The Rosicrucian Scandal is incredibly amusing. Mathers at his best. I think the whole idea behind the court case was so that if Mathers lost the Golden Dawn, all the secrets would be laid bare in the legal proceedings. Thanks to FB to showing me this.
E had tipped me off to The New Magus. I had previously purchased New Millennium Magic as the “updated” version of The New Magus. Just quickly flipping through it, it became clear to me that Tyson had not re-written the book but simply written a new book and copped a bunch of his own material for the previous book. Mine happens to be a 5th printing and the printing is all the same, but the cover is different. I was reading the intro and had to grab my tablet to look it up on the internet. The cover of mine is a guy or girl dressed up in fairly modern clothes, but with a sword, cup, and unicursal hexagram on the cover. The intro talks about the old cover and I’m looking at this going “What the hell?” I actually checked to make sure it wasn’t rebound.
The intro was fantastic. The idea of moving Mercury to the center of the planetary star is a sweet idea. I disagree with his use of the nodes of the moon since the nodes of the moon are completely meaningless without the sun, but he doesn’t say “nodes of jupiter” or “nodes of mars”.
The rune chapter I couldn’t resist reading. It’s a disaster. At very least read Odin’s Gateways, but someone seriously about it should be reading the Heimskringla. At some point I’ll make a mental note to write up which rune goes with which story, but the basic idea is that each rune tells a story and when they touch is where the stories overlap. If someone studies the rune stories, they can very quickly figure out how the stones fall out. I also have the runecasting page for the really quick layperson summary.
Apparently the rumor mill is in high gear again. I was told people were discussing the OTO and said “The cakes of light contain BLOOD and the XI degree is SODOMY”. Now, one of these things might be kinky fun, but I won’t say which.
Anyway, the XI degree one is the easiest to deal with: With the global heads of the order being only rank X themselves, and with progressive ranks being invitation only after III, the sodomy bit would be awfully lonely with only three people in the entire world to share it with. Or maybe XI is just one person. Lashtal has a semi-serious thread about the topic which very quickly turns into “poetry Crowley wrote in college” due to lack of any serious evidence. I posited the origin might be from the Masonic degrees being imported into the OTO, since the Knights Templar and Masons had both been accused of sodomy. It might be a reference to an observer seeing the hermaphrodite idol Baphomet (or going to a Gnostic Mass), and not understanding the occult meaning of the Lord of Understanding, decided it was about sodomy. Nope, turns out Peter Robert-Koenig, self styled “O.T.O. Phenomena Researcher” has blown the doors off the secret. Apparently OTO members are direct lineage to Nosferati (I have no idea what this means), regularly engage in orgies, have a “sexual link to the illuminati”, and the Typhonian Order submits to “sexual violations of extraterrestrials”.
I only wish.
“Alright, so what’s in the funky cakes? I hear it’s BLOOD!” Well the answer is “yes” from anyone who is half turned onto the idea. At face value, the recipe is written as a Spyragic. That is to say, something is taken, soaked in alcohol, then burned to a fine ash, then the ash is soaked in alcohol, then the whole mess is filtered. To produce a stone, evaporate what remains. This is both stupidly complicated, illegal in the US (distillation), and it both tells us exactly what’s going on and nothing at all.
In my opinion, the EGC is pretty strict about ‘cakes of light’ – blood of any sort is optional, and “legally obtained livestock blood” (EGC handbook, p14-15) is suggested. Suggested in OTO parlance means “required at public mass, otherwise whatever you want behind closed doors”, see “Queering the Gnostic Mass” for how the EGC handles these sorts of disputes. As for 99% of OTO lodges, there’s no blood in the cakes, people or otherwise. For 100% of public performances, it’s not people blood. So if you ask an OTO member, why will they say there’s blood in it? Becuase it’s sweat (asana or really any physically demanding thing which tears down the body), blood (labor, or purification), and tears (effort, or maybe refinement). Hence “Magic without Tears” etc.
Crowley wrote it as a hat tip to the salt-sulfur-mercury alchemical process, and by using 3 physical ingredients and by blessing them individually the 3 becomes 6… The blood is “who is making it” not “what goes into it” in my opinion. In other allegory, the “preferred blood” is the Priestess (who is consecrated), a child (who is innocent), the host of heaven (the preist, consecrated by the priestess), or livestock (muggles, because Crowley is a jerk). To wit, flesh and blood have to make it, it becomes a thing, it becomes magical, and then it goes back into flesh and blood. There’s no more blood in it than the preist and priestess getting it on at the altar – it’s entirely symbolic.
Seriously, if your lodge does do this, please print this post and bring it along. There’s no reason to assume this liability in the age of HIV and more importantly I feel there’s plenty of evidence that Crowley was once again using occult terms to describe a magical process which shouldn’t be taken to the letter in it’s most base form.
After the debacle talking to IAO131, who insisted the Asana forms were not godforms, I got to googling and ended up finding Sabazius Xº’s guides in PDF form from 1998 or so. Which was my first complaint to the order: “Hey, I’ve got kids, papers lifespan is measured in hours! Can I have a digital copy?” “Nope, we’re worried those would end up on the internet!”
Sigh. As usual, piracy is caused by want of convenience. They’re online, complete with his signature and cross-nest-thing and seal of the order, because someone else probably had the same problem and posted them.
In short – they’re godforms. They’re just not the godforms Crowley uses later. However they do the exact same thing. Imagine, if you would, you’re in the valley of the kings. The godforms from the Asana as Crowley proscribes it are things we would observe as we approach the cities holy places. It’s sort of like astral tourism. Why does the Minerval do them? Because assuming the Minerval is at least even passingly familiar with Egypt, this was clearly designed to see if the Minerval would have any psychic tread in the OTO at all. If the Minerval just reported that the heel-up-the-butt posture was particularly effective, it would be easy to see that the Minerval really was either a blank slate or had no real psychic connections to the forms. On the other hand if the Minerval says “The King posture seems to open up my middle channel” (and it does), then we can reasonably assume that the Minerval has some sort of psychic ability. Maybe the Minerval doesn’t use those exact words but we all get the point. The Middle Pillar, incidentally, it’s proscribed until the 7th degree, which is where the PDFs end.
That being said, I checked the reading for the grades, I’ve done all the major cited books (although not memorized the stuff) through grade III. How? I’m curious about magic and all the books the OTO wants someone to read are also the books people should be reading. It’s pretty obvious. The fifth degree is where both magic starts being practiced in ernest (using Golden Dawn forms, of course) and then is “the natural stopping point of advancement” because most people don’t want to start OTO chapters.
What does this all mean?
If someone is practicing ceremonial magic and getting decent results using Golden Dawn forms (I am), they’re probably operating beyond what the OTO is outfitted to provide. This doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be rewarding personally, nor would it be prudent to say “oh you’re supposed to take a bath and do the LBRP”. That short changes the ideas here. On the other hand, this also means that by reading and doing the Golden Dawn material, you are doing OTO and Crowleys magic. The true aspirant to the great work however realizes that the magic is incidental to the philosophy. Should you join the OTO? Sure, if they’re doing more than the gnostic mass. If the only thing the order is doing is the Gnostic Mass, start reading up on the Golden Dawn rituals instead.
Now I have a particularly ridiculous problem – should I continue in the local OTO chapter in hopes of reforming it, full well knowing all the surprises, or just jettison the entire thing and work through the material on my own? My entire objection in the first place was that there was no material being taught which wasn’t already part of the Llewlyns weekend special. I suppose I’ll ride out my subscription this year and just walk. I don’t think anyone is going to fault me for giving it a spin.
Quick notes on Liber E vel Exercitiorum sub Figura IX…
Physical Clairvoyance – I suck at this. However, it’s fairly straightforward.
Asana – At first thought I read this as “oh he’s trying to get blood to rush to your head”. A second pass reveals he’s actually writing about godforms. What does this do for us in a practical form? In evocation the idea is to become as comfortable as possible so as to resist the calls of our bodies. In my case, trying to keep “as rigid as possible” almost always ends in me needing to take a poop about 15 minutes in. I suspect a better practice would be to use the bathroom beforehand. However 15 minutes is also a significant number since it’s also the amount of time it takes me to get into the flow for meditation. My gut instinct is that it’s just a hump and my body is doing “OH DON’T YOU NOD OFF” at the 15 minute mark which is what makes this hard.
Pranayama – This is Tyson and Kraig (and others) four fold breath. This is a slam dunk for 90% of practicing occultists I would think. Not only is the breathing important to regulate, but it helps to intone names also. Knowing enough about names to come up with male and female polarity syllables is extremely important, since these also should be said on each part of the breath. Exhale on the male, inhale on the female.
Dharana – I suspect he’s trying to set people up to observe it when an object does deviate from a path because it’s a spirit. However the simple shapes tend to make themselves gateways. I tried this with the tattvas and almost always ended up in elemental space. I tried it with a differential gear pack and could just spin the thing forever. This leads to a particularly interesting philosophical problem – could there be gear universes? My sneaking suspicion is that I would resolve these things to elemental properties being largely representative of forces. Trying to imagine a hydroelectric dam, for instance, just led me to the water elemental and the earth elemental within the composition of the dam itself. The earth elemental was a bit off.
Behind the scenes, I’ve been taking piles of notes. However I haven’t published anything public facing in a bit and certainly nothing particularly positive about the present situation. One of the OTO guys took it upon himself to try to put me right on the path and in return I’ve said I’m going to make my best efforts to fix things up here. This jives with E’s effort to do the same, so I think there’s some real potential to put the tread back on the tires. If anything it’ll be an adventure.
Hanging out on reddit can be fairly productive. I was complaining about my OTO experience and really ended up meeting someone decent enough to have both what I was looking for and willing to share. That is – some sort of instructional course so I feel like I’m getting something for my time and money.
We struck up a conversation via gmail and I’ll paraphrase the high points. While I have permission to use the material for sponsees, that’s way down the road, if everything holds together long enough to get there. Unfortunately it was a really eye opening experience for both what it could be – and what the experience presently is not. In standard hermetic fashion, as without is that which is within. I suspect there’s a much larger disconnect where sponsees aren’t getting quality material from sponsors, so The Next Generation simply doesn’t know.
Why invest the effort at all? “Didn’t you say all the OTO secrets were published and linked us to the book where all the OTO secrets are published?” The OTO style of magic, or ceremony, makes the assumption that the practitioner is living comfortably enough to make philosophy from magic. This has it’s origin in the Jewish tradition where practitioners were supposed to be at least 30, married, a landowner, and own a business or “be in good standing with the community”. Unfortunately, I meet or exceed all those things. At this point I’m not concerned with getting shot in the sandbox, I will eat three times a day, I will have fresh water and a place to poop. Magic for me isn’t going to be about survival and day to day activities, it’s going to be about learning things about me and the universe and about the Godhead.
This is really the reason why reading is not the same as doing. Anyone can read the rituals, but until they start thinking about them and writing and talking, it’s really not proper philosophy. I almost feel like the OTO should have operated with the professorship model of Publish Or Die.
Practical trumps tradition for mundane things. I was given my minerval papers and study guide… on paper. When I mailed asking for another copy, I was told I could pick them up at the next Gnostic Mass. (Long story short – kids). Then the person didn’t attend, so it was another month before I got another copy. I lost all of my momentum here. If we wanted to be really pedantic here, the way the papers used to work is the sponsor (or bodymaster) lent you their copies, you copied them via writing or type, and then you returned them. In the web 2.0 life, there’s no reason not to use Google Docs, wordpress, whatever. Like this example, its facebook. Use the publishing medium of the age.
Use challenge signs. I completely flubbed the signs. This is because my memory doesn’t work anymore having two kids, and a career, and approaching midlife, but also because no-one seems to use the challenge signs anymore. While it’s nice to be in such a tight knit group everyone knows your face, the downside is when I really do need the signs, I don’t recall them.
Learn magic history. I had mentioned The Code in The Book of the Law. At the minerval level at least the emphasis seems to be on realizing that the universe is the reflection of the emanations of God. And, similar to Bardon’s rampant abuse of the term “magnetism”, sometimes getting into the concepts requires abandoning “we know better” and trying to figure out the authors intent. That being said, The Code actually smacks of proper spiritual contact. S/He asked, out of all things, why the code stuck out. I replied:
I’m a systems engineer in real life so I’m fairly used to looking at pages of symbolic information flowing by with no particular meaning to the layperson. Chapter 2 v 26 had a “WTF” moment. Having read my Agrippa and my Dee, it stuck out. Putting it into google pulls this up - http://4638abk24algmor3yx2489rpstoval.com/ - which someone (Marc Mesmer) spent a lot of time putting the GIF of the apparent motion of the planets together… I believe this is (one of) the correct solutions: http://www.horusmaat.com/silverstar/SILVERSTAR11-PG40.htm
I would like to point out, however, that the argument made for the authenticity of the Enochian system is that Dee’s seer (Kelly/Tolbot/Solomon) could not have memorized the tables. Solomon was a fake, Kelly was mentally unstable and probably had brain worms. Similarly, I doubt Crowley would have known about the square, but he would have known about enochian magic, and Dee would have recognized the square but did not know about the square. Enochian Magic in Theory (Wilson) and Dees Five Books of Mystery (Peterson) reproduce a majority of the significant material and all of what Mathers would have known and more, and the square is not present, nor is the Pater Noster square. Unless Crowley is absolutely ahead of even his own game at the time and doing his own research, it’s a spiritual hat-tip to the forerunners of the Thelemic magical current. The fact that we don’t see it at all in The Vision And The Voice I think tells us Crowley didn’t know the square, but yet here it is.
I thought it was a good read. I don’t particularly work in a job where we are really rewarded for performance. We’re ridiculously specialized where I work and someone can either learn a new skill or find a new job. Still, Jupiter helps with the job finding and I suppose Mercury helps with the other stuff.
I got talking to IAO131 over on reddit about “the OTO experience”. I lamented that basically no-one was doing magic in the particular lodge. The Gnostic Mass is nice, but it’s not participatory magic. I wrote all this with a certain sense of irony – My wife just left her eclectic wiccian coven to join a gardenarian coven because the eclectic coven was so eclectic that people didn’t recognize it as wicca anymore. I joined the lodge to do magic, and the gnostic mass seems to be it.
Now, there was a magical meetup I had been trying to get to for a while at the lodge and every time I went to go, something came up. This is a pretty clear case of magical resistance. Seriously. Car accidents all the time (not me, but enough to stick me in traffic), something would double book me which was important or work related, the weeks I was on call, something would explode on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm. I work in IT. Who is doing anything Sunday afternoon at 4pm except channel surfing?
Finally I said to hell with it and decided I was going to go. This is the expression of Will refined in the heart of stars! This is the purest expression of intent! This is my resolve tempered in the heat of the forge of resistance as to be willing to leave an hour and a half early for what should be a 45 minute drive (usually 60 in traffic)! From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee, oh poorly organized mass transit system!
At least the car started. As it stood, I was 10 minutes late. But, there was a parking spot directly in front of the lodge. Magical resistance just turned into magical creepy.
Two people attended, aside of myself. I got talking to the new bodymaster about what it was and why I was unhappy and he agreed that members of the lodge had wanted to do more for a while, but the old bodymaster sort of gave up. The old bodymaster is a bit of a control freak and insisted on doing the gnostic mass himself. He still does. The lodge does two masses now. He also didn’t want anything else happening in the “gnostic mass space” except for the gnostic mass. Since the temple is the largest room and the lodge proper is made up of the temple and the “lounge”, the temple is the only room we can really use. Thankfully the new bodymaster is intent on practicing his own magic and frankly pulling rank. Really the bottom line here is “The word of sin is restriction.”
The new bodymaster likes to practice energy work. I sort of rolled my eyes at this because I felt it was firmly new agey but I was willing to give anything a go once. Turns out not only is he a seriously gifted person and not crazy (something rare in magic), but he’s decently well read enough to get things done. Case in point, he was quoting from Tyson’s The New Magus when explaining what’s going on. The New Magus was eventually re-edited into New Millenium Magic and it sucked. If you have a chance, grab the first copy. I just grabbed The New Magus off half.com for $5, so it won’t kill anyone.
Anyway, the process of creating these egregores went something like this – everyone decides on a “theme” for the egregores. Then people decide what godforms embody these themes. It doesn’t have to be all from the same pantheon, me being really classical only really thinks in terms of the names of God and Angels, but one of them ended up hosting Dionysus, Hern, and Apollo. Gender polarity is important when using deities which have gender, which is something I haven’t even considered before. Everyone jokes in Dogma about the Angels not having the goods, but it’s true. Constantine does the whole gender-neutral Angels thing really well with Gabriel played by Tilda Swinton. Then we pick a set of colors, and a number. No-one is allowed to pick anything without explaining it, dice are not suitable here. The bodymaster then does his ‘energy work thing’ (not sure what the nuts and bolts are of this) and ‘gives’ you the energy to meditate on. I’m about as psychic as a brick as I’ve written in other posts, but when he ‘gave’ it to me I got the normal magical feeling. We then meditate for five minutes or so to determine any impressions we get. The energy was so seriously well-defined I got communication almost immediately. He then passes around a notepad and without looking at anyone elses drawing, we flip to a clean page and draw or write down stuff. The two guys got shapes, I tend to have wildly complex visions.
For the “mother” figure, I clearly saw a crystal. The crystal was clear and raw, like it was fresh hewn from the ground. It was marginally cool to the ‘touch’. Something was inside the crystal, which I figured out was a bird. Upon closer examination, the bird was a peacock. I decided to try to move into the crystal with the peacock and rather than end up in the same space, I found myself in a vortex which was pulling things in. This was a good polarity for a female figure. This completely defies cabalistic analysis to me. I suspect the energy was Crowleys vision of the 30th (first) Aethyr. This would be good because it’s also the sphere closest to Earth and the material, also because Harpocraties is Horus, and Horus is a falcon headed God, but the falcon is blue. Oops. I described it as a peacock, the magical current got in my head and I saw “blue bird” and completely missed the association. Hang out with the OTO, have OTO themed visions…
The “father” figure (his words, not mine, male and female would suffice) was similarly configured with Gods, colors, and numbers, and he ‘made’ the energy. A vision of this was a honey bear. This is confusing as all heck and I mentally tried to banish it a few times but the honey bear persisted. It’s just a bear, hanging out, filled with honey, with the stupid yellow tube on his head like a hat. Then I got a mercury sphere, which I would have intellectually written up to being Saturn but seemed to be emitting light, so it was like a silver sun. The sun was setting behind the honey bear. We collected the visions and came up with a composite drawing, honeybear on a dias with the setting silver sun behind him. It’s probably supposed to be Anubis in my mind, but again, I didn’t realize this until I came home and went over my notes. It’s also really interesting commentary on the relationship between the various godforms people chose.
He then ‘selected consciousness energy’ to put in the egregores. This is Crowleys CHAOS. Once properly installed, the energy is put into the candles with the appropriate sigils-from-visions on them, given a lifespan, and lit and we all enjoy some diet soda and discuss things. We’ll see if the egregores manifest. If not, we’ll rip them apart and start over.
We took our daughter out to her Wiccaning (or baby blessing) per my wife’s wishes. I’m largely as apathetic towards wiccaning as I am towards baptism. The kid didn’t ask for it. She’s too little to know. As a baby blessing it’s fine, but as initiation into a tradition – she doesn’t know how to walk yet let alone do magic. In fact, I’ve been a bit short on magic myself recently if only because she’s teething and wakes up twice a night for orajel. Nothing like going to meditate and falling over asleep.
My wife’s old coven left a sour taste because it was strongly HAIL THE GODDESS and the god. Magic is all about practice, so all the philosophy books in the world won’t matter if the product is largely goddess worship. That being said my exposure to wicca was just that and I didn’t particularly think modern wicca was being practiced in any balanced form. I figured feminists had hijacked it and that was great for them and I’d live and let live. That being said, the new coven shes hooked up with is Gardenarian and while the priestess has drank the kool-aid and believes Gardner took his OTO teachings and backported the NFC into them and then initiated Crowley, the priest doesn’t seem to buy it 100%. The priest has even done his CM readings and knew about the Archangels as archetypes of the elements.
I’m of the opinion Gardner took his exposure to native Malaysian paganism and brought it home with him when he moved back to England. Given his four or so marriages to local women, his conversion to Islam (or at least the shahadah), and enough familiarity with the local culture to join the militia, it’s extremely likely in my mind that he took the local faith as his own. I’ve written piles about it previously on this blog, and my supposition is that Gardner became fast friends with Crolwey due to the Middle Eastern imagery in the OTO which he would have treated as Islamic Paganism (gain of salt level: mountain). New Forest Coven I suspect is an inside joke I haven’t tracked down yet.
Now, since they have a sense of history, even if their conclusion is a reach, I can hang with these guys. Even if they don’t think enough about theology to want to reach out to the Jewish mystical texts, gimoires, apocrypha, greek papyri, and practice evocation/invocation, if they have the brass tacks and they’re tolerant enough to know an Angel by any other name, then we can hang. I started out fairly softball with the whole thing and the high point of the night was the reincarnation/akashaic record question. They responded, “Well what’s the difference?” They don’t read this journal, they probably wouldn’t have read the question before. That’s good, that means people are thinking outside the box. They’re light on book reading, Levi goes on a bit of a tear about this and it would have been fitting in the context of the discussion, but they’re thinking and we’re clearly on the same page of reasoning. Levi argues that each person leaves behind two corpses, one is physical, the other is the thinking and reasoning body. Paraphrased – “The soul returns to the godhead and the source of all true knowledge.”
Now the Witches Reed (or whatever the Wicca Doxology is called) came up and while we were talking about spirits by any names they put the question to me “Who is Azarak and who is Zomelak?” I said they sounded Babylonian but didn’t know off the top of my head. I went and picked my buddy’s brain who’s seriously into the Necronomicon and he didn’t know either but agreed it sounded familiar. Finally I put it into google and it’s just an explosion of fluffy bunny crap and no actual research. I decided to hit the books.
Remembering how badly Arabic languages get mangled in previous magical experiments, I was fairly sure that -ak was the phonetic -och. The shorthand version of this is that it’s a designator of a place. This gives us Zomel and Azar. If the last one looks familiar to you, it’s because Poke Runyon debates it in his Book of Solomon’s Magic. Azar is (depending on what day of the week it is) Azaz(el), or Ishtar. Later he argues that Ishtar is actually Astarte (Asteroth, Asteroch… per the master mandala). It’s not too huge a reach if we want Gardner to have the same problems everyone else in magic has – oftentimes the books are written illegibly and dictated at best, or assumed as to the barbarous names at worst.
Now if we really want to go down the rabbit hole, Estakr had recently been written about since the Zoroastrian texts were starting to be translated around 1880. If I can make assumptions about the didactic marks, Asar-och or Asar-ak isn’t too much of a reach, especially with a soft-k looking a lot like an R (Astarr). Anyway, this gives us two fairly convincing cases that Gardner either cribbed it from notes on the Goetia, or he was interested in anthropology and happened upon mention of the city in Zoroastrianism.
Zomelak is a pain to ferret out the root word. Keeping with the present-day-Iran theme, there’s about 100 things in Iran named Somel. It’s a food, it’s a providence, it’s a river, it’s a township, it’s a family name for a group of nomads, it’s a town, it’s a drink. That didn’t really turn up anything except that it’s a really common word. After a whole bunch of beating my head against the wall I finally just typed it into google and found out that Saman (Som-eh) is a Sri Lanken tribal God. This would have been right under Gardners nose.
Saman is the “smiling morning sun”. Ishtar is the personification of Venus (or Persephone), who descends to the underworld to ressurect her lover and nurture him. This wouldn’t have been lost on either Crowley or Gardner. But while making that leap and considering how much I can mangle language before people call me on it, I ran into Shamesh. Can we hammer Shamesh into Zomelak? The crossed associations are oftentimes formed by war and the decay of civilization, but I think it’s too much of a reach to try to get Shamesh to Zamez (Zomel). I think Zomel-as-Saman not only works better, but I also think it encompasses Gardner’s desire to worship the deities he found in his upbringing.
Comments? Flames? Have at it.
Worth a read – It’s commentary on Daimonic Agencies and RO and JM’s commentary on them. Also included are a bunch of links to other goodies worth reading. The Scarlet Imprint has the two volumes of the Geospohia at reasonable price (about $30 USD per volume), the True Grimoire is about the same price.