Tag Archives: Qabalah

Qabalistic Qigong

You are able to discover new and hidden depths to the whole Golden Dawn system by periodically re-reading the classic texts, written by Mathers et al., and by paying close attention to the parts you might have skipped over the first time around. Even I manage to surprise myself from time to time, such that if ever I start to feel jaded, I find myself re-invigorated by going back to the books and putting into practice what the creators of the system originally intended.

Recently, for example, I was revising the section of Z-3 “The Enterer of the Threshold,” viz. “The Symbolism of the Admission of the Candidate,” and I became convinced that Macgregor Mathers had done something far cleverer than I first appreciated: he had come up with a system of Qabalistic Qigong, long before the concept of Qigong (or “Chi Kung” to use the old spelling) had become widely known in the West (which arguably was only as recent as 1972). In particular I mean the three formulae of magical vibration derived from the opening of the Neophyte ceremony, namely: the Formula of Aspiration; the Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar; and the Formula of the Four-fold Revolution of the Breath.

The Microcosmic Tree of Life. © Alex Sumner 2017

The Microcosmic Tree of Life.
© Alex Sumner 2017

The Formula of Aspiration

In the Neophyte Adeptus Minor document “The Enterer of the Threshold,” in the part entitled “The Symbolism of the Opening of the 0=0 Grade of Neophyte,” Macgregor Mathers describes the magical currents at work at the very beginning of the ceremony, when the Hierophant addresses the Temple for the first time. He then goes on to comment:

The whole is a rehearsal of the properties of the reflection of the Element Air down through the Middle Pillar of the Sephiroth, representing the reflection of the Air from Kether, through Tiphareth to Yesod, and even to the Citrine part of Malkuth. For the subtle Aether is, in Kether, inspired from the Divine Light beyond; thence reflected into Tiphareth, wherein it is combined with the Reflexes from the Alchemical Principles in that great Receptacle of the Forces of the Tree. In Yesod, it affirms the foundation of a formula and from Malkuth it is breathed forth or reflected back.

And this formula the Adept can use. Standing in his Sphere of Sensation he can, by his knowledge of the Sacred Rites, raise himself unto the contemplation of Yechidah and from thence aspire (in the sense of Adspire, i.e. to attract towards you in breathing) downwards into himself the Lower Genius as though temporarily to inhabit himself as its Temple.

Regardie, I, 1989, The Golden Dawn, 6th edition, Llewellyn, St Pauls Minnesota, p345.

In practice, this is really what I would consider regular vibration, although the point that Mathers is making is that one should take a moment to contemplate that one is invoking the divine name in question as a manifestation of genius from the Yechidah (i.e. the microcosmic Kether).

The Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar

Straight after the preceding passage which I quoted above, Mathers goes on to say:

Another formula of Vibration is here hidden. Let the Adept, standing upright, his arms stretched out in the form of a Calvary Cross, vibrate a Divine Name, bringing with the formulation thereof a deep inspiration into his lungs. Let him retain the breath, mentally pronouncing the Name in his Heart, so as to combine it with the forces he desires to awake thereby; thence sending it downwards through his body past Yesod, but not resting there, but taking his physical life for a material basis, send it on into his feet. There he shall again momentarily formulate the Name – then, bringing it rushing upwards into the lungs, thence shall he breathe it forth strongly, while vibrating that Divine Name. He will send his breath steadily forward into the Universe so as to awake the corresponding forces of the Name in the Outer World. Standing with arms out in the form of a Cross, when the breath has been imaginatively sent to the feet and back, bring the arms forward in “The Sign of the Enterer” while vibrating the Name out into the Universe. On completing this, make the “Sign of Silence” and remain still, contemplating the Force you have invoked.

This is the secret traditional mode of pronouncing the Divine Names by vibration, but let the Adept beware that he applies it only to the Divine Names of the Gods. If he does this thing ignorantly in working with Elemental or Demonic Names, he may bring into himself terrible forces of Evil and Obsession. The Method described is called “The Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar.”

Thus, to summarise: if one were to vibrate, e.g. “Eheieh,” one would

  • Stand in the form of a cross;
  • Contemplate link to Kether (Yechidah);
  • (Mentally) vibrate “Eheieh.” In effect one has started off with the “Formula of Aspiration,” but one is now adding to it.
  • Draw the invoked force into one’s heart and mentally formulate there “Eheieh” whilst contemplating what it represents and what you are trying to invoke (i.e. in this instance, the spiritual properties of Kether);
  • Send the current down, via Yesod, to Malkuth (i.e. the feet). Formulate “Eheieh” in Malkuth, imagining that you are using your whole physical being to manifest those spiritual forces.
  • Now imagine the current springing back up, rising up to your head.
  • Forcefully project it out with the Sign of the Enterer, vibrating it loudly, so that it manifests in the Universe.
  • Finally, make the Sign of Silence, to seal off your aura.

Thus there are three distinct points at which one contemplates the force in question: the head (Kether), the heart (Tiphereth) and the feet (Malkuth), with Yesod here figuring as a stage in the downward and upward journey. It is here that we begin to see the similarity with Qigong, in that it is a combination of breathwork, visualisation and movement. Obviously it is not literally identical to any Chinese method, being based on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. I find it helpful here to pause a brief moment – though not too long – at each point, head, heart, and feet, to really feel the energies involved.

Crowley in Liber O describes vibrating the divine names in the LBRP with the Signs of the Enterer and of Silence. It seems clear to me that he probably had the Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar in mind, although in describing it cursorily he misses out on the full subtleties contained in Mathers’ original description.

The Four-fold revolution of the Breath

The third magical formula derived from the opening of Neophyte ceremony relates to the currents of energy which are formed during the Mystic Circumambulation. Mathers writes:

The Mystic Circumambulation is called symbolic of the Rise of Light and from it drawn another formula for the circulation of the breath. It is the formula of the Four Revolutions of the Breath (not, of course, of the actual air inspired, but of the subtle Aethers which may be drawn thence and of which it is the Vehicle – the aethers which awaken centres in the subtle body through the formula). This formula should be preceded by that of the Middle Pillar, described previously. By this method, having invoked the Power you wish to awaken in yourself, and contemplated it, begin its circumambulation thus: Fill the lungs and imagine the Name vibrating in the contained Air. Imagine this vibration going down the left leg to the sole of the left foot – thence passing over to the sole of the right foot – up the right leg to the lungs again, where it is out-breathed. Do this four times to the rhythm of the Four-fold breath.

By saying that “this formula should be preceded by that of the Middle Pillar” it is evident that the three formulae of vibration are cumulative – the Four Revolutions of the Breath incorporates both of the preceding methods.

Conclusion

Speaking personally, I find that invoking a divine name by all three methods together is very powerful – the least one can expect is to feel incredibly energised by doing so. I remember once doing the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, using all three formulae to vibrate the appropriate Name in each quarter. Because I was necessarily observing more care over each one, the LBRP ended up taking around ten minutes longer than it had done previously, but by the end of it I was fairly floating in space! The three formulae, combined, are a powerful means for invoking Divine names generally – each time leaving one buzzing with energy, and hence filling one with confidence that one is psychically contacting the forces invoked, and working good ritual.

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Is Melchizadek A Zionist?

Israel

Israel

Here’s a thought. In Qabalistic terms, the secretest chiefiest secret chief of them all is a mysterious person who is like the “Alpha-Qabalist” (or indeed Aleph-Qabalist) who is the Baal Shem Tov of the modern era. He (?) it is who has the authority to transmit the true Unwritten Qabalah, or knowledge of the true pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. This person – let’s call him “Melchizadek” for the sake of argument – is Jewish.

Would therefore “Melchizadek” have had any truck with anyone who sided with the Nazis during the third reich? My own muddled thinking would say almost certainly not. Hence: any occultist of a Germanic origin, claiming to be a Qabalist, must be viewed with suspicion, as if anyone in their tradition was a Nazi or helped the Nazis, it is likely that Melchizadek would have withdrawn all contact from the members of that tradition.

So now we turn to the Israeli/Gaza conflict. If, as I surmise, Melchizadek is Jewish, it is also likely that he (?) is also a Zionist by sympathy. Now before I get a whole load of trolls jumping on me saying that this a logical non-sequitur, I would say: for the great majority of Jews, the pure idea of “Zionism” is perfectly reasonable to them, as it is the natural desire of their people to find a place of rest and sanctuary after centuries of upheaval.

Hence, occultists who purport to practice the Qabalah yet do not support the principles of Zionism are likely to find themselves cut-off from the source of Qabalism. A Qabalistic solution to the present crisis must involve the preservation of the integrity of the state of Israel (even if the methods currently adopted by the Israeli government are not the best means of ensuring this takes place).

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Taromancer, the new novel by Alex Sumner, launched today!

You can get a completely free copy of my new novel TAROMANCER which is officially launched today!

Taromancer cover artwork © copyright 2013 Alex Sumner

Taromancer cover artwork © copyright 2013 Alex Sumner

This is a brand new stand-alone story, featuring all-new characters. It is a Visionary Fiction novel set in contemporary England, and tells the story of one woman’s spiritual quest, involving the Tarot.

Disenchanted and disillusioned with her career as a fortune teller, Miranda meets a crazy old man one night, and is plunged into a spiritual quest – with the twenty two trumps of the Tarot as her companions.

Despite being cast in the form of fiction, the book contains much material on topics such as Ceremonial Magick, Esoteric Christianity, the Kabbalah, Theurgy, and of course the Tarot itself.

Taromancer is usually priced at $2.99 (US) but for a limited time only it is free to download for Kindle via Amazon.

To claim your free copy, just click on one of the following links within the next twenty-four hours:

United States http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H3QP298
United Kingdom http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00H3QP298
Germany http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00H3QP298
France http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00H3QP298
Spain http://www.amazon.es/dp/B00H3QP298
Italy http://www.amazon.it/dp/B00H3QP298
Japan http://www.amazon.jp/dp/B00H3QP298
India http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00H3QP298
Canada http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00H3QP298
Brazil http://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00H3QP298
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Australia http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00H3QP298

Please share this with everyone you know – the more the merrier. Thanks!


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“Taromancer” in other ebook formats and print – coming March 2014!

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How I First Met Alex Sumner

By special guest blogger, Miranda Warren, Tarot Reader.


Taromancer cover artwork © copyright 2013 Alex Sumner

Taromancer cover artwork © copyright 2013 Alex Sumner

Hello, Alex has asked me to write a few words which he wants to post on his blog – so I think I can do no better than explain how I first came to collaborate with him.

I first met Mr Sumner earlier this year, when I visited him at his home. I knew I had come to the right address, judging by the shouting and screaming coming from inside. Needless to say I felt perturbed, but I decided to go through with it because I had been advised that he was the best, nay, the only man for the job.

I rang the doorbell and waited in trepidation. I could plainly hear the sound of a very bad tempered man approaching the door muttering “What fresh hell is this?” and harrumphing loudly.

I was just about to run for it – when the door flung open, and an absolutely gorgeous man with dark good looks appeared before me. “Hi, I’m Alex Sumner,” he said, throwing a peace sign at me, “novelist and writer on the occult.”

“Mr Sumner!” I exclaimed.  “Do you normally answer the door stark naked?”

“Oh!” he said, suddenly realising his predicament. “Sorry about that – you caught me in the middle of a magical operation. Step inside for a moment, whilst I put some clothes on.”

“You don’t have to on my –” I began: but too late. He darted into the darkest recesses of his apartment. Five minutes later he emerged, this time wearing the finest couture from Camden (all black). Rings of strange and curious design adorned his fingers.

“What was all that shouting and screaming I heard earlier?” I said.

“Downstairs neighbours, I’m afraid. Absolutely ghastly,” he said.  “Now I suggest we repair to a local hostelry to talk. I would invite you in, but I haven’t yet cleaned up the bloodstains from last time.”

A short while later, and in the more convivial atmosphere of a restaurant whose terrace overlooked the local cricket pitch, I explained to Alex the situation.

“I’ve been undergoing a mystical adventure recently,” I said to him, “involving both Tarot and Theurgy. I’ve kept a detailed log of the whole thing and I’m trying to turn it into a book. But I need some help finishing it off, so that’s where you come in. I want you to help finish it, and pretend you wrote it, so people will think it’s a novel.”

“… ‘All the very best, Alex Sumner,’” he said, as he autographed a copy of one of his books for a young blonde girl who just so happened to be passing by at that very moment. He turned back to me. “Yes, yes! An interesting premise. Do go on. Bloody hell, has the waitress gone on holiday or something?”

“Ahem, yes,” I said. I continued: “It strikes me that there have been more than enough books on Tarot and divination, a good number on Tarot and path-working, and quite a few on Tarot and spellcasting for everyday purposes, but almost none on Tarot and pure Theurgy.”

An electronic beeping noise interrupted us: I realised Alex’ iPhone had gone off. “Excuse me, I’ve just got to take this,” he said. “Hello? A love spell you say? Might I just point out that you haven’t yet paid me for the last one? Sod you, goodbye!” He ended the call, looking cross. Immediately though, he brightened up as he put his phone away. “Sorry about that, a former client of mine. Do go on.”

“Well,” I said, “My point is that I’ve in fact seen more books which suggest using Tarot to explore goetic forces, the dark recesses of the lower-self as it were: but none for exploring the higher self through ceremonial magick. Which I find ironic, seeing as the Tarot is so closely aligned to the Qabalah, and the Qabalah is nothing if not the basis for high Theurgic operations.”

“Hmm, I’ll take your word for it,” Alex said. “I really don’t know the first thing about all this Qabalah stuff. I just look it all up on Wikipedia.” I looked at him shocked: but he continued “I’m getting parched, is no-one serving today?”

I looked suspiciously at him for a moment, but then went on. “In so doing,” I said, “I also explored esoteric Christianity, which does not seem to get a wide press in occultism. And yet, under its banner falls some very powerful magical rituals which I have had many trusted friends describe to me as the most powerful they have ever experienced.

I looked at Alex, and felt shocked by his reaction: he seemed to be paying attention to me! Warming to my theme, I quickly continued. “So, to go about writing a book about Tarot and Theurgy: the first thing that occurred to me was that instead of just theorising about it, I should actually do it. For a start it would make it more sympathetic to potential readers. Also, I’ve tended to notice that I’ve actually learnt more from occult writers when the write of their own personal experiences, or publish memoirs based on their magical records, rather than sententious how-to books. For example, the Dancers to the Gods by Alan Richardson, My Life With the Spirits by Lon Milo Duquette, and even some of the books of E A Koetting.”

“OI, CAN I GET SOME FUCKING SERVICE OR WHAT?” Alex bellowed at the top of his voice. Everyone in the restaurant stared at us in shock. A baby started crying. “WE’RE DYING OF THIRST OVER HERE, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.” He turned to me and smiled. “Yeah, that sounds great,” he said in his normal voice. “But why this whole business of making it into a novel?”

“Ah, that’s the clever part, if I say so myself!” I said. “If I were to say to people ‘this is the Truth,’ and then start talking about something unbelievable, that creates a barrier in the reader’s mind which limits their enjoyment of the subject. But if I were to say instead ‘this is Fiction,’ and hence the reader is free to disbelieve it if they so wish, no such barrier exists, and consequently the reader can let his or her imagination run away with it.

“This is how Paulo Coelho, for example, was able to write an inspirational book about Alchemy – by casting it in the form of a novel. On a different subject but related in principle, no-one would have read 1984 by George Orwell if it had just been a ranting essay. But because he wrote it in the form of a fictionalised novel, it’s hailed as an all-time classic.”

“Ah well you’re speaking to the right person,” Alex said.

“I am?” I said, my hopes rising.

“Certainly!” he said. “I’ve been pretending to write decent novels for years!”

I curled my lip in a sort of snarl, but Alex just grinned in an asinine fashion that would have caused someone with a shorter temper than myself to punch him. Hard.

“Most importantly, however,” I said, “with this book I wanted to create a work of Art. Conceptual art, in the form of a book, as it were. De-commodified – like artists have themselves attempted to de-commodify contemporary Art – so making money out of this is not my primary focus.”

“WHAT!?!” Alex cried, suddenly blanching with shock. “No money? Are you mad, woman?”

I shrugged. “I see it as an experiment – performed purely for its own sake. I decide what I want to do, I do it, I write up the results. It’s successful as long as I’ve done it with integrity, and if other people actually happen to like it, that’s a pure bonus.”

“But, but, but…” Alex wailed. “It’s got to have action! It’s got to have violence! It’s got to have at least one chapter set in an abandoned warehouse, and another in the intensive care unit of the local hospital! It’s got to have swearing, gratuitous sex-scenes, preferably between two or more hot lesbians, and it’s got to have lots of cheeky references that will offend any leaders of Masonic orders who – ah! At last!”

At that moment, a young waitress wearing a top displaying ample-cleavage distracted Alex from his rant, and proceeded to take our orders.


“Taromancer” is out, December 11th 2013. Watch this space for further announcements, including details of how to download a free copy!

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Triskaidekaphilia

This year being the one that comes after 2012, and just before 2014, there has recently been a rise in chatter about superstitions, nay, phobias regarding the number 13. I will therefore take this opportunity to present an initiated view of the matter.

People say that 13 is unlucky, but that is a popular misconception: 13 is only unlucky for Christians. For Satanists, on the other hand, 13 must be quite jolly! Seriously, though, the unpleasant associations of centuries of folklore have got in the way of the fact that in the Qabalah the number 13 is a lucky number, for completely unsinister reasons.

"Ahebah" (love) in Hebrew letters.

Ahebah (“love”). Aleph, Heh, Beth, Heh.

In Hebrew Gematria, the word for “love,” Ahebah, enumerates to 13.

Achad ("Unity") in Hebrew letters

Achad (“Unity”). Aleph, Cheth, Daleth.

Whilst “Unity,” Achad, enumerates to 13 as well. Moreover the ineffable Tetragrammaton, Yod Heh Vav Heh, enumerates to 26 or 2*13, hence giving rise to a Qabalistic saying that “God = Love + Unity,” i.e. 26 = 13 + 13.

It gets more interesting when one analyses the symbolism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In the 1=10 grade of Zelator, the candidate is admitted (in the first part of the ceremony) with the admission badge of the Fylfot Cross, which is a clockwise swastika (i.e. the reverse of the Nazi symbol) comprising seventeen squares. The squares represent the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the four Elements, and the Sun; and they are arranged so that each of the four arms corresponds to one of the elemental triplicities, with the Sun in the very centre. The arms are (clockwise from top-left): fire, water, air, earth. Moreover each arm is arranged in the same order: the Cardinal sign of a given element is closest to the centre, followed by the Fixed (Kerubic) sign, then the Mutable sign, and finally the symbol of the Element itself at the extremity of the arm.

Now this seventeen-squared fylfot cross has in effect been cutout from a square of twenty-five individual squares – five by five – the same dimensions as the Kamea of Mars. So one day I thought to myself: what would happen if I superimposed the fylfot cross on this very Kamea? I immediately noticed the following: the number of each sign of the Zodiac, when added to that of the sign which opposes it, equals 26, 2*13, the number of the Tetragrammaton. E.g.:

Number derived from Fylfot Cross / Kamea of Mars.
Aries 25
Libra 1
Total 26

Moreover the central square – corresponding to the Sun – is 13, the Number of Unity / Love.Therefore, the Neophyte enters the Zelator hall with the aid of a symbol which suggests that all dualities are ultimately to be resolved in the form of Yod Heh Vav Heh, thereby leading one to Unity.

fylfotThis is just one example: given the central importance of the Tetragrammaton to the Qabalah one should not be surprised that the number 13 may crop up throughout the Western Mystery Tradition, even where one would not expect it.

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Music In Theory & Practice 3: The Hexagram and Middle Pillar Rituals

More rituals scored according to Macgregor Mathers’ system of attributions.

The Lesser Hexagram Ritual

The Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, composed by Alex Sumner © 2011.

The Middle Pillar Ritual

The Middle Pillar Ritual, composed by Alex Sumner © 2011.

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Alex explains The Rapture

The Rapture. You're Doing It Wrong.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever.

1 Thessalonians 4:17

Meet me Jesus, meet me,
Meet me in the middle of the air,
If my wings should fail me Lord
Please meet me with another pair.

Led Zeppelin, In My Time Of Dying.

Following on from my post about the coming Apocalypse, I thought I would share my thoughts on the Initiated view of the so-called Rapture. The popular notion is that on a certain day, the Lord will call His Own to Himself, which will result in them ascending physically into the sky. This will entail great joy for the Virtuous; great lamentation for the not-quite-so-Virtuous; great consternation for those of the Virtuous who were stuck indoors on the day it happens; and widespread looting and partying for everyone else.

Let’s ignore for one moment the fact that the idea of the Rapture is (a) preposterous and (b) inconsistent with other eschatological passages in the New Testament in both the Gospels and  the Book of Revelation. The whole idea about the Rapture is based on the passage from 1 Thessalonians quoted above: the operative word in the verse is “air.” In Greek this would have been Aera i.e. the air of the atmosphere or sky, as opposed to Pneuma or breath. In Hebrew however, this is Shamayim.

Shamayim, spelled with final (top) and medial versions of Mem.

Correctly spelled, this enumerates in Gematria to 1090 – which reduces by Theosophic Reduction (aka Aiq Beker) to 10, the number of Malkuth. Furthermore, the technically-incorrect spelling using the medial Mem instead of the final, which enumerates to 430 – the same as Nephesh.

This casts the situation in a far different light altogether. “Nephesh” is the vital or animal-soul of a person: the word is used in the Old Testament as a synonym for a “living being.” It may also be thought of as bearing the same relation to the Ruach as the Sub-conscious mind does to the Conscious mind. In the Qabalah the Nephesh is associated with Malkuth.

Thus by analysing it Qabalistically, it starts to look pretty much that far from meeting the Lord somewhere above the troposphere, He will manifest down here in the midst of our life in Malkuth within our very own being. After all, Jesus did say (He was quoting Psalm 37 when he did so) that it would be the Meek who inherit the Earth, not the unvirtuous.

NB: This interpretation may sound far-fetched but it is far more reasonable than some of the explanations put about by those who believe in a literal Rapture.

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Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi

The “Great Tree.”

To London on Saturday to attend a talk on the Qabalah by Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi (which is the Hebrew name of an English gentleman named Warren Kenton). Interestingly enough it was being held at Dion Fortune’s place in Chalk Farm, London. We were even privileged to use Dion Fortune’s own temple room, though I understand this was only because it was a special occasion – the Society of the Inner Light’s Director of Studies told me they don’t usually let hoi polloi in there as it is “consecrated ground.”Anyway: Z’ev, who has mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazic ancestry, teaches what he calls the “Toledano tradition” of the Kabbalah, which is a particular form of the Sephardic school which derives from mediaeval Toledo in Spain. Z’ev said that he was first moved to study the Kabbalah after having lived in Toledo in a past-life. From what I can make out, the Toledano tradition is fairly similar to the conventional Kabbalah though with a few peculiarities such as their focus on the “Great Tree,” which appears to be a concatenation of the regular Tree of Life in the four worlds of Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah (see picture).

I picked up the following tid-bits from Z’ev’s presentation:

  • Despite the Kabbalah being the mystical tradition of the Hebrews, its inner meaning is a Perennial tradition which has been known to different cultures at different times, even those unconnected with one another: e.g. China, Tibet, Babylon, etc. This is even shown in iconography from these regions which all purport to show variants of the Tree of Life.
  • The story of Noah’s Ark is metaphorical: the real Ark was in fact knowledge of the Kabbalah itself, whilst the various animals that were saved were particular aspects of that knowledge, which Noah managed to preserve for posterity. In that respect the Great Tree (left) was the blue-print for the Ark described in Genesis. (Alex thinks: Hmm, I wonder if the Royal Ark Mariners have ever considered this?)
  • Z’ev takes a curiously wary view of Angels. He used the metaphor of a corporation: God is the boss of the company; Man is the boss’ son; whilst the Angels are the boss’ employees. Thus whilst it is entirely possible that if one were to approach God directly, He would instruct one of His Angels to help: but an Angel would not necessarily be helpful if it were approached directly. In fact, according to Z’ev, an Angel might be downright troublesome. Z’ev took the view that if one asked an Angel to help, one might end up “paying with one’s soul.” At first this makes it seem that Angels are hardly any different from Goetic spirits: although by viewing angels this way it might explain why e.g. Enochian angels are often reported to be troublesome when invoked.
  • Z’ev believes in the existence of spirit guides – Maggidim – but avers that they are they are human spirits, rather than “Holy Guardian Angels” (this is probably connected with the dim view that he takes on Angels generally – see above). Z’ev himself claims that he is guided by the spirit of a Kabbalist who lived in the 11th century. He also believes that everyone has within their psyche an “Inner-Teacher” which is equivalent to Daath. From the way he described it, the Inner Teacher seemed to be equivalent to Freud’s notion of the Super-Ego.
  • Apparently, in every age at any one time there is an “Alpha-Qabalist” (Aleph-Qabalist?) living, who is like a Secret Chief, world teacher or Qabalistic version of the Messiah. The identity of this Alpha-Qabalist is always secret: he or she always keeps him-or-her-self to him-or-her-self. Z’ev was far too modest to hint in anything other than the mildest terms that it was himself! 😉

After lunch, Z’ev led those assembled on a Qabalistic pathworking exercise. From the ease with which he interpreted peoples vision-experiences I very much suspected that he had done this kind of thing many times in the past, and consequently knew every type of symbolism that commonly cropped up!

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How to Be an Ascended Master

Then he took them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Luke 24: 50 – 51.

Looking at the Sophistry the MBW crowd come up with about “Ascension” (nb: MBW = Mind Body Wallet). Apparently this Ascension-lark involves bowing down and worshipping a list of so-called “Ascended Masters.” Yes, such a patriarchal term is still used even though some of them are female: the term “Ascended Mistress” has yet to gain currency I suppose because of the double-entendre.

Anyway: there was me thinking – “What a jolly wheeze it would be if, instead of worshipping an Ascended Master, it was possible to become one instead! Can such a thing be done?” At least according to some schools of Occult thought, the answer is Yes. So, for the benefit of poor benighted humankind, and to the consternation of New Age money-makers everywhere, I present Alex’ Guide to Becoming an Ascended Master.

Qabalah

The Bible itself says very little about Ascension, save for the fact that it is alleged to have happened on three occasions: Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus. Enoch’s ascension is dealt with in one verse of Genesis:

Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him.

Genesis 5:24.

Jesus’ own experience is recorded in three places: the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.

The most revealing account though is what happened to the prophet Elijah.

Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind.

2 Kings 2:11 (emphasis added).

Now the word “Chariot” (Hebrew: Merkavah) is the clue to what is really going on here: this word was later adopted by proto-Qabalists to denote a species of Mystical ritual. What we now know as Merkavah Mysticism was formulated in the first centuries of the Common Era, although the Hebrew Mystics who did so were aspiring to rediscover the ancient mysteries primarily which enabled the prophet Ezekiel to obtain his visions. I contend that the association with “works of the Chariot” may be extended to Elijah as well.

Hence: Elijah ended his days on Earth whilst engaged in mystical ritual. It should be noted that in the Yoga Tradition it is claimed that great Yogis do much the same thing, where it is called Mahasamadhi, that is – to consciously leave the body whilst in a state of perfected meditation. However, if this is what happened to Elijah though then clearly his heavenly-translation is actually only a metaphor: although his soul would have left his body in a state of perfect meditation, his body itself would be left behind – his Ascension would be akin to an actual death, though no less remarkable in its own way.

Gnosticism

The Gnostics also perceived that Ascension is a matter of undertaking certain mystical rituals, and therefore contrived to speculate what form these rituals might take. One of the finest pieces of Gnostic literature deals directly with this: the Pistis Sophia. In essence this is an account of secret teachings that Jesus gave to the Apostles after the resurrection. The post-resurrection period is stated as lasting some eleven years, not the forty days as is commonly believed in the exoteric Church.

At the end of Jesus’ post resurrection ministry, he Ascended into Heaven … then returned a short-while later to teach the Apostles how He did it.

In order to understand the basic method, one should first be aware of the Gnostic conception of the cosmos. The world of matter is supposedly removed from the Supreme ultimate Divinity: in between are the realms of lesser spiritual beings (“Archons”) who act as barriers or obstacles to Man becoming truly spiritually free, keeping him imprisoned in the physical world. These Archons range from being deliberately evil to morally-neutral, depending on which school of Gnosticism one subscribes to, although one gets the feeling that Gnostic writers tended to gild the lily somewhat when describing how terrible the Archons are in order to emphasise their importance.

According to the Pistis Sophia, Ascension is the method whereby Jesus was able to transcend the world of matter, rise up past and through the barriers administered by the Archons, and commune with the supreme ultimate divinity (referred to in the text as “the First Mystery”) in “Heaven.” NB: in communing with the First Mystery, Jesus becomes One therewith, so that at times he talks of the works of First Mystery in the First Person. The whole implication of the Pistis Sophia being that Gnostic initiates following in Jesus’ footsteps would be able to accomplish the same.

The actual method of the Pistis Sophia is centred on acquiring an ascension-vehicle known as the “Vesture of Light” which, when the initiate is wrapped therein, causes all who see it to perceive only Light itself, not the initiate. The Vesture of Light is imagined as a cloak on which are written the Words of Power which are the key to compelling the Archons to let the initiate pass upwards: ZAMA ZAMA OZZA RACHAMA OZAI.

How is the “Vesture of Light” acquired? The Pistis Sophia is open to interpretation on this point. Jesus acquired His “Vesture of Light” from the First Mystery Itself, although this is a rather circular conception when one considers that in Ascending, Jesus identifies as the First Mystery. In the opinion of G R S Mead, the Pistis Sophia was not meant to be a publicly circulated document, but reserved for initiates. If so, we can infer that there may have been further oral teaching given to Gnostic initiates which was never written down. As to what this oral teaching might be, several modern commentators have reached their own conclusions, as will be noted below.

“Mithraism”

Mead, a keen scholar of Gnosticism and related subjects, was also the first English writer to translate a key ritual of Mithraism which again deals with Ascension – which he describes as the “innermost rite of the carefully guarded secrets of the Mithriaca.”

NB: it is called a Mithraic Liturgy, but this may be misleading. There is no internal evidence in the text to suggest it has to do with Mithras at all! All that is known for certain is that the papyrus in which it is contained dates from the fourth century AD, was written in Greek and derives from Egypt (the timing makes it contemporaneous with the decline of the cult of Mithras).

The ritual itself consists of a certain number of invocations and utterations to be made whilst astrally-projecting into the Higher Realms. The basic idea of memorising a long and complex ritual to be performed in the astral is not too dissimilar to the practice of Merkavah, although the rituals differ in the details. Of modern magicians Julius Evola published a version of this ritual, implying that it may have been practised by his “Ur Group.”

Alchemy

Being the world’s greatest Ipsissimus, it has come to my attention that there is a group doing the rounds claiming to have made contact with the secret chiefs of the so-called third-order. On investigating, it quickly became obvious (i.e. obvious to someone who has the total consciousness of the universe, in other words, not obvious at all) to what they are referring.

The said Group appear to be practising a form of Gnostic ascension à la Pistis Sophia (see above). However they have come up with a radical method of attaining the “Vesture of Light,” by a means of a certain method of what may quaintly be termed “internal alchemy” – or less quaintly – Sex Magick.

I have reason to believe that the group of so-called “secret chiefs” is in fact a genuine organisation (i.e. in the sense that it exists), however: certain public details about it have been deliberately obscured. It is not, for instance, as one rumour goes around the interwebby-thing, the third-order of the Golden Dawn at all, but a highly elite and exclusive group that draw their members from high-degree Memphis-Misraim initiates.

The time, date and place of their meetings, as well as who attends them, are obviously strictly confidential, though the “secrets” are not particularly so: there is nothing there that cannot be gained from cribbing from the works of Kenneth Grant, for example.

I shall say no more on this matter, as I do not wish criticisms against me to “snowball.” 😉

Conclusion

So as you can appreciate, for the practising Occultist, “Ascension” is a goal which may be attained (allegedly) through advanced mystical and theurgic practices. Needless to say, the Qabalistic, Gnostic and (pseudo)-Mithraic methods stop short of the full deal, as in each case the initiate returns to Earth afterwards – at least in the examples that we know about. It is thus a form of shamanic journeying, albeit to the higher as opposed to lower worlds.

It is important to bear in mind at this stage a distinction between the Right and Left Hand Paths when it comes to the matter of Ascension. The aspiration of the Right-hand path practitioner is to undergo an Ascension experience in order to attain the Beatific Vision whilst living, not necessarily to permanently translate to the higher realms. After all, there is a far simpler way to do that, and that is by simply dying.

The practitioner of the Left-Hand Path is in a different position. Whereas one on the RHP automatically assumes that his or her soul is immortal and will survive death anyway, the LHP practitioner has no such guarantee. Thus, the LHP practitioner can be recognised by an obsession with Ascension not to gain the mystical benefits to derive therefrom, but as a means to cheat Death itself.

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Talismans: A Consumer’s Guide

The contentious amulet.

News today in the Daily Telegraph that a magazine advert for an amulet has been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency, because the firm behind it could not prove that angels will protect those who wear it. However, speaking from the point of view of a ceremonial magician, I believe the judgement of the ASA is missing the point. The advert should have been banned not because of lack of proof of angelic protection, but because it is badly designed from an occult point of view.

It is made by a company called the Circle of Raphael, and is described on its website as “The Talisman of the Seven Angels(sic – it would be too much for the Daily Telegraph to know the difference between a Talisman and an Amulet). It is incredibly small – 16mm diameter (10/16” in Imperial) and made of silver, and apparently retails for £19 ($30). In the description of the piece there is a certain amount of advertising bumph about “blanket of angelic protection … fantastic results …” etc. Then, however, they get to the details. In attempting to explain the symbols (which are actually letters of the Hebrew Alphabet), they say

Outer Circle contains divine holy words in the form of the eternal name of the Creator as communicated to Moses on Mount Horeb.

Unfortunately there is a little spelling mistake – it says “Eheieh Ashah Eheieh” when it should be “Eheieh Asher Eheieh” – “I Am Who I Am.” In Hebrew the letters Resh and Heh are similar enough for the mistake to be easily made, but it begs the question – do these people really know the Qabalah? And why would they want to charge good money for something with an obvious flaw? The blurb goes on:

The Inner Circle contains the individual Cabbalistic sacred names of each of the seven angels, and inscribed in the very centre the divine life changing word of life itself.

It then proceeds to list the seven planetary Archangels, with fairly traditional attributions (Tzaphqiel is misspelt as Zaphael, but this is a minor quibble). However, when we turn to the picture of the Talisman, the full names of all the Angels are conspicuously absent – there is instead a ring of just seven Hebrew letters surrounding a central eighth. However – trying to give the manufacturers the benefit of the doubt – perhaps they intended just to put the initials of the seven angels? After all, the thing is only 16mm across. Unfortunately though they fail in this as well. Had they been intending this, they should have put:

Planet Saturn Jupiter Mars Sol Venus Mercury Luna
Angel Tzaphqiel
(Zaphkiel)
Tzadqiel
(Zadkiel)
Chamael Michael Haniel Raphael Gabriel
Hebrew Letter Tzaddi Tzaddi Cheth Mem Heh Resh Gimel

What we have instead however is Shin, Peh (sophith), Resh, Heh, Heh, Beth, and Peh (sophith) again. One of the Hehs might actually be a badly done Cheth (but equally it looks just as much like a Tau), but even so we are talking about a three out of seven rate of accuracy.

The presence of the letter Kaph in the centre attempts to defy my powers of reasoning as to why it should be the “Divine Life Changing word of Life” (sic). To give the makers of the talisman even more benefit of the doubt I suppose they might want to attract Jovial influences on the wearer through Kaph’s association with that planet. If however I were asked what the tautologistic Word should be, I would have thought it would be the Tetragrammaton itself, or possibly Ameth (Truth), or even just Chai, which simply means “Life,” which I have seen used in traditional Jewish jewellery designs.

So to summarise: Advertising Standards Agency! When faced with someone selling occult items in the future, come to me, and I will tell you if they are up to standard or not. I undertake to ensure that only people who know their Qabalah will pass my rigorous quality standards! 😉

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