• Tasha

Introduction to Magic Squares

Greetings and salutations!

My name is Tasha and I'd like to share some magic with you.

I want to begin with some definitions, as they seem to form the foundation of our collective reality. “In the beginning was the word” and all that…

magic square |’majik skwe(ə)r| noun

A square that is divided into smaller squares, each containing a number such that the figures in each vertical, horizontal, and diagonal row add up to the same value known as the magic constant.

A magic square is both an ancient form of talismanic magic and a modern form of recreational mathematics. The oldest known magic square originated in China and gave birth to the hexagrams of the I Ching as well as Feng Shui. It is arguably one of the oldest known forms of magic. magic |ˈmajik| noun 1 the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces 2 a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, especially in a way that gives delight.

Magic squares are considered sacred by numerous cultures and religions and are foundational to Chinese numerology, Vedic astrology, Islamic magic and western Occultism. Magic squares are found in Christian cathedrals, ancient Roman ruins and modern Hindu and Chinese homes. Both Sudoku and the Rubik's cube were created from them. These number matrixes seem to be a unifying principle, something ancient mystics and modern math geeks find beauty in. As you may have noticed, the modern definition of magic squares given above has stripped away all but the math geeks perspective, as if it is the only perspective that does not lie. But mathematics is not necessarily the stable pillar we think it is. A common (and dangerous) misconception is that numbers cannot be manipulated like words, but at their core both words and numbers ARE manipulations. They are human constructs that allow us to express things conceived of in abstract space. The word toad is nothing but a representation of something and how we each define that something depends entirely on our perspective. The number 3 is a glyph which represents a certain value, but that value is still determined by the detail with which your perspective allows. 2+2=4 but other values of 2 provide other solutions, such as 2.5+2.5=5. Like lines on a map, the closer you look the more those lines become blurred. I often wonder if "truth" (as most of us define it) only exists within perspective, as if truth is always limited by how much depth an individual perspective allows. Of course, we are all holding onto beliefs that guard us from universal truth, what many call "the present moment".

I have found magic squares to be the perfect analogy to psychological transmutation. They begin with a box, a set perimeter containing a limited amount of integers that each contain worlds within worlds. A human being can be seen as similar, a vessel limited or defined by its physical arrangement, yet within we each carry a seemingly infinite amount of depth and potential. In order to function as individuals, we take on definitions of self and behavioral patterns that allow us to make sense of and survive in our environments. To alter these definitions of self and our behaviors is a shockingly difficult task because like a magic square, in order to rearrange it’s integers and maintain the magic constant, the entire square must transform. To change our behavioral patterns we must rearrange all our definitions of self which, if done honestly, will in turn alter our definitions of others as well.

To me, the act of transcribing the squares into circles is an act of exiting the box. It is a transformation. These rigid, boxed in talismans can teach us so much about our own natures when used as alchemical tools. If used to transmute the psyche they can teach us how to step out of the boxes (i.e. belief systems) we have placed ourselves in throughout life. Just as these squares become circles, they can transform us into harmonious, well rounded individuals.

This conversion of square into circle has mirrored my own psychological transformation since beginning this work. I have used these graphs as a sort of EMDR therapy on myself in an attempt to process my traumas. I am not a psychologist or mathematician and share these experiences and insights as a fellow psychonaut, exploring my own depths. I feel that because graphing the diagrams speaks to both the logical and aesthetic mind that they have a profound balancing effect on the psyche. In the following posts I will illustrate the graphing method I use, how to use it in alignment with the Emerald formula and some of my experiences with ceremonial magic.

"Know Thyself"


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