Ritual Work for Sunday, November 28, 2010

Date: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Time: 8:30-9:45 (Day of the Sun – Hour of the Venus and Mercury)
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Third Quarter (Waning), 46% Full
Activities: Rite of Purification by Water, Relaxation Ritual and Fourfold Breath, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with the Sword of Hiereus, Great Invocation of the Light (QC, R.B.D.L., Q.C., A.K.), Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Themis Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Maat Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, THME Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Assumption of the Godform of THME, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hegemon’s Wand, Request for Guidance from THME, Stepping out of Godform, Thanking of the Elements, Formal Temple Closing and License to Depart

Today’s ceremony followed the same sequence as Friday’s, and served the continuing purpose of preparing me to be able to initiate the new Frater next week. I entered the shower somewhat frustrated with prior events, but the purification ritual washed these away and left me feeling lightened.

I performed the Ritual of Relaxation, visualizing the Light suffusing my being and concentrating in a spheric orb of Golden energy, which would move through the tense areas of my body and release them of their tension. Relaxation would remain. Some time was spent in this until I felt quite relaxed. I then put on the Nemyss and took up the Sword of the Hiereus for the Banishing ritual.

This was done with slow care, as on Friday, and produced similar results. I felt clear and purified and the area felt cleansed. My visualizations were not as strong in this part of the ceremony as they had been on Friday, but some vague hints of the blue flaming pentagrams were observed. The Invocation of the Archangels was stronger however; I saw a pillar of Light in the primary colour of the Element in the direction of each invoked Archangel. I saw my own Aura shift to yellow with flashing glints of purple when Raphael was invoked, for instance. This shifted with the invocation of Gabriel to blue and orange, to red and green with Michael, and to black, white, and green with Auriel. I felt balanced and clear by the end.

I performed the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, put down the Hiereus’ sword and took up the wand of the Hegemon. I arranged the elemental candles in a circle in the center of the Temple and sat in the midst of them. I gave the battery of four knocks and began the Themis meditation. I invoked Themis and projected my energy into her godform to animate her via the Sign of Projection. Once animated, she responded with the Sign of Silence. I saw Themis in her beauty, standing in white Greek robes, and felt strengthened by the union with her balance and the drinking from her Golden Chalice. At the end of the meditation, I asked her to Adore the Lord of the Universe with me. She turned—I saw astrally—and faced the Banner of the East. After each line of the Adoration I uttered, she would repeat it, and we would give the appropriate Sign together. At the end of the ritual, I asked her to project the energy of the current of Divine force she represented into the Hegemon’s wand, that it might become an energetic anchor and living symbol of her power. She did so, and I felt the wand pulsate with an influx of energy.

Themis stepped to the side, and I proceeded to begin the Maat meditation. Maat appeared, upon being invoked, in the same brilliant images that had marked her appearance on Friday, with the same bright blue and golden robe flashing with undercurrents of red, blue, and yellow. I always see Maat the clearest of any of these three Godforms and today was no different. She projected her energy into me and I asked her to project it into the wand of the Hegemon and empower it as Themis had done. She agreed to do this and saying “I send a surge of the Power of the Goddess of the land of the Pyramids and the black soil into this wand...” did it, with the same influx of power livening it as had Themis’. Together, we offered an Adoration to the Lord of the Universe.

Maat stepped beside Themis, and I proceeded to begin the Thme meditation. Upon being invoked, the great form of Thme, in white robe, black and white nemyss, and carrying the golden Phoenix Wand, appeared. Each line that she spoke to me seemed to resonate within me and I was given new insights into her words as they related to her position between the Pillars in the Neophyte Ceremony. When the Canopic Jar containing my heart and the white Shu feather were absorbed into my hand, I felt strengthened and unified, as I did when the feather of Maat was united with my microcosmic Kether.

I then asked Thme to project her energy in this form into the Hegemon’s wand, which she consented to do. Finally, I asked her, Themis, and and Maat to project their force simultaneously into the wand, which they did. I touched the bottom of the wand to my heart (Tiphareth) center and felt the force flow into me. It came with great, vivid energy and flooded me with warmth and Light.

I then saw the three godforms merge into one, Thme, with the eyes of Maat and the skin of Themis, the three forms of the goddess from Greece, Egypt, and the Hellenistic Graeco-Egyptian worlds uniting in one embodiment of a single achetypal current of Divine force. I formulated the Godform strongly and then declared my intent to merge with and Assume it. This I did, stepping into the image and seeing the Godform merge with my own astral form.

I then performed the final Adoration of the Lord of the Universe while in this form (I noticed that it was performed with more energy and much more rapidly than I usually perform it) and proceeded to perform the LBRP with the Hegemon’s wand. After the final Qabalistic Cross, I stood in the center of the Circle and asked the godform inwardly:

Godform of Thme-Themis-Maat, do you have any guidance to offer me at this time?

I received the answer in the voice of Maat, serious, beautiful, and ethereal. It said:

Look deeply into the teachings; do not rest with the surface. Just as the diver plunges deeply under the waves and into the black depths of the deep, and there finds the beautiful multi-coloured corals which cannot be seen from the surface, so must you dive deep beyond the surface of the spiritual teachings and find the deep, inner core of philosophic truth. It is this profound truth which will nourish you as the surface words and images cannot.

I thanked the Goddess form for this insight and declared my intention to step out of the Godform. This I did, and declared my Will to re-assume my own ordinary astral image.

I then proceeded to each of the Elemental candles in the Four Quarters, and said “Thank you, oh Powers of _____ for your presence. Strengthen me and go in peace.” I then struck and played the Singing Bowl, gave the license to depart, and declared the Temple duly closed.

On Not Ending Your Adventure Prematurely

As I reflected on my experience with the Golden Dawn system of Magic today, a proverb occurred to me.  I recalled how, when I had started, I had dark moments of doubt, of thinking nothing was happening in my rituals, of feeling I was wasting my time, and other such feelings.   Many times I was tempted to give the whole thing up; I have seen many people who would have been excellent magicians never make it past this stage, unfortunately.  However, I persevered, feeling that there might be more around the corner, that there was much I had to learn, that the wisdom I sought would come with time.  I am happy that I held on; the journey thereafter has become a great deal more fulfilling and deeply moving.

So the proverb I would like to share with you regardless of where you find yourself on the path of life, whether you are a magician or not, whether you work within the Golden Dawn tradition or not is as follows:

It is wise not to end an adventure before it has fully begun.

Every great story ends with a period of equilibrium before a great event happens to push it onward into new realms, new events, new transformations, and new explorations.  Perhaps your own exciting check points are just around the bend.  Hold on and persevere.  Dare to press forward and the Universe will repay you for your tenacity.

Ritual Work for Friday, November 27, 2010

Date: Friday, November 27
Time: 11:20-12:52 (Day of Venus – Hour of the Jupiter)
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous, 67% Full
Activities: Rite of Purification by Water, Relaxation Ritual and Fourfold Breath, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with the Sword of Hiereus, Great Invocation of the Light (QC, R.B.D.L., Q.C., A.K.), Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Themis Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Maat Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, THME Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Assumption of the Godform of THME, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hegemon’s Wand, Request for Guidance from THME, Stepping out of Godform, Thanking of the Elements, Formal Temple Closing and License to Depart

Reflections/Procedure:

Today, I prepared as usual for ritual with the Rite of Purification, put on my nemyss and robe, but left my sash in the East, in anticipation of the coming Neophyte Ritual that I will be performing once more for a new Frater in the Ordo Aurum Lucerna. Instead of placing the Altar in the center of the Temple, I left it in the East, which left me a great deal of room in the midst of the Temple. I lit all of the Elemental candles and incense, and placed fresh water in the Stolistes cup.

I lay on the ground in the center of the Temple and performed the Relaxation Ritual and Fourfold Breath. The orb of Golden Light was allowed to drift into each area of tension and dissipate it. This was quite relaxing; I took the time and did not rush it as I sometimes do. The results proved the old proverb once more; you get out what you put in, the output is a measure of the input.

I placed all of the lamens of the Outer Order officers in their respective places in the Temple and took up the Sword of the Hiereus. I proceeded to the center of the Temple of the East, and there began the Qabalistic Cross. I took time to perform it slowly and with great feeling, visualizing myself expanding more and more beyond the Temple, Greenfield Park, Montreal, the South Shore, Quebec, Canada, the World, the Solar System, and filling all of the Universe (this visualization may have been aided by it being the Hour of Jupiter at the time, with Jupiter governing and supporting all forms of growth and expansion). I then brought down the Light and equilibrated it in the Cross of Light throughout the body and the whole of the Universe. This was the most effective Qabalistic Cross I have experienced in a long time.

I then performed the entirety of the LBRP with the Hiereus’ Sword. During the Invocation of the Archangels, I felt a light, comforting, but strong presence in the Quarters of the Angels, though I only saw them wearing the ‘clothes’ of the canons of imagery prescribed by the Golden Dawn with the assigned elemental robes and implements. Still, this was a comforting feeling that added a sense of protective balance to the ritual.

Upon completing the LBRP, I performed the Great Invocation of the Light, again slowly, and with great feeling. The vibratory formula was effective tonight; I felt the vibrations throughout my body and the presence of the Light as a glowing energetic warmth. After the completion of the Great Invocation of the Light, I performed the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe. I then returned the Hiereus’s Sword to the West and returned to the East. There, I began the process of carrying the Elemental Candles one by one and placing them on the floor in the center of the Temple. I was then able to sit in the midst of them, and there perform the THME Meditations.

I began with the Themis meditation, seeing the Goddess again balancing and strengthening me with the Scale of Justice and nourishing me with the Golden Cup of Divine nectar. This was successful, but not particularly powerful.

I then performed the A.L.U. once more and performed the Maat meditation. The visualization of Maat was a great deal stronger; I saw her standing with her black nemyss, dark eyes, and about her head, a red ribbon and the Shu feather. Her gown was green with red, blue and yellow flashing undertones. In one hand, she held the Lotus wand; in the other, she held a golden ankh. She wore a brightly-coloured colour and around her wrists, coloured wristbands. She attached a Shu feather to my head and, taking up her Lotus Wand, blasted a current of Light into my Kether, Daath, Tiphareth, Yesod, and Malkuth centers. She also projected Light into the other spheres of the microcosmic Tree of Life, completing it. I felt a great connection to her, which filled me with reverence.

I then performed the A.L.U. And the THME Meditation. I saw the goddess standing in a white and black striped nemyss; she wore a black gown with a black and white pectoral collar. About her wrists, she wore black and white wristbands. She carried only the Phoenix Wand. I saw the Godforms of Themis and Maat merge with her; under he nemyss, I seemed to see a lock of the hair of Themis, and her eyes were those of Maat. She spoke to me and as she did, her wand transformed into the Wand of the Hegemon. I felt a great connection to her as she embodied her Greek, Egyptian and Coptic forms. I ended with the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe.

Wishing to connect more deeply with the Godform and the Officer of the Hegemon, I assumed the Godform of THME, stepping into it and feeling its energy washing over me. I then took up the Wand of the Hegemon and performed the LBRP. The experience was energizing; the Qabalistic Cross seemed to be extra powerful. When the Pentagrams were traced, I saw the hand of THME doing it; I saw her arms and her legs as my own, her body as my body, her face as my face.

After the final Qabalistic Cross, I stood, still, in the center of the Temple and asked the Godform “What can I do to prepare for the coming Initiation next week?”

She answered “prepare the tools and perfect the rituals.” I asked “How can I better perform the Qabalistic Cross and the Bringing Down of the Light?” I received a message, the spirit of which was the following:

As you aspire to Kether, raise your awareness up from Malkuth through the realm of Yesod, Tiphareth, and passed the Abyss. Then unite your awareness with the White Brilliance of the macrocosmic Kether. Let Kether become your awareness and your awareness become Kether. When the two are one, draw your awareness down through the Tree until the pulsating Light meets your microcosmic Kether at the Crown of your head. Then complete the Cross of Light, extending the Light out into the farthest reaches of the Universe. In this way, shall you correctly draw down the Light. As you aspire, you shall receive what you require.

I thanked her for this guidance and technique, and stepped out of the Godform. I then gave THME the Sign of the Enterer, which she replied with the Sign of Silence. She then gave me the Sign of the Enterer, which I answered with the Sign of Silence.

I then proceeded to the East and said “I thank the Powers of Air,” before putting out the Elemental Candle of Air. I then proceeded to the South and did the same for the Powers of Fire. I followed suit for the West and North, gave a formal license to depart: “I now release any spirits who may have been imprisioned by this ceremony. Go in peace with the blessings of YEHESHUAH YEHOVASHAH.” I ended with a formal Temple Closing, ringing the singing bowl and ending with the formula of the Extension of Light in Egyptian, Greek, and English. Overall, it was a moving, reverent ceremony that brought me closer to the Powers associated with the Office of the Hegemon.

To Whom Do I Pray?

I was asked to whom I pray and whom  I address in prayer and in ritual.  I decided to present my answer, not as a prose reply, but as a series of verses that aim to impart a sense of that That Vast One who works in silence and whom naught but silence can express, the Lord to Whom I pray.  Here was my answer:

I pray to the Lord of the Universe,
“Who works in silence and whom not but silence can express,”
The immanent and transcendent Divinity that flows through all things,
The innermost being of all beings that is unborn and undying,
Not limited by unity or duality,
Ever-present, ever-unchanging and yet present in every form from the greatest galaxy to the smallest flower,
Taking every from to pour its boundlessness into the universe,
That which is “more me, than me,”
That which represents the Highest Perfection of all Ideals,
That which is impersonal energy (Light), transcendent being (nirguna),
And which can assume all Personal Forms (saguna) to enter into deeper relationship with us,
Who are its infinite Images,
That which alone Is,
That which is present within us as the clear, unconditioned, and unchanging Awareness in which all experience unfolds, and yet Beyond,
The Vast and the Mighty One,
Whom Nature Hath not Formed,
Lord of the Light and of the Darkness,
The Ineffable One,
Lord of the Powers of Earth,
Lord of the Lustral Waters,
Lord of the Blazing Flames,
Lord of the Gusting Airs,
Lord of the Shining Spirit,
Lord of the Celestial Signs,
Lord of the Planetary Powers,
That which is in me and in which I am,
That which “will be what it will be,”
That which evokes breathless reverence,
Deepest peace,
Fathomless love,
Resplendent wisdom,
Unshaking courage,
And dynamic Will,
That from which we are never apart,
The Great Work of which is not
Attaining Unity with It,
But becoming aware of the innermost point of Meeting
That has always been present–
The One before whom
“Even the Banner of the East falls in adoration.”
To this One I pray,
And as I aspire towards It through prayer and the sacred magic,
It aspires to me and we meet
In the seamless experience of relationship,
A relationship which provides an experiential matrix
For touching deeply
A nonduality expressed in the diversity of the universe,
The outpouring of the One into the All,
Who is the innermost secret of the Mysteries,
Who stops the tongue,
Opens the heart,
And clears and liberates the mind
With the spreading Wings of Eagles–
To this One,
I pray.

Is Magic more Efficacious than Prayer?

In traditional ceremonial magic, what we might call magic-proper (the use of invocations, evocations, the direction of Planetary/Elemental/Zodiacal forces according to Will, etc.) and prayer are extremely interwoven.  This was additionally true within the Golden Dawn tradition of the 19th century and later.

In more recent times, I have never carried out a practical ceremonial magical operation that did not also involve prayer of some kind. Indeed, I see the magician as a coordinating agent or cooperator with the Divine who aims to align his will with the Divine Will in order to accomplish specific ends.

Most of the operations of ceremonial magic rely on the use of Divine Names and on invocations and prayers for protection and aid in the operation.  Both magic and prayer have been known to correlate with intended effects, as has a combination of the two, and therefore, for all of these reasons, I would suggest that magic and prayer can be equally efficacious.

Certainly, there is reverence, prayer, and great thanks to the Divine and its Powers in the sacred magic trends within ceremonial magical tradition, and there are magical aspects of prayer itself as well.  Every prayer with a teleological end might even be seen as a kind of mini-magical ceremony involving the invocation of a Power and the supplication of that Power to bring about the desired end.

Amulets and Talismans

According to many contemporary occultists, an amulet is defined as a term used to ward off certain influences while a talisman is defined as a term used to attract certain influences of powers.  However, in the history of magic and occultism more generally, these terms have been used in a great variety of ways.

As far as I know, etymologically speaking, the word ‘amulet’ was an earlier word that emerged  in the mid 15th century with Pliny, who defined an amulet as a “thing worn as a charm against spells, disease, etc.”  The word ‘talisman’ emerged later, in the 1630s or so, and some writers began to draw distinctions between amulets as ‘warding’ forces and talismans as ‘attracting’ force, while others came to use the terms interchangeably (Source: The Online Etymology Dictionary).

Other writers drew distinctions on still other grounds.  According to the scholarly study, Witchcraft and magic in Europe: the Middle Ages, for instance, you’ll find that in the Middle Ages, most amulets were believed to be “protective, for warding off disease or harm” (41).  However, the authors of that work point out that according to some usages of these terms, “amulets are constructed from herbs, animal parts, or stones, while talismans utilize written words” (42-43).

In fact, in some Medieval and Renaissance sources, the terms ‘talisman’ and ‘amulet’ are not used at all to refer to these ideas; instead, the term ‘pentacle’ is used, as in the Greater Key of Solomon the King.

Within the Golden Dawn tradition, I have not yet been able to track down an early Order paper that uses the word ‘amulet’; it does not appear in Regardie’s Golden Dawn as far as I know, though there are extensive sections on ‘talismans’ in the Z documents and in the ‘Ceremonial Magic’ section of Regardie’s book.  Still, there are many modern magicians who use the warding/attracting distinction between talismans and amulets; Donald Michael Kraig, in his book Modern Magick, is a case in point.

The issue is further compounded by the fact that practicing magicians often make talismans that function simultaneously as wards and attractors! A set of Saturn talismans I recently consecrated, for instance, was created with the intent both to attract Saturn’s benefic influences over organization, negotiations with institutions, time-management, etc. and to ward its malefic influences over delays and limitations.  In this case, we have something that is both a ‘talisman’ and an ‘amulet.’  I still tend to use the term ‘talisman’ in cases like these, though I also use the Greater Key of Solomon term ‘pentacle’ or ‘pantacle’ to cover these cases.

In short, many magicians have used the terms interchangeably throughout occult tradition, many others have distinguished them on other grounds, and many have found the talisman = attracting power, amulet = warding power distinction useful.  There is no single, definitive answer on this matter; you must come to your own conclusion.

Ritual Work for Friday, November 19, 2010

Date: Friday, November 19, 2010
Time: 5:40-6:45 (Day of Venus – Hour of the Sun)
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous, 97% Full
Activities: Rite of Purification by Water, Relaxation Ritual and Fourfold Breath, Great Invocation of the Light, Fivefold Elemental Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram (FELIRP), Middle Pillar Ritual, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Tarot Consecration Ritual, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Themis Meditation, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, Formal Temple Closing

Reflections/Procedure:

Today, Frater J. and I performed a whole series of rituals in full temple and regalia, with red socks, sash, nemyss, robe, and ritual belt. We began by purifying ourselves according to the R.P.W., in which we added a modification, vibrating IAO prior to the invocation of Spirit with ETH. This added an additional sense of power since it connected to the Analysis of the Keyword.

We then entered the temple and lay down on the temple floor, where we performed the Relaxation Ritual. This was indeed relaxing and left us feel peaceful and prepared for ritual. We then arranged our tarot decks on the altar, above and below the Tablet of Union, Cross, and Triangle, and placed the boxes for our decks, and the Consecration Cloths I had prepared yesterday. We then took our cards and wiped them one by one with the Consecration Cloth. This was a prolonged process, since every card needed to be wiped, but the process itself functioned as a cleansing meditation, which also prepared us for the rituals to come.

We then placed out Tarot cards and Cloths on the altar, Frater J. took up his personal wand of Double Power, and I took up the Hierophant’s wand. We proceeded to the East of the Altar, where we performed the Great Invocation of the Light. This produced a strong sense of inner glowing for me, especially during the Analysis of the Keyword section.

From here, we moved directly into the Fivefold Elemental Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram. This produced a strong sense of the elemental Powers that, after the invocation of Spirit, was almost dizzying for a moment for me. I felt the flood of elemental energies from each Invoking Pentagram and the wheel of Spirit shining within me. This preceded the Middle Pillar Ritual, which helped to centralize the invoked energies within the microcosmic column.

Thereafter, we offered an Adoration to the Lord of the Universe and moved into the Tarot Consecration Ritual. This ritual was performed in the light of the Spirit Candle on the Altar. When the Angel HRU was invoked, I felt immediately lighter and more peaceful. I seemed to see sparks of energy in the area around us. We asked the Angel to invoke the Light into our tarot cards that they might serve to guide us into the Wisdom of the Hidden Knowledge and lead us in our quest for the Light Divine.

Subsequently, we offered another Adoration to the Lord of the Universe and sat in the West, facing the East, where we performed the Themis Meditation. This was a very visual experience for me, as I sat with eyes closed.
I saw the Goddess stand in Greek robes, where she greeted me. She placed her Golden Scales into me, which equilibrated and balanced me. She then handed me her Golden Cup from which to drink. She said it contained the “Nectar of the Gods and the Fluid of the Lower, uniting the Above and the Below,” and suggested that it symbolized, like the scales, “Balance.”
I asked if she would guide me into a vision of where I must go next on the Path and guide me towards the Hidden Wisdom. She opened up her robe and I saw her beautiful body; her skin turned Gold and my attention was drawn into it. I then saw the image of Osiris, dressed in a Nemyss as a Pharaoh. This morphed into a Golden Image of the Buddha. She spoke, saying “You must become like these images. Like the Pharaoh, you must embody the Divine energy that flows within and without all things, the Inner and the Outer. Like the Buddha, you must walk the Middle Way, the Path of Balance. You must cultivate compassion, wisdom, and peacefulness. Your desires are strong and you see me through your own lusts; transmute them into a purer form. Unite the Divine aspirations and the Lower passions. Then, truly, will you become the Stone, the Osiris risen. In short, seek balance.”
I then asked if she would join me in adoring the Lord of the Universe, of which she was the representative. She stood in my vision and I stood to offer reverence to the One who Alone deserves praise.

Frater J. and I then rose and performed the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe. With great passion, we then performed the final Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, which was very powerful for me, and even moving. I felt an inner warmth that I still feel as I write these words. Overall, it was a successful and productive ceremonial sequence.

We closed with the formal temple closing and knocks followed by “Khabs. Am. Pehkt. Konx. Om. Pax. Light. In. Extension.”