Gods of the Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn has an unusual attitude to Gods, which can be best described as an intellectual abstraction which is disconnected from their god status.
Osiris 
During a 0=0 ceremony, the Heirophant creates a battery of Egyptian godforms which matches the Book of the Dead. These were closer to thought forms, because in most cases the officers, who were unorthodox Christians, would not have considered them “real” in any sense of the world. Each god would be dressed in a specific way which would allow them to reflect the colours and powers of the Golden Dawn system, rather than any attachment to ancient Egypt.
These godforms acted like thought forms which effected change within the candidate’s sphere of sensation by virtue of the fact that they resonated to certain ideas.
Horus the Elder
For this to work, Mathers had to make up a couple of godforms to get what he wanted. Thus you end up with godforms for the Dadouchosand Stolisties which are extensions of Maat, but were unknown in Ancient Egypt. Over the centuries we have come to understand a lot more about Ancient Egyptian gods and some of the ones in the Golden Dawn ritual have different meanings from their real counterparts. For example Aroeris, or Horus the Elder, who the Golden Dawn connects with an active form of Osiris has really nothing to do with him. Aroeris was a pre-dynastic sky god who He was the son or husband of Hathor and was considered to be a creator god and the archetypal king. He was the brother of Set, and Osiris and was a creator god, the falcon who flew up at the beginning of time. His right eye was the sun and his left eye was the moon and images of the “Eye of Horus” were considered to be powerful protective amulets. His speckled feathers formed the stars and his wings created the wind.
True, he was associated with wars with Set, he became more Solar, and merged with the latter when the Isis and Osiris legend took hold of Egypt. But he was was a completely different God and certainly not a “more active Osiris.” If you were going to say that Horus was a counterpart of anyone on the floor of the 0=0 it would be the Hireus and not Osiris.
This would be unimportant if you relied on the Godforms as simply thought forms. However, occult philosophy has also developed over the last 100 years and thinking about Gods has changed.
Dion Fortune
Some of this work was carried out by Dion Fortune and the line which extended from her, manifesting through Bill Gray, Alan Richardson, Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki, and Josephine McCarthy.
The current thinking is not that these forms are abstract beings, but rather they are living entities which continue to function long after their worship is stopped. While they do not require worship from occultists, they still want their work to continue and, with the correct handling, are useful to us. These are intelligent vortexes of power which can genuinely transform.Many magicians have approached these gods for help with their magical projects. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they say they would like to, but the work does not fit properly with their powers. Others fit a role really well when you do not expect it and an aspect of their power which was previously unknown becomes obvious.
With the rise of the neo-pagan movement, many Golden Dawn magicians are coming to the system with a religious connection of some kind with some of these Gods – Bast, Sekmet, Anubis and Isis are pretty popular. This is starting to prevent the use of such Godforms as the abstract thought-forms envisaged by Mathers. An experienced officer who works with Anubis on a daily basis creates a much stronger Kerux than one who does not.
Maat
The loss of the intellectual thought-form idea is not such a bad thing. The Gods themselves have a useful part to play within the 0=0 and can make the ritual more theomagical and it would be better to encourage the development of contact with these ancient Gods to improve the ritual.
However this then creates a problem in that some of the intellectual patches that Mathers installed within the rituals suddenly do not work. True, you can still think of the active and passive aspects of Maat as Dadouchosand Stolisties, although seeing them as separate godforms is inaccurate. It is better to bring in more accurate fire and water goddesses. Likewise you cannot see Osiris as Aroeris because he is standing up.
On the plus side, the group starts to tap into something which has been built by countless worshippers over a long period of history.
A lot more work still needs to be done to see if these godforms can be dressed within the more narrow conceptions of Mather’s thought-forms. If they agree, and they can follow the ritual, then you are creating a much more powerful form of initiation and developing the more Theurgic aspects of the Golden Dawn.
This is an area for research. There will be many who say that the Golden Dawn system of godforms is perfect and does not need touching. But in my view it is one worth looking at.

Power, Magic and psychology

It does not matter what you think or say your motivations were for getting involved in magic, it’s almost certainly really going to be something to do with power. We want to be more powerful than our circumstances allow us to be. It isn’t because you want to serve the light, it isn’t because you want to help people or find the God within, or any other sanctimonious reason, it’s because you are attracted to a path that promises power. 
But  power is a bad thing, isn’t it? The bad guys in the comics like Lex Luther crave power and magicians want to be the good guy, the Superman. Yeah right, leaving aside the self delusion behind that statement for a moment, it is worthwhile pointing out that not only is Superman famous for being powerful, he only wins because he’s more powerful than anyone else.
When people join esoteric groups they write their initial motivations behind joining an occult group. They are almost always power related, even if the word is lacking from their application. You will find phrases like “I want knowledge” when knowledge is power. They will say that they are seeking Wisdom usually without saying why. It could be so that they are superior to someone who is ‘ignorant’. Even safe general phrases such as “I seek the Light of God” can be seen in terms of seeking power because normal people don’t ever get see the Almighty.
It is almost as if occult seekers are bending over backwards to deny that they are seeking power. It is a dirty word which nice spiritual types are not supposed to use in mixed company.
We’re taught that it’s better to be a team player than to be the captain, or in the chorus than in centre stage. This social programming is nothing more than a cop-out. It is those forces of darkness that want to keep you small. Those demons who want to keep you from becoming and expressing your true individuality. The message of occultism is that you are a unique expression of God and that doesn’t tally with a message from society that says we have to fit in and stay small and powerless.
Some powerless leaders of magical groups insist that their students
carry out magical attacks “for the defence of the group.”
Traditionally the method is to slit the jugular of a watermelon.


However what draws occultists to this path is the fact that they suffer from a lack of power. They are usually the oddballs of the society who find themselves at loggerheads with the way their country is built. Some of this powerlessness is beaten into them by society and their families who want them to conform. Rather than fight their way into society they would rather sit back and moan about it in their various fantasy worlds; worlds that occultism makes all the more intense.  This is one of the reasons why people are drawn to power crazed nut cases who run occult groups. They appear to have power and will reflect their students own feeling of powerlessness. Many a water melon has been sacrificed to a leader’s paranoia and the students doing the attacks are not aware that they are damaging themselves and their own karma by doing the leaders’s bidding. If they had a healthier attitude to power then they would be less keen to give it away so readily.
These outsiders still crave power, but have to justify their lack of powerlessness to themselves. Therefore they invent copouts. They make society ‘material’ so that their ‘spirituality’ doesn’t have to mix with it. They seek to “escape the rat race” and thus allow such a system to continue unchecked. They talk about having spiritual cleansing, while at the same time are unable to find time to have a bath.
Searching for God is a quest for power. But it is not a power over others, it should be a self-power. Irritatingly the new age movement calls this process ’empowerment’ and unfortunately there isn’t a better word in the dictionary to describe it.
You realise that this is a co-dependent relationship
where I give you all my power and don’t even get a
shag out of it?  
When we look at the nature of that self-power we get into the realms of that archetypal of Quests the Holy Grail. Although this allegory has been long castrated by those who would have turned it into a symbol of the Divine Feminine, the story is about the search for real spiritual power. Lancelot was powerless because of his neurotic love of Guinevere which was why he couldn’t see it.
His son who was an embodiment of spiritual power was able to take it. Bors, who was the average family man, also could experience it. The message is clear. Spiritual power is not for the neurotic or those who deny the truth in themselves and spend their time picking over their sins like old sores.
Our average occultist, who is starting the path, believes in him or herself about as much as he or she believes in the ability of a rifle to stop a rogue bull elephant with a bullclip attached to its testicles. They have a huge task on their hands attracting power because their personalities aren’t the natural place for such abilities to grow.
Most magical work involves visualisation that is charged with emotion and will. Basically you see something happening as clearly as possible and will it to happen so that it feels that it already has happened. You can enhance this process by the use of symbols which are a bit like pre-made visualisations. The goal of this is to make your visualisations alive and as real as possible.
Most people do magic every second of the day. They are just not aware of the process which is why they aren’t magicians. They get up and visualise what their day will be, good, bad, or indifferent. They charge these mental images, normally with their fears, and aren’t surprised when they all manifest. Those who believe in themselves, or find life good, tend to be more optimistic and therefore, when shit happens, it is usually happening to someone else.
In my book Magical Pathworking, I describe how the universe is basically God’s dream and everything is connected by symbols. Since we are part of God, we create our universe in the same way and our life is symbolic of who we are. I suggested various methods of playing around with those symbols so that we can not only see who we are but change ourselves and our environment. What I suggested is that we all carry in our psyches an Inner Kingdom which we rule according to our own perceptions. Some people make a pig’s ear of it, others are masters of their Inner Kingdoms, while the majority of us do some things better than others. Therefore, before our occultist can progress, he or she must become empowered at the level of his or her Inner Kingdom.
The average Inner Kingdom of an outsider is often messier than their bedrooms. Cluttered with failure, they often find their Inner Kingdom is ruled by circumstance, bad habit, and laziness. Symbolically they are the prodigal prince who has left the Kingdom in the hands of the Grand Vizier, who has done his best to take control and doesn’t want the prince to take his rightful place on the throne. If you really were the King or Queen of your environment, the Grand Vizier would be a dependable character — he makes everything you believe in happen. However, if he is in charge, all he does is maintain the status quo. He uses the symbols that you believe in and creates an Inner Kingdom which is usually less than desirable. For example you might have had a bad boss who fired you for no reason. That boss becomes a symbol for every employer in a position of power over you. Your Grand Vizier will dust off that symbol every time you encounter an employer and make sure that you will come across similar situations.
In the case of our new occultist, there will be few symbols of power. However, there will be a lot of symbols of a lack of these things. When they perform rituals to plant new ideas of power within their Inner Kingdom, the seeds are often falling on stony ground or among weeds. There is just so much in the Inner Kingdom that will strangle such rituals that they are pointless.
Ritual does have some safe-guards to over-ride these problems. By calling on powerful forces in the universe, such as Angels and Gods, it’s possible to override our feelings of being small. Fully charged by a good working, and the godform working through us, it‘s possible to really feel that this time there will be change. We can push ourselves over our barriers and believe it’s possible to be wealthy or powerful. However, our own negativity about becoming wealthy will eventually shine through and ultimately any ritual will fail, or worse we will lose anything we gain.
Viv Nicholson
This can be seen in the case of the non-magician Viv Nicholson who was one of the UK’s pools winners. In 1961, Viv and Keith Nicholson were living on a £7-a-week trainee miner’s wage bringing up three kids in a tiny terraced home in Castleford, Yorkshire. Then they won the equivalent of £3 million on the football pools. Far from making them happy, they spent the money too quickly. Keith died behind the wheel of his expensive car, Viv ended up with a string of husbands who married her for the money that she had already spent. She became bankrupt and later became a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Wealth was not part of her Inner Kingdom.
In other cases you will find within the occult field those who attempt to take power from the universe and others to prop up their own powerless egos. Such types will knife their friends to gain power that was never theirs to take and find that the universe snaps back against them. They might end up with seeming power over others, but end up alone and muttering in the darkness. If such types were more empowered in the first place this would not happen.
So what is the process we need to empower ourselves. In the outer order of the GD we spend a lot of time balancing the elements. Finally in portal we crown these elements within ourselves with spirit. We symbolically become empowered. However the process is part performed every day and not just for the portal grade. The more work we do in empowering ourselves, the less fall-out we suffer when we hit portal. Ask yourself the following questions:
How powerful am I now?
How do I give my power away?
Why do I give my power away?
How do I misuse the power I have?
How can I increase the amount of power I have?
These are irritating ‘New Age’ questions to ask ourselves. But it does not stop them being powerful keys to unlock our weaknesses. There are no ‘off pat’ answers here. You have to journey to your own Inner Kingdom to find out the answers. Then once you have found them, you have to change so that you are not a victim, or small, but a King or Queen in charge of your own kingdom.
I am not saying that magic is all psychological and that ritual is just a trick you play on your own mind to “get what you want.” Magic is working with real forces that flow through you. But the first place they appear is in your Inner Kingdom. Therefore it is really important to do some personality work and become a little more balanced before starting on serious work.
If I was right, my patents would
be the most stable magicians
in the world.
To resolve “power issues” amongst other things, Israel Regardie suggested that you needed to undergo some psychological counselling before you continue magical work. He would say that because he was a Reichian shrink. I have yet to see how counselling made a difference to anyone.  In fact many people who go to shrinks do so to vent themselves on someone once a week and never change at all.   Most of the trained counsellors I have been have seen are more unbalanced than their patents. But a general desire to work on one’s personality and to see it as a tool which can be fashioned, is an important precursor to serious magical work.  That does not really require a shrink, just the ability to work on your ideas of power on your own.

This article was first printed in the first issue of  Hermetic Virtues. 

Banishing Mathers

There is an old bugbear about doing banishing after you consecrate a talisman. It all comes from Samuel Mathers who wrote at the end of the Z documents section on making a talisman that you should wrap up your talisman in silk. He said that you should not perform a banishing in the room because you will discharge the talisman completely.

Those who believe that Mathers spoke with the authority of God, or his secret chiefs, claimed that this piece of information is absolutely right. They tell their students that banishing will remove all the charge from everything in the room!

Mathers was never sure if he was
Golden Dawn or King Solomon. The
Crown here is from the Greater Key

There are a number of reasons why this is rubbish. If a banishing removes the charge of objects in the room, the it means that all that consecration work you did on your tools is a pointless exercise. You put on your rose cross, lay out your lotus wand and four elemental weapons and do your banishing ritual of the pentagram and turn them into very expensive lumps of wood.
Er no. That does not happen and before you say “ah that is because you did not intend to banish those objects, I will have to point out that people that say “intention is everything” in magic usually do not play with the real stuff. What you intended is no help when the floor has turned into a perfect storm. Magic is a science. If a rule does not work then you have to find out why.
A well constructed talisman is built from the four levels of reality. It starts with a divine name, contains an archetypal on and then there is a Yetizatic one. Finally there is the physical talisman itself which is like a body for the other three levels.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram can be used to banish the earth and lower astral levels only. Since the material basis of a weapon or talisman is simply the material object drawing a pentagram is not going to change is nature any more than you can use one to stop a speeding car.
So the danger of a lesser ritual of the pentagram has to be to the lower astral connections to the material object.
In this respect, Mathers could have a point. After doing a ritual the link you have made between the talisman, or tool, and its astral counterpart is possibly weak. Banishing early in the life of the talisman or tool could be disconnected by the ritual.
However Mathers did not think that a similar relationship, that of a 0=0 candidate and their Higher Self was also weak. After the 0=0, which is the same ritual as the Z document, the candidate is told to banish and invoke often.
So Mathers then must think that the only applies to talismans or freshly consecrated tools.
I am going to stick my neck out here and say that Mathers is wrong. True it is probably not a good idea for you to put a talisman under any pressure after creating it until it has had a chance to settle down into its new body. But the ritual of consecration should be a lot more powerful than any lesser ritual of the Pentagram. This is because the lesser ritual works by raising the spiritual level of the room to keep the astral nasties out. A connection between a physical object and its astro-spiritual form would not be uneffected. Think about it. Do you lose the connection between your Higher Self because you did a banishing ritual? True, you are a little more spiritually robust than a talisman or tool, but the idea does not make much sense.
Neither does the idea of wrapping an object in silk. Silk is a good insulator if you think that spiritual force is the same as electricity. But if that were the case, wrapping an object in silk would cut the physical body of the talisman from the spiritual or astral one. It doesn’t so therefore the whole exercise is pointless. 

John Dee and the seven-branched candlestick of the Golden Dawn

When Samuel Mathers included Enochian within the Golden Dawn system, he used a manuscript called Sloane 307 which he found in the British Museum. The document post-date’s Dee by some decades and is a practical way into the later Dee work. There was a belief that Sloane 307 represented a magical tradition using Enochian dating back to a closed circle around Dee. As I pointed out in King over the Water Samuel showed it to one of his early mentors Kenneth MacKenzie, who is the most likely candidate to have written the Cypher manuscripts. 
The definitive edition of True
and Faithful is Stephen Skinner’s
Beautiful new leather bound
Edition
Unfortunately for Mathers, Sloane 307 was unlikely to have anything to do with Dee. It lacked some important material from the first five of Dee’s diaries and was probably based on a person who had gone through the published version of “A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed Between John Dee and some Spirits” by Meric Casaubon and cobbled together a working magic system. Casaubon had managed to find all Dee’s Diaries other than the first five books and edited these to fit his theories about how occultism could make a sane and clever man go mad.
The early Dee diaries give information on the assembly of the table, the seal of truth, the ring of Pele and the Heptarchia system of Angels. All important if you are going to recreate Dee’s system of Magic but less widely used by Golden Dawn magicians.
In the 1920’s one of the leading lights of the Golden Dawn in New Zealand, Ewan Campbell visited the UK and conducted some research at the British Library on the Dee manuscripts.
Whare Ra member Percy Wilkinson told me that Campbell realised there was a lot missing from the conventional GD Enochian system and came back with lots of copies of the diagrams. According to Pat Zalewski, Campbell was tipped off by Langford Gaston who was the head of the Mathers’s AO, so it might mean that he was conducting a similar review of the Enochian system within the GD. This did not seem to have been implemented before the AO shut down in the 1940s, despite the fact that there were some minor changes to the Order in the 1920’s.
Pat Zalewski
Mathers was aware that the material existed. He had written a paper called “The Seven Days of Creation Applied to the Seven Branched Candlestick” which has been lost. In his book Golden Dawn Enochian Magic, Zalewski has done a fine job in recreating what that document would have looked like. However it is a work for adepts in the Golden Dawn system and provides a lot of detail which in the Outer Order is not needed. However there is something in the Angels of the Bonorumwhich would be very useful to those beginning the path of magic and connected to the 1=_grade. It could give the Zelator a basic form of ‘low’ magic which they can use to fulfil their needs in the Outer Order while a the same time performing the Higher Magic of the grade work.
The Angels of the Heptarchia and these appear work at Yetziratic levels. They are essentially the Briatic Archangels as they manifest in Yesod.
The names for these Angels were split between seven tablets. Each tablet represented something ‘earthy’ which is also connected with the Nephesh of humanity:
  1. Wit and Wisdom with the magical image of a book. This is intellectual knowledge.
  2. The drive to rule and administer people with the magical image of a crown.
  3. The desire for material comfort. Business and trade, represented by the magical image of robes.
  4. The element of Water, with the magical symbol of a four footed animal.
  5. The element of Earth, the magical symbol of herbs
  6. The element of Air, the magical symbol of a fan
  7. The element of Fire, magical symbol of flame in the hands
The angels were formed by combining one letter from each tablet. They have aspects of each of them and therefore can control over every aspect of the Nephesh of a person, and that of the whole of the world.
There are 49 Angels; seven kings (Kether of Yesod), seven princes (Tiphareth of Yesod) and 35 governors (Yesod of Yesod).
The seven Kings are:
Baligon: (Haniel)
Bobogel: (Raphiel)
Babalel: (Kamael)
Bynepor: (Zadkiel)
Bnaspol: (Michael)
Bbapsen: (Tzaphqiel)
Blumaza: (Gabriel)
King Bobogel by Paola Farrell 

Their names are: Bornogo (Venus), Befafes (Sun), Butmonom (Mars), Blisdon (Jupiter), Brorges (Mercury),Bragles (Saturn) and Bagenol (Moon).
The Governors have a similar function in this system to the spirits and they work at the closest level to material substance.
Governers of Venus
Bapnido
Besgeme
Blumapo
Bmamgal
Basledf
Sun
Basmelo
Bernole
Branglo
Brisfli
Bnagloe
Mars
Bazpama
Blintom
Bragiop
Bermale
Bonefon
Jupiter
Balceor
Belmara
Benpagi
Barnafa
Bmilges
Mercury
Baspalo
Binodab
Bariges
Binofon
Baldago
Saturn
Bormila
Buscnab
Bmninpol
Bartiro
Bliigan
Moon
Bablibo
Busdana
Blingef
Barfort
Bamnode
In addition to this Dee mentions the names of 42 ministers for each planet. These are more spirits and their names can be found in the Heptarchia Mystica of John Dee edited by Robert Turner. The Angels of the Bonorum are Planetary and are connected to days of the week and equally the days of creation. These are arranged in terms of Planets and thus everything can be placed on the diagram of the seven-branched candlestick diagram which is presented to the candidate in the 1=10 ritual.
When a candidate is exposed to the seven branched candlestick diagram their sphere of sensation takes in an impulse from the Briatic level, this then flows downwards to the Yetsiratic level where the Bonorum angels work to bring through the divine image to the physical levels. They do this through manipulating those energy centres in the sphere of sensation that are under their planetary control. The the East these are called Chakras but the corresponding system in the West are the spheres on the Tree of Life.
If we look a the ritual we find that the description of the seven branched candlestick mirrors what we have looked at in regards to the Angels of the Bonorum.
We are told in the ritual that the seven branched candlestick relates to the Mystery of Elohim, the seven Creative Ideas and that the seven Circles, which surround the Heptagram, represent the 7 Planets and the 7 Qabalistic Places of Assiah. And the 7 Lamps before the Throne on another Plane. Within each circle is a triangle to represent the Three-fold Creative Idea, operating in all things. On the right hand side of each, is the Hebrew name of the Angel who governs the Planet; on the left side is the Hebrew name of the sphere of the Planet itself, while the Hebrew letter, beneath the base, is one of the duplicated letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, which refers to the 7 Planets. The 7 Double Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet,
But the ritual also gives us other clues to the meanings of these angels. It points out that each Angelic King controls seven directions Zenith, Nadir, East, West, North, South.
So then what can we do with this knowledge. After all it is all very well saying that you can make a direct link between John Dee’s and the Angels of the Bonorum and the Seven Branched Candlestick but what good is it to us to use these angels?
Dee was given the use of the Heptachic angels very early on in his magical career, long before he started messing around with any Enochian tablets. It seems to me that this low level yetsiratic form of magic is designed to work with the lower aspects of the self and in particular how we interact with our material world.
Practically then it is a system of Earth magic which works on the person’s sphere of sensation and onto the physical levels.
It is interesting that this is the one system of magic that Dee gives an example of a talisman and it is also significant that it is a healingtalisman. It could equally have been magic for money or job, or anything to do with the second, third, and fourth houses of the astrological chart – in short anything to do with the Earth element and the 1=10 grade.
In the 1=10 grade the candidate is supposed to start working on the physical levels as a precurser to their magical work. Normally the effects of the grade are to stuff up their finances and force them to look at life in a less escapist way. Illnesses are also fairly common in this grade. But these are all negative experiences, things which should not happen if the magician was working to bring about change in the correct manner.
The Heptarchic Angels give the student a way of working with these energies and participating in the transformation.


This article was originally published in the Hermetic Journal, which I recommend as a good source of serious Golden Dawn material.  

Names and Images is cake rather than icing.

In his review of Names and Images by Peregrin Wildoak, the British esoteric writer Gareth Knight said that the book shows that there is a magical substance in the Golden Dawn after all.
The Golden Dawn has become a bit of a joke in the land of its birth. It is forever associated with people claiming high grades, flame wars, court cases, using shedloads of magical gear, and wearing the silliest of robes. In the UK magical scene you would never see a trained magician shove 7=4 under their name in public even if they were entitled to it.
It is one of the reasons that the US Golden Dawn orders have had a limited impact in the UK, because phrases like “Power Week” and other hard sell language is seen as belonging to the other side of the pond.
Many of the perceptions of the Golden Dawn are based on what has been written and its teachings. So British adepts look at this material and say “interesting… so what?” The rituals, if seen on their own, use dated language and lack magic.
In the Golden Dawn, the serious magic was printed in the 5=6 and it is that material which forms the basics of British magic today. But that is the point. It is just the basics. If you were so minded you could go through the pile of 5=6 material and understand it in a weekend. You could probably construct some pretty good experiments to try it out. But it is not magic in the way that the British magic scene works these days. They look at the GD with its huge equipment requirements and think that it is a dinosaur from the past.
To be fair they are not the only ones. There are those within the Golden Dawn community who see holes in what is available. There are calls to expand the curriculum and add material which was lacking or under developed.
In my early days of training I can’t say I ranked the GD system particularly highly either. I liked the more inner approach of godforms and inner work which was touted by the Inner Light tradition. It was not until I read Pat Zalewksi’s Z5 book that I saw that what the Golden Dawn did and what I was doing in the Inner Light Tradition was the same thing. Bits of what I had been told by the Whare Ra people suddenly made sense and the Golden Dawn always had an inner tradition which had never been talked about before.
A 7=4 grade Titanic ego is about to find that his badge and
flashy wand is just the tip of the real GD system
Later when I became involved with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn I started to understand that the written material which was given was just the tip of an incredibly complex iceberg. Those who thought it was all about gadding about in robes and calling yourself the Heirophant fast run aground on its unseen depths, and break up to the horrific strains of Celine Dion
This was not something that was just more intellectual information and none of it was written down. It was the idea which lurked behind all the written words which inspired people like Dion Fortune. But even these people missed some important stuff which can only be seen when you have the order and its methods working in front of you.
Making those techniques real is a lifetime’s work, if you look at the implications of what is said and, like Pat’s Book, Peregrin’s book is a good starting place for those who want to make the system real.
Peregrin’s book shows the sort of work that people need to do bring the system magically to life. True at times he adds stuff, there is something on the unicursal hexagram which I have never seen before (although the Whare Ra people used it for planetary force, they did not use it the way Peregrin suggests). There is also a lot more material bringing the modern charkra system into the Golden Dawn rather than the Sphere of Sensation method which was used. Peregrin brings these in and explains them so that they are not alien.
But in my view where Names and Images is vital is when it is telling you what you are doing at this point and why.
If you are Osiris and you know it clap your hands.
It differs from Pat’s approach, which was tied to the rituals, and instead branches out into the magical system of the 5=6. Ideas related to the INRI formula for example.
There are also rituals for the solo practitioner to try and feel the system as well as aspects. The material here is solid and is peppered with stories about Peregrin’s experiences.
Yes it is a book to study, but equally it is a book to do. You can’t read it but have to try out stuff.
That is something which has been sadly lacking within the modern Golden Dawn. There are systems, upon systems and then sub-systems upon sub-systems within the GD, but that becomes a trap.
All Golden Dawn work has to be seen on four different levels and the ritual and teachings only a hint of what the magic is really about.
Peregrin’s book is the harbinger of what the Golden Dawn will become. It is an introduction to the idea of a magical Golden Dawn which is firmly rooted within the Inner. It might even be a Golden Dawn which appears new to many, certainly it is a Golden Dawn which many will want to suppress because it requires expertise that many “high graders” lack.
Nevertheless for the next generation of Golden Dawn student “By Names and Images” is a vital part of any collection. 

Meditation on the seventh Jupiter Pentacle

Mathers wrote: “This pentacle has great power if you consider it with the verse “he raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap Dunghill” This pentacle does not have an angel associated with it and Mathers claims that it will stop the angels and demons who are protecting treasure from falling into your hands. In short it is the key to material wealth.
So lets look at this verse and see what it means.
Adam was made from the ‘dust of the earth’. Cabbalistically this means that the scattering of light within creation. This light was gathered by god and ensouled with the divine breath. The light has to pulls the first is toward unity and the second is the illusion of separateness.
On the material plane, humans are not born equal. Socially some have money others do not. God has decided who does and who doesn’t. The majority of the rich are the Paris Hiltons of this world. They do not create their wealth and power. It belonged to an ancestor and they inherited it. If that power was lost they would not have the ability to get it back. The dust of the earth gathered by their ancestors will erode down the generations.
However to the poor it is impossible to get enough material dust. Power appears to them in small chunks and therefore they cannot get enough of the very substance they were created from. They sit on dung hills of small materiality begging for other people’s power.
However they may be taken out of this state. The One, YHVH, takes away this. Its nature is to bring things together so the beggar is raised up and power (money) is drawn to him. This does not mean that the self made man is enlightened, just that he has aligned himself to the same forces that draw more of the sparks that he has inside towards him.
Occultists are notoriously poor and often lacking in power. Why is it that a beggar wins the lottery and squanders the lot and ends up poor again? The answer is that they are not in tune enough with their Higher Self or YHVH. The poor occultist exists because they do not believe they should be concentrating on the dust, the beggar who wins the lottery fails to see God’s hand in his transformation and seeks to return to his dung heap.
But we are not prisoners to the whims of an idiosyncratic God. We are made in its image of a God which is bigger than that. We are are reflection of the God that is beyond the rim of the Universe, Ayn Soph Aur. So it is the spirit in man (HVShHY) that lifts us from our dung heaps. The god within draws the sparks of matter of what we need towards us. It is not a matter of ‘trusting in God’ that will help us win the lottery but attuning ourselves to our higher selves to draw all things needful toward us. This is why he six rayed star is at the top of he wheel. This seal tunes us by its symbolism towards our higher self. But not in just a spiritual way, a material way.
In the centre of the seal is eight spokes with different signs on them. These are like spokes in a wheel which have been frozen for an instant. What these are we cannot be sure. On one is a triangle so we know we are looking at some form of manifestation. There is a hebrew yod which means that this is like a closed fist and meant to rotate. Yod is a symbol of the tarot key the hermit.
Two of them are crescent moons, perhaps suggesting that there is an unconscious change required in the person. However despite this maybe we do not need to know what it means. The symbols speak deep inside us. As we watch the wheel turn (like the Wheel of Fortune in Tarot which is ascribed to Jupiter), it brings its own revelations.
There are 25 letters in the verse. This number is attributed to Sagittarius, the archer and the Tarot Key Temperance which happens to be ruled by Jupiter. The 25thpath connects Yesod to the Higher Self at Tiphareth. 25 is also the number of the Rose.
So by transmuting ourselves to the Gold of Tiphareth we are lifted from begging dust on top of a material dung heap. We draw what we need by aligning ourselves to our higher self on the path of Temperance. The reason occultists are powerless and therefore poor, is because they live in the Yesod consciousness which is only marginally above the dunghill that is the rest of humanity. They need to soar upwards further up the path of Sagittarius and behold their Higher Selves. From there they can draw all things needful, both spiritual and material.

Life of Brian was the beginning of my spiritual path

Monty Python’s Life of Brian opened on August 17, 1979 in New York and Los Angeles. At the time I was a 14 year old fundamentalist Christian and I was told by our leaders not to see the film.
“I am sorry, I really didn’t think that you could have a
mass initiation in the 5=6
We were told that it insulted Jesus, it was blasphemous and above all it was cruel to all those who followed Christ. Life of Brian was banned in several countries, including Norway (say no more!)
When it appeared in New Zealand some of my mates went out and picketed it. I remember one guy even bought his own cross. When the reporters asked if he had seen it yet he said “you do not need go and see a sewer to know that it smell’s bad.”
In fact many of them were parroting what other people had told them about the film. None of them ever saw it, because they feared what would happen if they snuck in and formed their own opinion.
I made a mistake when I happened to say something similar about the film to my Dad. Dad is not religious, but something seemed to really bother him about it all. He knew how much I really liked Monty Python. So much so that a Monty Python ban was one of the best ways to make me behave.
In one of the few moments I can think of where he ever made me do something I would not have done, he made sure I went to the movie. In New Zealand it was an R16 and I was 14 so he went with me in case there was any trouble.
Our crack suicide squad is prepared
to kill itself if anyone reads
King over the Water
It is still one of the funniest movies of all time.
On the train home Dad had one of those sorts of conversations that fathers have with their sons about the nature of censorship. We agreed that Life of Brian did not take the piss out of Jesus but mocked those followed it. But it also lead me to question those who had demanded the film censored without seeing it. They had become like those who were too eager to throw stones at the wrong target because he had said Jehovah. Those who don’t need to see sewers to know they smell bad, had missed a crucial point. Those who are ignorant should be informed before they speak. Moreover, those who are ignorant should not outsource their opinions to others however much they respect them.
Now there is King over the Water, which some on Amazon have insisted is “burnt” because it is an “insult” to a modern AO order. They have formed his opinion because someone has told them that it insults their order.Yesterday a writer called Frater Barabas even claimed that “ Public Interpretation is a Writer’s Responsibility” This is quite an alarming concept. It means that those who called for the death of Salmon Rushdie were actually right. It also implies that the public interpretation of your writing is automatically informed and right. In the case of Frater Barabas he is relying on the opinion of someone who regular readers of this blog will know fudged a quote to start a flame war. Barabas admits that he had never read the book either. 
So tell us oh leader, which book shall we burn today?
Like the guy outside the Embassy theatre with his cross, Barabas does not need to see a sewer to know it smells. He just needs to be told it smells and he will provide the intellectual frame work.
Barabas should also be aware of the dangers of anyone who turns up on the side which bays for blood. Choices made on the basis of a hysterical crowd meant that his name sake was chosen over Jesus. It does not mean that public mis-interpretation of his teaching was Jesus’s fault, simply that the crowd was wiped up by a bunch of people who wanted him dead.
Likewise the readers of King over the Water have universally liked it and understand what it is getting at.  It is not attacking Mathers, or any modern order which claims it is the AO at all.  It is just presenting the historical facts about Mathers and his Order which closed in the 1940s.  If you read it for yourself you can make your own conclusion.  And, having read it, you might want to wonder why someone has gone so far as demanding the book was burnt.
Occultists do not follow crowds, nor do they parrot opinions of group leaders. After Life of Brian I started to question.  Two years later I was away from the fundamentalist Christian view point for good. It might have been that Life of Brian really was the start of my occult path.

Why I am not a Christian.

Organised religion for me is problematic. I started out at aged ten falling into a born again cult which lasted for nearly seven years. During that period I learnt a lot about the bible and organised religion, but I did not like what I had become. There were loads of people telling me what was truth and telling me that someone called Jesus wanted me to be intolerant. Then when I was 16 was in a deep meditation and I suddenly realised that the problem was that I was looking at the world as if Christianity was actually the ONLY way of seeing things. I knew there was a god but I was not convinced that it could only be seen in one way. If there was a God then it was never really going to appear in an organised way because infinity could not be expressed by an absolute. The same thing applied to all religions, however old, because they were not going to be completely true either.
Because I left Christianity on friendly terms, I did not go through the stage of hating it which I think has blighted many who have left it. You have to remember also that I didnt grow up in America or some place where fundamentalism exists as a form of social conditioning. In fact the first thing I did was read a book called Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits* and get a Deck of Tarot cards. I was soon involved in with BOTA. The appeal of that sort of occultism was that although there was a structure it was not absolute. In fact many of the discovers about the divine were to be found within the person rather than in the structure.
When I met the Whare Ra people a good percentage of them were Christians. They were not orthodox ones but they saw magic through Christian beliefs. Others were more like me and were looking for their own understanding of the One Thing.
Within the modern Golden Dawn there was a mixture of different beliefs. There were christians but equally there were a large number of Christians of various flavours. Indeed a belief in some religion helped a lot of them understand where the system was taking them. The only people who suffered where the atheists. If you do not believe in a God and you are called to surrender to something bigger, in my experience people who do not believe in a God tend to place their own ego in its place. This leads to ego inflation and a tendency to start referring to themselves in megalomaniac terms.
Those who are searching for their own beliefs through occultism end up in a different place. I found myself hit by walls of things that I did not believe in rather than I did. I could not find an anthropomorphism intellectually useful yet at the same time I tended to see God as a reflection of humanity. The closest I came to expressing what I believed was in my novel TreeFalls.
 There was a lot of Golden Dawn ideas in that book, something I did not really twig until after I wrote it. God effectively wakes up in darkness and decides to create so that it can understand itself. Humanity are sparks of that God which are interacting with creation and become trapped by the illusion. I called the God “Jeff”, because Nigel would be a silly name for a major deity. It was half joke, half me trying to say something. People do not die for a god called Jeff, nor do they say “Jeff has ordered me to to kill you”. Indeed no one can say that Jeff ordered someone to treat women like second class citizens, or invade another country. Jeff is a fairly laid back God who only calls for people to be stoned if they can get really good stuff.
Jeff is not a god which tells you what to think, he just wants you to think. Your thinking is part of his process of understanding. The biggest sin against Jeff is to go through life not thinking about anything and outsourcing the control of your life to other people.  Of course he would never tell you off for it, or pack you off to hell. He would just assume that there was a part of him that thought Reality TV was important even though he could not understand why.
So on the whole it would be a pretty good “religion.” But one of the reasons I keep silent about Jeff is because there is no point converting anyone. All roads lead to Jeff and the fact you are following a path is also part of Jeff’s understanding of the universe. When you worship Jesus, Allah, the Goddess, or JHVH it is just Jeff with another hat on.
The best way to worship Jeff then is over a glass of wine or beer discussing the nature of the universe. It seems that when two or more of you open alcohol Jeff is among you learning a bit more of the nature of things.
Your higher self then is the spark of you which is Jeff and knows its true nature. It is that which occultism leads you towards.
Anyway it might not be true. It does not matter if it isn’t. But Jeffism encourages others to find their own way to the One Thing. Because it helps an infinite deity understand itself. What ever you do, and what ever you find, helps that process.

* Thanks to Donald Kraig for reminding me that Issac  and Ra Bonewitz were not the same person.