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Occult: What is the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? – Quora

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical order founded in 1888. Its teachings focussed on the Qabalah, Hermeticism, astrology, tarot, alchemy – albeit through the lens of Theosophy. In its higher grades (the “inner order”) members passed from the theoretical to the practical and practiced ceremonial magic.

Notable members included S L MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, W B Yeats, Dion Fortune, A E Waite, Paul Foster Case, as well as a whole host of others.

“The Golden Dawn,” by Israel Regardie

In 1934, Israel Regardie went public with the teachings of The Golden Dawn, although many of them had been published previously by Crowley.

The original order broke up and stopped operating under the name of “Golden Dawn” in the early twentieth century, but there are nowadays modern revivals of the Golden Dawn, operating in England, America, and elsewhere.


Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to Occult: What is the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? – Quora

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What is your source of occult information? – Quora

Alex at home, studying.

(A2A) Donald Michael Kraig’s “Modern Magick” was my first serious book on practical occultism as well. It is an ideal book for beginners because (a) it contains a lot of suitable material to get you started; and more importantly (b) it also has an extensive bibliography which will clue you in as to where to go and what to read to pursue your studies further.

Other books I generally recommend:

(For beginners):

(More advanced):

(Even more advanced):

The Greek Magical Papyri In Translation” (H D Betz), “Transcendental Magic – its Dogma and Ritual” (Eliphas Levi), “Light on Yoga” (BKS Iyengar), other books by Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, Crowley, S L MacGregor Mathers, primary texts on Adam McLean’s Alchemy website / Joseph H Peterson’s website, etc, etc, etc.


Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to What is your source of occult information? – Quora

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Which book by Israel Regardie would be advisable for a complete novice?

Answer by Alex Sumner:

If the operative words are “complete novice” I would say The Middle Pillar followed up by Foundations of Practical Magic (I would also have recommended “How To Make and Use Talismans” if you can get it, but it appears to be out of print).
The Golden Dawn is advanced reading, though ultimately highly rewarding.

I have to confess I didn’t actually like The Tree of Life as I found Regardie’s language rather pompous, and it didn’t actually cover anything that had already been done better elsewhere (e.g. by Aleister Crowley or Dion Fortune).

Which book by Israel Regardie would be advisable for a complete novice?

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Books for Beginners

Recently I asked the question:

What book(s) would you recommend to a complete beginner on magick? Shameless plugs only if genuine.

I now present some of the answers I received.

Wicca

Enchanted: Titania’s Book of White Magic comes recommended from Facebook fan Diane J Reed, who says:

 I absolutely love this book … (it’s out of print, so you have to get a used copy). The book is just gorgeous and only deals with “white” magic used for good purposes, but the photography is so beautiful it will make you drool.

I personally am not cognisant with this work, but Titania Hardie, the author, describes it as being within the Wiccan tradition. Whilst on the subject of Wicca, another FB fan, Philip Dean Fox, recommends Witchcraft: A Beginner’s Guide by Teresa Moorey, and two books by Susan Bowes: Life Magic – The power of positive witchcraft. and Notions and Potions: A safe, practical guide to creating magic and miracles. Meanwhile, another FB friend, Adrien, recommends Christopher Penczak’s The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development (Penczak Temple).

Hermetic Magick

Oliver St John recommends Hermetic Qabalah: A Foundation in the Art of Magick by, er, Oliver St John. He assures me:

 I still use my own copies for reference, tables, correspondences and other information stored all in one place and easy to find. When I started out I had to have 6 books open at once to find all this stuff.

Oliver also makes the point that:

… plugs to one side, it is a really good question. Where on earth do we start? The milestones like “Complete Golden Dawn” and Crowley’s “Magick” are useless to a complete beginner. I would recommend getting a grounding in at least the basics of astrology and setting up a horoscope. It amazes me how many occultists don’t know the first thing about astrology.

Indeed! Several months ago I gave myself the task of doing a short ten-minute talk to members of a highly secretive branch of the Illuminati (nb: they are not secretive at all! They just don’t want it publicly known that they have a scruff like me as one of their members!) outlining a number of basic reference works for people who might, for all I know, be complete beginners to the mysteries. I remember that many years ago I read a remark by Israel Regardie about the first Knowledge Lecture of the Golden Dawn, recommending to just get any old book on astrology to look up basic terms thereon – so that is exactly what I did, and what I recommended in turn to the members of this order. As it happens, when I went into Waterstones that fateful day, the first book on the subject which I picked up was Teach Yourself Astrology.

Apart from that, there are a few other old favourites that I would personally recommend, e.g.

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QOTD: Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie

An Order is simply a temporary vehicle of transmission — a means whereby suitable individuals may be trained to awaken within their hearts the consciousness of the boundless Light. But sooner or later, it would appear that the initiates foster loyalty to the external husk, the shell, the organisation of grades at the expense of that dynamic spirit for which the shell was constructed. So often has it happened in the past. Every religion stands as eloquent witness to this fact. It is the fate which has overtaken the Golden Dawn. Practically the whole membership is fanatically attached to individuals conducting Temple work as well as to the mechanical system of grades of the Order. But when this piece of teaching and that document of importance is withdrawn from circulation, mutilated, and in some cases destroyed, none has come forward to register an objection.

Its Chiefs have developed the tyranny of sacerdotalism. They have a perverse inclination towards priestcraft, and secrecy has ever been the forcing ground in which such corruption may prosper. Obligations to personal allegiance whether tacit or avowed, is the ideal method of enhancing
the personal reputation of those who for many years have sat resolutely and persistently upon the pastos of the hidden knowledge. If by any chance the hidden knowledge were removed from their custody, their power would be gone. For in most cases their dominion does not consist in the gravitational attraction of spiritual attainment or even ordinary erudition. Their power is vested solely in the one fact, that they happen to be in possession of the private documents for distribution to those to whom they personally wish to bestow a favour as a mark of their
esteem.

Israel Regardie, What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn

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The Bornless Ritual

The famous “Bornless Ritual,” otherwise known as the “Preliminary Invocation of the Goetia” is a subject about which I have written before. Now however I want to share with you the results of some discoveries I  made when I was doing some scholarly research in London just the other day. Although the Bornless Ritual was made famous by Aleister Crowley in his edition of the Goetia of The Lesser Key of Solomon in 1904, it was in fact  in circulation amongst the Adepti of the original Golden Dawn, i.e. Isis-Urania Temple – thus indicating that it was yet another GD teaching that Crowley half-inched.

For example: a copy of the Bornless Ritual may be found in the Library & Museum of Freemasonry amongst the papers of the Rev Ayton, bound in the same volume in which I found A Method of Vibrating Adonai Ha-Aretz To Unite Yourself with your Personal Kether.

Now it so happens that Israel Regardie, in his book The Golden Dawn constructed a Z2 Spiritual Development ritual based around the Bornless Ritual – however, when comparing this to the original GD manuscripts which I have seen it is clear that Regardie’s approach is overly sophisticated. The Adepti of the original GD would in fact simply perform the ritual without adornment – save that at key-points, they would make the Kerubic Sigils with their elemental tools. Moreover the version circulated within the original GD retains the correct spellings of the “Barbarous Names of Evocation” which unfortunately Regardie’s version does not have. (I mention this because one of the themes with which I was concerned when I wrote about the Bornless Ritual previously was the “Barbarous Names” may well have significance in terms of Isopsephos, i.e. Greek Gematria).

Hence: I present below a transcription of “The Bornless Ritual” as it would have been used within the original GD.


An Extremely Powerful Invocation For Daily Use And Work

Thee I invoke, the Bornless One! Thee that didst create the Earth and the Heavens, Thee that didst create the Night and the Day, Thee that didst create the Darkness and the Light.
Thou art Osorronophris, whom no man hath seen at any time. Thou art Iabas; thou art Iapos.

Thou hast distinguished between the Just and the Unjust. Thou didst make the Female and the Male. Thou didst produce the Seed and the Fruit. Thou didst form Men to love one another, and to hate one another.

Hear thou me, for I am Mosheh thy servant, unto whom Thou hast committed thy Mysteries, the ceremonies of Israel.

Thou hast produced the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all created life. Hear me, for I am the Angel of Paphro Osorronophris: this is Thy true name, handed down to the prophets of Israel.

[Handwritten: Aquarius symbol with the words “with Air Dagger.”]
Hear me: Ar, Thiao, Rheibet, Atheleberseth, A, Blatha, Abeu, Ebeu, Phi, Chitasoe, Ib, Thiao.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me: so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether; upon the Earth and under the Earth; on dry land or in the water; of whirling air or of rushing fire; and every spell and scourge of God may be obedient unto me.

[Handwritten: Leo-symbol with words “with Wand.”]
I invoke Thee, the terrible and invisible God who dwellest in the void place of spirit: Arogogorobrao, Sothou, Modorio, Phalarchao, Ooo, Ape, The Bornless One.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

[Handwritten: symbol of Eagle’s head, with words “with Cup.”]
Hear me: Roubriao, Mariodam, Balbnabaoth, Assalonai, Aphniao, I, Thoteth, Abrasax, Aeoou, Ischara, Mighty and Bornless One.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

[Handwritten: Taurus-symbol, with words “with Pentacle.”]
I invoke Thee: Ma, Barraio, Ioel, Kotha, Athorebalo, Abraoth.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

[Handwritten: Spirit-symbol, with words “on ground with Incense.”]
Hear me: Aoth, Abaoth, Basum, Isak, Sabaoth, IAO.

This is the Lord of the Gods;
This is the Lord of the Universe;
This is He Whom the winds fear;
This is He Who, having made Voice by His commandment, is Lord of all things – king, ruler and helper.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

[Handwritten: Spirit-symbol, with words “in air above with Incense.”]
Hear me: Ieou, Pur, Iou, Pur, Iaot, Iaeo, Ioou, Abrasax, Sabriam, Oo, Uu, Adonaie, Ede, Edu, Angelos Ton Theon, Anlala Lai, Gaia, Apa, Diachanna Chorun.

I am He, the Bornless Spirit! Having sight in the feet – strong, and the Immortal Fire!
I am He, the Truth!
I am He, who hate that evil should be wrought in the world.
I am He who lighteneth and thundereth.
I am He from whom is the shower of the life on Earth.
I am He whose mouth ever flameth.
I am He, the Begetter and Manifester unto the Light.
I am He, the Grace of the World.

“The Heart Girt with a Serpent” is My name.

Come thou forth and follow me, and make all spirits subject unto me, so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether, upon the Earth and under the Earth, on dry land and in the water, of whirling air and of rushing fire, and every spell and scourge of God, may be obedient unto me.

IAO. Sabao. Such are the words!

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Dog of Evil

Here's one I evoked earlier...

As part of the ritual for his Evocation of Bartzabel, the Spirit of Mars, Aleister Crowley conjured up what was referred to as “The Dog of Evil.” The question naturally arises “why?” and “where did this portion of ritual come from?” The first part may be partially answered by looking at its place in the context of the ritual. Crowley and his chums are busy building up a powerful wall of protection against the potentially dangerous forces they intend to evoke – hence they call upon a magical Guard Dog – the eponymous Dog of Evil – to protect them.

The original source is one of the Papyri (? 501?) in the Harris collection. Israel Regardie referred to it in his book The Tree of Life as a method of banishment used by Egyptian priests, and then purported to transcribe it  “verbatim from the Papyrus.”

However, I now have reason to doubt that Regardie was being entirely accurate when he said that he got it verbatim from the Papyrus – for two reasons. The first is the obvious one – his description of the ritual is in English, a language unknown to the ancient Egyptians! I was not actually aware that Regardie was able to read Hieroglyphics – but this is by the by.

I also have evidence which I am not at liberty to publicly reveal.


A RITUAL OF BANISHMENT

To be performed in the South, North, West and East, with the formulation of a guardian in the shape of a dog that was to be terrible to all attacking forces:

“Arise, Dog of Evil, that I may instruct thee in they present duties. Thou art imprisoned. Confess thou that it is so. Horus it is who has given this commandment. Let thy face be terrible as the storm-parted sky. Let thy jaws close pitilessly. Make sacrifice as the God Her-Shafi. Massacre as the Goddess Anata. May thy hair stand up like rods of fire. Be thou great as Horus and terrible as Set.
Equally to the South, to the North, to the West and to the East.
The whole land belongs unto thee. Nothing shall stop thee, whilst thou settest thy face in my defence: while thou settest thy face against savage beasts; while thou settest thy face to protect my paths, opposing thyself to the enemy.
I bestow upon thee the power of vanishing, of becoming noiseless and invisible. For thou art my guardian, courageous and terrible.”

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The Middle Pillar

The Middle Pillar is the subject of a paper I recently delivered at a Golden Dawn themed open day.


This talk is aimed at everyone including complete beginner to the Qabalah. In a little while we will be doing the Middle Pillar Ritual itself.

But first, some background.

The Middle Pillar Ritual seems to have been an original creation of Israel Regardie, which he synthesised from Golden Dawn teachings. The Golden Dawn before Regardie did not really use it per se, although they did contemplate the Tree of Life as a whole in ones aura.

The Middle Pillar corresponds to the Sushumna of Yoga – the channel down the centre of the body where are located the Chakras. The Middle Pillar Ritual is thus a technique for rousing the energies of the chakras, but with two key differences:

  1. In the Qabalah we work with 4 or 5 (I’ll explain later) chakras, not the full 7;
  2. In the Golden Dawn we always invoke the highest first – always. Therefore we always start from the top (Crown) and go down.

Many schools of Yoga do the opposite – they open the chakras from the bottom upwards. However: Sri Aurobindo, the founder of Integral Yoga, said that the correct Yogic method should be to open the chakras from the top down – like we do in the Golden Dawn. The reason – he says – is that by opening the chakras from the top down one prevents a sudden uncontrolled explosion of Kundalini, because the superior chakras will have already been stabilised and dedicated to God before the Kundalini (which resides in the base chakra) is awakened.

NB: Kundalini rising in a controlled manner is good; exploding uncontrollably is bad, because despite feeling good it leads to bad side-effects.

The “chakras” (actually “Sephiroth”) with which we work are: Kether, the Crown chakra; Daath, the throat; Tiphereth, the heart; Yesod, the sacral or genital region; and Malkuth, the base chakra.

NB: The Sephiroth do not correspond exactly to those of Yoga, so it is best not tot try and keep looking for correspondences where none exist. The Middle Pillar Ritual does not necessarily fulfil the same function as raising Kundalini – it is an invocation of the Divine from above, as opposed to raising energy from below. References to chakras etc are but a convenient peg on which to hang my metaphor, for those not familiar with the Golden Dawn.

Kether – the crown – does correspond fairly well to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus. Both represent ones connection to the Universe. In the Golden Dawn the Kether point of one Qabalistic world is the connection to the Malkuth of a superior world: so we may imagine that energy spirals down into our crown chakra from a higher plane of existence.

Daath – the throat – is slightly problematic. It is not actually a Sephirah – technically, it is a place where a Sephirah should be but tellingly, is not. Daath should be considered as a marriage of Chokmah and Binah. Daath does not have any attributions of itself: however, in the Hexagram ritual which we use in the second order, the point corresponding to Daath is associated with the supernals generally and Saturn specifically. For that reason, when we perform the Middle Pillar Ritual we use the divine name of the sphere of Saturn, i.e. Binah.

In any event, Daath does not correspond perfectly with the throat chakra of Yoga. The “Vishuddi” chakra is associated with the element of Akasha, which in the Golden Dawn is more associated with Tiphereth.

The next Sephirah is Tiphereth itself. As it happens both Tiphereth and its corresponding Chakra, Anahata, are associated with the element of Air, in spite of the Tiphereth’s other associations with Akasha or Spirit. Tiphereth itself is associated with the Sun.

Below that is Yesod. This is in the same place as the Svadisthana chakra, however: Yesod is associated with Air, and Svadisthana is associated with Water. All of the Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar are associated with Air, in fact, apart from Malkuth, which is associated with Earth. Yesod itself is also associated with the Moon.

Finally we have Malkuth, which like the Muladhara chakra the lowest chakra, represents the Earth – ones connection with the Earth. There is a fairly major difference, however: because the Yogi does his meditation sitting down, his connection with the Earth is the base of his spine – the perineum. However, because we do our Middle Pillar Ritual standing up, our connection i.e. our Malkuth centre is in our feet. Both the Muladhara chakra and Malkuth are (as said previously) associated with Earth.

Incidentally, Dion Fortune worked out a method of working with all the chakras, albeit using Qabalistic associations with all of them. What she did was to work with the four (or five) Sephiroth which I have already mentioned: however in addition, she imagined the brow chakra (Ajna) as jointly-representing Chokmah and Binah; whilst the solar plexus chakra (Manipuraka) as jointly representing both Hod and Netzach. Daath becomes the Luna plexus, whilst the Vishuddi chakra is imagined as jointly representing Chesed and Geburah. She also formulated an exercise in which after these eight were opened one imagined them being ruled over by Egyptian God-forms. She also specified a method for partner-working – i.e. one partner invokes the chakras for the other and then vice versa.

That digression aside, I will now speak about the Middle Pillar Ritual itself, and what it is used for. It is primarily a method for invoking spiritual blessings for ourselves. Israel Regardie however said that it could also be used for healing, and even as a simple method of practical magic. Regardie’s theory was this. One performs the Middle Pillar ritual – after which one is imagining and feeling oneself filled with light and energy. Then, to perform healing, whilst still contemplating that light and energy, one concentrates on the part which needs to be healed, imagining that light is flowing into that part. It is in effect a Qabalistic form of Reiki. This can be done on oneself, or with a patient who is present, or it can be used as a form of distant healing.

As to practical magic, Regardie said that the Middle Pillar ritual could be used in a way that is similar to what people who work with the aura know as colour breathing. So for example, to attract a specific influence into your life, one would perform the Middle Pillar ritual, and then still contemplating the light circulating in your aura, visualise that your aura is being filled with the colour representing that influence – whilst vibrating the diving names associated therewith.

Regardie also said this could be extended to consecrating talismans. Having created a talisman for a particular purpose, one performs the Middle Pillar ritual, one contemplates the particular influence and its colour, and then one imagines that that light is flowing into the Talisman.

In short, I recommend reading “The Art of True Healing” (which is included in “Foundations of Practical Magic”), “How to Make and Use Talismans” and “The Middle Pillar” itself – all by Israel Regardie. In actual fact the material added to the current edition of “The Middle Pillar” by Chic and Tabatha Cicero almost makes it worth reading by itself.


After the introductory talk, I then led those present in the Middle Pillar Ritual, rather as it is outlined in Regardie’s book, though with a certain amount of adaptation:

By way of setting the scene, I asked all present to imagine themselves in their astral body, which had grown so large that they were the size of the Earth itself. Around them were the stars, whilst directly above their heads a mighty Dragon – the constellation Draco – was flying around and around in a circle, creating a Tourbillon of power (i.e. a vortex or whirlpool) drawing down energy from above.

NB: this is essentially a simplified version of the visualisation that an Adept does when contemplating the Tree of Life projected in a sphere.

A point of light appears in the centre of the circle traced by the path of the Dragon. The vortex draws this light down from above, so that it touches the crown of the participant. As is touches the crown it lights up the Kether centre – visualised as a sphere of white light directly above and touching the top of the head. The light is swirling around inside this sphere, following the perturbations of the vortex.

At this point I asked everyone to vibrate the divine name of Kether – EHEIEH – six times, imagining that the vibrations were occurring in the sphere of Kether itself.

Then I asked everyone to imagine that light from Kether was spiralling down the Middle Pillar like a corkscrew to the throat, lighting up Daath. Again the light was imagined as swirling around inside Daath. The name YOD HEH VAV HEH ELOHIM was vibrated six times, again imagining the vibrations were taking place in that sephirah.

In a similar manner, Tiphereth was invoked with YOD HEH VAV HEH ELOAH VE-DAATH.

Likewise: Yesod with SHADDAI EL CHAI.

Likewise: Malkuth with ADONAI HA-ARETZ. The light was imagined as cork-screwing down even into the Earth.

Then I got the participants to imagine light going down their left-side and up their right-side, enclosing them in a Vesica Piscis, the symbol of transmutation to a higher spiritual level.

Then I got them to visualise the light going down the front of their body and up the back.

Then I got them to imagine light coming up the Middle Pillar from Malkuth to Kether, where it fountained-out and poured down on all sides.

Then I asked them to imagine that light was spiralling back up their bodies, literally wrapping them up.

Given that I had previously been talking about using the Middle Pillar Ritual for healing, I told them that if anyone felt in need of it, they should spend a moment contemplating the person or part being filled with white light. Thereafter – as the flooding in Pakistan was current in the news at the time – I encouraged those present to send healing energy to that country and its people – and also the middle East generally.

Finally, we closed by bringing our attention back to our heart-centres, and vibrating once the mystical names of Jesus – YEHESHUAH, YEHOVASHAH. I personally felt that the ritual was very powerful performed this way, especially with all the chanting.

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How to Heal Through Magick

I have received a message today, which I believe the author would like to be disseminated as widely as possible, as follows:

Phaedra Bonewits has put out a healing request for her husband, Isaac Bonewits (author of Real Magic). Isaac has been fighting colon cancer for quite some time now, and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, he has progressed to the point where he is just not strong enourgh to survive another round of chemo. His doctor has told them that Isaac needs a miracle.

Therefore, Phaedra would like the magical community to kick in the magic and do a “rolling thunder” healing ritual on the night of the full moon, May 27th at 9pm.

A “rolling thunder” ritual, for those who are not ever participated in one, creates an effect like a rolling thunderstorm. The base principle of how to create the effect is well known to ceremonial magicians; quite simply, you do the ritual at 9 pm based on your local time zone. Therefore, the east coast does it at 9 o’clock Eastern; central does it at 9 Central; 9 for those in the Mountain time zone; and yes, 9 o’clock local time for those in the Pacific time zone. The energies roll from one time zone to another.

As for what healing and magical techniques are used, Phaedra does not care. Her only other request, outside of it being done at 9 pm local time is that you use the following chant to link the energies raised: “Isaac’s tumors fade away. Thirty more years with Phae.”

Morgan Drake Ekstein.

Isaac Bonewits

This got me thinking about compiling in one place all the magical healing techniques of the western mystery tradition.

The Middle Pillar / “Art of True Healing” Method

This method was described by Israel Regardie first in his book “The Art of True Healing” although a more detailed version is in his seminal work “The Middle Pillar.” As regards self-healing the process is as follows. One performs the Middle Pillar Ritual, first by focussing on Kether and chanting the divine name associated with it half-a-dozen times; then moving down to Daath, Tiphereth, Yesod and Malkuth. Each Sephira is imagined as a sphere of Light, linked by a column of light – i.e. the Middle Pillar. Once one has formulated Malkuthm, one imagines the Light circulating down the left-side and up the right-side half-a-dozen times; down the front and up the back in like manner; up the centre and fountaining up from the top; and winding upwards like a helix. Going through this visualisation / vibration / meditation process with full consciousness puts one in an altered state of consciousness – i.e. magical consciousness. To utilise it for the purpose of healing, one then visualises the Light thus imagined being directed to the part of the body in need of healing – or otherwise the whole body for the sake of general health.

The Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar + Divine Names
Sephirah Where Divine Name
Kether Crown Eheieh
Daath Throat Yod Heh Vav Heh Elohim
Tiphereth Heart Yod Heh Vav Heh Eloah Ve-Daath
Yesod Groin Shaddai El Chai
Malkuth Feet Adonai Ha-Aretz

To heal another the procedure is similar, except that one should go through the Middle Pillar Ritual with the patient. I do not recall Regardie describing distant healing via this method, although I have attempted to do so by visualising the patient as I performed the ritual.

Astral Healing – a method from Magick In Theory & Practice

Aleister Crowley briefly mentions a method of healing which requires considerable control of ones own astral body. Whilst out in the astral, one examines the aura of the person to be healed – a malady will show up as a dark or discoloured patch therein. The healer deliberately brightens the aura of the patient – which in turn will cause an influx of vitality for the patient. Although this requires one to be experienced in astral projection this would seem to be ideal for performing distant healing.

I once tried this and it seemed to work, although I cannot take all credit, as the patients in question also had a church-full of people praying for them at the time.

A Whare Ra Healing Ritual

Follow this link for a Ritual that was used by the Whare Ra temple of the Stella Matutina. I know of a modern Temple that adapted this for the purpose of sending out healing to one of its members who was in a bad way. This seemed appropriate because the ritual itself is well suited for carrrying out in the hall of the Neophytes. Unfortunately, the member in question in all modesty had not let on how bad it was until too late, so by the time the Temple met, it was turned into a ritual to send healing energy to that person’s immortal soul.

Ceremonial Magick (Z2)

According to 777, the miracle of Healing is the magical power associated with the path of Beth, which is associated with the planet Mercury. Thus if one were to construct a magick ceremony, either using the Golden Dawn’s Z2 formulae or otherwise, one would base it upon the qabalistic associations of Mercury, i.e. row 12 of 777. An example of this may be found here.

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Lucid Dreaming

This is the text of a paper which I presented recently on Lucid Dreaming. It is an abbreviated form of the extended treatise which appears on my website and in many ways it is more autobiographical.


Lucid Dreaming

Introduction

In this paper I intend to speak about a method of attaining an altered state of consciousness which is almost as easy as falling asleep – literally.

“Lucid Dreaming” is a special type of dreaming in which one is aware that one is dreaming, but without waking-up. This is only a very basic and incomplete definition, because there is far more to lucid dreaming – as I will explain presently.

As a phenomenon, Lucid Dreaming has been known to occultists like Dion Fortune, Ophiel, and more recently, Carlos Castaneda[i] for many years. It is my contention that Lucid Dreaming is actually a form of Astral Projection – and that occultists of the past have recognised it as such.

Speaking personally, it was through Lucid Dreaming that I first became interested in the occult. I was into Lucid Dreaming even before I was into the Golden Dawn. Way back in the distant-past (1995 actually) when I was a student, there I was, reading an interview with ambient musician “The Aphex Twin” in Melody Maker. I didn’t particularly care for the Aphex Twin’s music at that time, although one thing he said piqued my curiosity: he claimed that he used something called “lucid dreaming” to compose his records. He would have all his equipment set up in his studio, and then he would fall asleep and dream lucidly, coming up with a new piece of music which he could immediately record on waking. Apparently he was able to create a lot of material in this way: at one point he claimed that he was able to come up with several albums’ worth of material every week. (Compare this with Kate Bush who is currently averaging one album almost every four years!)

All this talk about Lucid dreaming struck a chord with me: as soon as I heard the phrase, it just sounded as if it were the kind of thing that I could do myself. I therefore read up on the subject and started practising nightly. It took several months of practice for me to get the hang of it, after which I was rewarded with a short dream in which I became aware I was dreaming right in the middle of it, and managed to remain asleep. It was not a particularly interesting dream, and I did not actually do anything with it – it being my first time.

However, after that, as I became used to it, I found I was able to lucid-dream more often: also, the quality of my lucid-dreaming improved. I was able to do quite ambitious things with my lucid dreams, for example: to decide the content of my dream beforehand, whilst awake; to alter details within the dream whilst dreaming, simply by an effort of will; and generally to do all kinds of things like the character Neo was able to do in the movie “The Matrix.”

Around about this time I was becoming interested in the Western Mystery Tradition, and the system of the Golden Dawn in particular. I read Dion Fortune, who claimed that Out of the Body Experiences were just like lucid dreams;[ii] I read Ophiel, who explicitly described lucid dreaming as a means of performing astral projection.[iii] I therefore wondered to myself: can I use my own lucid dreaming to do all the things in the Golden Dawn system, for which astral projection is recommended? The result of my researches was that generally speaking, the answer was yes.

Prior to getting involved with the Golden Dawn system, my lucid dreaming had merely been about self-indulgence. However, as I began to incorporate magick into it, I found I was able to access new dimensions of awareness. I was able to do things like perform rituals such as the LBRP and the Middle Pillar Ritual; develop clairvoyance in the form of tattva-journeys; perform magic spells; commune with angels; and experience heightened states of consciousness. On one or two occasions I even experienced a rudimentary form of pre-cognition, although it did me no good whatsoever – I have never predicted a winning horse or set of lottery numbers, unfortunately.

I also came close to wrecking my health – which is when I discovered that it is possible to do too much lucid dreaming. As a result, nowadays I have cut-down on my lucid dreaming. Whereas when I was starting out I was practising literally every night, nowadays I only attempt to dream lucidly on two or three nights every month. I have found that this is usually quite adequate for all the lucid dreaming which I need to do. I have actually spoken out in public forums, saying that too much lucid dreaming can be bad for you, although I was not received particularly well, as most people in those forums wanted to hear about all the benefits of lucid dreaming, and closed their minds to someone alerting them to the possible dangers.

However, I believe that lucid dreaming, when done in moderation, is fairly harmless and indeed can be quite good for oneself. I also believe it is a very interesting phenomenon because it is one that a complete beginner, with no other talent for psychism, can experience with only a little practice. I myself started out as just such a complete beginner.

I shall now go into detail about what lucid dreaming actually is, the kind of things you can achieve with it, and some practical suggestions which you can take away with you.

Lucid Dreaming: What

Among the types of possible brain-activity in existence, there are four which are relevant when discussing Lucid Dreaming. These are:
· Beta Waves – in excess of 12 Hz i.e. twelve transitions or cycles per second -which correspond to normal waking consciousness;
· Alpha-waves – between 8 to 12 Hz – which correspond to when one is awake, but relaxed, with a stilled mind;
· Delta waves – from 1 to 4 Hz – which correspond to deep sleep; and
· Theta waves – between 4 and 8 Hz – which is between deep sleep (Delta) and relaxation (Alpha).

Researchers have found that phenomena like lucid dreams, out-of-the-body experiences, etc, occur when an individual is in a state of Theta-wave brain activity. In other words, in order to dream lucidly, it is necessary to attain a state of consciousness which is somewhat deeper than deep relaxation, but somewhat lighter than deep sleep.

I contend that the real difference between astral projection and lucid dreaming lies in the way that the individual attains this state of “Theta-Consciousness.” A lucid dreamer will start by descending into a Delta-wave state (i.e. fall asleep), and then ascend into a Theta-wave state. An astral traveller on the other hand would descend into a Theta-wave state from deep relaxation (alpha), without necessarily falling asleep first.

From my experience, there are several different types of dream or non-lucid dream, some of which are easier to achieve than others. They are:
0. Ordinary non-lucid, unmemorable, dreaming – of the kind that most people experience every night.
1. Non-lucid but memorable dreaming.
2. A non-lucid, memorable dream, the topic of which one has successfully “incubated” i.e. decided whilst awake before going to sleep.
3. Basic Lucidity – in which one becomes aware that one is dreaming, but does not necessarily do anything with the dream, apart from observing what goes on.
4. “Wilful Lucid Dreams” – in which one not only dreams lucidly but takes control of the dream whilst it is in progress.
5. Magical Dreams
6. (What I call) “Trans-Lucid Dreams.”

“Non-lucid but memorable dreams.”

Anyone can have an unmemorable non-lucid dream, indeed most people do every night. Even people who claim not to dream probably do, it is just that they forget them. Memorable non-lucid dreams are rarer. People who are not attempting to dream lucidly will only have memorable non-lucid dreams if they are particularly vivid or unusually interesting.

However, it has been found that a necessary first step to lucid dreaming is to be able to remember ones dreams in detail – even the uninteresting ones. This is in fact extremely simple to achieve: it is as simple as keeping a notebook on your bedside table, and writing down everything you can remember as soon as you wake up. This act of making a conscious effort to remember your dreams will in fact have the effect of making your dreams more memorable! You may not be able to write down anything, or anything more than a few sentences at first, but if you keep at it, within a few nights you will be able to fill a whole page or whole pages with the contents of one night’s dreaming.

“Incubated Dreams”

The next level of mastery is to be able to choose what you dream about. This can be done quite simply – for example, by formulating your chosen topic into an affirmation, and repeating it silently to yourself as you drift off to sleep. E.g.: “I will dream about the Taj Mahal.” Repeated practice increases the likelihood of success. However, if the affirmation can give rise to ambiguity, then your unconscious mind may become unco-operative. For example – if you did try to dream about the Taj Mahal in India, and it so happens that you have a Tandoori restaurant down the road from you with the same name, you may find that using an affirmation like “I will dream about the Taj Mahal” will in fact cause you to dream about the wrong thing! Hence, you might learn from experience to be more specific when formulating an affirmation: alternatively, you could try to visualise your chosen topic, in addition to making an affirmation about it, as you fall asleep.

“Basic Lucidity”

The next-step up is actual Lucidity, the quality of being aware that you are dreaming whilst the dream is in progress. This can take some time to achieve for the beginner, but in my experience it is like learning to ride a bike: it becomes easier after one has experienced it the first time.

There are a number of different techniques for achieving basic lucidity, but most of them have in common a method for programming your unconscious so that when a certain event happens in your dream, it will act as a trigger to make you realise that you are dreaming.

For example, one can condition oneself to continually look for differences between dreaming and real-life, so that when something strange happens, you realise that you are in the middle of a dream. You could also make it a daily habit to periodically do “reality-checks” whilst you are awake – i.e. deliberately stop and try to work out whether you are awake or dreaming. The theory being that if you make this a waking habit, you will carry on doing it whilst asleep. A third method is to program your unconscious with a suggestion, that you will realise you are dreaming when you see a specific thing or object within your dream – for example, your own hands. There are numerous other methods which I will not go into now.

When I first started practising, it would be the case that when I realised I was dreaming, I woke up immediately. However, after becoming used to the surprise, and a lot of telling myself “I will remain dreaming,” I was able to become lucid, even though I had no control over the dream’s content. So although it is possible with practice to achieve basic lucidity, there is actually very little difference to start-off with between a basic lucid dream and a non-lucid one: although lucid dreams always seem to be more vivid and more memorable than non-lucid ones, and even more important. Note: they only seem more important because your ego is telling you that they are.

“Wilful Lucid Dreams.”

What I have been describing up to now I consider being relatively easy to attain. However, the next logical step is to take control of ones lucid dreams – for example:
· To improve their quality;
· To lengthen amount of time you remain dreaming before waking up;
· To avoid lapsing from lucidity into non-lucidity;
· To change the content of the dream whilst it is in progress;
· To change what you are able to do in the dream;
· To be able to consciously choose one thing or another;
· To be able to play out sophisticated scenarios of your choosing;
· To be able to do all manner of ambitious or creative things with your dreams.
All of this takes practice – years of practice. I myself have to practice all of this. I have found that if I get sloppy, I have to re-practice to get back to a proper standard. However if I am practising regularly, I can usually succeed.

Generally, it is possible to do absolutely anything in a lucid dream – so long as you convince yourself that your dream-self is capable of it. A problem I found, however, is that if I had not prepared myself before going to sleep, I might not realise that I had unlimited powers in the dream-world.

For example, because in waking-life all objects are solid, I had unconsciously accustomed myself to thinking they were always so. However, it was after one lucid dream in which I felt boxed-in by something that I remembered: “Dreams are fantasy. I can do what I want in them. Hence, I can give myself the power to pass through solid objects!”

Incidentally, although becoming lucid in a dream is no guarantee that you will be able to think completely rationally in your dream. This takes some effort as well.

In my experience, training oneself to improve the quality of your lucid dreams will involve a lot of programming your unconscious to remember things, that you can stay lucid, that you can stay dreaming, that you have all manner of super-powers and so forth. In this regard it is probably helpful to also have an understanding of self-hypnosis, so that you are able to control you unconscious satisfactorily.

“Magical Dreams”

Everything I have described up to now relates only to the Astral Plane. Non-lucid dreams are in the realm of the lower-astral, whilst lucid dreams are higher up the Astral, so to speak. However if we, as Golden Dawn practitioners want to do actual Magical things in our dreams, it is necessary to reach up and make contact with the forces which lie above and behind the Astral Plane – i.e. the Mental Plane and beyond.

Actually this is not really that much more difficult than attaining the kind of control over ones lucid dreams which I described a moment ago. It is all about practice, training oneself to remember the correct procedures, and being brutally honest with oneself.

You can get a good indication of the standard you need to work to by reading the chapter entitled “Clairvoyance” in the “Black Book.”[iv] Essentially, in order to access a particular magical force, you need to have symbol for that force, which you can conjure before you in your lucid dream. You then project through that symbol as if it were a magic-doorway. You will also need to know the Divine and Angelic names associated with that force, which you then vibrate, and also the appropriate magical signs. The combined effect of symbol, names and signs will serve to attract the actual magical force into your lucid-dream.

The other important thing to remember is to continually test everything you see and experience – and banish everything which tests badly. Spirit guides which do not recognise the Divine names, or give the wrong ones, or make the wrong sign or give the sign with the wrong hand, or which fail any of the other methods of testing – banish them all! Be brutal. And if you only realise there is something wrong with vision after the fact, when you are awake, discount it all, and give it up as a bad job. There is a danger here, in that although your vision might be faulty, it may nevertheless gratify your ego, and you do not therefore want to disregard it. Disregard it! It will hurt you and be a pain for you to think you will have to do it again, but, disregard it! If you start to overlook one little thing in your vision which is out of place, just for the sake of gratifying your ego, you are on a slippery downward slope to self-delusion. Your unconscious will lose all respect it has for you, and your dreams will start lying to you indiscriminately. It is better to have one magical dream which is of an impeccable standard, than a thousand flawed dreams – because the one true dream will always be of a higher quality than any ego-gratifying dream which has a flaw in it.

However, if you do accustom yourself to brutally disregarding false and flawed dreams, you will find that the genuine magical dreams will more than make up for them. It is possible to experience tremendous power and receive genuine insights from bona fide magical dreams. I believe it is possible to use such magical dreams to follow the magical and / or spiritual path, in a manner similar to the way that one would use astral projection to do so. I even believe it is possible for magical dreams to cause effects in the waking world. It is all a matter of years of practice, self-discipline and hard-work.

“Trans-Lucid Dreams”

The final type of dreams, which I will mention very briefly, are what I call “trans-lucid” ones, i.e. lucid dreams in which one experiences transpersonal states of consciousness. I cannot say too much about them because I have very limited experience of them indeed: I merely theorise them to exist.

You ought to be aware that a number of Eastern sources claim that lucid dreams, or astral visions, are most definitely not the highest form of consciousness attainable. For example, in Tibetan Dream Yoga, lucidity, far from being the end-result, is in fact a mere side-effect which arises as one attempts to attain what is described as “clarity” – a state of perfected contemplation.[v]

Furthermore, Ramana Maharshi describes the ideal state of consciousness as akin to dreamless-sleep, though conscious[vi]. Following this line of reasoning, the ultimate perfection in lucid dreaming would be to dream lucidly about absolutely nothing – to hold the mind completely still. Which of course is extremely difficult because as soon as one thinks of something one has broken ones line of consciousness.

Practical Dream-work

As promised I will now describe some practical work which you can undertake in your own time. The magical power of dreams has been known or suspected since ancient times – it was certainly known to Henry Cornelius Agrippa, author of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, a key sourcebook of the Western Mystery Tradition: in fact most of the Golden Dawn knowledge lectures are taken more or less directly from Agrippa.

In that book, Agrippa described a method of “Dream Divination” which has the benefit of being both astrologically and qabalistically sound.[vii] The method is as follows:
· Firstly, draw up your natal horoscope, and make a note of where your ninth house lies.
· Secondly, using a current ephemeris, find out exactly when the Moon transits your ninth natal house. Given that the Moon makes a complete circuit of the Zodiac in a lunar month, it will usually transit your ninth house for a period of two to three days each month.
Agrippa contends that one can attempt dream divination during those two days when the Moon is in your ninth house. This is because your ninth house represents, amongst other things, occult visions; whilst the Moon is the planet of dreams: according to “777” it is associated with the magical powers of clairvoyance and, not surprisingly, dream divination.

Hence, what I recommend is that on the night or nights indicated by your calculations, you “incubate” as a subject for your dream, the question which you want answered. I also recommend that you make a note of the time, date and place where the question occurs to you: that way you can cross-check the results of your dream divination with Horary Astrology.

It would also help if you invoke Luna as best you know how, immediately before retiring. I personally like to use the following Graeco-Egyptian invocation.[viii] It is quite short, but it is meant to be repeated nine times, the effect of which, combined with vibrating the barbarous names of invocation, do lead one into a kind of altered state of consciousness by itself.

Hail, Saks Amoun! Saks Abrasax!
For thou art the Moon, the great one of the stars, he who formed them!
Listen to these things which I say!
Walk thou in accordance with the words of my voice!
Hear me now:
Than
Thana
Thanatha
Thei
For this is my true name.

Bibliography

Agrippa, H C, Peterson, J H (ed.), 2000, Three Books of Occult Philosophy,Twilit Grotto – Esoteric Archives, http://www.esotericarchives.com/agrippa/agrippa1.htm, accessed 25/06/2008.
Betz, H D, 1986, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation,including the demotic spells – volume one: texts, University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London.
Castaneda, C, 2004, The Art of Dreaming,Thorsons, London.
Crowley, A, 1987, 777 and other Qabalistic writings of Aleister Crowley, including Gemetria & Sepher Sephiroth, Weiser, York Beach ME.
Fortune, D, 1987, Applied Magic, Thorsons, London.
Ophiel, 1961, The Art & Practice of Astral Projection,Weiser, New York.
Regardie, I, 1989, The Golden Dawn, sixth edition, Llewellyn, St Paul MN.
Rinpoche, N N, 1992, Dream Yoga and the practice of Natural Light, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca NY.
Wilber, K, 2000, One Taste: daily reflections on Integral Spirituality, Shambhala, Boston & London.

Notes

[i] See bibliography.
[ii] Fortune (1987) – see bibliography.
[iii] Ophiel (1961), chapter 2.
[iv] Regardie (1989), p456 et seq.
[v] See Rinpoche, N N, in Bibliography.
[vi] “That which is not present in deep, dreamless sleep is not real.” Quoted in Wilber (2000).
[vii] Agrippa, Book 1, Chapter 59.
[viii] Betz, pp232-3.

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