Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Path to Enlightenment Through Magick

The Order of the Gnostic Star has plotted a step by step process using ordeals to assist an initiate to achieve the various levels of transformation and spiritual evolution. The Tree of Life is the model that is used to define and determine the nature of these ordeals and their expected outcome. All of these ordeals represent incremental tasks and challenges that I had undergone following my own personal spiritual path. What that means is that I, Frater Barrabbas Tiresius, have used the path and progression of my own spiritual process as the model or blue-print for magickal spiritual ascendency as defined in the Order. One would have to assume that I at least know what I am doing in order to be presumptuous enough to use my own life process as the initiatory directive for the Order and its supposed spiritual progress. I have explained this process in detail and compared it to the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, and I have left these ordeal based processes open-ended enough to accommodate anyone who would seek to follow them.

Adepts have the legitimate right to modify or change any of the ordeal rituals to more aptly reflect their own spiritual perspectives. However, it is my wish that adepts should study the rituals and the journal entries where I have made them available before attempting to rewrite any of these workings. Since I know that these ordeals work as they have been written, at least for me, I would hope that anyone who would seek to change them would know their innate mechanics and magickal architecture first. In this manner, the wisdom of the original ordeal is preserved, and can be examined and compared to what the adept has rewritten. It is my hope that the spirit of the ordeal will be preserved in any new version or variation that the adept has deemed to develop and use, otherwise, the careful structure of personal development might be thwarted or short circuited.

I have been following this ordeal based path in ritual magick for nearly 40 years, and I have not yet completed all of the ordeals to the highest level. Why this effort has taken me so long is that I have had to invent and develop from scratch each of the ordeals for each level. Think of this as the analogy of the carpenter who is building a staircase one step at a time while simultaneously attempting to climb to the top. Often, this has required me to spend an inordinate amount of time engaged in creative speculation, experimentation and soul searching on a level that seems to push the envelope of what I know and understand. I have found that published books and materials can either directly help me or inspire a new insight or connection, but by themselves, published materials are limited and can never simply reveal the way for someone who is an adept. Since most of the population has not even achieved levels of consciousness normally experienced by an adept, most of the available media (which was produced for the majority of the population) will have little or nothing to aid the adept in determining the next stage in his or her development.

The path to enlightenment, as determined and followed by ritual magicians operating in the context of the Order, is a delicate balance between the paths of mysticism and magick, where the two are inexorably blended together to form a single hybrid spiritual technology. We can see this very clearly if we look at these two paths in isolation of each other.

Pure magick, without any mystical elements is nothing more or less than where a magician seeks to change physical reality according to his or her will - it is, in a word, a form of thaumaturgy. Hoodoo and other forms of operant magick, where a formula of action and result are tied together (such as “assemble these items, do these actions, and this result will occur”) have little or no spiritual elements involved in their performance. This is a dispassionate kind of cause and effect magick that is merely a technique for making something happen that might not ordinarily occur. It is a system that bends the possible outcome or probabilities in such a manner that the desired result has a better chance to happen than it would otherwise.

The role or function of priest or spiritual intermediary is not required in this kind of work, since it is devoid of any spiritual considerations. In some cases, even altered states of consciousness are not required for the magick to work. Whether the magician uses the energy theory of magick, the spirit theory, the psychological theory, or any combination of all three, all of the techniques, models, symbols and intermediaries are nothing but tools through which the magick is performed. For the magician, it is his or her power, inherent will and passionate desires for the result that are paramount, everything else is irrelevant to the overall goal.

Mysticism can be considered a passive approach to enlightenment, even when the supplicant is engaged in good works in the mundane sphere. It is wholly immersed in the spiritual dimension, but that the deity or deities are perceived as vastly superior entities than humanity, with whom one must become bonded and subordinate in order for a spiritual awakening and transformation to occur. The discipline of the mystic is a form of spiritual service to the godhead that includes devotion, surrender and the complete sublimation of the self. Even supposed magickal actions, liturgical works and other kinds of godhead mediation are performed in a selfless manner for the greater good of the spiritual community.

An initiate or devotee of a mystical path may perform operations that seek to channel the power and authority of the godhead in this world, but the prerogative of that work is completely vested in the deity and not the individual. Thus, mysticism is passive because it seeks to devalue and diffuse the power of the individual for the sake of the deity and the religious community through which it operates. This path is nearly the opposite of the classical magician performing operant forms of magick for his or her own benefit.

Where these two paths can merge and blend is where we need to consider the theme of the magician-priest, whose role is the particular method of becoming an adept in our Order. The two pure approaches above are brought into a mutual harmony, where the magick, the magician and his or her associated godhead act as a single spiritual agency in the material and spiritual world. 
This hybrid pathway is neither passive nor arrogantly active, since the individual magician is allowed to perform works for his own benefit, but whose ultimate mission must be to serve the will of the deity, and thereby aid the overall spiritual community as a whole. The magician-priest is a mediator, but not a passive one, since he has determined his role as that of an elite path-finder, teacher and master of life itself. This role even allows for magickal failure, since it represents that often the will of the individual can fail when it runs against the will of the deity or the overall fate of that individual. Service to the deity is still important and central, but then, so is the magickal liturgy of godhead assumption, which is never used in actual exoteric religious liturgies. Godhead assumption is analogous to publically admitting that one is God, which in nearly all spheres (except in forms of highly ecstatic mysticism or deliberative magick) is considered impious and even blasphemous. Yet godhead assumption is considered the core of spiritual and magickal operations within the Order, and for very good reason. If we, as magicians of the Order of the Gnostic Star, are to be considered priests and priestesses of the occult magickal succession, then being able to directly mediate the deity is an important technique.

The magician-priest is then required to master the techniques of mediating the deity, and there are several important ritual and liturgical operations that she may perform to advance and evolve this ability. All of these are the exercises of spiritual alignment, which are crucial to our initiatory lineage. These practices produce a kind of personal religious cult that acts as the very center of the rites and obligations of a ritual magician functioning through our Order. This cult is kept up and regularly practiced by the ritual magician, who acts as both prelate and congregation, and the center of this activity is the personal religious shrine representing the godhead to which the magician seeks alignment.

The shrine is a separate altar where the statues, relics, artifacts, and fetishes are kept. This altar can reside in the magician’s temple, or in a separate room set aside for that exclusive use. Offerings are given to the deity or deities ensconced therein, and these consist of flowers, incense, food and drink. This shrine represents the very heart and spiritual center of the magician, and is a place of regular and periodic attentions. It is important for the magician-priest to maintain a potent alignment with the various entities that reside in his or her magickal pantheon.

A magician’s spiritual alignment consists of those practices that allow her to be a mediator of the godhead. Ostensibly, the practices can be broken down into the following list. In my book “Disciple’s Guide to Ritual Magick,” I state that there are four basic practices, but for an initiate in the Order, there are eight.

1. Devotion - any act of giving an offering of love and veneration to the godhead. These should include incense, flowers, special candles being kept lit (vigils), appropriate offerings of food and drink, music, songs and orisons of praise, and the focused contemplation of spiritual love. These practices can be performed at any time of the day or night, since they are not constrained by liturgical rites.

2. Invocation - magickal summoning of the godhead. Specific invocations are regularly performed to ensure a potent connection between the operator and the deity or deities. These invocations can be in one’s native tongue, or written in a sacred language. They are to be written and then used exclusively and regularly during certain liturgical operations, such as during communion, godhead assumption and even the holy office. They can also be used alone during periods of contemplation and prayer.

3. Communion - magickal rites of the Mass and the Benediction. The Mass is used to consecrate bread and wine (or some other suitable offerings), and then these sacred substances are used to bind oneself to that godhead by eating and drinking them. Other sacraments can be represented by other kinds of food and drink, and even oils and balms. A Benediction rite is used to empower and charge a temple and/or magick circle. The celebrant uses the consecrated bread to perform this operation.

4. Godhead Assumption - a magickal rite that aids the magician to assume the mantle and consciousness of the god into him/herself. This is a powerful transformative ritual that uses a combination of devotion, invocation, contemplation, trance assumption, and the assana of opening the self and the heart for reception, to deliberately assume the imago and character of the godhead into the core of oneself.

5. Spiritual Service - mundane actions done in the community for the godhead, to help and aid others, even those not aligned to the deity. These should be periodic and regularly performed if possible. Spiritual service is always performed as a charitable contribution of time and personal effort.

6. Spiritual and Religious Celebrations - magickal and religious rituals performed, both in private and even in public, to express the joy and happiness of the godhead in the material manifestation of the world and its mysteries. In pagan traditions, these are represented by the eight Sabbats, but also other traditions can be culled, such as the old Catholic calendar, the Orthodox Christian or Jewish calendars.

7. Holy Office - hourly exercises, meditation sessions, qabbalistic contemplations, path workings, sun salutation, and established prayers. These methods mirror the holy office that was said by Catholic clergy, nuns and monks every three hours, starting at sunrise and through the day and night to the following morning for each and every day. It was part of their spiritual discipline and a daily requirement. For magicians, an occult office probably only needs to be done on days when they are to engage in rigorous magickal workings.

8. Holy Orders - the basic initiatory structure of the Order of the Gnostic Star is modeled after the holy orders of the Catholic church, beginning with acolyte, and continuing with pontifex (priest) and hierophant (bishop). These initiations should also involve and include the specific godhead and its associated pantheon, so as to assist the initiate in establishing themselves as a prelate in their own personal religious cult.

While these orders might be considered valid by outside exoteric religious organizations, they are not meant to be used as such, since there is no exoteric church through which one might operate. This was done to preclude the temptation of establishing a kind of hierarchy in the Order and within autonomous temples.

Other ritual actions and practices, besides the Mass, Benediction, Godhead Assumption, Seasonal Celebrations and the Holy Office would include special mystery celebrations (Grail Mysteries and Lunar Mysteries) and the specialized rite of the Beatification, which incorporates elements of the Feminine mysteries to be used by both men and women in the Order. All of these rites and practices help to establish a powerful alignment and bond between the magician and the chosen godhead, and this bond is the foundation upon which much of the greater magickal operations are formulated.

The Holy Orders are the bridge that draws the initiate from a mastery of the four elements to a mastery of the self and one’s spiritual source, a sure sign of being an adept. The transition from acolyte (4th degree) to pontifex (5th degree) symbolizes the assumption of all of the responsibilities of being a mediator for the chosen godhead. This mediation has additional levels and degrees, since the sacred king or queen (6th degree) assumes the role of material mediator of the godhead, and the hierophant (7th degree) is the living representative of that godhead, performing all of the spiritual and magickal tasks necessary for the continuance of that deity and its mission in the world.

The final bridge from adept to high adept is found in the rituals of assuming the highest expression of the godhead capable of being known to the initiate, and that is the HGA or Higher Self (inner master). There are a number of initiatory challenges that cause the adept to transform to higher levels. Certainly, the ordeals of Archaeomancy would, by themselves, cause the initiate who underwent them to achieve the level of the Supernal Triad of the Tree of Life. While I have not yet undergone all of these operations yet, I have identified at least five of them that would represent this transition, and I would assume that all five must be performed in order for it to become completely stabilized.

These five operations are as follows:

1. Bornless One Invocation Rite - within the Etheric Pyramidal Temple
2. Abramelin Lunar Ordeal
3. Talismanic Portae Lucis
4. Invocation of Azrael - Conquering the Angel of Death
5. Abysmal Crossing (Daath Portal) and Qliphotic Path Working Ordeals

Another working that would aid in this process would be the full activation and operation of the Grimoire Armadel. I am certain that as time goes on, I will likely find other ordeals and operations that will aid the magician in achieving the highest level of personal achievement - accessing the Supernal Triad and assuming one’s own godhead in the material world.

These workings are made far more potent (and in some cases even possible) through the established role of the magician-priest. I would assume that many of these operations would make little sense or even be necessary for a magician who was following a completely different path, such as one where the practice of magick was achieved without any mystical pretensions or spiritual perspectives. To such a one, the ultimate achievement of union with the Godhead is completely irrelevant, therefore all such operations that facilitated this process would also be irrelevant. However, for the magician-priest, who must mediate the godhead through himself, this path and these operations are critically important. This is why I have made them part of the ordeals of the initiatory grades of the Order of the Gnostic Star.

Therefore, it is my earnest belief, and it is the path that I have established for the Order, that a practicing ritual magician should be both a priest/ess and a magician, mixing and blending the arts of magick and mysticism. This is why the Qabbalah is equally important to the work of performing magickal ordeals, and why a ritual magician should act as the high priest of his own personal religious cult. There might be other ways to ensure this harmonious blend of magick and mysticism, but this is the solution that I discovered, and it is the one that I have passed on to all initiates of the Order.

Frater Barrabbas


  1. I would like to thank you for this "eye opening" essay, Frater. I was trapped for too long between contradictory schools of thought, especially the notions of "Return and Merging to the Godhood" of the right hand path, and the concepts of Isolate Inteligence and Self-Godhood of the left hand path. I would take a few steps towards any of these diverse schools of thought, until doubt and uncertainty would make me retrace back to zero. This essay and also your words elsewhere "...I aspire in my magickal workings to integrate the HGA or Bornless One into my own self, and thus elevate myself to the level of a godhead, however thinly or briefly. This is certainly a lefthand path perspective. However, I also give veneration, offerings and worship to my ancestors and my gods, thus making me a follower of the right hand path...” are the key to my spiritual understanding and progress. I’ve never thought of that “hybrid” path before, but I’ll make it my first priority to learn anything I can about it. I find your words not only brilliant but also liberating. I would like to express my gratitude for your valuable work of popularising your work. This means everything to “wandering” souls like mine.

  2. Thank you for your kind words. I often think that my situation is unique, but then I read comments like yours and realize that I actually represent a kind of plurality. How cool is that? Keep on reading and let me know when I write something that resonates with you.