The Worst Occult Book I Have Ever Read   Leave a comment

How About NO!

I tried to be nice. I really did. I know the Gallery of Magick is popular, and can often be among the first books new seekers encounter. And, let’s face it, we all find simplistic and silly books about the occult in our early studies. I didn’t want to discourage sincere students by bashing the very books that first sparked their interest in Western Esotericism. Even if it’s watered-down occultism, at least it isn’t on par with frauds and posers like Stephanie Connelly-Riser and E.A. Koetting…

Well… at least I used to think that way about it. Now, however, I have read Magickal Destiny by “Damon Brand.” Not only is this the worst book I have ever read about the Holy Guardian Angel (TBF – this book is NOT about the Holy Guardian Angel at all), but it now holds the unique position of the worst book on magick I have ever read.

Let’s set aside the fact I do not believe a “Damon Brand” even exists. I would accuse him of being an AI – but I honestly think AI could write a better book on the occult. The AI wouldn’t come across as this soulless, this uneducated, this biased against anything real, and this adept at marketing over magick. If we set all of that aside – the pages of this book are only useful if you need kindling.

I have to admit, reading “Damon Brand” is kind of nostalgic for me. Not because I began with these books (thank the Gods, my biggest obstacle was 1990s-era Llewellyn – and they were, at that time, the Library of Alexandria compared to the tripe we’re talking about in this review!), but because they have much the same feel as an old Scheuler Enochian book. That is, the chapter titles look good when you browse the book before purchasing it, but there is absolutely zero content in said chapters. It’s nothing but page after page of what the “author” thinks about magick – and even that is repeated over and again ad nauseum just to pad out the length.

And what are those thoughts, brothers and sisters? What kind of adepthood can we expect from “Brand”? Why, we can expect to be told – over and over and over again – how all of the traditional techniques of magick just fail, all the time. They require a ton of work and dedication – both of which this author is staunchly against! – and in the end they probably won’t work for you anyway.

Well thank God “Damon Brand” is here to save the day! He says we can achieve all of our goals and dreams without stupid things like work, dedication, study, practice, and (worst of all!) self-discipline! Why work for hours upon hours, months upon months, to achieve adepthood when you can just scrawl this sigil onto some notebook paper and stare at it for a few minutes and – viola! – you’re a master!

I spent most of this book waiting on Brand to get to a point of some kind – especially after the dozenth time he assures the reader that real books of magick are pointless. He finally gets to the practical stuff in the final couple of chapters – and what do we behold there? A series of newage “protocols” that amount to nothing more than “think happy thoughts”, followed by a bunch of meaningless “Enochian Sigils” that are stated to grant you entry into the Enochian Ethers (newsflash – they do nothing of the sort!). And, somehow, sitting and staring at these sigils for a few minutes each will grant you Knowledge and Conversation with your Holy Guardian Angel. (Updated news flash – it won’t!)

Nothing this book has to say about the Holy Guardian Angel is correct. Nothing it says about Enochian magick is correct. (And, I shouldn’t really have to point out, the Abramelin and Enochian Traditions have nothing whatsoever to do with one another!) The “author” (be it an AI or a marketing team) has no magical experience, no magical knowledge, and his main goal (well, second to separating you from your cash) seems to be stopping you from ever achieving any results or success in your magical practice.

These books hardly qualify as mental masturbation. They have the same “authority” behind them as a Riser Demonolatry book (that is – we have to accept the author is some kind of authority, but we aren’t “allowed” to know or see their credentials – because they have none). There is not one single word in this book that has the slightest value in your occult path. (And I’m including articles here! If he used the word “the”, it was wrong!) The Gallery of Magick isn’t a simple-if-silly series of books for beginners – it’s a barrier to entry. A net to catch LARPers.

Yes, I know there are many of you reading this who began with the GoM books – and you are sincere seekers. As a beginner, you can’t know what is nonsense intended to distract you and what is the real thing. So, you have to rely on guys like me to say something, to give you a warning when something is either wasting your time or actively harming you. So, I am saying it now (and I should have said it years ago) – Gallery of Magick is one of those obstacles. Keep your money in your pocket for stuff you need, don’t hand it over to a con-artist.

Posted June 5, 2023 by kheph777 in abramelin, books, enochian

Tagged with , , ,

The Tongue of Angels: History vs Mythos   Leave a comment

Be careful of conflating history with mythos. Academically, the Angelical Language of Dee and Kelley did not exist in any way before them. Hebrew could not have adopted anything from or been influenced by Angelical, because Angelical did not exist before 1581-2. In this light, Angelical would have to have Hebrew influence, not the other way around.

But the mythos – that is the “magical reality” – is different. For example, I was once told by my HGA that “Lapis Lazuli” has roots in Angelical. But I can’t make that claim on any kind of academic or historical or etymological basis. It’s no different than having Marduk, Ra, and Yahweh all claiming to have created the world single-handedly. Mythos isn’t literal history.

As for “Lapis Lazuli” (and I’m not even sure WHICH part of that is supposed to have Angelical roots!*) I would take this info as an invitation to incorporate aspects of one or both of those words into Angelical (like Dee did with Londoh and Madrid), rather than looking back in history for an Angelical basis for the mundane words.

* – As the Angelical for “stone/rock” is “-patralx” or “orri”, it seems unlikely “Lapis” has any link to those words. So perhaps “Lazuli” is where the Angelical is found – and a brief search suggests that word is of Arabic/Persian origin, and is simply the name of the place where the stone was mined. (Hence “Stone of Lazuli.”) So it at least has a mysterious origin to work with. 🙂

Get a signed copy of The Angelical Language (Vols I and II) and The Essential Enochian Grimoire at Doc Solomon’s Occult Curios.

A Dark Song Watch Party – with Justin Sledge, Aaron Leitch, and Marco Visconti   Leave a comment

In case you missed the fun live, you can still check out the watch party for ‘A Dark Song’ hosted by Dr. Justin Sledge from the Esoterica YouTube channel. 🙂

Which is the Most Powerful?   2 comments

You would be amazed how often I am asked this question.  Which technique is the most powerful?  Which angel is more powerful?  Can we create Talismans more powerful than those in the Key of Solomon?  Which material for talismans is the most powerful? Even, which Psalm is the most powerful?  And, every single time, my answer begins with the same words:

It’s not about “power.”

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting the concept of power has no relevance in magick!  Or, to be honest, I think a better word would be “effectiveness” instead of “power.”  For example, one can create perfectly workable talismans by observing only the Planetary day and hour.  But a more effective technique is to observe a full astrological election.  The latter could be called “more powerful”. 

Another example might be the Angelical (often mis-termed “Enochian”) language, which I have found exceedingly effective in my angelic workings.  So much so, I have in some cases(!) chosen to use it over Hebrew (following what I believe was Dee’s intention for the language).  One could say I find the Angelical language (and many of the associated Enochian tools) to be “very powerful.”

Yet… would a Baal Shem agree with me about Dee’s Angelical?  Would it be “more powerful” than Hebrew in the practice of Merkavah mysticism?  Hardly.  In fact, I would dare suggest the Angelical might be less effective than Hebrew in such cases.  Because it’s not about which one is “more powerful” – but which one is most effective within its own context.

The same is true of materials – such as choosing metal, parchment, beeswax, or another material for your talismans. On one hand, using a proper material (like gold for Solar talismans) will be “more powerful” than using something unrelated (like a Solar Talisman inscribed on silver). But, choosing between something like metal, parchment, or beeswax is not about “power” – it’s about practicality and context. You don’t want to bury a parchment Talisman! You can bury a metal one – but it could rust. So beeswax is best for burial. But if you want to wear or carry the talisman around, metal is more durable and won’t break like wax or get creased or worn like parchment. (Unless you roll the parchment into something to protect it.) I could go on with examples, but I hope this makes my point: it’s about using what is needed in the context of your work. Not about “more power.”

(And, yes, parchment is MUCH “more powerful” than notebook paper! LOL)

Magick is not like a movie or video game, where you and another worker are going to “face off” and whoever has the most powerful magical weapons wins! Well… ok so maybe it CAN be that way, but the winner of that kind of battle will come down to who has the better-established relationships with their spirits, who has trained them better and for longer, and who has the most ashe‘ built up in both themselves and their tools.

Posted February 14, 2023 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick, rants

Tagged with , ,

Psalm Magick for Others in Need   1 comment

A few weeks ago, I began an unusual process for a client:  the consecration of a LARGE number of Planetary (and other) Talismans.  These aren’t Talismans that either Carrie or Eli Cohen created, but I was hired to perform their consecrations.

It’s not unusual for me to consecrate objects for people – it’s a standard service we offer at Doc Sol’s.  But it is very unusual for someone to invest in such a large number of consecrations!  Thankfully, it was possible to do most of them in groups – so that all Jupiter Talismans were consecrated together, then all Venus Talismans were done together the next day, etc.  Thus, in the end, the client was only paying for seven consecration rituals – rather than the nearly 20 for each individual Talisman!

So here I am, going back to work for the same client day after day for an entire week.  (It’s nearly done as I type this, just before the Moon begins to wane again, but I still have a few to consecrate the next time the Moon waxes.)  Each time, I have to read the rather lengthy list of Psalms over the Talismans – essentially performing a “service” over them, if you will.  And this has led me to a brand new AHA! moment:

I decided to alter the Psalms I was praying to include the name of my client.  More specifically, any time a Psalm spoke in the first person, I would change the pronouns to make it third-person (except, of course, where it’s God speaking!), and where appropriate I would change “I” to the name of the client.

Now, those of you who are my students, or members of my Solomonic Group on Facebook, have likely seen me talk about this very thing before.  Altering the wording of a Psalm to make it more specific to your needs is a practice found in the grimoires – often done when adopting portions of Psalms into longer invocations.  But, for some reason, I just never thought of doing it for the longer “service-like” lists of Psalms required for many Solomonic consecrations – and specifically when doing these for clients! (When doing them for yourself, all the first-person makes more sense.)

So, let’s just say Something “urged” me to make that very change this time.  And it wasn’t easy!  A big part of “ritual magick” is repetition – you establish “astral grooves” and settle into them, and that’s where the real magick happens.  But, sometimes, your Familiars and/or Guardians will teach you, give you suggestions, tell you how to make things better.  So, even though I struggled and stumbled over my words a few times, after a couple of days I was able to establish and settle into a whole new groove.

And, let me tell you, it was like flipping a switch!  It instantly changed the entire ritual I was performing from a generalized church service to a very intimate ceremony dedicated to that one single person.  The Psalms address every aspect of what the Talismans should do, the spiritual state of the person you’re praying for, and a whole lot more.  It took everything those Psalms have ever meant to me and shot it out like a laser beam directly to the client!  It has been a pretty mind-blowing experience.

And, now, I will be doing this every time I consecrate objects for others.  🙂

Dee Had the Ethiopic Book of Enoch   3 comments

I was just watching an episode of Angela’s Symposium:

In this, she discusses the Book of Enoch (specifically 1Enoch, or the “Ethiopic Book of Enoch) and its influence on John Dee.  This is something I explore in depth in my books (I think especially in The Angelical Language, Vol I).  In case you are not familiar, I discuss in that work how the mythos of 1Enoch became the basis for Dee’s Enochian system.  However, as that text was considered long-lost in Dee’s time (it wouldn’t be re-discovered until the 17th century), I had always assumed the story had simply survived orally until it reached Dee. 

But I was wrong!  At the time I published, I was not aware of a man named Guillaume Postel (d. 1581 – the year before Dee began his angelic workings).  Dee knew Guillaume, and Guillaume actually had a copy of the Ethiopic Book of Enoch!

Neither Dee nor Postel could read the book, as it was written in Ge’ez, but Postel had been told what was in it by the Ethiopian from whom he had purchased the book.  Postel, then, related this information to Dee – and THAT is how the mythos contained in the “long-lost” Book of Enoch made it, fairly intact I might add!, into the journals of Dr. John Dee.

Here is a link to the Ethiopic Book of Enoch’s Wiki page, in case you want to study more about it:

Posted October 19, 2022 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

How Astrology Works   3 comments

I was recently asked if I know how astrology works.  That is, they wanted to know if I believed the Planets emit “beams” (aka Rays) that project to the Earth, or something of the sort.  (An idea borrowed heavily from Theosophy and poor books like the Kybalion, but not entirely absent from older astrology texts.)

To be certain, the history of astrology is no small study.  It was an ancient art even by the time Egyptians and Sumerians began to keep the first written records.  And, you’ll find countless theories (both modern and ancient) about how it all works.  I am in not here to settle the matter – just to share what I know (in general and briefly) about its history, and my idea of how astrology “works.”

To vastly oversimplify a complex subject: the earliest astrologies (like in Egypt) focused on the seasons.  It’s rather intuitive, frankly.  The ancient shamans knew the motions of the stars were cyclic (even if they were unaware it was because the Earth is a spinning globe), and quickly figured out you could reliably predict the changing seasons by keeping an eye on the heavens.  You knew the weather was going to get warmer when these stars appeared in the sky, and that it would start growing cold when those stars appeared, etc.  

This essentially simple concept grew over thousands of years into some pretty complex systems.  Various geo/celestial events (solstices and equinoxes, harvest seasons, lunar cycles, eclipses, etc, etc) were marked as “holy days” and became sacred to various gods and demons.  These, then, evolved into the vast networks of temples and festivals one could find, for example, all up and down the Nile or the Euphrates.  Over time, every single day became sacred to one deity or another!  (There was a point in Egypt’s history where you could, conceivably, have traveled up and down the Nile attending one agricultural festival after another and never work a day in your life.)

These sacred/festival days resulted in the very first “magical calendars” – lists of the sacred days, and even hours of the days; to which deities and demons these times were sacred; and what petitions you could put before them at those times.  These (with the inclusion of Babylonian star lore) then evolved into the systems of “decan magick” that would eventually form the basis of much of the Solomonic goetic tradition – where spirits assigned to different planets, stars, signs, decans, etc are conjured and petitioned for any conceivable purpose.  

Other traces of these old magical calendars remain, as well.  We can find, in texts like the Key of Solomon, obscure lists of names and magical functions for all 24 hours in a day.  However, their practical application must have already been on the decline, as such lists are usually provided without context and do not seem to impact the rituals outlined in the rest of the literature.  (Though we may see a version of this preserved in texts like the Hygromanteia and Heptameron, where much stress is put on assigning Names and entities to every day, hour, season, and even the Sun and Moon.)

We can also see reflections of this in other areas: such as Farmers’ Almanacs that still provide planting and harvesting instructions based on astrological folklore.  Or the massive calendars of feast days associated with Saints, and the proper timings for specific masses and other ceremonies, in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

But it all started NOT with some primitive assumption the stars were shooting out beams of energy that affect the Earth.  Instead, it began with a rather common-sense observation that the cycles of the stars and planets line up with the seasons here on Earth.

Astrology isn’t about “Rays”.  It’s about Time.  The hands of a clock do not “create” time, they merely indicate it.  Likewise, the heavenly bodies do not create or project upon us the energies of life.  (Well… the Sun does, and one can argue the Moon does as well, but I’m speaking mystically here!)  Instead, they merely indicate the ever-changing seasons and cyclic energies that are native right here to our little ball of mud spinning through space.  “As Above, So Below” still applies, but we are radiating the energies, not receiving them.

At least that’s how I see it.



Posted October 6, 2022 by kheph777 in astrology, history

Tagged with

A Thought on How Magick Circles Work   Leave a comment

Magick Circle as described in the Grimorium Verum – hand-painted by Carrie Leitch

Over the years, I have found it somewhat difficult to explain to students the “mechanics” of how protective Magick Circles actually work.  Thanks to popular fiction, and even descriptive terms in the grimoires (such as calling a Magick Circle a “fortress”), we tend to imagine the Circle as some kind of astral barrier through which hostile spirits cannot penetrate.

Now, this post isn’t a complete overview of Magic Circles – but I will briefly explain these figures aren’t really “fortresses” that manifest around you in the spirit world.  No, these mandalas (yes, that’s where where they came from and that’s what they are) with their closed and repeating geometrical figures operate more like “spirit traps” than “buttresses.”  Spirit traps – from spirit-bottles filled with broken mirror shards, to sprinkling seeds or sand across your window-sill – work by confusing and/or enthralling the trespassing spirit.  These spirits do not have bodies and cannot be blocked by walls – nor by simple figures drawn on the ground.  But they CAN be easily misdirected and confused.  A circle (just by itself) could be enough to confuse a spirit who is trying to get across it to you.

And therein lies the rub.  If the figures on the ground are not a barrier, then how does it divert or confuse the spirit?  It would be like drawing a labyrinth on the ground – no walls – and expecting someone to be unable to find the center.

Today, I had an inspiration!  A better way to explain exactly how this works from the spirit’s point of view.  In order to understand how this works, we have to think of the astral/spiritual plane not as similar to the material world – but instead as similar to the aquatic world!  (Not a leap at all, considering the astral plane has been related to Elemental Water for quite some time…)

Now imagine you want to work within this flowing river we call the astral plane.  But you need to protect your working area from – let us say – piranha.  To do this, we’ll imagine you possess a device that can create a whirlpool of water around you – leaving you dry and safe on the inside, and all the water swirling around you in a strong current.  That water is not a wall.  Another person could easily dive through that wall to either join you in the circle, or to escape from it.  But the piranha?  We’ll leave aside the real-world fact that one or two could conceivably work their way through the whirlpool and end up flopping around at your feet before dying – as this is just a thought experiment and spirits aren’t fish.  LOL  Instead, we’ll focus on the ones who can’t figure out why each time they try to swim near you, they suddenly get swept around and away from you.

We could easily move this same analogy onto land – switching out the fish for flies, and the swirling water for one of those air-blast units stores and warehouses install to keep the insects out.  Again – you and I can easily step through, while the flies are utterly unable to fly through the downward current of air.

I could go on – but I’ll summarize all of this in the following way:  Magick Circles are more about currents than they are about barriers.

Posted September 8, 2022 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick, solomonic

Tagged with , ,

The Highest vs The Creator in the Grimoires   Leave a comment

There is a conflict in the grimoires I struggled with for quite some time. Well, I say “in the grimoires”, but the conflict was really within myself – centered upon my personal relationship with these books and the Divinity described in them. The problem was simple enough: I am a Gnostic, and as a Gnostic I don’t “worship” the Demiurge (“Creator”). Yet, the invocations provided in the grimoires are directed to the Creator Himself.

To the old Sethian Gnostics, the Creator was a demonic entity who created the world as a prison for the Light. They, and the Gnostics who followed, worshiped nothing less than the Highest God, and their goal was to circumvent the Demiurge and return to the Kingdom of Light.

But the grimoires are not Gnostic texts. Sure, they are gnostic (little “g”) in nature, and there is no doubt about the influence of Gnosticism on these texts and the entire Western Occult Tradition. But the grimoires are mainstream Christian – written largely by Catholics and Protestants. And, of course, we have some older Jewish grimoires, and even Arabic ones. But none of these are Gnostic. And, as such, they make no distinction between the Creator and the Highest God.

Now, if you follow my Facebook postings, I’ve discussed this to some extent already. At least, I’ve discussed who this “God” fellow is the grimoires keep going on about – and how He differs from the Christian orthodoxy of the time they were written. You can read the whole thing here:

In that post, I talk a little about the differences between the older Sethian Gnostics, and the later Valentinian Gnostics. The latter took a much less antagonistic view of the Demiurge, suggesting he was not an evil demon – but merely an indifferent Workman who did the job that was placed before him. In this view, reality and all of its suffering isn’t because we are being tortured in a prison; this is simply the furnace of a Great Athanor, purifying the gold within us so we might return Home once again.

In fact, the Valentinians suggest the Highest Unknowable God, the Christos, and the Demiruge are actually three facets of the Greater Whole. And, as such, they tended to play it pretty loose with the titles they placed upon these Divinities. The Ancient of Days could be the wizened old Demiurgos, sitting upon His Throne in the Seventh Heaven, or just as easily refer to the Highest God instead. The Savior could be the Logos Himself, or it could refer to the Holy Spirit who is the child of the Logos and Sophia. And, most importantly here, the Creator could refer to the Demiurge OR the Logos. Because while the Demiurge was the foreman of the construction site, and was in charge of the physical building of the world, He wasn’t exactly the Architect who designed it all or put the plan into motion.

And this is how I approach the grimoires. I see their many invocations of the Creator and Master of the World (under such names as YHVH Zabaoth – see my FB post for more on that) not as invocations to the demonic Demiurge of the Sethians, but more toward the Christos/Logos as the Architect (not to mention all three – Highest/Logos/Demiurge as One) in the Valentinian style.

Posted August 22, 2022 by kheph777 in gnosticism, grimoires

Tagged with , , ,

How Solomonic Talismans Work   6 comments

Greetings, Talismanic Mages!

Solomonic Pentacle of Venus – Eli Cohen

The following is a clarification about Solomonic Talismans I recently posted to Facebook:

Apparently there is some confusion over the subject of Solomonic Talismans, how they are made, and exactly what I’m teaching about them. So let me clear up a couple of points.

When someone mentions the “charging” of Solomonic Talismans, I tend to point out there is no mention of “charging” such Talismans in the texts. There is simply no point where the practitioner is instructed to direct their personal energy at a Talisman and “empower” it. This is a modern concept (specifically energy-model magick), not found in the grimoires.

So, how do the Solomonic Talismans work? Primarily, they are empowered by the time they are made. Just as you were born and took your first breath – thereby setting your natal chart for life – so too is this true of Solomonic Talismans. After it is fashioned, you consecrate it – either on the day/hour of the Talisman’s Planet, or on the day/hour of Mercury. (Think of the making of the Talisman as birth, and the consecration as the Christening.) One could argue this consecration is the “charging” – and that’s fine. (Actually, you do give the spirit its “charge” – that is its instructions – at that time. So there you go.)

But some folks are getting confused, thinking I am making a blanket statement about ALL Talismans ever. Or even that I am stating this is how it MUST be done, even with Solomonic Talismans. That is not the case.

First and foremost, the Key says its Talismans are not just for use during evocations, but can also be carried for various kinds of protection. Now, honestly, it probably assumes you know to perform the evocations with the Talismans first, THEN carry them for protection. But, that phrasing in the grimoire has given rise to several extra-Solomonic Traditions making use of the Talismans in their own way. Hoodoo being one great example – wherein a Talisman can be charged by merely placing it next to a relevant Psalm in a Bible for seven days. Or, even better, the methods developed by our own Balthazar Van Der Merwe (def. check out Balthazar’s Conjure on YouTube!).

EVEN the Key of Solomon agrees that an election isn’t always necessary:

Key of Solomon, Book II, Chap. I:
“So exact a preparation of days and hours is not necessary for those who are adepts in the art, but it is extremely necessary for apprentices and beginners, seeing that those who have been little or not at all instructed herein, and who only begin to apply themselves to this art, do not have as much faith in the experiments as those who are adepts therein, and who have practiced them.”

So, the more adept you are, the less you are restricted by the magical timing. (Andreas Erneus points out this may apply to evocation instead of Talismans – but I’ve generally taken this passage to heart for everything.) And, indeed, when I do work for myself, I rarely bother with elections (unless I’m making a full Talisman). That is to say – as I have years of experience AND altars here to every Angel I work with, then I don’t have to worry so much if the Moon is waning, or Mercury is Rx, or even if I’m working in the proper hour. Because those angels live here, I’m not calling them long-distance.

But, for clients, I follow all the timing every time – because they are paying me to do things RIGHT, not for my personal theories on how I can do it quicker and easier. To me, that’s just honest business practice. You do NOT half-ass a Talisman or other magical tool and fail to inform your clients you are doing so.

Having said all of that – if YOUR Tradition tells you to point at a Talisman and direct energy into it, or breathe life into it, that’s fine. (The GD does that – and guess what Order in which I’m an officer?) I’m not telling you that your tradition is wrong, nor am I suggesting charging Talismans “doesn’t work.” Simply stating the facts of what is and is not in the Solomonic texts is NOT an attack on your Tradition.

Of course, if you try to tell me that “everyone knows” you are “supposed to ‘charge’ Solomonic Talismans”, I’m going to inform you that you are incorrect. 😉

Some time ago, I made a video discussing these exact same matters:

Posted October 22, 2021 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

Tagged with