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/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, April 27, 2015:
Angelic Ritual Possession
I have seen it stated, as a cold hard fact, that spiritual possession (also referred to as being “mounted” or “ridden” by a spirit) is not a part of the Western tradition. This person even asserted that no true archangel would ever possess a person (that activity being strictly relegated to the demonic).
Yet, over the years of my occult practice, especially my Solomonic work, I have seen plenty of archangels (and deities) possess people.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2015/04/angelic-ritual-possession/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, December 15, 2014:
To Fly in the Clouds, to Walk on the Water:
The Grimoires and Magickal Super Powers
There is a lot to be said for the mysterious and romantic nature of the old grimoires—such as the the Lemegeton, Key of Solomon, Abramelin, etc. Their pages are filled with ancient and powerful magickal formulae, the secrets of conjuring demons and calling down angels, and magickal talismans for every conceivable purpose. They represent a deep and complex occult tradition, drawing from the spirit lore, astrology, and alchemy of their day to address the problems of everyday life, politics, education, and even warfare.
But that’s not all they promise. Along with the expected spells for healing, love, protection in battle, and victory in court (things we can all use even today), you will discover the grimoires also promise you super powers. They claim that you’ll be able to fly, raise the dead, pass through locked doors, have spirits mine and coin gold for you, summon demonic armies, manifest lavish banquets, and a thousand other miracles that—in our modern world—are more associated with fantasy and Hollywood than with legitimate spiritual pursuits. Here are some examples:
- These are descriptions of talismans from the Key of Solomon:
- “The seventh and last pentacle of the Sun: If any be by chance imprisoned or detained in fetters of iron, at the presence of this pentacle, which should be engraved in Gold on the day and hour of the Sun, he will be immediately delivered and set at liberty.”
- “The fifth and last pentacle of Mercury: This commandeth the spirits of Mercury, and serveth to open doors in whatever way they may be closed, and nothing it may encounter can resist it.”
- “The sixth and last pentacle of the Moon.: This is wonderfully good, and serveth excellently to excite and cause heavy rains, if it be engraved upon a plate of silver; and if it be placed under water, as long as it remaineth there, there will he rain. It should be engraved, drawn, or written in the day and hour of the Moon.” [Key of Solomon the King]
- Here are descriptions of some of the magick word-squares from the Book of Abramelin:
- The Ninth Chapter: To transform animals into men, and men into animals; etc: To transform men into asses; into stags or deer; into elephants; into wild boars; into dogs; into wolves; or animals into stones.
- The Fifteenth Chapter: For the spirits to bring us anything we may wish to eat or to drink, and even all (kinds of food) that we can imagine: For them to bring us bread, meat, wine of all kinds, fish, and cheese.
- The Seventeenth Chapter: To fly in the air and travel any whither: In a black cloud; in a white cloud; in the form of an eagle; in the form of a crow (or raven); in the form of a vulture; in the form of a crane.
- The Twenty-Ninth Chapter: To cause armed men to appear: To cause an army to appear; armed men for one’s defense; to cause a siege to appear.
- The Thirtieth Chapter: To cause comedies, operas, and every kind of music and dances to appear: To cause all kinds of music to be heard; music and extravagant balls; for all kinds of instruments to be played; for comedies, farces and operas. [Book of Abramelin: Book III]
- And here are some of the powers of the spirits listed in the Lemegeton’s Goetia:
- The 18th spirit is called Bathin, […] he knoweth the virtue of herbs and precious stones, and can transport men suddenly from one Country into an other…
- The 23rd spirit is called Aim, […] he rideth on a viper, carrying a fire brand in his hand burning, wherewith he sets cities, castles and great places on fire…
- The 28th spirit in order as salomon bound them, is named Berith. […] he can turn all metals into gold…
- The 38th spirit is called Halphas […]; his office is to build up towers and to furnish them with ammunition and weapons, and to send men of war to places appointed…
- The 40th spirit is called Raum, […] his office is to steal treasures out of kings’ houses, and to carry it where he is commanded, and to destroy cities…
- The 42d spirit is Named Vepar […], his office is to guide the waters, and ships laden with armour thereon. He will at the will of the Exorcist cause the seas to be rough and stormy, and to appear full of ships…
Many students have run headlong into these fantastical descriptions, and have questioned what they reveal about the legitimacy of the texts. We don’t tend to scoff at spells that promise to heal a sickness or protect one during travel, but things like levitation, transmutation of metals into gold, and on-demand miracles are usually the purview of con-artists who use occultism as stage-dressing for their scams. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that students have questions about these promises of occult super powers in the grimoires.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/12/to-fly-in-the-clouds-to-walk-on-the-water-the-grimoires-and-magickal-super-powers/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, September 22, 2014:
Part 2: Why Work with Demons?
In my last blog post, “Why Is Satan in the Grimoires?, I addressed the curious presence of Satan in the Solomonic grimoires. I asked why a group of devout Christians would even produce books that teach how to summon (rather than banish) demonic entities. We found that grimoire mages were simply exploring the underworld as shamans before them had done for thousands of years. That the entities who dwelt in that underworld (and in nature) were given names like “Satan” and “Belial” instead of names like “Hades” and “Pan,” and were declared universally evil by the Church, was really beside the point.
But, what about the modern world? We certainly do not have the same Church-controlled culture that existed when the grimoires were written. And, yet, an overwhelming number of today’s occultists seem to flock to the dark and demonic. And I’m not just talking about self-styled Satanists. Even perfectly non-dark-n-scary practitioners, for some reason, often choose to work with the darker entities of our tradition. As I questioned in my last post:
“Why in the world would anyone, knowing the Lovecraft mythos, actually desire to make contact with a destructive chaotic force like Cthulhu? Why do some people choose to focus their studies and practices on infernal demons, fallen angels, the Qliphothic realms, and even the dead? Frankly, there are plenty of very powerful spirits out there who actually like humans—or at least tolerate us for some reason—so why should you purposefully invoke the meanest, nastiest human-haters our mythologies have to offer?”
Most of you probably know me primarily as an angel-worker, which you might assume means I stay away from the demons in favor of celestial spirits. But you may be surprised to find I delve into goetia myself—as it is outlined in the final portion of the Book of Abramelin. As an initiate of that system, I not only have intimate contact with my Holy Guardian Angel, but I also have chthonic familiar spirits who stick with me wherever I go. So, the question remains: why would someone with easy access to an extremely powerful archangel have any need of such familiars at all?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/9/part-2-why-work-with-demons/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, September 15, 2014:
Part 1: Why is Satan in the Grimoires?
Recently, a member of my ‘Solomonic’ Facebook group posed the question (and I paraphrase): Why would anyone want to work with spiritual beings who have, according to their own mythos, fallen out of favor with God? Is this done in protest of the divine judgement against such spirits, or in ignorance of it?
That’s a fair question, and not far from similar questions I have asked about occultism in general. For instance, why in the world would anyone, knowing the Lovecraft mythos, actually desire to make contact with a destructive chaotic force like Cthulhu? Why do some people choose to focus their studies and practices on infernal demons, fallen angels, the Qliphothic realms and even the dead? Frankly, there are plenty of very powerful spirits out there who actually like humans—or at least tolerate us for some reason—so why should you purposefully invoke the meanest, nastiest human-haters our mythologies have to offer?
All of this plays perfectly into a question I’ve long pondered about the Solomonic grimoires themselves: Why the hell do they even include Satan or demons at all? The texts arose from Christian tradition; in many cases written by clergy, or at least by very devout educated Christians (who received their education from clergy). What would possess these people to include spells for summoning Satan, Lucifer, Leviathan, Oriens, Paimon, Amaymon, Ariton, the 72 demons of the Goetia, etc, etc? Why should there exist a text called The Harrowing of Hell? Not only does this appear to run counter to the faith of the authors, but they were dong this in a time and place where they could be killed for far lesser religious infractions. Were these people secretly Satanists?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/9/part-1-why-is-satan-in-the-grimoires/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, August 19, 2014:
Does the Old Magick Reject Psychology?
For some time now, I’ve been writing about the “Old Magick”—such as that found in the African Traditional Religions, the Solomonic grimoires, and indigenous folk traditions. I have described the spirit model of magick—which views the gods, angels, and spirits as objective beings—and I have compared it unfavorably with the psychological model, which views these same entities as mental constructs that exist only within the mind.
Of course, if you’ve been following my work, you’re well aware of that. However, over the past weeks it has become apparent that my dismissal of the psychological model of magick might be misinterpreted as a repudiation of the entire subject of psychology. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
While I certainly do not view magick as merely an ancient form of psychology, it is important to remember that this does not rule out psychology in and of itself! The spirits may be real and objective, with their own personalities and agendas, but the human art that we call “magick” has a lot to do with the mind.
The right tools, the right rituals, and even a literal faith in the spirits’ objective reality isn’t quite enough. Your own psychology is vital. How the magick affects you, and how you (your mental state) affects it, is a huge chunk of the Mysteries.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/8/does-the-old-magick-reject-psychology/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, June 16, 2014:
Knocking on Wood:
Superstition and the Spirit Model of Magick
As many of my readers know, I am a practitioner of the Old Magick. That means I have abandoned the “psychological model” of magick (the belief that magick is strictly an art of the mind, and that spiritual entities are simply parts of our own psyches) in favor of the “spirit model” of magick (the belief that spiritual entities are very real and objective beings).
What that means is that my magick includes protocols for approaching the angels and spirits, methods of making offerings and caring for them, building relationships with them and convincing them (via mutual respect) to work with and for me here in the physical. It is, primarily, a form of shamanism—drawing techniques from ancient cultures and indigenous folks magicks. If you want some good examples of how I work (including photographs of the offering altars), check out these links:
Western Resistance to the Old Magick
Not every occultist wishes to toss aside the psychological model and adopt the old ways. Even now, I hear from those who are uncomfortable with concepts like establishing altars and making food offerings to spiritual beings. For them, the very idea of a spirit model just sounds silly and primitive. It depends on a worldview they feel was rightfully overthrown by science and reason. Above all, they seek to distance themselves from anything they understand as “superstition.”
That word—superstition—appears a lot in Western occult literature. Even Agrippa discusses it in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, so we know the argument has been going on since the Renaissance. Agrippa suggested that superstition can be helpful in magick, while other occultists of his time insisted superstition was the bane of magick and must be abandoned. What these people were actually talking about was indigenous folk magick—witchcraft, shamanism, etc. During their time, such practices were still illegal—punishable by arrest, forfeiture of assets, torture and/or execution. Therefore they had a vested interest in distancing themselves from the ancient pagan methods of magick—or “superstition.”
Because of this environment, the mysteries and philosophies of the Old Magick were lost in the West. The Renaissance gave way to the Age of Enlightenment (aka the Age of Reason) in the 17th century. Over the next several centuries, the study of psychology would rise to prominence in our culture, and most of our modern systems of occultism are based on the psychological model.
For occultists in such an environment, the protocols and actions that are vital to the Old Magick seem like barbarous nonsense.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/6/knocking-on-wood-superstition-and-the-spirit-model-of-magick/