Archive for the ‘peregrin wildoak’ Tag
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 Fratres et Sorores!
Ok, so it must be the right time of year for new anthologies containing brand new essays from yours truly. ;) Kerubim Press has just announced an upcoming book entitled Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls by the Golden Dawn Community:
Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls – Front Cover
This new collection contains all of the original Golden Dawn “Flying Rolls” – which are extracurricular lectures and essays on a variety of occult topics that circulated among adepts of the original Order. These Flying Rolls were written by adepts like Wynn Westcott, Samuel Mathers, Moina Mathers, Edmund Berridge, Florence Farr, Annie Horniman, J.W. Brodie-Inns and Percy Bullock.
But Waite! There’s more! ;) Each and every Flying Roll is followed by a brand new commentary intended to elaborate upon the topic of the Roll itself. Some of them serve to clarify what is in the Roll, while others add to it with updated modern views. And the authors included here are no less impressive than the Flying Rolls’ original authors. You’ll find plenty of recognizable names like Chic and Tabatha Cicero, Peregrin Wildoak, Sam Webster, Joseph Max, Nick and Paola Ferrell, Samuel Scarborough, Eric V. Sisco, VH Fra IOV, Frater Yechidah, Ian Cowburn and Morgan Drake Eckstein. And many up-and-coming authors such as Deanna Bonds, Lauren Gardner, Jayne Gibson, Christopher Bradford, Liza Llewellyn and Rachael Walker. Plus, of course, me.
And that merely scratches the surface of the good folks who contributed their time and work to this anthology. This book is the end result of one of the most massive inter-Order cooperative projects in the history of the Western Mystery Tradition. Almost every major Golden Dawn Order – and a few smaller groups and private Temples – came together in a spirit of community and fraternity to make this book a reality.
Click here for the full announcement from Kerubim Press.
I have made two contributions to this project. The first goes along with Flying Roll XX: The Elementary View of Man. However, what I have written is not a mere commentary upon the Flying Roll, but is in fact an updated re-write of the original Golden Dawn lecture Ritual U: Man – Microcosm (which is necessary to read and understand in order to grasp the concepts of Flying Roll XX). Man – Microcosm is an often-overlooked lecture that was part of the original adept curriculum, and contains some of the Order’s most important teachings on the human soul, qabalistic psychology and the Great Work itself. My hope is to revive interest in this particular lecture, and re-establish it as a foundational study for all students of the Golden Dawn.
My second contribution is a commentary upon Flying Roll XXXV: On the General and Particular Exordium of the Z Documents. The General and Particular Exordium is an introduction of sorts to the Z Documents – the secret wisdom and symbolism of the Golden Dawn’s Magick of Light revealed to Mathers by his spiritual contacts known as the Secret Chiefs. They are possibly some of the most profound and useful pieces of received knowledge in the entire Western Mystery Tradition. However, few Golden Dawn students understand what the Exordium is supposed to mean. It is essentially a Gnostic poem intended to “set the stage” for all the mysteries revealed in the Z Documents. Therefore, I break down the Exordium and explain what it means in Gnostic terms, and how it reflects on the mysteries of the Golden Dawn.
Fratres et Sorores, you do NOT want to miss out on this one!
Greetings 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 fellow Pagans!
I was recently invited to give a lecture on “ceremonial magick” to a local group of second degree Wiccans. After accepting the invitation, I took some time to consider what direction such a lecture should take. What about ceremonial magick would interest them, and how could I present it in a manner to which they could relate?
The answer came quickly enough: I would give them a condensed history lesson about the Western Mystery Tradition – covering the development of Hermeticism, the Hebrew and later Christian Qabalah, Rosicrucianism, Masonry, the Golden Dawn and Thelema. Finally, all of this would culminate in a discussion about the rise of Wicca and its interrelationship with all of the above.
In the lecture, I pointed out the influence of the Golden Dawn in Wicca’s magickal methods – such as circle castings, pentagrams, Watchtower guardians, the four Elements, etc. I discussed the impact of Regardie’s publication of ‘The Golden Dawn’ on mid-twentieth century occultism (Neo-paganism included). And I even discussed Gerald Gardner’s association with Thelema – drawing much from my old Thelemic Origins of Wicca essay.
Overall, I’d call the event a resounding success, and it looks like I’m going to have to come up with some ideas for a future lecture for the same group.
Meanwhile, in the days since the event I have discovered there is something in the air about this subject. I just received the latest edition of Hermetic Virtues Magazine, and wouldn’t you know it included a wonderful essay by Peregrin Wildoak entitled The Influence of the Golden Dawn in Wicca. I have been wanting to write that very essay for many years – but it looks like Peregrin beat me to it, and did it better than I would have done. ;) I forwarded a copy to the Wiccan priestess who organized my lecture, so she could offer it as “further reading” to her students. (I also recommend you get a copy of the latest Hermetic Virtues to check it out!)
I sent a message to Peregrin, offering my kudos and asking if he had ever read my Thelemic Origins… essay. He said he had indeed read it, and even brought it up in a related lecture he had given: The Influence of Aleister Crowley on the Development of Wicca. Let me quote his reply here:
thanks for this
Yes, I read your very interesting article…and politely disagreed with its central thesis in another recent lecture :) Would love a counter argument if you wish
That certainly piqued my interest. I doubted he disagreed with my premise of a Thelemic influence upon the development of Wicca. So I read his essay to find his specific point of dissent. I discovered a quote from my essay in a section entitled Myth Number 3 – Wicca as an Outer Court to the OTO or a Thelemic Vehicle:
“I’ve come to understand that Gerald Gardner intended from the very beginning for Wicca to be a largely Thelemic system.”
Having read the entire article, I think I understand where Preegrin disagrees with my statement. The above quote could be taken in one of two ways: Either I understand Wicca was intended as an organizational Thelemeic (that is, OTO) vehicle, or that it was a philosophical Thelemic vehicle.
In fact, I meant the latter. I am not among those who have suspected Wicca was intended as an outer court to the OTO, or even an “OTO for the masses.” Instead, my view is that Wicca was (to an extent) built upon Thelemic philosophy.
Of course, Peregrin also disagrees with that premise – and to prove it he cites several departures from (or in some cases the absence of) Thelemic philosophy in the Wiccan religion. And he is correct – such departures and absences do exist, and he does a fine job of pointing them out.
However, to play devil’s advocate, I would also point out that Thelema was intended to be a highly individualized philosophy. Are not those who dissect the Book of the Law and nit-pick specific points of Thelemic philosophy supposed to be “centers of pestilence”? Is it not the one cardinal rule of Thelema that one should follow his own True Will no matter what? Given this nature of the system, I don’t find it so hard to believe that Gerald Gardner felt at liberty to take Wicca in directions that might conflict with any of Crowley’s writings.
Still, I will admit my statement that Wicca was intended as “a Thelemic system” might have been over-stating the case to some extent. (That essay was one of my earliest pieces, and not an example of my best writing.) I certainly don’t view Wicca as just Thelema with Neo-pagan overlay.
However, the influence of Thelema and its philosophies upon Gardner cannot be denied. (Nor, to be fair, does Peregrin attempt to deny them in his essay.) I see more of Thelema in Wicca than the mere “fleshing out of sparse material” that Gardner claimed it to be. I believe Gardner’s occultism was heavily Crowley-influenced – first through Crowley’s published writings, then during Gardner’s time with the OTO – and that this formed the foundation upon which Wicca was ultimately constructed. (Much in the manner that Thelema is founded upon Golden Dawn principles, while it is not “Golden Dawn” in and of itself.)
Though, it is true that Gardner was taking Wicca in directions that often left the greater Thelemic system behind, and that Doreen Valiente took it even further afield. I suspect the apparent disagreement between me and Peregrim Wildoak on this issue is largely one of semantics.
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 Avid Readers!
The latest edition of Hermetic Virtues is finally out! It was published on June 24th, in order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the consecration of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s Vault of the Adepti. It even includes the very same signed announcement I published here (and which has appeared on blogs and forums across the ‘net).
And what’s more, it also includes an essay by yours truly called Two Thrones for the Golden Dawn. In the essay, I discuss the mythical structure of the Hall of the Neophytes and why we place the Coptic-Egyptian godforms in their traditional positions. Some groups have made changes to these godforms (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but I explain exactly why we choose to keep them where they where in 1888 when the original Order was founded. (What can I say? The HOGD is a traditional Order.)
I am especially proud of this essay because Tabatha Cicero made reference to an earlier version of it in a piece she wrote for the latest edition of the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. In fact, her essay is what prompted me to get this one completed and published at last.
There are also essays and reviews by such big names as Chic Cicero (HOGD), John Michael Greer (DOGD), Nick Farrell (MOAA), Sam Scarborough (OSM), Jayne Gibson (HOGD), Eric Sisco (SRICF) and many more. If you want to see a great review of the entire magazine, check out Peregrin Wildoak’s blog.
If you get a chance, make sure to drop a note of congratulations to the Hermetic Virtues team and give them kudos for their own five year anniversary. We haven’t seen a magazine of this caliber since Gnosis – so let’s hope they stay around for decades!