Archive for the ‘magick’ Category
Great news for Abramelin aspirants!
Over the years, many students have privately emailed me to ask questions about magick – and one of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I use the talismans at the end of the Book of Abramelin?”
Unfortunately, that is not a question that can be answered so easily in a simple email or forum post. The Book of Abramelin contains a rather sophisticated system of goety – most of it scattered and hidden throughout the text so as to discourage dabblers. In order to explain it all in detail, it would be necessary to write a rather lengthy essay on the subject.
So, in 2009, that is exactly what I did. I wrote an essay entitled The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin that outlines the entire system – including how to summon and work with the spirits, how to create new word-square talismans and how to use them once they are made. I published it in an anthology from Scarlet Imprint called Diabolical – which focused on various traditions of working with demons. (My essay might have been the only one from the perspective of an angel-worker who also works with chthonic spirits.)
The only problem was that the hard-bound Diabolical – though an absolute must-have book – was a bit obscure and somewhat on the expensive side. Students continued to ask me about the Abramelin word-squares and spirits – and I’m not sure how many of them were willing (or able) to purchase the book just to get my essay from it…
Now we are fast approaching the year 2014, and I felt it was time to let the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, and release The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin in a more easily accessible format. Therefore, I have re-published the essay in the Autumnal Equinox 2013 edition of Hermetic Virtues Magazine (subscription info here.).
Hermetic Virtues Magazine
It is an electronic-format magazine, coming in PDF form directly to your in-box. If you don’t want to subscribe to the magazine (but, really, why wouldn’t you??), I’m pretty sure HV Magazine is willing to sell single-issue copies. So if you desire to learn how to properly work with the talismans and spirits of the Abramelin tradition, you now have an affordable and accessible source for my essay. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Jayne Gibson over at HV, who worked tirelessly to get the word-squares and other formatting issues with this essay exactly right. It was no easy task!
Also see my (free) essay on Abramlein’s Magickal Word Squares: Compiled and Corrected for the First Time. (This is just a taste of the work I’ve done on the existing word-squares, the bulk of which I will later publish in book form.)
Also see this blog post on Abramelin’s system of Mixed Qabalah. As well as this follow-up post on the same subject.
Finally, in the near future, keep an eye out for my latest essay that tackles the angelic side of Abramelin’s magick: After Abramelin: Working with the Holy Guardian Angel – to be published in Nephilim Press’ Walking with the Angel.
Greetings, Faithful Readers!
Since I got caught up in the blogosphere, I’m afraid I’ve been sorely neglecting my old Writings webpage. (How old is it, you ask? Check the link below and you’ll see the URL is called “indexaol.html” – because it was originally my old AOL homepage! LOL Now it’s on Tripod, where it has been for what seems like eons…) That is where you can read most of my published essays and book reviews, listen to/read my interviews, find links to my books, etc.
Today, I finally took the time to do a massive update to the page – bringing the list of published material pretty much up to date. I think I included everything that has been lacking – but if you know of anything I’ve missed, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Greetings Subjects of Solomon!
Seal of the Angel of Jupiter from Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis (Book 5)
The Studies on Magic blog has just posted some of the material from the Leiptzig University collection of magickal manuscripts that I posted about previously. The subject is the Seven Planetary Seals of King Solomon – the very same seals found in Scheible’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis.
Apparently, the older manuscript in the Leiptzig collection (compiled in the 1700s) shows some noteable differences from what Scheible published in the 1800s. The Studies on Magic blog displays both versions side-by-side for easy comparison. So if you plan to use these Seals, you will certainly want to take a look at the older versions:
Click here for the Seven Planetary Seals of King Solomon on the Studies of Magic blog.
Greetings Ye Seekers of Gold!
So my last couple of blog posts have been about magicians facing (and dealing with) various hardships that life on Earth naturally brings about. And one of the primary examples was poverty – especially since many occultists prefer to remain relatively poor (as compared to, say, a corporate/criminal CEO), and because so many who just “don’t get it” view poverty as some kind of proof that magick isn’t worth the wood the wands are made from.
So, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that the discussion has turned specifically toward money magick. Don Kraig talked about it a bit on his blog, Morgan Eckstein referred to it as well. (See my previous post for links.) Even Nick Farrell has weighed in – so don’t miss out on his insightful post.
Meanwhile, it was the recent contribution on Alex Sumner’s blog that has inspired me to make this post on the subject. In Alex’s post, he relates an anecdote I have come to call the Tale of the Lottery Enthusiast – wherein he makes some vitally important points on the subject of money magick and how it really works. I find it to be more than worth repeating here in full:
It so happened that I was having a good-natured discussion with fellow members of the Illuminati in a pub about whether it was possible to use our combined magickal skills to collectively win the Lottery. Or more to the point, the other people at the table were having a discussion, whilst I was trying to eat my dinner.
The discussion was getting quite heated between one person who insisted that we try it, and just about all the rest who were saying “No, it’s not possible,” etc. I finally finished off my food. “I have made a study of people who have cast successful money spells,” I said.
The Lottery-enthusiast was arguing so enthusiastically that it was several seconds before someone realised that I had said something interesting. “Go on, Alex! What is the result of your study?” they said.
“Well,” I said, as everyone became silent, “I’ve collected examples of people who have successfully used magic to make money. They include:
- Professional people, getting an idea how to find themselves a new job;
- Having been invited to interview, using magick to boost their confidence and help them say and do the right thing at the interview;
- Businessmen seeking inspiration for how to bring new customers to their business;
- Inventors, ‘dreaming up’ a new invention;
- Songwriters coming up with the idea for a new hit song;
- Novelists coming up with the plot for a new story.
“In short: none of these people invoked Money itself, they invoked a Money-making opportunity. The point being that when the said Money-making opportunity appeared seemingly miraculously in their lives, they converted it into actual money in a conventional manner, to wit: hard work. This, incidentally, is why there are so many ‘arty’ people in the Occult or people with artistic flair - painters, writers, musicians, self-employed professionals, and so forth – because magick is all about drawing upon ones inner creativity.
“The one thing I have never heard of is people using magick to win the lottery. Therefore, if we were to use our magick skills to think up a money-making scheme, I’m certain that we would actually succeed! Whether we would be able to put the scheme into practice, however, would be another matter entirely. So my best advice would be to concentrate on the opportunity first, and forget the Lottery altogether.”
“But playing the Lottery is a money-making opportunity!” the gambling addict cried. At this point the argument erupted again. I immediately got the impression that no further good would come from trying to press my point, so I just let them get on with it.
Damn good points! And I couldn’t help but offer the following reply:
Alex, I think anyone who ever wishes to use magick to make money should read your tale of the lottery enthusiast. It hits the nail directly between the eyes. :) Magick can certainly be used to bring in money – either by bringing about a money making opportunity (Jupiter and/or Mercury) or even by bringing in a one-time windfall of some kind (Sol). But, either way, once it arrives it is then up to the magician to know what to DO with it.
Especially in the case of a windfall, if you don’t know how to work to make that money grow, then it will simply drain away – and fast. Anyone in the world who has money will tell you the same. You have to work for your money – not just to GET it, but also to KEEP it. If you want to be rich, then managing your money will become a full time job in its own right.
This is why so many occultists who have done money magick will tell you that you usually get just what you need and then it goes away again. It is because most of us don’t desire to do “money” as a full time job. Instead, we tend to ask for what we need and then go on with our lives until the next need arises.
Yet, there are times when magick is used to get a better-paying job. Or to attain money to invest in a new business, etc. In those cases, yeah, you get money that sticks around as long as you keep doing the work to make it stay.
But to my knowledge, no one has ever achieved the creation of the magick purse that has fresh gold coins in it every day.
Greetings Seekers of Magick!
As I have said in previous posts, the first rule of writing is that if someone can take something you’ve written the wrong way, they will. And the second rule is that someone will always take what you’ve written the wrong way. ;) And, of course, that has happened in the case of my most recent blog post about magick and life’s hardships.
This time, it was no one less than Donald Michael Kraig himself! Now, before I go on, let me stress that I consider Don to be a friend. That is, in real life and not just someone with whom I’ve had an exchange or two over the internet. So please, dear reader, take everything you are about to read in the spirit of one brother confronting the other.
That being said, I’m afraid Don really missed the boat on my last blog. If you want to update your score card, you can go read his post before going on with this one. But I’ll also sum up the issue briefly here:
My previous blog was intended to address a specifically Western (and I dare say capitalist) misconception of magick and magicians. That is, if magick really worked (or if a particular wizard were really any good at it), then certainly one should be rich, never sick, never harmed, never psychologically off-balance, etc, etc. He should, in effect, be immune to all the down sides of life here on Earth, able to deflect all hardships with a simple wave of his wand and a hearty wingardium leviosa!
The point of my post was to say that this isn’t how reality works. Magick doesn’t stop bad things from happening. Cast all the spells you want, and I promise you hardships are going to come your way. In fact, I would go so far as to say, as one who walks the magickal path, you’re probably going to have more than your fair share of shit to deal with.
Sadly, Don seems to have taken that a step further and into a direction I never intended. He rebuts as follows:
I have to respectfully disagree with the implication here. It may not be the intent, but the idea I get from this is that [Aaron] is saying if things are bad, tough. Just deal with it. Don’t do magick to improve your situation. Instead, do magick to mentally and emotionally deal with hardship. To me that sounds like a sort of religious approach: “We can’t help you, but if you pray to our God[s] He [they] will give you courage.”
No, no, no and emphatically no! My post merely addressed the fact that bad things are just plain going to happen in life – and that this fact neither proves that magick is false nor that any given magician is a fraud. Never did I say, or even imply, that one should not use magick when those hardships arise!
Quite the contrary – I stated that “magick exists because bad things happen.” And that “when bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it.” Magick is a toolkit that mankind has developed over thousands of years, intended to help us through the hard times. Magick can allow you to live where you might have died. It can allow you to eat where you might have starved. It can even allow you to achieve things in life where you might have otherwise failed or faded away into obscurity.
My stance is exactly the opposite of what Don has suggested. Here is the response I made on his blog:
I think you misunderstood my post entirely. I was not at all suggesting that magick should be only for the spiritual, and that one should just allow bad life situations to continue. In fact, if you look at the rest of my blog, it is chock-full of uncrossings, exorcisms, cleansings, defense spells and angelic invocations all geared toward dealing with real-world practical problems.
My post was addressing a specifically Western concept that, if one were truly a powerful magician, then one should be rich, never be sick, have a perfectly balanced psychology, etc. In effect, the concept is that a true wizard should glide through the world like Dumbledore or Neo, having hacked reality and therefore risen entirely above the hardships that life can bring.
Yet in the real world, magicians are as prone to hardship as anyone else. For example, I’m a wizard – but I still got into a nasty car accident a couple of years ago. There was no “invisible wall of force” around me to repel the oncoming car so that my car remained untouched. The car was totaled, and all the legal and financial hassles and hardships that followed were the same for me as they would have been for anyone else.
*However*, I firmly believe that my practice of magick is what allowed me to walk away from that car accident relatively untouched. There is just no logical reason at all for me to have lived through it. I believe without a doubt that my Guardians intervened in that situation, and tweaked reality just enough so the oncoming car hit mine just *in front* of where I was sitting, instead of t-boning directly into me. In fact, I have reason to believe that either some kind of time-travel took place, or that I was yanked out of one reality (where I died) and into a nearby reality (where I walked away).
Magick saved my life that day in a *very* real sense. It didn’t “magickally” make the bad thing “not happen.” But, where it *really* counted, it kicked in and saw to it that I made it through in one piece. And it’s not the first or last time that has happened either.
To say that I believe practical magick just shouldn’t be done is frankly ridiculous. Yet, I feel it is equally ridiculous to suggest that magick should make one 100% impervious to any and all hardships in life. It just doesn’t work that way.
Of course you should use magick to improve your situation! That’s what it is for. Whether it is to rectify your soul and allow you to better serve humanity (see Peregrin Wildoak’s blog on this discussion), or to just keep the proverbial wolves away from your front door (see Morgan Eckstein’s blog), or to advance your social station in life or any combination of these things – magick should indeed be used to improve your life.
I’m a big advocate of down-to-earth practical nuts-and-bolts magick (aka witchcraft) that makes things happen! Even my pursuit of the high magickal arts intended to elevate my soul closer to God is undertaken to obtain the spiritual authority necessary to direct the forces of nature right here in the material realm. (That, and to give me a choice over where I go after I pass on – but that’s a concern for later. Much later, I hope! lol)
On the other hand, one cannot point to a wizard (or even an entire culture) and say “well they aren’t rich” or “things aren’t so great in their lives” and assume that means their magick is worthless. Magick proliferates in situations where people need it to survive. And the existence of poverty or other hardships in the lives of those who use or rely upon magick is no proof the magick isn’t working. The fact that they are still alive, still eating and still making it year after year might just be evidence that their magick is working pretty damn well.
Greetings Faithful Readers!
A subject has recently come up on the Solomonic Yahoo Group that I’ve been wanting to address for some time. All too often, I see folks (specifically Western folks) point out issues of poverty, sickness or other hardships faced by either individual magicians or cultures where magick is prevalent, and suggest that it is proof their magick doesn’t work. How many times have you heard that some magician “died penniless” as proof that they weren’t much of a magician after all?
Here is a quote from the original post on Solomonic, and my response to it:
Re: So everybody is a Sorcerer. What then?
— In firstname.lastname@example.org, Julian <belfire1@…> wrote:
> However, there might be some who look at social conditions in places
> like Brazil and Mexico and Cuba, and wonder in what way their magical
> culture has made then happier, healthier, safer, more prosperous, and
> more free—such that we might benefit from emulating them.
As I see it, this is one of the fundamental misunderstandings about magick in the Western world. Magick does not exist to *stop* bad things from happening, magick exists *because* bad things happen.
I think we’ve been conditioned by our fiction and Hollywood fantasy to see magick as a “cure all.” If a person is truly a powerful wizard or sorcerer, then surely their lives will reflect it in that they will never want for food or money, never be sick, never have bad things happen to them, etc. Why, because a *true* wizard should be able to wave his wand at any problem and make it vanish in a puff of smoke and a flash of light. If he doesn’t live up to the Harry Potter standard, then surely he’s a fraud…
Then we look at the real world and see just what you’ve described above. We see that magick is more widespread in cultures that don’t have it so good. We see that magicians don’t come from lives of happiness and comfort. And so we think: then what good is the magick?
But magick doesn’t make you immune to hardship. It doesn’t make your problems vanish. It exists to be invoked in times of hardship, to make the hardship something we can overcome. It is, in this way, synonymous with medicine. Medicine doesn’t stop all disease or suffering from happening. And when you do get sick and miserable, you don’t expect to be completely cured the moment you walk out of the doctor’s office. You take the medicine he prescribes to you, hoping that it will eleviate soem of the suffering and possibly aid you in returning to a state of health.
And so it is with magick. When bad shit happens, you inovke the magick to get through it. And that is why we see more widespread magick use in cultures that don’t have it so great. If they were all fat and happy, then why would they seek magick in the first place?
Believe me, it took me many years to come to grips with what I say above. I spent plenty of time angry at my Guardian Angel, Patron Gods, familiars and spiritual helpers for “letting bad things happen to me.” Until they finally drove it into my head that they weren’t there to make me some kind of superhuman, impervious to any hardship. They were there to make sure I made it through the bad things.
There is a great illustration of this in that old Nick Cage movie “City of Angels.” In the opening scene, we meet Nick and his buddy in a convenience store in a bad part of town. At first, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why these two angels would be hanging out in some random gas-n-go. But then a man comes in and pulls a gun on the store owner.
Do our heroic angels spring into action to subdue the evildoer? Nope. Instead each angel stands behind one of the humans involved and places a hand on his shoulder. This calms the humans slightly, and the robbery goes down without anyone getting killed. The angels didn’t seem to consider the morality of the robbery of much concern. They just influenced the situation enough to get the humans through it in one piece.
And if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you might know why I find something a bit personal in that scene. ;) And though that case is a bit on the extreme side, I have found much the same to be true of my entire magickal career. Whatever I learn about magick, it doesn’t remove me from this physical realm full of hardship and danger. It sure as hell doesn’t make me rich. And, to be frank, I’ve found that my guardians are much more likely to shove me into the pitfalls of life than to steer me around them. (Angels don’t let wimps hang around with them.)
But I am still here, and I’m in a position in life that is a damn sight better than it would have been without magick. In complete honesty, I really don’t have to worry much about a place to live, or lack of money or a thousand other things that could afflict me. Yet I got here by paying serious dues along the way.
All Magic comes with a price, Dearie!
As it is said in the Golden Dawn’s 5=6 initiation ceremony: Hate not suffering, it was but the purification of the Gold.
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!