Pathworking on the 29th Path of Qoph (ק)

GoldenDawnlogoDate: March 13, 2018
Time: 8:44 – 9:04 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent, Moon in 6° Aquarius, Lunar Mansion of Sa’d al Su’ud
Planetary Day: Day of Mars
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Sun
Activities: LIRP, Pathworking of the Path of Qoph (ק), LBRP


I project into my astral Temple and don the form of blue robes and a blue and orange-striped nemyss. The temple appears blue and green with a large letter Qoph (ק) on a banner and engravings of Fish, alluding to Pisces (♓), the Sign attributed to the Path, and the Moon, the Tarot Major Arcanum linked to the Path, built into the architecture of the high-vaulted Temple. I complete the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and exit the Temple through its vast doors.

I stand before a tall Archway bearing the letter of Qoph (ק). As I stand here, I’m reminds that “Qoph” alludes both to the “back of the head,” which evokes the idea of the cerebellum. Appropriate enough, this Latin word as written in English, contains EL (אל), within it, the Divine Name of the Path of Qoph (ק). The cerebelleum at the “back of the head” controls our most basic primal instincts and motor functioning. The cerebellum is located behind the top part of the brain stem, where the spinal cord meets the brain, and is made of two hemispheres.

cerebellum2.jpgThe cerebellum receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements. This ancient part of the human brain coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech, resulting in smooth and balanced muscular activity. It is also important for learning motor behaviors. Although it is a relatively small portion of the brain,  about ten percent of the total weight, it contains roughly half of the brain’s neurons, specialized cells that transmit information via electrical signals. In Hebrew, Qoph suggest a “monkey or ape” (קוף), which invites reflections on our oldest primatological evolutionary origins. Since the cerebellum is such an ancient part of the primate brain, the two meanings of Qoph, “monkey” and “back of the head” are connected together.

I project through the Archway after performing the Sign of the Enterer three times. I see the 29th Path of Qoph (ק) come into focus below me, reaching up from Malkut (מלכות) to Netzach (נצח‎). I seem to come at it through a vast black space from far above, as if it are a target into which I am aiming to land after parachuting out of an airplane.


“Dreaming VII” by Marie Antuanelle.

I plummet down into the Path and land in a vast ocean of blue-green water. A faint purple fills the background of the scene, and I’m reminds that this is the King Scale colour of the Path. But it also connects to the Sphere of Yesod, which is attributed to the Moon, the Tarot card attributed to the Path of Qoph (ק) .moon.jpg

The blue waters in which I float remind me of the energies of Chesed (חסד) and of the clothing of the High Priestess, attributed to the Path of Gimel (ג) way higher up on the Tree, to which the Moon is also attributed. The green hue of the water further reminds me of the colour of Netzach (נצח‎), whose Venusian (♀) Temple looms off in the distance, the endpoint of the Path of Qoph (ק).

I test the vision by vibrating the Divine Name of the Path, EL (אל) and Qoph (ק) multiple times and it becomes clearer. Lightning flashes and thunder boomes in the distance. Rain falls into the water in which I float. I kindly petition the King of the Undines in the Name of EL (אל) for a Guide to lead me through the Path of Qoph (ק) offering blessings as thanks.

A moment later, and to my great surprise, a large brown galleon with white sails comes sailing rapidly towards me out of the mists of fog. Engraved in its wood panelling are ornate carvings of fish swimming in a school. A rope ladder is cast down and I climbed it onto the deck to see there is only one being aboard the ship.


The large galleon is helmed, funny enough, a tall pirate Captain-like figure in a red waistcoat with flowing grey hair, a sizable beard, and wild and glowing blue eyes. In one hand, he holds the ship’s large wooden-speaksd steering wheel. In the other, he holds a blue wand with a head formed from the Sigil of Pisces (♓).

I greet him with respect and blessings in the Name of EL (אל), which he returns. I ask him for his name in the Name of EL (אל) and the letters Qoph (ק)-Gimel(ג) -Aleph(א)-Lamed(ל) (Qophgal) form in the air as he pronounces “Qophgal.”


“Come, we sail now on the Path to the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎),” he tells me.

As we begin to sail, I see a green Temple glimmering in the distance, the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎). It has a domed roof, undulous curves and a large Sigil of Venus (♀) jutting out from the top of its dome.

“Look, the Spirits of Water swim with us,” says Qophgal through the rain.

On either side of our ship, dolphins, schools of fish and mermaid-like Undines swim in droves, periodically leaping out of the water only to splash back in. There must be as many as 100… the numerical value of Qoph (ק). I wonder what lessons the members of this School carries with them.


“Mermaid” by Daren Horley.

As I stand beside Qophgal at the helm of the vast ship, I am struck by the Captain’s notable warmth of heart and coolness of head. When he speaks, his tone is kind, comforting, and warm, like hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.

Here we are on an incredibly tumultuous sea with vast swooping waves, torrential rain, booming thunder, and flashing lightning bolts and he appears calm and warmly amused.

Emotions may swirl and storms may come forth,” Qophgal says, “but with a calm mind, we can flow with the currents.”

This seems to be a key lesson of the Path of Qoph (ק).

I soon see what appears to be a large spire-like tower emerging from the mist. As we come closer, I realize that it is a thin stone tower in the shape of two fish interwined and bound together with rope, clearly Piscean (♓) symbolism. The rope itself forms a winding path around the giant tower up which one can climb, as in the rough sketch below.

“You must climb alone, I’m afraid,” the Captain laughs.


“You’ll meet another atop the tower. They’ll help you out. Come back when you’re done. I’ll meet you here.”

I smile and thank him then begin to climb the winding path around the spire.  It is slippery from the rain, which continues to beat against the tower from all sides. I wonder if lightning might strike me as I make my ascent, but thankfully, it does not.

At last, I reach the summit of the spire and see a beautiful Undine standing there. She is ethereally lovely in a light blue Grecian robe with blonde hair and glowing blue eyes, like those of Qophgal. We greet each other with blessings in the Name of EL (אל).


In spirit, auric feel, and blue robed appearance, she reminds me of the High Priestess card, attributed to the Moon-path of Gimel (ג) between Tipharet (תראפת) and Keter (כתר). This seems to suggest a lunar connection to her through the Planetary attribution of the High Priestess to the Moon. The Moon, of course, is also the Tarot attribution of the Path of Qoph (ק). Like Qophgal, she holds a Pisces-headed wand (♓).

I ask if this spirit would kindly tell me her name in the Name of EL (אל) and she states that it is “Qophgiel (Qoph (ק).-Gimel (ג) -Yod (י)-Aleph (א) -Lamed ). I then ask if she would Initiate me into the Mysteries of the Path of Qoph (ק). She tells me that the Way of the Path is about riding the waves of emotion so as not to drown in them.

“Would you receive the energy of the Path of Qoph (ק)?” She asks. I nod humbly.

Qophgiel then performs the Sign of the Enterer and projects Piscean (♓), Watery energy into me through her Pisces (♓) Wand.

I receive it with the Sign of Harpocrates and immediately feel a flush of vulnerable emotion arising. “Unpurified, you cannot continue along the Path of Qoph (ק),” she says.

She raises a blue cup, which bears a Lotus at the bottom like the Ancient Egyptian blue lotus cups that inspired the Golden Dawn’s Water Cup, and pours it over me three times, saying “I purify you with Water.”


The water feels cleansing, rejuvenating and refreshing. Somehow, through the falling rain and despite the ocean water in which I had just voted, I can distinctly feel this water, as if it is exorcised and charged like the water in the Key of Solomon.

I equilibrate this influx of energy throughout my Sphere of Sensation with the Qabalistic Cross.

“If you would enter the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎) along the Path of Qoph (ק), carry with you this symbol.”

Around my neck, she places a circular blue disc-like lamen. It hangs from a band of gold. The lamen depicts a Water Triangle with the letter Qoph (ק) in its center.


This lamen seems to be the mirror image of the red lamen with the letter Shin (ש) within the Fire Triangle that I has received on the Path of Shin (ש), on the symmetrical other side of the Tree, linking Malkut (מלכות) to Hod (הוד) in the Pillar of Severity along the fiery Path of Shin (ש).


“Thus purified and thus empowered, you are prepared to continue,” she says.

“Go in peace with the blessings of EL (אל) and attend to the Waters within and without.”

I thank her and offer her blessings in the Name of EL (אל).

As I walk down the winding path towards Qophgal’s ship, I feel the rain continue to fall upon my blue robe and blue and orange striped nemyss.

I return to the ship and the Captain pulls up the anchor. We continue to sail towards the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎), which draws ever closer.

“If you would be victorious in this life, stay your course despite the storms,” Qophgal tells me. “If you learn nothing else on this Path, remember this.”

Mermaid-like Undines and fish continue to swim alongside our ship. At last, we arrive at the green shore of the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎). I thank the kind Captain for his passage and salute him, which he returns.

As I stand before the great green doors of the Temple of Netzach (נצח‎), I hold up the symbol of Qoph (ק) that Qophgiel had given me and they slowly rumble open. A flood of green light issues forth from within. I slowly walk into the Temple and the scene fades to green and then to black.

I find myself back before the Altar in my astral Temple. I perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and close the Temple.


20180222_180336Once back in ordinary waking consciousness in my body, I cast a Rune as I often do after Pathworkings. Surprisingly, the Rune I draw is once again Gebo, the Gift Rune I drew after my Pathworking on the Path of Tav.

I’m again reminded of this Rune’s link to gifts, windfalls, forgiveness, and compassion. It is a Rune well-suited to the Pillar of Mercy-side of the Tree of Life on which the Path of Qoph (ק) is located. I feel grateful for the gifts I have been given by the entities I met on the Path in this working and offer thanks and blessings in return for them.

Update I: After this Pathworking, I feel very emotionally vulnerable, raw, and tender. The watery currents of this Path have stirred up some previously dormant feelings within me. I carry these feelings throughout the day as the mind begins to process them.

Update II: The day after this Pathworking, a steady stream of insights into my feelings flow into the consciousness. I gain some deeper understanding of why I have felt as I have in my past relationships and how of those old emotional patterns carry into my present relationship. The themes are fear, sadness, grieving, worry, and the tension between feeling limited and wanting freedom and openness. I spend the day working on these feelings, recognizing them as gifts of the Path of Qoph (ק). These watery energies begin to subside as I accept, acknowledge, and receive their insights. By the end of the day, I once again feel balanced and equilibrated and a sense of serenity returns where the Watery currents of sadness and painful emotions had flowed through.


Pathworking on the 31st Path of Shin (ש)

DGoldenDawnlogoate: March 2nd, 2018
Time: 7:37 – 8:00 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase:  Full Moon, in 17 degrees Virgo, Simak Mansion of the Moon
Planetary Day: Day of Venus
Planetary Hour: Hour of Mercury
Activities: LIRP, Godform Assumption, Pathworking of the 31st Path of Shin (ש) , LBRP

I astral-projected into the inner Temple, which took a red form with fiery and tooth-like motifs. A large white Hebrew letter Shin (ש) was emblazoned over a door leading outwards beyond the Temple to the Archway of the Path.

I formulaCrux2.jpgted the Godform of Osiris vibrating OUSIRI (ⲟⲩⲥⲓⲣⲉ) and greeted him with love and respect. He appeared dressed entirely in white, with a green face and wearing his elongated white Crown. In one hand, he held a Crux Ansata or Ankh. In the other, the Hierophant’s Wand.

I asked him to assist me to explore the 31st Path of Shin (ש) and he replied in a deeply affirmative, but calming voice, “we shall go as One.” I assumed the Godform and felt its illuminated, fearless, comfortably ruling energy flow over me.osiris.png

Once in the assumed Godform, I performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hierophant’s Wand. After the final Qabalistic Cross, I walked towards the massive doors of Shin(ש) , which opened before me.

Exiting the Temple, I stood before a vast arch with a Shin (ש) on its keystone. I performed the Sign of the Enterer three times and projected through the door, flying through an expanse of Space and into the 31st Path that joins the Sphere of Malkut (מלכות) to Hod (הוד).

As I enter the PHieroWand.jpgath, my field of astral vision fadea to red and I immediately feel an intense heat. As the red fades, I find I stand on red, rocky, sandy terrain that reminds me of the physical surface of the planet Mars. In my hand is no longer the Hierophant’s Wand, a white Shin (ש)-headed Wand. I stand on the edge of a cliff. In the plummeting gorge beneath me, a river of molten lava flows, glowing golden and emanating powerful heat.

I soon realize I am not alone. Above me tower several giant humanoid figures. Theytitan.jpg have muscular forms and are naked apart from a loin cloth draped over their waists. They stand silently watching over the whole of the land of the Path of Shin (ש) with yellow eyes. They do not speak. They stand in Silence, these Grigori or Egregoroi (ἐγρήγορο), the silent Watchers of the Path.

I test the vision by vibrating the name of Shin (ש) , multiple times tracing the letter in white flame, and vibrating ELOHIM (אלוהים), the Divine Name of the Path. The vision becomes clearer and crisper. I light the flame of an offering of incense to the King of the Salamanders, Djinn, and ask him to send me a Fire Elemental to guide me through the Path of Shin (ש).

I hear a deep voice coming from a strong-looking figure seated on a throne with his face and form veiled and unseen. He says “Your offering is accepted and your wish granted.” Soon after, a fiery lizard-looking figure appears on the cliff beside me. sala.jpg

When he comes near me, however, he shifts his fiery form from a lizard into a red-robed figure with a face of pure flame. He does not speak, but communicates through gestures. He does a gesture with his hand and the message to me is simple. To continue on, I must go on alone. Not even the Godform can come with me. I must be purely exposed in my own astral form as Frater S.C.F.V. Understanding the message, I step out of the Godform of Osiris, appearing in my own form in a red robe with a red and green striped-nemyss. I thank Ousiri and salute him with the LVX Signs, which he returns. “Go in peace,” he says, before vanishing in a flash of white light.

My red-robed Elemental Guide now points a single flaming finger down into the abyss of molten lava before the cliff. The message is clear: “You must jump alone.” So much for my idea of a Guided journey through the Path of Shin (ש). My Guide has only just arrived and it is already time to bid him adieu. I thank him for his guidance and gather my courage.

I leap from the cliff. Down I plummet, down, down, and see the white-hot lava racing towards me. When I hit the lava, I feel a rush of red light flaming through my Sphere of Sensation and pass down into the depths of the magma. I feel my astral form begin to lick up with flames that begin to envelop me. Through the thickness of the lava and the tongues of the flame, I can barely see. Then I feel them. Fiery gnashing teeth (Shin (ש) is Hebrew for ‘tooth’), that begin to tear into my astral form. What are they attached to? At first, it’s hard to tell. Then it becomes clear– they are fiery serpents with large fangs. They chew at me.

At first I am afraid, but the fear dissipate when what is happening becomes clear. The fiery teeth are eating away the impurities and impediments to further progression and Higher Initiation. I soon realize that these destructive flames are flames of purgation, of purification, of the death of the old to make way for the dawning flame of the new. I surrender to the process. A massive snake of fire, far larger than all the others, races towards me. He swallows me whole. Hot suffering, fiery agony, and red light flood my consciousness followed by release. The red fades into black.

I find myself in a confined space. I reach out my hands and touch a hard surface near my face. I hear a stirring from beyond the walls of my enclosure. A loud horn-like blast sounds and vibrates the walls of my prison. At last, the wall above me begins to open and I find I was lying within a coffin. I emerge, reborn and stand within my coffin. In the sky above me is a titanic Angelic figure with flaming hair. I realize that I am in the midst of the scene from the card of Judgment, the Tarot Trump attributed to the Path of Shin (ש) .


Instead of Gabriel, however the figure in the Clouds is Israfel, the Archangel who sounds the Trumpet of Judgment in the Islamic mythological story.


Instead of a white headdress, however, the Archangel has hair of fire and eyes of flame as well. The Angel greets me and says:

To reach the Splendor of the Divine,
You must first give up the thirst for personal glory,

To rise in the Light,
The self must fall,

Self-centeredness must be burned away
To clear a path for a vaster Life,

To live as your Self, you must die
As the superficial self you take yourself to be,
To grasp what you are, you must let go of what you’re not,

To find the Light of Victory,  you must surrender and seem to lose,
But what you will lose was never of value,
And what you will gain is all you ever sought,

This the Way of the sacred fire of the Path of Shin (ש) .”

Below the Angel, a new figure emerges. It is a towering dragon with scales of black and red. It stands before me, opens its mouth and begins to breathe fire within me. I feel the fires reconfiguring my Sphere of Sensation, flooding it with cleansing flame, purifying, recalibrating, and equilibrating with the Fire of Spirit.

“Without the Badge of Shin (ש) , you cannot enter the Temple of Hod (הוד),” speaks Israfel. “Receive it now.”

A lamen on a red ribbon with a white triangle containing the black Hebrew letter of Shin (ש) descends from the sky and drapes itself around my neck. It looks like this:shin

“You have received the Gifts that can only be gained by losing the Baggage you took to be the gifts until now. Go on, renewed and Initiated in the Mysteries of the Path of Shin. Climb upon the back of the One before you and he will fly you on to where you aim to go.”

The black and red Dragon turns around and I climb upon his back. I thank the Mighty Israfel and greet him with love and respect. “Save the love and respect for the One Who Sent Me,” he says.

The Dragon races up into the sky and begins to soar towards an Orange-hued temple in the distance. On its domed surface, I see a large astrological symbol of the Planet Mercury. As we fly towards it, I look down and see countless fiery beings moving on the ground far below us. Lizard-like fiery Elementals go about their work. Some move alone, others in groups. They shift in patterns of light along the red sand of the Path. Up we fly, higher and higher. For the Temple of Hod lies higher up, upon a higher cliff from the one from whence I came.

We land on the ground before its might Gates. I thank the Dragon who ferried me here and he nods his head and flies off back towards the cliff on the other side of the gorge from here.  I hold up the Admission Badge of the Path of Shin (ש) . The doors are vast indeed and surrounded on either side by stately Greek Classical Columns. The Gates open up and I take a few steps into the organized, illuminated interior. The vision fades to orange.

I find myself back in my inner Temple. I perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and close the Temple. Thus ends my Pathworking on the Path of Shin (ש) .

After the Pathworking, I cast a Rune, and the result was all-too appropriate to the fiery energy of the Path of Shin. This Rune is Thurisaz, which represents both a Giant, like the Giants fought by Thor, and Mjolnir, the Hammer of Thor, by which the Giants were defeated. The connections to my experience on the Path of Shin are very evident here. There were literally Giants on the Path as I traversed it, the Grigori or Egregoroi (ἐγρήγορο), the silent Watchers of the Path.

At the same time, the energy of this Path was very fiery and energetic, forceful, aggressive in many ways, and these qualities are captured in the meaning of Thurisaz as well. Its divinatory meanings include reactive force, directed force of destruction and defense, conflict, instinctual Will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst, a tendency toward change, catharsis, purging, cleansing fire, aggressive, and dominant male sexuality.

One of the lessons of the Thurisaz Rune, as Dr. Vickram Aaditya points out, is

‘to learn you must suffer’, meaning not only literal suffering, but also in the biblical sense of ‘allowing’ – allowing one’s destiny to unfold as it should, and allowing one’s self to experience all that life offers us.  What may at first appear to be a negative, destructive event, may well turn out to contain an important lesson.  The Giants may seem to be evil and destructive to the Aesir, but they bring about change, and eventually clear the way for a new age. “

All of these meanings were thematically represented in this Pathworking. It seemed that the fiery Serpents that ripped me apart were destroying me, at first glance. However, it soon became clear that they were in fact consecrating, purifying, and reconstituting me. The wise Mr. Aaron Leitch, Golden Dawn Adept, Abramelin Alumnus, and Master Grimoiric magician, pointed out to me that the primordial and universal shamanic initiation experience often involves the Neophyte shaman being dragged into fiery depths by daemonic forces that rip them apart, only to reconstitute them in a more resilient and purified form capable to survive repeated descents and ascents from the Underworld.

He only told me this after I had done both the Path of Tav Pathworking, which had a descent to the underworld theme, and this Path of Shin Pathworking, which had this fiery motif of being ripped apart by these daemonic fiery Salamanderian surpents. As a result, I wasn’t directly influenced by the idea in a way that would have affected these visionary experiences and it was very interesting to see how closely my own experiences had paralleled those archetypally universal shamanic ones that Aaron had indicated.


Update I: In the aftermath of the ritual, I felt very energetic and energized.

Update II: 10 hours later, I felt my Sphere of Sensation filled with fiery sensations. My Will felt more forceful and assertive. I felt an aggressive-erotic energy within me that felt very primal and powerful. My girlfriend, who is very empathic, picked up on this same energy and it began to manifest through her. The energy felt like a snarling dog and a passionate lover fused into one. We argued intensely and then made very aggressive and passionate love.

Update III: When I worke up this morning next to my beloved, I felt like the forceful fiery energy had kindled down into a more equilibrated state of balance. The assertiveness was once again balanced with lovingkindness and gentleness. Nonetheless, the sense that these Pathworkings can indeed be entire Initiations unto themselves that can shift our psychophysiological experience was really clear, as I reflected on what happened yesterday. The Golden Dawn system is ostensibly built on a series of 6 Outer Order Initiations (Neophyte through Portal), and 1-3 Inner Order Initiations (5=6 through 7=4 Grades in most Orders). However, many more Initiations are possible through Pathworking work and Traveling in the Spirit Vision.

The fact that Pathworkings are not mere ‘astral tourism,’ as some have cynically called them, but rather, Initiations into very specific energies, here represented by the Paths, is an important arcanum worth thinking deeply about.

Not-One, Not-Two: Qabalah, Zen, and the Diamond Sutra

By Frater S.C.F.V.

GoldenDawnlogoOne of the profoundest teachings of  The Diamond Sutra, one of the most influential Mahayana Sutras in East Asia and is a key object of devotion and study in Zen Buddhism states that there is:

No form, form is empty
No sensation, sensation is empty
No perception, perception is empty
No perceiver, the perceiver is
No memory, memory is empty
No eye, the eye is empty
No ear, the ear is empty
No nose, the nose is empty
No tongue, the tongue is empty
No body, the body is empty
No mind, the mind is empty
No shape, the shape is empty
No sound, sound is empty
No smell, smell is empty
No taste, taste is empty
No feeling, feelings are empty
No thought, thoughts are empty
No suffering, suffering is empty
No causal link, causal link is
No end of causation, the end of
causation is empty
No source, source is empty
No path, the path is empty
No knower, the knower is empty
No individuals, individuals are
No dharmas (things, phenomena, conditions),
Dharmas are empty.”


When the Diamond Sutra says “empty,” it means, empty of separate, isolated, independent existence. The Buddhist term here is Sunyata (शून्यता) – emptiness. A profound analysis of each of these phenomena reveals that without multiple other conditions beyond itself, on which it depends causally in order to arise, it could not appear at all.

Therefore, if you remove the necessary and sufficient conditions, as Western metaphysics might put it, that enable a phenomenon to exist, the phenomenon itself disappears. Because each of those conditions is itself dependent on still other conditions to exist, which themselves only interdependently co-arise, it follows that nothing ultimately has any separate existence, as the Diamond Sutra points out.

The ethical implication of this metaphysical claim is that to cling to any phenomenon as if it was permanent and independently existing, when in fact it is impermanent, interdependently co-arising, and empty of separate existence, results in suffering, unsatisfactoriness, or dukkha (दुक्ख).

A human being, for example, depends for his or her physical existence on the presence of an environment with sufficient oxygen, food, and water at the bare minimum to allow his or her continued living being, without which, he or she would cease to exist as a human being.


The same is true for everything else, which depends on conditions beyond itself arise. Therefore, the Buddhist teachings suggest, everything depends on what it’s not to be what it is.

Or differently stated, nothing separately exists, everything only inter-is, which is just another way of saying that it has no ultimate separate existence of its own. In other words, it is empty of separate existence.

This is a point on which the Hermetic Qabalah and the Mahayana Buddhism of the Diamond Sutra School agree.

Each of the Sephirot on the Qabalistic Tree of Life is empty of separate existence. As one Anonymous writer noted,

“In Da’at, all sefirot exist in their perfected state of infinite sharing. The three sefirot of the left column that would receive and conceal the Divine light, instead share and reveal it. Since all sefirot radiate infinitely self-giving Divine Light, it is no longer possible to distinguish one sefira from another; thus they are one.”


A well-known Zen Koan attributed to Master Chao Chou (778-897 C.E.) says “all things return to the One. Where does this One return?”

This phrase, properly meditated upon, is a powerful Zen technology for trigering a direct piercing of the veil of conceptual thinking, a direct seeing into the nature of reality.

But it could have easily been written by a Qabalist!

In the Qabalah, there is diversity and polarity, but it is all the manifestation of the same Source — Keter (כתר) — the Crown, Oneness or differently stated, nonduality. Without this One, there is no many.

But this, too, is not the deepest understanding. For Keter (כתר) is the manifestation of the Ain Soph Aur (אין סוף אור) , the Limitless Light, which we might call the pure awareness of Advaita Vedanta.


This is a profound realization in its own right, but awareness itself is not final. For the Ain Soph Aur (אין סוף אור) appears out of the Ain Soph (אֵין סוֹף) , Limitless No-thingness.

And even this is not as deep as the rabbit hole goes for the Ain Soph (אֵין סוֹף) emerges out of the Ain (אין), Absolute No-thingness. This is the Absolute of Nisargadatta Maharaj in the Advaita Vedanta tradition, which he describes as “prior to consciousness.”

Thus, both Zen and the Qabalah teach neither duality, nonduality, nor emptiness is final and exclusively clinging to any of these understandings as the exclusive truth is a big mistake. Ultimately, reality is neither One, nor two, nor neither.

If that sounds inconceivable, that is, literally beyond conception, it’s because to the Ruach–to use a Qabalistic term for the personal I/ thinking mind–it is inconceivable.

The thinking mind can never grasp the ultimate nature of things; it cannot grasp the nature of its own emptiness and ultimate non-existence.

As Zen and the Qabalah both teach, to go beyond the realm of conceptual Ruachian understanding, even the Ruach, the thinking mind, the personal I, the subjective self, must be seen through and our hold released from it.


This, too, is the subtlest truth of Zen and the core Ultimate of Rumi’s Naqshbandi Sufism, the Godhead of the Christian mystics.

Where is Ain (אין)? Everywhere and nowhere, right here, right now. “Just This!” belows the Zen Master.

And yet, if the mind thinks it has grasped Ain (אין)–the Zen tradition calls it Mu (無), Japanese for No–what it has grasped is not it.

Only concepts can be grasped. Only ‘its’ can be grasped, and Ain (אין) is no ‘it’ of any kind, but empty of all ‘its.’

That which is prior to concepts, prior to thinking, prior to Oneness, prior to awareness, prior to limitlessness, prior to thing-ness and phenomena-ness of all kinds, infinitely beyond, beyond, beyond, how could that be held in a hand, an understanding, a piece of knowledge?

Whatever knowledge may seem to be it, that it is not.

This is one reason the Qabalah describes Knowledge — Da’at (דעת) — itself as an Abyss; many are the Mystics who fall into the Trap of Knowledge, contenting themselves with concepts and missing the Nectar that no concept can provide.

To Cross the Abyss on the Qabalistic Tree of Life is to transcend Knowledge itself.

How could the thinking mind ever hope to manage this task that is impossible for it ? It couldn’t!


To quote the Buddhist Heart Sutra,

“Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was moving in the deep course of wisdom

which has gone beyond.

He looked down from on high and saw but five skandhas

(heaps of things that make up a human being — body, perceptions, feelings, mental formations and consciousness)

which, in their own being, were empty.

Here, O Sariputra, Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form;

Form does not differ from Emptiness,

Emptiness does not differ from Form;

whatever is Empty, that is Form,

whatever is Form that is Empty.

The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.

O Sariputra ,all dharmas (things, phenomena) are marked with Emptiness,

they have no beginning and no end,

they are neither imperfect nor perfect,

neither deficient nor complete.

Therefore, O Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling,

no perception, no name, no concepts, no knowledge.

No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;

no forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or object of the mind, no sight

organ, no hearing organ and so forth to no mind consciousness element;

no ignorance or extinction of ignorance, no decay and death, no extinction of

decay and death.

There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path,

no cognition, no attainment, nor anything to attain.

There is nothing to accomplish and so Bodhisattvas can rely on the Perfection of Wisdom without trouble.

Being without trouble they are not afraid, having overcome anything upsetting they attain Nirvana.

All Buddhas who appear in the three periods, fully Awake to the utmost

right and perfect enlightenment because they have relied on the Perfection

 of Wisdom.

Therefore, one should know the Perfection of Wisdom is the great mantra,

is the unequaled mantra, the destroyer of  suffering.

Gate Gate, Pāragate, Pārasamgate, Bodhi Svāhā!
गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा,
Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Utterly Beyond,
Oh, what an Awakening!”

Pathworking on the 32nd Path of Tau

Date: February 27, 2018
Time: 7:40 – 8:03 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous 92% in 2 degrees Leo, Lunar Mansion of Jabhah
Planetary Day: Day of Mars, a day fitting for work of courage, will, encounters, and energy
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Sun, an Hour fitting for achievement, advancement, confidence and success
Activities: LIRP, Godform Assumption, Pathworking of the 32nd Path of Tav / Tau (ת), LBRP


Photo: Sedlec Ossuary, the Bone Church of Prague.

I astral-projected into the Temple, which took the form of a dark and black august-looking building with skulls and skeletal forms in the architecture of the walls and vaulting arches overhead and the black Double-Cubical Altar of the Universe with the white Triangle and red Cross on its surface in the center of the room.

I performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram, then vibrated HERMES TRISMEGISTOS while formulating the Godform of Hermes Trismegistos, who appeared with the head of an Ibis of Thoth, Hellenistic robes, and holding a double-Caduceus wand. I assumed the Godform, then proceeded out through the doors in the East of the Temple.


I declared my intention of navigating to the 32nd Path of Tav (ת) on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, then performed the Sign of the Enterer and launched into the “air” of the astral “space.”

I landed in a desolate-looking place with black shadows and a misty indigo sky. The ground was rocky and desert-like. Far in the distance, I could see a vast Temple with a great lunar crescent on its domed cupola.

I asked for a Guardian to lead me along this Path in the Name of YHVH ELOHIM (יהוה אלהים), the Divine Name of the Path. A skeleton-like figure with indigo-purple tattered material draped over his bony frame stepped forward.


I tested the vision by vibrating TAV, tracing the Hebrew letter (ת) with my Caduceus Wand, and vibrating YHVH ELOHIM (יהוה אלהים), but it did not waver. I asked the skeletal figure if he could be by guide through the Path. He shook his head, unable to speak, but then pointed a bony finger forward and beckoned me to follow him. I walked through the misty, rocky landscape with him.

Soon, we came upon a vast, towering figure, monstrously hulk-like in his musculature. He had a head like a minotaur, wore black armour, and carried a black staff whose head looked like the Sigil of Saturn.



“Who goes here?” He bellowed.

“I am Frater S.C.F.V. I come in peace in the form of Hermes Trismegistos, humbly seeking passage through the Path of Tav (ת),” I said.

“I am the Guardian of the Threshold. You cannot pass on ahead unless you know the Name.”

I vibrated “YHVH ELOHIM (יהוה אלהים)” and he seemed satisfied.

“Very well then. Follow me.”

We passed beyond his black throne and began to descend down into a vast underground cavern that opened onto a vast, sweeping cavernous chamber.

A narrow path ran down into the deep cavern, blocked on both sides by massive gates.

On either side of the narrow path, which ran directly down the center of the vast chthonic cavern, fiery depths were filled with screaming creatures, skeletal, shrieking, with skulled-heads and eyes and mouths that spat flame.


“Behold, those whose Time is up, who took their limited Time for granted as their brief lives were snuffed out,” bellowed the Guardian as we walked along the narrow path through the underworld. “Make not the same mistake as they! Note well the passage of your Time and use it wisely, taking care not to squander it! Remember the shrieking faces of those whose Time is up!”

The Guardian used his Saturnine Wand to open the Gates at the end of the narrow path through the chthonic cave. He closed the Gate behind us.

“Before you lies the narrow way that leads ahead to Yesod. You must go alone, but take with you the force of Saturn on the Path of Tav.”

Saying this, he touched his Saturn Wand to the corresponding Path of Tav (ת) on my Astral Form of Hermes Trismegistos and then my forehead, saying “receive the stern force of Saturn, restricting force of focus, mindfulness of Time, schedule, and order.” I felt a flush of black energy flood through my Sphere of Sensation and equilibrated it with the Qabalistic Cross.


I thanked the guardian and offered him a respectful goodbye, and saluting him, which he returned.

As he returned through the hulking Gate into the underworld, I set out carefully along the path ahead.

Before me lay a fragile and decrepit looking rope bridge with holes and missing planks. It spanned the gap between two sides of a vast and misty canyon. I could not see its bottom du to the mists. Far on the other side, through the mists, I could faintly make out the shape of the vast temple with the great dome and crescent moon I had seen before. To reach it, I would need to cross the ancient bridge.


I sensed danger and held up my Caduceus Wand alertly as I began to walk, slowly and carefully, along the bridge. Thankfully, I felt no fear, only grim resolution coupled with caution.

As I reached the middle of the bridge, I hear shrieking sounds in the mist around me. I was not alone. I continued to walk.

Suddenly, a series of grim shrieking beings in faded indigo tattered cloth blended with what looked like strips of white satin began to fly by me. They had holes in place of eyes and long, gaping mouths.

Suddenly, one of the screeching mouths shrieked at me “GIVE US YOUR TIME!” Another shrieked “YOUR LIFESPAN, YOUR LIFE!”

And they began to rush at me. Vibrating “TETRAGRAMMATON ELOHIM (יהוה אלהים)!” I blasted them with bright flaming pentagrams until they backed off, shrieking and wincing in pain.



After what felt like forever, but could have only been mere minutes objectively, I reached the other side and stood before the vast Temple of Yesod. It was coloured in elegant amethyst and stately pearlescent, mauve-hued marble.

Vibrating “SHADDAI EL CHAI,” the towering doors opened up before me. Instantly, I heard beautiful music like an angelic choir that moved me deeply. I stepped into the Light within.

The vision grew bright purplish white and faded out as I found myself standing in the black Saturnine Temple from which I had started. I stepped out of the Godform, saluted Hermes Trismegistos, who offered a salutation in return, then banished and closed the Temple.

Update: After completing his Pathworking with all of its profound symbolism about the unpredictability of death and the limited nature of the human lifespan, I arrived at my work only to find out that one of my social work clients had suddenly and unexpectedly died after contracting an infection. I was stunned…

I cast a Rune for guidance in navigating all the post-death follow-up and the emotions of mourning in myself, my colleagues, and my client’s executor and drew Inguz/Ingwaz:


The rune is named after the Norse heroic god Ing, who came to unite the people of Viking Jutland, and then he left them in peace and harmony. At its core, it symbolizes peace. My client, having passed left this world behind and the tremendous suffering in which he lived, is finally freed from that pain. Inguz is also a Rune of masculine vitality and strength; it captures the notion of the Seed and New Beginnings. I interpret this aspect as meaning that there is a need to draw on my inner strength and keep collected and strong for those who depend on me as we move through this difficult time.

Neither life nor death exists on its own; both are empty of separate existence and only inter-are. The death of one experience carries the seed of the next; the end of one chapter is the beginning of the next. The many seemingly separate beings who are born, live for a while this strange adventure called human life, only to pass away are but manifestations of the same Source and One from which they spring, the first Seed of all Seeds. Oneness itself, the Point of Keter, is itself but a flowering forth of a still more primordial seed, the seed of Ain, of No-Thingness, which appears as One, and through the One, as All. I find peace knowing that the true nature of my client is neither born nor dies, neither comes nor goes, neither arises nor subsides. “Wheresoever you turn,” as the Qur’an says, “there is the face of God…”

Update: Drawing on the Saturnine energy of the Path of Tav and the Strength of Ingwaz, I moved through the day with a smile and kindness to the people around me, but an inner grim resolve and sternness to balance it. All that needed to be done, was done. Another day has come to an end. And as I prepare to rest my head upon my pillow, I can’t help but remember the words of the Guardian… ”

“Behold, those whose Time is up, who took their limited Time for granted as their brief lives were snuffed out,” bellowed the Guardian as we walked along the narrow Path through the underworld. “Make not the same mistake as they! Note well the passage of your Time and use it wisely, taking care not to squander it!”


Dear Mr. W.–
Thank you for the light of your smile in the darkness of your physical agony, the strength you showed as your battled an amputation, infectious illness, and isolation in quarantine, your pervasive good humor, and your almost superhuman patience. The Time we shared in your final moments on this Earth was a sacred gift for which I am very grateful. Thank you for all you taught me and for the gift of the little I got to do to help you through your final phase of life.
Rest in Peace.
Light in Extension,
Frater S.C.F.V

Published in: on February 27, 2018 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Mind-Blowingly Successful Remote Viewing

summerGoldenDawnlogoI have known C.D. for 14 years now.

We have had a very intense and intimate history, since we were each other’s first love, which has facilitated some fairly powerful spiritual experiences together.

14 years ago, she invited me to practice Remote Viewing of where she was, that is, psychic ability to tune into a person or place and see a location from far away, without the aid of technology or physical vision.

I was a few cities over from where she was at the time and was just starting to experiment with magic and astral projection, but I was happy to experiment for the fun of it.

I performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, then lay down, and astral projected to where she was.

I then attempted to tune into her astral form and through it, into her physical form and surroundings.

As my feeling of her grew stronger, images began to appear in the field of my receptive consciousness.

All of these years later, I still remember these simple pictures as clearly as if I had just seen them.

There was nothing all that special or particularly “magical” about the pictures at all.

I simply saw C.D. seated at her kitchen table with her family.

She was wearing a red sweater with a flame and a logo on it.

Emerging from the vision, I wrote down what I had seen and sent it to her.

I noted the time at which I did the Remote Viewing so she could compare it with where she was at that exact moment.

She was shocked when she received my message.

She had indeed been in her kitchen and wearing a red sweater with a flame and the logo, exactly as I described it.

Fast-forward 14 years to this present year.

Some things have changed, others have stayed the same.

I remain in Montreal.

C.D. has moved to California.

After a recent conversation in which we reminisced about our past spiritual experiences together, she invites me to practice Remote Viewing of her current location just as we did all those years ago.

There are a few twists this time around.

For one thing, I haven’t seen her in 14 years.

The last time I did this, I had seen her the day before and was currently dating her, and head over heels in love.

We are no longer together — we broke up 13 years ago.

The second difference is that she is much further away this time and I had been to the house she lived in at the time I did the previous Remote Viewing.

I knew what that house looked like.

This time around, the challenge was greater — I had never been to her house in California.

I had never even video-chatted, screen-timed, or seen any pictures of what it looks like.

Would these changes make a difference?

I’m curious to find out, so I accept her offer.

To do the experiment, I decide to follow the same procedure that I followed 14 years ago.

On February 8, 2018, on the Day of Jupiter, during the Hour of Jupiter, I perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

I then relax into the theta-gamma synchronized altered state that I have found to be neuropsychologically optimal for skrying, evocation, and astral work, just as I had done years ago.

Having reached this altered st ate, I astral project to where C.D. is in California.

I see her image on the astral plane.

At first, it’s dim, like a candlelight some distance away in a dark forest.

I tune into it and it grows stronger and brighter, like a violin note coming into crisp clarity and growing louder after being dimly heard from far away.

I tune into her energy and fully open the Sphere of Sensation of my consciousness to receive impressions from her and her surroundings.

They come.


The images I see don’t seem to make any sense.

I have no idea what to make of any of them, but I decide to go with them anyway.

I see a golden light.

White horses.

A staircase.

A rainbow.

Plaid fabric.

Returning at last to the ordinary state of consciousness, I write these things down and send what I saw to C.D.

Because of the time difference, it turns out that she was still sleeping in California when I did the Remote Viewing.

A few hours pass before she sees my message.

At long last, I get a reply from her.

It reads as follows:

“Heyy. I got your message. At first, I was confused by it because I wasn’t outside near any horses when you did the remote viewing–

I was asleep in my bed.

And it wasn’t raining, so there were no rainbows around.

But as I was lying on my bed, I looked around my room.

And when I saw the poster on my wall, my jaw dropped.

It’s this beautiful poster called Key to Eternity,

A poster you never saw before.

It looks like this:”

She sends me a link.

I open it up and I see the following:


At first, I don’t quite get why she’s pointing out the poster.

The details are small and hard to make out.

Then she explains:

“As I looked at the poster, I figured it out.

When you came here astrally…

This is what you saw.

Look closely.

Do you see?

There are the stairs.

To the right of them?

The white horses.”

key and horses.png

“Above that, behind the Stonehenge, is the Golden Light.”

gold light.png

“And to the left of that? The rainbow.”


As I read these words, I am utterly blown away.

So is she.

I feel totally and completely in awe, totally wonder-struck by the mysterious world we live in, where something like this could be possible…

She is so mind-blown that she doesn’t even know what to say at this point. Nor do I.

At last, it occurs to me to ask, “what about the plaid?”

She soon reveals the key to that particular mystery:





Deeper Mysteries of the Great Work: Golden Dawn, Buddhism, and Advaita Vedanta

By Frater S.C.F.V.

GoldenDawnlogoQ: I would like to ask you a question. I have been studying some great Golden Dawn based books and I have noticed there seems to be a lot of attention on the will. Personally, having studied the teachings of Buddhism and Advaita Vedants, I tend not to believe in “free will.”

To me, the world does not make much sense when I would accept the existence of a free will. The belief in free will also has a lot of troublesome consequences, concerning morality, a soul/mind seperate from the brain of the body which can result in many what I would call “ego based illusions” which hinder my spiritual life more then they do any good. What are your views on this subject?

A: This is a fantastic question. Your concerns resonate with some of the same ones I had when I began studying the Golden Dawn since, somewhat like you, I had trained in Zen Buddhism and was initiated into Advaita Vedanta.

The Buddhist approach and the Advaita approach both negate the personal I and deconstruct the sense of personal self that in the Qabalah, corresponds to the Ruach.


Advaita mainly proceeds by negating all aspects of our being and simply abiding as the so-called “Higher” Self, Atman-Brahman, or the Awareness of the Yechidah. When the Advaita sage Nisargadatta Maharaj talks about holding on to the pure and simple sense of being, which he calls the “sense I Am,” that is ultimately consonant with the G.D. system since the Divine Name of Keter (כתר) is Eheieh (אהיה – I Am).

Beyond Keter (כתר) is the limitless light of pure Awareness (אין סוף אור – Ain Soph Aur), beyond which is the Ain Soph (אֵין סוֹף – Limitlessness) and Ain (אֵין – No-thingness), which is beyond all concepts altogether — that is Nisargadatta’s Absolute.


It is also related to the Sunyata or emptiness of Buddhism, which is beyond even Oneness. When Zen masters say “all things return to the One, but to where does this One return?” They are pointing to the Absolute or Ground of Dzogchen or Christian mystical Godhead that is prior to both duality and nonduality, beyond phenomenological twoness and even Oneness itself.

The Qabalah’s approach as used in the G.D. is different from Advaita in the sense that it doesn’t proceed by fixating on the Yechidah or constantly negating the Ruach, although part of the 5=6 teachings concern the humbling of the personal I in surrender to the Divine.

That is, instead of fixating on constantly denying and deconstructing the personal I and clinging to the Higher Self, the Golden Dawn system simply places both in balanced context. In the Outer Order Grades, the aspirant works on building up the confidence, balance, and balance of elements within their being to train them for the magical and inner work to come.

In the Adeptus Minor, as the system is meant to be worked, one integrates what one has learned and yet humbles oneself in surrender to our Divine Nature, the Inner and the Outer, about which the Qur’an writes, “wheresoever you turn, there is the Face of God!”


“The Angel of the Birds” by Franz Dvorak, 1910.

In the following passage from his What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn/My Rosicrucian Adventure, Golden Dawn Adept Israel Regardie speaks to the Hermetic approach to seeing through the ego’s illusions and our more fundamental craving impulses and how magic works to bring them into balance rather than ignoring/negating them to fixate on the higher Self, which sets them up to unconsciously wreak havoc on our lives.

This tendency towards imbalance is unfortunately what I often sadly observed in the Advaita community — that many in the community talked all day about awareness and non-self, but their lives were a mess of narcissism, anxiety, depression, nihilism, solipsism, often abusing other people and rationalizing it and so on. This was not true for the majority of students, but certainly the case for many. I observed it among some of my Zen brothers and sisters as well. These are the pitfalls of a mystical Way without Balance, as Regardie points out:

“Let me quote a few especially appropriate lines from Jung in connection with this Fall, when the fundamental basis of the Ruach has been attracted to the kingdom of shells, and when Malkuth has been completely cut off from the other Sephirot:

“Consciousness thus torn from its roots and no longer able to appeal to the authority of the primordial images, [the archetypes], possesses a Promethean freedom, it is true, but it also partakes of the nature of a godless hubris or arrogance. It soars above the earth, even above mankind, but the danger of capsizing is there, not for every individual to be sure, but collectively for the weak members of such a society, who again Promethean-like, are bound by the unconscious to the Caucasus.”

It will not do, then, for the Adept to be cut off from his roots, but he must unite and integrate his entire Tree, and train and develop the titanic forces of the unconscious so that they become as a powerful but docile beast whereon he may ride



Israel Regardie and Chic Cicero.

Thus, as we work towards bringing the dimensions of our being into alignment and Qabalistic balance, we aim for harmonization between our body (G’uph), its basic sensory and impression-receptive functions (Nephesh), a human personality and astral energetic body (Ruach), but also a deeper Self, an Awareness-I, and a sense of Willing (Yechidah, Chiah, Neshamah).

None of these dimensions absolutely or separately exists, as Buddhism points out; they, and everything else in the Universe, inter-are. The sense of Will also interdependently arises like all other manifest phenomena in the universe.

However, while Absolutely, no Will exists, relatively, it does, and is a force of Mind with which we can work. This is how I understand the work we do in Magic and the Golden Dawn path of the Great Work; we’re operating, not as an isolated separate entity, but as the Whole working on and with itself as reflected through the prism of our human consciousness and unique body-mind conditions.

This is particularly true in the selfless magic in the 6=5 Grade and the work of mystical service as the All serving the All in the 7=4 Grade, which is akin to the Path of the Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism.


Relief image of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara from Mount Jiuhua, Anhui, China

The practical key to the work at all of these levels and layers is to bring all of the Qabalistic aspects of our being into alignment and work towards the Greater Good or Summum Bonum of the individual, family, community, society, and commonwealth of all beings.

In this way, we aim to avoid falling into either the imperious self-centeredness of a Ruach fallen into self-centered egotism or the trap of dissociated total disconnection from our humble humanness into which many Buddhists and Advaitins fall into by clinging to the Yechidah/Buddha Nature/Self.

In the Path of the Adept, we similarly aim to train ourselves to avoid living slavishly at the mercy of our basic desires and G’uph and Nephesh-based cravings, which as the Buddha points out, can serve us in the short term, but also give rise to suffering. As I see it, the Way of the Adept is in the final assessment, much like the Way of a Buddha, Arhant, Maharaj, or Bodhisattva, in that it is a Way of Balance.


The Pillars on the Qabalistic Tree of Life.

This teaching is evident in the Golden Dawn system from the role of the Hegemon in the Neophyte Grade Ceremony up through the Mysteries of Tipharet in the Adeptus Minor Grade and the Middle Pillar of Balanced Power between the Pillar of Severity/Strength and the Pillar of Mercy/Lovingkindness on the Qabalistic Tree of Life.

To quote the wise words of the Hiereus to this effect in the 0=0 Grade Initiation Ceremony, the task of the Initiate is to

“Study well that Great Arcanum, the proper equilibrium of mercy and severity, for either unbalanced is not good; unbalanced severity is cruelty and oppression; unbalanced mercy is but weakness and would permit evil to exist unchecked, thus making itself as it were the accomplice of that evil.”

Or, in short, the task of the Adept is to aim for balance, even in studying and working with the dynamics of polarity and the yin-yang of duality, the Mystery of nonduality, and the Absolute beyond both…


Light in Extension,
Frater S.C.F.V.,
Day of the Sun, February 25, 2018

Fundamental Principles of Magical Theory

By Frater S.C.F.V.


Introduction – Theoretical Underpinnings of Magical Practice

GoldenDawnlogoIt is a common observation within the magical community that  magicians tend to be pragmatists; we favour what works. The history of magic has also tended to be a history of experimentation that has stretched through the Egyptians, onwards through the Greeks, the Medieval grimoire magicians, the Elizabethan and Renaissance occultists, and on through the Victorian into the present day. As Dr. Stephen Skinner and others have suggested, the methods that have stood the test of time have tended to do so because they were thoroughly tried and found reliable in the crucible of practice, while less effectual practices were pruned like dying branches from a thriving tree.

For many, the question of how magic works is a moot point. For these practitioners, all that matters is that it does work. I sympathize with the view that it ultimately does not matter whether the spirits evoked in magical ceremonies are merely forces within human consciousness and psychology, as Ms. Dion Fortune and others contend, or whether they are objectively-existing entities, as Dr. Stephen Skinner and others suggest. Whether the final analysis reveals the truth to have been one way or the other, I will still have found the Way of magic to be a path worth walking that brims with mystery, insight, adventure, and avenues for development. As Jake Stratton-Kent once put the matter,

“I’ve found working with spirits as autonomous entities is the most straightforward and effective method. I remain largely agnostic as to the hows and whys.”

Having made these prefatory comments, it seems to me that humbly attempting to tease out and make sense of some of the fundamental principles that undergird the mechanics of our magical work can be a worthwhile exercise. I maintain this view regardless of where we happen to fall on the perennial continuum of positions between the extremes of “magic is entirely psychological and subjective” and “magic is entirely spiritual and objective.”

The truth, if the Golden Mean of Aristotle, the Middle Way of the Buddha, the Doctrine of the Mean of Kung fu’tze (“Confucius”) and other great sages are to be trusted, is likely to fall somewhere in the middle. Perhaps magic, like all other natural phenomena, has tetradimensional aspects that can be described as being at once subjective, intersubjective, objective, and interobjective, as Ken Wilber’s integral theory might suggest.

In this essay, I will attempt to lay out 14 of what I consider to be the fundamental principles in which Western ceremonial magic has tended to ground its magical theory. For the time being, I will have to humbly set aside the fine points of historical derivation and parallels within African Traditional Religions, Santeria, Shamanism, and so on that Dr. Stephen Skinner, Mr. Aaron Leitch, and Mr. Jake Stratton-Kent have so eloquently covered in their fine scholarly analyses. For more on these aspects, I can’t recommend their works highly enough.

My own magical background is primarily in the Golden Dawn tradition, and less so in Enochian, Solomonic, and Sufi practices, so I will have to confine my discussion to what I have learned from studying and working within these traditions. In this analysis, I will be drawing on the key works within these traditions, on some of the principles outlined in Real Magic (1971) and Authentic Thaumaturgy (1998) by Isaac Bonewits, as well as on additional sources to develop as coherent an account of the fundamental principles of magical theory as is currently in my power.


  1. The Principle of Understanding as Power

Definition:  “Understanding a thing gives power over it; the more intricate and multidimensional our understanding of a phenomenon, the easier it is to control it.”

This principle is a foundational principle of science; sciences have evolved through the progressively fine-tuned evolution of experimental, technological, and conceptual methods of studying and understanding natural phenomena, which have granted humanity progressively more control over phenomena that were previously taken to be chaotic and beyond our power. As Sir Francis Bacon pointed out in his Meditationes Sacrae (1597), “ipsa scientia potestas est” (‘knowledge itself is power’).

In Qabalistic magic, Understanding or Binah (בינה‬) is one of the Supernal Sephirot from which all of the more differentiated functions and forces of the Tree of Life emerge. Qabalistic magicians aim to understand the wisdom of the principles of the cosmos to facilitate our work as co-creators with the Divine in the Four Qabalistic Worlds. The principle of understanding as power is applied in Solomonic magic in the careful selection of specific astrological times to craft ritual implements, consecrate talismans, and perform evocations. Similarly, in Enochian magic, it is applied based on the suggestion that the understanding of the Watchtowers, Heptarchia Mystica, and Aethyrs enables the magician to work with the angels within each of these sub-systems.

Similarly, within the Golden Dawn system, as magicians proceed through the Grades, their understanding of the symbols and principles employed in the G.D. rituals deepens and becomes increasingly multilayered, which in turn, allows their magical operations to become increasingly finessed by the time they begin practical work in the Inner Order. In short, according to this foundational principle, applied magical understanding grants magical power.


2. The Principle of Self-Understanding

Definition: “The Way of Adepthood involves understanding and working with all aspects of one’s being, from strengths to weaknesses, the high to the low, and the above to the below.”

In Rosicrucian alchemy, central to the prima materia that the initiate aims to transmute through the Great Work are the various aspects of his or her being. These aspects must be understood–following on the principle of undertstanding as power–and equilibrated so that we do not sabotage ourselves as we are all too apt to do.

In the Golden Dawn system, for instance, Initiates spend the Outer Order Grades systematically studying and working with the various elemental forces and aspects  of their being from their Earthy physical aspects, to their Watery intuition and emotions, their Airy intellect, their Fiery Will, passion and desire, and the all-balancing force of Spirit, which crowns the elemental pentagram in the Portal Grade.

The importance of self-knowledge is an ancient teaching that was well-known to the Ancient Greek Magicians; indeed, Xenophon reports that above the entrance to the Temple of Delphi, the words γνῶθι σεαυτόν or “know thyself” were inscribed. Plato’s writings inform us that Socrates, in his work with his own daemon, took these words very much to heart.

In a similar fashion, Qabalistic magicians aim to bring the various parts of their being into alignment, from the physical body (Gu’ph) to the sensing energetic soul (Nephesh) through the sense of individual personhood and the personal I (Ruach) and unto the higher Self, Awareness, and Will of the Yechidah, Chiah and Neshamah.

In Franz Bardon’s Initiation Into Hermetics, the Psychic Training in Step I requires the aspirant to construct the “white and and black mirrors of the soul,” which are lists of his or her strengths, weaknesses, virtues and faults, so that they may be frankly examined and worked upon along the Path. Authentic development presupposes self-knowledge because we cannot transform aspects of ourselves of which we are not aware.

Indeed, the importance of self-knowledge on the magical Path cannot be overemphasized. The consequences of failing to do this work can be severe. The history of occultism is replete with examples of otherwise brilliant and proficient magicians who fell prey to their own unabated or unexamined arrogance, egotism, delusions of grandeur, paranoia, and unbridled abuse of power over their students.

Countless working groups and Orders have been ripped asunder by the failure of their members to do this all-important work. It is indeed essential to the Great Work and vital to harmonious human existence more generally.


3. The Principle of Equilibration

Definition: “Cultivate balance.”

The Neophyte Grade Ritual of the Golden Dawn enjoins the Initiate to  “study well that Great Arcanum, the proper equilibrium of mercy and severity, for either unbalanced is not good; unbalanced severity is cruelty and oppression; unbalanced mercy is but weakness and would permit evil to exist unchecked, thus making itself as it were the accomplice of that evil..” The ceremony later adds that “unbalanced force is evil, unbalanced mercy is but weakness, unbalanced severity is but oppression” and places the Throne of the Hegemon “between the Columns” in the “Place of Balanced Power, between the Ultimate Light and the Ultimate Darkness.”

The importance of balancing and equilibration is everywhere to be found in the methods and theories of magic. In the Golden Dawn, the magician equilibrates the elemental aspects of their being in the Outer Order Grades over the long term, but works at the short-term equilibration of energy within their Sphere of Sensation each time they perform the Qabalistic Cross.

The Solomonic magician stands in a balanced and elaborate circle of protection from within which he or she calls spirits into the Triangle. The Qabalist studies the balanced glyph of the Tree of Life with its Middle Pillar between the Pillars of Severity and Mercy. In the Great Table of Enochian magic, the Four Watchtowers of the East, West, North and South are balanced by the unifying and governing power of the Black Cross from which the G.D. derived the Tablet of Union. Franz Bardon’s Hermetic initiation path involves the balanced cultivation of the Mental, Physical, and Psychic aspects of one’s being and their four elemental dimensions in equilibrated unison. Similarly, the Tarot is balanced in its Four Suits, the Tetragrammaton in its Four Letters, the Zodiac in its 12 Signs, Triplicities, and Quadruplicities, and so on. The magical worldview is structured around balance within balance.

From another perspectice, in order to remain grounded, the magician must walk the tightope between faith and skepticism or risk toppling into delusion, imbalance, obsession, or self-destruction. Magical ceremonies, in the Western tradition, are frequently built around balanced frameworks, with openings, middle phases, and closings which mirror the openings. The Way of the Adept is the Way of Balanced Powers.


4. The Principle of Images 

Definition: “By Symbols and Images, magical forces can be mobilized and directed in accordance with Will.”

One of the most impactful phrases in the Neophyte Grade Ritual of the Golden Dawn is that “by Names and Images, all Powers are wakened and reawakened.” The entire Golden Dawn system is founded on this single line. The Principle of Images speaks to the first part of this key fornula. In magical practice, images and symbols are used to activate, awaken, direct, and mobilize the forces they represent in order to bring about the results for which we aim.

Interestingly enough, magic by means of images seems to have emerged first as the prinordial form of magical practice par excellence and magic by means of words, to have appeared later on with the development of more abstract aleph-bets and alphabets from pictograms. Egyptian magic is an interesting case that straddles this divide with its potent picture-words, the hieroglyphs.

Images are systematically applied in the Golden Dawn system’s use of ritual Diagrams, in the Hieroglyphics on the Black and White Pillars, in the Implements and Lamens of the Officers, and most spectacularly, in the massive meta-symbol that is the Vault of the Adepti. The Solomonic grimoires also make thorough use of images in the Seals, Sigils, and the complex symbols that are to be inscribed on the Circles and ritual tools of the magician.

Agrippa’s Magic Squares provise ways of generating pictorial sigils from names. Qabalistic pathworking, Tattwa work, and Tarot magic all employ symbols as means of evoking changes in the microcosm of the magician’s conscious and subconscious mind, and gateways to access the forces of the macrocosm.

The connection between images and power is not so foreign to us even today. Indeed, it is well-known to all users of social media, who invest countless hours in manipulating the images by which they represent themselves to shape their social standing in the eyes of others — essentially a form of picture magic.

It is a principle that is well-known to marketers, corporate branders, artists, designers, and countless other fields. It is no coincidence that scientists use imaging methodologies, graphic representations, and mathematical symbols to represent the forces they aim to understand and direct in accordance with their Will.

Of course, this principle as applied in magic works on more planes than just the physical, mental, or emotional; it operates from Eliphas Levi’s “astral light” up into the higher planetary, zodiacal, Enochian aetheyric, and other realms, but it represents an instance of the same general idea in practice.

It is worth noting that according to anthropologist Henri Breuil, some of the earliest images found in the caves of Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France may have been drawn by prehistoric shamans in an attempt to ensure a successful hunt. The sympathic magical theory underlying these early cave rituals may have been that to possess the image of the animal was to possess power over the animal as well as the means of communing with the spirit of an animal to be hunted to reassure it that it would be treated with gratitude, respect, and killed as painlessly as possible.


5. The Principle of Names and Words of Power

Definition: “Names grant power over the things named.”

The link between names and magical power is a fundamental magical idea and a truly ancient one indeed. The Torah suggests that God spoke the world into being by means of the Word and ancient Babylonian mythology describes the creative acts of Marduk through his capacity to “speak magic words.” Words and Names of Power were so central to the magic of the Egyptians that kings and priests often erased the names of certain people and gods from all past monuments to magically and symbolically erasing them from the universe and from history.

As another example, Sufis who practice the Islamic form of prayer-based magic called Ruqya often carefully select God Names from the 99 Names of Allah that are suited to the matter at hand (e.g. in a prayer to have knowledge revealed, Al-Lateef (the Knower of Subtleties) or Al-Haadi (The Provider of Guidance) might be used, Al-Hafiz (the Guarding One) might be used in a protection ritual, and Al-Kareem (the Bountiful One) might be used in a ritual requesting financial blessings).

As previously mentioned, name and word-based magic is as old as written and spoken alphabets themselves. The Golden Dawn system makes thorough use of Divine Names in its rituals from the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagam up through its most complex ceremonies. Qabalistic magic is fundamentally grounded in meanings and numerical values given to the Hebrew letters. Similarly, the magicians of the Solomonic grimoires inscribe Names of God on their implements and Circles and evoke and invoke by means of these names. Spirits in the grimoires are evoked both by means of these Divine Names for authority and through Conjurations using the names of Spirits alongside their sigils and Seals. It is no coincidence one of the Enochian systems of magic largely functions by systematically conjuring angelic beings by means of Names extracted from the Watchtowers.

In short, the essential idea here, as Mr. Boneswit points out, is that “certain words are able to alter the internal and external realities of those uttering them, and their power may rest in the very sounds as much as in their meaning.” The former especially holds true when one is working with the so-called “barbarous words” whose names are unknown to the magician, but are nonetheless able to exert effects through the sheer force of their utterance. Indeed, in bhakti yoga and Sufi dhikr, Mantras and Names of God are said to contain the presence of Divinity within their very sound and letters. It is a principle worth thinking deeply about since it lies at the core of all we do.


6. The Principles of Correspondence and Sympathy

Definition: Drawing directly from Mr. Bonewits here, “if any two or more patterns have elements in common, the patterns interact “through” those common elements, and control of one pattern facilitates control over the other(s), depending among other factors upon the number, type and duration of common elements involved.”

Ceremonial magic is largely based on an elaborate system of correspondences. In Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy (1531), for instance, numerous stones, plants, perfumes, and other objects are attributed to various archetypal Planets and Zodiacal signs. Mr. Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777 (1909) and Dr. Stephen Skinner’s Complete Magician’s Tables (2006) present more elaborate systems of correspondences that associate countless elements, spirits, stones, herbs, godforms, angelic choirs, and so on with Qabalistic Sephirot, Planets, Zodiacal Signs, and many other archetypal forces. It is echoed in the careful selection of metals and herbs in the Solomonic grimoires, in the sympathetic magical work of the African Traditional Religions, and in the notion of the Vodoun Doll used in the Haiti Vodoun tradition.

In constructing a magical ceremony, once carefully selects items based on their correspondences. A working for a Venus talisman, for instance, may feature a rose, a green altar cloth, images of attractive nude men or women, the Empress Tarot card, and so on and be performed during the Planetary Hour of Venus on the Day of Venus (Friday). By concentrating sympathetic elements that are associated or share a symbolic affinity, and charging them with directed force in accordance with a Willed outcome, the magician attempts to create a kind of “harmonic resonance” that is in line with the object of their working.

This principle is based on the observation, noted by the Buddha in his doctrine of interdependent co-arising, by multiple Indigenous Wisdom traditions, and by the Qabalah among other systems, that all things are interdependent, interconnected, and inextricably interwoven with one another. When things have an infinity or association with one another, they tend to interact and influence one another. Nothing exists separately; everything exists in a great web of inter-being. In the Kybalion of the Three Initiates, this principle is echoed in the Principle of Correspondence, which it explains in these terms:

“This Principle embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” And the grasping of this Principle gives one the means of solving many a dark paradox, and hidden secret of Nature. There are planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them we are able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us. This Principle is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe–it is an Universal Law. The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most important mental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles which hid from view the Unknown. Its use even tore aside the Veil of Isis to the extent that a glimpse of the face of the goddess might be caught. Just as a knowledge of the Principles of Geometry enables man to measure distant suns and their movements, while seated in his observatory, so a knowledge of the Principle of Correspondence enables Man to reason intelligently from the Known to the Unknown. Studying the monad, he understands the archangel.”

In the magical worldview, everything is interconnected; the seemingly many are really One. This One emerged from infinite nothingness and now appears as All. Is the universe, as perceived by the magician, ultimately nondualistic, dualistic, or grounded in nothing? All of the above, and neither. Or, differently stated, each of these models is partially true and can offer a useful framework within which to work magically.


7. The Principles of Contagion and Metonymy 

Definition: “Changes to the part can affect the whole; the part can represent the whole.”

A metonym is a way of naming a whole by one of its parts, or naming one object or person by means of something closely associated with it. For instance, a King may be referred to as “the Crown.” The principle of metonymy is one of the most ancient magical principles of all. Many Indigenous and Traditional religions contain applications of it. It is related to the principle of contagion, or the notion that two objects that were once in contact will continue to remain in contact regardless of their spatial distance from one another, like two quantum entangled particles on different sides of the universe that display state changes that are completely in harmony.

Ancient and Indigenous magical traditions may apply this idea to work magic on an individual by using a lock of their hair, a fingernail, a drop of blood, a piece of clothing, or an object that once belonged to them. The Vodoun doll creates an effigy of a person, often incorporating one of their hairs, which the magician manipulates to magically impact the targeted person. In the ceremonial magic tradition, this principle is one of the principles that underpin the charging of talismans and is closely related to the principle of correspondence and sympathy.


8. The Principles of Antipathy and Reversal

Definition: “Qualities, symbols, and energies can be used against their opposites.”

This principle is, in essence, the correlative opposite of the principle of sympathy. It suggests that anything contrary to the nature of a thing can be used to exorcise it, banish it, dispel it, or drive it out. This principle is central to the structure of banishing rituals such as the Golden Dawn’s Pentagram and Hexagram rituals. It’s also central to the functioning of Solomonic Conjurations, magic Circles, Exorcisms, and Banishings, particularly in work with the Goetia. In this tradition, for instance, Holy Water is used to constrain and control Goetic spirits. Similarly, protective amulets that are designed to ward off the influences of contrary forces represent applications of the principle of antipathy, such as the ‘evil eye’ amulets used in Greek magic or the protective amulets constructed for both the living and the dead in Ancient Egyptian magic.

Related to this is the principle of reversal, which can be stated as “what can be magically done can be magically undone.” There are limits to this notion, of course, due to the principle pointed out in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, namely, that Nature tends toward disorder. With that said, the principle can still be useful in magical operations. A Solomonic Exorcism is, in essence, a reversal of the notion of possession or a spirit inhabiting another living being or nonliving object, as in an Exorcism of Water or Fire. In the Golden Dawn’s Neophyte Grade Ritual, similarly, the Circumambulation of the Light, which is used to create a vortex of Light within the Temple, is followed by the Reverse-Circumambulation of the Light to reverse and undo the creation of this vortex.


8. The Principle of Probability-Shifting

Definition: “Because of the link between cause and effect, magical operations can make events more or less likely to occur.”

As every scientist notes and as the Buddha stated long ago, certain conditions are such that when they are present, they are more likely to bring about other related conditions. Certain effects tend to follow the occurrence of particular causes of contributory causal factors. Philosophy further analyzes the notion of causes into ‘sufficient conditions,’ which are enough to bring about particular outcomes on their own, and ‘necessary conditions’ which individually contribute to a particular outcome, but are not sufficient to bring them about by themselves.

In other words, the more contributory causal factors are present with the power to bring about that situation, the more probable it becomes. This is the basis of the principle of probability shifting as applied in magic. A magical operation is designed to shift the probability that something will or will not happen, to either increase it or decrease it, to promote its occurrence, or dissuade it. The greater the energy and Will invested into the working, the chain of sympathetic and corresponding forces involved in the ceremony, and the use of appropriate Names and Images, to name but a few forces, the more the probability can be shifted, this principle holds.


“Earth Balance – Yin and Yang Art” by Sharon Cummings

9. The Principle of Polarity

Definition: “Everything that exists has an opposite, a complementary pole, a quality with the power to balance it.”

This principle is related to the principle of balance or equilibration, and indeed, is the reason that the principle of equilibration is possible. As mathematics points out, all true equations are balanced. As Newton’s Third Law suggests, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Taoist magic is quick to remind us that Yin flows into Yang, and that one cannot work with one force without the other. In the Qabalistic Tree of Life, Sephirot attributed to opposite polarities balance one another, like Mercury balancing Venus, or the Greater Benefic of Jupiter and the greater Malefic of Saturn.


The practical application of this principle suggests that a ritual to gain money for the magician must involve someone else losing that money. To know light, darkness must also be known. Death presupposes life. A ceremony to attain a job deprives someone else of that same job. Growing into a new state implies growing out of an old one. When one person gains power, someone else loses it. Therefore, we must be careful about what we do magic to achieve; actions can have unintended consequences, often far more than we anticipate.

The Kybalion of the Three Initiates speaks of this principle in this way:

 “Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its
pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are
identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet;
all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be

In the magical worldview, everything is dual AND it is nondual. It is One in its twoness and two in its Oneness. The seemingly Other is the Self in disguise; the Self contains the Other.


10. The Principle of Karmic Consequence

Definition: “As you reap, you shall sow.”

This principle is related to the principles of cause and effect and probability shifting. As we reap, we tend to sow. Wiccans combine this notion with a notion of exponential effects multiplying through interconnected networks of phenomena to develop their notion of the ‘threefold law,’ namely, that we receive in return three times what we sow in the long term. This may or not be true all of the time; some people invest tremendous amounts of money only to lose it, for instance, and sometimes a kindhearted action like helping another person can lead one to be killed, or an intentionally cruel action like attempting to harm someone by destroying their property can unintentionally benefit them by releasing them from having to worry about it. Very often, the selfish, petty and cruel prosper and the kind, compassionate, and wise are punished. The world is complex indeed as magicians and scientists alike both wholeheartedly agree.

What is certainly true is that it tends to be the case, as a general rule, that we tend to reap as we sow in one form or another. People who repeatedly do magic to harm others tend to be harmed by their own work in some way, even as basically and psychologically as feeding the aspects of themselves that are hostile, destructive, biased towards the negative, and so on. In this respect, like tends to attract like, as the principle of correspondence and sympathy points out. Harmful intent tends to attract harm in kind; generous and kind intent tends to attract like responses. It’s no surprise that coworkers quickly determine who is cooperative and aim to cooperate more with them and withdraw their cooperation from those who don’t cooperate with them. In Sanskrit, the word ‘karma’ literally means ‘action,’ for consequences are related to the notion of action, which brings them about as causes to their effects. And if we reap what we so,w then it seems prudent to sow carefully.


11. The Principle of Personification

Definition: “Anything can be treated as a person.”

This principle is an ancient one. It has its roots in shamanistic animism, the roots of many of the Indigenous Traditions that birthed the first magical practitioners, in which everything is seen to have some form of spirit or life to it. It is an idea that survived into the Medieval Solomonic Grimoires, such as the Key of Solomon, where we find magicians speaking to fire, for instance, as “oh thou Creature of Fire.” The Golden Dawn’s Inner Order Magic applied the same Solomonic formula to their Talismanic magical methods, in which the Magician may speak to a talisman as if it were a person, saying “Oh thou Creature of Talismans.”

Ancient Greek magicians personified the abstract principles of the Element of Wind as “the Four Winds” or Anemoi--Boreas, Zephyrus, Notus, and Eurus–and worked with them in their different aspects in this way. Donald Micheal Kraig, in his Modern Magick, applies this principle to exorcise unwanted personality traits, habits, thoughts, or emotions from the magician with what he calls the I.O.B. Technique (Identify, Objectify, Banish) by personifying them and banishing them. St. Francis of Assisi used this principle to commune with Nature and spoke of “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon;” the Haudenoshaunee Indigenous Nation similarly refers to the moon as ‘Grandmother Moon.” In short, the principle of personification makes magical use of the human tendency to detect agency and mobilizes it to open up lines of communication for the purposes of initiation, empowerment, and the achievement of magical goals.

“Spell Pierce Invocation” by Joseph Meehan

12. The Principle of Invocation

Definition: “Bring an entity or force into your consciousness to communicate with or experience it from within.”

Invocation is one of the most important and ancient principles and practices in the magician’s repertoire. It involves bringing an entity or force into your sphere of sensation to commune with it or communicate with it from within. The Solomonic grimoires are replete with invocations of God and the Archangels and the Grade Rituals and LRP of the Golden Dawn are no different in this respect. In the Rites of Eleusis in Ancient Greek, the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, and her daughter, Persephone, were invoked by the psychopomps during the celebration of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries.

Prayer is the most common form of invocation, but far more elaborate invocations are possible. A devotee surrendering themselves to the Deity of their devotion to the point of identifying with them through repeated invocation is a well-known practice within the tradition of Bhakti Yoga as discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. Invocations of the Holy Spirit are common in Rosicrucian magical traditions.


One of the most sophisticated forms of invocation was practiced by the Ancient Egyptian priests. This technique, later referred to by the Golden Dawn as godform assumption, involves formulating and cloaking oneself in the astral form of an entity and performing actions and experiencing thoughts, feelings, and visions from their perspective. As practiced by the Ancient Egyptians, this method was employed invoke and garb oneself in the form of the Egyptian neteru, the name they gave to the god/goddess forces with which they worked, which carries various meanings, such as “supreme,” “great,” “deity,” “renewal,” and “divine.” In the Golden Dawn system, Officers assume and hold various godforms astrally for the duration of the ceremony as they manipulate the flows of energies in the Temple and make changes to the Initiate’s Sphere of Sensation as lucidly explained in Pat Zalewksi’s Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries (2010).

Jake Stratton-Kent describes an alternative to godform assumption he calls the astral assumption of theriomorphs or ‘animal forms.’ As he explains this practice:

Warping myself or my ‘astral body’ into the appropriate animal or beast-headed deity to – say – consecrate a talisman, connects with deeply primal magical currents.


12. The Principle of Evocation

Definition: “Summon an entity or force to external appearance.

While invocation involves taking an entity or archetypal force into one’s Sphere of Sensation, evocation involves the corollary experience of causing the spirit to appear as experienced outside of the magician.  This is the primary method that is applied, for instance, in the Goetia of the Lemegeton, to cause spirits to appear to visual appearance in the Triangle of Art outside of the Magician’s Circle.

The grimoiric tradition abounds with methods of invocation. In the Solomonic tradition, spirits may be helped to appear to visible manifestation by manipulating the movements of candlefire, shifting the appearance of incense smoke, or appearing in a black mirror.

The Golden Dawn magicians developed their own methods of evocation based on the Z-formulae embedded in the Grade Rituals. In the Enochian system of John Dee, angelic forces may be evoked into a crystal ball and produce visions there-through. In short, invocation is bringing a being in, while invocation is bringing a being into being experienced as external to your human form.


13. The Principle of Scrying

Definition: “Gazing into a medium can enable one to see visions or receive messages one could otherwise not access.”

The principle of scrying embodies one of the key magical techniques that are used in practical magic. According to some anthropologists, the practice of scrying dates as far back as 3000 B.C.E. in China where cracked eggs were used as a form of scrying and divination. Scrying may be performed to obtain personal guidance, revelations, inspiration, as a tool for divination, or to communicate with a force or entity, as in the principle of evocation.


The most commonly-used media for scrying are reflective, refractive, clear, or luminescent surfaces such as a bowl of water, a crystal ball, a black or ordinary mirror, a stone like the topaz used by Aleister Crowley to scry the Enochian Aethyrs in the Vision and the Voice (1911).

The Ancient Egyptians reportedly scryed into a vessel filled with oil. Nostradamus scryed into a bowl of clear water to receive his prophecies. The Oracle of Delphi allegedly scryed into a special spring to obtain answers to the questions posed by Kings and peasants alike. The Aztec Yucatan shamans are said to have scryed into reflective crystals and gemstones. In all of these cases the principle is the same: by means of a carefully-selected medium, the magician can augment his or her powers of astral perception to receive messages or visions.


14. The Principle of Murphy

Definition: “If it can go wrong, it probably will.”

Last, but not least, in this brief attempt to survey the principles that underlie magical practice, I must not neglect to point out the principle of Murphy, otherwise more commonly known as Murphy’s Law. Despite all of our best efforts and most-carefully designed rituals, things can and often do go wrong. Lon Milo DuQuette reports in My Life With the Spirits (1999), for example, that he accidentally had cinnamon-infused Abramalin oil run into his eyes during an evocation and had to leave the Circle and run screaming into the bathroom!

I once neglected to properly take astrological influences into account when consecrating a Saturn talisman and ended up making one that gave an Adept friend of mine splitting headaches every time he looked at it. On another occasion, I failed to print out one of the key pages of my two-hour consecration ceremony and had to ad lib it on the fly. Other friends have run out of incense during evocations, leaving the spirit with nothing to manifest with and had the spirit tell them “you need more incense than this…”, or knocked over candle sand set the Temple on fire. Long story short: if it can go wrong, it probably will, and in the most annoying way possible, so be careful!



In this essay, I have attempted to provide a selection of fundamental magical principles that magicians have used throughout the history of magic to gain a sense of what they were doing in ritual, and which are still current to the understandings of contemporary practitioners myself. The way of magic is a way of experimentation, discovery, investigation, and experience. Like the sciences, in magic, theory and practice continue to emerge and be evolved as both persevering solitary individuals and the collective community of practitioners push its frontiers ever forward.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
~ Arthur C. Clarke, in Profiles of the Future (Revised edition, 1973)

Frater S.C.F.V.


Did I leave anything out or present any unintentional inaccuracies? Have you found any other principles to be worth including? Please feel free to share your feedback in the comments. I am an eternal beginner on this Way and benefit a great deal from what I learn from all of you who are wiser than I, thank you!

An Invocation of Yeheshuah, Three Unexpected Visions, and a Rune that Made my Jaw Drop

GoldenDawnlogoDate: February 22, 2018
Planetary Day: Day of Jupiter
Planetary Hour: Hour of Mars
Lunar Phase: First Quarter, 20° Zodiac (Taurus),  Lunar Mansion of Dabaran
Solar Phase: Rising
Activities: Invocation and Assumption of the Godform of Yeheshuah, LIRP, Lord’s Prayer, Visions of Last Supper, Riding Donkey through City, Temptation in the Desert, Blessing / Exorcism in the Holy Spirit

I astrally projected into my astral inner Temple, which took the form, this time, a great Cathedral with brightly multicolored stained glass windows and vast, sweeping arches that towered high above my head.

In the center of the Cathedral, sat the black Double-Cubical Altar adorned with the Cross and Triangle of the Golden Dawn. Elevating hymnal music played on an organ in the background, creating a celestial aural soundscape in the space.

I formulated the Godform of Yeheshuah, invoking and vibrating YEHESHUAH until his lean robed form stepped out of a blindingly bright golden light and into the rainbow light that streamed through the stained glass windows. He had a beard and wore a white robe with a red sash.


“Greetings, my son,” he said in a warm tone.

“Greetings with great love and respect, oh Yeheshuah. Please assist me in invoking the presence of Our Father,” I said.

Yeheshuah smiled.

I then stepped into the Godform and felt it encompass my Aura, simultaneously expanding the image of Yeheshuah out from the heart center while vibrating YEHESHUAH until the Form fully encompassed my Sphere of Sensation. In this state, Yeheshuah was I and I was Yeheshuah — the truth, the light and the Way.

In the form of Yeheshuah, I performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hierophant’s Wand, seeing Yeheshuah’s pentagrams in powerful golden-white flaming light. His voice on vibrating the Names of Power was powerful and yet filled with love, absolutely empty of egotism or arrogance. The visions of the Archangels were particularly vivid and the Qabalistic Crosses were deeply energizing.

I noticed something interesting about how Yeheshuah drew down the light for the Qabalistic Cross; he did not formulate it from a sphere above the head (Keter), but first drew and focused it from its dispersed state all around him (the Ain Soph Aur) to then form a sphere above the head from which to draw down the light. This seemed to me very powerful and effective, like going a step beyond the Tree of Life and pulling from that vaster field before space-time even emerged.

After completing the LIRP, while still in the Godform, I began to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Two lines in to the familiar prayer, however, while gazing through Yeheshuah’s eyes, an unexpected vision suddenly welled up from within and covered my full whole field of view. To my great surprise, I was no longer in my Temple. Instead, I was seated at a long wooden table with my disciples crowded around and before me. On the table were bread, wine, figs, grapes, and fish.


I heard Yeheshuah’s voice from my lips saying “truly I tell you, one of you at this table will betray me.” Hearing this, the disciples all protested and began to talk excitingly among themselves. Peter, with his long hair and beard, particularly protested. But looking at him, Yeheshuah said, “you too, Peter, will deny me three times before the rooster crows.” Emphatically, he denied that this would be, but a certainty within the heart of Yeheshuah told me otherwise.

Then the scene shifted, as unexpectedly as before. Suddenly, I found myself riding my donkey through an ancient city that I soon realized was Jerusalem. Before me, disciples placed cloaks and palm branches on the street. Inwardly, I heard myself saying:

“Those who ride with the Father have no need of exalted horses or Chariots like the Kings to which you are accustomed. A humble donkey is perfectly fitting. Truly I tell you, those who lower themselves will be raised up; those who raise themselves up will be lowered.”


The thought occurred to me, as Frater S.C.F.C., to ask what happened to Yeheshuah in the desert.” A third time, the vision shifted, as if in response.

I now stood in the desert with sand blowing about me. There no one else to be seen for miles all around me, just lonely sad tunes, all except for one figure. Before me, the Tempter stood, not as in the classical depictions as a red-skinned, Pan-like demon, but rather much more humble-seeming, as a man in a beige cloak, with bright, clear eyes.

He offered me countless temptations… power, wealth, fame… but I, as Yeheshuah, remained unmoved. “Who has the Lord, has all. Who has these things, but lives not in Love, has nothing. Therefore, of what worth are they, except to those who know not this?” I spoke to the Tempter. He smiled.


The vision ended, as quickly as it had started, and I found myself standing in the vast Cathedral of my astral Temple once more. Light filtered in through the stained glass windows and the music of the organ insinuated itself gently in the background like a metallic holy murmur. I stepped out of the Godform and stood before Yeheshuah as Frater S.C.F.V. once more, in a red robe, with a red and green-striped nemyss and the Rose Cross Lamen over my heart.

“Could you please bless me in the Holy Spirit, oh Yeheshuah?” I asked.

“With great Love and joy” Yeheshuah said.

Then he lay his hands over my head and spoke these words: “May the Holy Spirit dawn on you, descend to you, and ascend in you at once.

May your mind be opened to wisdom, your heart opened to love and compassion, your spirit opened to strength, and your Inner Sight opened to Vision.”

As he said this, a great love dawned up within me and flowed through me like a dove on wing or a flush of golden light breaking through a darkened sky at dawn…

“Remember these words well

For they are the heart of the Way:

In all humility, give up that which never was,
And open to that which always is.”

I took these words to heart.

“I now cast out all demonic influences you carry within you, for carry them you do,
May they go at once in the Name of the Lord!”

As he said this, I saw three jet-black beings that looked like ghosts with gaping mouths and black eyes rush out of my Sphere of Sensation and instantly felt a weight lift out of me… Vaguely, I remembered a time many years ago when I had seen similar faces when I was struck with sleep paralysis in the middle of the night and felt a great weight pressing down on my chest. Had they been with me all this time?



“May you ever be guarded
And on guard
Against such influences.”
Yeheshuah said.
“Know that wherever you go, you go not alone, but the Spirit goes with you,

“Amen and thank you, dear Yeheshuah,” I said, feeling humbled and in awe.

I performed the Qabalistic Cross in the method Yeheshuah had shown me of first drawing the Presence of the Light from all around to gather above me. It felt very natural done in this way, as if I were retracing the primordial emanation of Kether itself from the Limitless Light that gave it rise.

I thanked Yeheshuah for all the gifts and blessings he had bestowed on me.

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord and all around you,” he said,
Stepping back into the golden Light from whence he came and vanishing into it.

The light streamed in through the cathedral’s stained glass windows, and as I closed the Temple, the organ music slowly faded out and silence reigned in the astral Temple.

I left the Temple, returned to my seated body, and tuned back into the bodily sensations of the Nephesh and the G’uph within the body.

Now back in my physical form, I noticed that my energy still felt light, radiant, peaceful, and that a gentle and unassuming love seemed to kindle like a gentle candleflame within my heart.


I prayed to draw a Rune that would give me guidance to carry me through this day.


My jaw dropped when I saw the Rune that emerged as I pulled it from its bag.


It was Gebo or Gyfu, which has the shape of a Cross, and means both gift and sacrifice.


Could there be any other symbol more appropriate to cast for guidance from the Oracle after a vision like this?


Gebo carries the meanings of gifts, sacrifice for nobler purposes, balance, forgiveness—a gift Yeheshuah often gave—gratitude—appropriate for gifts–dissolution of barriers through selflessness, and esoterically, also suggests the equally appropriate symbolism of being the signature or harbinger of divine visions.


In its evocation of reciprocity, it also suggests the connection between Divinity and the people, the places where our paths intersect like the crossroads it resembles. In this sense, it is also an image of Oneness, of interdependence, interconnectedness, and unity.


Gebo has no reversed form; in its ultimate dimension, it signifies the ultimate gift: freedom.

Valentine’s Day Ritual Magic

GoldenDawnlogoDate: February 14, 2018
Planetary Day: Day of Mercury,
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon
Activities: LIRP, Statement of Intent, Godform Assumption of St. Valentine, Projection of love to the West, Godform Assumption of Christ, Projection of Love to tbe beings of the East, Godform Assumption of Venus, Projection of Love to the beings of the South, Godform Assumption of Rumi, Projection of love to the beings of the South, Godform assumption of Guan Yin, Projection of love to the beings above and below, (3 signs of the enterer in each direction), mystic circumambulations of all godforms, formulation of a sphere of loving energy synergized by all Godforms, expansion outward to include progressively all beings in all universes that they may be and feel loved and treat each other lovingly, LRP in the Godform of Christ, Closing of the Temple


Temple Altar: Red flashing green altar cloth, red cross, white triangle, green candles, rose petals, tarot card of the Lovers, symbols of Venus

Experience: I performed a Lesser  Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and Opened the Temple. Then I stated my intent, namely, to perform a ceremony on behalf of all sentient beings, that all beings in all realms may experience freedom from suffering, liberation from bondage, and a feeling of their own worthiness for love, to feel loving in themselves and to one another.

A magical intention of this magnitude needed an intense concentration of power to propel it forth into manifestation. This, I planned to achieve through multiple Godform Assumptions.

I first formulated the image of Saint Valentine, vibranting VALENTINE, and saw the astral form of the Saint appear clad in red robes, with a white beard and cross around his neck. Then I stepped into the Form of Saint Valentine astrally and simultaneously expanded the form of the Saint inwardly from the heart center until it covered my entire Aura. st-valentine.jpg

Assuming the form of the Saint, I felt a warm-hearted devotion flood my Sphere of Sensation. I spoke in his voice, a spontaneous oration, saying:

May the power of this day and the Divine Love flow out through the hearts of all,
For Thy Love is inexhaustible,
And Love is Thy Nature–
Therefore, may he hearts of those who suffer be soothed,
May the despairing be comforted,
May the Holy Spirit of Love open the locked prison doors of sealed hearts,
That the fires of love may ignite within their long-extinguished lanterns,
And burst forth the light that illuminates their inner worthiness of l.ove,
That sends the light of love coursing out through them to all they encounter,
So mote it be in the name of the One who art Love forever,

Still in the form of St. Valentine, I performed the Sign of Projection and blasted energy infused with the loving intention out through the Banner of the West and onto all beings in the West in three repetitions of the Sign of Projection.

I then stepped out of the form of St. Valentine and left him in the Sign of Projection facing the West.

I circulated deosil until I faced East. I then formulated the Godform of Christ, vibrating YEHESHUAH. His form came together in the swirling of golden light as he appeared in white robes with a red sash and golden Cross over his heart, his hair long, his eyes exuding a loving gaze, his beard brown like his hair.


I then stepped into the Godform, grew the Christ image up within the heart until it completely enveloped my Aura and Christ was I and I was Christ. Assuming his Godform, I immediately felt  a powerful force of utterly unselfish love flood through my entire Sphere of Sensation, releasing tensions, and opening up barriers to its presence.

Through the Godform, I spoke a second spontaneous oration, saying:

Father, may all of thy Children know Thee and be like Thee,
For Thou art Love, and whomsoever Loves Thee partakes in Thy Nature–
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and the mirror of Thy love,
Whosoever believes in me shall have eternal Life.
May all beings who die unto their lower nature, awaken unto their Higher,
Where hearts are hardened, let love soften them,
Where unworthiness haunts, let love reveal true worthiness,
Where cruelty reigns, let kindness abide,
Where loneliness weighs, let connection release,
Thine is the Kindgdom, the Power, and the Glory,
Let all beings in the realms of the East know the fire of Love!

Still in the Godform of Christ, I then projected Love to all beings in the East through the magnifying lens of the Banner of the East in three Signs of Projection. I then stepped out of the Godform of Christ, leaving him in the Sign of Projection facing the East.

Circulating clockwise to the South, I formulated the Godform of the Roman Goddess Venus, archetypal embodiment of loving energy and lovingkindness, vibrating VENUS. I then assumed the Godform of Venus, immediately feeling my energy shift into her exhuberant, softly feminine loving power.


Speaking on the astral in her melodious voice, I addressed the beings of the South and said:

Mine is the gentle Strength of Love, which subdues the hard and the ferocious with the kindness of touch and sensuous embrace,
May all beings whose hearts rage out of inner hurting be similarly soothed, like the Lion on the Card of Strength,
May love release the floodgates in all hearts,
And spill out into kindness and loving care to all,
So mote it be!


Still in the Godform of Venus, I then projected loving force to all beings in the South through the Enochian Watchtower of the South as as a magnifying focus, in three Signs of Projection. I then stepped out of the Godform of Venus, leaving her in the Sign of Projection facing the South.

Continuing clockwise to the North, I then formulated the form of the Sufi mystic sage and archetype of Divine Love, Rumi, vibrating RUMI. Assuming his Godform, I smelled the exotic perfume of Iranian Ithr, and felt the intoxicating divine love permeate my consciousness. Speaking in Rumi’s deep, but light voice, I addressed the beings of the North and said a fourth impromptu and unscripted oration:

Oh Love, oh Friend, thy power is like the finest wine,
As it subdues the drunkard in the swoon of sleep, so does it overtake all who surrender to its might,
May the frenzy of love whirl through all hearts like the devotional spins of the dervishes,
My God is Love and Love, my God,
May all hearts be Unbound and aflame with the power of Love,
That beams out to all like starlight in the deepest Darkness, Ameen!

Still in the assumed Form of Rumi, I began to whirl in the Sufi way around the circumference of the Circle in three complete circumambulations to build up loving ecstatic energy, which I then sent out to all beings in the North by means of three Signs of Projection through the Enochian Watchtower of the North.

I stepped out of the form of Rumi facing the North in the Sign of the Enterer.

Looking up, I formulated the female Godform of Guan-Yin, Bodhisattva of Lovingkindness and Compassion above the circle, vibrating GUAN-YIN. I then formulated the Japanese version of the same Godform below the circle, vibrating KANNON. Assuming in turn each of these Godforms, I made final orations:


May all beings Above and all beings Below be free from the Three Poisons, free from the causes of Suffering–
Let the love of the Buddha-Heart kindle within them in serene power,
And Compassion replace apathy,
Lovingkindness replace callousness,
And nondual Wholeness replace partiality to the self,
For there is no separate self – anatman!
May love fill the 6 directions,
And expand to reach all beings in all realms Above and Below, North and South, East and West!

I then projected three Signs of the Enterer to all beings Above and Below and stepped out of the Godforms, leaving them in the Sign of Projection facing Above and Below.


The Godforms then stepped into the Sign of Silence, and I with them. And then together, we began to circumambulate, all of them before me, with myself last in the procession, until we raised a swirling sphere of energy imbued with the loving force of our collective intention.

I then began to visualize this sphere of love expanding out beyond the Temple to my neighbourhood, city, province, country, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, and all present and actual universes, all parallel and potential worlds, reaching all in an All-Embrace of cosmic nonduality.

Then zooming back in in my astral perspective, back down, down, down into the Temple, I began the reverse circumambulation, during which I dissolved the Godforms with love, respect, and gratitude, all except Venus.


At last, I formulated the Godform of Jupiter. I formulated the image of the High Priestess. I assumed the Godform of Jupiter and she, the Godform of Venus. Then we began an act of sacred lovemaking, raising tremendous energy through the force of our sexual communion of feminine and masculine loving-essence, the communion of God and Goddess, the ultimate symbol of the supreme conjunction of Love.

As we reached climax together, we forcefully projected the energy of our intention for all beings to feel loved and to treat each other lovingly out in a kind of detonating blast of an energetic shockwave out along all planes of the Astral to all beings Above and Below, North and South, East and West.


I then stepped out of the Godform of Jupiter, dissolved the last remaining Godforms, performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and closed the Temple.

— For the first few hours after the ritual, I felt completely drained. Gradually, my energy began to build back up again with an overall mean of warmhearted serenity.
— As I moved through the day, after having performed this ritual in the morning, I felt a loving warmth that radiated out to all of those with whom I interacted. As I passed people in my daily commute, I inwardly sent out my intention, “may you feel loved and happy!”
— I also felt the distinct Jovial happiness, contentment, and self-confidence energy blended with the Venusian radiant loving energy throughout the day.
— Going to see Sorror P.F. at night to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her, I felt a great deal of love for her.
— After tuning into the Christ-love energy, I felt an urge to read Christian devotional texts and returned to the Cloud of Unknowing, the classic Christian devotional text with a deeper loving reverence than before.

Published in: on February 20, 2018 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

New Banners of the East and West after 12 Years

GoldenDawnlogo12 years ago, I crafted my first Banners of the East and West out of bristol board painted by markers.

I attached red tassels to them as per the Golden Dawn’s instructions and they ended up proving quite sturdy over the years. However, the colours began to fade, and this year, they started to become more disheveled and to fall apart.

During my time away from magic studying Zen and Advaita Vedanta, many of the red tassels fell off and were lost altogether, much like the red pyramids on my black and white pillars…

As a result, I decided to commission the very talented Kathy at Azoth Art to craft a new series of banners for me that would last far longer than the old and serve in our Temple in the O.’.A.’.L.’. as well.

When I received the Banners, I was pleased to see that she did an absolutely fantastic job! The new Banners are vibrant, bright, and the meticulous care Kathy invested in their creation is abundantly evident.

Here is my old Banner of the West (left) compared with the new one (right):


Old Banner of the East (left) and the new one (right):


In addition, I purchased a new Tarot bag:


This too was made by hand and to a high level of quality. Truly beautiful work. Thank you Kathy!

Frater S.C.F.V.