Magic is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will, in a way that is not currently understood by modern science. Many people are fond of dividing magic up into specific categories such as "white magic" (beneficial, ethical, or spiritual magic), "black magic" (harmful or malicious magic), or "gray magic" (That area of magic which is neither harmful nor particularly spiritual). Other common classifications of magic include "high magic" (ceremonial or ritual magic) and "low magic" (folk magic). The magic of the Golden Dawn falls under the heading of "high magic," also called "esoteric magic" or theurgy (divine "god-working").
The theurgy of the Golden Dawn is magic of the highest spiritual quality, performed for true knowledge of the divine self and the betterment of humankind as a whole. This type of magic comes very close to true mysticism which transcends all religious dogmas??"it is the best portion of all religions. The mystic seeks to rise within his inner being beyond the five senses to grasp the hidden nature of the universe and attain a direct experience of God or the Universal Reality. To accomplish this, the mystic employs meditation, contemplation, and prayer. The Golden Dawn magician also uses these methods, in addition to the techniques of ritual, invocation, etc.
The tools of magic are the human faculties of mind, willpower, aspiration, and imagination. When the human will is purified and in harmony with that of the Divine Source of the Universe, then the magician can cause change to occur in the physical realm "in conformity with will."
Hermetic magic is a spiritual science. It is a specialized system of discipline that has a spiritual rather than a secular goal. This is a personal science based upon the fundamental knowledge of the true human being that lies beyond the illusion of the outer, secular human. The final objective of Golden Dawn ceremonial magic is the gradual purification of the student’s lower or outer personality and the realization of an elevated state of consciousness, so that the Magician\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s ego enters into a union with his or her own Higher Self and ultimately with the Divine. Every action, idea, and utterance in any ceremony is designed to bring about this final conclusion. Each and every detail of a G.D. ritual serves to remind the operator of this single goal. Every impression, by means of a Hermetic and Qabalistic system of associated ideas, is made the beginning of a sequence of related thoughts which culminate in the ultimate aim of the ceremony. When this is accomplished, a clear and open channel is created between the mind and the soul, concluding in an increased concentration of magical abilities, awareness, and the exaltation
of the true and divine nature of the magician.
With the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the name of Hermes was invoked to describe a system of Western occultism that combined the many scattered and diverse threads of the Hermetic Tradition into a unified body of teaching designed to improve the spiritual knowledge and health of its initiates, and by extension, the whole of humanity.