Archive for the ‘students’ Tag
Sorry for the short notice, folks! This one kind of snuck up on me. lol We are already filling seats, so make sure to reserve a spot today!
Ceremonial Magick uses ritual and invocation to get closer to the Divine Self. Come learn the basics of Ceremonial Magick from initiated ceremonial magicians, Carrie Mikell & Aaron Leitch – adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.If you want to experience Ceremonial (or “high”) Magick, this class is for you!Course Topics include the following:
•Class 1: Basic Terms of Ceremonial Magick – Diagrams & the Qabalistic Cross
•Class 2: Basic Rituals & Correspondences
•Class 3: The Four Philosophical Elements
•Class 4: Hexagrams & Invoking the Planets
•Class 5: Talisman Creation & Consecration
•Class 6: An Angel Evocation
Class starts March 3rd and is on Sundays through April 14th, 1-3:30pm.Cost is $20 per class with a $60 deposit that will pay for the last 3 classes in the series.
Please call Mystikal Scents at 813-986-3212 to register. Limited to 12 students.
9545 E. Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa/Brandon, FL. 33592
And for those of you who are not local to us, we DO intend to create a Skype version of these classes very soon. I’ll let you know when those are ready for sign-up.
Greetings Enochian and Angelical Students!
I recently stumbled upon this gem, and thought I would share it with you folks:
The Angelical Language Wiki
It is a Wiki dedicated to Dee’s Angelical Language, and it uses my own work among its primary source material. (Including my Angelical Language books, my online Angelical pronunciation guide, and more..) It also includes Donald Laycock’s work, material directly from Dee’s journals, the Book of Loagaeth, etc, etc, etc.
This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped my work would inspire, and I can’t wait to see how the wiki grows over time.
Greetings to my students!
After I gave my Ceremonial Magick classes in North Carolina (six classes of material packed into two sessions!), one of my students asked me to take her to the store’s bookshelves and show her my best recommendations for further reading. Now, back home in Florida, we are reaching the last few classes of the course – where we finally begin to take all the basic rituals, correspondences and theory and put them together in rituals of practical magick. Once we are done, I suspct my current students are also going to want resources for further reading and study.
Even outside of my classes, I know many of you reading this blog are solitary practitioners. And I’m sure you would also like to know which books I recommend to futher your understanding of the Western Mystery Tradition and the practice of Hermetic Ceremonial Magick.
So, I’ve made this blog entry for both groups of students and practitioners. Much like the post I made concerning books about Babylonian and Semitic myth and magick, I will here gather the titles that I have found most useful in my own Ceremonial Magick studies – both when I was a solitary seeker and even still today.
We are very fortunate today, in that we have dozens of great resources that seekers in previous generations have had to do without. I hope you will find this list useful in your studies.
The Essential Golden Dawn : An Introduction to High Magic - Chic and Tabatha Cicero
A great general introduction to the Western Mystery Tradition as a whole. It traces the historical development of the WMT and introduces the student to many of the basic theories and philosophies behind our magick. Some of the basic rituals are also included.
Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts – Donald Michael Kraig
This is where it all started for me! When I was handed my first copy of this book, I was already practicing my own intuitive forms of magick (much akin to Hoodoo, really). But after just one look inside this book, I knew I had found something vastly important and powerful. I made up my mind then and there to put myself through the (at the time) Eleven Lessons – and the rest is history. This is not specifically a “Golden Dawn” text, but it does focus on Golden Dawn rituals and techniques, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to the practical side of the Hermetic Arts.
Self-Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
The Ciceros created this resource with the solitary practitioner in mind. They gathered a very large amount of the Grade curriculum of the Outer Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then expanded it with extra-curricular study material. Then they created a ritual process of Self Initiation by which the solitary seeker can progress through the Grade material. The Self Initiation rituals will certainly not make you a member of an Order, but they will introduce you to the forces invoked in each Grade of the Outer Order. There are even quizzes at the end of each Grade, so you’ll know when you’ve incorperated enough knowledge to move on to the lessons of the next Grade. This textbook is so useful, it is even used as a study guide by students of the H.O.G.D. itself.
Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
There have been several different editions of this text under different names. You can also find the material split between Creating Magical Tools and Ritual Use of Magical Tools. The above-linked version is the one I found and used many many years ago – in fact I think it was the first Cicero book I ever owned. It outlines in exhaustive detail how to build all the tools, furniture, robes, talismans and other ritual paraphernalia associated with Golden Dawn magick. Though you certainly won’t have to build everything you find in this book to practice at home, it contains enough to set up a fully functioning Traditional G.D. Temple. Plus, it gives you the magickal theory behind each tool along with the rituals to conscrate and use them.
The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot – Tabatha Cicero and Chic Cicero
This is a Tarot Deck, but it does come with a book. If you’re going to get into Golden Dawn magick, you’re going to be using the Tarot. And this deck is specially made for use in Golden Dawn ceremonies. (I still prefer the Smith-Waite deck for divinations, but this deck can’t be beat for G.D. work!)
The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites & Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order – edited by Israel Regardie
This is where it all started – at least for those of us practicing the Golden Dawn today. After 1900, the original Order of the Golden Dawn split into several different groups. One of them became the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, which still exists today. Another became the Alpha et Omega, which closed its doors sometime in the 1940s. And another became the Stella Matutina – which was the branch joined by Israel Regardie. The Stella Matutina closed most of its doors in the middle of the 2oth century. (Only one Temple remained, but it had changed its name to the Order of Smaragdum Thallasses – better known as the Whare Ra Temple – and operated secretly in New Zealand until 1978.) Before the bulk of the Stella Matutina Temples died away, Israel Regardie decided to save the Tradition by publishing the Order’s papers. This decision was controversial, but most today agree that it saved the Golden Dawn. This book is that publication – so you can see for yourself where it all began. This was the book used by Chic Cicero to found his own Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – which is by far the world’s largest and most successful Golden Dawn Order today. This book also serves as the “advanced manual” that takes you to the next step beyond the Ciceros’ Self Initiation… book.
The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic – edited by Israel Regardie
A good companion volume to The Golden Dawn above. This book contains a lot of early Golden Dawn material that didn’t make it into the first book.
A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero
This is one of the books by Israel Regardie that the Ciceros greatly expanded and then republished for the modern student. It is an excellent exploration of the Tree of Life and the magickal and Hermetic concepts that it embodies. In my intro classes, I give you the basics of the Tree of Life – but this text will take you to the next level and beyond. It includes guided meditations to introduce you to the energies, correspondences, angels and other magickal beings associated with every Sephirah and Path of the Tree.
The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero
The is another Israel Regardie original, expanded and republished by the Ciceros. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorites. It outlines the psychological aspects of Qabalistic and Hermetic practice – that is how the material interfaces with and changes your psyche. While I am no fan of the “psychological theory of magick” that does not mean there is no psychology at all involved in its theory and practice. I describe it this way: Magick is not “a form of psychology” any more than an engine is “a car.” Yet, without an engine a car is just a dead thing and doesn’t get you anywhere. How magick affects your mind, and how your mind affects your magick, it extremely important to understand.
Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia – David Godwin
This is a wonderfully useful resource for anyone studying the Western Hermetic Qabalah. Godwin has gathered every Hebrew name and term he could find, given them in English and Hebrew characters, their Gematira values and explained what they mean. As an appendix, he has also included a copy of “Sepher Sephiroth” – which gathers even more Hebrew words and phrases according to their Gematria values. (Kind of a 777 for the Golden Dawn crowd.)
Prometheus Rising – Robert Anton Wilson, Introduced by Israel Regardie.
And speaking of understanding psychology, this book is an absolute must-read. It is an easy-to-understand operator’s manual for your brain – complete with exercises. And the concepts it teaches are, as I said above, extremely important to your own spirutal development and your successful use of that thing called Magick. ( I drew upon the material in this book in my own Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires.)
Ishtar Rising: Or, Why the Goddess Went to Hell and What to Expect Now That She’s Returning – Robert Anton Wilson
See above. I consider this to be the second half of Prometheus Rising. And, as the title suggests, this book focuses upon the sacred feminine within all of us – and even explains why magick and witchcraft have returned to our culture in a big way. Highly recommended!
(NOTE: I will soon be adding a list of traditional Qabalistic texts to this list, such as the Zohar and Sepher Yetzirah. Stay tuned.)
The following books were not part of my own early studies into Ceremonial magick, but I believe they are potentially useful to today’s students:
Experiencing the Kabbalah: A Simple Guide to Spiritual Wholeness – Chic and Tabatha Cicero
“Kabbalah, a spiritual system grounded in symmetry and logic, is rarely addressed in a format that is suitable for beginners. Experiencing the Kabbalah goes against the trend, however, by presenting both historical and practical information on the Kabbalah that focuses on experiencing this ancient spiritual system rather than just reading about it. Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero accomplish this through a sort of ritual drama that they call “Walking the Tree of Life.” It characterizes each Sephiroth (different aspects of the divine) of the Kabbalah as a person, from the stable Malkuth to the enigmatic Kether, granting readers a fuller understanding of the Sephiroth and the paths between them. Experiencing the Kabbalah is an innovative guide for beginners as well as informative reading for adept practitioners.”
Making Talismans: Living Entities of Power – Nick Farrell
“Discover the secret keys and practical techniques to turn mundane objects into “living entities of power,” bringing real change in your life. By pooling magical practices from shamanism, paganism, the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, and Dion Fortune, Making Talismans offers training and techniques for performing advanced magical talismanic operations.”
King Over the Water: Samuel Mathers and the Golden Dawn - Nick Farrell
If you are interested in the history of the Golden Dawn, this is a great place to start. This book explores the life and times one of the founders of the G.D. without the usual lens of myth and legend surrounding him. Spoiler alert! Mathers was a fallible human being like the rest of us.
Mathers’ Last Secret REVISED – The Rituals and Teachings of the Alpha et Omega – Nick Farrell
The Alpha et Omega is the branch of the Order founded by Mathers after the original group split apart. This book is a good companion to King Over the Water, as well as Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. It contains the rituals used by Mathers’ A.O. before it closed its doors in the 1940s. Here, you can see how things were done in the A.O. as opposed to what the Stella Matutina was up to on their side of the fence.
By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life – Peregrin Wildoak
“The Golden Dawn (GD) system of magic is the main source of the esoteric and magical wisdom and techniques practiced in the West today. While the rituals and bare teachings of the tradition have been published for sixty years, the inner workings and esoteric keys that empower those rituals have largely remained unpublished or unexplored in contemporary works. By Names and Images remedies this lack by providing detailed and clear instructions for the visualisations, spiritual connections and energetic practices required for every major GD practice and ritual, as well as several unpublished techniques. Focusing on the meanings and use of sacred names and practical techniques of visualisation, the book thoroughly explores meditation and divination, purification ritual, invocation and evocation, grades of initiation, and direct experience of the inner realms. Also covered is an explanation of the Qabalah and its use as a magical framework. While the book is sufficiently practical and clearly explained to be of huge benefit to a newcomer to magic, its primary aim is to allow people already practicing the Golden Dawn system to do so more effectively, and to be touched by the amazing spiritual blessings the rituals offer.”
This list is certainly not exhaustive – I could have included many further books by authors like Pat Zalewski, John Michael Greer and others. And I could have included even more by authors like the Ciceros and Donald Michael Kraig. However, I think this list is certainly more than enough to give you a sound start and a well-rounded understanding of the Golden Dawn and its magickal tradition. It will also help you to avoid wasting your time and money on books that are of lesser quality, or just re-hashes of what has already been written by the fine authors listed above.
There is also a lot of good material still in the works, too – so I’ll likely be expanding this list in the future. Meanwhile, if this list isn’t enough to keep you occupied, check out this post listing the best Golden Dawn, Hermetic and Rosicrucian blogs out there – so you can keep your eyes on the ever-developing Western Mystery Tradition.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Greetings Angel Magicians!
I recently submitted my latest book on Enochian magick. This one is a practical manual – a grimoire. The publisher loves it, and we are moving forward with the editing process. Plus, we’re considering ideas for titles and cover design. (And that is why I’m posting this – see further down.)
The book is intended to explain what Enochian Magick really is – especially for those who are just beginning to look into the system. It will serve as a study guide when you read more advanced texts AND it will serve as a functional Enochian Grimoire – outlining step-by-step how to perform all of the rituals for the Heptarchia, Gebofal (the Liber Loagaeth system) and the Great Table. (Much of this has never seen print before.)
It is in three parts – the first is a general overview of the history of the Enochian Tradition. The second part lays out the system as John Dee recorded it. The third part outlines the Golden Dawn recension of the material - including their use of the “Reformed Table of Raphael” and an overview of the Concourse of the Forces.
Both the second and third parts (the actual grimoires) contain the step-by-step instructions for performing the rituals. I don’t waste time on all the ciphers and word squares from which Dee decrypted the system, nor with endless quotes from the Dee journals. I do nothing at all to complicate what is otherwise a simple and straight-forward system of Renaissance Angel magick. I just lay out the system as Dee himself would have practiced it. Then I do the same for the Golden Dawn system. Both Dee-purist and Golden Dawn practices are kept entirely separate, and the differences between the two are plainly explained.
Now, the publisher has asked me what I would like the cover to look like. Personally, I would like it to be a classy cover – akin to what they used on the dust-jackets for The Angelical Language. I don’t want to use the Seal of Truth as that has been done to death. I love the cover of Don Tyson’s “Enochian Magick for Beginners”, but that’s been used. lol All in all, though, you can probably see what I’m getting at. Not too busy, not too pop, not too “Enochian” – I want it to reflect that this is a grimoire of Angel Magick.
So what do you folks think? What would you like to see on the cover of a book like this? In about a week I will send my best ideas to the publisher. Now is your chance to put in a word on what you would like to see as well. Let me know!
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!
Mystikal Scents Occult Shop is Proud to Welcome
Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero
Senior Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Authors of such books as Self Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition, Creating Magical Tools, The Essential Golden Dawn and Tarot Talismans
Come and Meet Them in Brandon, Florida on
October 7th, 2012
from 1 – 3:30pm (Eastern Time)
Only $15. This is a unique opportunity!
Call to reserve your spot while they last!
9545 E. Fowler Ave.
Thonotosassa, FL., 33592
The Ciceros’ have been asked to host Class 6 of Aaron Leitch’s and Carrie Mikell’s Ceremonial Magick Course – where they will speak on a subject of their choosing (and/or lead us in a ritual). However, you are NOT required to attend the previous classes to join us for this stand-alone event! After the class, the Ciceros will be happy to sign books. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn directly from the Golden Dawn’s leading experts!
Greetings Theurgists! (That is, Invokers of Angels and Gods)
I’m back from my trip to North Carolina, and getting caught up on my email, forums, blogs, etc, etc. During the catch-up process, I found that someone had posted an interesting question to my Solomonic forum. You can read it below, but in short it asks if there is really a difference between Pagan Gods and Angels, and how the answer to that might impact how one works with either. I felt you guys might find my answer of interest:
— In firstname.lastname@example.org, “Priest of Iset” wrote:
I was just re-reading “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires” to brush up on some basic skills and came across a statement in the book that I didn’t really pay attention to during my first reading and I was wondering if someone could elaborate a little more on this. Here is the page number and chapter. Ch.8 pg.241. It says, quote: “Theurgy literally means to ‘work with gods’, who are technically one and the same with angels.”
Upon reading this I was a little confused; does this mean that angels and gods are in the same hierarchy or does it mean that their functions and offices are the same. If either is correct, does this mean that you can build relationships with gods and goddesses in place of angels and get the same benefit? I am very open to opinions and interpretations.
Yes, Angels and Gods are essentially the same species of creature. “Angel” simply means “Messenger”, and they represent the same class of beings that were messengers, servitors, viziers, etc to ruling Gods in pagan pantheons. [I also should have added: Even in the Old Testament the angels were referred to as the "Sons of God", which mirrors other groups of Pagan Gods who were considered the "Sons of" or "Children of" a particular ruling Deity.]
Historically, many Angels descend directly from Gods. Michael (or more archaically: Mikhal) was an epithet of the Canaanite God of War and Plague Reshef. Reshef, in turn, migrated to Palestine from Mesopotamia, where we find him named Nergal – Lord of the Underworld and God of War and Plague.
Raphael has close connections to Hermes and Mercury. In their most ancient forms, Hermes and Mercury were closely associated with the underworld and sickness – and were therefore appealed to for healing. The occult symbolism of Raphael is undoubtedly Mercurial, but he is in fact the Healer of God.
In the Celtic lands, where the old Catholic Church was relatively “kinder and gentler” than it was in Europe, a great number of local Pagan deities became Saints and Archangels. Often, churches were built right on top of existing holy sites, and folks just went right on worshiping the God or Goddess (now called “Saint Whoever”) connected to that site.
Grab a copy of Gustav Davidson’s “A Dictionary of Angels” and read through the entries. You will quickly see how many Angels can be traced to older pagan deities.
Also, in practice, the methods of working with an Angel are no different than those for working with a God. Enter any Catholic or Orthodox Church in the world, and you will see several beautiful examples of altars to Saints (who include such as St. Michael, St. Raphael, St. Gabriel, etc). Those altars – that is the manner of making them – date back to altars for such deities as Zeus, Hermes, Aphrodite, Isis, Osiris, Ammon, etc, etc, etc.
Likewise, the folk methods by which families set up household shrines to Saints and Archangels date right back to ancient methods by which household shrines were established for local Gods.
Along those same lines, the methods of working with Angels in the Solomonic tradition can be traced back (in part) to the methods used by the ancient Sabians to invoke Gods like Marduk, Sin, Ishtar, Nebo, Shamash, etc. Their methods were the basis of the Arabic Picatrix, which in turn became foundational to the European grimoire tradition.
And speaking of foundations of the grimoire tradition, the Greek Magical Papyri are another great example. Those spells are chock full of invocations to various Egyptian Gods, whose format were then adopted by the Solomonic mages to invoke their Angels and Archangels.
In the Medieval and Renaissance times, it was not uncommon for magickal literature to mention “the God Michael” or “the God Gabriel” right along side of “the God Hermes” and “the God Helios”, etc. I believe you can read more about this (with quoted examples, of course) in “The Golden Dawn Journal: Book II.” I’ll have to find the name of the exact essay.
[Another important point to add here: the Judeo-Christiain hierarchies of Angels include the "Elohim" or "Dominations" - who were regarded as composed of the National Gods of all nations - basically suggesting that *all* Pagan Gods were in fact Archangels and Angels all along. On the other side of the same coin, many branches of Christianity believe that all Pagan Gods were/are in fact fallen Angels. As an example of the latter, look at the Goetia. There we find 72 "fallen angels", many of whom trace back to Pagan Gods.]
So, as you can see, there is a pretty smooth transition in history from “God” to “Angel” – but they are essentially the same creature. The concept that they are somehow different is attached entirely to the erroneous concept that Judeo-Christianity is somehow “original” and “different” from the religions that preceded them. It is equally attached to the fallacy that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are “monotheistic.” All complete bullocks, of course.
Greetings, faithful followers!
I’m back from North Carolina, and at least partially rested. :)
All four events (three public, one private) went incredibly well. We had great attendance, the venues were perfect, everyone had a great time and (most importantly) I think a lot of useful information was shared.
I want to offer special thanks to my hosts: Sam Scarborough, Morgan and the rest of the members of the KNR Temple of the Ordo Stella Matutina. And to the owners of Thaumaturgy777 - Magus and Kate. All of you did an excellent job organizing and hosting these events, as well as transporting and dealing with me for several days. (Especially Morgan on those last two!)
And, of course, thanks to each and every one of you who attended. I’d say we pulled off our own little “power weekend.” LOL
I was also glad to put my new Ceremonial Magick Classes through a test run. (I actually took a seven-week course and crammed most of them into two classes! I’m *very* proud of my students for persevering through that second class!) The human-paced seven-week course will begin here near Tampa on September 2nd.
Again, thanks to everyone. If all of my events and appearances go so well, I’ll be a very lucky person.
Aaron Leitch and Carrie Mikell – members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – will be hosting a 7-week series of Ceremonial Magick classes in the Tampa/Brandon, Florida area. (At the famous Mystical Scents pagan/occult store.)
They will be held on Sundays from September 2nd through October 14th, from 1 – 3:30pm Eastern Time.
UPDATE! The fee will be $15 per class.
We will be covering the basics of Ceremonial practice! You won’t need previous knowledge about Ceremonial Magick or the Golden Dawn to attend. Keep an eye on this page for updates on class contents, materials and other details.
We will also be inviting Chic and Tabatha Cicero to guest-host one of the classes – either for a lecture/discussion session, to lead us in a ritual, or both. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed!
Contact Mystical Scents to sign up!
9545 E. Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa/Brandon, FL. 33592
Class 1: Basic Terms, Diagrams and the Qabalistic Cross
Class 2: Basic Rituals and Correspondences
Class 3: Pentagrams and Invoking the Elements
Class 4: Hexagrams and Invoking the Planets
Class 5: Talisman Creation and Consecration
Class 6: Advanced Concepts (for Practical Magick)
Class 7: The Evocation of an Angel
(TBA) – Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero Appearance
Greetings Occult Navigators!
Ok, so there seems to be a bit of a stir going on over a recent post made on the Strategic Sorcery Blog, where Jason Miller lists five trends in modern occultism that he thinks need to be overcome or otherwise laid to rest. Rufus Opus had a few thoughts about it on the Head For the Red Blog. And even Morgan Eckstein links to it and adds a sixth trend that he wants to see die a painful death.
Because this list of five “gravity wells” happens to touch on a couple of subjects near and dear to me, I felt I should weigh in with my own thoughts. So, let’s begin by taking a look at the five issues:
1) The Holy Guardian Angel as a magickal prerequisite.
2) The Goetia as the be-all and end-all of goetia.
3) Wicca bashing.
4) Quantum Physics as “proof” of magick.
5) System Hubris – or “my system can beat up your system.”
I’ll just run down this list one by one:
1) The HGA: Jason’s problem here is not with the concept of the HGA. It is with a trend he is seeing that seems to make gaining the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel some kind of requirement for the practice of magick.
Frater RO takes it in a different direction. He doesn’t see a trend that requires one to make contact with the HGA so much as a trend toward over-blowing the entire concept of the HGA itself.
To be honest, I have to agree with RO on this one. I don’t really believe that anyone out there who uses magick without the HGA feels that they are getting no results because of it. What I do see is people treating the Abramelin Operation as some kind of ultimate initiation into Adepthood - something that can only be attempted by the most advanced and powerful mages, and which will result (if you survive) in the elevation of the individual to a godlike and ascended status.
That is complete bullshit, folks. If you read the Book of Abramelin itself, you will see that it was written by Abraham the Jew for his son Lamech as an introduction to the practice of magick! That’s right, it is intended for beginners. And, Abraham states very clearly in the text that achieving it will not make you an adept. It is only by working diligently with the HGA over a long period of time that one will eventually achieve adpethood in the practice.
Yet, for all of that, I was recently attacked on my own Solomonic forum at Yahoo because I stated that I commune with my Holy Guardian Angel (nearly) every Sunday morning. My telling the young lass all of the above didn’t change her tune. My quoting the Book of Abramelin where Abraham gives the instructions for communing with your Angel every Sabbath didn’t even change her opinion. She, sadly, was among the many who view Abramelin as a one-off summoning ceremony. She angrily insisted that contacting the HGA takes six months (or a year and a half) and thus there was no way I could be doing it every Sunday morning. Besides, if I had contact with my HGA as I claim, then certainly I wouldn’t be tooling around down here with the unascended plebes.
So, yeah, Frater RO is right when he sees the concept of the HGA being overblown. The HGA is not your Higher Self. Contacting it does not mean you have attained the Ultimate Magickal Goal and can therefore leave the Earth-plain behind in your own chariot of fire. And, I should add, merely making contact with the HGA is not the same as gaining “knowledge” of that Angel.
As for Jason’s gripe against viewing the HGA as a magickal prerequisite – I have to admit I am a bit on the fence. First – hell no, it is not a prerequisite for magick in the larger picture. However, I do feel that Western magick has long ignored the concept of gaining a Head Spirit to be your primary go-to entity for your magickal practice. (Much as I think we have ignored ancestor work, magickal offerings and other very ancient aspects of magickal practice for too long.) I believe we all need to consider these concepts very carefully, and I fully support the trends that are developing to bring them back into our “occulture.” Where the Santerians have their Saints/Orishas, and various grimoires have their Gatekeeper spirits and even the PMG have their Agathodaemon, I feel that Abramelin provides us with a solid method of establishing one’s Head Spirit rooted firmly in our Western heritage.
But, Jason is right when he says that you shouldn’t think gaining “K&C of the HGA” is the one and only way you’ll ever find success in your magick. It is ONE way, but not the only way. Even Abraham said there were only five or six people in the world who have attained the goal. I would say there are a few more today – but, still, consider that for every ten people you meet who say they’ve done it, one – maybe two – have actually done so.
2) The Goetia: Jason is right, the Goetia (the book) is fairly overblown today. But, I don’t think I have such a problem with that as Jason does. He’s sick of hearing about it, and I can dig that. But it’s a popular book.
Meanwhile, I have to point out that “the Goetia” is not the be-all and end-all of the practice called “goetia.” Goetia is a vast subject matter. It is not about the summoning of a list of 72 demons from hell. It is, in fact, a broad system of magick by which one works with chthonic entities. (That means Underworld entities – some infernal, some not, some lesser spirits and not a few of them Gods.) If you work with Demeter and Persephone, or with Angels such as Cassiel, or with Osiris, or use the Orphic Hymns or the Psalmic “lamentations” – you’re working goetia. Likewise, if you work with Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub and Belial – you are also working goeita even if you’re not using the book called The Goetia.
If any of the above shocks you in the least, then you need to run out and find yourself a copy of Jake Kent’s Geosophia and his The True Grimoire. You will come away with a better understanding of the subject of goetia, and with a better understanding of the magick you are already using. ‘Nuff said.
3) Wicca Bashing: Ok so Wicca has had its problems. During the latter half of the 20th Century it was a bit co-opted by the Self-Help movement. I once had a seeker (back in the 90s) write to me and say that the Wiccan ceremonies he had attended felt more like a support group meeting than an actual magickal ritual. And, I fear I had to agree with him.
Plus, Wicca was also co-opted by the mass media. From Llewellyn’s endless publication of fluff material, to Buffy and Charmed, to movies like Practical Magic (Sandra Bullock – yummy!) and The Craft, Wicca did seem to have had its soul sucked out by modern commercialism.
However, I can’t entirely knock the fact that Wicca went mainstream. When I first started on my path, I was a Wiccan. And even then (early 90s) it was still dangerous to be a witch. You could lose your job, your home and even your children. You could be physically attacked. But after the movement’s heyday in the last decade of the 20th Century – that is after Buffy, after The Craft, after Harry Potter – being a witch finally became “ok.” Maybe you were weird, but you were no longer “a dangerous cultist who doubtlessly abused children and small animals.” This applied not only to Wiccans, but to witches of various types. That was a Good Thing.
But we were still left with the overall impression that Wicca was for fluffy-bunnies, self-help New Agers and overweight teenage girls looking to shock their parents. (I have no clue why “overweight” got tossed in there – have you seen some of the skinny girls running around half-naked at Pagan festivals?? But I digress…)
For my part, I have always felt that this was an unfair characterization of Wicca. Just take the time to read through the Farrars’ Witches Bible, and you will find a deep and fully-formed Tradition of spirituality. Read through Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler and you will discover that Wicca and Neopagansim – as a movement - has a fascinating and diverse history. And, personally, I think you should also read Future Shock and The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler while you’re at it. He doesn’t mention Wicca or Neopaganism, but he describes fundamental changes taking place in our culture for which Neopagansim is quite well suited. (Look for the term “demassification” and think about how it applies to religion, and how Neopaganism fits the bill as a demassified religion.)
For my part, I once wrote an essay called The Neogan Altar – Shamanic Paradigm – wherein I presented the standard Neopagan usage of the Altar from the standpoint of ancient shamanism. My goal was to point out that Wicca, in many ways, fit the bill as a form of modern shamanism – having arisen quite naturally in our modern Western culture. I had intended to follow this essay with other “Shamanic Paradigm” essays illustrating further aspects of Wicca and Neopaganism in this light. Alas, my writing career took me in other directions – but perhaps I will someday return to the subject and complete the series.
All in all, I am quite proud to have begun my magickal career as a Wiccan – no matter how far I have since delved into the grimoires and the Golden Dawn. So, yeah, I agree the Wiccan bashing has run its course and – in many ways – is entirely based on ignorance. (See #5 in this list.)
4) Quantum Physics: I agree with Jason and Frater RO. For a very long time people have been conflating magick with the theories of Quantum Physics. Not only are they not saying the same things at all, but those who make the connection most often do not understand the first thing about QP. It is simply that when QP is dumbed down for presentation to us non-physicists, it can sound an awful lot like magick. I refer you to the famous Arthur C. Clark quote about advanced science often appearing like magick…
Yet, I will also play a bit of devil’s advocate here. While I do not feel QP and magick are one and the same, nor do I feel that QP helps explain or prove anything about magick, I still find the subject matter a worthwhile one for practitioners of magick. Much in the same way I feel that psychology and NLP are useful studies for magiciains. It is not that they are the same thing at all, but I feel that the modern scientific studies can inform our views of magick. (Plus, I tend to see science as a kind of magick or mysticism in its own right.)
Understanding that everything in the universe is formed from different vibrations of energy is useful when you’re contemplating magick. Understanding that there are various dimensions – only one of which we can easily perceive with our five senses – is useful, too. Understanding Chaos Theory (systems, feedback and iteration) is very very useful in the study of magick. Even String Theory, Schrodinger’s Cat and the postulation of parallel universes – all of these examples and many more are good things to think about when you’re studying magick.
It remains true, though, that you should consider them as separate studies than the art and science of magick. They are not “the same thing” at all.
5) System Hubris: I don’t have too much to say on this one. It seems to be something humans have always done, and will always do. In the classical era, the city-dwelling Theurgists swore their magick was “better” than what the Goen practiced in the rural areas. The Christians, Jews and Muslims swore (and still swear) their religions are “better” than the Pagan ones. Ceremonial magicians swear their systems are “better” than Wicca and Neopaganism. Solomonic magicians swear their chosen grimories are “better” than the grimoires used by other Solomonic magicians. The list could just go on and on and on ad nauseum.
And it is all part of the same chain of childish bullshit. The phrase “There is nothing new under the Sun” was written a few thousand years ago – and it is as true today as it was back then. Your system isn’t any better than all the rest – it just happens to be better for YOU. What you found works best for you is what we refer to as a Calling.
If the African Orishas called you, then Santeria is going to work better for you than anything else. If the Angels and spirits of the grimoires called you, then Solomonic magick is going to kick ass over all the rest. If the Angels of the Tree of Life called you, then the Qabalah is your thing. If the Lord and Lady called you, then I guess you’re stuck with Wicca. Every magician, every witch, every shaman, every man or woman of God/Gods/Goddess/etc. of any brand whatsoever was called to their post by their own spiritual guides and guardians.
This is simply something over which you do not have free will. You’re either called, or you’re not. If you’re not called to a path, then that path isn’t going to lead you anywhere. If you are called to a path, then you’re either going to go that way (even if it’s kicking and screaming) or you might as well lay down your wand and give up your quest.
Sure, you can be called by more than one system. I was called to Wicca. (One of my earliest spiritual experiences was of the Goddess walking beside me in a dream, whispering in my ear, “Blessed are thy feet that have brought thee in the way. Blessed are thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar. Blessed…” well you get the idea.) Then I was called to the Qabalah and Golden Dawn work. Then the Grimoires called out to me. Even the Gods of Santeria and Voodoo called out to me – not to come join them, but that they had something they wanted to teach me. But, regardless of when or how I was called, I was called to each and every path I’ve walked. And so have you been.