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What I learnt about magic from playing D&D

I was one of the first to play D&D when it arrived at my wargames club. I was not into magic or occultism then, and I have not played for many years. However there were some concepts that D&D had which are exactly how the Divine Self ineracts with the magician. For those who have never played, you dice up a character and play it in an imaginary world which is controlled by a dungeon master. The characters are aiming to become heroes in these imaginary worlds. I realised that the relationship between the player and their character is the same as that of the higher self. In a good game, you experience the same loss of self and get so

Cracking the Ritual of the Pentagram

There has never been a more abused and misunderstood ritual than the Golden Dawn's Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (LRP). Along with the Cabbalistic Cross, it has been kidnapped by others who have unintelligently hammered it into their own traditions. Even though it is included in almost every occult handbook in the Western Mystery Tradition, few have tried to define what it actually does or look at it in context of the Golden Dawn tradition. Before we start, let us make this clear. The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram has about as much to do with elemental magic as a packet of peanuts has to do with the workings of poetry of William Topaz McGonagall. As we will see, this myth

Real pagans cannot hate monotheism

As thought experiment I tried to reconstruct the Golden Dawn ritual with the Christianity removed. I got a few minutes into the process and realised it was totally pointless. The rituals had very successfully created a pagan ritual which could be interpreted in a Christian or pagan way depending on who was doing it. It is really common amongst pagan communities to slag off the monotheist religions – Christianity, Jewish and Islam.  Normally this is a soft target because paganism is often a rebellion against the childhood religion, which is often monotheist, or a psychological projection of a father figure on a male god. Lately I have been reading an academic book Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity by Polymnia Athanassiadi, which turns

Star magic in the Iliad

The Homeric Catalogue of Ships has been a puzzle for studying the Iliad since antiquity. The catalogue lists those who took part in the siege of Troy and where they came from. The catalogue appears to be slapped into Book II with no plain reason and while Homer wrote it, it was not his best bit. Some early editions of the Iliad drop the Catalogue of Ships completely, others leave it in a box by itself. Cynics have said that the list was just a crowd-pleasing list of places. A bit like a rock star screaming “It’s great to be back in Scunthorpe again” so that the poet’s audience may see their region mentioned in the poem. In fact, it was believed

The conspiracy of conspiracy theories

When I was a kid I loved a good conspiracy theory, from Aliens to JFK. They promised a world which nothing was true, which unfortunately turned out to be a lie.  Conspiracy theories slipped away as I had to work in the real world and started to understand how people really worked. In the occult world, conspiracy theories are rife about all sorts of issues, from chem trails to big pharm anti-vaccinations and I am starting to sense there is a sort of conspiracy – only it is the conspiracy theorists who have been sucked in. Firstly, conspiracy theories are constructed using false evidence or assumptions. This was seen in Umberto Eco’s must read book Foucault’s pendulum where the protagonists invent

Occult personality types

Occultism is full of some strange personality types and if you are part of a group you are almost certain to have met them. The following list is not meant to be an attack, I I have been several of these myself. The list started to create itself in my head when someone on Facebook said “what is the most common occult personality type. The Armchair Occultist: A person who reads lots of books and mistakes this for actual practice. They will often correct people for doing things wrong, but are unable to cite their own practical experience. They will say that they have been involved in magic for many years, but never find the time to do a meditation or

Invocation to Nergal

Hero, majestic, awe-inspiring son of Enlil, battering like a storm and roaring against the rebel lands!, After you take your place, your immensity goes before you and behind you surging as a flood. Lord Meclamta-eda inspiring terrifying awe, you magnificent strength does not release the hostile land, and your luxuriant horn pierces it and strikes it with weapons. You who were sired by Enlil, the supreme god who destroyed the world with the Great flood and he has placed you at his right hand and he gives you your heroic strength. Raising your head, you are authoritative with a ringing voice, You know the divine powers of the gods and the powers of the Land. You travel through heaven and organise all. At your command the storm

“Traditional” Golden Dawn groups

After the closure of Whare Ra bought to an end the old Golden Dawn lineage, their have been numerous groups started by those either using Israel Regardie's Golden Dawn books, or old papers and manuscripts claiming that they are "traditional." Some of these modern Golden Dawn, various groups have been falling over themselves to prove that they use traditional Golden Dawn methods. Even though various Golden Dawn groups had problems or flaws in their teaching, the word traditional is synonymous with better with no one wanting to say that they are “new and improved.” At the same time the new traditionalists do not want to appear as if they are stuck in the mud and living in the Victorian period. They rightly suggest that the tradition must

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