Archive for the ‘magick’ Category
So the Ceremonial Magick course is over until the fall. I’m *very* proud of all my students, as we seemed to have a pretty powerful and synched group of people by the end of it all. It was awesome seeing you guys go from the very basics (this is the Tree of Life… this is the Hebrew alphabet…) all the way to consecrating talismans and finally calling down angels. And several of us will definitely be doing more work together in the future.
I am heartened to learn that everyone seems to have gotten something worthwhile from the Jupiter talismans we consecrated last week. Given that I had simplified a few things for the sake of the class and time restrictions, I was prepared to be satisfied just to have shown you how to do that kind of work. I think the fact that those talismans appear to have brought real results for each student (and all within a single week, no less) says a lot of good things about you guys.
As for yesterday’s evocation of Gabriel: WOW what an experience! The last time we did this, the class just had a nice skrying session with Gabriel. That is not to say it wasn’t a powerful and moving experience, but this time around was especially intense for everyone. I suspect it had much to do with the fact that Carrie and I made sure more of the students took an active role in the invocations – where the previous group had been more content to just let me and Carrie do the rituals. So this time, the students were much less passive observers.
Some present experienced a kind of waking “sleep paralysis” coupled with a rush of images that will take some time and meditation to decipher. All very Lunar. Others were taken on astral journeys into the sphere of Yesod. And then, even I was shocked when Gabriel *physically* stepped in and kicked some ass. lol That, my friends, is REAL magick.
I’m no stranger to being “ridden” by angels, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to happen during a class like that. To be honest, Carrie is usually the one more likely to be ridden. Regardless, I’m sure everyone benefited from the experience. I hope you will all stay in touch with me and let me know what unfolds for each of you over the coming days, weeks or months.
To everyone who couldn’t attend the course this round, we will be doing it all over again in the fall. Plus, for those of you who are long distance, we are still working on converting the classes into a Skype format so we can include you as well. Stay tuned!
Greetings Seekers of Magick!
I decided to check in on Brother Moloch’s Evocational Magics forum tonight, and I came across an interesting post that asked a very good question: Why Evocation? I think you folks might be interested in my response, so I’m posting it here as well.
First, here are the relevant parts of the original post:
I’ve never actually seen the need to evoke anything though. Simpler methods (sigils, natural magic, improvisations using familiar tools/symbols, etc) have always sufficed to solve the problems I’ve faced. I’m now looking at workings that will probably involve entities…
So, I guess I’m asking whether you’re working with these entities because:
- You’re called to do so
- It’s part of your basic toolkit, like rootwork might be in someone else’s toolkit
- There are some things that require spiritwork, like RO talking about how his sphere resonates with the sphere of the entities he evokes, which leads to personal change and growth.
So why do you evoke? Or, perhaps a more interesting question: why should someone like me, who’s never performed an evocation, seriously consider it?
And here is my response:
Historically, “magick” was all about working with spiritual entities. (You had Astrology, Alchemy and Magick respectively.) Even simple spells, incantations, rootwork, etc all involed the participation of one’s familiars or patron gods/spirits, etc. Going all the way back to tribal shamanism, the initiation into magick was focused upon introducing you to your familiars and patrons – then it was the spiritual entities who taught you the real magick. All the spells and incantations you use today (or even the art of using them) were delivered originally to shamans by the spirits.
The idea that magick can work without the direct involvemnt of spirits is a modern one, and in my personal opinion it is a step down.
The art of spirit work is the art of knowing how to interact with spiritual entities and get them to work wirh/for you. How to contact them, how to make proper offerings to them, how to secure their cooperation. Even the Keys of Solomon are focused primarily on teching one how to contact the spirits, then the real magick is left up to you and them.
Also don’t make the all-too-common mistake of thinking evocational magick is just “another option” of magickal practice. What I mean is that students often think that one can use spells, talismans, incantations, etc OR evoke spirits. And, in that vein, the way one works magick with spirits is to simply call them up and request what you want. That’s not how it works.
Instead, one evokes a spirit to ask HOW to get what you need. In response, the entity may give you instructions for a talisman, a ritual, rootwork, an offering, an incantation etc, etc. Then you perform the given spell (or whatever you were instructed to do) with the assistance of the entity to achieve your results.
Why evocation? Because it is how magick really works.
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 Faithful Followers!
The time is drawing near for the Florida Pagan Gathering Samhain Festival! And I have once again been offered the honor of attending as a “headliner.” That means I’ll be hosting three lectures/workshops over the course of the festival – in between sessions of drumming and generally cavorting like a heathen.
My last experience at the FPG turned out to be a deeply moving spiritual experience that took me back to my Neopagan roots – besides being one helluva lot of fun. My fellow headliners were some of the top names in their various fields and practices, and I made more than one new lifelong friend while I was there. I expect this trip to be no different.
So I am inviting each and every one of you to come and join me for this awesome event! You can attend my workshops, ask me questions and then we can hang out in the various campsites and around the bonfire late into the night. I dare say we will not be disappointed by the experience!
Here is the info on the Festival:
Samhain 2012 – Out of the Darkness
Oct 31- Nov 4, Camp Ocala, Altoona, Florida
Welcome to the Forest! Set up camp, commune with nature, relax, visit the vendors, attend workshops, and evening events.
This is a full-fledged festival – with an entry fee - so make sure you contact them to register today! Then get your camping gear together and enjoy a few days out in nature away from the modern world. Or, just come by for a day of lectures, food, shopping and fun!
Here is the info on the workshops I will be hosting. Right now I don’t know exactly when these workshops will take place, but I’ll update this post as soon as I find out:
Working with Spirits and Ancestors
Working with lesser spirits (jinn, demons, familiars, etc) and the spirits of our ancestors are two of the most ancient forms of witchcraft. (Properly called “goetia” – but not to be confused with the medieval grimoire of the same name!) However, the practice fell into disrepute after the rise of the urban “city-state” in the Classical era – and was outlawed entirely after the rise of mainstream Christianity. This resulted in a cultural break in our mystical Western heritage that has remained with us to this very day. Even in Wicca and other Neopagan traditions, spirit-work is often frowned upon, and ancestors are merely recognized at specific times of the year.
However, that doesn’t mean the practice was lost to history! Folk magickal traditions around the world have preserved these mysteries, and an ever-growing number of today’s Pagans and occultists are reviving these ancient and often misunderstood practices in our modern systems.
This workshop will focus upon *what* spirit- and ancestor-work really is, and *how* to go about doing it yourself to empower your spells and your spiritual path. We will cover the benefits and the dangers, how to erect altars, build spirit pots, invoke the spirits, make offerings and more.
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
One of the foundational practices of the most ancient forms of magick was the Ritual Offering. While this included the sacrifice of animals (and in some cases humans!) that certainly isn’t the whole story. Offerings were made in many fashions – from food to toys to tools and weapons, to incense and fire and much more. Such offerings were made to feed and empower the spirits and, in many cases, to provide the spirits with necessary tools to accomplish the magickal goals of the shamans who provided them.
Sadly, the art of the Ritual Offering was all but lost in the West after the rise of Judeo-Christiainity. Sacrifice and offerings were declared a form of devil-worship, and misrepresented as a method of “appeasing” angry and vengeful spirits who would otherwise harm the humans who invoked them. Even today’s modern occultists often hold to this erroneous idea.
This workshop will bust the myths about Ritual Offering, and explain its true meaning of magickal empowerment. We will cover how to properly make offerings to various classes of spirits and gods, along with the “do-nots” and “why?” behind the practice.
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
Making and Enlivening Talismans
Quite often, when a modern occultist says the word “talisman”, he or she is talking about a piece of paper with symbols drawn upon it. But the art of Talismanic Magick is much broader than that! And the power of a talisman goes far beyond the inscription of the right names, properly colored inks and the recitation of the right prayers.
In the Old Magick, talismans were living beings in their own right. They were physical houses for spiritual entities who actively participated in the rituals with the magician. And they weren’t just jewelery or inscribed disks or scrolls – they were also the magickal tools, the robes and regalia, the furnishings of the temple and more. A true magician’s sacred working space is a thriving environment of spirits, angels and even gods who each play a vital role in the magick worked therein.
Likewise, magickal tools and furnishings are not merely “props” or objects we find convenient to use. Each and every physical object utilized by the magician is a living symbol of something greater – either a reflection of something in the outer universe that the magician wishes to “draw down” into his or her temple, or an embodiment of something deeply personal and powerful to the magician – or both.
In this workshop, we will discuss these aspects of talismanic magick. Plus, we will cover how to find and/or create your own talismans and “bring them to life” to work for you.
This will be an open discussion workshop, so bring your own ideas and opinions and be ready to share them with us!
I hope to see you there!
Aaron Leitch and Carrie Mikell – members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – will be hosting a 7-week series of Ceremonial Magick classes in the Tampa/Brandon, Florida area. (At the famous Mystical Scents pagan/occult store.)
They will be held on Sundays from September 2nd through October 14th, from 1 – 3:30pm Eastern Time.
UPDATE! The fee will be $15 per class.
We will be covering the basics of Ceremonial practice! You won’t need previous knowledge about Ceremonial Magick or the Golden Dawn to attend. Keep an eye on this page for updates on class contents, materials and other details.
We will also be inviting Chic and Tabatha Cicero to guest-host one of the classes – either for a lecture/discussion session, to lead us in a ritual, or both. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed!
Contact Mystical Scents to sign up!
9545 E. Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa/Brandon, FL. 33592
Class 1: Basic Terms, Diagrams and the Qabalistic Cross
Class 2: Basic Rituals and Correspondences
Class 3: Pentagrams and Invoking the Elements
Class 4: Hexagrams and Invoking the Planets
Class 5: Talisman Creation and Consecration
Class 6: Advanced Concepts (for Practical Magick)
Class 7: The Evocation of an Angel
(TBA) – Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero Appearance
Greetings Occult Navigators!
Ok, so there seems to be a bit of a stir going on over a recent post made on the Strategic Sorcery Blog, where Jason Miller lists five trends in modern occultism that he thinks need to be overcome or otherwise laid to rest. Rufus Opus had a few thoughts about it on the Head For the Red Blog. And even Morgan Eckstein links to it and adds a sixth trend that he wants to see die a painful death.
Because this list of five “gravity wells” happens to touch on a couple of subjects near and dear to me, I felt I should weigh in with my own thoughts. So, let’s begin by taking a look at the five issues:
1) The Holy Guardian Angel as a magickal prerequisite.
2) The Goetia as the be-all and end-all of goetia.
3) Wicca bashing.
4) Quantum Physics as “proof” of magick.
5) System Hubris – or “my system can beat up your system.”
I’ll just run down this list one by one:
1) The HGA: Jason’s problem here is not with the concept of the HGA. It is with a trend he is seeing that seems to make gaining the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel some kind of requirement for the practice of magick.
Frater RO takes it in a different direction. He doesn’t see a trend that requires one to make contact with the HGA so much as a trend toward over-blowing the entire concept of the HGA itself.
To be honest, I have to agree with RO on this one. I don’t really believe that anyone out there who uses magick without the HGA feels that they are getting no results because of it. What I do see is people treating the Abramelin Operation as some kind of ultimate initiation into Adepthood - something that can only be attempted by the most advanced and powerful mages, and which will result (if you survive) in the elevation of the individual to a godlike and ascended status.
That is complete bullshit, folks. If you read the Book of Abramelin itself, you will see that it was written by Abraham the Jew for his son Lamech as an introduction to the practice of magick! That’s right, it is intended for beginners. And, Abraham states very clearly in the text that achieving it will not make you an adept. It is only by working diligently with the HGA over a long period of time that one will eventually achieve adpethood in the practice.
Yet, for all of that, I was recently attacked on my own Solomonic forum at Yahoo because I stated that I commune with my Holy Guardian Angel (nearly) every Sunday morning. My telling the young lass all of the above didn’t change her tune. My quoting the Book of Abramelin where Abraham gives the instructions for communing with your Angel every Sabbath didn’t even change her opinion. She, sadly, was among the many who view Abramelin as a one-off summoning ceremony. She angrily insisted that contacting the HGA takes six months (or a year and a half) and thus there was no way I could be doing it every Sunday morning. Besides, if I had contact with my HGA as I claim, then certainly I wouldn’t be tooling around down here with the unascended plebes.
So, yeah, Frater RO is right when he sees the concept of the HGA being overblown. The HGA is not your Higher Self. Contacting it does not mean you have attained the Ultimate Magickal Goal and can therefore leave the Earth-plain behind in your own chariot of fire. And, I should add, merely making contact with the HGA is not the same as gaining “knowledge” of that Angel.
As for Jason’s gripe against viewing the HGA as a magickal prerequisite – I have to admit I am a bit on the fence. First – hell no, it is not a prerequisite for magick in the larger picture. However, I do feel that Western magick has long ignored the concept of gaining a Head Spirit to be your primary go-to entity for your magickal practice. (Much as I think we have ignored ancestor work, magickal offerings and other very ancient aspects of magickal practice for too long.) I believe we all need to consider these concepts very carefully, and I fully support the trends that are developing to bring them back into our “occulture.” Where the Santerians have their Saints/Orishas, and various grimoires have their Gatekeeper spirits and even the PMG have their Agathodaemon, I feel that Abramelin provides us with a solid method of establishing one’s Head Spirit rooted firmly in our Western heritage.
But, Jason is right when he says that you shouldn’t think gaining “K&C of the HGA” is the one and only way you’ll ever find success in your magick. It is ONE way, but not the only way. Even Abraham said there were only five or six people in the world who have attained the goal. I would say there are a few more today – but, still, consider that for every ten people you meet who say they’ve done it, one – maybe two – have actually done so.
2) The Goetia: Jason is right, the Goetia (the book) is fairly overblown today. But, I don’t think I have such a problem with that as Jason does. He’s sick of hearing about it, and I can dig that. But it’s a popular book.
Meanwhile, I have to point out that “the Goetia” is not the be-all and end-all of the practice called “goetia.” Goetia is a vast subject matter. It is not about the summoning of a list of 72 demons from hell. It is, in fact, a broad system of magick by which one works with chthonic entities. (That means Underworld entities – some infernal, some not, some lesser spirits and not a few of them Gods.) If you work with Demeter and Persephone, or with Angels such as Cassiel, or with Osiris, or use the Orphic Hymns or the Psalmic “lamentations” – you’re working goetia. Likewise, if you work with Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub and Belial – you are also working goeita even if you’re not using the book called The Goetia.
If any of the above shocks you in the least, then you need to run out and find yourself a copy of Jake Kent’s Geosophia and his The True Grimoire. You will come away with a better understanding of the subject of goetia, and with a better understanding of the magick you are already using. ‘Nuff said.
3) Wicca Bashing: Ok so Wicca has had its problems. During the latter half of the 20th Century it was a bit co-opted by the Self-Help movement. I once had a seeker (back in the 90s) write to me and say that the Wiccan ceremonies he had attended felt more like a support group meeting than an actual magickal ritual. And, I fear I had to agree with him.
Plus, Wicca was also co-opted by the mass media. From Llewellyn’s endless publication of fluff material, to Buffy and Charmed, to movies like Practical Magic (Sandra Bullock – yummy!) and The Craft, Wicca did seem to have had its soul sucked out by modern commercialism.
However, I can’t entirely knock the fact that Wicca went mainstream. When I first started on my path, I was a Wiccan. And even then (early 90s) it was still dangerous to be a witch. You could lose your job, your home and even your children. You could be physically attacked. But after the movement’s heyday in the last decade of the 20th Century – that is after Buffy, after The Craft, after Harry Potter – being a witch finally became “ok.” Maybe you were weird, but you were no longer “a dangerous cultist who doubtlessly abused children and small animals.” This applied not only to Wiccans, but to witches of various types. That was a Good Thing.
But we were still left with the overall impression that Wicca was for fluffy-bunnies, self-help New Agers and overweight teenage girls looking to shock their parents. (I have no clue why “overweight” got tossed in there – have you seen some of the skinny girls running around half-naked at Pagan festivals?? But I digress…)
For my part, I have always felt that this was an unfair characterization of Wicca. Just take the time to read through the Farrars’ Witches Bible, and you will find a deep and fully-formed Tradition of spirituality. Read through Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler and you will discover that Wicca and Neopagansim – as a movement - has a fascinating and diverse history. And, personally, I think you should also read Future Shock and The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler while you’re at it. He doesn’t mention Wicca or Neopaganism, but he describes fundamental changes taking place in our culture for which Neopagansim is quite well suited. (Look for the term “demassification” and think about how it applies to religion, and how Neopaganism fits the bill as a demassified religion.)
For my part, I once wrote an essay called The Neogan Altar – Shamanic Paradigm – wherein I presented the standard Neopagan usage of the Altar from the standpoint of ancient shamanism. My goal was to point out that Wicca, in many ways, fit the bill as a form of modern shamanism – having arisen quite naturally in our modern Western culture. I had intended to follow this essay with other “Shamanic Paradigm” essays illustrating further aspects of Wicca and Neopaganism in this light. Alas, my writing career took me in other directions – but perhaps I will someday return to the subject and complete the series.
All in all, I am quite proud to have begun my magickal career as a Wiccan – no matter how far I have since delved into the grimoires and the Golden Dawn. So, yeah, I agree the Wiccan bashing has run its course and – in many ways – is entirely based on ignorance. (See #5 in this list.)
4) Quantum Physics: I agree with Jason and Frater RO. For a very long time people have been conflating magick with the theories of Quantum Physics. Not only are they not saying the same things at all, but those who make the connection most often do not understand the first thing about QP. It is simply that when QP is dumbed down for presentation to us non-physicists, it can sound an awful lot like magick. I refer you to the famous Arthur C. Clark quote about advanced science often appearing like magick…
Yet, I will also play a bit of devil’s advocate here. While I do not feel QP and magick are one and the same, nor do I feel that QP helps explain or prove anything about magick, I still find the subject matter a worthwhile one for practitioners of magick. Much in the same way I feel that psychology and NLP are useful studies for magiciains. It is not that they are the same thing at all, but I feel that the modern scientific studies can inform our views of magick. (Plus, I tend to see science as a kind of magick or mysticism in its own right.)
Understanding that everything in the universe is formed from different vibrations of energy is useful when you’re contemplating magick. Understanding that there are various dimensions – only one of which we can easily perceive with our five senses – is useful, too. Understanding Chaos Theory (systems, feedback and iteration) is very very useful in the study of magick. Even String Theory, Schrodinger’s Cat and the postulation of parallel universes – all of these examples and many more are good things to think about when you’re studying magick.
It remains true, though, that you should consider them as separate studies than the art and science of magick. They are not “the same thing” at all.
5) System Hubris: I don’t have too much to say on this one. It seems to be something humans have always done, and will always do. In the classical era, the city-dwelling Theurgists swore their magick was “better” than what the Goen practiced in the rural areas. The Christians, Jews and Muslims swore (and still swear) their religions are “better” than the Pagan ones. Ceremonial magicians swear their systems are “better” than Wicca and Neopaganism. Solomonic magicians swear their chosen grimories are “better” than the grimoires used by other Solomonic magicians. The list could just go on and on and on ad nauseum.
And it is all part of the same chain of childish bullshit. The phrase “There is nothing new under the Sun” was written a few thousand years ago – and it is as true today as it was back then. Your system isn’t any better than all the rest – it just happens to be better for YOU. What you found works best for you is what we refer to as a Calling.
If the African Orishas called you, then Santeria is going to work better for you than anything else. If the Angels and spirits of the grimoires called you, then Solomonic magick is going to kick ass over all the rest. If the Angels of the Tree of Life called you, then the Qabalah is your thing. If the Lord and Lady called you, then I guess you’re stuck with Wicca. Every magician, every witch, every shaman, every man or woman of God/Gods/Goddess/etc. of any brand whatsoever was called to their post by their own spiritual guides and guardians.
This is simply something over which you do not have free will. You’re either called, or you’re not. If you’re not called to a path, then that path isn’t going to lead you anywhere. If you are called to a path, then you’re either going to go that way (even if it’s kicking and screaming) or you might as well lay down your wand and give up your quest.
Sure, you can be called by more than one system. I was called to Wicca. (One of my earliest spiritual experiences was of the Goddess walking beside me in a dream, whispering in my ear, “Blessed are thy feet that have brought thee in the way. Blessed are thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar. Blessed…” well you get the idea.) Then I was called to the Qabalah and Golden Dawn work. Then the Grimoires called out to me. Even the Gods of Santeria and Voodoo called out to me – not to come join them, but that they had something they wanted to teach me. But, regardless of when or how I was called, I was called to each and every path I’ve walked. And so have you been.
Greetings, faithful followers!
I thought it might be useful – for me as well as my readers - to post my favorite recipes for planetary incenses here.
In a best case scenario, you would want each incense to include the planet’s sacred number of ingredients. Thus, Saturn incense should include three ingredients, Jupiter incense should contain four, etc. The down side to this is when you reach the higher-numbered planets: six ingredients for Sol and seven for Venus isn’t so much, but by the time you reach Luna’s nine ingredients the recipies begin to get unwieldy. Another option is to have all the recipies include the same sacred number of ingrendients. Three and seven are always “standard” sacred numbers for nearly any purpose.
I generally choose three ingredients for mine – representing each of the three worlds described by Agrippa (physical, mental and spiritual), or the three shamanic worlds (celestial, terrestrial and the underworld). I have found that simpler is better when it comes to mixing aromatic powders together. Quite often, substances that you think would smell wonderful when burned together, instead create acrid and unpleasant burning smells. Whatever number you choose, it will take some trial and error before you find the exact mixture that works best for you.
Incense of Saturn/Saturday:
1 part Myrrh
1 part Asafoetida
1/4 part Sulphur
Incense of Jupiter/Thursday:
1 part cedar
1/4 part clove
1/8th part apple pectin
A few drops of pine oil
NOTE: This is a rare case where I use more than three ingredients, and four is sacred to Jupiter. I find that apple pectin tends to have an acrid burning smell – so I add very little and then offset it with the pine oil.
Incense of Mars/Tuesday:
1 part Pipe Tobacco (or, my favorite, “Black and Mild”)
1/2 part Cinnamon
1/8th part Crushed Red Pepper
WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with! It is, quite simply, tear gas. If you make this, do not add too much red pepper. And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath! Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.
Incense of Sol/Sunday:
1 part Frankincense
1 part Copal
1/2 part Benzoin.
NOTE: You may also use standard “Church” incense, which can be found in most botanicas or christian supply stores.
Incense of Venus/Friday:
1 part Sanalwood
1 part Benzoin
1/2 Red Rose Petals
Incense of Mercury/Wednesday:
1 part Benzoin
1/4 part Frankencense
1/8 part Lavender Blossoms
Incense of Luna/Monday:
1 part Calamus
1/2 part Juniper Berries
1/4 part Gardenia Flower
As a note, I generally find that the various flowers used in the above incenses tend to produce a burnt smell when placed on hot coals. A good solution is to replace the flowers with a drop or two of essential oil instead. Just be careful, as too much flower essence will quickly overpower the other ingredients in the recipe.
You should, of course, test these recipes and tweak them according to your tastes and intuition. Or, if you feel inspired to do so, try making scents with the planetary number of ingredients. A wonderful resource for this work is Scott Cunningham’s Incenses Oils and Brews.
Also, you can use these for Elemental incenses as well:
Fire: Martian Incense
Water: Lunar Incense
Air: Mercury Incense
Earth: Saturn incense*
(* – Personally, I find Saturn incense too noxious for Earth. My favorite Earthy scent is Patchouli.)
May you find these suffumigations useful and powerful in your magick.
Ok, folks I just had to blog about this one…
This morning, at work, I encountered a rare instance where I had a few minutes of downtime at the end of my shift. So, having nothing better to do at that moment, I decided to see what ol’ Google had to say about “aaron leitch” (yes, I do that from time to time!). Past all the usual links to my website, blog, Facebook, defunct MySpace page and my books, I found this gem:
How come Aaron Leitch has never seen a spirit?
You can imagine how that grabbed my attention. LOL If you click on the above link – which is a summary of the thread – you’ll find some interesting comments. Such as:
“…it appears he has never evoked a spirit to physical manifestation. Why is that?”
I love this one:
“He calls their name and leaves out cookies. Im not sure that is traditional.”
Maybe they read my essay on Santa Claus and got confused? Of course, someone asked the obvious question:
“Ok, how do we know he has never evoked a spirit to visible manifestation? Has he said so?”
But then we see this reply:
“Yes on many occasions. He said that it does not bother him and it is not a concern. “
Of course we aren’t offered any quotes to back up that claim – which is interesting. I, for one, would love to see someone quote me – from my blogs, books, forums or anywhere else – actually claiming that I have never seen a spirit. LOL
Over the years that I have been an author and forum-poster I have learned two truisms:
1) If people can get the wrong impression about what you write they will.
2) People can always get the wrong impression of what you write.
You guys know that I pride myself on writing some of the most down-to earth documents about magick ever written. No needlessly big words or jargon intended merely to make me look smart and make you feel “out of the loop.” If I am asked (or am addressing) a question, I answer it in plain simple English – suitable for translating into plain simple (insert your language here). Yet, the above two rules apply to my work just as surely as they do the work of Aleister Crowley – who regularly inserted in-jokes and blinds and red herrings because he found it fun to do so.
I am, perhaps, more forthcoming than most with my work – freely sharing my techniques and results, and lately even adding photos into the mix. Of course, that doesn’t mean I share every magickal secret I know with you guys. There are many layers to what I do, and you can bet I’m not going to share every bit of it with the world.
For example, take a look at the photo I posted of the ingredients for my Abramelin Oil. Have you noticed that one ingredient is wrapped in a white paper towel? Why do you suppose I would do that? And, given that, what else do you suppose I’m not telling you? Sometimes what I leave unsaid is as important as what I say. But enough about that.
Here is another interesting quote from the above-linked thread:
“To me it seems that he writes many times as if he were a skeptic. Maybe thats why. At times I fee like asking him “Ok, do you believe in magic or not???”
That one makes a little more sense. I purposefully write as if I were an academic studying magick from a cultural perspective, rather than as a “rabid true believer” who accepts everything occult as pure-distilled fact. Or, as it was stated – as a skeptic. Why? Because I want my work to be read by people outside of occult circles, people who may be skeptics themselves – but who might actually take an interest in the subject matter as a valid aspect of the human experience.
Note my membership in the Societas Magica – an academic, rather than an occult, group. Well-respected scholars are finally looking into these subjects with open minds, rather than looking down their noses at it, and us. I want to encourage them.
Plus, I’m just not “into” dumping a bunch of my personal beliefs and things that my spirits have told me on you – dear reader – and expect you to just accept them without critical thinking. We’ve got enough occult authors out there that do that – and will call you plenty of names if you dare to question or challenge them on any of it. What my spirits tell me is my fucking business, and it really isn’t going to impact how you work anyway. So, I’d rather just stick to documented facts and let you do the Work for yourself.
I registered for that forum in order to clear up the questions those folks have about me. I’m not sure if I’ll even go back to see how they respond. I may or may not, but ultimately I’ve had my say and they will believe what they choose to believe about me regardless of my explanations. They’ve already applied the “two rules” to me anyway – so “what’re ya gunna do?”
In case you groovy folks following my ramblings here are interested, I’ll share with you how I responded to them. Hell, maybe it will clear up some questions even you have had about me.
Aaron Leitch here, and I would like to clear up a few points:
1) Yes, I have indeed seen spirits, had visions, heard sounds, smelled smells, had scientifically-unexplainable manifestations and more. I have never stated, anywhere, that I have never seen a spirit.
However, I have stated that I am not “naturally wired” to interact with the spirits in a visual manner. I seem to be better wired for sound, and sometime smell and always for “feeling.” But, like Dr. Dee, I can’t count on visuals every time, so I often employ a skryer (a very talented one to whom I also happen to be married).
In my writings, I try to get across the idea that evocation is NOT about getting the visuals or other “special effects.” They are damn fun when they happen! But they aren’t the point of the work – and there should be at least one author out there that is willing to admit it. I think this is where some of you have gotten the impression that I’ve “never seen a spirit.”
2) Do I believe in magick or not? Most certainly I do! However, I don’t just write for “true believers.” My writings are fit for study in academic circles as well as occult circles – so I often take what might seem to be a disconnected stance from the material. I present magick as a cultural thing – with a real function to fulfill in society – not just something that I practice myself and desire others to “believe in.”
As for Enochian magick – you can be sure that much of Dee’s material (especially the Heptarchia) has sources older than Dee himself. Enochian magick wasn’t just handed down to humans by angels who carved the words in stone. They chose Dee because he already had a certain basis of knowledge in his head (and at his fingertips) which they needed in order to build the Enochian system as we know it. (Such as when Dee asked for the form of the Seal of the True God, and was told, “It is already perfected in a book of thine.” Said book turned out to be Liber Juratis, and the angels only had to supply new lettering to go with the existing figure.)
Most of the Heptarchia was constructed this way. Some have said that Dee’s work was the “culmination” of all the magick that had come before him, after which he bounded off into new realms with Liber Loagaeth and the Great Table of the Earth.
I hope this has answered some of your questions.
I was recently a guest on an episode of the ‘Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole’ Podcast. We talked for about an hour (on the air – and about as long off the air afterward!) and had an absolute blast. We discussed Solomonic magick and its place in the current occult revival, its relationship to the African-Caribbean Diaspora traditions (Santeria, Voodoo, Hoodoo, etc) and about grimoire magick in general.
Check out the Podcast here.
I can’t wait to hang out with those guys again soon. I believe the topic will be Enochian magick and the Angelical Language.
It looks like this is the year for Jupiter work! (Of course, that may be partly due to my membership in the ‘Gentlemen for Jupiter” occult group – Jupiter has certainly been “in the air.”) The first was earlier this year: an Invocation of the Archangel Iophiel. That was not done for any specific magickal goal, but simply because it was high time we made offerings to our house gods. Iophiel was first, then Michael – later we shall make some offerings to Bast. We also made offerings to Samael as part of a Mixed-Qabalah talisman consecration. And that brings us back to the present:
There are certain goals we need to accomplish by the end of this year and on into the next, and Jupiter was the best choice to address them. (Sol may also have worked, but I decided to stick with Jupiter for several subtle reasons.) I decided to utilize the Mixed-Qabalah process I had used so successfully with Samael – this time calling upon Sachiel instead. Here is some info on this archangel:
The Archangel Sachiel (Zadkiel)
The archangel Sachiel is also known as Zadkiel (the Righteousness of God). As Zadkiel, he is an extremely exalted angel in charge of the Sephirah Chesed (Divine Mercy) and the angelic choir called the Chashmalim (the Brilliant Ones).
As Sachiel, he is the supreme archangel of Jupiter and Thursday, as well as the sixth heaven called Zebul. He is the angel of righteousness, benevolence, mercy, forgiveness and freedom.
It was Zadkiel/Sachiel who stayed the hand of Abraham before he could sacrifice his son Isaac. Zadkiel and Iophiel (the Intelligence of the planet Jupiter) are both considered standard-bearers who follow Michael into battle.
For this work, I decided to make use of the Mixed-Qabalah process that I first found in A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah, published by Avalonia Press. It involves an eight-day ritual for the consecration of a wax (or metallic) talisman. It is the same ritual I used for Samael earlier this year, except I made some necessary changes to the Psalms used in the invocations. The primary Psalm listed in the Treatise… was perfect for martial Samael work, but I wanted to use something appropriate for Jupiter in this case. In the end I found two Psalms I felt strongly about (Psalms 112 and 113): one was the Psalm from which the verse upon the wax talisman was taken, and the other was a very Jupiterian Psalm that struck me as proper for this work. (Actually, only the first Psalm would have been necessary, but I felt strongly enough about the second to include it even though it added extra time to my seven-fold invocations.)
During the work, I was also directed by the angels to make specific changes to the prayers outlined in the Treatise…. Mostly inserting the proper name of God (El, in the case of Jupiter) into the invocations at certain points, along with a clear statement of purpose at a point where the given prayers merely ask for general guidance and support from the angels.
We decided to make four talismans at once. Not only is it the number of Jupiter, but it allowed each adult in the house to keep one while we placed the fourth in a specific location on our property (as directed by Sachiel). Like last time, we used a mold to cast the talismans at the end of the process – this time being our first experiment with creating a silicon mold.
I prepared myself for three days before I began the consecrations. It started with a full Solomonic Bath, after which I began a vegetarian diet, general seclusion and complete sexual abstinence. There is also a prayer in the Key of Solomon that asks God to show kindness and mercy and see to it that the spirits one intends to call should appear. (See Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, p. 215.) I recited this once in the mornings and twice in the evenings.
The ritual began on the next Thursday. At that time (actually the Wednesday night beforehand) I began to fast each night after sundown. I continued the diet and seclusion as before.
You can read a full write-up of the Mixed Qabalah procedure in the post about my Samael working. In short, it involves entering the temple each morning at dawn (after washing up), kindling the Holy Lamp and Censor (each with proper exorcisms of fire) and reciting the Psalms, blessings and invocations seven times over the raw wax. Then the wax is taken to the kitchen where it is melted down, while reciting further invocations and an invitation to the angel of the day. At the end of the week, the wax had been blessed by all seven planetary archangels – with Sachiel presiding over the operation. On the eighth and final day, Sachiel was invoked once more and the wax was cast into the finished talismans. (As before, we cast the wax disks with the names and figures already upon them – then Carrie added the Psalm verse in the center by hand.)
Once the process was complete, we wrapped the talismans in blue cloth. We asked Sachiel to provide us with any necessary information on how to best use the talismans, along with anything specific he wanted for his offerings. We planned to make the offerings seven days later – on the next Thursday – but circumstances arose that made that impossible. So we waited another seven days and made the offerings on the next Thursday instead.
The offering ritual was very similar to what you’ve already seen in my Iophiel invocation ritual and my Michael invocation ritual – though we did simplify it a bit. Rather than the pattern of prayers and Psalms you see in those invocations, I simply re-iterated the prayers (one to God and one to Sachiel plus the two Psalms) that had been used during the talisman consecration itself. (This is similar to how we handled the Samael offerings after the last Mixed Qabalah working.)
The offerings were standard Jupiter fare – flowers (violet and orange this time), apples, cranberries, nuts, various cooked vegetables (corn, green beans), sheaths of wheat, etc – all in fours or multiples of four. We included four blue seven-day candles and four glasses of water, as well as a glass of milk and a glass of honey mead. I also made four Jupiter Cakes once again (see the Iophiel invocation for full instructions and photos) and covered them with fine honey. Also, as I did with Samael before, I included the consecrated wax left over from the talismans. I inscribed Sachiel’s name and seal into the wax, then (at his request) wrapped it in blue linen. All of this will rest on the altar for four days, then what is left over will be taken to the river.
We made the offering on an hour of Jupiter. My usual choice is dawn, but we had some last minute items to pick up and so waited until the second Jupiter hour of the day. At the proper time, I made the Jupiter cakes and Carrie boiled the vegetables. Then I went to take a brief cleansing bath, then prepared the sacred space and altar with holy water and a recitation of Solomon’s Consecration Prayer for the Temple. Then we assembled the offerings onto the altar and performed the invocations.
Once I had made the invocations and myself and Carrie had shared some of the offerings with Sachiel, we took some photos of the altar. (We usually take the photos before we partake of the food, but we got a bit caught up and forgot to do it that way this time.) Here are a few of the photos, enjoy:
Altar and Offerings to Sachiel
Altar to Sachiel
Icon of Sachiel/Zadkeil
Talismans of Jupiter placed upon the Name and Seal of Sachiel