Hug A Freemason Day

Marie Onette

Marie Onette

Marie Onette, Alex’ Director of Communications, writes:

Hi, Alex has gone off to London and left me in charge of his Wizard’s tower for the day. After clearing up from last night’s magical ritual, and taking all the empties down to the bottle-bank, that has left me with enough time to compose today’s blog-post: Hug A Freemason Day.

Yes! Freemasonry is an important part of the Western Mystery Tradition. In a perfect world, both masons and non-masons have much to contribute to magick and should be able to meet together without divisions caused by sectarian dogma! If you do not like having Masons in your temple, that makes you a racist!

"90% of the quotes about me on the internet are just made up." - the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

“90% of the quotes about me on the internet are just made up.” – the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are some reasons why you should hug a Freemason:

  • Inside A Magical Lodge by John Michael Greer

    Magical temples run smoother with when Masonic-style organisation is used. The best illustration of this is Inside a Magical Lodge by John Michael Greer.

  • Two of the most influential magical systems – the Golden Dawn and the Elus Cohens – were originally founded by Masons using the lodge structure. In fact the Masonic-style was considered the de rigeur model upon which to found any kind of secret society back in the 18th / 19th centuries, whether esoteric or not.
  • Whilst regular Freemasonry may consist of a bunch of old men who would not recognise anything esoteric even if it danced naked in front of them shouting “Hi, I’m something esoteric!” – not all Freemasonry is regular. For example, there is Memphis Misraim, Pansophic Freemasonry, and Co-Masonry. The latter uses a ritual written by Annie Beasant which contains enough mystical inner workings to rival those of the rituals of the Golden Dawn! Incidentally, it is within Alex’ personal knowledge – or so he was telling me between glasses of Merlot last night – that there used to be at least two Lodges warranted by UGLE that actually worked this Beasant-ritual in Lodge… until UGLE found out what they were up to, and banned them from practising it.

In relation to the last point, there have been criticisms voiced by certain people on the internet that Freemasonry is not by its nature esoteric. However this displays great Anglocentric bigotry. On the continent of Europe, it is considered quite usual within regular Freemasonry for each initiate to present a short paper in Lodge demonstrating what they have learnt whilst in that degree – they cannot advance to the next degree without doing so. For example: if an English Mason wanted to join the CBCS in Belgium (which a lot of them have done, as it happens), he would expect to have to write and present a paper on the subject of what spiritual integration means to him, before ever hoping to progress to the highest degree. In this way the continental CBCS manages to preserve some of the proto-Martinist ideals of its founder, Jean-Baptiste Willermoz.

Indeed, Alex has heard from his contacts within the illuminati that many continental Masons are surprised that this does not happen in England!

For those who are concerned about admitting into their order the wrong sort of Mason – otherwise known as the “Joiner” or “Knife-and-Fork-Mason” – here is a really simple test to set candidates for initiation. Ask them the magic question: “How many Masonic Units do you belong to?”

If he answers any number, not realising it’s a trick question, get rid of him straightaway.

If, however, he says something like: “I don’t belong to any ‘Masonic Units,’ they’re all valid orders in their own right,” then he is worthy of further consideration. The key to understanding this is that “Masonic Unit” is a ghastly term used by owners of masonic venues who treat the orders that meet there as nothing more than commodities. Doesn’t matter if your order is a noble brotherhood with a long and honourable tradition, if you hire a masonic hall and then dine afterwards, you are just a “Masonic Unit” in their eyes. Most worrying though is the number of Freemasons who use the term themselves without any sense of irony!

So go out today and hug a Freemason! They are a friendly bunch, both the male and the female kind, and it’s surprisingly easy to join them! So easy, in fact, that only a complete idiot who gets into silly arguments with other people easily would fail to find a home there!

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Meet My New Director of Communications!

Marie Onette, new Director of Communications for Alex Sumner

Marie Onette, new Director of Communications for Alex Sumner

Exciting developments over here at Castle Sumner! Please give a warm welcome to my Director of Communications, Miss Marie Onette!

Marie, hard at work

Marie, hard at work

Due to the large amount of fan-mail I get everyday, I’ve been having trouble keeping on top of it – but no more! Thanks to a large bung from an offshore slush-fund somewhere in the Mediterranean, I can now afford to hire a publicist. So Marie will assist me by occasionally contributing material to this blog and answering questions on my relations to the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn, what I think about people who purport to practice Satanism, and the relevancy of the Cthulhu Mythos to contemporary feminist thought.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

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Invoke the Highest First

Often I find that, when I am facing a new challenge, perhaps one that I find daunting for some reason, the simplest solution is to apply basic principles. This is especially true in magick. In the Golden Dawn the most important rule of thumb is referred to as “invoke the highest first,” which is a reference to one of the clauses of the Adeptus Minor obligation: “I furthermore solemnly pledge myself never to work at any important symbol without first invocating the highest Divine Names connected therewith.”

The Highest First Principle ensures that no real magick – certainly no real GD magick – can be performed without first aligning one’s will and intentions to God. Even if the spirit that is ultimately low-down on the hierarchy of such things – a supposed “goetic” (with a small “g”) spirit, the Highest First principle – invoking first the God-name qabalistically associated with such a demon – ensures that such an operation still fits in elegantly with the transcendentalist paradigm.

The Key of Solomon

The Lesser Key of Solomon

This incidentally is also how to tell, in grimoire magick, the difference in quality between grimoires. The Keys of Solomon both Lesser and Greater (for example) are both clear on the point that spirits are to be commanded only by first making invocations to the Almighty.

But I digress. In my experience (and this is what I mean by simple solutions) the mere act of aspiring to the Highest First is often enough to cure you of what ails you, even without having to go through the whole rigmarole of going through a full ceremonial magickal operation. For example, the Middle Pillar Ritual – especially when performed on the astral, where the currents of energy can be experienced immediately and directly. Invoking the Highest First is really an essential principle of spiritual and psychic integration in its own right.

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Whatever is Lucid Dreamed on this night, will come to pass

Happy Summer Solstice everyone!

Or if you live down south, Happy Winter Solstice to you!

Or, if like the majority of the world’s population you live within the tropical region: Happy Hurricane Season!

Or, if you are Pat Zalewski, Happy Corpus Christi!

Having a look at Twitter today, I notice the following tweet doing the rounds: “Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass.” Apparently this is a quote from William Shakespeare from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” *

It occured to me: but those of us who can lucid dream have an unfair advantage! We have the power to decide the contents of our dreams both in advance and in-dream itself.

To read my guide to Lucid dreaming, click here.

* It’s not actually in the play at all, I checked.

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It’s Friday 13th, a Full Moon AND Mercury is Retrograde. What could possibly go wrong?

The Olsen Twins

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, born 1986, are celebrating their 28th birthdays on Friday 13th 2014. Oops :(

First the good news. “Friday the 13th” as a superstition is actually a load of spurious nonsense. There are no historical indicators that people thought it superstitious before the late 19th century, and it only really took off just over a hundred years ago. The whole fuss of the Templars being arrested on Friday the 13th? A modern ret-con!

Insurance companies have found that often, Friday 13th is less unlucky than other days of the year – because people are going out of their way to be careful. So whilst 13 is allegedly an unlucky number generally speaking, I have argued on this blog that in Qabalistic terms, it is in fact quite the opposite.

That being said, however, I notice a lot of talk on social media that Friday 13th June 2014 (a date alleged to associated with bad luck) is occurring during a Mercury Retrograde (also alleged to be associated with bad luck) and on the same day as the Full Moon (associated with Witches etc). Speaking as an astrologer, I would say that the world is not going to end that day. However, the planets on that day do feature some “interesting” alignments (as in the old Chinese curse, “May you live interesting times.”)

Chart for 12 noon on Friday 13th June 2014, London, UK.

Chart for 12 noon on Friday 13th June 2014, London, UK.

In the above chart, which shows the horoscope for Friday 13th June 2014, all of the red-lines denote relationships which are potentially problematic. There are three main sets to consider here:

  • The Sun + Mercury retrograde vs Moon opposition;
  • The Saturn retrograde vs Venus opposition; and
  • The Mars / Pluto / Uranus “T-formation.”

As regards the first: a retrograde is where the energies of a planet are directed inward rather than outward. Mercury, however, being a faster-moving planet, is never retrograde for too long (it is actually turning direct on 1st July). Hence, the period of a Mercury retrograde is an excellent time for planning what schemes you will commence next month – so long as you make sure you don’t actually commence them until next month.

Unfortunately, retrograde Mercury, the planet of communication breakdowns, is opposed by the Moon, the planet of how well we get on with other people. This combination presages arguments, quarrelling, misunderstandings, social awkwardness, and major faux pas! This will be especially the case in relation to self-esteem issues (i.e. the Sun’s influence).

As regards the second: miserable and overly-cautious Saturn is putting a serious damper on favourably placed Venus in Taurus. Marital upsets or frustration of marriage plans ahoy!

As for the T-formation, irritable and impulsive Mars is likely to fly off the handle at Uranus being an awkward sod. Meanwhile, devious Pluto is offended by Mars’ bolshiness and is secretly stirring up Uranus to be even more contrary – thus exacerbating the situation! This may sound like bad news: however, one may console oneself by noting that these three are relatively slow-moving planets, which means that this description applies to the times generally i.e. this Friday may be shit, but it will be no more shit in this regard than what has been occurring recently.

BUT… do you need to be worried about any of this?

Generally speaking, no – unless it happens to be your birthday that day. For most people, the energies of that day will pass with that day. Best to be overly cautious, like the drivers who manage to cause less accidents when it’s Friday the 13th! However, for those whose birthday is the 13th June, there is a theory in astrology that the position of the planets at the exact moment that the Sun returns to its position in one’s natal chart point out what you have to expect in the coming year. Thus the Moon/mercury, Saturn/Venus oppositions and the T-formation will conspire to leave a long shadow over the forthcoming twelve months.

Check out Alex’ books on Amazon!

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What is your strangest Glastonbury story?

 

St Michael's Tower, Glastonbury Tor

St Michael’s Tower, Glastonbury Tor

You have the opportunity to help me out with a writing project, and it’s all to do with Glastonbury in Somerset, England. I am currently working on a hypothesis: that Glastonbury is a lot weirder (and consequently more wonderful) than most people appreciate – and by that I mean spiritual people as well.

Sure, everyone knows about Bligh-Bond, the Glastonbury Zodiac, Dion Fortune and all the rest: but what I’m mostly interested in is the really out-there stuff that seldom gets talked about. For example, the incidents which surprise even those that thought they had seen everything – or which just struck you as highly unusual at the time.

“Happy ending” stories and anecdotes most especially welcome! Please reply in the comment section below, or use the form on the Contact Alex page to message me privately.

Thanks!

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World Tarot Day II

This is a follow up post to my original blog World Tarot Day, which was first proclaimed in 2003 and is celebrated on May 25th each year. Since I first wrote that blog post, more Tarot decks have come into my possession, so I thought I would write a completely new blog post reviewing them as well.

The Babylonian Tarot

The Babylonian Tarot

This deck was created by Sandra Tabatha Cicero of the Golden Dawn-fame. I once attended a public talk in London where she explained the complete background of this deck. It turns out that Tabby is a bit of a nut for Babylonian mythology! Each minor represents an aspect of ancient Babylonian folklore or mythology in general, whilst each Major is an actual Babylonian deity or pair of deities, apart from the “Wheel of Fortune” and “Temperance.” The former is “The Tablet of Destiny,” an artefact first mentioned in the Enuma Elish, whilst the latter is the “Tree of Life” – the point being that the Babylonian version is more primordial than that mentioned in the Book of Genesis, upon which the Qabalistic Tree of Life is based.

Unusually, this is an 83 card deck. There is an extra Major called “Genesis” which is without number or attribution. Tabby explained that she had created this card because in her view the Babylonian concept of the creation of the Universe was not well represented in the conventional Major Arcana.

The four other extra cards are additional Court Cards named “Kerubs,” thus allowing the five elements (i.e. Spirit in addition to the other four) to be represented.

IMHO, Tabby is to be congratulated for having created a truly original deck. It is completely unlike the Golden Dawn deck, a version of which she also created. Also, it has the distinction of being a completely illustrated deck which is not just another Rider-Waite clone or variant. Meanwhile, going through the meanings of the cards is a lesson in Babylonian mythology in itself.

The Tarot of Marseilles

The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards

The Tarot of Marseilles is a classic deck, the original design dating from 1760, although cognate decks can be found dating from 1650. Nowadays there are many reproductions of the original version available – some good (e.g. the Jodorowsky / Camoin version), and some which are quite frankly cheap knock-offs.

Incidentally, in his book The Way of  Tarot, Alejandro Jodorowksy appears to have been labouring all his life under the misapprehension that the Tarot of Marseilles is the oldest known version of the Tarot, this due to the fact that Max Ernst once told him so whilst warning him against the Rider-Waite deck. Unfortunately, Max Ernst told Jodo a crock of shit! The oldest two decks are in fact the Visconti and Sola-Buschi, both mid 15th century… the latter of which inspired the artwork in the Rider-Waite.

The Sensual Goddess Tarot Deck

The Sensual Goddess Tarot Deck

This deck is essentially a variation of the Rider Waite, but with the key difference that that artwork consists of digital photography of the eponymous “Sensual Goddess” acting out the scenes depicted on the cards. As it happens, this Sensual Goddess is a buxom glamour-model (actually the photographer’s wife), often (but not always) in a state of undress.

Fortunately, however, the deck stays on the right-side of artistic nudity. Indeed, the creators make a point of the fact that they have tried to keep it glamorous without being smutty.

Nevertheless, this deck will not please those of a prudish disposition. This makes me wonder: this deck may be great for doing readings for oneself, but one would have to exercise a great deal of discretion if one wanted to give readings for other people. Even if the nudity did not bother them, it might still distract them from the seriousness of the Tarot reading!

That aside, it’s clear from the LWB that the creators know their Tarot, and have done their research into the subject. In this regard, I would like to relate a story: on receiving the deck, went through each card with the LWB. As I did so, I picked up a psychic vibe from the cards: that the whole project to create the deck had been a *magical operation* undertaken by the photographer and his wife (i.e. the Sensual Goddess), and that here I was, effectively participating in it down the line, as it were. So one could say that I am writing this review because I am caught up in the spell. :-)

Other

Universal Tarot

Maxwell Miller’s Universal Tarot

Maxwell Miller, the creator of this deck, has not done himself any favours by giving it the exact same name as a number of completely dissimilar decks, (so says the author of The Magus – :::shudder:::). That being said, however, I must say how much I really enjoy the artwork in this particular deck, which contains Astrological, Alchemical, Qabalistic, Sufi, Hindu symbolism and more. In other words, it is “Universal” because it draws on traditions from across the globe.

This is a 74 card deck instead of the traditional 78: instead of having King, Queen, Prince (Knight) and Princess (Page), the court cards are simply King, Queen and Knave. But the quality of the artwork is almost enough to tempt me to overlook this detail.

Tarot of the New Vision

Tarot of the New Vision

This is an amusing take on the Rider-Waite Deck. It attempts to imagine what Pamela Colman-Smith’s artwork would have looked like if the scenes had been observed from the reverse-angle, i.e. behind the characters depicted in the cards. This allows for a scope of creativity… which is only realised in some of the cards.

So for example, in “The Magician” we find out that there is a cheeky monkey hiding behind the eponymous main character, thus pointing out the tricksterish associations of the card. In the 4 of Chalices (i.e. Cups), we find out that the thoughtful looking man is actually Bellerophon, awaiting Pegasus to come to him, whilst the King of Chalices is revealed as Noah – i.e. because he was master of the deluge.

Unfortunately, though, a number of the cards are no more than depictions of original Colman-Smith version, from a different angle but adding nothing new in the way of symbolism. Also, because many of them are facing away from the viewer, one cannot see the character’s facial expressions. Taken to the extreme, in the 4 of Pentacles the main character, by having his back to the viewer, conceals all of the traditional symbolism associated with that card!

The Archeon Tarot

The Archeon Tarot

I mention this because of the striking art-work (much use of Photoshop, methinks). Whilst visually this is an appealing deck (always an important consideration if you are doing Tarot readings for clients), in some cards it lacks some of the traditional symbolism.


Taromancer, the tarot-themed novel by Alex Sumner, is out now in both print and Kindle editions.

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Dark Dungeons

News this week that some guy has made a movie about kids playing Dungeons & Dragons, and being led into the occult. And you know what’s most appalling about it? The bloke has totally plagiarized my life-story without paying me a single cent for it!

Yes, some thirty years ago now, when I was a young lad at school, I went along to a lunch-time meeting of the Christian Union, in which a guest speaker, some priest or other, made the extraordinary claim that Dungeons & Dragons leads to devil worship. His argument was that D&D leads on to Ouija boards, then Ouija boards onto the occult in general, and thence onto Faustian pacts with the Prince of Darkness himself.

After leaving that meeting, I resolved to start playing Dungeons & Dragons as soon as possible.

A couple of years later, on my own initiative, I got into “Call of Cthulhu,” so I could be the gamesmaster (actually the “Keeper”) for a change. As it happens, this was how I really got into the occult, because it was through two Cthulhu supplements – Cthulhu By Gaslight and Green and Pleasant Land – that I first found detailed information about the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley.

I find it incredibly ironic that Kenneth Grant so admirably fitted the role of a mad cultist from Call of Cthulhu RPG. One only has to attempt to read “Nightside of Eden” to realise that Grant must have seriously failed his SAN roll on several occasions. Mind you, I seem to remember that The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage – which I have read – was rated as a -1D3 SAN / +3% Mythos tome, so presumably even I haven’t escaped unscathed. (Grant’s books themselves are probably more potent).

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What the Stars Have In Store for the Golden Dawn: “I Told You So” edition

Back at the beginning of the year I posted my predictions for the Golden Dawn based on transits made with a rectified birth chart I had made for it.

I noted:

Jupiter meanwhile, being square to the GD’s natal Uranus (exact on 25th December 2013 and 13th May 2014), indicates people feeling irritable and wanting to break free of past restrictions, and even causing rebellion.

(Emphasis added)

Now in retrospect we have the following scandals occurring on or around 13th May 2014:

Just remember kids! I also predicted fun and games for June 2014 (Jupiter square natal Mars); August 2014 (Jupiter square Midheaven); and November 2014 (Saturn opposite natal Neptune). You have been warned!

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LGBTQ Tolerance in the Golden Dawn

Eddie Izzard

Got Wand, will do Magick! :-)

Say what you like about MacGregor Mathers, but on one point he was resolute: he would not brook gossip about Fratres’ and Sorores’ lives – this being a matter purely between themselves and their God.

Mathers may well have had an ulterior motive: i.e. the members who had “questionable” private lives were also the ones who were supporting him during the various schisms. However, Mathers’ firm stand has led to a progressive consequence: the Golden Dawn was the first magical order to adopt a modern approach to tolerance.

However, the Western Mystery Tradition was almost derailed by the efforts of Dion Fortune. Her insistence that magick was based on strict male/female or god/goddess polarity has led in some quarters to a rather dogmatic insistence on heterosexuality which borders on the homophobic. I have read some neo-pagans saying that gays were allowed to join covens, on the grounds that embodying the God did not obligate them to have physical sex with the Goddess. IMHO, this is unsatisfactory, as it means that they would have no option but to channel an aspect of the Divine which is at variance with their natural sexuality.

Nevertheless: it is not possible to become overly attached to gender when it comes to one’s god-forms. I have assumed the forms of both Gods and Goddesses in my time: such is the nature of Golden Dawn magick. I have also come to suspect that one or more of my past-lives were as a different gender to the one I am now. This does not bother me one iota, as I am perfectly comfortable in the gender and sexuality I have at the moment.

By the twin strategies of (a) not interfering with a member’s private life; and (b) not actually practising sexual magick – whether right hand or left hand path, the Golden Dawn is able to accommodate everyone. It is within my knowledge that there have been and probably still are homosexual and transsexual fratres and sorores in the GD. Indeed, at least one individual joined as a “frater” and became a “soror” during her progression and is now a successful adept.

Therefore, let everyone take note: if you know of a man who insists on turning up to temple in women’s clothes and insists on being referred to as “Soror” ceremonies, don’t laugh or mock! Such a person is welcome within the GD, and more – assuming they apply themselves diligently to the Great Work, they would even be eligible for promotion – even to being head of the order!

 

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