Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 30 June 2008

Initiation Is Like The Consecration Of A Talisman

"It has been suggested more than once by magical writers that the initiation of a candidate is like the consecration of a talisman: something passive and unfocused is given shape, direction, and energy."

John Michael Greer, Inside A Magical Lodge

IAO In The Middle Pillar Ritual

One of my magical "pet peeves" is the replacement in some traditions of YHVH Eloah va-Da'ath with IAO for the Tiphareth sphere of the Middle Pillar Ritual. There are multiple reasons for this:

1) Laziness. People seem to think that the Hebrew form is too long, and thus vibrating it is more difficult. I've used it for years without any difficulty. Just spend slightly less time with each syllable and you'll be fine.

2) Many people seem to dislike that the Hebrew name is similar to that used for the Da'ath sphere: YHVH ELOHIM, and some others actually think that, because the word Da'ath is mentioned here, it should instead be used for Da'ath. This comes from a complete lack of understanding of the Tree of Life and the God-Names attributed to the Sephiroth. YHVH Eloah va-Da'ath is the God-Name of Tiphareth. Full stop.

3) IAO is Gnostic, and is more Greek than Hebrew (although it isn't really any language at all). Using four Hebrew names and one Greek/Barbarous name is inconsistency to the extreme. It imbalances things, puts them off-kilter, and in a ritual designed specifically around the notion of balance, this is completely contradictory.

So why in God's Name (pun intended) do many people still opt for IAO instead of the original Hebrew?

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Poetry: Aleph

In keeping with the nature of my previous posts on the Hebrew alphabet, I'd like to offer a link to a poem of mine I wrote around a year ago on the letter Aleph. It was originally published in Issue 2 of Hidden Spirit, a small esoteric magazine here in Ireland, and then republished online in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition (recommended). You can check it out here:


For those who've read my previous post, the poem should make a lot more sense. I also have another poem on the letter Teth, but I'll save that for when we get to that letter. It's my intent to ultimately write a poem for each letter - much easier said than done!

The Mysteries Of Aleph


Aleph (pronounced Ah-lef) is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It, therefore, has a gematria value of 1, and often you will see an Aleph used as this number in various texts. Its Hebrew spelling is Aleph Lamed Peh sophith (Peh Final), as displayed in the image above. This word, when spelled out, means "Ox", and comes from the Pheonician pictograph for the letter A, which is almost like an inverted Roman A, with both the lower lines representing the horns of the Ox. The gematria of this full word is 831 when counting the value of the Peh Final (Aleph=1, Lamed=30, Peh Final=800) or 111 when counting the value of the last letter as a regular Peh (Peh=80).

To draw the letter, draw the diagonal line first, then the uppermost leg (which looks like a Yod) and then the bottom leg (which also looks like a Yod). Note that the lines connecting these Yods to the central diagonal line should not meet, but rather the left one should be higher than the right (consult the image above to see what I mean). Since I've highlighted how this letter is made from two Yods (actually, it is argued that Yod is the root of all the letters, for all the lines are, in essence, extensions of it), let's explore this further. The diagonal line is considered to be a Vav, albeit with a thicker stem than is usually displayed in that letter. Thus the glyph of Aleph is a Vav seperating two Yods. This is a very striking image, indicative of the Hermetc maxim "As Above, So Below", but it gets even more striking when we consider the gematria. Yod has a gematric value of 10, while Vav is 6. So two Yods (10+10) and one Vav (6) equals 26, which is, interestingly enough, the value of the Tetragrammaton, YHVH (Yod=10, Heh=5, Vav=6, Heh=5). I'll leave you to ponder on that for a moment.

If we reverse the letters of Aleph (ALP) we get Pele (PLA), which is Hebrew for "Miracle". It also has the value of 111, particularly since it doesn't use the final form of Peh. For anyone familiar with Enochian, Dee's ring included the letters PELE on it, and was referenced as meaning "Worker of Miracles".

On a final note, the Aleph looks like a swastika, or a fylfot cross, and we know that the swastika is attributed to Kether, as indicative of the Rashith ha-Gilgulim, the First or Primal Swirlings. Aleph represents the mystery of Kether, for just as Kether is said to be incomprehensible, so Aleph is unpronounceable, for it is a silent letter. Many people seem to think that Aleph literally represents the English vowel A, which is erroneous, as all the letters in the Hebrew language are consonants. There are no vowels. Vowels are "read into" the words, originally via oral tradition, and later via the niqqud, the system of vowel points of modern Hebrew. Aleph represents the Breath, the intaking of breath before sound occurs. It is the Soundless before Sound, and is used to mark the place of a vowel sound, usually A or E. The Bahir confirms this by saying: "When you mention the Aleph you open your mouth". It is the opening of the mouth before sound emerges, and thus Aleph technically preceeds all letters.

A further relation between Aleph and Kether comes again from the Bahir, which states "From Aleph emanate all letters. Do we not see that it is first?" Kether is first, and Aleph is first, and just as Kether emanates the remaining Sephiroth, so too does Aleph emanate the remaining letters.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Mysteries Of The Hebrew Alphabet

The Hebrew alphabet (or Aleph-Beth) is one of the first things a member of the Golden Dawn was taught, and for good reason. The use of Hebrew in Golden Dawn work, from the LBRP to the Shem ha-Mephoresh, warrants that all students have at least a basic understanding of the alphabet. Indeed, the further you explore the Qabalah, the more you will begin to realise just how vital a knowledge of Hebrew actually is. The ancient Qabalists use it abundantly, not merely as the language they wrote in, but as a language of allegory, pun, and the deep and complex workings of gematria. Its prominence in the Sepher Yetzirah alone is clearly indicative of this.

I am strong advocate for having a deep knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of the Hebrew language, and, in particular, its alphabet. Given this, I will be offering some insights into the mysteries of each letter over a multitude of posts to come, starting with Aleph. They will not include all the mysteries, for that would, if possible (which it is not, for each new Qabalist will bring a new understanding to it), require at least a full-sized book. It will, however, get you thinking.

For now, you can check page 52 of Regardie's The Golden Dawn (sixth edition) for the table of the Hebrew alphabet, with its gematria, letter meanings, letter finals, etc. If you don't have that book, scroll down halfway on the following page from the OSOGD for it:

Friday, 27 June 2008

Paul Foster Case & Enochian

There is a recent debate in Golden Dawn circles on Case, the BOTA, and Enochian, so I decided I'd post what I wrote on the matter for my old Order around a year ago (which can also be found at EvocationMagic.com):

Many of you know that Paul Foster Case had a certain dislike and suspicion of Enochian Magick, ultimately omitting every case of it from the G.'.D.'. rituals and ceremonies that were adopted into his own Order. He raises some valuable points, which I'd like to discuss with you here, but first I'll share a copy of two letters he sent to Israel Regardie regarding Enochian (and other aspects of the G.'.D.'. system).


Now, let's address the main issues that Paul Foster Case raised against Enochian in his letters:

1. That it emanated so largely from Kelly

This is an awful reason to doubt the authenticity and efficacy of a magickal system. Firstly, much of the dark things we know of Kelley are rumours. There is no real evidence or accounts that he was a coiner or a necromancer. Indeed, it seems that he prays fervently and with a passion that is only outdone by Dee (pious as he was), though some may argue that he tried to deceive Dee by pretending his devotion. I think most people who start out with this position have already condemned Kelley, and thereby the system that was granted through him. But let us remember, it was granted through him, not by him. Indeed, it seems on so many occasions that the angels did not like Kelley one bit (and the feelings were mutual). I think it's safe to say that they used him, knowing his psychic skills. Indeed, it can easily be argued that in order to be as open as he was, he would have to be open to negative forces also, and be extremely unstable and volatile. I think his personality easily attests to that.

2. That the tablets are part of a rigmarole by which Kelly persuaded Dee that they were to be the puppet-masters of a new European political order which should supercede the kingdoms then reigning

This was a common desire throughout Europe, and I don't think such an earthly desire as this should be reason for dismissing the Enochian system. Indeed, the diaries show countless cases where it seems that the offers of kingdom (for Dee) and coin (for Kelley) were attempts by the angels to keep the parties interested, while they then divulged the system. This is particularly evident with how Kelley is led around in his constant requests for the secret of alchemy.

I think it's also interesting to note how the English defeated the Spanish Armada at this period (and rumour has it that Dee sent storms against the Spanish ships, resulting in their downfall), ultimately toppling the Spanish empire. And what happened? England became the new great empire, partly due to Dee's navigational devices and other things he did to aid the cause of England. Thus, a new political order did come to power, influenced by Dee, and perhaps the angels lied about how much control Dee would have over it, or perhaps he failed to avail of the Enochian Governors, who could have possibly provided this kind of "puppet-mastery".

3. That the same angel that dictated the Tablets also required that Kelly and Dee should have all things in common, including their wives.

Well, firstly, who are we (mere humans) to apply our moral codes about marriage and monogamy to the angels? They do not think like us, and often they do not understand in the least how we work. Tyson suggested this request may have been an intimation of a kind of Gnostic union. Even if it was not, and it was Kelley's sinister desires rising to fore, and even if he pretended the angels said this, or perhaps it was subconsciously risen, why is that reason to dismiss the rest of the material? To say that this is throwing out the baby with the bathwater would be a huge understatement. Also, what if the angels made an agreement with Kelley to allow him to sleep with Dee's wife in order to ensure he continued with the work and delivery of the system (after all, he threatened frequently to leave it beforehand). Just because they don't care what they need to do to achieve their aim doesn't make the system a fake, nor their nature as angels as questionable (it is only our preconceptions that require angels to be "nice").

4. That the entire project came to the same ignominious end that is to be expected of human undertakings based upon the promises of spirits

I'm not sure what "ignominious end" Case is referring to here, but this seems like a general distrust of all spirits, manifesting to an extreme in the Enochian system. Let's remember that the Qabalistic angels had their origin somewhere, communicating with someone before they became the accepted part of the Qabalistic system. By all means, we should be wary of any promises given by spirits. We have discussed elsewhere the agenda of the Enochian angels, and it is wise to remember that all spirits have an agenda. If you ask a Goetic spirit to do something for you, they want something in return. Likewise for the Enochian angels. We must be extremely careful with this. Again, however, if Kelley threatened to cease the communications before their natural end, the angels may have been forced to grant him any desire, no matter what "ignominious end" that may have come to.

5. That there is no good reason to suppose that Kelly and Dee, or their enterprise, to say nothing of their magic, correspond to anything Rosicrucian.

I beg to differ, and I think [the Head of my old Order] has supplied plenty of information that suggests that Dee may have been the founder of Rosicrucianism. It cannot be proven, of course, but imagine if it was - that would have given Case a run for his money. Besides, so what if Enochian has nothing to do with Rosicrucianism - that doesn't automatically disqualify its use. Indeed, there is an obvious arrogance on behalf of Case about the authenticity of his own work here (as being genuinely Rosicrucian, and then that Rosicrucianism is the height of all arcane teachings). In many cases we could say that the Tarot doesn't really have much to do with Rosicrucianism (it doesn't feature in the Fama, etc., like the Qabalah does), and Case uses this abundantly.

6. That I have personal knowledge of more than twenty-five instances where the performance of magical operations based on Order formulae led to serious disintegration of mind or body.

Well, firstly, perhaps this is a problem with how the G.'.D.'. uses Enochian, not Enochian itself. However, we know that Enochian is dangerous, and it does result in sickness. [The Head of my old Order] and I, at the very least, have had serious bouts of illness as a direct result of the enormous pressure and intensity of the energy raised during Enochian workings. It's powerful - that's how it works. And if we're not careful, it can rip us apart. This is why we advise a structured system, that takes into consideration many precautions and safety procedures. I think it's important to also point out that you can get very ill with advanced Qabalistic workings too. The only real difference is that it happens more easily with Enochian (due to the ease of getting it to work in the first place, and its almost inevitably volatile nature). Indeed, I suggest that the system only be used when it really has to (often we can find a different way [a less volatile way] to do the same time). Using Enochian magick when the Qabalah would do, for example, is like sending 1,000 volts for a job that requires 100 (Case uses the metaphor of burning down a house to roast a pig in his second letter).

Most of Case's other criticism is of the Golden Dawn and its leaders, not Enochian itself. Of course, we know that they did not have access to the entire system, nor do, indeed, we. However, we are in a much better place than them, with better access to not only the sourceworks of Enochian, but those of the Qabalah and Ceremonial Magick in general. Given this, I think we are in better position to avoid the mistakes they made, but I still advise a huge amount of caution when it comes to using the Enochian system, and I cannot stress this point enough.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The 42 Assessors & The Negative Confession

A little understood part of the Neophyte ceremony involves the Invisible Stations of the 42 Assessors, who related to the 42 parts of the Negative Confession attributed to Ma'at in the 125th Chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (used extensively for the Neophyte grade). There are many different versions of this Negative Confession, where the soul confesses what sins they have not committed, and their heart is then weighed against the feather of Ma'at, to be granted eternal life should they not be weighed down by sin, or be cast into the mouth of a waiting demon if they fail. Although it is nigh impossible for any of us to ever really be able to make such a Negative Confession with utmost honesty (for surely we err on one matter at the very least [for example, number 8]), it's an important principle to explore in terms of the 42 Assessors of the Neophyte Hall. The following translation is from E.A. Wallis Budge:

The Negative Confession

1. Hail, Strider, coming forth from Annu, not have I done wrong

2. Hail, Embraced with flame, coming forth from Kher-aba not have I despoiled

3. Hail, Fentiu (i.e. The Nose), coming forth from Khemmenu, not have I robbed

4. Hail, Eater of shades, coming forth from Qernet, not have I slain men: twice.

5. Hail, Nehaa-hra coming forth from Re-stau, not have I defrauded the offerings

6. Hail Double Lion-god, coming forth from heaven, not have I diminished [oblations]

7. Hail, Whose two eyes are of fire, coming forth from Saut, not have I despoiled the things of the god.

8. Hail, Flame, coming forth in going back, not have I spoken lies.

9. Hail, Breaker of bones, coming forth from Suten-henen, not have I carried off food.

10. Hail, Shooter forth of flame, coming forth from Memphis, not have I afflicted [any ].

11. Hail Qereti, coming forth from Amentet, not have I committed fornication.

12. Hail, whose face is behind him, coming forth from his cavern not have I made to weep.

13. Hail, Bast, coming forth from the secret place, not have I eaten my heart.

14. Hail, Blazing legs, coming forth from the darkness, not have I transgressed.

15. Hail Eater of blood, coming forth from the block, not have I acted decietfully.

16. Hail Eater of intestines, coming forth from Mabet, not have I desolated plowed lands.

17. Hail, Lord of Maat, coming forth from Maat, not have I been an eavesdropper.

18. Hail Strider backwards, coming forth from Bast, not have I set my mouth in motion [ against any man ].

19. Hail Sertiu coming forth from Annu, not have I raged except with a cause.

20. Hail, Doubly wicked, coming forth from Ati, not have I defiled the wife of a man.

21. Hail Double Serpent, coming forth from the torture chamber, not have I defiled the wife of a man.

22. Hail, Looker at what is brought to him, coming forth from Per-Amsu, not have I polluted myself.

23. Hail, Chief of the mighty, coming forth from Amemt, not have I caused terror.

24. Hail, Khemiu, coming forth from Kesiu, not have I committed offence.

25. Hail, Disposer of speech, coming forth from Urit, not have I inflamed myself with rage.

26. Hail, Babe, coming forth from Uab, not have I made deaf myself to the words of right and truth.

27. Hail Kennememti, coming forth from Kennemmet, not have I caused grief.

28. Hail, Bringer of his offering, coming forth from Sais, not have I acted insolently.

29. Hail, Disposer of speech, coming forth from Unaset, not have I stirred up strife.

30. Hail, Lord of faces, coming forth from Netchefet, not have I judged hastily.

31. Hail, Sekheriu, coming forth from Uten, not have I been an eavesdropper.

32. Hail, Lord of the two horns, coming forth from Sais, not have I multiplied my words upon words.

33.Hail, Nefer-Tmu, coming forth from Memphis, not have I harmed, not have I done evil.

34. Hail Tmu [in his ] seasons, coming forth from Tattu, not have I made curses of the king.

35. Hail, Working in his heart, soming forth from Tebu, not have I fouled water.

36. Hail Sistrum bearer, coming forth from Nu, not have I made haughty my voice.

37. Hail, Provider of mankind, coming forth from Sais, not have I cursed god.

38. Hail, Neheb-ka, coming forth from his cavern, not have I committed theft (?).

39. Hail Neheb-nefert, coming forth from his cavern, not have I defrauded the offerings of the gods.

40. Hail Arranger of [ his ] head, coming forth from [ his ] shrine, not have i carried away offerings from the beautified ones.

41. Hail, Bringer of his arm, coming forth from {the double town of Maat,} not have I carried off the food of the infant, not have I sinned against the god of the town.

42. Hail, White teeth, coming forth from Ta-she not have I slaughtered the cattle divine.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Darkness Technique

A very simple exercise called the Darkness Technique is employed by many Golden Dawn groups nowadays as a preliminary visualisation and meditation process. In simple terms, it involves covering your eyes with your hands, allowing no light in, and looking into that darkness, employing a deep, calming breath (I usually employ the Four-fold Breath with this). However, let’s look at it on a deeper level.

Apparent Meaning (Exoteric):

This technique has multiple practical uses. For one, cutting out the visual foci allows the student to concentrate on a single thing: the darkness before them, as well as their breathing. Secondly it acts as a form of sense deprivation, akin to what might be experienced in the deep darkness of a cave. This aids visualisation as it can stimulate the visual faculties from the very absence of visual cues, thereby resulting in hallucination if overdone, or, when practiced correctly, a more developed skill of visualisation, essential to magickal practice.

Spiritual or Mystical Reference (Esoteric):

This is a meditation on Darkness, for it is Darkness that the Neophyte dwells in, and it is Darkness that they wear as their vesture. Only when we come to accept that we live in Darkness are we then free to make the choice to leave that Darkness (“Quit the Night”) and live in Light (“Seek the Day”). Meditating on the Darkness attunes the Neophyte to these energies, allowing them to understand the Darkness, that they might, thereby, understand the Light. The action of using the hands over the eyes also intimates that we are in full control of whether or not we see the Darkness or the Light; it affords us the understanding that it is ultimately by our Hands (the Yod, the Primal Fire of God), and by the hard work thereby, that we reach the peak of the Mountain of Abiegnus and the Light of Kether.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Book Review: What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn

Another book review for you. This time it's What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie. You can read it here:

Monday, 23 June 2008

Leaving Your Private Life Outside The Temple

One of the things that pops up in the account of the history of the Golden Dawn is when Mathers sent a manifesto to all the Adepti, demanding their obedience or face expulsion or demotion. It's interesting to read this document, not just for insight into Mathers' paranoia and autocratic mind, but for the following:

"What I discountenance and will check and punish whenever I find it in the Order is the attempt to criticise and interfere with the private life of Members of the Order. Neither will I give the Wisdom of the Gods to those who endeavour to use it as a means of justifying intolerance, intermeddling, and malicious self-conceit. The private life of a person is a matter between himself and herself and his or her God; and no person who has taken the Obligation of 5 - 6, and studied the same can be ignorant of its causes and penalties."
- Mathers' Manifesto

There is more on this, but the above should be enough to get the point across. At the time, of course, many Adepti, in true Victorian fashion, frowned upon the lifestyle of Crowley. His bisexuality was particularly a cause of concern, as was his general promiscuity. This was partly to blame for their refusal to initiate him into Adeptus Minor, a refusal which was overriden by Mathers, who seems to be sympathetic to Crowley on this matter.

Say what we might about Mathers, and, indeed, we can say a lot, it's hard not to agree with his view here. For, our own moral standing aside, what happens in one's private life should have no bearing on what happens in one's Temple life, unless it actually hinders or harms it in some form (for example, if a member commits murder). If a person belonging to a Temple comits adultery, then that is a matter for his or her spouse, not the Temple Chiefs; and just because someone is bad in marriage does not automatically mean they are therefore bad in their spiritual and magical endeavours.

So I will echo Mathers in saying that the personal life of a member of an Order is a matter for them and their God alone, and not for the petty bickering and backstabbing of a Temple-turned-social-club. When you go to Temple, you leave your outside life at home, and everyone else should leave it there likewise. If you fall out with a fellow member on a personal level, never ever bring that matter into the Temple. Become your Higher Self and do the Work, and leave the animosity outside the Temple doors, where your ego can return to it later if it so desires. For to bring the ego into the Temple in such a manner is to cause the infiltration of the dross into the sanctity of the Spirit, and there alone lies the death and downfall of your Temple.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Is Self-Initiation Valid?

One of the most common questions (and, indeed, heated debates) in Golden Dawn communities nowadays is whether or not self-initiation is valid. The opinions on the matter are often so starkly contrasting that new students don't know what to believe. The intent of this post is to explore this matter from both sides, offering my own thoughts for good measure.

Regardie believed that self-initiation was valid. He believed that the LBRP, MPR, and Opening by Watchtower in particular, if performed daily for a period of months and years, would change the energetic level of the candidate, and invoke transformative and initiatory powers, sufficiently enough that they could consider themselves to be initiated, even into the Adeptus Minor grade. He believed that the Order in the 1930s was suffering from spiritual erosion, which seems to be an apt assessment from what we see of the history of the time, with documents being omitted, and high-ranking officers claiming grades they did not understand, let alone having the practical magickal skills to enact their mysteries and fulfill their gradework. It fell to the individual student then to ensure their own progress, and thus the whole notion of self-initiation came into play.

The problem with the sudent ensuring their own progress is manifold. It requires firstly that they be of a dedicated sort, that they practice the work (and not become an armchair magician, as so many do, increasing their book knowledge and their bookshelf at the expense of their spiritual knowledge and their practical magickal skill), and that they be determined enough to see it through. Having a lodge or temple, with various officers, helps keep people active, and a good officer can often whip a languishing student back into shape, saving them from their own erosion. The student must also have a strong discriminating mind, the ability to distinguish between illusion and reality, between deceptive entities and helpful spirit, and they need to have a subtle understanding of the multiple layers of ceremony, not to mention the oral tradition and "temple culture" that is often lost when one "goes it alone". They must also avoid rushing ahead, doing gradework beyond their grade, or falling pray to egotism, all of which can be avoided by a watchful Chief, who has (or, at least, should have) both the experience and know-how to spot and deal with these matters before they get out of hand.

The problem with self-initiation is that, because it's not presided over by a group of trained and qualified initiates (with at least one Adeptus Minor), there's no real guarantee that the initiation has been effective. For example, a candidate may undergo a Neophyte initiation at a physical temple, and they need not actively impart much to the ceremony. All they have to do is be receptive enough to let the energies impart upon their aura and affect their subconscious. All the real work is done by the Officers - the raising of energy, invocation of forces, assumption of God-forms, banishing, etc. When it comes to self-initiation, partcularly of the early grades where the candidate has little or no prior magickal experience, how can they compensate for the absence of these trained Officers; how can they ensure that all the appropriate energy is raised and assimilated, and the duties of all the Offices fulfilled? To do this has required a Probationer "grade" prior to the probationary grade of Neophyte, where the candidate effectively trains him or herself to the appropriate level to perform the ceremony properly and effectively. Tools are built, concepts or God-forms are meditated upon, and the ceremony is studied meticulosly.

However, the most important thing is this: these ceremonies are not to be performed once and then deemed to have been successful. Regardie was miffed at why people would perform a consecration ceremony and immediately consider themselves adept at such, without ever considering to repeat it at least one more time, if not dozens of times! Likewise for these initiation ceremonies. Indeed, there is far too much of beauty in them to be only experienced once, but the speeches and ceremony aside, the real purpose of performing these multiple times is to ensure that the full effect is achieved, that the initiation can be deemed true and proper, and that the entire ceremony can be considered effective and successful. If it is not, then you simply do it again. Indeed, considering how many mistakes we often make when learning new rituals like the LBRP, and how many more we make in the more elaborate ceremonies of the grade initiations, performing them multiple times is essential to simply doing them right. If you have the Kerux say the Heirophant's part, or you forget to circumambulate or knock, etc., then you are not doing the ceremony right, which may impact on how efficacious it is. With all things, practice makes perfect, and no student of magick worth their salt, however arrogant they may be, can consider themselves above this sage advice.

The problem with astral initiation is that you simply don't know if it was done, unless you are particularly sensitive to the astral world, perhaps becoming lucid in a dream where the initiation is taking place. Many people tend to "sell" astral initiations, and while they are definitely true and valid if actually done, the potential that they might not be lends me to be wary of them. I have participated in astral initiations, and they can be effective, but this was in a much closer and tight-knit community than what is often offered nowadays. Even if one does opt for this, I suggest they don't rest on their laurels and do nothing physically themselves. They should perform the ceremony even as the astral adepts are doing so. Physical enactment is one of the very tennets of Golden Dawn work.

The problem with physical initiation is that you need a temple, officers, and all those other resorces that go into forming a local group, because chances are (especially if you're in Europe) that there's none where you live. We can whine and complain at this lack, but at the end of the day it's the Work that matters, not a brick-and-mortar temple of brick-and-mortar brains. There is a lot of importance in physical intiation and temple work, and I hope to see more of it, but we should never dismiss self-initiation in order to bolster our numbers in our physical lodges, as so often is done nowadays, with people claiming all sorts of nonsensical stuff, such as being the "one and only authentic Golden Dawn", or claiming definitive lineage back to Mathers, which is just as difficult to prove as most lines of apostolic succession in Christianity. Lineage has its importance, but it's not the be-all-and-end-all, and it's not necessary. What is necessary is the Work, and your own personal dedication to fulfilling it. At the end of the day the true initiation comes from your Higher Self, as you are lifted up spiritually, and a piece of paper proclaiming an attained grade is only the physical manifestation of that internal process. As Above, So Below. If you have the paper and don't have the process, then it is meaningless, and you can consider the initiation to be rendered null and void. No one can confer enlightenment to another - we each have our own experience of Gnosis, an experience which makes us "more than human", and no mere human can decide on the validity of such.

If any of you have read my other blog, Henosis Decanus, you may have noticed my post on whether or not one could be self-ordained into the priesthood. In that post I highlighted how the priesthood is the equivalent of the Adeptus Minor grade of the Golden Dawn. There are also Minor Order grades (as part of Formation) prior to ordination that are the equivalent of the elemental grades of the Golden Dawn. In my post on self-ordination I highlighted some of the flaws of that idea, and I showed that it was not quite the same as self-initiation, though those flaws still exist with both. The issue here is whether or not you can self-initiate into Adeptus Minor and above. The differing views tend to narrow here and the usual answer is: no. The reasoning for this is that you need to be initiated in a Vault of the Adepti in order to consider that initiation valid and effective. Supposedly Mathers wrote a self-initiation ceremony for Adeptus Minor, however, so I guess the vote isn't really out on the matter. I will explore this particular issue in more depth in another post.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Hail Sol!

Although the Golden Dawn did not celebrate the Solstices (choosing the Equinoxes for their more balanced energies and symbolism), these are still highpoints of the year that deserve some form of marking. I'd like to offer the following prayer in honour of Sol, our Star, our Sun.

Today we celebrate the Summit of the Sun;
Hail Sol, Lord of Light at his Zenith!
The Long Dark of Winter has been defeated,
And yet must we prepare for the plunge
Back into that World of Darkness,
For all must plummet after a peak.
This is your Peak, Sol, Shemesh Aur!
Should the Darkness cover us,
As it does in the depths of Winter,
Even the very Night shall be turned into Day unto you,
Lord of Light, Sol Invictus, Sol Triumphant!
In this passing moment of your sovereignty
May we take the time to ponder on your rays,
On the vitalising energies you offer unto us,
A daily Eucharist, where Night turns to Day,
And we eat of you in ways we do not know;
Let us endeavour then to know,
That we might come to respect that which you offer,
Never ceasing to be one with your cycles,
And never ceasing to be cleansed and renewed
By the penetrating rays of your glistening glory!
May we remember and know you intimately,
Even though we may see you less,
And may we bring this remembrance and knowledge
Into the Heart of the Dark of Winter
And thus pump it with the blood of Life and Light,
The Light of Sol, the Lord of Light at his Zenith!

Amen.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Magic Is Not An Escape

"For Magic does not countenance a retreat from life, an escape from the turmoils of the world; it seeks only to transmute what was dross into gold, and transform the base and low into the pure and splendid."

- Israel Regardie, What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Book Review: The Essential Golden Dawn

I recently wrote a book review of The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero. You can check it out here:


I will be posting more book reviews over time. If there are any books you would like me to tackle, feel free to leave a comment. If you are an author or publisher and would like me to review your book or a book by one of your authors, also leave a comment to get in contact with me.

Duty

It is the duty of all who climb the ladder to help those one rung down.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Qabalistic Cross: Why Do We Draw Malkuth At Tiphareth?

For any of you familiar with this basic rite in the Golden Dawn system, you might have wondered exactly why we draw the point of Malkuth at the heart centre, which is actually Tiphareth. This is usually explained away with an exoteric reasoning, which is perfectly valid (and I agree with it), but I recently came to a new realisation about this, an esoteric understanding of what it is and does on another level. I think this is an important point, and I'd like to share it here:

Apparent Meaning (Exoteric):

The proper place of Malkuth is at the feet, but to reach there we must stoop and bend down. This disturbs our grace and may cancel the affirmative divine energies imparted through the rite by making the student self-conscious. To those with physical difficulties it may also be impossible to reach the feet, or dangerous to bend in such a manner. On a final note, pointing to the heart puts us in communion with our Christian fellows, who utilise an alternate form of this rite (the Sign of the Cross [and the doxology of the Pater Noster or Our Father]). Thus, for mostly practical reasons, we draw the line of energy down from Kether to Malkuth, but point to Tiphareth for the latter while imagining the energy extending downwards.

Spiritual or Mystical Reference (Esoteric):

Malkuth is located at the feet, while Tiphareth is located at the heart. There is an intricate connection between these two Sephiroth, for Tiphareth is commonly known as both the King (Melek) and the Bridgegroom (Katan), while Malkuth is the Kingdom (its literal translation), and also the Queen (Malkah) and the Bride (Kallah). It will not take the student long to see that these are pairs, that they must be coupled, but there is an even bigger Qabalistic mystery at play: the Tiqqun, which is the Repairing of the World. For Malkuth is seen as fallen - it is the "pendulum" Sephirah on the Tree of Life, often depicted in older diagrams of the Tree with only a single path leading to it (from Yesod). It is the goal of the Qabalist, in order to enact the Tiqqun, to raise up Malkuth, to reunite it with Tiphareth, the Kingdom with the King, the Queen with the King, the Bride with the Bridegroom.

In the Qabalistic Cross we enact this Qabalistic mystery by pointing to Tiphareth when we vibrate "Malkuth", and this accomplishes two ends: 1) we affirm our goal to raise up Malkuth by intimating its position at Tiphareth (united with that sphere); and 2) we accomplish this goal on a smaller level (As Above, So Below) by energetically lifting up our personal sphere of Malkuth via the channel opened in this rite. In as much as we draw energy downwards, invoking the Divine, we also, paradoxically, draw energy upwards, transmuting the dross of the physical into that divinity.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Poetry: Demons

I wrote a new poem today on the topic of demons (some of you might find the terminology used in the poem interesting and familiar). You can check it out here:


We all have to face our demons some day. Indeed, the very phrase "face your demons" is ingrained in our modern psyche, but what exactly does it mean? In Jungian terms it is the Shadow, all the parts of ourselves we do not like, the parts we ignore and repress; and one day it rebels against us, like a child locked away in his bedroom. In the end we find we neglect our Shadow. But is it the same as our demons? Is our Shadow made up from our demons? It is the Nephesh of the Qabalah, our animal nature, and it does us the good service of taking all our unwanted junk. Its reward: we shun and ignore it. We must, of course, sacrifice our demons, our Lower Self, before the altar of the Higher. But we also need to open the locked door; we need to make amends for our neglect, for ultimately we find that the dog-face is merely a mask, and when we demask our demons we might be troubled at what we find. And when we become troubled we will be astonished, and we will rule over the All.

Whatever Happened To Z-5?

If you are familiar with Pat Zalewski’s work, you’ve probably seen his Z-5 books for the Neophyte and Zelator grades. However, it was originally intended to span the entire Outer Order grades. So, whatever happened to it? Where’s the rest of it?

I asked these questions recently and found some interesting answers. It seems that Pat originally intended this to be all one book, but Llewellyn, being a publisher interested in making money, wanted to split them up into individual books, forcing people to buy seven books as opposed to a single one. Pat was against the idea, as he felt that sales would suffer, which, given the limited audience of the topics the book dealt with, was exactly what occurred.

And so it was cancelled.

To say that it was a big shame would be quite an understatement. This is valuable material from the Whare Ra lodge that all serious Golden Dawn students should have access to. Knowing this, Pat decided to self-publish it as a single volume, which was called Golden Dawn Rituals & Commentaries. Since it was self-published, it was obviously expensive and limited in number, which means that too vanished, leaving newer students with no access to the teachings and commentaries contained therein.

I got in contact with Pat to see if he had any copies of the self-published book left, but instead of that I got some better news. The Rituals & Commentaries book is being republished by Thoth Publications. Pat forwarded me to Tom Clarke at Thoth and I found out that they are still in the early stages of the project, so a release date or pricing details cannot be shared yet. We’re probably talking six months to a year before it’s out, if not longer, but the fact remains that it will be in print again, where it belongs (and with better editing than the self-published version, I imagine). I’ll keep you guys posted when I find out more details closer to publication date.

For more information on this, HOGD has a detailed article here.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Poetry: Morimur

For any of you interested in alchemy, you may like this poem of mine, published a few months ago in Haruah magazine:


Feel free to add comments or recommend subjects or topics to be tackled poetically.

By Names And Images...

Some of you may be curious about the title of this blog. Apart from the "Quit the Night & Seek the Day!" part, it doesn't sound very Golden Dawn, does it? In a sense, you're right, it doesn't, and it's not supposed to, even though this is "advertised" as a Golden Dawn blog.

Hebrew (Leshon ha-Qodesh, the Holy Tongue) is a language that absolutely fascinates me, and I have to thank the Golden Dawn for introducing me to it and it to me. English is my mother tongue, and yet I feel at home with Hebrew in a way that I cannot really say of any other language. Perhaps it is the spiritual nature, not to mention the depth, that reverberates with me, but whatever it is, as a Qabalist (who has no problem describing himself as either a Gnostic, Jew, or Christian), this language sings to my heart and opens the doors to Gnosis. Daleth ha-Da'ath.

My sermon and praise aside, the title of this blog is Mishkan ha-Echad. Any of you familiar with Fr. Achad will recognise the latter - it is Hebrew for "one" (and forms the stem [AChD] of my motto Yechidah [YChIDH], which means "Union"). Ha is the preposition "of" in Hebrew. Mishkan, as any Jew should know, is the Tabernacle, though it is often translated literally as "residence" or "dwelling place". Thus we have: Residence of One, or, the Dwelling Place of the One. There are many mysteries to this (not least of all the identity of that "One"), but as any good Qabalist would do, I'll let you figure them out for yourself.

While the Tabernacle may be material specific to the Zelator grade, a Qabalist will find value in it outside of the gradework, and, indeed, inside the Tabernacle itself. There he will find the Shekinah, the Holy Spirit of Christianity, and Sophia of Gnosticism, and he will dwell with her, and she will dwell with him, and they shall dwell together as One.

By names and images are all powers awoken...

Bereshith

Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis

Welcome to my new Golden Dawn blog! Some of you may already read my Gnostic blog, Henosis Decanus, and, if you don't, why not check it out now?

To begin things, a brief biography is needed, and, indeed, an explanation of why this blog exists and what its proposed purpose is.

My path with ceremonial magick began in February 2004, when I was introduced to the Golden Dawn material, and, in particular, the Qabalah, both of which I fell in love with immediately. I read my early journal entries of those days and note the child-like glee with which I found this new, fascinating, and yet strangely familiar area. I began the LRP within a week and have been practising it, mostly faithfully, to this day.

I was interested in joining a Golden Dawn group, but things worked differently, and I joined the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Light (O.'.S.'.D.'.L.'.), a Gnostic Enochian Order (which also taught Qabalah, Tarot, Astrology, and related magical subjects), in October 2004, having had communicated with the Head of that Order over the Summer. I then spent the next four years with them, progressing through the grades and undergoing the almost inevitable turmoil that a new Order undergoes (replete with Order politics, a topic for another post). I attained the grade of Acolyte I (roughly equivalent of Adeptus Minor in the GD system, although we had no Portal grade equivalent) in Spring 2007. I also held several offices at this time, including Scribe & Liturgist (in charge of Order documents and writing initiation and related ceremonies), Sentinel (not to be confused with the GD Phylax), and Acting Head when the Head of the Order became ill for a period of months. In December 2007 I, as Acting Head, decided to dissolve the Order.

I gave a period of around three and a half months to fully break with my old Order, cutting the ties with the Current, etc., and basically getting over what was, in effect, a magical marriage. In April I felt I was ready to move on and be a part of another Order. I began to go back to my roots, as it were, and explore the Golden Dawn again. It was during this period that I joined the HSoM and a Golden Dawn Order (which I will not name here).

Given my "homecoming" to the Golden Dawn tradition, there are many subjects I want to write about and can think of no better place than a new blog. I hope to share what I have learned, am learning, or want to learn, and this blog should include book reviews, articles, musings, poetry, rituals and ceremonies, and plenty more for your magical mouth to chew. Suggestions for topics are, of course, always welcome.

Love and Light, in 120,

LVX,
Frater Yechidah.

Benedictus Dominus Deus noster qui dedit nobis hoc Signum