While the French Revolution put a temporary end to Mesmer's movement, his ideas were not lost. They were taken up by a number of others, primarily occultists, who drew on them while developing their own theories of magic. One of the first to do so was Bulwer Lytton of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), who postulated the existence of a subtle energy which he termed Vril, possibly deriving from Latin virilitas or "force, power, strength". (This was actually the model for the naming of Bovril, from Latin "bovis" or "ox", and Vril or "life force".) We can observe interesting parallels to this concept in the vitalist theories of biology which emerged around the same time. Other exponents of the energy model of magic (not then so termed) were Reichenbach with his concept of Od, Eliphas Levi and his Astral Light and Mme. Blavatsky, who adopted the theories of Prana from Yoga physiology. This was also the time when anthropology and ethnology discovered the Polynesian concept of Mana and Asiatic scholars began to concern themselves with the Chinese principle of Ki or Ch'i (Chi). The latter two go to show, of course, that the idea of subtle energies utilized by magic is far older than the 18th century. In fact, we can observe it already in early Shamanic cultures. Shamanic magic is very frequently a mixture between spirit and energy model, e.g. the shaman may call upon his spirits or gods to give him "power" or he may, vice versa, use his power to extort favors from them.
In its pure form, however, the shaman or magician is not in need of spirits and other entities. The world is viewed as being "vitalized" by subtle forces or energies and his primary task consists in mastering the art of perceiving and manipulating them. As all phenomena are basically energetic in nature, the existence of an otherworld is not strictly required. Thus, the magician is more of an "energy dancer" than a "fence rider" or go-between. But even here the key to the perception, charging and general utilization of these forces is again the magical trance or, as Chaos Magic terms it, gnosis.
Theories and practices pertaining to the energy model can be found with many magical authors but it has seen its real, large scale popularity only since the seventies of our century when the general influx of Eastern thinking (pace the Hippie movement) made concepts such as chakra and kundalini work a mainstay of most occult disciplines. Strong energy model elements can also be found in Franz Bardon's system of "electromagnetic fluids", "condensators" etc.
Suggested ebooks:Nathan Elkana - The Master Grimoire Of Magickal Rites And Ceremonies
Solomonic Grimoires - The Magic Of Armadel
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