Adherents to magic believe that it may work by one or more of the following basic principles:
• A mystical force or energy
that is natural, but cannot be detected by science at present, and which may not be detectable at all. Common terms referring to such magical energy include mana, numen, chi or kundalini. These are sometimes regarded as fluctuations of an underlying primary substance (akasha, aether) that is present in all things and interconnects and binds all. Magical energy is thus also present in all things, though it can be especially concentrated in magical objects. Magical energies are typically seen as being especially responsive to the use of symbols, so that a person, event or object can be affected by manipulating an object that symbolically represents them or it (as in sigil magic, for instance). This corresponds to James Frazer's theory of sympathetic magic.
• Intervention of spirits,
similar to hypothetical natural forces, but with their own consciousness and intelligence. Believers in spirits will often describe a whole cosmos of beings of many different kinds, sometimes organized into a hierarchy.
• Manipulation of the Elements,
by using the will of the magician and symbols or objects which are representative of the element(s). Western practitioners typically use the Classical elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.
• Concentration or meditation.
A certain amount of focusing or restricting the mind to some imagined object (or will), according to Aleister Crowley, produces mystical attainment or "an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object" (Book Four, Part 1: Mysticism). Magic, as defined previously, seeks to aid concentration by constantly recalling the attention to the chosen object (or Will), thereby producing said attainment. For example, if one wishes to concentrate on a god, one might memorize a system of correspondences (perhaps chosen arbitrarily, as this would not affect its usefulness for mystical purposes) and then make every object that one sees "correspond" to said god.
Aleister Crowley wrote that ". . . the exaltation of the mind by means of magickal practices leads (as one may say, in spite of itself) to the same results as occur in straightforward Yoga." Crowley's magick thus becomes a form of mental, mystical, or spiriPost too long. Click here to view the full text.