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Clairvoyance

David Bowie, seen here trying (and failing) to give the Hailing Sign of a Fellowcraft Freemason ("Heroes," 1978)

David Bowie, seen here trying to give the Hailing Sign of a Fellowcraft Freemason!
(“Heroes,” 1978)

This is a follow-up to the article I posted on Thursday concerning David Bowie, in which I made the point that he incorporated esoteric symbolism even into the last video he released before his death.

In the 1997 interview quoted at the top of the article, Bowie revealed that he was influenced by Arthur Edward Waite and Dion Fortune, and briefly described the kind of occult practices in which he indulged. Now, it’s obvious to me that he was simplifying it for a non-magical audience, but from what he said it is clear to me that he was practising what I would call proper occultism – specifically the kind of Clairvoyant experiments undertaken by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

In Golden Dawn terms, Clairvoyance does not involve somehow seeing what is occurring elsewhere in the normal, physical world, beyond the range of ordinary sight: this instead is nowadays known as “remote viewing.” Instead, Clairvoyance, of the type Bowie described in his interview, involves seeing magical phenomena on the Astral Plane. The Astral Plane is a nebulous continuum which, in its lower reaches, is nothing more than the world of dreams which we all experience, but in its upper realms is where magical and spiritual forces manifest as phenomena which one can observe and with which one can interact.

This would imply Bowie would have had to have spent a lot of time studying the Qabalah, in order to gain the requisite background knowledge, but most of all, it would have meant learning to master the art of Astral Projection.

A typical Clairvoyant exercise would be what is known as a Tattva-journey. A “Tattva” is a symbol derived from Tantric art representing one of the metaphysical Elements. These symbols the Golden Dawn appropriated for itself to express the Elements known to western occultism. For example, this symbol represents Fire:

"Tejas," i.e. the Fire Tattva.

“Tejas,” i.e. the Fire Tattva.

So, the kind of thing that Bowie would have done would go like this:

Firstly: stare intently at the tattva-symbol chosen for that particular Tattva-journey.

Secondly: suddenly transfer your gaze to looking at a plain white surface, e.g. the wall. If you have been staring intently enough, you will see a negative image of the symbol appear on the wall. Thoroughly familiarise yourself with this image so you can visualise it before your mind’s eye.

Thirdly: astrally project, imagining that the image you are visualising is a doorway to the astral plane, and you are projecting yourself through it.

Fourthly: you should now find yourself in a magical realm – it is the astral equivalent of the force whose symbol you have just been visualising. At this stage, remain perfectly still – do not attempt to move about on the astral plane, but instead start chanting (or “vibrating” as it is termed in Golden Dawn literature) the Divine and Angelic names associated with your chosen Tattva-symbol. This is where prior knowledge of the Qabalah is essential. One should also make the appropriate grade-sign at this point. Technically, these would have only been taught to you if you had gone through the corresponding Golden Dawn initation ceremony, although they have been published for getting on for over 80 years now.

Fifthly: a creature or being should appear, and respond well to your chanting (if it doesn’t respond well, banish it, and wait for one that does). This is your Spirit Guide for this realm, and with its assistance you can now go exploring and find out all about the magical and spiritual implications of the realm you are visiting.

Sixthly: once you have finished exploring, return to the point of entry, thank your guide, and come back out of the Astral Doorway, back to the physical plane, your body, and to normal consciousness.

Speaking from personal experience, the Spirit Guides that one meets when going on these Clairvoyant-excursions can become valuable allies for performing magical operations in the future. For example, if one were to venture into the Fire tattva, pictured above, and made contact with a Fiery spirit-guide, and returned on subsequent occasions so as to build up a relationship with it, one could get to the point where one could call on this spirit-guide to help you with some other ritual involving the element of Fire, such as consecrating a talisman, or something similar.

Or, depending on which symbol or symbols you chose to work with, you could ask the spirit guides you meet for help with various aspects of your life – such as deriving inspiration for creating a new work of art – or even for composing a new song.

In the Stella Matutina, which was a magical order which succeeded the original Golden Dawn, papers were circulated amongst members who attained the grade of Adeptus Major and higher, which made the point that the same Tattva-journeys which the members had already learnt to make could be extended in scope for advanced magical projects – such as attaining knowledge of one’s past lives, learning the occult history of this planet, and making contact with discarnate spiritual masters.

In conclusion, this is basically what Bowie would have done. I presume this must have been in the earlier part of the seventies, before his excessive cocaine use started making paranoid about witches, and Jimmy Page, and so forth. NB: Bowie was afraid that witches were trying to steal his semen. I rather suspect that any witches that were, were not doing so for some nefarious purpose, but because they simply wanted to have sex with him! :)

 

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David Bowie: Closet Occultist!

Q: “So were you involved in actual devil worship?”
A: “Not devil worship, no, it was pure straightforward, old-fashioned magic.”
Q: “The Aleister Crowley variety?”
A: “No, I always thought Crowley was a charlatan. But there was a guy called [Arthur] Edward Waite who was terribly important to me at the time. And another called Dion Fortune who wrote a book called ‘Psychic Self-Defense‘. You had to run around the room getting bits of string and old crayons and draw funny things on the wall, and I took it all most seriously, ha ha ha ! I drew gateways into different dimensions, and I’m quite sure that, for myself, I really walked into other worlds. I drew things on walls and just walked through them, and saw what was on the other side!”

David Bowie, interviewed in NME, 1997

So the news this week has been dominated by the passing of David Bowie, and when I consider how much attention was paid to the untimely death of Freddie Mercury – the last pop star of comparable status to leave us – it is almost certain that this event will remain in public consciousness for years to come. Anywho: amongst the magical community, it has been widely noted that Bowie was interested in the occult, as witness his interview with NME quoted at the top of this page, and the back cover over the Station to Station LP, below left:

Photo used for the back cover of Station To Station (1976)

Photo used for the back cover of Station To Station (1976)

Video for Lazarus (2015)

Video for Lazarus (2015)

NB: given the amount of Charlie he was packing away at the time, his precise allegiance might well be pinned to the Holy Order of the Sun! Interestingly, Bowie resurrected the costume covered with, ahem, “white lines,” for his almost-certainly-not final music video “Lazarus” (above right). Might not this video be suggesting that David Bowie did not just keep this costume but this persona hanging up in the closet all this time?

But I digress.

There is an image in the Lazarus video on which a number of bloggers have already commented: where Bowie sits frantically writing at a desk, on which rests a skull. Now the obvious interpretation is that it was a reference to Bowie’s own impending mortality, but when I saw it, it stirred the Sumner Family Brain Cell to life, and got me thinking, where have I seen that before?


See: 3minutes 38seconds.

The answer is: it comes from the first degree (Apprentice) ritual of the Ancient & Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim – a particularly esoteric form of Freemasonry. Assuming the candidate for initiation passes the ballot, just before the ceremony of his initiation,

…[t]he Expert (i.e. Junior Deacon) then takes possession of the Candidate in the Parvis, carefully binds his eyes and leads him to the Chamber of Reflection. He has him sit before a table, sparingly furnished with a real human Skull; a lit wax Candle, half-consumed; a sheet of white paper, pen and ink. The seat is a stool without a back. He lights a little Myrrh, the traditional funereal perfume, in a corner of the room, in a Censer containing lit coals.

Expert: – Sir, alone, left to yourself, before an image of termination of terrestrial Life, I invite you to write your Philosophical Testament.

The “Philosophical Testament” consists of the candidate’s reflections on his duties to God, the World, and himself: but more especially, like its name suggests, how the candidate would answer these questions if his words were the final legacy which he leaves on Earth. However, the code-word “philosophical” indicates that one is meant to interpret it alchemically. In other words, Death is not the end for the candidate – i.e. for David Bowie – but is the first step on the path to spiritual transmutation.

So, there you have it – Bowie indulging in esoteric symbolism right up until the last!

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EU Unbans Occult Websites Banned By David Cameron | Alex Sumner

From Huffington Post:

It has been announced in the news today thatThe European Union has voted through legislation that will require all internet providers to treat online traffic “without discrimination” …

Source: EU Unbans Occult Websites Banned By David Cameron | Alex Sumner

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Syria: Christ, Angels, and the Occult | Alex Sumner

In my previous blog on the Syrian Refugee crisis, I proposed resorting to Sorcery to find out what the best solution ought to be. This naturally leads to the question: can Magic be used to put such a solution into effect?

Source: Syria: Christ, Angels, and the Occult | Alex Sumner

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Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate the public actually likes – Labour or otherwise – Comment – Voices – The Independent

Your humble blogmaster is actually delighted that Jeremy Corbyn is heading the polls to become the next leader of the Labour Party. As long ago as 2010 I identified him as one of only a few MPs of all parties that I would actually have any time for (see: Britain’s Most Eccentric MPs). Also he gets props in my book for his quip “Tony Blair’s biggest problem is that we’re still waiting for the Chilcott Report.”

So good luck to Mr Corbyn! We may not get a Labour government, but at least we will get a Labour opposition which is more colourful than the last charisma-bypassed loser that they had! :P

Full story:

Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate the public actually likes – Labour or otherwise – Comment – Voices – The Independent.

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General Election 2015: The Aftermath

With the results declared, the British General Election is over, and so it is time to see how my predictions fared against the actual facts and figures. I cannot help but think that the overall conclusion to be drawn is that the stars predicted the direction the result was going to go today – though not the precise details.

David Cameron / The Conservative Party

What I wrote:

Cameron (9th October 1966, London) has a lot of favourable influences going for him that day… The Conservatives will be the largest party in Parliament, but without an absolute majority. David Cameron will stay on as Prime Minister, this time of a minority Conservative government, not a Coalition.

What actually happened:

The Conservatives did get an absolute majority – but only just, to wit: twelve seats. However, in practical terms it’s actually sixteen seats because Sinn Fein boycott the House of Commons on principle. The prediction I made did seem to reflect the BBC’s exit poll published just as the polls closed, but not the final results! Still, we should remember that it is entirely possible that with by-elections, this majority may be wiped out and become a minority in the course of this parliament – that is exactly what happened to John Major in 1992.

Ed Milliband / The Labour Party

What I wrote:

Labour will be the second largest, but will experience a loss of seats, mostly to the SNP, but also to UKIP.

What actually happened

Labour were the second largest, and did experience a loss of seats to the SNP. However, due to a quirk in the UK’s election system, they lost a lot of seats not to UKIP, but because of UKIP. More about this anon.

Nigel Farage / UKIP

What I wrote:

…UKIP will see significant gains in the numbers of their seats… UKIP will go through a period of reform where they are forced to jettison the more extreme elements of their party.

What actually happened:

UKIP saw significant gains in their number of votes, not seats. According to a BBC poll, UKIP notched up 12.6% of the popular vote, becoming the third most popular party amongst the electorate, with only the Conservatives and Labour in front of them. However, because of the way UKIP voters are distributed throughout Britain, voting for UKIP divided support for the Labour party, allowing in many cases the Conservative candidate to get in. Had for instance, the same number of UKIP voters been concentrated in a small region instead of equally distributed across the country, the same number of votes would have translated into increased seats in parliament – but the constituency map is gerrymandered against them.

Still I was right about UKIP having to jettison the more extreme elements of their party – e.g. Nigel Farage himself! :P

Scottish National Party

What I wrote:

[T]he SNP … will see significant gains in the numbers of their seats. The SNP will find it difficult to hold the balance of power though, as the other parties will be reluctant to work with them.

What actually happened:

The stars were generally correct about the SNP’s fortunes – also vindicating my decision to examine the horoscope of Angus Robertson, their campaign director. The SNP did see a significant gain in the number of its seats – mainly because, unlike UKIP, they are concentrated in one (demographically) small region (i.e. Scotland), where the average size of each constituency in terms of voters is smaller than the rest of the country. The system, in other words, is gerrymandered in their favour.

The SNP also failed to hold the balance of power, though for different reasons entirely – i.e. the  Conservatives winning an outright majority. However: as I said above, it is still within the realm of possibility that the Tory majority may diminish within the lifetime of the parliament, so the dynamic of power between the parties may yet change.

Natalie Bennett / The Green Party

What I wrote:

[S]he will be disappointed by the result of the election. The day will be pretty much a non-event for her… The Green Party will be neither better nor worse off after the election than before.

What actually happened:

Unfortunately, this is precisely what occurred. The Green Party held on to its one seat in Brighton, but won nothing else.

Nick Clegg / The Liberal Democrats

What I wrote:

Clegg will be the subject of much anger, also the forces of change will be proving difficult for him to make any headway… [I]t will be a good time for Clegg to be alone, and to realise his flaws and weaknesses… The Liberal Democrats in general, and Nick Clegg in particular, will collapse.

What actually happened:

I so totally called this one!!!

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What the Stars have in store for… HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, second child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and fourth in line to the British throne, was born at 0834 British Summer Time on the 2nd May 2015, at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, England – 51°31′2″N 0°10′23″W. A horoscope calculated with these data gives the following:

2nd May 2015, 8:34 am (British Summer time).   Sun Taurus, Moon Libra, Asc Cancer.

2nd May 2015, 8:34 am (British Summer time).
Sun Taurus, Moon Libra, Asc Cancer.

What immediately strikes me in this horoscope is that there is so much militating in Princess Charlotte’s favour to grow up, fall in love and have a happy and successful marriage.

Taurus (Princess Charlotte’s sun-sign) is the sign of people who tend to get married for life: moreover, Moon in Libra suggests she will feel romantic and personable. Of this Sun-Moon combination, other astrologers have said:

[This combination]… produces one of the most likable personalities in the Zodiac. Others may have more wit, ambition, or intellect, but none equal the charm and appeal of this combination. A nice home and a close family are your first loves; social contact and involvement, a close second. Your keen social personality is aided by a fine sense of humor and an easygoing outlook. This personality is marked with optimism, even if you’re up to your ears in private woes. Anyone that doesn’t like you is probably motivated by jealousy. You are expressive and idealistic, your nature is inclined toward the dramatic and the artistic.

Sun and Moon Combinations by Michael McLain.

Other famous people with this Sun / Moon combination include: her own first cousin once removed Zara Philips, Catherine De Medici, William Shakespeare, Bertrand Russell, and many more.

More tellingly, Princess Charlotte’s Moon is in the Fourth House – the house of the home and family – signifying that a secure family and home-life is what will make Charlotte most comfortable. Her Caput Draconis (signifier of destiny) is also in the Fourth house, implying that this is the direction she will want to seek in her life as an adult.

With Cancer as rising sign, she will appear to be a sensitive, slightly shy person… but only outwardly. In reality she will actually enjoy a life of public engagements, and draw great strength from being in charge of whatever situation she might find herself in (Sun in 10th House / Cauda Draconis in Aries also in 10th House).

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BBC News – Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

Sir Terry Pratchett

So, farewell to Sir Terry Pratchett – an author whose books I certainly enjoyed (as did millions of others). Speaking as a writer myself, Pratchett to me is a perfect example of an author who achieved superstar status by working steadily and sticking through tough times at the start of his career before eventually achieving his destiny. He is therefore a far more realistic model of success for aspiring writers than e.g. the J K Rowlings of this world.

Speaking as a magician, Pratchett holds a special interest for me in that it is quite obvious from a careful reading of his Discworld novels that he knew perfectly well the kind of pretentions that occur within the real-life Neo-Pagan, Occult, and RPG communities, and often subjected them to good-natured ribbing. Or – if you are a fluffy-bunny type without a sense of humour – he  harshly mocked them and subjected them to cruel and merciless satire. ;)

BBC News – Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66.

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Astrology on the National Health Service

David Tredinnick MP

David Tredinnick MP

News this week that a British MP told an astrology journal that the NHS would be improved if Doctors knew about astrology. This has provoked outrage in the gutter press, with many publicly calling for the MP in question, David Tredinnick, never to be made a minister! They are conveniently ignoring that the fact that Tredinnick was forced to renounce any possibility of a ministerial career many years ago: which is probably why he is not afraid to speak out on issues which he feels are important.

As an astrologer myself I must say that I have great sympathy with Tredinnick. However, in my opinion, it will be unfeasible to incorporate astrology into our National Health Service, and it’s not for the reasons that the Yellow Journalists trot out. To wit:

Firstly, whilst there is such a thing as “medical astrology,” it is my understanding this is used for long-term chronic concerns, not conditions which arise from referrals from Accident & Emergency, or which arise in circumstances of urgency. Unfortunately, it is just such cases which form the majority of the workload of the NHS. “Medical astrology,” if it were to be used at all, could only really be used for general health check-ups.

How the NHS sees new patients...

How the NHS sees new patients…

Secondly, there is the peculiar way in which funding is allocated in the NHS, which is basically that the money follows the patient. An unpleasant side-effect of this is that it encourages NHS workers to visualise patients as if they have £ signs stamped on their foreheads – which further encourages different fund-managers (e.g. different GP practices, different primary health care trusts within the same local area, etc), within the the NHS to compete with one-another for the same patients. Hence, if one GP refuses to offer astrological consultation but another down the road does, there is the danger that the first GP will dissuade the patient from transferring to the second one not on scientific but on financial grounds.

And before you accuse me of scaremongering, I actually once worked in the NHS many years ago, and I was firmly told by management that if a potential patient came through our door who we would not ultimately be able to treat ourselves, we were to get him on our books anyway before transferring him to an external agency, instead of redirecting him to the external agency straightaway – precisely for this “money follows the patient” principle. This sort of shit does go on.

Thirdly: if NHS professionals do give astrological readings to patients, it would force the NHS to stop treating patients as statistics but as people – because, astrology, as properly done, is a skilled art which needs great sensitivity and tact on the part of the astrologer. NB: astrologers will get the point immediately, but non-astrologers ought to be aware that the kind of thing that Tredinnick was talking about was not the daily horoscopes which appear in the newspapers, which are not real astrology anyway, but a full reading which involves drawing up and going through the patient’s entire birth chart.

Thus the irony is that although we may not see Astrology on the NHS in its current state, the effort involved in trying to introduce it would inevitably shake up our health service and cause radical reform in terms of quality all the same.

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John Barleycorn Must Die

The Dying and Resurrected God is a well-known motif in the Western Mystery Tradition. It is associated with Tiphereth on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, to wit: Christ; Osiris; Dionysus; Krishna; Attis; etc etc etc.

In the British Isles, the equivalent is John Barleycorn. The figure of John Barleycorn is on one level an anthropomorphication of the crop cycle, but on a higher, more sublime level, is an expression of the whole Dying God archetype.

Here then is a potent conjuration of “John Barleycorn,” appropriate to the season, as composed by a veritable student of the Western Mysteries who lived just over two hundred years ago. The discerning reader will note that in this gory tale of human sacrifice there is a strong reference to the most arcane secrets of Alchemy, particularly the preparation of the “vegetable Mercury.”

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough’d him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris’d them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show’d he began to fail.

His colour sicken’d more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o’er and o’er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe;
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.

And they haetaen his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise.

‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy;
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Slainte Mhath!

Slainte Mhath!

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