All posts by Nick Farrell

Geomancy magical questions

There has been a long running problem in using Geomancy to work out the results of rituals and magic.  I have been playing around with Hellenic astrology for a while now and I think I have found the answer.

The Hellenic system has two houses for magic the House of the Goddess (third) and the House of the God (ninth). The house of the Goddess is more about the structures of religion, priesthoods, temples etc while the God is more ideas, spirit etc. It occurred to me that the house of the Goddess is the form and the God is that of spiritual force.

So a geomancy question about how will this initiation work? will be answered in the ninth house but if you want to know about how the person will fit into your group it will be the third house.

The same applies to other magical geomancy questions.  The third house will tell you about the ritual itself (Is this ritual written well enough to turn my boss into a pig?) the nineth will tell you about its effects (will this ritual turn my boss into a pig?).

The Geomancy symbols Albus and Conjunctio are important in magical questions Albus is connected to the house of the Goddess (theory of magic) while Conjunctio is the house of the God (Practical magic).  Via and Populus are connected to the house of the goddess and Fortuna Major and Minor are connected to the house of the God.

This means that you should watch if those symbols turn up in a reading and where.  Albus will be a hard worker in a third house reading and will fit in, they will be less useful in a 10th house reading. Conjuncto will be a good practical magican in a 10th house reading but will be more inclined to follow their own star in a third house reading.  Populus and Via will be good in third house readings (populus means they will follow the traditions, Via says they will go through the process) Fortuna Major and Minor in the 10th show the degree of success.

Need to do some more testing on it but so far it appears to work

20 ways in which I am better than Jesus

Some people think that your Higher Genius wants you to be more like Jesus and there is considerable pressure to be as spiritual as Christ.  Now there are loads of ways that Jesus is better than me, but in several areas,  I can claim superiority.  You can make up your list.

  1. I can eat bacon. I always feel sorry for anyone who has not experienced bacon because their religion forbids it. Jesus was Jewish, so bacon was right out.
  2. I am alive (for now). Jesus for all his qualities is famous for dying whereas, if I have any fame, it is because I am alive.
  3. I exist. No one can doubt that Nick Farrell was a conspiracy of the Roman Empire to declaw Jewish nationalism or that I was made up by other writers. There are no contemporary accounts of Jesus, while there are lots of posts telling me to fuck off.
  4. No one tried to fuck up the planet, gas Jews, incite racial hatred, steal another person’s country or repress women in my name.
  5. None of the following Jesus fans has said they were inspired by me: Donald Trump, Oliver Cromwell, Peter James Knight, Eric Robert Rudolph, Jim Jones, Ferdinand II or Tomás de Torquemada, and Justin Bieber.
  6. No one who has followed what I have written has felt the need to burn down any church, synagogue, or mosque because they know I would be pissed if they did.
  7. Jesus never blocked racists on Facebook, but a chunk of his followers are racists who need to be blocked.
  8. Jesus never built his PC
  9. Jesus moved further than a 15-hour drive from where he lived.
  10. Jesus never wrote a novel (or at least got one published) or started a movie theatre when he was 12.
  11. Jesus could not get his driver’s licence.
  12. Jesus never tasted a proper pizza.
  13. Jesus never flew on an aeroplane or drove over 100 miles per hour.
  14. Jesus never updated his passwords.
  15. Jesus allowed his followers to genocide the inhabitants of the Americas.
  16. Jesus’ most successful group of followers think it is OK to sexually molest children and that women should give birth even if it kills them. No-one I know has ever done that.
  17. If I make a promise that I am going to come to an event, I will reliably show up. Jesus promised he would come back 2000 years ago, so I think it is safe to say he is not coming. I have never been 2000 years late for anything I promised to show up at.
  18. MOAA members would never feel the need to burn Rome to make sure I came back after leaving.
  19. Jesus was never fired by the Queen for having a sense of humour*.
  20. Jesus never wrote a FrontPage lead story for a national newspaper.

My point is that everyone has their destiny and personality.  They will do things that they think are important,  being someone else is never a good idea, even if you think that person was a God.


*My newspaper laid off journalists and I was out of work doing joke jobs. I got a computer gig for Windsor Castle. They had just bought this flash IBM PC, and I was building their souvenir shop database.

I was good at it and soon was able to spot flaws in the system that IBM had developed. One such flaw I showed my boss was that if I accidentally hit a button (which was dead easy to do) order for ten souvenir cups became 10,000. Her answer to that was to coolly point out castle staff did not make that sort of mistake.
Things did not go well from day one. We got fax which they stuck on my desk because they were too frightened to touch it (we don’t want a repeat of the printer incident). But it was a plastic Amstrad, and I was overheard to say to a supplier “You can send me a fax, but I don’t fancy your chances this one is steam driven.”
My next issue was an old dot matrix printer which was borked and wasted an afternoon getting it to go again (because of the reason it needed to be fixed no one was going to print it). I got it working, but there was swearing involved.
The next day I was called into the boss’s office, and she told me “it was not going to work” and I was asked to leave. Not being particularly worried (the job paid the same as the dole) but since I had sorted out a lot of their issues, so I asked why.
“We don’t think you fit in; we don’t appreciate your sense of humour.”
I thought that was a brilliant reason to be fired from a place like that, but she refused my request to put it in writing.
I got my own back. When I was a reporter, I had a brilliant story. Some poor local small business was going to go under because the Royal Presentation Office ordered 10,000 souvenir mugs by mistake and had sent 9,990 of them back and company could never sell them. So I went back and asked her how she had ignored a warning about this issue two years earlier.

It is not your fault

There is a harrowing feature of New Age thinking which is a spin-off of the idea that you design your universe in your head. The concept touted in the Kybalion is that if the universe is mind and you are mind, then you create your universe with your thoughts.  You can be anything you want to be if you visualise and think positively.

But the converse of this is also true – if there is something wrong in your universe New Age thought is that it is because you put it there.

A psychologist friend of mine once said that while he rather liked New Age people, he did notice that there was a strong element of self-blame amongst them. When trauma counselling he had to overcome the belief that they were somehow responsible for the terrible things that happened to them.

No-one wants to be raped

One woman, who had been raped by her boyfriend, could not accept that she did not cause the problem by unconsciously choosing such a person in the first place.

She told him: “If I am the author of my own story, I must have chosen him to be in my life.  It is my negative thinking that created him.”

New Agers will apply that concept to other people and turn themselves into victim shamers. A poor person is only that way because they are not positive. They could leave that situation if they choose – they do not desire it enough.

Westcott appeared to be visualising everyone around him dying – including himself

This concept manifests in the judgement of some significant magicians who died in poverty or terrible illnesses. The idea is that they could not have been good magicians if they had such terrible lives. Had Wynn Westcott been better at visualising his family would not have killed themselves and he would not have died of Bright’s Disease. If Samuel Mathers had been a good magician, he would not have always been poor and survived the Spanish flu epidemic.

Like many things New Age, it is all propped up by a little bit of truth surrounded by overly simplistic thinking which ultimately drags down the whole idea. It is true that some people are so limited in their thinking that they cannot escape the patterns they have created for themselves. People do pick the wrong people in relations (normally due to a poor relationship with their parents). While it is true that visualisation is part of magic it is NOT the main game, but one of many limited techniques.

Bloody Kybalion

One of my first problems with the Kybalion, which annoyed my BOTA seniors, was the system depends on it all being about you. If my universe is the creation of my thinking, then other people are not involved.

If a murderer enters my life, it is due to MY visualisation and not his. This narcissistic view of the universe encourages you to only care for yourself. Other people, if they exist, are just bit players, but they are centre stage. But if everyone is visualising then somehow all these narcissistic worldviews must mesh together into a model which provides everyone with what they want.

But it doesn’t. If there is a lottery for a million dollars, there will only be one winner and many hopeful, positive thinkers. What is more, the winner is unlikely to be a positive person who knew they were going to win.

No-one asks to be raped, wants to be murdered, shot by police or die in a fire.

So what goes wrong?

The universe is not an expression of one human mind but that of the One Thing. The objectives of the One Thing are to learn about itself. Within its big created universe it built a humanity program in which it could experiment with stories involving more abstract qualities within itself like love, hate, war, online-shopping etc.

Each human has been given a story to live out with specific events which must happen for the One Thing to understand that point.

What is important to understand here is that the One Thing is doing this to itself. There is not a single thing you have experienced in your life which is not the One Thing experiencing it. Equally, there is nothing which could bring about these experiences in your life without some coordination from the One Thing. Since you are part of the One Thing, you are doing this to yourself to learn something. Once you have learnt that lesson, you may, or may not move on from it.

The easiest way for this story to happen is to be born into a family, country or social group. No New Age visualiser can claim that they were visualising on the astral and were responsible for their family.  Your first acts as a child are to adapt to that environment. So, a poor person’s attitudes are not negative thinking, but an evolution, or adaption to the situation they find themselves. It enables them to survive the terrible circumstances in which they find themselves.

That family will arrive with all the psychological baggage and genetic illnesses and pre-dispositions of its ancestors.  Something else that the child can do nothing about other than live through it and adapt.

Stories are not entirely written by you

On top of this, the child must resolve the story that the One Thing wants to learn in that life.

However, that does not mean that a person cannot use magic or visualisation to escape that life. There are many “rags to riches” stories where that happens. All of them require a person to fight their way out of their social status and DNA. But such stories are not for everyone. Some stories involve making the best of a bad situation; other stories include living your life no matter what it throws at you.

One of the things I have noticed about magicians is that all the good ones have had interesting lives. Even those who have had successful muggle lives (family, job, mortgage) have interesting stories beneath the surface.  Mathers might not have been that successful as a human or as a money maker, but he certainly lived. Aleister Crowley was a spendthrift, sexist, racist, bastard but no-one can deny that he had a life packed with exciting events and stories.

The sort of life I am describing is not entirely deterministic. Your response to those situations are what interests the One Thing.  A bad thing might happen to you which you choose to handle in a way that resolves it better. A person who deals with her rapist by facing him in court might lose, but her choice to take him on might help her deal with the pain and prevent her attacker doing it to someone else.

However, it does mean that the Kybalion is wrong. Bad things do happen to good people because the evolution of humanity and the divine spirit depend on it.

The One Thing is doing it to itself

But there is also an important social side to all this. If harming others is the One Thing inflicting pain on itself, doing “good” is also the One Thing helping itself.  When you help another person with their story, you are effectively helping yourself.  When you receive help from another, you are receiving it from the Universe.

If you don’t receive support from the One Thing, then chances are your story is to sort it out on your own and you have the ability and resources to fix the situation. For the same reason, you cannot judge another person for resolving their story in a way or failing.

The Magician is a specialist

The other question then is what is the role of the magician in this story? A magician is a specialist who uses spiritual forces and rules to create a change in the pattern or the story. They are there for when all else “rational” has failed. When the doctor or police can’t or will not help, when a situation needs to see the bigger picture or to call in gods and spirits.

A magician is no more important than anyone else in the story they are just the One Thing brings in more specialised functions. Not every story needs a Gandalf any more than it needs an Achilles. In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was vital, in the Iliad he would have been useless.

A magician has their own story. It generally starts with initiation, balancing, contact with higher forces, testing and then service. During that process, a lot of shit will get thrown at them because it is part of their training. If nothing happened, then there would be no magic rituals to try out and nothing to learn.

Either way, the stuff which gets thrown at you, it may not be your fault.

Cognitive dissonance in the occult world

You would think that occultists would be at the cutting edge of thought and be ready to look and adapt to new ideas. In fact, new ideas are hard to come by and when introduced are met with a great deal of resistance. Some of this is down to the idea of preserving traditions, but mostly it is due to what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.

For those who came in late, cognitive dissonance is a simple theory which suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and behaviour in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance). So, when something appears that is new, which runs counter to what we thought we knew, we will ignore it just to keep the balance right. My old teacher once said that people tend to believe the first thing they are told on a subject and find it difficult to let go of, and there might be some truth behind that (but it was the first time anyone suggested the idea to me so he might have been wrong and I refuse to give it up).

I first encountered cognitive dissonance in the occult community nearly 15 years ago when I was doing some research on the banishing ritual of the pentagram. In Western Magic this little ritual is used before any working. The ritual was developed by the Golden Dawn and was provided to every neophyte.  I looked at the paperwork given to neophytes throughout the long history of the Golden Dawn it was clear discovered that it was the invoking pentagram which was the main tool to be used to provide protection and the banishing was just a footnote (for when you were in unsafe space or under attack).

Israel Regardie: the Harry Potter years

I printed my findings and expected there to be either a change in the use of the banishing by at least GD types or at least a general discussion about it. While the idea was accepted amongst some Golden Dawn people, nothing really happened. People still ask questions about banishing on the various facebook groups. One person recently called into question my ability to teach because other (non-Golden Dawn) teachers, such as EA Groening insisted on the use of the banishing before any ritual. In short, I must be wrong because so many others said so. To be fair until I did some research on it, I would have said the same.

I tried to track back when the banishing superseded the invoking and found that it arose with the development of the psychological model within occultism. People like Israel Regardie favoured the banishing because it meant getting rid of complexes. The real Golden Dawn had long since passed into obscurity and so a tiny innovation in emphasis went unnoticed and there was no-one to complain. Regardie was hugely influential over most of the names of the 20th century magical scene. To many he was a font of knowledge of all things Golden Dawn. In fact, his Golden Dawn experience was limited and his ideas like the banishing, the watchtowers and his semi-tantric middle pillar exercise were all his own devising.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is the amount of emotion placed in defending the Kybalion as “hermetic” or having any real use in magic at all.  As I have written elsewhere, this New Age con trick is responsible for a lot of terrible thinking within the occult movement. The fact it suckered good minds like Paul Case, David Goddard, and even me for many years is no excuse.

Each of the seven principles that the book is based on can be pulled apart by basic philosophic or scientific reasoning. The fact it has survived so long is thanks to the lack of philosophic or scientific reasoning in the esoteric community and the amount of cognitive dissonance attached to it. Even those who admit it is flaky palm off their dissonance by claiming “there is some truth in it” (truth which they can never provide or if they do it can be soon pulled to bits).

When presented with the fallacy behind the Kybalion you can see people acting in full cognitive dissonance mode. They say:

1. I don’t understand it or have not studied it properly (I do and have).

2. They say it contains principles which have been part of Hermetics and Cabbalah since the beginning (they haven’t. You would think that a book that sums up hermetic thought might have a basis in existing hermetic thought but nothing).

3. They insist that the universe works like that anyway (it can’t. The Kybalion depends on an early 20th century view of science which has been largely superseded).

4. They claim that magic depends on it (which is odd because no work of magic before the Kybalion uses any of the principles.

5. They say I am stupid and don’t know what I am talking about, and smell of Nintendo (by this point the conversation is normally over).

There are loads of other situations in magic where cognitive dissonance places the brakes on esoteric development. Issues fought over in esoteric groups often break down to something that my teacher told me that I thought was true but turned out not to be.  There are many people who swear blind that astral initiation of a neophyte is possible because their teacher made a buck or two out of them without having to show up for the rite.

People like Jake Stratton-Kent have found it uphill work convincing people that you don’t really need a Tree of Life or a celestial view of the universe to get things done.

Aaron Leitch has angered those who follow African Traditions for pointing out that some of those traditions exist within the Solomonic tradition (he also may once have borrowed few of their terms, but it is not my tradition, so I can’t comment on it).

Cognitive dissonance prevents the evolution of magic. In older systems of magic, you can see an evolution of tradition thanks mostly because isolated magicians trained their students based on their own research. Printing affected that somewhat and enabled more unified ideas, but in many ways those systems have become unchangeable dogmas.

But ironically occult tradition is not about theology or dogmas but research. Because a grimoire has written down a spell, it does not mean it is going to work in the 21st century.It might have to be adapted. That adaptation needs to be tested to make sure it works.

That process is getting suppressed now as people try and drag systems down to something they are more comfortable and familiar. The internet makes this cognitive dissonance even worse because it echoes.




A candidate for the maker of your higher genius

According to the Iamblichus’ [1] The Higher Genius is made by the Master of Daemons by the King of the Underworld it is important when trying to contact this Daemon to also contact being. Unfortunately, there was no God named as being the master of daemons and many people think he was Hades, which makes a far amount of sense.

But another candidate could be the Egyptian god Tutu who related to (amongst other things) to the the Higher self of the Pharoah. He was a popular and accessible God to whom people could turn for help in their everyday existence. He was shown in side view but with His head turned to be viewed frontally, emphasising this approachability.

Tutu  usually is represented in the form of a striding royal sphinx composed of a lion’s body and a human head, with usually a snake as His tail. In later periods He may be depicted in a pantheistic mode with other elements like a crocodile head or a lion head attached to His body.

Must of Iamblichus’ ideas came from the Hermetic current in Egypt where Tutu was still popular so the idea of the higher self being made by a benign chaotic being makes some sense.  Before he is considered as being a minor deity he should be see in his role as the “son of Neith” and “Atum’s God”

Neith is the goddess of the the unseen and limitless sky and a fitting symbol for the underworld of chaos from which all order sprang. The Egyptians said that Neith bought forth from the primeval waters of the Nun the first land.

Being her son, Tutu is the primal force which seeks to know itself and therefore making a human higher genius makes sense.


[1]  See Iamblichus’ commentary on Plato’s Sophist, the first fragment, as well as the translator’s notes on that fragment. In Platonis Dialogos Commentariorum Fragmenta. Translated by Dillon, John M. Wiltshire, UK: Prometheus Trust, 2009. {thanks
Jeffrey S. Kupperman)

Godforms of the Golden Dawn review

Pat Zalewski’s books on the Golden Dawn are always worth getting and reading.  Lately, he has not written that many, preferring to focus on this correspondence course, so his new one is a rarity.  I was going to write a review of it, and Pat asked me to “let him have it” so here goes.

Godforms of the Golden Dawn tradition is very much a Pat Zalewski book with similarities to his classic Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries.  When I read Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries (in the 90s)  his descriptions of the use of Godforms provided me with a link between the inner work which I was doing and the Golden Dawn.

This book looks at Zalewski’s approach to Godforms which are mostly based on the holographic theory and Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields.  That approach has a lot to offer, and Pat clearly explains them in the context of Godforms.

Like most Zalewski books Godforms of the Golden Dawn does not have to be taken in its entirety. There are stand-alone packages of information which unlock chunks of Golden Dawn information.  For example, Pat’s explanation of the godforms of the Enochian Chess pieces in the GD ritual is well worth it.

Pat also provides some of the Godforms of the elemental grades as used in Whare Ra with original pictures provided to him by Tony Fuller.  Dion Fortune said that illustrations like this were often the real hidden teaching behind a magic order and were often the key to connecting to the original order.  Certainly, there are rather a lot of Golden Dawn orders which do not use these godforms and yet claim to be linked to the Stella Matutina or Whare Ra.

Zalewski does not like the more modern approach of officers adopting individual godforms and prefers that the Hierophant generates all of them. He says that this is because the hierophant needs to be in control of the ritual.  I do a half-way house with the godforms being created by the officers but ensouled by the Hierophant who links them into the ritual’s network and contacts. This takes a lot of the pressure off the Hierophant without losing much in the way of control.

One thing I would have liked the book to contain was more ritual use outside the grade rituals and perhaps some proper techniques for ordinary rituals.  The book is quite short and could easily have been expanded in this direction.

My one problem with the book is the excessive number of introductions.  There is an excellent introduction from Tony Fuller which explains the work of Pat, and he did research the Whare Ra and Golden Dawn godforms.  However, there then follows two largely pointless introductions from the publisher Lenny Pedersen and Martin Thibeault which did not need to be there and said very little. When you have a book which is only 143 pages long wasting 14 pages before getting to the subject is a little annoying and did not need to be there.

Pat and Tony Fuller have some more books which are coming out using this publisher which, like this book, will be a welcome addition to the evolving corpus of Golden Dawn material. You can get your hands on Pat’s book here.

The new Golden Dawn fundamentalist trend goes no where

In the last few years, a clique of fundamentalist occultists has emerged who claim that they are following the Original Golden Dawn system. They cut off all developments after Mathers was expelled. For those who don’t know, the central focus for this change means that the god-awful portal ritual in which the student is subjected to a boring lecture on diagrams and the Masonic style of giving the passwords and a funny handshake is superior to the longer more magical ritual which most people know about.  The original ritual can be seen in my Mathers Last Secret Book because the AO could not be bothered changing it themselves.

So is there anything in the original Golden Dawn teachings that is better than the off-shoots by the rebels?  The rituals are shorter and less poetic and closer to the Masonic model, some of the elements which most people like about the GD or the AO were not in the original.  The mindset is more of co-masonry or SIRA with a downplaying of the magical elements (in the early GD the second order had not been adequately integrated into the second order…. indeed the moment that the second order was developed (and Mathers delivered the Tham papers) the London adepts started to rebel). It was new wine into old skins, and the Order had to restructure to accommodate it.

There is nothing in human history where the first draft is always better than the final copy. If you write a ritual or paper and it creates something living within you that act will unlock something new in you. You will then see the universe through that new information, and the original information will have to be changed and adapted.  To say that the original Golden Dawn documents and rituals were perfect on their first draft implies that Mathers and Westcott were gods who had a clear perception of what the GD was and what it would do.

However, we know that this was not the case.  When the original rituals were written there were no perceptions of a second order and the vision was a form of SRIA which included women. Information was still coming into the order as late as ten years after.  It implies that not only were Mathers and Westcott gods, but the rebels who followed them were idiots who did not know what they were doing.  If this were the case, then the GD system failed because it did not train anyone who could carry it on.  Westcott and Mathers were not initiated using their rituals, so that means that if the rebels were failures, then it means that the original rituals did not work.

The issue here is that occultism is about time, training, focus and development. The follow-on orders had more time to understand and work with the rituals to know what needed to change and for students to develop parts of the ceremonies unworked by the founders.  More modern students have even more advantages of applying information and teaching which was less accessible to those in the 19/20th centuries.

Claiming that the rebels (or the AO) were stupid for bringing in changes (such as the portal ritual and another teaching) implies a smug superiority born of insecurity. I would rather sit and talk occultism with Yeats, Mrs Mathers, Felkin, Brodie Innes, Taylor or any of the old Whare Ra members than any of these back to the early Golden Dawn types.  All of them followed the GD system for most of their lives

Most fundamentalist quests are based on insecurities and inexperience and a hope that a human document is correct and cannot be changed.

If a single document or collection documents or rituals can be defined as “right”, then it means that others are wrong.  If you follow this perfect document, you are “right”, and that rightness counters any gnawing personality problems.  A fundamentalist must focus their intellect on one set of documents which reduces conflicts and enables a form of intellectual mastery which allows even a stupid person to look good. As a result, such movements are counter-evolutionary and opposed to intellectual development and therefore anti-magic which has been evolutionary from the start. Sure enough one of the standard bearers for this fundamentalist  approach has already lectured me on the merits of a Masonic approach to the GD.

For those who came in late, a masonic approach means doing the ritual without godforms, suppressing magical claims and then having a good dinner afterwards while feeling happy and secure that you have higher grades than the rest of the people in your group.

Fundamentalism is always the swan song of a spiritual system before its collapse and replacement with something more akin to human life. Of course, this is where I get it in the neck for disagreeing with them. Fundamentalists are not a big fan of those who disagree with them.  It implies they are wrong and if they are wrong then the universe where they, and only they, are important is under attack.


Beyond the Sun is out

The rewrite of the history of Dr Felkin and Whare Ra, along with the 7=4 and 6=5 rituals is now out through Skylight Press, who also did my Magical Imagination book.

For those who saw the now improbably rare first edition, the book is much larger.  It goes much more into the Whare Ra history from its beginning to closure.  it looks at its involvement with Anne Davies and Paul Case and looks the the reason for its demise.

It also looks at the rituals and recounts some of the experiences of those who went through it and provides some of the teachings that they receieved.   It also deals with some of my own experiences meeting and working with Whare Ra people.

Felkin has been dubbed the fool of the Golden Dawn by those who like to believe that the GD was working along masonic lines and that nothing was being channeled by secret chiefs. However all of the Golden Dawn was doing inner work, and all of them were channelling secret chiefs in some way.  In that respect Felkin was no more foolish than Westcott or Mathers.

Reading of Felkin’s adventures is like something from a Victorian Boy’s Own  magazine. He was a hard bitten missionary who travelled through Egypt during a war zone, met Gordon of Kartoom before he was killed. Avoided marterdom in West Africa and was an expert in tropical medicine.

I have to say the book would have been impossible were it not for the help received from Tony Fuller who helped considerably in providing me with information.  More details can be found here.



Within the Golden Dawn corpus, there is a slightly odd ritual called the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram. It is performed after a lesser ritual of the pentagram by adepts and various reasons have been provided for its existence mostly centred on an apparent need to neutralise any planetary energy before beginning a working.

Based on the drawing of two different triangles in different positions in the quarters it is the most used of a collection hexagrams. However, the root of the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram might provide us with some clues as to its use and why it is an important daily practice for the modern magician.

One of the founders of the Golden Dawn took the triangle diagrams from a drawing of the Key of Solomon Magic Circle where it is placed in the outside circle along with the highest magical names of power. The triangles are not explained, but it seems likely to me that that they are geomantic symbols. Two of them (in the South and West) are variations on the geomantic symbols for Carcer, the East is Fortuna Minor and the last, in the North is Conjuncto. Within the circle of Key Solomon, these geomantic symbols make a great deal of sense. In this case, their role is creating a ring of protection around the magician.

When looking at Geomantic figures, it is a good idea to see them as a recipe which fuses together to create a powerful effect. In this case, we have a strong Saturnian flavour figures which form a separation between the outside world and what is in the circle. Carcer means Prison and is attributed to Saturn. The northern hexagram is the geomantic opposite to Carcer. Conjuctio is assigned to the mutable Mercury and draws things together rather than separate them. However, Conjuctio
to unite the other hexagrams to mark off and seal the protective circle.

Fortuna Minor in the East is an odd addition to the magic circle. It represents the Sun when it is setting, in other words, the sun as an old man. It is a symbol of the beginning of the night, the light shining in the dark. It is both the beginning (Genesis counted the day beginning at Sunset) and the end which makes it a good symbol for the start of a magic circle. The image of the old man also works with the concept of this magic circle being Saturnian and marking the passage of time. The Sun, in any format, is always going to have some protective aspect against darkness, but in this case, it is the herald of the dark. However, the East is where the Sun rises, so this geomantic symbol is placed in a position of reversing that idea. It is the process of Time as the protector of order (Aion the Roman god of time was Lion faced) and the continuation of everything that was.

The writer of the Key of Solomon would have been aware of the associations of the east so placing a seemingly contrary symbol there had a purpose. The goal of the magic circle was to contain and protect. Fortuna Maior and Fortuna Minor, can be best associated with wheels, circles, and cycles are both cycles and associated with time. Fortuna Minor is the downward part of the wheel of fortune and the weakening of active positive solar force and he move to constrained negative solar force. With this force rising in the east the stage is set for a time of darkness and restriction… ruled by the magical image of an old man. Fire and water are imprisoned (carcer) and everything is joined together in a boundary of mercury (conjucto). All rather useful for a defensive magic circle, but when the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagramis done you create the antithesis of restriction. Time is shattered, the fire and the waters are liberated and boundaries and restriction are dissolved

Drawing of geomantic symbols is a creative art. Traditionally they could be drawn by joining up the dots of a geomantic figure, differently. However geomantic figures did not have to be constructed using lines. They could also use shapes and curls, the lines containing the dots could be made closer or further apart to make more geometrically balanced shapes. Golden Dawn members were shown a list of some of these Geomantic shapes, but it is clear that this was only a starter kit so that the students were aware of the possibilities.

Geomantic symbols are important because they represent planetary force manifesting in the earth. They bring down power to a level where the magician can directly use it.

The Golden Dawn added to the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram symbols by placing the points of each triangle onto the tree of life. One of the missing parts of Golden Dawn teaching about the Lesser hexagram was the critical placement of the solar symbol in the centre. So far, I have only seen this solar symbol in AO, but I doubt it, as NISI is rather early in AO history and did not seem to deviate much from early Golden Dawn teaching.

By doing this, Mathers provided an additional overlay of teaching which connected the triangles to the Tree of Life and showed how the planetary forces moved around Tiphareth. While this is useful to place the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagramin the context of the wider planetary hexes it has the function of enabling Mathers other innovation, the idea of creating a banishing and invoking an aspect to the hexagram. If you wanted to remove a force, you drew the triangles anti-clockwise from the planetary point and if you wanted to invoke you drew the towards the planetary symbol from the one before it. The second triangle is the mirror opposite of the first. This does not apply to the fourth hexagram where the triangles are flipped.

In the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram, the use of banishing versions of the geomantic symbols makes for an impressive symbolic system. Rather than providing a magical circle, which the invoking ritual would still do, it serves to break down existing restrictions and structures. Rather than allowing the constrictive, separate prisons of the double carcer symbols, it banishes any limitations which might be there. Rather than setting boundaries or uniting forces in the circle with the conjuncto symbol it is breaking them down or destroying all connections. The banishing of the sun at midnight is the removal of the element of time and the divine order. This would render the immediate environment chaotic.

So why is this important?

When you perform a magical act, you are creating a change in the status quo and challenging the natural Saturnian force. Some of these limitations will exist in the magician, others from society and on a broader scale the natural flow of the universe. By rendering the space antagonistic to Saturnian inertia you are giving your magic a chance.

But it is important to realise that with the  lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram you are creating chaos which allows the universe to be reassembled in the image that the magician wishes. For some types of magic a lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram beforehand would not be a good idea. If you are trying to use magic to take control of an already chaotic situation, it would be unwise to banish Saturn because you are making matters worse.

There is an additional point which applies more when you have made magic your life. That is that continual attempts to change the universe, or the move to do something significant creates a backlash from those Saturn forces which seek to keep things the same. The myth of Saturn and Jupiter and the war of the Titans applies here. At a certain point in your magical career you will be a symbol of a force for change and like Jupiter be a target for those forces of inertia that insist that things stay the same.

What is worrying is very often you are unaware of it or might mistake the process for a spiritual test. What you will notice is that your magic does not work in the same way as it did, you might find it challenging to meet your spiritual contacts, or find yourself too tired to do magical work. It is similar to the inertia that someone has when starting the work. However, unlike that stage of your personal development, forcing yourself to be more disciplined does not resolve the matter, in fact, it might make it worse.

Performing a daily lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram would help prevent this backlash before it becomes too crippling, you will always face this particular issue (it is part of the natural way the universe works), but at least it will not harm you too much.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram becomes an important mini-ritual for Golden Dawn practitioners which has less to do with its planetary attributions and more to do with the forces of order and chaos and creating the right circumstances for your magic to work.

The lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram  deserves to be performed in most workings (after the first lesser ritual of the pentagram) when the ceremony requires some change to an existing order. It should also be done regularly with the intention of counteracting those forces of normality which restrict evolution. If the latter is performed, it might be appropriate to call upon Jupiter for assistance.

Don’t rush to burn Bonewits

When I first became interested in magic, I was 17 and the only book I could find in the library was “Real Magic” written by Isaac Bonewits. While in hindsight it was not what I would end up as believing magic to be, but it fired up my imagination enough for me to start. Decades later I wrote to him and thanked him for that, and he politely replied.

This week Bonewits’ name has been named in a paedophile sex scandal which he cannot fight because he has been dead since 2010. Many of the associations he worked hard to create have rushed to distance themselves from him.

But the people who knew him are bewildered, two of his wives and his son say the allegations are not the man they knew.  But they stopped short of saying the allegations were made up.


Because in this case the victim is extremely credible and what she says is so terrible.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter, Moira Greyland made the allegations, and her previous tellings of the story put her own father, Walter Breen, in jail. I do not doubt that Greyland is telling the truth about the systematic abuse by her Breen and her mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley.

In these circumstances, no one wants to victim shaming the accuser. However what people are not keen to understand is that because someone is a good witness to a terrible crime does not make them automatically credible for all her accusations.

I cannot help but feel that people have rushed a little too quickly to burn Bonewits on her allegations. When I was a tabloid journalist, I was taught that there needed to be enough evidence for the story to stand up in court.

In this case, there is not.

Bonewits lived in the basement of another writer Diana Paxson while he was writing Real Magic. Paxson was friends with Greyland’s parents, co-wrote books with Bradley.

However, that is the only confirmable fact in Greyland’s story, the rest is shakey and uncohoborated.

Paxson did not recall a time when Greyland’s family and Bonewits were at her house at the same time. Of course, this did not mean it did not happen, but it was the only period where Greyland and Bonewits could have shared the same scene.

Other facts become are even more difficult to quantify.  Greyland refuses to provide any details of the abuse because it is a side issue to her main story. Some would say this is because the events were alleged to happen when Greyland was six, but equally, there might be something else happening here.

Bonewits is introduced to the story as a “Pagan Pope “which seems an odd thing for a six-year-old to understand. At that stage of Bonewits’ life, before the publication of his book, Bonewits was hardly recognisable on the esoteric scene.  While he later became a “pagan pope” for some pagans, Greyland’s perception of him being a “Pagan Pope” is something she must have understood much later, long after any alleged abuse.

So what other perceptions did Greyland have after the event?  Reading her book, you see that she slowly comes to reject and hate the lax left-wing hippy lifestyle which she identified with her parents and abusers.  Writing in this blog   she says:

“What they did to me is a matter of unfortunate public record: suffice to say that both parents wanted me to be gay and were horrified at my being female…. I have begun to speak out against gay marriage, and in doing so, I have alienated most of even my strongest supporters. After all, they need to see my parents as wacky sex criminals, not as homosexuals following their deeply held ethical positions and trying to create a utopia according to a rather silly fantasy.”

Is it any wonder that Greyland’s book is published by the alt-right figurehead Vox Day. This is exactly the sort of story that the Christian right wants out there with a spokesperson who no-one will dare question.  After all who on the left would dare question the memory of a six-year-old victim of child abuse who had the bravery to come forward?

No one appears keen to defend Bonewits because they will be seen as a defender of paedophiles and have to say that Greyland made everything up.

I don’t believe that Greyland made everything up, but I am equally unsure that her Bonewits allegations are valid.  The Christian alt-right might be rather keen to knife another “pagan pope,” as Greyland might be, as part of her anger against the leftie family and its surrounding pagan society which created her parents and resulted in her abuse.  Bonewits is a good target, he is dead, can’t sue, can be linked to Greyland and is still a pagan community icon.

The same people who point the finger at Bonewits are doing so with the same level of spectral evidence seen at the Salaam witch trials. What is worrying is how quickly the pagan community rushed to pretend that a person who had dedicated his life to forming their organisations had nothing to do with them.  If it were true, then that would be fair enough, but there has to be enough proof before you turn on people and in this case simply isn’t.

Who are the winners of this sad story?  The Christian alt-right members who have convinced the pagan community to burn one of its own founders at the stake on rather weak evidence come to mind. Some have already pointed out that they believe that Greyland is being used. writer River Devora wrote, “It’s heartbreaking and enraging because the part about the abuse is genuine […] She’s been taken in by alt right folks (a very long time ago, I might add), who have exploited her story and her trauma for their own political reasons, and that part is despicable.”

All this generates enough “reasonable doubt” in my mind to say the following:

I do not have enough evidence at this point to say that Bonewits sexually abused Moira Greyland in 1970, and I don’t think anyone else has either. Unless new information comes forward, I will not be rushing to distance myself from my first Real Magic book.