News today that over a third of Britons apparently believe they have a Guardian Angel, with “17% unsure.” This plus recent discussions I have been having over the interwebby-type thing have got me thinking about the subject. The “Holy Guardian Angel” is a term that crops up a lot in the occult, mainly thanks to a certain Mr A Crowley. I wrote an article about this a little while ago, but I thought I would expand upon the subject with an attempt to debunk some myths which crop up about it.
Fiction: Attaining Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is the be-all and end-all of Magick
If one reads the Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage, one finds that the “Abramelin Operation” is a preparatory step before embarking on a career as a ceremonial magician which will involve evoking all the demons of hell, charging magic squares, etc. Moreover, if one consults other grimoires such as the Pauline Art, Trithemius’ Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, etc, one finds that the invocation of a Guardian Angel is an important first step before communicating with other intelligences. Finally, one should note that according to “777” the so-called “Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel” is the spiritual experience not of Kether, nor even of Tiphereth, but of Malkuth.
The reality of the situation is that from being the ultimate end, KCHGA is the exact opposite – it is only the beginning of the path. The end is “Divine Union.” KCHGA on the other hand should be seen as the simple basic qualification that one is now an actual magician, as opposed to a mere theorist.
Related to this realisation that KCHGA is the beginning, not the end, is the unfortunate phenomenon one sees of people who let their egos inflate egregiously when they say they have achieved KCHGA, as if this is supposed to mean something. The true experience of KCHGA is not exalting, it is humbling – rather like one feels humbled when coming into the presence of something of great beauty like a great work of art.
The only gratifying thing that can truly be said about KCHGA is that it may be the bottom rung of the ladder, but at least it is the right ladder.
Fiction: The Holy Guardian Angel is identical to the Higher Self.
I have dealt with this in a previous blog post. This is an assertion put about by Crowley, but the evidence breaks down when one starts to examine and compare the grimoires from the past which actually mention Holy Guardian Angels. The HGA is the Guardian Angel of the Clairvoyant process – be that a crystal ball, magic mirror, or one’s own ability to skry generally. The HGA ensures that only the spirit with which you desire to communicate speaks to you, and that it speaks the truth when it does so. In mediumistic terms the HGA is a “Spirit Guide.” Franz Bardon in his book “Initiation into Hermetics,”
and in the present day the Kabbalist Z’ev Ben Shimon Havlevi, state that the souls of departed human beings can fill this role as well.
The Higher Self is better thought of as the Yechidah, the Divine Spark within one’s own soul, which corresponds to Kether. The point being that whilst Knowledge of the Higher Self is a valid aim of magick, it is theoretically possible to achieve this without having anything resembling conversation with anything resembling an angelic being.
Fiction: The “Holy Guardian Angel” is a term used by Crowley which was not part of the GD teachings.
This is something I have seen crop up from time to time. Yes it is true that Crowley used “KCHGA” to describe the work of the 5=6 of the A.’.A.’. . Yes it is also true that this term is not used in the 5=6 teachings of the Golden Dawn – phrases like “higher self” being used instead. On this basis I have heard it confidently asserted that the term “Holy Guardian Angel” belongs to Crowley only and does not form any part of the GD’s teachings.
WRONG. In the Stella Matutina the Holy Guardian Angel crops up in the 6=5 Adeptus Major ceremony. In a paper in W B Yeats’ collection – which is published in George Mills Harper’s Yeats’ Golden Dawn – whilst the aspirant gazes into a bowl of water during the passage of the path of Mem, his “Holy Guardian Angel” wraps him with its wings, whilst he gazes upon the image of his “resurrection body.” This is all part of the astral working that formed the structure upon which the Stella Matutina Adeptus Major ritual was based.
Hence we have primary evidence (or at least – the National Library of Ireland does) – that at least one faction of the GD incorporated the concept of “Holy Guardian Angel” at least in some respect into its Higher Grade teachings.