Sunday, December 04, 2011

Opening the Book of Lambspring

Plug Saturday continues! Though technically it's Sunday now here.

It is with great joy that I get to review the latest work by Fr. AIT, of Heavens within Earth and the Book of Coelius fame, founder and expounder of the Ordo Octopi Nigri Pulveri, true Priest of Kronos, and generally Good Egg.

He told me about The Opening of the Book of Lambspring before it was published, and I got an advanced copy and spent a few hours going through it with him, comparing notes and exploring the symbolism of the images. It was a good afternoon. It was one of those moments where we got to talking like old school Hermeticists. We didn't always agree, but we each had something really cool to bring to the table for discussion. If you've  had a chance to talk shop with someone who's done as much Work as you have, you know what I mean. We were riffing off each other's insights as we harmonized with the Emblems and talked through what we saw.

But I'm probably getting ahead of myself. First, a bit about the Book of Lambspring. It's a series of alchemical images that reflect different phases of the Great Work pictorially. Each image captures the phase of the Work, but all in the language of the birds. The imagery that is meaningful if you're a fellow alchemist who understands the Ideas behind the forms they take. But there are few on the planet comfortable enough to claim to understand it, and fewer among those who have any right to make that claim.

Fr. AIT is among the ranks of those who know the language. He provides an analysis of each of these images, an interpretation as seen through the eyes of the Hermetic Magician. It's one of the most interesting pieces of occult information I've had the honor of working with this last year, in fact. Each image is a key to a phase of the Work. Each image is a gate as well, but more on that later.

Many of his interpretations are based on his personal experiences and training within the Golden Dawn Order to which he belongs. And he wrote during and after an incredible initiation based on the mythography of the "Great Rite," so there's a lot of emphasis on the holy sexuality of these images. He provides such broad hints at the mysteries of sex magic that anyone with an inclination towards deciphering the hidden meanings will find their way paved and easy, and won't have to jump sacred fences and score tech in back alleys the way I had to. Here's a hint: there's no jacking off over sigils involved.

I rarely mix sex and magic these days, though when I do, it sends out seismic waves that make the richter scale.* In our conversations about the meanings of the emblems, I tended to focus less on the sexual interpretations than he does, but that doesn't mean he's wrong in any of them. Everything he says about each emblem is true. I prefer the parts where he sticks to the straight "Hermetic Magic" interpretations, though I suspect he'd argue they aren't as separate as I like to think. And he might be right.

I found it incredibly useful to treat each Emblem as a Gate. I would turn each emblem into a small astral rite, passing within each, becoming a part of the image, and seeing what it meant from within. Most of my observations lined up perfectly with Fr. AIT's, and where there were differences, there was still harmony.

This book touches on the deeper mysteries of the Alchemical process, and what it means to magicians attempting the Great Work through magical practice. It's definitely on my list of things every magician should read at least once, though in all honesty you could spend a lifetime exploring each image, comparing experiences, and applying the lessons of each.

*That's hyperbole right there. That earthquake was a coincidence.