Greetings Faithful Readers!
Nick Farrell recently posted a blog about the upcoming Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls anthology. He called the post Flying Rolls Book Reveals Golden Dawn Community Secret. The big secret he believes has been revealed can be summed up in this quote from the post:
Wading through [the list of contributors to the anthology] and the wide range of Golden Dawn groups that these people belong you start to realise that the level of cooperation that exists between these different orders must be considerably higher than many would have you believe.
If you’ve been around the various communities of the Western Mystery Tradition for the last 20 years, then you likely know what Nick is talking about. I am sad to say that all too many people outside of the Golden Dawn have the impression that our Tradition is overflowing with arrogant jerks who would rather call each other names and accuse one another of outlandish crimes than concentrate on the Great Work.
I’ve personally run into any number of dedicated occultists who proclaim they wouldn’t give a Golden Dawner the time of day. Or even that there must be some something flawed in the G.D. system because it “keeps producing spiritually damaged people.” Perhaps you even feel this way youself.
And that is a very sad thing – becaue the reality of the Golden Dawn is so much different than what you might have seen on the internet. (Is that really a surprise?) I’ve been involved in the greater Golden Dawn Community now for the better part of 20 years – and I have yet to see any of the hateful in-fighting that has been proclaimed so loudly on the ‘net.
Oh sure, there have been disagreements. There have been expulsions. There have been groups that split up due to irreconcilable differences. I’ve even known individuals that flat out decide not to work with one another ever again. All of this is expected from any movement of this size and scope. But, what is the overall reality of the movement itself? Is there really something “wrong” with the Golden Dawn? Does it really produce an endless parade of overblown egos?
Not that I’ve seen in real life. While the hate gets spewed around by a few trolls on the internet (most of them from outside the Tradition), I’ve seen the various Golden Dawn Orders and independant Temples quietly getting along, and largely ignoring what is going on in the cyber-world. As Donald Michael Kraig recently posted on Facebook:
I’ve had the honor of knowing some of the people who have written for this [Golden Dawn Commentaries] book. It’s true. There really are no “Golden Dawn wars” today. There will always be those who try to invent them in order to develop an us-vs-them mentality—a common method used to create cults. There will also be disagreements—that’s why there are different GD groups. I take that as a sign of the vitality of the tradition and the passion of those who participate. But most real GD people I’ve met look at those trying to spark controversy and wars that don’t exist and think of what Puck said in Midsummer’s Night Dream: “What fools these mortals be.”
So Don feels the same way Nick and I feel – and we aren’t alone either. Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that the true fraternity of the Golden Dawn community has been slowly seeping onto the internet.
Take, for example, the 30th Anniversary of the Consecration of the HOGD Vault of the Adepti that took place last year. A document was drawn up to offer congrats and thanks to Chic and Tabatha Cicero for their work and dedication to the Golden Dawn Tradition – and it was signed by dozens of folks from a host of different Orders, Temples and some unaffiliated individuals.
Later, a Facebook event was created for the same Anniversary – and what started out as dozens of well-wishers turned into hundreds as people from all walks of life added their names and thoughts to the list. (Click on the link, and you can add yours as well!)
Most recently, the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls anthology was announced – a book created by members and leaders of several different Golden Dawn groups, all working together to create something worthwhile for students everywhere.
And it isn’t going to stop there, either! Even now there are projects in the works that transcend all Order affiliations and philosophical differences and illustrate that the Golden Dawn Community is working together in harmony toward the Great Work, with all of you in mind.
So the next time you run into a Golden Dawner, before you jump to any conclusions about what kind of person he or she might be, consider the old addage: “By their fruits shall ye know them.”
Greetings Fratres et Sorores!
Ok, so it must be the right time of year for new anthologies containing brand new essays from yours truly. Kerubim Press has just announced an upcoming book entitled Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls by the Golden Dawn Community:
Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls – Front Cover
This new collection contains all of the original Golden Dawn “Flying Rolls” – which are extracurricular lectures and essays on a variety of occult topics that circulated among adepts of the original Order. These Flying Rolls were written by adepts like Wynn Westcott, Samuel Mathers, Moina Mathers, Edmund Berridge, Florence Farr, Annie Horniman, J.W. Brodie-Inns and Percy Bullock.
But Waite! There’s more! Each and every Flying Roll is followed by a brand new commentary intended to elaborate upon the topic of the Roll itself. Some of them serve to clarify what is in the Roll, while others add to it with updated modern views. And the authors included here are no less impressive than the Flying Rolls’ original authors. You’ll find plenty of recognizable names like Chic and Tabatha Cicero, Peregrin Wildoak, Sam Webster, Joseph Max, Nick and Paola Ferrell, Samuel Scarborough, Eric V. Sisco, VH Fra IOV, Frater Yechidah, Ian Cowburn and Morgan Drake Eckstein. And many up-and-coming authors such as Deanna Bonds, Lauren Gardner, Jayne Gibson, Christopher Bradford, Liza Llewellyn and Rachael Walker. Plus, of course, me.
And that merely scratches the surface of the good folks who contributed their time and work to this anthology. This book is the end result of one of the most massive inter-Order cooperative projects in the history of the Western Mystery Tradition. Almost every major Golden Dawn Order – and a few smaller groups and private Temples – came together in a spirit of community and fraternity to make this book a reality.
Click here for the full announcement from Kerubim Press.
I have made two contributions to this project. The first goes along with Flying Roll XX: The Elementary View of Man. However, what I have written is not a mere commentary upon the Flying Roll, but is in fact an updated re-write of the original Golden Dawn lecture Ritual U: Man – Microcosm (which is necessary to read and understand in order to grasp the concepts of Flying Roll XX). Man – Microcosm is an often-overlooked lecture that was part of the original adept curriculum, and contains some of the Order’s most important teachings on the human soul, qabalistic psychology and the Great Work itself. My hope is to revive interest in this particular lecture, and re-establish it as a foundational study for all students of the Golden Dawn.
My second contribution is a commentary upon Flying Roll XXXV: On the General and Particular Exordium of the Z Documents. The General and Particular Exordium is an introduction of sorts to the Z Documents – the secret wisdom and symbolism of the Golden Dawn’s Magick of Light revealed to Mathers by his spiritual contacts known as the Secret Chiefs. They are possibly some of the most profound and useful pieces of received knowledge in the entire Western Mystery Tradition. However, few Golden Dawn students understand what the Exordium is supposed to mean. It is essentially a Gnostic poem intended to “set the stage” for all the mysteries revealed in the Z Documents. Therefore, I break down the Exordium and explain what it means in Gnostic terms, and how it reflects on the mysteries of the Golden Dawn.
Fratres et Sorores, you do NOT want to miss out on this one!
Greetings Devotees of the Holy Guardian Angel!
Nephilim Press will soon publish a brand new anthology entitled Walking With the Angel. It is a collection of essays about the Holy Guardian Angel by various occultists (some you know, and some new names as well) – including me!
Walking With the Angel
My contribution is called After Abramelin: Working With the Holy Guardian Angel. If you remember my older essay, The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin, this new essay is its direct counterpoint – explaining how one is supposed to work with the Guardian Angel after completing the Rite.
Here are the introductory paragraphs of my essay:
After Abramelin: Working with the Holy Guardian Angel
The Book of Abramelin is a German magickal text supposedly written by Abraham von Worms in the 1400s. It contains a method of invoking and permanently bonding with one’s Holy Guardian Angel. The angel, then, becomes the primary guide and teacher of the aspirant, and the source of his spiritual authority. This allows the aspirant to perform magick, command lesser spirits and – most importantly – strive toward a higher state of spiritual purity.
Because you are reading this book, I assume you have some familiarity with – or interest in – this famous grimoire. Yet information about it can be rather hard to find. While much has been written about the six (or eighteen) month Rite outlined in that book, precious little has been written about how the system works after those months are completed. In a previous anthology I was given the opportunity to write about the spirit-magick of Abramelin, providing a basic outline of how one should work with the spirits and talismans of that system after completing the initiation. Now, I have been given another opportunity to provide my readers with a rare glimpse into the practice of Abramelin – this time concerning the Holy Guardian Angel itself.
All too often, seekers who read the Book of Abramelin make the assumption that it is “just” an evocation ceremony. A lengthy and involved one, for certain, but ultimately just a method of summoning a very powerful angel. That angel, then, will immediately answer all of your questions about life, the universe and everything and provide you with all the miracle-working powers you could desire. Afterward, you go on with your life as an empowered magus and never need look back at Abramelin again. As they say: “Been there, done that.”
Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. In this essay, I will tell you what you can likely expect during the final days of the initiation itself and in the weeks, months and years that follow. I will bust any number of Abramelin myths, and explain how Abraham himself outlines the system as it should be practiced over the course of a lifetime.
You can read more about the anthology – including a table of contents – at The Lion’s Den blog.
And keep an eye on the Nephilim Press homepage for when the book becomes available.
P.S. – a special congrats goes out to Frater Rufus Opus, who is being “officially” published for the very first time in this anthology! Good work, brother!
Greetings Ye Seekers of Gold!
So my last couple of blog posts have been about magicians facing (and dealing with) various hardships that life on Earth naturally brings about. And one of the primary examples was poverty – especially since many occultists prefer to remain relatively poor (as compared to, say, a corporate/criminal CEO), and because so many who just “don’t get it” view poverty as some kind of proof that magick isn’t worth the wood the wands are made from.
So, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that the discussion has turned specifically toward money magick. Don Kraig talked about it a bit on his blog, Morgan Eckstein referred to it as well. (See my previous post for links.) Even Nick Farrell has weighed in – so don’t miss out on his insightful post.
Meanwhile, it was the recent contribution on Alex Sumner’s blog that has inspired me to make this post on the subject. In Alex’s post, he relates an anecdote I have come to call the Tale of the Lottery Enthusiast – wherein he makes some vitally important points on the subject of money magick and how it really works. I find it to be more than worth repeating here in full:
It so happened that I was having a good-natured discussion with fellow members of the Illuminati in a pub about whether it was possible to use our combined magickal skills to collectively win the Lottery. Or more to the point, the other people at the table were having a discussion, whilst I was trying to eat my dinner.
The discussion was getting quite heated between one person who insisted that we try it, and just about all the rest who were saying “No, it’s not possible,” etc. I finally finished off my food. “I have made a study of people who have cast successful money spells,” I said.
The Lottery-enthusiast was arguing so enthusiastically that it was several seconds before someone realised that I had said something interesting. “Go on, Alex! What is the result of your study?” they said.
“Well,” I said, as everyone became silent, “I’ve collected examples of people who have successfully used magic to make money. They include:
- Professional people, getting an idea how to find themselves a new job;
- Having been invited to interview, using magick to boost their confidence and help them say and do the right thing at the interview;
- Businessmen seeking inspiration for how to bring new customers to their business;
- Inventors, ‘dreaming up’ a new invention;
- Songwriters coming up with the idea for a new hit song;
- Novelists coming up with the plot for a new story.
“In short: none of these people invoked Money itself, they invoked a Money-making opportunity. The point being that when the said Money-making opportunity appeared seemingly miraculously in their lives, they converted it into actual money in a conventional manner, to wit: hard work. This, incidentally, is why there are so many ‘arty’ people in the Occult or people with artistic flair - painters, writers, musicians, self-employed professionals, and so forth – because magick is all about drawing upon ones inner creativity.
“The one thing I have never heard of is people using magick to win the lottery. Therefore, if we were to use our magick skills to think up a money-making scheme, I’m certain that we would actually succeed! Whether we would be able to put the scheme into practice, however, would be another matter entirely. So my best advice would be to concentrate on the opportunity first, and forget the Lottery altogether.”
“But playing the Lottery is a money-making opportunity!” the gambling addict cried. At this point the argument erupted again. I immediately got the impression that no further good would come from trying to press my point, so I just let them get on with it.
Damn good points! And I couldn’t help but offer the following reply:
Alex, I think anyone who ever wishes to use magick to make money should read your tale of the lottery enthusiast. It hits the nail directly between the eyes. Magick can certainly be used to bring in money – either by bringing about a money making opportunity (Jupiter and/or Mercury) or even by bringing in a one-time windfall of some kind (Sol). But, either way, once it arrives it is then up to the magician to know what to DO with it.
Especially in the case of a windfall, if you don’t know how to work to make that money grow, then it will simply drain away – and fast. Anyone in the world who has money will tell you the same. You have to work for your money – not just to GET it, but also to KEEP it. If you want to be rich, then managing your money will become a full time job in its own right.
This is why so many occultists who have done money magick will tell you that you usually get just what you need and then it goes away again. It is because most of us don’t desire to do “money” as a full time job. Instead, we tend to ask for what we need and then go on with our lives until the next need arises.
Yet, there are times when magick is used to get a better-paying job. Or to attain money to invest in a new business, etc. In those cases, yeah, you get money that sticks around as long as you keep doing the work to make it stay.
But to my knowledge, no one has ever achieved the creation of the magick purse that has fresh gold coins in it every day.
Greetings Seekers of Magick!
As I have said in previous posts, the first rule of writing is that if someone can take something you’ve written the wrong way, they will. And the second rule is that someone will always take what you’ve written the wrong way. And, of course, that has happened in the case of my most recent blog post about magick and life’s hardships.
This time, it was no one less than Donald Michael Kraig himself! Now, before I go on, let me stress that I consider Don to be a friend. That is, in real life and not just someone with whom I’ve had an exchange or two over the internet. So please, dear reader, take everything you are about to read in the spirit of one brother confronting the other.
That being said, I’m afraid Don really missed the boat on my last blog. If you want to update your score card, you can go read his post before going on with this one. But I’ll also sum up the issue briefly here:
My previous blog was intended to address a specifically Western (and I dare say capitalist) misconception of magick and magicians. That is, if magick really worked (or if a particular wizard were really any good at it), then certainly one should be rich, never sick, never harmed, never psychologically off-balance, etc, etc. He should, in effect, be immune to all the down sides of life here on Earth, able to deflect all hardships with a simple wave of his wand and a hearty wingardium leviosa!
The point of my post was to say that this isn’t how reality works. Magick doesn’t stop bad things from happening. Cast all the spells you want, and I promise you hardships are going to come your way. In fact, I would go so far as to say, as one who walks the magickal path, you’re probably going to have more than your fair share of shit to deal with.
Sadly, Don seems to have taken that a step further and into a direction I never intended. He rebuts as follows:
I have to respectfully disagree with the implication here. It may not be the intent, but the idea I get from this is that [Aaron] is saying if things are bad, tough. Just deal with it. Don’t do magick to improve your situation. Instead, do magick to mentally and emotionally deal with hardship. To me that sounds like a sort of religious approach: “We can’t help you, but if you pray to our God[s] He [they] will give you courage.”
No, no, no and emphatically no! My post merely addressed the fact that bad things are just plain going to happen in life – and that this fact neither proves that magick is false nor that any given magician is a fraud. Never did I say, or even imply, that one should not use magick when those hardships arise!
Quite the contrary – I stated that “magick exists because bad things happen.” And that “when bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it.” Magick is a toolkit that mankind has developed over thousands of years, intended to help us through the hard times. Magick can allow you to live where you might have died. It can allow you to eat where you might have starved. It can even allow you to achieve things in life where you might have otherwise failed or faded away into obscurity.
My stance is exactly the opposite of what Don has suggested. Here is the response I made on his blog:
I think you misunderstood my post entirely. I was not at all suggesting that magick should be only for the spiritual, and that one should just allow bad life situations to continue. In fact, if you look at the rest of my blog, it is chock-full of uncrossings, exorcisms, cleansings, defense spells and angelic invocations all geared toward dealing with real-world practical problems.
My post was addressing a specifically Western concept that, if one were truly a powerful magician, then one should be rich, never be sick, have a perfectly balanced psychology, etc. In effect, the concept is that a true wizard should glide through the world like Dumbledore or Neo, having hacked reality and therefore risen entirely above the hardships that life can bring.
Yet in the real world, magicians are as prone to hardship as anyone else. For example, I’m a wizard – but I still got into a nasty car accident a couple of years ago. There was no “invisible wall of force” around me to repel the oncoming car so that my car remained untouched. The car was totaled, and all the legal and financial hassles and hardships that followed were the same for me as they would have been for anyone else.
*However*, I firmly believe that my practice of magick is what allowed me to walk away from that car accident relatively untouched. There is just no logical reason at all for me to have lived through it. I believe without a doubt that my Guardians intervened in that situation, and tweaked reality just enough so the oncoming car hit mine just *in front* of where I was sitting, instead of t-boning directly into me. In fact, I have reason to believe that either some kind of time-travel took place, or that I was yanked out of one reality (where I died) and into a nearby reality (where I walked away).
Magick saved my life that day in a *very* real sense. It didn’t “magickally” make the bad thing “not happen.” But, where it *really* counted, it kicked in and saw to it that I made it through in one piece. And it’s not the first or last time that has happened either.
To say that I believe practical magick just shouldn’t be done is frankly ridiculous. Yet, I feel it is equally ridiculous to suggest that magick should make one 100% impervious to any and all hardships in life. It just doesn’t work that way.
Of course you should use magick to improve your situation! That’s what it is for. Whether it is to rectify your soul and allow you to better serve humanity (see Peregrin Wildoak’s blog on this discussion), or to just keep the proverbial wolves away from your front door (see Morgan Eckstein’s blog), or to advance your social station in life or any combination of these things – magick should indeed be used to improve your life.
I’m a big advocate of down-to-earth practical nuts-and-bolts magick (aka witchcraft) that makes things happen! Even my pursuit of the high magickal arts intended to elevate my soul closer to God is undertaken to obtain the spiritual authority necessary to direct the forces of nature right here in the material realm. (That, and to give me a choice over where I go after I pass on – but that’s a concern for later. Much later, I hope! lol)
On the other hand, one cannot point to a wizard (or even an entire culture) and say “well they aren’t rich” or “things aren’t so great in their lives” and assume that means their magick is worthless. Magick proliferates in situations where people need it to survive. And the existence of poverty or other hardships in the lives of those who use or rely upon magick is no proof the magick isn’t working. The fact that they are still alive, still eating and still making it year after year might just be evidence that their magick is working pretty damn well.
Greetings Faithful Readers!
A subject has recently come up on the Solomonic Yahoo Group that I’ve been wanting to address for some time. All too often, I see folks (specifically Western folks) point out issues of poverty, sickness or other hardships faced by either individual magicians or cultures where magick is prevalent, and suggest that it is proof their magick doesn’t work. How many times have you heard that some magician “died penniless” as proof that they weren’t much of a magician after all?
Here is a quote from the original post on Solomonic, and my response to it:
Re: So everybody is a Sorcerer. What then?
— In email@example.com, Julian <belfire1@…> wrote:
> However, there might be some who look at social conditions in places
> like Brazil and Mexico and Cuba, and wonder in what way their magical
> culture has made then happier, healthier, safer, more prosperous, and
> more free—such that we might benefit from emulating them.
As I see it, this is one of the fundamental misunderstandings about magick in the Western world. Magick does not exist to *stop* bad things from happening, magick exists *because* bad things happen.
I think we’ve been conditioned by our fiction and Hollywood fantasy to see magick as a “cure all.” If a person is truly a powerful wizard or sorcerer, then surely their lives will reflect it in that they will never want for food or money, never be sick, never have bad things happen to them, etc. Why, because a *true* wizard should be able to wave his wand at any problem and make it vanish in a puff of smoke and a flash of light. If he doesn’t live up to the Harry Potter standard, then surely he’s a fraud…
Then we look at the real world and see just what you’ve described above. We see that magick is more widespread in cultures that don’t have it so good. We see that magicians don’t come from lives of happiness and comfort. And so we think: then what good is the magick?
But magick doesn’t make you immune to hardship. It doesn’t make your problems vanish. It exists to be invoked in times of hardship, to make the hardship something we can overcome. It is, in this way, synonymous with medicine. Medicine doesn’t stop all disease or suffering from happening. And when you do get sick and miserable, you don’t expect to be completely cured the moment you walk out of the doctor’s office. You take the medicine he prescribes to you, hoping that it will eleviate soem of the suffering and possibly aid you in returning to a state of health.
And so it is with magick. When bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it. And that is why we see more widespread magick use in cultures that don’t have it so great. If they were all fat and happy, then why would they seek magick in the first place?
Believe me, it took me many years to come to grips with what I say above. I spent plenty of time angry at my Guardian Angel, Patron Gods, familiars and spiritual helpers for “letting bad things happen to me.” Until they finally drove it into my head that they weren’t there to make me some kind of superhuman, impervious to any hardship. They were there to make sure I made it through the bad things.
There is a great illustration of this in that old Nick Cage movie “City of Angels.” In the opening scene, we meet Nick and his buddy in a convenience store in a bad part of town. At first, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why these two angels would be hanging out in some random gas-n-go. But then a man comes in and pulls a gun on the store owner.
Do our heroic angels spring into action to subdue the evildoer? Nope. Instead each angel stands behind one of the humans involved and places a hand on his shoulder. This calms the humans slightly, and the robbery goes down without anyone getting killed. The angels didn’t seem to consider the morality of the robbery of much concern. They just influenced the situation enough to get the humans through it in one piece.
And if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you might know why I find something a bit personal in that scene. And though that case is a bit on the extreme side, I have found much the same to be true of my entire magickal career. Whatever I learn about magick, it doesn’t remove me from this physical realm full of hardship and danger. It sure as hell doesn’t make me rich. And, to be frank, I’ve found that my guardians are much more likely to shove me into the pitfalls of life than to steer me around them. (Angels don’t let wimps hang around with them.)
But I am still here, and I’m in a position in life that is a damn sight better than it would have been without magick. In complete honesty, I really don’t have to worry much about a place to live, or lack of money or a thousand other things that could afflict me. Yet I got here by paying serious dues along the way.
All Magic comes with a price, Dearie!
As it is said in the Golden Dawn’s 5=6 initiation ceremony: Hate not suffering, it was but the purification of the Gold.
Great news folks!
Over the years, I have lost count of the number of students who have asked about the system of spirit magick outlined in the Book of Abramelin. Of course, the subject is not something that can be covered in a simple email or forum post. Therefore, I have published two lengthy documents on the subject: The first, Abramelin’s Magickal Word Squares, is freely available at my homepage. It is a mere preview of the work I’ve done to decipher and correct the Abramelin talismans – the full scope of which I plan to release in an upcoming book.
The second document is called The Spirit Magick of Abramelin, which was published in Scarlet Imprint’s Diabolical anthology. It is an in-depth essay on how to use the Abramelin talismans along with their associated spirits. Needless to say, this is the one most of you have wanted to read – though I can understand why some may be hesitant to purchase an entire anthology just to get their hands on that one essay.
Thus the good news: The Spirit Magick of Abramelin is being re-published in the upcoming edition of Hermetic Virtues Magazine. Sorry it’s not free, but it will certainly be more affordable for those of you on a budget. Besides, you’ll want to be familiar with Hermetic Virtues anyway – as they will soon be releasing their first full-scale book including never-before seen Golden Dawn-related material (some of it by yours truly). I don’t want to give away too many details just yet, so stay tuned for for updates.
For now, those of you interested in all things Abramelin will want to get your hands on the next issue of the magazine.