High Magic’s Aid Part 2

Tags

, ,

You can read part 1 here, also this might be a shorter post since I don’t really want to comment on the body of ritual in the second half of the book and my kindle apparently didn’t sync on the airplane wifi so I lost my highlights. First world problems…

I screwed up a bit – I should have been referencing Gardner’s “The Meaning of Witchcraft” which has some overlapping commentary. I remember reading it quite awhile ago and it didn’t stick in my head since I really hated Gardner’s writing voice at the time. “It is said…” and “it is known that…” would get any author the [citation required] tag on wikipedia which is what turned me off to it since I recognized some of the references but he didn’t publish any of the sources. Is it a defense mechanism? Probably not, he’s giving interviews on TV and such and I feel like it’s something by that time the bones of the golden dawn rituals were available and the freemasonry rituals were long since published. However he probably felt some obligation to secrecy from his oaths and that’s fine. I personally chose to omit commentary on passages myself when writing on Masonic/OTO/Golden Dawn topics so I am certainly sympathetic to the idea for Gardner.

The second half of the book isn’t as dense for religious commentary as the first half of the book. He’s got to wrap up a story after all and I won’t spoil the ending. One of the main themes persists where High Magic continues to be theurgic (communion with spirits) and witchcraft deals much more with practical matters. Curiously things like a talisman comes up and both the magicians and the witches seem to know about their operation, so I think Gardner really wanted planetary talismans to serve as the bridge of curiosity for advancement.

Morvan says, for instance:

Some there were who would look into a pool of water or a magic stone, and see visions of what was happening at a distance, and so we would be warned of approaching danger. By these means we escaped for long, though yearly, as we grew weaker, so did the hatred of our enemies increase, so that they came with armed men to our gatherings to take us … but, being forewarned, we would disperse ere they arrived. They said ’twas the Devil who warned us.

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 1592-1596). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

Morvan is used as the mouthpiece for “this is something firmly in the realm of witchcraft” while Thur is usually the magician. To that end Thur himself is some sort of pagan, neither side is quite cleanly delineated in the book as a hard “this not that” and I think this mingling of the disciplines is intentional. Thur is never “only” the magician and Morvan is never “only” the witch. Thur’s name by itself is a saxon derivation of Thor, which leads us to the conclusion that if his parents were Good Christian Folk or something they would certainly have been aware of the “other religious practices” or some such. What would you call Thur’s birthday? Probably Thur’s Day.

’Tis a phallic religion,” said Thur, “and the broomstick symbolises the phallus.

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 1606-1607). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

Thur has a really telling moment when talking about the broom symbolism (and the preceding passage) and this is pretty much straight up theurgic sex magic. Sex magic is older than Crowley but the parallels between the altar at the gnostic mass and the altar in wicca (and the tools involved) are worth a study. As usual, Gardner gives us one sentence acknowledging the source of an idea he’s trying to convey but never directly spells it out. This is a particularly good choice of kit because it’s one of the components from folk religion Gardner has picked to include but he very nicely relates it to higher purposes and religious analogy rather than simply saying “Well witches ride brooms, it’s what they do”. He directly relates it to the phallus, while Crowley warps the entire symbolism up into the wand itself.

To further illustrate the idea that High Magic and Witchcraft are supposed to go together, we find the following passage:

I have been looking at thy books, Thur. Tell me of them. Some have pictures of plants, and I think, tell of their virtues. Wilt thou truly teach me the art of reading them?”.

He laughed, and showed her his small stock, which was a mighty library as things went in those days. There was a Latin work of Apuleius Platonicus with drawings of plants, also a Grateuss, two books on astrology and several classical works, among them the poems of Sappho, with other Greek works. He read a little from a Herbal: “’For colds in the head, or if phlegm will not clear, take Horehound, which the Romans call Marrubium, seathe it in water, and let them take, and it will clear them wonderfully … .

For lung diseases seathe the wort in honey and the patient will heal … ’ For sore teeth take roots of henbane and seathe it in strong wine. Sip it warm and hold it in the mouth, and they will speedily heal. … For dizziness let them run three times, naked, after sunset, through a field of flax, when the flax will take unto itself the dizziness. For ague, eat nine sage leaves fasting, nine mornings in succession and you shall be healed.’“

“Truly thou art a wonderfully clever man…

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 1841-1847). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

That’s about the closest we get to The Golden Bough or the notion of The Golden Thread, Gardner is clearly saying “look all these sources are knowledge that has been in what we call witchcraft since time immemorial and they are worthy of study”. The writing style also changes, and it’s written in a way which would be comfortable with Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (please read the Kraig edition, if you feel so inclined). These books, however, are books which would have influenced Gardner, and so to conspicuously place them and the writing style in the hands of characters who lived (at latest) in the 13th century isn’t an accident – it’s a clear nod towards the encouragement to read them. The tell is that warfare had changed in Europe regarding castles and cannons in the late 13th century and the standard tactic for castle siege became mass volley fire both directions rather than bow and arrows. Gardner, being well read and English, would have certainly known this. Furthering the idea of period renaissance magic:

A Pentacle of Saturn will induce his good qualities of steadiness, perseverance and loyalty, but this can only be carried by one born under Saturn; to anyone else it would bring disaster. A soldier born under any sign could wear a Pentacle of Mars, with advantage, which might produce quarrelsomeness in a merchant, while the latter would be well advised to wear one of Mercury. While a medal such as described above is sometimes called a Talisman. This name should more properly be kept for articles made especially for its owner, with the express intention of bringing him success in what particular object he has in view, and are made in accordance with the owner’s horoscope. They are usually made by an expert, in the proper day and hour, with the special object in view, with protection and safety.

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 3421-3426). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

That’s straight up Book of Solomon/Dee/Agrippa right there. The picatrix adds components which require the planet be in the right celestial house and in a fortunate sign and visible, but the emphasis in European sources for this magic at the time were day-and-hour sorts of magic and horoscopes rather than the arabic observations of the heavens. There wasn’t a good copy of the picatrix floating around at the time, it would be quite interesting to ask Gardner were he alive today if he would have included them. Regarding temptation and the era’s emphasis on being free from Christian error…

Here would be no temptation, no distraction for him in this beauty unadorned because a Magus must be immune to such conditions, ere he may become a Magus, for if he cannot at all times prevent his mind from straying, failure in his enterprises would be inevitable; rather was such nudity an added strength to him, for by its presence it signifies the strength of his will and the power of his self-control. For a Magus must ever work with a naked woman till nudity is naught to him, lest an evil or mischevious spirit should appear thus, and distract his mind at the critical moment and so ruin an operation.

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 3438-3443). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

Jan has to fight off the sexual temptations when he’s tested by Mars, and this particular part of the book shows a good amount of philosophy. I would venture that a good portion of “first spells” are love spells, and its probably the most popular selling spellbook on amazon. Is a love spell something “good”? Sure, between a husband a wife, usually. But both sides have to consent or it’s a violation of free will somewhere. Therefor to attack the baser sexual components and redeem the raw sexual desire into the appreciation of beauty, there’s nudity. Crowley went about this in a very different way and embraced each vice to a fault until he was sick of them, I think in this way Gardner is somehow more polite and considerate than Crowley. Gardner isn’t saying we have to lead stoic lives, but rather sees the potential for mischievous temptation in magic and realizes that the strongest, basest desire (lust, sex) is probably going to be the stumbling block to everyone. I think it’s very likely he knew about the whole Dee Kelley wife swapping incident. For the unaware, Kelley is really trying hard to get with Dee’s young wife, and he redesigns the Great Table several times over the course of several days to produce an encrypted message supposedly instructing them to swap wives. It makes no sense whatsoever unless it appeals to each of their lusts – Dee for more contact with the spirits and more knowledge and Kelley to lay with Dee’s wife. There is a similar Kelley style crisis of faith which Gardner deals with:

The Church denounced what Thur was doing, declaring it to be sinful, punishable by death, and forbidden by God. Yet it Was God who was aiding Thur. Jan knew that Thur was not working through the Devil, as the Church said, all sorcerers worked, because one cannot invoke the devil in God’s Sacred Name. That evil would surely blast a man where he stood. No, Thur had worked through God with the uttermost reverence, and God had answered his prayers. So clearly it was God’s Will! In this creation of Bartzebal, Jan saw the hand of God in answer to solemn prayer, and Bartzebal sent by God’s hand was there, though he frowned and so was there unwillingly, and the thought came, he himself was there unwillingly, to gain his own ends. Was this not sin? and God in his infinite Goodness and Compassion, had plainly worked this thing…

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 3786-3791). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

Finally, Gardner also sticks up for us who study “dusty old books” which are decidedly unsexy in pursuit of Dee style theurgy. Spiritual pursuits for the sake of sex and powder are essentially science without morality and we should be ever guarded to ensure we’re actually working for the best amount of good we can as we understand it.

It is the fashion to-day to laugh at the Magus and his pretensions, to picture him as either a charlatan or a doddering old fool, and bearing the slightest resemblance to the men who were in fact, the scientists of the day, who gave us alcohol, but not the Atom Bomb.

Gardner, Gerald B.. High Magic’s Aid (Kindle Locations 3460-3462). Aurinia Books. Kindle Edition.

Advertisements

High Magic’s Aid Part 1

Tags

, ,

I got about halfway through High Magic’s Aid again before hitting the “bad writing” wall, I think there’s distinctly a place in the book where Gardner must have hung it up and resumed writing at a later date. I ended up reading it halfway in almost one sitting because I was stuck in an airport. To that end the irony isn’t lost on me from the hecklers around “why didn’t you just ride your broomstick” or “why didn’t you teleport?” Maybe in the next life.

To that end, there’s a few things in the book which really stick out to me this go-round. For one, Gardner acknowledges the presence of freemasonry in the book. He also gets into the solomonic system and he’s clearly familiar with it more than in passing. He also continues what I observed earlier where objects and things take on their roles due to their placement. This becomes important later in the actual system.

The solomonic treatment is easy enough: When constructing the tools they’re made in a certain hour on a certain day. This is taken from the Lesser Key, and it’s pretty standard solomonic stuff. X tool constructed on Y day in Z hour lets you make A tool which is supposed to be constructed on B day in C hour and so on. And before long, you have a complete kit. Planetary influences are curiously enough not acknowledged in the book save for mentioning the ruler of the day and hour. To that end, we’re back to a system of magic which requires the use of one’s five senses and what they can perceive rather then throwing astrological charts. Gardner firmly believes that power comes from the individual, and in the preparation of the tools this is expressed. He acknowledges that making the tools is circular:

Instruments!” gasped the horrified Olaf. Jan gave an impatient half-gesture which bade him to be silent and not-interrupt.
“Without them there is much danger. Firstly I must make a circle with a properly consecrated sword.”
“How may one come by that?” asked Jan.
“It can be made, but the means are lacking, that is the trouble. To make the sword I need the burin, to make the burin I must have the
consecrated white-hilted knife, the witch’s athame. They in turn must be made by the burin.”

Jan drooped hopelessly on his seat, sitting
hunched with bent head. Thur looked compassionately at him. “‘Tis all in a circle, and I know not the way in.

So we learn two things: To properly perform this magic, you need to use the proper tools and they must be properly prepared, and no ordinary tool will do. We also see that power again might reside in things, but the exercising of that power lies in people. Therefor something like an almond wand cut at dawn and so on might have power unto itself, but that power is latent and not expressed until the wand is used properly. Later on in the book we see that our heros sit down and fashion some tools themselves using a set of properly prepared tools, which means that Gardner acknowledges the power inherent in things, and that power can be purposed even by people who don’t identify with a particular cult, but ultimately we’re left in a situation where people either have the mojo or they do not. Even at the very beginning when barbarous names are being used – they’re not merely spoken, but they’re spoken as “resounding as a gong”, which tells us that both the operator and the person perceiving the operation are equally beholden to raising power.

This is evidenced later in the book where a spell is cast with a harp. Morven has implicit power, but a harp isn’t something in the solomonic system. Because Morven has power unto herself, she can use that power. What is Morven’s power? She’s sexy. (Not kidding, read the book). She’s described as quite attractive and in this way can manipulate people. It would be easy to write that she just played people for their wealth like some sort of gold digger, but the fundamental unit of power in Morven is that she’s attractive. When the heros are trying to be discreet, they instruct their women to dress as boys. When Morven is playing the harp, she’s described as attractive. It’s safe to say that being attractive makes someone influential, and this shows up earlier in the story where the question about our heros traveling as husband and wife or uncle and niece comes up. Husband and wife implies a sexual component, whereas uncle and niece implies there is no sexual component. (They pick uncle and niece). This particular bawdy sexual power comes up when one of the soldiers requests a hymn, and she instead chooses her own music. This is to inspire sexual energy, and she then uses it to get the drunken soldiers to fight. The core component here is sexual polarity, something Crowley also went after in the OTO.

Is this the only power? Absolutely not. Gardner also gives a nod to the role of awe in magic. Here we see a friendly treatment of Freemasonry when our company comes upon a city:

From the heights of Hampstead they looked across the fertile valley to the splendours of the great cathedral, revealed sharply by the crystalline air of that clear day, its surface glistening here and there as the sun caught upon some facet in the newly-cut stone. They gazed at it in awe and wonder that man could devise and raise such an edifice, for in grandeur of conception and beauty of craftsmanship it had not its equal anywhere. There it stood, softened by distance and the peculiar English atmosphere to a pearly hue. It rose a mass of piled and carven stone. So solid … yet appearing airily poised as it soared into the intense blue of the sky, so that it indeed looked like the very throne of God himself.
“It is a marvel!” breathed Morven, breaking the silence into which they had fallen as they feasted their eyes. “It is the very symbol of God. Why cannot Mother Church be as holy and gracious in her deeds towards men as she manifests herself in that great temple?”
“‘Tis not Church!” jeered the elder Bonder with supreme scorn. “‘Tis themaster-mason and the men who build under him. ”
“Nay, there is more. ‘Tis the eyes with which we see, and the grandeur, of vision in the mind of the master ere ever he begins to build.”
Jan stared at this, uncomprehending, while Thur smiled in satisfaction and Morven nodded agreement.

I believe the wording choice is intentional and the emphasis is my own. There is a theme in the book where Christianity itself isn’t treated in particular contempt, but the Roman Church is bad at practicing magic. Somehow it’s lost it’s power. Now, the church cannot have sexual modes of power – lust isn’t something it could harness. I have deep seated political speculations that the church did rediscover this power and it manifested itself in some unhealthy ways but I would prefer to avoid the topic. That being said the notion of the Master Mason comes up and the word choice is quite interesting. Freemasonry itself sits upon ritual as it’s backbone, and ritualism in this form is devoid of sexual practice. Garnder, in so choosing to include a reference to Masonry in his book, also hat-tips us to the Masonic influences in Wicca of which there are many. To this end, his commentary on the inspiration in magic – the power of awe – is held here. A lot of my own personal Enochian experience is rooted in the notion of awe, I deeply respect Dee and I think the visions recorded are absolutely beautiful. I also appreciate the masonic temple in my own home town and it’s inspiring grandeur. Here, power comes from the ability to inspire. Not just sexual energy. The company laments that the mother church has squandered this. Surely, if the church used this, it would be accused of idolatry, and a lot of Protestant thought revolves around things like icons of saints and reliquaries being exactly that. However, I think Garnder would be generally accepting of both of these as reliquaries, especially ones properly prepared in the day and hour, would cover both the inherent nobility of the items power and the preparation requirements in the solomonic system. Gardner is – in my mind – extremely open minded when it comes to magic. Less important is the hows and whys, and more important is that the magic itself is respected.

Lets now talk about the depth of that respect. There’s a discussion in the book around the literal nature of magic and the figurative nature of magic. In the book, the discussion is around probably the most talked about charm in the solomonic books which is the one which makes the operator invisible.

Again you mock, but you should make some small spell for Jan’s especial safety … a spell of invisibility.”
“So?” said Thur, amused.
“‘Twill soon be the hour of Venus, and her day, Friday. Make the figure of wax and write the spell on the skin of a toad. Thus do we witches, ever bearing in mind that invisibility is not a lack of sight in all beholders, but lack of observation. Any but the blind may see, but he who carries the spell is not marked by all about him.”
“Your witchcraft, it seems, is very much a thing of the mind … the dominance of the witch’s mind over her surroundings. ”
“Truly. A thing of much accurate observation, and knowledge of what people do, and may do in certain events. The witch holds the mind of those she would influence. ‘Tis simple. An old woman with a load may come and go unnoticed, so long as her behaviour is that of an old woman with a load. ”
“So if she hurry, or stop to glance about her, she would be marked?”
“Yes, always one so disguised wears the charm of the talisman with such confidence that she knows none may note her. As she sees herself in her own mind, so do others see her. But if she trusts not in the powers she wears, and lets fear taint her mind, then does she impart fear to those about her They see her furtiveness, mark her,
remember her, question her, and take her.

Here we have the concepts above wrapped up into one unit: Objects have inherent power and must be prepared to enhance or unlock that power. The operator is the one who actually uses that power – but in Wicca this power is channeled into the operator. This makes quite a bit of sense since the operator would be preparing that power. There is an investment into the object and then a divestment of that power into the operator. Finally we have the power of emotion which is the real dynamo of living power, and the power is the dominance of the mind over the other factors.

Finally how do we know the system is solomonic at all? (Aside of Gardner writing the system into the book explicitly…)

I see,” said Jan, dejectedly. He had based all his hopes on Thur and now found him a broken reed. “But, Thur, is there no way at all? I fear
not to risk my life; must I, as the monks say, sell my soul?”
“That is but a priestly lie,” said Thur. “The God whom the magicians invoke is the same One that the monks pray to, but we are taught to pray differently, that is all, using the methods of King Solomon, of whom the Lord said, ‘I have given thee a wise and understanding heart so that before thee there was none like unto thee, nor, ever shall arise.’
Solomon performed many wonders and great deeds by the use of the knowledge that the Lord had given him,. but when old age came o’er
him’ he wrote to his son, ‘Treasure up, oh my son Roboam, the wisdom of my words, seeing that I, Solomon, did do and perform many
wonders, and I have written a certain Book wherein I have rehearsed the secret of secrets; and in which I have preserved that hidden. I
have concealed also all secrets whatsoever of magical arts of any masters, and I have written them in this key, so that like a key it openeth a treasure house … so this key alone may open the knowledge of the magical arts and sciences.
“‘Therefore, oh my son, let everything be properly prepared; as set down by me both day and hour, and all things necessary, for without
this there will be but falsehood and vanity in the work.
“‘I command thee, my son Roboam, to place this key beside me in the sepulchre.’
“And,” continued Thur, “it was so done, but in time came certain Babylonian philosophers, who dug out the sepulchre, and they. made
copies of the key, and with them worked many marvels.

And so there we have it. Not only do we have a confirmation that elements of the system are in fact solomonic but we also have the freemasonry connection once again that there was a lost word and the word was recovered, and the word may be learned once again.

Part 2 to follow next time I’m stuck in an airport.

I Had Visitors Today

Tags

,

Synchronicity is the sign that magic has worked. Magic, if we skip Crowleys succinct “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”, magic is simply the practice of “manufacturing coincidence”. How do we know if magic “took”? We would see coincidences which are meaningful to us. Right now nature loves me. I was sitting on my back deck and enjoying watching some deer mill around in front of my beehive eating my weeds. This, by itself, isn’t particularly interesting as much as I view it as an affirmation that I have a well kept back yard and that nature, as a whole, is comfortable with my relationship with it. I hunt, so the deer and I have a very good relationship, and I think they’re beautiful animals. I view the hunt as a sort of sacrament in blood unto itself. I love the deer, and they provide for me and my family come winter time. In the eternal chase of the sum of human evolution, I can’t think of an animal which is more deserving of veneration within the european context. For the native americans, that animal was the North American Buffalo. The buffalo, before being hunting almost to extinction because of an unhealthy relationship with nature, were responsible for motivating everything about the local ecosystem that cared for the people who dwelt within it. Their hooves turned over the earth, and acted as a sort of plough for the grasslands. Compared to north american cows, which have flat hooves and compact the earth, the buffalo acted as natures farmers when it came time to till the soil. Similarly, their poop was responsible for re-planting that very same field they walked over, and transporting seeds. Their hides became homes and clothes. Their meat, last but not least, provided sustenance for the people who cared for them. Within the context of the deer, all this very much holds true. Unlike the buffalo, however, the deer have always maintained an independent spirit. They have never been commercially farmed or raised. Even in places like New Zealand where the deer are commercially farmed, they refuse to be penned up and maintain their wild spirits.
Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature
As I was sitting on my porch, working remotely, I suddenly took to the notion of being observed. This isn’t entirely out of the ordinary, I happen to live in a wooded area but the neighbors can see into each others yard from the right angle through the trees. I figured it was them or my children. As I went to get some more tobacco and enjoy the deer, my gaze fell upon the darkness of the woods through the misting rain. There! A man! A masculine presence. I stood there for 10 minutes watching him, astounded that someone would take the time to walk through the woods and take an interest in me. I couldn’t shake the notion of being watched, and I assumed he was a hunter as his dress was a perfect emulation of the pawpaw trees growing in that region of the forest. The likeness of a person was still evident, as if that person were made from the leaves of the woods absolutely perfectly. We stood watching each other for 10 minutes. He remained motionless, and stoic. After some time the sense of being watched started to abate. I went to my door and proceeded down into the yard intending to share some comradely with the fellow hunter and ask how his luck had been. When I got to his spot, I found he was gone.

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

Tags

,

Has it been two years? Has it?

It feels like yesterday.

The silence was self imposed. It was a pact with Saturnian forces. Why not the Sun or the Moon? There was a lot of work to be done. Saturn at the time was in sagittarius, having just left scorpio. And by “just left” I mean it takes it three years or so to transit a sign so we’re talking about magic that takes three years to work since zodiacal magic tends to spring on the transits. Do you like long games? Saturn is the planet for you! If you happen to enjoy slow-burn sorts of solutions full well knowing this is going to take awhile and understand that Saturn is a slow, underworldly process of alchemical redemption and death, great. There were a lot of times I was tempted to blog about the mess and, frankly, brag, but the goal was to achieve something and the ego ultimately destroys magic. Magic is about doing something, and then letting it cook in it’s own way until you get the result. I think bragging is like opening the oven every five minutes to tell someone you’re baking a cake. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: “To know, to will, to dare, to shut up“. (Yes I realize the irony of running a blog espousing this).

Since then, I’ve overcome a good amount of organizational resistance and brought order how I see fit to my personal universe. The celebration was a personal one. I don’t think it’s particularly fit to mention the circumstances or the players but the bottom line is that I ended up being initiated into the Gardnerian Coven my wife was presently a member of.

Now, these folks are cool, the high priestess doesn’t say “you can’t study this or that” or “you can’t be friends with these folks or your spouse or tell your spouse anything”, and there’s a good appetite for exploration, which is what got me originally hanging out with them. Its not a feminist cult which is where I think some wicca takes a left hand turn into a barn fire. I’ve written several times before about why wicca can suck on my blog and honestly, none of those things are happening in this group. In fact, the high priestess had to make a hard choice between tradition or postmodern awfulness, and she stuck with the tradition. That makes me extremely happy since I believe that modernism is a trap and compromise erodes things into an unrecognizable mess. There’s the notion of advancement – we have cars which in 100 years are still recognizable as cars – and there’s the notion of pollution, which is when cars suddenly sprout wings and become something else. To have the pure car experience, you’re really looking at “four wheels and moves along the ground”. The same sort of thing is visible here with the solomonic or enochian posts – rather than making “enochian runes” and other claptrap, I’ve really tried to give the systems a fair shake as written in the oldest material I could find. Similar to the previous arc also, things started out solomonic and moved into enochia and seem to be orbiting back to solomonic (or pagan, at least).

Will the blog become a Gardnerian blog? No. I think things are going to take a naturalist twist here. I’ve been extremely specific about ritual before and to contrast that, the Gardnerian ritual and material is only going to be spoken about in the most general of ways (which is to say – whatever Gardner published on Amazon…). On the other hand, I think it’s going to be really quite interesting to compare previous philosophy to where things currently sit. Specifically what strikes me from the last few rituals is the notion of physicality. If we want certain aspects to be presented to things in the circle, we place them in that quarter of the circle. It was an ah-ha moment I wonder why I had missed before. Sympathetic magic! Things assuming virtues of other things! I’ve written about this a hundred times and at no point did I say “lets move things around so they pick up virtues of where they’re placed.” Writing about it seems quite simple. In retrospect it seems quite obvious why a compass rose was never included in the diagrams of the circle of the Lesser Key.

The Lesser Key of Solomon

WordPress changed the image paste UI on me and I don’t really like it.

Why then, are there four six rayed stars in each of the cardinal directions and five rayed stars in each of the mutable directions? Well, you’re supposed to move around the mirror, of course, which is why it’s a circle and not an arrow. This bears experimentation later. Gardner was no dummy and was working with some good minds (Crowley) and some good organizations (Masonry). Gardnerian wicca, properly, does not exist in a vacuum and should embrace other sources and operations, and the one group had a really good class on the Thoth tarot, which was also a welcome discussion I enjoyed with the presenter long into that night.

If you’re familiar with the choirs of angels, or the original solomonic material, suddenly it becomes much smarter to place the mirror in the quadrant of the circle you’re interested in summoning from. So and so spirit rules over a particular quarter, the mirror goes there. Talking to a choir of angels from a particular quarter? The mirror goes there. The mirror is the proverbial telephone by which someone’s voice is made manifest. Now suppose you had someone video conferencing you, and you noticed the sun was a particular direction in the video. Wouldn’t you wish to place your phone in such a way that the image had the sun from the correct direction to make communication much more accurate, congruent, and enjoyable? In this way the circle and the articles in the circle lend a passive and practical role to the magical operation. Nifty. This notion also extends to other devices in the initiation circle where it almost seems like Gardner saw this in a very practical light when reading ritual material. Your lionskin belt is fitted to you, and it also happens to be made of lion, so to speak.

That being said, it’s a particularly interesting branch of magic in which the power isn’t like surfing – it’s not generated by observing the positions of the heavens and trying to guide the energy generated by the motion of the universe. It is a personal power, it’s something distinct to the group that raises it and I now believe the cone of power is real. I strongly suspect that Gardner was exposed to magical power (arguments the origin of which aside) and went to make the most practical system he could using the myths and material as he wanted to present them.

Last night I had the strangest dream…

After initiation, my High Priestess asked if I had any peculiar experiences in the circle. To that end, being psychic is a mode I can access when I’m in the right state of intoxication, but I was asked to eat lightly and refrain from substances. At the time, I had a notion of my aura (a white body) being pressed down, and from above a black egg entered me from the head. Beyond that I didn’t get much aside of the normal imagery where I can usually detect a “good” night from a “bad” night when we’re doing that. The lack of alcohol and such kept me firmly in the “here and now” sort of space. I was exhausted and that night I slept like the dead neither having dreams nor a sense of time. I did notice that while the ritual ended much earlier, I was missing about two hours I cannot trace to a particular event. We merely did the initiation and enjoyed each others company. I was thankful my wife drove home, I was beyond tired.

Two days later, I found myself in a thick wood, on a dirt path. Everything was verdant and green and the impression was that it was almost midday. Not hot, but bright in the way the forest gets when the leaves of the trees filter out the sunlight as though they’re so many outstretched hands. Traveling the path, I caught glimpses of a young, youthful, adolescent Pan. He was always just a bit beyond sight, never quite coming forth and never close. As I traveled the path a long distance, I became lost. There was a sense of a disconnect, but not a panic. I didn’t have a map, but I knew where I was roughly. It was akin to hunting in winter having done all the scouting in summer. Everything is familiar, but not readily recognizable in this particular mode. Pan had pipes in his hand, and finally draws me to a grove. The grove itself is huge, a grassy field, well used, and in the middle is a stone table with a fire in it. A blonde woman in blue, also youthful and well endowed takes me into the circle and there’s a sense of eroticism here. Shes wearing particular jewelry and a blue, deep diving robe with silver trim on the borders.

A ritual of a sort takes place with parallels to what I had just experienced but the preparation of the circle is notably absent. Why should there be a circle prepared? This is the native space of the spirits and there would be no circle cast where I scrying the place of any other spirit either. I am a guest here. Names are exchanged, confirming the authenticity of the dream in my mind.

Reconsidering the Kabbalistic Cross

Tags

, ,

Taking a page from Augoeides, I got it in my head that maybe we could apply dramatic ritual to other things. One of the more obvious things is both the Kabbalistic Cross and the use of the steps and signs within the religious use of the circle. For the nominal use, the signs and words are “ateh malkuth ve’geburah ve’gedulah leolam amen” ([For] Thou Art the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory, unto ever and ever, augmn). The normal form of this is to face the East (Orient), forehead, genitals, right shoulder, left shoulder, and then clasp the hands. Now we’ll channel the ghost of Manly P Hall.

It’s not really terribly complicated and it’s been well covered in just about any Rosicrucian or Golden Dawn book. But what are we consecrating? Or what do we get out of it?

The obvious consecration is ourselves, right? But one of the fundamental problems I think religions eventually have to tackle is that if we ourselves are fundamentally holy as a result of our membership with the Monad, then why? One of the views here is what we ourselves might be divine, but then only our souls are divine. The rest of ourselves – the physical part – is the part that deals with the messy business of living here in this particular place and time. Our bodies are really just space suits for our souls.

The solomonic folks go with the ritual bath. Which is decent and entirely practical for the purpose of transitioning into the ritual mentality. The immersion in water as in baptism fulfills the dramatic ritual requirements of death and rebirth or establishing a clean cut between the outer world and the inner world. Similarly in Masonry, the chamber of reflection serves the same purpose with the theme of death presented. There is the outside world, the fraternity and the areas and functions associated with it, then there is the portion which is the transition, and then there is the inner world. The inner world is well organized and clean and a reflection of the ideal forms which make up the mundane life such as the Zodiac marking the relationship of the earth to the heavens. Similarly a particular grip given in the third degree represents the two pillars on the Tree. The outside world is left behind and through dramatic ritual, we literally are installing common signs, symbols, and grips into our inner psyche which then become the working tools of philosophy.

To return to the original idea, the real problem with the KC is that, as far as the ritual chamber is concerned, theres only one operator and the rituals have been changed to accommodate that idea. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the clear historical nod is towards having two operators representing polarity. With one operator acting as the solar force, we end up with a purely theurgic operation. The Sun can only rise and set. With the operator acting in the Solar realm, the operator should be expressing and imposing their will onto the philosophical elements.

Unpopular side idea: Theurgic operations in Wicca are largely impossible due to the priest being relegated to little more than housekeeping – the equally unpopular counterpoint is I believe women can wholly operate in a solar fashion and men in a lunar fashion when employing emotional versus intelligent reasoning.

Within the realm of solar operation, to observe the philosophical elements as something we need to organize means that we also need a way to consecrate them. Rather than let them inspire us as they are (emotional and lunar reasoning), we are seeking to make them work as engines for our particular purpose. To that end, the KC actually works very well.

Four philosophical elements, four quarters to touch, four stations on a circle (or corners in a lodge), and if you’re bent on the solomonic kit, the knife signifying air (or compass). The compass, however, represents alchemical operations in additions to intellectual operations. Having bored everyone to death this far, heres the recipe minus the philosophy:

For the new consecration of the space, gather together the elements in uniform containers. If you’re using flowerpots, make sure they’re all the same and the bottom is plugged so the water doesn’t drain out. For the air pot, just leave it empty. Place these in the usual positions. Then rather than using the KC on yourself, touch the east philosophical element and say ateh, touch the western one and say malkuth, touch the southern position and say ve-Geburah, and then the north and say ve-Gedulah. Yes we’re really using the KC as the LBRP but folks familiar with the Enochian watchtowers will realize what we’ve actually accomplished here. If the Watchtowers are either a funnel down or a pyramid thrusting up, both points met in the solar realm. The LBRP making an orbit but the KC used this way should route forces up or down.

On Charity

Tags

, ,

I’ve been remiss in posting, but this is because my offline philosophical wanderings have been mostly with members of my Lodge. We’re stepping up fundraising activities and yes, I realize it’s the dark time of the year, but it’s also that nice portion of summer where the nights are cool and people are out and something as mundane as selling a hotdog at a car-show raises a good chunk of change. Merely because the Craft is in the dark time of the year doesn’t mean rest on our collective laurels – it means go do work. There are no breaks.

But here’s the rub: It’s actually really hard to get donations. In fact not only is it really hard, but this isn’t even supposed to be hard. I’m asking for donations from supermarkets to sell hotdogs at the local towns community car show to raise money for kids with cancer. You would think people would literally be handing me $10 to fund the thing.

Instead – and I won’t name corporations on the blog – the solicitation has to include no less than:

  1. Letter head. If it’s not on letterhead, they don’t want to see it.
  2. Addressed to the store. I can’t just print a form letter, it has to be addressed.
  3. I have to have a Tax ID number.
  4. I have to put my actual name on the form.
  5. I have to specifically enumerate what the donation will be used for. “Masonic charities” isn’t sufficient, nor are the local charities and homeless shelters we support. I have to write down that I’m going to use the gift card ($25 is standard) to buy rolls (100ct) to make sandwiches to sell to buy more food to feed the homeless and give free healthcare to children.

OK this is all hokey legal crap – why rant about it here?

Charity is charity. I’ve never responded to an email saying “You didn’t put my name in the right place or address me as Fr Phergoph”. If I did that, I’d come off as a complete tool. I even am OK when people use my real name in private correspondence. If I don’t feel comfortable discussing something (“love spells” in particular violate someone else’s Will) I will explain why and that’s usually the end of it. I’ve never been haughty to the effect of “you didn’t address me properly” or “you didn’t throw grips and signs” and then tell someone to piss off.

I am literally being told by a corporation that – because I didn’t put the TIN in the right place or put down the store number in the address – I can’t have food. Not free money, not an ipad, not a TV or a new set of shoes, it’s food. It’s not even food for me. I make a really good sandwich, you want my food. My food is frequently stolen from the office fridge, that’s how good it is.

Lets roll this back one order further – lets assume I didn’t have a decent job and a wife who worked. Lets assume I’m a guy off the street and I’m not well off and not wearing a suit with a well groomed beard and a masonic jewel – lets assume I don’t have that tax ID number because I’m more concerned with feeding my kids than I am filing proper paperwork with Uncle Sam.

The supermarket is going to tell me to piss off.

We now live in an age where people cannot honestly beg for food in (supposedly) the leader of the free world. Sure I could make an effort to hang out at homeless shelters and buy random people sandwiches (we actually do make food for the homeless in my Lodge) but holy crap you would think supermarkets would be absolutely begging to get the writeoffs. Nope.

Tomorrow I’m going to scrap the draft talking about masonic charities and re-write it to be a sandwich recipe because apparently everyone has to line-item helping the unfortunate in today’s America.

For the Redditors

Tags

Recently the blog was linked to in /r/occult and /r/enochian, but the pastebin used had the links abbreviated which resulted in a bunch of mail.

You’re looking for this document: https://phergoph.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/invocations-by-prayer.doc

I haven’t actually logged into reddit in two years. I was pleased to see /r/occult getting some activity, and it’s always nice to see folks curious about Enochian magic.

Take care.

EDIT: I’m a member of the “three year club” with only a single page of comment replies. I find this amusing.

On the Building of Solomon’s Temple

Tags

,

Addendum: The post is left completely as-was but I finally received confirmation that the trowel has always been a triangle gouge trowel.

One of the interesting pieces of the Masonic lore is how the temple is constructed. Here again we look at the floor play during the initiation (which I’m not sharing on the blog) and the position of the officers. Specifically a reference is made to the fact that the construction of the temple did not involve the sound of iron tools. This is actually fascinating unto itself since iron has long since had connotations for banishing and warding spaces since antiquity. It is the metal of Mars. It can be made to be magnetic but forged and heated, it loses that property. Furthermore the godform – not being named – appears in Masonic lore but specifically as a means to an end.

I know what the Masonic brothers are going to say – “But the trowel is made of metal!” – the modern incarnation of the thing is yes. However what we call a trowel today is actually what we now call a float for the trowel in antiquity. My gut feeling is that the trowel was replaced with the modern gouge trowel because it looked too similar to the tracing board – I’ve asked around for confirmation but this remains as speculation so don’t take this as masonic canon. It’s also entirely possible that the trowel is supposed to look like a square and compass with the middle filled in to represent religious dogma being the filler of the temple to build a frame to hold mysticism.

The square and compass have a particular station in masonry – they are in fact made of metal. However the square and compass would never have made a noise because their use is to measure things in the world of forms – the world of ideas as they are applied to the physical world. Additionally the square and compass are made from silver (lunar) and gold (solar). AND ITS NOT HARD TO SEE WHAT CROWLEY (and by proxy Gardner) WOULD READ INTO IT JUST SAYIN’.

What I do want to talk about is that nothing in the masonic hall makes a sound of iron, including the gavel. This is significant because the entire mythos revolves around the construction of the temple. It would seem then that build a temple without iron tools wouldn’t work too well. There would be no crucibles with which to melt precious metals, nor would there be any hammers to set precious stones, nor could stones be hewn. Yes there is an allegory for the social functions of masonry whereby rough stones are ground against smooth ones until they mate perfectly. But all that aside, what the ritual is really hinting at is that the temple construction is entirely nonphysical. We’re not literally building a temple in the masonic hall (but it would be cool), we’re building a temple of our brethren while we build the temple within us.

The exterior expression of this idea is that the masonic officers stand in certain positions on the floor. Conspicuously, not all those positions are occupied by a person and then one represents death. Examined from above, each officer in the lodge represents a degree, or entrance into the temple. When filled out with the auxiliary positions, the figure becomes a square or sort of a C shape. When simply represented by degree officers, the figure becomes a triangle. Also the lodge in masonry is absolutely a solar lodge. The measure is the measure of the day (sunrise, noon, sunset), and the measure of the moon through the month (waning, waxing, full light or dark).

Now into wild, wild speculation territory, since we know about the role of the sun and the moon and the officer, what if all the officers in masonry represent the planets? The line of thinking here is largely from the Gnostic Mass and my experience may be colored by visiting our local grand lodge and keeping an eye on whats present (and whats not). The experience for the candidate is alchemical, while the lodge mythos is terrestrial, but the presentation of the mythos is really operating on the celestial plane. I tried googling for this and the problem with joining a really popular occult order is everyone wants to tell me about 9/11 and the Grey Aliens and shockingly there’s not a lot of good information here even from the normal wanderings of Manly P Hall. If there is, please do point me to it. Also my blue lodge has enough esoteric masons to count on one hand unless I am not aware of them yet.

For the following, I am well aware of the phrase “the sun, the moon, and the worshipful master” but since I already declared wild speculation meanderings… If we have the sun (the WM) and the moon (Sr Warden – sitting opposite), Jr Decon (mercury), Chaplin (Venus), Treasurer (Jupiter), Secretary (Saturn), Tiler (Mars)… It turns out this is already apparently mapped to a thing and I’m late to the party: http://dcsymbols.com/officers/officers.htm

However my map is slightly different. YMMV. The celestial portions of the thing are actually quite interesting because I hadn’t seen the ratios represented until now. Also if you have a chance to take a tour of a grand lodge, pay special attention to the ratios the rooms are built with…

On the LVX and NOX Signs

Tags

, , , , , ,

This is one of these posts illustrating why it’s good to walk well worn paths sometimes. Specifically as it related to the LVX and NOX signs, the warding of the space, etc. I’ve been sort of having problems blogging about stuff without trying to figure out if I’m giving anything away, but one of the mantras is “everything has already been published”, and “the only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves“. To this end, it is important to understand that while everything is hidden in plain sight, until it’s understood in a mystical, gestalt fashion, it’s largely useless. There’s been so many books published on the topic of Masonry and everything else that we’ve given rise to a strange breed of armchair occultist who merely exists to collect manuscripts. Per usual, everything here is my personal experience. To say that there was One True Answer to any particular mystery is simply starting a cult. (Crowley hat on: This entire post is a LIE!)

The LVX signs, and the NOX signs, have always been one of the things hidden “in plain sight”. I think most of the Golden Dawn books cover the LVX signs early on. It was sort of a given I think in my understanding that the Golden Dawn had come up with it, but in reality it’s Masonic. Furthermore the Golden Dawn was beaten to the punch – the LVX signs quite clearly appear in the temple garment of the mormons. Except, the temple garment of the Mormons isn’t called the LVX signs – it’s called the square and compass. (Quick eyes might notice an additional sign in the wikipedia article…) If the LVX signs are therefor masonic, than the LVX signs are supposed to be the square, the compass, and then the square and compass combined in various configurations for the consideration of the candidate.

Therefor the LVX signs themselves are accomplishing (ignoring the LDS’s weird, cut rate masonry from here on out) to provide a counterpoint to the Masonic system. In Masonry, the candidate participates in the play inasmuch as they are the central topic of the play. The lesson in Masonry by presenting the ritual in this format is that the candidate is supposed to use good moral judgement on the events of the world and how they effect the candidate personally and morally. It requires quite a bit of introspection, represented by death. In the Golden Dawn, the script gets flipped – By making the operator perform the signs, rather than represent the architecture of the universe in an external fashion, the signs themselves are internalized and only represented by the will of the Person operating the system. The Oriental mysticism here is quite strong: If we are all God than we are affirming the order of the universe through purification. We are redeeming it through action. If we are not God, in the Golden Dawn system, we are then saved by grace – a very Christian concept where we receive the grace of God by preparing ourselves as willing vessels.

How do we accomplish such things? Both systems lead ultimately to the same goal – in Masonry (which is strongly Greek and Hermetic), the God which lives outside of the measurable fabric of the universe peeks in between the measurable portions and we’re presented with an eye in the triangle. How can someone measure a soul or a thought? In the Golden Dawn and more Oriental systems, things are a bit more straightforward with the idea that the Monad experiences itself through us. Really at the end of the day these are not different, opposed concepts – each system looks at the coin from a slightly different perspective. We exist in the here and now in our bodies simply because it is the present design of the universe and therefor in our most basest spiritual forms, we relate to the world in a measurable way.

The sign for Malkuth then is a square and compass (or LVX) inside of a circle. It is the expression of the measurable world, and for folks who live down here, the Monad is either something which exists outside of measurable dimensions or it’s something which is provided gestalt by grace in a mystical experience. The LVX signs exist to purify the individual and pave the the way to receive the Solar light. (Something about St John and Grips and Signs goes here – special attention should be paid to the circle in the Third Degree). Note to self: Explore more Eastern Star symbolism – using the Masonic tools it’s quite simple to form a pentagram.

OK so we’re in the Sun, now what? We know we’re in the sun because we believe that humans are the stewards of Earth, and we have a nonattachment to Earthly things. That last one is a doozy – can we ever really have solar consciousness when we have to do things like eat food? The story of the bread and fishes from the Bible is Christ literally conquering basic biological desires by being able to eat only when he wants but making food literally out of nothing. It’s a great “look how awesome My Pet Manifestation of the Divine is!”

If LVX is purification than NOX is the approach to the Monad (or the Crown or the Cross or whatever floats your boat). The fundamental dualism still exists in the Sun where an individual understands that they are “of the world but not in it“. Similarly the individual still believes that they are somehow seperate from the Monad by being the Sun. Somehow the spiritual reality exists but until ancient cultures discovered the planets, it did not occur to them that there was anything more than the Sun and the Moon. Furthermore in Masonry we’re taught there’s four components to the ritual – the sun, the moon, the right worshipful master and the eye which hangs behind him. Since any mason can aspire to become the Worshipful Master, the Worshipful Master therefor is the position which stands between the lodge and shadows the lodge from the Brightness of God. Note that the Sun and the Moon are regulated by the Worshipful Master – this should be obvious once the floor play is witnessed in respect to where people stand during the recitation of the degrees.

Similarly in more antique forms of Masonry there’s a line in the catechism that goes something like “you were like a nocturnal creature, if you were shown the true light of masonry it would be as darkness because it would blind your eyes”. (This is apparently missing from modern forms, I ran across it in the private Masonic Library in the book the Symbolism of the Three Degrees of Freemasonry – 1924 ed). Just as certain placements of ritual kit in the lodge room create the shadow of the square and compass, in the LVX portion of our experience we can only understand the Monad through the things it is not. A shadow of a person is not a person. A common gauge is not made of atomic components called “inches”. Even the things which make up a shadow may not be cast by the thing we assume it is just as a child will use their sense of wonder to provide the details of a puppet show. Again, shades of Greek thought here with the allegory of the cave.

(Thanks to KD for the next part’s citations…) Crowley himself I don’t believe understands NOX fully. It makes an appearance in the footnotes of Book 4, but having witnessed the Gnostic Mass, I believe the biggest clue is in the motion of the signs around the altars. Wild speculation hat on: if we put the square and compass in Malkuth, and we put the inverted pantacle starting in yesod (the most primitive of the astral spheres), then NOX very comfortably fits into the place of the hexagram on the tree.

The Pantacle in Yesod

The Pantacle in Yesod

The Hexagram in Sol

The Hexagram in Sol

NOX signs, with a solar and crowned altar

NOX signs, with a solar and crowned altar

Similarly if you have a chance to witness the floor play of the Gnostic Mass, there’s a lot to be seen. For NOX folks, the tomb is the death of the absorption into the Godhead, while the Priestess is the temptation to live under the governance of the Sun – into the physical manifest. For LVX folks, it’s simply an allegory of the old Catholic mysteries where the Solar Priest unites with the Lunar Priestess.

Working With EXARP, and Other Enochian Experiments

Tags

The baseline idea in a bunch of conversations I’ve been having recently is that Enochian isn’t particularly dangerous into and of itself, but rather that it’s the same shopworn path people have fallen into with the folly of magick. Folks want something, they don’t know how to get it, they want it with incredible desperation, and therefor magick. Right? It works. It works really well. They have an incredible, absolutely amazing well of intent and emotion to draw from and the merest flicker from the lens of ritual focuses that into a beam. Like the sun on a bright day, the effects aren’t immediately noticeable, but the sheer amount of power they have behind that focused star causes change in the world.

For some folks, that’s great. They accomplish what they want. The next “spell” or “ritual” they do goes kaput because they didn’t build up the tantric wellspring of desperation or inspiration and they quit or they decide it’s bunk or they believe whatever they want to believe and move along. That’s fine. I sort of get annoyed at the magickal community sometimes for rejecting the idea that not doing magick everyday is somehow an indication of a lack of commitment. There is, at some level, a subset of magicians working on the idea that thaumaturgic goals are all that magick is for and are perfectly adequate to their ends. They do magick to get comfortable, they get comfortable, and until they’re uncomfortable, they’re happy and fine. Unpopular opinion hat on: That’s absolutely a valid application of magick. That model requires unhappiness and desperation and there simply is no magickal power in something which isn’t a fight for a goal or with someone.

Those people also tend to be very comfortable in systems like Thelema, where Crowley says folks should do their own Will. I think that interpretation of Crowley is very narrow, but if its someone’s Will to sit about and get that nice office job and enjoy their family and what they provide I cannot say that this is wrong. If a person believes their true Will is to lay about and eat tacos all day (and I love tacos), and they are happy and have accomplished that, then they are perfectly correct.

I personally don’t enjoy that perspective. I also think there’s a subset of people who want to practice magick because they desire to help the world at large, which is much more complicated task, and because they want to make themselves better. I recently had a moment about a year ago where I looked around and thought, “I’m pretty darn comfortable”. My schedule tends to be erratic and I find myself with little free time between the job, and the gym, and then to further drain that resource I find that my children have progressively more homework and I desire to philosophize with them and discuss the world in their terms and share my own perspectives as an adult. But, finally the Light came on me one day and I realized a few things.

If you’re comfortable, you have an obligation to help. The Enochian forces in their original, not Golden Dawn format inspired labor, and they inspired travel, and they inspired self improvement in a variety of seven liberal arts and sciences. Even in the pagan context, because I still get down with the sublunar forces of nature, the AesiR and the VaniR told myths about how to care for the world, and poetry, and family matters, and charity. Sure it’s great to hear the story about how Thor smashed all the ice giants or how Dee sunk the Spanish Armada, but these are means to ends. Thor didn’t just go hunt ice giants for the hell of it and I’m sure Dee had interesting, lost to time soul searching about what the sinking meant to the world. If he expressed more than passing doubt it has been lost.

I’m thinking at this point in my life, “I am ahead”. I have a comfortable sum in the bank, I have a nice family life, and I have a career (as much as anyone does in corporate America because mergers and acquisitions rarely have any account for which team is let go). However comfortable natures breed complacency, and I thought perhaps I was falling into that trap of the well running dry. Therefor I joined the Freemasons. I knew my grandfather was a mason and he was big into community service, and I was fortunate enough to find some memorabilia from him which wasn’t just war spoils and located his lodge. They still operate today and thankfully I was allowed to join them. At the same time I started contributing code to public projects and have my (professional, real life) name stamped on those projects. I picked them based on their use – the particular database I contributed to runs on low end hardware and is favored in developing countries trying to get their infrastructure off the ground. However, the code feels abstract, and furthermore I had a professional interest in developing that, so I didn’t find it fulfilling enough. It was also easy.

The Masons, on the other hand, emphasized community service and they do so in very “hands on”, earthy ways. We made sandwiches for the local women’s shelter. We made sandwiches again for the homeless shelter. We clean up local parks. We have scheduled a visit to the local Masonic community for the elderly. Ah ha, another trick. We can gain magickal power through selfless community service.

There’s probably a section of readers here going, “Oh but that’s what Christ did, it should have been obvious”. Well that’s the point, that’s how Christ helped his community. It’s how Solomon and Moses helped his community. It’s how Mohamed helped his community. It’s how Dee helped his community. (I believe Dee was humble enough as expressed in his writing that he really did believe he was helping the everyman). The community service banks magickal power based on the gratitude of the people receiving your work.

Lets say your wallet is empty. Can you contribute to the wellbeing of the community if you cannot buy things? Sure. Everyone at the homeless shelter needs help painting the place, or the park could use your help picking up litter. I would tacitly venture that working as a team would be better since you cultivate the gratitude of the people. I ensured I would be meeting the folks who picked up the sandwiches and the lodge worked as a unit to clean up the park, to which the giant bags of trash inspired awe in us all.

But how does this work? Why is this better than, say, being a professional magician who helps people by selling talismans or whatever? For one, I believe selling spells diminishes the operator. I believe that people believe because they’re purchasing a spell or talisman from someone, that they are purchasing a bit of that magicians power. I believe in many cases this sets up a vampiric relationship between people as money usually does. We believe, in the west, that we pay money for something and therefor we are entitled to whatever it is we purchased. This means that if the person believes that the exchange of money is paramount to an entitled amount of power, the magician probably is setting themselves up to be drained. The counter-argument I expect from the magickal community would be that the magician doesn’t get their power from some personal wellspring (this is untrue) but from the virtues of planets or minerals or the composition of materials. While true that these items do possess power into and of themselves, the spell or ritual we operate in doesn’t somehow make us into rocks and trees and so many bones. We draw power into our personal batteries from objects or community service or the pious observation of the heavens and distribute it through rituals much like a car generates electricity from the motion of it’s engine to charge it’s batteries, and draws upon that to exert the effort of starting the car or run the headlights. While it might be community service of a sort to leave your headlights on in a dark country road for the benefit of people, you would probably return to see your car unable to manifest enough of it’s own power. There are folks who can do it, but this is very complicated, and in danger of overdrawing the battery. How do they cut the circuit? When they cut the circuit does the item lose its power? These are complicated questions for later.

Why then is community service in my opinion better? Instead of establishing a relationship of entitlement to the magicians energy battery, it inspires other people to contribute their own energy to an operation. Imagine, if you would, a busker with a guitar. (Read: Me, in college). That person is not selling their energy to the community, they are freely giving their services to the community. People may or may not pay that busker for what they’re offering, but the person with the guitar plays regardless of everyone throwing in their silver or nothing at all. Furthermore that person might then inspire some passerby to pick up a guitar to improve themselves through learning the liberal art of music, or even better, inspire someone else to participate in the same way and bring a drum. Then, through the action of the person playing the drum, the music is enhanced, and therefor the music is better. Perhaps it even gets more tips. “But isn’t this some sort of reverse vampirism?” (the tinfoil hat community asks). Yes, but this is hermeticism, where we understand everything is a two way street and then make moral judgements.

This also means I understand that I’m basically humble-bragging his whole post. I realize I am talking about community service to improve my magickal well of gratitude energy. Therefor there is a third position of action: Selflessness. The daath scenario here is to be neither impressed with community service nor perform it – death, much like the magickal position proposed therein – is merely illusory. If someone prays “I am” as they die, they merely change state. We all know we’re here as individuals, right? If they pray ARARITA as they die, they gain the Kingdom.

Someone asked me about the evocation of EXARP and why it worked for me but didn’t work for them. The best questions are questions which force us to examine failure. The obvious abdication of responsibility is to claim that my rituals are fit for me. That is true. However this isn’t a binary problem – either you’re me or you’re not me and therefor you either wholly subscribe to my life or you differ in my opinions. You should disagree – I prefer you “beat your own path through the jungle”. If I help through the broadcast of this blog I have accomplished a selfless service – I do not make money off this writing and do it merely to organize my thoughts. I believe we share the ideas – I believe we are all sparks of the same divine One Thing and I hope it helps us understand ourselves. Therefor I also believe that the reason why the evocation helped my mother in law and my wife and I in particular was because it was a good mix of desperation, the finest of the magickal wells of power for me, and service, because I gain nothing from helping my mother in law who I believes would love me as a parent does (because she doesn’t know I’m a magician, of course).

Really though I believe that the magical “cutting of the cord” is to tell people exactly whats in the mix. You won’t find whats in coke, or pepsi, or KFC spices simply because to do so would empower you to make your own. Similarly magickal secrecy breeds dependance, and therefor breeds vampirism. Here’s what I want you to do: If you believe you are called to the enochian system, I believe that placing the seal of camara under your foot will produce an effect. Therefor, you should print out the seal – or draw it – and place it under your foot in the day and hour of Sol. You can pray if you’d like.

The only catch?

I want you to reply to this post, or email me, with what the results were. Don’t be afraid to switch feet, or skip the prayer at all. Just be inspired that you have conducted the experiment.