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How Astrology Works   1 comment

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.

Zorge,

Aaron

Posted October 6, 2022 by kheph777 in astrology, history

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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

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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

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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

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Those Aren’t (Likely) Dee’s Tools in the British Museum   Leave a comment

Greetings Dee Enthusiasts!

The (Surviving) Dee Collection at the British Museum

It’s not often John Dee pops up in the mainstream – so when he does, you can bet it’s going to get attention from the Angel-botherers. Especially the ones, like me, who count Dee as something of a personal hero. So it’s little surprise this article from CNN is currently making the rounds:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/06/world/obsidian-mirror-aztecs-queen-elizabeth-i-scn/

Before you get too excited, there is nothing really ground-breaking here – that is, for most of you who are likely reading this blog and clicked on this particular post. It just says they ran some tests that prove the obsidian mirror in the British Museum’s John Dee Collection is, indeed, from Mexico. Honestly, this was something we already knew – it’s an Aztec mirror. The test just finally proved it. For some reason.

But, of course, I had a few things to say about the museum’s collection of Dee’s magical tools. (I would warn you it might ruin some of your fantasies…. but you’ve already read the title of this blog post, so…) I first wrote a long comment on the Facebook post where I discovered the article. But once I realized how long it was, I decided to also copy it onto my wall in a post of its own. Now that post seems to be making the rounds all on its own – so I decided to post it here, to make it easier to find and share.

So, without further ado, here are some facts about the British Museum’s collection of “John Dee’s” magical tools, in two parts:

PART 1: The black mirror attributed to Dee is not only unproven to have ever belonged to him, but it seems even more likely it did not. Consider this object is in a collection that includes a large golden re-creation of Kelley’s Watchtower Vision – an object Dee was never told to create, that plays no role whatsoever in the magick, and Dee left no record of having created.

To be frank, NONE of “Dee’s” magical objects in the British Museum are certain to have been his. We don’t *know* he cast those wax Seals. Even the now-lost Table of Practice was described as being quite colorful; but Dee was told, when he asked the Angels about using color, they “had no respect of color.” So either Dee decided that meant he could add color, or not, as he wished (which is possible) – or he didn’t make that Table.

Considering these items are in a collection of things very unlikely to have belonged to Dee, AND the fact that old wizards at the time LOVED to claim they had artifacts from ancient wizards they didn’t really have…. well it’s not looking good for the “Dee” collection. (Maybe it should be renamed the “Stuff People Have Claimed Once Belonged to John Dee” exhibit?)

PART 2: Also, and I can’t stress this enough!, Dee never, ever, at ANY time in the journals, used a black mirror to scry the Angels! Not with Barnabus Saul. Not with Kelley. Not with Arthur. Not with…. damn I forget the last dude’s name. [NOTE: there were actually at least two: Bartholomew Hickman and a Mr. Nicholls – the latter of whom did not win Dee’s favor.] But not with any scryer at any time did Dee EVER use a black mirror.

He used a clear quartz stone [sphere] in a frame made for a crystal ball. And this was NOT the stone the Angels “gave” to him.

That one was yet another stone – about the size and shape of an egg, but also kind of flat. IOW – sort of like a lens. That one was for scrying the Parts of the Earth (aka – spying on foreign nations), and while we have the record of an Angel directing Dee to find it, there is no later record of him using it. (I say he probably did, but we don’t have those records. More than likely they were in a separate top-secret military journal that only the Queen and/or Walsingham could see.)”

Posted October 9, 2021 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

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Who is the Great Mother Galvah?   1 comment

Greetings Gnostics and Enochites!

One of the most obscure figures found in Dee’s diaries (speaking here of the celestial actors) is the angelic being known as Galvah (interpreted to mean “The End”). She appeared to Dee and Kelley only after most of Liber Loagaeth had been transmitted. In fact, it was specifically Her job to reveal the 49th and final Table of the Book – which itself was said to encompass the End Times and the reign of the Antichrist. Supporting this, Kelley envisions Her being swarmed by vile and dangerous animalistic demons, who fawn upon Her rather than intimidate or attack Her.

If you read only this entry in the journals, you might be forgiven for assuming Galvah is a dark and possibly evil being. Perhaps She is Lilith, or even the Whore of Babylon! This latter would associate Her quite nicely with the Book of Revelation, itself a prophecy of the End Times.

Yet… Galvah is referred to at one point, by the angel Illemese, as “Wisdom.” And another angel – named Madimi – calls Her “mother.” Well, unless you’re in the “Enochian angels are really demons” camp, this doesn’t do much to support Galvah being Babalon the Harlot. As many of you, who have read my Enochian books, are already well aware, I have long argued Galvah is in fact Sophia – Wife of God, Mother of Angels. This would be one of the Gnostic underpinnings of the Enochian system. Her name as given in Dee’s journals – “Galvah” – seems to be directly related to the Table of Loagaeth She was transmitting. The last one.

Makes sense – but doesn’t it seem a bit too “on the nose”? I mean, sure She came to deliver the last Table – and that Table deals with the End Times. So, I’ve always taken for granted that Her name here was primarily centered around Her specific task – to reveal the final Table. But, there has to be more to the name of the Mother of God here… To be fair, I did settle on something of an answer: She is, in fact, one half of the phrase “Alpha and Omega.” The Christos/Logos is the Alpha, and Sophia is the Omega. (In fact, I have written that “Galvah” means something closer to “omega” than to the simple phrase “the end”.) There you go – the deep mystery of Her name revealed!

But…. not really. Don’t get me wrong – I believe this interpretation to be correct. But it doesn’t go very far to explain WHY. It doesn’t give us insight into what Dee, or his angels, were thinking. Why is Sophia the Omega? Why was She sent to reveal the final Table of Loagaeth, instead of (for example) Abaddon/Apollyon – the actual Angel of the Apocalypse who appears in Revelation? (For that matter, why didn’t Raphael reveal it as he had the other 48 Tables?)

The answer, I believe, is found in the Book of Revelation. Above I mentioned the Whore of Babylon, but don’t forget there is another Lady with a starring role in that old pulp: the famous Woman of the Apocalypse. That’s Her pictured at the top of this post (complete with demonic creatures from the Revelation fawning at Her feet.) From Revelation 12, a Divine Woman in the heavens, crowned with the stars, clothed with the Sun, and the Moon at Her feet. She is persecuted by the Dragon but flown to safety by the Angels, where She finally gives birth to a Child. Tradition holds this to be Mary Herself, giving birth to Christ. Or that She is the celestial Mary giving birth to the Church. But Hermeticism calls her Aima Elohim, the Mother of the Gods (or Mother of Angels). She is equated with the Gnostic Sophia, the Jewish Shekinah, as well as with the Hermetic Soul of the World. In Dee’s journals, Galvah is presented in just this way – referred to as the mother of the “Family of Light” angels (Madimi and her siblings) and Kelley’s vision depicting the spirits of nature rushing toward Her and fawning upon Her. As if She were Mother Nature… because She is.

But whether we call Her Sophia, or Mary, or Shekinah, or Aima, or Wife of God, or Mother of God, or Mother of Angels, or Soul of the World, (or etc), there is one title by which She is most widely known even to common folk: the Woman of the Apocalypse. And therein, I believe, lies the key to understanding why She appears as “Galvah” in Dee’s journals. She came, very specifically, in her form of Woman of the Apocalypse in order to reveal the Loagaeth Table concerning that very Apocalypse. (Keep in mind, we are in this case using the word “apocalypse” in it’s erroneous – yet common – meaning of “the end of the world”.) In this sense, “Galvah” is almost literally a shorthand for Her title given in The Book of Revelation. And this tells us everything we need to know about with whom, exactly, Dee and Kelley believed they were speaking.

Zorge!

Posted September 24, 2021 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

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Loagaeth: The First Leaf (as you call it) is the Last of the Book   2 comments

Greetings Enochian Scholars and Mages!

Dr. John Dee

I’m about to receive some blowback on this one, folks, so get ready! Modern Enochian practitioners (and researchers) are making a massive error. And, here’s the real shocker: it’s coming from a misunderstanding of Dee’s journals.

This error seems to have crept into Enochian study (and practice) sometime around the 1990s – but perhaps it was born even earlier. (Frankly I, blame the whole thing on the Golden Dawn – though only indirectly.) It specifically concerns the practical use of the Book of Loagaeth. If you’ve put any study into the tables of Loagaeth, or seen Enochian discussions online, you’ve doubtlessly run into this already, so you’ll be familiar with the following words:

“And of the First leaf, it is the last of the book.”

Many authors will tell you this is what the Angels (specifically the Mother Galvah) said to Dee and Kelley about the Book of Loagaeth; that the first table (which represents God) is really the last (which represents Earth). This certainly reminds one of the old Qabalistic axiom: “Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether.” In order to use Loagaeth, they say, you must understand this infinitely circular nature of Creation, and thereby know the key: that you must work the Book from the LAST table to the FIRST!

And doesn’t that make sense? If the first table of Loagaeth represents God and the final one the Earth, then it seems right to begin at the Earth and work our way toward God. After all, that’s how the Path of Initiation works on the Tree of Life – beginning with 1=10 (in Malkuth) and working upward toward 10=1 (in Kether). Same thing with Loagaeth, right?

Would I be writing this if that were even remotely correct?

Sorry, but that’s not what Galvah said to Dee and Kelley. Nor did she say anything about the circle of nature or working the Book of Loagaeth backward! What she actually said was:

“The first leaf (as you call it) is the last of the book.” [True and Faithful Relation… p 19]

I know that doesn’t sound so different than what I quoted above, but often (and especially in Dee’s journals!) the smallest of details can make the biggest differences. In this case, it’s that little parenthetical comment Galvah made – often deleted by authors who quote her: “(as you call it).” That little comment is important, because it was actually a call-back to something Dee himself had written months previously:

“…in my mind it seemeth requisite that as all the writing and reading of [Angelical] is from right to left, so the beginning of the book must be (as it were, in respect of our most usual manner of books, in all languages of Latin, Greek, English, etc) at the end of the book. And the end, at the beginning, as in the Hebrew Bible. [Five Books of Mystery, Peterson ed., p 411]

In case that was a bit word-salady (Dee lived at the same time as Shakespeare), here is what he is saying: If Angelical is written and read right-to-left (like Hebrew), then it stands to reason the Book of Loagaeth should be written just like a Torah. Hence, the “first page” of the Book by Western standards will actually be the LAST page of the book.

This can be a bit hard to visualize – unless you’re Jewish or Arabic, of course! So if you need to wrap your mind around this, try this exercise:

1 – Grab a book, any book – so long as it is written in a Western language (so, for instance, NOT Hebrew or Arabic). Place the book face up, unopened, on the table in front of you. You’ll be looking at the front cover.

2 – Now open the front cover and look at the first page. It might be a title page, or maybe just a blank page that precedes the title page. All familiar so far, right?

3 – Close the book and turn it face down. It should still be right side up – but you are now looking at the back cover.

4 – Now open the back cover and look at the last page in the book.

5 – Finally close the book again and look at the back cover.

If the book you are looking at were written in Hebrew (like a Torah), you would currently be looking at the FRONT cover of the book. You would read the book by opening the cover from left-to-right, and as you read you would turn the pages from left to right. Flip the book over to what YOU call the front cover, and now you’re looking at the BACK cover of a Torah. For all intents and purposes, from your Western-minded perspective, you would be reading the entire book backwards. In case it helps, here is a photo of a Torah opened to its first page (though to us it looks like the last page):

This is what Galvah was telling Dee: that the first leaf of Loagaeth should actually be where DEE would assume the last page of a book should fall. She was simply confirming what Dee had postulated some time beforehand. So, in the end, the Mother Galvah was not expounding upon the cyclic nature of the Universe. Nor was she instructing him to work the tables of Loagaeth backward! She was just telling Dee to turn the book over.

Sometimes the reality isn’t as sexy.

ADDENDUM: Oh yeah! About the Golden Dawn and their Path of Initiation upward on the Tree of Life: this is why I said I indirectly blame them for this error. Because modern occultists often forget just how deeply the GD affected modern esotericism – and sometimes take things that were original (or at least unique) to the GD as if they were a “given” for all occultism. A great example is our case here: the GD chose to work their Pathways from the bottom upward, while the much older Merkavah Mystics chose to work theirs from God downward. Not only did Dee live quite some time before the GD, but he was heavily influenced by the Merkavah system. Therefore, the tables of Loagaeth are intended to be worked from the highest heaven we can open (table 2) and work our way down to the Earth.

Posted June 22, 2021 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

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The Truth about Evocation   12 comments

Greetings walkers with spirits!

I’ve noticed people tend to have a general misunderstanding of what evocation is and for what it is intended. So many people seem to believe evocation is what Solomonic Magick is all about. It isn’t.

I understand why this view exists. In occult and fantasy fiction, it is necessary to make things look interesting – so the default is to always show a mage standing within his protective Circle, surrounded by incense smoke, wand or sword in hand, chanting in arcane tongues, calling forth frightening or awe-inspiring creatures from the astral mists. It’s no different than – for example – a cop show that only shows you the exciting chases and impressive sleuth techniques, but never shows you the hours of paperwork and waiting that actually make up most of the job. So it is with the popular depiction of grimoire magick. And, because you only ever see the mage doing that one thing – evocation – it tends to become what you picture when you think of the subject.

Another culprit, believe it or not, is the grimoires themselves. Or, I should say, the popular misinterpretation of the grimoires. As I explain in both Secrets of the Magical Grimoires and my online beginners’ course, the grimoires do not in fact present the whole of the Solomonic tradition. They are just the starter manuals (which is why they are called “grammars”), giving you instructions on how to establish first contact with the angels and spirits of the tradition. And how you do that is (to a large extent) by performing the evocations. Once you’ve established that contact, it is not necessary to perform the evocation over and over again. From there, the spirits take over and teach you the real magick – and it’s not just more evocation.

Evocation has two primary purposes:

1) to establish contact with a spiritual being (or group of beings). Once you have that contact, you never need to perform the evocation for that being again. Of course, you’ll need to perform it again for any new entities you want to meet. So I am by no means suggesting you’ll never perform another evocation! However, you will not need to repeat it for the spirit(s) you’ve already contacted. That is, as long as you bind that being to a Talisman, Ring, Tablet, Altar, etc and have a means to continue working with it.

2) For important matters that require directly questioning a spiritual being. Most specifically when you have a series of questions that need to be asked. This is why the grimoires often use evocation for the purposes of discovering hidden information, finding lost or stolen items or people, receiving specific instructions for something, to find buried treasure, etc, etc. I have said in the past that evocation – meaning its use for this specific purpose – is in itself a form of divination. You’re talking to the spirit in order to learn something you didn’t previously know. Otherwise – why are you calling it?

Therefore, evocation is something that is done MUCH more rarely than other aspects of the Tradition. For most purposes, you can make a petition to an angel, or create a Talisman for whatever you need, without going through the weeks- or months-long process of full evocation. If, that is, you have previously done the work of evoking the spirits you are working with and taken the time and effort to build a working relationship with them. In our house, we have altars to all seven Planetary Archangels (same guys you see in the Heptameron), not to mention to my HGA and Familiars, Carrie’s Prenda, her Ancestor Altar, and a few others as well. We don’t have to spend months performing full evocations of them when we need to ask for something – because we already did that and now they live here! We only have to evoke them to visible/audible appearance when we need to ask them specific questions and get their direct answers.

Another thing to consider, as well: there is NO need to evoke dozens of spirits! I’ve seen people who brag about summoning all 72 spirits of the Goetia. Or that they’ve evoked all the Shem haMephoresh and/or Tree of Life Angels. But, folks, that isn’t how this tradition works! You could be a successful Solomonic magus through your entire life and only contact one or two spirits. You have to find a spirit who works well with you, who likes you, and gets results – and keep working with that spirit. That spirit may or may not be able to do everything you need – and, if not, it can direct you to (or even introduce you to) another spirit who can, and now that spirit becomes part of your crew. The Angels and spirits of the grimoires aren’t Pokemon! You don’t have to collect ’em all. Your spiritual army should be something you build up very slowly and deliberately over years, and not treated like a call list at a phone sales company.

Yes, we have a LOT of altars in our home – mostly because we do this professionally. But, even with us, there are a smaller number of entities we go to for most things. For me it is first my HGA, then my Familiars. If directed to do so, I can take an issue to one of the Seven Archangels – and that often tends to be Sachiel and Iophiel, because somewhere along the way I became a Jupiter wizard. For Carrie, she’ll often go to Anael or Samael because she has a special relationship with them. That is not to say we never go to the other Archangels, only that it is a more rare occurrence in relation to the ones we work with the most.

And it is even rarer for us to perform full evocations for them. Instead, we spend our time tending to their Altars and Icons, making offerings to them, burning dressed candles and making petitions to them, and conversing with them either directly or via one form of divination or another. Sorry if that sounds more like work than the awesome fantasy of being a wizard – but it is the truth. And now you have it.

Posted January 13, 2021 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick, solomonic, students

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How to Derail Every Conversation about Abramelin   11 comments

Every time I have a conversation about Abramelin online (and I’m not being hyperbolic – I do mean each and every single time) at least one person jumps into the discussion and does one or both of the following:

  • States there are ways other than Abramelin to contact or meet your Holy Guardian Angel.
  • Says things about the Holy Guardian Angel that are clearly about the Angel of the Nativity.

This always makes me cranky. Both of these concepts are entirely irrelevant to Abramelin and the entity it chose to call the “Holy Guardian Angel.” Yet, each time, I have to halt the discussion to explain, again(!), how these things are different and why they are irrelevant. It diverts the conversation that could have been had on the subject, and the person I’m saying it to is never ever willing to hear it anyway.

But for those of you who are interested, or have even wondered those same two things yourself, here are my answers (free of being in the context of a personality conflict with someone else):

To the first point: of course there are other ways to contact your Holy Guardian Angel! There is simply no need to point this out. Even Agrippa tells you how to do it: live right, and pray to the Angel every night before bed. Do that enough, and you’ll make contact and start to build a relationship with it. It’s not exactly a Hidden Mystery…

Why is it irrelevant to Abramelin? Because the Rite of Abramelin is NOT about merely meeting or contacting your HGA. It is a crowning ritual, a marriage ceremony, and a death/rebirth experience. It is an *initiation* into something greater, and a Tradition that you will follow until you draw your last living breath.

Besides, the process outlined by Abramelin is the oldest magical formula on Earth. Sure, Abramelin is unique amongst the grimoires, but it’s absolutely old-hat in just about every single other spiritual tradition in the world: going into seclusion, during which you stay ritually pure, invoke the Sky God to be on your side, and face down demons, only to be killed and then reborn into Something Greater. That essential process was undertaken by the very first shamans before humans had even figured out how to plant their own food.

So, interrupting a conversation about Abramelin to “educate me” that Abramelin isn’t the only way to go about it is somewhere between disingenuousness and ignorance, and that’s why it irks me. Its a “No Duh!” comment that seems to be trolling rather than contributing. But, worst of all, it shows a complete lack of understanding about the Book of Abramelin and what it is attempting to convey; and always coming from someone who has convinced themselves they are an expert on the subject.

To the second point: I grow a bit weary of the non-stop conflation between the Holy Guardian Angel described by Abraham of Worms, and the Nativity Angel.

I understand the confusion, it’s just that I have to explain it over and over and over. The Nativity Angel is what most traditions refer to as the “Guardian Angel” (sometimes even the “Holy Guardian Angel”), as well as the Eudeamon, the Genius, etc. And it is indeed a guardian angel, as it is in charge of your fate here on Earth. It hangs around and protects you, sits on your right shoulder urging you to do good, and all of the stuff you usually hear associated with guardian angels. The concept dates back (at least) to Plato’s Myth of Er – where the titular character witnesses souls being reborn and having Nativity Angels assigned to them by the Fates.

Yes, you have multiple guardian angels. Agrippa describes three of them (calling them a “threefold keeper of man”): the Holy Angel which comes directly from God, the Nativity Angel, and an “Angel of the Profession.” However, in reality there are a ton more guardian angels set over you. The Angel of the Profession is just the one in charge of your vocation, but every single aspect of your birth chart has an associated angel who is charged to watch over that part of your life. Where you live, what friends you will have, what relationship you’ll have with the spiritual, what kind of family you will have, etc, etc. Other sources – such as the Pauline Arts in the Lemegeton – even describe your (Holy) Guardian Angel as one of 360 who rules the ascending degree of your birth chart. Some sources describe an angel who governs your Part of Fortune. This list could go on at length… without even touching on Patron Angels like Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, etc who simply like you and look out for you.

Why is this irrelevant to Abramelin? Because Abraham of Worms was NOT writing about the Nativity Angel or any of his servient angels. He was writing about the one Agrippa called “the Holy Angel” who “comes only from God” – meaning it is not part of a hierarchy like most angels, but is the direct Holy Spirit and presence of God Itself. It comes from above the created realm – and thus has no relationship whatsoever to your birth chart. In fact, Agrippa says you can work with the Holy Angel to overcome your birth chart. Abraham stresses again and again that astrology – while it has its uses here in the created realm – has no part whatsoever in the Holy Guardian Angel or the Sacred Magick.

So, again, when a discussion about the Holy Guardian Angel is taking place, and someone barges in making statements that are obviously about the Nativity Angel, it shows how little they understand the Book of Abramelin and what is actually being discussed. It is equating – really conflating – two entirely separate things. Yet, again, the person saying always fancies themselves an expert. And when I have to explain to them where they are confused, I’m just “mage-splaining” and can basically just go fuck off because what they do and what I do are exactly the same thing and their way was easier and therefore better.

SIGH Well, at least they aren’t still insisting the HGA is just “your own Higher Self” anymore. So… progress?

Posted September 26, 2020 by kheph777 in abramelin

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The Hermit’s Lamp: The Continuing Tradition of the Modern Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn   2 comments

by Aaron Leitch (Frater O.C.)

Originally published in the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic:

The Hermit carries in his lamp the flame of the Divine Light. It is merely a small spark of the infinite Source, fallen here to Earth – “the Light that shineth in darkness, yet the darkness comprehendeth it not.” The Hermit holds the Lamp aloft, keeping that spark away from the floods, and flames, and shadows of the air that seek to overwhelm it, and high enough for aspirants to see above the shadows of the world. As a ship on troubled waters needs the guidance of the lighthouse, so do seekers of gnosis follow the distant glow of the Hermit’s Lamp.

I see in this symbolism a perfect metaphor of the Golden Dawn Tradition. Say what you will of the individual personalities of its founders and early members, or the several controversies and schisms that mark their early formative years, the Golden Dawn endures. It was created as a repository of the Western Mysteries; an attempt to combine the best of what all of its members had learned and practiced, and to pass that wisdom down through succeeding generations. They certainly butted heads time and again, and even went their separate ways more than once, but what they created was larger than themselves, and has refused to pass quietly into obscurity.

“By Names and Images are all Powers awakened and reawakened.” This is perhaps the most foundational tenet of Golden Dawn magical philosophy. Even if one group puts down the scepter for good, another can simply pick it up and invoke the forces anew. And, indeed, over it’s nearly century and a half of existence the Golden Dawn has never been entirely dormant. Even after most of the European Temples had closed – either falling victim to schism or the two World Wars – at least one well-hidden Temple continued to operate in New Zealand. (Smaragdum Thallasses Temple No 49 – known best today as “Whare Ra”, named for the house in which the Temple resided.) It remained active until late 1978, when dwindling membership (and the advanced age of its adepts) prompted its Chiefs to skip the autumnal equinox ceremony and close its doors forever.

But the Golden Dawn was not done! In 1977, a future branch of the Order was already being constructed by an American occultist named Charles “Chic” Cicero. No stranger to esoteric practice, he was already running a Thelemic camp of his own in Georgia, and had close ties to the head of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), Grady McMurtry. For a time, he operated his GD Temple alongside his Camp. However, as he has often stated, his heart truly belonged to the Golden Dawn Tradition.

While he began with no connection to the original Order, and had no way of knowing the secretive Whare Ra existed, his Temple was active and performing the rituals as published by Israel Regardie to “re-awaken the Powers.” Mr. Cicero even went so far as to construct a Vault of the Adepti, with the intention of exploring the Inner Order mysteries. Regardie himself was still alive and, as fate would have it, also living in America. Both men believed Regardie to be the last living adept of the original Order, prompting Cicero to contact the elder to let him know someone out there was still putting the system into practice.

And this is my favorite part of the story: It contains the one thing that, I believe, defines the Regardie lineage to this very day – and makes me proud to be part of it. Regardie’s response to Cicero was in no way what you might expect from an adept of an occult Fraternity. He did not patronize the younger man, nor inform him that his lack of a warrant made his “do-it-yourself” Vault ineffective. No, the response of Israel Regardie was (and I paraphrase here, from the letter he sent to Mr. Cicero) that he hoped Chic had a good team of Officers because he wanted to visit and give the Vault a go! Someone built an actual Vault of the Adepti, and Regardie just wanted to take it for a ride. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the response of a true magician.

Regardie did indeed make his historic visit, in June 1982, during which he consecrated that Vault, raised two people to 5=6 in it, and thus passed on the spark of his initiatory lineage (not institutional lineage, Regardie did not have the authority to offer a warrant) to the new American Isis-Urania Temple. After this, Cicero found himself dedicating more and more of his attentions toward the Golden Dawn, eventually leaving Thelema behind on good terms.

Thus, the Order of the Golden Dawn – as an active organization – had never actually gone dormant. The American Order had begun a year before Whare Ra closed, and became official less than four years afterward. It was just a brief moment in time when the Lamp of the Hermit flickered before flaring back into full life. Today, the Ciceros’ Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is a global organization, larger even than the original Order had been in its heyday. The Ciceros also grant certification to smaller groups to operate independent Temples of their own, without fear of legal threats from less reputable people claiming to be “the real” Golden Dawn. Add to that the vast library of books the Ciceros have published on the Tradition, and I dare say not a single GD lodge exists without some ties – direct, indirect, or inspirational – to the modern Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Sadly, I didn’t enter the picture (joining Isis-Urania in 1998) until after Regardie’s passing. Therefore, I didn’t get to witness any of those early days firsthand. However, most or all of this has been told and published by the Ciceros over the years, so there is little need for me to repeat it here in vast detail. I do know from letters, photographs, and anecdotes told by the Ciceros and many others, that Regardie was a close friend and mentor in their earliest days. I know they miss him dearly, and hold him in high regard to this day.

But Regardie’s presence isn’t entirely absent. I see him reflected in the personalities of Chic and Tabatha Cicero, and can plainly spot his influence upon how the Order is run. It is because of this I consider myself quite fortunate to have applied to this Order over any other. (Truthfully, I never actually considered any others.) I found at Isis-Urania an environment free of identity cults, internal politics, or vitriol toward either one another or the sincere aspirants we meet outside of our Tradition. And while one can expect as many personality conflicts and unfortunate social/relational situations as any group of humans must endure, I have not seen the Order produce people with unstable, deceitful, or vindictive personalities. When such people turn up, as they tend to do, they don’t last long and/or are not the result of faithfully following the system.

That is Regardie’s most enduring legacy. It is hardly because we believe he was some ultimate and unquestionable source upon the Golden Dawn Tradition. He wasn’t the only one to publish material concerning the Order. And, once the facts about Whare-Ra were discovered, we knew he was not even the last living Adept of the original Order. He was simply one link in the chain of Adepts that links all of us to the masters of the past.

What endures about Regardie is his “let’s take it out for a spin” attitude that lives on in the Order’s Chiefs today. I even saw it on the very first day I met the Ciceros, though I knew nothing of their backstory at that time. As Chic gave me a tour of the Temple (which is an ever-expanding museum in its own right), pointing out various objects of occult and historical significance, I could sense a kind of glee behind his words. It was less like I was taking a stuffy museum tour, and more as if we were a couple of kids and he was proudly showing me his best toys.

I found the same to be true when speaking with both Chic and Tabatha, who were enthusiastic to discuss the Golden Dawn and Hermeticism without either an air of superiority, or any attempt to “sell” me on joining their organization. Their motivations were not out of ego or some amorphous desire to be “the real Golden Dawn.” They are more concerned with putting the system to good use, so they can perform the ceremonies and have the visions and astral trips and all the stuff that makes being a wizard awesome. Like Regardie, they are the type of people who would rather take your new Vault for a ride than pick it apart. And what I saw during that first meeting hasn’t changed in over twenty years.

Not long after I joined Isis-Urania, I had the rare opportunity to see all three of the HOGD Chiefs in one place. I sat quietly and listened to them reminisce about the early days of the Order, and how quickly it seemed twenty years had passed. At that time, their goal was to “fill the Rose” – meaning to create enough adepts to fill the 22 petals of the Golden Dawn Rose: with at least three 7=4s, seven 6=5s, and twelve 5=6s. If it could be accomplished, and they were already close to that goal, it would mean the Order was strong enough to outlive its founders.

As I progressed through the Grades, and after I entered the RR et AC, I got to take part in the thirtieth anniversary of the Vault’s consecration. The Golden Dawn itself was nearing its 120th anniversary, a time we held to have special significance for the continuing Tradition. (“After 120 years, I shall open…”) By that time, the Rose had been filled and the Ciceros were laboring to establish and maintain several Temples overseas. It was also around this time they began to explore Masonry, where Mr. Cicero quickly rose up the ranks. He had joined in the hopes of learning more about the origins of the Golden Dawn, but I suspect he taught them as much or more about the Hermetic origins of Masonic symbolism. Tabatha Cicero was no less busy, as she came into possession of the documents for another fraternity with historical importance to the Golden Dawn – the Societas Rosicruciana in America (which a young Israel Regardie had joined in 1926) – and was working hard to re-organize and resurrect it in a modern form.

And that is the rest of Regardie’s legacy: the continuing and continually-expanding Western Tradition. Before the – let us say – late 1980s or so, the occult mysteries of the West had been narrowed down to just a few organizations, most of them Thelemic or Neopagan in focus. But thanks to the meeting of Regardie and the Ciceros, thanks to the dedication they have shown the Tradition over the decades, and to the writings they have provided for us, the original Golden Dawn Tradition not only survives, but in fact thrives. It has become a massive influence on modern occultism, as much or more than the old Order had influenced the occult revival of its day.

And don’t think the Golden Dawn only produces Adepts who write about the Golden Dawn! The tendency I have seen is for those who enter the RR et AC to tend toward specialization in one subject or a small group of related subjects. Some certainly dedicate themselves to Golden Dawn rituals and teaching; yet, others have become expert astrologers, or focused on geomancy, tarot, sacred geometry, the grimoires, Enochiana, folk magick, collecting and/or translating rare texts, crafting, various forms of art and music, the sciences, and more – many of them publishing and heavily influencing their chosen fields. I have to chuckle when I see someone declare the magical lodges are outdated and irrelevant in today’s occult communities, because such people are always unaware of what is really going on behind the scenes – where members are doing real Work that truly affects the world, but (as is proper for a secret society) most people don’t even know they are there.

Today, I sit on the dais as a Temple Officer as we bear down on the Order’s fortieth year. Our founding adepts are now elders themselves, having held the Lamp of the Hermit aloft for four decades, and gathered the aspirants of the next generation. And I have certainly seen some incredible people pass through our Hall. The legacies of Regardie and the Ciceros have already spread beyond the boundaries of the Golden Dawn, and there is no doubt whatsoever the Lamp will continue to burn brightly for generations to come. Khabs Am Pekht!

Zorge,

Aaron Leitch (Fra Odo Caosg)

 

Posted June 14, 2020 by kheph777 in golden dawn, Uncategorized