Archive for the ‘books’ Category
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 to my students!
After I gave my Ceremonial Magick classes in North Carolina (six classes of material packed into two sessions!), one of my students asked me to take her to the store’s bookshelves and show her my best recommendations for further reading. Now, back home in Florida, we are reaching the last few classes of the course – where we finally begin to take all the basic rituals, correspondences and theory and put them together in rituals of practical magick. Once we are done, I suspct my current students are also going to want resources for further reading and study.
Even outside of my classes, I know many of you reading this blog are solitary practitioners. And I’m sure you would also like to know which books I recommend to futher your understanding of the Western Mystery Tradition and the practice of Hermetic Ceremonial Magick.
So, I’ve made this blog entry for both groups of students and practitioners. Much like the post I made concerning books about Babylonian and Semitic myth and magick, I will here gather the titles that I have found most useful in my own Ceremonial Magick studies – both when I was a solitary seeker and even still today.
We are very fortunate today, in that we have dozens of great resources that seekers in previous generations have had to do without. I hope you will find this list useful in your studies.
The Essential Golden Dawn : An Introduction to High Magic - Chic and Tabatha Cicero
A great general introduction to the Western Mystery Tradition as a whole. It traces the historical development of the WMT and introduces the student to many of the basic theories and philosophies behind our magick. Some of the basic rituals are also included.
Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts – Donald Michael Kraig
This is where it all started for me! When I was handed my first copy of this book, I was already practicing my own intuitive forms of magick (much akin to Hoodoo, really). But after just one look inside this book, I knew I had found something vastly important and powerful. I made up my mind then and there to put myself through the (at the time) Eleven Lessons – and the rest is history. This is not specifically a “Golden Dawn” text, but it does focus on Golden Dawn rituals and techniques, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to the practical side of the Hermetic Arts.
Self-Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
The Ciceros created this resource with the solitary practitioner in mind. They gathered a very large amount of the Grade curriculum of the Outer Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then expanded it with extra-curricular study material. Then they created a ritual process of Self Initiation by which the solitary seeker can progress through the Grade material. The Self Initiation rituals will certainly not make you a member of an Order, but they will introduce you to the forces invoked in each Grade of the Outer Order. There are even quizzes at the end of each Grade, so you’ll know when you’ve incorperated enough knowledge to move on to the lessons of the next Grade. This textbook is so useful, it is even used as a study guide by students of the H.O.G.D. itself.
Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
There have been several different editions of this text under different names. You can also find the material split between Creating Magical Tools and Ritual Use of Magical Tools. The above-linked version is the one I found and used many many years ago – in fact I think it was the first Cicero book I ever owned. It outlines in exhaustive detail how to build all the tools, furniture, robes, talismans and other ritual paraphernalia associated with Golden Dawn magick. Though you certainly won’t have to build everything you find in this book to practice at home, it contains enough to set up a fully functioning Traditional G.D. Temple. Plus, it gives you the magickal theory behind each tool along with the rituals to conscrate and use them.
The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot – Tabatha Cicero and Chic Cicero
This is a Tarot Deck, but it does come with a book. If you’re going to get into Golden Dawn magick, you’re going to be using the Tarot. And this deck is specially made for use in Golden Dawn ceremonies. (I still prefer the Smith-Waite deck for divinations, but this deck can’t be beat for G.D. work!)
The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites & Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order – edited by Israel Regardie
This is where it all started – at least for those of us practicing the Golden Dawn today. After 1900, the original Order of the Golden Dawn split into several different groups. One of them became the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, which still exists today. Another became the Alpha et Omega, which closed its doors sometime in the 1940s. And another became the Stella Matutina – which was the branch joined by Israel Regardie. The Stella Matutina closed most of its doors in the middle of the 2oth century. (Only one Temple remained, but it had changed its name to the Order of Smaragdum Thallasses – better known as the Whare Ra Temple – and operated secretly in New Zealand until 1978.) Before the bulk of the Stella Matutina Temples died away, Israel Regardie decided to save the Tradition by publishing the Order’s papers. This decision was controversial, but most today agree that it saved the Golden Dawn. This book is that publication – so you can see for yourself where it all began. This was the book used by Chic Cicero to found his own Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – which is by far the world’s largest and most successful Golden Dawn Order today. This book also serves as the “advanced manual” that takes you to the next step beyond the Ciceros’ Self Initiation… book.
The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic – edited by Israel Regardie
A good companion volume to The Golden Dawn above. This book contains a lot of early Golden Dawn material that didn’t make it into the first book.
A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero
This is one of the books by Israel Regardie that the Ciceros greatly expanded and then republished for the modern student. It is an excellent exploration of the Tree of Life and the magickal and Hermetic concepts that it embodies. In my intro classes, I give you the basics of the Tree of Life – but this text will take you to the next level and beyond. It includes guided meditations to introduce you to the energies, correspondences, angels and other magickal beings associated with every Sephirah and Path of the Tree.
The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero
The is another Israel Regardie original, expanded and republished by the Ciceros. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorites. It outlines the psychological aspects of Qabalistic and Hermetic practice – that is how the material interfaces with and changes your psyche. While I am no fan of the “psychological theory of magick” that does not mean there is no psychology at all involved in its theory and practice. I describe it this way: Magick is not “a form of psychology” any more than an engine is “a car.” Yet, without an engine a car is just a dead thing and doesn’t get you anywhere. How magick affects your mind, and how your mind affects your magick, it extremely important to understand.
Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia – David Godwin
This is a wonderfully useful resource for anyone studying the Western Hermetic Qabalah. Godwin has gathered every Hebrew name and term he could find, given them in English and Hebrew characters, their Gematira values and explained what they mean. As an appendix, he has also included a copy of “Sepher Sephiroth” – which gathers even more Hebrew words and phrases according to their Gematria values. (Kind of a 777 for the Golden Dawn crowd.)
Prometheus Rising – Robert Anton Wilson, Introduced by Israel Regardie.
And speaking of understanding psychology, this book is an absolute must-read. It is an easy-to-understand operator’s manual for your brain – complete with exercises. And the concepts it teaches are, as I said above, extremely important to your own spirutal development and your successful use of that thing called Magick. ( I drew upon the material in this book in my own Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires.)
Ishtar Rising: Or, Why the Goddess Went to Hell and What to Expect Now That She’s Returning – Robert Anton Wilson
See above. I consider this to be the second half of Prometheus Rising. And, as the title suggests, this book focuses upon the sacred feminine within all of us – and even explains why magick and witchcraft have returned to our culture in a big way. Highly recommended!
(NOTE: I will soon be adding a list of traditional Qabalistic texts to this list, such as the Zohar and Sepher Yetzirah. Stay tuned.)
The following books were not part of my own early studies into Ceremonial magick, but I believe they are potentially useful to today’s students:
Experiencing the Kabbalah: A Simple Guide to Spiritual Wholeness – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
“Kabbalah, a spiritual system grounded in symmetry and logic, is rarely addressed in a format that is suitable for beginners. Experiencing the Kabbalah goes against the trend, however, by presenting both historical and practical information on the Kabbalah that focuses on experiencing this ancient spiritual system rather than just reading about it. Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero accomplish this through a sort of ritual drama that they call “Walking the Tree of Life.” It characterizes each Sephiroth (different aspects of the divine) of the Kabbalah as a person, from the stable Malkuth to the enigmatic Kether, granting readers a fuller understanding of the Sephiroth and the paths between them. Experiencing the Kabbalah is an innovative guide for beginners as well as informative reading for adept practitioners.”
Making Talismans: Living Entities of Power – Nick Farrell
“Discover the secret keys and practical techniques to turn mundane objects into “living entities of power,” bringing real change in your life. By pooling magical practices from shamanism, paganism, the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, and Dion Fortune, Making Talismans offers training and techniques for performing advanced magical talismanic operations.”
King Over the Water: Samuel Mathers and the Golden Dawn - Nick Farrell
If you are interested in the history of the Golden Dawn, this is a great place to start. This book explores the life and times one of the founders of the G.D. without the usual lens of myth and legend surrounding him. Spoiler alert! Mathers was a fallible human being like the rest of us.
Mathers’ Last Secret REVISED – The Rituals and Teachings of the Alpha et Omega – Nick Farrell
The Alpha et Omega is the branch of the Order founded by Mathers after the original group split apart. This book is a good companion to King Over the Water, as well as Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. It contains the rituals used by Mathers’ A.O. before it closed its doors in the 1940s. Here, you can see how things were done in the A.O. as opposed to what the Stella Matutina was up to on their side of the fence.
By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life – Peregrin Wildoak
“The Golden Dawn (GD) system of magic is the main source of the esoteric and magical wisdom and techniques practiced in the West today. While the rituals and bare teachings of the tradition have been published for sixty years, the inner workings and esoteric keys that empower those rituals have largely remained unpublished or unexplored in contemporary works. By Names and Images remedies this lack by providing detailed and clear instructions for the visualisations, spiritual connections and energetic practices required for every major GD practice and ritual, as well as several unpublished techniques. Focusing on the meanings and use of sacred names and practical techniques of visualisation, the book thoroughly explores meditation and divination, purification ritual, invocation and evocation, grades of initiation, and direct experience of the inner realms. Also covered is an explanation of the Qabalah and its use as a magical framework. While the book is sufficiently practical and clearly explained to be of huge benefit to a newcomer to magic, its primary aim is to allow people already practicing the Golden Dawn system to do so more effectively, and to be touched by the amazing spiritual blessings the rituals offer.”
This list is certainly not exhaustive – I could have included many further books by authors like Pat Zalewski, John Michael Greer and others. And I could have included even more by authors like the Ciceros and Donald Michael Kraig. However, I think this list is certainly more than enough to give you a sound start and a well-rounded understanding of the Golden Dawn and its magickal tradition. It will also help you to avoid wasting your time and money on books that are of lesser quality, or just re-hashes of what has already been written by the fine authors listed above.
There is also a lot of good material still in the works, too – so I’ll likely be expanding this list in the future. Meanwhile, if this list isn’t enough to keep you occupied, check out this post listing the best Golden Dawn, Hermetic and Rosicrucian blogs out there – so you can keep your eyes on the ever-developing Western Mystery Tradition.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Greetings Angel Magicians!
I recently submitted my latest book on Enochian magick. This one is a practical manual – a grimoire. The publisher loves it, and we are moving forward with the editing process. Plus, we’re considering ideas for titles and cover design. (And that is why I’m posting this – see further down.)
The book is intended to explain what Enochian Magick really is – especially for those who are just beginning to look into the system. It will serve as a study guide when you read more advanced texts AND it will serve as a functional Enochian Grimoire – outlining step-by-step how to perform all of the rituals for the Heptarchia, Gebofal (the Liber Loagaeth system) and the Great Table. (Much of this has never seen print before.)
It is in three parts – the first is a general overview of the history of the Enochian Tradition. The second part lays out the system as John Dee recorded it. The third part outlines the Golden Dawn recension of the material - including their use of the “Reformed Table of Raphael” and an overview of the Concourse of the Forces.
Both the second and third parts (the actual grimoires) contain the step-by-step instructions for performing the rituals. I don’t waste time on all the ciphers and word squares from which Dee decrypted the system, nor with endless quotes from the Dee journals. I do nothing at all to complicate what is otherwise a simple and straight-forward system of Renaissance Angel magick. I just lay out the system as Dee himself would have practiced it. Then I do the same for the Golden Dawn system. Both Dee-purist and Golden Dawn practices are kept entirely separate, and the differences between the two are plainly explained.
Now, the publisher has asked me what I would like the cover to look like. Personally, I would like it to be a classy cover – akin to what they used on the dust-jackets for The Angelical Language. I don’t want to use the Seal of Truth as that has been done to death. I love the cover of Don Tyson’s “Enochian Magick for Beginners”, but that’s been used. lol All in all, though, you can probably see what I’m getting at. Not too busy, not too pop, not too “Enochian” – I want it to reflect that this is a grimoire of Angel Magick.
So what do you folks think? What would you like to see on the cover of a book like this? In about a week I will send my best ideas to the publisher. Now is your chance to put in a word on what you would like to see as well. Let me know!
Some time ago, I was given a beautiful signed copy of Avalonia’s The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet: a 17th Century London Cunning-man’s Book of Charms, Conjurations and Prayers, edited by David Rankine. With several writing projects and public events to get through this year, it has taken me some time to finish the book and gather my notes for a proper review. Yet, I feel this book is important enough for me to return to it and share what I have found.
So, why do I feel this book is so important? Even better, you may be asking, why should you be interested in the obscure personal grimoire of some guy whose name you’ve never heard before? The answer to both questions is the same, and it comes in two parts. First, I will discuss who Arthur Gauntlet was and then I will discuss the particular treasure his grimoire contains.
Many of you may know that I have described Solomonic magick as a form of “urban shamanism.” Some have taken exception to my use of the term “shamanism” to describe a system of occultism that arose among city-dwelling Christians in the Medieval and Renaissance eras. Most readers, on the other hand, have understood that my use of the term was based on a strict definition of “shamanism” as a social role. In this sense, a shaman is a person who operates outside of Church or Temple authority, and serves his or her community as a liaison between common folk and the realm of spirits. They act as healers and exorcists, and perform spells for day-to-day needs: such as love, money, jobs, friendship, favor with authority figures, finding lost items, divination of the future, etc.
Based on that definition, I have contended that Solomonic mages have historically served the functions of the shaman for their communities. While modern wizards have a tendency to lock themselves away in private and work magick for their own needs, the stereotypical wizard of the past offered his services – usually for a fee – to the laypersons of his town or village. (Much as we see with local cunning men and women and folk magicians even today.)
The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet is a wonderful illustration of this very paradigm. Arthur Gauntlet was a physician of the early seventeenth century, living in a time when medicine still included the use of astrology, magickal talismans and images, and incantations alongside the mundane applications of herbal remedies and tinctures. He moved in circles we would today consider occult – knowing such men as William Lilly, William Laud and possibly even Alias Ashmole (who ended up in possession of Gauntlet’s grimoire and claimed to recognize the man’s handwriting). He also employed a skryer named Sarah Skelhorn, who worked with him until 1636 – the possible time of his death.
Without a doubt, Arthur Gauntlet offered his services – both as a healer and a magician – to his community. And what we have in his grimoire is a practicing wizard’s working notebook – not merely a manuscript intended for mass publication as we find in many of the more common grimoires (i.e. the Key of Solomon the King or the Lemegeton). Instead, The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet falls in the category of a true receipt book – a record of the spells and charms and occult wisdom of a Solomonic mage and healer actively plying his trade.
We can easily see the practical nature of this grimoire by looking at the included material along with the order in which it is recorded:
- On the very first pages we find general instructions for all magick as taught by Ptolemy and Cyprian.
- Following these are the preliminary prayers to God and Psalms for defense and success in all matters, as well as conjurations against all evil spirits, that Dr. Gauntlet was likely to have used at the start of any magickal or healing operation. These include a prayer “for thy Genius” – showing that Dr. Gauntlet understood the importance of invoking his Patron or Guardian Angel at the start of any magickal work.
- Next, we find several charms that, I wager, were used by Dr. Gauntlet somewhat early in his career. (Later sections of the grimoire will contain a larger number and greater variety of such charms.) In this section, we find charms for protection, making spent money return and one for healing a person sick with “worms in his body.”
- Following these are the “49 Aphorisms” copied entirely from the Arbatel of Magic. This is the first of many inclusions from more popular grimoires, showing that Dr. Gauntlet was always on the look out for occult manuscripts to further his own understanding of the magickal arts.
- Next we find a rather lengthy section dedicated to the evocation of angels into a shewstone – several examples of which include the use of a child skryer. (This was a common feature of Solomonic magick, though we know that Gauntlet employed an adult woman for this purpose.) After the instructions given for summoning the angels, several sets of instructions are given for employing the angels for various purposes: discovering theft, finding hidden treasure, curing sickness, obtaining prophecy, returning lost cattle, returning runaway servants and children, and defense against witchcraft.
This section continues with alternate methods of summoning angels for yet further purposes – such as protection, theft, love and pleasures of the flesh.
- Next we find another inclusion from a popular grimoire: this time from the Heptameron. Included are the instructions for creating a magickal circle, exorcism of the fire, information about the garment and pentacle (including several versions of such a pentacle), and the full evocation ceremony – complete with the “considerations” and conjurations for the angels and spirits of every day of the week.
- Following all of this is a lengthy section of text drawn from the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy – teaching general occult philosophy, characters and forms of spirits, creation of sigils and talismans, books of spirits, evocation, obtaining oracles, etc.
- Then we find several sets of instructions for binding spirits to crystals, and the skrying of the same.
- Next are several experiments of necromancy or summoning the spirits of the dead. The most lengthy of these operations will be of much interest to any of you have have read Jake Stratton-Kent’s Geosophia, because it involves conjuring the spirit of a recently deceased person to go and fetch a fairy named “Sibilia” – who is apparently one of the Sybils (Oracles) of Greek history and myth.
- This is followed, surprisingly, with an elaborate ceremony for summoning “Sathan” (aka Satan) for the purpose of divination upon any subject whatsoever. This is apparently based on the philosophy that Satan is the “god of this world” and should therefore know everything that happens within it. This section ends with the spirit-curses found in many Solomonic texts for entities that are disobedient.
- The following section includes instructions for making and consecrating a magickal wand – the only magickal tool that Dr. Gauntlet seems to have used in his work. (No swords or knives are mentioned.)
- Then we find a section of recipes for incenses appropriate to each planet and zodiac sign. An interesting point here is the fact that all of the planetary perfumes are to be made into “pills” – or small rolled balls. These are created by mixing the powdered plant materials with blood – and in each case the blood is taken from an animal sacred to the planet itself. Such as bat blood for Saturn, that of a white rooster for Sol, that of a goose for Luna, etc.
- The next section might be thought of as a companion to the Sibilia conjuration. This time, the conjuration is for a spirit named “Oberion” – who is obviously the King of Fairies Oberon. It is interesting to note that this ritual also includes an invocation of the “Kaberion”, who are likely the Kabiri of ancient Greek mythos.
- Next we find a section dedicated to various Psalmic charms that Dr. Gauntlet likely used and prescribed in his practice. These are similar to those found in Use of the Psalms or the Book of Gold. They include charms for healing weakness (exhaustion? consumption? fatigue?), protection from demons, easing colic in infants, gaining honors, eloquence, healing sickness and injury, aiding childbirth, overcoming accusations, discovering theft, exorcising demons, protection of children, stopping bleeding, cramps, curing epilepsy, etc., etc.
This same section continues with more charms that do not depend on Psalms, but instead upon characters, herbs, magickal images and the like. Their purposes are more of the same we have seen – such as the curing of several specific injuries and diseases. Among these are seven “images” (actually more like talismans) attributed to the seven days of the week – and therefore the seven planets – fashioned from different metals and alloys. Each is attributed to a particular effect – such as binding tongues, creating discord or love between couples, etc.
This final section of charms is very lengthy - apparently representing bits of useful magickal lore Dr. Gauntlet acquired along the course of his career. I suspect he would have gone right on expanding this last section indefinitely throughout his lifetime.
Overall, we can see clearly in the above a notebook that would have been in use by an active practitioner of the art – specifically one offering his services to others in his community. The arrangement of the text even gives us a clue into how Dr. Gauntlet went about his ritual process – starting with his preliminary prayers and invocations and the methods by which he (and his skryer) made contact with angelic entities. Then follow the various charms and lore he picked up in his own spiritual quest and professional career. Furthermore, we see in the collected philosophy and lore the progression of Gauntlet’s own understanding of occult philosophy – as he would (certainly after much searching) lay his hands on one grimoire after another and hand-copy the portions of them he felt were most important.
I must also point out that the practical nature of this notebook gives us a rare glimpse into the “nuts and bolts” of Solomonic magickal practice. Where the more popular “mass circulation” grimoires often give us only a broad overview of the methods employed, more often than not mixed with a large amount of mythos and fantasy, Dr. Gauntlet’s grimoire is more concerned with specific how-to’s of the practice.
Some of the best examples of this latter dynamic is found in the instructions for skrying – which are absolutely some of the best I have ever seen in print. While this text and many others give us the rituals to use in skrying angels and spirits, only this one among the classical texts gives step-by-step instructions on how to divine specific information from the entities thus evoked.
The first example is found on p. 117, “How you shall make your demands to the Three Angels And first for a Friend.” It concerns how to question three summoned Angels to tell you exactly where a friend of yours is at the time of the working. (Apparently, Gauntlet’s skryer Sarah used this method often enough to continue using it after his death. The introduction describes Sarah later working for a client who would ask her to divine whether or not her – the client’s – mother was at home before she would commit to taking a trip to visit her. Remember this was the day before the phone, or even the telegraph or mail service. It would appear that Sarah was accurate enough in this divination to remain in the employ of the same client for many years.)
In the instructions given on p. 117, we learn that one did not simply ask the angels “where is my friend so-and-so right now?” Instead, a specific process was undertaken: First one asks the angels to show a vision of the friend in whatsoever place he or she may be. The vision will be granted, but no place will be named. The skryer must then ask how far away this place is – “is it five miles away? six miles? seven? eight? ten? twenty?” etc – until an exact number is settled upon. Then the skryer asks which direction the location lies from the current location – asking “is it north from here? south? east? west?” Then the skryer must ask, “Is it such-and-such a place?” The place must be specifically named by the skryer, and possible locations are to be named until the angels answer in the affirmative.
On p. 118, “How you shall make your demands for Theft to the Three Angels” we are told to use the exact same process. First one asks to see the thief – so that a description of the person can be recorded. Then, to find the present location of the thief, one goes through the same sort of questioning one used to locate a friend. First how many miles off he is – naming different distances until one is affirmed. Then which direction, then naming specific locations until one is confirmed as the hideout of the thief.
Also on p. 118 we find “For Treasure hidden”, which uses a similar but more restricted process. One first determines the land wherein one believes treasure is buried. Then the process of elimination is followed as above – only using feet rather than miles.
On p. 119 we learn how this kind of divination is done “For Sickness.” Once the angels have been summoned, the symptoms of the sickness are explained to the entities. Then one asks if the patient is going to live or die. If it is divined that he will die, one then asks how long that will be in coming by naming different lengths of time. If it is divined that the patient will recover, one must then ask how that recovery will take place. Will it be accomplished naturally, or will the doctor need to apply medicines? If it is to be by medicine, then one must determine the disease by naming known maladies until the angels affirm the one afflicting the patient. Then remedies and treatments are to be named until the angels confirm the one(s) that should be applied. Then one asks how long the recovery will take – once again by naming different lengths of time.
What a perfect illustration of how divination is properly done! One can imagine using this technique with a divinatory device such as a pendulum, geomantic squilling, a toss of coins or any other method that can provide a “yes or no” answer to any question. At no point are the angels expected to simply state outright the location of the person or the nature and cure of the disease - but these must be divined one bit at a time until the answer is finally settled upon via a process of elimination.
As you can see, there are many treasures to be found in the Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet. I agree with the editor when he suggests, in the introduction, that this book shows the marks of a person who actually used this material in the real world. That is what makes this book so important. The nuts-and-bolts nature of the instructions give us a rare insight into how this kind of magick was really done – much akin to the few precious eyewitness accounts of such rituals that have been preserved in various journals.
But even those eyewitness accounts are second-hand at best – descriptions of what a person saw and thought they were seeing that gives us little insight into the motivations and skills of the wizard himself. (Imagine, for example, trying to describe to another what you saw a surgeon do during an operation. It would hardly amount to an instruction manual for surgery.) Meanwhile, The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet gives us a real view into Solomonic practice much akin to the eyewitness accounts, while also giving us the step-by-step instruction to do it ourselves.
Yet again – not long after their publications of The Veritable Key of Solomon, A Treatise of Mixed Cabala and The Book of Gold – Avalonia and David Rankine have provided us with another leap forward in our modern understanding of classical Solomonic occultism. Therefore I must urge you to pick up The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet – whether you are a student of cultural history or an active practitioner, you will discover treasures buried within the pages of this obscure physician’s personal grimoire.
Greetings fellow Wizard-Priests!
Years and years ago, back in my early days of study into Biblical history and the Qabalah, I gathered a set of awesome texts concerning Babylonian magick and religion. (Sadly I did not own them, but had checked them out from the local library – remember those?) Before I dove head-first into the Solomonic grimoires, I quite regularly invoked the Annunaki (Gods) of Sumeria and Babylon. I got outstanding results though Them – and that was before I knew how to properly build altars or work with them in a more traditional Pagan manner. (At the time, I was invoking them through a basic Qabalistic framework.)
In time, I left the Annunaki behind. It was largely out of respect, as I discovered that I didn’t know how to work with Them properly and that I should probably be focused more on the “Gods” of my own time and culture – that is the Archangels and Angels found within the Qabalah and the Solomonic texts.
Yet, I don’t think I said goodbye to them forever. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that I’ll return to Them again. That point was driven home a few years ago when Tabatha Cicero created her own Babylonian Tarot (for which, I am proud to say, I handed over to her all of my own research on Sumer-Babylonian language, myth and magick).
Now, the Annunaki have reached out once more to remind me They are there, and that They haven’t forgotten about me (or – that they don’t want me to forget about Them, as if I could!). Just recently, I stumbled across a website that offers many of the old books I used to create my own Babylonian practice – all of which remain to this very day some of the best books ever published on the subject. They are in PDF format and you can download them for free. I’ve created this blog post to archive the links for myself, as well as to share them with you.
Babylonian Magic and Sorcery: Being the Prayers of the ‘Lifting of the Hand’ – L.W. King:
The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia – R.C. Thompson
Also, going beyond just Sumeria and Babylon, these are some of my favorite books on Middle-Eastern magic:
Semitic Magic – R.C. Thompson
The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities of Ancient Israel – Mark S. Smith
The Hebrew Goddess – Raphael Patai
A History of God – Karen Armstrong
This list is by no means complete, but should be a great start for anyone interested in these subjects. I’m sure I”ll be expanding this post over time. So stay tuned!
In the Light of Shamash,
Greetings God brothers and God sisters!
Scarlet Imprint is now taking pre-orders for an awesome new book called:
This new anthology brings together authors and practitioners of various Afro-Caribbean and Western systems of occultism to compare notes on their traditions’ difference and, especially, similarities. From the Scarlet Imprint page:
At the crossroads the paths of magicians and worlds meet.
Grimoire and root workers, Hoodoo and Vodoun, Quimbanda and Ifa. A potent fusion is occurring, a second diaspora.
At the Crossroads tells the stories of what happens when the Western Magical Tradition encounters the African Diaspora and Traditional religions, and vice versa. It is a mixing and a magic that speaks of a truly new world emerging.
My own offering to this brew is called Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival. The above quote, actually, is a fair description of exactly what my essay is about. I discuss the current cross-semination taking place between the modern Solomonic movement and various folks traditions – such as Santeria, Voodoo and Hoodoo. I briefly mention the relationship these traditions have shared in the past, and then explore the important impact such folk traditions are having upon the current understanding and practice of the medieval European grimoires.
And this goes far beyond the magick of Solomon, too. This movement reflects a relationship between Westerners and magick that was lost thousands of years ago, but which is now re-emerging and flourishing throughout every aspect of the occult revival. It is having an effect on everything from the Golden Dawn and Thelema to Wicca and Neopaganism. My essay, and Crossroads overall, gets right to the heart of this new movement and why it is so vastly important for all of us.
At the Crossroads is going to be a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand what exactly is happening to magick in the Western world in the 21st Century.
Peter Grey – Preamble: Standing Still
Jake Stratton-Kent – Necromancy: the Role of the Dead in a Living Tradition
Aaron Leitch - Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival
Eric K Lerner – Eleggua; Eleggua’s Worlds (art)
Stephen Grasso – Open up the Gate
Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold – The Invisible City in the Realm of Mystery
Richard Ward – In the Shadow of the Cross
Drac Uber & Ivy Kerrigan - Libations for the Lwa
Michael Cecchetelli – Countermeasures
Humberto Maggi – Crossing Worlds
Ryan Valentine – A brief history of the Juju
Hagen Von Tulien – Soul Dream (art)
Kyle Fite – The Syncretic Soul at the Cross of Cosmic Union
ConjureMan Ali – Goetic Initiation
Christopher D Bradford – Nigromantic Putrfaction
Chad Balthazar – A Garden Amidst the Flames
Angela Edwards – Queen of Fire & Flesh (art)
Jake Stratton-Kent – Magic at the Crosssroads
Greetings Ye Scurvy Knaves Who Read My Blog For Free!
Today I was directed to an awesome link at the homesite of Baen Books. It is called the Baen Free Library.
I had heard about this project in the past, and fully support it – though I hadn’t taken the time to go to the site and see what they had to say. Today I decided to give it a look, and I’m very glad I did. It’s not just a library page of books you can read online, but a lengthy explanation of both how and why the free library came to be.
I strongly urge you to read the page – especially if you are an author or publisher!
The subject of the page is online piracy and what we should do about the “problem.” Many of you already know how I feel about this issue. And those of you who are authors and publishers generally scoff at me for it. “Why, you must not want to make money from your books!” “Boy, I bet you’d change your tune if it were YOUR books being stolen!”
Well let me handle those two comments one at a time. First, I’ll put aside the sad commentary on the attitudes of capitalism the first comment makes. I mean, what a society I live in that thinks “not making money” is the ultiamte sin, and that a person who isn’t concerned about losing out on a buck is somehow mentally ill. Welcome to the Feringi homeworld, folks!
But I digress… For all of you Quarks out there, you can calm down and put away your torches. I don’t believe in giving away free material because it loses me money. I believe in giving it away becasue it makes me money. And if you can’t figure out how that could be – then I urge you once again to read what the good folks at Baen Books have to say on the matter. They are a business, they’ve applied the model, and they have reported their results. It. Makes. Them. Money.
Not only that, but the author of that page does a great job of putting the entire issue of online piracy into proper perspective. (For example, he points out that book loans – between friends and from libraries – far outweigh what online pirates get for free. Sure, lawyers love to hype the whole thing as the worst thing to ever happen to their fellow Feringi – but Baen Books more sanely compares online piracy to kids stealing bubble gum. It’s minor, and no authors are going hungry because of it.
As to the second statment – which in essence says “put up or shut up.” – I have the perfect answer. Try this little experiment. Head over to Google, and type in these words: Leitch Angelical Langauge
Now enjoy the FREE PDFs of both volumes of the book you will find hosted on many file-sharing sites around the web.
No, I didn’t put those PDFs up myself. I’m sure Llewellyn would have a few nasty emails to send me if I did such a thing. However, am I upset those PDFs have turned up? Have I sent out a single cease-and-desist letter? Have I alerted Llewellyn so their legal department can do it for me? Have I even tried to keep quiet about the fact they are out there? The resounding answer to all of these questions is NO!
Why? Because those PDFs are great free advertisement for the books. People who have never seen the books before, or knew about them but weren’t sure if they were worth the price (nearly $100 for the set) can now sample them and see just how awesome they are. The word gets spread. My work reaches a greater audience. And, yes folks, it Makes. Me. Money. because it increases the sales of “dead tree” editions. Not to mention the fact it increases the number of people who know about me and thus attend my lectures and workshops! (cha-ching again!)
So far, I’m still waiting on some dedicated Pirate to make a PDF of my Secrets of the Magickal Grimories and release it. I recently heard one exists, but it is supposedly hosted on an invitation-only pirate website – and I don’t think anyone believes my sincerity when I ask to be invited so I can get a PDF of my own book. So I don’t really know the book is there for sure. If it is, perhaps someday it’ll make it onto file sharing servers, which will result in several further sales of “dead tree” editions for me.
So, kudos to Baen Books for showing both sanity and vision in this regard. And, while I’m at it, I happen to know the good folks over at Scarlet Imprint hold similar (not identical, but similar) views to my own. So they are worth checking out as well.
Meanwhile, enjoy The Angelical Langauge along with the host of essays and articles I make freely available on my webiste. And don’t shed a tear for me! I’ll cry all the way to the bank.
Greetings Avid Readers!
The latest edition of Hermetic Virtues is finally out! It was published on June 24th, in order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the consecration of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s Vault of the Adepti. It even includes the very same signed announcement I published here (and which has appeared on blogs and forums across the ‘net).
And what’s more, it also includes an essay by yours truly called Two Thrones for the Golden Dawn. In the essay, I discuss the mythical structure of the Hall of the Neophytes and why we place the Coptic-Egyptian godforms in their traditional positions. Some groups have made changes to these godforms (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but I explain exactly why we choose to keep them where they where in 1888 when the original Order was founded. (What can I say? The HOGD is a traditional Order.)
I am especially proud of this essay because Tabatha Cicero made reference to an earlier version of it in a piece she wrote for the latest edition of the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. In fact, her essay is what prompted me to get this one completed and published at last.
There are also essays and reviews by such big names as Chic Cicero (HOGD), John Michael Greer (DOGD), Nick Farrell (MOAA), Sam Scarborough (OSM), Jayne Gibson (HOGD), Eric Sisco (SRICF) and many more. If you want to see a great review of the entire magazine, check out Peregrin Wildoak’s blog.
If you get a chance, make sure to drop a note of congratulations to the Hermetic Virtues team and give them kudos for their own five year anniversary. We haven’t seen a magazine of this caliber since Gnosis – so let’s hope they stay around for decades!
I asked Scarlet Imprint to hold back my review of Jake Kent’s Geosophia because I had published it elsewhere first. Then, we both seem to have lost track and only today did Scarlet Imprint contact me to say “Uh… do you mind if we publish it now??” LOL So, if you’ve been waiting for it (and I know you have!), here it is:
From the Greeks to the Grimoires: a Review of Jake Kent’s Geosophia