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/
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, May 19, 2014:
Ayn Rand and the Occult:
The Importance of Objectivism in Magick
Some of you may recognize Objectivism as the philosophy developed by author Ayn Rand in such books as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. And if you know anything about Ms. Rand and her writings, you also know Objectivism is pretty much the exact opposite of any spiritual or occult philosophy. Let me give you a short quote from the Wikipedia entry as an illustration:
“Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic…”
Really, it just gets worse from there. (We’ll talk about Rand’s sad position on human morality shortly.) However, the above is enough for any occultist to shake their head and look elsewhere for wisdom. It posits that consciousness has nothing to do with reality, and that we can always trust our senses to tell us the truth about the world around us. As occultists, we know better, don’t we?
And what about the Objectivist stance on morality? Well, Ms. Rand was born in Russia during a particularly difficult period of their history (this was during the fall of the Russian Empire and the rise of the Bolsheviks), and she doubtlessly suffered some deep traumas during her childhood. As an adult, she preached a philosophy of pure self-interest. The poor should be allowed to starve and die. The rich should be supported and given rule over the rest of us. Get what is yours while the getting is good, and give nothing to the weak. Here is another snippet from the Wikipedia article:
“…the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism…”
A few of you may recognize this as foundational to such worldviews as American political conservatism as well as Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. (The latter, by the way, are strict atheists.) Certainly this is the kind of philosophy that should be avoided by anyone with a spiritual worldview! Or anyone with an ounce of compassion or charity in their heart. Obviously I have some rants against Objectivism and Ayn Rand (who, by the way, lived out her elder years on the public assistance she would deny to others).
So, why is it that I constantly find myself identifying with fictional characters who embody the Objectivist philosophy?
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/5/ayn-rand-and-the-occult-the-importance-of-objectivism-in-magick/
As I’ve mentioned before, you have probably noticed my blog has been fairly quiet for some months now. Of course I still make event announcements here, but my usual thoughts and theories about magick and culture have been largely absent. The reason is because I’ve been writing blogs for Llewellyn lately. Back when Don Kraig got sick, they asked if I (along with a number of other accomplished magicians) would submit a few guest posts to keep Kraig’s Magick Blog up and running. Of course, once Don passed away, several of us just kept submitting blog posts – and the Magick Blog continues to this day.
Of course, I’m sure most of you already know all of this, and have likely read my posts over at Llewellyn. However, I’m also sure some number of you are subscribed here and not over there – which means you’ve been missing out unfairly. From the start, I should have cross-posted all of my Llewellyn blogs here – at least an excerpt with a link to the full post over on their site. And, that is what I will do from here on out.
But first, I will make up for my past oversights by cross-posting my older Llewellyn blogs here. If you keep up with me over there, then the next several posts will be repeats for you. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the material you’ve been missing for the past year! 😉
From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, March 24, 2014:
The Definition of Magick in the 21st Century
Wait! Don’t surf away yet! I know this subject—the definition of magick—has been rehashed a billion times over the years. It has been the focus of heated debates and even flame wars—and never (not once!) has a consensus been reached.
Frankly, this debate has been going on for longer than you think. It was a question during the occult revival of the 19th century. It is even tackled by the authors of the medieval grimoires. Why, I would bet real money that Egyptian and Sumerian priests used to sit around in their temples and argue the same damn points.
But that is really the point of this blog. I’m not naive enough to think we’re going to reach a consensus here. However, I do think we can add something to the conversation—especially now that we have entered the 21st century, and our relationship to magick is changing drastically. As that relationship changes, so too does our understanding of magick and what it means in our culture.
In previous years, the debate was caught up in the occultism of the late 1800s. The Age of Enlightenment had dawned, the Industrial Revolution had… revolved?… and the discipline of Science (that is, as divorced from all mystical concerns) had risen to supremacy. Psychology was a new and developing study. And absolutely anything that struck the Western mind as “occult ooga-booga” (read: pretty much any form of indigenous folk magick, voodoo, hoodoo, etc.) was firmly shown the door.
Thus, the people who were raised in that environment sought an explanation for magick that fit into their paradigm. Hence was born the “psychological” definition of magick: it’s all just a form of primitive psychology. Magick is all in your head. The spirits and gods are mere “names and faces” that we have placed on our own instincts and mental complexes. Magickal tools and considerations are just “props” that help your mind engage the magick. Chaos magick arose in this environment, and it also gave us Aleister Crowley‘s often-quoted definition:
“Magick is the science and art of causing change in conformity with Will.”
Taken at face value, I find this definition to be pointless. If any change I make (on purpose) to the world around me is “magick,” then “magick” ceases to be a useful word. If I walk outside, am I performing magick because I opened a door and changed my location? Of course not! Yet, the way many students interpret the above definition, magick ceases to be a specific discipline or craft. Electricians are performing magick. Carpenters are performing magick. The ice cream man is performing magick (and he even brings smiles to the faces of children)!
Of course, Crowley added in that word “Will,” which means there is a lot more to his definition than most students realize. He means making changes in accordance with your True Will (your Fate or Karma), and his definition is saying that any action you take toward fulfilling your True Will is a magickal act. That’s better… but it still negates “magick” as a discipline unto itself. I’ve used a lot of magick in pursuit of my True Will, but I’ve also had to do a lot of mundane stuff, too.
Today, we are leaving behind the 19th century views on magick. While the psychological definition still has its adherents—some of them quite passionate in defense of their position—there is now a counter-movement of Old Magick practitioners who find that view unsatisfying. As the world we grew up in continues to break down, economies continue to collapse, medicine and other necessities become unavailable, and ill-defined wars continue to rage across the globe, people aren’t looking for “self help occultism” the way they were twenty years ago. They want the real deal: magick that can make real change in the real world. They want magick that can keep food in their families’ bellies, a roof over their heads, and everyone alive and healthy.
I fall into that category. We’re the guys who see spirits, gods, and angels as objectively real. We find the magickal tools and considerations to be important to the technology, not just a bunch of props that can be substituted or dispensed with entirely. And because of these, we see the magickal ceremonies as vital protocols when dealing with spirits, not outdated superstitions that should be simplified, reinterpreted, or left behind. And as for those indigenous forms of magick and witchcraft, rather than turning our noses up and thinking we are somehow better than all of that, we’re actually turning toward them and learning as much as we can.
So, how does this new movement define magick? Good question, and that’s why we are having this discussion now.
To get the ball rolling, I’ll share with you the definition by which I work. In fact, it is an older definition that existed for thousands of years before the modern world. The Solomonic grimoires (a specialty of mine) were written under this definition, and I think it is time we all took a fresh look at it.
Read the Rest at: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2014/3/the-definition-of-magick-in-the-21st-century/
Greetings again, fellow Angel-workers!
Mars is certainly in the air. We just passed through a prime period for Martial magick – when Mars passed through Scorpio. (Apparently it is only in the first degree of Sagittarius as I write, which is hardly out of Scorpio at all, so it is still flush with Scorpio’s energy.) Plus we are fast approaching the period when Sol will go into Scorpio – which can be a major pain (ever notice how things tend to start to suck right before Halloween?), but is also a good time for Martial magick.
And so, with all of this in mind, this is a great time to make our yearly offerings to Samael, to both thank him for the protection he offers our house, and to empower him to protect it for another year. As house gods go, Samael is unique in my home. My relationship with him is fairly new (compared to Iophiel and Michael), and I approach him with quite a bit more caution. (I strongly urge you to do the same, if you have cause to work with him at all.)
Archangel Samael – the Adversary
Samael is the Archangel of Mars – prince of the fifth heaven, lord of war and pestilence, and angel of death and destruction. He is the Sathan (Adversary) who visited wrath upon Job, slew the firstborn in Egypt, and (as the Guardian Angel of Easu) wrestled with Jacob. As the Sathan he accuses men of their wrongdoings in the Divine Court. Samael should not be confused with the modern Christian concept of Lucifer or the Devil. Samael is not the source of all evil, nor did he ever wage war upon the Throne of God.
He was, however, cast down to Earth when he refused to bow to Adam as the Image of God. (He had previously sworn to never bow to anything less than God Himself.) Once here, he took Lilith as his wife and has acted as the Divine Accuser, Enforcer and Angel of Death ever since. While he is still very much in the employ of God, he persecutes and seduces mankind when he is ordered to do so.
(Some sources equate Samael with Shemyaza, the leader of the fallen Watchers from the Book of Enoch. This is likely due to both Samael and Shemyaza being punished for disobedience, yet each retaining their positions as celestial angels. However the angels share no other characteristics, and this similarity does not prove the two angels are one and the same.)
The ancient Gnostics elevated him to the position of Demiurgos (the Creator) and interpreted his name to mean “Blind God.” They also called him Ialdabaoth and Saklas. His form was described as a lion-headed serpent. He and his angels (called archons) had created the world as a prison where they could feed upon mankind’s suffering. Later forms of Gnosticism, however, did not equate Ialdabaoth with Samael.
Samael was at one point regarded as the Patron Angel of Rome – and it is likely in this aspect that we see him (as the Dragon with Seven Heads) engaging in single combat against Michael (the Patron Angel of Israel) in the Revelation of St. John.
More recent tradition has given him the name Khamael (Camael, Camuel, etc) – the result of mistranslating a Hebrew Samekh (S) as a Kaph (Kh). In this form he is regarded primarily as the Angel of War and Divine Severity.
Offering Ritual for Archangel Samael
It is best to choose a Tuesday when Mars is well aspected in the heavens, and he should be above the horizon at the time of working. Dawn is best. The most powerful times of year to do this ritual are when Mars resides in either the sign of Aries or Scorpio. The Moon should be in increase.
On Monday evening, cover a table or altar with a red or white cloth. Place a talisman and/or image of Archangel Samael upon the altar. (If it is a talisman, place it in the center. If an image, set it toward the east facing westward.) You will need a censor and an incense of Mars:
I use three ingredients: 1 part Pipe Tobacco, 1/2 part Cinnamon, 1/8 part Crushed Red Pepper.
WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with! It is, quite simply, tear gas. If you make this, do not add too much red pepper. And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath! Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.
Also prepare all elements of the offering to Mars: Five red candles, five glasses of water, a bottle of whiskey, five pieces of bread covered with honey. Five hot red peppers. Five steel nails. Red meat (cooked well done, no blood!) – this latter is being offered only because this is a once-a-year offering. Animal flesh (especially red meat) is very very powerful, and shouldn’t be used for usual day-to-day needs.
The meat should be grilled over cherry- or bay tree-wood. Otherwise grill it over natural wood or wood charcoal, and add cinnamon, tobacco and red pepper to the fire. You can also season the meat with the cinnamon and the red pepper.
On Tuesday just before sunrise, wash yourself and don a white or red robe. At sunrise, set the offering to Mars upon the table. Place four of the red candles on the four corners, and one in the center – directly upon the talisman if there is one. Set a glass of water beside each candle. Around this arrange the food offerings. You may also add any gift offerings for Samael, or items you wish for him to touch – such as steel jewelery or trinkets, talismans, stones, oils, weapons, written prayers or petitions, etc.
Light the censor and candles with their proper exorcisms, and add fresh incense to the coal. Then exorcise and consecrate the offerings with holy water and the censor.
Then move to the eastern side of the working space, facing outward. If you have a consecrated bell or trumpet, sound it and recite the following call (or one similar to it):
In whatsoever place ye may be, ye spirit(s), who are invited to this feast, [NNN] come ye and be ready to receive our offerings, presents, and sacrifices!
Move to the south and repeat – first sounding the bell or trumpet, then the call. Do this again in the west and the north.
Finally, return to standing west of the altar facing eastward, and recite the following invocations:
Prayer to Elohim Gibor
Elohim Gibor, God of Severity and Might, who ruleth the heavens with a rod of iron, who shatters the enemy. Thou Lord who keepeth the city with the watchman. You shelter us beneath your mighty wings, and punish severely those who would harm your prophets! You visited the plagues upon Egypt, drown Pharaoh’s armies in the Sea, blasted the foundations of Sodom and Gommorah, cast down the Kings of Edom and protected Daniel in the lions’ den. You cast down those who would oppose you. Your name causes the spirits to quake with terror and give obedience. Thou art Gevurah, thou art Pachad. I ask that you bless and sanctify this offering, that it may be pleasing unto You and Your Angels.
I ask, also, that you send to me the holy Archangel Samael: who walkest to and fro upon the Earth. The Adversary, Angel of War and of Death, the bringer of your Wrath. May he look with favor upon me and my household. And, to that end, may he also enjoy these offerings, and be pleased with them, and bear our prayers of thanksgiving unto Thy Celestial Throne. Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen +
Five Martial Psalms
Psalm 3 (“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.“)
Psalm 2 (“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?“)
Psalm 110 (“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.“)
Psalm 91 (“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.“)
Psalm 35 (“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me, fight against those who fight against me.“)
Invitation to Samael
I invoke thee, Samael! Holy Archangel of the Martial sphere! I call upon thee within thy realm of Severity and Fear!
Samael, Powerful, Bloody, Sword-bearer, Bold, Untamed, Terrestrial Fire, against whom none can defend himself, thou who destroys the strong and powerful, Lord of fiery heat – and of the planet of blood!
Samael, who art the Adversary, accusing men of their wrongdoing. Fearsome warrior and divine enforcer! You who inflicted Job with sorrow, who slew the firstborn of Egypt, and wrestled with Jacob. It is you who bears the wrath of God unto the Earth! You who overthrow nations and cast kings down from their thrones!
O Samael, we have called upon you [here list the reasons you have called him in the past, if any, and the positive results that came from those workings]. For all of this we thank you!
Come thou forth and partake of these offerings, which we have prepared in thy honour and to the glory of Elohim Gibor. May you find them pleasing and empowering. I ask that you offer your blessings to my home and family, and bear our offerings and prayers of thanksgiving to the Divine Court. We petition thee for strength and protection in all of our undertakings, for defense of our home, and that the light of thy wisdom should guide and keep us at all times. In the name of Elohim Gibor. Amen.
Repeat the Invitation five times. Then, share in the feast you have offered to the Angel – taking bites of each food item, sips of the liquids including a sip (or shot) of the whiskey. Leave the offerings in place until the red candles burn completely away (and no less than five days). Place the remains in a natural place, into running water or at a crossroads.
– End –
Ritual of Samael Journal Entry
I wanted to perform this invocation a week earlier, while Mars was still firmly in Scorpio and the Moon was waxing, but it just wasn’t practical. And it is not possible to wait until the Sun goes into Scorpio either; it had to be done now (Tuesday, September 16, 2014). Perhaps next year we’ll time it better to take place when Mars is in Scorpio (or Aries might be even better) and the Moon is waxing.
I began by fasting from about 7pm on Monday evening (approximately 12 hours before dawn on Tuesday). We went out on that same evening and gathered all of the offerings for Samael (see the list above). Myself and a friend then started the grill with natural wood charcoal; adding cinnamon, tobacco and crushed red peppers to the fire. I seasoned the meat with salt, black pepper and garlic – then added more of the cinnamon and red pepper. We cooked the meat until it was entirely well done (no pink in the center), then covered it and set it aside for the next morning.
After taking a simple ritual bath, I cleaned and prepared our temple – re-consecrating it and everything in it with holy water and the recitation of King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Holy Temple. I then erected the Samael altar. I used a new red altar cloth, placed three of my favorite classical images of Samael, his name and Heptameron sigil in the center, along with the candles, censor and dishes that would be used the next morning.
At dawn on Tuesday morning, I washed up, entered the temple and put on my white robe. I first approached my Guardian Angel’s altar (in the east) to pray for her help and guidance in the coming work. (I would never approach Samael without her at my side!) Then I laid out the food offerings on the Samael altar: the steak (freshly warmed and sizzling) cut into five pieces, five hot red peppers, bread, honey, five glasses of water and a small bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. To these I also added seven steel nails. (Note that five nails would be standard – but since this ritual is being done to empower the seven protective talismans buried around my property, I decided to include seven nails as I had done before.)
I followed the ritual mostly as I have it written above. I opened the blinds to let the morning sunlight into the room. I lit the censor with the proper Solomonic exorcism and used it and the holy water to consecrate everything on the altar. I then made the calls in the four quarters, then returned to the altar to light the candles with their proper exorcism. Then I performed the invocations, burning even more incense. (Maybe too much, in fact, as it became hard to continue the invocations. I slightly maced myself. But it is vital to never show weakness to the spirits – especially spirits of Mars! So I completed them without stopping.)
Due to Samael’s heavy chthonic associations, I considered not sharing in his feast. However, he is an archangel (a celestial being) and I felt during the ritual that he did want me to share. So, I decided to follow his lead and partook – wanting to avoid offending him in any case. I took a bite or sip of everything offered, making sure to bite off enough of the red pepper to burn my mouth, and to take a healthy swig of the whiskey (not something I normally drink!). I lit one of the cigars and blew five puffs onto the altar, then turned it around and “shotgunned” a large amount of smoke.
Samael indicated to me that he wants the offering left on the altar for five days, and/or until the candles burn out. Then the remains are to be taken outside and left where the last offering was left – on the ground directly over where the easternmost talisman is buried. There is no need to carry the leftovers to a river.
UPDATE: The candles lasted almost exactly five days. On Sunday we gathered the remains and took them out to our eastern property line. We prayed thanks to Samael and his Seraphim for protecting the boundaries, then arranged the items on the ground directly over the eastern talisman. The water and alcohol was poured out as a libation and the food items were arranged in a pentagram pattern on top of that. One of the cigars was re-lit and smoke was blown onto the offerings. Then the remaining cigars were also left in a pentagram pattern.
I was given special instructions for the seven nails. Taking a hammer, I was to drive each nail into the ground over one of the existing buried talismans, while reciting the phrase inscribed on the talisman: “The ungodly have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous shall bear fruit.” I’m sure I didn’t get every nail exactly over its talisman, but they are close and are arranged in the same heptagonal pattern around the property line.
Samael’s Offerings After 5 Days
Interestingly, while standing up from driving in one nail, I slipped (just briefly!) and managed to bash my own lip with the handle of the hammer. It swelled up and bled, and seriously pissed me off. <SIGH> Martial spirits…
For those of you who would like to know what food items look like after they are left sitting on an altar, in the open air next to the heat of candles, in Florida, for five days – here is a pic taken the night we took the offerings outside. You’ll note that, as usual, the food looks pristine enough to eat. No rot, no bugs, no mold. The bread had hardened, and that was all. 😉