And you know you’re never sure, but you’re sure you could be right,
If you held yourself up to the Light.
And the embers never fade, in your City by the Lake.
The place where you were born. [- Tonight Tonight]
Ok, so you probably remember a while back the blogosphere was debating five so-called “occult gravity wells” that threaten to entrap unwary seekers of the mysteries. Apparently, the debate over the first point in that list – the Holy Guardian Angel – continued under its own steam. More specifically, the debate moved on from the HGA to the Abramelin Operation itself.
First, a post on A Mage’s Blog discussed the inherent dangers of the Abramelin operation, citing them as good reasons to steer clear of it altogether. This was then answered on Frater RO’s blog. It finally came to my attention when a student posted to the Abramelin Group over on Yahoo, asking us (and me in particular) about the dangers outlined on A Mage’s Blog. Rather than answering that post on the forum alone, I felt this was worth a blog post of its own here on Ananael.
Let’s start with what Jow had to say on A Mage’s Blog:
All through out the working, as well as reading the works of those who have undertaken it, it is obvious that you will be fucked with in some pretty spectacular ways. For me, it was best stated in “After the Angel” by Marcus Katz, “If you are close to anyone and do not want to risk that relationship, do not undertake the Abramelin. It has to be performed when you seriously have “nothing to lose”. Not just close to anyone, but fond of your job, your house.. anything at all really, because it all, apparently gets put in jeopardy. Katz to his great credit, did get his wife’s informed consent, and was honestly a good householder all the way through, but it was a heroic struggle.
Shaking up ones own inner ant farm is fine as it goes, but to jeopardize your home, family, and friends is at best thoughtlessness of an EPIC scale, and at worst utter and complete selfishness.
Another reason I dislike it as a working is the predicted success ratio: 1 or 2 out of 100. That is balls my friends. Call me a spiritual bottom feeder, but I want a return on my investment.
Now, I’m sure many of you are hoping to hear me say “This is all nonsense and scare-mongering! Abramelin isn’t dangerous, you won’t lose your lover, your home, your job or anything else in your life nor your way of life. And, who says only 1 or 2 out of 100 achieve?? If you undertake Abramelin with the right intention, you’re guaranteed some success, at least!”
Well, sorry friends, I’m not gunna say any of that. There are dangers involved with Abramelin. And the suggested success rate – I would say – is probably about right. However, I simultaneously believe that folks like Jow have taken common-sense warnings and made much more of them than they should.
Let me make a comparison. Let’s say you want to become an electrician. I can sit here for hours and write about the inherent dangers of working with electricity. I can tell you in gruesome detail what will happen to your body if a high-amp stream of voltage courses through it – seizing your muscles, stopping your heart, cooking you from the inside out. I can talk to you about electrical house fires, lightning strikes, etc, etc. And if I were training you in the electrical trade, I’d better tell you all of those things if I’m going to call myself any kind of teacher. And, guess what, if you choose to work with electricity for your entire life, then you’re going to get shocked a few times here and there.
But, does it all mean that no one should ever become an electrician? Should we just abandon the profession and go back to candles and gas lamps? Of course not. The point of being trained as an apprentice by someone with years of experience is so you’ll survive when the bad shit happens. (For example, electricians have specific ways of touching wires so they’ll be knocked back and away by a big unexpected shock, rather than being snared and pulled further into the wires and die.)
And so it is with magick – especially something as heavy-duty as the Abramelin operation. There are some among you who are currently clinging to unhealthy personal relationships. If you undertake Abramelin successfully, you’ll probably lose that relationship. You probably know, deep down, that your relationship is unhealthy and co-dependent. And if you are frightened of growing out of it, you’ll want to steer clear of your HGA.
(This very thing happened to me. My girlfriend stood loyally by my side throughout my Abramelin work. In many ways she went through it with me – save for actually going into the Oratory and doing the prayers with me. But she cooked meals without meat, went with me to gather sand from the river, sacrificed most of her living space and social life to my work, had to find a place to live for the last week of the operation, etc, etc. And for all her trouble, we broke up spectacularly just a few months after the operation was complete. There were some serious co-dependent issues between us…
The up side? During our time apart we each did some serious growing – in ways we could not have done together. Several months later we met back up and started seeing each other again. Before you knew it we were together again – and we are still together and have a beautiful little girl to show for it. We’ve come far, gone places and done things we never could have done if we’d stayed in our pre-Abramelin rut.)
Others of you are living or working in the wrong environment. Your Fate or Karma or what-have-you lies elsewhere. Yet something is blocking you from moving onward and upward. If you fear this is the case for you, and would rather stay stuck and stay safe, then don’t attempt Abramelin.
(I saw this happen to a very good friend and student of mine. He was also in an unhealthy relationship, and was living the “wrong life” in many different ways. He merely declared his intentions to perform Abramelin – and the next thing I know his wife was gone, he was moving out of his first home, re-adopting his birth surname and leaving the state. Because of the name change I lost track of him entirely for 20 years.
Just a few weeks ago I found him living up north, married to someone who seems to suit him well, and running his very own paranormal institute. And, remember, he never even performed Abramelin – he simply voiced his intention of doing so!)
So, yes brothers and sisters, Abramelin can be dangerous. As Jow said, it can fuck with you in some pretty spectacular ways. But I think Frater RO put it quiet eloquently in his response when he said that it doesn’t burn away anything you need. What it burns away is the dross – the crap that is holding you down and “sticking” you in bad situations. The job of the Guardian Angel – as Agrippa reminds us – is to guide you to that sacred perfection. And you can’t get to the spiritual gold without passing though the fires of self-sacrifice.
The real danger of Abramelin is Fear – fear of change, fear of letting go of the weights around your neck, fear of ending the dramas in your life and moving on. All of those are scary, and all of them are painful to experience. But, if you truly want to be rid of the dross, and you can bow your head into the wind and march through the hardships that inevitably come with personal evolution, then Abramelin might be for you after all.
There is no certainty that you’ll lose your spouse, your home, your job or any other aspect of your life. Again, as Frater RO rightly pointed out, those things in your life that are right and healthy and true are only going to be tempered and strengthened. Not only that, but the rewards that come to replace those things you let go are beyond description. The return on the investment – really – can feel like you’ve made off with some serious Treasure.
That is why I’ve said, time and again, that Abramelin is best suited for those who are fed up with their old life and are looking for a way out.
To get the gist of what I’m saying here, listen very carefully to these two songs:
Abramelin is for folks who have tried everything else, and have been called to the Abramelin Rite as the absolute last resort. It is not for those who are happy with their lives “as-is” and think that Abramelin is just another “summoning ceremony” intended to get nifty powers from their Guardian Angel.
Finally, what about your chances of success at Abramelin? I admit the ratio of 1 or 2 out of every 100 doesn’t sound good on the surface. However, consider this:
In the last two decades I have met many many people who claim to be undertaking the Abramelin operation – more than I care to count. Yet, out of all of them, I can count on a single hand those who were dedicated to following the Rite as instructed.
Most folks do indeed think it’s just a way-cool summoning ceremony that can be done and then walked away from. (“Oh yeah, I did that Abramelin thing once….”) And most of them insisted on changing the Rite in many ways – adding to it, taking away from it, bringing in outside rituals, praying to their favorite Patron God, etc. A great number of them chose Liber Samekh instead, or make up their own “version” of Samekh. Why, I once saw someone suggest merely creating a sigil of your intent and meditating on it for a little while every day! Abramelin is rife with the “this is good enough” and “the original instructions are too hard and unnecessary” mentalities. Folks spend much more time on considering what they don’t like about it than they do just doing the Work.
So, let’s just say that perhaps 95 out of every 100 people who attempt Abramelin fall into that category. That only leaves five who are dedicated to doing the Abramelin Rite correctly and to the fullest extent. So the real ratio becomes 1 or 2 our of every 5. That’s not really bad odds, if you make up your mind to be one of those 5.
Then, if you fall into the category of folks who are called to Abramelin as the last resort in their lives – you are almost assured success. Out of those 2 or 3 folks, maybe one of them shouldn’t try Abramelin for some other reason. (For example, my wife was told through divination not to attempt Abramelin. As a seer, she has a pretty specific balance of forces and gateways in her skull as it is, and tossing her HGA in there would screw up her Work. But then, as such, her Work is already laid out in front of her, so Abramelin wouldn’t be a last resort to make her life right. She’s already on the right track, and her HGA still communicated with her when it is necessary.)
So, that’s my take on the dangers associated with Abramelin. It all really depends on who you are, and what your calling happens to be – rather than upon some kind of inherent danger or “selfishness” coded into the operation itself. It’s about spiritual alchemy, folks! Solve et Coagula and the purification of the Gold.