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The Grimoire of Arthur Guantlet – A Review   4 comments

Some time ago, I was given a beautiful signed copy of Avalonia’s The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet: a 17th Century London Cunning-man’s Book of Charms, Conjurations and Prayers, edited by David Rankine.  With several writing projects and public events to get through this year, it has taken me some time to finish the book and gather my notes for a proper review.   Yet, I feel this book is important enough for me to return to it and share what I have found.

So, why do I feel this book is so important?  Even better, you may be asking, why should you be interested in the obscure personal grimoire of some guy whose name you’ve never heard before?  The answer to both questions is the same, and it comes in two parts.  First, I will discuss who Arthur Gauntlet was and then I will discuss the particular treasure his grimoire contains.

Many of you may know that I have described Solomonic magick as a form of “urban shamanism.”  Some have taken exception to my use of the term “shamanism” to describe a system of occultism that arose among city-dwelling Christians in the Medieval and Renaissance eras.  Most readers, on the other hand, have understood that my use of the term was based on a strict definition of “shamanism” as a social role.  In this sense, a shaman is a person who operates outside of Church or Temple authority, and serves his or her community as a liaison between common folk and the realm of spirits.  They act as healers and exorcists, and perform spells for day-to-day needs: such as love, money, jobs, friendship, favor with authority figures, finding lost items, divination of the future, etc.

Based on that definition, I have contended that Solomonic mages have historically served the functions of the shaman for their communities.  While modern wizards have a tendency to lock themselves away in private and work magick for their own needs, the stereotypical wizard of the past offered his services – usually for a fee – to the laypersons of his town or village.  (Much as we see with local cunning men and women and folk magicians even today.)

The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet is a wonderful illustration of this very paradigm.  Arthur Gauntlet was a physician of the early seventeenth century, living in a time when medicine still included the use of astrology, magickal talismans and images, and incantations alongside the mundane applications of herbal remedies and tinctures.  He moved in circles we would today consider occult – knowing such men as William Lilly, William Laud and possibly even Alias Ashmole (who ended up in possession of Gauntlet’s grimoire and claimed to recognize the man’s handwriting).  He also employed a skryer named Sarah Skelhorn, who worked with him until 1636 – the possible time of his death.

Without a doubt, Arthur Gauntlet offered his services – both as a healer and a magician – to his community.  And what we have in his grimoire is a practicing wizard’s working notebook – not merely a manuscript intended for mass publication as we find in many of the more common grimoires (i.e. the Key of Solomon the King or the Lemegeton).  Instead, The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet falls in the category of a true receipt book – a record of the spells and charms and occult wisdom of a Solomonic mage and healer actively plying his trade.

We can easily see the practical nature of this grimoire by looking at the included material along with the order in which it is recorded:

– On the very first pages we find general instructions for all magick as taught by Ptolemy and Cyprian.

– Following these are the preliminary prayers to God and Psalms for defense and success in all matters, as well as conjurations against all evil spirits, that Dr. Gauntlet was likely to have used at the start of any magickal or healing operation.  These include a prayer “for thy Genius” – showing that Dr. Gauntlet understood the importance of invoking his Patron or Guardian Angel at the start of any magickal work.

– Next, we find several charms that, I wager, were used by Dr. Gauntlet somewhat early in his career.  (Later sections of the grimoire will contain a larger number and greater variety of such charms.)  In this section, we find charms for protection, making spent money return and one for healing a person sick with “worms in his body.”

– Following these are the “49 Aphorisms” copied entirely from the Arbatel of Magic.  This is the first of many inclusions from more popular grimoires, showing that Dr. Gauntlet was always on the look out for occult manuscripts to further his own understanding of the magickal arts.

– Next we find a rather lengthy section dedicated to the evocation of angels into a shewstone – several examples of which include the use of a child skryer.  (This was a common feature of Solomonic magick, though we know that Gauntlet employed an adult woman for this purpose.)  After the instructions given for summoning the angels, several sets of instructions are given for employing the angels for various purposes:  discovering theft, finding hidden treasure, curing sickness, obtaining prophecy, returning lost cattle, returning runaway servants and children, and defense against witchcraft.

This section continues with alternate methods of summoning angels for yet further purposes – such as protection, theft, love and pleasures of the flesh.

– Next we find another inclusion from a popular grimoire: this time from the Heptameron.  Included are the instructions for creating a magickal circle, exorcism of the fire, information about the garment and pentacle (including several versions of such a pentacle), and the full evocation ceremony – complete with the “considerations” and conjurations for the angels and spirits of every day of the week.

– Following all of this is a lengthy section of text drawn from the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy – teaching general occult philosophy, characters and forms of spirits, creation of sigils and talismans, books of spirits, evocation, obtaining oracles, etc.

– Then we find several sets of instructions for binding spirits to crystals, and the skrying of the same.

– Next are several experiments of necromancy or summoning the spirits of the dead.  The most lengthy of these operations will be of much interest to any of you have have read Jake Stratton-Kent’s Geosophia, because it involves conjuring the spirit of a recently deceased person to go and fetch a fairy named “Sibilia” – who is apparently one of the Sybils (Oracles) of Greek history and myth.

– This is followed, surprisingly, with an elaborate ceremony for summoning “Sathan” (aka Satan) for the purpose of divination upon any subject whatsoever.  This is apparently based on the philosophy that Satan is the “god of this world” and should therefore know everything that happens within it.  This section ends with the spirit-curses found in many Solomonic texts for entities that are disobedient.

– The following section includes instructions for making and consecrating a magickal wand – the only magickal tool that Dr. Gauntlet seems to have used in his work.  (No swords or knives are mentioned.)

– Then we find a section of recipes for incenses appropriate to each planet and zodiac sign.  An interesting point here is the fact that all of the planetary perfumes are to be made into “pills” – or small rolled balls.  These are created by mixing the powdered plant materials with blood – and in each case the blood is taken from an animal sacred to the planet itself.  Such as bat blood for Saturn, that of a white rooster for Sol, that of a goose for Luna, etc.

– The next section might be thought of as a companion to the Sibilia conjuration.  This time, the conjuration is for a spirit named “Oberion” – who is obviously the King of Fairies Oberon.  It is interesting to note that this ritual also includes an invocation of the “Kaberion”, who are likely the Kabiri of ancient Greek mythos.

– Next we find a section dedicated to various Psalmic charms that Dr. Gauntlet likely used and prescribed in his practice.  These are similar to those found in Use of the Psalms or the Book of Gold.  They include charms for healing weakness (exhaustion? consumption?  fatigue?), protection from demons, easing colic in infants, gaining honors, eloquence, healing sickness and injury, aiding childbirth, overcoming accusations, discovering theft, exorcising demons, protection of children, stopping bleeding, cramps, curing epilepsy, etc., etc.

This same section continues with more charms that do not depend on Psalms, but instead upon characters, herbs, magickal images and the like.  Their purposes are more of the same we have seen – such as the curing of several specific injuries and diseases.  Among these are seven “images” (actually more like talismans) attributed to the seven days of the week – and therefore the seven planets – fashioned from different metals and alloys.  Each is attributed to a particular effect – such as binding tongues, creating discord or love between couples, etc.

This final section of charms is very lengthy – apparently representing bits of useful magickal lore Dr. Gauntlet acquired along the course of his career.  I suspect he would have gone right on expanding this last section indefinitely throughout his lifetime.

Overall, we can see clearly in the above a notebook that would have been in use by an active practitioner of the art – specifically one offering his services to others in his community.  The arrangement of the text even gives us a clue into how Dr. Gauntlet went about his ritual process – starting with his preliminary prayers and invocations and the methods by which he (and his skryer) made contact with angelic entities.  Then follow the various charms and lore he picked up in his own spiritual quest and professional career.  Furthermore, we see in the collected philosophy and lore the progression of Gauntlet’s own understanding of occult philosophy – as he would (certainly after much searching) lay his hands on one grimoire after another and hand-copy the portions of them he felt were most important.

I must also point out that the practical nature of this notebook gives us a rare glimpse into the “nuts and bolts” of Solomonic magickal practice.  Where the more popular “mass circulation” grimoires often give us only a broad overview of the methods employed, more often than not mixed with a large amount of mythos and fantasy, Dr. Gauntlet’s grimoire is more concerned with specific how-to’s of the practice.

Some of the best examples of this latter dynamic is found in the instructions for skrying – which are absolutely some of the best I have ever seen in print.  While this text and many others give us the rituals to use in skrying angels and spirits, only this one among the classical texts gives step-by-step instructions on how to divine specific information from the entities thus evoked.

The first example is found on p. 117, “How you shall make your demands to the Three Angels And first for a Friend.”  It concerns how to question three summoned Angels to tell you exactly where a friend of yours is at the time of the working.  (Apparently, Gauntlet’s skryer Sarah used this method often enough to continue using it after his death.  The introduction describes Sarah later working for a client who would ask her to divine whether or not her – the client’s – mother was at home before she would commit to taking a trip to visit her.  Remember this was the day before the phone, or even the telegraph or mail service.  It would appear that Sarah was accurate enough in this divination to remain in the employ of the same client for many years.)

In the instructions given on p. 117, we learn that one did not simply ask the angels “where is my friend so-and-so right now?”  Instead, a specific process was undertaken:  First one asks the angels to show a vision of the friend in whatsoever place he or she may be.  The vision will be granted, but no place will be named.  The skryer must then ask how far away this place is – “is it five miles away?  six miles?  seven?  eight?  ten?  twenty?” etc – until an exact number is settled upon.  Then the skryer asks which direction the location lies from the current location – asking “is it north from here?  south?  east?  west?”  Then the skryer must ask, “Is it such-and-such a place?”  The place must be specifically named by the skryer, and possible locations are to be named until the angels answer in the affirmative.

On p. 118, “How you shall make your demands for Theft to the Three Angels” we are told to use the exact same process.  First one asks to see the thief – so that a description of the person can be recorded.  Then, to find the present location of the thief, one goes through the same sort of questioning one used to locate a friend.  First how many miles off he is – naming different distances until one is affirmed.  Then which direction, then naming specific locations until one is confirmed as the hideout of the thief.

Also on p. 118 we find “For Treasure hidden”, which uses a similar but more restricted process.  One first determines the land wherein one believes treasure is buried.  Then the process of elimination is followed as above – only using feet rather than miles.

On p. 119 we learn how this kind of divination is done “For Sickness.”  Once the angels have been summoned, the symptoms of the sickness are explained to the entities.  Then one asks if the patient is going to live or die.  If it is divined that he will die, one then asks how long that will be in coming by naming different lengths of time.  If it is divined that the patient will recover, one must then ask how that recovery will take place.  Will it be accomplished naturally, or will the doctor need to apply medicines?  If it is to be by medicine, then one must determine the disease by naming known maladies until the angels affirm the one afflicting the patient.  Then remedies and treatments are to be named until the angels confirm the one(s) that should be applied.  Then one asks how long the recovery will take – once again by naming different lengths of time.

What a perfect illustration of how divination is properly done!  One can imagine using this technique with a divinatory device such as a pendulum, geomantic squilling, a toss of coins or any other method that can provide a “yes or no” answer to any question.  At no point are the angels expected to simply state outright the location of the person or the nature and cure of the disease – but these must be divined one bit at a time until the answer is finally settled upon via a process of elimination.

As you can see, there are many treasures to be found in the Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet.  I agree with the editor when he suggests, in the introduction, that this book shows the marks of a person who actually used this material in the real world.  That is what makes this book so important.  The nuts-and-bolts nature of the instructions give us a rare insight into how this kind of magick was really done – much akin to the few precious eyewitness accounts of such rituals that have been preserved in various journals.

But even those eyewitness accounts are second-hand at best – descriptions of what a person saw and thought they were seeing that gives us little insight into the motivations and skills of the wizard himself.  (Imagine, for example, trying to describe to another what you saw a surgeon do during an operation.  It would hardly amount to an instruction manual for surgery.)  Meanwhile, The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet gives us a real view into Solomonic practice much akin to the eyewitness accounts, while also giving us the step-by-step instruction to do it ourselves.

Yet again – not long after their publications of The Veritable Key of Solomon,  A Treatise of Mixed Cabala and The Book of Gold  – Avalonia and David Rankine have provided us with another leap forward in our modern understanding of classical Solomonic occultism.  Therefore I must urge you to pick up The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet – whether you are a student of cultural history or an active practitioner, you will discover treasures buried within the pages of this obscure physician’s personal grimoire.


Aaron Leitch

Posted September 24, 2012 by kheph777 in books, reviews, solomonic

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At the Crossroads – New Anthology by Scarlet Imprint   4 comments

Greetings God brothers and God sisters!

Scarlet Imprint is now taking pre-orders for an awesome new book called:

At the Crossroads

This new anthology brings together authors and practitioners of various Afro-Caribbean and Western systems of occultism to compare notes on their traditions’ difference and, especially, similarities.  From the Scarlet Imprint page:

At the crossroads the paths of magicians and worlds meet.
Grimoire and root workers, Hoodoo and Vodoun, Quimbanda and Ifa. A potent fusion is occurring, a second diaspora.

At the Crossroads tells the stories of what happens when the Western Magical Tradition encounters the African Diaspora and Traditional religions, and vice versa. It is a mixing and a magic that speaks of a truly new world emerging.

My own offering to this brew is called Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival.  The above quote, actually, is a fair description of exactly what my essay is about.  I discuss the current cross-semination taking place between the modern Solomonic movement and various folks traditions – such as Santeria, Voodoo and Hoodoo.  I briefly mention the relationship these traditions have shared in the past, and then explore the important impact such folk traditions are having upon the current understanding and practice of the medieval European grimoires.

And this goes far beyond the magick of Solomon, too.  This movement reflects a relationship between Westerners and magick that was lost thousands of years ago, but which is now re-emerging and flourishing throughout every aspect of the occult revival.  It is having an effect on everything from the Golden Dawn and Thelema to Wicca and Neopaganism.  My essay, and Crossroads overall, gets right to the heart of this new movement and why it is so vastly important for all of us.

At the Crossroads is going to be a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand what exactly is happening to magick in the Western world in the 21st Century.




Peter Grey – Preamble: Standing Still

Jake Stratton-Kent – Necromancy: the Role of the Dead in a Living Tradition

Aaron Leitch – Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival

Eric K Lerner – Eleggua; Eleggua’s Worlds (art)

Stephen Grasso – Open up the Gate

Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold – The Invisible City in the Realm of Mystery

Richard Ward – In the Shadow of the Cross

Drac Uber & Ivy Kerrigan – Libations for the Lwa

Michael Cecchetelli – Countermeasures

Humberto Maggi – Crossing Worlds

Ryan Valentine – A brief history of the Juju

Hagen Von Tulien – Soul Dream (art)

Kyle Fite – The Syncretic Soul at the Cross of Cosmic Union

ConjureMan Ali – Goetic Initiation

Christopher D Bradford – Nigromantic Putrfaction

Chad Balthazar – A Garden Amidst the Flames

Angela Edwards – Queen of Fire & Flesh (art)

Jake Stratton-Kent – Magic at the Crosssroads

Posted July 6, 2012 by kheph777 in atr, books, reviews, solomonic

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Hermetic Virtues – Summer Solstice 2012   8 comments

Greetings Avid Readers!

The latest edition of Hermetic Virtues is finally out!  It was published on June 24th, in order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the consecration of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s Vault of the Adepti.  It even includes the very same signed announcement I published here (and which has appeared on blogs and forums across the ‘net).  🙂 🙂 🙂

And what’s more, it also includes an essay by  yours truly called Two Thrones for the Golden Dawn.  In the essay, I discuss the mythical structure of the Hall of the Neophytes and why we place the Coptic-Egyptian godforms in their traditional positions.  Some groups have made changes to these godforms (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but I explain exactly why we choose to keep them where they where in 1888 when the original Order was founded.  (What can I say?  The HOGD is a traditional Order.)

I am especially proud of this essay because Tabatha Cicero made reference to an earlier version of it in a piece she wrote for the latest edition of the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic.  In fact, her essay is what prompted me to get this one completed and published at last.  🙂

There are also essays and reviews by such big names as Chic Cicero (HOGD), John Michael Greer (DOGD), Nick Farrell (MOAA), Sam Scarborough (OSM), Jayne Gibson (HOGD), Eric Sisco (SRICF)  and many more.  If you want to see a great review of the entire magazine, check out Peregrin Wildoak’s blog.  🙂

If you get a chance, make sure to drop a note of congratulations to the Hermetic Virtues team and give them kudos for their own five year anniversary.  We haven’t seen a magazine of this caliber since Gnosis – so let’s hope they stay around for decades!



King and Man, but Mostly Man: a Book Review of Nick Farrell’s ‘King Over the Water’   1 comment

King and Man – But Mostly Man

One thing that makes the Golden Dawn great, in my opinion, is their humble origins.  The founders of the Tradition in the late 1800s existed in an environment of secret societies with pretentious mythical origin stories – claiming direct lineage to ancient cults and guilds in Greece, Egypt, Chaldea and elsewhere.  In truth, none of them had such connections – not even the Masons!  Yet, if you wanted your secret society to be taken seriously, you had better find a way to establish some kind of connection to powerful mystical figures and groups from the past.  This is really no different than the authors of the grimoires who found it necessary to sign names such as King Solomon, Enoch, Moses and even various Archangels to their own work.  Or the authors of the Biblical books who wanted us to believe that Moses, Enoch, the Disciples of Jesus and other Biblical heroes had written their texts.  It isn’t about fraud, its just how things were done at the time.

What makes the modern Golden Dawn stand out in this regard is their willingness to admit, without shame, that the stories of their origins are mythical and that their founders were very, very human.  What matters to them is that the system, in and of itself, works as advertised.  They look with gracious humor at the tales of Cipher Manuscripts, German Adepts and embodied Secret Chiefs (who nevertheless chose to visit only upon the astral).  For them, true lineage rests within the continually burning flames of Western Qabalah, Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism and other currents that are the true foundations of the Order and its teachings.

Nick Farrell’s “King Over the Water” is a shining example of this willingness to admit the truth.  It is an honest and scholarly biography of a man who never became what he wished to be – nor what he wished others to believe he was.  His contributions to the Golden Dawn cannot be overstated, but his opinion of himself most certainly was.  Yet, the modern Golden Dawn goes right on using the material the man created – because it is sound and it works.

I strongly urge any student of the Golden Dawn to read this fascinating biography.  Perhaps Mathers was never the sole link to the Secret Chiefs he asked his followers to believe he was.  Perhaps he was never the all-powerful arch-wizard he longed to be.  But that doesn’t mean the Secret Chiefs didn’t speak through him when it was necessary.  And the modern students of the Golden Dawn should never fear to look upon their leaders – either yesterday or today – with an open mind and even a grain of salt.  They are, after all, all human too.

King Over the Water


Aaron Leitch

Posted June 9, 2012 by kheph777 in books, golden dawn, reviews

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From the Greeks to the Grimoires: A Review of Jake Kent’s Geosophia   5 comments

I asked Scarlet Imprint to hold back my review of Jake Kent’s Geosophia because I had published it elsewhere first.  Then, we both seem to have lost track and only today did Scarlet Imprint contact me to say “Uh… do you mind if we publish it now??”  LOL  So, if you’ve been waiting for it (and I know you have!), here it is:

NOTE:  The essay keeps getting moved around.  Currently, on the Scarlet Imprint website, it can only be found under the “reviews” tab for Geosophia (, and there is no direct link to the essay.  So I’m pasting the entire review into this post:

From the Greeks to the Grimoires:  A Review of Jake Stratton-Kent’s Geosophia

I am quite proud to review this new book from Scarlet Imprint. It is not merely because Geosophia is a well written historical analysis of a subject near to my heart. Nor is it entirely because the author is someone whose scholarship and worldview I respect. I am proud because this is a truly important book, and there is a subtle connection between it and my own Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires. Before I give you my review, I will explain that connection – which I believe will establish a context for the rest of the review:

One of my primary agendas in writing Secrets was to ‘reform’ the reputation of the Solomonic grimoires.   (That is, books such as the Key of Solomon, Lemegeton, Arbatel, and Grimoirum Verum.)  Among western occultists, the grimoires had long been equated with lodge-style ceremonial magick – such as practiced in Golden Dawn or Thelemic temples. Yet, the content of the grimoires does not bear the mark of such quasi-Masonic magickal systems. What we find in the grimoires is decidedly more shamanic – bearing a stronger resemblance to systems like Santeria, Voodoo, Palo Mayombe or even Hoodoo from the American South. (After Secrets, I would publish an essay directly linking these New World traditions to the grimoires.)

In order to illustrate this point, Secrets focused upon the shamanic elements found within the grimoiric texts. I then cited parallel examples from ancient cultures to drive the point home. (Including but not limited to examples from the ATRs, the Merkavah Mystics, the Baalim Shem and even the biblical Prophets.) I was doing this merely for illustration. It was not my intention to point to any specific group of ancient shamans and say, ‘These are the guys who originated the grimoire tradition.’ Of course, I knew about the links to Arabic, Greek, Egyptian and Jewish mysticism, but these were threads of a broad historical outline without a specific story to go along with them. That is to say, I couldn’t name the actual culprits who had originated the unique ‘style’ of magick that eventually culminated in the grimoires.

Mr. Stratton-Kent, upon reading my work, was keenly aware of this shortcoming. His studies of goety and its historical origins had made him aware of several groups of ancient shamans who can be directly implicated in the formation of the grimoires. I say ‘formation’ rather than ‘creation,’ because these ancient shamans did not write the Solomonic grimoires, but they certainly founded the traditions which would later result in them. Mr. Kent rightly felt their story needed to be told if we are to truly understand the heart of the magick found in books like the Heptameron, Arbatel, Key of Solomon, Goetia, or Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. I whole-heartedly agree – and as I read Geosophia I found myself often repeating the phrase ‘Oh! So that’s where that came from!’

I am quite tempted to make this an essay about these ancient shamans, and the lasting influence they have had on Western religion and esotericism. After reading Geosophia, I was inspired to begin looking into them on my own – and though I have barely scratched the surface, I am already deeply fascinated by them. However, this is supposed to be a review of Geosophia. Therefore, I will try to be (somewhat) brief, and give you the information I believe will help you better grasp Mr. Stratton-Kent’s book when you read it.

The author begins, in chapter one, by discussing the art of goetia in the grimoires. Rather than analysing the usual Solomonic texts – such as the Goetia, or Grimorium Verum – he chooses instead to share an excerpt from The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, wherein the autobiographer (a non-occultist) shares his experiences attending a goetic evocation ceremony. This was an interesting choice, as it grants us a view into how such magick was actually practiced in the Renaissance era – described by an eyewitness – rather than trying to read between the lines of a set of written magickal instructions. This allowed Mr. Stratton-Kent to highlight certain themes within the goetic ritual, which he would later trace to their ancient origins.

Those origins are to be found in the area of Greece and Asia Minor, in the pre-Classical times before Homer and the Olympian cults. The religions that gave rise to the goetic tradition were indigenous chthonic cults, whose mysteries were already old when the first Greek city states were founded. Like many tribal cultures, their religious leaders were shamans who specialized in healing, protection and issues of death and the afterlife. Here is where we find the ‘Goen’ – a shaman who specialized in funerals, exorcism and dealing with spirits of the dead. In that time and place, if you held a funeral for a loved one, you would have called a Goen (or group of them) to officiate it. At the same time, if you needed to consult the dead for divination, you would also contact your local Goen.

The Goen were professional mourners. The Greek word goes basically means ‘to howl’ – which modern authors have attributed to the ‘howling of demons’ heard when one opens the gates of hell. However, a more proper definition of the term might be ‘to wail’ – not as a beast, but as one struck with grief. In the ancient world, mourning – in and of itself – became a religious specialty. Ritual mourning accompanied sacred rites to deities such as Osiris, Tammuz and Dionysus (marking the seasons) as well as funerals for mortals. The Goen were famous for this, and are described as reciting their invocations in the form of mournful laments. (In Secrets I argued that the term ‘goety’ actually means ‘witchcraft’ or ‘sorcery’ – which was eventually true. However, the word became associated with sorcerers somewhat later in history. Originally, it was the regional word for ‘shaman,’ and indicated his or her vocation for funerals and necromancy.)

As often happens, the Greek urban-dwellers began to denegrate the beliefs and practices of the country folk outside their city walls. By the time of the Classical authors, such as Plato, we already see a distinction being made between Magia and Goety. Magia is described as an enlightened practice reserved for the educated, while Goety is described as base and vile. It is here that “goety” begins to take on the definition of ‘sorcery’ – to distinguish it from the theurgy popular among the Greek Olympian cults. This characterization of ancient shamanism and necromancy became standard in Western esotericism – and we see the same attitude carried into Agrippa’s Three Books and the entire Solomonic tradition. Sadly, the same bias continues to this very day – though we are seeing it weaken as we learn (and accept) more about the origins of our modern traditions.

Another important group – likely connected to the Goen – was the Orphic movement. This, too, was a chthonic cult whose primary prophet had visited Hades and returned. They venerated underworld deities such as Persephone and Dionysus/Baccus – both of whom were also known to descend to and return from the grave. It may be proper to suggest that Orpheus himself – famous for his poetry and the mournful songs he played upon his lyre – was in fact a Goen. Fragments of Orphic funerary texts depict an afterlife jouney similar in concept to what we find in the Egyptian Pert Em Heru (Book of the Dead) – giving the recently deceased instructions for safe passage through the obstacles of the underworld, the proper manner of addressing the underworld deities, etc. This certainly suggests a shamanic core for the Orphic movement – wherein its priests would officiate funerals and guide the soul of the dead to its final resting place. This would have also associated them with healing – which often involved shamanic trips into the underworld to rescue lost souls. That was, after all, why Orpheus had descended into Hades in the first place.

The next group mentioned in Geosophia were a shock to me – both because I had never heard of them, and because they appear to have had a massive impact on Western occultism. These are the Chalybes, also known as the Chaldoi. They lived in northeastern Asia Minor, on the shores of the Black Sea, in a country called Chaldia – which is an interesting point, but shouldn’t be confused with the Chaldea (aka Babylon) of Mesopotamia.

The Chalybes were one of the few ancient peoples credited with the discovery of iron – and it is from them we get the Latin word for steel: chalybs. They were world-famous metal-smiths, who jealously guarded the secrets to their art. Stratton-Kent suggests they created the worlds first guilds – secret societies that not only facilitated the teaching of the art, but also preserved its trade secrets from spreading to other tribes. In order to become an apprentice, one had to undergo the guild’s initiation ceremonies – which (I’m sure it is needless to say) was essentially joining a religion. The initiate would be introduced not only to the tools and techniques of blacksmithing, but also to the gods and spirits in charge of it all.

For this reason, the very practice of metalworking was considered a magickal art. Therefore, the Chalybes were considered wizards and any weapon, armour or other tool made by them was considered inherently magickal. (This is no surprise, considering the advantage iron weapons gave warriors over their more primitive opponents). I found it interesting to note the author chooses this point to mention the famous sword Excalibur (or ‘Ex Chalyber’?) as a possible reference to a magickal sword made by none other than the Chalybes.

The author also suggests that the mystery guilds of the Chalybes were the origin of the most ancient Greek mystery schools. Sure enough, the deities invoked in such schools often have strong ties to fire, the forge and metalworking: such as the Dactyls, Telchines, Curetes, Cabieri (Kabieroi) and Korybantes. (These groups are often considered interchangeable – though this is not intended to obscure the unique origins of each of these deities.) In many cases, you will find links between these gods and Hephaestus, the Greek God of metalsmithing, fire and volcanoes. Interestingly, these same beings are often invoked for healing as well as for protection (especially for sailors).

At the same time, the deities of the Greek mystery schools are associated with the underworld – such as the Eleusinian Mysteries, where Hades, Demeter and Persephone were worshipped. In fact, there appears to be a direct relationship between the underworld and cave-dwelling volcano/fire gods like Hephaestus (worhsipped by the Chalybes in a pre-Olympian form), the Dactyls, Cabeiri, etc. Therefore there is a relationship between the Chalybes’ mysteries and those of the Goen – both of whom existed at the same time, in the same place, previous to the foundation of the Greek city-states and the Classical Olympian religion.

All of this comes together in Geosophia to suggest an astounding premise: Goety is not merely the root of a class of Solomonic texts dedicated to necromancy; it is, in fact, a primary origin for much of the Western Mystery Tradition! Everything that came from the Greek and Roman mystery cults – which we today collectively refer to as ‘theurgy’ (god-working) – in fact has primitive Greek shamanism (goety) as its parent. (We might also note the focus upon alchemy and metallurgy that pervades Hermeticism and Rosicrucianism to this day. Not to mention our common focus upon Osiris – a god of the underworld.) The separation between ‘Magia’ (or ‘Theurgia’) and ‘Goety’ in the Classical texts is a false separation – made by city-dwellers who did not want their arts associated with the pagana (hicks, bumpkins) who lived in the wilderness, or with the ancient religions that had been supplanted by Olympus.

Moving on from these ancient pre-Greek cults, Mr. Stratton-Kent takes us to a new time and place: Hellenic Egypt. Here, he explores the famous Greek Magical Papyri – which preserve the syncretic forms that Grecian-Egyptian folk magick took in that time and place. The material in this section wasn’t as new to me, but I was thrilled to see that Stratton-Kent had not passed over it in silence. If we are discussing the ancient Greek origins of the grimoires, then we simply must include discussion of the Magical Papyri. It is in these texts (along with another Greek text called The Testament of Solomon) that we see the form and style of the later grimoires established. We also find herein a focus upon chthonic deities – some already established as such, and in some cases celestial gods are re-assigned to positions in the underworld.

The spells recorded in the Magical Papyri are a mish-mash of occultism from Greek, Egyptian, Jewish, Christian and other traditions. There is some argument over whether the Magical Papyri are better reflections of Greek or Egyptian occultism – though I find such arguments rather silly since we are discussing Egypt after the invasion of Alexander the Great – when the lines between Greek and Egyptian culture were blurry to say the least. The Papyri were created within a melting pot of ancient Greek, Kemetic, Hermetic, Jewish and Gnostic mysticism and philosophy – a list of sources that should be familiar to students of the Solomonic texts.

The author (or compiler) of the Magical Papyri was apparently interested in collecting magickal wisdom from any source available – another hallmark of the medieval grimoires. The form the spells take, and the results they promise, are also similar to what we would later see in the medieval era. That modern students continue to find links between these ancient texts and the grimoires simply does not surprise me. Mr. Stratton-Kent dedicates three chapters to the subject in vol. II of his work – and I think he only barely scratched the surface.

Finally, the author takes us still further east – this time to Mesopotamia. Here, he introduces us to a tribe of star-worshipping shamans who appear to have had more to do with the formation of the grimoires than any other: the Sabians. This is another group with whom I was unfamiliar, yet whose role in the saga of Western occultism is truly inspiring. Their traditions are purported to be the origin of the Picatrix – an Arabic grimoire which, in turn, is the sourcebook for much of the Solomonic tradition.

Historically, there are three groups who answer to the name ‘Sabian,’ ‘Sabean’ or ‘Sabaean’ – and only one of them concerns us here. Mr.Stratton-Kent does not include this info in his book, so I’ll do you the favor of making it clear here:

  • The Sabaeans: These are the inhabitants of the biblical land of Sheba (or Saba, modern Yemen), and claim to be descended directly from the Queen of Sheba herself. This is the same queen who famously visited and (some say) married King Solomon. Legend holds that she was Solomon’s feminine match in many ways – including in her extensive knowledge of magick. Jewish midrashim even suggests that she was no one less than Lilith, come to test the great king. Though it is tempting to see a connection here with the medieval Solomonic texts, the people of Sheba have nothing to do with the authors of the Picatrix or the grimoiric tradition.
  • The Sabeans, aka the Mandaeans: Mandaeism (or Mandaeanism) is a form of Persian Gnosticism that post-dates Christianity but pre-dates Islam. In the Quran, Muhammad mentioned the Sabeans as one of the acceptable peoples of the Book. His detractors also accused him of being a member of the group. For quite some time there was confusion over which group of Sabeans was intended by these Quranic references (see below), but today it is generally accepted that Muhammad was referring to the Mandaeans. Their sect still exists – but thanks to the war in Iraq they are quickly vanishing.
  • The Sabians, aka the Nabataeans. This is the group discussed in Geosophia – though Mr. Stratton-Kent chooses to spell the name ‘Sabean.’ (Either form is acceptable.) They lived in the area of Harran in south-eastern Asia Minor and northern Syria. I would hazard to say that the Sabians were the last hold-overs from ancient Babylon. Like the Babylonian religion, the they honored and worked magick through the seven classical planets via invocation and sacrifice. They were not, however, always called the Sabians. An older name for them is ‘Nabataen’ and one of the few sources of information we have on them is called The Nabataean Agriculture – one of the purported sources of the Picatrix. They were also called “Chaldeans” – which suggests their neighbors also recognized their connection to ancient Babylon or Chaldea. By the time they became known as the Sabians, they were already an ‘Abrahamic’ people who practiced baptism, considered Noah their prophet and their primary holy book was the Zaboor (Book of Psalms). However, their practices – especially their praying to angels in the stars – were still considered very much pagan.

The story of how they adopted the Sabian name is worth briefly relating here: In 830 CE, the Caliph al’Mamun of Baghdad embarked upon a military campaign against the Byzantine Empire – and his journey toward the battle ground took him through Harran. There he noticed the peoples’ dress was distinctively different from their neighbors. The Caliph questioned them on their religious identity – asking them if they were Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Magian (Zoroastrian). They answered in the negative. He also asked them if they had a prophet or a sacred book (both requirements of a legitimate religion at the time) – which they also denied. (That latter part of the story seems strange, if they in fact considered Noah their prophet and the Book of Psalms their sacred text.) The Caliph then informed them that they were infidels without official protection. Therefore, he would give them until he returned from his campaign, during which time they must convert to one of the approved religions of the Book, or be put to death.

The approved religions of the time were those I listed above: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism. None of these suited the Nabateans of Harran, so they consulted a religious lawyer. That lawyer discovered that another group was also mentioned in the Quran as an acceptable “people of the Book” – the Sabians. Today, we suspect Muhammad was actually referring to the Mandaeans, but in 830 CE no one knew this. The identity of the Quranic “Sabian” people was a mystery, and therefore the Harranians decided to become them.

When the Caliph rode through again, he found the people of Harran had converted to Sabianism. (Interestingly, one of the interpretations of the word Sabian is one who converts.) They had adopted Hermes Trismagestos – the prophet of Hermeticism – as their prophet, and the Corpus Hermeticum became their sacred book.

And this brings us firmly back to the subject matter of Geosophia. The author does not spend much time telling us exactly who the Sabians were. He instead follows the thread of Greek philosophy from ancient (pre-)Greece, through Hellenic Egypt and finally into Harran. One of Islam’s very first universities was founded there in the 8th century, and it became the entry point for classical Western knowledge and philosophy into the growing Islamic world. Harran was a center of culture and learning, and became a gathering place for astrologers, hermeticists, alchemists, neoplatonists, etc. Thus we can see why they might adopt Hermes and the Corpus Hermeticum as their prophet and book.

It was this atmosphere that would produce the Picatrix in the 10th century – a mixture of ancient Chaldean and classical Hermetic magick and philosophy. Any medieval grimoire that focuses upon the seven planets, magickal hours, planetary/stellar intelligences, magickal images, calling down Stars via invocations, the creation and use of talismans, etc. can claim the Picatrix as its parent or grandparent. I must admit that I have yet to dedicate myself to a full study of the Picatrix – mainly because I have been waiting for a good translation that stands up to peer review. Meanwhile, Mr. Stratton-Kent has translated a few sections for us in the second volume of Geosophia – and I would be hard-pressed to find any significant difference between their methods of planetary invocation and my own strictly Solomonic methods. Thus, if any group of shamans can be singled out as the culprits behind the grimoires, I would say it must be the Sabians of Harran.

I have sacrificed a fair amount of space discussing the various peoples mentioned in Geosophia. It is not only a mark of how fascinating I find the subject, but I also hope the above will help you better grasp the material in Mr. Stratton-Kent’s book. Now, let us return to a more critical review of Geosophia itself:

The author uses a curious literary device to connect the chapters and volumes his work. Beginning in chapter two, we accompany the ancient Greek heroes Jason and his Argonauts upon their famed quest for the golden fleece. The author uses the exotic locations visited by the Argo, as well as the ritualistic actions of its crew, as launching-points for discussions about ancient shamans such as those I described above.

At the same time, by following the path of the Argo’s voyage, we are essentially given a tour of Hades – the Greek underworld. Along the way, we encounter a large number of Greek and pre-Greek gods, demigods, heroes, oracles and witches – focusing upon those associated with chthonic cults like the Chalybes, Phrygians, Thracians and the Dionysian and Orphic movements. Exploring these non-Olympian religions introduces us to a radically different relationship between Man and underworld than we usually see in post-Christian Western society. Rather than an underworld full of hateful demons and hellfire, which must be avoided or heroically endured, we find an underworld populated with gods, heroes and the spirits of our passed loved ones. Man invokes its gods for the mysteries of death, but also for divination, healing, fire and protection.

Geosophia also highlights a curious point in classical history when elements of the underworld were ‘promoted’ to celestial status. For example, we see this in Plato’s Myth of Er – where the protagonist ascends into the heavens to visit locations clearly associated with Hades. This fluidity between the chthonic and celestial realms has become a hallmark of the Western Mystery Tradition. Some Gods, such as Osiris, Apollo, Hermes and even the Archangel Michael have played both celestial and chthonic roles in their histories. We see the same trend in the Greek Magical Papyri, where commonly celestial deities suddenly take on beastly underworld aspects. And we see it in the medieval grimoires, where nearly any entity might be classed as an angel in one text and a demon in the next. The entities Cassiel, Uriel and Samael (with countless variations upon their names) are classic examples of this ambiguity.

I previously noted Mr. Stratton-Kent’s thesis that even theurgy and high magick has roots in the most ancient forms of goety. The inexplicable confusion between the higher and lower realms is certainly at the heart of this – right alongside the city-dweller’s prejudice against country-dwelling cunning folk. Where goety had once been a socially established and perfectly acceptable practice, the newly emerged theurgist wanted to distance himself from those practices. Yet, as is always the case, this didn’t mean the theurgist came up with anything new to replace the older goety. He just re-named and re-cast the old magick into a new ‘acceptable’ form. Rites that had once been strictly goetic were adopted and made theurgic. The process of contacting gods and spritis from the underworld where – much like the underworld itself – simply shifted to the gods and spritis of the celestial realm instead. (And in many cases, it was the same gods merely re-assigned to a new home.)

It certainly did not appear that Mr. Kent was suggesting we are all, unknowingly, playing with Goetia. His goal, as I understand it, is to re-cast the very subject of goety – to free it from containment within the first book of the Lemegeton and from its reputation as an art of ‘summoning demons.’ Goety, in its original form, was chthonic rather than infernal – much like what we see in the Greek Magical Papyri. The same practices wrere eventually adopted into high magick – aimed instead at celestials – and the term “goetia” was (long before the medieval era) demoted to a pejorative against those who worked with demons or the dead. Even worse, by the classical era, the word “goen” could just as easily mean ‘fraud’ as it did ‘sorcerer.

Before I bring this review to a close, I would like to issue a couple of warnings to the reader of Geosophia. Be prepared to endure an avalanche of unfamiliar names – humans, gods, spirits and places – especially from Greek regional mythologies. Unless you specialize in that area, you will likely begin to feel quite lost after only a few chapters. However, do not allow this to intimidate or confuse you! It is not necessary to memorize every name or term the author uses along the way in order to grasp the premise of the material. Usually, if a name or place will become important later in the text, the author will tell you. Then, once you’ve gained some familiarity with these subjects (looking up terms in sources exterior to Geosophia helps – so keep Wikipedia and Google open while you read), a second reading of the books should seem less overwhelming.

The same is true especially for the chapters on the Greek Sybils in volume one. I actually got bogged down in this section for some time – mistakenly thinking I needed to read every word there in order to understand the rest of the book. However, I eventually found this section was more like reference material. Having provided every scrap of available info on each of the Sybils, Mr. Stratton-Kent continues to outline a medieval Solomonic rite that actually summons one of them. I suspect his intent was to provide us with a grimoire, of sorts, by which we could choose which Sybil we would like to summon. My advice is to read through the descriptions of the individual Sybils quickly and get on with the rest of the book – but definitely come back and read carefully if you intend to perform the Sybil evocation rite.

If I have any real criticism, it would be for the last few chapters in Vol. II. This is where we are finally introduced to the Sabians (Stratton-Kent: Sabeans) and the primordial grimoire known as Picatrix. The information found here is exceptional – including portions of the Picatrix itself, translated by the author and a friend. My criticism is only that he leaps rather abruptly into this subject. I put the book down and researched the Sabians myself (including figuring out which group Mr. Stratton-Kent was actually refereencing) and then continued reading. To be fair, the author does make it clear that the Sabians were the primary entry point of Hellenism and Hermeticism into the Arab world, so we are not left to question why he suddenly leaps from ancient and classical Greece over to Mesopotamia and the Picatrix. However, the Argo never visited the Sabians, so that literary device did not leave much rrom for their story. (This is why I devoted so much space to them in this review.)

The final couple of chapters make a similar leap – this time to the ATRs (African Traditional Religions) of the New World, and their relationship to the modern Solomonic movement. Once again, this is not a blind leap – the author explains his reason for discussing the ATRs: that they are a living tradition both similar to and connected with the grimoires, and thus comparison between what they do and what we (Solomonic types) are doing, or should do, is a productive line of study. This is something I’ve written about – including in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires and the followup essay ‘Modern Grimoire Magick.’ (And several essays besides.) I fully agree with the author’s inclusion of ATR material in his work, but – like the Sabians – we aren’t given much of the story behind its relationship with the modern Solomonic movement.

Then again, I have written on that subject extensively – and Geosophia gives you the parts of the story that I missed. So perhaps the author can be forgiven for keeping the ATR material light in his books. You can grab my work for the story behind the ATR/Solomonic connections. For now, though, I absolutely recommend you get a copy of Jake Stratton-Kent’s Geosophia from Scarlet Imprint. It will, without a doubt, affect how you view magick. And, perhaps, it will even affect how you perform magick.




Posted May 10, 2012 by kheph777 in books, reviews

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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:

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.



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

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Staring at Goats…   Leave a comment

Jul 28, 2010

I just watched “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”  I had no idea how awesome this movie is!  🙂  Of course a lot of the tale’s back story is based on actual events, wherein the Newage movement made an ingress into the US Military, and created an atmosphere that was open to their later remote-viewing experiments and (sadly) much of the psych-warfare techniques the military would eventuall develop.

I think the story was also a wonderfully accurate portrayal of Newage culture.  It was frankly honest about the silliness that so often surrounds their beliefs and practices, and yet also portrayed them as a very real spiritual movement with an important part to play in American history.  🙂

Even the plot itself was enjoyable.  An ex-“Jedi Knight” from the “New Earth Battalion” receives a vision to go into the dessert, and there meets up with his Yoda-figure from the past in order to confront their mutual Darth Vader-figure.  And the whole thing is set in the mold of a Sorcerer’s Apprentice story, told from the viewpoint of the young man who finds himself recruited into this often-silly yet enigmatic world.

While it’s no “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, I’ll still put this up there with one of Clooney’s best performances.  :):)



Posted November 24, 2010 by kheph777 in movies, reviews

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The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Peterson Edition)   Leave a comment

I am currently tearing through Joseph Peterson’s edition of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. I bought it because it contains “Use of the Psalms” – a primary source for Psalm Magick. However, I’ve discovered that the entire grimoire is a fascinating piece of work – what a shame I’ve neglected a study of it for so long.

The first operation given in the text (the seven and twelve Seals) is much more cohesive and complete than I had given it credit for being.

Most of the following sections are different versions of the same text – consisting of Hebrew-letter talismans (as opposed to medieval Solomonic sigils) intended to reveal mysteries about various Biblical miracles – mostly taken from Moses’ activities in Exodus.  The burning bush, changing the rod into a serpent, the 7 Plagues of Egypt, parting the red sea, etc.  It reminds me, in spirit, of the Armadel of Solomon – though the Armadel uses medieval sigils.

There are also several treatises included that amount to long-winded Christian apologia for the existence and use of magick.  At least one of them is based almost entirely upon Agrippa’s occult philosophy.

Overall I think the magickal operations in this book are worthy for further exploration.  However, a LOT of corrective work would have to be done on the Hebrew, as the author(s) of the text obviously had no clue whatsoever about the Hebrew letters or language.

Check out the book here:

Posted November 16, 2010 by kheph777 in books, reviews, solomonic

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