Comments on this site are welcome but generally I will delete those made anonymously or any posts if they are seen to attack anyone.

Monday 12 December 2011

Source of the Universe Tarot Card?

Mike Magee found the follow image from a 17th Century English book... If you ever thought that Levi or the Golden Dawn invented the image you can be rest assured that it is older than the GD but at least still British.

Saturday 10 December 2011

1=10 and changing the Golden Dawn System

For a while I have been concerned that when it came to the Golden Dawn's 1=10 grade, the ritual effect was not on a par with the other grade rituals. As I said on Pat Zalewski's yahoo group,  when I went through it there was an empty feeling. The first part of the ritual was the best with the final unblocking of the candidate so that their sphere of sensation could continue up the tree was impressive, but this was nothing like the heavenly canoe rides of the higher grades.
I am not talking about intellectual information here. Sure there are spades of intellectual information in the 1=10 which can get the candidate thinking for centuries.  But if you want to present intellectual information you give to someone in a book you do not make them sit through a ritual. Rituals are where magic happens, lectures are where you give someone brain food.
Then there was the problem of the after effects of the 1=10. They were almost universally bad. The 1=10 is supposed to have an effect on the 12th, first and second houses. This would be a balancing and therefore if a person had a weakness in that area then it could hurt a bit. Equally it could have been positive. With one exception the 1=10 had a negative effect on people's finances or created a depressing effect on the candidate. This would be fine if the candidate had to realise something earthy, but the fact is the negative effect stopped when the candidate entered the 2=9 so something wrong which was being corrected by that ritual.
Being a traditionalist and not wanting to change anything if it can be avoided, I decided to look at the ritual in some detail to see what the problem was.  Over the weekend I did two 1=10s and spent some time watching the way the energy flows in the ritual worked. The first problem was in the first half where the ritual tilted towards the Northern element with little to check it. The second part was that there was not enough “divine input” hardwired into the the rite which would have provided the candidate with enough steam to ascend the tree.
The problem is no where as acute as it was when I was using Regardie's 1=10 for initiations. Using Pat Zalewski's Rituals and Commentaries book we were installing the Archangel Metatron within the candidate at one point which must have helped from the days when I was just using Regardie but there was still something lacking. Likewise there was a lack of the earth element within the ritual. We had also added Hathor to control the forces (at various points she appeared to dance on the altar similar to the Universe tarot card) in the centre of the temple.
I found the answer, but I was curious to see if anyone else had spotted it or had noticed any of the same effects. I found the answer in a document written by Mathers but unseen by many until Pat published it a few years ago in his Secret Teachings of the Golden Dawn. This was effectively a Z document for the 1=10. I will get to it in a minute.
Anyway the response on the web group was interesting to say the least. Some said they had noticed the same thing and had even changed the ritual to make things work better. Others insisted that the ritual was perfect as it was and I was completely wrong. One suggested that it was earth so it was supposed to be dull, another suggested that intellectual teachings had their place within the system. Perigrin said that crossing the threshold in the temple was an extremely powerful part of the rite. (I could not see how, looking at the ritual dynamic how that could be possible). Generally though the feeling was that the intellectual aspects of presenting the three diagrams were “where the 1=10 was where it was at”. Yet magically (other than impressing the diagrams into the sphere of sensation of the candidate) the impact was limited.
Simply the group split between those who felt you could not change anything and those who felt you needed to tinker with things. However, those who felt you could change nothing had to argue their position from the perspective that it was perfect in the first place and those who wanted changes often wanted to shift it towards their own bias. Now as usual the answer lay in between (ironic for a 1=10 debate) Only one person thought to suggest that I look at Mathers' ritual explanation.
Mathers suggested that in the first part of the ritual there was a triangle of invisible godforms formed in the temple. In the East there was the godform of Adonai Ha Artez (although he did not say it would be under the control of the Eastern Tablet and its Elemental King) In the South there was the female form Malkah (the bride) and she was under the control of the King of the Southern Tablet. The North was under the control of the Godform of the King of the Tablet.
Although Mathers did not explain the idea much this triangle of force would balance the ritual completely. Firstly the polarity between Malkah and the Elemental King of the North would create the immeasurable region and this could be controlled by Hathor to allow the candidate to enter. Crossing this would give the candidate a burst of energy as they stood between the two polarities of Malkah and the Elemental King.
Malkah's energy would be controlled by the Elemental king of Fire which would make her power more fiery and warm up the darker side of the elemental King and the tablet. This would be something that would be controlled by Hathor who, as the God of Love and Beauty would counter effects of depression. The colder aspects of Earth would be warmed. This is emphasised by the fact that the triangle which the earth is connect to the three godforms is a fire triangle. The Apex of the Triangle is Air which is the opposite to Earth. This brings spirit into the ritual through the Air element. To balance this Hathor would have to rise above the altar (like in key 21) to form a pyramid (of fire). But it creates a three dimensional triangle of the art wherein the Heirophant can bring Metatron inside the candidate to provide them with the spiritual power to continue up the tree. Notice how much fire is in this part of the ritual? Hathor is likewise a fiery aspect. All this serves to balance the Earthy energy invoked by just opening the Earth tablet.
So why didn't Mathers balance the Earth energy with its opposite of Air? The effect would be to cancel out the Earth energy. In his other papers Mathers says that Air and Earth, on its own creates some weight, makes things difficult to see, untangible and provides little motion. Not a great thing for future work. Fire and Earth, on the other hand creates great dryness and slight obscurity, perfect for future effort. Air would increase the power of the Fire to create great heat, intense lightness, and motion which would be balanced from getting out of hand by the Earth. Either way the combination would help the candidate move on with some clarity.
So why no water? Water, according to Mathers would only provide some slight effect on the fire but speed it up too much, but it would have the effect of making the earth too cold, too heavy, dense and solid.
So what was going wrong with the Regardie version? The candidate comes into the temple and gets hit by pure Earth which was cold, dry and heavy and solid. His first encounter is with Samael who stands by the Water side of the altar and represented by an officer connected to Water. He fails, and goes to Metatron who is on the Southern side but is not supported by a fiery polarity of Malkah and the Elemental King of Fire. The Air element makes little, or no energetic appearance in the ritual, thus the candidate is hit by an unbalanced Earth Element with no control or balance and becomes unbalanced in the Earth element for their time in that grade. If the person is already unbalanced then they will suffer badly. Since most people are unbalanced when it comes to their finances they get hit there. If not they get hit by the heavy Saturnian nature of the Earth and this leads to depression. There is nothing positive to be found in unbalanced Earth. It is all pretty grim. It also ends when the person gets into the 2=9 when they finally get the balance of the Air (the 2=9 has a strong foundation and balancing aspect).
What is tragic is that the paper that Mathers gave his hint was given out at the highest grade of the 5=6 in the early Golden Dawn, but not seen until the 6=5 in the Stella Matutina. Few copies have turned up and few knew about them until Pat published his book.
It is not clear if this will solve all the issues of the 1=10. I am not sure if the more passive invisible stations of Malkah/ Fire are strong enough to polarise a fully open tablet in the North and the candidate would be unaware of either of them. I would suggest some direct exposure to those forces might be needed (perhaps allegorically telling the candidate of their existence). However Mather's changes would go a long way to balancing the problems I have this this ritual.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Egyptian Shaman is finally out

The spiritual traditions of Ancient Egypt are well documented and are at the forefront of the Western Mystery and Magical Tradition. But they are a gloss over a more primal “shamanic” tradition which gets to the essence of Nature and its relationship with humanity, life and death.

This book is a practical manual for those who wish to explore that primal spirituality using Egyptian symbolism. As Egypt was one of the village cultures, so Egyptian shamanism was one of the first to operate in an urban environment, making its techniques suitable for modern times.

Egyptian Shaman paints the picture of what it was like to be a village priest in Ancient Egypt before describing the practical techniques which would have been employed during those times. These techniques, which have never been revealed before, have been adapted for modern minds with
the intention of making this a practical spiritual path.

The book controversially contains a chapter on exorcism and dealing with the dead, which many have claimed are subjects which should not be published. It shows how later Egyptian texts, such as the Book of the Dead, were Shamanic guide books to the Underworld.This is a book containing the keys to transmute,not only the self, but the whole planet.

It has yet to appear on the American Amazon but can be found here

Thursday 27 October 2011

Revised edition of Mathers Last Secret is out

The new edition of Mathers' Last Secret is now out. The new edition started out as an attempt to correct some of the typos which found their way into the first edition. However it started to grow making the book a lot bigger. This version is more of a scholars edition with improved footnotes and some of the more obscure material made clearer. Some of my commentary has been clarified. 
Mathers' Last Secret is important to those who are not members of the AO because it contains the only complete version of the Golden Dawn rituals available. So far most of what has been printed have either been the cut down Stella Matutina rites which were printed by Israel Regardie or the later Whare Ra rituals. This book is the only one to contain the real Golden Dawn Portal ritual. So far the only Portal ritual to be published has been that of the Stella Matutina. Indeed seems that for many years the AO continued to use the Golden Dawn rituals, with some tweaks to the 0=0 rite.
As such it contains instructions, diagrams and even Tarot cards which will be vital for those who are trying to use the Golden Dawn System of Magic.
The first book was controversial because it lifted the lid on the AO as run by Mathers. For many years people, usually claiming to be the incarnation of Mathers have used the name of the AO to sell their system as different from other members of the Golden Dawn community. They have been able to do this because few had access to original AO material. Little of it survived and much of that was in the United States. That was until a cache of documents appeared in an unlikely place and permission was given for publication.
Mathers' Last Secret proved that not only was the AO exactly like the Golden Dawn of 1894 it had reverted back to its Masonic roots and played down the magical techniques which made the order famous.
The revised edition of Mathers' Last Secret is a tribute to the Golden Dawn community. There are those who would have you believe that the Golden Dawn community is at each others' throats, this book is a tribute to the way the real Golden Dawn community works together. Many Golden Dawn leaders and members from different Orders and temples helped me out on this project, some asking to remain anonymous. As a result I had access to information which I did not have and was able to make this edition more useful for those who want to study the Golden Dawn tradition.
There are still a few copies of the old edition in the market. If you want to buy the new edition you should use this link and make sure that the cover has “revised” written on it. 

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Alchemy and the Chemical Change

We arrived in Hong Kong in search of the secret of turning lead into gold. We purchased an old scroll from an Old Sage in Fai Hai and were making our way to the dock when were way laid by the evil Fu Man Chu and his associates.
“Give me the scroll of the Golden Flower of the Dogs' Bollocks* for long have I sought the secrets of Alchemy and the ancient sages have not given them unto me,” said Fu Man Chu.
“And if we don't?” I replied, clutching the scroll to my chest.
“Then you will suffer the curse of 1000 deaths without medical insurance,” he said.
My associate Little Tim yelled “Run” and we fled to the docks, closely pursued by Fu Man Chu and his men.
We arrived in the Hong Kong docks and found thousands of junks waiting for the morning tide.
“Quick,” I shouted. “Board that Junk.”
“But which one,” asked Little Tim.
“It does not matter," I replied. "When it comes to Alchemy you can get away with any old Junk.”
* The phrase loses a bit in the translation.

Over the weekend we had a number of initiations and I was playing with the chemicals in the chemical change to make sure the proportions were right and we didnt end up with mud instead of something red.
Our temple uses Mohrs' salt which is a double salt of ammonium sulphate and ferrous sulphate. It's blue green colour turns red when it is exposed to Sodium salicylate. Both in solution are clear. In the old golden dawn the mix was a little different but the idea was the same. Iron indicator and Iron which turns red. Strangely Mathers' AO attributed the Iron mixture to Venus and the indicator to Mars. In the coming revision to Mathers' Last Word, I suggest it should be the other way around.
Anyway, during the ritual the candidate is told that the experiment conducted in front of the is to show what happens if they break their oath. This has lead some to think that it is where the oath is hardwired into the candidate's sphere of sensation. But there are couple of things wrong with this idea. The most obvious is that the chemical change happens after the candidate's elements are bought back together by the Kerux (since this was probably not a mini-ritual carried out by the early GD or the AO it might have been less important).
However as I was playing with the elements I noticed that he Mohr's Salt gave a greenish tinge to the water. Worried that there might be something else in the water that it might be reacting to I looked it up. Achemists would have called Mohr's Salt Green Vitriol. Which is represented by the symbol of the Green Lion. It often means the vegetable life force.
 Then it occurred to me that by adding the Sodium Salicylate I was turning the Green Lion Red. Thus, under the cover of the threat of an oath violation, you were taking the lower aspects of the candidate and causing them to develop.
Now the reason I preface this with the silly story is that the Golden Dawn did not use Mohr's salt or Sodium Salicylate. Mohr's salt had only recently been discovered and certainly it would not have been available to alchemists. In short although the discovering is interesting and can be explained using Alchemical terms, it does not mean that the GD wanted this chemical change to evolve the candidate's vegetative self. Yet, it would be equally possible for someone to cloud this part of the ritual with alchemical symbolism to have it make sense. As I say above... you can get away with any old junk when it comes to Alchemy.  It might be leading to new insights, but it equally it might not.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Announcing Kerubim Press

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Kerubim Press, independent publisher of occult books, officially announces its existence today, giving the esoteric community a valuable array of texts on topics ranging from ceremonial magic to paganism.
Kerubim Press authors deliver thoroughly researched topics presented in an accessible, yet scholarly format and/or easy to follow guidelines for practical magical work.
Books are published in both a limited hardcover edition of 100 signed and numbered copies, standard paperbacks for a more affordable budget, and multiple ebook formats for the revolutionary digital book age, which Kerubim Press plans to be major mover in.
The first two books in Kerubim Press' lineup are Nick Farrell's King Over The Water and Dean F. Wilson's Enochian Magic In Theory, both scheduled for release in February 2012. Pre-orders for the special limited edition of each will be available before release. Pricing has yet to be decided.
(Temporary artwork)
Over the years many myths have built up about one of the founders of the Golden Dawn, Samuel L. MacGregor Mathers. Many of these have been created by those who wish to damn the Golden Dawn and its system of magic or by those who want to naively believe a bogus magical story about the Order and its founders.
In King Over The Water, Golden Dawn magician Nick Farrell paints a picture of the founders of the Golden Dawn becoming out of their depth as the Order began to create magicians. Rather than painting Mathers as an eccentric genius, Farrell sees him as an autocratic fantasist. He sees Mathers struggling to keep up as his students rapidly became better than him at the system he created, and shows how he was unable to raise his game to help the Order develop further.
In what will be a portrait of the problems that could befall any esoteric leader, Farrell (author of Gathering The Magic, a textbook on magical group dynamics) reveals how Mathers' later rituals were an attempt to remove the magic from the system he created so that he could milk it for money.
Included will be previously unpublished papers from Mathers' own version of the Golden Dawn, the Alpha et Omega, including the unexpurgated version of the Tarot manuscript, the full version of the Book of the Tomb (a key document for creating a Vault of the Adepts), the original method for the consecration of the sword, and much more.
King Over The Water is the prequel to Farrell's groundbreaking exposé on the Alpha et Omega, Mathers' Last Secret (2011, Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn), and provides another look into the mind of a magician that helped develop the magic we use today.
(Temporary artwork)
The first of Dean F. Wilson’s eagerly awaited Enochian Magic series, detailing John Dee and Edward Kelley’s magical system in extraordinary detail, from the Heptarchic system to Enochian proper.
Wilson provides a unique mix of thorough research with his own experience and understanding from using the system for many years, resulting in a book that is both scholarly and insightful.
He explores the history behind the famous magician and seer, shows how the system was delivered, explains why it is such a powerful magical tool, and answers many of the questions that people have asked about the nature of the angelic beings.
Gain an indepth knowledge of Enochian magic. Learn how to derive the names of angels from the various tablets. Discover the purpose of the tools. Ponder the mysteries of the more obscure parts of the system, with Wilson’s suggestions for what they might mean.
This tome provides a comprehensive overview of the Enochian system for both scholars and magicians, with excerpts from Dee's diaries and insights from a number of Enochian magicians over the last century.
Enochian Magic In Theory is the first of a two part series on Dee's angelic system, with Enochian Magic In Practice providing the practical instructions for how to put the magic into use. The latter is scheduled for a late 2012 release.
Like the Kerubim of Ezekiel, Kerubim Press aims to look in all directions to provide one of the most comprehensive selections of occult books on the market, while remaining committed to quality in everything it publishes.
Spread the word about Kerubim Press by telling your friends and colleagues.
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Wednesday 14 September 2011

Alchemy and Golden Dawn Ritual

Alchemical ideas are starting to be battered around the blogsphere again. As usual this is thanks to the output of Pat Zalewski. It seems that Pat only has to cough an idea these days and people will flood the internet saying they thought of it first and Zalewski got it wrong.
Part of the problem, and it is not a problem for Pat, is that Alchemy means different things to different people. The symbolism is so obtuse that some, like the psychologist Carl Jung decided that it was all archetypal processes of transmutation and not meant to be taken literally. Others, like Israel Regardie, nearly killed themselves trying to create the Philosophers' Stone in a test tube. My own experience of physical alchemy has been what I have seen others achieve. I was around at the Zalewski house in the 1980s when I saw a created plant stone in action. I have also seen a person who managed a peacock's tail transformation during some metal alchemical work. At the time I thought it was fairly interesting, but did not seem to create much in the way of spiritual transformation. The Peacock's Tail for example was a multicoloured oxide coat which I had seen when I used to make toy soldiers (I think it was to do with the oils). Equally I do not believe those who claim they have turned base metal into gold, simply on the principle that it is clearly a sales ploy. I find it incredibly unlikely that, given the personality transformation required to archive the Stone, that anyone who claims to have done so must be practically of saint-like status. Most of the people I have met who claimed follow Alchemy as a spiritual path have been arrogant wankers with glass egos and a love of belittling other people's efforts to re-enforce their flaccid egos. Mind you the same can be said of ritual magicians.
As a metaphor, alchemy is an important way of understanding magical processes. It is a set of symbols which can be used as an allegorical language to understand some of the more subtle ideas in magic.
The Golden Dawn was a little soft on the use of Alchemy. It is fairly clear from some papers, that Mathers had a passing interest in the subject. Certainly alchemical ideas flow into the rituals. Even without going into details it is possible to see an alchemical idea being expressed in the transmutation by the Kerux.
It is the idea that the Golden Dawn rituals can be interpreted alchemically that Pat Zalewski has latched onto in his book. The idea is simple but can be taken to depths which could end up with you trying something out in a test tube.
You start with the candidate being the base matter. Each grade is an alchemical process which leads to the refinement of the personality. To Pat, the entire outer order is part of the blackening process with different phases of whitening and yellowing.
These are all alchemical terms and when others use them they are inclined to make your head spin. But by rooting them into the Golden Dawn ritual it is easy for anyone who follows this tradition to understand.
For those who are using the Golden Dawn system, this book unlocks a layer of understanding that they would otherwise not have got, even if they were experienced alchemists. Alchemists tend to live in their own world and are not used to applying their system to something as involved as the Golden Dawn. They will spend days writing long smug a treatise which says that the Golden Dawn Alchemy shown in the Z documents is “wrong” and not understand that it is wired into the 0=0.
Zalewski covers this point smoothly and tells it like it is. It is also a very different book from what he has written previously. His previous contributions to the Golden Dawn tradition were written many years ago. This one was written this year. It shows a considerable maturing both in writing style and thought. Gone are the days of quoting his teacher Jack Taylor. In Alchemy and Golden Dawn Ritual, Pat is standing on his own with his own ideas and it is an approach he can fell justifiably proud. It is a little book of 128 pages but it points you in the right direction for how you need to see the rituals to get them to work correctly.
One of the downsides to this approach is that you can say any old rubbish with an alchemical gloss and get away with it. It is possible to sniff that “of course you were not using the 12 step method or the method insisted on by Father Bacon for storing cheese”. However Pat's approach does not have that problem. Instead of obscuring, the approach clarifies.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Johnson's Solids and Enochian Aethyrs

I got passed a paper from the Hermetic Order of the Nascent Dawn which had some interesting ideas relating the to the Governor of the Aethyrs. It was given on to me in the assumption that I would put it here.
The idea is that there are 92 governors of the Aethyrs who rule over different parts of the world. The rule of the First Aethyr is Occodon and he rules Egypt.
The number also pops in a list of Geometric Solids. These are called Johnson's Solids after Dr Norman  Johnson who wrote his 1966 worked out that there were only 92 convex non-uniform polyhedra which could have regular faces.
What is interesting is that he arranged a list of them in order  If you look at the first one (which is the simplist) you get a four sided pyramid.  Remember Occodon and the fact he looks after Egypt?
What HOND is arguing is that there is a reason why the list of geometric shapes appears in this order and that we can find out a bit about the energy of each Governor by looking at the Johnson Solid connected to it.
It gets into adding up numbers as each of them a calculator. Each face is made up of a number both inside and outside. I would guess that each solid is made up of a shape which can be interpreted cabblastically.
Magically you could construct a talisman built out of each shape with your name on the outside... your mystery name on the inside and surround yourself with all the angels and divine names that each shape creates. They would be like my four worlds talismans only replicated many times and into a three dimensional solid.
Since each Governer represents an area of the earth you could use their shape to help you in magic to help that particular country.
I have no strong views on this and am suggesting it in case anyone has an “aha moment” and it provides them with an answer they needed.    I have not seen any Metabiaugmented dodecahedrons structures in Rome (I think I would have noticed).  But Angels do tend to throw up geometric shapes a lot so there might be something in it.

Saturday 27 August 2011

The nature of the 6=5 and 7=4 Grades in the Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn is a system of spiritual evolution. People often forget this and assume that it is all about magical techniques and intellectual information.
As far as history goes this state of affairs has been encouraged. Papers on the various Golden Dawn components were written, promoted and demoted in the grade structure often giving the illusion that “more powerful techniques” were given in future grades.
However more powerful techniques seemed to have dried up by the 5=6 grade and no one appeared to be able to provide a system for the 6=5 and 7=4 grades. Felkin came the closest with two very impressive rituals but the actual grade material that went with it was, in theory, a little sparse.
This has lead people to attempt to create new 6=5 and 7=4 grades which are providing “new information” and “powerful techniques”. However more techniques and more intellectual information is not what the 6=5 and 7=4 grades are all about.
The 5=6 grade is called Adeptus Minor. In that grade you are given many practical techniques and magical processes. These are incredibly involved and cover all the major branches of the Western Mystery Tradition. By the time that a person has completed this training they should be a competent magician within the Golden Dawn tradition. They should be experienced in Inner States and practical magical methods. They should equally be able to take magical systems and convert them to the Golden Dawn system. I will give you an example of how you can take something that is outside the Golden Dawn system and make something that fits and appears to give you more information.

Agrippa sigils using planetary squares

One of the incredibly basic forms of magic used by the Golden Dawn was the art of drawing sigils and seals on Planetary squares. The squares produced by Agrippa were basic. Below is a simple Saturn square. (I worked this out in the 1990s  before I was a member of the Golden Dawn and had to redraw the diagrams from an old dot matrix printer)

However if you “enhance” the square using Golden Dawn information, it appears much different and adds considerable teaching to the nature of the square.

From this we can see that the square is centred on the Tarot card The Emperor so we know that Saturn energy sets things in Order. Paul Case would say that the top lines were the initiating energies, the second line where the catalysts and the third line were the results.
More interesting stuff comes when we start to use the planetary square to create a sigil of a spirit or angel. Here we have created the sigil of Zazel by connecting all the letters of the name onto the square. (The lamed is missing but is converted to Gimmel be found by using the Al Beker chart).
What we can learn from this is that Zazel is heavily committed towards communication and Gemini, which is something we would not expect from a Spirit of Saturn. Indeed with the Fool we would think that the spirit is pure air. The only thing that seems to root him to anything would be having his feet in the waters of Luna and the High Priestess. Using the Golden Dawn Talismatic associations we could visualise a crowned being with a thin intelligent face, light hair (you could argue a case for a dual headed Janus). Winged with a swastika lamen, holding a sword standing on waves of water. (note that if you are using the square you do not look up the talismatic image for Lamed, you look up Gimel). There is a lot more information which can be gleened from this method,   you could take it even further by adding the colour scheme from the vault and really sex it up. What would you get? Four points for Gryffindor for coming up with it. What have we really learnt here? We have simply fine tuned something which already existed and it may or may not be more effective. But is this sort of thinking advanced? The answer is no. It is pure and simple intellectualising which may or may not take us somewhere.

The 6=5

The Golden Dawn was apparently very slap dash when it came to the 6=5 and 7=4. Mathers wrote two rituals which were quite simply rubbish and boosed a couple of 5=6 papers to higher grades in the hope that people would leave him alone. Felkin did better with two rather good rituals but weak teaching. Paul Case did not believe it was possible for an order to train people at 6=5 and stopped his chapter at 5=6 (he did issue 6=5 and 7=4 grades. Will Chesterman had a 7=4 grade on his Premonstrator certificate,which was signed by Anne Davies hanging on the wall of the temple at Naenae).
Whare Ra taught that the 6=5 was more of a mystical grade than the 5=6 and the work of the grade was to use the lessons of the 5=6 to find your own spiritual path.
Certainly the approach to this grade was much more transpersonal than the 5=6. In addition to goetic work and some other experimental systems, the focus of the grade appears to be using greater magic for the good of humanity. Through this service, the Greater Adept learnt the humility and sacrifice to pass on to the next grade. In many ways the 6=5 is about the surrender of the personality completely to archive the will of the One Thing. Thus you know that training system has to be geared towards teaching that, rather than more ways that the personality can be agrandised. 

The 7=4

This grade was even more mystical. Instead of working magic, 7=4 was the magic, or at least working to become it. Given this slips down to what your definition of magic is, it is probably best explained by using mine as an example. Magic is the art and science of becoming a co-creator with God. Instead of using that science, you are a living example of it in action. This can be said to be the goal of the grade as the jump between this state and the 6=5 is high. No longer are you a person working magic for the good of humanity, you are the magic working within humanity.
Both these grades depend on the knowledge of the 5=6, but they are not looking for more information. Instead they are looking to apply information gained effectively. So an order teaching new information at the 6=5 and 7=4 grades is barking up the wrong tree. Any new information automatically categorises itself at the 5=6. If it is a system, new or not, it is by its very nature 5=6.
This is not to say that there is no scope for teaching at the 6=5 and 7=4, however it has to be a different order of training than we have seen before and not just systems, and intellectual chewing gum.    The 6=5 is easier in that its goal slightly more familiar – use magic at bigger targets. The training must be how you manage this. Equally the ability to use the system as part of a spiritual quest is not something that the Golden Dawn system has done particularly well up to this point. The 7=4 is the last stab that the Golden Dawn system has of training anyone anything and this is one region which requires serious research from the next generation of Golden Dawn orders. Mathers, Westcott, Felkin and Case failed to manage it. While we work to create more intellectual systems to fill that gap, so will we.  While we teach that all we need is a new system incorporating Alchemy, sex magic, or Macramè, we fall further from what these higher grades mean.

Monday 8 August 2011

Mathers' Secret Hair colour revealed.

I stumbled upon the attached picture when I was searching around recently, It shows Mathers taken in 1911 by the Daily Mirror. It is an interesting picture as it shows that Mathers' hair had gone white and he appeared to be dying it to keep himself looking as if he had succeeded making the philosopher's stone.
In 1911 he gave an interview to the Daily Mirror and apparently forgot to touch up his roots. As a result he has ended up looking remarkably like the Bride of Frankenstien.  We wonder if his Secret Chiefs approved.
Given the fact that Mathers was supposed to be dapper he looks a bit dishevelled, like someone who has spent the night drinking a little too much potion of eternal youth.
Mina would later complain that he was “drinking a little too much” – a problem that got worse after he returned from the UK. It might explain why he was unable to bring in much new information for the AO, although Mina later told Yeats that despite him being sick for three months during the First World War he was fit right up to the day he died.

Monday 1 August 2011

Rome's Pantheon may have been built as a massive sundial

One day I will write in a little more detail about this really magical place.  This appeared in the Daily Telegraph this morning.

It is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman world, a 2,000-year-old testament to the immense power and wealth of the empire.
But mystery has always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, a giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.
Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building.
Constructed on Hadrian's orders and completed in AD128, the Pantheon's hemispherical dome is punctured by a 30ft-wide circular hole known as the 'oculus'.
It provides the interior of the building with its only source of natural light and allows in rain and – on rare occasions – snow.
Giulio Magli, a historian of ancient architecture from Milan Polytechnic,Italy, and Robert Hannah, a classics scholar from the University of Otago in New Zealand, have discovered that at precisely midday during the March equinox, a circular shaft of light shines through the oculus and illuminates the Pantheon's imposing entrance.
They have been working on the theory since 2009 but recently brought together all their latest research in a paper published in a scholarly journal, Numen.
The precise calculations made in the positioning and construction of the Pantheon mean that the size and shape of the beam perfectly matches, down to the last inch, a semicircular stone arch above the doorway.
A similar effect is seen on April 21, which the Romans celebrated as the founding date of their city, when at midday the sun beam strikes a metal grille above the doorway, flooding the colonnaded courtyard outside with light.
The dramatic displays would have been seen by the Romans as elevating an emperor into the realm of the gods – a cosmological affirmation of his divine power as he entered the building, which was used as an audience hall as well as a place of worship.
He was in effect being "invited" by the sun to enter the Pantheon, which as its name suggests was dedicated to the most important deities of the Roman world.
"The emperor would have been illuminated as if by film studio lights," said Professor Magli. "The Romans believed the relationship between the emperor and the heavens was at its closest during the equinoxes.
It would have been a glorification of the power of the emperor, and of Rome itself." The sun had a special significance for the Romans, as it did for the ancient Egyptians. The god Apollo was associated with the sun, and the emperor Nero was depicted as the Greek sun god Helios in a giant statue called the Colossus, which gave its name to the Colosseum.
One of antiquity's most remarkable examples of engineering, the Pantheon's fine state of preservation is thanks to the fact that it was converted into a church in the seventh century, when it was presented to the Pope by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas.
It retains its original bronze doors and marble columns, some of which were quarried in the Egyptian desert and transported by the ship down the Nile and across the Mediterranean to Rome at huge expense.
The building now contains the tombs of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of united Italy, and the Renaissance artist Raphael.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Inner and Outer

Since the Second World War, thanks to the efforts of Dion Fortune and her followers, magic has moved from doing things on the material level (while hopefully looking above) to working on the Inner Levels. This has been more noticeable in the UK, where Fortune's off-shoots have ruled the roost. As Marian Green once said “we are making beautiful temples and then going into them and shutting our eyes”.
Having trained in the Dion Fortune tradition, I can see its advantages and flaws. On the plus side it encourages the development inner vision to see what is really going on. However it lacks a lot of the personal development work which is required from, say, the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. While it is true that these Inner Landscapes do encourage the knowledge of one's self, in practice this does not happen. People are too often taught that what they are seeing is “real” when a lot of the time it is subjective.
True, inner work ultimately leads to an objective reality, but within such groups the subjective reality often takes people on flights of sub-luna fantasy which is never checked. Visions which should be treated for psychological examination by the person, to discover more about themselves, end up as fantasy stories becoming touted as scientific or historical fact. Inner Plane contacts become psychological mothers and fathers demand an “unreserved dedication” to convert their students to nothing more than slaves in return for emotional support.
The Golden Dawn tradition has the opposite problem. It's flaw is that people too often see the material reality as all there is. They see the roles of the officers, the grades etc as important. It becomes a matter of doing the ritual and the tests rather than any inner development. Where Inner work is required, such as the use of the Z documents, it is glossed over, ignored, or performed so literally that it is largely pointless. Inner Plane contacts, Secret Chiefs, if accepted at all, become so twisted so that they become mortal and only talk to the head of an order to boost his manna.
An ideal system exists by merging both and finding a balance between the two ways. In the Golden Dawn this means training people to see the outer and Inner linked. However as the system is created this requires some adaptation. Although what is called pathworking is known within Golden Dawn groups, it is considered Second Order stuff which is not seen for nearly four or five years. It requires some of the training which the Dion Fortune system would be familiar with. While many would see this as oath-breaking, it is no more dramatic than allowing outer order students to do the middle pillar. The bonus is that they will see what is happening in a ritual, and be allowed to take part in the magic on the yetziratic level, which will make the whole thing more interesting for them.
For the Inner Light tradition, there needs to be better written and clearly defined patterns of ritual. People need to open their eyes and “see” inner realities mapped onto physical space. This will reduce the problems of disconnection from reality, which that tradition has suffered from.
Both traditions need to learn from each other.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

What Regardie didn't know about the Golden Dawn

This article was originally published in Hermetic Virtues.  That magazine is a must have for any serious student of occultism and particularly the Golden Dawn.  All the proceeds go to a good cause too

Israel Regardie is the main reason that the Golden Dawn magical system is popular. It was his Golden Dawn book, published just before the Second World War, which is considered the bible of the modern Golden Dawn movement. There are those who insist that the vision of the Golden Dawn, presented in the 6th Llewellyn edition is the real Golden Dawn and anyone else who does not use it is somehow “unorthodox”.
This is deeply ironic, given what those who knew the man have told me. Regardie was not a person who wanted to be made into a God or to be accorded a Papal status within the tradition. He was a person who lived the system, but also knew he was not the only one. True, he published the Golden Dawn book, but there were holes in his knowledge which, because of his unintended status within the tradition, have become crucial gaps.
Israel Regardie's first brush with the Golden Dawn was through Alister Crowley. He would later say that he learnt no magic from Crowley during the brief period that he was his secretary. However there is an understanding of magical principles in his early works, such as the Tree of Pomegranates, which do not come fully formed in the mind of someone in their early 20s.
Regardie attracted the attention of Dion Fortune who had made contact with the Stella Matutina temple in Bristol. She had become a friend of Hope Hughes and had completed the Golden Dawn studies that she had started in Berridge's London temple of the Alpha et Omega.
The Hermes Temple in Bristol was theoretically under the control of the Felkins who were running their “Whare Ra” temple in New Zealand. However the control between New Zealand and Bristol was non-existent and just before Regardie was initiated the English temple had decided to undergo an experiment.
The feeling was that the Golden Dawn rituals were too long and almost a third of the elemental grade rituals were spent presenting diagrams to the candidate. The temple decided to take a hatchet to the elemental grade rituals and remove most of the diagrams and present these to the candidate as part of their course packets. It is incredibly unlikely that if the Felkin's had known of this plan they would have ever approved of it. The New Zealand temple was at that time using the last incarnation of the Golden Dawn rituals and a 6=5 and 7=4 rite written by Dr Felkin. Whare Ra, under Mrs Felkin, had placed layer upon layer of magical meaning onto the ritual. While it was possible to change some aspects of the speeches under such a structure, they would have considered it dangerous to remove components to the extent that Bristol had done so.
It was also quite unlikely that the “inepti” of the Bristol Temple, as Regardie was fond of calling them, would have understood the magical implications of what they were doing, or even researched it.
Regardie was disappointed with the Golden Dawn. He saw a bunch of elderly inepti sitting on a ton of valuable magical information that no one was doing anything with. He felt that the Golden Dawn, as he saw it, was dead and the valuable information stored within its teachings needed to be shown to the world before they were lost.
History has proved him right, but really publication of the Golden Dawn did little to further the system for nearly 30 years. The Golden Dawn book did not sell well and was difficult to find. The people who bought it were often members of temples who wanted printed replacements for the hand written manuscripts and clearer diagrams than they could manage. It is myth that the AO temples closed when the book was published because Regardie had revealed their secrets. The AO at the time was using a completely different ritual set for its 0=0 ritual and its elemental grade rituals would have been more involved than anything in the “Golden Dawn”. Whare Ra was doing extremely well and was not going to suffer any real problems until the 1960s. The Bristol temple appears to have been going until the 1960s and its adepts were still meeting occasionally for rituals until the 1970s.
Part of the reason for this was that Regardie had published the hacked rituals and teachings of the Bristol temple. As far as the existing temples were concerned they still had secrets and that the rituals as published were lacking the inner mechanics to make them work properly. It is telling that immediately after the publication of the book, Bristol went back to the original Stella Matutina rituals.
In the late 1970's, the last surviving Golden Dawn Temple, Whare Ra closed its doors and burnt most of its material. The direct lineage of the Golden Dawn was truly ended. While the rest of the world was unaware of the death of Whare Ra, something significant did happen around the same time. Chic Cicero and other Regardie friends decided to restart the order. To do this they depended on Regardie's book and memories from the man himself and this is where the holes started to become obvious.
When it came down to it, people were expecting an awful lot from Regardie. According to Bristol records he only ever attended Bristol seven times during a two and a half year period. To expect someone in their eighties after a full life to remember details of a ritual that took place 40 years earlier was a bit unfair. It is clear that he relied on his book, like many other people would do as they followed the Ciceros in the resurgence of the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” that followed.
This lead to one of the first mistakes that has flowed into the new Golden Dawn – that of the Kerux's staff.
If you read any book that was published after Regardie, or join most Golden Dawn orders you will encounter a caduceus wand with two serpents being carried by the Kerux. During the 2=9 grade you will be presented with a disk that will show two versions of this. The first is a staff with the three mother letters upon it and the second is the caduceus. If you look at the Z documents there is some confusing references to the Kerux's staff which could be read as being either the single staff and or the caduceus. When the modern Golden Dawn sprang up, it used the caduceus, presumably based on Regardie's memory or interpretation of his own book.
However he was wrong. The Stella Matutina and the Golden Dawn before it, always used the staff with three colours on it. Red at the top, yellow in the middle and blue at the bottom. Whare Ra adepts told this to both me and Pat Zalewski. Some believed that the blue end was pointed although I was not told this. If you think that this only applied to Whare Ra, you might like to look at the drawings in the WB Yeat's collection of the 0=0 ritual in which you can see clearly that the Kerux's staff is also a stick. There are some very good reasons for this. 
When the candidate enters the hall they are barred using the water part of the staff. This symbolises many things but perhaps the most significant is death. To enter the sacred temple of the mysteries you have to die and be born of water. Later when the candidate approaches the Heirus they are barred with the fire portion of the staff. This consecrates the candidate so that they are born of the Holy Spirit (fire). Finally as they approach the Hierophant they are barred with the yellow segment, that of Air which is the middle pillar, the ruach, and balance through the agency of Thoth. There is much more in these simple barrings but this is designed to give you an idea. However if you try to do this with a caduceus it is physically impossible. The Kerux can only, carefully, bar the candidate with the yellow part of the wand which means all these magical subtleties are lost. If attempts do do anything different are made then the Kerux will break one of the serpents on the wand. If the wand is made of metal, like that in one temple I have worked with, then you could injury the candidate.
The next issue that was forgotten, possibly because Regardie did not know, was the use of Godforms in the elemental grades. There are many different ideas about which Godforms should be used. Dion Fortune said that the use of Godforms in an initiation rite were the keys to the ritual. If these are forgotten then the rite loses its power completely. The use of the Godforms within the elemental grades of the Golden Dawn has been forgotten. Although the ritual does indicate some of the godforms that can be used, for example the 3=8 uses the Samothracian godforms, the invisible stations and “inner temples” have not been found. While it is possible that in the early Golden Dawn they did not exist, they appear to have done so in both the AO and the Stella Matutina. Felkin had developed his own set of godforms, but what these are have not been revealed, although I believe that one former chief instructed one person in what they were before his death. In the absence of information from Regardie, or other sources, modern GD groups have come up with their own solutions to this problem. The worst, and most common, is not to have any godforms within the elemental grades at all and thus render the elemental grades into masonic parodies. This is favoured by those who see the rituals as psychological rather than religious and the grades as “status” rather than tools for transformation.
The next process is to use the godforms from the 0=0 but “add” the godforms of the ritual as they are mentioned. This is better than nothing. However it faces the problem that the elemental grade rituals are not carried out within the temple of Maat. Not only is the inner structure “different” the officers take different godforms, some of which would be alien to the image of the Hall of Judgement.
The next most common technique is to replace the godforms of the chiefs with those of the Enochian chess pieces. This seems logical but has several problems. Firstly it elevates Enochian chess to an incredibly high level of importance within the GD, which I am not convinced it ever had. Secondly it only deals with the invisible stations of the chiefs who are a small part of the ritual. This means those who use this system have to incorporate other methods to generate Godforms for different parts of the rituals. Lastly it brings in the use of Godforms whose existence and symbolism was moot, or minor.
The final method has been to go through the ritual and come up with a different method of godforms. How different groups do this is unimportant. What solution they come up with tells much about the flavour that the group is trying to develop. But it does tend to kill off those kids who claim 7=4 and start a temple with “Golden Dawn” in one hand and “Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple” in another. You need to know a fair bit about the system to work out the impact that each Godform is going to have on the candidate at that point in the ritual and that really requires someone who has worked the system for a while.
Perhaps the most important magical tool that Regardie did not know about was the use of diagrams. As I said above this as because he was initiated using a slashed ritual. True, he was presented with some diagrams in the initiations and others appeared in his course packet. But this re-enforced that they were for intellectual stimulation only.
If you believe this, then it is clear why they were removed from the ritual. For a start they make some of the rituals a lot longer. When we installed these within the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea we found that the 4=7, in particular, was a lot longer. Superficially, the candidate is led to one of the diagrams by an officer who appears to read out what was on it. It seems largely pointless. This belief seems to have carried on with some modern Golden Dawn orders who simply slap photocopies of the diagrams on the floor if the temple and casually mention them (many of the candidates are not even aware that they are there). The one exception to this appears to be the elemental tablets which are accorded a high status as magical tools.
However in Whare Ra each diagram was seen like a magical wand and an important part of the ritual. A 6=5 adept Percy Wilkinson once told me that the officer had to use the diagram to stimulate the candidate's Ruach. For years I wondered what he meant and experimented with sending a ray through the diagram into the candidate's heart centre. As the idea of the sphere of sensation has greatly influenced my magical practice I do the following. The candidate is shown the diagram, the godform of the officer is extended over the candidate and an image of the diagram is projected onto their sphere of sensation. Depending on the diagram this creates an effect.
This leads me onto the next point. If the diagrams are magical wands then what are they supposed to do. For a long time I assumed that they were providing a set of symbols for the candidate to understand unconsciously. Now I think that the result is much more direct and that the diagram is actually shaping the candidate's sphere of sensation to bring about change. What is happening then is the elemental grade rituals are a form of psychic surgery where the diagrams shape the candidate's sphere in their own image.
When you look at the diagrams it seems strange that some of the information is repeated in various grades. For some reason, geomantic figures are shown in all the grades, lineal figures are also shown in different variations, as are tarot cards. We are also shown several different versions of Qlippoth diagrams which feel out of place in an initiation of light.
It seemed to me that the presentation of the geomantic figures tended to enable the energy of the initiation to be earthed so that there would be a physical result from the initiation. The geometric shapes of the lineal figures would cause the candidate's sphere of sensation to correctly align at a Briatic level. The Qlippothic diagrams which are actually presented with “evil names” spoken out loud are designed so that the sphere of sensation can identify the negative aspects of the grade and control them.
There are many diagrams with trees on them in which planetary symbols are overlayed upon them. The effect of these is to open the sphere of sensation to the implications of planetary force on the personal tree of life.
There are some traditional Golden Dawn diagrams where the magic wand effect must be limited. One “diagram” is basically a shopping list off tarot attributions which would have had limited symbolic effect. There are others which have since gone missing and we have to build them based on their description. In a couple of cases this has proved difficult but must have been resolved by groups that use the full rituals.
There were some other things that were cut from the elemental grade rituals. These included the Hierophant outlining the knowledge that the candidate would have to learn in the grade. This appears to have been cut because it was no longer relevant as the tests covered new and different things. However there was a function of this point of the ritual in that it set the candidate's sphere of sensation so that it would be adjusted to receive the information in the future. It could have been adapted but when it was used it wasn't and Bristol cut the lines completely.
There were other things that happened within the elemental grade rituals which Regardie did not know about. These included the separation of the candidate into various “bodies” and the reconstitution after either purification and consecration, or teaching by the various godforms. The extent to which this happened appears never to have been written down and was passed on from Hierophant to Hierophant. Each officer would develop their own system over time with different degrees of success. Jack Taylor in Whare Ra was a case in point. So was Maiya Tranchell-Hayes who taught some of the techniques to Dion Fortune. Pat Zalewski has done some terrific work explaining what happened in Whare Ra. Tony Fuller was also taught by Frank Salt some of his methods. How far these views were “official” would be never know. Some of the older Whare Ra people never knew them however they seem to have been methods that made the grade rituals magical.
All this, with the lack of godforms, leads us to a clear idea why Regardie thought that the elemental grades were useless. In the early 1980s, when he visited Pat Zalewski, he believed that the whole lot could be replaced by his “Opening by the Watchtowers Ritual.” Bristol had managed to remove most of the magical elements and Regardie assumed that was because the grade rituals were not up to scratch. Had he undergone an elemental grade rite in Whare Ra, or even the SM in London a few years earlier he might have felt differently. Certainly doing the elemental grade rituals without Godforms a psychic person would not have been able to feel any atmosphere or power within the temple. Without the magical use of diagrams they could not have created enough changes in the person's sphere of sensation to bring about change in their environment. It appears that Regardie received some of this oral instruction from somewhere, but certainly not all of it.
What is interesting is some of the modern groups have become aware of the limitations of Regardie and have been looking closely at some of the collected manuscripts searching for clues. I am not certain that this is the answer although it can be helpful. The answer really relies on using the whole ritual and then working with it trying out different techniques to make it all work magically. The answer comes with time and practice and the sure knowledge that things get better with experience. It is only in magical practice that the holes within the Golden Dawn system appear and demand to be filled. It is only amongst those who believe that Regardie is the beginning and end of the Golden Dawn system of magic who will fall into these gaps and take their groups with them.

Missing from the 4=7

Hiereus :
On this Tablet, (indicating it) are shown the Paths when arranged with Daath added to, the Sephirotic Tree. It differs from the other and more usual attributions. Furthermore it is not so correct, as Daath is not properly speaking, a Sephirah.
On this Tablet, (indicating it) is shown the arrangement of the Sephiroth in the Four Worlds, each Sephirah with its own 10 Sephiroth inscribed inside, so that the total number is 400, the number of Tau the last letter of the alphabet.

(Hiereus resumes his place. Hegemon leads Practicus to Tablet in South)


This is the symbolism of the Altar of Burnt Offering which King Solomon built. It was formed of a four-fold cube, 20 cubits square and 10 feet high, 10 are the principal parts which you here see classified above, as under the Sephiroth, and forming thus the Triangle of Fire above it.

(Hegemon leads Practicus to Tablet in North)

This is the symbolism of the Brazen Sea, which King Solomon made. It was 10 cubits diameter answering to the Sephiroth; the height was 5 cubits multiplied by the Ternary. Beneath the rim were 300 knobs, the number of the Holy Letter Shin and of the name Ruach Elohim and it stood upon the 12 oxen, answering to the 12 Stars of the Crown of Aima, the Great Mother. It is the synthesis of Binah, containing the Waters of Creation.

(Places Candidate in West facing Hierophant and returns to his own place.)

Missing from the 1=10

Frater < >, before you can be eligible for advancement, to the next grade of 2 = 9, you will be required to pass an examination on the following subjects:

1.Names and symbols of the 3 Principles.
2.Metals attributed to the 7 Planets.
3.The meaning of the special Alchemical terms: Sun, Moon, King, etc.
4.Names and meanings of the 12 Astrological Houses.
5.Names and meanings of the Planetary Aspects.
6.Names and meanings of the Querent and Quesited.
7.The 4 great classes of Astrology.
8.The arrangement of the Tree of Life.
9.The names of the 4 Orders of he Elements.
10.The 3 Pillars of the Tree of Life.
11.The names and forms of the Kerubim
12.Meanings of the Laver, Altar, and Qlippoth.
13.The Names of the 10 Houses of Assiah.
14.Names of the 4 Worlds of the Qabalists.
15.Names of the 22 Trumps and 4 Suits.

Friday 1 July 2011

Unpublished Golden Dawn manuscript released

A special Ritual Edition of Hermetic Virtues is out and it includes quite a few interesting rituals including an article of mine publishing the original Golden Dawn sword consecration rite (which has not seen the light of day before) and my suggestions about how it could be improved using the Z formula.

There are some good articles including:

+ Outer Order Ritual of the Seven-Branched Candlestick by Sandra Tabatha Cicero
+ The Magician by Harry Wendrich
+ Lycanthropy in the Golden Dawn Tradition by John Michael Greer
+ The Golden Dawn Bornless Invocation by Aaron Leitch
+ Opening the Temple in Malkuth First Part - Opening Malkuth by Jayne Gibson
+ Practice Ritual for opening the Elemental Grades in the Outer by Frater A.M.
+ The unpublished original GD method of consecrating a sword by Nick Farrell
+ Scrying Mirror Consecration Ritual by Samuel Scarborough
+ The Three Courts of the Seven Sisters; into the Vault of Enoch by Frater L
+ Ritual of Tiqqun by Dean Wilson
You can buy it here .   It is a not for profit magazine put together by volunteers for a good cause.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

The Path of Peh

Cabbalists have long warned of the dangers of lateral paths, those of the 27th, 19th and 14th , on the Tree of Life. Spiritually people are jumping between extremes, something which is never good for someone trying to progress.

This problem is represented by one of the most misunderstood tarot cards in the deck, the Tower. In cabbalah this card is represented by the Hebrew letter Peh, and its lessons are one of the hardest that a person has to face.

This card appears to be one of doom with destruction of structure emphatically expressed. On the face of it we are saying who ever walks this path is about to lose everything they have thought was true.

The card, and the path's meaning comes from the cabbalistic book, The Zohar which talks about the Kings of Edom who ruled over matter before creation. These are the Lords of Chaos or unbalanced force. They were overthrown by God to create balance. The card also is connected to the Tower of Babel where humanity tried to create a Tower to reach to God. God not only overthrew the Tower but condemned mankind to speak in lots of different languages. God's reasoning was that if everyone spoke different languages they would never get their act together to build such a tall Tower ever again.

When a person walks this path they are unbalanced and thinks they know how their universe is meant to be.

In the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, the Tower is made up of the Hebrew letters and this gives a clue as to how our universe is built. We build our universe with words (Peh in Hebrew means Mouth); we describe it and talk about what we want and believe.

Up until now that is all very well. We build our universes according to what our family, friends and circumstances dictate. Most of the time these decisions are based on the comfort of our lower selves. There is nothing wrong with this, it is entirely how everyone lives their life.

But what we don't understand is that our Higher Selves very often have plans for us that are completely out of step with that. Our ever more complicated universes are built brick by brick, word by word until they mock what our Higher Self wants for us.

We are so certain that we are right and that we have been doing the right thing all the time. We use the Hodian powers to justify our material and intellectual existance. But it is a prison for our true self. Our towers always isolate us from what we are truely meant to be and our own powers. Illness, misery and isolation are all symptoms of those who are about to walk the Tower path.

Yet your lower self is almost certain to deny this. You are a King, or Queen, of this Kingdom. It is yours and you know every inch of it. You have invested time, money and effort into it. It might be cold, useless and broken, but it is yours.

When you first step onto this path you are asking your Higher Self to take over the design of your life. This sends a current of energy from your Higher Self that connects into the universe you have built. Everyone knows that there is always something wrong with their lives but they manage to hold everything together. When we experience the Tower this current from the Higher Self finds your weak spot and it is blown. If the rest of your universe can hold together you might be alright, but generally what happens is that everything goes like a House of Cards.

How does this manefest? Usually in the form of a realisation that you might have not got it right. But this is not the sort of realisation that you can say opps silly me. This is a gut wrenching deep realisation that will cause your universe and its reason for being to collapse as your Higher Self calls you to your power and destiny.

The singer Peter Gabriel wrote of this in a song called "In Your Eyes:"

"All my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside."

Sharpened by the realisation of your Higher Self the instincts that were heading you towards your real life in childhood, before Schools, teachers and parents got in the way, return to you. This creates something similar to a mid-life crisis. You start to question what is real and what your true motivations are for everything. This can be incredibily depressing or liberating, depending on how much you hold on to your old Tower.

But it is important to realise that you, the seeker, are seeing your universe destroyed and it is terrible. But you are also building a new one. The destruction and creation is part of the duality of a laterial path, both are hand-in-hand with each other. The old Tower has to be swept away but a new universe which is going to be more 'you' is going to be put in its place.

Remember that the letter Peh is the mouth? What comes from the mouth is the Word. John's Gospel says that "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was toward God." Our Higher Self is the Word and the Word which was With God is now reverberated to the lower levels and formed a vehicle for itself which we call the personality so that it can be uttered in the densest levels of matter. This suggests then that the Word is heard again. You are reminded of your destiny and need to reform your personality so that it is a better lamp for the Word.

All those images that you create are bought to life on this path and traveling it is where you get your magical power from. But before that, this path excites those images that you have currently built up. These are mostly images of separation, negativity and fear and things that keep you small. Normally it would be very hard for you to break free from this habitual thinking, so the Universe steps in and creates the change for you. You would think you would be grateful, and after the dust has settled you probably will be, but the pain of the process makes you spit and hate the universe more than ever.

Is it possible to avoid the pain of the Tower? It depends on the level of attachment you might have to your current universe and willing you are to let it all go. Chances are that any new universe that is created will have components that are similar to the new one, if you look at the Tarot Key the Sun, the wall that is in the background is a new Tower but built in accordance to the divine pattern out of the rubble of the old Universe. However you cannot be certain what will stay and what will go. It is best to just see what happens.

The Tower card says that the change we experience comes from our Higher Self, or God giving a proper image of our true life pattern. So one way we can avoid too much pain is by looking at our material and emotional universe and working out what it is that is standing in the way of an occult life. What is weak in us that could shatter under the pressure of the Tower? What is it that you base your life on and is this sustainable in the light of infinite truth. Using Christian symbolism, can you stand before your creator and be 'proud' about how you have constructed life. What is it that you can honestly say you are cocking up and need to change. It is almost certain that the Martian forces of the Tower will be targeting those to bring you down.

The other issue you might like to think about is where you have your security. In an ideal divine universe your security should be based on the Universe or your Higher Self. Other dependencies whether they be people, habits, or environments, or even the power of your own ego, could be under pressure or actually be swept away at this time.

In your meditations you should be saying to yourself, "I let go of the control of my universe and place it under the charge of my Higher Self. What will come, will come, what I will lose I do not need."

This will help you deal with some of what you will face. However not all of it. You have to remember where you are headed and that is Netzach, which is the sphere of Love. If ever there was a psychological minefield where bogus perceptions of reality need to be swept away it is over love and what it means. To even get half way to understanding what Love is you have to sweep aside a Tower which has its foundations deep within your pysche. Most people's perception of love comes from the relationships and lessons of their family. As most families are to a greater or lesser extent dysfunctional, so to are the inadequate perceptions of what love which people build their lives on. The sort of love, of which Netzach is a representation, is the real thing. While it is divine, it appears in fragments in human expression. This is why as an Initiate experiences the energies of Netzach it often throws light onto their weak relationships and creates a focus for the Tower. We can help resolve this by working out what love really is and trying to manifest the real version in our life. However anyone who has read the Greek myths will know that Cupid is often a trickster and when he is evoked we can be taken into many strange places. However, when understood, it is Eros that all divine universes are built upon and it is impossible to progress without really understanding it. Thus it is that the Tower often sweeps aside our false perceptions of Love and helps us to build a concept which is better suited for our spiritual journey.

Another aspect of this path is a call towards Unity. One of the visions of Netzach is that of the seven lamps. What is being suggested until Tiphareth all things are One Thing, but at this sphere this 'white light' splits into the seven chromatic colours. In other words One becomes Many. Coming down the path, from Netzach to Hod, the Tower builds a structure based on this split universe, moving to ever more complexity. However coming up the path, as you are about to do, it destroys the many fold structure to create ever more simpler forms. While this 'seven fold structure' is not yet the unity of Tiphareth, the process "does the head in" of an Initiate, particularly as they are used to seeing their universe as being made up of many bits. To fix the pain that goes with this it is best to organise life into simpler constructions which are focused on seeing everything as an expression of the One Thing. This is difficult to do, but the work you do will assist anything that your Higher Self might be trying to teach you.

Earlier I mentioned that the trick of dealing with a lateral path is through balance. As the Tower collapses there will be a rush of emotion as power which has been locked up into its construction is freed. This emotional power, which is a hallmark of Netzach needs rationalisation by Hod otherwise you will end up in an explosive martian cocktail of anger and retribution. Your intellect should kick in and tell you, "This is part of my Tower experience. I will feel this energy, but I will not act on it."

Practical work

During this period you should be examining your personality and questioning your weak points so that you can make yourself into a lamp for the Word of your Higher Self. All aspects of the way you do things should be questioned and re-examined. Pay particular attention to those things that you are sure you are doing correctly, generally these are the areas that you are failing in most. Think back to what you wanted to me as a child. Have you met those goals or did they get lost along the way. Look at your relationships, are they helping or hindering you? Can they be improved? The answers to these questions are not to be decided by the standards of Malkuth. They have to be in accordance to your Higher Self. Look at the things that you have done to isolate yourself from the rest of the universe, where you have made things into a mockery of the divine Unity. Then spend quiet moments listening for your Higher Self to speak to you and when the flash of realisation comes, you will be ready.