Something strange in the AO Tarot

I was going through my pile of NISI AO manuscripts to help a friend with a research project and I found something a little surprising.

In amongst the knowledge papers was a list of the titles of tarot cards and their numbering (see picture). It is important to realise that this was post Golden Dawn and Samuel Mathers was fully entitled to break with tradition. However, he was extremely pleased with his contribution to the Golden Dawn tarot and particularly the numbering and allocations to the paths.

Given that these paths are now considered standard, it seems a little odd that Mathers’ AO appeared to go back on them and returned to the traditional system.

There are some other interesting things on this list, including the alternative title for the Judgement card as “The Angel” and the more traditional “Fortitude” for “Strength.”

But the flipping of Justice and Strength is the biggest eye opener. Given that this was a knowledge paper, it would have meant that all the AO students would have copied it and had to memorise it.
One does wonder if Mathers had started to use “blinds” in the outer order so that his students would effectively have been knobbled from using his knowledge until they had been around long enough for him to trust him.   If that was the case he would have had to have given them a corrected numbering later, or maybe he had simply abandoned his old theory.   

Still, it is surprising that this reversion back to the traditional numering and the flipping of Strength and Justice by the AO has not been noticed before.

Unpublished AO and Golden Dawn Alchemical diagrams

I was reviewing some of the unpublished AO documents I have  to see if there were any noticeable differences from either the later Stella Matutina versions.  These two diagrams come from the early AO and the Nisi collection, which formed the basis of my Mathers’ Last Secret and King Over the Water  book.  Since it was different from the Stella Matutina versions printed by Pat Zalewski in his Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentary Book, I thought that readers of my blog might appreciate it.  The diagrams are simpler than the Whare Ra versions which now appear to be a later development.
These two diagrams were shown to the candidate during the 2=9 ritual and they provide a somewhat strange attribution of the metals to the Tree of Life.   In Whare Ra students were given a copy of Westcott’s translation of Aesch Mezareph which was supposed to explain it. It does not very well.
The two diagrams actually show two stages of the great work, but it is not explained how this is useful.  The Nisi document header seems to suggest that Mathers was trying to show how the different metals could be placed on the tree to show different things. However it doesn’t really do that either.
Quoting his teacher, Jack  Taylor, Zalewski said that Mrs Felkin refused to remove the diagrams from the ritual.  He suggests that it might be only there to encourage students to study Aesch Mezareph.  But in my opinion the diagrams presentation might be magical.  They are placed in the South West and shown to the candidate by the Hierus before the Hegemon shows the candidate the geometric shapes diagram.
One of the things that I have noticed is that the candidate’s sphere of sensation changes when exposed to these two diagrams.
One of the reasons why Felkin did not want the diagrams changed or removed is that they were forcing the sphere of sensation into an alchemical process.  In otherwords the diagrams were not meant to be understood intellectually, but their symbolism accepted.  The fact that the are shown the diagram by the Mars  and fire orientated Hierus would be significant to that process.
Regardie never saw this diagram during his initiation.  When he was initiated into the Bristol temple it was one of many which had been removed and set aside for “later study.”  Thus he would have missed out on any magical exposure to these tablets.  As an alchemist he would have looked at them later and wonder what the hell they meant really.  

Organised religion who gets involved?

I generally have a problem with organised religion as prefer not having to outsource too much of my thinking to someone else and being a triple leo I don’t like the idea of being told what to do.  It is not as if I hate any religion.  I actually find them fascinating, it is just that settling on one Organised one gives me a headache. All religions as having an element of truth in them, but they also contain huge amounts of bullshit which appears to come from the fact that their original founding premise was a little screwed.
I was watching a BBC programme about religion and it touched on several of the points I find weak about the whole experience. Religions seem to identify problems which we may not have and offer solutions that we don’t actually need.
The Christian problem “solved by Christ.  But sin requires you to believe in
it even more than you believe in Christ,
For example, Christianity creates the problem that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This sin can be removed by a faith in Jesus Christ who died so you can be forgiven. But surely the real answer to this is not to think “how can I escape from this terrible sin problem?” but rather to say that the whole concept is rather silly. It requires me to first believe in a God that punishes me for the actions of a mythical ancestor and then states that I need to be forgiven. If someone tries to lock me away because the British did bad things in India, I would fight the unjust nature of the thing. I would not buy into a system that would allow me to be forgiven for the blame.
The Wheel of Birth and Death only keeps rolling when you see it as a problem
in the first place.
Hindu and Buddhism strikes a similar problem. Those faiths say we are trapped in a wheel of birth and death and must re-incarnate until we become enough like god. The cure is to remove all those desires and things that make us human so that we can transcend the wheel. But a much simpler approach is possible. Since the problem has been created by the idea that the wheel of birth and death exists, it is better not to believe in it at all. Who was it that came up with a silly idea in the first place… er the Hindus who invented a religion to over come something that might not exist. Buddha simply came up with another way to escape that wheel.
Judaism was created on the premise that a particular god had chosen one tribe of nomads and was going to look after them and give them a promised land. All they had to do was lop their foreskins off and obey some rules.
The only problem was that the God had decided that this Promised Land happened to be on a part of the world which was the main road for almost every blood-thirsty empire that the world created. Egyptians, Hittites, Persians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Mongols, Christians all have past through the area and left their boot marks firmly on Jewish heads. Not only did the Jewish god seemed to forget to protect his people he claimed it was a punishment. As a result, Jewish believers who have piously followed the original premise have spend several thousand years being kicked around the world. When they get their Promised Land back they have placed their faith in arms and nukes which sort of defeats the purpose.
Obey or die and you will get to live in the arse end of the
world where everyone will want to kill you.
It would have better off if they said actually this Promised land is not that great and if you are not going to protect us we will go to another God. They should have known better as the first act of their new God, after giving them the law was to slaughter huge numbers of them who happened to be worshipping Apis and his next few acts involved making them walk around the desert in circles for forty years.
These problems are those which monothestic religions face. This was a problem with the Greco-roman state religions too. They were based on the fact that if you did not respect the Gods then they would make life unpleasant for you. It was also possible that if you did them a few favours they might look after you. This seems logical, but then when you release that there were a lot of Gods it was difficult to find out which one you have pissed off. It was easier to belong to a different religion where that God was not recognised so you couldn’t hack one off.
My point is that most of the organised religions were founded to solve problems that they themselves created. They all, to some measure, reflect the fears of the society at the time they were created and as we say in the Golden Dawn “fear is failure.” This fear was one of the reasons why Christianity defeated the more heady mystery cults and Neo-Platonism. Ordinary people found them too hard and they were desperate for something simple that would provide them with some security.
Anne Davies: You can tell an adept by whether they
 accept all races  as part of the One Thing.
Of course that does not apply to gay people
 they need fixing.  I need a chicken sandwich is there a place
I can get one? 
This is why modern occultists need to find their own answers to religious questions and why it is impossible to judge another person’s solutions. It is also why you cannot spit hate at another person’s religion and use it as a definition of “other.” Anne Davies once said that a good test of whether someone was an adept or not was how much bile they spit at another’s race. This was good counsel only for the perfect as Anne had a problem with homosexuality and believed that gay people were broken and could not become adepts until they were healed!
But Davies’ point is correct. You cannot experience state of unity that an adept is supposed to have and claim that another human else must be separate from that. Nor can you claim that your race or religion is superior to another because they are all an expression of the One Thing.
More negatively they are all pretty silly when contrasted with the reality of that which is ultimately unknowable. How you approach that unknowing is your spiritual path. Practically it does not require you to sign up to any religion ancient or modern.  It just requires you to form your own ideas and relationship with the One Thing.

THE CYCLE OF MEDITATION: an unpublished Whare Ra paper

This Golden Dawn paper came from Percy Wilkinson’s collection. Percy was a long serving member of Whare Ra joining in the 1950s and formally leaving only after it closed. It is not clear who wrote this paper and it seems to owe much to Geoffrey Hodson who was an English Theosophist. Before he died at age 94 he had written more than 40 books dealing with topics such as meditation, the spiritual life, health and disease, and clairvoyance.
Crowley demonstrates the technique for rolling your own while
deep in a Meditative state.
(With acknowlegement to the writings of Geoffrey Hodson)

PURPOSE: The purpose of meditation is to effect a unity between the lower mind and the higher spiritual nature of the Self. A necessary preliminary is the control of the body, emotions and thought. This in turn demands control of the actions, desires and speech.
  1. PREPARATION: Relax the body and harmonise the emotions. Alert the mind and charge it with will. Establish a centre of awareness in the Higher Self.
  2. DISSOCIATION: Mentally affirm: “I am not the physical body, I am the spiritual self. I am not the emotions, I am my spiritual self. I am not the mind, I am my spiritual self.”
  3. MEDITATION: Assert: “I am the Divine Self. Immortal. Eternal Radiant with spiritual light. I am that self of Light; that self am I. The self in me, the Atma, is one with the self in all the Paramatma. I am that self in all. That Self am I. The Atma and the Paramatma are One. I am that. That I am.
  4. PERIOD OF MEDITATION: Five minutes at first, then lengthen gradually to 15 or 30 minutes. Best times are sunrise, mid-day and sunset. Cease meditating if any signs of a headache are felt.
  5. CLOSING PHASE: Bring the centre of awareness:
    (a) Into the formal mind, illumined and responsive to the intuition.
    (b) Into the emotions radiated by the Spiritual Light.
    (c) Into the body, empowered by the Spiritual Will, inwardly, vitalised and self-recollected throughout the day, remembering the Divine Presence within the heart, the inner ruler, immortal, seated in the hearts of all beings.
7. CONCLUSION: Now relax the mind and permit the uplifting effect of he meditation to extend into all other activities of the day.
Notes you can see the Theosophical influence in this paper.  Indeed when I was given this paper I was told to replace the words Atma with the “Higher Self” or the “son”  and Paramatma with the Absolute  or One Thing.  It is possible to say “I and the Father are One” just as easily as it is to say “The Atma and the Paramatma are One.” 
However this shows how sometimes Theosophical teachings and Indian systems found their way into Whare Ra.

New review of Dean’s Enochian book

Review by Charles Humphries
(Published in a forthcoming issue of Behutet Magazine)

Enochian Magic in Theory
Dean F. Wilson (a.k.a. Frater Yechidah)
Kerubim Press, Copyright Dublin 2012 
Trade Paperback, Nonfiction, Magick Reference
ISBN: 978-1-908705-03-7
$30.00 US (most websites and retailers)

Dean F. Wilson has offered the first of two of what look to be refreshing and welcome additions to the Enochian Section of any Magician’s library. Meant to be the first of two books, one of Theory and one of Practice, Enochian Magic in Theory is basically a summary of the structure of the extant records of the operations of John Dee and Edward Kelley. There are several accounts of these, with most die-hard enthusiasts having and perusing their own scans of the manuscripts themselves. I myself have spent the better part of two decades going through exactly that process. I know well the mistakes commonly made, the ideas that get merged with but do not originate with the “Enochian” source journals. I have a fairly impressive experience in Golden Dawn related approaches, and was a veteran of the infamous rounds of early Enochian internet subculture under many various screen names and guises.

Upon receiving my copy of Dean’s publication, I was filled with excitement. From the minute this book is in your hands, you see its quality. I have read his blog on occasion, and spoke with him online enough to understand he is very much of a similar mind as me on the fallacy of words such as “right and wrong” and is more liable to use “consistent and sincere” as a complimentary polarity of true use to a magician not crippled by superstition and arrogance. In the six months or so I have occasionally spoken with Dean, I greatly enjoy our conversations which have revealed him as a person well-qualified to write a book expressing his perspective on popular opinions on Enochian Magic.

He spares no expense making such a treasurehouse of opinions from most sources, either. In fact, from printed and electronically distributed perspectives on nearly every source of easily attained Enochian scholarship I have seen, ranging from the best-selling and easily digested to the freely distributed and brain wracking, he pretty much samples a bit of all of them. If you are not sure where or who to start with in Enochian Magic and just want to see a combined outline of the prevalent thoughts on the components, and see their integration, his book is frankly the perfect choice. I could not imagine I have three books on my shelf on John Dee or Enochian that he does not cover, mention, or quote; aside from an obscure textbook translated from Poland. And just as freely, he credits fellow artisans and scholars with their own findings. Unfortunately, in such a book I would expect to see some reinteration, and some misstatement or biased conclusions. One HUGE one is the old conclusion about IAD BALT (Lord of Justice) and Yaldoboath.

There is really no reason to think these two are connected aside from their phonic similarity. There are a few other conclusions I do not share and a few facts I would check about the order of things, and some leaps I probably make that he does not, but all of that is ultimately not really important to know we can agree to disagree. However, even though I disagree with the idea as presented, I do encourage one entertain it themselves. I also like that he mentions several prevailing ideas that even he questions. If anything, Enochian Magic in Theory is a supercharged well-executed effort to bring a magician up to speed on the general variety of influences, opinions, and ideas one might encounter in the broad spectrum of people drawn to this Art.

Dean’s writing style is easy to read, and his treatment of subjects is both speculative and competent. He makes good use of his 356 pages to include a dictionary of the calls, a list of the expansive catalogues of spirits, and to illustrate nearly every table that is diagrammed in Dee’s own work. His writing style is far from formal, but it is certainly more engaging than a casual tone. You immediately sense that Dean not only believes the potency of this work, but that he has experienced it. Furthermore, he encourages that experience to form an opinion of your own. I rather like that approach instead of the “sheltered genius” amassing everyone else’s findings.

The binding is great, the spine does not break from casual reading, and the interlaid textured-blue graphics that form a nice backdrop to an imposed Sigillum many will recognize as a centerpiece to John Dee’s work. But the real gem is the work itself, though I encourage EVERY person who seeks to look into actual practice of this work look back into the diaries of John Dee that we are fortunate to still have. This book provides a quality resource for those who do so, or just want to skip the 16th century and just start working it immediately. This book is written fearlessly, and with little of the stigma or overly cautious tone many books address Enochian in. I would personally be comfortable saying this would be a excellent first book on Enochian Magic, and a invaluable resource in the personal library of even seasoned participants in the legacy of John Dee, The Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and other modern approaches. I eagerly wait this book’s companion, presumably “Enochian Magic in Practice” and anticipate being equally satisfied with how he develops such a well rounded understanding of the full spectrum of what is considered “Enochian Magic” into a body of practical work and personal development.