Sounds like an oxymoron. How can anything magical be real? Did the idea of magic come from the wishful thinking thousands of years ago? Was it born of coincidence, as when a hungry Neanderthal wished that charging mammoth would just drop dead…and then watched as lightning struck it?
Perhaps the concept of magic grew from enthusiastic explanations for the unexplainable. Lightning was a mystery until just a few hundred years ago. Thunder had various explanations in every culture before science made it less fun with diagrams of super-heated air and sound waves. I prefer the bowling trolls, myself.
Other common events like illness and decay have been blamed on sorcery for as long as they have existed, and still do in cultures that have not embraced the scientific method of explaining the world around us.
Aleister Crowley defined magic as the “science and art of causing change to occur in conformity of will.” (He spelled his magick with a k).
There you have it.
Is it possible to cause change to occur in conformity with your will-power? If you cannot do it, the answer is “no”. If you can do it, the answer is, “of course”.
How does one learn to use magick to get what they want in the real world? Crowley has written many step-by-step guides. What I have found is that he teases the reader with allegory. At the dawn of the twentieth century when he was writing about magick, there was no good vocabulary in English for what he wanted to describe. He was a student of yoga, yet even the Sanskrit words he uses to describe what he means are difficult for Westerners to really understand. He turns to classical metaphors and allusions to mythology to try to convey what is essentially impossible to do with words. If the reader does not know Greek and Latin, and is not familiar with all the literature Crowley absorbed while at Cambridge, it is easy to get lost.
There are other, more accessible teachers, but the aspirant must eventually make his own path. All paths will eventually lead to enlightenment, and there is a teacher on each one. It is the realization that you must abandon them all and move toward the Abyss on your own that brings the magic to you.
This is what Nadira discovers in the sequel to The Hermetica of Elysium. The Necromancer’s Grimoire explores the next step in her journey to understand the nature of reality: controlling it.