judika Illes contains many saint-oriented spells including a number of spells invoking Mary Magdalene.
Wanding, by Evan Twede remains a form of magick that can be practiced by anyone of any faith or tradition. The wand is named and undergoes a special consecration ritual. A few simple words invokes your spirit ally into the wand. Sometimes, when performed against a white background, a blue aura can be seen as soon as the spirit of the wand is called into the world, the wood, the wand. The wand becomes much more than a tool, it becomes your closest ally. Wanding is simple, easy and effective.
For those who join certain Gnostic or Esoteric Orders or schools, many powerful rituals become available.
A mystical magician is one who works in harmony with God (the Father and Mother) and is able to become a link between the outer and inner creations or worlds. A Christian Witch strives to become the mystical magician.
Sources not cited:
Experience of the Inner Worlds, by Gareth Knight.
Magical Christianity by Coleston Brown.
Ancient Christian Magic by Marvin W. Meyer and Richard Smith.