Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Llewellyn Magick Blog: American Gods and Where Gods Come From   1 comment

Greetings Gaiman-ites!  (Is that a thing by now?)

 

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, June 28, 2017:

I’m willing to bet, if you are reading this blog, you have already watched every episode of the new hit TV series American Gods. Or, if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard a ton about it from your Paganfriends. And, seriously, *WHY* haven’t you watched it yet?? The first season is complete, and only eight episodes, so you can easily binge-watch the whole thing.

[…]

 

I strongly recommend both the book and the show. If you can read the novel first, and then watch the series, do so! However, this blog entry isn’t a review of either one. Instead, I want to delve into one specific aspect of the story’s underlying philosophy: where the Gods came from.

Read the Rest at:  https://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2017/06/american-gods-and-where-gods-come-from/

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Posted June 28, 2017 by kheph777 in history, llewellyn blog, paganism, religion

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Llewellyn Magick Blog: Does the Bible Outlaw Magick?   1 comment

Greetings Readers!

 

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, July 7, 2015:

The Western Mystery Tradition is quite steeped in Biblical literature and imagery. Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Masonry, the Golden Dawn, and Thelema have extremely close ties to the Christian spiritual tradition. (This is not to be confused with the political co-opting of Christianity from about the second century CE onward.) Not to mention my beloved Solomonic grimoires, which are most certainly an expression of medieval Christian mysticism. Even indigenous forms of witchcraft and folk magick around the world now bear the stamp of Christian influence (though these are cases where Christianity was merely adopted into an existing worldview, rather than overwhelming and replacing it). We can see this especially in places like Africa and South America, where Catholic forms of witchcraft are quite common.  The question of magick among these traditions arises every so often.  […]

You see, that Bible that so many of us like to use as a magick book in its own right (and, never doubt for one second that it *is* a magick book) actually tells us that magick is evil and must never be practiced. […]

 

Deuteronomy 18:9-12: When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

 

It looks like the Bible is exceedingly clear on this point, and believe me the above is only a scratch on the surface of Biblical admonitions against witchcraft, sorcery, divination, etc.  […]  Therefore, can we simply ignore the fact that the same book stresses, over and over again, that magick is an abomination to the same Divinity we invoke in the Psalms? Isn’t it highly likely that Divinity will be offended that we are calling it for something in which it has clearly stated it wants no part?

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/07/does-the-bible-outlaw-magick/

Posted July 7, 2015 by kheph777 in history, llewellyn blog, religion

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The Society of Rosicrucians   11 comments

SRIA - INRI Logo

Avete Fratres et Sorores!

So lately I’ve had this growing urge to seek membership in the S.R.I.America.  And I recently found a blog written by a Jewish member of the S.R.I.A (he doesn’t say which branch) that inspired me to share my own thoughts here with you good folks.  🙂

For those who don’t know, the S.R.I.America  is an irregular branch of the original S.R.I.Anglia – and more specifically of the S.R.I.Scotia.  That’s a lot of initials to sort out, I know, but you can read more about these groups and their history here:

Societas Rosicruciana

My interest lies mainly toward the “…in America” branch – which I called “irregular” because they broke away from the larger family when they decided to admit women and (therefore) non-Masons.  I am, myself, a non-Mason so it’s really my only choice.

Why would I chose this particular route?  Well, I’m sure it is in no small part because the founders of the original Golden Dawn – Westcott, Mathers and Woodman – were themselves members of the S.R.I.Anglia.  In fact, all three of them held the position of Supreme Magus in that organization at different times.

My understanding is that they wished to put their Rosicrucian knowledge to practical (that is, magickal) use – but the S.R.I.A was mainly an academic society that studied Rosicrucianism as an historical curiosity.  So, they created the Golden Dawn as a kind of “occult version” of what they were already doing in the S.R.I.A.  The two Orders use similar Grade structures and terminology.  But the Golden Dawn had an in-depth corpus of occult teaching and practice that the S.R.I.A itself wouldn’t touch.  (That’s where the Cipher Manuscripts, the Theosophical Society, Anna Kingsford’s Hermetic Society and all of that stuff came into play.)

Another reason for my interest is surely because I happen to know the Supreme Magus (Imperatrix) of the current S.R.I.America – Tabatha Cicero.  She’s a hell of a lady, I must say, and I’ve been most fortunate to have her (and her husband, Chic, of course!) as a teacher in the Golden Dawn for the past 15 years.  It has been in the back of my mind for a long time now that she heads the S.R.I.America, and I’m very curious to know “what’s up” on that side of the fence.

I’m sure some of you must be thinking:  “But, Aaron, you’re a famous Pagan.  Why would you try (or even want) to join a Christian-only Order?”

Well, as for “trying” to join such an Order, I’ve seen no resistance at all from Mrs. Cicero to my proposed membership.  In fact, she was quite pleased when I voiced my interest – and she knows very well my stance as a modern Pagan with Neo-pagan origins.  In fact, she herself has an interest in Babylonian Paganism (as we can see in her Babylonian Tarot deck) – and that just so happens to be the ancient Paganism that most influenced my own path.  (If you’ve known me long enough, you might just remember my early work with the Enuma Elish, the 50 Names of Marduk, the Seven Annunaki, etc.  Before I joined the HOGD, I called regularly upon Marduk, Ishtar and the rest of those Gods more regularly than upon the Archangels.)

But I’m digressing…  The second part of the above question deserves the closest consideration:  why would a Pagan even wish to join a Christian Order?  We’ll leave aside the above-illustrated fact that – as Christian Orders go – it’s pretty friendly to Pagans and Neo-pagans.  More important is my own stance in regard to Christian ritual and symbolism.  As a member of the Golden Dawn, I’ve already encountered my share of Christian-based symbolism.  (Especially in the Inner Order.)

And, as a Solomonic mystic I’ve also delved deeply into esoteric Christian belief and practice.  As I described in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, some of the greatest teachings I received (aside from what I learned from the Santo Ochani Lele) came from a Russian Orthodox Priest named John.  He was as instrumental in my ability to make sense of the grimories as Ochani was.  In fact, it was John from whom I obtained my Solomonic censor – it having been used for several years in his Orthodox Christian ceremonies, several of which I had attended myself.

Yep – you heard me right.  I attended several of John’s masses.  I received his blessings.  I bowed down and touched my head to the floor when the name GOD was sung in the Psalms.  I took the Holy Communion from him.  And all this while I was a practicing Wiccan!

I have always said that religious “hang ups” are a burden one should strive to eliminate from one’s mind and spirit.  The Divine is not found in any single place or tradition.  It is found as surely in Christianity, Judaism and Islam as it is found in Wicca, all forms of Paganism, Shamanism, Sorcery, the Golden Dawn, Masonry and everywhere else human beings have sought it.  And you should be able to enter any Church, any Synagogue, any Mosque, any magickal Circle, any Lodge, any sacred space of any kind and experience the Divine.  You should be able to visit these places, participate in their ceremonies and mean it with all your heart.

If you find yourself in these places and are repelled by their symbols and the names they use for God, then the problem lies within you – not them.  I understand that some of us have had bad experiences with so-called followers of many mainstream religions.  But we’re not talking about them here.  They don’t represent God or Goddess no matter how much noise they make.  You should be able to look past them to the faith they claim to represent.

This is what the Golden Dawn means when its ceremonies say “Hold all religions in reverence, for there is none but contain a ray of the Divine Light which you seek,”  That’s not something to which you should just pay lip-service.  It is a profound Truth – and it is something each of us must strive to achieve.

So, folks, go out there and participate in a Mass.  Attend a Passover meal.  Dance naked to the beat of drums around the bonfire.  Vibrate words of power.  Discuss mathematics and physics with atheists.  Seek the Truth from each and every source you can find – because the Truth can only be found through all of them together, not by restricting yourself to just one tiny part of the Truth.

As for me, I think I’ll go see what these S.R.I.A folks have to teach.  It’ll be fun.  🙂

In LVX and BB

Aaron

Posted July 10, 2012 by kheph777 in golden dawn, religion, rosicrucian

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Figuring Out Abramelin (A ‘How To’ Discussion)   20 comments

Greetings Aspirants!

So we have entered another Abramelin season, and I’m getting more questions about how to properly perform the Rite.  (A little late for Easter, but it’s still good that folks are asking the right questions.)

The following exchange took place between me and (I believe) two different aspirants on the Abramelin Group at Yahoo.  It concerns Abraham’s take on religion, women, sex and even magickal timing.  If you’ve been wondering about these issues in the Abramelin Rite yourself, then perhaps this will be of some help:

See:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/abramelin/message/1393

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/abramelin/message/1396

Thank you so much to everyone that replied. The reason I.m afraid to do it wrong is because someone posted in February that they done the operation and failed twice which is scary!

Most people who do the operation do not do it correctly. They bring to it everything they *think* the aleady know, and are convinced they can create a “better version” of the Rite by adding extra rituals, quiting early, praying to different gods, etc, etc. Or, just as often, they think they know what Knowledge and Conversation “really is” – and they are usually wrong – so they spend the entire time striving for the wrong goal.

I’m sure it is possible to fail at the Rite even if you do everything correctly.  My wife was considering undertaking it herself, but divinaions strongly suggested she not attempt it. However, barring a situation where your Guardian Angel (head spirit) simply says “no”, I couldn’t imagine anyone failing if they keep to the Rite as it is presented and put aside their ill-informed opinions about how it “shoudl work” or what it “really means.”

 These warnings and those in the text are really good to be mindful of and I appreciate being told and reminded. 
 
I’ve never been known to have problems with reading comprehension but I find the text very hard to make sense of. I’ve read both translations several times and I’m still not clear on it being acceptable for people of any religion to perform the Abramelin.

This is a sticky point in the system.  The German original states that the only person who cannot perform the Rite is a Jew who has converted to another religion.  The French version was modified to suggest that no one who has changed their birth religion can do it. 

The modern take is generally that one should not *deny* their birth religion,* but recognize that it contains truth and beauty like all religions at their core.  And since you were raised with it, and imprinted with it at an earyly age, it is important to ackowledge it even if you’ve moved on from it later in life.

(* Note that, in days past, it was necessary to publicly deny one’s birth religion as part of the conversion process.  It is much less common for that to be required today.)

Still, no matter how you slice it, the bottom line is that both versions of Abramelin say the same thing:  You don’t have to BE a Christian or Jew to perform the Rite, but you still basically have to accept that the Judeo-Christian God is indeed the One and Only Big Guy and anything else is false.

This is one of those very few places where I have to call bullshit on Abraham’s part.  Much like his claim that women must not perform the Rite.

You mention people praying to different Gods; the prayer (orison) in chapter 12 is clearly to the Judeo-Christian God and our confessional appeals are also addressed to Him.

Yes and no.  In its original context – you are correct (see above).

However, we are fortunate today that the Qabalah has spread into many different systems, and in many cases the Hebrew terms used are considered more like formula than as names of an actual bearded guy living in the clouds.  For example, you are told to pray to “Adonai Tzabaoth” – which literally translates as “Lord of Hosts.”  In other words, you are praying to the God in Charge of Angels and asking Him to send one of those Anegls to you.  It doesn’t matter who you personally think that Lord of Hosts “is” or “is not.”  The Great Spirit in charge of Angels is indeed who you have to pray to regardless of your personal religion.

 Also, we are commanded to keep Jewish holidays. It’s okay if you aren’t Jewish now – but you still need to pray to YVHV and observe His feasts.

Like all holidays, the Jewish ones are drawn from ancient pagan festivals.  Holidays are based on the movement of the heavens and the turn of the seasons.  Whether you call it “Ostara” or “Easter” or “Passove”, you’re still going to start the Operation at the same time of year and you’ll still be celebrating the Spring.

So, during this period, do you put aside your own faith and holidays?

No!  But you do need to understand that – ultimately – your holy days and the Jewish ones, and the Christian ones, and the Wiccan ones, etc, etc, etc are all basically the same thing.  Each religion puts their own window dressing on them, but your job is to see beneath that dressing to the core.

As an adept (which you are strivig to become), you should be able to walk into ANY place of worship in ANY religion, participate in the observances, and ACTUALLY MEAN IT.  Hang-ups about any one religion’s window dressing must be abolished.

 The 20th chapter makes it sound like those who perform the operation are obliged to worship YVHV for the rest of their lives, so perhaps conversion is implicit. Is that correct?

In its original context – I think it is.  But that is the bias of Abraham, not your HGA.  My own Guardian led me to Gnosticism, Shamanism, some Buddhism and the Golden Dawn without delay.  But I still confess and pray to the Lord of Hosts every Sunday.  (Sunday because I was raised Christian -see?)

 There are other topics I’m unclear on; I could go on Abraham’s comments on being a woman

Total BS from Abraham.  Not his fault – sign of the times.

or point 33 in the 20th chapter.

“(33) Take well heed during the six Moons or months to lose no blood from your body, except that which the expulsive virtue in you may expel naturally of its own accord.”

This troubles you?

In fact, I find this point kind of interesting.  He says in one place that women MUST NOT be given the Operation.  But, then, here at point 33 we see what appears to be an allowance for menstruation.  LOL

From what I can tell, the anti-woman thing comes strictly from Abraham himself, and not from the text Abramelin the Mage gave him.

I find both troubling, but the consensus now is that women can perform it anyway. Also, celibacy is recommended in the second period, however marital relations are permitted. (?)

Marital relations are allowed during the first portion of the Rite.  By the final phase, no sex at all.  Sex = spiritual heat, and you want to be as spiritually cool as possible.

Lastly, the rite should be commenced on the day following Passover for Jews or Easter for Christians, but can be begun at anytime. (?)

Yes, but I *strongly* suggest starting it at the recommended time.  Abramelin is a Solar Rite, and the given timing has you begin as the Sun begine to wax and end when the Sun begins to wane.  Doing it at another time removes you from that natural cycle.
 
I don’t want to create a better version or whatever, but even for someone who wants to be painstakingly observant, the text is so confusing it’s difficult to guess what’s required. I know others have figured it out, although many figure it wrong. I don’t want to set myself up for failure from the get-go.

Nike siad it best:  Just Do It.  As Abraham tells you, your Angel will appear at the end of it all and correct any mistakes you made.  Those corrections might take weeks, months or years – but if your heart is in it they will be corrected and you will achieve your goal.

LVX
Aaron

Posted April 21, 2012 by kheph777 in grimoires, religion, students

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The Fossils of Angels   13 comments

Greetings wasters-of-time and mental masturbators!

Lisa's Angel Fossil

Lisa's Angel Fossil

Recently, an old essay from 2002 written by Alan Moore has been making the rounds on Facebook and the blogosphere.  It is entitled “Fossil Angels” and it focuses upon the – supposedly – sorry state of modern occultism.  You can read the essay here, if you’re stout of heart:

http://glycon.livejournal.com/13888.html

I did not actually begin by reading Moore’s essay.  Instead, I was introduced to it via an article written by Miguel Conner called “Moore Evidence for the Death of Occultism.”  It attempted to (blessedly) summarize  Moore’s essay, outlining all of the major points made in the original piece.  Frankly, I felt the article would have been better placed in the 1990s, as it seems to have missed a lot that is going on today.  Here is what I had to say about it on Facebook: 

This article reminds me of the Naked Ape. The author of that book made some great points – I highly recommend the book to anyone. Yet, at the same time, the author – writing in the late 60s – seemed *entirely* unaware that the 60s were happening. He insisted that humans had never attempted to do the things that young folks were trying at that very moment… 

Same here, folks. The article is spot-on about the shortcomings of modern occultism. Or, to be more specific, of late 20th-century occultism. However, the author seems utterly unaware that new occult movements are rising as we speak – have been on the rise since the late 90s – that address and seek to correct these shortcomings. In other words, occultists are fed up with modern occultism too – and now they are looking into the Old Magick again. The Keys of Solomon, Dee’s records, the ATRs and much much more – all of these are currently “in vogue” among occultists who know damn well that our modern culture lost something along the way. Yet, the author seems to be unaware this is happening…

After posting that, I was told by many people that I should read Moore’s “wonderful” essay before I make up my mind about it.  I was given the link to livejournal and so headed over to read the original.  Then, I posted this:

Ok, I have read about two-thirds of the way though Moore’s original essay. Frankly, I’ve given up. I’m exhausted after slogging through the over-written text, endless adjectives, pointless metephores and digressions without destination. This dude should NOT have taken writing lessons from A.E. Waite, but he sure seems to have…

As for his ideas – sorry, folks, but I have to call BULLSHIT on every last bit of it. I thought perhaps I would find an essay that was slighty outdated but still full of sound points about what the modern occult movement lacks. It wasn’t. What I found instead were concepts like: “if magick works so well, why do all pracitioners still have day jobs and lives that suck?” That alone tells me this guy is as clueless as it gets. I assume all of those ancient shamans he admires didnt’ have day jobs or troubles in their lives? For the sake of the Gods, magick arose as a method of dealing with a hostile and hard world.  If this idiot honestly thinks magick is about making your life “easier”, then he doesn’t have the first business writing on the subject. He should go join up with Randi and the other de-bunkers.

The rest of his ideas – once you mine them out of the text – are just as far away from the point. For example, he quotes Arthur Machen’s negative opinion of the Golden Dawn – but sidesteps the fact that Machen was writing long after the GD fell apart and its Temples had lost their way. Machen encountered the same GD as Regardie did, and that was NOT the GD of Mathers and Wescott. Machen met the GD and bad-mouthed it for its fallen state. Regardie saw the same things and DID something about it. Yet Moore goes with Machen…. surprised?

He almost made some good points when comparing the GD/OTO/etc with the work Dee and Kelley did – showing how Dee and Kelley were working magick as a cutting edge science, while the GD and those who followed were looking toward the past. Of course, Moore ignores all of the years Dee dedicated to gathering the oldest occult texts he could find. And, in saying the GD was just “historically re-enacting the past” he seems to forget that no magickal system had EVER taken the form it did in the GD. So these ignorant past-gazers somehow came up with something new? Well, sure, and so did Dee.  But in both cases the material was based on what had come previously.

Moore doesn’t understand magick. He doesn’t understand what it was in the past, and he doesn’t understand what it is today. And, like many who fail to understand, he chooses to poke fun instead. Well, more power to him. Meanwhile, I’ll persist in my rituals to call down and commune with the Angels, and to work with the spirits. I’ll accept help from them anytime they want to offer it. I’ll let them save my very LIFE as they have done in the past. And we’ll all do so while we laugh at Moore and his outsider’s opinions of magick. 😉

Moore makes the common mistake of believing the BS that magick simply fell by the wayside after science came along and made everything “better.”  If he’d pick up a copy of Yate’s “Rosicrucian Enlightenment” he might learn that magick was forced underground by religious authorities and “science” arose as a result.  Or, put better, a false rift between “magick” and “science” was created at about the time of the age of enlightenment.  No one decided magick didn’t work – it was people who were convinced that it DID work that sought to eradicate it.  Science struggled to be accepted in the same environment (because it wasn’t originally a separate pursuit from magick), and it came out on top.  That says nothing about the efficacy of magick, friends…

It is very esay for Alan Moore to sit comfortably within the fantasy of the modern Western world and poo-poo all modern magick, claiming that it just isn’t relevant since we figured out all of this nifty science.  But just wait until this fantasy finally comes crashing down, and the Western nations are faced with the reality of living on Earth once more.  Just wait until it is common for Western people to be unsure from where (or when) their next meal is coming.  Wait until medicine becomes something we aren’t allowed to have at all.  Wait until we are living in tent colonies and going to the bathroom in a hole we dug out back.  THEN we shall see Mr. Moore going to his local witch or wizard, offering in hand, in the hopes the spirits can help his family in times of need.  If I were those spirits, I’d tell him to go find a scientist.

LVX

Aaron

Posted July 17, 2011 by kheph777 in golden dawn, rants, religion, reviews

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The Truth about Satan   4 comments

A member of the Conjure Corner forums asked for some historical facts about the figure of Satan.  The timing is interesting as I am currently doing some work with the Abramelin system of spirit magick.  Thus, I decided to put several obscure bits of theological history into one post – and why not archive it here too?  So if you’ve ever wondered about that Satan guy, here you go:

————————-

Here are some historical facts you will find very fascinating.  🙂

– The name Satan comes from the Hebrew Sathan – which means “accuser” or “adversary.”  You see, the Israelite people adopted many aspects of Babylonian culture, both before and during the Captivity (about 600 BCE).  The Babylonians, meanwhile, are the folks who created the system of law that we use to this very day – including the concept of the prosecuting attorney.  This prosecutor’s job was (then, as it is now) to stand in the royal court and bring formal charges against those accused of crimes.  And since Babylonian cosmology assumed the heavens worked just like earthly courts, they assumed the Gods sat around in the same kind of court setting – judging the fates of humans.  You can see this in the first known record of “Satan” – the Book of Job.  There, we meet haSathan (the accuser) hanging out in the Court of God, BS-ing back and forth with the Big Guy Himself.  Not only that, but he is quite comfortable with contradicting God and placing bets with Him over the true faithfulness of a human being.  What Job reveals is that Satan (or haSathan – his job title) is not in rebellion against God at all, but merely doing the job appointed to him.

-The Jews understood that haSathan was just a title.  They believed the name of the entity depicted in the Book of Job was Samael – the poison of God.  Samael was not in open rebellion against God, but still firmly in his employ.  Most anciently, he seems to have been an Angel of Death (especially violent and untimely death).  In the Qabalah and the grimoires that borrowed from it, Samael became the Angel of Mars and Gevurah – thus making him the Angel of War.  There are Hebrew midrashim (legends) that suggest Samael once refused to bow down to Adam (the Image of God), and was thus punished.  These legends were likely adopted from similar Arabic myths.  For his refusal (which was based on his love for God and refusal to worship a mere image) he was cast down to earth and sentenced to serve the roles of Angel of Death and (thanks to his understandable beef with humans) as haSathan.  He took his punishment, and does the jobs he was assigned.  But he was still a big wig in God’s Court, as illustrated by the Book of Job.

-Lucifer was originally a Roman deity of Venus.  Lucifer Morningstar was the herald of the light of dawn.  Meanwhile, in ancient Canaan we find the God of Venus is named Helel Ben Shakhar (Helel, Son of the Dawn).  Apparently, there is an obscure Canaanite myth wherein Helel attempts to rise up and take the Throne of the Rising Sun from his father Shakhar.  He fails and is cast down.  Basically, the entire tale is an embodiment of the fact that Venus is the brightest star in the night sky, rises in the East just before the Sun and is finally the *last* star in the sky to fade out in the dawn light.  In this sense, the Sun must “defeat” Venus each morning in order to successfully rise.  (Which reminds me of the Egyptian Apophis, a serpent-monster that had to be overthrown by Re’s army each and every morning in order for the sun to rise.)

In the book of Isaiah (chapter 14), the prophet makes a comparison between Helel and the king of Babylon, when he says of the Babylonian king, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Helel, Son of the Morning!”  Later, the Bible was translated into Latin, and the translator merely looked for a Latin translation of the name “Helel.”  He found “Lucifer”, and thus the Lucifer-as-Satan myth was born.  The casting down of Helel by his father Shakhar was transformed into the famous tale of Michael (Archangel of the Sun) casting Lucifer down from heaven.  Lucifer even takes the form of a dragon very similar to the Egyptian Apophis (which is interesting considering the Egyptian origins of early Christianity).

-The typical “horned and hoofed” image of Satan didn’t come along until the medieval era.  The Catholic Church was by then a massive political force in hot competition with any other religion or Mystery Cult it encountered.  The Greek and Roman Pagan Mysteries were certainly a target, and so the image of Pan was adopted and demonized as the image of “Satan.”  Pan represented everything the Christian Priesthood stood against – sex, drugs, parties, hedonism and pleasure.  Pan represents everything that is still animal about the human animal, and his cult encourages a proper ritualized indulgence in that part of ourselves.  The Church surely had a hard time stealing members from that cult – so they demonized its followers and invented stories of witch gatherings who worship and have sex with a horrible goat-demon. The Devil was born – and over the years would become associated with all things vile and horrible about humans (violence, rape, torture, etc).

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, I skipped a rather important aspect of Satan’s origin story when I first posted this blog.  Several of you wrote to me and pointed that I had forgotten about the god Saturn in my analysis.  Well, I can’t agree that Saturn – or Chronos in Greek – has much of anything to do with the figure of Satan.  (He has more to do with the image of Thanatos, or Death.)  However, I also suspect some confusion may have been made between Saturn – the god of Time – and the god Pluto (or Hades in Greek) – the Lord of the Underworld.

Much of the imagery we associate with Satan as the God of the Underworld comes to us from Hades.  Take a look at this image of Hades, with his two-pronged pitchfork in hand and cerberus lying at his feet.  That is the origin of the image of Satan as ruler of Hell.  In Greek mythology, Hades is one of three brothers who possess the world:  Zeus who rules the sky and carries a single-pointed spear or thunderbolt, Poseidon who rules the sea and carries a three-pronged harpoon, and Hades who rules the earth (up top and below) and carries the two-pronged pitchfork.  Thus, Hades is intimately connected with nature and its seasonal cycles, as well as with underwold concepts such as the dead, treasure and occult initiation.

When we consider this, the Christian concept of Satan as “God of this world” begins to make more sense.  He not only rules in Hell – but notice that the grimoires quite often invoke him as the ruler of the natural world as well.  Such as we see in the Book of Abramelin – where all the lesser spirits of nature are classed under the authority of Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan and Belial.  (This is likely a break-down into astrological triplicity – Fire, Water, Air and Earth respectively.)

Sadly, the Church tended to see anything associated with nature as evil – as evidenced by its demonization of Pan.  The same happened with Hades/Pluto, so that the once-venerated Lord of the Underworld became the feared and despised demonic Satan.  Still, the grimoires do seem to preserve some of the older concepts – focusing on Satan in his Hades/Pan aspect as ruler of nature.

-As for Satanists:  The actual ‘Church of Satan’, founded by Anton LaVey, is strictly atheist.  They view the Church (and in fact all religion and spirituality) as a major historical enemy of humankind.  They also realize that Satan (as the Devil/Pan) embodies many things that are natural and beautiful to the human animal.  Therefore, they elevate Satan as a fitting symbol of opposition to everything Christianity (as a political force of mass control) has done to the world.  They do not believe in any actual entity by that name, nor in God, etc.  Even their witchcraft is strictly of the psychological type.

There was once a sub-group of Satanists who believed in an actual entity named Satan.  They assumed that Satan traces back to Egyptian concepts of the War God Set (which is only partially true), and thus began to worship Satan as the ancient Egyptian deity.  This caused a row in the Church of Satan, as atheism is a strict rule of the Church.  So the group broke away and established the Temple of Set.  I think they draw a lot from Crowley’s Thelemic material.

-I assume there are also true “Satanists” – that is, those who worship the Christian Satan *as* the embodiment of evil and hatred, etc, etc – but I’m not personally aware of any official groups.  To my knowledge, most of these types are teens (either alone or in small groups) looking to freak out their parents and teachers.  lol

-Finally, there is also a Luciferian tradition – about which I know little.  However, I’m fairly certain the tradition refers to the original Roman deity Lucifer Morningstar, the perfectly benevolent Herald of the Dawn.  Someone else might correct me here, but I think they associate Lucifer with other figures like Prometheus (who brought fire to mankind from heaven).

LVX

Aaron

The Three Magi   1 comment

Greetings, faithful seekers!

It is January 6th, and the Feast of Epiphany (or Three Kings’ Day) is upon us.  It is the official end of the 12-day period (Dec 25th – Jan 5th) that is properly called “Christmas.”  (Remember the song?  “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”)  It is also a commemoration of the visit of the Three Magi (otherwise known as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the birthplace of Jesus.  There was a time when Three Kings Day itself was as culturally important as Christmas – and even today children in some countries are taken to the mall to visit the Three Kings rather than Santa. (After all, these bringers of gifts to children are quite a bit older than ol’ Saint Nick.)

The story of these three wizards includes much to interest anyone studying occult subjects.  To get us started, let me share a riddle about the Three Magi that I posted on my Facebook page a few days ago:

The Three Magi of the Bible were from Chaldea, far to the east of Bethlehem. Tradition has these men traveling across the desert, following a star visible “in the east” toward the birthplace of Jesus. How could that have led them *westward* toward Israel?

The answers I got were varied and fascinating, though for the sake of brevity I won’t include all of them here.  I will, however, give the answer I provided a day later:

The Three Magi were Zoroastrian Priests, and as such were expert astrologers. They cast a horoscope for Israel and found a star ascending on the eastern side of the chart- it could have been a star or planet- that indicated a new king was to be born there. Thus, the “Star in the East” the Magi were following was on an astrological chart. (The image of the Magi following a light that hovered directly over the manger- as described in Matthew-  is cute but inaccurate.) 

Given that Jesus was more likely born sometime in March, we can assume the Magi had been casting horoscopes for the coming Spring Equinox. (In Chaldea, Spring Equinox was the start of the new year.) Exactly what they found ascending in the East when they cast a chart for Israel is debatable – it could have been Jupiter, or even a new star appearing/discovered in the sky. Whatever it was, the Magi felt it indicated that Israel was about to get a new king. They made on official diplomatic visit to Israel to congratulate King Herod on his newborn heir, only to find out that he *had* no heir. Only then did the Magi realize their grave mistake and sought out the birthplace of Jesus to warn his family to evacuate before Herod’s men arrived. The rest, as they say, is history. 🙂

This is interesting, but it leaves one questioning the point of it all:  Why do these men play such an important role in the birth of Jesus?  And what do they have to do with occultism?

The answer is that they were Zoroastrian Priests, and that happened to be the world’s dominant religion at the time.  If the people were going to accept Jesus as the Messiah and the rightful heir to the Throne of Israel, then he needed an endorsement from the Priests of the world’s largest religion.  If these guys accepted Jesus as the Son of God, then who else could say otherwise?  (It would be much like the Pope today declaring- officially- that a newly born Buddhist child is the second coming of Christ.  It would shake the political world of Catholicism to its foundations.)

C+M+B 2011

Image of C+M+B 2011 over my front door.

 

Of course, Jesus never did take the Throne of Israel away from the Romans, but the legends about his birth, life and death persist to this day.  And the legend of the visit of the “Three Kings” has grown in its own way.  For one example, there exists a folk tradition of using chalk to inscribe the initials of the Magis’ names (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) over the front door of one’s home on Jan. 6th, along with the year and crosses to separate the letters:

C + M + B

2011

 

I have also seen this format at least once:

20 + C + M + B + 11

This not only invokes the protection of the Three Magi specifically, but the letters are also interpreted to stand for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” (Christ Bless this House).

We also find the Three Kings playing a vital role in the 6th and 7th Books of Moses.  Therein, the Laws of Entrance (that is, the preparations for performing the primary Rite outlined in the book) require one to ritually purify oneself over a thirteen day period – including Christmas day itself and ending on Epiphany.  On Jan. 6th, one must complete the process by attending a Mass of the Three Kings.  Later, the book also calls for the use of “Three Kings Holy Water” – which is likely holy water consecrated during the Mass of the Three Kings itself.  Finally, when the magick is performed, the names of Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar are invoked directly.

The above information is thanks to Joseph Peterson who, in his edition of the 6th and 7th Books…, clears up a rather obscurely-worded passage.  The book says that one must prepare oneself for 13 days, ending with the “holy sacrament of the Three Kings.”  For generations, Hoodoo practitioners have supposed this “holy sacrament” indicated that one should bring a gift to the ritual, just as the Three Kings had brought symbolic gifts to the infant Jesus.  This interpretation has actually become “traditional” among those who use the grimoire.  However, Peterson rightly assigns the “holy sacrament of the Three Kings” to the Mass of the Epiphany itself.  Then, counting back 13 days lands us directly on December 25th.  Kudos to Joseph for clearing up that small, yet obviously important, technical detail for us.

BTW – if any of you out there are currently undertaking these 13 days of purification in order to work with the Books of Moses, I’d love to hear about your experiences with the magick.  🙂

It is no surprise to me that the Three Magi should hold such an important place in magickal Bible lore.  The Zoroastrian Magi are where we derive our modern words “magic”, “mage” and “magician.”  In the time and place of the New Testament, these Priests were the embodiment of the concept of “the wizard” – much as the Egyptians had been before them, and as the Jewish people would become in the Middle Ages.  Thus, the role of the Three Magi is akin to those of Moses, Solomon, Simon Magus and others who employed the arts of magick in the Biblical context – and whose names would therefore be invoked by the mages who followed them for millenia to come.

LVX

Aaron

Posted January 6, 2011 by kheph777 in Christmas, magick, religion, solomonic

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