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/
Aaron and Carrie React to Salamanders in the Ritual Fire
As you surely know, I was invited to headline at Phoenix Phyre’s Spring Festival in Florida – which was also my first time attending this event. Me and my family had an absolutely wonderful time! It took a day or two to get used to things – as Florida Pagan Gathering is our “home festival.” But, once we got into the swing of things for this venue, it was awesome! I want to thank Dru, Trish, Elise, Todd and everyone else who put so much time and effort into making it all happen, and for taking such great care of us while we were there. :)
An Unusual Request
As a headliner, I was of course asked to present a couple of workshops. I chose the old standby “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires” along with a new lecture “The Lost Secrets of Western Magick.” Along with these, I was asked to perform a Solomonic ritual – and that’s where things got really strange.
I admit I balked at the idea at first. I had never before attempted to perform a Solomonic invocation in a public venue. This isn’t the kind of magick you do just to put on a show. Not only that, but it is certainly not the kind of magick you perform at a Neopagan festival! As I told the organizers, this is Biblical magick. That means I would be reading Psalms from a Bible, invoking “The Lord God” by Hebrew Names, splashing people with holy water – for all intents and purposes it would be like holding a church service right in the middle of a Pagan celebration.
That didn’t deter them. (Wait… what???) Things certainly have changed in the Pagan communities since my early days! Back then, you couldn’t attend a festival like that and even admit you study the Qabalah, or Golden Dawn or even mention anything relating to Judeo-Christianity (unless you were poking fun at it). I know at that time many Pagans were coming out of abusive Christian upbringings, and the last thing they wanted to hear at their festivals was anything to do with the Bible. And as for the grimoires – those were either reviled as “too Christian” or ridiculed as old superstitious nonsense.
But times, they have changed. It’s no longer cool to bash Christianity in and of itself. (Even if certain individual Christians or groups still deserve ridicule.) And here I was, being asked by the organizers of Phoenix Phyre to allow them to witness what Biblical-based occultism is like.
And then the request actually got even stranger! When I asked them what they wanted me to do with my Solomonic magick, they suggested that I use it to summon some magickal creatures – as that was the theme of this particular festival. I told them the best I could think of (at that moment) was to call the Elementals… and they said “go for it!”
I was dumfounded. I had been certain that threatening their festival with the presence of the Elementals would make them think twice! These are some of the most mischievous and frankly dangerous spirits one can call. We’re essentially talking about faeries, elves, mermaids, etc… you know, the beasties most famous for causing trouble! They steal things. They love to screw with humans’ minds. They sink ships! They embody the raw forces of the elements, and calling them could easily result in storms, outbreaks of fire, flash floods, earthquakes and more. (Ok, maybe an earthquake would be unlikely in Florida… but don’t rule it out when these guys are involved! lol)
No matter how hard I tried to talk them out of it, they insisted they wanted me to do it. Plus, the time has been coming for a while now for me to demonstrate this Tradition publicly. Over the past couple of years I have become much more willing to share photos of my tools and my altars, as well as full write-ups of some of my rituals – all of which goes a long way toward illustrating how this stuff works, and it inspires others to follow suit. So I supposed it was time to take the next step and let others see a Solomonic invocation in action.
With all of the above in mind, I agreed to do the ritual if I could figure out a way to do it responsibly and (as far as possible) safely. I decided not to attempt an “evocation to visible appearance”, but instead stuck with a ritual of invocation and offering. I would call upon the Kings of the Four Directions to bring the Elementals and keep them in line. I would make offerings to all four classes of spirits, so they would be fed and happy. And I would charge them with tasks to keep them too busy to cause mischief – specifically the protection of the festival grounds and all attending it, as well as helping all present in their own spiritual/magickal journeys.
But wait a second… the above plan had another issue. You see, I’m most famous as an angel-worker. And, when it comes to my kind of magick, the general public (even Pagans) have a tendency to be fairly accepting of the angels. Yet, there were no angels involved in my planned ritual. By calling the Elementals through the Kings (Oriens, Paimon, Amaymon and Ariton) I was specifically invoking spirits the grimoires refer to as demons. I was, essentially, planning to perform a goetic ritual at Phoneix Phyre! (And let’s not forget the backlash caused last year when an LHP occultist attempted to open a “hellmouth” at a festival in Nevada…)
I decided to remain quiet about this last bit. While my ritual was technically goetic in that it focused on sub-lunar entities (the only celestial being called was Adonai Zabaoth), it was not what anyone present would recognize as Satanic or even Left-Hand Path. While what I was doing had an element of danger to it, it was in no way “dark and scary.” Besides, I was certain (ok, I hoped) few – if any – of the attendees would even know who Oriens, Paimon, Amaymon and Ariton are. These guys are only listed as “demons” in the grimoires because anything that wasn’t an established angel was classified as a “demon.” (And, even then, the grimoires are never entirely clear which entities should be angels and which are demons.) The important thing is that they aren’t infernal spirits. Heck, they aren’t even strictly chthonic; they are simply spirits of nature.
So let me summarize all of this: I had been invited by a Pagan festival to perform a Biblical-based Solomonic goetic invocation of the four Demon Kings of the directions in order to summon all four classes of usually-rambunctious and possibly dangerous Elemental spirits. You might imagine why I was hesitant – and even up to the moment the ritual began I continued to warn the organizers that some people might be uncomfortable with what I was doing and wish to excuse themselves. I even made a speech at the beginning to warn those attending – but they all stayed and participated like troopers. :)
The Solomonic Invocation of the Elementals
Aaron and Carrie at the Ritual Opening
At home, before I left for the event, I performed an opening of my Abramelin altar – so that my HGA would be present and open the gates for me. To this end, I left a white seven-day candle burning to her throughout my time at the festival. She is my source of spiritual authority (and, technically, she was ONE Angel I did call in conjunction with the ritual). In many ways, what I was going to do was part of my Abramelin work – as the four Kings of the directions were bound to me by an Oath during that operation. Therefore I would later wear my Abramelin Robe and use my almond wand when convoking the Kings.
Aaron and Carrie at the Ritual Opening
At the festival, five altars were established – a white altar in the center with all the working tools, a Bible, the Key of Solomon, my Solomonic trumpet, the almond wand, Abramelin incense, etc:
Central Altar with working tools
In the four quarters were altars for the Salamanders, Undines, Slyphs and Gnomes:
The Eastern altar was red for the Salamandars, with a red candle and flowers, hot red peppers, bread and honey, water and cinnamon tequila. An earthen pot was filled with dirt taken from the eastern edge of the property, and Fire/Mars incense was burned upon it. I also included a photo of a Salamander as well as the image and sigil of Oriens:
Eastern Altar Before Ritual
The Southern altar was black for the Gnomes, with a black candle, green flowers (black was hard to find!), sweet chocolate, bread and honey, water and a dark beer. An earthen pot was filled with dirt taken from the southern edge of the property, and Earth/Saturn incense was burned upon it. I also included a photo of a Gnome as well as the image and sigil of Amaymon:
Southern Altar Before Ritual
The Western altar was yellow for the Sylphs, with a yellow candle and flowers, strawberries, bread and honey, water and honey mead. An earthen pot was filled with dirt taken from the western edge of the property, and Air/Mercury incense was burned upon it. I also included a photo of Sylphs as well as the image and sigil of Paimon:
Western Altar Before Ritual
The Northern altar was blue for the Undines, with a blue candle and flowers, tuna fish, bread and honey, water and white wine. An earthen pot was filled with dirt taken from the northern edge of the property, and Water/Lunar incense was burned upon it. I also included a photo of Undines as well as the image and sigil of Ariton:
Northern Altar Before Ritual
We began by lighting the Solomonic Lamp and Censer at the central altar with the proper exorcisms and blessings. Then I used the holy water and sprinkler – along with Psalm 51 – to purify everything on all four Elemental altars as well as the entire area. After that, I continued to use the water and sprinkler to splash everyone present – while reciting the Mertalia, Musalia… invocation from the Key of Solomon. Carrie followed along behind me to cense everyone as well.
The purifications done, we then had everyone present think of something they would like to ask of the Elementals. Choosing just one of the four classes, they each came to the altar to write their petition on consecrated paper with consecrated pen. I had them fold their paper toward themselves four times, then place the petition beneath the offering plate on their chosen altar. Then they stood by that altar for the remainder of the ceremony.
Carrie and I then went to each quarter in turn, using my brand new Solomonic Trumpet to alert the spirits they were being called. I called the active Elements and she called the passive.
Then we returned to the center, where I first recited a prayer to Adonai Zabaoth and then called each of the four Kings in turn. They were asked to be present and enjoy the offerings and festivities, and to bring the Elemental spirits with them.
Finally, we went back to the four altars in turn – with me again working with the actives and Carrie with the passives. In each case we lit the candle and censer on the altar with the proper exorcisms and blessings, then recited the Prayer of the Elementals for that quarter to invoke them. All the offerings on the altar were then shared by myself, Carrie and the others who had petitioned those Elementals.
After that was done, each group was given time to commune with the spirits who were present. Then we gave a license to depart and closed the ritual. There were no banishings or gate-closings here – the spirits were called to the festival and were allowed to remain until it closed.
The Four Elemental Altars – Just After the Ritual
By the spirits’ request, I moved the altars over to the side of the circle where they could enjoy the drumming, dancing and other festivities. The festival staff was happy to let them stay there – where they were an attention-draw for the next several days. All four meals sat in the hot Florida sun, completely exposed to the bugs and elements – yet at no time did any of the food begin to rot and no bugs were ever found on the altars. (Even the tuna did not begin to smell.) I wasn’t surprised by this, but many others were quite amazed.
Four Elemental Altars – The Next Day
The Spirits Enjoy the Fest!
Over the next couple of days, I began to hear from some of the folks who had participated. Apparently, this ritual was rife with poltergeist activity. That is, those who attended kept seeing things – not as visions but as if they were seeing them from the corners of their physical eyes and in some cases even feeling things touching them! Carrie herself thought she saw a possum scampering toward the Gnome’s altar in the South – only to look and see no possum there. Another person thought he saw a large dark human figure on a horse ride up to the same altar and dismount – but when he turned to look and question why someone was riding a horse through the festival grounds, he saw nothing there. Carrie, while working at the Western altar, felt a large figure approach her from the South and stand behind her – and we suspect this was the same figure that had dismounted from the spectral horse (possibly even Amaymon himself).
More than one person standing with the Salamanders caught themselves brushing away what felt like lizards running across their skin, but of course no lizards were found.
There were some visions, as well. One that excited me came from a young lady who looked into the sky while I was invoking the four Kings, and saw a massive serpent peek down at us from out of the clouds, then fly down to us and encircle the ritual space. She had no clue who these four Kings were, and had no way of knowing they are intimately connected to the Ouroboros Serpent:
The Four Kings and the Serpent of Wisdom
So that was an awesome case of confirmation through skrying – the Kings had heard and were present! :) The Gnomes and Salamanders both made their presences felt (or seen) during the ritual. And the Sylphs showed themselves just a few hours later when the festival grounds became enshrouded in a sudden and deep fog that held on until after the Sun had risen the next morning. The only Elementals who seemed less than active were the Undines. No one reported any specific experiences involving them – save for Carrie who said she smelt sea water for a few moments the next day. Other than that, the Undines didn’t seem to do much – possibly because the festival was not close to any large bodies of water.
The spirits did indeed have a blast watching and participating in the festivities. And when it came time to perform the festival’s main ritual, the organizer decided to utilize the four altars in order to draw energy from them and build upon it. That ritual was something to behold, and the spirits loved it.
On the final day, I took apart the Elemental altars. I deposited the remains of the offerings in different places according to their Element: The Fire offerings were placed in the festival’s ritual fire. The Water offerings were tossed into a small pond on the property. The Earth offerings were buried. The Air offerings were placed into a tree – one which had actually been blown over in a storm many years ago, but continued to live. All of the written petitions from the ritual-participants were given to the ritual fire. (I would have put them with the offerings, but did not want to litter the property.)
The dirt used in the four earthen censers, now consecrated and charged, was returned to the four quarters of the property from whence it had been taken – where it would serve to bless and protect the property into the future.
I had a wonderful time at Phoenix Phyre and an incredible time performing this ritual for them. I hope to return in the future for more fun and magick! Blessed Be.
It seems like every year or two, I find it necessary to post a rant about Abramelin and some of the boneheaded stuff I encounter out there in relation to it. So, here is the 2014 Abramelin Rant (originally posted to my Solomonic Facebook Group):
It has taken several years, but I have finally learned an important lesson: I will no longer answer questions via email for anyone actively undertaking the Abramelin operation.
I’ve tried it more than once now, and the result is the same every time. It’s relatively easy to guide someone through the initial months – it mostly involves telling them to stick to the process as the book outlines it, without adding anything or altering anything. That, and to provide some moral support along the way. I figured it couldn’t harm anything for me to be available to answer questions – I would have killed for such a resource while I performed it myself.
But… then comes time for the final days of the process, when the actual Rite is performed (the Day of Consecration, the Convocation of the Angel and the Convocation of the Spirits). And so far, every single time, I discover that the person I was trying to help has prepared for *nothing.* I get questions like, “Oh? There is a silver lamen? Where does the book mention that?” Or “So what kind of robes do I need?” Or, even better, “Now how do I go about summoning the spirits?”
Nearly as sure as clockwork, I discover that the person I was trying to help has utterly failed to study and understand the Book of Abramelin *before* they begin the process. My favorite one to date was when an aspirant wrote to ask about the Abramelin Oil. You see, they were having a hard time affording all the ingredients needed, because they needed a lot of it, because they were **burning the Holy Oil in the Lamp**!!! [Sound of Aaron repeatedly banging his head on the keyboard…] When I revealed to them that the Holy Oil is not used in the Lamp, they asked me “Oh, so what will it be used for, then – and how often?”
I’m tired of answering questions that are addressed in the very book itself. And I’m tired of people reaching the grand finale of their operation only to turn to me as if I’m going to do the Work for them (or at least hold their hand) in the end. I sure as hell can’t (and won’t) teach you the art of summoning spirits (via email no less!) over a few days before you’re expected to summon them yourself. Why the f**k wouldn’t you have thought of that before you decided this path was for you? For that matter, why would you undertake this ordeal when you clearly haven’t even read the book all the way through??
I don’t mind answering Abramelin questions – but it will have to be here on the public forum, and it won’t be for anyone who is currently in the middle of the process. Yikes.
Greetings Angel Workers!
I have been told that the new anthology from Nephilim Press:
will be released soon. :)
Some time ago, I was asked by Scarlet Imprint to write something about demonology for their anthology entitled Diabolical. So, I wrote a lengthy essay called The Spirit Magick of Abramelin – giving a detailed overview of the system of goety found in the final book of that grimoire. (More recently, that same essay was published in Hermetic Virtues Magazine.)
Later, I was asked by Nephilim Press to write something about the Holy Guardian Angel for their new anthology – Walking With the Angel. So, I decided to give them the exact opposite, and outline the Abramelin system of angel magick. That is, the specific instructions for continuing work with your HGA over a lifetime – instructions which are present but scattered in the original text. Instructions that have remained hidden and unexamined for hundreds of years…
Plus I give a lot of insight into my own performance of the Abramelin operation (specifically its ending) and how I developed my relationship with my HGA over the years that followed.
I’m in very good company in this anthology too! There will be entries from Inominandum, Rufus Opus (in his publication début), Scott Stenwick, and more.
If you want to read the introductory paragraphs of my essay, click here.
Great news for Abramelin aspirants!
Over the years, many students have privately emailed me to ask questions about magick – and one of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I use the talismans at the end of the Book of Abramelin?”
Unfortunately, that is not a question that can be answered so easily in a simple email or forum post. The Book of Abramelin contains a rather sophisticated system of goety – most of it scattered and hidden throughout the text so as to discourage dabblers. In order to explain it all in detail, it would be necessary to write a rather lengthy essay on the subject.
So, in 2009, that is exactly what I did. I wrote an essay entitled The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin that outlines the entire system – including how to summon and work with the spirits, how to create new word-square talismans and how to use them once they are made. I published it in an anthology from Scarlet Imprint called Diabolical – which focused on various traditions of working with demons. (My essay might have been the only one from the perspective of an angel-worker who also works with chthonic spirits.)
The only problem was that the hard-bound Diabolical – though an absolute must-have book – was a bit obscure and somewhat on the expensive side. Students continued to ask me about the Abramelin word-squares and spirits – and I’m not sure how many of them were willing (or able) to purchase the book just to get my essay from it…
Now we are fast approaching the year 2014, and I felt it was time to let the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, and release The Spirit-Magick of Abramelin in a more easily accessible format. Therefore, I have re-published the essay in the Autumnal Equinox 2013 edition of Hermetic Virtues Magazine (subscription info here.). :)
Hermetic Virtues Magazine
It is an electronic-format magazine, coming in PDF form directly to your in-box. If you don’t want to subscribe to the magazine (but, really, why wouldn’t you??), I’m pretty sure HV Magazine is willing to sell single-issue copies. So if you desire to learn how to properly work with the talismans and spirits of the Abramelin tradition, you now have an affordable and accessible source for my essay. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Jayne Gibson over at HV, who worked tirelessly to get the word-squares and other formatting issues with this essay exactly right. It was no easy task!
Also see my (free) essay on Abramlein’s Magickal Word Squares: Compiled and Corrected for the First Time. (This is just a taste of the work I’ve done on the existing word-squares, the bulk of which I will later publish in book form.)
Also see this blog post on Abramelin’s system of Mixed Qabalah. As well as this follow-up post on the same subject.
Finally, in the near future, keep an eye out for my latest essay that tackles the angelic side of Abramelin’s magick: After Abramelin: Working with the Holy Guardian Angel – to be published in Nephilim Press’ Walking with the Angel.