Tag Archives: occult

Coffee Mug of the Month: Libra

Libra Hermetic Qabalistic coffee mug: featuring the sigil of Zuriel, Angel of the Libra, according to the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

The Sun has entered Libra! If it’s your birthday between now and October 23rd, then may I be the first to say: “Happy birthday, Libra!”

You now have the opportunity to celebrate your birthday – or get a present for a Libra in your life, from my new Etsy shop. This features the sigil, taken from the Golden Dawn’s rose-cross lamen, of the Angel of this month’s astrological sign (in this case Libra), in the correct Zodiacal colours.

For more details and to order, please follow this link:
LIBRA Hermetic qabalistic coffee mug

My Etsy store:
solascendans

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September 23, 2018 · 8:00 am

The Real Story Behind the Golem

I said

I said “Golem.”

A Golem is said to be an artificial helper, given life through various magical enchantments so that it acts like a sort of automaton. There are several accounts in the form of hearsay evidence that such beings were created in real-life, although it now appears that the most famous one – the Golem of Prague – was almost certainly a literary invention of the early 19th century.

But what of the others? By gathering the various bits of lore together, we can make the following generalisations:

“… even if they do say ‘Jehovah.’”

First of all, creating a Golem is not something anyone can do. Regarding the Golem of Chelm, alleged to have been created by Rabbi Eliyahu, one source stated:

“And I have heard, in a certain and explicit way, from several respectable persons that one man [living] close to our time, whose name is R. Eliyahu, the master of the name, who made a creature out of matter…”

In other words, Eliyahu was not just any rabbi but a Baal Shem Tov (“Master of the Holy Name”), i.e. someone who had been initiated into the Unwritten Qabalah – the true pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.

Coming from a Hermetic Qabalistic background, I wonder whereabouts the genuine Unwritten Qabalah figures in the process of initiation. I am led to the conclusion that, given that the Unwritten Qabalah – the true pronunciation of YHVH – is the highest secret of the Qabalah, it can be reserved to no other place than the highest grade of the system. Hence a true Baal Shem Tov is what we would consider an Ipsissimus.

Even if Eliyahu’s status as a Baal Shem is a coincidence, the creation of a Golem would nevertheless still require a high degree of mastery of the magical formulae implicate in the Tetragrammaton, as I shall explain infra.

Feet (and everything else, for that matter) of Clay

The Golem is said to be created from the dust of the Earth, or more specifically “clay,” just like Adam, the first man. Likewise, the Golem when destroyed returns to dust – either when de-activated by its creator, or when confronted by a Rabbi with superior Qabalistic skills. The Golem of Prague, for example, was said to have been created from the clay of the local river.

This, however, is a blind. In Hebrew, the word for “clay” is itself Adamah – from the root Adam meaning “man” (hence the name of the first man). Hence, to say that the Golem is created “from clay” is a Qabalistic cipher – the true material out of which it is formed comes from within Man himself.

Sepher Yetzirah

In a dreadful episode of the otherwise classic X Files, a Jewish character tries to explain to Mulder how the Sepher Yetzirah is a spell-book containing the secret to creating a Golem. What is ironic is that not only should the Jewish character have known better, but so should Mulder – who, according to the show’s canon, had previously been the author of a thesis entitled Serial Killers and the Occult.

What is in the Sepher Yetzirah though is a description of how the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet each relate to the human body. This is how the story about the Sepher Yetzirah containing the instructions to create a Golem arose. If (potential sorcerers reasoned) God formed the human body with the aid of the twenty-two letters, might it also not be possible to create an artificial body in much the same way? That is to say, by working Qabalistically with each of the letters, thus creating the Golem by means of a twenty-two-fold enchantment.

Here we begin to see the real (i.e. initiated) meaning of the Golem story. It is not simply a story about a magical automaton, but was a blind for a technique of Qabalistic Magic involving the twenty two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Indeed, several eminent occultists have explored this theme in the past couple of hundred years.

Martinez De Pasqually

Martinez De Pasqually (1727 – 1774), founder of the Elus Cohens, prescribed a ritual for initiates of his order: every year, starting on Easter Sunday, they would over the course of twenty two successive days perform an invocation of each of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. The details of the ritual were published by the late Robert Ambelain (1907 – 1997) in his book The Practical Kabbalah, which was then translated into English by a certain Piers Vaughan who published it on the internet. Unfortunately Ambelain’s  French publishers took amiss at this and forced Vaughan to withdraw his translations – although not before a great many people, myself included, had safely downloaded them. 😉

Ambelain’s commentary on this ritual is however very superficial. As to the reason for actually performing the ritual at all, he says without elaboration that it is to obtain “kabbalistic super-powers.” It only takes a little more analysis, however, to see some of the deeper potentiality. The rite begins on Easter Sunday – the day of the Resurrection, and hence a day representing re-birth and new life. It focuses on the twenty-two letters, which as we know from the Sepher Yetzirah are attributed to the formation of (amongst other things) Man. Thus the whole ritual can be seen to be a personal rite of creating a new spiritual life for oneself. In this light the Golem thus formed is not a clay monster bought to life; it is a new, spiritually re-generated version of the Initiate himself.

Franz Bardon


The Key to the True Kabbalah, by Franz Bardon.

Bardon (1909 – 1958), described a system of associating letters, their magical or spiritual properties, and the parts of the body in his book The Key to the True Kabbalah. Bardon uses the German alphabet, rather than the Hebrew one, although there seems to be a phonetic correlation between the German letters and their equivalents from the Graa version of the Sepher Yetzirah.

Viewed in the light of what I have discussed regarding the Golem, one can argue that Bardon’s system is not merely to enable the magician to perform various thaumaturgic feats through a sophisticated method of letter pronunciation – but ultimately to re-create or transform the magician himself.

The Rainbow Body

Bardon’s method is notable in that colour-association is used for each letter. Thus if one were to take this to its logical conclusion, if one were to visualise oneself with all parts coloured according to the respective letter, one would end up with a veritable “rainbow body.” A method of how this might be visualised using more Golden Dawn attributions is described in an article I wrote for the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition in 2005 entitled “Healing In The Hermetic Tradition.”

By coincidence – though not necessarily by much – the term “Rainbow Body” refers, in Tibetan, to the ultimate attainment in the Dzogchen Tradition. By taking the esoteric practices known as Thodgal to their ultimate conclusion, it is said to be possible to self-liberate into a non-material Body of Light – which event is also said to be accompanied by the appearance of rainbow-like phenomena, even to an observer. Thus, the Rainbow Body is effectively a vehicle for attaining immortality.

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Alex Sumner: Media Pundit

Halloween is fast creeping up on us! In this video resumé I appeal to the world’s television and radio producers, journalists and creators of online content, offering my services as a Media Pundit. I can provide expert opinion for your forthcoming Halloween stories! And I am willing to do so free of charge (in return for publicity for my work as a novelist, that is). Please use the Contact Alex page to send me a private message.

(NB: This is a repost of a video I made last year for last Halloween, so I thought I’d do it again this year!)

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Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning and Occult Training

How well do Occult orders actually teach their initiates? How well indeed do individual temples within those orders teach them? In order to formulate a general principle as to how students of the occult should be taught, I decided to delve into a realm far more esoteric than anything in the Western Mystery Tradition: namely, Educational Psychology. More specifically, I decided to compare what usually passes for occult training with a model which is used by teachers in high schools across the world, namely Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. The Taxonomy helps to classify just how a much a student has mastered any given subject which they are learning.

Bloom's Taxonomy (original version)

Bloom’s Taxonomy (original version)

Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning (pyramid)

Bloom’s Taxonomy, as updated by Lorin Anderson. They are ranked in order of ascending difficulty

Benjamin Bloom (1913 – 1999), in 1956, led a group of educational psychologists who established six levels of intellectual behaviour important to learning. These levels were organised cognitive levels which ranged from simple recall of knowledge, to making judgements about the reliability and value of an idea. During the 1990’s Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom) headed a new group of cognitive psychologists and updated the taxonomy.

The six levels (i.e. of the updated taxonomy) may be summarised thus:

Remembering

Can the students recall or remember previously learnt information, for example facts, terms, and basic concepts from an educational text?

Understanding

Can the students demonstrate an understanding of the ideas or concepts stated in the text?

Applying

Can the students use the new information and apply it to actual situations?

Analysing

Can the students break down and distinguish between different parts and find evidence to support generalisations?

Evaluating

Can the students justify a stand or decision?

Creating

Can the students create a new product or point of view based on internal or external criteria?

A necessary implication of this is that a Teacher may well come up against *cough* *cough* I mean “come across” pupils whose maximum level of functioning is any one of these six. He or she may even have pupils at different levels within the same class! Therefore, in ideal circumstances the Teacher ought to have the acuity and the flexibility to, firstly, identify exactly at which the levels the pupils currently are and, secondly, adapt their approach as appropriate. Were all pupils in one class taught at exactly the same level in any given lesson, it is likely that pupils capable or only capable of operating at the other end of the scale would feel left out. And of course there is the danger that it the level were uniformly pitched for all in the middle of the scale, pupils at either end of the scale would feel left out.

Now let’s turn to how the mysteries are taught in occult orders, in the light of this taxonomy.

The most influential occult orders today were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, i.e. before this taxonomy was codified. More worryingly however is that I have seen little evidence that they managed to incorporate these principles of their own volition, without reference to Bloom’s efforts. I have not actually seen much evidence that they have done so since, for that matter.

Take for example the Golden Dawn. If you shove a Knowledge Lecture under someone’s nose and tell them “memorise this,” you are only operating at the lowest cognitive level, that of Remembering. If then you base the exam for that grade on successful recall of facts of the knowledge lecture, e.g. by weighting the marking so that not many points are scored for showing anything other than Remembering, you will end up advancing people through the grades who show less independent thought than a fairly bright school pupil.

Aleister Crowley in A.'.A.'. regalia making the sign "Vir."

Did someone mention my name?

However, this is not a potential pit-fall of just one system. Take, by way of example, this quote from Crowley’s One Star In Sight regarding the tasks of the various grades of the A.’.A.’.

Neophyte. —Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane.

(NB: a “Neophyte” here is a 1=10, which would be called a Zelator in the GD).

Now, what would the response be to a student who has the temerity to ask: “Hang on a sec – why ought a Neophyte to acquire perfect control of the astral plane?”

Creating It is not necessary at all. I have worked outside the strict Thelemic tradition and have had success nonetheless. Hence I am better than Crowley!
Evaluating I have gathered independent evidence which tends to corroborate Crowley’s assertion that a Neophyte of the A.’.A.’. ought to acquire mastery of the astral plane.
Analysing It is not necessary for a Neophyte to do so per se – for example they could have acquired such control whilst they were working as a Student or Probationer – but it is necessary for them to be able to control the Astral no later than that stage in their learning.
Applying Because Neophytes come into situations at that particular stage of their magical development where perfect control of the astral plane is a necessity.
Understanding Because Crowley thought that Astral projection etc was essential to learn immediately after acquiring a general knowledge of magic and before attempting to master asana and pranayama.
Remembering Because Crowley said so, and if we don’t all do what he says then we are not singing from the same hymn sheet.
Below Remembering How dare you question the Great Beast 666! Get out, and do not darken my washroom towels ever again!

So you see, applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to the occult is not just to inform them of the subject but to encourage the pupil to become a free-thinker on the subject. This may be a bit of an extreme example, so allow me to envisage something a bit more down to earth. Say for example the task is to design and consecrate a Talisman, for whatever purpose. Depending on what level the magical student is operating, the following might occur:

Creating The student actually perceives flaws inherent in the principles he or she was taught, is able to come up with an original design and ritual which “corrects” those faults – and achieves success nonetheless.
Evaluating The student comes up with a radically new talisman design and consecration ritual – and then is able to cleverly argue that it adheres to the basic principles which he or she has already been taught after all.
Analysing The student can perceive the underlying structure of talisman design and consecration, and can produce a talisman (and its corresponding ritual) which displays a spark of originality whilst remaining within that structure.
Applying The student can just about design their own talisman and compose their own consecration ritual, though heavily relying on previously published data and synthesising other people’s rituals.
Understanding The student has to use someone else’s design and ritual, but at least has the beginning of a clue as to the meanings thereof.
Remembering The student can only copy someone else’s design, and consecrate it by following verbatim a ritual written by someone else, and even then does not understand either the design or the ritual.
Below Remembering The student cannot design or consecrate a talisman at all.

Becoming a free-thinker when it comes to the occult is all well and good, but the problem is that so little published information on the occult is geared towards teaching students the art of free thinking. It is as if occultists believe that Free-Thinking is a character trait, which you either have or have not – whereas Education Psychologists believe it is a thing that can be taught and is ideally the ultimate end of education.

The very many new-age / fluffy bunny books which are available work at the Understanding / Remembering levels – sometimes cynically as a marketing ploy, but other times innocently because they are intended for complete beginners. Alas for their readership, who may not realise that (according to Bloom) there are four levels of cognition above the teachings given out in their favourite author’s book! I could also make a remark about some occult orders deliberately keeping their members at the lower levels of cognition because they are afraid of free-thinkers … But the greater deceit is practised by fiery Mars-obsessed writers with Uranus on the Midheaven who roundly decry the bullshit of such orders only to lay down their own dogma which is just as doctrinaire as that which they criticise.

So, in conclusion, I leave you with the following gristle on which to chew. Where on Bloom’s Taxonomy lies your tradition? Where lies your particular teachers? And most importantly – where are you?

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Lindsay Seers: Nowhere Less Now

© Lindsay Seers 2012

I have decided that the Universe is a giant work of Art. The identity of the Artist, however, defies easy definition. Even the phrase “identity of the Artist” is problematic in regards to the language in which it is expressed, for at least three reasons, viz: “Artist” is in the singular, whereas it ought to be in the plural. Or then again it ought not. Secondly: “identity” is presented as something which can be spoken of with certainty. But identity with what? Identification of a particular soul with a particular body with a particular name at a particular point in the space and time continuum? A soul which transmigrates, a body which contains and is connected with every other thing in the Giant Cosmic Hologram, a name which can be changed easily by deed-poll or just by adopting a different email address? And don’t get me started on wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff!

So there I was in Kilburn, at the Tin Tabernacle in Cambridge Avenue to see the art installation “Nowhere Less Now” by Lindsay Seers. Immediately, though, I am asking myself: at what point did I first step into the “Art?” The nature of Conceptual Art is of course that the thought-form in the Treasure House of Images constitutes the real art, whilst its manifestation on the plane of Malkuth merely represents a later- (though not necessarily end-) result of the Evocation. It quickly became apparent that everything about the event was to some extent the manifestation to visible appearance of this original idea. Moreover – like a magician not revealing how the trick is done until after it is performed, the full subtleties were only revealed after the fact – woe betide anyone there who was not immediately alert to the small details from at least the moment that they entered the door!

However there was another twist ending – in the complementary book I was given on leaving the building. The book went into more detail about the event, so of course the Art did not end when I left the Tin Tabernacle: it continued whilst I was reading and appreciating the contents of the book. So in a certain sense it does not end! You, who are reading this blog post now, or whenever, are effectively in a small way discovering one particular end- (later-) result of the artistic process, which effectively makes me an unwitting actor in the Universe of which Ms Seers is the great architect.

Moina Mathers, née Bergson

But what, I hallucinate that I hear you ask, is the event actually about? Or perhaps, I’m not hallucinating – the voices are real people from the past / present / future / alternative realities / etc. Very generally speaking: a remarkable series of coincidences, which might better be described as Synchronicities, but might best of all be described by an as-yet-uncoined word which is free from the reductionist implications of Jung’s notions of the collective unconscious. Ms Seers explores these “widgets” in a completely unique manner, not dissimilar to a Magician or Shaman conjuring up spirits from the past / present / future / alternative / etc – and then presents the results of these magical explorations in an environment purposely designed for the task. Ms Seers, a self-confessed admirer of a certain Mina Bergson, does not however limit herself to the conventions of the Golden Dawn when performing her magick but instead takes a more pragmatic (from her point of view) approach to performing ritual. Thus to communicate with the spirits of dead ancestors she in effect shapeshifts to become them – one of whom apparently was an initiate in one of the very first Masonic orders for women. To contact possible future incarnations of a certain Individuality she performs an impromptu ceremony, and starts receiving “intuitions” from one such Person… The event thus becomes a Visionary Non-fiction dialogue across the Vortex, with the linear nature of time, person, identity, and cause & effect artfully blurred.

I shall end this review, at least in the current time-stream, with the following anecdote.

Saturday 22nd October 2011. A day I noted in my magical diary as starting with an interesting Lucid Dream in which I was rising on the planes and becoming the Chief Adept of a Rosicrucian order, and continuing with me experimenting with Manifestation. I seem to recall that I wanted to Manifest meeting new and interesting people that day, or some such.

Certain people claim that Cats are the Illuminati because of their innate superiority. I on the other hand claim that the Illuminati are Cats – because it is so difficult to herd them. At times like these, therefore, there is only one thing a hard-working Magician can do, and that is to tie up my sorrows in a bag along with a heavy-brick and drown them in the nearest pint of beer. But not today! The trains that day being considerably further up the creek than usual, I had to leave the pub early, otherwise I would never get home.

So there I was, on a train I would not normally be taking, and I looked round and saw the lady next to me was reading S L Macgregor Mathers’ edition of the Key of Solomon. I therefore decided to break the first and second rules of commuting by train and introduce myself as Alex Sumner, the World’s Greatest Expert On The Occult. (NB: not talking to people on the tube is the first rule; the second rule is that if you do have to talk to people, don’t go round introducing yourself as Alex Sumner). “I have a particular interest in the work of Macgregor Mathers,” I explained later. “And I am putting together an installation featuring people with heterochromatic eyes,” this mysterious lady replied. “And I just noticed that your eyes are heterochromatic!”

Given that the Art occurs when the Concept is formed, I suppose in a small way I had actually become an actor in the process a year in advance of most people, defying the laws of space and time in the process – which I’ve got to admit made the event in Kilburn feel all the more special. Of course – it could just have been Coincidence. 😉

“Nowhere Less Now” runs until 21st October 2012. Recommended.

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The Brotherhood of the Essenes

Zooming down the motorway at a hundred miles per hour – swerving suddenly off and down a country lane – tyres throwing up cascades of water as we rocketed through the huge puddles caused by the near flooding conditions. A few more twists and turns in the Moon-less darkness which storm and cloud had further conspired to obscure, then coming to a SCREECHING HALT… outside Glastonbury Town Hall.

I got out and checked the time on my iPhone – 10.30pm. We had made the mad dash from London to the Vale of Avalon in three and a half hours, although negotiating the rush-hour traffic out of the centre of the capital had devoured one hour of that. Our purpose: to attend the annual solstice Convocation of “The Brotherhood of the Essenes.”

Now you may be wondering why we attempted such a precisely timed excursion across fair Albion instead of taking a more leisurely pace. Indeed, this is what a lot of our friends did and made good use of the time saved at the pub across the road from the Town Hall. No – what actually happened is that we actually had a lodge meeting earlier in the day in London which we could not easily get out of. Therefore, instead of knocking the G-Town trip on the head, yours truly had the crazy idea that if we jumped in our cars immediately the meeting in London ended, we could get to the Convocation just in time. As it happened we succeeded: we got there with half an hour to spare.

“But what,” I hallucinate that I hear you ask, “is ‘The Brotherhood of the Essenes,’ and why are they so important?”

The Essenes are an esoteric organisation that has been going since 1920 – at least in their present incarnation. They usually meet only privately except once a year – on June 21st, when they hold their annual convocation which is open to the public. For this they hire Glastonbury town hall. They have a number of strange doctrines, some of which are recognisable as coming from the Qabalah, Astrology, and Solomonic Magick, but some are downright bizarre (even for someone like me). Usually the Essenes are a secretive bunch, but we had managed to prize a lot of their secret teachings out of one of their members by the time-honoured method of taking him down the pub and getting him drunk.*

When I went in the venue a decent sized crowd (at least a hundred or so) had already taken their places. Amongst the more soberly dressed attendees I saw a fair few strangely arrayed in bright colours – not members of the Essenes, you understand, but Glastonbury residents! In the main body of the hall chairs were set out as for a public meeting. On the stage, there were half a dozen chairs (for the senior officers of the Brotherhood) as well as a throne, with two pet-cushions to either side of it. Above the throne was a crucifix, whilst on either side of the crucifix were – strangely enough, was the portrait of a dog.

I later got the inside info on the dogs – apparently they belonged to Jesus! Or more accurately, they were His companions, so I suppose that in addition to the 12 human apostles, the Dogs were two Apostles to the Animal Kingdom which were not mentioned in the Bible. During the ceremony, whenever an Essene got up to speak, he would first bow to the throne + pet cushions, so I presume that the former was the place of the God-form of Jesus, whilst the cushions were those of the two canines. “Dog-forms,” if you will!

On the stroke of 11pm, a black robed gentleman struck a large gong (which I want for my wizard’s tower) to mark the beginning of the meeting. The whole company of the Brotherhood of the Essenes themselves processed in, in their impressive regalia. From what I gathered, they arranged the convocation in three parts. The first part consisted of some prayers and hymns, but mainly of a series of talks about the nature of the Order, its current work, its history, and the structure of the second part of the meeting. This turned out to be a powerful rite of Angel Magick. The third part essentially consisted of taking refreshments and winding down, although this itself had an important spiritual role, according to them.

Here then are my impressions of the first half of the ceremony.

1. The Essenes are at heart a Christian organisation. They incorporate many Christian prayers and hymns into their ceremonies, most notably the Lord’s Prayer and the “Nunc Dimittis.” They also believe that the Second Coming will take place in this the Age of Aquarius.

2. They are also a thorougly Anglo-centric organisation. They believe that Jesus Himself came to Glastonbury two thousand years ago, in addition to Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail. Hence why the current meeting was being held there.

3. Consequently they like singing William Blake’s “Jerusalem.” A LOT.

4. The Essenes seem to place a lot of importance on certain teachings which have been received clairvoyantly or mediumistically, and hence on influential teachers who have appeared within their ranks.

5. Most significantly, however, and this was the theme most especially emphasised throughout the first half of the convocation, they are into the Spirituality of the Animal Kingdom IN A BIG WAY. This obviously links in with their fascination with the Godly-Dogs.

Their attitude may be briefly summed up in this way: the idea that man is somehow superior to animals is a purely anthropocentric conceit, but it is not how God sees things. Instead, God has a Plan for the Universe: and He has ordained that Animals have a role to play in that Plan. Hence it is highly important for man to respect the spiritual nature of the animal kingdom, to teach humility if nothing else.

What this means in practice is that the Essenes are all Vegetarians, and actively support charities concerned with animal welfare, and ending animal cruelty. Moreover one of the speakers urged those present to get involved politically trying to get the ways of both the UK and countries abroad (e.g. China) changed for the better.

The second part of the ceremony started at precisely 1am British Summmer Time, or Midnight GMT. All of the attendees formed a ring around the circumference of the hall – although we were told not to actually touch one another – while the principle officers placed themselves in the centre aisle. The Supreme Magus then led an actual magical ceremony which consisted of invoking the names of a series of Angels. From memory I recognised some of these from various Solomonic grimoires. I must admit that as an observer I subjectively felt this long invocation to be very powerful. It had been previously explained to me that the object of this particular ceremony was to thank the Angels for their work for the previous year and to welcome the ones who would aid humanity in the coming one.

At the climax of the invocation, the Supreme Magus announced “Now is the time,” whereupon, in the three minutes of silence which followed, as we had been coached to do so beforehand each attendee mentally made their own petition to the Angels for what they wanted to achieve, in the following form:

Prospering power almighty,
Prosper all my ways.
Fill my life with health and peace,
Lighten all my days.

In the name of the Holy Holy Holy
TET – RA – GRAM – MA – TON
I petition and beseech that …
I ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
YOD – HEH – VAV – HEH
World without end,
Amen!

This was explained to me that all those petitioning would, as a result of the Invocation, receive Angelic helpers that would attach themselves to the individuals throughout the year. As was ominously emphasised: “If you ask for iron bars, you will get iron bars.”

So in conclusion, therefore, what we have is an organisation which holds some very strange beliefs. Personally I thought them no more implausible than most of what occultists are regularly asked to believe as part of their training, although it did freak out a lot of others I was with that night who were completely unable to shift their paradigms, even for one second. On the other hand, the Essenes have been able to make a successful magical order with their unusual beliefs – one which has lasted longer than any Golden Dawn organisation, for example! Moreover, the Ceremony of the Angelic Names and its purported effects are an excellent way to test whether the Essenes are actually onto something.

* NB: NO ESSENES WERE ACTUALLY INTOXICATED OR OTHERWISE UNDULY PRESSED INTO REVEALING ANYTHING IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG POST!

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Like this if you are a student of the Egyptian Mysteries and care about what’s happening in Egypt

Last night Al Jazeera reported that Mubarak supporters were looting the treasures of Egyptian antiquity from their museums. This morning, Al Jazeera reports that Mubarak has ordered it to close down. Its blogs – on which it was reporting the unfolding situation in the land of Khem – have already been taken off-line (or at least that was how it appeared to me using Opera).

Some politicians are talking about “having grave concerns.” Others don’t want to get involved in what they see as purely Egypt’s own internal affairs.

Well, Bollocks is what I say to that.

We are not just a collection of individual countries, we are a world community. The people of the world are all world citizens. Heck – a lot of them might actually want to visit Egypt at some point, if they felt it was safe to do so. Moreover, places like the Great Pyramids, the Valley of Kings, the various temples up and down the land – they are not just Egyptian tourist attractions they are WORLD heritage sites.

What’s more: it takes neither a genius nor a psychic to work out that whatever happens in Egypt now, later this year there will be an international humanitarian crisis happening there and throughout the Middle East – and then it will be the world’s problem, despite all the efforts of the current crop of politicians not to get involved.

I am an occultist – and part of that is to be a student of the Egyptian mysteries. I am personally concerned about what happens in that country – partly out of self-interest, partly out of concern for the Egyptian people. I think it is incompatible for anyone to profess an interest in Egyptian Art, religion, architecture or history and remain silent while the cradle of Egyptian civilisation itself – the raison d’etre of ones studies – is in so much peril.

Personally, I believe that the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt are not fluffly new age concepts designed to gratify the egos of western occultists, but are actual powerful forces whose first care is the very land of which they are patronal deities. In any event, the common will of the people directed towards justice and freedom will invoke the eventual victory if nothing else does.

So, western politicians! Stop having grave concerns about the Egyptian situation and start imposing grave sanctions! It is not a separate country, it is our neighbour – and, as another Egyptian Magician once said – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

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Ritual of the Apocalypse

In honour of the Grand Cross occurring tomorrow (Friday 8th August 2010) I present the following Planetary working. Its aim is to enable the magician to transcend the planetary influences at work – which is the goal of every true Hermetic Adept – instead of being a victim to them, which is how people who think of astrology as something fatalistic tend to react.

The time of the working is dawn. The magician should determine due East – this will be referred to throughout this ritual as “12 o’clock” (as in a clock-face).

Begin by proclaiming: Hekas! Hekas este bebeloi!

Perform the Lesser Banishing Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram.

Purify and consecrate the temple with Water and Fire. Circumambulate and adore the Lord of the Universe.

Perform the Bornless Ritual.

Now perform what I term the

Special Invoking Hexagrams of the Apocalypse Ritual.

This is similar in structure to the Supreme Invoking Hexagram Ritual, but adapted as follows:

Start with the Qabalistic Cross

The Rite of Luna

Turn first to “one o’clock” and trace the Invoking Hexagram of Luna, i.e. the first triangle is traced clockwise from the lowest point; the second triangle from the top-most. Vibrate Ararita and Shaddai El Chai, Gabriel, Malkah Be-Tarshishim ve-od Ruachoth Shechalim, Shad Barshemoth Ha-Shartathan and Levanah.

Recite the Invocation of Luna.

The Rite of Jupiter

Turn next to “four o’clock” and trace the Invoking Hexagram of Jupiter (first from Jupiter point, then from Mercury point). Vibrate Ararita and El, Tzadqiel, Hismael, Iohphiel and Tzedeq.

Recite the Invocation of Jupiter.

The Rite of Uranus

Still facing “four o’clock” trace the Special Apocalyptic Hexagram of Uranus. This is the same as the Hexagram of Mercury (because Uranus is similar to Mercury but on a higher arc), but with the sigil of Uranus in the centre. Vibrate Ararita only.

Recite the following Invocation of Uranus (taken from the Orphic Hymns):

GREAT Heav’n, whose mighty frame no respite knows,
Father of all, from whom the world arose:
Hear, bounteous parent, source and end of all,
Forever whirling round this earthly ball;
Abode of Gods, whose guardian pow’r surrounds
Th’ eternal World with ever during bounds;
Whose ample bosom and encircling folds
The dire necessity of nature holds.
Ætherial, earthly, whose all-various frame
Azure and full of forms, no power can tame.
All-seeing Heav’n, progenitor of Time
Forever blessed, deity sublime,
Propitious on a novel mystic shine,
And crown his wishes with a life divine.

The Rite of Pluto

Turn next to “seven o’clock” and trace the Special Apocalyptic Hexagram of Pluto (same as that of Mars, but with Pluto sigil). Vibrate Ararita only.

Recite the following Invocation of Pluto (also taken from the Orphic Hymns).

PLUTO, magnanimous, whose realms profound
Are fix’d beneath the firm and solid ground,
In the Tartarian plains remote from fight,
And wrapt forever in the depths of night;
Terrestrial Jove, thy sacred ear incline,
And, pleas’d, accept thy mystic’s hymn divine.
Earth’s keys to thee, illustrious king belong,
Its secret gates unlocking, deep and strong.
‘Tis thine, abundant annual fruits to bear,
For needy mortals are thy constant care.
To thee, great king, Avernus is assign’d,
The seat of Gods, and basis of mankind.
Thy throne is fix’d in Hade’s dismal plains,
Distant, unknown to rest, where darkness reigns;
Where, destitute of breath, pale spectres dwell,
In endless, dire, inexorable hell;
And in dread Acheron, whose depths obscure,
Earth’s stable roots eternally secure.
O mighty dæmon, whose decision dread,
The future fate determines of the dead,
With captive Proserpine, thro’ grassy plains,
Drawn in a four-yok’d car with loosen’d reins,
Rapt o’er the deep, impell’d by love, you flew
‘Till Eleusina’s city rose to view;
There, in a wond’rous cave obscure and deep,
The sacred maid secure from search you keep,
The cave of Atthis, whose wide gates display
An entrance to the kingdoms void of day.
Of unapparent works, thou art alone
The dispensator, visible and known.
O pow’r all-ruling, holy, honor’d light,
Thee sacred poets and their hymns delight:
Propitious to thy mystic’s works incline,
Rejoicing come, for holy rites are thine.

The Rite of Saturn

Turn next to “ten o’clock,” trace the Invoking Hexagram of Saturn (first from Saturn point, then from Luna point). Vibrate Ararita and YHVH Elohim, Tzaphqiel, Agiel, Zazel and Shabbathai.

Recite the Invocation of Saturn.

The Rite of Mars

Still facing “ten o’clock,” trace the Invoking Hexagram of Mars (first from Mars point, then from Luna point). Vibrate Ararita and Elohim Gebor, Chamael, Graphiel, Bartzabel and Madim.

Recite the Invocation of Mars.

Turn to “12 o’clock.” Analyse the Keyword (INRI)

Purify and consecrate the temple again.

Perform the reverse circumambulation, and adoration to the Lord of the Universe.

Announce: “In the name of Yeheshuah I now release any spirits that have been entrapped by this ceremony.”

Close with the Lesser Banishing Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram again.

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Golden Dawn Manuscripts and Where to Find Them

This blog post was first published in August 2010. Recently it has been brought to my attention that some of its contents need updating! See below for details.


The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is of course probably the most influential occult society of all time. Recently [i.e. July 2010] a book has appeared on Amazon entitled The Golden Dawn: Unpublished Lectures of the Hermetic Order of the AO. This has sparked some controversy on message boards across the interwebby thing along the lines of “It’s a fake,” “Oh no it’s not,” “Oh yes it is,” etc ect tec.

This got me thinking: where can a scholar go to find the original Golden Dawn manuscripts him- (or her-) self? So for example one does not have to rely on books of dodgy provenance? For this reason I present the following. Note that I do not claim that accessing any of the following is easy – this is probably why the original manuscripts of the GD remain not so widely known.

The Warburg Institute, London

Contains: The Yorke Collection

This archive is famous for containing Aleister Crowley’s papers, most of which have now found their way into print – either with or without the OTO’s approval. For a Thelemic magician this would be interesting enough. However two points should be noted: amongst Crowley’s own papers are documents which he himself got from the Golden Dawn, and from Allen Bennet, when he was a member.

Secondly, the Yorke Collection also contains Golden Dawn material that would never have come into Crowley’s possession. This includes material from the AO on the Tarot, and most interestingly a number of rituals of the “Cromlech Temple” (otherwise known as the Holy Order of the Sun) which to my knowledge have not seen the light of day, proverbially speaking.

The rest of the Golden Dawn material seems to be a complete set of documents of just about everything that was published by Regardie, as well as the Flying Rolls which were later published by Francis King.

Entrance to the Warburg Institute is free so long as you are a student or member of staff of a recognised University and are engaged in a relevant course of study – documentary evidence of this will be required. So hoi polloi cannot just turn up and discover the Sun Order’s Ritual of Initiation of Fire for instance by claiming to be a “student of the mysteries,” I think they might be wise to that one.

[2018 update: Since I first wrote this, the Warburg Institute has completely redesigned its website, so that it is now quite atrocious for trying to look up what is and what isn’t in the Yorke Collection. If they have not been alienating property from the collection, they are certainly doing so to researchers! Grrr.]

Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

Contains: The Carr P Collins Collection

Carr P Collins Jr (born 1918) was highly interested in druidism, wicca and magick and was allegedly the source of the documents which Regardie used for The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. Maddeningly however his collection is not fully inventorised – at least not on the web.

The Bridwell Library may be used by students and staff of Southern Methodist University: otherwise it is necessary to become an associate member which costs $50 per annum. As far as I am aware you have to be in situ to make use of the facilities, so if anyone is in Dallas kindly let me know what goodies are there!

The National Library of Ireland

Contains: Occult Papers of W B Yeats

Of all the members of the Golden Dawn, Nobel laureate W B Yeats achieved the most in public life, so it was kind of inevitable that the Republic of Ireland would want to preserve his papers for the world. Fortunately for the Golden Dawn scholar, Yeats was an Adeptus Exemptus of the Stella Matutina – so his archives in the National Library of Ireland contain  manuscripts from the original order of the GD, the “Morgan Rothe” which was the London faction’s name when the order split in 1900, and the latter Stella Matutina all the way up to 7=4. It also contains Yeats’ GD notes and a lot more besides.

Two documents from the higher grades of the Stella Matutina are particularly interesting. One is a detailed analysis of the Adeptus Major 6=5 ceremony, which describes the inner astral workings of the ritual: this has been published by George Mills Harper in Yeats’ Golden Dawn. The other is the 7=4 ritual itself, whose full title is “The Mystical Grade of 7º = 4 Being the Grade of the ROD Which Blossoms. ” NB A version of the 7=4 ritual was published by Pat Zalewski in which it was called the “rose which blossoms.” However, assuming the Yeats version is the correct one, this would imply that the 7=4 is themed about the story of Aaron’s Rod, which when it blossomed confimed Aaron’s authority as High Priest.

Sometime last year photos were made available on Flickr of a small sample of the kind of things which are in the Yeats collection. A goodly sample is can also be viewed online in the Virtual Yeats Exhibition.

Yeats’ handwritten / drawn notes on the Minutum Mundum

Most excitingly the Library indicates that it may make copies of items in the collection which are in good condition, also the price of actually doing so is enough to dissuade most indigent occultists.

Miscellaneous

I personally know of the location of several other original GD documents although scholarly access to them is limited for one reason or another. For example, the Library and Museum of Freemasonry at Great Queen Street has a cache of material belonging to Wynn Westcott: unfortunately it is still in the process of being catalogued so it won’t be available for public inspection until sometime in the (hopefully near) future.

[2018 update: however, a lot more work has been done since 2010 – see: The Library & Museum of Freemasonry > Explore > Search The Collections.]

There are also organisations to which members of the GD also belonged, which have material from the GD locked in their cupboards for safekeeping: however just how much is hidden away I cannot say. I was privileged enough to have a brief glimpse inside one such archive and found a single ritual dating from 1916, and nothing else from the GD (the ritual itself is one that has already been published).

Doubtless there are other archives about the place, not to mention the collections of private individuals (e.g. Bob Gilbert), so I shall probably post a follow up to this post once I have tracked them down.

[2018 update: the preceding comment should be re-read in the light of my subsequent blog-post, Golden Dawn Exhibition, 19th December 2013]

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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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