Friday, January 29, 2010

Whence Cometh the Demons?

I am doing some intensive research lately on a topic that I have, off and on, continued to study and puzzle over for many years. I have known the answer in my head, perhaps intuitively, to the question “whence cometh the demons”, which is a fancy way of asking the question about the origins of what we in the occult refer to as demonic spirits.

The history of demonic spirits is quite fascinating, particularly since there doesn’t seem to be one actual source. Modern western definitions of these spirits are derived from Christian demonology, a specialized branch of theology. Demons are defined as malevolent spirits and represent a united faction opposed to God and his angels. However, this was not always the case, since the dualistic nature of demons vs. angels appears to have its roots in Zoroastrianism. Since Christianity is a synthesis of the Hellenistic and Semitic cultures of the Greco-Roman and Jewish religions, then our search should naturally begin there. Whatever theological perspectives the medieval church promoted about demons won’t shed much light on their origins and antecedents. Also, the earliest Christian magical grimoires, such as Liber Juratus and the Ars Notoria, not to mention the Heptameron, appear to omit any mention of demons. We have to examine Jewish contemporaneous occult and magical sources in order to find the earliest magical use of demons. So one might think that Christian occultism borrowed the concept of a hierarchy of demons, one which the magician could use to conjure, constrain and make use of their associated powers.

Some have speculated that the lists and characteristics of goetic demons and infernal spirits would have their origin with the Greeks. Prior to Plato, Greeks referred to spirits that were intermediaries to the gods and mankind as “daimones.” These spirits were generally considered to be positive, being minor deities or the ghosts of heros or founders, the collective guardians and protectors of humanity. Some scholars believe that prior to Homer, deities and daimones were interchangeable, others disagree. Walter Burkert, in his book “Greek Religion” is one of the scholars who disagrees, proposing that the word daimon represents an occult or unknown force that drives humanity when no known source for that ambition or inspiration is apparent.

For the ancient Greeks, a belief in demons may have preceded the belief and worship of the gods, much like the Roman belief in individual genius or the numen of unknown spiritual presences. Socrates was reputed to have a daemon that acted as his guide, and in one of his symposiums (Plato’s Symposium), love was revealed by one of the attendees, the priestess Diotima, to be a great daimon instead of a god. In addition, one particular daimon had a place of importance in the rites of Dionysus, and that was“Agathos Daimon” or the Good Daimon, who was depicted in art as a chthonic serpent. Members of the cult would give an offering or libation to this daimon before commencing with ceremonial wine drinking.  All of these points would seem to indicate that early Greeks did not ascribe the moral values of good or evil to daimons. (See “Greek Religion” by Walter Burkert, pp. 179 - 181)

Followers of Pythagorus declared that they could see daimons, who would normally be invisible to everyone else, they also claimed to be able to communicate with them. It would not be too fantastic to consider that they might also be able to conjure and direct daimons, along with their other repertoire of various shamanic and magical practices. Since dead heros and founders were accorded the status of being daimons, then it would also make sense that necromancers and sorcerers would possibly illicitly traffic with them. Perhaps that is why the necromantic summoning of spirits, known as “goetic magic” eventually became associated with the magical evocation of demons.

It wasn’t until the philosopher Plato and his student, Xenocrates, that daimons began to be perceived as having a malefic character. By the third century BCE, the Greeks believed in beneficent spirits that they called “Eudaimons” and malefic spirits that were called “Kakodaimons.”  These beneficent daimons were even considered to be a kind of guardian angel, assigned by lots at birth for every man and woman, to act as their guide and guardian. The term eudaimonia, which meant possessing a eudaimon, became synonymous with feelings of bliss and happiness, the state that one would associate with being warded and aided by a spiritual companion. However, in the myth of Pandora, the evils that were unleashed upon mankind were never considered daimons or even kakodaimons, they were called illness (nousoi) and death-bringing spirits (keres). The tragedian Aeschylus poetically refers to the daimon as a fiend that quenches its thirst for murder and destruction, but only at the behest of the gods and never independently. The spirits of departed great men were still thought of as the manifestation of their daimon, such as that associated with Alexander the Great, but incrementally, the daimon was progressively associated with the manifestations of human misfortune, thus obtaining a decidedly negative characteristic.

By the time of the Neoplatonists during Roman imperial times, daimons had become earth bound spirits tormented by their lusts and passions, unlike the remote and pristine gods. Neoplatonic philosophy began with an elevated ideal of the daimon, but this changed over time. It was completely reinterpreted by the early church theologians, who perceived all pagan gods and spirits as being of the category of malefic demons. Philosophers had been distinguishing between noble daimons and trouble making ones, but Christianity lumped them together into one category, as malefic spirits. The only exception was the eudaimon, which was incorporated and redefined as an angelic guardian spirit. However, lists of the names of daemons from Greek sources were not built up or established in early Christian times, as this would have a different and later source.

The Hebrew Torah was translated into the Greek Septuagint in Alexandria during antiquity, and that translation had an impact on later Christian theologians, since the terms “Malakh Adonai” or messenger of the lord, became translated as “angelos” and the idols, nature spirits and alien gods of other people as “daimones.” However, the Torah specifically mentions only the names of two specific demons, just as it only mentioned the names of three specific angels and referred obliquely to the messenger of the lord as some kind of angel.

There were two classes of demons mentioned in the Torah, known as the “se’irim” and “shedim”, “hairy” nature spirits and storm spirits, respectively, both of which may have been given offerings and oblations by the ancient Hebrews to aid in their appeasement. Azazel, who is mentioned in Leviticus (ch. 16, v. 10), is probably of the class of ser’irim and may be their chief, and Lilith, obliquely mentioned in Isaiah (ch. 34, v. 14) is an example of a female demon. Most notably were the “Beni Elohim”, the Sons of God, in chapter 6 of Genesis, who came to earth to mate with human women, and who produced off-spring who were called “men of renown” (literally, men of names). The passages are a bit confusing, but these same angels or their off-spring could have been called the Nephilim, which means either fallen ones or giants.

Jewish folklore, on the other hand, was replete with the names and characteristics of many demons, some of these were discussed and written down during Talmudic times. However, most scholars seem to agree that the complex demonology that Jewish folklore seemed to possess in such abundance supposedly began to appear in Jewish culture during the Babylonian captivity, perhaps influenced by contact with both the Chaldeans and later, the Persians. Prior to the Babylonian captivity, Jewish belief about demons was simple and not developed, certainly not to the point that it later became. The Zoroastrians of Persia introduced the concept of dualism to Jewish thought, but it was not until much later that some Jews began to believe in a unified power of evil (as Satan), which stood against the power and authority of their God. This change was probably due more to Christian influences and was considered uncanonical by Jewish rabbinical authorities.

There seems to be a host of demons referenced in various Jewish writings, and they had specific habitats and characteristics. These spirits could be found in obscure places, such as inhabiting wastelands, ruins, cemeteries, privies, middens or even desolate places unfrequented by humanity. Demons usually shunned daylight and wandered around the fringes of communities at night. They were believed to be the sources of pestilence, disease and natural disasters, yet all these calamities were allowed or directly caused by the wrath and anger of the Hebrew God. Demons would seize their victims and enter into them, possessing their bodies, either by force or cunning. Exorcism was the only cure, performed through incantations, exhortations and the use of herbs and alternative animal victims. Solomon was reputed to have received from God the wisdom, authority and power to control and exorcize demons, and many attributed their knowledge of such practices ultimately to him.  

The Chaldeans and Persians had intricately developed systems of either chthonic deities (Anunnaki) or demonic allies of Ahriman. Like the Chaldeans, the Jews had three classes of demons, having expropriated them from that source as well as other sources. It would seem that the idea of a world of light and darkness, populated by a battling hierarchy of angels and demons was drawn from Persian beliefs, since like Judaism, they would not have given credence to any kind of chthonic deity as the Chaldeans apparently did. Demons were allowed to perform the will of God, but did not engage in any strife against that Deity, since all supernatural powers had an exclusive source in their one god. I quote a source from the online Jewish Encyclopedia:

“It was the primitive demonology of Babylonia which peopled the world of the Jews with beings of a semi-celestial and semi-infernal nature. Only afterward did the division of the world between Ahriman and Ormuzd in the Mazdean system give rise to the Jewish division of life between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of evil. Rabbinical demonology has, like the Chaldean, three classes of, demons, though they are scarcely separable one from another. There were the "shedim," the "mazzi im" (harmers), and the "ru in" or "ru otra'ot" (evil spirits). Besides these there were "lilin" (night spirits), " elane" (shade, or evening, spirits), " iharire" (midday spirits), and " afrire" (morning spirits), as well as the "demons that bring famine" and "such as cause storm and earthquake"

However, these specific names and qualities of demons do not seem to be related to the later medieval lists that we find in the early Jewish grimoires. Yet it is likely that by late antiquity Judaism began to propose a kind of hierarchy by electing a king and queen of demons, thereby laying its foundation. Candidates for these positions varied somewhat, with Asmodai or Samael being more frequently sited. The name Satan was used to describe demons, but did not at first become a generalized name for the king of demons. The queen of demons was, of course, Lilith, but another name used was Na’amah, sister of Tubal Cain, who was reputed to be the wife of Samael and mother of Asmodai. Other names were likely a distortion of Caanite gods, such as Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies) whose name was actually Baal Zebul (Lord of Heaven), and Ashtoreth being analogous to the Goddesses Asherah, Anath or Ishtar/Innana. The fact that monotheism was probably imposed on the Hebrew nation in the 7th century BCE, which was much later than what the Bible instructed, allowed for a lot of obvious polytheistic remnants to be either redefined (such as Elohim, for “gods”) or denigrated as demonic. Still, the Jewish tradition carried many examples of what must have been a very loosely defined pagan polytheism despite the vigorous efforts of the revisionists and reformers.

The effects of the loss of the Temple, the diaspora, and the establishment of the Qabbalah upon Jewish thought and belief were quite profound. The Talmudic period forced a high degree of ordering and structuring of religious thought and practice, since the new center of worship was now the local synagogue and the yeshiva instead of the Temple of Jerusalem. This intensive structuring gave birth to a new formalism that lent itself to the derivation of the Qabbalah and methodologies of ceremonial magick. The first glimmerings of this new formulation was to be found in the book Sepher Yetzirah, and in the proto-grimoire Testament of Solomon (4th century CE). It is probably at this time that the demonic hierarchy began to be assembled, most notably for the purpose of performing exorcisms and medical cures, and only later to actually command demons into performing wonders. Josephus mentions actual witnessed occurrences of these wonder working sorcerers and wrote about them in his books.

Several hundred years later and another Jewish proto-grimoire surfaces, this time called the Sword of Moses (10th century CE). One can see that demonic and angel names are being developed for the purpose of working ceremonial magick. We have passed beyond the hypothetical world of the Testament of Solomon, with the story of the demons being coerced into building the Temple of Jerusalem and the establishment of a kind of medical anti-demonic magic, to one that is more an operational book on ceremonial magic. The trail of books disappears for few centuries and then the Sepher ha-Ratziel and the Book of Abramelin appear on the scene, supposedly only a hundred years apart. It is apparent looking at one of these books that demonic magic is still part of the tradition of Jewish ceremonial magic, and in fact it has been developed further, so that it’s starting to look like what was later incorporated into the classical grimoires of the Goetia, Goetia-Theurgia of the Lemegeton and the Grimoirum Verum.

The book Sepher ha-Ratziel (14th century) is a grimoire consisting of angel magic (malachim), Qabbalistic diagrams and words of power, and an extensive list of angels - there is no list of demons. In the Book of Abramelin (15th century), there is a list of demons crafted into the hierarchy of four kings, eight dukes and their associated servitors. Other than the top two tiers, the rest of the demonic spirit names are unique - they are not at all the same as the demons of the later Goetia. Yet one of the four King names and four of the eight Dukes are found in the list of goetic demons. So it would seem that the Jewish grimoire tradition was developing a demonic hierarchy.

Interestingly enough, there is a French manuscript also from the 15th century, called “Le Livre des Espiritz” that has a list of 47 demonic spirit names, 31 of which are possible matches with the later list of 72 goetic demons. (This is according to the book “Goetia of Dr. Rudd”, pp. 32 - 38, and I think that it is very significant.) By the beginning of the 16th century, we have, in the works of Trithemius (i.e., the “Liber Malorum Spiritum” and the “Steganographia”) a fully developed list of goetic demons and their seals, whose possible source material may have inspired the later Grimoirum Verum and the Lemegeton. Both Agrippa, and his student, Johann Weyer, were steeped in this material, and Weyer used it to produce his work, “Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.”

There is some dispute as to the exact sequence of events, whether the Goetia of the Lemegeton is earlier than the Grimoirum Verum. My opinion is that they are probably contemporaneous to each other, since neither can claim an exact date of production nor even identify the original authors. Suffice it to say that the list of goetic demons appears to have evolved over the 15th century to its final form. Also of note, the infernal hierarchy associated with the Grimoirum Verum is different than that established in the Book of Abramelin, representing an apparent divergence of traditional material indicating possible different sources. All of these various lists and methodologies represent differences in a legitimate occult perspective, although how these materials were actually used and by whom is still something of a mystery.

When examining the various names of the so-called infernal spirits of the hierarchy of demons, their servitors, or the goetic demons, one can see a mixture of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, but any other languages, such as Arabic, Akkadian or Parsi seem to be completely lacking. This should at least inform us that the source of these names comes from the European Jewish diaspora, with complex linkages and appropriations occurring in Christian occult and intellectual circles. The source of magical demonology and its hierarchy is therefore Jewish and Christian in origin, even though some of the concepts and terminology used comes from the Greco Roman period.

My final consideration is how should one approach these spiritual entities in order to incorporate them into magical workings? It is my opinion that there are three possible methods of approach, and only two that I find agreeable with my own particular philosophy.

The first approach is basically the same one that the sorcerers of the Renaissance would have used, which is Christian Diabolism. The magician could approach the use of demons either using the angels and the authority of God to coerce and dominate them, or he could instead act as a diabolic agency, worshiping the Christian version of Satan. This approach has been recently made quite popular by a book written by Lisiewski.

There are two other approaches, and both use a form of neopaganism as their base. One could act in a neutral manner and invoke both demons and angels, seeing them as an integral but opposite type of spiritual intelligence - yet both tied to the same unified aspect of the Godhead. That Godhead would be given Qabbalistic qualities, but not specifically defined or given a name, thus avoiding spiritual dualism. Neopagan gods and goddesses would exist, as would the spirits of the ancestors, angels and demons.

One could also redefine and develop a magickal religion whose principal deities are chthonic and based in the underworld. In such a redefinition, the demons would become part of a religious spiritual hierarchy that would represent the mysteries and darkness inherent in all transformational processes. The demons would be completely redefined so that they would function as they did in early antiquity, as intermediaries between the gods and humanity, neither good nor evil.

The first approach accepts the old grimoires and uses them as they presently exist, the second expropriates what is needed and useful in the old grimoires and uses it in an existing magical system, and the third completely reclaims and rewrites the old grimoires, to fashion a completely new system of magic.

I have decided to follow the second path, and since I am not a Christian I find the first path to be unacceptable. However, the most compelling approach is the third path, which involves what is called and practiced by neopagans espousing a chthonic spirituality, demonolatry. Perhaps someday those who follow the third path will produce a total reclamation of the old grimoires. I look forward to that event and reading over their material.

Frater Barrabbas

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tarot Trumps and the 22 Stages of the Cycle of the Hero

I am going to be presenting a workshop at Pantheacon 2010 about how the Tarot trumps match up with the 22 Stages of the Cycle of the Hero. I thought that I would present my ideas here for you to examine and ponder. I have been doing this for many years, and it still seems to work quite well.

Joseph Campbell’s book “Hero with a Thousand Faces” - is an examination of the mythic and literary Hero’s Journey. In his version, there are 22 stages and four sections to this cyclic journey. It has the psychological quality and mythic motif of a journey into and out of the underworld, the domain of the unconscious mind. (I read this book back while attending college, probably around 32 years ago.)

Curiously enough, the number of stages in the Hero’s Journey is identical to the number of Trumps in the Tarot. Coincidence? (I sat down years ago and compared each card of the Tarot to the Hero’s Journey and found that they more or less matched.) Let’s perform an operation of our own today and see if we can come up with the same results.

Heroic Cycle contains two actual cycles - the Hero’s descent into the Underworld and his return, and the Cosmogonic Cycle - Creation and ultimate dissolution of the World/Universe.

Hero’s Underworld Descent and Return - Basic milestones -

1. Call to adventure
2. Helpers
3. Threshold Crossing
4. Tests/Helpers
5. Supreme Ordeal (Sacred Marriage, Father Atonement, Apotheosis, Elixir/Boon theft.)
6. Flight
7. Return Threshold Crossing
8. Elixir/Boon Translation

The Elixir/Boon is the objective of the Underworld transit - it is first off, the integration of the Light and Dark halves of the Self into a renewed and holistic individuation. It is also the revelation of the Greater Cosmic Mystery - the ages of creation, golden age, age of death, and final dissolution of the world, and more importantly, the Hero’s role within that cosmic history.

The Cosmogonic Cycle is the never ending cycle of deep sleep, dreaming and waking, and the processes of emanation (cycle half of deep sleep to waking via dreaming) and dissolutions (cycle half of waking to deep sleep via dreaming).

Part I  -  The Separation or Departure

1.  The Summoning or Call to Adventure; the Revelation of the Vocation of the Hero 
(Atu: XX - The Last Judgment)

2.  The Refusal of the Call; Folly or Internalization 
(Atu: 0 - The Fool)

3.  Supernatural Aid or Intervention; Meeting the Spirit Guide 
(Atu: II - The Priestess)

4.  Crossing the First Threshold; Meeting the Fierce Guardian 
(Atu: IX - The Hermit)

5.  The Belly of the Whale; the Underworld
(Atu: XVI - The Blasted Tower)

Part II  -  The Trials and Victories of Initiation

1.  The Road of Trials; the Dangers and Lesser Ordeals
(Atu: X - The Wheel of Fortune)

2.  Meeting the Goddess; Infancy Regained
(Atu VI - The Lovers)

3.  Woman as Temptress; Agony of Separation
(Atu XI - Strength)

4.  Atonement With the Father; Establishment of Inner Values
(Atu: XV - The Devil)

5.  Apotheosis; Self as Exalted Being
(Atu: I - The Magician)

6.  The Ultimate Boon; the secret knowledge of the soul is revealed.
(Atu: VII - The Chariot)

Part III  -  The Cosmogonic Cycle

0.  World Navel; the Central Origin of All Things
(Atu: XXI -  The Universe)

1.  Emanations; Emergence from the Void
(Atu: XVII - The Star)

2.  Virgin Birth; Creative Roles of Women and the Mythical Golden Age
(Atu: III - The Empress)

3.  Transformation; the Age of Death and Suffering
(Atu: XIII - Death)

4.  Dissolutions; the End of the World
(Atu: XII - The Hanged Man)

Part IV  -  The Return and Reintegration with Society

1.  The Refusal to Return; the World Denied, the Completion of the Path of the Mystic
(Atu: VIII - Justice)

2.  The Magic Flight; Escape/Crossing the Return Threshold
(Atu: XVIII - The Moon)

3.  Rescue from Without; the Healing of the Fisher-king
(Atu: IV - The Emperor)

4.  The Reoccurrence of the Boon; the Expression of the World Redeeming Vision
(Atu: XIV - Temperance)

5.  Master of Two Worlds; the Key to the Inner and Outer Realities
(Atu V - The Hierophant)

6.  Freedom to Live; the Function of the Ultimate Boon
(Atu: XIX - The Sun)

So look over this pattern and see if it matches as far as you are concerned. Take the trump cards and extract them from your favorite traditional Tarot deck and arranged in the order above, grouping the cards by the four different sections of the Hero’s cycle. Then use your imagination and walk through the pattern, card by card, to see if you can pick up the thread of the underworld transition. I believe that you will find this pattern to be quite informative and will probably shape how you define the trumps of the Major Arcana. (I know that it certainly changed my definitions.)

When performing Tarot card readings, if a trump occurs in the reading, what does it indicate, now that it has a matching stage in the Cycle of Initiation?

References: “Hero With A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell - MJF Books, NY

The specific sections above are taken from the book “Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick - Volume 1 - Foundation” written by Frater Barrabbas. You can order this book on or purchase directly from the author - all such direct orders will be autographed.

Frater Barrabbas

Monday, January 18, 2010

Foundation of Practical Magick

I have been pondering the nature of magick and how it appears to work. Often, when you come up with ideas and theories about magick, something comes to your attention later to show you that you were wrong, or that your theories were incomplete. What amazes me the most about magick is that in regards to a ritual working, even the most incompetent execution and the poorest design can be successful. I am not advocating any kind of sloppiness or laxness in the design, creation and execution of ritual magick. In fact, I believe in crafting the best rituals possible, studying and then performing them to the highest level of my creative ability. One could say that I am a perfectionist, so there are no doubts as to where I stand in the practice of ritual magick. However, perfection is not required for ritual work to be successful.

I have lived in many locations over the years and I have attended quite a number of gatherings. I have worked magick with individuals and groups, both large and small. I have been exposed to a wide range of ritual and ceremonial practices. I have witnessed truly astonishing ritual workings, absolute bone-headed abominations and everything in between. What I have found in these many experiences is that the threshold for success in the art of magick is actually quite low. Rituals that are poorly designed and executed, and from an esthetic standpoint, truly stink, seem to work anyway. I have often wondered why this is true, and now I think that I can pull together some of my ideas and beliefs to explain it.

All of these points are anecdotal and quite subjective, but if you can trust that my judgment is grounded in years of magickal experience, then perhaps my opinions can be accepted as a kind of provisional truth. Not every ritual that I have witnessed has worked, and many don’t work very effectively, in other words, they don’t precisely define the parameters for determining success. Nebulous and disorganized ritual design typically produces nebulous and chaotic results. Perhaps that is the first rule that we can take to heart.

So it would seem that we could make the following statements about the practice of ritual magick.

  • Rituals can be simple, intermediate or complex - all levels of effort seem to work.
  • Rituals can succeed or fail, depending on certain criteria, although that criteria is very basic.
  • Rituals require a certain level of belief, imagination and enthusiasm in order to be successful.
  • Clarity and focus are important factors in designing and performing successful ritual magick.

Now let’s look at each one of these points and expand on them. By doing so, we may actually determine and identify what makes a ritual successful.

Complexity or simplicity have no bearing on how effective a ritual will work. Often times, complex rituals may become too difficult to perform or may be too redundant or cumbersome. Efficiency is often more desired than complexity for its own sake. A ritual magician is best served by constantly editing the rituals that are part of his or her repertoire, cutting down the extraneous and unnecessary parts and tightening the strategic elements. A ritual is seldom in its final form, there can always be additions or deletions. Editing and reformatting can make a ritual far more effective. My advise is always to start with a set of simple rituals that can be chained together, later on you might then take the chaining of smaller rituals and produce from them a larger ritual that is more efficient and effective.

Rituals succeed or fail because of certain criteria or basic rules. In other words, all rituals have to possess certain elements or they are guaranteed to fail. So what are those rules that are essential to a successful ritual? They are actually quite simple, straightforward and few in number.

1. Establish sacred space and prepare the “self.” This can be accomplished in many different ways, but it builds a base for the practice of magick. Simply stated, sacred space is that the area where you are performing ritual has been altered and prepared for magickal work. Self preparation is nothing more than getting yourself into the right mental attitude. This is a combination of exuberance for the work and obtaining a certain altered state of consciousness. Altered states of consciousness are achieved through techniques of meditation and trance induction. Assuming one’s magickal persona is also very effective, providing that the magician has one.

2. Establish an energy field or summon (invoke) the assistance of spirits, or a combination of both. This, of course depends on the kind of magick performed and the model of magick that one is employing. This step is actually nothing more than preparing the elements of the ritual for the core of the rite, which is the next step.

3. Define the objective of the magick (usually in symbolic form) and focus on it with great intensity, imprinting it with one’s desires and affirming it as a part of one’s will. If the energy model is used, then the energy field is imprinted with this objective. If the spirit model is used, then the spirits are constrained in some manner to carry out the objective. Sigils can be deployed to symbolize the objective or other tools can be used, such as a spirit bottle or medicine pouch. The magician must also use his or her imagination to visualize the objective and how it should be realized.

4. Project the resultant energy field or the constrained spirits from the focus of the magick circle or sacred space out into the material world. I call this step, exteriorization, since it represents the phase in magick where the focused elements and components of the magickal rite are projected outward into the material world, where it is impacted by the charged enthusiasm and boundless optimism of the magician’s magick.

These four steps must be a part of the ritual working or it will fail. The sequence is not important, but it does help to start with a good foundation and to build to a climax from that point. Ironically, the most omitted step in rituals that I have witnessed is the final one - projecting the power or spirits summoned into the mundane sphere. However, even a poorly designed and executed ritual, if it has all four of these steps, will succeed in some manner.

Belief, imagination and enthusiasm are the glue that holds all of the parts of a ritual together and can make it work even if it’s poorly contrived. These elements are qualities of the mind of the practitioner and they are characterized by the all-powerful “As If” mental proposition. If you passionately believe something to be real, then for you, that something has a certain reality. Being excited and passionate, and having a powerful imagination, help to make the ritual effective despite anything else that it is lacking. However, the “As If” proposition has some limitations. It can’t make an incomplete ritual complete and it can’t turn a failed working into a successful one, unless the magician is willing to completely forgo all objectivity. Of course, forgoing all objectivity is the beginning of the path of confusion, delusion and perhaps, even madness. Conversely, even a masterpiece of ritual design and construction will fail if these powerful elements are missing, so they, too, must be considered integral to performing a successful ritual working.

Finally, clarity and focus are important factors in making certain that a ritual produces the effects that one is seeking to produce. Often the bar for working magick is very low. If the ritual produces any effects, even if they are completely irrelevant to the objective of the working, then the ritual is deemed a success. Of course, what this means is that the ritual had all of the elements necessary to produce an effect, but the objective was poorly defined and not researched. Clarity helps one to properly focus the magick on the exact objective that the magician intends. As I have said previously, nebulous objectives produce nebulous results, clear objectives can at least be measured in regards to success or failure. One very important factor is reducing the number of items that are part of the objective down to the absolute minimum - preferably, just one solid objective. Meditate on that objective and ask, “Is it reasonable?” “Can it be accomplished in the allotted time and with the means at one’s disposal?” Perform divination on that objective and carefully examine all of the various parts of that goal. Are there any internal blocks that need to be removed? Do I have all of the mundane actions listed that are required to make this goal successfully realized?

The more time that one spends in answering these questions and refining the magickal objective before doing any magick, the greater likelihood that it will be successful. Once the magick is performed, then divination can aid one in determining if everything is moving in the direction required in order to be successful. Are there additional mundane actions that need to be accomplished or does one need to perform additional magickal rituals? These questions need to be answered after the magick is performed. The old adage is that knowledge is power, and divination gives the magician that kind of power and more. To work magick without careful consideration, meditation, contemplation and divination means that the magick will be performed in a blind and contrived manner. This will also ensure that the magick worked will fail to produce the desired objective.

All of these elements characterize a kind of approach to life that is practical, open minded, flexible and dynamic. Using these kinds of qualities in the practice of ritual magick will ensure that the rites that one works will be successful and personally empowering. Rituals don’t always work all of the time, but often learning why a ritual failed can be the best tool for improving and adapting one’s magick so that it becomes successful.

Frater Barrabbas

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wrath of God or Natural Causes?

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale rocked the island of Haiti on Tuesday, near the capital of Port-au-Prince, causing enormous devastation to an island nation already afflicted with endemic poverty. While we can feel empathy for those who are suffering, and perhaps dip into our pockets to send money to various aid agencies, some seem to think that the cause of this disaster is the wrath of God. One of the most notable U.S. televangelists, Pat Robertson, went so far as to say that the destruction was due to the fact that Haiti is cursed because it's aligned with Satan. In other words, God sent the earthquake to Haiti to punish the Haitians. I quote an article from Huffington Post:

‘Televangelist Pat Robertson said Wednesday that earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been "cursed" by a "pact to the devil."’

Such a statement made by a well known public pundit seems totally absurd if it weren’t also an indication of tragic callousness and sectarianism. Haitians tend to be Catholic and their alternative religion, Voudoun, is unfortunately notorious, particularly for those who know little about it. The fact that an important spokesman for the religious right has shown himself to be incapable of feeling any compassion or concern for the suffering of fellow human beings is astonishing, but not really surprising. There is an implied notion that when something happens to people who are not the same color or religion as oneself, that care and compassion is thwarted by xenophobia and disassociation. It’s almost as if compassion occurs only if the people afflicted are one’s own race, religion or nation. This kind of sentiment is outrageous and deserves to be harshly criticized. But the underlying spiritual perspective is even more disturbing.

A similar occurrence happened a few years ago when a tsunami struck parts of Indonesia and Thailand. Some folks talked about the wrath of God or that people were punished for being hedonistic and not pious enough in their spiritual practices. It would seem that whenever a natural disaster strikes, human beings apply all sorts of causes and reasons for it, many of them invoking the “hand of God”, fate, karma or some kind of spiritual retribution.

This implies that the concept of God in many places in the world is such that every infraction, impiety, blaspheme, or sinful behavior is somehow recorded, aggregated and when a certain threshold is achieved, a natural disaster is triggered to collectively punish everyone, sinner and pious adherent alike. The fact that natural disasters are caused by nature and not by a supernatural agency doesn’t seem to affect people’s thoughts and opinions one bit. Such a concept is almost medieval in its apparent superstitious perspective, representing as it does, a terrible, vengeful, omniscient and omnipotent creator Deity. However, my personal experiences with Spirit in association with ritual magick causes me to reject this troubling dogmatic belief.

My recent successful invocation of my Higher Self via the Bornless One rite has led me to realize that all spiritual phenomena are sensed through it, and that without it, I would have no sense of Spirit or Godhead whatsoever. The fashioning of the universe and the evolution of life may very well be autonomous processes that have nothing to do with any Deity or universal intelligence. However, the nature of the human soul and the development of higher consciousness over the millennia is certainly the domain of Spirit and provenance of the Godhead.

Pagans tend to think of nature itself as a Deity, but we can only approach this aspect of Spirit through our higher selves, since any other direct contact might be impossible. We could certainly admit that there is likely a godhead aspect associated with the bio-sphere, and some have even given it a name, calling it Gaia. Collectives of various types seem to produce egregores of some kind and cultural thought forms appear to function as autonomous entities. However, we comprehend the world through our own spiritual essence. We also appear to project our spiritual beliefs and perspectives on the world. What this means is that while there undoubtedly is some kind of universal aspect of Spirit, how it manifests itself is not really known. It typically appears in the form that we expect it, as if our spiritual beliefs and perspectives produce an over-powering bias. This is the reason why sectarian arguments are so hotly contested, with each side believing that they are correct, and also why they are usually impossible to resolve one way or the other. All opinions about the Godhead are true, but they are also incomplete and can be misleading if taken as an absolute truth.

To imbue all natural disasters with a supernatural element, making them the direct actions of the Deity, produces a being that is cold, cruel, capricious and murderous to all forms of life. Is that the kind of Deity that we would want to worship? The emotions of jealousy, spite, vengeance, hatred, anger, and violence represents all that is considered negative and bad in human nature. Why would we imbue our impressions of the Deity with those kinds of negative sentiments? Nature is profoundly neutral and unbiased. Living creatures are born, live and die every day of the year. Some die of natural causes, some are killed and eaten as prey, some die accidental deaths or by disease and others die as a result of natural catastrophe. There is nothing either supernatural or mysterious about these occurrences. In the natural world, dying is as much a part of life as living.

When thousands of people tragically perish due to an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemic outbreaks or any other natural occurrence, we should feel sad and compassionate about the fate of the survivors and the loss of so much life. Such an event is a time of sadness, but it’s also a time when human beings can show their love for each other despite differences, rendering necessary aid and comfort. Emotions like love, care, compassion, self-sacrifice and forgiveness represent all the sentiments that we value as the very height of human goodness. If we believe in a supreme being, would that entity not at the very least embody all that is good and the very best of human nature? I believe that this is an important question. The mystics talk about spiritual union, love and devotion, which seems to describe the very core of the Deity. There is nothing of hatred, anger or violence in their discussions, poetry and songs of God. So we could construe from this that all such negative sentiments are not part of the Union of All Being. Only love, which is the highest human sentiment, would seem to fit that representation.

When nature produces disasters, people are injured or die just because they happen to be in the way of earth’s titanic forces. They are unwitting victims, and as such, they deserve our compassion, love and aid, regardless of their color, nationality or creed.

(I have given $50 to the International Red Cross. I would recommend others to be as generous as well.)

Frater Barrabbas

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nature of the Egregore in Ritual Magick

In a recent previous article I mentioned the term “egregore”, which I defined as a group-mind or group spirit of an assembly of individuals. Specifically, the egregore is properly defined as “an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people.” The word is derived from the Greek “egregoroi,” which means “watchers.” Scientific aspects of this phenomenon are found in the psychological studies of “group think” and the phenomenon of “risky shift”, where a group of people are more prone to take risks when addressing them collectively than they would individually. From the perspective of scientific psychology, a group appears to influence the functioning of individuals who are a part of it, even if they are unaware of that influence. So there appears to be a scientific basis to the concept of the egregore.

The term egregore is in general usage amongst occultists to describe the essential nature of groups or organizations, but has a very specific application in the practices of ritual magick. An egregore is related to a thought form, since they are basically derived from the same  psychic material that forms the foundation of conscious sentience. Egregores differ from thought forms because they are generated from the dynamic and intense interactions of groups of people, and they are usually not deliberately created. Magicians sometimes confuse the two, thinking that one can conjure up an egregore in a similar manner that a thought form can be generated. Making contact with an egregore is a tricky and difficult task, especially if one is outside or not a member of the group. Yet there are tall tales of certain magicians conjuring corporate egregores and attempting to contact and manipulate them in order to manipulate the corporation itself in an indirect manner.

Whether one can actually manipulate a corporate egregore indirectly and from the outside is subject to debate. I am of the mind that while one may be able to contact such an entity, attempting to manipulate it without directly engaging the principle decision makers may accomplish nothing. From my perspective, one would be better served performing a spell against the CEO of some company rather attempting to control it through it’s egregore. Of course, putting a spell on the head of a corporation, especially if that person is a complete stranger, is probably futile as well as absurd.

Still, a corporate egregore would be identified by the corporate logo, motto, advertising slogans and other identifying qualities. Certainly, if one were going to attempt to psychically access a corporate egregore, all of the materials needed would be easily available, since corporate branding does unwittingly establish a kind of collective identity that a magician may access. Establishing magickal access to a corporate egregore would probably produce information of a questionable value and usefulness. I will leave the question of how useful such information would be to others. Though I can well imagine that secret manipulations, acquiring confidential information and determining future stock prices might be something that an enterprising magician with a business knack might consider doing once access to the egregore was established. However, I am deeply skeptical that anyone could obtain accurate and useful information by performing this kind of magick unless they were one of the principle decision makers already inside the company. Perhaps if this ever becomes a viable magickal methodology, there may yet be born a kind of corporate sorcery.

As absurd as the notion of accessing the corporate egregore seems to be, the idea itself is quite sound when used on occult organizations and groups practicing magick. One would assume that an occult organization, which collectively performs ceremonies and engages in meditation or magickal practices, would produce a powerful egregore that one could tap into and engage in a manner similar to performing an invocation. Whether this methodology could be used to steal the secret teachings and knowledge of an organization or manipulate that organization is debatable, probably for the same reasons sited above about corporate egregores.

However, it’s quite possible to obtain and acquire useful personal information or even full immersion by connecting to the egregore of an occult organization or group. This can be accomplished even if the group or organization is no longer active or functioning, and even if the one performing the magick is neither initiated nor affiliated with that group. Of course, the knowledge gained is very subjective and personal, which means that its over-all usefulness is determined by the effectiveness, intuition and insightfulness of the practitioner. It also helps if one extensively researches the target occult organization, building up a foundation of historical and practical information about that group.

As stated previously, a practitioner must possess a body of information to work with, such as the logo, motto, doctrines, beliefs, teachings, principle members and whatever else one might be able to find. Of course, the more knowledge that one has about a given group, the greater the clarity and accuracy of the derived egregore, once it’s invoked. Having less knowledge and information about a group will produce a very nebulous and insubstantial access to the egregore, so it’s important to do as much research and information gathering as possible before attempting to contact an egregore. This is perhaps why it would be quite difficult to obtain a substantive egregore access to an ancient organization, particularly if there is little information about that group and all practicing members are long dead. The Templars come to mind, as well as many of the mystery cults of antiquity, like Orphism, Pythagorianism, Rites of Eleusis or Mithraicism.

It’s also possible to reverse the process and generate an egregore of a fictitious organization. What is required is for the magician to produce the lore and other materials necessary, which would done exactly as if what was being researched was a real organization. With all of this fake lore being instilled with a serious “As If” approach by the magician, the fictional group would become “real” when he or she summoned and invoked the egregore of that group. In such a magickal process, reality becomes something that the magician subjectively experiences, even if the masters and secret chiefs are fictional (and they usually are).

A magician needs to use discretion and a certain amount of objectivity to retain a balanced perspective when performing any kind of egregore invocation, whether the organization is real, legendary or completely fictitious. This is because it is all too easy to become obsessed and paranoid with the notion of secret societies plotting against the world and oneself. 

How does one contact an egregore? The mechanism that I use is the same one used to perform a simple invocation exercise. The key components consist of the following list.

  • Determining the symbolic logo,
  • Find a possible spirit name,
  • Draw a sigil and consecrate it,
  • Build up a descriptive imago,
  • Perform a simple invocation ritual with the above elements.
The simple invocation rite consists of the following steps:

1. Determine the quality of the base (an element, planet, zodiacal sign, sephirah, etc.) - set this to the four watchtowers. Derive a four letter formula that describes the base. Use this formula to qualify the four watchtowers. A description of that formula part may also be developed and used.

2. Draw the four watchtowers together into the center of the circle. Generate a vortex with a widdershins circuit of the circle - three times. Standing in the center of the circle, define the base formula as a word of power, and summon and invoke the egregore for the first time.

3. Establish a Western oriented gateway. Use Tarot trumps to qualify the three gate nodes. Charge the gate nodes with a trapezoidal cross and invoking spiral. Draw the three nodes together through the ultra-point, forming a tetrahedral gate structure. Perform the opening portal gesture facing the West and then intone the invocation of the egregore and summon it a second time.

4. Draw an internal circle and step into it, expanding it to the periphery of the magick circle. Place a charged sigil of the egregore in the center of the circle, draw an invoking spiral around it. Sit before the sigil and light an offering of incense. (An offering of consecrated bread and wine can also be given.) Intone the descriptive imago of the egregore, and then intone the third and final invocation. Call and summon the egregore to you again and again, then meditate deeply, assume a trance state and contact the egregore, note everything that is seen and heard.

5. Once the working is ended, perform the closing portal gesture to the West, and then a sealing spiral to the three gate nodes and the four watchtowers - the rite is ended.

If a magician uses the above simple rite of summoning to contact an egregore, and all of the required components are thoroughly developed, then I am certain that some kind of contact will be made. However, this is not a single action that is done just once (perhaps to test the hypothesis), it is done repeatedly over time, so that the contact is built up and matured until it is a tangible and reliable source of occult teachings and extended lore. Remember, the more information that one possesses about a given organization, the more detailed and defined the contact with the egregore will be. This is a critical point that the magician must carefully understand.

The kinds of occult organizations or egregores that the magician may tap is endless, yet I would be remiss if I didn’t identify a few for the sake of making some recommendations.

Possible Occult Egregores to Access:

The Secret and Invisible Rosicrucian Order of High Adepts

The Original Golden Dawn, circa 1890's.

Inner Esoteric Order of the Theosophical Society (including the Mahatmas), circa 1880's

Pre-Crowley German Ordo Templi Orientis

Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, circa 1870's

Grand Lodge of Egyptian Masonry, circa 1780's

Bavarian Brotherhood of Illuminati

Knights of the Holy Grail (Modern Adaption of the Templars)

Sacred High Order of Druid Masters

Elders of the Secret Society of Stregheria

Ascended Masters of the Western Mystery Tradition

Guild Masters of Goetic Magick


The list is only as infinite as the imagination.

Frater Barrabbas

Monday, January 11, 2010

Summary and Conclusion of the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal Working

Enough time has passed that I need to examine all that happened during my seven week ordeal and to analyze and examine it from a higher level perspective than what I was able to determine after completing each individual working. I need to put the whole process together and examine it, using what I know about occult symbolism and spiritual phenomena to classify what was experienced during that entire period of time. I am certain that as more time passes, I may have additional thoughts and insights to report, but for now, it’s important that I attempt to summarize what occurred and explain this process from a more abstract and theoretical perspective.

What I can deduce almost immediately is that this newly devised ordeal does indeed successfully achieve the same results that the traditional ordeal achieved, which is the knowledge and conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel. So I can say that the new ordeal is efficient, succinct and works quite well. That much I can say without any doubts or confusion - there is now a new way of undergoing this classic ordeal. What can’t be said is that it produces exactly the same results or that it is in any way an analogous working. The Abramelin Lunar Ordeal working is quite different than the traditional Abramelin ordeal working, although I believe that they produce a kind of similar effect on the operator.

Since I have not worked the traditional ordeal (nor can I, even if I wanted to), then I really have little to compare between the two processes, other than what I know about mystical and magickal practices, since the Abramelin ordeal is entirely mystical and devotional. My version of this ordeal is almost entirely magickal, with some elements of the devotional and mystical processes included in its formulation and deployment. These were added while the overall ordeal was being undergone, and were not really part of the original plan. The final mix of magickal workings and mystical devotion produces the correct combination of actions within sacred space that produce the same result as the traditional ordeal. So I can say with some degree of confidence that the lunar ordeal is in its final form. I will certainly rewrite and refine the specific rituals themselves, but the pattern of the ordeal is, I believe, complete.

I also believe that the invocation of the archangel Ratziel was crucial to the ordeal, even though that particular magickal working wasn’t part of the ordeal proper. For those who would want to duplicate this ordeal, it would be a requirement to perform this working as well as all of the rest in sequence. If we consider that the lunar ordeal covers the progression of Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Spirit, then the pre-ordeal working would cover the “Self” and would be part of the process that prepared one for the beginning of the ordeal. I will include this working in the structure of the ordeal, even though I will consider it to be optional. Any magician who elects to undergo this ordeal may perform this working, an alternative working or none.

The ordeal should be broken up into seven sections, starting with the pre-ordeal working, then proceeding through the four elements, Spirit and then concluding with the Abramelin ordeal and the Bornless One invocation rite. I believe that I can make a summary of each section and a final analysis.

Pre-ordeal Working: This working was performed the evening of November 7th. I had to fashion a new sigil, and the results of the invocation of Ratziel gave me the license and the authority to proceed with the ordeal. I received the protection and blessing of Ratziel and used his sigil as a passport in my invocations of the eight Super-archangels. I also concluded that a fast was in order, abstaining from red meat, eating sparingly (except for religious feasts) and adopting a vegetarian diet during the actual weekend workings.

“Ratziel also imparted to me that he had a hand in influencing and inspiring me to formulate this ordeal, even though the credit for doing so is still completely my own. So what this means is that a bit of angelic providence has inspired and guided me to formulate this working. I must admit that I am greatly intrigued, and it would seem that the spiritual hierarchy is in agreement with what I am about to do. ”

First weekend - Element of Earth: Nov 21 & 22. The first weekend working was accomplished without a lot of difficulties and seemed to show that the path of this ordeal was blessed with good intentions and auspicious occurrences. The results of the invocation of Zahriel was joyous and happy, Yophiel was intense, restrained, but gentle and kindly. 

A quote from the invocation of Zahriel:

“Joyous existence - the happiness and great innocent pleasure in all of life - even when it seems like a burden to one. I saw a vision of a gaily dressed entity, like the Ghost of Christmas Present in Dickens' story, “A Christmas Carol,” amidst a halo of golden and brilliant lights. I felt all of the goodness that I have ever done for others compressed into a single moment of joyous and ecstatic happiness - an illumination of joyousness! I realized that knowing and being grateful for life was an important foundation to enlightenment, which can’t occur without that sense of gratification.”

A quote from the invocation of Yophiel:

“Devotion consists of the expressed and constant demonstration of the love of the Deity - giving offerings and purely worshiping it. This also includes forgiving the errors and follies of others, as well as giving alms to the poor and supporting one’s spiritual community. One should give either service or money to those who are bereft as a demonstration of spiritual solidarity with the human race.”

So two words that would fully represent this working is “joyous existence” and “devotion - the giving of offerings and worship” - both of these expressions powerfully colored the first weekend working. They caused me to change and modify how I was perceiving my life and how I was perceiving the needs of others. I became a bit of a philanthropist as well as a person who began to realize the beauty and joy of life itself.

Second Weekend - Element of Air: November 27 & 28. The second weekend working was quite difficult, although not as difficult as later parts of the ordeal. I had caught a nasty cold and it affected everything that I attempted to do. It did not stop the second weekend working from being performed, and I managed to experience a fairly rapid recovery, but the sickness colored the second weekend working, even though by the next week, all signs of it were gone. The results of the invocation of Yehoel was mind blowing, causing me to experience a kind of powerful mental expansion. Ophaniel exposed me to the power of judgement that is part of the Cherubim character, I was judged but found of reasonable integrity and intention to be allowed to continue the working. Obviously, if I had been found wanting, the ordeal would have come to grinding halt at this point.

A quote from the invocation of Yehoel:

“Yehoel told me that the true will is discovered through the resolution of parables, riddles, paradoxes and puzzles about the nature of reality, chance (fortune), and inherent capabilities (and flaws) associated with the individual. So the true will is not something that is straightforward, it’s more of a profound personal mystery - one that requires a constant focused inquiry. However, all personal destinies are resolved at the same point - ultimate union with the godhead, whether a person realizes that truth or not.”

A quote from the invocation of Ophaniel:

“You have achieved the midpoint of the working, and the beginning of the really more challenging and difficult parts of the ordeal. The seraphim will inspire you, and the cherubim will challenge you, as you have never been inspired or challenged before. The cherubim are the keepers of the gateway of the godhead and they will test and judge you as either worthy or unworthy. Fulfilling their requirements is extremely important. It must be done with an open heart and a transparent motivation - anything less will cause the ordeal to fail. You will not be able to bring all eight of these super-archangels together without incurring a kind of curse on yourself - so be warned, and prepare yourself!”

So from these two spirits I received wisdom about one’s spiritual will or destiny, and the need to fulfill the special requirements given to me by the Cherubim. As I have indicated, these two entities had a very powerful impact on my workings and permanently altered my attitude and sense of compassion for others.

Third Weekend - Element of Water: December 5 & 6. The third weekend working was more difficult and challenging than the previous two. While I was able to heal myself of the cold I had caught, now my mundane world, particularly my job, presented obstacles to completing the working. I persevered and used the power of my will to ensure that the working was done at the appointed times, but I certainly was challenged. Metatron amazingly planted a “seed of wisdom” inside my soul and Kerubiel taught me how to nurture and empower that seed, telling me not only what it was but how to maximize it, so that it would become the source of my wisdom and compassion. I also was told to re-examine the Gnostic tract Hymn to the Pearl, which I did, and I posted it as a separate article.

A quote from Metatron:

“This is my gift to you, Oh sojourner of the spiritual paths of super-celestial magick. It is the seed of spiritual love and greatest wisdom. Care for it, nurture it with love and your passion for God, believe in it as the link between you and your goal. If you do this, then the seed will open and unveil its glory unto your soul. If you fail, then it shall become a dead thing, which shall embitter and curse your very quest to its source. You must choose your path wisely and carefully so that the gift is a great boon to you instead of a barrier.”

A quote from Kerubiel:

“I reveal this wisdom to you - a great seed has been planted in you, and only the greatest passion and love of God will cause it to open and reveal its secrets. When giving devotions to your godhead, remember the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz and Kabir - and other poetry of the love to God, such as the Psalms. Sing praises to God, whom you love and adore, and the seed will reveal to you its inner most secrets and greatest glory.”

Kerubiel also instructed me to add additional features to the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal. I needed to extract the three final days of the traditional Abramelin ordeal and incorporate them into my own working. This means that I would begin with prayers, atonement purification and fasting starting on December 28 through the day of the invocation of the Bornless One, which is December 30. I was also supposed to perform a macro ritual to reconnect with all eight Seraphim and Cherubim prior to performing the rite of bringing them together into the empowered octagon. Since I didn’t have an excess of time, I decided to pair the Elements together, working on Earth and Water one evening, and Air and Fire the following evening. The results were excellent, so that is how I would recommend that additional pair of workings be accomplished.

The Element of Water brought the aspect of devotion and love of God powerfully into the working, and felt my heart and soul open up and align itself with the targeted Godhead of the Element of Water.

Fourth Weekend - Element of Fire: December 11 & 12. The fourth weekend working was probably the most profound of the four weekends, with the elementary structures of a kind of nascent enlightenment beginning to expand and reveal itself in me. This not to say that I have achieved enlightenment, but that the foundation for it has been established. Seraphiel caused in a profound sense of time distortion, where visions and dreams that I had when a youth nearly exactly 37 years ago were revisited again, and it seemed as if they were happening simultaneously. Rikbiel gave me complete affirmation that my attempt at the Abramelin ordeal would be successful, but that I would be tested even more intensely than I have already been tested. I was acquitted of having delusions about myself or of having questionable motivations about my search for enlightenment. All was in readiness for the next phase of the ordeal.

A quote from Seraphiel:

“Frater Barrabbas Tiresius, we have indeed met before a long time ago in your perceptions, but only moments ago for me. Although which came first is unknown to me, for time is indeed strange and disjointed where I stand.”


“So I have quickened this seed planted in you by Metatron. So it shall grow and expand until it reveals its mysteries to you - soon. Take care to continue to nurture it with good deeds, compassionate intentions and devotions of the love of the Godhead. All will be revealed to you soon enough by my counter part, the Cherub of Fire.”

A quote from Rikbiel:

“These are the ghosts of the future that will be happening soon. They represent the fact that I have appeared to you even before the invocation, due to the weight of having successfully invoked the previous seven of these great angelic spirits. I bless you on this chosen path of the ordeal, and I shall aid you in your quest. It will be another new path opened up for others, for that is what you must do once this ordeal is accomplished. Beware, though, for I must warn you that having passed me, you are locked into this ordeal and cannot turn aside. It must be accomplished, there is no turning back, for madness and self destruction shall overtake you if would deem to quit at this time.”

After these workings were completed, I managed to find the original drawing and posted it with a report that I placed in my blog. I was quite amazed at this phenomenon of time distortion, which occurred with both spirits. With Seraphiel, I was transported back 37 years into my past, and Rikbiel showed me impressions and visions of what was to come. I sensed the coming difficulties, but actually I had no clue what those challenges would be like. What I sensed were like ghosts of time, and the actual future events were still obscured and maintained their mysteries until they happened. Thus there was no way for me to prepare for what was to befall me in the final three days. What I did know was that the ordeal would be successfully completed - I sensed the joy of the moment, but nothing in between.

Fifth Weekend - Solstice Feast and Charging of the Magick Ring. December 19, 20 & 21. This represented a week of rest, since the New Moon occurred on December 16, and the energy of the working began to become quiet and internalized. I performed the ring consecration on the eve of the Solstice proper and sealed the rite with the first rays of the sun on the morning of the Winter Solstice. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, but the ritual produced an intense amount of energy that went into the rings that I had purchased and consecrated for Grace and myself. The rings were wrapped up in purple velour and allowed to incubate for week or so (more than three days).

Between the fifth and sixth weekend I performed a macro ritual to invoke all of the Seraphim and Cherubim by pairs of Elements. On December 23 I performed this rite for Earth and Water, briefly reinvoking all of the Seraphim and Cherubim for that pair of Elements. On December 24, I performed the same macro rite for Air and Fire, reinvoking the Seraphim and Cherubim. I received powerful impressions, visions and communications during both sessions. The first thing that was communicated to me was the name of the Goddess aspect of the Godhead Element of Water, which was Aset-Sophia.

This is what the combined Spirits of Earth and Water communicated to me: “Do not indulge in the sadness and death of the ego. Understand what this actually represents to one on your path. [Here I got a sense to examine the writings of Ken Wilber on this subject - Death of the Centauric level of development.] If you are bereft and overly mourn its passing, then you are greatly in error. Use your alignment to the Godhead to bring joy and bliss to your heart. The only necessary tears are those that are shed for joy and not misery or unhappiness. Don’t be dramatic or make this transition more difficult than it should be.”

This is what the combined Spirits of Air and Fire communicated to me: “You have been thinking about what was missing in your thoughts about the article ‘Magick and the Science of the Impossible’, and it has escaped you. We shall reveal it to you, as a sign of our bond with you in this ordeal. The missing consideration is the mind model which you call the assumption of “As If”.” And also: “The ordeal must remain structured as you have already determined it. For this ordeal is meant to be harsh and difficult, not harmonious and easy to accomplish.”

I had received from the combination of super-archangelic spirits the final pieces of the ordeal, some of which I had neither realized or anticipated when I had initially designed it. This was an indication that the ordeal was shaping and evolving itself, revealing to me the optimal form. This was knowledge that could only be received by one who was undergoing it, showing in its variations and revelations how authentic was this process. If I were faking the whole thing, then everything would have been perfectly pre-determined, with no surprises or additional revelations.

Sixth Weekend - Element of Spirit - Invocation of the Godhead Element of Water and generation of the Ogdoadic Tabernacle: December 26. As a change in plans, I decided to consolidate all of the weekend’s working into a single, therefore performing the Invocation of the Godhead Element of Water, Ogdoadic Godhead Vortex and the Triple Tetrahedral Gate rites in a single evening. This turned out to be both an efficient use of time and it was not tiring or exhausting to me. I also got to experience the full maximization of the manifestation of the specific Goddess aspect that was my key to enlightenment. I even managed to integrate a sigil for both Shadai Al Chai and Aset-Sophia, producing a sigil form that was both fascinating and quite powerful looking. Drawing the eight spirits of the super-archangels together into an octagon of power was both thrilling and climactic. I felt all of the spirits merge together to form a nexus of light, wisdom and power that encircled the Godhead Element of Water, which had manifested as a kind of combination of Aphrodite and Persephone - lover and maiden.

Then the following occurred, as reported in my journal: “At first I saw the four outer pylons as pillars of golden fire, with a larger pillar of blue fire in the center of the circle, with scarlet lines of force marking the cross-roads. The four outer pillars of fire began to bow towards the center pillar of fire until they merged with it, and then there was only one massive pillar of fire, only its color had changed to green with a golden core, and the cross-roads became a deep violet color. This image faded away completely, being replaced by a vision into which I was completely immersed. There was a diffused white light but no details, and in the midst of it all I sensed the super-empowered presence of the Godhead manifest with accompanied sensations of complete awe and astonishment from me.”

Then I experienced a vision into which I was fully immersed. I had no sense of reality around me, only the vision exited for me. I was walking on a beach that was clouded with mist and fog, it was warm and also quite brilliant. I then saw what I presumed to be a manifestation of the Goddess appear before me. I wrote in my journal: “Then a woman came walking forth from the ocean waves, she was obviously thoroughly wet and glistening with salty water. She was neither tall nor short, but seemed around the same height as myself. She wasn’t naked either, but wore some kind embroidered white shift that was wet and clung to her body, leaving her legs and arms naked. She was pale but not exceptionally so, her face was incredibly beautiful. She had long hair that was braided into numerous strands, probably of a light brown, but fitted with golden beads that made it look blonde.”

The Goddess spoke to me, and this is what she said: “I am here and have come, as you desired me so. I have been waiting for you to come for untold aeons. This place, where the water meets the earth is the sacred meeting ground of mortal life and eternal spirit. In this guise that you see me now, I shall aid and help you to complete your quest. That quest is to awaken the God within you into full awareness, so that you and he, and me, might join in eternal embrace. I am your godly muse! Seek me in the days of your ordeal.”

I was deeply haunted by the vision of the Goddess, and she traveled with me as I entered the final three days of the ordeal.

Seventh Weekend - Final Ordeal and Invocation of the Bornless One: December 28, 29 & 30. 
Because the Full Moon occurred on the night of December 31, I had to complete the ordeal just before that day, so I had decided to undergo the ordeal from Monday through Wednesday. Therefore, it wasn’t really the seventh weekend, but the seventh major working. The ordeal began at dawn on Monday morning, and I, completely sequestered from the world, proceeded to perform devotions, atonement exercises, fasting, purification, prayers, meditations and contemplations for the entire time, taking only small amounts of time out for personal duties and a few tasks that had to be done (like shoveling show). I even slept in an annex of the temple so as to never be too far from the sacred space. 

The final three days tested my resolve like nothing else that I have encountered previously. Somehow during the second day of the ordeal, I had seriously twisted my back and ended up with a very painful and uncomfortable lower back, which seemed quite capable of interrupting the working altogether. I actually did contemplate quitting, but decided not to quit when I realized that such an auspicious time would not be easily repeated. I persevered, determined to complete the working even if I had to use a staff or a cane to get around. In the end, I didn’t need to use any aids. The power itself temporarily healed me so that I was not only able to perform the rite, but I performed it more powerfully and fully than I have ever performed it before. I believe the magick ring helped me, since I put it on and asked for healing energies.

In my journal I reported the following experiences associated with the successful invocation of the Bornless One: “So what has been revealed to me is that the HGA is integral to one’s being and functions as one’s spiritual dimension. What I was seeking and attempting to connect with was always there. When I apprehended this truth, it was so simple and so familiar to me. It was all of the “good” that I have ever felt or shown to others, the love and devotion that I have shown the Godhead, my true spiritual self from infancy to death and beyond. It was such a miraculous and minor thing, always attached to me and a part of me, even though I was unaware of it most of the time. However, I needed to perform this massive and difficult ordeal to get me to detach enough from my mundane preoccupations to become truly aware of it, probably for the first time in my life - although I realized that it had been always there at the very pinacle and edge of my being. As time goes forward from this point of realization, a greater awareness will unfold, teaching and guiding me, helping me to elevate my consciousness in a manner that nothing else could compare. The world has become my teacher, and my HGA is the master guide who will aid me in my lessons of life, death and the Greater Spirit.”

Final Analysis and Summary: The final analysis has to be that the intention nearly always outweighs the mechanism used in a magickal working. If the intention is solid, then the working will be successful. This is true even if the ritual working or ordeal is imperfect or highly flawed. Also, all of the required elements must be expressed in the working, yet the sequence of their expression is not that important. This means that a ritual working can be worked out of sequence and the end results will still be potent and valid. Of course this is not an excuse for shoddy ritual design and poor execution. The better the design and the more esthetic the execution, then the results will be more profound and personally empowering.

This seems to be an important rule in the practice of magick, and it has some amazing consequences. Whether we use the traditional grimoires and lore to perform our magick, or whether we wholly and completely invent it anew, either approach will work if the intent is solid. If the magician understands what he or she is trying to do, and realizes the mechanisms that are needed to trigger deep psychological states of consciousness and so cause a complete transcendental transformation of the personality. I believe that what I have fashioned in this new version of the Abramelin Ordeal is valid and works as advertised. Some of the things that occurred during this working were quite indicative that it was a true magickal ordeal. These can be listed by the following points.

  • Structure of ordeal evolved while it was performed,
  • Ordeal was dynamic and had a high degree of spontaneity,
  • Spirits produced unexpected or unanticipated results,
  • Ordeal had corroboration from objective observer,
  • Ordeal candidate was challenged, almost to the point of failure,
  • Ordeal followed expected patterns for spiritual enlightenment, even though many of those patterns were previously unknown.

What is required to complete the analysis is that someone else needs to undertake the rituals of this ordeal and perform them, and then compare their results with mine. When several individuals have completed this process, then and only then, will I be able to say definitively that a new system of magick has been developed and proven to work in most cases. I look forward to that day.

Frater Barrabbas 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thoughts and Rebuttals About the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal

I have recently read some comments that I found listed in some online groups where individuals have taken certain umbrage to my postings about the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal. These were written by pundits who have questioned why a pagan and a witch like me would bother to master and perform the Abramelin ordeal, even if I were using a lunar based cycle. Some of the comments seem to indicate that my previous articles have either not been read or they have been misunderstood. There is also the supposed problem that I couldn’t possibly be qualified to do this kind of work because I am not an adherent of the appropriate kind of creed. They wonder why I would bother to invoke angels, goetic demons and supposedly work with the grimoires that use them? What is the purpose to this kind of magick if I am not part of the over-all spiritual and theological domain that drives the old grimoires and their systems of magick? One would consider either a monotheist, Christian Diabolist, follower of the Left Hand Path or a deeply chthonic pagan to be the obvious practitioner of these kinds of workings. Am I mixing systems because I am confused, deranged or just plain sloppy?

Of course, adherents of Thelema, which is a nominally neopagan creed, are encouraged to make use of the old grimoires and to some extent, so are chaos magicians, who use any creed or system that works for them. Yet these same individuals think that Wiccans should stay away from such dark magick as “goety”, perhaps to protect their fragile nerves or over active imaginations. Of course this opinion flies in the face of the fact that classical witchcraft has lionized the reclamation of chthonic deities for over forty years.

I have also had the temerity to state my beliefs about the ethical use of goetic demons and I have criticized others for making use of the infernal princes in their workings (such as Lucifuge, Beelzebub, Ashtoreth, Satan and others). Am I perhaps being a bit hypocritical in stating my opinions and then seemingly contradicting them with my actual magickal practices? In short, some have questioned whether I am behaving like some kind of moralizing and narrow minded fool who is squeamish about anything that involves dark magick. Some have also said that I had a lot of gall to criticize the use of the Grimoirum Verum, but then greedily appropriate the magick squares found in book four of the Book of Abramelin. Some have questioned my sincerity, others feel that I have unusual Christian biases in my work, causing me to bounce back and forth in an inconsistent fashion between those things that I like and others that I feel are “evil.”

The articles that I have previously written, which can be found in this bog, contain the answers to all of these questions and criticisms. For the previous nine months I have patiently, consistently and carefully written up my thoughts on these topics. I believe that I have presented a very thorough basis for what I do and why I do it. So, to answer these various pundits and explain why I actually bothered to perform a lunar based version of the Abramelin Ordeal, I have decided to write up this article and hopefully put them to rest once and for all. I will also quote some of the more important past articles where I have made my opinions unambiguously clear.

Let’s tackle the first criticism, which is why I perform theurgy to summon angels, particularly if I am a professed witch and a pagan. I have answered this question in an earlier article, where I have expounded that angels and demons are part of the matrix of the union of being, which some have labeled as God, but which I refuse to name or identify. Instead, I just consider it an unnamed quality, allowing me to avoid the hazards of seeing the spiritual world as a battle ground between good and evil, light and dark. I believe this quote from that article pretty much states how I perceive things.

“Angels are a kind of godhead, similar to the gods that I venerate as a pagan witch. These beings are the only faces that the unknown and unknowable union of all being can possess, so their use and invocation is both profound and ultimately necessary. To practice theurgy then is to extend the liturgy and practice of a witch and pagan, and it doesn’t contradict those practices, but instead makes them all the more greater and powerful.”

If I am able to explain why a witch and a pagan would work magick using angels, then I must also be prepared to explain why I would traffic with goetic demons. I do not consider them infernal spirits or necessarily evil or bad, just powerful entities that represent dark magick, the kind of magick that can cause dramatic changes or even destroy things or people. I have taken two paragraphs from this next article because they explain my point rather succinctly.

“I see demons as spiritually negative, but more like a natural negativity - the dark Yin to the light Yang. Angels are like the agents of control who maintain the spiritual status quo, and demons are the agents of chaos who break up the status quo and counteract the laws of nature, including, perhaps, even the physical laws of nature. Where one could see angels as a kind of masculine force, demons would be feminine. They symbolize the archetypal opposition of light and darkness in nature, but without the connotation of good and evil. Angels represent the perfect mathematics of Euclidean space and Newtonian/Einsteinian physical laws, and demons would represent the curved and distorted intricacies of Non-Euclidean space and the convolutions of Quantum mechanics.”

“Since demons of any kind represent the opposite quality of angels, then we could assume that they would represent chaotic, disruptive and even stochastic spiritual forces and intelligences. Obviously, we would want to engage such forces and intelligences in a very controlled environment, but conversely, such entities would be useful in breaking through old patterns and dealing with internal flaws within the psyche, or even engaging in processes that would be considered outside of the normal space time continuum. Such a controlled use would require either the assistance of the Holy Guardian Angel, a hierarchy of archangels and angels, or a combination of both.”

Some have rightly speculated that the term demon is actually a mistranslation of the Greek word daimon (plural diamones), which means basically “supernatural spirit between the gods and man” with no other connotations. However, sorcerers and magicians in antiquity did distinguish between spirits that were good and malevolent. We also have the examples of the Akkadians who spent an enormous amount of effort in cataloging these various spirits, including many evil spirits. It may also be possible that the combination of influences from the Akkadians, and later Persians, may have powerfully influenced Jewish religious beliefs to such a degree that they adopted and adapted these classifications, thus deriving their own system, which ended up in Jewish magickal writings and practices. Jewish grimoires written in Hebrew seemed to incorporate the use of demons and infernal princes into their workings before such spirits were used in Christian grimoires. I may use the term demons and daimones (or Latin daemones) interchangeably, but I am denoting those entities associated with the Jewish “unredeemed” spirits, and the Christian demonic or goetic spirits.

While I believe that goetic demons as defined above are useful but not essential to the practice of ritual magick, I don’t share the same opinion about the infernal hierarchy that is associated with them. While it is quite possible that these spirit names are corrupted versions of archaic godheads, some of whom may even be lost to time and history, their association with Jewish and Christian diabolism makes them quite difficult to reclaim without any negative associations clinging to them. Since the late middle ages these entities have been considered powerfully evil spirits inimical to the Godhead and humanity. I believe that any effort aimed at reclaiming them would have to fight against an enormous current of popular belief and Christian doctrine. I suspect that such a battle would ultimately be lost, due to the centuries of time and the millions of Christian followers whose beliefs and faith would have to countermanded.  This has to do with the power of the Christian “egregore” or group mind, something that any practitioner of magick should be very much aware of. However, my reasons for rejecting the infernal hierarchy are based on occult philosophy and the following two paragraphs below adequately explain my reasons for that rejection.

“However, in Qabbalistic lore, which represents the ground basis of practical ritual magic, the Deity represents a perfect and harmonious unity, which means that everything else is subsumed into it and an integral part of it. Nothing is outside or apart from that unity, which is to say that all things spiritual and ensouled are actually one and indivisible at the level of the Godhead. Thus there is no duality and no conflict between good and evil except in the material world of humanity. We could even say that there is no difference between good and evil amongst the living creatures of the earth - only humanity makes such distinctions. Therefore the Infernal Hierarchy is part of a human perspective of the spiritual world that divides it into good and evil, and of course, that division is illusory and at higher levels of consciousness, even absurd.

We can, however, deal with this infernal hierarchy if it is defined as being the mirror image of the positive angelic hierarchy, and then only if they are both considered integral and in some kind of union. This would make the infernal hierarchy a kind of dark side or unconscious shadow of the angelic reality of light. It may also benefit us to realize that the daemons of the Goetia have an additional hierarchy that further joins them to the greater hierarchy of the Godhead. So at the level of the Qabbalistic world of Atziluth, these differences become nullified, but may have a reality in Briah, Yetzirah and especially Assiah, where good and evil are encountered in the acts and judgments of humanity. As the Qliphoth is said to shadow the Sephiroth and acts as the backside of the Tree of Life, so too would the daemons represent the dark reflections of the angelic beings that they mirror.”

My reasons for putting together a lunar based Abramelin ordeal is because for a witch and pagan, the lunar cycle is used for nearly all magickal workings, both material and spiritual. This does not mean that as a pagan I ignore the solar cycle, it’s just that the lunar cycle lends itself to the operation of the mysteries of the deeper self and the solar cycle represents the mysteries of the changing earth. I discovered that working material based magick using the specific lunation cycle, lunar mansions, phases and zodiacal signs of the moon produce the best results. So I basically assumed that the lunar cycle could also be used for larger ordeals.

The next two paragraphs are from the article in which I examined the nature of the Abramelin ordeal, where I state that I just couldn’t arrange the time to perform the original rite, either in the French (6 months) or German versions (18 months). I decided to consider other alternatives, and came to the conclusion that maybe a lunar based cycle might be a more sensible solution. First, I state that for me lunar based magick is used for material based magick.

“Recently, I have been examining the power and potential of lunar based magic and its associated mysteries. I put the entire Elemental and Talismanic Elemental systems of magic squarely into the matrix of lunar based magic.”

Then I attempted to see how the lunar cycle could be used to build an Abramelin-like ordeal. The structure and time period seemed to be workable and able to be integrated into my busy life.

“Yet this ordeal is decidedly solar based, since each phase is six months in length, and there are three phases. I began to ponder that since I am neither Jewish nor Christian, and since my faith is an earth-based spirituality, why would I follow a solar cycle for this kind of ordeal? Why not a lunar based cycle? Since a lunar cycle takes only 28 days to complete, then breaking it in half and building an ordeal that would cover three phases or one and a half cycles of the moon would be quite appropriate. Like the traditional Abramelin working, there would be three phases, but instead of using an annual sacred holiday, like the Passover as the starting point, I would start at a point in the lunar cycle that would connote “beginnings,” and that would most certainly be the new moon.”

Whether one considers my assumptions above to be questionable and flawed since they seem to go against what is traditional for this working is irrelevant to me. The fact that I have performed this ordeal and successfully obtained the same result should be proof enough that my theory was correct. What this means is that an adherence to the old grimoires is not necessary and that new directions can and probably should be developed. This does not mean that the old traditional methods are either wrong or out dated, all it does is dispel the myth that the old grimoires have any kind of monopoly on advanced magickal lore and practice.

I am including the note that I attached to my analysis of the lunar based ordeal to answer the accusation that my primary purpose for performing the Abramelin ordeal, even in its newer form, was to acquire use of the magick squares and command the infernal spirits. The primary purpose of performing the Abramelin ordeal is the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, whom I also refer to as my higher self, augoeides or spiritual genius. That is the only really important reason for doing this ordeal as far as I am concerned. I did choose twenty-two of the squares to consecrate and use in my magick, but all of them are mostly for the gaining of knowledge, such as obtaining visions, etc. They are also consecrated and activated by the HGA, who assumes the role of the spiritual arbiter in all things magickal. I have found that many of the squares are useless, affording the magician with powers and abilities that could be easily supplanted by off-the-shelf technology. Other squares grant one with powers and abilities that are unethical or just plain absurd. Knowledge is my main conjuring quest these days, since all of my material based operations only require a simple earth based magick. Earth magick is more easily achieved than evocation and doesn’t usually require conjuring spirits.

The following two paragraphs pretty much state what I think of the infernal servitors that one is supposed to have power over as well as the magick squares. These issues were dealt with in an article on the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal.

“A note about the demons and their servitors: In the original book there are an ancillary set of tasks that consisted of summoning and mastering the unredeemed spirits, namely the demonic kings and their dukes, and that these same demons gave servitors who operated the many magic squares. It is my belief that summoning demons and gaining servitors from them is magically superfluous. This is just my opinion, of course, yet since I have rewritten the entire ordeal then I can also modify the manner that the magical squares are deployed. Some have found this linkage between the magic squares and the demons troubling, and some have sought to white-wash or explain it away as some kind of cathartic ordeal. Yet in all versions of the book, it is quite plain that the purpose of invoking and manifesting the HGA is to gain mastery over the demons, to seek from them servitors to perform tasks directly, or to use them to empower and activate the magic squares. It’s also possible to seek from the HGA or the demons additional magic squares. The magic of the Abramelin system is powered by demonic spirits existing in a rigid spiritual hierarchy, even if they are completely dominated and mastered by the magician through the assistance of the Godhead and the HGA.

It’s my belief that the HGA, who is like a personal godhead for the magician, can do all of these tasks. If one is successful in invoking the HGA into some form of manifestation, then there is little need to command demons to do certain tasks. The power of the magician’s magick, the depth of his wisdom and the strength of his will, fortified and magnified greatly by the HGA will enable him to perform any working or accomplish any possible objective. The Abramelin book dictates that the magician should not summon the HGA unless absolutely required. My theory is that the HGA would become ever-present to the magician who successfully invoked it into manifestation, and that the magician would function almost like an avatar, having the vision and depth of a godhead acting through his conscious mind. It could be easily argued that such a great accomplishment would allow the magician to find a route to complete enlightenment and union with the Godhead, and that all of the other operations may seem irrelevant or even grossly petty to such a mind-state. So for this reason, I doubt needing the supernatural intercession of demons to perform magical feats - they should be possible by the magician’s will, fortified as it is with the power, wisdom and majesty of the Augoeides.”

One last point that I would like to discuss is that all of the rituals that I used in the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal were designed and formulated without recourse to any of the old grimoires. I may occasionally pick out some interesting thing here and there (such as using some of the characters from the Grimoire Armadel to decorate the gate keys) or reclaim some words of power from the PGM or other sources, but for the most part, all of this ritual lore is original and built up from the basic structures that I developed over a quarter century ago, when I managed to merge the magickal systems of classical witchcraft with the Golden Dawn. Some might see this as a lazy bastardization of either discipline, but building up a new system like this from scratch is no small achievement. So when I say that my system of magickal evocation is very different than what is used in the grimoires, you can believe that to be true. All the pieces fit neatly together, the ritual system is modular and reusable, and the structures of the ordeals are complex and even have a kind of elegance. In short, I have developed a complete system of theurgy and evocation outside of the discipline of the grimoire tradition. This should prove that such an undertaking is not only possible, but in my opinion, it’s also most desirable.

Frater Barrabbas