Anti-clockwise circumambulation down under

I had a question on Facebook from a bloke running a GD group in Auckland who is under pressure from his Wiccan members to change the circumambulation to anti-clockwise instead of clockwise to match the magnetic flows in the southern hemisphere.

There is a believe that the earth is a magnet and that the polarity in the Northern Hemisphere is the opposite than the southern hemisphere. This is why water goes down the sink in a reversed direction in the southern hemisphere. Apparently all this is confirmed by various earth spirits which operate down-under. Therefore, some wiccan groups have taken to circumambulating anti-clockwise to open and clockwise to close.

Like many myths there is a sort of truth behind the idea, but it is not magnetic it is climatic.  In the southern hemisphere the cold winds do not come from the North but from the south and the seasons are the opposites from the North – while Europe has autumn, they are having Spring.  If you were to put this onto a diagram, or ritual space, it would look like this:


Summer would not be in the South but the North. Wiccan’s used to being focused on the North would have to use the South instead. The Zodiac sign of Aries, which is associated with the Vernal Equinox in the North becomes the autumnal equinox instead.

If you were to follow the climatic symbolism, then you would still walk clockwise but your ritual would be orientated differently. A wiccan rite would be orientated towards the South rather than the North and a Golden Dawn style rite would be focused towards the East.  In the Golden Dawn all the Northern symbolism would be transposed to the South and all the Southern Symbolism would be on the Northern wall.

Now let’s look at why this whole reverse circumambulation is barking mad.

Magnetism does not reverse in the southern hemisphere.  A compass still points north and water still goes the same way down a plug hole (the plughole thing is a myth). The earth’s magnetic field is remarkably consistent. This one of the reasons why birds do not get lost in migration routes. So going anti-clockwise makes no sense from a magnetic point of view. Why local nature spirits might suggest that going anti-clockwise could be due to the fact that either you have unconsciously superimposed the message on them, or they don’t like pakehas that much and like the idea of messing with your mind.

So what about the climatic approach?

No one has ever suggested that the zodiacal attributions change with the winds.   Climatic changes do not effect a person’s Zodiacal influence. A person born under the sign Leo is still a “summer” child even if that means they were born in a New Zealand winter. This is important because it suggests that most of the western magical symbolism must also flip when going into the southern hemisphere when the reality is that it doesn’t.

Even if you were going to factor in the climatic approach in the ritual and do a circumambulation walking a circle of the sun’s yearly progression in the north, you would go clockwise from east (spring) to Summer (south) Autumn (West) and Winter (North). But the same trip in the southern hemisphere would require you to go from West (spring), North (summer), East (autumn) and North (Winter) the journey would still be clockwise, it is just your starting point would be different. Now let’s look at why you don’t even have to do that, particularly within the Golden Dawn.

Golden Dawn circumambulation

If you change something within the Golden Dawn you always have to be careful that you don’t break something more important. A reverse mystic circumambulation breaks the entire system.  The Golden Dawn system is solar. Officers are told that every movement must be made “with the sun.”  This is rather annoying because if you are in the south and you want to walk to the East you have to walk all the way around the temple to get to that point.  In fact, even if you turn to face someone you have to move clockwise. What does “moving with the sun mean?” The sun rises in the east and sets in the west going clockwise across the planet (actually thanks to the earth’s rotation).  It is a measure of time going forward.  This powerful symbol does not change in whatever hemisphere you are in, otherwise time would go backwards in the Southern Hemisphere while it goes the normal way in the North.

Don’t reverse the polarity

Circumambulation is a spiral which goes upward measured by the process of time, in the 0=0 (and standard opening and closing) it is used to take the candidate upward towards the supernal triangle over a period of time.

For this reason, the idea of going doing a backwards circumambulation in a ritual has an important magical effect. You go backwards when you want to go back in time, or instead of going upward you wish to go downward to the underworld.  There is nothing wrong with using this as a magical technique, but if you go anticlockwise expecting to find angels and enlightened beings and the face of the most high you are actually going to be disappointed.   In fact I would think that taking outer order people on a day (or night out) to the underworld during their first initiation is rather a bad idea.

How important are climate considerations?

When considering this subject it is also important to question how important the climatic forces are to the Golden Dawn system. While I am prepared to admit that Wicca might find these things important, the winds are not important to any of the GD initiations.

Initiations take place in an astral Inner Temple which is placed over the top of the physical one.  In the GD this astral temple is aligned to the Biblical Tabernacle and the Tree of Life. In the Inner Temple physical factors do not make an appearance. When you are present in an inner temple, it is always “perfect.”  It is always meeting at the right time of day, always aligned to the right directions and all the symbols are in the right place. Flipping them over or changing them because of perceived physical realities is not necessary. What is more important is getting the symbols right.

If the winds were vital in orientating the temple you should flip the Stolistes and Dadouchos positions. After all the Dadouchos is fire and should be in the north in the Southern Hemisphere and the Stolistes should be in the coldest place – the North. But that ignores the fact that the floor plan of the 0=0 ritual is the tree of life.  The Dadouchos is standing on the station of fire the sphere of Netzach and the Stolistes is standing on the sphere of Hod (water).  In fact, in the 0=0 the directions of the winds are ignored.  The north is the place of greatest darkness (s)he moves to an extreme of light (in the east) and is warned off (with a knock) he moves to another extreme (the western evil) and is warned off by another knock.  This is more important than the extremes of the elements (which is a theme which appears later).

There is no mention of the winds anywhere in the Z documents which are the manuals of how to do a Golden Dawn ritual. It is in the elemental grades where the elements are laid out according to the Winds.  But their positioning makes sense in way that goes far beyond the winds. What is interesting is that the GD follows the Tree of Life even as it goes through the elemental stations but it always balances them with a corresponding element. So when you enter the water grade you go through two fire paths. The Airy 2=9 is balanced by the earthy 31st saturnine path etc.

If the northern and southern winds were important then this elemental subtlety would be lost.  Indeed, you would have to change all the Golden Dawn meanings tarot and cabbalah to reflect them.

Flipping the South and North for the winds you would also mean require flipping the East and the West so that it matches the patterns of the Southern Hemisphere Solstices and Equinox.  This would require the gutting of what was left of the GD inner system.

Main circumambulation issue

The fact is that the Golden Dawn magical system works in whatever hemisphere you live.  The longest running Golden Dawn temple was based in the Southern Hemisphere and never felt the need to change anything to adapt to its New World position, particularly the circumambulation . This is because its effect was symbolic and internal and not dictated by the outer world. Changing things by flipping elements and a reverse circumambulation would do tremendous harm to that symbolic system.  This symbolic system runs deep in the human psyche and judges the ritual whether its participants accept it or not.

Going anti-clockwise is going against the course of nature, downwards instead of upwards, involutionary rather than evolutionary, underworld rather than upper worlds. Other required changes will result in abandoning the Tree of Life model along with Western Astrology, orientating your ritual to the place of the Egyptian Dead instead of the place where the sun rises, looking for the spiritual fire in the place of greatest cold and darkness.  Sounds like a great black magic ritual.

And what is the reverse circumambulation pay off?

why-do-dogs-chase-their-tailsWell sod all really. You can feel nice and smug that you are doing something a bit different. But it is based on ignorance which is never a good starting point for any change to a magical system.








Book Review Communing with the Spirits

4150jvkr4jl-_sx322_bo1204203200_One of the big advantages of print-on-demand is that it opens up the field to practical magicians who are writing on subjects which are too daring for the commercial publishers, like working with spirits.

Martin Coleman’s Communing with the Spirits: The Magical Practice of Necromancy is a book written by a bloke who has a system and it works for him.  It comes with all the useful advice you need to work his system and gives some interesting insights into the whole business of working with the dead.

I want to make this clear that this is not a field of interest for me. When I work with the dead and ancestor’s it is an adjunct to my other work.  But it is fair to say that if I were going to specialise in necromantic work then I would take a similar approach.

Coleman starts the student working by invoking their ancestors and creating an altar. Then he moves onto a spirit of divination and then finally dead spirit. He warns you of the minimum time you are supposed to take on each stage and the challenges you are supposed to give each spirt to be sure that they are working correctly.

If Coleman is telling the truth his spirits are extremely effective and able to predict lottery numbers (amongst other skills).

If you were to follow a necromantic path this book has much to recommend it, however there are a few things that I didn’t like which need to be mentioned. The first thing is that there is an over whelming feeling of anti-intellectualism in the book.  Coleman warns you that anything dead which tries to teach you any great occult philosophy is almost certainly a “trickster” spirit.

While there is some truth in this, and lots of people are suckered by spirits who spout bullshit, it is not true of all spirits. It would seem a pity if you summon the spirit of Agrippa into your flat to ask him to act as your debt collector (which is one of the exercises in this book).  Coleman believes that you get physical instruction from a physical teacher while spirits get taught by spiritual teachers. I am not sure that is true. I know some people which get some good occult instruction from dead people… ok sometimes it has to be received with a pinch of salt but it is ok.  I think the question here is quality and provability rather than a blanket ban.

Speaking of salt, Coleman has some very practical advice which also should not work. He is particularly worried about salt which he says dead spirits cannot go near. He suggests that it is important to put a grain of salt in your food so that the spirits don’t think it is an offering. But that is only in some traditions. The Roman spirits used to get rather a lot of salt as all offerings were sprinkled with the stuff. It did not seem to do them any harm at all, and some of the intact ancestor’s shrines in Rome still have their dead spirits attached to them.

But what I think, irked me the most about this book was the lack of a philosophy behind it.  There were little explanations about what these spirits are and how they are like that. Coleman treats them in a similar way to the way people treat dogs.  You train them with food and if they don’t do what they are told you abandon them on a street corner. This might be the necromancer way, but it cannot really work like that. Even if you accept the spirits are “shells” of the dead, they are still human. If someone asked you, look I want you to do this for me and I will give you a small portion of cold rice (without salt) you would tell them to go forth and multiply. Coleman sees them, at best, as children which is a little sad.  If the afterlife is basically dead people squabbling over food they can’t actually eat, then the universe has got rather silly.

That said there is some very good advice about working with spirits which does not just apply to dead people and in some cases Coleman’s pragmatism is very useful.

For a number of reasons this makes this book important if you are working with any spirits.  His observation on thought-forms gave me a useful insight how spirits work.  Just be aware that it might be better at some points to come up with your own solutions.


·  Paperback: 192 pages

·  Publisher: Xlibris; 2 edition (March 10, 2005)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 1413484379

·  ISBN-13: 978-1413484373

·  Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches




Self Initiation Into The Golden Dawn Tradition, by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero

The Essential Golden Dawn, by Chic and Tabatha Cicero

Mystical Cabbalah, by Dion Fortune

A Garden of Pomegranates, by Israel Regardie

The Temple of High Magic, by Ina Custers- van Bergen

A Magician his training and work, by E Butler

Shining Paths, by Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki

Tarot. by Paul Case





Hermetica, by Brian Copenhaver

Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple – Creating Magical Tools, by Sandra and Chic Cicero

Ritual Use of Magical Tools, by Sandra and Chic Cicero

Art of True Healing, by Israel Regardie

The Golden Dawn, by Israel Regardie

Magical Imagination,  by Nick Farrell

Making Talismans, by Nick Farrell

Complete Cabbalistic Symbolism, by Gareth Knight

The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

The Earth Divination Earth Magic, A beginners Guide to Geomancy,  by John Greer

The Golden Dawn, The Twilight of the Magicians, by R Gilbert

Magicians of the Golden Dawn – A Documentary History of the Golden Dawn 1887 to 192, by  E Howe

The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn, by Pat and  Chris Zalewski

What my Herirophant should have taught me, by Nick Farrell

By Names and Images, by Perigrin Wildoak

Gathering the Magic, by Nick Farrell




Mathers Last Secret, by Nick Farrell

King over the Water, by Nick Farrell

Z5 Secret Teachings of the Golden Dawn: Book I Neophyte, by  Pat Zalewski

Kabbalah of the Golden Dawn, by  Pat Zalewski

The Golden Dawn Companion,  by R Gilbert

Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript, by Darcy Kuntz

Women of the Golden Dawn, by Mary K Greer

An Initiate: Training and Work, by Dion Fortune

Tower of Alchemy, by David Goddard

Ritual Use of Magical Tools, by Chic and Tabatha Cicero

Women of the Golden Dawn, by Mary Greer

Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn, by Francis King

Terrestrial Astrology, by Stephen Skinner

Golden Dawn Alchemy, by Pat Zalweski

Enochian Magic in Theory, by Dean Wilson

Embodying Osiris, by Thom Cavalli



Greek Magical Paprus in Translation, by Hans Dieter Betz

Dictionary of Angels, by Peter Davidson

The Ophic Hymns, by Athanassakis and Wolkow

Three books of Occult Philosophy, by Agrippa (Tyson edition)

Agrippa’s fourth book (Tyson)

The Shem Grimiore, by Nick Farrell

Geopsophia, by Jake Stratton Kent

Angelical Language (two volumes) by Aaron Lietch

Heptarchia Mystica, by Robert Turner

Secrets of the Magical Grimiors, by Aaron Lietch

The Book of Secret Creation, by Jacobus Swart

Commentary’s on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls (misc)

The Key of Solomon The King, by Samuel Mathers

Enochian Chess, by Chris Zalweski

The Magus, by Francis Barrett

Science of Breath, by Rama Prasad

Beyond the Sun, by Nick Farrell

Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn, by Pat Zalewski

Golden Dawn Companion, by R Gilbert



Being a magician is not only about sticking to your Golden Dawn work.  In fact once you reach a certain point, the Golden Dawn becomes only an introduction to what will be your central magical practice for the rest of your life.  I include here a list of books which I have found invaluable, but are not directly related to the Golden Dawn.

The Complete Golds and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt,  by Richard Wilkinson

The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, by Richard Wilkinson

The Gods of the Egyptians Book one and Two, by Wallace Budge

An Introduction to Ancient Egypt (British Museum)

Greco-Egyptian Magic, by Tony Merzwitch

Greek and Roman Necromancy, by Ogen,

Complete Herbal, by Culpepper

Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World, by Gager

Grimorium Verum,  by Joseph Peterson

The Book of Seals and Amulets, by Jacobus Swartz

The Egyptian Book of the Dead, by Raymond Falkner

Pryamid Texts, by Raymond Falkner

Discovery of Wichcraft, by Reginald Scott.

Dion Fortune and the Inner Light, by Gareth Knight

Guide for the Perplexed, by Moses Maimodes

John Dees Spiritual Diaries, by Stephen Skinner

The Testament of Cyprian the Magus, by  Jake Stratton Kent

Complete Magicians Tables, by  Stephen Skinner

Secret Tradition in the Arthurian Legend, by Gareth Knight

The interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament

Invoking Angels, by Clair Fanger

Adam and the Kabbalistic Tree, by Halevi

The Transformations of Magic, by Frank Klassen

The Philoposhy of Proculus, by Rosan

Thoth, by Lesley Jackson

Magic Witchcraft and Ghosts, by  Daniel Ogden

Picatrix, by John Greer & Christopher Warnock

Elizabethan Magic, by Robert Turner

Myths of the Underworld Journey, by  Radcliffe and Edmonds

Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy

A Companion to Roman Religion

Tohunga, by Samual Robinson

The Nag Mammadi Scriptures , by Marvin Meyr

The Egyptian Hermes, by Gareth Fowden

Thoth the Hermes of Egypt, by Patrick Boylan

Conversations in the House of Life, by  Richard Jasnow

Charlene’s “I’ve been to the 5=6 but I’ve never been to me”

When I was 14 there was a terrible song called “I have been to Paradise but I’ve Never been to Me” about a woman who had an interesting life but after living it to the full claims she would have rather have been a housewife  stayed at home and had a couple of kids.  It was a song designed for parody and I wrote one which was my party song for a while.  I can unfortunately remember the lyrics and they were rather rude and not particularly good Perigrine Wildoak reminded me of the song the other day and I had another go at the lyrics only this time with a Golden Dawn theme.

Consider it channelled by a secret chief called Charlene.


Never been to me


Hey Frater, you did it, got into the 5=6

You did the outer order, and wrote your portal thesis

I’ve no doubt you think about the things you’ll can’t do

But I wish someone had told me what I’m gonna tell you


I had a mental disorder in the outer order, because my group was poorly run

It followed Regardie and was far too tardy but thought it was number one

But it got in a jam and ran out of diagrams in the middle of the 3=8

I’ve been to 5=6, but I’ve never been to me


So Frater, please, Frater, don’t just walk away

The Outer order is not everything about the Golden Dawn today

I know that you want so much to see grades and funny robes

But it is a short step from that to worshipping cats and believing in alien probes


No one gets out of bed for the Table of Shewbread

And don’t talk to me about geomancy

People get bored with the Flaming Sword and the symbol of Venus on the Tree

People take fright with the body of light

and no one follows contacts

I’ve been to the 5=6 but I’ve never been to me


Hey, you know the second order is? It’s a lie. A fantasy we create about

People and places as we’d like them to be. But you know what truth is?

Truth is those uneven paving stones that the council put there to trip up blind people.

It’s that person who was your best friend on facebook

Who is now calling you the anti-Christ.

Because you said something bad about Crowley


I’ve seen total fails over magic and chem trails

And the logic has got me beat

There are plenty of fools who have made their tools and think they are pretty neat

They spend their life looking for faults in the colours of the vault

But its not my cup of tea

I’ve been to the 5=6, but I’ve never been to me

I’ve been to 5=6, never been to me



If you are fortunate never to have heard the song here it is… Sadly this version does not have the terrible spoken bit in the middle.