Archive for the ‘abramelin’ Tag
Greetings Angel Workers!
I have been told that the new anthology from Nephilim Press:
will be released soon.
Some time ago, I was asked by Scarlet Imprint to write something about demonology for their anthology entitled Diabolical. So, I wrote a lengthy essay called The Spirit Magick of Abramelin – giving a detailed overview of the system of goety found in the final book of that grimoire. (More recently, that same essay was published in Hermetic Virtues Magazine.)
Later, I was asked by Nephilim Press to write something about the Holy Guardian Angel for their new anthology – Walking With the Angel. So, I decided to give them the exact opposite, and outline the Abramelin system of angel magick. That is, the specific instructions for continuing work with your HGA over a lifetime – instructions which are present but scattered in the original text. Instructions that have remained hidden and unexamined for hundreds of years…
Plus I give a lot of insight into my own performance of the Abramelin operation (specifically its ending) and how I developed my relationship with my HGA over the years that followed.
I’m in very good company in this anthology too! There will be entries from Inominandum, Rufus Opus (in his publication début), Scott Stenwick, and more.
If you want to read the introductory paragraphs of my essay, click here.
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 True Believers!
The Sorcerer Supreme
It might seem a bit odd – unless you are Dr. Strange or some other magickal denizen of the comic book universe – to associate modern occultism with straight-up super powers. And we’re not talking about something metaphorical like “to become more than human” – which means to become a self-actualized metaprogrammer who is literally awake inside their own skull. Nor are we talking about operative magick by which we invoke the spirits to manifest things that we need, or protect us from harm or even to heal the sick.
No, we’re talking about a belief in Hollywood-style super powers – like the ability to fly, dodge bullets, shatter prison walls, transform substances*, to live without food or water, direct lightning, become (literally) immortal and more.
(* And by “transform substances”, I don’t mean alchemy or anything spiritual like the Eucharist. I mean things like transforming illegal substances – locked in evidence lockers – into harmless legal substances to upset court cases. And, yes, that is an example of a claim I recently heard.)
Yes, it seems quite odd that anyone could approach magick from this kind of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or Hollywood fantasy standpoint – and take themselves seriously, let alone anyone else take them seriously. But it happens – maybe even more than you think it does. There are even would-be gurus out there who promise those kinds of super powers to their followers – for a price – and it appears they are not lacking in signed checks to cash, either.
Just this week, I have been dealing with one of these types on the Abramelin Yahoo Group. He swooped in from nowhere, his long cape fluttering in the winds of the Hoary Hosts of Haggoth, to inform the entire group (and especially me) that we don’t have a gnat’s ass clue what we are talking about. Where we discuss a “faux-HGA” that slowly guides and teaches an aspirant in the mysteries of magick, the real HGA is supposed to appear and (like Aladdan’s Genie) grant one instant super powers and unlock all the “secret keys” to make use of the Abramelin word-squares and even the Seals of Solomon.
The mere fact that we are sitting around discussing the HGA on a Yahoo Group, says the Great Master, illustrates that we don’t have a clue. He is here to (and I quote) “keep it real.” He “knows people” who can wave a pinkie finger and deadlock juries, dodge bullets, transform illegal substances and more. Not only this, but according to him real magicians don’t read books, nor should any who do read or write books be taken seriously. So not only does your Holy Guardian Angel make you a thunderbolt-wielding super hero, but you have to be illiterate to even get there. lol
Ok, yes, it’s funny and we can easily laugh at someone who is so obviously entrapped in his childhood fantasies. But there is also a more serious side of the coin: sometimes these types of people get their followers hurt or killed.
Peregrin Wildoak recently wrote his own blog article on this subject. In it, he brings up the practice known as “Breatharianism.” This is a practice whereby one gazes into the Sun each morning – a little at first, but increasing the time each day until one is staring into it for nearly an hour or more. The goal is to eventually take all of your necessary nutrients directly from the Sun, and leave behind your need for food or water. Why, I even read one article that suggested it would also give you psychic powers, telepathy, the ability to bi-locate and much much more!
And before you scoff at the very idea anyone could fall for that kind of nonsense, you should know that people have bought into it and even died in the attempt. One Breatharian leader was even challenged to prove she could go for a mere seven days without food or water - and the experiment was called off a few days in, as her body began to break down and lawyers told them they could be legally culpable for her death. She, meanwhile, spent the entire time insisting she was just fine and wanted to continue!
It is people like this that drag the entire subject of occultism down into the mud. Sometimes they get people hurt or killed. But most often they just swindle people out of a lot of money. You don’t know how many times I’ve been contacted by people who went to a self-proclaimed “healer” for a cleansing, only to be shown some kind of stage-magic trick and told they were cursed – a curse which could be removed for several hundred dollars. (And then several hundred more, and then…) Just read through the comments made on my Egg Cleansing post for a few examples. And they are just a few I’ve been able to warn away from being taken – I shudder to think of how many aren’t so lucky.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I know we’re dealing with a gray area here. As one who practices “operative magick” – that is magick done to make things happen in the real world – I know there is something of a fine line to walk. I deal with angels and spirits as if they were as real as you and I. I speak about jumping between realities as easily as an episode of Sliders. I speak of doing magick to bring money or physical objects when they are needed. I believe in curses and possession and hauntings, as well as in my own knowledge of how to break them.
Besides, miracles do happen. Maybe some of those old Saints or Eastern Gurus really did manage to levitate. Maybe Jesus really did raise Lazarus from the dead. Hell, for that matter, maybe Dee really did brew up a storm and sink the Spanish Armada. Anything is technically possible, so far be it from me to call every claim ever made hogwash. I’ve certainly seen my share of physics-defying events – blessed salt turned into pure light, disembodied sounds, ghosts. Why, once I even time traveled (though it only lasted a second and I was not apparently physically present in the time/place I traveled to).
But I find the charlatans are usually the ones insisting on the super powers. They’re trying desperately to sell you something, or to sell you on something. They, like our “Dr. Strange” from the Abramelin Group, loudly proclaim everyone else to be false pretenders while only they have access to the True Secrets of the Universe(tm). (And, most often, they follow that with a promise to teach them to you, and where you can send your check or money order…)
Real spiritual leaders will likely tell you the miracles and magickal powers are mere side-effects of the Great Work. They can happen, but they are something you earn by long years of practice and a hell of a lot of trial and error. And some of the more spiritual traditions (like some Buddhist sects) tell you to avoid them altogether.
Me, I’m striving for miracles on demand! But, seriously, the minute I start claiming that I can “eat sunlight” or fly up to the local 7-11 for a soda – just toss me in a padded room.
Greetings fellow wizards!
I was just alerted to a new batch of old Solomonic manuscripts available online, from the Leipzig University. There are 142 of them in all! The Studies on Magic blog even gives us a list of the books and links directly to them, along with what kinds of images you will find in them (pentacles, seals, magick rings, etc, etc):
Complete list of Leipzig University magical manuscripts (links)
And in case that disappears, here is a link directly to the collection on the university’s website.
These are scans of untranslated texts, and you cannot download or print them. :( But that doesn’t stop them from being well worth looking through.
Greetings Angel Lovers!
Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa”
A rather interesting (and likely controversial) subject has come up on my Solomonic Group at Yahoo, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you here. I think the title of this blog really says it all, so I’ll just get right into the posts. First, here is the question that was asked on the group:
I am a married father of four who is aged in his fifties.
I am also a theology student and a school teacher.
Two years ago I was studying the Old Testament and noticed how Solomon and David both had many wives. This made my very curious and also quite envious.
Because at that time my marriage was lacking intimacy, and so out of desperation I prayed to God for a concubine or a second wife.
I didn’t think much of it, but about two weeks later a spiritual entity connected with me in an intimate way. This has conintued regularly for the last two years. It honestly feels like God has answered my prayer.
I did read somewhere that monks experiences similar types of connections with angels. Has this sort of phenomenon ever been reported before? Do you think that the biblical descriptions of Solomon and David having many wives may have been alluding to spiritual or angelic wives and concubines?
I find it rather intersting that – given this person’s particular sub-culture, which would not tolerate adultery or polyamory - he was able to find a spiritual solution to his problem. That aside, I decided to answer his specific questions:
Ok, first to answer your question about the prophets and their multiple wives: no, that was not an allusion to them having spiritual wives. They in fact had multiple physical wives and concubines. It is still practiced, in various ways and to various degrees, in many cultures around the world.
As for your other question:
Are you kidding?? Angels are all *about* the sex, man!
(NOTE for those outside the US: The phrase “…all *about* the…” is an American idiom that basically means “like it a lot.”)
Occult and religious lore is chock-full of spiritual beings mating with humans. Stories of Succubi and Fairies producing offspring with human partners abound – including Lilith (who, in the form of the Queen of Sheba, is said to have indeed slept with Solomon). Some Jewish funerary rites are intended to banish all the deceased “demon children” who might otherwise appear at the funeral to demand their inheritance.
Pagan Gods – who are basically the same species of being as Angels – seem to have taken mortal mates on a regular basis – hence the existence of Demigods (half-human, half god) like Hercules and Perseus.
Also note the “Sons of God” described in Genesis, who descended to Earth and traded the secrets of heaven in exchange for sexual favors. This is an extension of the above Pagan concept – as the Bible offers this as the explanation for superhuman heroes and the “Nephilim” or giants. God supposedly flooded the world to get rid of them. (Though it wasn’t entirely successful, as Noah was rumored to be one of these offspring – effectively making *all* of us part-Angel today.)
Biblical legend also suggests that Eve mated with Satan to give birth to Cain.
And don’t forget Dee and Kelley’s (in)famous wife-swapping episode, which they undertook at the direction of their angelic contacts. (Though they didn’t mate with the Angels themselves, it was still the Angels who showed an interest in human sexual activity.)
Shamanic vocations often involve the shaman obtaining a “spiritual spouse” – literally marrying his or her Patron Deity to establish a life-long relationship.
An example of this is found in the Book of Abramelin – my own preferred grimoire – which promises “Knowledge” of one’s Holy Guardian Angel. This is an archaic term for “having intimacy with.” (Such as the Biblical term “He ‘knew’ his wife.”)
My own Guardian Angel has most certainly been my spiritual wife – and one of my earlier and most intense experiences with her was an extremely sexually charged encounter. Plus, once she was bound to me physically, she spent some months ravenously seeking out sexual and other physically pleasurable experiences. (It seemed to be part of her adjusting to suddenly having access to physical sensation.)
On that same note, there are many religio-magickal operations in which a divine being is called into the body of a human host in order to perform a sexual act with either a Priest or Priestess alone, or with one who has also drawn down a divine being. Such as the Wiccan Great Rite – where the High Priest and High Priestess become vessels for the God and Goddess to physically mate.
Plus there are several grimoiric spells intended to evoke beautiful spirits for the express purpose of having sex with them.
The examples could go on and on – this is a theme that permeates Western religion, mysticism and occultism. I have a feeling Jake [Stratton-Kent] will also respond to this, with many examples of magickal practices and operations that involve sexual contact with spiritual beings.
And Jake did, indeed, respond as well:
happy to oblige
well an obvious road sign is the Comte de Gabalis:
big influence on some published and manuscript grimoires.
Also the close relations of Lamiae (such as Lilith/Sheeba) and the Sibyl or sibyls is central to our magical traditions. Consider too the narrow line between ‘angels’ and ‘demons’.
From there to the Testament of Solomon, and gendered spirits at the root of Solomonic magic, despite later appearances/assumptions, places the theme pretty centrally.
This is why I love the Solomonic Group. So often, people get real touchy and defensive whenever sex and spirituality are mentioned in the same breath.
There certainly are groups out there that make use of sex and magick to abuse young naive aspirants. (See, for example, the “Theocratic Unity” group run by the Horos couple in the early 1900s.)
Yet, as we can see in the above examples, sex has been an intimate (pun intended) aspect of Western occultism for a very long time. And it goes beyond the usual subject of “sex magick.” Shamans, priests and wizards have been marrying themselves off to (that is to say, intimately bonding with) spiritual entities in order to learn occult secrets since the earliest tribal shamanisms.
UPDATE: A member of the Solomonic Group asked me a good question about the Holy Guardian Angel and the subject of physical sensation. I’ll share that question and my answer here with you as well:
> I had thought the Holy Guardian Angel was part of the transcendence of the
> flesh and its desires often associated with the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
> Aaron, may I ask why an angel of that class would want to enjoy sexual and
> physical experiences? I thought they are supposed to come from a realm
> where such needs have been transcended?
I feel the reason is *because* they come from such a transcendent realm. You take such a being from a place where there is no such thing as sensory input, then suddenly thrust them into a human host with full access to such alien sensations as physical pleasure (and, for that matter, pain), and I think it would be quite natural to want to explore and learn about these new things. Add to that the fact that they have not spent a lifetime learning how to regulate such desires, and it can result in behavior similar to an addict seeking out a fix. lol
I suspect this is the kernel of truth behind the stories of the Watchers and other divinities who were willing to trade all the secrets of heaven with mortals in exchange for sex. While “in the flesh”, the Watchers were willing to chance the Eternal Punishment of God for just a few hours of intense physical pleasure.
For a good visual example, check out the movie “Michael” starring John Travolta in the title role.
Of course, this state was only temporary for my Guardian Angel. Over time she seemed to adapt to her new state of being bound to a physical body, and the intensity of the experience finally balanced out. After that is when she got down to the business of training me – but she certainly had a much better understanding of what it is like to live down here, which was important for the relationship to grow.
Witch and Devil – Jos A Smith (From “Witches” by Erica Jong , 1981)
Greetings Devotees of the Holy Guardian Angel!
Nephilim Press will soon publish a brand new anthology entitled Walking With the Angel. It is a collection of essays about the Holy Guardian Angel by various occultists (some you know, and some new names as well) – including me!
Walking With the Angel
My contribution is called After Abramelin: Working With the Holy Guardian Angel. If you remember my older essay, The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin, this new essay is its direct counterpoint – explaining how one is supposed to work with the Guardian Angel after completing the Rite.
Here are the introductory paragraphs of my essay:
After Abramelin: Working with the Holy Guardian Angel
The Book of Abramelin is a German magickal text supposedly written by Abraham von Worms in the 1400s. It contains a method of invoking and permanently bonding with one’s Holy Guardian Angel. The angel, then, becomes the primary guide and teacher of the aspirant, and the source of his spiritual authority. This allows the aspirant to perform magick, command lesser spirits and – most importantly – strive toward a higher state of spiritual purity.
Because you are reading this book, I assume you have some familiarity with – or interest in – this famous grimoire. Yet information about it can be rather hard to find. While much has been written about the six (or eighteen) month Rite outlined in that book, precious little has been written about how the system works after those months are completed. In a previous anthology I was given the opportunity to write about the spirit-magick of Abramelin, providing a basic outline of how one should work with the spirits and talismans of that system after completing the initiation. Now, I have been given another opportunity to provide my readers with a rare glimpse into the practice of Abramelin – this time concerning the Holy Guardian Angel itself.
All too often, seekers who read the Book of Abramelin make the assumption that it is “just” an evocation ceremony. A lengthy and involved one, for certain, but ultimately just a method of summoning a very powerful angel. That angel, then, will immediately answer all of your questions about life, the universe and everything and provide you with all the miracle-working powers you could desire. Afterward, you go on with your life as an empowered magus and never need look back at Abramelin again. As they say: “Been there, done that.”
Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. In this essay, I will tell you what you can likely expect during the final days of the initiation itself and in the weeks, months and years that follow. I will bust any number of Abramelin myths, and explain how Abraham himself outlines the system as it should be practiced over the course of a lifetime.
You can read more about the anthology – including a table of contents – at The Lion’s Den blog.
And keep an eye on the Nephilim Press homepage for when the book becomes available.
P.S. – a special congrats goes out to Frater Rufus Opus, who is being “officially” published for the very first time in this anthology! Good work, brother!
Great news folks!
Over the years, I have lost count of the number of students who have asked about the system of spirit magick outlined in the Book of Abramelin. Of course, the subject is not something that can be covered in a simple email or forum post. Therefore, I have published two lengthy documents on the subject: The first, Abramelin’s Magickal Word Squares, is freely available at my homepage. It is a mere preview of the work I’ve done to decipher and correct the Abramelin talismans – the full scope of which I plan to release in an upcoming book.
The second document is called The Spirit Magick of Abramelin, which was published in Scarlet Imprint’s Diabolical anthology. It is an in-depth essay on how to use the Abramelin talismans along with their associated spirits. Needless to say, this is the one most of you have wanted to read – though I can understand why some may be hesitant to purchase an entire anthology just to get their hands on that one essay.
Thus the good news: The Spirit Magick of Abramelin is being re-published in the upcoming edition of Hermetic Virtues Magazine. :) Sorry it’s not free, but it will certainly be more affordable for those of you on a budget. Besides, you’ll want to be familiar with Hermetic Virtues anyway – as they will soon be releasing their first full-scale book including never-before seen Golden Dawn-related material (some of it by yours truly). I don’t want to give away too many details just yet, so stay tuned for for updates.
For now, those of you interested in all things Abramelin will want to get your hands on the next issue of the magazine.
And you know you’re never sure, but you’re sure you could be right,
If you held yourself up to the Light.
And the embers never fade, in your City by the Lake.
The place where you were born. [- Tonight Tonight]
Ok, so you probably remember a while back the blogosphere was debating five so-called “occult gravity wells” that threaten to entrap unwary seekers of the mysteries. Apparently, the debate over the first point in that list – the Holy Guardian Angel – continued under its own steam. More specifically, the debate moved on from the HGA to the Abramelin Operation itself.
First, a post on A Mage’s Blog discussed the inherent dangers of the Abramelin operation, citing them as good reasons to steer clear of it altogether. This was then answered on Frater RO’s blog. It finally came to my attention when a student posted to the Abramelin Group over on Yahoo, asking us (and me in particular) about the dangers outlined on A Mage’s Blog. Rather than answering that post on the forum alone, I felt this was worth a blog post of its own here on Ananael.
Let’s start with what Jow had to say on A Mage’s Blog:
All through out the working, as well as reading the works of those who have undertaken it, it is obvious that you will be fucked with in some pretty spectacular ways. For me, it was best stated in “After the Angel” by Marcus Katz, “If you are close to anyone and do not want to risk that relationship, do not undertake the Abramelin. It has to be performed when you seriously have “nothing to lose”. Not just close to anyone, but fond of your job, your house.. anything at all really, because it all, apparently gets put in jeopardy. Katz to his great credit, did get his wife’s informed consent, and was honestly a good householder all the way through, but it was a heroic struggle.
Shaking up ones own inner ant farm is fine as it goes, but to jeopardize your home, family, and friends is at best thoughtlessness of an EPIC scale, and at worst utter and complete selfishness.
Another reason I dislike it as a working is the predicted success ratio: 1 or 2 out of 100. That is balls my friends. Call me a spiritual bottom feeder, but I want a return on my investment.
Now, I’m sure many of you are hoping to hear me say “This is all nonsense and scare-mongering! Abramelin isn’t dangerous, you won’t lose your lover, your home, your job or anything else in your life nor your way of life. And, who says only 1 or 2 out of 100 achieve?? If you undertake Abramelin with the right intention, you’re guaranteed some success, at least!”
Well, sorry friends, I’m not gunna say any of that. There are dangers involved with Abramelin. And the suggested success rate – I would say – is probably about right. However, I simultaneously believe that folks like Jow have taken common-sense warnings and made much more of them than they should.
Let me make a comparison. Let’s say you want to become an electrician. I can sit here for hours and write about the inherent dangers of working with electricity. I can tell you in gruesome detail what will happen to your body if a high-amp stream of voltage courses through it – seizing your muscles, stopping your heart, cooking you from the inside out. I can talk to you about electrical house fires, lightning strikes, etc, etc. And if I were training you in the electrical trade, I’d better tell you all of those things if I’m going to call myself any kind of teacher. And, guess what, if you choose to work with electricity for your entire life, then you’re going to get shocked a few times here and there.
But, does it all mean that no one should ever become an electrician? Should we just abandon the profession and go back to candles and gas lamps? Of course not. The point of being trained as an apprentice by someone with years of experience is so you’ll survive when the bad shit happens. (For example, electricians have specific ways of touching wires so they’ll be knocked back and away by a big unexpected shock, rather than being snared and pulled further into the wires and die.)
And so it is with magick – especially something as heavy-duty as the Abramelin operation. There are some among you who are currently clinging to unhealthy personal relationships. If you undertake Abramelin successfully, you’ll probably lose that relationship. You probably know, deep down, that your relationship is unhealthy and co-dependent. And if you are frightened of growing out of it, you’ll want to steer clear of your HGA.
(This very thing happened to me. My girlfriend stood loyally by my side throughout my Abramelin work. In many ways she went through it with me – save for actually going into the Oratory and doing the prayers with me. But she cooked meals without meat, went with me to gather sand from the river, sacrificed most of her living space and social life to my work, had to find a place to live for the last week of the operation, etc, etc. And for all her trouble, we broke up spectacularly just a few months after the operation was complete. There were some serious co-dependent issues between us…
The up side? During our time apart we each did some serious growing – in ways we could not have done together. Several months later we met back up and started seeing each other again. Before you knew it we were together again – and we are still together and have a beautiful little girl to show for it. We’ve come far, gone places and done things we never could have done if we’d stayed in our pre-Abramelin rut.)
Others of you are living or working in the wrong environment. Your Fate or Karma or what-have-you lies elsewhere. Yet something is blocking you from moving onward and upward. If you fear this is the case for you, and would rather stay stuck and stay safe, then don’t attempt Abramelin.
(I saw this happen to a very good friend and student of mine. He was also in an unhealthy relationship, and was living the “wrong life” in many different ways. He merely declared his intentions to perform Abramelin – and the next thing I know his wife was gone, he was moving out of his first home, re-adopting his birth surname and leaving the state. Because of the name change I lost track of him entirely for 20 years.
Just a few weeks ago I found him living up north, married to someone who seems to suit him well, and running his very own paranormal institute. And, remember, he never even performed Abramelin – he simply voiced his intention of doing so!)
So, yes brothers and sisters, Abramelin can be dangerous. As Jow said, it can fuck with you in some pretty spectacular ways. But I think Frater RO put it quiet eloquently in his response when he said that it doesn’t burn away anything you need. What it burns away is the dross – the crap that is holding you down and “sticking” you in bad situations. The job of the Guardian Angel – as Agrippa reminds us – is to guide you to that sacred perfection. And you can’t get to the spiritual gold without passing though the fires of self-sacrifice.
The real danger of Abramelin is Fear – fear of change, fear of letting go of the weights around your neck, fear of ending the dramas in your life and moving on. All of those are scary, and all of them are painful to experience. But, if you truly want to be rid of the dross, and you can bow your head into the wind and march through the hardships that inevitably come with personal evolution, then Abramelin might be for you after all.
There is no certainty that you’ll lose your spouse, your home, your job or any other aspect of your life. Again, as Frater RO rightly pointed out, those things in your life that are right and healthy and true are only going to be tempered and strengthened. Not only that, but the rewards that come to replace those things you let go are beyond description. The return on the investment – really – can feel like you’ve made off with some serious Treasure.
That is why I’ve said, time and again, that Abramelin is best suited for those who are fed up with their old life and are looking for a way out.
To get the gist of what I’m saying here, listen very carefully to these two songs:
Abramelin is for folks who have tried everything else, and have been called to the Abramelin Rite as the absolute last resort. It is not for those who are happy with their lives “as-is” and think that Abramelin is just another “summoning ceremony” intended to get nifty powers from their Guardian Angel.
Finally, what about your chances of success at Abramelin? I admit the ratio of 1 or 2 out of every 100 doesn’t sound good on the surface. However, consider this:
In the last two decades I have met many many people who claim to be undertaking the Abramelin operation – more than I care to count. Yet, out of all of them, I can count on a single hand those who were dedicated to following the Rite as instructed.
Most folks do indeed think it’s just a way-cool summoning ceremony that can be done and then walked away from. (“Oh yeah, I did that Abramelin thing once….”) And most of them insisted on changing the Rite in many ways – adding to it, taking away from it, bringing in outside rituals, praying to their favorite Patron God, etc. A great number of them chose Liber Samekh instead, or make up their own “version” of Samekh. Why, I once saw someone suggest merely creating a sigil of your intent and meditating on it for a little while every day! Abramelin is rife with the “this is good enough” and “the original instructions are too hard and unnecessary” mentalities. Folks spend much more time on considering what they don’t like about it than they do just doing the Work.
So, let’s just say that perhaps 95 out of every 100 people who attempt Abramelin fall into that category. That only leaves five who are dedicated to doing the Abramelin Rite correctly and to the fullest extent. So the real ratio becomes 1 or 2 our of every 5. That’s not really bad odds, if you make up your mind to be one of those 5.
Then, if you fall into the category of folks who are called to Abramelin as the last resort in their lives – you are almost assured success. Out of those 2 or 3 folks, maybe one of them shouldn’t try Abramelin for some other reason. (For example, my wife was told through divination not to attempt Abramelin. As a seer, she has a pretty specific balance of forces and gateways in her skull as it is, and tossing her HGA in there would screw up her Work. But then, as such, her Work is already laid out in front of her, so Abramelin wouldn’t be a last resort to make her life right. She’s already on the right track, and her HGA still communicated with her when it is necessary.)
So, that’s my take on the dangers associated with Abramelin. It all really depends on who you are, and what your calling happens to be – rather than upon some kind of inherent danger or “selfishness” coded into the operation itself. It’s about spiritual alchemy, folks! Solve et Coagula and the purification of the Gold.
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.