Fundamental Principles of Magical Theory

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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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 16 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.

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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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9. 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.

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

10. 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.

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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
reconciled.”

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.

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11. 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.

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12. 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.

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“Spell Pierce Invocation” by Joseph Meehan

13. 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.

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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.

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14. 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.

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15. 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.

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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.

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16. 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!

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Conclusion

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)

In LVX,
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!

Consecrating Talismans on the Subway: The Nitty Gritty of the Magical Life

Date: Monday, September 19, 2011
Time: 10-11:30 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous 58% of Full
Mood: Stressed then Energized and Invigourated 
Activities: Invocation of the Goddess Ma’at, Extemporaneous Creation and Consecration of a Ma’at Talisman, Qabalistic Cross

In an ideal universe, the magician would always have his or her tools, vestments, and temple space on hand when needed.  In practice, however, we often find ourselves in situations where we have none of these things and only our own consciousness and inward connection to the Divine on which to rely.  Today, I found myself in one such situation.

This morning, L. experienced something approaching a nervous breakdown or a severe panic attack.  She said she felt she could not be alone, like she was in a tremendously vulnerable state.  I stayed with her as long as I could, but I had to be on my way to McGill for 11, and therefore, could not stay with her as long as I had hoped.

When we boarded our subway, headed for McGill, L. asked if I could perform something quick for her in order to give her a sense of safety and guidance.  Since Ma’at had appeared to her yesterday and she had already established some connection to the Godform by means of our ‘Chymical Marriage,’ I decided to quickly create and consecrate a Ma’at talisman for her.  I only had 10 minutes.  Precious little time.  I was in a packed subway car without any of my ceremonial tools and also, therefore, had precious little space

I took out a piece of paper and drew a picture of Ma’at from memory with all of her distinguishing characteristics: feather, wings, dark eyes, etc.  I drew two Eyes of Horus within the circle.  I encircled this central circle with a larger circle in which I wrote: MA’AT, THEMIS, TH’ME, and Yod-Heh-Vahv-Heh in Hebrew.  I drew Stars of David betwen the names in the manner of some of the Pentacles from the Greater Key of Solomon, a convention I often use in talismanic magic. 

I then placed my right hand over the talisman and closed my eyes.  I invoked the Goddess in her Egyptian form as Ma’at, Coptic form as Th’me and Greek form as Themis, and saw her appear in my Sphere of Sensation in all three forms.  I asked Ma’at to guide and care for L., to help her find balance, to assist her in discovering and establishing inner peace and release from the mental vicissitudes that plagued her, and to inspire comfort, caring and contentment within her being. 

I saw the three forms of the Goddess point their respective wands at the astral form of the talisman and project their energies into it.  Simultaneously,  I felt the energies descend through my arm and enter the talisman, infusing it.  I thanked the Goddess and the Limitless Light and One Divine of which she is an archetypal image and saw the three forms of the Goddess slowly fade as they walked out of my sphere of sensation.  I opened my eyes and was jarringly thrust back into the waking experience of Malkuth just as I arrived at my metro station. 

“Hold this and keep it with you,” I said before hugging her quickly and kissing her lips. She was surely cognitively and emotionally ill, but as the metro doors closed behind me, I remembered the fundamental profession of the Rosicrucians: to cure the sick and that, gratis.  God willing, she too, would find her own inward cure, the healing medicine of the Self which alone can cure the ailments of the self. 

***

I walked up to McGill still buzzing and trembling with energy from the rapid invocation and impromptu consecration of the talisman.  I felt very disequillibrated and, therefore, ducked into a bathroom stall at McGill to perform a quick Qabalistic Cross to balance myself.  Prior to beginning the QC, I invoked the Godform of Ma’at once more and saw her astrally hand me the astral form of the Hegemon’s wand, which I felt in my physical hand and used to physically perform the ritual. Upon its completion, I felt balanced and substantially calmer.  Looking at my face in the mirror, I was struck by how much brighter it seemed.  It seemed to glow, not with my own power, but with that White Brilliance which alone illumines all things.  I had only recently woken up and barely slept, but as a result of the invocation, consecration, and balancing, now felt absolutely energized and keenly awake.

As a final note, there are some who would attack me for performing a talismanic consecration in a subway or a rite as sacred as that of the QC in a public washroom.  To them, I have two points of reply: (1) The first point of reply is that living the practical life of the magician sometimes requires us to practice in places we would ordinarily not choose to do so.  When our inner alchemical conditions and introspective insights incline or call us to a particular action, however, we would be wise to listen, for the Higher Self prompts us with its inner guidance in often unexpected ways.  We are foolish if we refuse its call and cast out its guidance simply because it is unfamiliar or seems to contradict our ideas about what is ‘sacred’ and ‘proper.’  The Higher Self transcends our ideas of propriety; it speaks only to lived necessity, to inner needs and the meeting thereof. 

(2) The second point of reply is that from the Qabalistic point of view, every place is sacred and holy, for all things are none other than the Divine itself.  Every place in the realm of Malkuth–even a mere bathroom sall–is none other than a concrete, physical manifestation of that same Limitless Light or Ain Soph Aur, which preceded from the Void of Ain and took form through the various Spheres and Paths of the Tree of Life.  Every place is fitting for the practice of magic, for the Divine is equally present in and as every place.  If we fail to see the Divine nature of a place, person, or thing, this blindness is a reflection of the limitation of our own perception, and not of the place, person, or thing in question.  Practice deepens insight and insight, in turn, deepens practice.

Ritual Work for December 10, 2010 – Dreamwork, Divination, and Venus Talisman Consecration

Date: Friday, December 10, 2010
Time: Dream: 9:30-10:30 A.M. (Day of the Venus– Hours of Saturn and Jupiter), 5:40 – 6:00 P.M. (Day of Venus – Hour of the Sun), 6:40-8:00 p.m. (Day of Venus, Hours of Venus and Mercury)
Sun Phase: Rising
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent, 7% Full
Mood: Morning: Calm and in control, Tarot Divination: Relaxed, but mildly excited, Before Talisman Consecration Ritual: Relaxed, After Ritual: Excited, Aroused with Intense Energy
Activities:
1. Record of Dream (morning: (9:30-10:30), Rite of Purification by Water
2. Tarot Divination (Split Hexagram Spread) (5:40-6:oo p.m.)
3. From 6:40-8:00 p.m.: Rite of Purification by Water, Fourfold Breath, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Opening Prayer of Intent, Qabalistic Cross, Middle Pillar Ritual, Ritual of the Hexagram Invoking Venus, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Invocation of Anael/Haniel, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Invocation of Hagiel, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Invocation of Haggith, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Invocation of the Three Venusian Forces, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Prayer of thanks, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Closing Prayer, Projection of LVX and Powers of Venus into Talisman (Charging), Ending Prayer, Adoration of the Lord of the Universe, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, Analysis of the Keyword, Qabalistic Cross, License to Depart, Consecration by the Mystic Serum


9:30-10:30 A.M.: Dream interpretation – This morning, I had a dream that included archetypal symbolism from the Tarot cards. I was assigned to a special position within the administrative hierarchy of a college of university (it seemed to be Champlain college, where I obtained my Liberal Arts degree). This position was “Emperor” of the Institution.

The role of the ‘Emperor’ was to arbitrate and make final decisions based on points of disagreement among faculty, teachers, students, unions, and other school-based groups. I sat upon a throne in my arbitration room. Two groups of people ran into my room, greeted me, and argued over which code of school policies and laws to accept. One was a very thick and old volume that contained extensive older laws. The other was a sleeker an substantially shorter new volume with much fewer laws that encompassed several points, which were dealt with individually in the old code. They argued over which should be accepted.

After considering the case, I gave my formal ruling, which was that a position of moderation be taken; a new code should be redacted that integrated the most relevant, important, and beneficial laws and policies from the two codes.

To the Emperor card is attributed the Hebrew letter of Heh and the Sign of Aries, which is ruled by Mars. It is the Emperor card that channels the energies of Venus (the Emperess and Daleth) through Understanding (Binah) and Wisdom (Chochmah) to balance them with the energies of Mars on the way to Tiphareth (the point of Balance on the Tree of Life). I am an Aries and last night, had been preparing a ceremonial ritual for the creation and consecration of a Venus talisman; Aries drawing down and balancing the Powers of Venus. This is precisely what the archetype of the Emperor does on the Tree of Life. The ruling I gave as the Emperor was one of Balance (characteristic of Tiphareth) and Wisdom (Chochmah) between two extremes based on Understanding (Binah). Therefore, the dream was particularly apt in its archetypal Tarot and Qabalistic meanings.

5:40 –  6:00 – Hour of the Sun – Tarot Divination : Question: “What will be the outcome if I create and consecrate a Venus talisman today?”

The Split Hexagram Spread was the Following:

1.  The Magician                                         2.   The Emperor

3. The Sun

7. The Hermit

6. The Hanged Man

4. The Empress                                                 5. The Devil
My Interpretation is as Follows:
1. and 2. Unknown Spiritual Influences: The Magician and The Emperor:
The Magician suggests that the talisman would bring greater concentration, activity, confidence, conscious awareness, will power, and general Power.
The Emperor, the same archetype that appeared in my dream also suggests an outcome of power, reason, and authority.  The Firey Nature of the Path suggests the power of the desire that could follow as well as male sexual desire (Ares is attributed, which rules Mars).  Together, the cards suggest a boosting of sexual power and confidence, which should, the Emperor suggests, be directed through reason.

3. Spiritual Advice for the Matter: The Sun
The Sun suggests that the ceremony and talisman could lead to happiness and contentment as well as greater vitality and assurance, a positive outcome.

4. Unconscious desires in the Matter: The Empress
The presence of the Empress in the unconscious desires position suggests that I subconsciously want fruitfulness, action, creativity, and sensual abundance.  This sounds about right to me; the card is apt in this position, since it is attributed to Venus.  This suggests that I really do seek sexual, creative, and sensual fulfilment.
5. Conscious Desires in the Matter: The Devil
The Devil in this position suggests to me that I consciously only seem to want something materialistic (e.g. Intimate relations, sexual gratification) and that I want something to happen that, in the long run, will be for the good.

6.  Practical Advice: The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man gives me the practical advice that magic will not be enough to get me the results I seek; I must also be ready to show self-sacrifice and to let go.

7.  Final Outcome: The Hermit
The Hermit suggests that if I follow the advice given here (e.g. Letting go), then the final outcome will be one of spiritual advancement, introspection, and guidance.  The card also advises me to be cautious on the way, which is sound advice.

This is a fairly positive result, which suggests that I will receive happiness (whether spiritual, emotional, or material in terms of pleasure) and spiritual advancement should I create this talisman.  Therefore, I will proceed with the creation and consecration.

6:40-8:00 p.m.Creation and Consecration of a Venus Talisman

Before the Hour of Venus began, I prepared my ceremonial script and prepared the Altar with the Seal and Sigil of Venus, the letter Daleth, the Tarot card of the Empress, the Sigil of Anael, the Sigil of Hagiel, the Sigil of Haggith, a green cap of Thyme, the Cross and Triangle, and three green candles. I performed the Rite of Purification by Water and a brief relaxation ritual. I prepared the disc and the green marker. I got into my robe, sash, and nemyss, took up my wand, and lit the candles as the Hour of Venus began.

I then focused my intent on the talisman and the intent with which I was creating, consecrating, and charging it while constructing it. The front side bore an outer circle in which was drawn two Invoking Hexagrams of Venus, and in which was inscribed the words “Place me as a signet upon thine heart, as a signet upon thine arm, for love is strong as death” (Canticles viii 6), according to the instructions given for the Second Pentacle of Venus in the Greater Key of Solomon. Within the outer circle was an equal-armed cross. In the upper left quadrant was the Planetary Seal of Venus and the Sigil of the Olympic Spirit of Venus, Haggith. In the upper right quadrant was placed the Divine Name associated with Venus, YHVH TZABAOTH in Hebrew characters. In the bottom left quadrant was placed the Seal of Anael/Haniel from the Consecrated Little Book of Black Venus. Finally, in the bottom right quadrant was placed the Sigil of Hagiel, Intelligence of Venus.

On the reverse side of the Pentacle, in the Outer Circle, four Invoking Hexagrams of Venus were drawn. Between each, the name ARARITA was written in Hebrew characters. In the center circle, the Numerical Planetary Square of Venus was drawn, with 175 above it and 1225 below it. On the right of the Square, the Sigil of Venus was drawn. On the left, a Yoni and Phallus were drawn.

When it was finished, I placed the Talisman on the Triangle in the center of the Altar, took up the wand, and performed the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe. I then kneeled and made an opening prayer of intent, declaring the purpose of the talisman and its intended effects and asking for God’s help, blessing, and power in bringing it about.

I next performed the Qabalistic Cross and Middle Pillar Ritual to draw LVX into my Sphere of Sensation. Immediately thereafter, I performed the Ritual of the Hexagram Invoking Venus. The opening Analysis of the Keyword flooded me with energy, which nearly made me lose my balance. The entire ritual was quite powerful and visibly altered the atmosphere of the room as four Invoking Hexagrams with Sigils of Venus in their center began to draw Venusian energies into the Temple, where they would concentrate in the altar at the center, and the talisman upon it.

I then declared the intention to project the LVX and the Energies of Venus thus invoked into the talisman, and did so by giving the Sign of Projection in each of the Quarters while vibrating YHVH TZABAOTH.

I then invoked the great Archangel Haniel or Anael. I felt a peaceful, glowing warmth flood the Temple and asked for the Archangel’s help in projecting the powers of Venus into the talisman. With the Angel’s help, I projected the energies into the talisman from each of the Four Quarters, tracing an Invoking Hexagram of Venus over the talisman in the air, a Sigil of Venus in the center, and a circle around the Hexagram to seal the forces within the talisman. I gave the Sign of Projection towards the talisman, drawing Venus energies through each Quarter’s Portal (Invoking Venus Hexagram) and projecting them into the talisman while vibrating the Divine Name attributed to Venus and given in Francis Barrett’s The Magus, AHA.

I thanked Anael/Haniel for her help and proceeded to invoke Hagiel, the Intelligence of Venus. When I had the feeling of his presence—a shift in the energy of the room, a glowing presence—I asked for his help and projected Venus energy into the Talisman from each Quarter while vibrating the Name YHVH TZABAOTH. I thanked Hagiel for his help and bowed humbly. I took up the talisman and moved to each quarter, holding it up, so that it might be infused with the energies of Venus from each direction. I then replaced it in the White Triangle on the Altar.

I then proceeded to trace the Sigil of the Olympic Spirit if Venus, Haggith, (according to the Arbatel of Magic Grimoire), and invoked the Spirit by vibrating the name repeatedly and giving the Sign of Projection towards the Sigil. When I had the feeling of Haggith’s presence—an ancient power, distinct from Hagiel—I asked for his help in charging the talisman. I then projected energy into the talisman from each of the Quarters while vibrating the Secret Name associated with Venus in the Sigil dei Aemeth, INNON. I thanked Haggith for his assistance and bowed humbly. I took up the talisman and moved to each quarter, holding it up, so that it might be infused with the energies of Venus from each direction. I then replaced it in the White Triangle on the Altar.

I then invited the Three Venusian Forces to assist me once more in projecting the Powers of Venus into the talisman, and did so from each Quarter, vibrating YHVH TZABAOTH. I thanked the Powers with a short poetic address, which I will reproduce here:

I thank thee, Great and Powerful Ones of the Sacred Realms, thou Great Spirits of the Undying, thou Powers of Venus who rule the Budding of Friendships, the Blossoming of Inspiration, the Attractions of Sensuality and the Lighting of Fires of Sexual love, for being present here with me and lending your help to me. I thank thee in the Name of Adonai as I again project and seal these Energies of Venus within this talisman.”


I then did so from each Quarter, again vibrating the Name Innon. With this duly performed, I thanked Adonai with a prayer and declared “Let the final empowerment and projection take place through the Power of the Divine and the Forces of the Celestial Ones of Venus.” This was followed by a projection of forces into the talisman in each Quarter with the Name YHVH TZABAOTH.

I then kneeled and gave a final ending prayer. I circumambulated with the talisman once more, and astrally saw the invoked Powers being drawn into it. I then placed it in the White Triangle at the center of the Altar and performed the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe to witness God’s power and offer thanks for His help.

I then took up the Sword of the Hiereus and performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, the Analysis of the Keyword, and the Qabalistic Cross. I gave the License to Depart and closed the temple.

Finally, I placed the talisman within the three Candles on a separate table and, strongly concentrating on my intent, drew forth the Mystic Serum, with which I finally annointed the talisman. I then wiped it clean and sprinkled it with Thyme from the Green cap. I gathered the things on the altar, placed the Empress card under the Triangle, the talisman on top of it, and all of the Sigils and Hebrew Letters form the altar on top of the talisman. It was finished.

I was very exhausted by this point, and yet I felt incredibly charged and energized. I had the feeling that the operation was a succcess. However, as always, it will remain to see in the following days what results will follow from it.

January 2018 Update:

The talisman proved incredibly powerful and reinforced loving feelings in many friendships and sexual relationships over the 8 years that followed. The effects lasted for years as I carried the talisman with me in wallet everywhere I went. To this day, it continues to be effective in enhancing my friendships, professional relationships with colleagues and classmates, and romantic relationship with my girlfriend.

Ritual Work for Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Time: 1:20-2:51 (Day of Mercury – Hour of the Sun and Venus)
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent 13% Full
Activities: Rite of Purification by Water, Relaxation Ritual and Fourfold Breath, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with the Sword of Hiereus, Invocation of Osiris + Formulation of the Godform of Ousiri, 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

Before discussing the ritual work, I should note that today was a productive way in other aspects of G.’.D.’. study.  I continued painting of my Fylfot Cross Badge in Elemental flashing colours, I created study guides for the new Neophyte who is joining the O.’.A.’.L.’. on Sunday, and I printed out and coloured in images of all of the Godforms of the Neophyte Hall.   In addition to this, the ritual work was fairly extensive. Most of the rituals felt more or less the same as last time, with a few exceptions:


(1) I invoked Osiris with the Hierophant’s wand. Once the Godform was formulated clearly, I asked Ousiri to project his energy into the Hierophant’s wand that it might be consecrated thereby and endowed with the power to attract the Light like a lightning-rod attracts lightning. He accepted and I felt a noticeable influx in the wand as he did so. I asked him to make the wand an anchor for the current of Divine power that he represented. He put his hand upon the wand a final time and it was done.

(2) The presence of the Godform of Osiris in the East throughout the ceremony added a noticeable effect to the feel of the rituals. The presence of such a potent source of energy in the East was apparent throughout; I found that the QC and Invocation of the Light felt as if they had an added boost to them. Even though I was not vibrating the Names loudly due to not wishing to wake my loved ones at 2 in the morning, I nonetheless felt the Light almost to a dizzying extent at some points.

(3) After the Themis meditation, I had the decidedly non-Golden Dawn intuition to remove my robe and perform the remaining rituals essentially ‘skyclad,’ with the exception of my Nemyss. Unfortunately, this did not have a very positive effect on the work; it was more distracting than anything else.

(4) After the final LBRP, I asked Themis-Maat-Thme if they could give me some advice for improving visualization/astral senses abilities. Osiris and Maat stated that they would help me, but that only concentration exercises and a great deal of practice would fully develop my abilities. Hard work would be needed; they could not supply me with an easy shortcut. I surprise this came as no real suprise; when was the work of the ceremonial magician ever easy?

(5) During the Invocation of the Archangels, I felt a true spiritual presence in the room, which came with a feeling of lightness and inner peace, which was both pleasant and inspiring.

Overall, the rituals proceeded acceptably, but there were no significant revelations or memorable ‘peak experiences.’ I consider the ‘skyclad’ experiment to have revealed that Golden Dawn work is best done, at least for me, in the robe.
Khabs am Pekht. Konx om Pax. Light in Extension.

 

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.

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.”

Ritual Work for Thursday, November 18, 2010

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2010
Time: 4:40-5:45 (Hour of Moon into Hour of Saturn)
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous, 91% 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, Ritual Charging of a Consecration Cloth, 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 and License to Depart

Today, I performed a ritual purification by water and then the relaxation ritual, which I performed lying down. The effect was very relaxing and drew me into the state of mind needed for magic.

The Great Invocation of the Light was quite powerful; by the time I reached the A.o.t.K. Section, I felt an inner glowing within me. This energy of the Light flowed out through me to energize the Pentagrams and Cross of Light during the QC, FELIRP, and LBRP.

Not much commentary on the rituals is needed. The one thing that was frustrating, however, was that just before the Middle Pillar Ritual, my house-mate started calling my name and would not stop until I answered! This broke my concentration and it took the entirety of the Middle Pillar Ritual to regain it. Thereafter, the rest of the rituals proceeded smoothly, however; during the invocation of Hru during the C.C.C., I saw the hand of the angel sending white Light into the cloths of consecration, Light to which I added with multiple iterations of the Sign of Projection.

The Themis meditation roused psycho-sexual energies within me as I saw the Goddess as an attractive womanly figure. She placed her Scales within me to strengthen and equilibrate me and gave me of her sweet nectar to drink in her Golden Chalice. She then sat before me and spoke, saying something to the effect of: “Adam, I am the representative of your own Higher Self. You must unite the Higher and the Lower. This is your task on the Path. The Great Heights of Spirit must be married to the earthy energies of the Body. Embrace all and synthesize all.

In the final LBRP, I projected the frustration at being interrupted out of me with great, vociferous energy. I felt clear and peaceful upon its completion. Overall, it was not the most well-executed sequence of ceremonial, however it certainly was not dull; spiritual reverence was combined with earthy desire, and angry frustration with deep peace. I must speak with my house-mates to underscore the fact that I must not be interrupted during ritual practice. This is imperative, especially as we move into more protracted ceremonies and group rituals.