“Laddering Back.”

This is an edited version of a post which first appeared on this website on 29th October 2020, where attributed a quote about “laddering back” to Carl Jung. However, on researching the origin of the said quote, I realise that it was not Jung’s idea at all, but that of Edward Maitland, the Theosophical writer.

Edward_Maitland

Edward Maitland (1824-1897)

Maitland must probably be the unluckiest man in Occultism, as history appears to remember him as playing Boswell to Anna Kingsford’s Johnson. This despite the fact that he himself had no mean talent as a mystic and psychic quite independently of the latter, such that they ought to be considered as an equal partnership.

In any case: Jung seized upon a passage from Maitland’s biography of Kingsford, in which Maitland described an incident in which he himself attained a state of Intuition or noumenal consciousness. I found this quote, especially the sentiment which I have emboldened, of great help to some spiritual work I had been doing and which remains relevant now.

Jung was primarily interested in this quote as he saw it as the key to Active Imagination, and by extension to psychotherapy. However I  believe that in Maitland’s ideas of retaining his outer/circumferential consciousness at the same time as accessing the inner/central consciousness, he (Maitland) had actually hit on the method for becoming aware of the astral plane whilst retaining awareness of the physical counterpart at the same time. The concept of “laddering back” may also be likened to “rising on the planes.”

The reflecting on an idea, related ideas became visible, so to speak, in a long series apparently reaching back to their source, which to him was the divine spirit. By concentrating on this series, he tried to penetrate to their origin. He [i.e. Maitland] writes:

I was absolutely without knowledge or expectation when I yielded to the impulse to make the attempt. I simply experimented on a faculty. . . being seated at my writing-table the while in order to record the results as they came, and resolved to retain my hold on my outer and circumferential consciousness, no matter how far towards my inner and central consciousness I might go. For I knew not whether I should be able to regain the former if I once quitted my hold of it, or to recollect the facts of the experience. At length I achieved my object, though only by a strong effort, the tension occasioned by the endeavour to keep both extremes of the consciousness in view at once being very great.

Once well started on my quest, I found myself traversing a succession of spheres or belts . . . the impression produced being that of mounting a vast ladder stretching from the circumference towards the centre of a system, which was at once my own system, the solar system, the universal system, the three systems being at once diverse and identical.. . . . Presently, by a supreme, and what I felt must be a final effort . . . I succeeded in polarizing the whole of the convergent rays of my consciousness into the desired focus. And at the same instant, as if through the sudden ignition of the rays thus fused into a unity, I found myself confronted with a glory of unspeakable whiteness and brightness ,and of a lustre so intense as well-nigh to beat me back. . . . But though feeling that I had to explore further, I resolved to make assurance doubly sure by piercing if I could the almost blinding lustre, and seeing what it enshrined. With a great effort I succeeded, and the glance revealed to me that which I had felt must be there. . . . It was the dual form of the Son . . . the unmanifest made manifest, the unformulate formulate, the unindividuate individuate, God as the Lord, proving through His duality that God is Substance as well as Force, Love as well as Will, Feminine as well as Masculine, Mother as well as Father.

From: The Collected Works of C G Jung, volume 13: Alchemical Studies, quoting Anna Kingsford, her life, letters, diary and work.

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October 5, 2021 · 3:05 pm

Would it have any harm if I get The Pentacles of Mercury tattooed on me? (Quora)

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The first Pentacle of Mercury from the Key of Solomon: “It serveth to evoke the spirits under the firmament.”

Alex Sumner answered:

OK speaking as a ceremonial magician here… the rationale behind the Pentacles of Mercury or indeed any other planet, from the Key of Solomon, is that when you uncover them, you attract Spirits towards you, even causing them to manifest: and when you cover the Pentacles up, you send the spirits away.

My first thought on seeing this question was “Mercurial spirits might be cool to evoke every once in a while, but do I want to evoke them all the time? When it would be inconvenient for me? To the exclusion of other types of spirits?”

Let’s face it, taking this literally, you could not get naked without being interrupted by a Mercurial spirit. Taking shower or having sex would become a nightmare! Conversely, if you were at work, and you needed the assistance of a Mercurial spirit to help you make an important business decision, you would have to strip off in the middle of the office. If you were at school or college, and you wanted a Mercurial spirit to help you with whatever you were working on, you would have to get naked in the middle of the classroom or lecture hall.

More seriously, there is a school of thought that says that by getting a tattoo of a spirit, you get owned by that spirit, which is not the kind of pact you might be wanting to achieve – i.e. better to establish a healthy relationship with the spirit by evoking it in the proper manner.

So tattoos may be generally cool, but I’d personally think twice about getting one in the form a pentacle from the Key of Solomon.


Alex Sumner’s answer to Would it have any harm if I get The Pentacles of Mercury tattooed on me? – Quora.com

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What happens when the gifter of my first tarot deck stole it back out of anger? Can I still buy my second deck? I was super attached and they were working for me. (Quora.com)

OK there are two things you have to realise. Firstly, the idea that you must be gifted your first tarot deck is actually a superstition put about by charlatans who don’t want it widely known that if anybody can learn the tarot, they would be out of a job! It is “gatekeeping” at its worst. Do not let anyone shame you into not buying a new tarot deck, you are free to do so if you want.

However: the second thing to realise is that there is another option which you haven’t yet considered, i.e. that of getting your first tarot deck back. If it has truly become yours then this is what I (if I were in your position) would be first considering. My personal inclination would be to go to my favourite spirit of the Goetia, Andromalius, who is exceptionally good at recovering stolen items, although if you have any feelings left for the person who stole your tarot deck, you would have to word your petition to the spirit very carefully.

Andromalius by Davey Baker
Andromalius

Alex Sumner’s answer to What happens when the gifter of my first tarot deck stole it back out of anger? Can I still buy my second deck? I was super attached and they were working for me.

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The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 3)

The Light Extended: a Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 3)

You are now able to get hold of the new edition of “The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 3).” This features my own article, “Self Isolation in the Golden Dawn Tradition,” as well as other contributions from Tony Fuller, Adam P Forrest, Samuel Scarborough, and more.

This is currently available in paperback from Amazon in the USA, but is also available in the UK as well on import. To get your copy, click one of the links below now!

Thanks!

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Pacts With Spirits – and How Not To Make Them

This is a Spiritual successor (!) to a blog post I wrote almost two years ago (Review: Angels of Wrath by Gordon Winterfield), in which I would like to focus specifically on the subject of making Pacts with Spirits, and how to avoid the problems associated in the popular mind therewith. In so doing I hope that I can demonstrate that Ceremonial Magick when performed responsibly can be a rewarding and uplifting experience, whilst avoiding all types of unpleasantness.

Within the past day or so, there has been news that the murderer of two young women in London was in fact a Satanist supposedly carrying out a pact he had made with a demon, based upon information he had found on the internet. NB: I too spotted the irony of the BBC just so happening to come up with a story about a Satanic killer on Friday the 13th … but I digress. The information in question emanated from an American occultist who up to now had been notorious in the occult community for the egregious manner in which he hawked the magical services he had to offer. On the one hand, the teaching he puts out is based upon well-known grimoires dating back over a hundred years, but on the other, these same grimoires pander to a salacious and lurid interpretation of magick which reinforces popular prejudices against the subject – and which ought to be discredited nowadays in the light of modern scholarship.

In short: the pact that this killer downloaded off the internet is the wrong way to go about making a Pact with a Spirit. Later in this post, I will give you an example of how to create a Real Pact – but suffice to say, if any occult teaching tells you that you need to sell your soul, or harm any person or harm yourself, or commit any act which goes against the law of the land, or against your own conscience – you can confidently reject it as bogus.

Instead, I would invite you to consider the following – this is excerpted from The Book of Treasure Spirits, a grimoire dating from 1649. In relation to an evocation of the spirit Agares, who in some places is also referred to as a demon or fallen angel – the grimoire prescribes first conjuring Agares to visible appearance by the Holy names of God, including Jesus Christ, which done, the Magician compels the Spirit to “sign” the following:

I Agares, the first Captain under the King of the East, not Compelled by Command or Dread, but willingly and on my own accord, do Especially bind my Self by these Presents firmly, to Obey at all times & in Every place [INSERT NAME OF MAGICIAN HERE] to Do his Command In all things, appertaining to my Duty, & Especially by these words, the most powerful In this Magick Art, Lay, Alyzm, Mura, Syron, Walgava, Ryshin, Layganum, Layarazin, Lasai: And by that Virtue wherewith the Sun & moon were Darkened, before that terrible Day of the Lord (as in the Gospel) and shall be turned into Blood, And by the head of my Prince, & by his Circles & Characters: and Chiefly by this Seal firmly binding, In Witness of which Guilty Person, I have Signed this Obligation, with mine one Seal the Commanding one, to which I Always Stick Close.

This is the Pact with the Spirit Agares. Note how the wording of this Pact does not mention anything about selling one’s soul, or doing anything evil, or even getting the magician to make any kind of offering or sacrifice. This Pact is simply an agreement in written form that Spirit acknowledges the authority of the magician, that the magician has validly called it forth, and that it agrees to carry out the magician’s requests. That Agares would consent to this depends purely on the magician having evoked it in the proper manner in the first place, and nothing else.

By taking this as a template one can see that it ought to be possible to take the concept of making this sort of Pact and integrate it into the practice of responsible Ceremonial Magick. One could even turn this into a ritual like this:

Example: A Pact with Bethor to gain Wealth and Riches

Firstly: in advance of your ceremony, write out two copies of the following. One is for you to read from and so can just be printed on regular paper, but the other you should go to town on by compositing in Calligraphy script on fancy vellum which you can get from an Art supply shop.

PACT between Bethor, and Frater (vel Soror) Utpay Ouryay Amenay Erehay

I, Bethor, Olympic Spirit of Jupiter, of my own free will and accord, swear as follows:

I recognise the authority of the divine and angelic names of the sphere of Tzedeq: EL, Tzadqiel, Iophiel and Hismael; as well as the Holy Guardian Angel of Frater Utpay Ouryay Amenay Erehay; and that the said Frater has validly and properly evoked and exorcised me;

I promise to fulfil the said Frater’s commands in general insofar as they relate to the sphere of Tzedeq, including the increase of his wealth, good fortune, and power and influence, and knowledge of all things astrologically and qabalistically associated with the planet Jupiter;

I shall always speak truthfully to the said Frater;

I shall always keep safe the said Frater, his loved ones, and the place in which he resides;

When manifesting to visible appearance I shall always appear if a fair shape before him;

I shall only depart when licenced to do so, which I shall do promptly and quickly;

I shall send the said Frater a familiar spirit who shall act as trusty and reliable Spirit-guide in all matters Jovial;

And finally, in the future I agree to appear to the said Frater without the need for a full ceremony, but instead when he chants my name four times.

In witness whereof I cause my Spirit-Signature to appear magically upon this Pact document.

Secondly: perform a ceremony of Evocation of the spirit Bethor along traditional lines, but placing the fancy copy of the pact within the Triangle of Art. When you are satisfied that Bethor has manifested, conjure the spirit with the appropriate divine and angelic names, and tell him you want him to agree to the pact you have prepared: whereupon you read out what you have written. When you “see” Bethor’s spirit-signature appear on the fancy version of the Pact which you have placed in the Triangle, you may take this as an indication that Bethor has agreed and that your ceremony has been successful – in which case you may then address Bethor on any specific Jupiter-request that you have on your mind at that moment. After which you may conclude the ceremony in the appropriate manner.

Afterwards, take the fancy version of the Pact document and put it carefully away for safe-keeping – this is now a magical object, and should be treated with the utmost of respect. Do not damage it in any way, because that would be an insult to the spirit. Ideally a specially prepared document holder should be prepared, so you can preserve it safely.

In this manner you have created a Pact with a Spirit – in this case Bethor – without any of the nastiness associated with the vile practices that the deluded Satanist got himself involved in, and instead maintained the integrity of a real ceremonial magician throughout. It ought to be obvious that by changing the names and associations in this Pact as appropriate, one could use the same approach for any spirit that you might care to work with.

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“Self-Isolation in the Golden Dawn Tradition”

Coming soon: the third volume of “The Light Extended, a Golden Dawn Journal” will soon be published and features an article by myself entitled Self-Isolation in the Golden Dawn Tradition. It is essentially a memoir about how to run a working GD temple during a time of global pandemic.

The same volume also contains contributions from Tony Fuller, Samuel Scarborough, Jayne Gibson, Adam Forrest, Frater Yechidah, and others. It is published by Kerubim Press: more details as I get them.

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Review: “The Divinatory Arts” by Papus


Papus (Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, 1865 – 1916), was a leading figure of the French Occult scene at the turn of the 20th century. He authored “Tarot of the Bohemians,” and founded or co-founded the Martinist Order and the Order Kabbalistique de la Rose-Croix. He was also a leading figure in Memphis Misraim and the Gnostic Catholic Church. He was even a member of the OTO, before Crowley got his mits on it.

He was also very briefly a member of the Golden Dawn, i.e. he only ever attended one meeting, and didn’t stay for the whole thing at that.

Despite being the very essence of “Occult,” Papus at one stage went mainstream by penning a series of articles published in Le Figaro, which is now France’s biggest newspaper, although back in 1895 when the articles were written, it had a more populist stance. Still, that would be like if you were to imagine me, Alex Sumner, being employed at a generous salary by The Daily Telegraph to write for it.

Hence, Papus ended up writing about Graphology, Palmistry, Physiognomy, as well as astrology. The content of these articles was necessarily only a brief introduction to the subject matter – understandable as they were intended for publication in a newspaper. This book, is the first time that these articles have been translated into English.

Although this is an interesting reference for someone researching Papus’ life, Papus’ own writing here is far from being the most interesting thing that Papus had ever done, given that he had lived such rich and full life. In that sense, the Translator’s own introduction is actually more interesting from an esoteric point of view. Nevertheless, I did find some merit in reading about palmistry and graphology, which were subjects I had never really touched upon.

I had to laugh at one point at Papus’ blatant chauvinism – he assumes, for example that the only reason a man would study Physiognomy is so that he can dominate any woman irrespective of her temperament. Nevertheless, the book as a whole is a curious piece in the larger jig-saw puzzle of the life of an otherwise great occultist.


The Divinatory Arts by Papus; translated into by “The Three Luminaries” © 2020, ISBN-13: 9798684181795. Available from Amazon.

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Abramelin Adventures: Magical Books

Square 2 of Book IV, chapter 11 – “to obtain lost Magical books.”

I would like to express my gratitude to Duke Magoth and his servant Hyrys for my latest Abramelin work with this square. It occurred to me that this is one of the few word-squares that a serious magician could use to further his or her own magical development – i.e. to research obscure magical lore. The other one I have used so far being that for obtaining the secrets of Alchemy. More prosaically it helps when one has dropped an important volume in one’s wizard’s tower, and now one can’t find it!

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Review: 44 Letters to Gustav Meyrink, by Alois Mailänder

Gustav Meyrink (1862-1932) is most famous as the writer of The Golem, as well as other occult novels. What is perhaps less well-known is the extent to which he was involved in real-life occultism. That he was in contact with leading Theosophists and other occultists, such as the founders of the Golden Dawn, is almost common knowledge. He was also rumoured to have been involved with organisations even more mysterious, including a branch of the Gold Und Rosenkreuzers, who were supposed to have gone dormant over a century before. The legendary “Meyrink Line” is still spoken of in hushed tones of awe and mystery in the pubs of north London (or at least was before the lockdown).

Fortunately, one occult connection which is now seeing the light of day is that to Alois Mailänder (1843 – 1905), a German mystic who has been much lionized on the website Pansophers.com. Mailänder forbid his disciples from revealing his identity to the public during his lifetime, although Franz Hartmann and Meyrink himself both referred to him anonymously. In any event, those that knew him, praised him enormously, describing him as a “real Rosicrucian.” Apparently, Mailänder’s teachings owed a lot to Jakob Boehme, as well as Boehme’s protegés John Pordage and Jane Leade, as well as J B Kerning, and he managed to gather a large number of students from the German and Austrian occult scene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As it happened, Meyrink did not get much out of his association with Mailänder at the time: it was only towards the end of his life that he fully acknowledged his appreciation of him.

Anywho – this book: this contains a scholarly introduction to both Mailänder and Meyrink’s life; a helpful epilogue in which the editors further explain the context of Mailänder’s teachings, and how Meyrink viewed him through his writings; and the central section – the book’s USP, as it were – 44 letters which Mailänder wrote to Meyrink, which had been available in German, but are here now translated into English for the first time. In addition there are letters written by the former’s amanuensis and companion to both Meyrink himself and his (ex-)wife.

Ironically – the text of the letters is the least useful part of the whole book! They reveal only a small fragment of Mailänder’s teachings and practices (i.e. he would periodically give each pupil a phrase or mantra upon which to meditate, which he often changed according to how he judged the pupil’s progress). They do however reveal some of his character, that apart from being a spiritual teacher he managed to live a fairly normal life as a family man and a textile worker in Southern Germany.

On the very last page, however, the editors reveal that they are currently at work on a second volume – a translation of “Lectures on the Soul” – a book of Mailänder’s teachings which he gave out to members of his personal circle. This at least would be something to which to look forward.


44 Letters to Gustav Meyrink: English Translation (Writings by and about Alois Mailänder Book 1), by Alois Mailänder. Edited by Erik Dillo-Heidger and Chris Allen. ISBN: 3751997857. Books On Demand, 2021. Available on Amazon.

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‘Revival of the occult’: French youth turn to tarot, astrology during Covid-19

Young people in France are increasingly turning to tarot, astrology and other forms of esoterism, a trend that accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent poll.

Source: ‘Revival of the occult’: French youth turn to tarot, astrology during Covid-19

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