The Lighter Side of Evocation

August 4, 2012

Summoning a spirit like Belphegor may be intimidating, but not to the young lady in this short 3-D animated film by Phillip Simon and Alyse Miller for a thesis film.

Best. Art School Film. Ever.

Tabatha Cicero’s “Concourse of the Watchtowers”

February 15, 2012

I just received my copy of “Concourse of the Watchtowers: An Exploration of Westcott’s Enochian Tablets” by Tabatha Cicero. While I must admit I’m not finished with it yet (I don’t get as much time to read as I’d like), so far I’m highly impressed with the content so far. Kudos to Tabatha for making this information public.

The book itself contains an explanation of what the Tablets are, and how vastly they differ from the “standard” Golden Dawn Enochian Tablets. It shows detailed explanations of each square in the tablet, what each sub-sector contains, how it relates to the Laws of the Convoluted Forces (with some great stuff by the noted Kabbalist Olen Rush), and some brand-new material by Innes, Farr, ThAM-level workings, and even a previously-unpublished 6=5 ritual.

Needless to say, this isn’t an entry-level book on the Golden Dawn. One should be intimately familiar with the 5=6 material given in Regardie, and have practiced it for quite a while in order to get the most out of this book, but like others on the market right now (like Pat Zalewski’s “Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries”), it’s great to see advanced publications come out of the GD, rather than the fluff that seems to permeate the market.

Oh, and did I mention I received a copy signed by Chic and Tabatha? Get it now!

A House Fit for a God

August 28, 2011

After reading “God Making” by Donald Tyson in The Golden Dawn Journal III: The Art of Hermes, edited by Chic & Tabatha Cicero, I realized that creating a godform within a statue was a worthy pursuit. Since that time, I’ve been kicking the idea around of creating a cabinet-style box wherein I can place a god or goddess, and work with him/her. This finally came to fruition over the past few days when I remembered I had a bunch of spare lumber and a dedicated ritual space. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A statue of the god/goddess/angel you wish to work with.
  • A full sheet of 1/4″ plywood (though a 2′ x 4′ piece would probably work as well).
  • A good saw (electric handsaw or preferably a table saw).
  • Medium and fine-grade sandpaper.
  • White primer paint.
  • Black (or whatever color you desire) paint OR Chalkboard paint.
  • Some hinges & a lock, as well as a means to place the box on the wall of your room. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure the width, height and length of the statue. My particular statue of Thoth is small, only 8″ tall, 3.5″ long and 2.25″ wide. Add approximately 2″ to each measurement.
  2. For the base of the box, add about 6″, making a space for sacrifices.
  3. My particular box now measures 10″ tall, 8″ in depth (14″ on the bottom), and 6″ wide (see 3d model)
  4. Cut your lumber (be careful!) to the measurements. Ignore the door for now.
  5. Sand the wood with a medium-grade sandpaper, then a fine-grade paper.
  6. Dust off the wood and prime all sides (be sure to prime and paint in a well-ventilated area!).
  7. Once the primer is sufficiently dry (usually within an hour for most primers), sand the primed wood again with a fine-grade sandpaper.
  8. Paint the primed wood with the appropriate colored paint. Instead of making one box per color (and thus per god) I wish to work with, I used chalkboard paint. I can then use the appropriately-colored chalk to paint the name of the god as well as any sigils I wish around the inside & outside of the box.
  9. Apply a second coat of paint. You’ll likely not have to do this if you’re using chalkboard paint, as it covers primer very well.
  10. Nail or screw the box together with finishing nails or small screws. If screwing the wood together, you’ll need to drill a small hole where you’ll put the screw in, to avoid splitting the wood.
  11. If needed, paint over any points where the wood has shown through after screwing/nailing.
  12. Now measure the inside front of the box, as shown here.
  13. This is the size of the door, which will cover the god from prying eyes.
  14. Cut, prime and paint the door.
  15. Attach the hinges & the lock.
  16. And now you have a house fit for a god!
You may mount the box on your wall, so you can sit directly across from the god, as Tyson suggests, or you could put legs on the box.
You can either leave the door open all the time, or shut it with the appropriate sacrifices inside with the god, opening it to commence worship or whatever you have in mind.

Juggling Various Levels of Students

January 26, 2011

Students come in all shapes and sizes. Some are true neophytes, unsure even what the Golden Dawn consists of, nor its long (and sometimes sordid) history. Others consider Temple work old hat, and have been in other groups, or lead their own, or belong to other Temples concurrently. The problem that exists for any teacher, mentor, etc. in a group where the teachings of one grade are separated from others is “how to juggle all these levels of students?”.

If you just speak to the more experienced members of a group, the true neophytes will feel left out, overwhelmed or even intimidated. Likewise, speaking solely to the true neophytes will alienate those who are more “advanced.”

Many groups separate meetings into sections, or have separate meetings for the various levels. Others just blend all the teaching together into the meetings, creating a hodge-podge of knowledge that denies the structure of the Golden Dawn’s teachings.

But what do you do when you’re only meeting once or twice a month, need to rent space, and don’t have enough hours to separate groups of students? Often, the best recourse (at least that I’ve found) is to allow the higher-ranking students to help lead the Neophytes in their Knowledge Lectures, explaining, leading classes, or answering questions. This fosters the growth of the Temple as a whole, creating new teachers or mentors. You (and your “cohorts” for lack of a better term, and to continue the spirit of the Latin “Praemonstrator”) are then responsible for teaching those higher ranking students on their own, either in our out of the Temple itself. Modern technology greatly eases this pressure, and bulletin boards, email, Skype, etc. are great ways to engage everyone.

So the question of the day is, “how does your Temple, group, coven, etc. juggle differing levels of students?”

Finishing Up My Book

January 11, 2011

Well, I’m in the final stretch of getting my gematria book published. To be honest, I’m excited and a bit nervous about it. The final graphics design are being done by a former coworker who’s work I greatly admire, and it should be ready this month. So keep your eyes open for an announcement here soon on where to buy it.

(Oh, and if you’re interested in getting a sneak peek, I’ll be uploading a bit to some sites as a partial pdf, just to whet the appetite!)

Expansion & Contraction in the Temple

January 10, 2011

The energies of expansion & contraction seem to make themselves most readily apparent throughout ritual, but I’ve been considering lately how much these energies influence membership in esoteric groups. It seems that some times of the year, people are more ready to start working with others. Our group currently has 4 people who are on a leave of absence, and we hope they come back soon, but meanwhile, many new members are applying.

Despite Denver’s not-so-large population (almost 600,000), it does seem to have a large number of persons who are interested in esotericism. Often, these applicants are looking for a coven, or are interested in something that’s totally unrelated to the Golden Dawn, but every so often, a great member joins and sticks with the group through thick and thin.

Of course, there are always once-offs who are initiated and never return, but I feel that the courage it takes to join a group is often enough weeding out (see my previous post about finding good members), so that these seem to be few and far between.

There’s only so much prodding and encouraging that can help a student to stick with the path — so much of it depends on their willingness to follow through. For me, the rise and fall in Temple membership is like a wave – ride it, don’t fight it.

Has anyone else noticed massive rises and drops in attendance/membership? And if so, how does your group deal with it?

Mundane Politics and the Golden Dawn Temple

February 9, 2010

The Temple (or Lodge, or Order or whatever the official title) is no place for politics. This is the stance of the Temple of Thoth Amen-Ra, and is the stance of many groups I’ve belonged to or been associated with. But why is this?

To begin simply, politics (such as discussions of the pros and cons of a particular political party for instance) have no place in a magical group. The politics of the mundane should not be used to further anyone’s agenda, whether as a leader or a member. There is however, overlap in certain cases. Here are the few times I can think of when politics should overlap:

1. When a potential member’s political beliefs could potentially be harmful to the group.

This could take place for example, if a potential member is also a member of a political group that does not conform to the high standards of the magical order. As far as excluding members, our Temple states in its Constitution:

No person shall be excluded from membership on account of sex, race, religion, or specific tradition of magic that does not conflict with the purpose and mission of the Temple. (The mission of the Temple of Thoth Amen-Ra can be found on our website.)

Let’s take an extreme example of a potential member who could be refused entrance despite the non-mention of politics in the aforementioned section. Take the fictitious “Bob,” who feels that whites are a superior race,  and belongs to several neo-nazi organizations.

There’s no way that I at least, could on good grounds, allow him entrance into our Temple.  I don’t pretend to speak for other members of my Temple, but I can’t imagine any of them voting “Bob” in. This is for the simple reason that intolerance has no place in a magical order, especially one based on the Golden Dawn. I know however, that the Cipher Manuscripts state to “Avoid Roman Catholics. But with pity.”, but I feel these are more an outgrowth of the early Rosicrucian association with Protestantism. In most modern GD organizations that I am aware of, a Roman Catholic would not be denied entrance just because of their religious beliefs.

2. When mundane politics interfere with the Temple.

This latter possibility seems far removed in the United States, where the founding fathers were masons, and the long and respected history of fraternal orders has existed in and with politics, but who knows what the future holds?

The last time that fraternal orders were persecuted was the Third Reich, when approximately between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were executed in the Holocaust (Wikipedia). I am unaware of the number of magical orders that were shut down, but most famously the OTO was persecuted. In a case like this, it would behoove the Temple to openly discuss the influence of politics on their group. I have no idea what the best course of action would be in this case, and hope I never have to deal with it.

So, while I’m absolutely opposed to bringing politics into the Temple for personal or inter-Temple political ends, there are exceptions to the rule.

What Makes an Adept?

January 24, 2010

I’ve read many different opinions about what makes an adept. Most of which are written by bloggers (the like of which I reluctantly throw myself in with) and those who defend people who are considered by them to be “adepts,” but what do the people in the past (that most of us in the Western Hermetic Tradition consider adepts) have to say about what makes up an adept? For the purposes of this entry, I’m considering an adept of the G.D.

In Regardie’s Golden Dawn, pp. 106 (newer Llewellyn version), the “Task Undertaken by the Adeptus Minor” states that said task includes,

To expel from the Sephiroth of the Nephesch the usurpation by the evil Sephiroth; to balance the action of the Sephiroth of the Ruachin those of the Nephesch. To prevent the Lower Will and Human Consciousness from falling into and usurping the place of the Automatic Consciousness. To render the King of the Body, the Lower Will, obedient to and anxious to execute the commands of the Higher Will, that he be neither a usurper of the faculties of the Higher, nor a sensual despot-but an Initiated Ruler, and an anointed King, the viceroy and representative of the Higher Will, because inspired thereby, in his Kingdom which is man.

Paul Foster Case says in “The Secret Doctrine of the Tarot” (p. 92) that,

An adept is one who has changed his body into an instrument for transforming solar energy into a psycho-physical force that can be applied in many unusual ways.

Dion Fortune, speaking of the higher ranks of adepthood, says in “The Mystical Qabalah” (p. 176) that,

When the Higher Self and the Lower Self become united through the complete absorption of the lower by the higher, true adepthood is gained; this is the Great Initiation, the Lesser Divine Union. It is the supreme experience of the incarnate soul, and when this takes place, it is freed from any compulsion to rebirth into the prison-house of flesh. Thenceforth it is free to go on up the planes and enter into its rest, or, if it so elects, to remain within the earth-sphere and function as a Master.

The latter quote of course refers to the post-death position of the adept, who has released united the Higher and the Lower (the Neschamah with the Ruach), while Mathers and Case refer to the incarnate experience of uniting the Ruach with the Nephesch. This is an important distinction between the two kinds of adept. The Fortune version is beyond the scope of what I am trying to discuss – the adept who still occupies a human body in the world of Assiah (and ignoring the concept of living breathing “secret masters”).

So the first two quotes state that an adept is one who is unlike his/her peers, by definition an expert in their field, and one who has transformed their ordinary human shells into a vehicle for the higher. After meeting personally several people and lurking among online communities of people who consider themselves “adepts” and are referred to as such by their peers, I am often underwhelmed at what I see. Perhaps I’m just not developed enough to pick up on the transformation these people have undergone, or maybe I’m reading the interpretation of what an adept is incorrectly.

I do have to say that I have known adepts, though very few in the Golden Dawn school. So what’s going on here? I truly believe in the abilities of many of those I’ve met, and seen some of them in action, but it seems to me that the material world  seems to hold more influence over many than the attempt to attain true adepthood. I also abide by my belief that the Golden Dawn holds much to offer for those who apply themselves to the Great Work.

In my humble opinion, an adept in the G.D. would be able to do more than analyze the intricacies of the Outer Order rituals, or to perform a SIRP without the aid of a text, or to write an essay or book on the Order’s overall thematic imagery. An adept is truly one who has transformed his life, both in the magical and mundane worlds, to extend the LVX of the Higher into the world of Assiah (even if that LVX is just a reflection of the Higher light which extends into the reaches of Keter of Assiah). An adept should be someone who works daily not only to improve his/her life, but the lives of everyone around them.

Now, this is not to say that an adept is some demigod or enlightened being who will never utter a curse word at the person who cut them off in traffic, or drink a beer or two, or to get angry, or to do many other things that many might consider “un-adept-like”, but there should be an overall sense of achievement on their part, as well as the extension of that achievement to others. Otherwise, the Order has done nothing but produce writers and theoreticians, not magicians.

What do you think? What makes an adept?

Enochian and Some Other Thoughts

December 15, 2009

Apologies for not writing much lately.  My life’s been rather busy. So with no further waste of space, I’ll start right in.

Having worked the Enochian system for a while now, I can say two things tentatively, though definitely within my realm of experience:

1. It works. Very well.

2. It’s hyped.

So what do I mean by these two contradictions?  In my opinion, the Enochian system (as both Golden Dawn and traditional) is quite useful, though on one hand the GD attempted to make it sit well inside their cohesive schema, and on the other, it’s a new way to look at the Universe and deity. So you either have to look at it as an elemental schema or a new language altogether (much like Kabbalah).  After looking at both, I am excited to begin traversing the Enochian world in its entirety, especially after looking at it through GD eyes.

There’s so much more to be said about Enochian, but above all it works, and well. I’ve done scrying sessions with another Frater here with much more experience, and his prior sessions are remarkably similar to ours. All scrying sessions (at least for me) come with doubts about the veracity of the vision, but these sessions greatly improved my abilities not only to call the angels/kerubs/gods, but to see them as well.

So if you haven’t tried Enochian, do so. IMHO, it’s no more “dangerous” than Kabbalah, though I’ve found it more immediately powerful. The Calls are very moving, even in the Enochian language. The theory that Enochian is “dangerous” I think comes from the original GD and less from those who’ve actually worked the original system.

Oh, and it’s NOT an apocalyptic working at all.

Turning my attention elsewhere, I’m going to be out of the country with my lovely wife starting this Friday, so I’ll be out until the end of the month. Look for more posts after the first of the year.


Frater AENE

The Genius as Creative Force

October 28, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” recently went on TED, the excellent series of videos on “ideas worth spreading.” This wonderful video expresses the evolution and downfall of the idea of creativity and what Socrates called his “daemon”. All those who are Abramelin fans or consider western esotericism to be a source for contact with the genius or daemon should take a look:

Elizabeth Gilbert on the Genius

I find her overview excellent, and a good reminder to all of us that our true genius is only a part of something larger than ourselves. She insists that we have lost our way in referring to persons as geniuses rather than understanding that we come from the One. Her argument is that the post-Renaissance humanistic viewpoint of homo sapiens at the center of the universe has essentially killed off our creative people, due to the stress of thinking we’re the total package and must rely upon no one but ourselves.