Friday, October 26, 2012
Warm autumn days that made the scarlet and golden colors of falling leaves such a fantastic vista of warmth and earthiness are already past. Yesterday, we had our first snow fall, and although it didn’t stick to the ground, it is sign that winter is nigh at hand, once again. I had one day to take care of the yard and the grove, and it was so balmy that I almost took my shirt off. Now, the nights are freezing cold and it has been raining and sleeting the last couple of days. I have to believe that we are now entering into the narrow corridor that leads from autumn to winter, and it begins with what I call the autumn calends.
Highlighting this narrow boundary between autumn and winter is the celebration of Samhain, or Halloween, as it is popularly known. This has always been my favorite time of the year, although up here in the northern Midwest it can be quite cold and even frigid. Long time residents have regaled me with stories of snow-covered Halloween nights, so I have those legends to give me a sober reflection on living so far north that it can snow on Halloween. Still, there was so much that I wanted to do during the warm months and most of it had to be deferred. Hopefully, such impositions will not occur during the next year.
The massive project that I have been slaving away for my mundane job has finally come to an end, although I didn’t install the last few pieces until nearly the middle of this week. These last couple of days I have been on a forced vacation - my boss told me to take some well earned time off. As of Wednesday, I had just completed every task on my working list, which was a list that seemed at times never to dwindle much and had new tasks constantly assigned to it. Then, before I knew it, I just finished the last set of scripting work and the pause nearly took my breath away.
You can't imagine how difficult it is taking an old antiquated data warehouse system and porting onto a completely new environment, including a new O/S and storage foundation. The old server was split into new application and database servers, but the old application software, most of which is already way out of date, was moved into the new environment instead of being upgraded and rebuilt. Needless to say, I got everything to work just as it does on the old server environment - a feat not be lightly scoffed at.
It had been six months of constant work, including weekends. I am glad that I will finally get my life back and be able to have a social life and all that entails. It seems like it's been a very long period where I was stuck at my desk looking wistfully at the world outside my window. I blew the whole summer working and I didn't get to enjoy very much of it, but now, at least I will be able to enjoy the end of autumn. So, the autumn calends is becoming for me a time when I will actually resurface and become, as it were, socially reborn. I also have around three weeks in December to look forward to, enjoying a long period of paid vacation and relaxation. It has been well earned, and I have to take it or lose it in the coming year. The holidays will be quite enjoyable this year, even though the days and nights will be cold and seemingly lifeless outside.
Autumn calends also means politics, particularly during the four year presidential election cycle. I have been something of a political junky reading over the various election poles when time has permitted me to do so. While it might be possible for Mitt Romney to be elected president of the U.S., it seems rather remote when examining the battle-ground states’ poles. I am hoping that Obama gets reelected, since although he is not a great president in my estimation, he is at least a good president. I can trust that he will do mostly as he says he will do, even though I might disagree with some of his decisions. There is something comforting about knowing that a politician has some foundational principles that drive him or her. I don’t feel that way about Mitt Romney at all, and in fact, I see him as a rich arrogant plutocrat opportunist who will say just about anything or take all sides of a policy argument to get elected. He pretended to be severely conservative during the primaries, and now he is pretending to be a moderate.
However, such a weak and unprincipled man would likely do as his party directs him to do, and their positions are starkly ultra-conservative. I just don’t trust him and I loath everything that he stands for, so there is no mystery about whom I will be voting for on November 6th. I hope that Obama manages to put his opposition down hard so that I don’t ever again have to hear Mitt Romney’s outrageous lies or see his simpering and condescending smiles. That would be a pleasant Solstice present indeed! I am reminded of what “Humble Bellows” in the 50's movie “The Crimson Pirate” said to his captain, whom he had just “sold” to the authorities for a barrel of rum: “And there’ll be no more of thee and thy pirate capers.” One can only hope for such a happy outcome.
My forthcoming book (Magical Qabalah for Beginners) is proceeding through the final editing phases, having gone through the production editor, copy editor, and now a second and final copy editor. As I have said previously, the manuscript layout is scheduled to be sent to the printers later next week. I have had the pleasure of looking over that layout in a PDF file, and I have seen all of the diagrams, tables and illustrations that the staff artist at Llewellyn has produced for this book. The editing has made my wordy and somewhat cumbersome prose into a very readable and accessible text, so I am looking forward to finally seeing this work in printed form. The book is being sold at a modest price ($15.99) and I believe that I have at least produced what I consider to be a potential classic amongst the books written about the Qabalah. We shall see if the public at large agrees with my assessment. While it is a book written for beginners, there is enough new material to make it worthwhile for a more advanced student to purchase it. I might be able to actually see my first imprint perhaps as early as December, but the scheduled release date is mid January, 2013. You can find a link for this book on the Llewellyn Worldwide website here.
Another task that I have recently completed is the talismanic working that I began in February for my own version of the Portae Lucis working. I had to generate four four-fold talismanic elemental talismans for the planets of the ancients of Sun, Moon, Saturn and Mercury. In August, I continued this work and generated four-fold talismanic elemental talismans for the planets Venus and Jupiter. Then, last night, I generated the final four-fold talismanic elemental talisman for Mars. The iron metallic talisman for Mars is presently undergoing its three day period of incubation, so on Monday morning I will have all seven of these metallic talismans fully charged and activated.
During the working that I performed last night, I experienced a fair amount of resistance to completing this working. I felt a certain amount of lethargy and inertia dragging me down, and I had to overcome these feelings and sentiments in order to do the work. The ritual work seemed to weigh me down, and going through it was, at least initially, uninspiring and plodding. I had put off the magical Mass until the last day, so I had to perform an abbreviated version of that rite in order to properly consecrate the talisman and associated sigils before invoking the planetary intelligence and associated Enochian seniors. I stumbled through that rite and managed to complete everything, although it all seemed to be taking a long time to complete.
The actual invocation of the Olympian Spirit and subsequent Talismanic Elements seemed oddly arduous and difficult. I had to increase my resonant bodily energy and focus my will to get through this rite, as if the resistance to doing it would stop me in my tracks if I succumbed . I drew upon all of my resources and set my will to complete this working, even though the ritual execution was uneven and rough in a few places. I was amazed at these occurrences, since I have performed this working at least six other times in the last several months.
Still, I persevered and managed to get through it, but afterwards I felt completely exhausted by the ordeal. I may have started the working at 9:45 pm to lock in the hour of Jupiter, and then completed the working around 11:10, but it seemed like I had been working magic for hours. I found this whole process to be strange and remarkable, but I guess that Mars had one last hoop for me to jump through, and it was merely by the power of my will and my magical discipline that I managed to push the whole process to a successful completion. Whew! I am glad that I managed to complete this working, and I am surprised at the resistance that I encountered. All of these difficulties that I experienced could be considered as being related to Mars, and what I needed to complete was also very much in the domain of that planet.
My future plans for using all seven of these metallic planetary talismans is to perform a ritual known in the Order as the Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual, and to use each of these talismans to empower the seven points of this rite. I will then endeavor to incorporate them and this rite into another working for the talismanic Portae Lucis for the Winter Solstice. Even though Jean Dubius has stated that this rite is best performed when the light is at its greatest amplitude, as it is during the Summer Solstice, I have decided to try it during the Winter Solstice.
Since I have already performed this working for the previous Summer Solstice, I believe that it will continue to echo and reverberate for the following Winter and future Summer Solstices as well. I was told as much at the climax of that working in June, and although the light will be at its lowest point in December, it may also allow an opening and a gateway to greater spiritual realization. This is how I had interpreted what I was told during the last working of the Portae Lucis, so I will attempt to experience the opposite polarity, the Portae Tenebrae, or Gate of Darkness. Where the gate of light emanated its blessings and grace to me in the Summer, the gate of darkness will beckon me to enter into that spiritual domain of Saturn as Binah. I am looking forward to experiencing that just around the Winter Solstice.
Autumn is a time when I organize my research and study regimen and plan on acquiring new materials for future book projects. I am already engaged with this work, and I hope to share some of the things that I am learning as I go through this process. There’s too much to relate here at this time, but in the coming months, I hope to put some of my ideas and insights into articles that I can post on my blog. There are quite a few new topics that are crowding my to-do list, so you can expect some very interesting and in-depth articles to be posted in the next six months or so. Once we get snowed in up here, then folks tend to retreat indoors, and winter is usually a time when I think and reflect about the past. And there is much to think and reflect about this winter.
Happy Samhain, Halloween, and All Souls Day - be safe and enjoy the Calends of Autumn!
Monday, October 22, 2012
This is part 3 of a three part series on the art and practice of invocation and evocation as taught within the Order of the Gnostic Star. This final part is about the Archetypal Gate series of rituals developed as a replacement for the more cumbersome methodologies initially developed in the Order.
Archetypal Gate Ritual and Variations
One of the more interesting derivations to the rite of invocation was when I developed and refined the ritual pattern that I called the Archetypal Gate ritual. This is a pretty complex and condensed pattern, but it allowed me to incorporate all of the important structures for an invocation into a single and brief ritual. It allowed me to discard the Gate of Revealing rite and thus make the working far more simple and less cumbersome to perform. Where the typical invocation would take around three hours to perform, this one would take less than an hour, making it idea for a working that had a limited time span.
The whole premise for developing this ritual working was to invoke the Archangels of the four elements, which was an important rite used in the first series of Enochian workings that I performed back in the early 1990's. I have since altered these rituals when I determined that the Archangels of the four elements as a hierarchy didn’t really didn’t work very well, and instead chose to use this same ritual structure to invoke the Elemental Godhead and the Seraphim and Cherubim. I have further elaborated on this ritual structure to include the Godheads, archangels and angels of the Sephiroth and the archangels of the 12 zodiacal signs. My assumption was that I didn’t need so much ritual technology to invoke these spirits, since they were as a whole, benign and powerfully aligned to the One.
So how did I determine the pattern for this working? At it turned out, it was a natural evolution from the invoking through a matrix mechanism and the Enochian Planetary vortex. The uniquely new technique that I employed for this working was a cross-roads vortex with a central pylon structure and an eastern aligned tetrahedral gateway that used the trapezoidal cross device, producing a prismatic trapezohedron. I called this new ritual structure the archetypal gateway, and it functioned as a combination entry point and domain for the spirit as well as a place to describe the imago and characteristics of the angelic spirit. Let’s examine the overall ritual pattern for this working and see how this rite was able to do so much with such a compact set of ritual actions.
Rituals using this pattern are based on the quality of the four elements as expressed through the four Qabalistic worlds. Thus, the foundation of this working would set one of the four Qabalistic Worlds as the target for the working. The obvious ritual mechanism to set the Qabalistic World was the ritual called the Qabalistic Pyramid of Power, so like other ritual workings, the first level or layer would be the specific Qabalistic World. For these workings, the first three Worlds of Atziluth, Briah and Yetzirah would established, depending on the hierarchical level of the target spirit.
Another quality that would influence the working would be a specific device that would be used to qualify the tetrahedral gateway (in this case, an invoking pentagram), and then intoning the detailed invocation used to describe the image or imago of the spirit. Only these three qualities would determine the specific attributes of any given spirit, whether Godhead, Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangel or Angel. Other attributes would be the 10 Sephiroth (using the eneagram) and the 12 zodiacal signs (gateway set to spirit, and central pylon set with element and astrological quality). So, the four overall attributes used in this rite were the Qabalistic Worlds, Elements, Sephiroth (Planets) and Zodiacal Signs. I also employed a consecrated sigil that was drawn on a piece of parchment to further help identify the spirit in those workings.
Qabalistic Pyramid of Power consists of four pylons set to the four Watchtowers, where the base of the pylon is charged with an invoking pentagram of a specific element, and the apex, with a specific invoking pentagram of spirit. Another invoking pentagram is drawn in the ultra-point, and these become the five points of the pyramid. The element quality and gender of the spirit is associated with the Qabalistic World, where Atziluth and Yetzirah are considered masculine, and Briah and Assiah are deemed to be feminine. The Qabalistic World is defined by the combination of the five points (circle squared and pylons drawn to the ultra-point) and the final formula exegesis, where it is expressed through the artifice of a tetragramaton.
Overlaying the Qabalistic Pyramid of Power is the Archetypal Gateway. The foundation of this structure is anchored in the infra-point (an unoccupied point in the circle) with an inverted pentagram of feminine spirit, representing the materialization of spirit through the descent of the feminine Godhead. Laid upon this empowered device are the cross-roads set with the hexagram of union. The celebrant begins at the southeastern angle, draws a hexagram, and then turns to walk directly to the northwestern angle, and draws therein a hexagram of union. He then proceeds deosil to the northeastern angle and draws a hexagram, and finally, he turns and walks to the southwestern angle and draws a hexagram of union.
After setting these four points and the cross-roads, the celebrant then projects a line of force to formulate an inner widershins circle. As an aside, the hexagram of union is a device that is drawn as two conjoined triangles with no consideration for the planetary attributes, since it represents a point of fusion or unity. Finally, the celebrant proceeds to the center of the circle and draws another hexagram of union into the ultra-point, and then using an invoking spiral, joins the central hexagram at the zenith with the inverted pentagram in the nadir. The combined structures produce a powerful invoking vortex used to summon a spirit associated with one of the three Qabalistic worlds.
At this point, the celebrant intones the first general Enochian invocation for the spirit, spending some time internally calling and summoning it. This general invocation will be intoned a total of three times within this working, and to do this the celebrant inserts the spirit’s name and its associated hierarchy into the blank lines located in the invocation verbiage.
Upon the layers of the Qabalistic pyramid of power and the cross-roads vortex is erected the tetrahedral archetypal gateway, being therefore, the third layer. This gateway is aligned to the East, so it includes the Southwest, Northwest and Eastern circle points, as well as the ultra-point. At each of the three gate points is set a trapezoidal cross device, and these three points are joined to form a tetrahedral structure (angles and watchtower joined to form a triangle, then each point drawn to the ultra-point and joined in a deosil circle). In the meso-point is set a device to qualify the gateway, then the celebrant exits the gate and charges the whole structure with an invoking spiral. What is needed at this point is to set a charge to the whole structure, and this where the staff is used to perform that task and to assume the focus of the invocation rite itself.
Taking the staff in her hands, the celebrant re-enters the gate and faces the East, holding the staff parallel to the ground. She begins to slowly turn in place in a counter clockwise direction, while ever increasing the velocity of the turning until she strongly feels the generated power. Then the Celebrant stops spinning and places the staff into the center node of the circle. She draws the infra-point up through the staff into the ultra-point with her right hand while the left is holding the staff. Then the Celebrant intones the general Enochian invocation for the second time, chanting the name of the spirit repeatedly afterwards. The staff has now become the physical pylon through which the spirit will manifest. (I actually use a central altar in these kinds of workings and carefully place the staff tight up against the altar, and then I can remove my hand and the staff remains standing by itself for the rest of the working.)
The final stage of this working is what is known as the preparation for the invocation proper, and the focus points for this activity are the infra-point, meso-point and ultra-point depicted by the base, middle and apex of the staff-pylon. At each point, the celebrant performs a specific invocation of the spirit and its associated hierarchy. At the base of the staff-pylon, the celebrant invokes the spirit of the qualified gateway, and at the apex, he invokes the unified spirit of Atziluth. At the meso-point or middle of the staff-pylon, a special device is set to further characterize the spirit (sometimes this is the spirit’s sigil). All three points are unified through the artifice of an invoking spiral, and this is where the invocation is to be performed.
First, the celebrant performs a direct calling or summoning of the spirit by the power of its name, and then he progresses to a descriptive calling that describes the qualities and attributes of that entity. Finally, he intones the general Enochian invocation for the third and final time, ending the it with a period of repeating the name of the spirit, over and over, until the spirit is sensed and answers the calling. While performing this repetitive calling, the celebrant should draw the power down with his hand from the apex of the staff-pylon to the base, and bow before it (as if it were the spirit itself), entering into a kind of meditative trance state sitting before the pylon for the duration of the working.
Once the working is completed, then the celebrant closes and seals the gate portal and seals all of the circle points. However, the sigil that was used to perform this rite can be reused as an access point for future meditative trance states to contact the spirit.
I have modified this ritual working and added to it other mechanisms for invoking other kinds of angelic spirits. In order to invoke the Godheads, archangels and angels of the 10 Sephiroth, there is a modified version of the Archetypal Gate ritual that uses part of the Eneagram ritual to define the specific Sephirah, and within that expanded matrix, the celebrant is able to invoke the entities associated with that Qabalistic quality. This rite uses both the Qabalistic Pyramid of Power and Eneagram to set the proper invoking matrix. To employ the Zodiac as an expanded matrix for this rite, the celebrant sets the tetrahedral gateway to the Element of Spirit. She erects a mini-pylon in the meso-point consisting of an invoking pentagram for the zodiacal element at the base and one of the three lesser hexagrams at the apex, and this device determines the specific zodiacal quality. The Qabalistic world is always set to Briah and the invocation and imago of the spirit is unique to the array of zodiacal archangels.
Yet another variation is used to invoke either one of the 72 ha-Shem angels or one of the 72 Goetic demons. First, the Qabalistic world is set to Yetzirah, then the cross-roads are set with pylons instead of the hexagram of union. The base of the pylon is qualified with an invoking pentagram of the zodiacal element, and the apex is set with one of the three lesser hexagrams, determining the zodiacal quality. Through this cross-road vortex the celebrant summons the zodiacal archangelic ruler. Then, the tetrahedral gateway is erected, with the variables of an inverted and western aligned gateway for demons, and obverse and eastern aligned gateway for angels of the ha-Shem. An additional qualification is where the celebrant sets the tetrahedral gateway with either an obverse triangle (angel/demon by day) or inverted triangle (angel/demon by night). I have only recently written this new ritual and I have not yet tested it, but I hope to test and fully vet it before the coming spring.
As you can see, I have managed to develop a number of variations to invoke angelic and even demonic spirits throughout the basic hierarchy of Element, Sephirah and sign of the Zodiac. It would seem that this new method, called the Archetypal Gateway, is very adaptable and quite capable of replacing all of the previous systems. Although I tend to use it mostly for angelic spirits, it’s obvious that I could use it more extensively by employing even more variations of this simple but condensed technique.
After a period of nearly 30 years, I have successfully developed and deployed the various techniques and methodologies described in the three sections of this article. Each methodology has its own particular use and importance within the Order. So there will be no need to retire any of them or replace one for the other. I may add additional rituals using different techniques, but I believe that the foundation already established should suffice to perform all of the invocations necessary to function as an adept magician within the Order.
One lesson that can be derived from this over-long historical narrative is that occult discoveries tend to be serendipitous. It also demonstrates that finding a solution to a problem often heralds a completely new and better way of doing something. Through a process of active experimentation, I was able to advance the methodologies that I used to perform an invocation. I seemed never to be completely satisfied with whatever technique I had derived, and I was always experimenting with some new structure or method, and this is still true even today. Nothing that I have developed is ever the final word or the final form, and there is always a new and more efficient way of doing something than what is currently being used.
Where all of this experimentation and development will ultimately lead me is uncertain. I would suspect that becoming a master or high adept would change everything, including the methodologies that I currently employ to work magick. I have conjectured from time to time that a high adept might not need to perform any ritual magick whatsoever, and that rituals would be replaced by total immersion within the world of spirit. If one were to remain steadfastly engaged within that world, then merely by an act of willing something, as long as it had even a tiny probability of occurring, would make it so.
The trick, I suppose, would be to sustain a state of ecstatic trance, which is used to enter into the spiritual domain. If not actively experiencing ecstasy, then its potent after effects would have to be great enough to maintain a permanent connection to the spirit world. I would imagine that such a high adept would not be very functional in the mundane world, but would have to live in something like a magical monastery, where the day to day necessities would be taken care of by lesser adepts. The lesser work would be handled by the initiates, and the great work would be accomplished by the master; a wonderful position to be in if one could even find it.
To have this kind of power is to be able to make thoughts become reality, and reality is reduced to the level of thoughts - there would be no difference. Of course to wield such power, one would also need a great deal of wisdom, prescient intuition and most importantly, prudence. There are many hilarious stories about individuals being allowed one or more unbounded wishes, and how such a power generally causes far more calamity than a satisfying outcome. To such an ability must be added the sobering thought: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Until I can realize this kind of true magical power (if that is even possible within a mortal life-span), I will be content to experiment and seek better and more efficient ways to achieve the same results using the more cumbersome artifacts of rituals and magical tools.
Friday, October 19, 2012
This is part two of a three part series on the art and practice of invocation and evocation as taught and executed within the Order of the Gnostic Star.
Quintedecim Complex and the Gate of Revealing
The Quintedecim complex consists of an outer four-fold elemental vortex established through the artifice of the Power Octagon conjoined with an inner circle that contains a septagramic trigon, and this is used to invoke all seven planetary intelligences associated with the target spirit. These two structures, one residing on the periphery and the other residing in the center of the circle, are joined through the employment of a magnetic vortex and a tetrahedral gateway aligned to the West, which is the underworld. To thoroughly understand these structures, it would be prudent for the reader to examine the nature of the Power Octagon and the Activated Septagram. The third element is the magical gateway, so that article should also be reviewed if needed.
As it was written in the Mystery Gateway article where I revealed how this technique of invocation could be performed, I stated that the groundwork for these processes had already been covered in still previously posted articles. I was, in fact, following a plan to reveal each of these ritual elements and expound on them before continuing with the topic that would pull all of them together into a single invocative working. Here is a quote from that article on the Mystery Gateway that pretty much lays out the various elements and how they would work together to form the layers of the octagon, septagram and the tetrahedral gateway.
“We have already recently covered the ritual mechanisms used for the specialized Power Octagon and the Activated Septagram. I have indicated that through these two rituals alone, a magician might be able to fully invoke a spirit into manifestation in some manner. Yet the third step in this process performs two amazing and very necessary tasks. The Mystery Gate functions as a typical gateway in that it joins together into a unified field all of the previous ritual energy structures and it unlocks and reveals a distinct spiritual domain, which is essentially based on the prior symbolic configuration of octagon and septagram. The Gate of Revealing thus fuses the octagon and septagram to produce a fifteen pointed structure with a triangle in its center. I call this fifteen pointed ritual structure device, the Quintedecim Complex.”
I then proceeded to expound on the ritual that I call the Gate of Revealing, which is where all of these elements are fused into a single ritual structure. Here is another quote from that article which establishes the foundation for the functionality of that rite.
“The ritual Gate of Revealing has a basic preliminary operation that is done every time it is used. That operation is the drawing of an inner circle, placing the Quintedecim Complex trigon on top of the stack representing the Power Octagon and the Activated Septagram and then charging it with an invoking spiral and a violet colored energy. Twenty-two Trumps of the Tarot are placed around the periphery of that inner circle, representing the specific pattern of initiation that the magician is following. This pattern is then charged using the control crystal that normally is attached to a necklace that circles the magician’s neck. The magician projects the power of the crystal into each card, following the pattern of the four stages (of the Cycle of Initiation) in a widdershins vector. Upon the Q-Complex trigon, the magician places the consecrated sigil of the target spirit, where it will reside until the invocation is to be performed. In this manner, the core of the inner magick circle is set with the empowered invocation process, encircled by the pattern of one’s personal symbols of transformation.”
Continuing with quotations that describe the ritual pattern of the Gate of Revealing, I discussed the trapezoidal vortex that is one of the more critical parts of this working. The trapezoidal cross that is used to charge the cross-roads structure of this rite produces a prismatic structure called the trapezohedron, and this structure produces an overall effect that I call the para-reality or astral domain of the invoked spirit.
“Overlaying the central circle, the magician builds a powerful central pylon based vortex, where the four Watchtowers are each set with a trapezoidal cross in such a manner that a cross roads is formed (West to East, then South to North), with a trapezoidal cross also set in the Ultra-point. The four Watchtower devices are drawn to the center of the circle in the Infra-point (where the trigon stack is set) using the sword, after that, the magician draws an invoking spiral to connect the Ultra-point with the Infra-point, and then a widdershins spiral is used to generate the vortex proper.”
Once these structures are completed and fully realized, then he or she can continue to perform either an invocation (first summoning), evocation (exteriorization of the spirit), or skrying, astral projection into that spirit’s domain or even summoning the spiritual servitors. This multi-track option made the Gate of Revealing a modular ritual with several possibilities, as I succinctly stated in the article.
“From this point in the Gate of Revealing ritual, there are four possible tracks that the magician may follow. These tracks are independent from each other, but the track that completes the invocation process must be performed first, then through the use of a macro-ritual (which allows the magician to re-enter the domain of the already invoked spirit without having to redo all of the previous steps), the other three tracks may be subsequently followed. These four tracks are:
- Invocation through the media of manifestation (always performed the first time),
- Evocation through the artifice of Exteriorization (to be followed by the Iron Cross Vortex rite),
- Projection of the astral body or skrying into the spirit’s domain,
- Summoning of the spiritual servitors of the target spirit.”
These steps allow for a comprehensive working engaging any spirit so targeted, but such a regimen includes the custom researching and writing of the rituals that establish the Power Octagon and the Planetary Septagram. The Gate of Revealing is a modular ritual that can be used for any of the four tracks, so there is no need to customize that rite. However, the other layers would need to be unique to the individual spirit invoked, and the Octagon and Septagram are together referred to as the Invoking Vortex of the specific spirit. As of today, there are only a dozen or so custom invoking vortex rituals used for spirits that are integral to the Order because they function as sponsors, allies and patrons of the spiritual hierarchy.
Invocation Through a Symbolic Matrix
What inspired me to develop a different methodology for performing an invocation was the discovery and inspiration of a new system of magick, which I called Archeomancy. There were two different systems of this kind of magick from the very start, but the first one that I developed was called the Archeomancy of the 40 Worlds. The matrix in this case was one of the four Qabalistic Worlds and one of the 10 Sephiroth, combined together they emulated the primary spiritual hierarchy that I had developed, which was based on the Qabalah. This would include all of the angels of the 10 Sephiroth within the four Worlds.
In order to magically define these two dimensions of the matrix, I had to write two new rituals, which were based on the four Qabalistic Worlds (entitled the Qabalistic Pyramid of Powers) and at least nine of the ten Sephiroth (incorporated into a ritual entitled the Eneagram Invocation rite). Initially, these two rituals were to be performed in addition to the Quintedecim Complex to set the Qabalistic domain of the archeomantic spirit. Later on, the Quintedecim Complex was dropped for a more simplistic one; but the whole process began to make me realize that invoking through a matrix was an important directive for invocative magick.
What really tipped the balance for me was attempting to write custom invocation rites for the 36 angelic rulers of the astrological decans. I had basically determined that these spirits were very important, particularly since they were also the angels associated with the 36 Naib or Pip cards of the Lesser Arcana of the Tarot and appeared to co-rule (along with the zodiacal archangels) the famous 72 angels of the ha-Shem as well as the 72 Goetic demons. I had come to that conclusion by carefully reading what Crowley had written in his master-work on the Tarot called the Book of Thoth. I wanted to be able to invoke any of the 36 angelic rulers, but I didn’t want to have to write custom invocation rituals for each angelic spirit. How I resolved that problem was to build up the symbolic correspondences and spiritual hierarchy for each spirit and fashion that into a modular ritual which would emulate the Quintedecim complex.
This new rite would consist of an octagon base (creating an energy vortex), a spiritual gateway associated with the spiritual hierarchy of the astrological sign, a Rose-Ankh invoking vortex, and then in the center (defined by its own inner circle) the magician would perform a summoning rite which would work through the associated spiritual hierarchy. These four steps would create an alternative invoking structure that would be followed by the Gate of Revealing rite. However, I would only need to write one ritual that would have specific variables chosen at each point to set any of the elements of the symbolic matrix in order to realize the domain and spiritual intelligence of that angelic ruler of the decan within the Gate of Revealing. So this was the very first step that I took departing from previous standard of having to write unique custom invocation rituals for each spirit.
For the purpose of presenting this new technique, I would like to elaborate on the ritual process of invoking through a matrix to show how I managed to build an array of ritual structures that would do the same thing as the Quintedecim complex. I would like to cover each step in a bit more detail than the list of steps above so you can get a better idea of how I evolved these basic steps to produce a whole new methodology.
I began this rite by building a four-fold Elemental spirit base set to the four Watchtowers. What I did was erect a pylon structure to each of these four points, where the base of the pylon was qualified by the base element and the apex, with the qualifying element. I did this through setting an invoking pentagram at both points and then fusing them with an invoking spiral. I would choose the four Enochian Elemental spirits for the given astrological base element of the specific astrological decan. I would then intone the Enochian call for that specific Elemental spirit when the pylon was erected. In the center of the circle I would draw an invoking pentagram of spirit in the ultra-point (masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of the element) and summon the Enochian King of that element to the base.
So, the foundation of the ritual had four active Enochian elemental spirits and the Enochian element king, and when all four were drawn together into a square and aligned to the center, it would create a unified power base for the whole working. I was able extend this foundational structure by drawing the four cross devices representing the tetrasacramentary (although any kind of device would do) to the four angles, and these would be joined to themselves along with a great Rose Ankh drawn in the center of the circle at the infra-point. The combined structures would form another overlapping square device, and thereby the power octagon would be fully erected. I would then draw together the Ultra-point and Infrapoint to form a pylon in the center of the circle, then I would draw an inner circle widdershins, intone the Enochian call of Spirit, and perform the first invocation of the ruling planet. All of these steps would help to generate the overall energy field for this working, and to do this there is only one pattern with multiple choices depending on the qualities associated with that cell of the symbolic matrix.
Once the power octagon is established, upon these layers of ritual structures I would erect the astrological gateway. This gateway would be considered a definitive invocative structure itself, and would later be used as such. However, it was the mechanism that I decided I could use to define the spiritual quality of the astrological sign, which consists of the three spirits of the spiritual intelligence, the active principle and the ruling force. I invoked each of these specific spirits associated with the astrological sign at the three points of a western aligned gateway of the underworld. So, there would be a distinct gateway for each of the 12 zodiacal signs. Proceeding through the gateway, I would then express the unified concept of the zodiacal gate, and then proceeding through I would generate an invoking vortex by drawing Rose-Ankhs to the four watchtowers within a widdershins arc. I would then erect the septagram trigon in the center of the circle, which is the final preparation for the singular rite of summoning the Angel of the Decan.
I then would perform the summoning rite of the decan with the invoking vortex, and it would consist of me performing the following operations in sequence: summoning the angelic decan ruler and also Egyptian god of decan, summoning planetary ruler as Olympian spirit, intoning the Enochian planetary call (three times), tracing the planetary angle on the Septagram, charging the sigil of angelic decan ruler and expressing its image or imago (as taken from the Sabian House visions), and finally, intoning the generic Enochian call of the angelic ruler of the decan.
After these three major steps are followed, then the Gate of Revealing rite is performed to complete the invocation process. However, as you can see, there are aspects of the astrological gateway that might be construed as a potential invocation gateway, thus making the Gate of Revealing slightly, although not completely, redundant. I would, over the intervening years, ponder over this structure, and it would lead me to the next method that I would incorporate, which is the Archetypal Gate ritual.
Also, when I performed the custom invocation of Lilith in the very early 1990's, I was instructed by her during the aftermath of the invocation to develop a new methodology for performing a quick invocation on a spirit that had already been invoked by a custom invocation rite. This ritual was called the Enochian Planetary Vortex, which incorporated the 4 Watchtowers and the 3 gate nodes to produce a seven-fold planetary invocation of a given spirit. This method would not only establish the element and the planet, but also the specific astrological sign by using three of the Lesser Hexagram devices. These seven points represented a kind of magical invoking spiral that culminated in a powerful gateway device called the Grand Gate Threshold.
This ritual structure allowed me to re-invoke an important spiritual patron without having to use the Gate of Revealing rite. Instead, I was able to use a single rite to materialize all of the important attributes and structures of the more elaborate custom invocation ritual process. All I needed to work this rite was the consecrated sigil of the spirit. Of course, this new ritual helped to plant the seed in my fertile imagination for a whole new approach to performing an invocation, even though I still had to perform the original custom methodology in order to take advantage of this new ritual technology. Additionally, the Enochian Planetary Vortex itself was a custom written ritual, even though it was a lot shorter and succinct than the Quintedecim Complex. However, developing this new method had inspired me to look at other possibilities, and that openness to experimentation would evolve into a completely new technique.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
This is a three part series that outlines the history and evolution of my ritual based system of performing invocation and evocation. While this might be a rather long winded narrative about my discoveries and how I deployed new techniques to accomplish this task, I thought that it should be told so that others might know that learning magick is an incremental process. What that means is that you don’t just come up with the definitive method the first time you attempt to develop something new. Often the first approach is the least fruitful, and that it takes numerous other attempts to find the best way to achieve the desired objective. This is really quite true in the area of ritual and ceremonial magick, since there is less of a documented or standardized methodologies in those traditions for invoking higher order spirits, such as angels and demons. Having to invent your own methodology to invoke these spirits is not an unreasonable objective, although it is much more difficult if you go far from what is considered a traditional methodology. Here is my story and these are the techniques that I developed over a period of thirty years.
In a previous article (Fool’s Journey vs Hero’s Journey), I had discussed that the archetypal underworld cycle of the hero is also the pattern of transformative initiation, and that one triggers the other. This is a very ancient theme, which might have its roots back in the eons before history, since it also characterizes the same initiatory and healing pattern that the quintessential Shaman undergoes.
Through this mechanism, the seeker is able to enter into a psychic domain of ancient and archetypal collective images, symbols and the very essence of how human beings define their world. (This is what Jim Morrison meant when he said, “he took a face from the ancient gallery and he walked on down the hall.”) We unwittingly enter this world when we dream or fanticize, but there are deliberative techniques to enter into this domain that have been used since the apparent beginning of our species, and these techniques involve deep trance states induced through ecstasy. Additionally, there are many ways of triggering ecstasy, whether they are achieved chemically or through various physical disciplines, or a combination of both. The end result is practically the same, although each technique has its benefits and hazzards. One could easily label this process a kind of theurgic ordeal, and indeed it is.
The domain that such seekers desire to gain entrance into is none other than the place of spirits; whether the spirits in question are gods, goddesses, demigods, ancestors, angels, demons or nature spirits isn’t relevant since they all reside contiguously in the same reality. It is a mutable world where seekers can perceive and communicate with spirits, and a place where thought becomes form and form becomes thought. Yet the themes and symbology of this compelling spirit world can and should be incorporated into a system of magick and liturgy that gives the practicing Pagan or Wiccan access to it.
Also, pagan practitioners of any kind of magick that seeks to summon spirits should approach them with the same reverence and worshipful respect regardless of their status within the spiritual hierarchy. This means that we should approach a Godhead with the same reverence as we would approach our ancestors, demigods, or even other spirits, such as angels, demons, or nature spirits. We are able to approach them through our own spiritual intermediary, which is our familiar spirit, genius, higher-self or holy guardian angel. Not to approach such spirits with this important attitude of religious veneration (especially if they are demons or neutral nature spirits) is to invite such spirits to respond to us in a hostile and inimical manner. This perspective demonstrates the pronounced difference between how Pagans and Wiccans would approach such an operation as the invocation of a spirit as compared to the typical adherent of the Abrahamic faiths. This is because Pagans and Wiccan don’t work through a dualistic world-view of good and evil.
Therefore as pagan religionists, we need to first fortify and empower our relationship to the God/dess Within in order to gain entrance into the world of spirit, since that higher-self attribute is the key to the world of the spirits. Without it we can neither perceive spirits or immerse ourselves in their domain, since it is the preeminent psycho-spiritual mediator. Once the spirit familiar is activated and absorbed (or drawn down) into our being as our own personal Godhead, then we can fully encounter the gateway of the spirit world through an application of ecstatic trance techniques and the symbolic tropes that set the mood and theme of the working.
In the practice of ritual magick, we can also build up prismatic energy structures that give substance and a kind of magical reality to the themes of entering the spirit world. Such themes use the symbolic structures of the consecrated circle, the spiral vortex, the cross-roads, the double tetrahedral gateway (aligned to both the West and the East) and the inner circle, which represents the hidden domain of the spirit itself. Through a combination of these prismatic energy structures, Godhead assumption, ecstatic trance and the activation of the matrix of symbolic correspondences associated with the target spirit, a successful and tangible encounter with that spirit within its spectral domain is achieved.
This is the methodology that I discovered and developed over a period of several years of experimentation, and it was forced on me because I couldn’t figure out how to activate either the Golden Dawn methodology or the old grimoire ceremonial methodology. I created a new path because I was too impatient to figure out how the old methodologies could be employed, and I didn’t have a teacher to assist or guide me. I did have some handicaps such as the time period (late 70's), my youthfulness, my lack of available books or teachers, and the fact that I was using traditional witchcraft as my foundation. The various traditional systems of ceremonial magick available to me were not inherently compatible to the practices of traditional witchcraft, so I invented a new system instead, using the scant available materials and my own imagination. You can find a rather nicely written detailed overview of this methodology in an article that I wrote in June of last year (Mystery Gateway - Realizing An Invocation), and if you are unfamiliar with my methodologies, then I would recommend that you review it before getting too much further into this article.
My first approach to building a ritual system that would enable me to perform the invocation and evocation of various spirits employed an extension of the same methodology that I had earlier developed for talismanic planetary magick. I could have just used the ritual structure of a magnetic vortex as a spirit trap and then attempted to summon the spirit within it. This would have forced me to engage in a possible endless series of callings and potential dismissals, while subjecting the target spirit to a kind of Qabalistic interrogation to ensure that what answered the summoning was indeed the spirit that I desired to invoke. However, I declined to take this easier route and chose instead to focus on building up a regimen for invocation and evocation that actually generated the spirit, both its energy body and intelligence.
I also knew at that time that I could fashion an energy sphere of the appropriate kind of elemental energy using the power octagon, and within that energy field, define all seven of the planetary attributes of the spirit’s intelligence employing the artifice of the septagram. I would then fuse the elemental body with the seven-fold planetary intelligence through the artifice of a western aligned tetrahedral gateway, and unify the body and mind of the spirit as well as enter into the domain of that specific spirit. From previous experiments, I knew that an application of sacral host fragments and wine could also function as a method for quickening and fortifying the material form of the spirit (similar to an animal sacrifice). Yet the very core of this technique relied on a method for gaining an ecstatic trance state, which used a form of hyperventilation that I called the Lotus 7-breath. I experimented with the various aspects of this ritual based methodology for three years (from 1977 through 1980), and then was able to perfect it by experimenting for a few more years. By 1983, I had a fully matured ritual system for performing invocations, even though it was rather idiosyncratic and opaque to those not intimately schooled in my methodologies.
However, the one glaring weakness of this new system was that every spirit invoked would have its own custom ritual. I would have to research and determine the elemental and planetary attributes for every single spirit that I would attempt to invoke using this methodology. This may have been acceptable for some very important and strategic spiritual entities that I needed to invoke and who also functioned as my spiritual guides and emissaries, but such a flaw would have made a comprehensive system used against a full hierarchy of spirits completely untenable. Using this methodology would have forced me to have written a unique custom ritual for every single spirit in my hierarchy. If you consider that my spiritual hierarchy consists of a total of 255 spirits (not including the spirits of the Goetia-Theurgia) then writing a unique ritual for each of them would have been a monumental project. I would still be working on it today and I would hardly be anywhere near completing it, since I would constantly be discovering a new set of spirits to add to that collection. So using custom rituals for each and every spirit was definitely not the way to proceed with this new magical technology.
Thus, as I proceeded to develop this system I discovered, at strategic intervals, a simpler and more direct method for performing an invocation. I also learned to use a symbolic matrix to classify specific spirits within my spiritual and magical hierarchy. Using the thematic mixture of specific symbols of correspondences and employing them at certain points within a generalized and modular system of ritual magick allowed me to write and perform rituals that were much more concentrated and far less complex. It also allowed me to have fewer rituals within my repertoire, which I have found is a very important attribute for any aspiring ritual magician.
The evolution of this system of invocative magick had basically three levels, and each is still being used by me (and the Order) as part of an overall methodology. These three levels can be labeled by the rituals used or the techniques employed. My first methodology was to perform an invocation employing the Quintedecim Complex (elemental octagon and planetary septagram) and the Gate of Revealing. The second method was where I learned to invoke through a symbolic matrix, and the third and final method that I discovered was a technique that I call the archetypal gate mechanism.
All of these methods use the basic ritual structures of the magick circle, the spiral vortex (using the Rose Ankh device), the elemental octagon, the inner circle, the planetary septagram (for all seven planets or just the ruling planet), the lesser hexagram and superior pentagram devices (to define an astrological sign) and the tetrahedral gateway. The mass and benediction rites are used to charge and sacralize the temple as well as provide the sacraments. A few of them also employ the cross-roads pylon vortex, the trapezoid (as the prismatic structure of the trapezohedron), an eastern aligned tetrahedral gateway, or even an inverted tetrahedral gateway (for so-called infernal spirits).
Each of these different methods have their own select and targeted spiritual hierarchy that they invoke. The custom built Quintedecim Complex is used for important spiritual avatars and elected leaders of the spiritual hierarchy, and the others are invoked either through the symbolic matrix of correspondences or some variation of the archetypal gate. I think that it would be beneficial to examine each of these techniques and write an overview of each so as to fully expound on my methods for performing the invocation and evocation of spirits. We already covered the Quintedecim Complex in a previous article, so I will spend more time discussing the other two techniques.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
(Reliquary of St. Cyprian and St. Justina)
The topic for this article might sound kind of odd for an author who is supposedly a pagan and a witch. Normally, you’d expect a Catholic to talk about these things, but that is because in the area of magick, there is some overlapping between liturgy and magical rituals. It is also true that I have expropriated the mass and the benediction rites for purely magical as well as liturgical practices, but I have rewritten them to express a purely pagan spiritual perspective. I also used the old Tridentine Mass as the pattern for my magical and pagan masses, and that rite was abolished in the 1960's when the Vatican II reforms were fully adopted. Therefore, what I wish to present here is a discussion about sacraments and other sacramental based tools from a magical and pagan perspective.
So what are pagan sacraments? The word sacrament comes from the Latin “sacramentum,” which means sign of the sacred. A sacrament is a sign of a material offering from the Deity to the devotees. (In the magic symbology that I work with, a sacrament is denoted by the inverted pentagram, showing that the One can be realized directly through the four elements.) In the Catholic church there are seven sacraments, and I would agree that these could be seen as sacraments in paganism as well. Let’s first list them and see how they apply to pagan beliefs.
1. Communion (Eucharist) - sacral wine and a bread host. This could also be analogous to cakes and wine (in the witch’s sabbat), bread and ale (the red meal), or any food and drink. Substances such as these don’t become sacraments until they are blessed and imbued with the power and presence of the Godhead.
2. Baptism - this sacrament is more problematic because it seems to be wholly within the realm of Christianity. However, sacral ablutions and rites of purification are not unknown in paganism. However, baptism and the use of holy water (or lustral water) is a staple of some various factions of witchcraft and paganism. In these circles the rite is called “Seigning” or it is also more commonly referred to as a Wiccaning. Some pagans don’t bother to use this kind of rite in their work, and instead prefer to use another method. However, the sacrament involved in these works for the magical bath of purification and the purification aspurging of the magic circle is a magical holy water. This holy water can be produced from any number of sources of water (rain, spring, or even tap water), but it is then joined with a few pinches of (charged) salt and blessed, often with the breath of the celebrant and signs are made over it.
3. Confirmation - this sacrament is where a person is formally and publically brought into the church and receives their first communion. In pagan circles this would be known as the rite of naming, where a person assumes a new name and recognition that he or she is a member of that community. It could also be a kind of lay initiation or dedication into an outer court of a coven or grove. In some cases the rite of naming is used instead of the Wiccaning rite for young children, but it might also include a later re-naming when that person becomes an adult within that tradition.
4. Reconciliation - also confession and penance. Since the whole concept of sinfulness and impurity are not readily accepted in most Pagan and Wiccan circles, reconciliation might seem to be completely unnecessary. However, amongst pagan groups in antiquity, there were a number of taboos that if broken required the guilty party to do something to atone for that trespass and be re-admitted to the community. Blood guilt for committing murders even if fully justified was a common theme in Greek pagan spiritual beliefs. Yet how I would see this sacrament purely from the standpoint of modern paganism, witchcraft and magic is to instead use the term “alignment” instead of reconciliation.
Spiritual alignment would therefore be all of the devotional things that a pagan or witch would do to maintain a seamless and powerful religious connection to his or her Deities and ancestral spirits. Often in the course of these practices of devotion, the devotee would be required to give something to the Deities, either to maintain that connection, to redress imbalances or a state of disconnectedness, or to receive a greater share of grace and bounty when needed. Specifically, pagans of old called this a sacrifice, yet I believe that today we are not bound to the ritual killing of animals, although for some, this would be an option. However, giving something up to one’s Deities and making votive offerings is definitely something that would satisfy the need to remain spiritually aligned.
5. Marriage - the Catholic church considers the union of a man and a woman, called holy matrimony, to be a sacrament. On the lighter side, some might consider it more like a curse, and still others would define it more loosely as the union between two consenting adults. I don’t believe that having a union between two people blessed by some religious institution will make it more successful, stable or long-term. However, hand-fasting as found in Wiccan and Pagan religious groups pretty much seeks to make a formal union between two people. However, I am unaware of any pagan-based group that would agree with the typical inequality of a standard marriage ceremony as found in traditional Christian churches. This is why many individuals, including Christians, want to either write their own marriage ceremony, exchange vows and token rings, all under their own terms. Those terms typically specify that the partners are co-equal and share in the duties and responsibilities for their publically acknowledged union.
Modern pagan themes would seem to indicate that unions between consenting adults are not absolute, eternal or limited to just two people. There is quite a bit of variation to be found in pagan communities, so it would seem to me that traditional marriage ceremonies are all well and good, yet they might not be the pagan version of holy matrimony. To find this in modern paganism we have to examine the role of the hierosgamos in antiquity, and expand the concept of the sacred marriage as that which can occur between a human being and a god. This brings the whole spectrum of sacred sexuality and western sex magick into the religious purview of modern paganism. Since Godhead assumption is not only allowed but even encouraged in many groups, then when a couple assumes their own aspects of Deity and then join together sexually, this certainly represents what is meant by a sacred union in modern paganism. I would then consider that the assumption of Godhead (called by some witches, the Drawing Down) and the sacred sexual union between two who have assumed their Godhead (called the Great Rite) as two distinct but related practices.
6. Holy Orders - these are the ceremonies whereby an individual is vested with the duties and responsibilities of being an anointed intermediary between the Godhead and the congregation. Holy Orders are the initiation ceremonies of the Priest and the Bishop, and they have their analogues in paganism and witchcraft. However, unlike the rites of ordination (priesthood) and consecration (bishopric), there is also a magical transformation included as well as the assumption of certain magical powers and abilities. In the recent past Catholic Priests and Bishops were considered to have certain powers, and amongst some of the faithful, this belief is still active. Still, one of the primary purposes of the typical witch or pagan religious leader (priest or priestess) is to work forms of ritual magick as well as liturgical rites. What this does is make all of the liturgical practices performed by Pagan and Wiccan leaders simultaneously magical, or at least that is what one would assume based on the mixed practices of magick and religious rites.
7. Extreme Unction or Last Rites - this ritual is used to send the shriven and anointed dying adherent into the afterworld, and to console the grieving family members with that immanent loss. Other ceremonies following the Extreme Unction are the Requiem Mass and the grave-side rites of interment. All of these rites have variations and analogues practiced amongst pagans and witches, except perhaps for Extreme Unction, although that could be easily included.
However, pagans and witches have different perspectives on death than Christians, and that the concept of death doesn’t have the same aspect of finality, either. Ancestor veneration, as I have pointed out in a previous article, is an important practice to modern paganism, since it ties the living with the dead and makes for a greater continuity of one’s family and spiritual lineage. That a kind of death and rebirth can be experienced by the living in pagan rituals, particularly the more extreme initiation rites, is something that is also part of the practices of modern paganism. To be able to enter into the domain of spirits and dead ancestors is a true sign of someone who has mastered both the world of the living and the dead.
So, it would seem that there are two kinds of sacraments to be found in the practices of pagans and witches. One involves an actual physical substance that is imbued with supernatural force and the other is a practice that brings one into direct contact with the Deity. There is a third item that we haven’t talked about just yet, but let us list the two kinds of sacraments.
Sacraments as transformed substances:
Host and wine - also, bread and beer, cakes and wine (any food and drink to be publically consumed), lustral water, oils, balms, lotions, perfumes, incense, flowers, food and drink, and candles (for devotional offerings - to be consumed by the Deity).
Sacraments as liturgical and magical practices -
Communion, purification, sacrifice and devotional offerings, godhead assumption, Great Rite, initiation ordeals, ancestor veneration, supreme ordeal (death and rebirth) and the last rites.
Relics and Reliquaries
Additionally, there is another kind of sacramental tool, and that is called a reliquary, or a relic. A reliquary is a special container for a relic, allowing it to be displayed to the public, and thereby transmitting its powers into magical and liturgical workings. Relics are to be found in many different religions, whether Christian, Pagan or Hinduism and Buddhism. A relic is defined as something that is directly associated with a venerated avatar, saint, teacher, ancestor or some miraculous manifestation of the Deity in the material world.
Sometimes a supposed relic is a forgery, like a splinter from the true cross upon which Jesus died, or dried blood from his wounds, or any number of the bones, skulls or other belongings to the greater hosts of holy and venerated individuals. Sometimes the relic is a purely a thing of legend, like the Holy Grail. What is important is that the religious adherent believes that the item is authentic, and thereby acting as a kind of link, it can channel the power and holiness of the individual that it represents. So, the relic doesn’t have to be an actual piece of human remains (it can be a possession or something associated with the source of the relic). A relic doesn’t even have to be legitimate. It can be a deliberate forgery, a symbolic representation or an erroneous affiliation. Still, the power of a relic is wholly vested in the faith of those who believe it to be authentic, and that belief alone often has the power to make it a fact.
Since I am not a member of any antique religious organization that has a long historical continuity, I don’t have access to what would be considered the actual (or assumed) remains of any avatar, holy person or teacher. I do possess a few practical items from the my departed ancestors, but they would not be something that I could make into a relic. For instance, it would hardly be either acceptable or magically powerful for me to take one of the silverware implements from my great aunt and make it into a relic. Whatever virtues my great aunt might have had when alive (and even beyond as a venerable ancestor), anything having to do with magic and paganism would not have been one of them.
What might be an appropriate relic would be to possess some item from an ancestor who was into the occult or magic, but I don’t have anything like that. It would seem, then, that the whole concept of using relics in magic would be something of a bust for me if I didn’t possess anything associated with anyone magical or spiritually significant in my life. However, there is the third definition of a relic, and that is anything that would represent a miraculous manifestation of the Deity in the material world, this could also be considered a relic. It is within this definition that I can say I do possess relics, and I make it point to manufacture them when and wherever needed. Also, a picture of an avatar, teacher or ancestor, whether a photograph or an illustration, as well as statues and idols can also function as relic-like representations of the actual entity. This leaves quite a lot of room to chose appropriate relics to populate one’s temple or shrine.
One of the most potent (and often used) tropes in my magical work is to enshrine a host or part of a host from a specific magical mass performed to a specific Godhead and spiritual alignment at an auspicious time. I can take the consecrated host and place it into a metallic foil wrapper and then use it as a tool for sanctifying and empowering a temple or shrine environment. I have placed such foil wrapped host fragments at strategic locations, such as the watchtowers and angles, or in front of a statue or upon a trigon to empower whatever is in their proximity.
If I were a priest in a wealthy church I would use an elaborately decorated monstrance, but metallic foil works quite well because it is a highly conductive material. By placing these kinds of relics at the four watchtowers, angles and the central altar, each point of the magic circle is profoundly charged and sacralized, even before performing the circle consecration ritual. I have my own version of a benediction rite that is used to install those host fragments and sanctify and empower the whole temple. It’s truly marvelous to start out with a temple already fully charged to do the work even before the ritual is performed. If ever a magical construct could function as a kind of battery, then a relic is the logical choice.
Another kind of magical relic is a specially consecrated crystal used to “witness” and thereby absorb the powers and ritual actions associated with a special kind of magical working. Used for this one purpose (and no other), the crystal then contains all of the powers and spiritual intelligences associated with that working. When displayed in a container or placed in a special place, it continues to radiate its power and influences into the magic temple or shrine. I have used such crystals to capture the climax of an important ritual ordeal, and then it becomes an important relic of my magical achievements.
I have already covered the art of animating statues so that they become living repositories of the powers, spiritual essence and intelligence of a Godhead. Such animated statues are yet another form of reliquary, and they can channel the power and majesty of a Deity into the sanctity of one’s own temple or shrine. Having such a sacred object in a temple allows the magician to possess a direct and active link to the Deity itself. You can find my article on animating statues here.
So, that’s my perspective on sacraments, relics and reliquaries as practiced in a pagan magical and liturgical manner. I have covered all seven of these sacraments and their associated mysteries, and I have shown how they can be used to charge and empower any magical working. All of these examples represent practices and techniques that I use in my own magick, so they represent the fruit of many years of experimentation and exploration.
I have taken what are nominally Catholic theological and ritual ideas and expropriated them into a completely pagan and magical context. Some might even say that I have reclaimed them back into a context from which they were originally appropriated by Christians centuries ago. Who really knows what the nature of the original source was, but I feel that the sacraments and their use as relics works quite well within a pagan religious system. I have also never felt any guilt nor have I had any issues with using them as such for more than thirty years. May you find them useful and profitable in your own work, too.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
In my two articles about the vault of the adepti, one of the things that I called it was a magical machine. Now, some readers are probably wondering what exactly was I referring to when I used that term? So I would like to spend a few paragraphs explaining the nature and functionality of a magical machine.
First thing, throw away what you would normally think of when trying to imagine what a magical machine would be like! It is not a singular mechanical device used to aid or assist in the achievement of human work. It is not a clever combination of various parts that operate together to perform a specific set of functions. It doesn’t consist of various parts fashioned or made out of inanimate substances and it doesn’t need any kind of mechanical, internal combustion or electrical power source, so it is not at all like a material machine. I first heard this term spoken by Michael Bertiaux many years ago, although he used it in a vague manner and never really qualitatively defined it. Yet I did get a sense of what he meant when he talked about magical machines, and it intrigued me. Over the years I took this fanciful notion and developed it into a magical concept. I can now share that definition with you so that magical machines are something definitive and capable of being developed by nearly anyone.
A clue that I have already given you is that the vault of the adepti is a magical machine, so if you want something to keep in mind as I state my definitions, that would be as good an example as anything.
Here are the basic qualities that make up a magical machine:
1. It consists of an array of symbolic correspondences that represent an overall system, formulation or magical glyph. These are the specific parts that are assembled together to fashion a larger holistic structure. Of course, these symbols must be alive and fully activated in the mind of the magician. Often, these symbols are painted or graphically depicted on some kind of structure, and that structure can be as simple as a flat rectangle or as complex as a large prismatic container. (My media of choice is to use prismatic energy arrayed in geometric forms overlaid with symbols, spirits, energies and occult sound bites.)
2. The array of symbols or correspondences are directly associated with various but specific magical energies, psychological qualities (archetypes or icons) and spiritual entities. All of these attributes have been independently invoked and held within the matrix of the overall system, form or glyph.
3. Developing a living and breathing array of occult symbology, spirits and psychological icons or archetypes is not enough to accomplish the building a magical machine. A magician must also integrate herself with the various facets of that holistic device by establishing a correspondence to various points on her body, and then performing exercises to link them. These body points are generally called chakras by the eastern mystics, but they are actually more numerous and elaborate, making them more like acupuncture points or nerve nexus points. (The key is that the array of the magical machine should be integrated into the body of light of the magician so that they are unified.)
4. The overall structure or system of the magical machine is given some kind of iconic design or structure, usually, but not always, geometric. It could be the inner spiral of a shell, a cube of space, a spiral vortex, any prismatic crystal shape, or perhaps something dramatic, like a spider web, a compass round, an elaborate underground chamber (crypt), a mountain temple or even the 3D Tree of Life itself. It goes without saying that a magical machine is always greater than the sum of its parts, representing the transformative power that an embodied and activated iconic structure should possesses.
5. Behind the iconic design, glyph or form of the magical machine is a system of occult numeration as well as a sacred geometry. The pattern of the array is determined by a series of numbers representing two dimensional or even three dimensional tables of correspondences, all of which are dependent on certain and specific sets of numbers. Where there are numbers, there are also words, since in arithmology, words and numbers share an equivalence, so an alphabet also forms the basis of a magical machine as well as a system of gematria, notariqon, and the temurah of magic squares (and other magical polygonal grid shapes).
There are quite a number of other less important definitions that could be used to define a magical machine, but I think that these five cover the most important ones. I am sure that some of my readers could have guessed the first two, but the other three, especially the requirement of aligning the elements of a magical machine to the magician’s body, would probably be more obscure. I can at least state that if someone spends time developing a true magical machine, based on the five elements above, that they would have at their disposal a very powerful magical device.
Often, the easiest way to demonstrate how these definitions can be used is to illustrate them using a simple practical example. Therefore, I would like to present to you an example that I am actually building for my own personal use. (You can’t get more practical than that!)
Talismans are very useful magical devices and most magicians, if they learn anything, will learn how to manufacture a talisman using one or more of the popular methods. I prefer to use an active rather than a passive technique, so I work with rituals that project the planetary energy into the talisman. For planetary talismans there are only seven planets, and that isn’t much to build the large array that's necessary to produce a magical machine. However, there are 28 talismanic elementals, which consist of a planet and an element joined together. There are also 28 lunar mansions, and I have incorporated both together to formulate my device. A magical machine could be fashioned that would employ these 28 talismanic elements, but they would have to consist of all of the spirits of that system simultaneously invoked. This is not particularly easy, but through the use of metallic talismans, it becomes much more feasible.
As you know, I have been performing a series of special talismanic rituals since last February. I have perfected a system of invoking all four talismanic elementals into a single planetary talisman, each based on a single lunar mansion. So far I have managed to generate six of these talismans, and the seventh will be achieved a few days after the 25th of this month. At that time, I will have seven metallic planetary talismans corresponding to all 28 of the talismanic elementals. If I take those seven fully charged and activated talismans and use them together in some kind of geometric structure, then they could function as a magical machine. Furthermore, I could also link each of those seven metallic talismans to the seven chakras or nexus points on my body, and in fact, I could have them placed on my body for a period of meditation and contemplation. This would satisfy the third requirement. As for determining a glyph, I could use the septagram, the structure of a cube enclosing a triangle, or even a cross and a triangle. Truly, the possibilities are numerous. Experimentation is also encouraged, so I could place each of the seven metallic talismans on one of the seven Enochian Ensigns and see how the combination of devices would work in a ritual structure.
If I wanted to expand on this system, then I could employ the Enochian Heptarchia into the sevenfold array, incorporating the 49 Bonarum or Binary Planetary Intelligences into this structure. This would produce a system whereby the sevenfold array would be expanded to the second power, or squared. As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities once you start developing one of these magical machine systems. The key is that whatever array and iconic structure is established, it must also be aligned with the body of the magician in order to be truly effective and active.
Another tool that I use in my magick is the crystal, and I think that such a tool would have a very powerful effect if associated with a magical machine. Don’t think of the crystal as a power source (like a battery), instead understand that magical energy enters into and comes out of a crystal, often amplified many times or refined to a single point. It also has the capacity to store magical energy, and to recall it if the magician projects a line of force (charged by his will) into the crystal for that singular purpose. In some ways, the crystal would function like a magical CPU (central processing unit), helping to lend a kind of spiritual AI configuration to the machine array. Throw in some polygonal dice and some other divination tropes, all used within the sphere of the magical machine, and the crystal would function as the “brain” within its core. Employing all of these elements together as a magical machine will make one fantastic multifaceted magical tool.
So what kind of magic could you perform if you had a fully active magical machine? As I pointed out in my articles on the vault, you could perform passive divination (directed inwardly or outwardly) or you could focus any of the array of powers, psychological icons and spirits within the machine upon a single outwardly directed desire. Just imagine the amount of probability shifting that would cause by employing a magical machine to make changes in the material universe? I have had some experience tinkering with such devices, and from what I have learned, a large array magical machine would be quite potent. So I guess I better get started and build one for myself! I hope this inspires you to try building one yourself.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth....Such are the autumn people.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
October comes, and the leaves accumulate on the ground, being blown in all directions by the mournful cold breezes of autumn. The leaves started changing and dying early this year, and now the trees are copiously shedding their leaves. When the sun weakly shines on the world, the colors of autumn blaze forth in a glory of golds, reds, browns and yellows. This is one of my most favorite times of the year, and oddly I feel more alive in autumn than in summer. This probably has to do with my greater cycle of fortune, which reaches its peak in the first week of January. Winter is coming, and nature prepares for it by receding into its core all of the bounteous indicators of life and living things - they disappear, only to reappear in late April. For us in these northern climes, winter is like a vigil, waiting through the cold and icy days for the first signs of spring and renewal.
Some people think of their own ultimate end and passage from this world, but others just recede into their homes, thinking and dreaming of future days amidst the warm and plenty of their autumn harvests. This year began with an innundation of rain and the water of life, but now the land is dry and withered as the dust and bones of forgotten graves. I am certain that some harvests were poor and there is little to celebrate in the season. Halloween is coming soon, and afterwards, Thanksgiving and then the Yule and Calends. As the clock for the year is rapidly ticking out its final hours of life, a new year is already beginning to take hold in the thoughts and dreams of many. It is also a season of presidential politics that is filled with hope, fear, loathing and vitriolic exchanges. The nation seems to be more polarized than ever before, and I can only hope that cool heads and steady hearts will guide the nation to making a good collective decision - even though I am always amazed at the total lack of critical thinking that appears to drive many people’s choices.
As far as my personal life goes, though, I am witnessing the changing season once again from the my home office window. The server re-hosting project that I have been working on since late Spring has continued to drag on into the autumn, but now quite a number of important mile-stones have been met and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This work project has been all-consuming, and I have not even had much time to spend on a social life, let alone on holidays or vacations enough to enjoy them. My allotment of life is getting incrementally shorter for me, but at least this project has allowed me to reinvent myself and get some important good exposure from the company executives. I have greatly exceeded expectations, but I shall see how this is rewarded and reckoned by them early next year. This is why I have not been writing very many articles over the last few months. I just don’t have a lot of excess time to work on my various writing projects.
“Magical Qabalah for Beginners,” which is a book project that is going to be published by Llewellyn Worldwide, has passed the first phase of editing and is now in the second phase as well as undergoing copy editing. My production editor has informed me that the manuscript layout is scheduled to be going to the printer on November 1, and copies of the book might become initially available by Yule. I haven’t seen the text for the back of the book, but I believe that will be sent to me for review in the very near future. I have already sent in some book blurbs kindly written up by some of my author friends, and parts of these will likely find themselves on the back cover. I am also going to be planning on having a couple of book signings after the middle of January, when the books become available to the public. Instead of just having a book signing, though, I am also planning on giving a short talk on the Qabalah at these venues as well. I think that giving something substantive to the public along with promoting my book will help to entice people to come to the signing, and perhaps even buy one of the books. (I’ll let you know in advance when these dates and places are firmly scheduled.)
Magically, I am planning on generating the final four-fold talismanic elemental of Mars in October, and I hope to realize all seven of these metallic talismans and how they will work together as an activated array. I have kept the previous two (Venus and Jupiter) under wraps since I created them in anticipation of acquiring all seven. I am really looking forward to completing this working and having all seven talismans to use in various magical operations. I will talk more about this in a future article, but it does lead me to some interesting topics. Other magical operations are still in the planning stages, and I am hoping that the deferred vacation time that I will get to take at the end of the year will be auspicious for performing some exploratory magical workings.
This leads me to the topic of this article, which is the Autumn People, as described by Ray Bradbury. I have been a fan of Bradbury’s work ever since I was an adolescent boy greedily cutting my literary teeth on many a science fiction tome. I loved his work because he so artfully mixed the genre of science fiction, fantasy and even threw in some philosophy. The whole concept of “Cougar and Dark’s Pandemonium Circus,” and being able to deal with death and dark wishes made the book “Something Wicked This Way Comes” one of my all time favorites. The movie that was made years after I read the book was very well done and represented Bradbury's literary style quite well. The movie of the same name starred Jason Robards as the elderly father figure, Charles, who sagely rescues his son and best friend from the evil wiles of Mr. Dark,
However, the concept of the Autumn People has always intrigued me, since it would seem that they would represent the forces of death and decay that refuse to die, and instead feed upon the frustrated dreams and self-denial of those who lives have reached an end-pass. Since I have always been something of an optimist, I have found myself confounded by the pessimists who seem to delight in the diminishment and collapse of everything that I cherish and enjoy. They are the people who snuff out happiness or joy with a word or a look, and seem to feed on misery, despair and misfortune. These people are subtle psychic vampires who get drunk drinking off the happiness and exaltation of other people, but never contributing any joy themselves. We have all met these people at some point in our lives, and how we deal with them is important for preserving our internal integrity and dignity for the duration of our lives. Death comes to everyone, at some time or another, and it is unavoidable. But there is little point in living a life that is for extent and purposes, already dead.
Yet while we live, as pagans and witches, we must live life to its fullest joy and ecstasy, or we haven’t really lived at all. We must also resist those who would take away our joy and ecstasy, removing the color and maddening wondrous diversity from life and leaving behind a grey monotone world of sameness. Indeed, we need to banish the autumn people from our lives and keep them from preying on the unsuspecting world. The planet has more than its share of misery, tragedy, calamity and catastrophe, so we must preserve those beautiful moments of brilliant sunshine, joy and happiness. They are moments of summer in our lives, and they represent the most precious core of what life is all about and why it is worth living despite everything. Summer is all too brief, so we must rejoice in it when it arrives, and remember it well when the time of autumn comes with its harkening of winter’s dismal embrace.
(Note: Sometimes I almost believe that the Republican party has become filled with autumn people who translate good news into bad, make an economic recovery into a steadfast decline, and whose only objective is the grasping and wielding of power for the elite few while robbing everyone else of what little joy there is in life. I hope they lose the election badly in November, as if to tell truth to their lies that the future is without hope unless we bow to their immanent ascendency. Maybe they will pass away like a bad dream or the blowing away of dead leaves, allowing the rest of us to actually make some progress in dealing with the many problems that this country continues to face.)