There is a whole extra leap of belief required when considering enchantment from an energetic perspective.
Firstly there is the notion -core to most magic- that some nonphysical thing inside you can manipulate the component parts of our universe.
But secondly you require the confidence to assert that you know what this force ‘is’ that you are channeling through your palms to a patient in need of healing, for example. You are using some form of ‘energy’.
In books of variable quality I have read authors claiming that the static you feel between your palms when you rub your hands together is this ‘energy’.
Or that the four fundamental forces somehow correspond in an elemental basis. Or that Kirlian photography can show your ‘energy bodies’.
And it’s a magical perspective I’ve never quite been able to grokk. Whereas the evidence for consciousness’s non-local effects is more or less overwhelming, the idea of ‘beaming’ healing energy from your hands to a recipient across the planet doesn’t remotely fit even a childhood version of physics. (And what about resistance and transmission loss? Or is there also a cosmic vacuum that you’re beaming through? How else is distance energy healing working?)
It’s just simply not how we know the world works. If it’s an energy then what kind is it? Electromagnetic? Kinetic? Energy is ludicrously easy to measure. We can confidently conclude whether you are using ‘energy’ in your magic with some inexpensive kit purchased from Amazon.
Which isn’t to say I don’t use energy tech. Indeed, a variant of Jason’s pillar exercise from The Sorcerer’s Secrets features on an almost daily basis.
Except that leaves me in the faintly unsatisfying situation of performing metaphoric magical exercises:
My mind is more easily able to visual magical energy because it has had physical experience of liquids, gases, warmth, etc which leads to an overall uplift in a magical effect. The same thing happens in the majority of energy healings thus it’s still all in your head except when it isn’t.
What else are we supposed to do? The modern world is built on harnessing energy. We’ve found all its various manifestations, right?
Let’s ask Dr Sheldrake. This is him recounting the results of some experiments where you seal humans inside a chamber and measure all the energy (food and light) they absorb as well as all the energy they expel (you know how that works). It should be a zero sum, yeah?
In the late 1970s, Paul Webb reinvestigated human energy balances in his laboratory in Ohio, with surprising results. The figures simply did not add up, especially when subjects were over-eating or under-eating… Webb also found puzzling discrepancies in other previous studies. He concluded, ‘The more careful the study, the more clearly there is evidence of energy not accounted for.’
In Webb’s own experiments, he took a careful tally of the food eaten over a three-week period, changes in body weight, heat and other forms of energy output, as well as measuring rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. He found that more energy was being used than he could explain. He did not question the law of conservation of energy, but instead suggested that there was an as yet unrecognised and unmeasured kind of energy, which he called x. Taking all the studies together, x was on average 27 per cent of the total metabolic expenditure; in other words, more than a quarter of the energy was unaccounted for.
However, a modern-day vitalist could assert that there is a vital force at work in living organisms, over and above the standard forms of energy known to physics. A yogi could speak in terms of prana, or an acupuncturist in terms of chi.
Do the available data rule out any kind of energy not yet known to physics? Is present-day nutrition science so precise that it can explain every detail of energetic activity in animals and people? The answer is ‘no’.
Careful, precise research might ultimately support the orthodox dogma, but at present it is an assumption, not a fact.
Although most people do not realise it, there is a shocking possibility that living organisms draw upon forms of energy over and above those recognised by standard physics and chemistry.
One easy starting point for research would be to find out how some people and other animals seem to survive even though they eat very little food.
It is well established that eating much less than usual can have beneficial effects.
A reduced intake of calories, or ‘caloric restriction’, improves health, slows the ageing process and increases lifespan in a wide variety of species, including yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, rodents, dogs and people.
In 2010, a team from the Indian Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) investigated an eighty-three-year-old yogi called Prahlad Jani, who lived in the temple town of Anbaji in Gujarat. His devotees claimed that he had not eaten for seventy years. In the DIPAS study, he was kept for two weeks in a hospital under continuous observation and filmed on CCTV cameras. He had several baths and gargled, but the medical team confirmed that he ate and drank nothing, and passed no urine or faeces. A previous medical investigation in 2003 had given similar results.
The director of DIPAS said, ‘If a person starts fasting, there will be some changes in his metabolism but in his case we did not find any.’ This is an important point, because surviving a two-week fast is in itself not particularly impressive. Most people could do that, but there would be very noticeable physiological changes while they did so.
Including inedia within the field of science rather than keeping it beyond the pale might enable us to learn something important. By treating the laws of conservation and matter and energy as testable hypotheses rather than revealed truths, physiology and nutrition science would become more scientific, not less so. Many people will confidently predict that all cases of inedia will be found to be fraudulent or to have some other conventional explanation. They may turn out to be right. If they are, the conventional assumptions will be strengthened by new evidence. But if they are wrong, we will learn something new that may raise bigger questions that go beyond the biological sciences. Are there new forms of energy that are not at present recognised by science? Or can the energy in the zero-point field, which is recognised by science, be tapped by living organisms?
Tantalising hints. Tantalising not just because it’s evidence that aligns with traditional beliefs -that happens all the time- but because it’s evidence of an energy we have never previously detected before. A lot of devices are built to measure humans. From thermometers to MRIs. And nothing. Nada.
Or at least nothing in the sense of nothing we commonly measure or are allowed to know exists.
The last fifteen years have seen a few genuinely odd instances that could point to the weaponisation of energy in ways we aren’t being told about. Like a possible torsion weapon being fired over Norway just as Obama was about to arrive to receive his Peace Prize for doing nothing (because that isn’t weird -can I have one?). Which happened to be the same night a mysterious tetrahedron possibly hovered above the Kremlin.
Then there’s the distinct possibility that the Twin Towers were turned to dust by an invisible ray gun. Because 1.25 million tonnes of the world’s biggest office blocks didn’t burn up and didn’t slam to the ground but turned to dust mid-air. Which is something steel and concrete tend not to do. (They have never done that. Not even with your precious thermite.)
Which, incidentally, would go some way to explaining why people were taking all their clothes off while dangling outside of a 100 story window. (Dr Wood suggests that the wet clothing from the sprinklers may have been cooking them like a microwave. Energy that turns steel to dust but doesn’t burn paper just can’t be good for you.)
And again -at least as far as I have been able to ascertain- there were no unusual energy readings in Norway or Moscow or indeed Manhattan. The only unusual readings in Manhattan were seismic ones that failed to register 1.25 million tonnes slamming into the ground right next to them. (Because they turned to dust. Keep up.) Like the man in the tank, we can only speculate about ‘unknown energy’ by observing its effects.
All of which leads us to two possible ‘best practices’ when it comes to energy in magic.
- Incorporate some sort of prana (or similar) activity into your daily practice because there is reasonable evidence that your food pyramid is missing a few invisible levels.
- Don’t worry yourself too much about the details. It’s just angels on a pinhead. You’ll be wrong. You’ll be wrong because there is some seriously weird energy shit in hidden corners of the world that I have yet to see on a chakra map of the human body.