Psi Research Centre
Serena Roney-Dougal


Where Science and Magic Meet

Where Science and Magic Meet

Where Science and Magic Meet

In this article I shall attempt to spread before you a vista of my ideas and research over the past 23 years. I am fascinated by the mind, and particularly the psychic and creative aspect of our minds. For this is in its essential what magic is - magic - imagination - magi, wisdom. The imagination is one aspect of our truly human ability of self-transcendence, aspiring to the highest, the most supreme flowering of our minds - it is through our imagination that our finest creativity appears. In our imaginations we create our visions and dreams, our highest ideals, our ethics of justice, love; and imagination is rooted in the deep wisdom of our souls, and magic rises out of imagination.

The Subliminal Mind

Parapsychology is the scientific investigation of the tools of magic, the psychic ability of our minds, and the psychology of those states of mind most conducive to the practise of the psychic arts for healing, clairvoyance, divination, ritual, etc. Parapsychology seems to be uncovering the basic root elements of all religions, the perennial philosophy.
One of the findings of paraysychology is that all psi works through the subliminal mind. The subliminal mind seems to emerge into consciousness most easily through right hemisphere dream type thought but can emerge directly as a feeling, an emotion, a mood, an intuition, a hunch, a wordless knowing, or a body sensation. Its language is symbolic, archetypal as in dreams, collective unconscious, poetry, myths, legends; throughout the world these are the same. When thinking at this level we are linking with the world mind, the mind of the planet; we are the thinking, self-transcendent, creative aspect of the planet, of nature, and this is her consciousness.
The unconscious, which is linked to all the parts of the brain, is thought to retain every experience in its entirety. There are literally billions of nerve connections so that physically we can process billions of bits of informations all the time; blood flow, heartbeat, glandular secretion, senses. We have filters which protect us from all this else we would go mad. These are called our defence mechanisms and they protect us from unwanted information so we see and hear what is necessary for our survival.
Research into subliminal perception has shown that it is the subliminal mind that ultimately decides what to let through into consciousness. Our behaviour, our moods, our thoughts, our actions are all governed by the subliminal mind. The filters, the defence mechanisms, are essential but they have tended to become warped so that they now tend to blinker us rather than merely protect us. So we now need to learn how to open up again how to overcome our blocks of repression, denial, etc.
The magical lores based on this subliminal mind and confirmed in the parapsychological laboratories are that:
1) an attitude is the most important action you can take;
2) relaxation - letting go at every level of your being, not just physical relaxation although that helps, but mental relaxation as well;
3)Concentration - the sort that is best exemplified by a child playing in which the whole of your being is living the task in which you are engaged, a holistic concentration, totally engrossed in what you are doing.
4)visualisation or imagination.
5) emotion - our emotional energy is possibly the strongest energy of our being.
6)Zen action - one must eliminate the conscious effort to try to force the psychic or the magical.

The Holographic Principle

Through psi we are potentially omniscient and omnipotent i.e. divine. The one thing unclear from this see-touch reality of ours is how psi effects work. Through parapsychology we are understanding what happens once the information is in the brain so to speak, the psychology of psi, but how does it get there in the first place. For this we have to look at the quantum world view that is emerging from quantum physics.
In altered states our brains change. There are billions of connections between the neurons; during waking consciousness there are about one million at what is called quantum threshold of sensitivity; during sleep, hypnosis, etc., there are about one thousand million at quantum threshold, i.e. a quantum event can trigger the synapse, and this is our mind linked with our brain; thus in altered states we are more susceptible to this quantum reality.
Karl Pribram, in his work on memory, considers that the brain works by building up neural nets that utilise the holographic principle of information storage. Our minds work in this way. Each part contains information about the whole. The form and structure of the entire body-mind may be said to be enfolded within each region of the brain. It is at the synapses that the processing of the incoming sensory information is accomplished. Not only memory and sensory experiences have been incorporated into this holographic model of the brain but also imaging and visualisation. Visualisation and imaging are part of the psi process.
This is the old magical principle - as above so below - humans are the microcosm of the macrocosm; everything in the universe is part of everything else. I pick a flower here and this is linked to the trembling of a star. There is no here and there; space and time become irrelevant; hence psi. There are intriguing implications in a paradigm that says the brain employs a holographic process to abstract from a holographic domain. One needs no energy of transmission for psi since this information emerges from a reality transcending time and space - we are linked to everything that ever was, is or will be. As Krippner says: "If the brain is a hologram interpreting a holographic universe, ESP and PK are necessary components of that universe." Psychic phenomena are by-products of the simultaneous-everywhere matrix. Individual brains are bits of the greater hologram. They have access under certain circumstances to all the info in the total system.
In David Bohm's theory of an Implicate Order these ideas are taken further to sugest that this see-touch reality we live in is a secondary reality which arises out of the primary reality he calls the implicate order in which everything is interconnected. Bohm's implicate order has many characteristics in common with the old magical spiritual world view. He uses an example of an ink droplet in a jar of glycerine. If this drop is stirred it becomes slowly spread out throughout the whole jar so you cannot see it. If, however, you then stir an equal number of times in the opposite direction, the ink droplet comes back again to form a drop as it was at the beginning before you started stirring. "Ordinarily we think of each point of space and time as distinct and separate, and that all relationships are between contiguous points in space and time. In the enfolded order we see, first of all, that when the droplet is enfolded its in the WHOLE thing, and every part of the whole thing contributes to the droplet. When two droplets are present they are in different positions in the explicit state , but when they are enfolded they are distributed through the whole and are interspersed, interpenetrated with each other. In the enfolded order every element has direct connections with each other - even with distant elements."
The implications of Bohm are that the easily accessible contents of consciousness are included within a much greater implicit background the personal subconscious, which is contained within a much greater background the unconscious, which is contained within the world mind or collective unconsious. It is these depths we plumb when we work magic. Telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and the various forms of mind over matter arise from this conception of consciousness as the explicit modes of action and perception of this implicate higher dimensional ground of being. That is why they have no known forms of energy trasnmission, because they arise from a realm that is everyhwere at all times.

The Pineal Gland - Our Third Eye

Religion and magic are based in animism, the belief in a spiritual aspect to all living beings and even in some cases to inanimate objects. Psi is scientific magic. Both shamanism and magic offer techniques of approaching the visionary sources of our culture. Both systems of thought structure the universe in ways that are deeply and symbolically meaningful and which fully accomodate enlarged horizons of human consciousness.
Anthropologists report that Amazonian peoples use a vine called ayahuasca to take them into a state of consciousness in which they directly link with their spirit guides for the purpose of healing, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences and precognition. Chemists report ayahuasca contains harmaline; harmaline is chemically similar to a betacarboline found in the pineal gland. The pineal gland is considered by Swami Satyananda to be ajna chakra, the psychic centre, and by Descartes to be the seat of the soul and it makes an hallucinogen (pinoline) that takes us into an altered state, the dream state, which is considered by Amazonian peoples to be the psychic spirit state in which we are one with archetypal reality, with the world mind, collective unconscious, quantum reality, the implicate order or holographic universe.
As well as pinoline the pineal gland makes melatonin. Melatonin is made during times of dark, and so it helps to regulate our biological clock. Hence it is a night hormone, with maximum production being reached six hours after dusk; could this be the origin of midnight being the magic or witching hour when Cinderella has to go home. Most religions consider night to be a specially powerful spiritual time and even specify 3a.m. to be the time toget up and chant Matins, or Tibetan tantras, or Buddhist scriptures. Is this the power of the night that we have a natural night time psi-conducive hallucinogen?
Also melatonin is implicated in seasonal cycles so we tend to need to hibernate and dream in winter, and if we don't we get depressed. There's a lot of folk lore about the deep inner intuitive states of winter. And the opposite of the sun season of summer with all its light tending to give us so much external energy - very little folk lore about magic in the sun.
Melatonin production is also connected with moon cycles. It has been found out that if you stay in constant darkness that the body runs on a 25 hour cycle. Since melatonin is the body's timekeeper this means that melatonin production runs on a 25 hour cycle when there is no stimulus from the sun. The moon circles the earth once every 25 hours. The pineal gland is sensitive to the moon because of the moon's effect on the earth's magnetic field, to which it is exquisitely sensitive and this is what causes it to switch to a 25 hour rhythm. So we all naturally have a constant sun-moon tension within our bodies as the old magical lores state.
Researching into the science of the pineal has also helped me better to understand our psychic connection with sacred places.

Earth Magic

Electromagnetism seems to be the interface between matter and energy, between body and mind, between spiritual and physical. It is not chi, not mana but is related to them.
The body is electric - most people experience headaches, fatigue, irritation from pylons. However, there are also healing properties of electricity and magnetism. Some consider that the aura is the electric body field surrounding all living matter. Harold Saxton Burr called it the Life or L-field. He monitored trees over a 30 year period and found that the L-field is sensitive to moon cycles and sunspot cycles.
The earth is a giant bar magnet. The solar cycle affects the earth's magnetism in many ways such as extreme weather, warmer temperatures, length of crop growing season, growth pattern of trees, admission to mental hospitals and political and social change. The most extreme example is that of the Northern Lights, intense magnetic field storms caused by flares on the suns surface.
We are exquisitely sensitive to this magnetic field of the earth (GMF): it has been found that we have a magnetic sense of direction, a sixth sense. Through the pineal gland, the GMF affects not only our direction sense but also our sensitivity to psychic information. This is affected by changes in the GMF, such that if it decreases in intensity there are more reported occurrences of telepathy and clairvoyant type episodes, receptive psi. At times when the GMF increases, such as during solar storms, then there are more reported occurrences of deathbed apparitions, psychic healing and poltergeists - the more intense, active types of psi. These show a peak at 3 a.m., just when the pineal beta-carboline is thought to be at its peak - when the veils are thinnest, when most people are born and die.
Also, changes in the orientation of the GMF affects the pineal gland. Thus we are affected by rocks of different ages if they change suddenly - say at a geological fault line where two rocks of different ages meet, or where there is what is called an intrusion in which a rock of a different age pushes up through a surrounding rock.

Sacred Sites

There is an ancient folklore linking stone circles and other sacred sites with psychic events, Fortean events, UFOs, fairies apparitions, etc. Britain is renowned thorugh the world for the quantity of psychic phenomena that occur here. This is a very psychic country. It is also a heavily geologically faulted country with every age of rock present at the surface somewhere. There are 286 stone circles; of these 235 are on pre-Armorican rock outcrops; 85% of the circles are on 36% of the land mass. Every stone circle in England and Wales is within a mile of a surface fault or lies on an associated intrusion.
Paul Devereux and the Dragon Project recorded all sorts of phenomena at Rollright Circle using gaussmeters, infrared cameras, ultrasonic detectors, dowsing, and Geiger counters. They reckon that the stones are condensers holding electrostatic energy, and the suspicion at the moment is that circles are placed specifically for particular electromagnetic earth energy using material that interacts specifically to create an electromagnetic effect that is highly psi conducive.

The Fairy-Faith Philosophy

There is a legend that the people who built these megalithic monuments are the same as those who populate our myths and legends - the British fair folk. It is felt that these legends represent the degraded remnant of the old British animistic religion, now resurging as Wicca, or paganism, or natural magic, or the spiritual side of the Green movement.
Fairyland exists as a supernormal state of consciousness into which we may temporarily enter in dreams, trances or various ecstatic conditions, or for an indefinite period at death; it is not only the land of fair folk and of divine immortals but also the land of the dead. This rebirth, reincarnation philosophy was a central aspect of the fairy faith.
There are several different strands to legends of the fair folk:
1) The elementals known as devas, are to be found all over the world wherever there is an animistic religion that recognises the spirit of a place, or being or thing.
2) The psychic-spiritual aspect best exemplified by the traditional view of a poltergeist, in which if you had broken faith with the fair folk guardian of your house than they would torment you. As someone remarked of mediumistic rapping of tables, the phenomena resembled nothing so much as a mischievous childish prank, which is just what some of the fair folk are considered to be like. This same mischievous prankish element is also to be found in the modern corn circles. These have been connected with UFOs, which in turn have been connected with certain aspects of legends surrounding the fair folk;
3) the Celtic pagan deities, such as the Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland and the Twlwyth Teg of Wales;
4) memories, myths and legends of the neolithic peoples.
There are many strands to this aspect of the legends. They are said to live in barrows, to dance in circles in the stone circles, to walk along fairy paths which can be linked to ley lines, to control the magnetic currents of the earth, etc.
They are particularly said to hate iron, which relates both to electromagnetic sensitivity, and to a pre-iron age culture. They are said to have taught agriculture, spinning, weaving, dyeing, healing and herbal lore and all other crafts of civilisation.
They are especially a magical people, said to be highly gifted in psychic matters and able to teach humans this art. This relates to the information coming out now concerning sacred sites, their special places.
Like all guardians of a high philosophy they are said to have taught morality and ethics, which has come down to us as the various taboos such as the old lore concerning poltergeists mentioned above.
Music and dancing is of their essence, they are certainly unlike the stern Judaeo-Christian patriarch God who frowns on fun. In fact the essence of their magic, their enchantment, is through poetry, rhythm, music. There are loads of stories about people who married members of the fair folk, and about changelings or children of the fair folk. Many of these stories are connected with witchcraft the so-called old religion also called wicca or paganism.
Second sight originally was those who conversed with fair folk. It only later came to refer to psychic abilities in general. The basic essentials of the magical philosophy of the fairy faith is identical with a world wide animistic religion, such as the Aboriginal, the Amerindian etc.:
1) There is a spiritual world of causes as the background of the phenomenal world of effects (c.f. Bohm's Implicate order)
2) the material substance composing our bodies is merely a means of expression for life, a conductor for an unkown force which exhibits volition and an individual consciousness - that which we call our soul
3) the soul is an indestructible unit of invisible power possessing consciousness and volition and able to exist independently of the human body.
4)the personality is a temporary combination wholly dependent upon the ego - there is no personal immortality.
5)all evolutionary processes reaching from the lowest to the highest illustrate a gradual unfolding in the sensuous world of a pre-existing psychical power through an ever-increasing complexity of specialised structures, this complexity being brought about by natural selection. Life is equivalent to psychical power which is equivalent to a reservoir of consciousness. It is the soul monad that survives, which is immortal, which gives unity to each temporary personality and this soul is the bearer of all evolutionary gains made in each temporary personality through which it reflects itself. It is the permanent evolving principle.
6) some races have evolved out of the human plane of existence into the divine plane. Hence the gods are the beings which once were human and the actual race of humans will in time become gods. There exists a need in nature by virtue of the working of evolutionary laws for people to strive to reach divinity.
7) Magicians are able to produce magical effects because they are able to tune in to the soul stuff, and all spirits or fairies are portions of such universally diffused mana the soul of the world.
8) Mysticism is fundamentally the same in all ages and among all people. Modern mysticism derived mainly form Eastern sources links with the fairy faith handed down from our ancestors because the two occupy a common psychical territory. Ironically with the new physics the animistic view of humans is more in harmony with scientific premises than any other.
To me this faith, this philosophy, is the basis behind the newly evolving paganism in Britain and America. Parapsychology, in giving us the scientific grounding for magic is confirming this philosophy of spirit, is giving us a science of the spirit, so that we can grow a world-view in tune with our times that will be in harmony with what our planet needs for survival.

copyright Serena Roney-Dougal 2012