Mathers’ corollary to “The Chromatic Method”
Following on from yesterday’s post, I would like to review a similar method which Macgregor Mathers gave to the Alpha et Omega – it is set out in full detail in Pat Zalewski’s book Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn.
Like Case and Bennett, Mathers made an association with colours and musical notes – however he differs in several important aspects. Firstly, Mathers starts with the assumption that Red = F, not C as in the Case / Bennett system. Secondly: there are no sharps or flats in Mathers’ system. Thirdly, the Seven planets follow a scale starting with the F above middle C, and ascending in the same order as the walls of the Vault of the Adepti. Hence:
|Vau||Red-Orange||F or G|
|Cheth||Amber||G or A|
|Yod||Yellow-Green||A or B|
|Nun||Green-Blue||B or C|
|Qoph||Vermilion||E or F|
This system has its advantages – and disadvantages. From a musicological (read: “snobbish”) point of view, some of the reasons that Mathers gives for adopting the particular peculiarities of this system are suspect and inconsistent, and smack of “dumbing down.” The only reason I can see for starting with Red = F and treating the planets as he does is to make use of the spaces and lines of the Treble Clef. Perhaps if he was confident with leger lines we might have had a whole different secret teaching! It could, of course have been to allow Adepti to play the piano one-handed, the left-hand being left free to hold a ritual implement or something.
However, Mathers’ aversion to sharps and flats is something else. The reason Mathers gives for avoiding it touches upon a problem that musicians have had to deal with for thousands of years, namely Temperament. It is impossible to tune the twelve-note chromatic scale so that all intervals are “perfect” – therefore, historically, several different methods have been proposed including the Pythagorean, “Just Intonation” (like Pythagorean but with easier arithmetic), “Well Tempered” (made famous by Bach’s Das Wohltempierte Klavier), and “Equal Temperament,” amongst others. The upshot of this is that depending on which system of Temperament you are using, the actual tuning of some chromatic intervals might vary by as much as 10Hz – enough to create an out-of-tune “beating” sound, assuming two different instruments had been tempered differently.
How did the Secret Chiefs, from whom Mathers claimed to derive this teaching, resolve the problem of Temperament? Um, well, the unfortunate fact is that although they were willing to lay down minutiae on a whole host of other topics, they conveniently passed on this one: the simplest way for Mathers to resolve the situation was to avoid using sharps and flats.
Of course, on the other hand, Mathers might have interpreted “Quit the night and seek the day,” as meaning “avoid the black keys and play only the white keys.”
What we thus have from Mathers is therefore a reduction of the chromatic scale to the F-Lydian mode – ironic, as Mathers complained about using modes as well.
HOWEVER: the very fact that Mathers’ system is completely unsophisticated compared to the Case/Bennett system is in fact its greatest advantage – because it allows Hebrew words to be chanted in simple melodies. This in turn makes it highly conducive to teaching a temple full of initiates whose musical talent may well range from hardened rock-musicians reared on Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin to, well, drummers. By way of example, I shall now attempt to re-score the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram according to the note-values suggested by Mathers.
An Open Letter to Lady Gaga, on seeing that she has held a Seance.
Dear Lady Gaga,
We have not corresponded before but hopefully in the future you will look back upon this moment as the beginning of a long and fruitful professional relationship.
Have you ever imagined the sight of a bill for ghostbusting services which has the letters F O C* printed on it and felt like “Oh my God! Why didn’t I hire this wonderful man before now?” For this is the service which I, Alex Sumner, Prophet of the Age of Capricorn, Ascended Master, and all-round expert on all things Occult can provide! In fact I will start right now by proffering some advice on seeing that you have recently held a Seance whilst on tour in Ireland.
Firstly, the good news. The spirit you refer to as Ryan is unlikely to be the soul of an actual dead person in torment upon this Earthly plane. Generally speaking, the souls of dead people only hang around the material plane up to few days after their physical passing, whilst the remaining ties which bind them here are themselves dissolving. Thereupon they depart for the after-life in the usual manner.
Moreover, mediums do not generally contact dead people even though they purport to do so, because the person’s soul has long since ceased to be in a position to provide useful information. If they are collecting accurate information about a person’s life it is likely that they are reading it off the Akashic Records. NB: don’t expect a spirit to provide more information than it would have known whilst alive, and beware of any supposed spirit which purports to do so. There is a saying in the Occult: “Just because you are dead does not make you more intelligent.” This sounds so obvious but often people who go to consult mediums tend to forget it.
The bad news however is that it may very well be that Ryan is a genuine “thing” of some description. It might be some sort of negative entity or elemental which you have attracted to yourself because of emotional trouble. Like a Bad Romance for example! (Heh, see what I did there?) This is not the end of the world however as there are various ways to get rid of it, e.g. the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, or in extreme cases some of the techniques which I describe in my blog-posts about Vampires (see here and here). Furthermore, one can reinforce this by actively attracting positive and beneficial influences (see, e.g. here).
There is a remote, and I stress the word remote possibility that it is a real entity sent by someone nasty: however this is unlikely to be the case. The vast majority of people complaining about being psychically attacked by someone else are in fact nothing of the sort – if anything they are just severe cases of people attracting bad influences on themselves, in the manner I describe above. In any event, remedies such as the LBRP etc should be more than enough to protect you.
By now you should be reading these lines and becoming more and more fascinated with the idea of hiring the services which only I can provide. You will be pleased to know that you can contact me further to discuss hiring me. Hope the tour goes well,
*NB: I may have said F O C but this applies only to my ghost-busting efforts. I still charge expenses!
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Tagged as Born This Way, cosmic ordering, creative visualisation, Lady Gaga, lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, Mediumship, psychic self-defence, Seance, Spiritualism