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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Stele of Reggie Scott or Thoughts on Daily Prayers

In my last post I made a quick mention of the idea of reciting the prayers and conjurations for the days of the week even when not working a conjuration ritual. Some modern authors stress the idea of repeating the conjurations for the power which is conveyed through the presence of mind and the smooth ritual feeling created by reciting a memorized conjuration. There is some truth to that, but for that to be the case the magician can't simply memorize and recite...if he does he has essentially the same distraction as he tries to focus on recall. He has to embody the experience of the conjuration prayer so that it becomes natural to him, not simply memorized. When I was learning to celebrate the Gnostic Mass one of the Priestesses (now a Bishop) who helped train me pointed out that you can't rote memorize the Mass and then try to paint the magic on later, you have to run the magic from the beginning so that the celebration of the mystery is natural to you. When working with Novice clergy I often recommend that they find ways to explore the passages of the Mass in meditation to deepen their understanding and then utilize them in building other magical rituals so that they are used to running with those forces in the ways in which the Mass stirs them. Working in that manner there can be an added element to memorization. But memorization can be a draw back if you're constantly worrying about whether or not you remembered it right or missed a word or phrase, or if the attempt to recall causes a stilted broken delivery or detachment as one blankly recalls and says words. Reading can create the same problems, but we can also read in an engaged fashion with feeling in which we embody what we are reading. In fact, references to the book as a tool in medieval and renaissance magical literature suggests that it is used in the ritual, and therefore likely read from.

So, why pray the conjurations when not working the rituals? Another suggestion is that we can, without conjuring the spirits, still stir and stimulate the planetary forces in our lives by working with the conjurations. Similar to the suggestion to work the Mass into our other work. Considering this from the perspective of a Priest we can compare this to the practices of those who developed the medieval grimoire system, people with a clerical background. Catholics had a rich system of prayers and rituals for all elements of life, and prayers for various parts of the day to keep them in touch with the spirit and focused on a life enmeshed within divine grace. They inflamed themselves with prayer by invoking often. Working with the daily conjurations and prayers allows us to do that with the planetary forces which form a central system of categorizing the universe in grimoire magic and much of the Western Mystery Tradition. Similarly working with prayers that connect us to ancestors, saints, local spirits, or our intermediaries can be of value for our personal spiritual routine maintenance.

When we work the Abramelin a lot of the preparation is this immersion in repeated prayer and meditation. It focuses us on the goal but also draws us towards the angel. In modern magic the Holy Guardian Angel, whether contacted through the Abramelin or related rituals is a focus as far as what we should draw ourselves towards. One prayer that frequently is associated with this is the Stele of Jeu, or the Headless Invocation as it is presented in the Golden Dawn system, the Bornless Ritual, or the A.'.A.'. system, Liber Samekh.

The Stele of Jeu is an exorcism ritual. People question this assertion sometimes because they're used to seeing the modern version which removes the exorcism verbiage and instead replaces it with the verbiage about subjugating spirits that is otherwise only found towards the end of the invocation. To be clear, when I say exorcism in this case it is in reference to subduing and casting out a spirit, not the more general earlier verbiage simply of binding spirits. In most cases, that isn't precisely what we'd be looking for by working with the Stele. At least, not all the time.

In Reginald Scott's work there is a “conjuration” which doesn't actually conjure a spirit, but rather implores the Trinity, primarily Jesus, to establish a relationship with the magician which will allow him to conjure spirits and make them obedient. For people who want to work in a Christian context this prayer would be a great daily prayer for establishing a relationship with divine authority and receiving the consecration needed to call and command spirits subject to that authority. For those working in a Thelemic context or some other modern context, the prayer can be reworked to be appropriate for your context or simply used as an example for how to build such a prayer when we look at its pattern in comparison with the Stele of Jeu.

For now, here is the conjuration from Book XV of Scott.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the + Father + and the Son + and the Holy Ghost + Holy Trinity and Inseparable Unity, I call upon You, that You may be my salvation and defense, and the protection of my body and soul, and of all my goods through the virtue of Your Holy Cross, and through the virtue of Your passion, I beseech You O Lord Jesus Christ, by the merits of Your blessed mother Holy Mary, and of all Your saints, that You give me grace and divine power over all the wicked spirits, so as which of them soever I do call by name, they may come by and by from every coast, and accomplish my will, that they neither be hurtful or fearful unto me, but rather obedient and diligent about me. And through Your virtue straightly commanding them, let them fulfill my commands, Amen. Holy, holy, Lord God of Sabboth, which will come to judge the quick and the dead, You who are Alpha and Omega, first and last, King of kings and Lord of lords, Ioth, Aglanabrath, El, Abiel, Anathiel, Amazim, Sedomel, Gayes, Heli, Messias, Tolimi, Elias, Ischiros, Athanatos, Imas. By these Your holy names, and by all others I do call upon You, and beseech You O Lord Jesus Christ, by Your nativity and baptism, by thy cross and passion, by Your ascension, and by the coming of the Holy-Ghost, by the bitterness of Your soul when it departed from Your body, by Your five wounds, by the blood and water which went out of Your body, by Your virtue, by the sacrament which You gave Your disciples the day before You suffered, by the Holy trinity, and by the inseparable unity, by blessed Mary Your mother, by Your angels, archangels, prophets, patriarchs, and by all Your saints, and by all the sacraments which are made in Your honor, I do worship and beseech You, I bless and desire You, to accept these prayers, conjurations, and words of my mouth, which I will use. I require You O Lord Jesus Christ, that You give me Your virtue & power over all Your angels (which were thrown down from heaven to deceive mankind) to draw them to me, to tie and bind them, & also to loose them, to gather them together before me, & to command them to do all that they can, and that by no means they contemn my voice, or the words of my mouth; but that they obey me and my sayings, and fear me. I beseech You by Your humanity, mercy and grace, and I require You Adonai, Amay, Horta, Vege dora, Mitai, Hel, Suranat, Ysion, Ysesy, and by all Your holy names, and by all Your holy he saints and she saints, by all Your angels and archangels, powers, dominions, and virtues, and by that name that Solomon did bind the devils, and shut them up, Elhrach, Ebanher, Agla, Goth, Ioth, Othie, Venoch, Nabrat, and by all Your holy names which are written in this book, and by the virtue of them all, that You enable me to congregate all Your spirits thrown down from heaven, that they may give me a true answer of all my demands, and that they satisfy all my requests, without the hurt of my body or soul, or any thing else that is mine, through our Lord Jesus Christ Your son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy-Ghost, one God world without end.

Oh Father omnipotent, Oh wise Son, Oh Holy-Ghost, the searcher of hearts, oh you three in persons, one true godhead in substance, which did spare Adam and Eve in their sins; and Oh You Son, who died for their sins a most filthy death, sustaining it upon the Holy Cross; oh You most merciful, when I fly unto Your mercy, and beseech You by all the means I can, by these the holy names of Your Son; to wit, Alpha and Omega, and all of his other names, grant me Your virtue and power, that I may be able to cite before me, Your spirits which were thrown down from heaven, & that they may speak with me, & dispatch by & by without delay, & with a good will, & without the hurt of my body, soul, or goods, etc: as is contained in the book called Annulus Salomonis.

Oh great and eternal virtue of the highest, which through disposition, these being called to judgment, Vaicheon, Stimulamaton, Esphares, Tetragrammaton, Olioram, Cryon, Esytion, Existion, Eriona, Onela, Brasim, Noym, Messias, Soter, Emanuel, Sabboth, Adonai, I worship You, I invoke You, I implore You with all the strength of my mind, that by You, my present prayers, consecrations, and conjurations be hallowed: and wheresoever wicked spirits are called, in the virtue of Your names, they may come together from every coast, and diligently fulfill the will of me the exorcist. Fiat, fiat, fiat, Amen.

Thee I invoke, the Bornless One!
Thee that didst create the Earth and the Heavens,
Thee that didst create the Night and the Day,
Thee that didst create the Darkness and the Light.
Thou art Osorronophris, whom no man hath seen at any time.
Thou art Jabas; thou art Japos.
Thou hast distinguished between the Just and the Unjust.
Thou didst make the Female and the Male.
Thou didst produce the Seed and the Fruit.
Thou didst form Men to love one another, and to hate one another.
Hear thou me, for I am Mosheh thy servant, unto whom Thou hast committed thy Mysteries, the ceremonies of Israel.
Thou hast produced the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all created life.
Hear me, for I am the Angel of Paphro Osorronophris: this is Thy true name, handed down to the prophets of Israel.
Hear me: Ar, Thiao, Rheibet, Atheleberseth, A, Blatha, Abeu, Ebeu, Phi, Thitasoe, Ib, Thiao.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me: so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether; upon the Earth and under the Earth; on dry land or in the water; of whirling air or of rushing fire; and every spell and scourge of God may be obedient unto me.

I invoke Thee, the terrible and invisible God who dwellest in the void place of spirit: Arogogorobrao, Sothou, Modorio, Phalarthao, Ooo, Ape, The Bornless One.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

Hear me: Roubriao, Mariodam, Balbnabaoth, Assalonai, Aphniao, I, Thoteth, Abrasax, Aeoou, Ischure, Mighty and Bornless One.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

I invoke Thee: Ma, Barraio, Ioel, Kotha, Athorebalo, Abraoth.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

Hear me: Aoth, Abaoth, Basum, Isak, Sabaoth, IAO.
This is the Lord of the Gods;
This is the Lord of the Universe;
This is He Whom the winds fear;
This is He Who, having made Voice by His commandment, is Lord of all things - king, ruler and helper.

Hear me and make all spirits subject unto me … (etc)

Hear me: Ieou, Pyr, Iou, Pyr, Iaot, Iaeo, Ioou, Abrasax, Sabriam, Oo, Yu, Eu, Oo, Yu, Adonaie, Ede, Edu, Angelos Ton Theon, Anlala Lai, Gaia, Apa, Diachanna Chorun.


I am He, the Bornless Spirit! Having sight in the feet - strong, and the Immortal Fire!
I am He, the Truth!
I am He, who hate that evil should be wrought in the world.
I am He who lighteneth and thundereth.
I am He from whom is the shower of the life on Earth.
I am He whose mouth ever flameth.
I am He, the Begetter and Manifester unto the Light.
I am He, the Grace of the World.
“The Heart Girt with a Serpent” is My name.

Come thou forth and follow me, and make all spirits subject unto me, so that every spirit of the firmament and of the ether, upon the Earth and under the Earth, on dry land and in the water, of whirling air and of rushing fire, and every spell and scourge of God, may be obedient unto me.

IAO. Sabao. Such are the words!

Both invocations have a similar structure. They begin by by imploring the presence of the divine by combining references to divine names and characteristics. From there power over spirits is requested. After that more divine names and attributes, more requests for authority, and so forth. Other spiritual forces and heroic figures are referenced as part of the invocation of power and authority. Interestingly the Headless One is described as having a mouth that always flames, and Scott specifically asks that the mouth of the exorcist be blessed. This imagery seems important because it is by words that the magician will continue his work in commanding spirits. A major difference is that the Headless Invocation follows a pattern of identification which we often see in modern magic, possibly partially influenced by the Headless Invocation. We don't see identification with divinity in Scott but rather a series of requests that the magician be consecrated in such a way that he will have authority over the spirits. Both conjurations are comprehensive in the authority over spirits. The Headless Invocation references spirits in different locations...firmament, ether, upon earth, under earth, air, fire, dry land, water, basically covers all places spirits can reside. Scott's focus is on devils and fallen angels, but the spirits are referenced first as angels, and then given the added descriptor of being angels who have been cast down, additionally wicked spirits and devils are specifically referenced. There is no break down of spirits in different elemental localities, but it would seem to suggest that all spirits not in the heavens are made subject, and the spirits of the heavens are implored as part of the structure of gaining power over lower spirits.

So between the two we can get a feel for how to invoke authority as a conjuror. We would build a cycle of invoking the divine and asking for authority, referencing the specifics of the power requested, and repeating, then modifying the cycle to ask for consecration in ways that improve our ability to interact with spirits such as consecrating the mouth and speech, imbuing with sight, preventing spirits from being set against the magician, imbuing the magician with the virtues of previous recipients of divine grace.

If you experiment with developing your own prayer for this purpose or try Scott I'd love to hear about it so come back and comment. And stop by and like us/follow us on Facebook, should have some interesting stuff coming up soon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Magical Aerobics

Recently I taught a class on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. The class got a pretty positive response because a lot of what I went over was outside of what is normally discussed. We talk about things like the four kings, conjuring spirits, animism and the magic circle, and how to use the LRP as a practical ritual in addition to exploring it's more standard use as a mystical exercise.

In the end of the class I refer to the ritual as magical aerobics, a phrase I used to describe a lot of modern ceremonial magic in an episode of Rufus Opus's ROpocalypse.

Off the cuff some people might think that this is kind of a flippant dismissal of the Lesser Pentagram Ritual or of late 19th and early 20th century magic. It isn't. Whenever I use the term it's always in a context of talking about how even for practitioners of more traditional magic there is a utility to the developmental aspects of modern ceremonial magic or the Western Mystery Tradition as filtered through the lens the Golden Dawn and later groups. Outside of my magical life I coach a college fencing team and a youth fencing program. I'm constantly trying to convince them that it's important to keep up with running, weight lifting, and aerobic training outside of their fencing training. I don't really give a shit about getting people to do aerobics for the sake of aerobics, I have no real interest in inspiring people to run for the sake of running. I want my athletes to be successful, and developing themselves is part of that. Same for magicians.

Instructions in some books of conjuration talk about the importance of using daily conjurations outside of ritual to acquaint oneself with the ritual and to keep those magical elements of the day active even when not being used. Traditional magic works have all sorts of preparations and cleansings for the magician. Traditional systems of sorcery have initiations and preparations to empower the magician. The religious systems which inspire traditional grimoire magic use systems of sacraments to prepare and orient participants. Priests and mystics developed systems of spiritual exercises to more fully expose their adherents to the divine forces they believed they needed to experience. We see magicians pointed towards similar spiritual attainments in texts like Liber Juratus and The Sacred Magic of Abramelin.

I don't think all of these elements of magic are quite the same as spiritual or magical aerobics. But when we look at a lot of the exercises included in Golden Dawn magic and later systems, we find little daily rituals like the LBRP, Resh, instructions in pranayama and asana, the meditations given to the grades of the GD, and the rest of the small daily magical exercises that make up modern magic. Almost none of them have a direct practical result that they create, if we define practical magic as magic which creates an effect in the world. By in large these rituals have mystical elements, they open us up to spiritual forces, they change how we see and experience things, but unless they're tweaked they don't do the stuff we would traditionally associate with magic. They get us ready to be more successful at magic by building skills and acquainting us with esoteric forces.

So for those who have only tried traditional magic, there may be some useful things to find in looking at modern magic. Some of the initiations present us with access to things and experiences of things which we can apply when working with spirits. For people who only work with modern magic, that can be all well and good if you want to be a mystic using ritual, but if you want to do magic you need to step out of that box, which after all, was the purpose of the original Golden Dawn system. You went through the initiations, the exercises, and then did alchemy and worked with the handful of grimoires they had access to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ain't No Holla Back Mystic

Last week for the Feast of the Annunciation Fr. James Martin, SJ, wrote an interesting reflection on having a profound divine experience...and then the facilitator of that experience, in the case of Mary the Archangel Gabriel, ends up leaving. And you have to go back to normal and you have to go back to day to day life. From Fr. James's point of view “and then the angel left,” the words which powerfully but subtly describe the singular nature of the moment which Mary experienced, are the words which are most important for Catholics trying to relate to this passage, or this event in scripture.

And then the angel left.

This describes the fact that moments of peak religious experience end, and then like Mary, you have to go back to dealing with your day to day life.

Fr. James's point about the Annunciation is a pretty interesting one. Especially, perhaps, from the perspective of a magician. We engage in some pretty amazing experiences. We do some epic stuff on a mundane level, like cool rituals or initiations, or traveling to interesting places to discover unusual things, or reading interesting forgotten histories and stories, and various things like that which most other people just don't think about. On a more directly magical level, we experience stuff like visions and revelations, foreknowledge of the future, awareness of things we shouldn't be aware of, conversations with angels, demons and other spirits, and moments where we mold our world to our will, or where we experience the coalescence of the divine. All of these things can pepper our lives with amazement.

But then the angel left.

We go back to school, or work, or taking care of the kids. We vacuum the rug and sweep the floor, make dinner and do the dishes, pay the bills, and find time to make it to bed at night to get just enough sleep to survive. All that other amazing stuff happened but it's just that, it's something that happened, in the past, and it was cool...but, what about the rest of the time?

People often ask “what's it like for the hero of the movie after the movie is over and his life goes back to normal?” In a way, that can be what our lives are like when we do magic. We have our spiritual adventure and then we're back to the grind, knowing that we get to do amazing stuff and be amazing...but just not right now. Right now we get to be humdrum.

That shift can be ok, depending on what our life is like; but it can also be miserable. Because it's fun getting sweet talked by a good looking angel...

Until the point where the angel left.

I think some of what we see online, or even in offline occult communities, is explained in part by this. Sometimes people get into magic because they feel small, but they want to feel epic. Sometimes they get to experience a moment that lets them know that epicness is there...but it's fleeting, or it might even be scary and so pursuing more epic moments might not feel comfortable. It's a lot easier to go online and be a mystical magical bad ass in your spare time, and that way your magical adventure movie is part of daily life.

But there are better ways to avoid that awkward feeling of waiting for the angel to call you back after what you thought was a great time.

Maybe, just don't be humdrum. Maybe you can be epic as a magician, and you can also fill your life with other epic things. Not to brag, but as a financial adviser I have multi-millionaires who ask me what to do with their money, and the bulk of my non-work non-magic time is filled with teaching people to use swords. In conjunction with that last part, this past summer I watched the Olympics, with an Olympian, who has complimented me several times on how well I train people in her sport. To me this seems not quite humdrum. My life has some cool stuff but that said I might not always feel epic, and I might totally hang out in the valleys of mental and emotional experience sometimes, but I keep my life pretty interesting even when I'm not talking to angels and seeking visions of the whirling potentials at the beginning of the cosmos. I think we all have that potential to live our lives in ways that are cool. So staying legendary is one option for diminishing that sense of banality.

The other option is to be a proper mystic. Because...when I had my most vivid experience of an angel, and it made its annunciations to me of those things it had to announce, the angel didn't leave. We have knowledge of one another that allows us to converse as needed. Your angel is there with you. You just have to build the relationship where you can keep in communion with it and where you can learn to rely on its contact and inspiration.

So yeah, in a lot of religious contexts, there are peak experiences and then the rest of life is the doldrums. But not so for adepts. The Sacred Magic is all about the angel showing up and not leaving.

Now, you won't always be in a place where you're grooving on mystical consciousness, but that's fine. There will be times in life where your angel might seem further away because you're in a place where you just can't do whatever it is you're called to do, and you can't do the magic, and you can't look to your angel, because, sometimes life is just like that. It may even feel like you're cut off. But, once you claw out of that place, and you reach out to your angel, and you show you're ready to get back to your work, your angel will be there ready to jump right into it with you.

So even when you're not riding high on spiritual experience, it's not because the angel left. The angel is still there with you, waiting for you to be ready again. To me that's a lot better. I'd rather know my angel is still there for me than know that after he's said his message he's going to bounce, and he may or may not ever be back.

I guess part of this difference is because we're choosing to be mystics, we're choosing to be magicians, we're actively seeking to create a relationship with the angel rather than going about our days until some flash of brilliance appears for a fleeting moment.

With that in mind, the practical piece of this is that we have to do the work to meet our angels. That doesn't mean we all have to dive into the Abramelin working. But being mindful when we engage in our developmental magical exercises how they might engage our angel is a start towards forming that connection.

Find prayers and rituals that connect to your angel. For instance I really like the Anthem from the Gnostic Mass for that purpose. With the Mass in mind, reflect on how the Eucharist connects you to your angel. Dive into that connection as your feel it.

Maybe set an altar for your angel and do devotional work with it. Come up with some prayers to use for the purpose of communion or opening lines of communication. Consecrate a candle or lamp to your angel and light it when you talk with the angel. Get some Abramelin or temple incense, or at the least frankincense, to offer to the angel while you're working at the altar.

There's lots of options short of the retreat. The PGM has several useful prayers that can help with this or be an inspiration towards it. Find what suits you and do it. And when your angel helps you determine it's time for the retreat you'll be all the more prepared.