Tag Archives: Alchemy

Oh God!

A magician without a religion is … just an evil paedophile who wears a dress to cover their crimes.

Nick Farrell

As anyone who has spent too much time in a pub on a Friday night will know, there is nothing more divisive a topic of conversation as Religion – except perhaps Politics. This must be the main reason why discussions on topics of Religion and Politics are banned in all Masonic lodges – because the lodge is meant to be a place of tolerance for people of all faiths and leanings.

Nevertheless, the topic of Religion has raised its ugly head in the Golden Dawn blogosphere this week – just in time for Ishtar, I might add – so I thought I would shove in my two pennyworth.

I am not going to criticise directly what other bloggers have written about the subject. Instead I shall just point out something that no-one has yet considered. The writers of the original GD rituals were Rosicrucians – more specifically, they were members of the SRIA. In one of the rituals of the SRIA, there is the following quote:

[Alchemists] used the language of their physical work to communicate spiritual teaching which at that time had to be kept secret to avoid persecution by the official Church. And many medieval Alchemists whose writings are still extant appear to have been mainly, if not entirely, concerned with this spiritual aspect of the work.

This higher Alchemy can thus be regarded as almost identical with Religion as distinct from Theology. The function of Religion, like the great work of the Alchemist, is the “separation of the subtle from the gross,” the redemption of the spirit, while still dwelling in matter, from the taint inevitable on the lowest planes of manifestation.

(Emphasis added)

Hence: when the Golden Dawn talks about “religion,” it is reasonable to suppose that what is meant is what Westcott, Mathers and Woodman – and their contemporaries -would have understood by the term, i.e. the pure concept of Religion liberated from dogmatic theology, or the true Internal Alchemy.

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The Rosicrucians and the Alchemists: by Florence Farr

Originally published in The Occult Review, 1908, v7 May p259.


Florence Farr

 

A LEGEND arose in the time of the Lutheran outburst of a mysterious master called Christian Rosenkreutz, who was buried for a period of all years in the central cavern of the earth. His shrine was seven-sided, and all the symbols of the universe were said to have been found disposed round him in this place. The Egyptian tradition of Seker, the god in the central cavern of the Duat, evidently found an echo in the heart of the inventor of this legendary father 01 mysteries, and it will be interesting to try and discern the meanings of the main symbols of the Rosenkreutz legends in Egypt and in Germany.

The Egyptian Duat, or Underworld, was represented by a five-foldstar, or star of five radiations, enlarging as they receded from the centre, and therefore not bearing the same symbolism as the pentagram. The Rose is fivefold in its structure and is a well-known symbol of silence. The stages of its existence pass from the bud, or potential state of pralaya, to the unfolding of its leaves as the pleroma, or fulness or manifestation of creative power. Consciousness, thought, reasoning, will, and the sense of individuality are five of its powers; the five senses are other manifestations of the same symbol. When the pollen of a flower is ripe the creative work begins, the petals fall and the fruit and seed are formed. The processes of life are a rhythmic coiling and uncoiling; a radiation and attraction, and an emanation or separation. The fruit coils round the seeds, the juices pass to and fro, and finally the busk of the fruit bursts and the seeds fall out separately as emanations, each complete in itself.

So in the degrees of human enlightenment the purest state is Being so unified and perfect that the kind of consciousness that depends upon comparison cannot exist. The second state is the sense of being without bounds, which is often called wisdom. The third state is discernment, or understanding, and may be attained by concentration of the subjective mind upon an object until full understanding is attained. And these states of the unmanifest consciousness arc called Sat-Chit-Ananda in the Vedantic philosophy and Ain-Soph-Aur in the Kabalistic philosophy; and Ptah-Seker-Osiris was the concrete image of these ideas ill Egypt.

Now the Rose of the Rosicrucians was a more complicated symbol than the Cup. As we have seen the Cup was a symbol of creation, and its form was connected with the symbol of a circle in contrast to the Cross. The symbol of the Rose contains five petals and five divisions of the calyx. It is evidently the symbol of creation in activity, not in potentiality only. Perhaps we may believe the Rose to be a symbol of the subtle body of man, which is one with nature, and the Cross the symbol of the body and the name of word of man. The union of the Rose and Cross would symbolize a man able to unite himself to the great powers of Nature, or tatwas, familiar to us under their Hindoo names Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Apas and Prithivi, or the kingdoms of sound, sensation, perception. absorption and reproduction more commonly called hearing, touching, seeing, eating and generating.

Now the notion of obtaining the natural powers of an adept is most apparent in the traditions that come through Egypt and Chaldea, and the idea of the super-essential state in contrast to power is most apparent in the Oriental traditions. The high caste Oriental has the aristocratic spirit that conceives the height of life on this world to consist in the delicacy of perception associated with perfect self-satisfaction, while the democratic spirit of the West cannot conceive itself without desires, struggles and potencies for gratifying desires : democracy wishes to do and to have; aristocracy is sufficient unto itself.

Rosicrucianism and Alchemy are both allegories constructed by these working democratic minds, and in the alchemical symbolism we can trace the exact degrees of initiation through which the man, still under the great race delusion of progress, must pass before he realizes that his real self is the same yesterday, to-day and forever.

It is true in a sense that this treasure of all sages, this knowledge of Being which all mystics seek, forms itself vehicles in time and space in which it carries out the imaginations which spring from the relative side of absolute consciousness, and it is interesting to trace the different degrees of attainment.

Alchemical symbolism is mainly the symbolism of distillation.

To take a simple process, let us imagine that we desire to obtain the white and the red tinctures from honey. The alchemist would put the honey in the cucurbite of an alembic. Placing it over a gentle heat be would drive the essential part of the spirit into the bead or beak of the alembic, whence it would pass as steam into the neck of the receiver end become liquid once more as it cooled. This liquid was the white tincture, or spirit of honey mixed with water. This is the symbol of that concentration and meditation whereby the mind of man becomes subtilized and fit to perceive philosophical impressions. The white tincture is the symbol of light and wisdom.

But to obtain the red tincture of power a far more complicated process had to be performed. It consisted mainly of pouring back the distilled spirit upon the black dead-head that had been left as residue in the cucurbite and by the exercise of great care and the addition of certain matters acting upon the mixture in such a way that finally the whole of the original matter .was distilled and no black dead-bead remained and a wonderful red tincture was the result of the transmutation of the black nature.

This symbolical process involves the passing through definite stages of progress in the world of changing life. Let us imagine it carried out to its logical conclusion upon our own earth. We know that the mineral kingdom is the state in which form lasts for infinite ages and can stand great heat and cold without destruction. We know that the giants of the vegetable kingdom last many hundreds of years, but although the process of their growth and decay it prolonged they are not capable of resisting fire or of existing in the frozen zone. We know that certain animals, such as elephants, tortoises and parrots, live for very long periods of time. All these creatures have greater tenacity of existence in the forms or vehicles of life than the human creature.

It is also plain that as the earth becomes more and more subject to violent change, when the great floods and the ice and the burnings visit it, in its old age conscious life must exist in more enduring but 1ess complex, sensitive, visible forms than it does at present. Now consciousness of Being is the name we give to the white tincture which the adept distils from his human form in the alembic of the mind. It is brought about by the fire of imagined emotion and devotion under the stress of intense concentration. To focus thought has the same effect as to focus sunlight. It becomes & force analogous to heat. It is, in a word, emotion evoked by the skill of the sage. In this fire the Adept raises his consciousness until it is separate from the gross body, and no longer aware of the objective world. Passing through the gate of dreams it enters the subjective world and lives in its own brightness. Here it learns that it can create infinite visions and glories, and here the saints rejoice, each in his own heaven. Here finally the sage perceives his own divinity and is united to his God. This is the white initiation in the eyes of the Rosicrucian doctors, and according to the scriptures of the alchemists the sage has gained the white tincture. The objective world only remains in his consciousness as blackness and ignorance and death. In his divine nature he seeks to redeem the dark world, to draw it up into the divine nature and make it perfect. His vision can now show him a world in which man can no longer exist in material human form. His own desire for wisdom has drawn up the human element out of the visible or objective state. He is no longer merely a man in a human body because his subtle body has possessed itself of the characteristic human faculty of self-conscious comparison, the origin of wit, laughter and criticism.

The humanity that is beyond animal consciousness has the power of acting and knowing at the same moment; it can seem one thing and know at the same time that it is another. It is not a noble quality; it is nothing more than the power of laughing at ourselves: and yet it is the great redeeming quality, for it is the germ of all wisdom and enlightenment.

The ordinary dreamer lives in his subtle body as the fool of his own fancy, and the dream shows how little human wisdom his subtle body has obtained: but the subtle body of an adept can perceive the illusionary formulation of panoramas of light and form arising from the half-seized impression of light falling at a certain angle across the red edge of a blanket and the linen of a sheet just as he closes his eyes. The dream of the sage is a consciously guided dream. Like an author, he writes his own dramas and delights in the joys and tragedies of his creation, He no longer suffers from the attacks and sorrows that his own mind creates, but observes them with excitement and interest. He watches his own tears and cuts into the heart of his own emotions.

These are some of the experiences of the sage who has transferred the human principle from the body of matter to the subtle body.

The material body may in this stage of enlightenment be considered as a beautiful and healthy animal; it carries on the physical functions in temperate ways, unaccompanied by the fantastic imaginations of a human being. And there is little doubt that the bull of Apis was considered to take the place of the body of the adept Osiris in this way. The body of a sacred animal would answer every purpose for the divine man whose invisible body bad attained some degree of complex, conscious life. The nervous forces of the animal world act as the physical basis for the dream-powers of the subtilized or deified man.

In China the flying dragon, the mythical combination of all kinds of animal life, represents the body of the deified man that can command all the elemental states of matter that can exist in the air, the fire, the earth and the water. The dragon is the symbol of the material body of the being who has complete command of the elemental world and afterwards becomes the subtle body in the further stage of being of which we are told in Druid tradition.

When the earth grows older and complex animal forms such as flying-fish and sea-serpents and monstrous alligators, can no longer exist, another symbol must be taken from the writings of the Rosicrucian doctors and the alchemists, and we enter upon the study of the Tree of Life. He who eats of the fruit of the Tree of Life will become one with the Elohim, or creative gods, and will live for infinite ages.

Imagine the world enveloped in a great white cloud, moist and warm like a hot-house ; giant palms and ferns and mosses dripping with moisture: a climate like that of the Cocoa-palm Islands off the west coast of Africa, where animals and men can only live a little time. In this world the adept would use some marvelous tree as the physical basis of his life: and his subtle body would have drawn up into itself all the forces of motion that make a tree less powerful to our minds than an animal. The subtle body in this state would have become a veritable dragon of complex forces. It would have drawn into itself the mixed sphinx-natures of the birds and the fish, the creeping things and the four-footed creatures. The dryad of each tree would be a mighty Druid; the great Pendragon would have his oak as a physical form and would exercise his power in reality as we can imagine the ancient Druid sages exercised theirs in imagination.

This state of the subtle body may perhaps have been symbolized by the Green Dragon of the alchemists, but the Red Dragon arose after still further distillation.

Now we have to imagine a world all fire and molten glory of flame, in which. no tree or flower could exist: a world in which wonderful agate trees would circle the white crystals of their pith with bands of violet and hyacinth and blue melting into stretches of pale chalcedony and shrouded in dark crystal bark, their branches glimmering with emerald leaves: a world in which mineral life has learned at last to show itself in perfect form, where light and fire glowed alternately and played with elemental shapes and images of beauty. And so, at last, we come to the last symbol of the alchemists – the symbol of the final perfection, the Summum Bonum, the Philosopher’s Stone.

Let us imagine what that state would mean for the adept : his gross body a pure ruby, a perfect crystalline form with all the powers of growth, of nourishment, of reproduction drawn from the vegetable kingdom into his subtle body, carried on without disgust or satiety through the beautiful mediums of fiery blossoms and shining leaves ; his subtle body almost visible as a light shining in the fiery world; his children flowers of flame and his physical form an everlasting memory of beauty; his mind an all-pervading consciousness in which blossoming imaginations arose or subsided under the law of his will: a perception unified with a faculty that ordered joy to succeed sorrow and sorrow to succeed joy because he knew that one cannot manifest without the other. A supreme artist, he would rejoice in creation; a supreme critic, he would rejoice in contrast.

So the red tincture would be attained and the black, the white and the red worlds explored and analysed in the imagination of the Rosicrucians and alchemists of the Middle Ages.

We still see the same desire for progress among those who strive for the ancient stone here in this western democratic world of men who desire “to have” and “to do.” But these circles of everlasting recurrence so dear to Friedrich Nietzche are not what he called them. They are not aristocratic.

The aristocracy of mind is shown in the philosophy of Villiers de I’Isle Adam, who cried; “As for living, our servants can do that for us.” It is the feeling of the great Buddhist intellect who sees that in the words “I am not” there is a wonder and a vision and song far exceeding the mere ideas of limited ecstasy and knowledge concealed in the words “I am.”

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Czechs trust in the occult – PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague

Flag of the Czech Republic

Flag of the Czech Republic

Today I have added the Czech Republic to the Alex Sumner list of favourite foreign countries, based on the fact that so many of the local population believe in the occult arts in one form or another. Only someone who is completely cynical would suggest that this is a crass-marketing attempt by myself to find people who are willing to pay for my services as a magician! Incidentally, the other countries on this list include Italy and of course Norway.

Regarding the Czech Republic, a newspaper report (see link at the end of this post) says:

Surveys have shown that the people who neither claim adherence to a religion nor do they trust traditional church dogmas tend to incline to alternative faith, also in the form of occult arts, spirits, horoscopes, prophecies and healers.

That occultism should be so strong in the Czech Republic should come as no surprise to those who follow the history of magic: in the late 16th / early 17th century, Prague was the ruling seat of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, who was an avid fan of Alchemy, and invited many occultists to his court (e.g. John Dee, Michael Maier, etc). To this day, there is still an abundance of art and architecture in Prague, dating from Rudolf’s reign, which clearly bears alchemical and mystical symbolism. I have been receiving suggestions from various parts of the universe to actually go there, so it might actually happen later this year.

See: Czechs trust in the occult – PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague.

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The Placing of the Elements In A Golden Dawn Temple

This is a follow up post to The Elements and the Four Cardinal Directions by Aaron Leitch. The question naturally arises – why are they where they are? And: should they ever be changed?

As to the first, there are actually several plausible reasons. The first is that the stated reason in GD documents is that they are placed according to “the winds.” As I understand it this refers to Tetrabiblos, a second century work on Astrology by Claudius Ptolemy, thus:

East Dry Spring Air
South Warm Summer Fire
West Moist Autumn Water
North Cold Winter Earth

Whilst Ptolemaic Astrology is thus the proximate cause of the placing, it does enable several layers of symbolism to be interpolated into a temple arranged in this manner.

Alchemy

Now, I have actually seen some exponents of Alchemy claim that Fire is the most volatile of all the elements. However, when learned Alchemy, I learnt differently – that Air is the most volatile. Trying to figure out why these differences occur, I came to the conclusion that those in the Fire camp were taking their cues from Jean Dubuis, of the Philosophers of Nature, whilst the chap from whom I learnt Alchemy was instead inspired by Frater Albertus, of the Paracelsus Research Society.

After the Chaos has been prepared, the elements are separated from it in the order of Most Volatile (requiring only a very gentle heat), Second Most Volatile (requiring a slightly more vigorous heat), Third most Volatile / second most Fixed (requiring a fairly robust heat), and finally Most Fixed (requiring the fiercest heat of all). The Order out of Chaos, as I learnt the elements is

First, Air, the Subtle part of which becomes the Mercury;
Second, Fire, Sulphur;
Third, Water, Salt; and finally
Earth

Hence, in this manner, starting from the East and circumambulating Deosil, one encounters the elements in the order they come out of chaos, from most volatile to most fixed.

Adonai vs Jehovah

Pentagram (approximately) drawn on the belt of the Zodiac.

Pentagram (approximately) drawn on the belt of the Zodiac.

The “Fire-first” school however do not rest there: taking the Air and Fire flipped around, they apply the order of the elements to the Tetragrammaton, hence: Fire, Air, Water and Earth = Yod Heh Vah Heh. This is in contrast to the GD view of the matter, which holds that the Tetragrammaton is based on Fire, Water, Air and Earth.

I believe the confusion arises because the Fire-first fail to consider the following point:

The YHVH formula is based on Astrology, and is reflected in the Hexagram Ritual, the placing of the Elements on the altar in the Vault of the Adepti, and the order in which you would see the Cardinal signs rise above the Horizon if you got up at dawn on the Spring Equinox: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn – Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. The YHVH formula (actually the Yeheshuah Formula) is also the reason the for the assignment of the elements to the particular points of the Pentagram.

The placement of the elements in the Outer order of the GD, however, is not based on the YHVH formula but on the ADNI (“Adonai”) formula – which is identical to that of the Four Winds of Ptolemy. What what what? There’s an Adonai-formula, I hallucinate that I hear you ask? Well, yes, actually. There are twenty four  combinations of Aleph, Daleth, Nun and Yod, which each refer to one of the 24 seniors of the Book of the Apocalypse. The Adonai Formula is not generally known amongst English-speaking occultists as it comes from continental Europe. This is what Macgregor Mathers referred to when he mentioned the significance of “ADONAI” in his paper on the magical formulae of the Zelator grade (see: Pat Zalewski’s Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn).

The late Robert Ambelain mentioned it in his book Practical Kabbalah, until his publishers decided to force the translator to take the English edition off-line. Hence I cannot in any good conscience encourage you to search for it online, despite the fact you may feel curious to do so.

Embedded commands aside, the applicability of the Adonai formula to the placing of the elements is thus:

ADONAI
ALEPH Elemental AIR East
DALETH Venus, a planet associated (according to Eliphas Levi, amongst others) with FIRE South
NUN Fixed WATER West
YOD Mutable EARTH North

The Fire-First school of thought thus tries to bang their own placement of the elements into the YHVH formula like a Hollywood film producer trying to bang the wrong actor into the role of Batman: everyone know it does not fit, and it will only upset people. However – by removing the assumption that one necessarily has to work with the YHVH formula in all circumstances, and by learning that there are other Qabalistic formulae which are better suited to the task, a much more elegant solution is provided.

Chakras

The Human Aura

Chakras

Just as an aside, I would like to point out that at this point that the order Air – Fire – Water – Earth, is also the order of the elements as they are attributed to the four lower Chakras in Yoga: Air – Anahata (Heart); Fire – Manipura (Solar Plexus); Water – Svadisthana (Groin); and Earth – Muladhara (Base). Hence one is working the Pentagram ritual one can be said to be opening the four lower Chakra, in succession.

Should the Order of the Elements Ever Be Changed?

The TARDIS

In Golden Dawn ceremonies we get to travel through time and space, and across dimensions!

Sometimes I hear people opine that when casting the four quarters, the elements should be changed to fit local circumstances – for instance, a number of people who live in the Southern Hemisphere think that Fire and Earth should be flipped around, to match the course of the Sun as seen from their perspective.

Now, what various pagans choose to do in their own traditions is up to them: but what about the Golden Dawn? Should the placing of the elements be changed in a Golden Dawn temple working in the southern hemisphere?

In my opinion, there can only be one answer – a categoric NO. And I say so for the following reasons:

A Golden Dawn temple physically located in England or America, is not operating in England or America;

A Golden Dawn temple in (e.g.) Australia, is not operating in Australia.

Both of them, despite being on opposite sides of the world, are actually operating in one and the same place. The magical inner-workings of the Golden Dawn ceremonies take the Temple, and astrally transport it through Time and Space and across dimensions – to the Hall of the Duat, in the Egyptian otherworld.

Hence, the correct placing of the elements should neither be for the Northern Hemisphere, if your temple is in the Northern Hemisphere, nor for the Southern Hemisphere if it is physically located there, but for how the elements would be placed in the Hall of Judgement in the Egyptian otherworld. And according to the GD tradition, that is: Air, East; Fire, South; Water, West; Earth, North.

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The Secrets of Hermetic Internal Alchemy – Revealed

Nick Farrell has managed to surprise everyone – probably not least himself – by actually meeting a Secret Chief. I believe that Nick is completely genuine in his account as, without wanting to brag too much, according to my contacts in the Illuminati his description pretty much ties in with what I have long suspected. 😉

Nick, however, says:

He [i.e. the purported Secret Chief] was extremely interesting having been connected with lots of magical orders and alchemical groups that I had never heard of.

Well, I am pleased to announce that I can now fill in the missing bits of the jigsaw puzzle, and reveal such information as can be revealed about this mysterious group of continental adepts.

Giuliano Kremmerz, 18xx - 19xx

Giuliano Kremmerz, 1861 – 1930

The magical system employed by this Corsican gentlemen was originated by one Giuliano Kremmerz, who lived from 1861 to 1930. Kremmerz founded two magical orders: one, the Confraternita Terapeutica e Magica di Myriam (The Magical and Therapeutic Brotherhood of Myriam), and the Ordine Osirideo Egiziano (Order of Osiris the Egyptian) – which, I am informed, is the “inner order” of the first.

The Myriam Order was (and perhaps still is) an order devoted to healing illness by prayer and ritual.

The Order of Osiris was described to me in the following colourful terms. In order to join, one has to be: (a) Italian, or fluent in Italian; (b) able to attend meetings in Italy; and (c) a multi-millionaire jet-setter. As to its rituals, they were described to me as: “Have you seen Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick?”

Given that I fail to meet criteria (a), (b) and (c), I must resign myself to the fact that I shall probably never become a member of this organisation. 😦

However, by delving into the paucity of information available in academia, I discovered: the secret teachings of the Order of Osiris have been published since at least the mid 1980s. However, because they were only revealed in a very limited print run publication, and it has not been translated into English, these teachings are virtually unknown in the Anglophone world.

Hey, Godfather, that Alex Sumner is writing a blog post about us!

Hey, Godfather, that Alex Sumner is writing a blog post about us!

I have been asked to point out that the said teachings were published illegally and without authorisation. Therefore translating them would also be illegal. Indeed, the publication of the teachings caused a major scandal in Italy, with fights breaking out in the street between orders and talk of people calling upon their connections if you know what I mean. (Actually, there are a whole load of teachings from funky continental orders available to people who can speak German, French and Italian, but because English speakers have not heard of them, they remain untranslated – but that is a different story altogether).

However one academic, Hans Thomas Haakl, was able to get hold of a copy of Kremmerz’ work and (taking his life in his hands, no doubt), made a prècis of it in the English language. * The sex magical / alchemical teachings may be summarised as follows:

  • Male and female polarities may be used to “light a psychic fire” to enter transcendent states. This is not however achieved by intercourse but by asceticism based on mutual attraction and sexual abstinence.
  • But that is not to say that sex magic is never practiced, oh no. Haakl relates, from the first volume of the teachings:

One of the basic principles of sex magic is described with reference to sexual union. “Whoever copulates thinks, imagines, projects the reality of his thought into the sperm. . . . The female blood nourishes and feeds this image projected into the sperm, because woman is subject to the male thought due to her desire and voluptuousness.” The text also states that a woman can be influenced only “when she is hot.” If this condition is fulfilled, a man is capable of changing her completely and may turn her into his servant as well as into an ascetic nun. If, however, “she is not burning with desire, do not try.” Violence is not recommended, because “in nature everything is achieved by degrees.” Preparation by means of long periods of fasting and absolute chastity, in body, mind and emotion, is necessary in order to become master of oneself and build up a superior force.

  • Kremmerz goes on to describe methods of separating one’s soul from one’s body and directing it wherever one wishes: together with associated magical practices. This is essential for entering the magical state, and is a pre-requisite for some of the advanced (read: sensational) techniques of the Order.
  • He then goes on to give instructions for attaining the so-called “Glorious Body” which is a vehicle for the separated soul. This “Glorious Body,” from its description, appears to be equivalent to the well-known Body of Light, of which Mark Stavish wrote extensively in his book Between the Gates. However, the method Kremmerz prescribes is nothing like anything in Stavish’ book. The method involves
    • First: “long ritual fasting, total chastity, breathing exercises, and various other preparations.”
    • Second: a series of Alchemy-type operations in which Sperm is identified as the Philosophical Mercury, or for women, their own sexual secretions serve as equivalent. These are “circulated” (i.e. produced, then re-imbibed) first by each Alchemist individually (auto-erotic), but in more advanced practices by the male and female acting together. The various types of sexual / alchemical operations are performed in strict cycles according to astrological considerations.

As Haakl says:

This is an operation of “internal alchemy” (the body being the laboratory, that contains all the substances and instruments needed for the Great Work), which requires a perfect knowledge of one’s own body and its various hidden planes.

The sexual / alchemical operations serve to at the same time gradually separate the “solar” or spiritual part of the practitioner from the merely physical part, and create a “glorious body” in which the solar part may live thenceforth. This Glorious Body is not subject to physical death, hence (theoretically), immortality ensues.

However, this is not the end. Kremmerz goes on to state further advanced teachings which are even more revolutionary than this. He states that it is possible to become a “magical avatar.” In the Yogic tradition, an avatar is someone who is incarnated as a perfected being, e.g. Krishna. Kremmerz states that it is possible to invite a “numen” or the soul of a genius, hero or deity to drive out one’s human soul and inhabit one’s body instead. Or, to use the modern parlance, to voluntarily cause oneself to become a “Deific Walk-In” – which I suppose could be one interpretation of the secret of the grade of Ipsissimus.

Ah but which deity? This Kremmerz does not specify. Apparently there have been different Kremmerzian groups – some of which believed they were inviting the actual Christian God to “walk-in” – hence they regarded themselves as Christian Magicians. Haakl implies however that not all Kremmerzian groups shared this objective.

However: there is a more sinister theory talked about, which sounds like the kind of plot I might want to borrow for one of my books, in that it is suggested that the less scrupulous magician might decide to pick someone younger and healthier – and drive out their soul, and go and live in their body, and hence prolong their existence that way.

But Is It All Golden Dawn?

The question arises though, is can this “Secret Chief,” whom Farrell met, and the tradition which he represents, authentically be said to be part of the Golden Dawn. IMHO, the answer is no, for two reasons (the utter dissimilarity between these practices and GD practices not being one of them).

Firstly, the Order of Osiris cannot have been created before 1898 – a good seven years after Mathers is alleged to have received the 5=6 ritual and the corpus of Inner Order material.

Secondly, the fact that Kremmerz’ secret teachings were revealed in the mid 1980s means that there is no way of knowing whether any given Secret Chief has provenance back to the original Order of Osiris, or is in fact a modern reconstruction group. In fact, Haakl himself states that several groups branched off from Kremmerz and interpreted his teachings in their own ways, long before his teachings were ever made public. So it would be difficult to tell if any group has such provenance even if it were not a reconstruction.

In conclusion, I would say this. I genuinely believe that the Order of Osiris and the teachings of Kremmerz are intriguing and worthy of further study by magicians in the English speaking world. However, I would further say we should be honest and say the Order of Osiris is a magical tradition in its own right, and not necessarily a bolt-on to the Golden Dawn.


* Haakl, H T, 2008, “The theory and practice of sexual magic, exemplified by four magical groups in the early twentieth century,” published in Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism (edited by W J Hanegraaf & J J Kripal), Brill, Leiden / Boston.

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How to Be an Ascended Master

Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Luke 24: 50 – 51.

Looking at the Sophistry the MBW crowd come up with about “Ascension” (nb: MBW = Mind Body Wallet). Apparently this Ascension-lark involves bowing down and worshipping a list of so-called “Ascended Masters.” Yes, such a patriarchal term is still used even though some of them are female: the term “Ascended Mistress” has yet to gain currency I suppose because of the double-entendre.

Anyway: there was me thinking – “What a jolly wheeze it would be if, instead of worshipping an Ascended Master, it was possible to become one instead! Can such a thing be done?” At least according to some schools of Occult thought, the answer is Yes. So, for the benefit of poor benighted humankind, and to the consternation of New Age money-makers everywhere, I present Alex’ Guide to Becoming an Ascended Master.

Qabalah

The Bible itself says very little about Ascension, save for the fact that it is alleged to have happened on three occasions: Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus. Enoch’s ascension is dealt with in one verse of Genesis:

Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him.

Genesis 5:24.

Jesus’ own experience is recorded in three places: the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.

The most revealing account though is what happened to the prophet Elijah.

Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind.

2 Kings 2:11 (emphasis added).

Now the word “Chariot” (Hebrew: Merkavah) is the clue to what is really going on here: this word was later adopted by proto-Qabalists to denote a species of Mystical ritual. What we now know as Merkavah Mysticism was formulated in the first centuries of the Common Era, although the Hebrew Mystics who did so were aspiring to rediscover the ancient mysteries primarily which enabled the prophet Ezekiel to obtain his visions. I contend that the association with “works of the Chariot” may be extended to Elijah as well.

Hence: Elijah ended his days on Earth whilst engaged in mystical ritual. It should be noted that in the Yoga Tradition it is claimed that great Yogis do much the same thing, where it is called Mahasamadhi, that is – to consciously leave the body whilst in a state of perfected meditation. However, if this is what happened to Elijah though then clearly his heavenly-translation is actually only a metaphor: although his soul would have left his body in a state of perfect meditation, his body itself would be left behind – his Ascension would be akin to an actual death, though no less remarkable in its own way.

Gnosticism

The Gnostics also perceived that Ascension is a matter of undertaking certain mystical rituals, and therefore contrived to speculate what form these rituals might take. One of the finest pieces of Gnostic literature deals directly with this: the Pistis Sophia. In essence this is an account of secret teachings that Jesus gave to the Apostles after the resurrection. The post-resurrection period is stated as lasting some eleven years, not the forty days as is commonly believed in the exoteric Church.

At the end of Jesus’ post resurrection ministry, he Ascended into Heaven … then returned a short-while later to teach the Apostles how He did it.

In order to understand the basic method, one should first be aware of the Gnostic conception of the cosmos. The world of matter is supposedly removed from the Supreme ultimate Divinity: in between are the realms of lesser spiritual beings (“Archons”) who act as barriers or obstacles to Man becoming truly spiritually free, keeping him imprisoned in the physical world. These Archons range from being deliberately evil to morally-neutral, depending on which school of Gnosticism one subscribes to, although one gets the feeling that Gnostic writers tended to gild the lily somewhat when describing how terrible the Archons are in order to emphasise their importance.

According to the Pistis Sophia, Ascension is the method whereby Jesus was able to transcend the world of matter, rise up past and through the barriers administered by the Archons, and commune with the supreme ultimate divinity (referred to in the text as “the First Mystery”) in “Heaven.” NB: in communing with the First Mystery, Jesus becomes One therewith, so that at times he talks of the works of First Mystery in the First Person. The whole implication of the Pistis Sophia being that Gnostic initiates following in Jesus’ footsteps would be able to accomplish the same.

The actual method of the Pistis Sophia is centred on acquiring an ascension-vehicle known as the “Vesture of Light” which, when the initiate is wrapped therein, causes all who see it to perceive only Light itself, not the initiate. The Vesture of Light is imagined as a cloak on which are written the Words of Power which are the key to compelling the Archons to let the initiate pass upwards: ZAMA ZAMA OZZA RACHAMA OZAI.

How is the “Vesture of Light” acquired? The Pistis Sophia is open to interpretation on this point. Jesus acquired His “Vesture of Light” from the First Mystery Itself, although this is a rather circular conception when one considers that in Ascending, Jesus identifies as the First Mystery. In the opinion of G R S Mead, the Pistis Sophia was not meant to be a publicly circulated document, but reserved for initiates. If so, we can infer that there may have been further oral teaching given to Gnostic initiates which was never written down. As to what this oral teaching might be, several modern commentators have reached their own conclusions, as will be noted below.

“Mithraism”

Mead, a keen scholar of Gnosticism and related subjects, was also the first English writer to translate a key ritual of Mithraism which again deals with Ascension – which he describes as the “innermost rite of the carefully guarded secrets of the Mithriaca.”

NB: it is called a Mithraic Liturgy, but this may be misleading. There is no internal evidence in the text to suggest it has to do with Mithras at all! All that is known for certain is that the papyrus in which it is contained dates from the fourth century AD, was written in Greek and derives from Egypt (the timing makes it contemporaneous with the decline of the cult of Mithras).

The ritual itself consists of a certain number of invocations and utterations to be made whilst astrally-projecting into the Higher Realms. The basic idea of memorising a long and complex ritual to be performed in the astral is not too dissimilar to the practice of Merkavah, although the rituals differ in the details. Of modern magicians Julius Evola published a version of this ritual, implying that it may have been practised by his “Ur Group.”

Alchemy

Being the world’s greatest Ipsissimus, it has come to my attention that there is a group doing the rounds claiming to have made contact with the secret chiefs of the so-called third-order. On investigating, it quickly became obvious (i.e. obvious to someone who has the total consciousness of the universe, in other words, not obvious at all) to what they are referring.

The said Group appear to be practising a form of Gnostic ascension à la Pistis Sophia (see above). However they have come up with a radical method of attaining the “Vesture of Light,” by a means of a certain method of what may quaintly be termed “internal alchemy” – or less quaintly – Sex Magick.

I have reason to believe that the group of so-called “secret chiefs” is in fact a genuine organisation (i.e. in the sense that it exists), however: certain public details about it have been deliberately obscured. It is not, for instance, as one rumour goes around the interwebby-thing, the third-order of the Golden Dawn at all, but a highly elite and exclusive group that draw their members from high-degree Memphis-Misraim initiates.

The time, date and place of their meetings, as well as who attends them, are obviously strictly confidential, though the “secrets” are not particularly so: there is nothing there that cannot be gained from cribbing from the works of Kenneth Grant, for example.

I shall say no more on this matter, as I do not wish criticisms against me to “snowball.” 😉

Conclusion

So as you can appreciate, for the practising Occultist, “Ascension” is a goal which may be attained (allegedly) through advanced mystical and theurgic practices. Needless to say, the Qabalistic, Gnostic and (pseudo)-Mithraic methods stop short of the full deal, as in each case the initiate returns to Earth afterwards – at least in the examples that we know about. It is thus a form of shamanic journeying, albeit to the higher as opposed to lower worlds.

It is important to bear in mind at this stage a distinction between the Right and Left Hand Paths when it comes to the matter of Ascension. The aspiration of the Right-hand path practitioner is to undergo an Ascension experience in order to attain the Beatific Vision whilst living, not necessarily to permanently translate to the higher realms. After all, there is a far simpler way to do that, and that is by simply dying.

The practitioner of the Left-Hand Path is in a different position. Whereas one on the RHP automatically assumes that his or her soul is immortal and will survive death anyway, the LHP practitioner has no such guarantee. Thus, the LHP practitioner can be recognised by an obsession with Ascension not to gain the mystical benefits to derive therefrom, but as a means to cheat Death itself.

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Opus Secunda – now available on Amazon

Opus Secunda, my new novel, is now available on Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/OpusSecundaAmazon

This is the second book in the “Magus Trilogy” and features the continuing adventures of Nichola Peterson, now promoted to Detective Inspector in Scotland Yard’s Homicide Specialist Crimes Directorate – aka “The Murder Squad.” In an adult-themed story, whilst investigating the murder of a top scientist, DI Peterson becomes increasingly involved in Alchemy – in all its forms.

For a free preview of the first chapter, follow this link and enter the password NICHOLA

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New Book!!! Opus Secunda – out now

My new book, Opus Secunda is published today! It is the second book in the “Magus” trilogy.
Cover artwork for Opus Secunda
Cover artwork © 2010, the author.

Nichola Peterson has been promoted to Detective Inspector and, with her new young partner in tow,is assigned to investigate a new murder case: that of a scientist who worked for a top pharmaceutical company. But as she probes deeper, she encounters hostility and intrigue. Her investigation – and her love-life – become increasingly chaotic. And to cap it all: the mysterious Magus re-appears and reveals he was working with the murder-victim on a top-secret project…

This is the second book in the “Magus” trilogy. Suitable for adult readers.

Availability

Both the print and the ebook edition are available from Lulu.com.

The book should be available on Amazon in 6 to 8 weeks (I shall make a further announcement when it is).

Click here for My Lulu Storefront

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