Possibly due to the powerful intuitive processes which occur in consciousness when during a magical fast, or more likely I was hungry and wondering about getting a takeaway – I read a book on how curries are cooked in British Indian Restaurants, and it occurred to me that it was a perfect analogy as to how a properly run Magical Lodge should operate.
Humour me on this – I will develop the point.
You see, there are basically two ways to cook a curry – one is to prepare it from scratch, e.g. following a reliable recipe book, and the other is to adopt the practices used by professional restaurateurs. Essentially, an Indian Restaurateur uses a formulaic approach, with each dish on the menu being regarded as a variation on the formula. Moreover, the meat and vegetables are usually pre-cooked, to save time when preparing individual dishes. Hence the “magic formula” can be expressed as:
Generic base gravy + spices specific to a particular dish + pre-cooked meat / vegetables = finished curry.
All of the time outside restaurant hours is spent preparing the basic ingredients, so that they are ready to be deployed immediately, when the time comes to actually serve a customer. Hence to make a curry in this way takes only about twenty minutes in this way, but of course the only reason it can be done so quickly is because of the groundwork performed by the restaurant staff beforehand.
Now to explain how this relates to Magical Lodges.
The sole justification for a Magical Lodge – put forward by proponents of Magical Lodges – is that it is supposedly a better structure and environment for performing magic than could be accomplished by a Magician working on his own outside the Lodge setting (“supposedly” being the operative word here). The solitary magician working on his own from a grimoire is analogous to the cook trying to prepare a meal from scratch, following a recipe book. However, a Magical Lodge potentially has the benefit of facilitating the magical work of its members in a similar way that a restaurant can facilitate the cooking of individual dishes – assuming of course that the Lodge is properly run.
So here, therefore, is the Alex Sumner Method of Creating a Magical Lodge:
Firstly, the founder or founders of the Lodge inaugurate it by establishing contact with the magical forces that they intend the members will work with. Too much trouble cannot be taken at this point – if, for example, the founder needs to contact the seven planetary archangels – or just one angel, for that matter – the founder ought not to rest until such contact has been made – and the Being agrees that in future it will come to the assistance of the founder and the members of the Lodge on whose behalf the founder is working. The Founder needs to secure agreement from the Being that in future the Lodge-members will be able to invoke its assistance by a far-shorter and more convenient method than the Founder used originally.
This is the proper method of establishing “inner-plane contacts” – and also of turning a Magical Lodge into a more efficient magical vehicle than just by being a solitary practitioner. The foundation work thus becomes analogous to the pre-prep and pre-cooking done outside opening hours in restaurant. By following this to its logical conclusion, there should come a point when the Adepti of the lodge ought to be able to create effective spells thus:
Generic magical support from the lodge’s inner plane contacts + established structure + invocations specific to particular spell = finished spell.
In other words – one ought to be able to tell whether it will profit anyone to join a magical lodge for their spiritual development, by examining the quality of the work the chiefs of the lodge do for the benefit of the general membership. Or even: do the chiefs do any such work for the membership, or are they content to just bask in the glory of being in charge of everything?
Furthermore, one can also speculate as to the kind of magical work that the lodge ought to be capable of by discerning who or what they have as their IPCs. If (purely for the sake of example) it is the Archangel Raphael, then presumably the Lodge will be good for the type of magick that falls under Raphael’s purview. If on the other hand it is some other spiritual entity, the Lodge will specialise in workings consistent with that entity’s nature. Unfortunately there are orders in which little discrimination has been applied to choosing one’s IPC, and they have ended up with Just A Bloke. If they do any working at all they tend to generate quite a bit of channelled communications, but nothing in the way of practical magical works.
Finally: could a solitary practitioner nevertheless adopt this sort of approach themselves to make their own practice easier? Well yes – this is essentially the whole point of doing something like the Abramelin Operation – it is the pre-preparation and pre-cooking for one’s own magical restaurant. Hence such a practitioner ends up doing magic like this:
Generic magical support from one’s own inner plane contacts + established structure + invocations specific to a particular spell = finished spell.
It can be done – but having an efficiently running magical lodge structure ought to make the process easier.