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Now that we’ve had huge discussions on Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and Monism, I’d like to remind everyone that’s there’s actually really nice pagan practices there and they don’t conflict with ceremonial magic. I suppose there’s some magicians out there who would say that ceremonial magic is Christianity, but rather I see it the opposite way. Magic isn’t particularly Christian, because Christianity is the observation of nature, with politics bolted on and out-and-out condemns all magic (unless you’re Jesus). So is the Koran, so is the Torah, except they don’t condemn sorcery out of hand, but rather the ends to which sorcery is used. In fact, I would argue that Christianity is the least likely bedfellow of ceremonial magic, because there’s “magical practices” in both Judaism and Islam, but they hardly think of them as magical. Ceremonial magic is most comfortable with Judiasm, because the tanakh clearly separates what is social custom, law, and divine, but works with any of the Big Three because they all follow the format in some form. Once we recognize the separation in the blueprints in each one, we can more easily read the divine inspiration and ignore the spurious social custom. This actually is what shot down my Islamic Gnosticism project – Islam is (in some circles) firmly gnostic already. I had plans to compare it to Dogma and Ritual (Levi) whereby the chapters would correspond to the tarot, and therefor map to an “Islamic tree of life” and… learned that a really good portion of the Koran is simply “correcting” the Bible and Torah on social customs and the events driving the people mentioned. There’s other good stuff in there too – there’s wonderful bits of roundabout reasoning the sort of which I publish under “philosophy” and there’s some extremely illuminating texts on Angels in there. Angels in the Koran are similar to the Angels in the Old Testament which are fundamentally pagan and made up of mineral or animal influences (cross-reference). And, similar to religious operations back through the dawn of man, there’s a lot in the Abrahamic Family which is just out-and-out magic to affect the weather, enchant materials, and so on. Things which we normally think of today as “Harry Potter” sorts of stuff happen in the Abrahamic Faiths. Moses parts the red sea. He has a face-off with the Pharaoh’s magicians and turns staves into snakes. Jonah rides around in a fish. Jesus improves people’s fishing hauls. Mohamed makes rain. We know then, that not only would so-called “pagan” ends to faith be within the realm of doing, not only can people command the elements, but we know that (to steal a term from Judaism) such actions are lawful.

When Gabriel (Jibrial) appears to Mohamed in his “true form” he is a “ball which fills the sky with 600 wings”. The sky is covered “with a green carpet” to welcome him. What Mohamed sees of course is the moon rise through a desert hail storm. However anyone can look at that and see that the Kabalistic correspondences are there, and they are correct. (Also curious, a lot of the color references in the Koran are Empress Scale [Assiah] colors, but those implications are another post). The Bible has smatterings of references all lying around – most of which are bound together in the book of Revelation or Dee’s journals. The older books have an even better storehouse of organization – Aaron’s robe is described in Exodus 28 in the same style the Egyptians used to wear. The implications are that the Hebrews picked up their magic and their views of God from the Egyptians. This isn’t to say if everyone is doing it, that it is right. However it does say “These things have been holy to God since time immemorial”. By Agrippa and such, they are virtuous unto themselves, and if we remember the last post on hermeticism, they can’t somehow be unwholesome.

I went through a phase after reading Secrets of Magickal Grimoires (SPOILER ALERT: CALAMUS IS WEED) where I was like “WHY ARE WE CONSECRATING EVERYTHING?” I even consecrated some ink and bought pens from China to use it with. (You want to have one magical pen consecrated? This is it. It’s like it was designed by magicians, for magicians). If we have items and they posses virtues, how do they become unvirtued? Then I realized – becoming unvirtued isn’t the problem. The problem is that because they posses some spiritual qualities, then simply they can be imbued with spiritual qualities. This goes back to the whole ‘precision of language’ thing Crowley harps on all the time. Per the Artabel, spirits become addicted when they become familiars. It gives us the formula to cause addiction. (Leave out offerings). Objects with spiritual virtues can be impressed with more spiritual virtues. Objects which have inherent virtue always have that virtue in addition to more virtues we can impress upon them. Furthermore, the salt admonishes the water for not being blood (the carrier of life). The salt is pure, the water is pure. Why are we admonishing? Because the sea is not blood, and salt being separated from water should be embarrassed at not being a carrier for life. Go exorcise things and make those rocks feel bad! But also remember to exorcise before touching someone’s rocks, you don’t know where they’ve been.

This works in a variety of ways – we don’t have to particularly look in the Abrahamic texts for prompts, we can look in a variety of other sources also. Given that I also am a closet viking, Asatru and Saxon pagan stuff provides wonderfully fertile ground. Aside of being the house divination method, there are piles of wyrdworking to be had for people who want to read the eddas.

A snake came crawling, it bit a man.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,
Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.
There apple brought this pass against poison.
That she nevermore would enter her house.

What are the 9 herbs? Mugwort, betony, lamb cress, grass plantain, chamomile, crab apple, nettle, thyme, and fennel. Aside of making an OK tea and having medicinal properties, these herbs are also assigned by Agrippa to constellations. And, herein is a great secret – to work with them we want to invoke Odin. Face the constellation, stab yourself in the eye (OK not really, but the pain will help) and invoke. Now the inherent virtues of the herbs will be potentiated by the godform they are sacred to. Think of it like a dynometer to a mechanic. You might be able to get interesting stuff out of it, but if you were a mechanic, it would be super useful. If you were Odin… You get the idea. Invoke, and it’ll make the “low magic” stuff work a lot better.

Per Agrippa (yes the table is a mess, there’s room to argue, and there’s no a 1:1 mapping):

Mugwort Algol – the brightest star in Perseus
Betony Capella – the brightest star in Auriga
Lamb Cress Alphecca – brightest star in the North Crown
Grass Plantain Arcturus – the brightest star in the Oxman
Chamomile Antares – the brightest star in Scorpius
Crab Apple Regulus – the brightest star in Leo
Nettle Alphecca – brightest star in the North Crown
Thyme Vega – the brightest star in Lyra
Fennel Pleiades – the cluster in Taurus