Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Anyone who has endured the misfortune of witnessing a "debate" between myself and Logan on any of the message boards we share deserves an apology. We can get boring, sarcastic, and we tend to use each other to demonstrate what we consider our own wit and brilliance. It usually lasts about as long as it takes for me to get disgusted and start calling him foul names. Every few months or so, I'll forget why I can't stand him, and enter into a conversation that rapidly becomes a debate, and then turns into a name-calling match. I've been better lately, but he still gets on my nerves.
What bothers me most is that the smug self-righteous British bastard has helped me out a lot in my pursuit of the Grail, the Great Work. He helped me appreciate Plato, and destroyed my confidence in the GD Tree of Life by demonstrating its shaky foundations. This lead me to fully embrace the Neo-Platonic realm of Agrippa, and to understand something Patrick Dunn is always going on about regarding the arbitrariness of semiotic webs.
So anyway, Logan told me months ago that I needed to read Eliphas Levi. He had quoted something about how Levi said "Magick is not a vocation" in response to my selling Conversation with the HGA through the conjuration of the Genius (See the Products and Services link at www.rufusopus.com). I have never read Levi, and with Logan as his sponsor in my current magical environment, I was set against it. Until earlier today.
First off, Levi may have said Magick is not a vocation, but if he did (I haven't gotten that far yet), he said it after saying the Magician is a Priest and King. Both Priests and Kings collect Tithes and Taxes, so the whole argument against taking money for magickal services is undermined right there, wha-bam!
Ok, that said, Levi is really good reading. The guy presents magick with no holds barred. He tells it like it is, presents the Great Work more impressively than anything I've seen in a long time (outside my own writing, of course). It's WORK. It's hard. It's even "dangerous" in that if you give up after starting, you'll be worse off than if you'd never started at all. Not that you can quit once you've begun anyway, but at least he tells you you'll end up a Monarch or a Madman at the start. Good stuff.
What inspired this particular blog post though was the following:
"there is no point in infinite extension which may not be regarded as the centre of a circle having an expanding circumference receding indefinitely into space"
(Page 6 at http://www.hermetic.com/browe-archive/pdf/DogmaEtRituel%20Part%201.pdf)
Think about that for a moment. We are such points, beginning in our Work at the center of a circle with a somewhat fixed circumference. As we progress, we expand the circumference, becoming aware of all the things within the circumference of that circle, learning to integrate the "energies" of the things we find into our own spheres as the limits of our spheres expand. The limits of the spheres expand as the Light from the center of the sphere increases its radiation, exposing more of what can be found within the darkness at the edges of our sphere of awareness.
In Crowley's popular magickal system, we find the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) in Tiphareth, the Sephira that corresponds to the Sphere of the Sun. When the magician establishes Knowledge and Conversation with their HGA, they undergo a Solar Initiation. The hidden corners of their personal sphere are exposed to the light, and the magician is forced to confront and deal with those parts of themselves they hide in the darkness. Each character flaw, each untamed passion, every sin or self-destructive tendency comes to the fore and must be corrected, tamed, repented from, or channeled into proactive directions with the help of your HGA. The Point gets enflamed with the Light of the Sun, and as the Sun reveals more, the boundaries of the sphere of the magician are expanded.
Boundaries... yes, the realm of Saturn, the furthest planet observable by the naked eye. The first sphere of Form in the Kircher Tree of Life (Binah). The layer of emanation where ideas take form, where the limits are set, where the Lord tells the Sea, you may come this far and no further. These are the properties of Saturn.
Knowing this, you can see that the act of spiritual advancement is the interplay of the Sun and Saturn. As the Light of the Sun increases, the limits set by Saturn are made mutable, and they move further out. As we explore our new boundaries, integrating the things that were hidden in shadow before, learning to function within the newly expanded sphere, we grow, gain insights, authority, and responsibility. With each new attribute of ourselves that we integrate, the understanding of the things we learned in our previous stages of advancement are enhanced. The responsibilities we had earlier change form, and we end up traveling back towards the Sun at the center of our sphere to reintegrate all the things we knew with the things we've learned. When we return to the sun at the center of our microcosm, we hit the next level, and the Light increases, and our boundaries expand, and we begin to explore the furthest reaches of the Light yet again.
From the Sun to Saturn and Back again. The path of the Labyrinth. (Which is not to be confused with a maze; a Labyrinth has one entrance and one exit side by side, travels only to the center and back to the beginning. A Magician travels to the center and returns to the beginning, carrying with him the treasure held within and sharing that with the realm outside.)
All this theory and stuff is great and fun and all, but I'm still a Taurus. It's meaningless without application, in my humble opinion.
Where are you at? Have you plateaued in your Work? Are you stuck at a level of attainment, and you need to expand your boundaries? The answer is Working the Sun and Saturn. Conjure up the Archangels Tzaphqiel and Michael. Are you feeling like you're stumbling around in the dark? Work with Michael of the Sun to bring the hidden things to light. Have you worked through everything you can think of, and still feel stuck in a rut? Conjure Tzaphqiel and Work with him to move the boundaries of your sphere. Head between the Sun and Saturn, make that your path, and you won't get stuck.
Sorrow turns to Joy in the light of the Sun, and unfocused rays become lasers when their boundaries are properly aligned.
Grace and Peace!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Remember I thought I didn't have to say the Shem angels were Zodiacal in nature?
Reference this link:
For this quote:
"seventy two trissyllable names of angels, whereof every one carries the great name of God, as it is written: My Angel shall go before thee; observe him, for my name is in him. And these are those that are set over the seventy two Celestial quinaries"
There it is. I seem to have missed that little bit at the end the first time I read through. I didn't realize Agrippa had placed them in the zodiac too. I thought he had no Zodiacal relationship, so I could skip that part of the rituals. Perhaps I'll have to revisit Ambelain's and Leitch's methodologies after all. Rather disappointing, I must say. I hate astrology.
Friday, May 25, 2007
At this point, I've only begun formulating some ideas about the Shemhamephoresh angels. I'm definitely in the Initiation phase (for those with Project Management experience), where I begin to gather and analyze data regarding the project. I need to understand what the Angels are, how they fit into the cosmologies, and then identify means of conjuring them efficiently and repeatably. At that point, I can begin to record their attributes as they manifest in my life. That's a ways down the road though.
I got the "go-ahead" on the Shem angels from my HGA last week. I was reading in Agrippa that the Shemhamephoresh spirits were "better" than the angels of the planets and elements. I thought that was interesting, but there's nothing about how to Work with these particular spirits. So, I did what we all do, I hit Google up for some leads.
The two primary resources I found that had useful information in them were Aaron Leitch's essay and Section V of Robert Ambelain's Practical Kabbalah Part II. Both of these sources link the Shemhamephoresh angels to the zodiac.
Personally, I'm not convinced. Not entirely, at any rate. The evidence for the angels to be astrologically linked is very strong. There are 72 names, one for ever five degrees of the zodiac. Aaron's essay goes into a lot of the reasoning behind the attributions, and it's very in-depth, and extends back centuries.
However, the connections just don't hold true enough to me at this point. I'm holding myself open to the idea they might be zodiacally related, but there's more to placing spirits than the numbers they have in common with the zodiac.
The names of the Shem angels are derived from three Hebrew verses of 72 letters each in Exodus 14:19-21. From Agrippa, we learn that the names of spirits are derived from the verses in the Bible that describe their qualities. The verses describe the Angel the Lord sent to protect, teach, and make a way for the Israelites as they escaped the Egyptians. The Angel's presence was indicated by the column of smoke by day, and the pillar of fire by night that remained with the Israelites for over forty years. The Cloud remained with the Israelites at least as far as the edges of the Promised Land, but it's hard to tell exactly when the Cloud and Fire returned to Heaven. We do know that the Cloud of the Lord's presence returned to the Temple of Solomon, leaving all of Jerusalem weeping in awe.
In tracking down the Angels' history, I found they are aligned with the rays on the crowns of the twenty-four elders seated before the throne of God. Now, these elders are closer to the Throne of God than the seven candles representing the planets. They're also closer to the Throne than the twelve angels that guard the gates of Jerusalem, placing hem above the zodiac as well.
Based on this information, I'm planning on researching the spirits' manifestations outside the requirements of astrological timing. I am currently of the opinion they operate outside the "rules" of the planetary governors. I could be wrong, but finding out is one goal of this particular project.
Now, Ambelain's section of Practical Kabbalah Part II includes seals for each of the spirits. These seals are copied and presented by Zalewski and Poke Runyon in other works, but Ambelain warns against their use, claiming a six-year operation using the seals resulted in cancer, obsessive thoughts of suicide, and other unpleasant results. Poke and Zalewski don't mention it, and the general consensus of the magicians I've talked to about this is that Ambelain was full of crap. Either it was a false warning, or he was just wrong.
Regardless, the seals come from a manuscript much later than Agrippa's record of the angels. Agrippa knew the angels' names, and knew they were used in magick, but did not offer any indication that they are related to the zodiac. If the seals were created under the auspices of the zodiac-link, they'll be useless to me. Besides, I don't like using symbols I don't understand or that I'm just not comfortable with, and these definitely fall into that category.
I'll be working the spirits using the conjuration ceremonies of the 4th book of Occult Philosophy. The seals I'll generate using some method from the time of Agrippa, or else something provided directly by my HGA. I haven't figured that part out yet.
Friday, May 11, 2007
At the service, a great Catholic affair, I couldn't discuss the things about her that meant the most to me personally. She was not an occultist, but she was a believer. One of the ladies that payed her respects was her tarot card reader, who also couldn't talk about what role she played in my mother-in-law's life. They had been expecting this for a while.
My mother-in-law knew of my occult activities. She asked for help with my sister-in-law, and in addressing her needs, I learned a great deal about Bune, the Goetic spirit in my spirit pot, and Michael and Raphael. She saw angels and spirits, and was very aware of the spiritual realm in which we live and move and have our being. We had long talks about the spirit realm, and she always was interested in the things we talked about. It wasn't like she was just asking to be nice, she really wanted to know what I thought about things. Her respect for me as a magician is something that meant a great deal to me.
I'll never forget the things she did for us as a family, and I'll never forget that she treated me with dignity and respect, even in the realm of . We had our differences, but before she died we were at peace. The last thing she told me was that she was proud of me, and thanked God for my presence in her daughter's life.
The neat thing is, I know she's still with us. When she was younger, she had a vision of an angel wearing a robe with two patches, one over her gall bladder, and one over her liver. For years she wondered what the patches represented. She passed away during a liver transplant surgery from an obscure liver disorder. They discovered it while removing her gall bladder. We've figured out the "angel" she saw that day was her own spirit, ministering peace to herself. she drew a picture of that angel the day she saw it, and everyone has commented on the "family resemblance," some thinking it was her mother, others her father. No one had thought it might have been her.
We're looking forward to keeping in touch with her until we have a chance to join her.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Aaron Leitch posted a neat link to an article at the Solomonic yahoo group today. He was excited about the book bindings that are illustrated, and rightly so. They are truly beautiful. Take a look here:
What I found most interesting is in the interview with the creator of these beautiful works of art and magick. Specifically, the book binder is speaking about an earlier project called the Guardian Angel Grimoire, which he created for his partner Margaret:
The Guardian Angel Grimoire came about as the result of the problems my life partner Margaret was facing. I made the Grimoire as a Xmas present for her, I drew upon the knowledge I had put away 20 years ago and it all seemed to come back as if it never went away. The interior of the book starts with the Enochian Tree of Life, followed by the Major Arcana of the Tarot, followed by the Pre-Raphalite paintings (Morgan LeFay, the seduction of Merlin etc) ending with 14th-19th century magical symbols, with an 8pp section inserted within each illustration to write whatever.
The strange thing is, everything Margaret has written in the Grimoire has happened in one form or another. She has been offered many, many thousands of pounds for it, but now she will never part with it.
How cool is that? How many times would you have used a Magick Book to manifest things if all you had to do was write out what you wanted to happen in the pages?
I'm telling you, I've had this in mind for years. Ever since I read Crowley's interpretation of the elemental weapons of a Magus in the Book of Toth as the implements of a writer. The quill knife, the ink well, the quill and the page. Beautiful representation of the Work of Materialization, in my opinion. In my chaos days, I attempted to create such an item, and failed MISERABLY. The results were pathetic, as usual.
However, I think this guy Paul has hit upon the method here, and I've got a theory to explain it, based on my own experiences with my Altar and the Glyph I go on about from time to time.
I'm able to manifest things in my sphere of sensation simply by placing a symbolic representation of what I want on my altar in the Table of Practice. The Table of Practice on my altar represents all the forces of creation and the managing intelligences and spirits that control the processes of manifestation. Articulating what I want symbolically is like planting the seed in the aethyrs and letting it grow.
Paul has done the same thing in his creation of the Guardian Angel Grimoire above. He's got the structure of existence and all the powers and principalities that manage it represented in the Tree of Life, the pathways of manifestation presented in the Tarot imagery, and specific images that tie his life partner to the grimoire. He's also got the seals of various entities included with pages for writing at various stages through the work.
It's a beautiful piece of craftsmanship on many levels.
As soon as his partner writes something in the pages, the spirits associated with their seals set to work to manifest whatever is written. Simple, direct, and aestheticlaly pleasing. There's not much more that one could wish for.
It reminds me of something Susanne Illes is working on with her Table of Practice. (Check out her blog for some really excellent art work: http://www.bone-singer.blogspot.com/)
Well, anyway, it's something to work on in our spare time. We aren't all Master Book Binders, but finding journals of blank bound paper is a lot easier than it used to be. Get yourself one, and start putting together your own materializer. You'll need some representation of the cosmos (like the Ptolemaic System: http://tinyurl.com/ys6ym2). You can draw it yourself or print it up and paste it in, coloring it appropriately.
Then you'll need the servants. There's 72 Shem Angels, a few hundred Ophanim and Enochian angels, or Seven Planetary Intelligences and their legions of Spirits. Plenty of systems to put your servants together from. The Goetia springs to mind. Maybe have a page for each Spirit and a few pages afterwards dedicated to that spirit. If you're going to do something like that, make sure to include all the other seals and such.
While we can't all emboss hand-tanned leather covers with gold gilt lettering for our works, we can all create wooden bindings out of shingles engraved or wood-burned with the appropriate symbols and seals.The key to success is creative ingenuity. I think I'll put together my own Magick Book of Manifestation this weekend, a little materialization engine that I can just write things in and have them happen.
I'll need a lot of pages for whichever spirit I find that makes mountains of gold coins appear at will.
Keep it simple!