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!
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.
I am now an experienced Ceremonial Magician. However, when I was fourteen years old myself, I got turned on to the occult not through reading occult books per se, but through Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, and the fiction of H P Lovecraft.
This is not so crazy as it may sound, since because Call of Cthulhu is based in a fictionalised version of the real world, the creators actually included a lot of historical data of real-life occult organisations and personalities such as Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, the Golden Dawn, etc. Because this piqued my interest, I remembered them when I came to researching the occult seriously when I was older.
Indeed, several serious occultists I know claimed that they were first inspired to take up the dark arts after reading Dennis Wheatley novels. Dennis Wheatley actually met Aleister Crowley, although he was a bit of a hypocrite in that he told his readers not to get into the occult real-life, as it was a sure path to be enmeshed by the powers of darkness, etc.
So yeah, if you do your research, you will probably find that a lot of fiction is inspired by genuine occultism. A lot however is not. The one thing I would advise against doing is watching The Irregulars. This is probably one of the worst programmes out there when it comes to historical accuracy about occultism. Or about the Sherlock Holmes universe. Or indeed about life in Victorian England generally.
(NB: if you are on Netflix and you want to watch something decent about the occult, try The Midnight Gospel instead).
I don’t normally read Catholic Herald, which is why I’ve only just shared a year old story. Apparently, last month, Dion Fortune was the newspaper’s featured Heretic of the Week. I rather think they meant “hermetic” of the week, but that’s beside the point. Among Dion’s crimes are veering between Catholicism and paganism, and lowering the tone of Glastonbury, although I personally think that Kanye West is more to blame for the latter. 😉
Anywho, here is the link to the article:
(Tune: Che Sera Sera).
When I started Abramelin,
I asked my genius, “What will I be?
Will I be powerful, mighty and rich?”
“You’ll have to wait and see.
The future’s not yours to see,
Except with chapter one, square three –
Just a reminder that this year’s Abramelin season begins on Monday 5th April 2021, which is only four weeks away! I am currently editing the journal I wrote when I did it in 2020, which I hope will be ready later this year . It’s 103 thousand words so far, so it’s going to be pretty chunky when it is done. Meanwhile, I heartily recommend reading my blog posts which I have tagged Abramelin – if for no other reason than to be warned in advance of the issues I myself identified.
Rosie Dawson-Hewes’ charming Arts and Crafts home in sunny Havelock North has a mysterious history.
(a2a) Summoning demons to show up whenever they want is an incredibly bad idea.
Instead, a real magician aspires to summon demons whenever the magician wants.
Really it’s just a case of Setting Boundaries in a relationship. If you’re the boss of a company, you want your employees to turn up when they’re supposed to, and do they job that they’re paid to do. You don’t want them to be bad timekeepers, or make unreasonable demands of your time or your good nature, or stalk you at your home.
Same with demons: you are meant to be their boss and they are your employees. A lot of people with superiority complexes feel bad about commanding demons, but if a Manager can give an instruction to his / her team-member and still be respectful to them, it’s really not that different.
Ask yourself: why is there this herb or this crystal in the spell in the first place?
The person who originally came up with the spell didn’t put it there at random, they did so because they had a specific plan in mind – a specific reason. You work out what that reason was, and you may realise – there are other methods of achieving the same goal not necessarily using the original herbs or crystals, or indeed any at all.
So yes, if you can breakdown how and why spells are constructed you could do witchcraft without either herbs or crystals, even to the extent of learning to create your own spells. You might even realise that you know more than the person who originally wrote the spell!
Incidentally, I can offer my opinion about herbs and crystals which may help you. The main reason they are used in magic is because they have Astrological properties which coincide with the purpose of the spell. There is more than one way of invoking Astrological energies, this is the sort of thing which can be researched.
Or of course, you may get to the point where although you technically can work without herbs or crystals, you can make an executive decision that working with a herb or crystal is most convenient for you in a particular instance.
In a novel I wrote, The Magus, one of the characters has an authentic experience with a “Succubus.” Whilst trying to evoke a demon and get it to do its bidding, the demon tries to get out of the pact by distracting him with sex in the form of a beautiful woman. Whilst the experience is highly erotic, the man realises that if he is to succeed with his magic he needs to refuse sex with the Succubus and instead force it to agree to do his Will.
In other words, despite the fact that a Succubus might seem attractive to a lonely but horny teenager who is not getting enough in real life, such a demon only manifests when an evocation goes wrong. One cannot deliberately summon a Succubus, as that would entail deliberately failing at an Evocation – but if you set out with the intent to fail, it wouldn’t work to begin with.