For more than 290,000 years out of the last 300,000, homo sapiens had no states like we have today. Instead, everyone was in a tribe practicing magic. There is also evidence that Neanderthals, a human and tribal species prior to homo sapiens (originating more than 300,000 years ago) might have used magic for the hunt. One also sees suggestions that European cave paintings dating to some 30,000 years ago can be tied to both magic rituals for the hunt and worshiping some of the elements (e.g., space as the heavens, water, earth, air). We also know that tribal peoples around the world were practicing some form of magic upon contact from Europe (e.g., shamanism, earth religions, etc.).
What other knowledge system did people have before science and formal religion? Logically, what else was there for the hundreds of thousands of years before science and religion, other than appreciating, with wonder, the magical elements of life? Interestingly, we have a pineal gland, which took tens or hundreds of thousands of years to evolve, that helps us to see into adjacent dimensions.
Indigenous people’s geography was my PhD topic and on that subject I concluded that tribal magic was the way humankind evolved. That path was disrupted in recent centuries with the evolution of the state, a political formation that grew by absorbing the lands once occupied by magic practicing tribes. In particular, people practicing nature magic (e.g., love of the earth as a Goddess) had stood in the way of building military, corporate, and bureaucratic hierarchies that concentrate power in few hands (states).
So, the state came to supplant the tribe as our political unit owing to a terrible assault (genocide). Tribes practicing nature magic were vanquished, and their resources concentrated in the hands of individuals, corporations, the military or the state. That history was also hidden from us, as it does not speak well of the origins of our contemporary political systems.
Given 295,000 years or so of everyone practicing magic, I think it is fair to say people are inherently magical. However, far fewer are practicing today than in the past because magic was so heavily and mightily oppressed. There were inquisitions, witch trials, genocides and more aimed at taking nature magic away from the people.
What most appear not to know: the oppressors also practiced magic but of an entirely different kind based on building hierarchies to power with dark magicians at the top. This is not egalitarian but oppressive—take magic away from ordinary people and keep it for yourself because it is powerful. Tell others it does not exist but continue to use it in your own quest for power.
Magic did not disappear but the balance of power between magicians of the light and magicians of the dark did. Millions of people still practice some form of nature magic all over the world but this is a lower percentage of the global population than in pre-state times when everyone was in a tribe practicing magic. The reason fewer practice nature magic today is that magic amongst ‘the minions’ was repressed (more on this below) so that only a few would have access through secret societies.
While many individuals practice magic at home, there are people with significant power at the state and global level that practice dark magic, which is essentially oppressing the masses: creating power hierarchies, inequality and oppression for personal gain. While magic was repressed amongst the masses (even creating the masses), practice by many of their rulers continued. Secret societies of magicians involve many famous, wealthy and powerful people throughout history right up until today.
Preserving magic for the elite contributed to the steep hierarchies to wealth and power that we have today. We have very manipulative professional politicians and power mongers who exert vast economic, political, and social control over the life of the masses. Large numbers of them practice magic through secret societies that are more powerful than most suspect and some positions of power are difficult to attain if you are not a member of secret magic societies.
So, the rise of the state was also the rise of dark magic, a term I use to differentiate it from nature magic, which used to be called white magic until people confused that with racial issues (ridiculous but true). By concentrating power into steep hierarchies, the state aided dark magic, which also operates in power hierarchies. That is why magic practicing societies have members that hold very high positions of power, explaining the use of dark magic on our populations, admittedly a very strange but absolutely true phenomenon. Dark magicians are experts in constructing hierarchies while nature magicians are all egalitarian by definition (not superior to anything but part of the web of life).
Magic societies are ancient but certain dark magicians grew in power after the first city state conquered and annexed the neighboring one. Dark magicians set structures in motion, like certain hierarchies to power, that can operate without them having to pay much attention. The result: the seeds of empire building, which is nothing more than a vast power hierarchy. As one city conquered the next and another, this grew into multi-lingual, multicultural empires. Those at the pinnacle of power exerted downward pressure on those holding lower positions on the power pyramid.
The state is our territorial unit but behind it is a power hierarchy that employs repressive forces. It can become incredibly violent as it was built upon the genocide of indigenous populations and will still use such might to rid itself of non-conformists. This use of force to maintain hierarchies is completely antithetical to nature magic.
Magic is a broad term covering thousands of practices but most indigenous people practiced the worship of nature. Nature magic today is mainly an individual practice simply because the tribes that practiced such magic were either destroyed or undermined by state-builders. Often, foreign ships landed on their shores to dispatch both armies and religious figures who intended to ‘convert’ the natives. Armies or settlers would kill the ones who did not convert. For example, in the Age of Colonialism, tens of thousands magic-practicing tribes, nations, and kingdoms were wiped off the world political map. Those not eliminated in pogroms were absorbed and subjected to state schooling and indoctrination (i.e., ethnocide by religious conversion) to enable a uniform ‘citizenry’ for easy rule.
As the land and resources of magic-practicing tribes were taken, the magic knowledge, history and practices that came with human evolution over hundreds of thousands of years, were heavily and mightily suppressed. Tens of thousands of magic practicing tribes and nations were also compressed into about 50 states or countries by the early 20th century. Some of these enormous territories would later breakdown as old nations asserted independence to provide today’s figure of around 200 states.
What kind of people would rise to wealth and power through genocide? These are not fair, egalitarian leaders seeking to share wealth and power with the masses but tyrants seeking to oppress the citizenry into something uniform, obedient and manageable. Dark sovereigns want the masses to do exactly what the sovereign desires. These unequal power relations explain why and how bureaucracies arose. Bureaucrats did not arise to serve the masses (perhaps on some minor matters) but mainly fit the masses into a hierarchy of power.
Dark magic has had an influence on the modern state just as the state with its hierarchies enabled dark magic. The two are like peas in a pod–integrated parts of the same system: hierarchies to power.
Bureaucrats and political representatives are not the most powerful amongst us but keep the rich and influential at arms-length from the masses. For instance, the state bureaucracy usually offers education in a way that dims the light in the masses, making them subservient, dependent and looking for leadership. They learn enough to be cogs in a system.
When one seeks to understand nature magic, deprogramming from state propaganda begins. Power hierarchies helped to create a false reality, which excludes magic, from the prescribed media and educational systems. Why? Our political systems are the product of killing or repressing the people who practice nature magic. Should it be any wonder that most ‘state citizens’ today have difficulty relating to magic? Your magic is natural and consists of you being entirely you but you cannot be entirely you if you have been programmed and indoctrinated into belief systems foreign to your own soul.