Most of us are probably familiar with the quotation generally attributed to Dion Fortune “Magic is the art of causing changes to take place in consciousness in accordance with will”, but what is consciousness? The Oxford Dictionary defines consciousness as: ‘the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings’; John Locke in 1690 defined consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind”; but within Mystery circles it means much more than this. It is generally understood that most people have an intuitive awareness of what consciousness is but would be hard-pressed to explain it. Recent psychological research on consciousness has focussed on understanding the neuroscience enabling our conscious experiences. Consciousness appears to emanate from the brain through the action of the synchronous firing of neurones creating an electromagnetic field which can be measured. This may show that we’re alive and what state our brain is in at any specific moment but it doesn’t explain how our thoughts and memories arise and why, if all brain activity permanently ceases, so does life, we are dead. It therefore correlates that consciousness is life-force. This is a very broad statement. We know there are different levels of consciousness that affect our level of awareness: there is awake and sleeping; unconsciousness due to anaesthetics etc; there is the sub-conscious over which we seem to have little control; automatic consciousness governing such activities as breathing and digestion; then there is elevated consciousness that we strive for in the Mysteries. The theory within mysticism is that this elevated level, together with normal awake consciousness, is subject to our will under discipline and practice. 

Having looked at the generalities of consciousness, this article focuses on the current views of science as to what we believe consciousness is, with particular emphasis on the work of John Hagelin Ph.D., a quantum physicist who has proposed that consciousness is the universal Unified Field 1, and from there to correlate this with the Four Worlds of Qabalah. 

John Hagelin puts forward the theory that consciousness is not created by the brain but is fundamental in nature. He tells us the universe is fundamentally unified and superficially diversified, structured in layers from the macroscopic to the microscopic. At the top (or bottom) level there is the macroscopic, sensory, material world of Classical Physics, responding to the well-established classical laws of physics. Terry Rudolph sets out the tenets of realism at this level as: ‘Stuff’ exists; it has physical properties and well recognised causes and effects, and in general things behave sensibly. However at the quantum level things don’t always behave sensibly 2. The next level is that of Quantum Mechanics, the world of atomic and nuclear physics; this is followed by the level of Quantum Field Theory, the relativistic relationship between particles and waves; and finally the level of the Unified Field Theory composed of superstrings of energy. Dr. Hagelin describes the Unified Field as an ocean of pure existence, of pure abstract intelligence, pure abstract unbounded awareness. This Unified Field he equates with consciousness; consciousness is the Unified Field.


Macroscopic, sensory, the material world



Microscopic world of atomic and nuclear physics

Yesod, Hod, Netzach


Relativistic relationship between particles and waves

Tiphereth, Geburah, Chesed


Superstrings of vibrating energy. Pure consciousness 

 Supernals: – Binah, Chokmah, Kether

So let’s look at what else John Hagelin has to say about the Unified Field: At the basis of all life’s diversity is unity. Consciousness links neuroscience to quantum physics. The Unified Field is the sub-nuclear level of intelligence. All forces and particles of nature are ripples on a single ocean of existence and all are one – this is consciousness; mind and matter are one; consciousness is non-material waves of vibration of the Unified Field. We individualise the experience of it through our nervous system but the consciousness itself is universal. Superstrings are tiny circular bands of pure energy existing at the Planck scale (10million, million, million times smaller than an atomic nucleus).These waves of vibration carry intelligence, information. We are taught that we live in a dead universe of materiality but these vibrations of the superstrings of energy in linear space are made of the same stuff as thoughts are made of. All are made of ‘potentiality’, nothing at this level is ‘real’. The theory is that the Unified Field is pure being, pure intelligence creating all the laws of nature and the laws of the universe. All natural laws, all forces, all particles are explained by this Unified Field, not real but pure abstract potential existence. Life and the universe is pure abstract potential, pure abstract self-aware consciousness that rises in waves of vibration to give rise to the people and all the things that we see in the vast universe.

This ocean of pure being is not dead, inert; it is dynamic with superstrings of energy in constant vibration. A particle can only move in two dimensions from A to B and in time but the superstring vibrates within itself in multiple ways, having been shown to vibrate in nine spatial dimensions plus time, making ten in all. Each vibration state has a different frequency or tone (just as in a musical string); different tones or frequencies of vibration of the universal intelligence. These correspond to the known particles of nature; gravitons, photons, electrons, quarks, neutrinos etc, along with the various forces of nature; gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear and strong nuclear forces. All ingredients of the universe are different tones of vibration in the universal Unified Field. The whole is just a symphony of various harmonies and overtones of the one universal field, one universal ocean of consciousness. Our intelligence is consciousness. All the above information is taken from John Hagelin’s lectures which can be found on YouTube. 1

According to superstring theory all of reality exists in exactly ten dimensions. There are four revealed dimensions – the three dimensions of space; up/down, left/right, back/forward, plus the fourth dimension of time and an additional six concealed spatial dimensions. This corresponds nicely to the ten sephiroth of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, ten dimensions of increasing density. ‘Ten are the number of the ineffable sephiroth, ten not nine, ten not eleven’ [Sepher Yetzira]. We can also equate the four levels of existence with the four worlds of Qabalah.


ASSIAH – world of manifestation 


YETZIRAH – world of formation


BRIAH- world of creation


ATZILUTH – world of archetypes. Pure potential emanation

This knowledge of quantum activity was known thousands of years ago by the Vedics but it has taken us this long to come to the same conclusions, albeit only in theoretical physics. We cannot prove the existence of the Unified Field but this is the current theory of existence1. Of further interest to students of the Mysteries is that deep meditation practised over time ‘leads to synchronous firing of the neurones in the brain resulting in a raised level of consciousness, (called Transcendental Meditation by the Vedics), and thence to Enlightenment’1. In the words of Dion Fortune: ‘Until we know how to be still, mentally as well as physically, we cannot handle power; and until we know how to stand absolutely alone in perfect equilibrium and contentment, we cannot accomplish the works that are done in polarity.’ 4

Nobody will understand quantum physics until you start including consciousness3

Matter is a level of consciousness; everything is consciousnes. Peter Russell3

Consciousness is Everything.5

I think Dion Fortune might have approved of this approach.

(1) Is Consciousness the Unified Field? John Hagelin.

      Entanglement, Space-time, Wormholes and the Brain. John Hagelin. 

      Application of Vedic Science for a Unified Field-Based, Vedic Civilization. John Hagelin. 

(2) Sub-Atomic Theory Explanation by Prof. Terry Rudolph, Imperial College London.

(3) The Reality of Consciousness. Peter Russell. 

          -    Refs 1-3 can be found under SAND (Science and Non-Duality) on YouTube.

(4) Dion Fortune: Unpublished papers.

(5) Consciousness is everything: The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Shankarananda.


Written by Eirenaea