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The latest issue of Speech in the Silence has a really cool bit on Kenneth Anger – someone actually went to the trouble of going through his movies frame by frame to pull out all the various subliminal messages. I’m really digging the program format recently – it has thelemic pop culture (if there is such a thing) and then actual hands on magic stuff. They manage to dovetail these things together nicely. For the Kenneth Anger stuff, sure he’s a Crowley fan, but they also bring up towards the end that Anger took 777 and added his own correspondences to it on top of the existing framework. Scenes have music, tones, colors, and themes which Anger added to the book. Since 777 is a kabalistic text, it’s no surprise when they have the second half of the program devoted to the tree of life.

While it sounds sort of hokey – managing life crisis with kabalistic magic – it got rolling around in my head. I have two ritual modes in my model of magic, which is banishing or invoking on the microcosm or the macrocosm. This works well for me, I want to push things away/draw things in on the physical/spiritual realms. Maybe we want to do both! The model isn’t static – I can and do make on the fly changes to it based on what sort of results I think are appropriate based on what spirits (or classes of spirits) I want to talk to or operate for me. Around the 46 minute mark in the program, the host gives the listener the key to the system but doesn’t explain in-depth why things are how they are. In fact, to the novice, this probably appears backwards. The comment is something like “Have too much Mars in your life? Call on Jupiter!”

On the face of it, that’s dead easy. Mars is severity, Jupiter is mercy. OK, I get it – they’re on opposite sides of the tree. There’s even a good reason to operate this way: The forces are impossibly large. If we’re dealing with just the raw force of the planetary energy (Mars), it needs to be balanced with the equally raw force of Jupiter to produce something nice. In fact to limit the force of Mars in this particular method of working, the magician would seek to invoke strongly the force of Jupiter. This works in terms of currents, but I think it also only works as blind forces. From an elemental perspective, I think it’s fantastic. For the tree of life, not so much. From an elemental perspective, it would be a good idea to invoke fire to combat watery states, or earth to combat airy states. This is very Kraig, and wholly legitimate. The difference here is elemental forces are blind forces. There’s no “Angel of Fire” (there are Angels which deal in fire) but there’s no rulership. The Enochian system from the GD tries to assign rulership to the elements but that wasn’t tabled in this talk. I think while this whole notion presented works well for this particular example, I also think the tree stands above the elements, and we can do better.

If we believe we can regulate forces, then we can also petition Gods and Angels to regulate forces too. Ares knows how to make war by encouraging hostilities, but he also knows how to unmake war by discouraging hostilities. His office is severity (or strength), and he regulates the thing the entire way from open war to a complete lack of hostility. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean mercy. This ends entirely at “leave me alone”. Similarly if we wanted to encourage mercy in an environment filled with hostility, if we get Zeus working for us, we might find mercy in our current situation. However it would be more effective, in my mind, to appeal to Ares first to subdue hostility, then once the tables are even, appeal to Zeus for mercy in negotiations. Otherwise we might find Ares fully realized and we’re beaten down to the point of requesting mercy, and finding we only have scraped enough together to get right back up and back into the fight.

This second form of magic is also the attitude classical magic takes. In Agrippa, we have “classical elements”. We have the elements represented we’re all familiar with, but the list isn’t exclusive or destructive. He lists “fire, earth, water, and air”, but I really think it’s much better to think of these as “hot and dry, cool and dry, cool and wet, hot and wet”. Think “inside of a furnace”, “a rock fresh from the earth”, “a dip in the ocean”, “opening your front door in summer”. Why air? The hot air is always the rushing air. It identifies the fundamental fact that heat always wants to move towards cold. If we think about our elements in Agrippa’s mode, then thinking about the Tree needs to follow the same lines. If we think about elements in a Golden Dawn sort of “opposites cancel” mode, then the Tree needs to run along those lines too. As below, so above. I personally like the Agrippa model more. I can think of plenty of times I’ve observed a commingled version of a force, but I can never think of a time magic has been as simple as “evoke fire, get popcorn”.