Magick has been around for as long as mankind itself, but it has not always taken the same form or been presented in the same way. For example, in prehistoric days, a rudimentary form of visualization magick was practised by those who painted images of hunting success on the walls of their caves. And later, in tribal societies, the magick of spiritual lycanthropy was practiced by shamanic leaders wearing animal skins to invoke the primal qualities of their previous owners.
One great advantage of being a magickian in the modern era is that we can study and implement ideas and approaches from a wide variety of historical and cultural traditions. Not everyone will choose to do that, of course, because some people prefer to focus on just one specific tradition, but those who are willing to broaden their horizons can find an abundance of magickal wisdom in some quite unexpected places.
The New Thought movement of the 19th and early 20th century is one of those places. Although this movement grew out of a largely Christian view of the world, the methods used by New Thought practitioners were undeniably magickal, and any modern practitioner of magick who is willing to look at their writings will find within them a wealth of powerful knowledge that is just as workable today as it was a century ago.
Whilst many New Thought writings focused on the acquisition of wealth and physical health, the principles used by popular teachers such as Charles F. Haanel, Wallace D. Wattles and others can be applied just as effectively to the attainment of any other goal or objective. Here then, are three New Thought classics which are highly recommended to modern magickians who are willing to explore this rich vein of knowledge.
The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
The Master Key System was originally published as a correspondence course in 1912, and then later presented in book format in 1917. This is a practical course of spiritual development which has changed the lives of millions since its launch, and which has inspired many teachers who would appear later.
One of those inspired followers was Napoleon Hill, best-selling author of Think and Grow Rich, who credited much of his success to the implementation of the techniques revealed in The Master Key. Rhonda Byrne, who released the popular new age film The Secret in 2006, followed by a book of the same name, also based much of her work on The Master Key, although her ‘law of attraction’ ideas are, in our opinion, little more than a pale imitation of Haanel’s much more rigorous system.
Quote: ‘Would you bring into your life more power? Get the power consciousness. More health? Get the health consciousness. More happiness? Get the happiness consciousness. Live the spirit of these things until they become yours by right. It will then become impossible to keep them from you. The things of the world are fluid to a power within man by which he rules them.’
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
The Science of Getting Rich is another New Thought title which was used as the basis of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. Published in 1910, this book described what Wattles called a ‘certain way’ of thinking which could be used by anyone to achieve wealth, health, success or anything else that one desires. Modern motivational and inspirational speaker Bob Proctor (who also appeared in The Secret movie) credits The Science of Getting Rich with giving him the techniques which changed his life forever. So much so that Proctor continues to spend much of his time teaching from this very same book.
Quote: ‘There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates and fills the interspaces of the Universe. A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.’
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
Published in 1903, As a Man Thinketh is the shortest of the three books recommended here, but its relative brevity does not make it any less valuable as a source of practical knowledge. The key idea presented in this title is that ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,’ and the author expounds that principle in several chapters to illustrate how thought affects every aspect of our lives, from the level of material success we attain to the state of our health and how much peace of mind we experience.
Quote: ‘Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.’
Any one of these New Thought classics has much to offer the modern magickian who is willing to look at things from a slightly different perspective. Look beneath the sometimes-stilted language of their time and in these titles you will find some incredibly powerful techniques that are just as applicable and effective today as they were more than a century ago.