Submitted for your viewing pleasure, Kenneth Grant – Key to the Pyramid (or Key to Pyramid on scribd). I sometimes write on the dichotomy between ceremonial magic and wicca, I think this takes that model quite a bit further. It’s recommended reading. Hattip to KD for pointing this out to me.
I had previously written Grant off as “batshit crazy” because when Crowley calls someone batshit crazy, it probably means they’re too crazy for Crowley. That takes quite a bit of doing. The split between Grant and Crowley was over things like LAM. LAM is Crowleys butt-baby, but Grant rotated it 180 degrees and called it a space alien and the rest is history. Crowley writes a wonderful ritual, but his artwork is lost on me and has been since I encountered it.
I have been tempted to, that next time scientologists show up on my doorstep, I should invite them in and tell them I am their Secret Chief and have a sit down.
KD wanted to put together a Book 4 book club, I may take him up on that. I think the path is fairly clear between reading the Golden Dawn (pick any sourcebook or Regardi’s), then Book 4, then branch out from there. It will fairly quickly weed the Christians from the Pagans and that takes people right to the doorstep of the good stuff. Why start with the Golden Dawn? The pentagram ritual doesn’t make much sense outside of the context with which it was delivered. There is quite a leap between “health” and elemental associations. I can see how the elemental associations work and I’m fairly convinced the “health” pentagram is an outer-order thing for pythagorean orders, but everything else sandwiches somewhere between the Greeks and the Victorians. (The old rebuttal – “But… RECORDED HISTORY”).
Before I end up mired in political contests, lets take a step back. The discussion came up in my favorite enochian group about the ethereal software. I haven’t conversed with the guy, but fundamentally what he (or anyone) is doing is making a model to fit their philosophy. Philosophy is well and good by itself, but really doesn’t actually do anything until there’s a “come to Jesus” moment and people have to choose how to apply it. There’s plenty, and plenty, of Pagans, Jews, Chrisitans, Muhamadians, and so on who go to their place of worship on their days of worship and might experience some small bit of rapture, but when they come home they don’t think about applying it. When that hard decision comes up at the office, they don’t say, “What would Christ/Abraham/Moses/Mohamad/LAM do?” I do think the Protestant Christians have a leg up on the Roman Christians – WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) is more encouraging to me that people are using their brains than attending the Mass, but I think the Mass as a ritual to inspire samadhi is absolutely wonderful. Similarly attending Islamic services is just as powerful (if not moreso) because of the barbarous names. I hardly speak Arabic – I can only read a little.
To interpret these things – WWJD or Adhan – requires putting them through a cultural lens. Mohamad didn’t have loudspeakers, Jesus didn’t have the internet. Is it appropriate to worship in the style of the day the message was delivered? Similarly Crowley and Grant see things through the lens of pop-Egyptology and repressed Victorian sexual mores (seriously, it’s not always a penis) and the dawning of the information age. Of course Crowley realizes that to make space aliens into Gods it deprives him of his sun-worship and a good chunk of looking at the local solar neighborhood. Grant has no problems saying that our microcosm is the solar system. As someone who lives in a first world country where dying of rickets is unheard of, I’m sympathetic to Grants model because I frankly don’t spend much time thinking about my humors.
But, to take people through ceremonial magic, I think my preferred format of initiation would be to take them through each frame of reference for each period. If they practice or not is on them.
Speaking of, we are at the information age portion of the post. I am writing this on my computer and it is being stored on the internet, but also because I just wrote about Grant. Is someone doing an actual, legitimate interpretation of modern occult melange and leveraging older myths?
I would be shocked to hear Varg had no interest in the occult. He really outdoes the dynamic duo of neo-occultism (Crowley and Gardner) by combining the Book of the Dead with obviously pagan overtones. In the video he studies, he relates to his ancestors, he dies (figuratively) in the barn as his soul tries to escape out the netted window, he proceeds through the tunnel, he is reborn as one of the children, his ancestors guide him, he is pressed into the trial of the cave where his Gods die (the bear), and then they are restored and reborn. The film is long in tooth and definitely needs an editor but I thought it was fantastic.