Divination with St. Cyprian – Insights on the Shadow and First Pentacle of the Sun

By Frater SC.F.V.

Date: November 24, 2018
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous (206 degrees) in 28 degrees Gemini
Mansion of the Moon: Dhira
Planetary Day: Day of Saturn
Planetary Hour: Hours of Mars and the Sun
Activities: Solomonic Ritual Purification by Water; Solomonic Bell Sounding to the Spirits of the Quarters; Offerings to the Most High and Saint Cyprian; Prayers; Rune Divination with St. Cyprian; Temple Closing 

Today, the Moon is in the 7th Mansion of Al-Dhira, a time when it is auspicious to seek and strengthen friendships and give and receive assistance.  About this Mansion, the Picatrix (11th century) says:

“The seventh Mansion is Aldira, and it for the acquisition of all good [things]. When the Moon has come around to this Mansion, fashion a seal of silver, and sculpt the image of a man clothed in robes and with his hands extended to heaven after manner of a man who is praying and supplicating [the gods]; in the breast [of this image] write the name of the lord of this Mansion. Cense it with all things which have sweet odors, and say: You, Siely, cause such and such to happen, and fulfill my petition. Ask [of it] whatever you wish from among all the good things. Carry this seal with you, and you will receive all you ask for. And know that Selehe is the name of the lord of this Mansion.”

Agrippa adds the following in the Three Books of Occult Philosophy (16th century)

“Aldimiach or Alarzach: arm of Gemini. 17°08’34″ Gemini. Brings money and friendship, profits lovers, disperses flies, destroys teaching authorities. To obtain every good thing. A man well clothed, holding his hands up to heaven as it were praying and supplicating.”

Therefore, it seemed to me that today was a fitting day for divination, both on a question that has been on my mind lately and to ask a question of Saint Cyprian from a friend as a way of building that friendship and assisting a friend in the spirit of Al-Dhira. 

I began by purifying myself with ritual bathing. Then I donned my scapular of Saint Cyprian white Solomonic robe, Stole, and placed my Cyprianic Rosary around my neck. I sounded the Solomonic Bell of Art three times before entering the Circle, as per the Hygromanteia, then sounded the Bell to each of the full Quarters, as per the Key of Solomon, saying “I greet and bless the Spirits of the (direction) with great love and respect in the name of Adonai!” I continued greeting the Spirits of the Above and Below and all other directions. As I did this, I began to see ‘sparks’ of light flickering around the Circle, suggesting the presence of Spirits. I formally opened the Temple in the name of YHVH. 

I then unwrapped my Solomonic Wand from its white covering and began preliminary prayers. I lit four large candles in each of the Four Directions as offerings to the Most High. I then made offerings of a chocolate and banana muffin to Cyprian as well as a purple lavender candle, a stick of incense, and a glass of fresh Spring water. Earlier today, I gave the bread offerings from last week to the local spirits of the land and local animals and the remaining bit of water from Cyprian’s offering from last week to our house plant.

I also felt a sense of warm presence in the room, which was very pleasant. I addressed the Spirits in each direction in term, pausing to ask if any of them would like to introduce themselves, and offering each blessings, respect, and friendship. No Spirit took me up on my offer today–sometimes they do and sometimes they do not–but I invited any Spirits presence in each direction to partake of the Candles lit in each of the Four Directions in a spirit of peace. 

Out of the corner of an eye, I saw a spot of light drift up a wall. Then a black tablecloth spontaneously fell off of a chair over which it had been draped outside the Circle. I invited the Spirit who had moved it to engage in conversation, but it did not wish to, so I did not press the matter.

I then said some additional prayers and sat down and gazed into my Crystal while chanting Saint Cyprian’s name and inviting him to be present and to speak with me. 

I greeted him and continued to gaze into the Crystal as Cyprian sometimes opts to communicate with me through it. Today, however, he gave me a nudge to close my eyes, so I did. 

Immediately, I saw the good Saint wander out of what appeared to be a black mist appearing on my closed eyelids, holding his golden Crozier, and stand “before me.” 

I greeted him once more and he greeted me back in his warm and knowing voice. I asked him if he could offer any insights on how to best go about integrating darker aspects of our Shadow that emerge in the course of meditation and spiritual work.

His answer came immediately and was very interesting:

As we begin to move beyond the identification with the familiar and to open up some inner space where there was once only total immersion in unconscious patterns, it is normal for shadows to arise.  These shadow fragments of unintegrated Selfhood are naturally drawn into the light of awareness and Divine presence. Here, they can at last be seen instead of looked from

As these previously fragmented and splintered off shadow aspects of ourselves and programs begin to well up within us, they carry a fascinating power. If we are not careful, we risk being possessed or taken over by them. A splintered off aspect of us that lusts for power, for instance, may itself seize control over us, inspire us to focus on it and identify with it, and then further dissociate into it carrying us off completely on a course of action it stipulates. Do not confuse this with integration; it is not. It is simply another form of disintegration and dissociation. It inspires a dream-like state of acting out its drive or program, totally automatically and unconsciously. In time, we awaken from such a state and wonder what happened while we were carried off in its waking dream. Be wary to fall into this trap.”

I asked Saint Cyprian how we avoid falling into so tempting a trap and he said:

Consciously remain dispassionately aware of the shadow aspects as they arise. Notice them. Note them. Acknowledge them. Greet them. But then let them be. Remain detached and equanimitous towards them. As we slowly make the unconscious conscious and meet it fully without allowing ourselves to be taken over by it or to identify with it, it will become integrated on its own. Instead of having power over us, it will give us back the power that splintered off into it as a fragment. This is authentic integration.

I asked Cyprian if he could offer some more specific insight into some specific Shadow content I was experiencing. He said simply:

Cast three Runes. The first will be of the Past, the second the Present, and the third the likely Future.”

I obliged and cast the three Runes on his Altar. They came out as the following:

Divination with Saint Cyprian. 
From left to right: Uruz, Thurisaz, and Wunjo.

The Past Rune was Uruz, the Rune of Strength, the giant Aurochs. The meaning was that I had once found strength, virility, and a sense of manhood through a splintered off sense of lust for both power and sexual conquest. Uruz encompasses the raw, wild power of freedom, precisely the state I felt when I allowed myself to be “possessed” by this powerful Shadow drive.  However, I did not always wield this power with responsibility and sometimes, the result was misery for myself and others.

As a result, I seem to have pushed down this aspect of myself, disidentifying with it because of the danger and mischief it risked inviting into my life. Recently, it arose back into my consciousness with a vengeance as a deep yearning with a dark amoral tone, only this time, it was, as Saint Cyprian said, seen rather than looked from. The challenge was to acknowledge and allow it to be without being swept away by it as I had been in my youth.

The present Rune was Thurisaz, the Rune of Chaos, Evil, and Temptation, the Thorn, the Giants fought by Thor with his hammer Mjölnir. This is a warn about resisting temptations, especially ones that offer rewards through dishonesty and trickery. Fittingly enough, it represents the raw forces of the human psyche from anger to lust, which can give us power or alternately overpower us. The meaning is clear: as this Shadow aspect arises, it beckons me into the unbridled pleasure-seeking that once led me astray; it promises reward, but threatens to unleash the chaos of Pandora’s Box into the stable clearing of beauty and order I had constructed in my life. The advice of the Rune is in harmony with Cyprian’s advice: notice, acknowledge, but be not led away. Possession by old patterns only provides the illusion of integration; not true integration itself.

The final Rune, the Rune of the Future, was very encouragingly, Wunjo, the Rune of Joy. Interestingly enough, Wunjo looks just like Thurisaz, except that the point of the Thorn has shifted up to resemble a Flag. If I can integrate this Shadow rather than being possessed by and swept away by it, the promise is joy, happiness, light, and a satisfaction deeper than mere impulse gratification, with roots far deeper than superficial urge-fulfillment. Wunjo contains the sense of things going well due to harmonizing ourselves with Life, much like the Sephirah of Tipharet on the Tree of Life. The message is to strive for harmony, balance, and the kind of honesty and truth that set us free from the convenient lies that can bind us. 

From left to right: Uruz, Thurisaz, and Wunjo.

I thanked Saint Cyprian kindly for these wise insights and asked if I could ask him a question on behalf of my friend Chijioke, namely, if he could share anything about the nature and uses of First Pentacle of the Sun from the Key of Solomon. 

Again, the inner prompting to close my eyes came, and I again saw Saint Cyprian standing before me. Immediately, he began to speak saying:

The First Pentacle of the Sun draws forth the Solar virtues. It is best consecrated when the Sun is in the sky and left on the Altar in view of the Sun. It bestows confidence, even a radiant glow upon the one who holds it, which attracts and fascinates. It can lighten the spirit and bestow joy and even glory. Beware, however, for this Pentacle can bring out arrogance and pride in those who have tendencies towards such qualities. It depicts the face of mighty Metatron; know that whenever you gaze upon the face of Metatron, he also gazes upon you. Be mindful that you use not his countenance for evil; instead, live in a worthy way that you might be found worthy when gazed upon.”

Once again, I thanked Saint Cyprian for this wise instruction and asked him if he had any final insights he would like to offer. He said quite simply:

Yes. Forgive my servant N, with whom you recently quarreled. He meant well. You, like him, have your own faults. Hold no grievances against him. Forgive and walk your own way, putting your disagreement behind you, and allow him to do the same.”

I said I would and thanked him for this advice. His ghostly form smiled,  nodded, and then vanished into the black mist from whence he had emerged. 

I stood back up and used my Solomonic Bell to give the License to Depart to Spirits in the Four Directions and in the Above and Below, blessing them as they left, before formally closing the Temple.

Rune and Tarot Readings for N.J. with Saint Cyprian

Date: October 23, 2018
Sun Phase: Set, Showers Nearby
Moon Phase: Full Moon in 11 degrees Aries
Mansion of the Moon: Sharatain
Planetary Day: Day of the Moon
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon
Activities: Casting of a Natal Chart; Solomonic Ritual Bathing with Hyssop; Preliminary Prayers; Offering to God; Solomonic Bell Sounding to the Spirits of the Quarters; Offerings to Saint Cyprian and Gabriel; Second Phase of Prayers; Invocation of the Divine; Invocation of the Trinity; Exorcism of the Runes and Purification by Holy Water; Solomonic Consecration of the Runes with Frankincense Suffumigations, Holy Water Asperging, and Saint Cyprian Oil Anointing; Invocation of Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel to empower the Runes; Invocation of the Trinity; Canticle of Saint Cyprian; Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian; Psalms Recitation; Recitation of al-Fatiha and al-Adiyat; Gifts of Rune Divination and Tarot Divination for a friend; Temple Closing

After consecrating the Runes on the Day and Hour of the Moon on this Full Moon, I cast three Runes for a Three Norn reading for my friend N.J.

Here is what I told N. regarding the two readings.

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I asked the Oracle “what will the likely outcome be if N. pursues what he sees as his calling towards the Palo Mayombe tradition?”

For this Three-Norn Reading, I cast a series of Three Runes.

The first Rune is the Norn Urd; the past- past actions & situations that relate to the question. Here, we find Ansuz, linked to knowledge, wisdom, communication, the mouth, and a message. Indeed, Ansuz is primarily Odin’s Rune. The sense is that you have a rich and wise background of spiritual knowledge and yet have been looking for additional signs and confirmations, perhaps wondering if in Palo, you might find the missing answers you still seek.

The middle Rune is Norn Verdandi; the present- what is influencing you right now. Here, you have Thurs. The sense is that right now, you have a sense of a challenge. Thurs is partly Thor’s hammer, but also the giants he fought with it. The sense is that you are experience a sense of potential magical power, but also coming up against forces of chaos. When this Rune comes up, it tends to suggest a Warning against a Temptation. The thorn can be used to pierce the veil, but it also might backfire and stab you. Be careful. This Rune can be a sign that if you push forward along the path you are pursuing, your luck may run out. In connection with your question, this suggests that you are aware that there are dangers in pursuing the Palo path and are trying to assess the possibility carefully to see if it is really the best course of action for you. This is wise, and advised by Thurs here.

The final Rune represents the likely future outcome, Norn Skuld; the future- what will likely happen to answer your question. The Rune here is Isa, which means ice. This Rune has an ambivalent nature; ice may be beautiful, but also dangerous. The sense here, in connection with the other Runes, is that if you pursue the Palo Path, you may be walking on thin ice and face great danger. When Isa comes up, the advice tends to be “don’t rush this decision so that you don’t rashly fall into danger or get yourself stuck in a rut. Patience and wisdom are called for.” One of the darker meanings of Isa is that what may seem like a bridge to somewhere new or a place we are trying to get to (e.g. ice between two shores) can sometimes be that, but it can also be a trap; in trying to cross over the ice bridge, we may fall in and drown. Great caution is advised.”

To seek greater clarity, I then performed a Nine-card Tarot reading, I asked Cyprian “what will the likely outcome be if N. pursues what he sees as his calling towards the Palo Mayombe tradition?”

Here were the results of this second reading:

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In this 9-card reading, a type of reading I sometimes use because of the connections of the number 9 to the Moon, which are very appropriate on this Day and Hour of the Full Moon, when I performed the reading, Card 1 is the present. This card represents what is happening to the querent at the present time. It also reflects the querent’s state of mind and how they may be perceiving the situation.

Your Present card is the Two of Pentacles Reversed. Upright, this card tends to suggest multiple priorities, time management, prioritisation, adaptability. Reversed, it can suggest that we are experiencing overcommitment, disorganisation, reprioritisation. We may be juggling two many things–or magical projects!–at once. If we juggle too much, we risk dropping what we’re juggling. You are in a period of transition, of chaos within your order, of trying to reorganize your life and reprioritise. The Two of Pentacles often appears when you are experiencing a state of ‘busyness’, rushing from one thing to the next, with little downtime in between. You may be constantly telling yourself that you don’t have enough time or you’re in a rush. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to be busy to get things done. Sometimes taking a break is the most productive thing you can do. This card brings your awareness to the concept of balance in your life right now. While you can seek out balance and equilibrium, nothing is ever in perfect balance (and if it is, everything is in a state of change so it is likely to get out of balance shortly after). The Two of Pentacles reversed suggests you’re trying to reassess your priorities and find a new sense of balance in your life.

In this 9-card reading, Card 2 is the past. This card represents the events that have lead up to the present situation and may provide some indication of how the challenge came about — this suggests what might have prompted you to consider pursuing Palo.

Your card here is the Eight of Cups Upright. This is a card of disappointment, abandonment, withdrawal, and escapism. You may have faced some challenges, some disappointments, or find yourself having to withdraw or abandon old ways, a relationship, a job, or another tradition. To quote an apt description of this card, “The cups are placed in such a way that it appears as if there is one missing, a sign that emotional fulfilment and wholeness is lacking in some way. The man has turned his back on these cups with a feeling of loss and disappointment, and walks away into the mountains. The river nearby is symbolic of the emotions he is feeling, and the mountains represent awareness that this isn’t going to be an easy journey (though it is a necessary journey for true long-term happiness). The moon in the night’s sky illuminates the path ahead, while suggesting that there may be some level of escape or avoidance in this card, given the man is leaving in the dead of night hoping to go unnoticed.” Are you avoiding something? Are you trying to use Palo as a form of escapism? These are questions this card compassionately raises for our own good.

In this 9-card reading, Card 3 is the Future. This card represents what is likely to occur within the next few weeks or even months if you pursue your perceived calling towards Palo. This is not the final outcome, simply the next step on the journey.

The card here is the Ten of Swords Reversed. Reversed, this card suggests taking on too much, avoiding responsibility. Combined with the avoidance of the Eight of Cups Upright, the suggestion is that if you dive into Palo now, you will be taking on way too much new responsibilities while still avoiding whatever it is you are trying to escape. Reversed, the Ten of Wands indicates that you are unnecessarily holding on to this burden when you do not need to. If you are feeling weighed down by your present circumstances, look at different ways you can lighten the load. Can you delegate certain tasks and responsibilities? Are you worrying about matters that do not concern you or cannot be changed? Do not become a martyr and take on more than you can realistically handle, this card cautions.

In this 9-card reading, Card 4 is the Above Card. This card reflects the querent’s goal, aspiration or best outcome with regards to the situation. It is what the querent is working towards consciously as they attempt to resolve the issue.

The card here is the Ace of Wands Upright. This suggests that you are considering Palo because you feel in it a sense of inspiration, power, creation, beginnings, and potential. You feel as if a “new Wand” or offer is being handed to you and you don’t want to pass it up. You’re excited by the seed of a new opportunity and adventure. However, at the same time, the Ace of Wands suggests a sense of restlessness and uncertainty; you’ve got a burst of energy, but you’re trying to figure out how to channel it effectively, which is wise.

In this 9-card reading, Card 5 is the Below Card. This card reflects that which is within the subconscious realm of the querent and delves much deeper into the core foundation of the situation. It symbolises the underlying feelings and trends associated with the situation and can indicate what is truly driving the querent. This card may bring a surprise message to the querent, particularly if they are not deeply connected to their inner being (watch out for reversed cards here which are likely to indicate that this is an ‘unknown’ to the querent).

Here, you’ve got the Three of Swords, which suggests that you are being subconsciously driven by painful separation, sorrow, heartbreak, grief, rejection. This may suggest that you are coping with some difficult feelings or experiences by wisely seeking out a new beginning, or unwisely trying to run away and avoid this by distracting yourself with a new venture. Which is it here? The other cards suggest avoidance and escapism, so I’m wondering what you might be avoiding? Can you put the Palo plan on hold for a while and work on facing what you’ve been avoiding, processing it fully, and sitting with it so you can integrate it and grow from the experience? This is what this card suggests.

In this 9-card reading, Card 6 is the Advice Card. The advice card takes into account all that is happening within the querent’s life and presents a recommendation for what approach can be taken to address the current challenges.

Here, your card is the Devil Reversed. This suggests that what might be wisest for you right now is for you to focus on releasing limiting beliefs, exploring dark thoughts, and detachment. This follows up on what the other cards have already said. If you’ve been avoiding something, running away, or escaping, or trying to use Palo to do that, the best thing to do is to stop and pause so you don’t slip on thin ice and drown by overwhelming yourself (to link it to the Isa Rune). You’ve got a Thorn in your side right now (the Thurs Rune), but instead of trying to avoid the pain, it might be best to focus on gently examining the wound and removing the Thorn. The Devil Reversed suggests that as well as letting go of whatever materialistic greed you may be feeling that may be pushing you in an unhelpful and unwise direction. This is not a time to rush into Palo, the cards and Runes are in very clear agreement; both suggest slowing down, taking caution, and focusing on your own shadow work instead of using magic as an avoidance tool (whether you are already doing that or *tempted* to do it).

In this 9-card reading, card 7 is External influences.  This card highlights the people, energies or events which will affect the outcome of the question and are beyond the querent’s control.

The reversed Nine of Pentacles is all about self-worth. When you see this card in a Tarot reading, you may find yourself reflecting on your own sense of self-worth and value. You’re going through something that is making you reflect on whether you’re ‘enough’ in some way. You’re questioning or avoiding looking at your own worthiness concerns, and potentially shame. If you’re trying to use Palo to increase your sense of self worth or become worthy, this card, especially combined with the Devil Reversed, suggests questioning the project; maybe you’re *already* worthy and good enough and don’t need Palo to become so. Maybe the systems and Spirits you’re already working with are worthy enough. This card invites reflection on these points.

In this 9-card reading, card 8 is Hopes and/or fears. This is perhaps one of the most difficult positions to interpret. Keep in mind that hopes and fears are closely intertwined, therefore that which we hope for may also be that which we fear, and so may fail to happen.

Your card here is Temperance Reversed. This suggests that you are looking to Palo hoping for healing and realignment, but you are afraid pursuing it will cast you into excess or throw your life even more out of balance. The other cards suggest that this worry is warranted; you are already juggling a lot and Palo is a very demanding tradition that will impose many more demands on you. The other cards are not suggesting to race ahead with this; on the contrary, they are suggesting doing your shadow work, working through your feelings or issues you’re avoiding, and being patient and taking time to figure things out. This is the only way to avoid hurting yourself worse (Thurs Rune) and slipping and drowning through thin ice (Isa Rune).

In this 9-card reading, card 9 is the likely Outcome. This card is representative of where the situation is headed and if/how the issue will be resolved. It assumes the outcome based on the querent continuing their current course of action. Of course, if the outcome card is not a desirable outcome, it is within the free will of the querent to make the necessary changes to their situation.

Card 9 here is the Four of Pentacles Reversed. In this position, this card suggests that if you keep pursuing Palo at this time, you risk experiencing over-spending, greed, or trying to unhealthily protect yourself in a way that won’t help your growth or move you forward. The reversed Four of Pentacles can appear when you are re-evaluating what’s important to you, especially when it comes to material priorities (this card links to the Reversed Two of Pentacles in your Present position). You may have placed too much value on material possessions and have now come to the realization that money and ‘things’ won’t make you happy. As a result, you may be loosening your grip on the need to surround yourself with ‘things’, in favour of seeking out more love and happiness in your life instead. You might be compelled to declutter your home or opt for a minimalist lifestyle. Money is no longer your number one priority and you are redefining your relationship with material possessions and money.

This card may also suggest greed for “more, more, more” in the occult realm too. The card seems to ask if you are only pursuing Palo out of greed masquerading as “noble inspiration and good intentions” (Ace of Wands in your conscious intentions, Above Card position). It also warns you that you may fall into deeper greed if you pursue this path and that this may not be what is best for you. It may also suggest that you risk running into financial problems as you attempt to do everything required for initiation into Palo and the lifetime of demands expected of you thereafter. Once again, the cards invite being careful and not rushing into anything before you take care of the practical matters in your life and the emotional wounds, shame, or residual issues in your inner or emotional life. The Runes suggest much the same thing; these two readings are in complete harmony.

Your above and below cards are contrasting; this suggests that you’re being driven by avoidant motives and past pain you may not even realize are driving you to Palo while you think you are doing it to seek a noble new experience or follow inspiration. Try to bridge the gap by making the unconscious influences conscious and working through whatever feelings you may be avoiding.

Your above and outcome cards are also contrasting; you’re hoping for inspiration, novelty, and a new experience, but you may fall into greed, imbalance, and financial problems if you continue down this path. Be careful.

Your future and outcome card suggest together that if you pursue this path, you’ll risk not only all of the above problems, but also stretching yourself too thin, taking on too many responsibilities, and trying to juggle more than you can keep up with. Stripping down is wiser than taking on more at this time.

If you work on healing the betrayal, pain, or whatever it is you are avoiding, you may be able to avoid falling into imbalance and intemperance (what you’re afraid of). The cards suggest this as the wisest course of action, very clearly. Your Runes agree.

Hope this helps!

***

Here is what N. shared based on the readings above, after I shared my results with him, so as not to bias my readings:

That is very interesting, brother! Yes very accurate with facing a challenge right now. A little uncertainty with upcoming decisions. Where to place focus in my life as I have achieved previous goals. I agree completely to assess things and see what is the best course action.

Palo initiation would only be a year or so from now, however Nsasi from Palo is reaching out to me in very strong ways. I feel my own energy field changing since the Palo reading. I was told I need to be initiated, otherwise I will have missing pieces in my life and need the protection. (My old mentor has sent attacks to block my roads). He was in palo, but in obeah, voodoo also. So in conclusion brother, with what I perceive with the reading… it to use wisdom, patience and caution. To test things and gain deeper insight into decisions before making them. I completely agree and do not wish to rush into anything.”

I replied:

“Yes, that sounds very appropriate, and the Runes bear out all aspects of what you mentioned above, including coming from a background of having attained your goals and the wisdom you sought in other domains but still seeking more. I agree.”

He added the results of consulting Archangel Cassiel for guidance:

Cassiel, when I asked him, spoke that the decision was ultimately up to me to be made. Between me and God, and it was not his decision. However he did also express the responsibility from this and to always have a sincere heart. In Palo, my intention is not for power, it is the desire to experience the tradition and to be able to acquire ability to help more people. Its been calling very strongly lately. The Spirits of it have been reaching out heavily.”

My reply:

“Cassiel’s advice seems wise. Your Rune and Tarot reading are both pointing out risks, dangers, and potential threats if you dive too rapidly into Palo. They are not outright saying not to pursue it, but they are strongly encouraging working through your own practical life issues and lingering emotional wounds before going further, should you choose to do so.”

 

 

 

Hybrid Cyprianic / Solomonic Consecration of Amethyst Runes

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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Date: October 22, 2018
Sun Phase: Set, Showers Nearby
Moon Phase: Full Moon in 11 degrees Aries
Mansion of the Moon: Sharatain
Planetary Day: Day of the Moon
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon
Activities: Casting of a Natal Chart; Solomonic Ritual Bathing with Hyssop; Preliminary Prayers; Offering to God; Solomonic Bell Sounding to the Spirits of the Quarters; Offerings to Saint Cyprian and Gabriel; Second Phase of Prayers; Invocation of the Divine; Invocation of the Trinity; Exorcism of the Runes and Purification by Holy Water; Solomonic Consecration of the Runes with Frankincense Suffumigations, Holy Water Asperging, and Saint Cyprian Oil Anointing; Invocation of Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel to empower the Runes; Invocation of the Trinity; Canticle of Saint Cyprian; Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian; Psalms Recitation; Recitation of al-Fatiha and al-Adiyat; Gifts of Rune Divination and Tarot Divination for a friend; Temple Closing

Today was a busy day.  In the morning, and very appropriately, I received, on this Full Moon on the Day of the Moon, my new set of hand-carved Amethyst Runes. I, therefore, decided to plan to consecrate the new Runes this evening in the Day and Hour of the Moon.

Appropriately, the Full Moon is in Aries, a great time for work on powerful new beginnings, as well as in the al-Sharatain Mansion of the Moon.  As Christopher Warnock points out,

The warlike ardor of Aries the Ram, ruled by the planet Mars, is necessary for all beginnings. It provides the impetus to move forward, to overcome inertia and change the status quo. The Mansion is auspicious for beginnings, journeys and for taking medicine, as here the Moon transmits the force and power vital to breaking the hold of illness over the body. Keywords: Divine Mind, primal transmission and the power of creation/destruction, active energy and dynamic force.

As a side note, while Agrippa ascribes Amethyst to Mars in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy and Crowley ascribes it to Jupiter in Liber 777, I tend to side with the folk magical tradition that ascribes Amethyst to the Moon, which seems more consistent with its properties to facilitate reflection, clarify the mind to see into Mysteries and hidden virtues, and so on, as attested in Ancient Greek lore.

With purple also being linked to the Sphere of Yesod, the Sphere of the Moon, in the Queen Scale of the Golden Dawn and also being linked to Saint Cyprian, Amethyst seems to me to be a very appropriate choice for a set of Runes.  With that said, even if we take into account the Mars valences of Amethyst as per Agrippa, the connection is nevertheless auspicious since the Luar Mansion of Al-Sharatain is a strong time for Martian and Aries-like bursts forward with new creative energy and endeavours.

The day flew by with my clinical research course and doing what I could to encourage support for the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, helping a woman with directions, and casting a Natal Chart for a friend. I decided that I would do three magical acts of service today as service-based Offerings, since I believe service is not only intrinsically valuable, but pleases the Divine. In addition, I find that Saint Cyprian seems to be far more happy to help with my magical operations when I do acts of service for others as Offerings to him. As a result, I resolved to cast a Natal Chart for my friend Pil., and a Rune and Tarot reading for my friend Nik. who has a big decision to make in relation to whether to begin work in the Palo Mayombe tradition and requested some insight from me and Saint Cyprian on the subject.

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As night came, I performed Solomonic ritual bathing using hyssop as per the oldest-known surviving manuscript of the Key of Solomon proper, Sloane 3847, The Clavicle of Solomon revealed by Ptolomy the Grecian, (“And sprinkle thy self with the water coniured one such manner as it is sayd after of water and Isope upon thy face sayinge, &c.”).

As the Hour of the Moon began on this Day of the Moon on a potent Full Moon, I took up my Solomonic Bell and ringing it as per the Hygromanteia, entered my Circle, dressed in my white robe, stole, and carrying my Solomonic Wand. I arranged Saint Cyprian’s Altar with his Statue, which I recently consecrated by Mass, as well as exorcised, and Solomonically consecrated after a 9 day Novena culminating on his Feast Day, when I took him as my Patron. I also had on the Altar, my Solomonic Holy Water, San Cipriano Oil, my Solomonic Bell, my brass ‘Cauldron’ filled with white sand and containing Frankincense, a glass of Red Wine as an Offering, Cyprian’s water glass Offering, an Offering of Church wafers for Cyprian, and the complete set of Amethyst Runes.

I lit a candle as an Offering to the Most High and asked for His blessing and that he send the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation (Ephesians 1:17) to aid me in this Operation. I sounded my Solomonic Bell to the Four Quarters as per the Key of Solomon’s instructions for the Bell/Trumpet, blessing the Spirits and Angels of each Direction in turn and requesting their aid in the ceremony.  As I did this, I began to feel the presence of Spirits drawing to the Circle, curious as to what I was up to, as tends to happen. I blessed them and asked them to aid in the Ceremony as they could and bound them not to interfere with it adversely by the name of יהוה I then gave formal Offerings to Saint Cyprian of a glass of water, a glass of wine, Church wafers, and Frankincense.

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After preliminary prayers, I stated the Intent of the Ceremony and then began the formal Solomonic exorcisms and consecrations of the Runes. While praying over them, I washed each one in turn with Solomonic Holy Water, asperged them with my Aspergillum,  suffumigated them with Frankincense, and anointed them with the Oil of Saint Cyprian while invoking his aid to empower them for use in divination. I then invoked Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel and asked them for their aid in consecration and empowering the Runes as well. I had such a feeling of holy joy after their Invocation that my heart felt much at peace and brimming with love for the kind and inestimably powerful Archangels.

I then performed the Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian that Cyprian had taught me, adding the goal of the Ceremony into the petition section. This was the first time I’ve applied the Rite in practical magic since I first tried it after Cyprian revealed it and I found it quite powerful. After I performed it, the Crucifix hanging around Cyprian”s neck began to sway as it sometimes does when he’s actively assisting in a ritual.

Thereafter, I proceeded to a series of prayers over the Runes, the OSC’s Canticle of Saint Cyprian, other prayers from the Saint Cyprian Orisons book, and the recitation of a series of Psalms over the Runes to consecrate them as per the Solomonic tradition. I finished the consecration by reciting two of my favourite Surahs from the Holy Qur’an, namely al-Fatiha and al-Adiyat over the Runes. I was amazed at the deep sense of silence that came over the Temple as I finished the Qur’anic recitations. They never cease to amaze me with their power and depth.

I then took up the Runes and asked for Cyprian’s help to use them to perform their first Three Norn reading as a gift to my friend Nik. for guidance in whether or not he should pursue initiation into Palo Mayombe followed by a ten-card Tarot reading on the same subject. Thereafter, I blessed and greeted the Spirits in the Four Quarters with the ringings of the Solomonic Bell, gave the License to Depart, released any Spirits that may have been captured in the ceremony with the blessings of Yeheshuah Yehovashah, and formally closed the Temple.

When I picked up the consecrated Runes, I already began to feel a deep connection to them. They will remain on Cyprian’s Altar for the next 9 days to complete their charging and final consecration phase, and then I will consecrate them by Mass 1-3 times to finalize their preparation.

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Pathworking on the 28th Path of Tzaddi (צ)

GoldenDawnlogoDate: April 6, 2018
Time: 7:45 to 8:25 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising, Morning
Moon Phase: Third Quarter, 66% illuminated, Moon in 27 degrees Sagittarius, in the 21st Zodiacal Mansion of Al-Baldah
Planetary Day: Day of Venus
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon
Activities: LIRP, Pathworking on the 28th Path of Tzaddi (צ), QC, prayer

tzaddi.gifI performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram in red robes with the Rose Cross Lamen and a red-green striped nemyss within the inner Temple. Then I projected through a violet astral gateway emblazoned with the Hebrew letter Tzaddi (צ) and prayed for help in travelling along the Path, being initiated into its Mysteries, and integrating its energies.

I saw the Violet path emerging below me, joining the Base of the Pillar of Mercy—Netzach (נצח) or Victory—to the lunar Sphere of Yesod (יסוד). I landed in a pool of clear water next to a mighty white-watered waterfall. I stepped out of the water onto the shore and surveyed the scene. This pool and waterfall were located in a jungle-like area with open plains around as well. I vibrated the Letter of the Path TZADDI (צ) and its Divine Name, YHVH (יהוה) until the vision crew crisper. As I vibrated Tetragrammaton, brilliantly sapphire blue fish came to the surface of the cool water. I was reminded that Tzaddi (צ) means “fish hook” and that this Path is often seen as reflecting in higher form the Piscean energy of the Path of Qoph (ק), where I had also landed in water at the beginning of the Pathworking.

I soon noticed that this Path was much more ‘shifty’ in its forms than the other Paths I had worked previously. The scene initially seemed sunlit, but then it darkened into night, lit only by star-light and the moon, I interpreted as the Tarot card of the path, the Star, and the light of the connecting Sephirah of Yesod (יסוד).

wep.jpgI asked for a Guide to lead me through the Path, but strangely, none came at first, which was unusual. I had to repeat the calls and requests several times until an entity appeared. It was a grey wolf, but as I greeted him with blessings in the name of YHVH (יהוה), it shifted form, first into a human-bodied entity with a wolf’s head, almost like the Egyptian neter (Spiritual Force) Wepwawet, whose name means “the Opener of the Ways,” which was often thought to mean the ways through the Underworld, appropriate symbolism for a Guide along a Pathworking.

He returned my blessings in a deep and coarse, but calm voice. I asked him if he would guide me through the Path and he said yes. Then surprisingly, he shifted form once more, this time into a large white Dire Wolf with a sapphire-blue water gourd around his neck. He invited me to climb onto his back so he could carry me to “the Queen of the Stars, who will reveal to you what you wish to know.” I couldn’t help but be reminded of my Pathworking through the Path of Resh (ר) in which I also wrote upon the back of a white animal spirit, in that case, a horse.

The Dire Wolf carried me through winding paths of starlit jungle. In the distance, I heard animal sounds, which may have been monkeys. I also saw a toucan-like spirit perched on the branch of a jungle tree. The vegetation reminded me of some of the trees and shrubs I had seen in Mexico while exploring the Mayan ruins.

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As we traveled, I asked the Wolf if he could explain to me the core teaching of the Path of Tzaddi (צ). He reminded me that the Zodiacal attribution of the path was the Kerubic Sign of Aquarius (♒), whose name means “the Water-Bearer.”

“The meaning of Aquarius (♒) or Water Bearer has a hidden significance. Within your body, the bladder is not the only “water-bearer.” The Heart also “bears” the symbolic ‘water’ of blood, and carries within it, physical water.”

(It occurred to me that blood plasma is over 90% water.)

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The Tarot card of the Star depicts a nude “Water Bearer,” which I realized during this Path, was in fact a veiled reference to Aquarius, to which both Tzaddi and the Star are Attributed. 

“The region of the Heart is also where emotions are subjectively felt,” the Wolf continued, “and emotions are the manifestations of the Elemental Water; thus, the Heart, as bearer of emotions, is also a Water-Bearer. And a heart in Love feels warm and seems to shine, like an Inner Sun. Tune in therefore, to Love and you will feel the spiritual Light. Without it, your Heart Center will be darkened and will bear only dark and cold Waters.”

bamnnerI found the notion of the Heart as Aquarian or ‘Water Bearer’ very interesting. Certainly in the Golden Dawn system, the Sun-Tipharet-Adept-Christ-Osiris symbolism is very prominent. The connection to the Inner Sun notion reminded me of what the Alchemist Solar spirit Rashael had told me on the Path of Resh (ר), namely that “The Heart is the Sun within. Gold is its Nature, but how many mistake it for lead!” The Heart as Sun and yet, bearer of Water… fire and water united in the symbolism of Hearthood. It reminded me of the union of Water and Fire Triangles around the yellow solar T of Tipharet and the Tau cross in the Banner of the East.

I thanked the Wolf for his wisdom. At last, we stopped before a great and gigantic Tree. This Tree had vast green boughs and reminded me of the giant Tree in the Animal Kingdom park in Disney World in Florida, which, much to the amusement of Qabalists, is fittingly named the “Tree of Life.”

treeOn the front of the Tree was a great door, and with the Wolf’s arrival, it slowly opened. The Wolf told me he would wait for me at the doorway as I crossed the threshold. I entered and in the dark space, saw a wooden throne upon which was seated a beautiful naked woman. She was entirely nude except for a Crown of Stars upon her head, a Scepter whose top depicted the Sigil of Aquarius (♒), and featured a light-blue crystal, and a silver necklace around her neck that suspended a light blue crystal between her breasts.

I knelt before her and offered her blessings and respect in the Name of YHVH (יהוה). She greeted me and invited me to approach. I asked her if she would kindly initiate me into the Mysteries and Energies of the 28th Path.

She invited me to approach and kneel before her.

“This Path is a Path of awakening the Heart, of tuning in through energy and emotion. The Way of Tzaddi (צ) is a Way of feeling, poured and balanced by the Water Bearer. Ours is not the Way of thinking and intellection, on which you rely all too much. If you would learn the Mysteries of this Path, you must leave Reason at the door and draw from deeper wells. Draw from emotion, from clairvoyant attunement, and from sexual power. Tell me, do you find me arousing?”

She was very beautiful, but her question made me blush out of guilt as I thought of my girlfriend.

blue.jpg“Ah, I see,” she said, as if tuning into my feeling.

“Then tune into your love for her.”

At once, my girlfriend appeared before me, nude, and with love and light in her eyes.

“Now, cease to rely on thinking. Tune into her with feeling. Start with your sexual feeling for her. Feel it fully. Do not think about it. Feel!”

I felt sexual arousal arising up from within me as a powerful serpentine energy.

“Now, as she pleasures you, tune into her through the Love of your Heart and the Passion of your Sexuality.”

blue.pngMy girlfriend began to slowly please me orally and I felt the sexual energy begin to rise up from my basal chakra.

“Let the sexual energy rise up through your central Column, your Middle Pillar. Think not about it, nor hold it back. Be fully present with the energy of your Love.”

I practiced tuning in to the pleasure and the sexual arousal, as well as the Love I feel for my girlfriend. I attempted to surrender and allow the sexual energy to rise up, up, up…

However, somewhere near the solar plexus, it seemed to stop moving, as if hitting a barrier. At once, I felt a rush of fear and a tensing up, the opposite of surrender.

“Surrender to it, give in, let go,” the Queen encouraged me.

However, the fear was too strong and I could not surrender.

“Ah, what a blockage there is in you!” she exclaimed.

bluesdf.jpgShe then took her Scepter and began to whack at an energetic ‘barrier’ within my spinal column. With each whack, this barrier, which appeared as a crystalline blue glass-like ‘floor’ or ‘ceiling’ within me, began to crack. It cracked more and more with each blow. Although light began to stream through the cracks, it would not shatter entirely.

“You have more work to do on this one than we can resolve in one night. Tune then in directly to the Love in your Heart.”

This was easier for me to connect to and achieve than to bring the sexual energy up into the Heart chakra.

“Receive then your Aquarian Love,” said the Queen.

(My girlfriend is an Aquarius)

With these words, my girlfriend pulled my sex inside of her as I lay on the ground and she was on top of me. She began to moan.

“Be fully present with her. Think of nothing! Simply connect to the feeling, to the pleasure from below and the Love from above and within…”

The Queen then pressed her Scepter to my heart center and said:

“Receive the Initiation of the Path of Tzaddi (צ).”

pnik.pngShe then took out a white “fish hook” of energy an slammed it into my Heart Center. As she did so, she projected a flood of warm energy through my Heart that flooded through my Sphere of Sensation and blended with the Love and the sexual pleasure. It all came to a flush of White as a kind of spiritual orgasmic crescendo shone through me.

After it faded out, the image of my girlfriend faded away and I found myself again in my Robe.

“Return to your body and tune into feeling and emotion. See with the Heart, not only with the eyes or the Mind! Let the Water Bearer of your Heart be balanced in life and emotion. Harmony is the Way of the Adept.”

I thanked her for her teachings and offered her Offerings of Roses and bread and honey as thanks, presenting the same to the Wolf.

I thanked both again, left, walked on through the forest, and stood before the entrance to the Temple of Yesod (יסוד). As its doors openened, the scene faded out…

I found myself again in my Astral Temple. I performed the Qabalistic Cross to equilibrate the Aquarian / Star / Tzaddi (צ) energy and performed some freeform prayers, then sat back into my body and tuned into feeling and sensation.

ansuz.jpgLater in the day, I drew a Rune for guidance in how to apply the Wisdom of this Path, and drew Ansuz, Odin’s Rune, the Messenger Rune. Ansuz is primarily Odin’s Rune and represents communication, creativity, controlled and divine power. Spiritually, it is the rune of prophecy and revelation. It also encompasses the ideas of wisdom and good advice. It might also refer to a test or to the answers to questions being available, but not yet recognized. The meaning is that we need to be sure not to ignore a message simply because we don’t like the content. I also take it to mean that I should practice tuning in deeply through other forms of ‘communication,’ such as energetically, emotionally, and intuitively, rather than simply intellectually or through verbal language.

Non-Qabalistic Pathworking Systems

By Frater S.C.F.V.

Qabalistic and non-Qabalistic Pathworking

When most contemporary occultists here the term “Pathworking,” their first thought is of an approach of astrally travelling through visionary journeys on the 32 Paths of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, that is, along the 22 Paths of the Hebrew Letters and the 10 Sephirot themselves, which represent Paths in their own right. The Qabalistic Pathworking system, particularly as practiced by the Adepti of the Golden Dawn, is a very powerful system and I have had some amazing and transformatively initiatory experiences by working it.

However, the Qabalistic system is by no means the only Pathworking or system of visionary journeying out there. In this article, I will briefly introduce some non-Qabalistic Pathworking systems. For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a Pathworking system as a collection of methods for skrying-based or astral travel-based visionary journeys through a set of associated specific realms, regions, symbols, or inner planes.

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Tarot, Tattwa, and Enochian Tablet Pyramid Pathworking

Naturally, as the Golden Dawn pointed out, each of the 78 cards of the Tarot can be astrally projected into and each yields its own unique experiences to the magician.

This Tarot Pathworking system is often integrated with the Qabalistic Tree of Life Pathworking system, but it need not be. Indeed, the cards reveal distinct and unique meanings when worked alone without the astral influence of the Qabalistic symbols and energies shaping the vision. For example, the Trumps can be Pathworked in sequence from 0 to 21, a method called the astral Fool’s Journey.

Other Golden Dawn Pathworking systems include projecting through the Tattwas or each of the Pyramids of the Enochian Tablets. In this case, one enters an altered state and projects one’s consciousness ‘through’ a square/pyramid on one of the Enochian Tablets then examines the visions that follow.

For a great source on G.D.-style Pathworking approaches, see my friend Nick Farrell’s excellent Magical Pathworking: Techniques of Active Imagination. His Osiris Scroll lays out his own neo-Egyptiana version of an initiatory Pathworking system designed to lead through the reader through a series of visionary ordeals culminating in the realization of the Higher Self.

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Ancient Roots of Scrying-Based Work

Certainly, the use of pools of water, crystals, and so on as scrying aids to visionary work is ancient indeed, so I do not credit the 19th century occult revival or Golden Dawn with inventing the notion of ‘pathworking’ or visionary journeying; the practice often mediated by scrying tools, seems to have ancient roots. We’ve already mentioned some of them above. To add onto the above discussion, in a well-known passage in the Old Testament, which would have been as familiar to the Grimoiric priestly-clerical magicians as the stories of Enoch, and Jacob’s ladder, the silver chalice that is placed in Benjamin’s sack when he leaves Egypt is described as being used by Joseph for divination.

In ancient Egypt, scrying and spirit communication seem to have been practiced with the aid of ink or water and there are myths about Hathor that present her as bearing a reflective shield in which visions could be seen, a kind of proto-scrying mirror. Aztec tlatoani read the reflections in obsidian. For the Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks water and bodies of water were from the earliest times associated with conduits to the realm of the gods and of the dead; indeed, the Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM) have detailed instructions on communicating with spirits via bowls filled with water and an offering of oil (see PGM IV, 154-285). And, indeed, as we know, and as Dr. Stephen Skinner showed in his own work, many of the PGM practices and much of its theory were integrated into the Solomonic Grimoires.

Indeed, compare “…name of Typhon, at whom the ground, the depths of the sea, Hades, heaven, the sun, the moon, the visible chorus of stars, the whole universe all tremble…” (PGM IV. 223- 243) to “…this ineffable name Tetragrammaton Jehovah , which being heard, the elements are overthrown; the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembles and all hosts of Celestials, Terrestrials & Infernals do tremble…” (Heptameron and Key of Solomon). And this is a passage directly taken from the same Papyrus that explains how to work with spirits through a bowl filled with water, or lecanomancy.

The earliest written evidence of lecanomancy or bowl-based scrying and divination are from the Babylonian Ritual Tablets dating to the 7th Century BCE, so these roots run way back into our magical history. To me, it is not inconceivable that these ancient scryers may have used their scrying media not just for divination, but also to generate immersive visions of the type generated in what we today call ‘pathworking’ in its various systems and manifestations.

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Merkavah Pathworking

In Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, Aaaron Leitch notes that “a form of Jewish shamanic magick known as Mahaseh Merkavah, or the “Work of the Chariot,” which he describes as a “practice of astral travel through the seven palaces of heaven (i.e., the planetary spheres), where the ultimate goal was the vision of the throne of God.”

It’s worth noting, however, that some authors contend that while the Seven Heavens may be equivalent with the Seven Planetary Spheres, other authors suggest that the Seven Palaces of the Merkavah system are distinct from the Heavens exist either in or beyond the Seventh Heaven. Regardless, however, as a visionary travel system, the Merkavah system is a Pathworking system, which greatly influenced and indeed, served as a precursor to, the historically later Qabalistic Tree of Life-based Pathworking system which followed it.

For anyone interested in the Merkavah system, my friend David Benton wrote a fantastic book on it entitled The Work of the Chariot. His book contains detailed instructions for performing merkavah mysticism, adapted from Medieval Hekhalot sources, along with the names and functions of the entities you will encounter, all in an easy to use and clearly-written format.

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The Shahnameh System and Islamic Pathworking

The Shahnameh, a 10th-century epic work narrating historical and mythological past of Persia, gives a description of what was called the Cup of Jamshid (Jaam-e Jam), which was used by the ancient mythological Persian kings for observing all of the seven layers of the universe. As mentioned by Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, it was believed that all seven heavens of the universe could be observed by looking into it (از هفت فلک در او مشاهده و معاینه کردی), a view that suggests the Merkavah tradition described above.

It was believed to have been discovered in Persepolis in ancient times. Most notably to our beloved Solomonic tradition, in the Islamic world, the name and legend of Jamshid was often linked to legends and lore about Sulayman (Solomon) himself. Indeed, it’s well worth diving into the Sufi traditions around Sulayman, which draw on the same source as the Western Grimoires, namely, the Testament of Solomon as filtered through the interpretations in the Qur’an and Hadith!

Indeed, astral or visionary journeying is built into the Orthodox framework of Islam, so it certainly long-predates the Victorians. Sufi magical traditions have ways of working with it. Indeed, according to standard Islamic theology, the Prophet Muhammad took a “Night Journey” in which he traveled from Mecca, now in Saudia Arabia, to a location in Jerusalem now identified as the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque. He was said to have ridden a white, winged Pegasus-like being called ‘Buraq’ on this very distant journey.

According to the legend, Muhammad alighted, tethered Buraq to the Temple Mount and performed prayer, where on God’s command he was tested by Gabriel. According to a hadith or oral tradition narrated by Anas ibn Malik, Muhammad said: “Jibra’il (Gabriel) brought me a vessel of wine, a vessel of water and a vessel of milk as a test, and I chose the milk. Jibra’il said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).'”

In the second part of the journey, the Mi’raj (an Arabic word that literally means “ladder”)–an intentional allusion to the Jacob’s Ladder tradition–Jibra’il took him to the heavens, where he toured the Seven Heavens, and spoke with the earlier prophets such as Abraham (ʾIbrāhīm), Moses (Musa), John the Baptist (Yaḥyā ibn Zakarīyā), and Jesus (Isa). Muhammad was then taken to Sidrat al-Muntaha – a holy tree in the seventh heaven that Gabriel was not allowed to pass.

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Ibn ‘Abbas’ Primitive Version narrates all that Muhammad encounters throughout his journey through heaven. This includes seeing other angels, and seas of light, darkness, and fire. With Gabriel as his companion, Muhammad meets four key angels as he travels through the heavens. These angels are the Rooster angel (whose call influences all earthly roosters), Half-Fire Half-Snow angel (who provides an example of God’s power to bring fire and ice in harmony), the Angel of Death (who describes the process of death and the sorting of souls), and the Guardian of Hellfire (who shows Muhammad what hell looks like).

These four angels are met in the beginning of Ibn ‘Abbas’ narrative. They are mentioned in other accounts of Muhammad’s ascension, but they are not talked about with as much detail as Ibn ‘Abbas provides. As the narrative continues, Ibn Abbas focuses mostly on the angels that Muhammad meets rather than the prophets. There are rows of angels that Muhammad encounters throughout heaven, and he even meets certain deeply devoted angels called cherubim. The idea of traveling through subtle planes while ascending spiritually and communing with entities there is the essence of what we now call ‘pathworking,’ and here we find the Prophet Muhammad doing it 621 CE

This tradition speaks to the point of visionary journeying far predating the Victorian and methodologies of the Golden Dawn’s tradition of occultism–certainly the shamanic traditions in many Indigenous traditions of visionary journeying date all the way back into prehistory. It also shows how the Merkavah material seems to have influenced the development of early Islamic mysticism and mythology along parallel lines to the influences of the same material on the Grimoires around one thousand years later.

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Tibetan and Ancient Egyptian Pathworking Systems

The Tibetan Bardo Thodol or Book of the Dead and Egyptian Book of Coming Forth by Day both lay out something akin to pathworking systems, but these texts and their attendant systems were mainly intended for guiding the soul after its passing from this mortal coil. Thus, they may be seen in a sense, post-embodiment or post-death Pathworking systems. Both systems are generally understood as presenting maps of the geography of the underworld, deities encountered there, trials undertaken, although there are advanced esoteric ways of doing this work while still alive. Indeed, Delog: Journey to Realms Beyond Death records the “vivid personal account of a journey through the “bardos” and “pure realms” was recorded by 16-year-old Dawa Drolma of Eastern Tibet, a renowned female lama” who became a “delog”-one who crosses the threshold of death and returns to tell about it.”

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Moreover, some authors, such as Jeremy Naydler in Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: the Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt, argue that The Book of Going Forth By Day was used by Egyptian priest-magicians to train them in what some call “practical eschatology,” that is, the afterlife experience while still alive. Indeed, Chapters 125, 17 and 151 can be worked in an initiatory framework. David Nez has suggested to me that the Orphic golden tablets may have been used in similar fashion by Hellenistic Initiates. I have little experience with these systems, however, and so I must defer to my more-knowledgeable peers.

In this connection, in his in his fantastic Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, my esteemed friend Aaron Leitch writes that “the Chaldean or Babylonian priests of later times made this after-death journey while still alive-creating a kind of controlled near-death experience.” This Chaldean system represented their own version of this kind of post-death-stage Pathworking system.

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Runic Pathworking

Although this is not a traditional method of Norse spirituality, I have also found that the Runic systems can be Pathworked, whether one is using the 24 Runes of the Elder Futhark, the 29 or 33 Runes of the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, or the 16 Runes of the Younger Futhark. In this system, one simply applies the G.D. “Travel in the Spirit Vision” method and projects through the Rune symbol in an altered / trance state (e.g. theta-gamma synchronized state) and then notes the visions that ensue. For more on the Golden Dawn’s method, see Flying Roll XXXVI – Of Skrying & Traveling in the Spirit Vision and Flying Roll XXV – On Clairvoyance & Travelling in the Spirit.

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John Dee’s Enochian Aethyric Pathworking System

John Dee’s Enochian system lays out a Pathworking system through the 30 Aethyrs, which are conceived as forming a map of the entire subtle universe in the form of concentric rings that expand outward from the innermost to the outermost Aethyr. These Aethyrs are entered using Enochian Calls, which function as Keys for entering the Aethyrs in visionary journeys. Dee’s Enochian map of the universe consisted of the Great Table of Four Watchtowers and the Tablet of Union surrounded by 30 concentric circles, the Aethyrs. These 30 Aethyrs are numbered from 30, namely TEX, the lowest and consequently the closest to the Watchtowers to 1 LIL, the highest, representing the Supreme Attainment.

In Aethyric Pathworking, Magicians working the Enochian system record their impressions and visions within each of the successive Enochian Aethyrs from TEX to LIL. Each of the 30 Aethyrs is populated by “Governors” — 3 for each Aethyr, except TEX which has four, for a total of 91 Governors. Each of the governors has a Sigil which can be traced onto the Great Tablet of Earth. In practical work with the Aethyrs, the Nineteenth Key of the 30 Aethyrs is the only call necessary for working with the Aethyrs.
It is only necessary to vary appropriately the name of the Aethyr itself near the beginning of the call. Once the Call is recited, the names of the Governors are vibrated one at a time and a record of the visions is kept. In this system, one can gaze into the Crystal Ball / Skrying Crystal after doing the Call and see what images form there or do a full-blown astral projection into the Aethyr after entering it with the appropriate Key. Aaron Leitch’s The Essential Enochian Grimoire: An Introduction to Angel Magick from Dr. John Dee to the Golden Dawn is a great help for working with this system.

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Astrally Working the Stations of the Cross as a Pathworking System

Among Christian mystics, particularly Catholic mystics, there was a kind of experiential, initiatory tradition of working through the Stations of the Cross in a systematic, progressive initiatory framework that is reminiscent, in some of its more visionary workings, of a Pathworking tradition.

That particular visionary legacy lies in the background of many of the Renaissance Grimoires; indeed, some of the Catholic clerical grimoiric writers may have learned the working of the 12 stations during their standard clerical training. It began to be widespread in Europe in the 15th-16th centuries and was well-established as a common practice by the 17th century. Indeed, the Stations of the Cross system of ‘contemplative pilgrimage working’ was well-established by the time Johann Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum in his De praestigiis daemonum (1577) was written. The system was even more in vogue by the time of the Lesser Key of Solomon’s composition in the mid-17th century.

To quote one author on the subject, the “Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as Way of Sorrows or Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christians faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian churches, including Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic ones.

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Commonly, a series of 14 or 15 images will be arranged in numbered order along a path and the faithful travel from image to image, in order, stopping at each station to say the selected prayers and reflections. This will be done individually or in a procession most commonly during Lent, especially on Good Friday, in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during his passion.”

I have read Medieval and Renaissance accounts of Christian mystics from the 15th and 16th centuries, contemporaneous with some of our late-Medieval, early-Modern grimoires, in which they describe meditating on each image at each Station while reciting the associated prayers until they enter a kind of trance-state where they describe feeling like they are seeing the picture come to life or feel like they are transported within it and are experiencing the scene as if they were there with Christ in that moment. Worked astrally and systematically, this exoteric system could be adapted into an esoteric Pathworking system in the magical sense.

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The Armadel of Magic

The the Armadel of Magic (not to be confused with the Arbatel or Almadel) could also be regarded as presenting a kind of evocational pathworking system. It has unfortunately taken a lot of criticism from some Grimoiric scholars, but in essence it is highly shamanic system, which works with the perennially shamanic Terrestrial/Infernal/Celestial world division. As Aaron points out in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, “the focus of the work seems to be upon visionary quests or spiritual encounters facilitated by the magickal characters, as well as gaining some magickal powers such as healing, alchemy, agriculture, etc.” The emphasis on shamanic visionary quests seems very reminiscent of other Pathworking systems although the framework is here one of a simple evocational system centered around Spirit sigils.

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 The Zoroastrian Arda Viraf Pathworking System

Within the Zoroastrian tradition, there is a shamanic tradition around visionary ascensions recorded in the Book of Arda Viraf. In this system, the Magician performs some preparation rituals such as a ritual bath, suffumigations, prayers, and so on, and then drinks wine and comes a psychoactive brew. Thereafter, he or she travels through a system of hells and heavens. Of the method of the Magician’s travels, the text says:

21. And then Viraf joined his hands on his breast before the Mazdayasnians, and said to them (22) thus: ‘It is the custom that I should pray to the departed souls, and eat food, and make a will; afterward, you will give me the wine and narcotic.’ (23) The Dasturs directed thus: ‘Act accordingly.’

24. And afterward, those Dasturs of the religion selected, in the dwelling of the spirit, a place which was thirty footsteps from the good. (25) And Viraf washed his head and body, and put on new clothes; (26) he fumigated himself with sweet scent and spread a carpet, new and clean, on a prepared couch. (27) He sat down on the clean carpet of the couch, (28) and consecrated the Dron, and remembered the departed souls, and ate food. (29) And then those Dasturs of the religion filled three golden cups with wine and narcotic of Vishtasp; (30) and they gave one cup over to Viraf with the word ‘well-thought,’ and the second cup with the word ‘well-said,’ and the third cup with the word ‘well-done’; (31) and he swallowed the wine and narcotic, and said grace whilst conscious, and slept upon the carpet.

The “narcotic” is labeled here as Vishtasp; this was a hemp or marijuana extract or, according to some sources, a variant of hashish. In this text, some of the Pathworking locations are described as “the Star Track,” “the Moon track,” “the Sun track,” in addition to various other locations in the “Heavens” and “Hells,” in which the Magician undergoes visionary experiences and discourses with spirits and deities. Chris Bennett describes this system and other similar shamanic systems extensively in his Cannabis and the Soma Solution.

The Arda Viraf has been argued as an influence on the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey and on the much later Purgatorio, Inferno, and Paradiso of Dante Alighieri, in which Dante the Pilgrim undertakes his own journeys through purgary, hell realms, and heavenly realms respectively.

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It’s worth noting that in this text, as in many others, a “magic carpet” is used to facilitate astral travel in the spirit vision. My friend A. Wretch wrote a very fascinating compilation of texts that use carpets as aids to Pathworking and visionary travel entitled Magic Carpets, Sensory Deprivation, and Entheogenic Ceremonial Magick, which I would highly recommend.

In our discussion of the Arda Viraf, he pointed out that “the Book of Arda Viraf is extremely important! While there seems to be some question as to its original dating, it could well be the origin of magick carpets. It also seems like Merkabah precursor. Keep in mind that in the book of Kings it describes Solomon’s chariot, which is also called a bed, but this is in reality a palanquin.

This likely comes from the Zoroastrian influences in Judaism as with Arda Viraf, which puts the magick carpet over the “couch” which is a term that is also sometimes used for a palanquin. You mentioned the cup of Jamshid, but the Shahnameh also explains palanquin Merkabah like experiences among the kings like Kay Kavus and Nimrod… you will find a reference to a great article in the start of my Magick carpets anthology.”

Conclusion

While the Qabalistic Pathworking system is remarkably rich and can be very powerful and transformative, it is not the only Pathworking system. My hope is that in this article, you have found some interesting pathways–no pun intended–for further research and experimentation. See you down the astral Rabbit hole…

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you had any notable experiences with any of these systems that you’d like to share in the comments?
  2. Are there any other key non-Qabalistic pathworking systems that this article has left out? What can you tell us about them?

 

 

 

 

Pathworking on the 29th Path of Qoph (ק)

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

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

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

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

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

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“Dreaming VII” by Marie Antuanelle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mer

“Mermaid” by Daren Horley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lotuscup.jpg

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

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

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

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

qoph

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

shin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Pathworking on the 31st Path of Shin (ש)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

israfil.jpg

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

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

To rise in the Light,
The self must fall,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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