Most human beings are fascinated by magic because they are spiritually asleep (or hypnotized). And, on earth, magicians use all sorts of tricks and deceptions to make it appear as though they are defying the natural laws of the universe. But we know that as hard as they may try humans cannot overcome the laws of the universe.

Some new-age gurus also claim that they can attain wealth and health by altering the state of their mind. It is certainly true that our life and circumstances are in correspondence with our state of being. However, since these so-called gurus are only motivated by self-love and love of the world, they will continue to manifest disorder.

We do not exist on the earth to acquire wealth, fame and power. In fact, we can acquire and rule the whole world and still remain miserable. We are here to build and purify our soul. Real joy is not the outcome of pleasant circumstances; it is a state of being. And we can only attain this state of being by realizing Love, Truth and usefulness from innocence and not from any selfish desire.

There is an unfathomable difference between magic and miracles. In the Bible, Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians both transformed a staff into a serpent. But the difference between these two events was that Moses’ miracle had its source in Divine Order while the magicians’ work was motivated by the selfishness (evil) and disorder of hell.

Instead of wishing to change their circumstances by magic, human beings should be glad that the material and spiritual worlds are governed by eternal and unchanging Universal Laws. And they should obey and apply these laws in order to gradually transform their own being and enter the realm of reality or Heaven.

In fact, while in the spiritual world, Swedenborg discovered that it is in hell where devils practice magical arts by misusing and abusing the science of correspondences to deceive themselves and others. Therefore, these mischievous deeds which they perform are motivated by selfishness and they usually culminate in their own punishment and suffering.

Evil (selfish) spirits are in hell because they refuse to obey the Universal Laws of Heaven and they prefer to believe their own opinions, lies and fantasies. Hence, they subsist in a realm of darkness, fantasy and illusion where they practice magical arts to deceive and hurt others. But, since hell is a realm of disorder and unreality everything that they produce eventually crumbles and disintegrates because it is not linked to the real substance of Love and the Divine Order of Truth.


It was shown me by experience that some of the spirits supposed that they could do all things in heaven and on earth, provided they have been taught from representations, which involve things Divine, how to translate them into practice, supposing that such things would produce the like effect as if they were Divine. There is no need to describe the representations themselves. This is at first permitted for many reasons, especially on account of ignorance. When such arts are learnt by those who believe in simplicity that such things have a miraculous power, but are afterwards perverted by cupidities, so that they exercise these arts for gain and self-interest, then the end at once perishes, and they become like falling leaves, or like shells without kernels which drop off of themselves, and perish. These things were represented to me by a certain series which would be much too long to describe.

Those who make use of such practices are at this day removed, and such spirits are held in bonds. Sometimes those who were loosed, as it were, desired to persuade me to learn similar things, but by the mercy of God Messiah, it was in vain. Wherefore, they were sent back to their bonds, where they cannot but undergo a marked change owing to torment, which may be likened either to fire or to corruption. Such were the Egyptian magicians, for they perverted the representations of the Ancient Church, and thence they practiced magical arts which could have been innumerable; but all these practices were like shells without kernels, or leaves which fall off when the sap is dried up, although outwardly they seem to flourish for a time. To such magical arts, therefore, are compared those things by which man seems to excel in power, such as his own prudence and the like, by which he supposes that he can rule the whole [world]. Similarly, the science and philosophy by which he supposes he can rule over spiritual and celestial things are like soothsayings and sorceries. Therefore, at this day such things are understood by sorceries and similar practices. They are also understood by Egyptian wisdom, and the like. Emanuel Swedenborg [SE 269]


There are at this day, very many, especially of the more reputable sort in the world, who altogether disbelieve that anything inflows from heaven or from God, and that they have blessings in this way, -thinking that such things are from self-intelligence, and saying and believing that everyone is the architect of his own fortune. The reason is, because they do not believe that heaven exists, nor God, but that all things flow from blind instinct, and from that alone; and [they believe] thus because they are intelligent, and also successful; for it is according to the order in the world, that everyone employs his reason, and that such things follow according to reason; but, since they do not believe that God inspires reason with such as are good, they therefore reject the Divine guidance, and follow the guidance of self-intelligence. They would have acted differently if they had believed in God and the life after death. Another reason is, that they place all blessing in wealth and dignity they do not know, nor are they willing to know, there, what heavenly wealth and dignity are; hence, also, they suppose that nothing else is given by God, as blessing, [save wealth and dignity]. These things, also, do come to those who act from self-intelligence; but to them they are not a blessing but a curse, for they do not place blessing in heavenly life and eternal felicity, to which, nevertheless, those are brought who suffer themselves to be led by the Lord. To these, also, it is matter of indifference even if they are not wealthy and placed in honor; they are content with their lot, because they know that all things are led to those issues which pertain to true blessing. Emanuel Swedenborg [SE 4909]

As regards miracles, it should be recognized that Divine miracles are as different from miracles involving the use of magic as heaven is from hell. Divine miracles spring from Divine Truth and take place in accordance with true order. Effects on lowest levels are miracles when it pleases the Lord that they should present themselves in that form. Thus it is that all Divine miracles represent states of the Lord’s kingdom in heaven, and of the Lord’s kingdom on earth, which is the Church. And this is the inward form that Divine miracles take. This is the situation with all the miracles performed in Egypt, as it is with all the rest that are referred to in the Word. All the miracles too which the Lord Himself performed when He was in the world were signs of the future state of the Church. Opening the eyes of the blind, for example, and the ears of the deaf, loosing the tongues of the dumb, enabling the lame to walk, and making the maimed whole and the leprous too, were signs that the kind of people meant by the blind, deaf, dumb, lame, maimed, and leprous would receive the Gospel and be spiritually restored to health, which would be accomplished by the Lord’s Coming into the world.

[2] This is what Divine miracles are like as to the inward form they take. But miracles involving the use of magic hold nothing at all like that; they are performed by the evil to gain power over others, and in outward form seem to be the same as Divine miracles. The reason why they seem to be the same is that they start from order, and on its lowest level, where miracles present themselves, order always looks the same. Take for example the consideration that Divine Truth coming forth from the Lord has all power within it. This being so, truths also on the last and lowest levels of order have power within them, and therefore the evil use truths to gain power and exercise control over others.

[3] To give another example, it is in accordance with order that in the next life states of affection and thought give rise to people’s ideas of spatial position and distance, and that the distances seen to separate people from one another are determined by the differences in their states. The purpose behind this law of order from the Divine is that all within the Grand Man should be distinct from one another. But magicians in the next life misuse this law of order, for they bring about changes of state in others and then move them about, at one time to a position high up, at another to a position low down, and also force them into communities where they can serve as the magicians’ subordinates. They misuse order in countless other ways like this. From all this it is evident that although in outward form miracles involving the use of magic seem to be the same as Divine miracles, inwardly they nevertheless have a contrary end in view. That is to say, they have in view the destruction of things of the Church, whereas Divine miracles have inwardly as their end in view the building up of things of the Church. They are like two beautiful women, one of whom because of her promiscuity is wholly rotten within, while the other because of her chastity or true matrimonial love is wholly pure within. Outwardly those women are alike, but inwardly they are as different as heaven and hell. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 7337]

Painting credit: Witch of Endor – Nikolai Ge, 1857