I had written a few posts but I never actually finished them. I sort of feel like the wind was sucked out of me, and then Boston happened. I don’t need to write about Boston, I think that everyone is going to be glued to the news. However it was rolling around in my head since last night.
I’ve also been reading Ceremonial Magic and the Power of Evocation. I’ve got my roots in the Lesser Key of Solomon and Enochian (Golden Dawn) style evocation, and grew from there. The book actually covers the nuts-and-bolts version of the Heptameron operation, which is by itself probably the forerunner to the Lesser Key. To quote T.Z., “I like it because it’s got lovely traditional English”. Whoever wrote the book (it’s likely Hyatt and Lisiewski are one and the same) quotes Abraham of Worms and says “Stick to your raised religion as you approach God”. I think there is something to be said for that and I think the biggest hump to getting into actually doing magic is to either figure out a way to deprogram yourself (which “Hyatt” actually published a book on this topic) or to figure out the magical and mystical elements of your “raised religion” and reconcile those. If you think old English is pretty, go nuts. If you’re like me, you were raised protestant christian, and have a tough time figuring out where the magic is at all. (Protip – Protestant Christianity has more in common with the New Age than it does it’s Christian roots).
At the same time, I’ve pretty much given up on the OTO as an organization beyond a book club with a grip. Everything is published, and what remains is interesting unto it’s own occult ends, but the book is pretty clear that the OTO rituals are meant to dovetail into Masonry. This is fine, Masonry is just as good an occult system as any other, but then what happens after the third degree of the OTO? Go into Masonry? At some point I have to call into question the idea of practicality. While there’s neat ideas presented about the cosmology of the universe and the rituals, it’s essentially Golden Dawn style material piled into an Arabic theme. I get it. The water in the well represents the mother, the sun is the father, it is through knowledge (wormwood) that the well is made bitter and then dries up in the presence of the father and it’s the difference between nature-nurture, and so on and so forth.
Now there’s a new block – if the ceremonial magic rituals are so divorced from practicality that they themselves become the “scourge of dogma”, then the OTO has really become nothing better than an auxiliary arm of Christianity with a more Arabic twist. Crowley in this sense was probably correct, and given the cyclic nature of the universe it’s also entirely possible that the old Egyptian or Babylonian mythos is the template for the Jewish and Christian mythos. The problem is that to distinguish itself, the OTO would need to do something different than the Christian Church. Given the fact that my local OTO body isn’t interested in actually practicing magic, it’s a wonderful coffee house but precious else. In short, it falls into the same trappings Masonry did. Great people there however.
Masonry, of course, really is a wink wink nudge nudge Christian Catholic operation. I suspect, similar to the OTO’s Gnostic Mass which ultimately worships IAO, they knew the power “under the covers” of Christianity and wanted to use it. Going back to the Heptameron, Hyatt (whoever he is) makes a good point that we should stick as much as possible to the letter of the ritual in grimoire magic if possible. Talking to Aleph Tzaddie of the Th.A.O.I., he claims to have actually done the operation and gotten magical, evocational results to the physical plane. I’ve been thus far content to evoke to the astral plane but trying to test the spirits with things like the ill fated stock speculation hasn’t yielded decent results. The planetary angels also have been a lot less chatty recently and I take this as a sign to innovate or die. It seems like the Evocational Magic book then provides what I think is missing in present, magical organizations, which is actual magic. Maybe Crowley didn’t go that route because he didn’t want to give people enough rope to hang themselves. Maybe he thought the grimoires were a side project. I just don’t see how anyone can claim an integrated, magical practice for the betterment of mankind without furnishing them with the tools.
Anyway, to accomplish this goal, I have to run out and buy a few things and I have no actual idea where to get them – a pre-1962 Roman Missal, holy water, baptismal water, consecrated chalk, a priests robes, and Dominican incense. A.T. was kind enough to give me a shopping list for some of these, but I suspect I’m going to have to purchase theology textbooks and make some of the stuff myself. This is going to get interesting since I’m not a priest, ordained, or otherwise a decent person. Then again given the rash of problems the Catholic Church has been having, I’m not sure I’d be willing to try my luck getting Holy Water out of them anyway. Plus if the argument is that the evocations work in the presence of properly consecrated, memorized, and operated rituals, then the evocations work no matter what damned fool is doing them.
What is the goal? For one, marrying natural magic with high magic, but that’s been the longterm goal since I started publishing. I think some people do it way better than me. Go read A Vigil Rite in Times of Disaster and see how it’s a wonderful combination (despite the topic) of Catholic Liturgy, Wicca, and general High Magic. It also might be nice to get some fireworks out of it, but I think I’m at another point where jumping into something new might be good. For those with netflix who want to see the documentary, watch it. I suppose the answer is “just do it”.
I’ll do something I really despise doing and link the reader to the PDF version of the two books since they’re out of print: Secret Rituals of the OTO (Europe) and Secret Rituals of the OTO (US). There’s precious little difference. Note that the rituals have been modernized by Sabazius X, but the versions published in the book have all the correct bones.