As I have been studying ancient texts such as The Arbatel a common theme has laid itself as my doorstep; the idea of the effects of sin on magic. Plato says, "Magic is the art of worshipping God". If this is so then I believe we can deduce that acts of sin can greatly effect the power of our magic. Magic itself is meant to help one to rise above their impure, natural state to a higher, Divine state. Many know this intellectually, but I wonder from time to time how many people are "Sunday Magicians". To clarify, how many people go into the Temple, give praise to the "Lord of the Universe", ask to be made pure and holy when opening the Watchtowers, and then leave the Temple only to begin back-biting, tail-bearing, lying, cheating, manipulating, etc...This would be in my opinion our version of the "Sunday Christian". However, I would argue that this is even worse, as a magician is calling upon the forces of the Universe to witness to your intent!
Magic is a way of life. It is not a hobby, or something to do for fun, it is the desire to purify oneself, have holy communion with God, and to bring others to do the same through the newly found internal state that we have cultured. Magic is the act of worshipping God. Can you call yourself a true magician of the Light, if you do not bring your practice outside of your Temple? How then might one's "human" actions effect thier magical practice?
The Arbatel states...
" There is no greater hindrance (to magic) then a wavering mind, levity, unconstancy, foolish babbling, drunkenness, lusts, and disobedience to the Word of God. A magician therefore ought to be a man that is godly, honest, constant in his worlds and deeds, having a firm faith toward God, prudent, and covetous of nothing but Divine things."
This same statement is repeated over in over in many magical and alchemical texts. Alchemists even used to have a special room in their workshop where they would spend many hours a day praying to the Lord so that they may develop a pure enough consciousness to understand the mysteries of creation.
Sin is an anti-thesis to magic and its goals. As a man grows more purified then he becomes more powerful because he further reflects more of the true nature of God. He then acts as a vessel to bring His Will into the Universe...thus we act as an extension of Him...we become the Body of Christ. (I use the reference as I am a Rosicrucian). A man who thus sins brings himself further away from this Light, and closer back to the darkness whence he came as a Neophyte. But, I must mention a corollary to this; I believe there are different types of sin, and thus different effects.
First is the sin that we commit with full knowledge. This sin most definitely brings us further from the Light. Its effects can lead to listlessness, pride, depression, and anger...all which effect our ability to do real magic. It also lowers our vibrational level making it more difficult to experience the true Nature of the forces we invoke. Let us then take a few moments daily before our magical practice to recount our sins of the previous day, and ask for honest forgiveness, thus communing with the Lord in His/Her strength.
Second is the sin that is unknown. These are the functions of impurity that effect us because we have not reached a level of discernment to know that we are sinning. As magicians it is our intention to uncover this sin through internal alchemy and purification. It thus effects us by coming to the surface after initiations, prayers, and magical practice creating challenges in our lives to make itself known. In turn, we should analyze the situations that come up in our lives so that we may grasp onto this opportunity and use it to grow.
Third is intentional sin against God. This is the sin of a magician who is seeking to use magic to gratify himself and not serve The Lord of the Universe. This is in its whole the sin of pride, and if any power is gained through it, eventually punishes itself by its nature, as there is no real life or power in sin. Instead it fools itself, slowly eating away, until it self-destructs.
Magic belongs to all faiths, yet should be used for one purpose, to serve the Will of the Lord of the Universe, whether that be in healing oneself, others, or the world. Only then can we gain true power, happiness, success, and fulfillment.
Nosce Te Ipsum