Tag Archives: occult

Watkins Books – resurrected in time for Easter

I am indebted to the Hermetic Library for finding this news story. Apparently Watkins Books – one of London’s three leading occult bookstores – has been saved from closing. (This, if you recall, is the bookshop which I allege is the model for the one in Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books.) Had it closed it would have been disastrous for the London – and UK – occult scene (I have patronised it myself on several occasions).

Full story here.

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The Pentagram

News today of naughty Pagan goings on in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, UK.  Apparently, a local well has been the subject of a severe case of well-dressings to celebrate the Equinox. Shock, horror! Apparently St Anthony’s Well, which is the renowned for its miracle cures for skin conditions, has been haunted by several teenage delinquents who have also been leaving pentagrams nearby, much to the consternation of local Christians.

Let us gloss over for one moment the fact that Christians ought to be praising God for any teenager that ventures near a cure for skin conditions, no matter how odd. Let us also gloss over the fact that this ancient well, though supposedly a Christian site is almost certainly an old pagan one that got saved for the Lord. What – pray tell – exactly is wrong with a Pentagram?

The Pentagram is a symbol of Nature – literally. Its proportions are based upon the Golden Ratio – 1:1.618… etc – which itself is based upon the Fibonnaci series.

Now there is a curious (and not unrelated) fact – if one were to imagine that the orbits of both the Earth and the Planet Venus were circles, then the major occlusions of the Sun by Venus as seen from Earth would mark out the points of a pentagram! There is a simple reason for this: the ratio of the distance of Venus from the Sun, to the distance of the Earth to the Sun, corresponds to the Golden Ratio – 1:1.618. Because orbital speed is also proportional to its distance from the Sun, it follows as a Math that a Pentagram-like arrangement would occur.

I was chatting on this matter to some Companions of mine in the pub – where all matters of cosmic importance are always discussed.

“What I find most remarkable,” I said, “is that the planet Venus just so happens to be that particular distance from the Sun in relation to Earth.”
“Yes,” one of my Companions answered. “And we are the only planet with intelligent life to see it.”

In this sense the Pentagram is quite exciting – it is a greater argument for Intelligent Design than a lot of the tripe put forward by Bible-bashing fundies. Christians have a unique opportunity to embrace this symbol because it really does indicate that a divine being created the Heavens and the Earth – yet they shy away from it because they think it is a symbol of the occult. Pagans are smarter in that respect.

Of course there are some Christians who like to appropriate the Pentagram as a sacred symbol – simply because it is a symbol of the number 5. There were 5 wounds of Christ, and there are 5 letters in the Hebrew spelling of the Qabalistic name of Jesus – “Yeheshuah.” This, incidentally is the basis for the Pentagram ritual of the Golden Dawn, which itself has passed into the neo-pagan tradition.


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The Equinox, Volume 2 *

March 21st is the Vernal Equinox in those parts of the Northern Hemisphere which lie above the tropical zone – so I shall spend some time analysing how various occult traditions treat this seasonal event.

In Wicca, the Vernal Equinox is celebration of Light. The central part of the ceremonial consists of the following invocation, which the High Priestess recites before a bonfire is lit.

We kindle this fire today
In the presence of the Holy Ones,
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
But the High Gods
Thee we invoke, O Light o fLife;
Be thous a bright flame before us,
Be thous a guiding star above us;
Kindle thou within our hearts
A flame of love for our neighbours,
To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all,
To all men on the broad earth;
O merciful Son of Cerridwen,
From the lowliest thing that liveth
To the Name which is highest of all.

(Source: “What Witches Do,” by Stewart Farrar).

In the Golden Dawn, the Equinox is the time when the old Hierophant steps down, and the new Hierophant is installed. It is also the time when the pass-word for the Equinox has changed. The choice of pass-word is significant, for it represents a Magical Affirmation to inspire and guide the Order for the next six-months. The Equinox ceremony of the Golden Dawn when worked with all the inner magical working, is in fact a magical ceremony to put that Magical affirmation into effect.

It was for this reason that Crowley referred to the reception of the Book of the Law as “the Equinox of the Gods” – because he saw it as a cosmic Equinox ceremony to give effect to the new Word, not of the next six-months, but of the new Aeon, i.e. “Thelema.”

Those of us who are not so much interested in becoming the Magus of a new Aeon as using the Equinox formula in our own workings, may find an insightful analysis of the ceremony in Circles of Power by John Michael Greer.

The final equinox working to which I will briefly refer is that of the Elus Cohens. This was a theurgic order founded by one Martinez De Pasqually in the  eighteenth century. It ceased working in the late 18th / early 19th century, but was revived in modern times by Robert Ambelain. Ambelain’s own group was allegedly closed sometime in the late 20th century, although it is within the author’s personal knowledge that the Elu Cohen rituals are still being worked by various people to this day.

The essence of the Elu Cohen Equinox ritual is that it is a great Exorcism rite, designed to banish all evil spirits from this planet. It is in fact quite intense, as it takes five days to complete (i.e. it was worked on five successive nights).

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Planetary Invocations #7 – Jupiter

The final – for now – entry in this series is taken from the Greek Magical Papyri. Appended to this invocation is the note: “It loosens shackles, makes invisible, sends dreams; it is a spell for gaining favour. (Add the usual for what you want).”

As usual, words in BOLD CAPITALS should be vibrated.


I call upon you who created Earth and bones and all flesh and all spirit and who established the sea and suspended the heavens, who separated the light from the darkness, the Supreme Intelligence who lawfully administrates all things.

Eternal Eye, Dæmon of dæmons, god of gods, the lord of the spirits, the invariable AION IAO OYEI, hear my voice.

I call upon you, master of the gods, high thundering Zeus, sovereign Zeus, ADONAI, lord IAO OYEE;

I am he who calls upon you, great god, in Syrian: ZAALAERIPHPHOU, and you must not Ignore my voice, in Hebrew: ABLANATHANALBA ABRASILOA;


High-minded one, immortal, who possesses the crown of the whole world,


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Planetary Invocations #6 – Mercury

Another invocation taken from the Greek Magical Papyri, specifically to Hermes. As before, the words in BOLD CAPITALS should be vibrated.

Mercury (Hermes)

Hermes, lord of the world, who’re in the heart,
O Circle of Selene, spherical
And square, the founder of the words of speech,
With golden sandals, turning airy course
Beneath earth’s depth, who hold the spirit’s reins,
The sun’s and who with lamps of gods immortal 
Give joy to those beneath earth’s depts, to mortals
Who’ve finished life. The Moirai’s fatal thread
And Dream divine you’re said to be, who send
Forth Oracles by day and night, you cure
Pains of all mortals with your healing cares.
Hither, O blessed one, O mighty son
Of the goddess who brings full mental powers,
By your own form and gracious mind. And to
Me, NN, a pious man, reveal a sign
And send him your true skill of prophecy.







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Planetary Invocations #5 – Mars

An Orphic Hymn. In the rubric it gives the suffumigation as Frankincense, although in modern terms this would be Dragon’s Blood.


Magnanimous, unconquer’d, boistrous Mars,
In darts rejoicing, and in bloody wars
Fierce and untam’d, whose mighty pow’r can make
The strongest walls from their foundations shake:
Mortal destroying king, defil’d with gore,
Pleas’d with war’s dreadful and tumultuous roar:
Thee, human blood, and swords, and spears delight,
And the dire ruin of mad savage fight.
Stay, furious contests, and avenging strife,
Whose works with woe, embitter human life;
To lovely Venus, and to Bacchus yield,
To Ceres give the weapons of the field;
Encourage peace, to gentle works inclin’d,
And give abundance, with benignant mind.


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Planetary Invocations #4 – The Moon

This is a ritual drawn again from the Greek Magical Papyri. I often use this in the context of Dream Divination. The invocation is adapted from a spell to invoke the Moon for the purposes of Divination. The rubric of the spell says that this chant should be repeated “7 or 9 times” – although Qabalistically it makes sense to always chant it nine times. The repetition combined with the “barbarous names of evocation” creates a hypnotic or altered state of consciousness by itself.

As before, words in bold type should be “vibrated.”

The Moon

For thou art the Moon, the chief of the stars,
He that did form them.
Listen to the things that I have said,
Follow the words of my mouth,
Reveal thyself to me,
This is my correct name.

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Planetary Invocations #3 – The Sun

I also source ancient magical texts from a miscellaneous variety of places. The following – a solar invocation – I discovered from reading a novel called Master of the Temple by Eric Ericson. Despite being a work of fiction, the author had obviously done his homework, as it contains a lot of authentic background information on Aleister Crowley, Sex Magick, contemporary occult orders – and ancient Babylonian invocations.

The following dates (according to Ericson) to around 2000BC. This was inscribed on a ceremonial pillar which depicts King Hammurabai receiving his authority from the Babylonian Sun-god, Shamash. Incidentally – note this – the name of the Babylonian Sun-god is the same word as the Hebrew word for the Sun – “Shemesh.” This leads me to suspect that prior to their return from captivity – if indeed they had ever been away in the first place – the Hebrew people were a lot more “pagan” than the Bible likes to admit.


I who am a perfect King
To the people entrusted to me by God;
I who am by God’s command their shepherd
Have never tarried, never rested.
I was called by the Great Gods,
Wherefore I became the good shepherd
Whose staff is straight and strong.
My shadow has stretched out across this city;
I have gathered my people into my arms
That they may thrive under my protection.
I shield them in my peace
And protect them in my wisdom.
Here in this city I have spoken my word
And have erected my image as King.


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Planetary Invocations #2 – Saturn

Saturn, being a defeated god, is not an easy deity for which to find suitable invocations. In The Greek Magical Papyri, the only mention of him (i.e. Kronos) was not an invocation but an evocation, in which the magician assumes the form of Zeus his conqueror.

Fortunately however, I have other sources apart from the Greek Magical Papyri. One of the most useful of these is The Orphic Hymns. The following Orphic text, despite the doggerel quality imbued by the translator, is more suitable to Saturn’s status as a deity to be worshipped per se.


Etherial father, mighty Titan, hear,
Great fire of Gods and men, whom all revere:
Endu’d with various council, pure and strong,
To whom perfection and decrease belong.
Consum’d by thee all forms that hourly die,
By thee restor’d, their former place supply;
The world immense in everlasting chains,
Strong and ineffable thy pow’r contains
Father of vast eternity, divine,
O mighty Saturn, various speech is thine:
Blossom of earth and of the starry skies,
Husband of Rhea, and Prometheus wise.
Obstetric Nature, venerable root,
From which the various forms of being shoot;
No parts peculiar can thy pow’r enclose,
Diffus’d thro’ all, from which the world arose,
O, best of beings, of a subtle mind,
Propitious hear to holy pray’rs inclin’d;
The sacred rites benevolent attend,
And grant a blameless life, a blessed end.


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Planetary Invocations #1 – Venus

Today I shall begin the first in a series of Planetary invocations. These are all ones I use in my own magical practice.


One of my favourite sources for deriving traditional rituals is The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells: Texts v. 1. Despite the name these are actually mostly from Ptolemaic Egypt and are thus more Graeco-Egyptian than Greek per se. The Greek Magical Papyri show an eclectic range of influences, including not just traditional Greek and Egyptian traditions but also Gnostic and even proto-Qabalistic ones as well.

Many of the spells are of the eye of newt and tongue of bat variety, but there are a number which are conducive to more theurgical types of working. One of these is the famous Bornless Ritual: another is the invocation I present below.

The following is an invocation to Venus – or more accurately, Aphrodite. I adapted it from a spell to invoke Aphrodite for divinatory purposes.

The invocation is in three parts: parts one and three – the basic invocation and the welcome to the Goddess – should always be used; part two may be used in addition to part one at the discretion of the magician. The words in bold type – the “barbarous names of evocation” – should be vibrated or chanted with a full breath – a very powerful effect is achieved when this is done properly.


I call upon You, the Mother and Mistress of Nymphs
Come in Holy Light and give Answer, showing Your Lovely Shape!

I call upon thee ILAOUCH who has begotten Himeros, the Lovely Horai and You Graces;
I also call upon the Zeus-sprung Physis of All Things,
Two-formed, indivisible, straight, foam-beautiful Aphrodite.
Reveal to me Your Lovely Light and Your Lovely Face, O Mistress ILAOUCH.

I conjure You, Giver of Fire, by ELGINAL, and by the Great Names:

I also ask You by the All Wonderful Names:

Bring Light and Your Lovely Face and the knowledge of Your Divine Self,
You shining with Fire, bearing Fire all around, stirring the Land from afar –
Do it!

Hail, Very Glorious Goddess, ILARA OUCH!


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