Recently I introduced myself to a group of magicians, saying “You may know me as Alex Sumner.” To which one of them responded by saying “I thought your name was Eric?” I do hope he wasn’t confusing me with other magicians named Eric, but the point is I am partly at fault for not having blogged much recently. I will explain:
Over the past few months I have been particularly concerned with re-visiting my Enochian magic practice. In addition I am now turning towards divination in general, and Tarot in particular. All the while I keep up with my post-Abramelin activities.
Professionally, the manuscript of my next book “Conjuring Demons for Profit and Pleasure” is with the publishers, so that is still going ahead. I’m actually finding that periodically re-reading my magical diaries from whilst performing the Abramelin operation refreshes and re-inspires me.
What I have to say might sound so shocking that sheer cognitive dissonance will cause many readers to react by crying aloud and saying “No! It can’t be so!” Or: “Surely Alex you must be mistaken?” It is a small detail from Enochian Magick, but important enough to derail one’s entire appreciation of the system if one were to overlook it. It is this:
Everyone who has being doing Enochian Magick relying solely on Aleister Crowley’s texts has been doing it wrong.
Why? Because there is a fundamental mistake in published versions of Liber Chanokh.
The attribution of the Elements to the individual squares of each of the lesser angles has great importance in determining the astrological, tarot, geomantic and qabalistic attributions thereof, as well as each ruling godform. Ultimately, it will affect the vision that one will have if one were to attempt to scry into each square.
The Golden Dawn’s rationale for assigning the elements was stated by Israel Regardie thus:
“Referring to the other squares of the lesser angles, in the Kerubic Rank the outside square is always attributed to the letter corresponding to Element of the Lesser Angle. In the Tablets of Air and Water, the Name read right to left in the upper two quarters; in the two lower quarters it reads from left to right. In the Tablets of Earth and Fire, left to right in the upper, but in the two lower quarters right to left.“
To summarise, the directions would look like this:
Whilst the Elements of the columns would be arranged thus:
However: what appears to have happened is that in published copies of Liber Chanokh, and in versions of the Tablets derived therefrom, the elements appear to have been arranged thus:
Spot the difference? This makes it clearer – note the third row, which corresponds to the upper portions (Air and Water lesser Angles) of the Earth and Fire Tablets.
(left) Golden Dawn; (right) Liber Chanokh. Note the third row down.
What appears to have happened is that Crowley (or his illustrator) appears to have interpreted the directions like this:
(left) Golden Dawn; (right) Liber Chanokh. Again, note the third row down.
What is Crowley’s explanation for him ordering the elements in this way? Whilst Regardie set out his rationale in the quote I reproduced above, Crowley however says:
“3. Kerubic Squares.
The upper sides pertain to the element of the Tablet, the lower sides to the subelement. Right- and left-hand sides in this case correspond, according to a somewhat complex rule which it is unnecessary to give here. …
4. Lesser Squares.
The upper side of each pyramid is governed by the Kerub standing on the file above it. The lower side is governed by the Kerub also, but in order descending as the are from right to left above.”
Crowley, Liber Chanokh
“Unnecessary to give here” ! If only it had been given, Crowley’s readers would have found the discrepancy without assistance! If one refuses to believe that Crowley could possibly have made a mistake – perhaps because the aforesaid cognitive dissonance is too much to bear – then the only other conclusion one can draw is that Thelema uses a different version of the Enochian Watchtowers to the Golden Dawn. It is certainly a mistake to think that one can use both the Golden Dawn and Thelemic versions interchangeably.