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Synopsis

THE art which is called Goëtic, being that of incantation, of sorcery, fascination and of the illusions and impostures connected therewith, has come somewhat arbitrarily to signify the last issue in diabolism of the more catholic and general art which is termed Practical Magic. The latter designation implies that there is a Magic on the theoretical side, or, as it may be, a philosophy of the subject, and this again is of two kinds: in modern days it has embodied various attempts to provide an explanation, a working hypothesis, for alleged phenomena of the past; of old it came forward with the accent of authority and carrying the warrants of a peculiar and secret knowledge; it taught rather than explained. Behind this, in virtue of a specific assumption, there stood the source of such authority, the school or schools that issued, so to speak, the certificates of title which the records of the expounding master are supposed to shew that he possessed. Herein resided presumably that Higher Magic which justified the original meaning of the term Magic; this was the science of wisdom, and of that wisdom which was the issue of experience and knowledge particular to sacred sanctuaries in the years of the Magi. In this manner a remote and abstract magnificence has been allocated to the practical work; but between this aspect as we know it Otherwise and that dream as it has been dilated in the forms of its expression there is the kind of relation which subsists between renown and its non-fulfilment.

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