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Saturday 19 October 2013

The discovery of the Vault as a symbol of Divine Realisation:

What finding the Vault means and where to seek it.
MOAA's Vault

  "We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and  knowledge of all secrets."

Approaching the legend of the discovery of the vault of Christian Rosenkreuz, we are are presented with a symbolic allegory of the finding of our own spiritual self and a system of truth. It is a personal discovery and one which cannot be dictated by dogma and doc­trine. To understand how we may begin to unlock its secrets, we must see the use of the allegory in its historical context. The author or authors of the Fama Fraternitatis, where this legend first appears, were used to looking at symbols in a different way from modern humanity. Therefore, we should look at what they understood when writing the alle­gory.

"If you pay attention you will be able to see things better. Repeat again what you hear, for by hearing and saying the same thing, what you have learned is easier to remember. What you hear, place on what you know."

In other words, if you want to remember that Ajax was a sol­dier in the Trojan Wars, you would imagine him standing next to a statue of Mars in a room in your bathroom cleaning the bath with a big map of Greece in the background. You would remember to put all Ajax's soldiers in the bathroom. So if you were going through a speech you would mentally walk through your house until you got to the bathroom. In your mind's eye you would see a soldier cleaning the bath, remem­ber Ajax, see the map of Greece and remember he was on the Greek side of the Trojan war.

The Greeks and Romans needed to codify things better and cover the long lists needed to remember their speeches. They already had a list of gods, who were attributed to the different planets. In memory terms, all they had to do was see a statue of the god and then they would immediately think of the planet. Cronos (Saturn) would be a link to words like death, time, inheritance and blackness, while Zeus (Jupiter) would connect to things like rulership, wealth and purple. The net widened to include the zodiacal attribu­tions. This meant that if they were making a speech about war with the Persians, they would use a magical image of a statue of Mars with the various points of their speech being placed around it.
Whare Ra Vault
The period immediately before the writing of the Fama, the Renaissance, was a period were Greek and Roman ideas were being incorporated into the mindset of the European intelligentsia. Amongst these were the writings of Cicero and Pliny, who advocated the use of a symbolic method to enhance memory. The method was first codified by Simon­ides of Ceos (556BC – 468BC) and was summed up in a 4th century fragment known as Dialexeis:
One of the important aspects of this technique was the idea of having a place which would be visited in the imagination. These places, and the symbols contained in them, became a shorthand to different meanings. One of the main presentations of an esoteric system is to learn a language of symbols which help the person unlock the mysteries within it.

This was a side effect of using this type of system. People using it started to have new realisations about their subject. This side effect was noted and explained by the philoso­phers Plato and Aristotle. Both considered obtaining knowledge as simply recovering information (remembering information) that had been forgotten when we were born and fell from our perfected state in the higher realms of existence. So when people were using these memory systems it was no surprise that they ‘remembered’ something else about the subject at the same time. While this might be true, it is more likely that the meditation on symbols causes the mind to focus and invent new ideas.

Either way, it was perfectly reasonable then that 'memory systems' could be used to teach by bringing new information to the conscious mind of the practitioner. This is particularly important when you consider that contemplating some symbols, information which many considered esoteric would have been remembered by the person using the system.

Modern occultism developed pathworking from the techniques that The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn called ‘skrying in the spirit’. Others now call it pathworking. It is too easy to dismiss such techniques as simply daydreaming or imagination. One of the great Rosicrucians of 19th century, Dr Wynn Westcott, said that "imagination must be distin­guished from fancy, which is mere roving thoughts, or simply visions". He said that imagi­nation is "an orderly and intentional mental process and result. Imagination is the relative faculty of the human mind, the plastic energy – the Formative Power."(1)

"It is an ancient Hermetic dogma that any idea can be made to manifest externally if only by culture, the art of concentration be obtained.. Man by his creative power through will and thought was more divine than the Angels, for he can create and they cannot."

It is clear that the writers of the Fama were drawing on these imagination techniques, which were developed from the Middle Ages and 16th century memory systems. Frances A. Yates, in her book 'Art of Memory', suggests that it is these techniques that may have evolved into the medieval magical system called the Ars notoria. Under this system, she says, the magician would stare at magical symbols, recite a prayer, and gain knowledge of all arts and sciences.

The allegory of the discovery of the vault is designed to reveal by meditation esoteric knowledge which was not only buried by the writers, but to help remember new infor­mation. The vault itself was a memory place, which was supposed to contain all the wis­dom that Christian Rosenkreuz could provide. What then becomes crucial to the story is how the would­be Rosicrucian finds that vault and connects to it. This paper will show the sort of thought processes involved. However, I should warn that the experience will be unique to everyone who tries the technique. A symbol of a dog will mean one thing to a person who has been attacked by one and another by a person who loves the ani­mal, so each symbol in the allegory will give a different message to the person who ap­proaches it.
Westcott added that the power of imagination to create images enabled it to produce external phenomena by its own energy.
(1) See 'The Golden Dawn' by Israel Regardie
The Fama describes the finding of the vault thus:
"The year following after he had performed his [Fr. A.] school right, and was minded now to travel, being for that purpose sufficiently provided with Fortunatus purse, he thought (he being a good architect) to alter something of his building [of the school of the Rosicrucians], and to make it more fit: in such renewing he lighted upon the memorial table which was cast of brass, and containeth all the names of the brethren, with some few other things; this he would transfer in another more fitting vault: for where or when Fr. R.C. died, or in what country he was buried, was by our predecessors concealed and unknown unto us."

To understand what is happening you have to put yourself in the place of Fr. A., whose name begins with the first letter of the alphabet and has a similar role to the spiritual Adam. You have to use your imagination and see through his eyes and hear through his ears. This technique was familiar to the Jesuits of the period, who used it to deepen their spiritual experiences of the life of Christ. From the above quote, Fr. A. would be a well educated, trained Rosicrucian, who having enough money was preparing to travel. More importantly, he was an architect. Architects use mathematics to design important build­ings. Mathematics was moving out of the period were it was regarded as occult, but was still widely treated with suspicion by the common people. It was considered a pinnacle of intellectual achievement.

The allegory says this architect wanted to change the way that the Rosicrucian temple worked. He believed that it needed to be reformed. The legend adds that the brothers had forgotten who founded them. This could be seen as a Lutheran dig at the Roman Catholic church, but it could equally be applied to any system of thought which has be­come jaded. Indeed, as our reformer carries out his renewal, he finds a brass tablet upon which are the names of those who ruled the order. The fact that the tablet was of brass is important. Brass was attributed to the planet Venus – the planet of Nature. The sym­bol of placing the names of these illustrious fraters on a tablet of brass, binds them to the forces of Nature. Fr. A. decides to place this tablet in a more important place within the school. In other words, he wanted to acknowledge achievements of the past fraters.

In this Tablet stuck a great nail somewhat strong, so that when he was with force drawn out, he took with him an indifferent big stone out of the thin wall, or plastering of the hidden door, and so unlooked for uncov­ered the door.

In his book "The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order" the 20th cen­tury Rosicrucian Paul Foster Case makes the interesting suggestion that the nail being described here is the Hebrew letter Vav, which means ‘nail’. To Case, the letter represented the Divine Self and was represented by the Tarot Key "The Heirophant". He suggests that Fr. A. was having an inspired realisation about how to find true wisdom. Whether this is literally true or not, it gives us an example of how the symbolism of the opening of the vault can give us insights into a par­ticular spiritual process. Without following Case we can also find ideas relating to the symbol of the nail.

The nail supported the brass plate, which contained the names of all the members and was hard to get free. In other words, when we are bringing out new spiritual ideas, it is often hard to free them from our past belief patterns.
This nail was driven into an "indifferent big stone" which, once removed, revealed the secret door. Masons are well aware of the symbolic meaning of the word 'stone', how­ever this sentence implies that, while the basis of the Fr A.'s tradition was rooted in imper­fection, it nevertheless covered the truth.
This motif of truth being found among falsehoods, or strains of spiritual gold being found among heathens, is examined several times in the Fama. In an earlier part of the legend, Christian Rosenkreuz found much wisdom amongst systems which are limited or cor­rupted by religion. It implies that you will never find complete truth in the various relig­ions, or even esoteric schools around you. You must sift through the rubble to find the vault. Then, when you least expect it, or are not looking, you will find the way to the truth.
It implies that the discovery of truth always involves the ending of an old pattern of life. Before the vault can be found, the old ways must first be demolished. Dissatisfaction with these old patterns is usually the precursor to revelation. This is somewhat alarming to those who believe that at their spiritual tradition is pure and correct. The Fama seems to be saying that even if it was, it will only be from the rubble of its death that the next reve­lation will spring.
"Wherefore we did with joy and longing throw down the rest of the wall, and cleared the door, upon which that was written in great letters, Post 120 annos patebo [after 120 years I open], with the year of the Lord un­der it."
This implies that the realisation of truth is always carried out with the knowledge of that spiritual impulse which, in this legend, is represented by the body of Christian Rosenkreuz at the vault's heart. Another way of saying this would be that true spiritual understand­ing only comes from God. But there is another message here, which is that if we are meant to find the truth it is because we were destined to do so. We can sift through the rubbish of countless belief systems, but if our spiritual selves do not think we are ready to see the truth within, we will carry on searching.

The number 120 also gives us a clue. Moses died at age 120. Hiram sent Solomon 120 talents of gold, as did Sheba. It seems likely that the number represents the completion of project and reward. It could also be seen as an indication of spiritual wisdom, maturity and perfection. To open the vault we cannot be spiritual children, we need to have gone through the various trials that life throws at us. This is not a path where we are expected to deny any aspect of life. Indeed, we are expected to be people who have lived more than the 70 years the Bible ordains for the ordinary human. It is through the attainment of this level of wisdom that the door to the vault is revealed.

However, there is one last step before the truth revealed itself. It was night and the Fama says that the Rosicrucian brothers delayed opening the door until the morning. This was so that the brothers could first "overlook" their "Rotam". "Rotam" is an irritating word be­cause it literally means wheel but the Fama gives no real clues as to what it means.

Paul Foster Case insists that the word is a blind for Tarot.  Case believed this because the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn considered the 'Book T' mentioned in a description of the Vault to be that of the Tarot but the use of cards for esoteric purposes was a 19th century development. The cards were not being used for divination during the 17th century and the Fama mentioning that Christian monks performed a tarot divination before opening the vault would have attracted much contemporary attention. The Wheel was considered a symbol of life processes and if you look at the full quote, it makes sense that before they opened the vault they considered their lives up until the current point.
"Therefore we gave God thanks and let it rest that same night, because first we would overlook our Rotam; but we refer our selves again to the confession."
Before the truth is unveiled, we must look at our lives in detail. The moments before reve­lation are like the seconds before death. Once the truth is revealed, life is never the same again. The symbol of the revealed but unopened vault waiting in the darkness for the first rays of the dawn is powerful. The vault provides a new truth and its potential impact must be thought about before it is enacted. Truth may not be revealed in the darkness, that is among the ignorant, nor can it be revealed at the time when a cycle is over. Truth appears with the dawn because it is the sun of initiation.

The process to find this vault, then, always starts with the raw material of meditation on the Rosicrucian allegory. Before we can understand the symbols of the vault, we must understand the symbolic process of finding it. As stated at the beginning of this paper, that process is unique to each individual performing the search. This is because each per­son's reaction to these symbols is unique. Therefore let each find the vault within their own heart and understand the allegory's meaning.

Friday 18 October 2013

Splitting the Soul

This one was written nearly ten years ago for a proto-blog. I am moving it from my old website which is about to shut down so it can find a home here.

Cabbalah and the Tree of Life can be used to answer many different questions.  But one of the mistakes of those who use it is to assume that it is giving you the answer to everything on a single map.  Instead what it does is provide you an answer to a question.  This answer can be deduced with a basic knowledge of what the ten stations of the tree of life represent along with the paths.

If you want the answer to a question, you would think of the question and then apply it to the tree.  I have seen this approach used in everything from management charts to understanding some obscure Enochian idea.

Over the weekend I was in Nottingham for a Golden Dawn Temple meeting.  One of the members was a bit perplexed when I said that the soul did not become separate from the One Thing until Netzach.  So if we look at the tree to answer how I reached this conclusion it might show how you get answers to other questions you might have.

Firstly the Tree starts from the premise that there is only One Thing and all things are an expression of that One Thing.  The first three spheres, Kether, Binah and Chockmah relate to how that One thing acts in its most abstract way.  Kether (One Thing) is both Force (Chockmah) and Form (Binah).  In otherwords A=B+C with B and C being a subset of A.  Kether when it is being force is called Chockmah and Kether when it is being Form is Binah.

Instead of being Kether centred these spheres are focused on Tiphareth.  Tiphareth is the reflection of Kether (via Daath), there are some differences due to the fact that the One Thing is now part of its creation.  When Tiphareth creates it is with the polarities of Geburah and Chesed.  

However it is clear that this triad is simply the One Thing reflected within creation.  It is not divided yet it is still One Thing.

However there is another veil here which is the veil of Paroketh. Paroketh was one of the names given to the veil in the temple between the outer world and the Holy of Holies.  For the One Thing to step between this veil would bring it into manifestation and to do that the one would have to become the many.  It is therefore at this point that the soul splits from the One Thing to become individual expressions.

Further the magical image of Netzach (which is the next sphere on the lightning flash) is the Seven Lamps and the order of Angels connected to it are the Gods or Elohim. Looking at the symbolism further.  The seven lamps represent the archangels, but are also a division of the White light of the One Thing into the colour of the spectrum of the Many.  It is the Gods of Netzach who say in Genesis "let us make man" and make him from the clay of the Earth.

So with the one Thing now split into many different forces it is up to the One thing in Tiphareth to create forms for it.  However once again nothing is actually created at this point.  There is again another reflection of Tiphareth at Yesod which overseas the bringing down into Malkuth of the many different forms as expressed by the four elements.

Based on what I have said above, I am saying that the Higher Self, or Adam Kadmon, which is attributed to Tiphareth is a reflection of the One Thing.  Everyone then has the same Higher Self and is ultimately connected to the One Thing.

However notice that I am not saying that the Ruach of an incarnate person is the same thing as the Higher Self because it too is centred on Tiphareth.  The details of the Sphere of Sensation of an incarnate person can be found by asking a different question in mediation on the Tree of Life.
So the tree has revealed that the One Thing is the entire three spheres and not just Kether.  Because of the way the Tree is structured, there is a veil between the top three spheres and the next three of Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth.  This is the barrier between God inside its creation and God excarnate.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Putting the Hermetic back into Hermetic

First published as a blog
December 9, 2005

Corpus Hermetica, which was the bible of Hermetic magicians until the 20th century.

The Corpus was a collection of writings with a Greco-Egyptian Gnostic flavour which was assembled in the second century AD. The actual material which made it up was fairly flexible and may reflect the ideas of different neo-platonic communities. Some of them are magical and others suggest the Gnostic idea of salvation. Some of them have turned up in the dead sea scrolls.

Where they become important to us is that they were translated during that great codification of esoteric knowledge – the European Renaissance. They influenced the great magical thinkers of that period overwhelmingly and this can be seen in the teaching they wrote down.

The Hermetica was a huge influence on alchemy and had a knock on effect on more conventional types of magic that were influenced by this tradition.

So why have we stopped reading the Hermetica? The other day I was in a news group and someone spouted some twaddle about the elements. The idea was that the element of earth was made by mixing the other three elements of air, fire and water. It was twaddle which I had heard before, so it was not the writer’s fault. In fact he quoted the great 20th century magician Franz Bardon as saying it. Whether Bardon said it or not, it was still the sort of twaddle that would not be spouted a hundred years ago when reading the Hermetica was compulsory for all magicians.

“In the deep there was boundless darkness and water and fine intelligent spirit, all things existing by divine power in chaos. Then a holy light was sent forth and the elements solidified out of liquid essence…. All was unlimited and unformed, light elements (fire and air) were set apart to the heights and the heavy (earth and water) were grounded like moist sand, the whole of them delimited by fire and raised aloft, to be carried by spirit. The gods became visable in the shape of the stars and all their constellations and the arrangement of the lighter elements (ie fire and air) corresponded to the gods contained in it
? "

How is it possible to understand the magic systems of the ancients unless you have read this fundamental work? Yeah, it is hard going, although a lot easier than the other important work – the Culdean Oracles and is even more contradictory than the Bible. But there are good translations about. ‘Hermetica’ by Brian Copenhaver is one of the best , although you can find older translations online here

There is so much here that is yet to be explored by Modern Magicians in a practical way. It also needs to be looked out with modern minds who need to understand what these medieval and ancient magicians really believed they were up to. This is particularly the case in dealing with the ideas of angels, elementals, demons and archons.
This is because modern magic has largely lost its roots.
Historically many only cast their researches  to the 19th century and no further. I am prepared to lay money on the fact that only a handful of modern ‘hermetic’ magicians have ever read the Hermetica and percentage who are not sure that it exists.  More people will have read Regardie's Golden Dawn cover to cover than have read the Hermetica.  Those who have read it have skimmed through it, and when they could not find any car chases and sex scenes gave up.

The word ‘Hermetic’ appears a lot in the writings of modern ceremonial magicians. In fact over the years it has increasingly been linked with the two things. It has become an identifier – there are wiccans and there hermetics. When you ask what is a hermetic someone will probably rattle off something about it being ceremonial and intellectual rather than emotional and spontaneous magic.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Standards and Quality in the Esoteric Field

First posted as a blog in October 23, 2005.  It has historical value, but given that it was written so long ago it is interesting see how little has changed.  It does show that in the last few years the more established aspects of the Golden Dawn Community  have become much more vocal and coordinated so that the idiots described here are less able to get away with talking for he whole community.    At the time it was a period of one or two people declaring war on other groups and then trying to arrange peace groups.  It worked about as effectively as the Munich Agreement only in this case the allies never showed up.   During this period I was not actually in charge of anything, but was interested in those who got to the top of modern occult orders without much in the way of training, or common sense.  What was interesting about such times is that they insisted on being seen as the "leader" of all other groups.  That has changed somewhat, although you do find people trying to tell the world that their Order is the only way. Yet if you scratch the surface you find a young insecure leader trying to repackage Regardie as true Golden Dawn teaching.

The new Golden Dawn renaissance has created a new breed of esoteric leader. One who has not got to the top by any inherent skills, magical or otherwise, but because they happened to be the organisers when their fledging groups were formed.

Now there are moves afoot to "create peace" between the various GD groups by means of a Pow-Wow. The idea is that by getting the various groups around a table to talk about the GD current it will somehow build bridges between the various groups in the GD current.

However in doing so we are suddenly forced to acknowledge ‘leaders’ whose skills are comparatively small and whose work has been well below the standards that some set for their groups.  What is strange is that those who actually get on with each other and work as part of a Golden Dawn community, sharing information, are expected to accept those who cause all the trouble as our leaders.  It is a bit like a country starting a war, finding itself out numbered and then saying "We encourage peace, but only if you acknowledge that we are the leader and agree to our terms."
Instead of working on the principle that they know nothing and are really muddling through, they are setting themselves up as grand pooh bahs and masters of magic. When other group leaders fail to acknowledge their supreme power and ability, they spit tacks. The current legal situation between the HOGD is a case in point and there are others.
When I was first involved in occultism, esoteric orders seemed a very big and important thing. The teachers in Whare Ra or BOTA had got to the top of their orders after years of experience. They may have been autocrats but for the most part they were informed autocrats, who had been around the block.

When the rest of the surrounding nations say "we are doing alright thanks" and "you started the war in the first place" and "we really don't want to acknowledge you as our leader thanks" they are accused of not wanting peace. 

It takes five years for someone in my group to get to 5=6 and there is a lot of work personality and intellectual that needs to be accomplished first. Why should anyone in my group be talking to some kid who has declared himself at 7=4 Heirophant after reading a copy of Israel Regardie’s Golden Dawn and will use any information to strengthen his autocratic hold on his small group. By recognising such types as equals, aren’t we devaluing our own work?

What happens if the people who are doing the work and quietly getting on with it ignore these types? Yes we will be branded as elitist and arrogant, but we will not be tarred with any brushes that tend to sail the way of these people.

But what of protecting the GD current? The GD current has been around for a long time. It does not need protecting. It is a secret society. If someone doesn’t like what you do, you don't have to tell them that you are doing it. If they find out, do what every other occult organisation has done and dissolve and reform under another name.

If we are serious about occultism, we cannot treat such idiots seriously.

I wonder what the likes of the Felkins, Mathers, Westcott, Taylors and Salts would have made of the modern GD. In some ways we do things better, but in other ways we have failed.
Lets be Grand Pooh-Bahs and then we can have the biggest hat
But what of promoting peace? Currently the so called war is carried out by a small group of idiots following other idiots. Sitting around a table with such morons will do no more to enhance GD peace than sitting around a monkey’s tea party will help develop the human condition. Indeed by recognising such types in any form only gives the impression that they are as important as they think they are.
The problem is that too many people see the GD as a game of Lets be Pooh Bahs. They make a lot of noise and cause problems for those who just quietly getting on with the work. They make it political to cover up the fact that they really are not interested in work. If criticised, they will accuse the accuser of bringing discord amongst a ‘Golden Dawn Community’ of which, coincidentally they are self appointed leaders.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Sign Posting

In the 0=0 ritual you are give several signs which on the face of it look pretty damn silly and do little for any plans you might have for magical domination of the known universe.

Firstly there is the sign of the enterer which you are instructed represents you stumbling in darkness groping for the light.  The second is the sign of silence which is placing the finger on the lips and stamping the foot.  However you are given some instructions that gives you some clues that this is not all it seems.  You are told that the first sign always follows the second.  This should ring some alarm bells and beg the question, why should a statement of silence always follow a bit of darkness groping?

Firstly let us look at the idea of groping in darkness.  A person doing so is attempting to move themselves forward.  They are making an effort in this case to find the light.  In the 0=0 this projecting sends out a ray of energy to the person's higher self.  Based on this effort the higher self says 'hurrah he's paying attention" and comes barrelling down the middle pillar to meet half way (This is part of the symbolism of the hexagram).  When the Higher Self and the Lower Self meet a new being is created.  This is represented in Egyptian symbolism as the Divine Child, Harpocrates or Horus, emerging from the Lotus.  The Greeks confused Harpocrates with their god of silence.  Since the GD came about before this mistake was corrected we are stuck with it.  However it does not really matter in the scheme of things.

Thus these two symbols mean I stretch toward the light and become the divine child.  This also explains the fact that you are told that whenever you see the banner of the East, you are supposed to do the sign of the enterer and the sign of silence.  You are mimicking the 0=0 initiation rite.  It also explains a bit of what happens in the communion where you project towards the god form of Osiris as a symbol of your higher self and see the representation of Harpocrates standing in the same position he does in the 0=0 initiation by having the person stand in the sign of silence.

But again there are some other instructions where this formula does not quite work.  Why in the opening does the Hierophant perform the sign of the enterer but seems to delay a bit before performing the sign of silence?  Why do you do them before the pentagrams when you perform the lesser banishing ritual?  Why is it called projection when it is more of a grope?

To explain this, we have to look at what the sign is also doing.  This is not incompatible with the earlier explanation but is the key to using the sign in practical magic.

Firstly ritual act of the sign of the enterer takes place within the aura of the candidate.  When it is done properly a line of light comes from the candidate's heart centre to the crown, it drops down to the brow where it is focused by the eyes, it then drops down to the heart centre where it is projected out in the direction of the hands.  This is done in the instant of a breath.  You breath in, the light goes up, focused, down, breathe out and project as you do so.

If you were vibrating a divine name, like in the pentagram ritual, you would see the divine name in Hebrew in the heart centre, empower the name as the light comes down, and vibrate it as you project outwards.
If you do this properly you will be send a current of personal and divine energy outwards.

This will continue long after you have stopped vibrating and will take most of the juice out of your system if you do not cut it off.  This is why you perform the sign of silence afterwards.

The sign of silence is actually a basic god form working.  You are standing in the position of the god form of Harpocrates and are taking on some of his nature.  To do this properly you should visualise yourself in the form of a young Egyptian human god, with a pigtail on the side of your head.  You should see yourself standing in the centre of a lotus flower, with your entire aura in an impenetrable blue sphere.   The effect of doing this is to cut off any energy outpouring from you and to prevent any rebounding energy returning if something goes wrong with your projection.

It is a very good system of defence if you feel that you are being drained by someone or even a bit attacked.  Empowered by the god-form, the sign of silence will build a powerful shield between you and the outside world.  It will give you a feeling of calm and allow your energy to be restored.

There is a bit of a knack to all of this and it requires practice.  You need to feel energy moving through you as you do these things.  On the Enterer projection you need to feel the energy move up, down and out.  One way of doing this is to put a candle at one end of the room and practice projecting over and over.  The idea is that you want to get the flame to move by blasting it with enough energy.  It is difficult to do, but not impossible.  However you should not worry if you cannot.  The goal is to get the *feeling* that the energy is leaving your body.  You should also follow up with the sign of silence so that the practice of the god form becomes second nature.

You will find that the sign of the enterer is used in the GD whenever we are empowering anything ranging from talismans, to people.  The reason that the Hierophant does the sign of the enterer is that he is empowering the god forms of all the officers and the 'invisible stations'.  When enough energy has entered them, he performs the sign of silence.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Abramelin and the Golden Dawn

Ever since Samuel Mathers translated the French edition of the Book of Abramelin into English , the system has attracted a huge amount of interest from those within the Golden Dawn.  There are a number of stories associated with those Golden Dawn adepts who tried the system and came to grief. 
With the recent publication of the German version of Abramelin we start to see that Mathers' edition had several important flaws and some would say that this is the reason why the Abramelin system was so dangerous.   Literalism is the curse of modern occultism and in the Abramelin system this is certainly true.  What many fail to see is that who ever wrote the Abramelin system had the idea that it was meant to be adapted to suit the individual.  There are also several blinds in the system that require a bit of intelligence to work out.  Once these are sorted out then it is possible to adapt the Abramelin system to suit the Golden Dawn.
In Whare Ra the Abramelin system was treated with what some might describe as respect while others would be more cynically say with fear.

An outline of the Abramelin system
The Abramelin system is a self initiation programme which was developed in the 15th century. The German system requires a year while the Mathers' translation needed six months.  Time, ironically is not really an issue, the important thing seems to be a three fold division.  The German translation talks about year divided into three, but it could also fit into three, six, nine, 12 or 18 months. I prefer the idea of 18 months as it fits somewhat snugly into the 'official time' that it takes a candidate to get through the outer order and gives time for problems to appear or be faced.

What Abramelin describes is a system of regular work which increases in intensity in three stages.  During the initial stages this requires a morning and evening prayer and two hours of study of religious texts.  This intensifies until the person is required to take two weeks of isolation to commune with his Holy Guardian Angel.  Then, for three days, he meets with an army of demons who are required to bend to his will.  After this initiation program is completed the magician is given a serious of magical squares which form the backbone of a magical system.

What is important about the system is that it is entirely flexible.  Religion is not important so long as those taking part only believe in One God.  Prayers are not proscribed but are meant to be designed by the person carrying out the procedure.   While many think that the goal of the Abramelin system is "Knowledge and Conversation with your Holy Guardian Angel", it does not seem to be the case. It is designed to make you a religious and pious man. The Holy Guardian angel is supposed to be guiding you throughout the three stages of work culminating in his instruction in the later stages.  There are some things in Abramelin which do not work either magically or for modern people.   Despite its tendency towards religious freedom it does lean towards Judaic law over other religions.  Rules on touching dead meat and women during menstruation are hang-overs from the Talmud.  Oddly the system claims that it can be performed by women.  This is quite enlightened for its time, although if the system was followed literally women would 'fail' by the fact Abramelin considers them 'unclean' once a month.
When meeting your HGA for the first time - don't blink

Holy Guardian Angel
To understand the Abramelin system it is important to understand what he understood by the term Holy Guardian Angel. Many modern commentators on the system, including Crowley and Bill Gray have said the HGA is the same as a person's Higher Self.  This Jungian term unfortunately does not hold up when the system is closely read. 

In the Middle Ages it was claimed that when a person was born they were given a Holy Guardian Angel and attracted a Demon.  The HGA was to guide and protect the person throughout their life and the Demon was supposed to tempt them away from the path.  In the Medieval Bulgarian church when a person was baptised they were told "do not listen to your demon and do nothing that will anger your Holy Guardian Angel". 

Clearly then the HGA was not your 'higher self' but an Angelic entity which was God's way of looking after you.  It was God's way of communicating with you on Earth and might, perhaps, be the way of reaching your True Self.

Blinds or flaws in the system
While the Abramelin system functions well as a system that leads a person to a form of Angelic initiation the emphasis appears to be the manifestation of legions of demons.  After a person has performed their rites to contact what is called a "religious presence" they are required to invoke four demonic kings, eight dukes and loads of their little baby demons and servitors.  However if you have followed the system and read it clearly you cannot help but feel that this is unbalanced.  Even if the goal was knowledge and conversation with one's HGA the encounter with all the subjective and objective evil in the Universe is a bit much.  As far as Angelic hierarchies are concerned the HGA is down the pecking order and yet it is supposed to have the clout to deal with the likes of Satan.

However there is a clue that Abramelin gives fairly early on in the book which suggests that his system is not entirely HGA related.  He requires operators to read his book extremely carefully which is often an indication in some esoteric literature that there is a blind being used and you need to engage your brain to get past them.

There are six days used to invoke spirits.  The first three days appear to be dedicated to the HGA while the other three days are connected to specifically named spirits.  The first four are Kings, then there are eight Dukes and then the lists of servators.  We know that the demons are organised as a mockery of the hierarchy of heaven.  Thus the four demonic Kings are a mockery of the four Archangels of the Direction, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel.  The Number 8 is a mockery of the perfection of the divine number 7.  Thus we are looking for a seven fold Angelic hierarchy with servitors.

It is possible then that on the first three days of the Abramelin retreat one is supposed to invoke the Archangels of the Quarters, followed by the Archangels of the Sepheroth and their attendant angels.  They then call up their dualistic counterparts.  The system hints at a seventh day which is not described.  This would be the Sabbath day which is the day that traditionally God rested, but is also the holiest day in the cycle when the person is expected to communicate and worship their creator.  This moves the person beyond angels to the state of seeing the most High.  This would mean that the Abramelin system would have linked the candidate to all four levels of Cabbalistic creation.

Adapting the system for the Golden Dawn
In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn there are three degrees that correspond directly to those of the Abramelin system.  In the outer order you are given the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and told to study.  In the Portal you intensify this study with the Supreme ritual of the Pentagram and attempt to unite the elements into a balance. Finally in the third degree the 'next spiritual level' is opened to you with both the LVX formula, The Lesser and Greater Ritual of the Hexagram and the Ritual of the Rose Cross.

Thus it is possible to overlay the system into the Golden Dawn so that it looks like the following:

The first six months
Ideally you should have a room that you place your altar and nothing else in.  You should purify and consecrate it and never enter it unless you are doing magical work. 

When you wake up have a shower, face east and perform the cabbalistic cross lesser invoking ritual of the Pentagram.  You should then write an invocation to the highest aspect of God that you know and request that it reveal to you its wisdom through its Holy Guardian Angel.  You should meditate on what you believe to be God or the highest spiritual aspect.  Think of the good qualities you have and use the current of the Pentagram to draw those qualities you want to have toward you. 

Before you go to bed perform the cabbalistic cross and the lesser banishing ritual of the Pentagram and repeat your invocation and add that you would request the Holy Guardian Angel protect and teach you while you sleep.  Work out how your personality falls short of your abilities and destiny and allow the current of the banishing pentagram to carry these weaknesses from you. 

The next six months
When you wake up have a shower, face east and perform the cabbalistic cross lesser invoking ritual of the Pentagram.  Then perform the supreme invoking ritual of the Pentagram and invoke the Most High. Purify and consecrate the room as you would in the 0=0 ritual. Feel those elemental forces inside you moving into balance.

Then you invoke your Holy Guardian Angel to lead you onto the right path of Wisdom and Understanding.  You should then meditate on your holy scripture (if you have them), sentences of the Golden Dawn rituals, esoteric books, the angelic forces or just wait upon your HGA to teach you.  You should lengthen the amount of time you spend on this.

Then in the evening, have another shower or at least wash your hands and face. Perform the Cabbalistic Cross, the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram and then the Greater Banishing ritual of the Pentagram and meditate on those aspects of humanity that are darker, those forces that are unregenerate.  See them gradually come into balance or to break them up.  You should ask for your HGA to help you in this.

The Third Part 

When you wake up, at noon, and before the bedtime session you should wash your hands, feet and face or have a shower.

The morning session should be performed as before only this time you should add the lesser invoking hexagram for the day (ie moon is luna) and the LVX formula.  You should then invoke your highest concept of God and ask to be given the honour of the company with the holy angels so they will grant and reveal the hidden Wisdom to reign over the unredeemed spirits and all creatures.  Ask that the spirit of God shall come upon you.  You should meditate on the energy of the Angel of the day and try to see its energy and power in operation.  Think of all the positive aspects of that planet that manifest in you.  You might like to consult your chart.

At noon perform the Ritual of the Rose Cross and repeat your prayer.

The evening session should be the same as the morning only this time you should perform banishing rituals.  Ask that the spirit of God shall come upon you.  You should meditate on the negative aspects of the planets that manifest in you and allow the energy of the banishing pentagrams to carry them out of your sphere of sensation.

The seven day retreat
You should make sure you are completely alone for seven days.  You should start the retreat on a Monday if you are a Christian or Sunday if you are Jewish.  If you are neither of these Monday is as good as any.  The idea is to end the ritual on your Sabbath day.  If you don’t have one, one person's Sabbath is as good as another's.

Shower, enter your temple barefoot.  Perform the Cabbalistic Cross Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram, Another Cabbalistic Greater invoking Ritual of the Pentagam, Purify and consecrate with Water and Fire, as the 0=0, take the oil of Abramelin in your left hand and recite the prayer of Abramelin or write something similar.  Here is my version:
"Almighty God beyond the limits of the Universe, who gave substance to the All, from whom all things proceed, to whom all will return.  You from whom all things find their expression.  When you forgive yourself, we are all forgiven. I recognise those things in me which make me weak, which prevent me fulfilling my place in the story of my life.  Oh thou who art the great story teller, you who become the story, the alliance between the creation and the creator is great.  You give unto people like me redemption and invite me to take what you can offer. So Adonai, give me mercy and take from me my excesses, wash from me all that is weak and fails to meet the standards you have set for myself in this life. Wash from me all that is unclean, renew my spirit and strengthen it.  Enable me to understand the secrets of your grace and the treasures of your knowledge.  Consecrate me through this oil of creation with which you healed all of the prophets, clean me and all it touches. Properly cleanse and heal me that I will be able to have the company of the holy angels, the sacred wisdom and the might that you have given, you initiate over the good and unredeemed spirits.
When you have said this prayer you draw a cross on your forehead with the oil and then mark the corners of your altar and magic equipment with it.  You should be wearing a white robe at this point but no slippers or socks.   Abramelin requires you were a silk head band around your third eye with the names of God written upon it.
You are also expected to write this phrase on the four sides of your altar:
"In those places where the memory of my name is grounded there I shall come to you and bless you."
The phrase comes from Exodus 20:24 and the complete verse according to King James is "An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee."
On the first day you are to invoke your Holy Guardian Angel.  Abramelin will have you praying your buns off until the entity shows up.  However the normal method of evocation should do just as well.   He does not make it clear that this is what you are supposed to be doing on the first day, however on the second day you are supposed to be asking the angel's advice about calling the good spirits, so the first day should be dedicated to your first knowledge and conversation.
The Second day you should follow the advice of your Guardian Angel about how to get in touch with the Angels.  As we have mentioned before Abramelin is vague about the angels you should call.  Judging by the way he has arranged the unredeemed spirits I would suggest you should call the three Supernal Archangels Metatron, Raziel and Tzaphqiel as a separate block. Then call the seven Archangels of the Sepheroth next,  Tzadqiel, Kamael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel and Sandalphon.

The third day should be dedicated to the 'servants' of the Archangels.  Again we are guessing here.  I have had several suggestions that these should be the Angels assigned to the paths of the tree of life but I think it is better to call upon the Angels of the planets.  You could call the Intelligences but not the spirits, who are a little bit too demonic in the GD system.  

These three days are supposed to be a communing with the Angels and your Holy Guardian Angel.  During this time you should be requesting each Angel support you in your Spiritual journey and give you control of the unredeemed spirits and the forces that the Archangels represent.  Like the unredeemed spirits these Angels are supposed to be pledging their support to help you.  You are not commanding them, as you do the unredeemed spirits, you are attuning yourself to their energy so that you can access it.

The system of invoking angels should be familiar to GD magicians who are ready to take the Abramelin working and do not need to be rehashed.  However it is worth pointing out that I would use a cut down version of what Regardie wrote in the Golden Dawn book.  On the first day you will have to call five entities, the next day seven and the day after 14 which is a pretty hairy schedule.

The fourth, five and six days are pretty much by the book.  Obviously you cannot call every demon in the Abramelin phone book and you should ask your HGA which ones you should call.  These will be the ones that most stuff you up in your life path.  While I like the idea of making the demonic spirits appear in a sandbox (it saves the problems of burnt hoof prints in the carpet and is easier to clean as demons are rarely house broken), I would draw a triangle of the art in the sandbox to enclose them.  I do not like the idea of demons going anywhere unconstrained.

The seventh day is another part of the equation that was not related in Abramelin but is fairly logical.  This is the Sabbath day which after that lot of evocations you will feel knackered and a bit sick.  However on this day you call upon all your angels and demons to lift you up to the Most High.  This is when you invoke your Higher Self.  This will require your Holy Guardian Angel's help, but instead of invoking into the sandbox you invoke that force inside yourself.

Which wand?
The Abramelin book mentions a wand or a stick of almond which is to be used for the demons to touch and pledge their alliance.  The temptation would be to shove the lotus wand under the nose of the demons and angels on the grounds that in the GD system it would have a similar role.  Don't do that what ever you do.  The Lotus Wand is not used in that way, in fact the closest GD tool would be the adept's sword.  I would suggest that you use the wand of Almond and then use it as a tool for workings of the magic squares that you do later.

The Squares
Abramelin magical squares were placed on talismans by the Adepts of Whare Ra.  Although this was fairly uncommon, perhaps out of the fear that some Adepts had of the system.  However an adapted method of what was suggested in Abramelin was probably the best method.
On the Sabbath, have a shower, put on your adept's robe, light the incense, olive oil lamp, perform the Lesser Invoking ritual of the Pentagram, Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram and your invocation to the Most High.  Call upon your Holy Guardian angel to help you understand or construct a word square for your current objective.  Don't do anything until you can see the Angel in the temple with you. Then stare at the tablet.  Some letters will be highlighted, or seem bolder than the others  and these will be the name of the spirit you have to call.  You might also notice a sigil appear on the square.  Write both of these down.

Some of the squares are created by the Angels and others by the unredeemed spirits.  Some are a mixture of both.  Abramelin gives specific instructions about calling the Dukes.  He says you call the lot and then the one who is really in charge will write his servant's name in the sand for you.  You then make the Duke and this servant take an oath to do what you want.

For a number of reasons I am not happy with this approach.  It puts the entire magical system in the hands of unredeemed spirits.  A magician who leans too much on these, however in tune they are with their Higher Self or HGA is going to end up concentrating too much on the negative.

However it occurred to me that Abramelin was not providing the whole system.  We seem to have two contradictory methods of obtaining the names and sigils of the being that is supposed to help us.  The first involves our HGA and staring at the square until the sigil is seen and the other involves grilling the Dukes of Hell. 

Clearly one is the method of finding out the Angelic names and the other is the method of contacting the Demonic.  What is also strange is that all the squares given in the book are controlled by demonic entities.  Abramelin can be read so that you ask your HGA for information about some squares and demons for the others, but the problem is that all the squares have some demonic entity connected with them . It seems then that the entireal magical application of the system is about the controlling of unredeemed spirits.

However Abramelin has hinted that these are not the only squares that are meant to be used.  It is possible to construct others, find out the name of the good spirit and go from there.

Say, for example, we wanted to create a square that would help bring about peace.  We would ask our HGA and he or she would give us the word, Shalom which is Hebrew for peace.  We can lay this out in a square thus:


We call upon the Holy Guardian Angel to reveal the name of the Angel in charge of bringing about peace and we see the following letters highlighted.
On the surface we have an angel called Halom, however when we ask for the sigil we get the following:


So our Angel is called Alhom.  We draw his name on a piece of paper with his sigil.  We know that peace is attributed to the Sephoroth of Chesed so we ask Tzadqiel to send forth Alhom in the name of El to bring about the peace we need.

The Book of Abra=Melin, the Mage as delivered to by Abraham the Jew to his Son Lamech, translated by SL MacGregor-Mathers, De Laurance Company, Chicago, 1932
The Book of Abramelin, a new translation, Abraham von Worms, compiled and edited by George Dehn. Ibis Press, Lake Worth, Florida, 2006
The demon Amayon is apparently in charge of healing.  He is, according to the Book of Moses one of the four princes of devils over the four quarters of the earth and not really a nice chap.  You can argue that since all illnesses are caused by demons then binding a really big one is a good idea.  I am not sure I buy that argument.