From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, August 4, 2015:
“All the books which treat of characters, extravagant figures, circles, convocations, conjurations, invocations, and other like matters, even although any one may see some effect thereby, should be rejected, being works full of diabolical inventions; and ye should know that the demon maketh use of an infinitude of methods to entrap and deceive mankind. This I have myself proved, because when I have operated with the veritable wisdom, all the other enchantments which I had learned have ceased, and I could no longer operate with them…” [Book the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Book II, Chapter 4: “That the greater number of magical books are false and vain.”]
The above quote from the Book of Abramelin has led some students to question how the Operation relates to other systems of magick, especially the Solomonic grimoires. There can be little doubt that Abraham the Jew is repudiating those very grimoires in his above diatribe—what with all of their characters and circles and conjurations. Of course, as I pointed out in my last blog, it is not unusual for a grimoire to declare itself pristine while decrying all other (largely similar) texts as false and diabolical. However, what makes Abraham’s above statement unique is that he claims the True and Sacred Magic will cause all of those other systems to stop working for you. Is that true?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/08/abramelin-vs-the-grimoires-will-the-sacred-magic-replace-all-other-systems/
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/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, June 22, 2015:
In the upcoming issue of Hermetic Tablet (Summer 2015), Jake Stratton-Kent has published an essay entitled, “The Other Magicians and the Goetia,” (adapted from an Internet post simply called, “The Other Magicians”), and I am about to spoil the hell out of it. It’s not that I want to steal Jake’s thunder, but I think this is a topic that needs discussion, and I’m not against shining my own spotlight upon it—especially since the subject matter has become rather important to my own path. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so let me begin with a bit of explanation.
When modern students look at the most popular texts of classical Western occultism—such as the Key of Solomon, Lemegeton, The Book of Abramelin, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, etc,—we often come away with the impression that they represent how magick was done at the time. However, we can easily forget a rather simple fact: the medieval/Renaissance European grimoires only reflect how one specific group of occultists did their work.
I talk about this at length in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, where I discuss the origin of the Solomonic tradition among a class of clerical exorcists. Without a doubt, the methods of spirit conjuration outlined in the Solomonic texts reflect this origin: the view of all chthonic and nature spirits as “evil,” the imperious and arrogant manner in which the spirits are addressed, and the harsh methods used to force the spirits’ compliance—all of this arises from a culture of people who spent their days casting out truly demonic entities of sickness and ill-fortune from their clients.
Yet, the grimoires themselves have given us clues that this was not the only method of working with spirits—perhaps not even the predominant one.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/06/who-are-the-other-magicians/
Greetings fellow ‘Dawners! It is time for a brand new rant!
Regardie-bashing has become a fad, and I’ve had quite enough of it.
This is a problem I have seen growing for a long time now. But before I get into that, let me give some background:
The modern Golden Dawn movement got its start when Chic Cicero founded the new Isis-Urania Temple in the late 1970s. Before long, he established contact with the man who – at the time – was believed to be the last living adept of the old Order: Dr. Israel Regardie. Chic was building a new Vault of the Adepti, and he wanted Regardie to come by and inspect it for him. In the end, Regardie not only inspected it, but also performed the Consecration of the Vault and the first initiations within it. With that, the modern Golden Dawn was born, with initiatory lineage through Regardie back to the old order. Chic dubbed his new order the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it stands today as the oldest, largest and most successful G.D. organization in history. (It has far out-stripped the original order, which only existed between 1888 and 1903. And will soon be older than the post-schism orders of Stella Maturina and Alpha et Omega – both of which had all but vanished by the Second World War. There was also a third order that descended from the Stella Matutina and lasted much longer – but we’ll get to them later.)
HOGD Vault of the Adepti
However, keep in mind that Chic was/is an American occultist. He wasn’t too interested in being a guru, handing down dogmatic mysteries to be consumed by an adoring and unthinking cult. He wasn’t out to impress you with the deep mysteries he knows but refuses to share with you (due to “oaths”). Instead, he wanted his order to grow and thrive and for the Western Mysteries to be available to anyone who takes interest in them. To that end, he and his wife Sandra Tabatha Cicero (who would quickly become one of the Order’s three chiefs) have produced an impressive library of books about the Golden Dawn and Hermeticism.
Now over 30 years have passed, and the result of the Ciceros’ dedication and hard work are plain for all to see. Beyond the many existing HOGD Temples around the world, there are now dozens of different G.D.-based orders or independent Temples out there. Most of them have some connection to the Ciceros’ group – many were founded by former HOGD adepts, and/or are using the Golden Dawn name and system under our trademark. (This is freely-given legal protection, so others can run their Temples without fear of lawsuits from those who would “own” the Golden Dawn for themselves.) All of them have their own unique “take” on or approach to the system, but there is no Golden Dawn group in existence who has not benefited from the vast corpus of written material published by the Ciceros.
Chic Cicero and Israel Regardie
Tabatha Cicero and Israel Regardie (dirty old man!)
But this was supposed to be about Regardie, right? It is true that none of us would be here talking about the Golden Dawn today if it were not for Chic and Tabatha Cicero. Yet, if you ask them who they have to thank, you can bet the answer will be Israel Regardie. Having initiated into the Stella Matutina branch of the order just before the War, he bore witness to its decline and eventual fall. He knew that something drastic must be done to save the material from vanishing into obscure history – finally deciding to publish as much of the Order’s papers as he could gather. The few members who were still hanging on were polarized by this action: some of them were affronted that Regardie would break his oaths of secrecy and “profane” the Order’s secrets. Others were actually happy to have a printed version of the Grade Lectures and other material that, previously, had to be copied by hand. (To get a feel for this last point, just grab your copy of Regardie’s The Golden Dawn – yes, I know you have one – and imagine sitting down to hand copy the whole thing.)
Regardie’s book had a massive impact on the modern Western occult revival. Long before Chic Cicero came along, the book was being mined by Neopagans, Thelemites and just about every Western occult or mystical group you could name. (Margot Adler mentions this in Drawing Down the Moon.) And, it was that very book that inspired Chic Cicero to build his own Temple. Regardie came to see that Temple (and its newly-constructed Vault) and ended up giving legitimacy to what might have been little more than a camp of Thelemites and strippers in Georgia. Regardie became the initiatory link between the new Order and the old.
Give all of the above, it might seem strange that anyone involved in anything Golden Dawn would feel it necessary to bash Regardie – and by extension to insult my entire Order and lineage. Yet, it is happening, and I suspect it is mostly because the HOGD is so large and successful. Given its authoritative position in the greater G.D. Community, it is sadly human nature to want to “take it down a peg.” Some take the route of attacking Chic and Tabatha directly – though that’s a slippery slope because they are: a) beloved by nearly everyone and b) still alive. Regardie, meanwhile, is just some old guy who died before many of you were born (or, in my case, when I was just a little kid). He’s an easy target. Thus, we hear much about what an awful oath-breaker he was, or how he didn’t really hold the Grade we thought, or how he had no institutional authority to found a new Order, or that he never participated in any rituals, or that he was once a jerk to some of his Temple chiefs, etc, etc. Why I’ve even been told, point blank, that Regardie had no lineage to give!
And this is what I’ve been watching over the past few years. Specifically, it seems to be the popular thing now to be a Golden Dawner but to eschew Regardie entirely. He got it all wrong, they say. We have the real mysteries, they claim. They refer with disdain to the “Regardie upstart orders” and pretend that they represent the “real” Golden Dawn while the rest of us are merely children at play. It is insulting – not just to Regardie, but to the Ciceros and to my Order.
One of my largest areas of concern lies with another Golden Dawn group – that third off-shoot Order I mentioned but failed to name above. However, before I do I want to make something very clear: I’m about to start talking about some good people, and I don’t want to give the slightest impression that I have a problem with any of them or all of them collectively. For the rest of what you are going to read, please understand my tone is that of a brother bitching about his brothers – there’s nothing but love beneath it, and if you have anything bad to say about them we can step outside. ;) So, on with it:
The group in question is generally known by the name Whare Ra – though that was the name of the building housing their Mother Temple, while the temple’s official name was Smaragdum Thallasses (Emerald of the Sea). This was chartered in New Zealand as Temple #49 of the Stella Matutina, and (after the collapse of the rest of the SM) became the Order’s Mother Temple. Of the original Golden Dawn Orders (G.D., Stella Matutina, Alpha et Omega and Whare Ra), it can be said without question that Whare Ra was the most successful. Unlike its sister temples it did not close during WWII (thanks to being tucked safely away in New Zealand), and in fact continued to operate until the late 1970s. (Chic was building his Temple in America just as Whare Ra was closing its doors.) Their only failing – and they likely didn’t see it as such – was that they never opened further Temples and eventually stagnated before closing.
Whare Ra Vault of the Adepti
Fortunately, we know about Whare Ra today because the Order’s adepts didn’t stop being adepts merely because their Temple stopped holding meetings. Some of the elderly adepts continued to teach and share their mysteries with others who were pursuing the Golden Dawn tradition. You may recognize a couple of their names – like Jack Taylor and Frank Salt. While those men have long-since passed away, their students (even if never initiated into Whare Ra itself) have propagated their teachings. Just a few short years after the HOGD was established by Regardie (who we only thought was the last living adept!), Pat Zalewski made it publically known that the Whare Ra lineage still existed.
That’s a good thing, right? Damn straight it is!
But this leaves us with a bit of a problem: culture clash. The Whare Ra people are not American, and they aren’t so fast and loose with information as the Ciceros and those who follow in their footsteps. They enjoy that old-world feel for their mysteries. They love their secrecy, and their adept links to the past (Salt and Taylor) never went public like Regardie did. I would say that, for the most part, the Whare Ra people – folks like Pat and Chris Zalewski and Tony Fuller – feel as if they represent the last vestiges of the old Golden Dawn in the world today.
Before I continue, let me be perfectly clear yet again: neither the Zalewskis nor Fuller are out there bashing Regardie. That’s part of a larger trend that I think I covered well enough in the rant above. No, my real concern with the Whare Ra folks is that I all too often feel an “us vs. them” tone in what they say. Though never stated outright, they can come across as if they believe they are the “real” Golden Dawn while everyone else is “just following Regardie’s books” and can therefore be dismissed. The Whare Ra lineage doesn’t seem to have any love to lose for Regardie (it was one of them who stated Regardie had no lineage to give) and it comes through in what they say and write.
As most of you probably know, there have been a few internet trolls out there who have spent the last couple of decades trying to convince us all there are “warring factions” in the Golden Dawn. You’ve heard of “trademark wars” that in fact never happened. You’ve heard of decades-long flame wars, though no one can ever find the culprits. As I have stated over and again, this is all complete bunk. True Golden Dawn orders do not compete for members, nor do they even hold recruitment drives. (If you ever encounter a G.D. group that advertises or pressures you to join, just walk away.) And as for “warring factions”, the fact is that in reality the various G.D. Orders work together nicely and even do projects together. Yeah, I know that’s pretty damned boring in comparison to the fantasy that we are all powerful wizards having battles with one another in cyberspace and on the astral plane. Sorry…
But now I am concerned that we could be witnessing the rise of two actual factions of the Golden Dawn: American/HOGD and European/Whare Ra. Ideally, these would simply be two schools of the G.D. (and for now they are), but I use the word “faction” because there is a very real danger we could end up enemies. Not that I can imagine Pat Zalewski or Tony Fuller ever declaring themselves enemies of the Cicero school, but I do fear that if the “us vs. them” tone continues, we could see hostilities develop between the two schools within a generation or two.
I don’t believe for a second that the Whare Ra lineage represents the “real” Golden Dawn at the expense of the Regardie lineage. And, quibble all you want over whether Regardie was ZAM or ThAM, I do not buy the concept that he had no lineage to give. (Sure he wasn’t a 7=4 when he founded the HOGD, but then Mathers and Westcott weren’t 7=4 when they founded the G.D. either. Hell they weren’t even 5=6 – but that’s another discussion.) Regardie, flawed as he was, is our initiatory link with the old order – he’s our prophet or patron saint, if you will – just as Frank Salt and Jack Taylor are for the Whare Ra camp.
Let’s give all of these old dudes the credit they deserve – for without them what would any of us be doing right now? And, can we please remember to respect each other and treat one another as brothers? Yes, that means we’ll duke it out from time to time – but let us never ever allow it to become warring factions, or have one group look down its nose at the other.
If you want to see the Facebook thread that started all of this, see Regardie’s Supposed ThAM Grade by Tony Fuller. (It’s tone irked me, but he really does make a good historical point about one of Regardie’s papers.) Plus, Nick Farrell has also responded to this discussion with is own thoughts about Whare Ra and the dangers of factions arising in the G.D.: Whare Ra and the Modern Golden Dawn.
Stay strong in the LVX, brothers! :)
If you’re local to the Tampa area, we are giving the Ceremonial Magick 101 Classes again this summer! In fact, classes begin next month!
Ceremonial Magick 101 Classes
July 5 -August 2
Ceremonial Magick uses ritual and invocation to move us closer to the Divine Self. Come learn the basics of Ceremonial Magick from initiated ceremonial magicians, Carrie Mikell & Aaron Leitch – adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. If you want to experience Ceremonial Magick (aka High Magick or Theurgy), this class is for you! Course Topics include the following:
•Class 1: Basic Terms of Ceremonial Magick – Diagrams & the Qabalistic Cross
•Class 2: Basic Rituals & Correspondences
•Class 3: Pentagrams & the four Philosophical Elements
•Class 4: Hexagrams & the seven Planets
•Class 5: Talisman Creation & Consecration
•Class 6: An Angel Evocation
Class starts Sunday July 5th and continues over the following five Sundays, 1-3:30pm.
Cost is $25 per class with a $75 deposit that will pay for the last 3 classes in the series.
Please call Mystikal Scents at 813-986-3212 to register. Limited to 12 students.
9545 E. Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa/Brandon, FL. 33592
For more info (map, directions, etc) see the Facebook Events page.
P.S. – For those who are still hoping for Skype classes: I’m afraid that Skype was not sufficient for the purpose of online classes. We have another option – a bit more expensive but worth it in terms of quality and functionality. As things move forward, we will post further info on this subject.
Greetings fellow sorcerers!
You’ve been waiting for it… and waiting… and it’s finally here!
Nephilim Press has finally released the much-anticipated anthology:
Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick
Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick.
Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick (inside cover art)
Spirits are not merely an option or tool to be utilized when the magician deems it necessary. Spirits are the very heart and soul of all magick. A consecrated talisman has a spirit attached to it that contributes to the talisman’s power, the incantations we use work because the spirits heard them and acted. We are not alone when cast our spells; our patrons and familiars are always present, casting the spells with us.
Throughout history, ritual offerings have been the central pillar of all magick and religion. Very often, a magickal ritual consists of nothing more than the making of a prescribed offering to a particular spirit in a specified time and place, yet here in the West, the making of an offering has been equated with the worship of the spirit receiving it. The act of offering a spirit something as payment for services rendered has a close association with the dreaded “pact with the Devil,” by which a magician surely sells his soul to damnation, but to the rest of the world an offering is intended to feed and empower a spiritual entity, and to pay it fairly for its aid.
The art of making proper offerings to the spirits is a complex one, rife with strict protocols and warnings, but if you take the time to learn this ancient and powerful art, it will supercharge your magick like nothing you’ve experienced before.
Strictly Limited to 900 numbered copies and filled with over 280 pages of essays and actual photos of authors’ ritual altars, Ritual Offerings unites twelve practicing occultists who share their knowledge and experience with this fascinating and important subject. Traditions from around the world such as Solomonic magick, Tibetan Buddhism, New Orleans and Hatian Voudou, Western Hermetic Theurgy and more are discussed in great detail. Regardless of your tradition, Ritual Offerings will guide you in feeding your patrons and familiars safely and effectively and contribute to our overall success and growth as a practitioner.
Altar and Offerings to Sachiel
Aaron Leitch: Introduction: Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism and Liber Donariorum: the Book of Offerings
Zadkiel: The Elements of Making Offerings: The Offering as Sacrifice
Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan): Whispers from a Skull: Lessons in Spiritual Offerings from a Conjured Familiar
Brother Moloch: Ancestors & Offering
Frater Rufus Opus: The Back Yard Path toward the Summum Bonum
Denise M. Alvarado: Ritual Offerings in New Orleans Voudou
Jason Miller: Severed Head Cakes and Clouds of Dancing Girls: Offerings in Tibetan Buddhism
Nick Farrell: Offerings In Roman Deity Magic
Sam Webster, M.Div., Ph.D., founder OSOGD: Offerings in Iamblichan Theurgy
Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero: Ritual for the Declaration of Maa-Kheru
Gilberto Strapazon: Offerings in Ceremonial Magick and African Traditional Religions
(* – There are currently plans to release a paperback version of this book once the hardbound numbered copies have sold out. Stay tuned!)
Offering Altar to St. Michael
Offering Altar to Archangel Samael
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, August 4, 2014:
Making or Buying Your Ritual Tools?
Every so often, usually in online groups or forums, someone comes along and asks if it is always necessary to construct your own magickal tools, or if one can simply purchase them instead.
Overwhelmingly, such a person receives the same answer: Of course you must make your own tools! Constructing the tools is part of the ritual, it is how you imbue the tools with your personal energy and link them to your psyche. To use a tool made by someone else, you are bringing in that person’s energy and any impurities that might come along with it. Besides, just going out and buying all of your tools is lazy—an indicator of our modern consumer culture of instant gratification and simply purchasing your way through the system rather than doing the work.
Some people are very adamant about making their tools—even to the point of losing respect for anyone that purchases them instead. They feel the necessity of constructing the tools from scratch with your own hands is an obvious no-brainer. For them, there is no reasonable excuse for lowering yourself to consumerism to obtain your tools.
But, are they right?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/8/making-or-buying-your-magickal-tools/