My answer to What could possibly make magic or spells fail to work for someone?
Answer by Alex Sumner:
(A2A) A lot of fluffy-bunny new-agey type magic folk are not going to like my answer, but what the hell, here it goes:
The primary cause of spell-failure is because the magician has tacked a “an it harm none” clause onto the end of his or her spell-intention. Then, when the spirits who have been charged with causing the spell-result to manifest calculate that the only possible way of success is in fact by hurting someone, they are forced to give it up as a bad job.
The idea of a “an it harm none” clause comes mainly from Wicca, which I believe was a ploy by Gerald Gardner to make his brand of witchcraft seem respectable, although I have seen similar practices in other magical traditions. In each of them, including Wicca, the idea of adding the “an it harm none” clause is taught quite dogmatically.
In my experience, far more success tends to happen if instead of specifying “harm none,” one says “and no *innocent* person shall be harmed.” This has the added bonus of creating some hilarious scenes, although obviously not all the people involved will find it amusing. 😉
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.
With fifty confirmed dead and fifty three wounded, there are at least 103 souls in direct need of help, not factoring in distressed and bereaved friends, relatives, etc.
The key magic word you want to memorise right now is Psychopomp.
A fact little known except to those familiar with shamanic traditions is that both disincarnate and incarnate spiritual beings (read: humans) have a part to play in seeing to the welfare of the recently deceased. On an exoteric level, this mainly consists of the Last Rites and funerary practices of mainstream religions. However on an esoteric level, this amounts to actively using ones astral powers to investigate the situation of the soul of the departed, to see whether it is possible to help it make the transition to the post-mortem condition which it most deserves, whether that be reincarnation or eternal rest in the place appointed for it. The magician or shaman engaging in this work thus becomes a Psychopomp – helping the soul move on from the trauma of its body’s physical demise. In this way, the magician puts his or her Compassion for the deceased to practical expression.
It is within my personal knowledge that whenever there has been a major national tragedy, such as a terrorist outrage or natural disaster, the unreported story is that there are always dedicated magicians who do Psychopomp work for those affected. I would therefore invite my readers to aspire to help the victims of this shooting in Orlando in this way – and to support the work of those magicians who are already doing so.
News this week that after a witch planned a mass hexing of Stanford rapist Brock Turner by posting it on Facebook, Raymond Buckland threw a hissy fit by exclaiming “Witches do not hex!” This caused a certain amount of cynicism to manifest to visible appearance in certain quarters. The fact is that never mind what historical witches were alleged to have done or not done hundreds of years ago – the fact is that the Elders of the modern-day Craft are known to have indulged within living memory.
For example: Gerald Gardner once cursed a man into selling him his house when he was unwilling to do so. He then re-wrote the Book of Shadows to say that this was perfectly acceptable, so long as the seller gets paid a fair price for it.
Later on, Alex Sanders demonstrated a ritual technique for placing a curse on someone for the benefit of a film crew. Ironically, the same ritual technique found its way into Janet & Stewart Farrar’s The Witches Bible, although they did not make it clear that it could be used to make someone drown themselves. However, in Stewart Farrar’s earlier book, What Witches Do, he described another technique Sanders had for performing psychic abortions (i.e. on pregnant women who asked for it). The method consisted of destroying the foetus by first imagining it as a Pentagram, then magically collapsing it. The problem with this approach is that the Pentagram is the sign of an actual living being – Sanders was effectively admitting the foetus was alive, before killing it. This raises the possibility that the same method could be used on any Pentagram… but I have said more than enough.
This raises an interesting question: given that so many occultists publicly claim they never practice evil magick, just where do they get knowledge of these vile techniques, if the practice thereof supposedly does not form part of their tradition?
The answer unfortunately is that the knowledge of these evil rites is preserved, because it is good for marketing purposes. Seriously! I actually wrote about this in 2011, in my novel Licence To Depart. Without any trace of irony in relation to the quip about marketing, I quote:
“Tonight we’re going to perform a black magic ritual, to kill one who is in the service of the forces of Light,” Sir William said gravely. He paused – and then lightened his tone. “Do you know where I got this ritual from?” he asked, almost conversationally. “A book on white magic!”
A murmur of laughter rippled amongst those present. Sir William continued.
“It’s true: it’s an extraordinary fact that often the vilest, most despicable forms of evil magic are set out in the books which claim most loudly to be working for the service of the light! The mediaeval grimoires. ‘Magick’ by Aleister Crowley – that’s got at least one death-spell in it: so too has that book on Huna by Max Freedom Long. ‘Psychic Self-Defence’ by Dion Fortune – that’s got lots of black magic in it, all for the sake of supposedly warning her readers against it. Pah! To them they’re hypocritically increasing their sales: to us, they provide a valuable resource.
“Well tonight the ritual we’re going to use is drawn from another book on so-called white magic – ‘The Tarot’ by Mouni Sadhu…”
The place: darkest East London, Bethnal Green, the closest place you can get to Shoreditch which has not been gentrified… yet. The time: December 2015. I assumed the form of a human being and bravely entered the local working men’s club, where there was being held a Satanic Flea Market. It was full of hellish tattooed freaks and pierced weirdos, bizarre fetishists, cross-dressing denizens, straight(ish) dressing goths, Torture Garden clientèle, metalheads, witches, daemonolators, and whole host of others generally up to no-good. The kind of people who don’t have to change out of their normal clothes to go to a performance of The Rocky Horror Show.
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people I knew there!
Anywho… the main reason for me being there – apart of course from meeting up with old friends, and buying Christmas presents for my friends and family – was to attend a talk on Goetic evocation, hosted by Astrid Haszprunarova. The gist of it was that Astrid had developed her own system for working with the spirits of the Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon. Her method retained the use of a circle and triangle, but apart from that bore little resemblance to anything in the original grimoire. For example, she eschewed the use of traditional divine and angelic names, did not use the “Preliminary Invocation” (otherwise known as the Bornless Ritual), did not use any of the traditional conjurations (instead relying on “Demonic Enns”), and had her own methods of invoking power and opening a portal to hell as part of the ritual. I believe she had adopted this eclectic / experimental approach because of her prior interest in chaos magick. Yet: despite her methods being completely unlike anything which could be remotely called “traditional,” she claimed that they worked for her. (Incidentally, whilst we all had a good old chuckle over Rufus Opus’ experience with Bune, she claimed that she had worked with the same spirit several times and not had anywhere near as much trouble as he had done).
Speaking personally, whilst I am far closer to conventional grimoire usage than Ms Haszprunarova, I can hardly claim to be a purist myself. I was originally inspired in my practice by Lon Milo Duquette’s account of his evocation of Orobas in his autobiography. Since then, however, I myself came to the conclusion that the conjurations from the Lesser Key can largely be dispensed with in favour of the Enns, which simplify the evocation process greatly. A typical ceremony for me would consist of the Lesser banishing rituals of the pentagram and hexagram, the Bornless Ritual, the invocation of the Qabalistic names which make up the magic circle and the triangle of art, the Invoking Pentagram and Hexagram ritual of Spirit which corresponds to its Zodiacal sign and its rank (e.g. Duke = Venus, etc), the versicle of the corresponding Shem Ha Mephoresh Angel, the Enn itself, the Welcome unto the Spirit, followed by the actual negotium, and finally the Licence to Depart (polished off with further banishing rituals if necessary). A full evocation done this way takes between half an hour and an hour.
What I find fascinating though is that the use of Demonic Enns – short phrases purportedly written in a demonic language – represent a revolutionary innovation in modern Goetic evocation. The story behind them is that one of the associates of the daemonalator Richard Dukante, who was active in the 1970s/80s, claimed to be in possession of a family grimoire written by his ancestor, one Abraham Willit, in the mid 16th century. These contained a series of “Enns” which (it was claimed) the demons themselves had dictated to Willit. As far as I know, no-one outside Dukante’s circle has seen this 16th century grimoire, if it ever existed at all, so it is impossible to check the historicity of this story. However, that is not the important thing: what is though, is that despite their provenance, demonic Enns actually work.
In other words, to evoke, e.g. the spirit Andromalius, this –
I DO invocate and conjure thee, O Spirit, Andromalius; and being with power armed from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by BERALANENSIS, BALDACHIENSIS, PAUMACHIA, and APOLOGIAE SEDES; by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Liachidæ, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode; and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion, I do invoke thee, and by invocating conjure thee. And being armed with power from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by Him Who spake and it was done, and unto whom all creatures be obedient. Also I, being made after the image of GOD, endued with power from GOD and created according unto His will, do exorcise thee by that most mighty and powerful name of GOD, EL, strong and wonderful; O thou Spirit Andromalius. And I command thee and Him who spake the Word and His FIAT was accomplished, and by all the names of God. Also by the names ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOHI, EHYEH, ASHER EHYEH, ZABAOTH, ELION, IAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, SHADDAI, LORD GOD MOST HIGH, I do exorcise thee and do powerfully command thee, O thou Spirit Andromalius, that thou dost forthwith appear unto me here before this Circle in a fair human shape, without any deformity or tortuosity. And by this ineffable name, TETRAGRAMMATON IEHOVAH, do I command thee, at the which being heard the elements are overthrown, the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembleth, and all the hosts of the celestials, terrestrials, and infernals, do tremble together, and are troubled and confounded. Wherefore come thou, O Spirit Andromalius, forthwith, and without delay, from any or all parts of the world wherever thou mayest be, and make rational answers unto all things that I shall demand of thee. Come thou peaceably, visibly, and affably, now, and without delay, manifesting that which I shall desire. For thou art conjured by the name of the LIVING and TRUE GOD, HELIOREN, wherefore fulfil thou my commands, and persist thou therein unto the end, and according unto mine interest, visibly and affably speaking unto me with a voice clear and intelligible without any ambiguity.
can, as indeed can the half dozen other conjurations to call forth the spirit with increasing desperation, be replaced entirely with
Tasa fubin Andromalius on ca.
I find it works best repeated mantra-like, until I feel a definite “presence,” at which point I continue with the “Welcome to the spirit.” For me the preceding rites, when done conscientiously, serve to elevate my mind into a magical state of consciousness which ensures success for the whole ceremony.
In conclusion, I am wary about people being dogmatic when it comes to “tradition” in Ceremonial Magick. Strictly speaking, unless you are part of a chain in which teachings have been handed down from teacher to student, you are not part of a “tradition” at all! Even so-called Grimoire magick is a living practice, subject to modernistic re-interpretation, depending of course on whether what is actually proposed works or not.
Am I able to Astrally Project to meet with Isis and other Egyptian gods, and my Spirit Guides Or Guardians?
My answer to Am I able to Astrally Project to meet with Isis and other Egyptian gods, and my Spirit Guides Or Guard…
Answer by Alex Sumner:
Yes – is the short answer.
The long answer would be Yes, but it is difficult, because you would have to learn how to do several difficult things and combine them, i.e.
- How to astrally project;
- How to contact disincarnate entities such as god-forms or spirit guides in the most respectful and appropriate manner; and
- How to do both at the same time.
Regarding astral projection itself, I always recommend Ophiel’s. I had my own first out-of-body-experience after reading this book.
Contactacting (e.g.) Isis or other spiritual beings basically involves learning the mechanics of Ceremonial Magic. My own preferred method of doing so is by using the methods of. This takes a long time of constant study but the effort is worth it in the end.
So there I was, lying awake at night, tortured by that most exquisite of agonies – “what the hell is Cybermagick?” And more to the point, what is the real difference between cybermagick and any other type of magick? So I tried to find examples of Cyber on the internet, in the hope this would give me some much-needed relief. I was disappointed to discover three things. Firstly, it has nothing to do with Crowley-style Magic-with-a-K but done by internet-messaging service – although I’m sure this could be a fecund opportunity for an enterprising mage with low-enough scruples. Secondly, it has nothing to do with cheap attempts to insert sexual innuendo into a blog post about the occult in a cynical traffic to drive traffic to ones website! Instead, it is all about the Information Model of Magic.
The Information Model, which has been developed by Chaos magicians in the past thirty years or so, is best described by Frater UD thus:
- Energy as such is “dumb”: it needs information on what to do; this can be so called laws of nature or direct commands.
- Information does not have mass or energy. Thus, it is faster than light and not bound by the restrictions of the Einsteinian spacetime continuum. It can therefore be transmitted or tapped at all times and at all places. In analogy (but of course only as such!) it may be likened to quantum phenomena rather than relativistic mass-energy. It can, however, attach itself to a medium e.g. an organism or any other memory storage device.
So for example, action-at-a-distance such as remote healing – in the Spirit model one would evoke a spirit, ask it to go heal someone, believing that the spirit to be an objectively-real being, who will then travel across time and space to the target to heal them using its own powers. In the Information Model, the spell intention is converted into an algorithm or program which is transmitted to the target in a manner similar to the way scientists hope to exploit Quantum entanglement and the EBR paradox to use Quantum computers to transmit information: the target’s mind then receives and uses the information thus transmitted rather like a computer downloading and executing code.
It was at this point that I realised that the so-called Information Model is actually a lot older than 1987, as Frater UD alleges. It was in fact known to the Theosophists, and to occultists who were directly inspired thereby, such as Dion Fortune. The Information Model is really an attempt to describe how the Akashic Records work, without using the words “Akashic Records” !
Whereas Chaos magick would have it that the Information Model has been around since the nineteen-eighties, the idea of a permanency of ideas in the Akasha dates to the eighteen-eighties. Parahamsa Yogananda effectively expresses the same concept thus:
All thoughts vibrate eternally in the cosmos. By deep concentration, a master is able to detect the thoughts of any mind, living or dead.
Chapter 15, Autobiography of a Yogi.
This being the case, it follows that the Akashic records do not simply consist of past-life memories, but are continually being written to at every moment by living beings. It should be noted that in the same place Yogananda also claimed of his own guru, “[b]y his powerful will, Master was also a human broadcasting station…” thus explaining why he had been able to silently influence, at-a-distance, a random stranger to carry out an action he had willed.
Dion Fortune used the same or similar principles to develop a telepathic theory of magic, i.e. that by combined effort a group of ritualists could impress a Thought upon the Akasha, which would serve to cause it to influence those sensitive to it. E.g. see The Magical Battle of Britain.
My understanding of “Paradigm-shifting” in Chaos Magick is that the whole point in shifting to a new paradigm is to be able to make use of technology not available in the old one. The best non-occult example being Holograms: no-one was actually looking for Holograms until Fourier, the mathematician, theorised that they ought to be able to exist – their invention followed soon thereafter. Fourier was thus able to cause the creation of a new technology by making a successful paradigm-shift in ideas: and note that he did so not by playing “let’s pretend,” or faking it until making it, but by coming up with a fully-worked out mathematical proof! But I digress. My point is that the so-called “Information Model” is not really a paradigm-shift per se, it is really just a pre-existing paradigm described in different terminology. It is, perhaps, however, a revival of interest in an old school of thought that was not fully appreciated by the wider occult community the first time around.
Today marks the start of an astrological period in which five planets – Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Mercury – are all retrograde at the same time. Fortunately this will last only until May 8th, when Jupiter turns Direct.
When a Planet is Retrograde, which is to say its apparent motion from Earth’s point of view is backwards, then its energies are best directed inwards, rather than outwards. That is to say, whilst it may be a bad time for trying to deal with other people, it is however a good time for dealing with yourself, for example your mind, your internal thought processes, and your own spiritual development.
Going against the grain during a retrograde period is often thought not to lead to success – as is most commonly thought during a Mercury Retrograde period. This is not entirely true – it is only a bad time if the disasters happen to other people, otherwise one may be lucky enough to experience a certain amount of schadenfreude!
For those that are interested in such things, the crucial dates for the rest of 2016 are as follows:
Most number of planets retrograde at one time: 29th April to 8th May i.e. 5.
Most number of planets direct at any one time: 19th November to 18th December, then 30th December til end of year i.e. 1 – apart from four days at the very beginning of the year, there have been and will be no time in 2016 when there is not at least one planet retrograde at any one time.
Earth’s greatest purple treasure!
Artisan of purple happiness
And craftsman of purple pleasure!
Purple the music he composed
Purple the instruments he played
Purple the love he spread around
And purple the millions that he made!
Drab and grey looked the world
Before Prince purple-turned it
His purple-talent surpassing all
That the acclaim he truly earned it.
One day, the Purple One expired –
Grief struck the entire nation!
Long tears and cries and wails rang out
At this Purple disincarnation.
But a Purple Spirit from the cadaver stirred
And into the Purple Air arose;
Purple the aura it radiated forth;
And Purple its ethereal clothes –
And down a Purple Chariot came
Drawn by Purple Unicorns
The Purple Ghost climbed therein
And so to heaven was he borne.
The Princely Ghost looked up ahead
As saw to where he would fly
A Paradise of Purple Light
Which filled the purple sky.
Purple were its blissful walls
Purple the dreaming towers
Purple pleasure gardens lay beyond
Bedecked with purple flowers.
Purple were the hills and vales
Purple the rivers and trees
Purple Bird-song filled the air
As did the buzzing of purple bees.
“Halt!” a purple-voice boomed out
Almost terrifying the Purple One,
“Thou canst not enter this Purple Heaven,
Unless thou tell the good that thou hast done.”
Prince stared bewildered for a moment
As the purple words assailed him
Desperately he tried to think
But his thoughts, they almost failed him –
But then he remembered his Purple Fans
And the happiness he had created
So he gathered his purple wits together,
And to the Purple God he stated:
“My purple songs are mystic gems
Too numerous to mention –
They raise the listeners up from their lives
Up to a purple dimension.
“My purple standards of excellence
Are, to musicians, an inspiration:
Long may the Purple Legacy continue
From generation to generation!”
“Fantastic!” the Purple Deity cried,
“Your deeds are duly noted –
Take your rightful Purple place herein:
A Purple-Angel, you’re promoted!”
So Prince approached the Heavenly City
Bathed in its Purple-glow
Saint Peter opened wide the gate
And told him: “INDIGO!”