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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Conjuring Wisdom - The Prince of the Torah, part 1

I remarked recently that I was amused by reading the Sar Torah, The Prince of the Torah, an early Hekhalot text which describes God deciding to send an angel who held with him all the wisdom of the Torah to the Jews so that they could learn the Torah. The book is pretty cool, and stories about summoning the Sar HaTorah are important to the Hekhalot tradition. What was amusing was the opening narrative in which the Jewish people are basically like “God you've been a dick, and we want to learn Torah but can't because you've been a dick!” And God responds, “You're right my chosen people! You weren't cool and broke our covenant, and I got super pissed, but sending gentiles in to murder and enslave you was over reacting!” So, God recognizes that they're praying for his Wisdom and that that want to have “an abundance of Torah, a tumult of Talmud” and numerous legal discussions. God has longed to hear his Torah on their tongues. There's lots of consonance with Ts in the English translation...which adds to the humor.

My initial thought on it being amusing was who prays for that? Who prays to have legal discussions? It just sounds funny. But it's really actually quite reasonable, and beautiful. While I won't say a hundred percent that the authors of the Talmud looked at it the way that I do, I'm sure there were some who must have. The Torah is the law, as described in the first 5 books of the Bible. The law however is not simply the instruction for how people follow moral and ceremonial laws of the Jewish people, the law is a symbol of reflection of the law which underwrites the cosmos.

This is the basic concept behind the Kabbalah. The books which comprise the Torah begin with the book which describes the creation, the movement of man into the final phase of creation, the first laws causing man to participate in creation, the destruction and new beginning for mankind, the establishment of the symbolic and metaphysical nations, and ultimately the covenant and the establishment of the twelve tribes. The Genesis describes the mystical order for the foundation of mankind within the world and sets up the back story for the reception of the rest of the law. The law is received as the apex of a series of stories that sets up a very mystical symbolism for the development of the world, man, and the relationship between the world, man, and God – the very relationship which is the foundation of religion, magic, and mysticism.

The law delivered in this context is a symbol, a symbol for that relationship, for the shape of the body of God, for the flow of creation through the universe, and for the image of God which is the core of man's being. This is the basis of the Kabbalah. Moses DeLeon in the Zohar describes the mystical interpretation of the Torah. The law is explained as a series of symbols and ceremonies of mystical importance which correspond to movements within the body of God, and make changes in the mystic, and the world, by its observance.

In modern magical systems we sometimes find the same thinking. The Kybalion is essentially a series of “natural laws” based on early New Thought variations of Hermetic principles. These laws have the intention of not simply describing how we should act, or in this particular case how we improve ourselves or engage in developing occult power, they have the intention of describing the nature of the universe, our souls, and the connection there between.

For a much broader group of magicians we could look at The Book of the Law with this same structure. The Book of the Law on the surface provides “the Law of Thelema” or the instruction for the Thelemite to live by the instructions “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and “love is the law love under will.” The rest of the text can be viewed as giving further commentary on those ideas. If we take it as surface “moral commentary” or a description of how we should act and live, or even ascribe to some sections a “ceremonial” component, assuming it describes rituals in which we should engage, there are still plenty of passages that are just weird as balls if we don't attempt to explore possible deeper elements.

Going a level deeper we can look at much of the Book of the Law as a description of alchemy, both inner and outer, and therefore of initiation and magic. Taken another way it may provide a means of understanding elements of theology, not simply the allegorical theological elements which describe initiation but also potentially a perspective from which to interpret larger elements of theology. Taken further we can explore the law as a commentary on the workings of the universe, our place in those workings, and how the two relate.

See the trend forming?

So when we talk about the desire to call upon the Prince of the Torah and receive his wisdom, which God and the angels generally refer to as if it is a secret and precious treasure hidden away in a treasure vault, we're desiring essentially to peal back the veil and understand the inner and divine workings and nature of life the universe and everything, to borrow a phrase. The whole goal of mysticism, the whole work of spiritual development, that is what the Sar Torah describes as the gift given in the summoning of the Prince of the Torah. Even for the dullard with no wisdom, the Prince of the Torah elevates him to the equal of the greatest sages.

Pretty neat. You could call on the Prince and become a Master with no other experience, no other work. Sounds like a plan. In fact, we could probably solve a bunch of the worlds problems by Magus-ing everyone up with this simple conjuration right?

Probably not. We probably wouldn't want to. The work is part of the importance, part of what gets us where we're going, what makes us what we are. The work is also part of how we transform the world around ourselves, and understand that world as well. Part of understanding that is recognizing that the journey is the thing, and also, that not everyone is made for the same work, and some people maybe don't need that.

The myths of the Prince of the Torah also talk about him coming angrily and full of wrath in clouds of fire bent on destroying the world. He comes peacefully when called correctly by a sage with divine permission. Otherwise he destroys those who call him. This kind of reminds me of people who take the Oath of the Abyss before they're ready and go crazy. Divine fire can burn away all those things which keep us from understanding who we are, what the world is, and where we're going in it, but it can also burn away everything that anchors us and gives us stability and control. It's a question of balance and preparedness.

So, when we're ready, the Prince of the Torah can be an ally in our development. Whether we're looking to find the nature of the mystical teachings hidden in the Torah, or the Book of the Law, or simply the Truth itself we have an angel for whom that is its purpose. We can prepare ourselves and call upon it like we would call upon the Prince of the Presence, or our Holy Guardian Angel, and gain insight, maybe not instant mastery, but insight is worth a lot in this line of work.

You might want more than my insight into the meaning and nature of this operation and info on the actual operation itself. I'm going to save that for another post, so follow the blog and check back soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Devil Chaser: Kicking Out Vexing Spirits

Sometimes evil spirits get uppity and need to get their walking papers...or at least, sometimes people think that's what's going on. Usually it's not the case if magic is being done right. A good magician will go through rituals and ceremonies which establish his place of working and his authority as well as his spiritual allies in a way which results in being mostly safe from that problem. Mostly. It's still possible something can come up. On the road to becoming a good magician it's also possible something problematic can arise. Normally it won't be anything that isn't easily handled. Still, it's important as a magician to have the tools to handle such an issue, for yourself or for others where it may arise.

For the methods being described here they will be sufficient for dismissing the common sort of spirits that one may encounter from normal activity as well as for providing some basic protections. They will not cause any particular harm in a situation where the spirit is not the problem. Because it is very possible, and often likely, that there is a non-spiritual cause for problems one is experiencing those not thoroughly trained in examining such problems should also explore various mundane causes and solutions.

That having been said, let's look at solving the problem of vexing spirits.

There are a lot of traditional sorcery methods for such things. In fact, that's a big part of the job of a local sorcerer traditionally. As a kid and young adult, I tended to use pretty pagan methods, banishing by the elements and by tools and signs of authority. These types of methods all work pretty well. As an adult though I have also begun incorporating methods more linked to ceremonial magic and Catholic mysticism. A couple simple methods of this variety are what I'm going to present today.

Recently I was having an issue that seemed to be unruly spirits. Quick solution? I have a box of rosaries dedicated to Saint Benedict, whose patronage includes exorcism and the destruction of evil sorcery. I also have a handful of Benedictine medals on bracelets. I popped on a bracelet and hung a rosary over my bed. The issues stopped immediately.

This is basically the use of a talisman. In this case a talisman specifically set towards banishing spirits. Similarly a talisman dedicated to the archangel Michael could be used the same way. Or if you knew what spirit was vexing you you could use a talisman dedicated to the angel who commands that spirit. That would be a bigger process to undergo. So as a catch all, conjure Michael to consecrate your Benedictine talismans before use. Such a conjuration could be done as a general precaution and the talisman wrapped and put away until needed. For those not ready for a full conjuration a simple prayer could be used.

Pope Leo XIII penned this prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after a vision of a war with evil spirits in which Michael was casting them down. Interestingly enough Leo III was the Pope to whom the Enchiridion was ascribed.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Now if that's a little too heavy handed in the Christian department and you want to go a bit more standard on the magical end we can amend it a bit to something like this:

“Archangel Michael, in the name of the God of Hosts
defend me in battle.
Be my protection against the onslaught of evil spirits.
In the name Elohim Tzvot, Mighty angel, rebuke them;
I conjure you mighty Prince,
In the name of Elohim Tzvot
cast into the fire all spirits set against me,
destroy and turn back all bent upon my ruin.”

With either prayer end by tracing Michael's seal above the seal of Benedict and whisper Michael's name into the seal.

If you have to deal with a spirit aside from simply using a talisman and wish to banish, the opening banishings of more traditional ceremonial magic can be useful. Not things like the LBRP, or LHR, these are rituals of a mystical quality which can be applied practically, rather than practical rituals straight up. Opening using the Chaldean Oracles can sanctify a space and remove minor disturbances. The Enchiridion has some great exorcising Orisons which can be used for such purposes or as the openings of rituals. The psalms used to establish the working space in the Greater Key, as well as prayers of constriction and banishing from the grimoires.

The problem with these is they're usually kind of long and need to be looked up. For the most part they're designed to be used in a larger ritual. They also might be overkill for small disturbances. Something easy to memorize which is more than sufficient for the average disturbance is the Vade Retro Satana which is built into Benedict's seal.

Crux sacra sit mihi lux
Non draco sit mihi dux
Vade retro satana
Numquam suade mihi vana
Sunt mala quae libas
Ipse venena bibas

Let the Holy Cross be my light
Let not the dragon be my guide
Turn back Satan
Never tempt me with vain things
What you offer me is evil
You drink that poison yourself

This small exorcism represents several points of the mythology of Saint Benedict, principally a story of a monk who attempted to leave his guidance and was almost consumed by the devil before returning, and attempts to poison him which were miraculously defeated.

This one would take less adapting to make it more comfortable for the contemporary magician. The Holy Cross of Light is already a symbol used heavily in the Western Mystery Tradition. This can be associated with the Rose Cross, which is a highly appropriate symbol for such work. Being tempted with vain things is precisely the antithesis of the magician. Satan and the Dragon are the only images that may be less fitting, although the Dragon appears in the Enochian materials as the Telocvovim or the Death Dragon, another name for Coronzon.

So we simply adapt one non-Latin word...

Crux sacra sit mihi lux
Non draco sit mihi dux
Vade retro omnia mala
Numquam suade mihi vana
Sunt mala quae libas
Ipse venena bibas

Let the Holy Cross be my light
Let not the dragon be my guide
Turn back all evil things
Never tempt me with vain things
What you offer me is evil
You drink that poison yourself

A consecrated candle, or a ritual sword or wand could be used as a tool in conjunction with this exorcism. The Benedictine talisman could be used in conjunction with this as well. The charm references the cross of light and so the Rose Cross sign can be made in conjunction therewith. The charm references the destruction of poison bread and wine as well. A ritual involving the destruction of a false Eucharist and consumption of one truly consecrated could be employed as well.

So none of these methods is particularly difficult. Unfortunately the expulsion of vexing spirits isn't something that gets treated a lot in most readily available magical writing. It tends to be assumed that this is something for which people need to seek out someone's assistance. In a case where things are pretty intense that is probably sound advise. In cases where something is just giving you the heebie jeebies or disturbing your dreams these techniques are sufficient, at least as a starting point.

Again, there are a lot of serious mundane problems that people at times mistake for spiritual affliction. Be careful to thoroughly examine those possibilities. Where necessary seek out the help of those who can help you explore those possibilities. There are magicians who do things against other people, there are spirits who cause problems for people, the popular sentiment that this is not the case is false, but it remains true that it is also not the most common occurrence. Be ready to protect yourself, but also be intelligent and responsible.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Big Nut Strut

Over the weekend I was reading the Enchiridion of Pope Leo. I dig Catholicism enough that one of my friends, when he first came to the OTO, suspected me of being a secret Jesuit spy...and the people who had known me for years as an OTO member agreed that it was kind of a reasonable assumption. I still found the Enchiridion to be frustrating and off putting. Only a few portions were obviously useful, some others felt like they could be...if...they weren't so bogged down in Catholic guilt. Some parts drew me in, made me think of ways they could be used.

This got me thinking, about magical confessions, and how to make them better.

A great deal of ritual magic is based on worldviews rooted in religions which value ritual purity. Our modern cultures don't value that as much, in fact, our contemporary sensibility is often critical of religion. Magicians engaged in more traditional forms of magic embrace a world in which spirits are real and magic has a real impact on the world around us,. Still, traditional magicians often embrace a more free view of the world than that which embraces strict elements of ritual purity. Sometimes we criticize it as a repressive Christian view, but we find similar purity laws in most traditional religions, and we find purifications in the ancient magical texts with limited Christian influence.

I find a lot of traditional religious magic pretty inspiring. I also find that having a complete worldview, top to bottom, and making your magic an application thereof is necessary to having a truly powerful magical system, both in terms of transforming the world and developing yourself. I do not however find it useful to shit on myself for things that I don't think are a sin. So, that part of some of the magical systems I like doesn't fit my worldview. I've even had a spirit challenge me on that point before.

Still, I think some sort of moment of aligning oneself through confession can be really powerful.

In another post (Better than Not Sinning) I recommending an alternative method. A different one has occurred to me though. Negative confession is workable, and is definitely better than groveling about being a sinner. Why not positive assertion?

Modern systems like Thelema, and like the Traditionalist School look at the power in the positive view of people. In Thelema the active strength involved in doing one's Will and forcing forward as a star against the difficulties and distractions of the world is a source of power. This idea isn't really explored a lot by Thelemites, but it's pretty important in terms of understanding power and magic in a Thelemic worldview. In the traditionalist school tapping into the Primordial Tradition and the nature of the Hero are based upon the power of ones character. Strengthening virtue strengthens an individual not just personally but also by reputation and place in the community. This terrestrial element of power echoes in the spiritual. Virtue carries with it an occult force and authority which fuels and inspires the magician's ability to impact the world.

In the ancient world we see similar views. Virtue comes from virtus or manliness and implies force. The force implied is conjunct with the nature of certain virtues in the Greek and Roman world, those which imply the power and ability to impact the world. In a mundane sense these are the authority which one asserts in the family and in the public or political sphere. In a spiritual sphere these virtues are the strength of the animus or soul and reflect the power an individual is able to exert in a greater sense.

NeoPlatonism expands this in that virtue not only elevates the capabilities of the NeoPlatonist philosophically and intellectually, but also drives their ability to act in the public sphere and serve the common good. As their virtues elevate them to higher levels of virtue and increase their ability to create good for the community they increase their connection to higher levels of being and draw closer to the One and the Good. This becomes the foundation for theurgical practice and and compliments the development of the theurgist.

So we have a good basis for the idea of strength and spiritual fortitude being linked to character and action in both modern and traditional currents of magical work. Accomplishment also can be a useful element in establishing the power of the magician when dealing with spirits.

In the Merkavah the magician demonstrates his authority by announcing that he's part of the club. He shows the angels that he knows the signs, their names, the songs of the heavens. He is basically demonstrating to them that he knows what he needs to know, and that he's achieved the heights, quite literally, that give him the right to command him.

The Mithras Liturgy in the PGM essentially works on the same principle. The magician engages in practices to elevate himself and expose himself to spirits and then uses incantations, sounds, and signs which show them that he belongs there, is one of them, and should not be troubled or should be served.

The Sword of Moses, and later grimoiric works align the magician to the character of heroic biblical or magical figures in order to demonstrate that they have the character or personal histories of those figures and therefore deserve the same visitation of divine grace and therefore the same right to command spirits.

Witchcraft traditions grant power by birth and by ritual, talismans gained through completing certain rituals are further marks of a witch's power and ability to command spirits and powers of nature. Sorcery lineages grant power by passing it from one sorcerer to another through initiation, admission to a house, and investiture of spirits. This comes with signs, talismans, tools, and special ritual elements that show that the sorcerer is part of the tradition and has gained those powers and that authority over the spirits.

Countless other magical systems and traditions are based on the authority that a magician has by right of accomplishment or admission, or the gathering of tools and powers. A key part of magic is the magician showing that he has those rights and authorities. A way to do this is perhaps by taking a moment, aligning yourself to your sources of power and authority, and making them known to the spirits and occult forces with which you are about to work.

The first time I used this method was before a katabasis in which I needed to seek out Hades to ask his permission to engage in certain activities in the underworld. When asking the gods with whom I had more direct working relationships how to proceed I was inspired with a particular series of ritual actions, which by in large matched up to historical methods. An added piece though was beginning with the announcement of various initiations and ritual acts I had undergone which showed that I had a right to enter and ask for audience. The ritual worked very well and the ensuing series of necromantic rituals were successful. Still, until now, it was not a method which occurred to me routinely. It would cross my mind occasionally, but usually I'd settle on some purification or a negative confession. I think there are definitely times where that's still the way to go.

That said, there's also time to lay the cards on the table and and point out that you can do what you're doing because you've got the goods. So next time you're inclined to use some grimoiric magic, and the author wants you to crap on yourself for being human, instead, take a pause, and make an announcement extolling your virtue so as to remind the powers that be, that you have a seat at the table.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Key to Success

One of the key components to success is pretty simple. Whether you're looking for power, wisdom, or just being happy it all involves one basic thing to hold together the core of your work. Be yourself.

We often talk about the admonition to “Know thyself” and it's pretty meaningful. By digging deep into exploring who we are and where we come from, and how we've gotten where we are, we can understand where we're going, and how to get there. We can understand deeper mysteries about ourselves, the world, and our place in it as well.

But if we understand these things and we don't make a point to live honestly as who we are then we're throwing that knowledge away. If we understand who we are, and what will make us happy, and how we can get what can make us happy, why should we let other influences tell us to be someone other than the person who can go out and get that happiness?

We do though, we give up on being ourselves pretty easily.

Sometimes it's just that we don't trust or understand who we are and how being who we are will work out well for us. Sometimes it's because we're afraid of who we are or because we think we want to be something else. Often it's because of what we think other people will think.

A friend recently told me that he's focusing on developing himself. He wants to be able to assess anyone he meets, beguile them with his charm, and get them to do whatever he wants, consistently. Now, this might not seem like something to be happy with, but it's who he is. When I first met him it was pretty obvious that that was the person he is. At the time he kept trying to describe his behaviors in less extreme ways. He tried to whitewash his motivations, and tried to downplay his desires. As a result he was much less effective. It was like he was constantly walking into a fight with his hands tied behind his back. We might not be thrilled with the goal he has realized is his, but we should be happy he's pursuing his own nature.

When we work with our Holy Guardian Angel that's part of what we're working towards, knowing our natures, knowing our will, and becoming more earnestly the person we are. The more we work against being that person the less we're able to work in conjunction with our angel.

From a Thelemic perspective the Angel is the truest portion of ourselves, the divine element which originates us. Rejecting who we are and trying to be someone other than who we are is therefore rejecting the Angel. From a Jewish or Christian perspective the Holy Guardian Angel is the emissary of divine grace. That divine source is the same source that made us with our particular nature. Therefore rejecting who we are and trying to be someone else is rejecting the gift that divine grace specifically gave each of us: our individual selves.

However we view it theologically speaking, rejecting the self is connected to rejecting the angel. This becomes important from a magical perspective as the angel serves many purposes. Your Holy Guardian Angel is a a guide and teacher, but it is also a source of power and authority. Cultivating our connection to it is part of our task from day one as magicians. Rejecting ourselves, and our natures, rejecting the angel is the erosion of our connection to that power and authority.

There was a point, before I pursued Knowledge and Conversation, where I had engaged in a plan to be a person more amenable to someone I cared about a great deal. While I very much believe in charity, love and human dignity, my nature is also one which is pretty angry and wrathful. I'm a good example of embracing both poles but not of the nice balanced middle of the road. I tried to convince people I'd turned over a new leaf and was going to be all sunshine and smiles. No one really believed me but I was trying to make it seem real. During this time I asked my angel about teaching me some stuff. His answer was essentially, “when you pull your head out of your ass and just be yourself.”

Our angels know what's up. They want us to grow that connection because their purpose is to carry us into the throne room and expose us to the Truth of the universe, and along the way, to make sure we create the world we were born to build. None of that can happen unless we've committed to that connection, unless we embrace the Truth of our being and live it.

Sometimes who we are isn't the easiest thing. Sometimes it presents a road that has difficulties, trials, heart ache, even abuse. People in extreme situations of denying themselves usually say though that the worst part isn't what they suffer, it's feeling like they can't openly be who they are. For most people it's not even for the mystical or magical success that we pave the road for by embracing and living as ourselves, it's just about feeling happy and safe in your own skin. That's important too. Despite the struggles and difficulties, when we find a way to be ourselves and to succeed in whatever it is we're drawn to be, that's where we'll find our happiness. As we begin to fall into that groove, and the world moves with us it becomes a lot easier to focus on the rest of the work and to compound our success.

So if you want power, wisdom, success, and happiness, if you want to be a truly successful magician, don't forget that simple but important key: be yourself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

King, Gardner, Magician

Sometimes as we begin to develop magically we will find something changes in our lives. A lot of people talk about increases in synchronicity, but frequently, this is just a matter of training ourselves to look for synchronicity. Developing magically involves a process of unfolding through several forms of magical power or agency. Some of these we outgrow, and some of these we develop a more intimate connection to.

As we explore we learn to reach to the heights, connect with the Holy Guardian Angel, and wield the power, wisdom, and authority which come with this connection. As we become closer and closer to it our personal kingship develops into a more and more natural state.

A good king is one with his kingdom. As we develop towards mastery we must also stretch out our hands and apprehend the world around us. We draw its myriad pieces together within our apprehension and hold them to ourselves until they move fluidly with us.

Frequently I look at this as the blending of ceremonial magic and natural magic, or witchcraft. There are other ways this can manifest but this is one way to illustrate the relationship. The point we're looking at however is what happens as you begin to develop these aspects of your magic, along with your other sources of power.

Essentially, you will, rather than uncovering synchronicity, uncover moments of automatic magic, or moments where your magic functions like it's on autopilot.

What's the difference?

When things display synchronicity it's a cool feeling of serendipity and harmony where you note that various seemingly unrelated things seem to bare a similarity. Things you didn't know you needed, or things you will need just randomly show up before you even considered the need. It's a state of feeling blessed and taken cared for by the invisible hand of the universe. It isn't particularly magical though, there's no intention, no will, no agency.

Magic occurring automatically happens when you decide a specific goal or need. You plan a method for achieving it. You maybe even begin your preparations. But before you launch your attack your goal manifests, leaving you holding your wand in your hand asking “well, what do I do with this now?” In instances like these, there is a focused intention, a defined goal, and at the least a determination to accomplish it by magic.

In my experience I tend to find it frustrating as opposed to the nifty ooey gooey feeling synchronicity is associated with. I want to know I made shit happen when I do stuff. Sometimes it's pretty clear cut though. For instance, last week, I was driving to work and determined to feel comfortably on my way to meet my numbers for the quarter I needed to find someone to purchase a particular product for $300K and determined the most likely source for clients to have those funds. I decided I would conjure Sachiel that Thursday and outline what I was looking for in a client. Later that day, a coworker brought me in to a meeting with a client because he ended up with a client from my book coming in who I hadn't spoken with in a few years. He thought I could help the client with something I couldn't, but while talking with the client I uncovered that he had $300K he needed help with. So he agreed to meet with me, this Thursday, to go over the product I had determined I needed to present to someone. He's a perfect fit for it, it's the right thing for him.

So what should I do in this situation? Run with it. This is the result of being a good king, I get to decide what's going to grow in my garden, and when my plantings sprout it's my responsibility to tend to them. Stirring the pot, either by proper magic or by authority and connection dovetailing, requires that I work with what comes to boil. Getting it started and letting it go routinely is a good way to disconnect from apprehending your world and cutting off a piece of that power you've cultivated. Besides, it's what you wanted in the first place.

But again, it's a sprouting. Depending upon the nature of your goal, that initial little push might be enough to get it done. A bigger goal with more parts, or where more factors could impact it might need bolstering. In my case, workings to secure my business partner and I making our presentation right, or for success for myself and the client would be ways to cultivate what has started.

Again, part of the difference between synchronicity and magic. You got your goal started without much work, but as a magician you observe the situation, understand the goal, and do what you need to to make that first movement blossom into your chosen manifestation.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Talismans for Success

I've seen people ask sometimes what to do with a talisman once they've consecrated it. There's a lot of options, let's look at a few, and wrap up with one that will get you things you want pretty solidly with minimal work.

Growing up when I made a talisman I tended to just put it near whatever it was meant to do. If it was for money it went in my wallet. Talismans for sex went under my mattress or somewhere in my pants. Being a young male those were the only two things I ever used magic for. Just kidding, but you get the idea, talismans were placed in relation to the goal. For more global goals I would leave the talisman on the altar, or burn it, or use it with other ritual implements.

Most of those talismans were based on making a sigil for a goal and charging it with a ritual. They weren't usually talismans made with spirit magic.

As I got into magic involving spirits some of my view on how to use talismans changed. In modern magic the talisman is often thought of as a “magical child” or creature which goes and does the work of the magician and dissipates. So leaving it on an altar or putting it near what it's effecting makes sense.

A talisman consecrated by a spirit is a material link to the force of that spirit. The talisman remains substantially whatever material it's made from, essentially the talisman has the form of the magical purpose written into it, but the being of the talisman is changed to match the being of the spirit based on contact with the spirit. The talisman essentially becomes a small link between the spirit and the world.

So if the nature imbued into the talisman is effective, in that it describes what the spirit is doing, wearing the talisman as a charm or carrying it, or placing it in proximity to what it's effecting makes sense because it's pretty similar to the modern view of the talisman being a magical creature doing a job. But if your talisman is just marked with symbols of the spirit, or powers which rule the spirit, or symbols which relate to its correspondences then the being and essence of the talisman are simple and reflect the spirit more directly. The talisman at that point is kind of like a battery, or an little piece of the spirit's power radiating out for your use but not in a particular way.

This can be useful if you're just trying to draw a particular force into your life, but it doesn't do much for a specific goal.

Once you've consecrated such a talisman there are two primary ways to use it. First, it can be a short cut to conjuring the spirit again to ask it to take care of your goal. Alternatively, you can use the talisman as a source of power in more basic sorcerous spell work.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to consecrate the talisman, and then when I'm ready to use it take a candle which has been rubbed with oil and incanted for a particular goal. Then place the candle over the talisman and just let the candle burn up. The candle draws the force of the talisman and radiates it out into the world in accordance with the goal assigned to the talisman.

One could easily make a talisman charge it regularly and keep it wrapped up and in a special spot whenever you have need of that particular force, just whip out a candle, rub it up, chant over it, and put it on your altar on top of the talisman. Set it and forget it. Simple way to manifest your goals with only a few minutes of spell work.

You can consecrate your talisman however you like. The traditional grimoiric methods are great, if you're looking for a quick and simple way to do it, try the Solomonic Hexagram ritual posted a couple days ago.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Body Talismans - First Use of the Solomonic Hexagram Ritual

The first time I used the Solomonic Hexagram ritual was back in 2005. I had recently begun competing in fencing tournaments and was in my final year as a collegiate competitor. My performance was not so hot at the time and my knees were starting to bother me. I was studying the Greater Key of Solomon and decided to conjure Bartzabel and use one of the seals from the Greater Key. The results I got were interesting, and successful. Here is how I went about it and what happened.

I was not yet engaging in actual Solomonic ritual at that point and had limited experience with evocation. I had a pretty solid familiarity with Golden Dawn based magic. So this was the solution. Despite worry over concerns expressed in the GD materials about people becoming obsessed by painting scrying symbols on their bodies, I decided to put the seal I had selected from the Greater Key on my right forearm, which was the arm I used in fencing.

I performed the ritual and when I got to the conjuration of the planetary spirit I extended my arm through the circle and asked the spirit to consecrate my arm as a talisman. When I was done I went to bed. My thoughts became rampant ideas and instructions on how I needed to train and practice. I worried that that was all I was getting. It wasn't.

That night I had intensely violent dreams about gang warfare. So intense that they woke me from sleep. I recognized that I had essentially tied my body to a martial spirit and then went to sleep so I acknowledged that the dreams were an effect of that choice. In the morning I woke up and went to a tournament. In the two months leading up to that tournament I'd fenced in a few others, and while I had not DFL'd in any of them, I came really close in all of them. In this event though, I won my group for the prelim round and medaled. My legs didn't bother me through the event. It was a pretty huge difference.

I began using this method pretty routinely with various spirits. Had success with various types of magical goals. To avoid any kind of obsession or spirit issues related to the consecration of body parts as talismans I ritualized washing off the seals. Four times, banishing based on the elements with each one. The one negative was routinely consecrating my arm began to result in pain over time, and so I dropped that method. But still used the ritual for calling on spirits. Because it was simple, quick, and worked really well, even without making my body into a tool, although partying with Venus talismans all over my body was kind of fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Faster Simpler Shorter - Effective Easy Angel Work

Sometimes we need quick simple access to angelic or spiritual forces to accomplish things for us. Full Solomonic evocations, or even smaller methods like the Heptameron or Trithemius are not always convenient for various reasons.

Back in 2005 I determined that I wanted a quick simple way to work with spirits. I began using this pretty routinely as I was beginning to prepare for working with more traditional methods.

It was very good for consecrating talismans and for getting quick results to simple requests. This is not so great for asking the angels questions or scrying, except through dream work.

It's also a good stepping stone for those who are familiar with modern magic technique like the LBRP who are trying to bridge their way towards actual practical evocation.

Over the next few days I'll post some stories about the use of this ritual as well as a method for combining it with other simple practical magic.

The Solomonic Hexagram Ritual
Fr R.’.S.’.

I. Kabbalistic Cross.

Perform the Kabbalistic Cross

II. Formation of the circle

Advance to the east and trace the fire invoking Hexagram vibrating “AL”
Advance to the South and trace the Earth invoking Hexagram vibrating “YAH”
Advance to the West and trace the Water invoking Hexagram vibrating “AGLA”
Advance to the North and trace the Air invoking Hexagram vibrating “ADNI”
Return to the center

III. Invocation of the planetary Hexagrams

Advance to each quarter beginning in the East and ending in the North tracing the invoking Hexagrams of the planetary sphere required and vibrate the corresponding name.

IV. Invocation of the Spirit of the Planet

Return to the center. Extend the arms in the TAU then turn the palms face up; keeping the palms flat and extended raise the forearms into an obtuse angle. This sign signifies the reception of divine force.

Say the appropriate invocation for the desired planetary spirit.

V. Kabbalistic Cross

Perform the Kabbalistic cross.


The appropriate Solomonic pentacle from the second book of the Greater Key should be used in conjunction with these invocations as a means of directing the nature of the manifestation. The magician should also be clearly aware of the purpose for which he is performing the invocation. If he wishes to apply the force to a talisman to keep for general use he may apply the pentacle to an appropriate disk. If he wishes to invoke the spirit for a particular use he should scribe the seal upon some relevant portion of his body with a temporary means that may be removed at will. If there is no specifically relevant portion for the intention the seal may be placed upon a body part corresponding to the sefira to which said sphere is assigned. The ability to remove the seal with immediacy is necessary and is of the utmost importance.


By the holy name Shaddai El Chai, I invoke Levanah, the lucent wanderer that rides the sky and rules the crab, that I might stir Gavriel that I might receive Gavriel that he might send Malkah be Tarshisim ve-ad Ruachoth Schechalim, that I might manifest Schad Barschemoth that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name Elohim Tzabaoth, I invoke Kokab, the swift wanderer that rides the sky and rules the twins and the virgin, that I might stir Michael, that I might receive Raphael, that he might send Tiriel, that I might manifest Taphthartharath that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Tzabaoth, I invoke Nogah, the shining star that rides the sky and rules the bull and the scale, that I might stir Haniel, that I might receive Haniel, that he might send Hagiel, that I might manifest Kedemel, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Eloah va-Da’at, I invoke Shemesh, the splendorous wanderer that rides the sky and rules the lion, that I might stir Raphael, that I might receive Michael, that he might send Nakhiel, that I might manifest Sorath, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name Elohim Gibor, I invoke Madim, the red wanderer that rides the sky and rules the ram and the scorpion, that I might stir Kamael, that I might receive Zamael, that he might send Graphiel, that I might manifest Bartzebel that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name El, I invoke Tzedek, the merciful wanderer that rides the sky and rules the archer and the fish, that I might stir Tzadkiel that I might receive Sachiel, that he might send Iofiel, that I might manifest Hishmael, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Elohim, I invoke Shabbatai, the cold wanderer that rides the sky and rules the goat and the cup bearer, that I might stir Tzafkiel, that I might receive Cassiel, that he might send Agiel, that I might manifest Zazel, that through invoking him I shall…

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Modern Solomonic Magic

A few years back I began occasionally presenting angel conjuration rituals at the local OTO body, William Blake Lodge. We mostly did a conjuration based on Mathers's Greater Key of Solomon but at one point I decided to experiment with using the Solomonic structure to create a conjuration based on Thelemic imagery.

Some participants found that the Thelmic imagery spoke to and inspired them more than the more traditional Kabbalistic imagery. Most reported that the spirit seemed to arrive but with kind of a "what are you even doing?"
sort of feeling coming from the spirit until we began using divine and angelic names, at which point the spirit seemed in their perception to kind of "snap to" and pay attention more ardently. 

This result is interesting in that several people mentioned this impression to me, and if it is the case it would suggest that yes, our modern magical practices do invoke appropriate forces, but the classic ways do tend to exert control over the spirits as that is their nature. I do not know precisely what things people asked for or what they got, but people reported being happy with their results. 

I would love to hear what results people get from experimenting with this.

Thelemic Solomonic Evocation v.1
Fr. VH

Preparation of the Circle

Let the circle me marked out in salt, or chalk, or carved into the ground as described.

As the circle is drawn Liber Lapidis Lazuli is read.


Once the circle is drawn all exit the space devest themselves of their street clothes, wash in spring water and abramelin oil and put on white EGC robes. As they wash they say:

He that is righteous shall be righteous still, he that is filthy shall be filthy still, deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are & not other.” AL 2.57 - 58

Before using the water it is consecrated by tracing the symbol of water followed by the rose cross above it and imbuing it with light while saying:

Aye! Feast! Rejoice!! There is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.” AL 2.44

When this is accomplished all return to the temple and stand in the circle.

Consecration of the Circle

From the center of the circle let the Karcist recite before the altar, facing the high altar in the east:

Oh circle of stars whereof our father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark. Not to thee may we attain unless thy image be love. Therefore by seed and root and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee.

Then the priest answered and said unto the queen of space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet smelling perfume of sweat. Oh Nuit, continuous one of heaven, let it be ever thus that men speak not of thee as one, but as none, and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous.”
Let one participant advance to the East. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Chaos. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Theoricus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy rising, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy strength, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!”

Then let one participant advance to the South. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Psyche. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Philosophus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy triumphing, even unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy beauty, who travellest over the heavens in thy bark at the Mid-course of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!”

Then let one participant advance to the West. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Eros. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Practicus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Tum in Thy setting, even unto Thee who art Tum in Thy joy, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Down-going of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Day!”

Then let one participant advance to the North. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Babalon. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Zelator he will say:

Hail unto thee who art Khephra in Thy hiding, even unto Thee who art Khephra in Thy silence, who travellest over the heavens in Thy bark at the Midnight Hour of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening.”

Then let each return to the center of the circle.

When all are at the center the Karcist shall make the rose cross above the altar and say:

Now let there be a veiling of thise shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness.” - AL 2.14

After this pause for a space and contemplate the presence of the divine light.

Invocation of the Highest

Let the Karcist face the East and invoke the Holy Guardian Angel with these words:

In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.” AL 2.3
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. ‘Come unto me‘ is a foolish word: for it is I that go.”
IO IO IO IAO Sabao Kurie Abrasax, Kurie Mithras, Kurie Phalle, IO Pan, IO Pan Pan, IO Ischuros, IO Athanatos, IO Abrotos, IO IAO, Kyrie Phalle, Kyrie Panphage, Kyrie Pangenetor, Hagios, Hagios, Hagios, IAO”
I adore thee in song
I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-knonsu
Whose words are truth, I invoke, I greet
They presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee: -
I, I adore thee!
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the way of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! Let it fill me!
The light is mine; its rays consume
Me: I have made a secret door
Int o the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of Light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!”


0. Deeper and deeper into the mire of things! Farther and farther into the never-ending Expansion of the Abyss.
1. The great goddess that bendeth over the Universe is my mistress; I am the winged globe at her heart.
2. I contract ever as she ever expandeth;
3. At the end it is all one.
4. Our loves have brought to birth the Father and Creator of all things.
5. He hath established the elements; the aether, the air, the water, the earth, and the fire.
6. He hath established the wandering stars in their courses.
7. He hath ploughed with the seven stars of his Plough, that the Seven might move indeed, yet ever point to the unchanging One.
8. He hath established the Eight Belts, wherewith he hath girdled the globes.
9. He hath established the Trinity of Triads in all things, forcing fire into fire, and ordering all things in the Stable Abode of the Kings of Æ.
10. He hath established His rule in His kingdom.
11. Yet the Father also boweth unto the Power of the Star 418 and thereby
12. In his subtlety He expandeth it all into twelve rays of the Crown.
13. And these twelve rays are One.” Liber ARARITA 6:0-13

By Eheieh and Metatron we stir the world, by Yah and Ratziel we move thee forth, by YHVH Elohim and Tzafkiel we receive thee! By the name EL! We call and command thee Bariel! By the force of Tzadkiel we stir thee to action Bariel! By the presence of Sachiel we conjure thee with us Bariel! By the name of Iophiel we direct thee Bariel! By the hand of Hishmael thou art present Bariel! Hear our commands and answer our seeking, by the name of EL whose mercy is unending, by the name of EL from whom all gifts flow, by the name of EL, rich and fertile, by the name of EL whom you hold dear, we command you rightly.

All make their requests of the spirit.

License to depart

By the name of EL go forth Bariel and see to this work. Travel swiftly and in peace that you may succeed, and come again quickly when you are called. By EHIH, YAH. YHVH ELOHIM, and EL go forth and fulfill your commands!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Owning The Time of Your Magic

Have you ever had a magical ritual you wanted to perform where the outcome was pretty important to you, and so you wanted everything to go right, but little things that weren't under your control just weren't lining up?

I think everyone has this at some point if they do enough magic.

One of the little details that a lot of people want to include but find to be a pain in the ass to coordinate is planetary hours.

I've often seen where people believe they need to do something during a planetary hour but can't arrange their schedule to do their working to accommodate the planetary hour, or to combine forces with a particular hour on a particular day.

I personally am not very sold on the traditional planetary hour system, at least, not the way it is approached by people who base their use of it on the way it's given in Mathers' version of the Greater Key. In this approach it's just another correspondence, another way to add a particular force to the context of your work. So, while I'm not going to argue in favor or against it at the moment, I will note that as it is simply a means of contextualizing your work within a particular current of force, there are ways around it.

The simplest approach would be some invocation of the planet, like through the Lesser Hexagram Ritual, or through reciting the appropriate Orphic Hymn.

Some people might not like this because it's just a way of ritually setting the space, where the hour is a fixed condition of the environment.

So let's look at another way. We can approach the problem hierarchically like we do in spirit magic. If we want to go a rung above the planetary force, then we would call upon the zodiacal force. The zodiac are generative, the planets and metals are reflective/manifesting, and the elements are producing or manifesting. If we start with the zodiac that determines the chain of manifestation going down into the planets.

The zodiac signs have ruling and mystical planets, but more to the point of an actual fixed condition of reality, the planets sit within regions of the sky mapped by the zodiac. Agrippa's description of the influence of the stars and planets relates to their radiance and their placement. So by invoking the planetary force based on its position in the sky we entreat the source of radiance and the placement while working with our actual environment.

Doing this is actually incredibly simple and can be added before any ritual easily.

Each zodiac sign has an element and a ruling planet. Before your ritual go to each quarter and trace the sign of the ruling element and planet for the sign in which the planet pertaining to your ritual resides at the time your ritual is beginning. Therefore, if you are doing a ritual of Mars and Mars is in Libra at the time of your ritual you would go to each quarter, and trace a symbol of Air, a symbol of Venus, and call upon Zuriel. In each quarter, seal the invocation with the sign of the cross and the seal of the zodiacal sign. Your ritual is now occurring within the light of the sign in which your planet resides, and thus, you and the planet are within the same space.

Even rituals which are defined primarily by the planetary hour, such as Trithemius's Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, can be set and determined using this opening.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I'm with the alchemist

A couple days ago a friend of mine posted a link with the title “3 Ways to Become a 'Magician' by a 16th Century Alchemist”. I was pretty intrigued as he's a pretty solid magician with experience in a lot of traditional stuff. On top of that, I am pretty into alchemy, so a pre-occult revival perspective on what it takes to be a magician from an alchemist seemed like the coolest thing someone could be linking to.

I clicked the link, and it was on Ultraculture. I was pretty puzzled because they seemed to be a popular chaos magic forum, and 16th century alchemists definitely don't fit the bill there.

Well, on reading it, it became clear that the material was great, but the site was kind of punking it. They acknowledge that Giambattista della Porta was one of the best and most highly regarded magicians of his time, and they present his ideas, but it's within the article they refer to the magicians of the time as “one percenters” and reference the ideal described by della Porta as “magocracy” and refer to him as a “magocrat” and then point to historians looking at other views of magic at the time. So, they weren't directly mocking what he said, but they definitely present it in a context of derision. Even so, I thought there was value in della Porta's material.

I think that the elements of what makes a magician is something we over look a lot in magical culture. We talk about how to do magic. Sometimes good writers talk about philosophy and theory. Dime a dozen writers talk about ethical rules. But qualifications and character aren't things we look at. I think character is pretty important to consider, and there are definitely magical elements associated with character and power that can be derived from the substantive force of character. But Giambattista della Porta's take on things is about qualifications.

People avoid talking about qualifications because if we have them, then there are people who won't make the cut. Most people don't want to be the unpopular guy who cuts people from the team, but more so you don't want to be the guy who no one reads because you told them they don't make the cut. In the end though I think the big fear of qualifications is if we accept they exist maybe we won't make the cut.

I'd say, it's ok not to make the cut. Not everyone needs to be a magician. Not meeting someone's qualification as a magician doesn't preclude people from doing the occasional magic either. But, for people who want to solidly, truly, and thoroughly be a magician, some concept of what qualifies a person as such can be an inspiration or a guide for how to develop oneself.

In my own development there were a lot of ideas that people I respected imparted to me when I was a kid about what disciplines I needed to apprehend in order to truly be a magician. I took those to heart, and they helped guide me as I made choices about what to learn and do in life. Not meeting all those “qualifications” not having all the skills, and knowledge, doesn't necessarily kick us out of the magician club, but it can give us an idea of where to head.

So what were della Porta's criteria?

I'm not quoting, I'm just going to summarize.

1. A magician must be a natural philosopher (skilled in the natural sciences).
2. The magician must be a physician (skilled in physiology and chemistry)
3. The magician must be wealthy

When looking at these ideas we have to look at what the world was like at the time. The first two items are basically just presuming that the individual is educated. Specialized education is pretty modern. When della Porta was writing an educated man would automatically be educated in these topics. Engaging in magic and alchemy was similarly something that would not have been atypical for those of the leisure classes. These activities were viewed as an extension of science, an additional way to explore the world more deeply and gain knowledge that was beyond the science of the times.

Magic today fits into a different place in our culture. We have a wider array of subjects to learn and understand. Knowledge is more specialized because there is simply so much more of it. Science probes so much more deeply and has told us so much more about our world, our bodies, and our universe. So magic gets lumped in with religion, in a time where both are relegated more and more to niche parts of the populace. So if magic is not simply the crown of a liberal arts education do these criteria still make sense?

Well, regarding the natural sciences, if we look at Agrippa, and the grimoires, and the old alchemical manuscripts it is absolutely necessary that the magician have some knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, and physics. The magician does not need to be a doctor of such things, or even educated to the point of a bachelors degree in those subjects. That said, a magician will be well served by having at least a high school or undergraduate survey level of education in these disciplines.

Physiology is likely of less importance, but could have value. Beyond physiology a physick of the time would have been educated in herbalism, and rudimentary chemical processes associated with alchemy. Della Porta specifically cites humorism as part of the knowledge a physician would have had. Hermetic science, while it embraced the alchemical philosophies which advanced both alchemy and medicine beyond humorism, elements of humorism still are important to many parts of magic.

Clearly we don't need to all go out an become doctors, but looking at what was meant by the assertion is still useful. I'm not into herbalism, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone need to be unless they really want to commit to thoroughly being educated in it. Still, a magician needs a little rudimentary knowledge of herbalism. Knowing correspondences, knowing what different parts of an herb relate to, knowing how to extract essences, and make tinctures, all of these are part of developing a magical practice. Humorism is important in understanding the processes of manifestation, alchemy, initiation, and hermetic healing.

So for the first two ideas, I would assert that, yeah, definitely, these disciplines, understood in a modern context, are necessary for developing as a magician. Philosophy (including politics, rhetoric, ontology/metaphysics, and ethics), history, and theology would likely have also been part of the education della Porta would have assumed. What we now call psychology wouldn't have quite existed, but its roots would have existed in philosophy and medicine. I think being a complete and successful magician still includes education in these subjects. In fact these subjects may be more obviously necessary for the magician.

Magicians need to understand various cultures, mythologies, and symbols which are often understood through the study of history. Understanding politics and rhetoric helps us with understanding how to think and how to structure and understand ideas. This is important because we deal with a lot of really bizarre concepts and experiences which have to be squared against the observable world. Magic itself is the application of an understanding of the fundamental nature and structure of the universe and the self, and so ontology and metaphysics are absolutely necessary for the magician. I'm not into chaos magic which is often associated with tying psychology to magic, but, before chaos magic, Regardie, Fortune, and even Crowley incorporated a lot of psychology into magic. Magic, again, deals with a lot of bizarre experiences. Understanding how our minds work, how symbols work within the mind, how ritual and various experiences affect us, and how all of these dynamics come into play with how we approach the world and the people around us is necessary to surviving as a magician. As to theology, this might be more controversial, but I think the controversial element of asserting that we have a grounding in theology and theological discourse proves the need for that grounding. There are a lot of ways to understand the divine and divinity, most more advanced magic requires some approach to divinity. That isn't the same as saying it requires believing in a guy up in the sky. The theological elements of magic are much more nuanced and complicated and the relationship between theism and atheism gets very very skewed in a magical context.

Outside of a practical sense, the role of the magician also implies the need for these disciplines. The magician has access to knowledge, power, and insight that others do not. He needs the mental basis to interpret and apply this. He also needs the ability to relate it to the world and communicate it in a way which makes him useful to those around him. Whether we interpret magicians as leaders, or advisers, as gurus or prophets or hermits, the magician is intended to improve the world. That's what the Great Work is. Yeah you have to transmute yourself and reveal your inner awesome, but you contribute to the over all transmutation of the world too, and frequently that's done by impacting other people in the world. These disciplines are necessary to being that person who can encapsulate and communicate that inspiration from beyond.

Nothing about this makes magic unattainable or suggests that magic is a “one percent” activity. Anyone with access to a library, or anyone with intelligence who is paying attention to their high school education can reasonably have a very basic grounding in these subjects. More commonly though this well rounded set of academic disciplines can be attained by meeting the general education requirements of education at most universities. Not really a daunting task.

Now, the part that's easy to say doesn't fit is the having wealth part. Now, Jason Miller, and Rufus Opus have written a lot of great things about how the modern aversion to money associated with magic and spiritual disciplines is a potentially damaging concept. A lot of great magicians these days have put out a lot of great material around prosperity work. There is a clear attachment to Jupiter, and work relating to the sphere of Jupiter amongst many of the leading magicians today. Part of the idea seems to be that if someone gets their finances straight first they'll feel good about their ability to be successful with magic, and in addition to that they'll reduce some of the basic life stresses that distract us from engaging in magic.

I think during della Porta's time there probably was a bit of elitism to this idea, but practically speaking, a poor tradesman would not have had time for a lot of the things that della Porta and his compatriots were doing. So in that vein the logic is similar. Further their experiments involved a lot of stuff. Much of it was expensive, some of it needed to be made by or procured from particular sorts of people. More traditional ceremonial magic today has the same issue. Classical magicians also sometimes needed to employ aids for their work. This part isn't as necessary today. It remains though, having a stable financial basis puts you in a better state for the work, and also affords you the resources needed to obtain materials needed for the work.

So no you don't need to be rich. I won't even say you have to be financially stable, although a ton of people like to repeat “you have to have your Malkhut in order first,” but I will say that it'll be a lot better if you are stable.

Now I think there are other things that go into being a magician, mostly, the magic parts. I also think the discussion of the character of the magician is another important discussion. But all in all, I think the ideas that Ultraculture reported as being proposed by della Porta are pretty useful when examined for what they mean today. It's not some archaic curiosity. It's not some dated elitist sentiment. It's not a look at how magicians of the past equated to the maligned wealthy people of today. Della Porta's ideas are useful, and really still describe a concept of what qualifies someone as a magician which is still relevant for today.