A method for creating and a device for a rotary switchable multi-core element, permanent magnet-based apparatus, for holding or lifting a target, comprised of two or more carrier platters, each containing a plurality of complementary first and second core elements. Each core element comprises permanent magnet(s) with magnetically matched soft steel pole conduits attached to the north and south poles of the magnet(s). Core elements are oriented within adjacent carrier platters such that relative rotation allows for alignment in-phase or out-of-phase of the magnetic north and south fields within the pole conduits. Aligning a first core element “in-phase” with a second core element, that is, north-north/south-south, activates that core element pair, allowing the combined magnetic fields of the pole conduits to be directed into a target. Aligning the core element pair “out-of-phase,” that is, north-south/south-north, deactivates that core element pair by containing opposing fields within the pole conduits.