Tag Archives: magic

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)

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 that at Athens was inserted into the catalogue in antiquity during the rulership of Solon.

All that though was Edna Leigh came up with a spectacular theory which turned the whole poem on its head. She argued that the poem drew astronomical information with the heroes being stars or constellations. Her work was published in Homer’s Secret Iliad published after her death by Florence and Kenneth Wood and makes for a compelling if incomplete argument. Leigh’s theory explains some of the stranger aspects of the poem by fitting them into astrological explanations.

The Catalogue of Ships are each of the constellations and the heroes mentioned are the stars. Achilles is Sirius leading the constellation of Canis Major, who chases Hector, as Orion across the sky before killing him. (The theory is detailed and you should really read the book as there is much more to it.) Leigh could find astrological events which fitted the poem and use it to calculate the correct dates for the equinoxes and solstices, the changes in the pole star, and the disappearance of Sirius for a time below the horizon. It is one of those things that once you have read it, you can’t get the concept out of your mind.

However, there are some problems with the theory. While I think, it is completely accurate, it misses because it motivations are entirely modern. It is based on the idea that a poet took two thousand years of astrological data and made them into a magic poem to help him remember, this data was later written down.

But a modern scientific approach ignores the historical and cultural context. If the data covers such a long period of oral history then this becomes crucial. While Edna Leigh might not think that the stars were actual heroes and the planets were gods, then Homer certainly did. It might be that Homer’s Illiad was a muse inspired version of magical data collected by watching the night’s sky, but that was only part of it.

Magical tradition makes it very important to contact Zodiacal forces and what Homer would have done is created a system of star magic to do it. The concept that Gods and men became stars is a very important part of human thought. In fact,in some esoteric circles it is still consisted a starter. The idea being that when a soul has learnt all it can from the Solar Logos it evolves to become a logos of its own solar system.

Later magic placed Angels or gods at the centre of these constellations, but, if Leigh is correct, Homer placed Ancient Heroes, or the souls of dead ancestors at the centre of his. The night’s sky then was a cinema telling a fragment of one great story.

To re-create this system of magic we need to rethink our twee concept of ancestors as being those of our dead grandparents, but something deeper and more powerful. Homer places every tribe of humanity into 45 constellations, each ruled by a heroic ancestor. If these were the 45 original tribes of the Indo-European people as they migrated across the planet, or something even bigger, such as the division of all humans into 45 constellations, is a subject for experimentation.

But it would suggest that the 12 signs of the zodiac are 12 heroes who are important by they are on the ecliptic. A way of seeing them would be the rulers of humanity. That is not underplaying the others’ importance, but gives a starting point to fusing this concept with more modern magic. What sticks in my mind is that these energies are like those of the Arthurian Knights so this is a Homeric Round Table.

Here is the list of the 12 heroes of the constellations.

Leo Agamemnon
Scorpio: Menelaus
Libra: Helen*
Cancer: Diores
Aries: Thoas
Taurus: Idomeneus
Pisces: Tlepolemus
Virgo: Aeneas
Sagittarius: Pandarus
Aquarius: Euphemus
Gemini: Glasucus

*Helen was not mentioned in the Catalogue of ships and neither was Libra. Although the constellation was known at the time of Homer it was considered part of the claws of Scorpio (there were 11 signs of the Zodiac). Leigh provides a detailed reasoning for Helen and her ladies in waiting to be part of Libra.

The catalogue of ships mentions several names as leaders. But the true leader is always the one associated with the brightest star. Four of the names are Trojan with Helen being the mediator of the two “sides.”

There are important heroes in the Illiad which are useful for magic.
Arcesilaus rules the constellation of Drago
Nestor rules the constellation of Auriga
Achilles rules the constellation of Canis Major
Hector rules the constellation of Orion
Odysseus rules the constellation of Boots.
Other heroes are mentioned as ruling different constellations within the narrative. For example Paris is a joint ruler of Orion with Hector.

The Gods in this scheme

The planets represent the Homeric gods. But they are not quite the same attributions of modern astrology. Because Mercury was close to the sun, the Ancients saw it as two planets. One in the morning and the other in the evening. The version which rose in the morning was attributed to Apollo (probably because of its closeness to the sun) and one which rose in the evening was to Hermes. It is not clear when the Ancients figured out there was only one planet, but it might have been around the time that Apollo took over the role of Helios as the Sun god. According to Leigh, while the same issue of rising in the Morning and Evening applied to Venus, Homer recognised that it was a single planet, perhaps because it was easier to see.

Jupiter was not allocated to Zeus as you might expect but to Athena. Leigh thought this was because Zeus represented an overall united principle which could not be seen. Personally I think this is nonsense as in her scheme she does not count the Sun as a planet. Given some of Leigh’s other theories it makes sense to attribute him to the sun.

Hera is allocated to the moon. She is called white armed when she is waxing or waning or cow-eyed when she is full. The story recounted in the Iliad where she seduces Zeus is an accurate description of a Lunar eclipse, which is one of the reason I think Zeus is represented by the sun in the Iliad.

So, the list is

Sun: Zeus
Hera: Moon
Apollo (Morning) Mercury
Hermes (evening) Mercury
Aphrodite: Venus
Aries: Mars
Athena: Jupiter
Poseidon: Saturn

Gods appear in the constellations too but this blog has gone on long enough

The magic ball of Helios-Apollo

The splendid palace of their fire sublime. O best of gods, blest daemon crown ‘d with fire


In 1866 the archaeologist, antiquities “looter,” Prof Athanasios Rhousopoulos dug up a marble ball which was 30 in diameter covered with magical signs similar to what can be seen in the Greek Magical Papyri.

The Helios-Apollo ball had been buried in the hill just outside the temple of Dionysus in Athens and was identified as a magical talisman to help someone win a combat  .  This was because the theatre of Dionysus had been adapted by the Romans to host gladiator fights and wild animal displays. Some of the symbols on the sphere look like fields or strategy plays.  On the face of it there is only limited interest in such a talisman as there were rather a lot of this type.

The ball attracted my attention because it contains only time that the sigil of an Olympic spirit had been seen before the middle ages. The sigil of the sun spirit Och crowns a disk on the lower half of the sphere.

The Helios side of the ball photograph Jesse Waugh

As part of the work I was doing on my coming book I wanted to see if it was possible to have a system which decoded the writing on the ball.  If I am right, then the Helios-Apollo is not a talisman to help a gladiator team win but an important magical tool.

What the Helios-Apollo ball looks like

The Helios-Apollo ball is perfect marble sphere dominated by three circles. Inside the first circle is the image of a standing man with a solar halo.  He is holding a three-forked staff which could be either a torch, or leaves. At his feet are two dogs, one has a halo. Attached to this is second disk which is crowned by the sigil of Och. Underneath it has five intersecting circles. The circles contain five words (from the furthest left circle ΑΙΘΑΕΡ, ΑΝΑΒΠΑ, ΑΝΝΙΑΕΥ, ΕΔΕΒΩΠ̣Ι, and ΑΠΙΟΒΙ). Three of the intersecting circles are marked (from left to right) ΕΥΠΑΡ̣ΕϹ, ΑΧΦΕΙ and ΑΘΕΛΑ.  Underneath the circles are collections of letters arranged as words ΧΧΧ ΔΔΔΔ ΗΗΗΗ.  Next to this is a diagram of what looks like semi-cicle flanked by two circles on poles. To the right there are three stylised arrows passing through rectangles. Underneath and completing this disk there are nine Λ “l’s” between brackets.

The third disk contains a triangle with the left angle having the letters ΑΔΑΞΑΞΒΕΝΒΕΝΒΛΩΘΝΩΜΑΖΟΜΟΗΡ, the second ΟΖΩΡΟΥΘΕΝΑΑΕΞΑΒΙΟΥΡΟ̣ΑΙΛΕΜΒΡΑΕΡ and the base of the triangle containing the letters ΧΧΧ ΠΠΠΠ ΦΦΦΦ̣Φ̣ΦΦ̣ ΔΔΔΔ ΛΛΛΛ ΛΛΛΛ

Outside these disks there is a large bearded serpent with the letters ΕΙΥ[․]ΛΛΜΕΜΨΟΥΡΦΙΒΡΟΦΕΥ up its body. Between the serpent and the sun is the phrase ΜΟΥΡΒΗ ΜΕΡΦΕΡΒΕΡ

There is lion with  ΘΑ̣Δ̣ΕΙΗΤ on one foot, ΧΧΦΦΦΑ on the other inside  ΠΔΔΔΔΔΗ.   Between the serpent and the lion there is the phrase ΝΧΘΑΝΧΘΩΛΕΚΡΟ|ΑΝΟΚΛΕΡΦΡΟΕΡΑΙ | [․]ΙΕΩΕΥ|ΒΛΕΦΑΡΟΖΗ.

On top of the sphere there is the words ΙΞ̣ΙΔΕϹΙ. (ixidesi) [the Ϲ symbol should be the lunate sigma, which is pronounced as “s”]

The date of the Helios-Apollo ball

Due to the style of the lettering and similarities to other similar items it can be dated to the second to third century (CE). What is not clear as to when the sphere was buried as this may help explain its purpose.

Previous study on the Helios-Apollo ball

The Helios-Apollo ball was given a detailed and somewhat enlightened examination by the Belgian  Hellenist  Armand L. Delatte in 1913.  In his study Études sur la magie grecque: Sphère magique du Musée d’Athènes. Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 1913, Volume 37 Issue 37, pp. 247-278. An expert on Pythagoras Delatte said a lot of common sense about the object. However, his conclusion was that the ball had been buried near the theatre of Dionysus as a magical attempt to take over the land so that games and events held at the theatre would bring the magician luck is a bit silly.


There are variety of reasons why the gladiator talisman theory must be dismissed. While gladiator talismans exist, they are not this size, or weight. This ball was commissioned by someone who knew how to work marble who would have paid a great deal for it. The carvings, although not first class, would also have taken some skill. While it is not good enough for public display, it would have been fine in a wealthy person’s house.

The ball has no intention, or magical purpose on it. It also lacks any symbols or names of people who would have been the talisman’s target. As we will see most of the symbols are solar. There could be a lot of reasons to invoke Helios, or Apollo but winning a gladiatorial combat or some other game is not an obvious choice. Aries for sporting prowess, Hermes for Luck, even Zeus or Athena (particularly in Athens) or Jupiter.  While you could say that a gladiator would benefit from solar force there is nothing to suggest that is the ball’s magical purpose. There are no indications of weapons, fighting or even names of gladiator teams.

If Delatte was correct and the ball was created take control of the land, it would not have known who it was to help win.

Gladiator talismans were normally made of lead, not marble, and contain some sort of dedication. PGM III (Lines 15-30) names the chariot driver he wants to win.  Such talismans could be buried if you wanted to an attract underworld spirits, but normally they would have been put near a tomb or in a well or water supply.

The Theatre of Dionysus link

Most of the problems of working out the function of this ball comes from the fact that people seem to be fixated on the fact it was found near the Theatre of Dionysus on the Acropolis. To be fair I wasted a lot of time trying to see a Dionysus or even a theatre link to this ball.

There could be many reasons why the sphere was buried at that point and none of them are to do with the spheres purpose. If the magician had another use for the ball, it would have been important to work out what to do with it once that purpose was over.  For example, if the ball was used to provide luck and prosperity to the magician’s home or family, what would happen to the ball when the magician died or his family line petered out. Someone would have had the job of getting rid of the ball and no one would have wanted to anger the Gods or Daemons on the ball by smashing it. As a magical object, it could not be offered to a temple so it was safer to everyone if it was given a decent burial on holy ground. The Acropolis and the Theatre was sacred ground

Helios or Helios-Apollo?

Heilios Apollo in Pompei

In the absence of a name identifying the god on the ball, in 1910 the archaeologist Armand Delatte identified the image of the God on one side of the ball as Helios. Helios was not often depicted standing still or on the ground. He is normally in a chariot or in movement. This image is of someone standing in an archway, which is presumably the vault of heaven.

The forked (three-torch) wand is a strange symbol. Hekate is associated with three torches and was a gatekeeper, and she was associated with Dogs. Cybil, who was often confused with Hekate, was often flanked by lions and these dogs could be badly drawn lions.

Dionysus was seen a sun god and like Apollo was closely connected to the arts. Dionysus was also connected with snakes and there is a bearded snake carved on the reverse of the ball.  The three torches could simply be the god’s Thyrsus which was an ivy-covered staff of giant fennel one of the branches could be a pine cone it is hard to tell. The whip was associated with part of the Dionysian mysteries initiation.

However, there is a big problem with identification with Dionysus and that is that apart from the drawing the rest of the symbolism is connected to his brother Apollo. Dionysus’s own solar connection is tentative.  As we will see later much of the magical disk is directly symbolic of Solar Apollo.

For while I thought the figure represented Apollo, after all he was the God of theatres and arts and the centre of the Muses. He also would have been happy with a solar halo. The “dogs” at his feet could easily be wolves. According to the Homeric Hymns Apollo also had a three-branched wand which he gave to Hermes after he promised never to steal his sheep.

He was also connected to snakes, having killed the Delphi Python. He is also shown as holding a whip to ride the chariot of the sun.

An interesting aspect of the cult at Delphi is that Apollo shared the site with his younger brother, Dionysus. Every year at the onset of winter, Apollo abandoned Delphi to spend three in the land of the Hyperboreans far to the north. In the meantime, the sanctuary on Parnassus was given over to the maenades (“the raving ones”) who worked themselves into a frenzy through wine and dance.

German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche pointed out that Dionysus and Apollo were two sides of the same force with Apollo being order and Dionysus chaos. The ancients might not have seen it that way, but the Delphian cult suggests that perhaps the two were the joys of spring and summer and the happiness which was possible during winter.

Once we reject the connection between the theatre and the ball we are left with the symbolism which works rather nicely with the composite Helios-Apollo.  Drawings of  him which were found in Pompey are rather like this one.

Delatte says that the two dogs are the key to understanding the figure.  One has a halo and the other does not.  This makes them constellations Canis Minor and Canis Major. The dog with the halo contains the magical star Sirius].

This sphere then represents the Sun at its height in the dog days of Summer.

The magic disk

The magic disk looks familiar to anyone who has looked at the Greek magical papyri. Most of the symbolism on it relates to Apollo and the sun.  Above we have the solar symbol for the Olympic spirit of the Sun.  What is interesting is that in context it mirrors the depiction of so called “three torches” on the picture of Helios Apollo on the front. It would be an interesting conjecture then to suggest that the symbol of “Och” is a stylised version of Apollo with his golden staff.  Notice that it rests on a rectangle. The rectangle was an important Greek symbol as each temple was created from three of them.

Next there are five interlocking circles creating four vesica piscis.  The number five is the number of the Greek letter epsilon which the Pythagoreans associated with Justice. In this sense, it means the balance of the universe and closely associated with Helios-Apollo (It was placed above his temple in Delphi). The connected to the five abilities of Apollo – light, truth, archery, prophecy, music, and healing.

The vesica piscis was a gate caused by the duality of different forces. In this case these five circles create four gates which means the “target” of the different powers were material.

The names written in the circles are either corrupted, completely misspelled, or something else. Even the word in the first sphere is Aithaer which is clearly meant to be the word Aether αἰθήρ  (sky or gas).  By playing around with the letters though it is possible to get words which are approximations. My linguistics expert friend thinks that they might be imported magic words from Semitic sources, and while it is possible that this would be the case in Alexandria, it is less likely to have been the situation in Athens.

Delatte is convinced that the five circles are the Pythagorean elements from earth on the right to Aether on the left. The intersections are what happens when you mix the elements. The second word which we can identify is the intersection of the first sphere which is the word ΕΥΠΑΡ̣ΕϹ which could be derived from the word “to boil” this would make sense if the next sphere is fire. However, that is labelled ΑΝΑΒΠΑ. This word could be based on the word meaning to “rise” which while being appropriate for mystical and magical states, and could cause a mystical boiling gives us little clues as to what the circles mean. Nor do they explain why the intersection on the circle which is connected to earth was not filled in.

The letters underneath the circle suggest to some form of solar mantra which might have been connected to the circles above.  XXX is the English sound “Ch, Ch, Ch” ΔΔΔΔ is “ duh, duh, duh, duh and H,H,H,H,H would be five breathing outs [it could also be vibrated as either ē, and during this period it was vibrated ē].  They appear connected to the circles so the Aether circle is “Ch, Ch, Ch.” And the five breaths cover the third and fourth spheres.  This is a consonant based magic word or mantra which is solar connected.  If Delatte is correct and the words are connected to the elements, then it is probably chant/ mantra of ascension. This would explain why the earth is left blank because you are supposed to be ascending the levels and there is no effect moving from the “earth sphere” to what is presumably the water sphere.

The semi-circular structure could represent a repeat of the symbolism of the Apollo-Helios sphere. It has the arch of heaven with the four elements (made up of four sub sections) underneath. Aether would be represented by the dome or the space between it. The two spheres on poles are canis major and Minor.

The arrows are connected to Apollo and they are shown passing through a rectangle (or a temple) so they are effectively holy light. The reason that there are three of them is because that is the number associated with Apollo’s power.

The bottom of the sphere is another mantra made up of nine Λ lambdas, Ls which would be trilled Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh.  It is possible that this line is the only reference to the moon on the ball as the brackets could be the different moon phases, particularly as there could be symbols of the moon carved underneath which have faded. Lambda is connected to Cancer which is ruled by the moon. But it also rules July which is the beginning of the summer months. Lambda is also symbol of unity (two lines linking to a single point) and light and can be identified it as a solar force.  They could be related to numbers in which case they would be 30*9 or 270 which is three quarters of a circle.

The circle in the triangle

The circle is a symbol of creation, or god, or the universe. It is closely lined to the sun. While the triangle is a symbol of manifestation. An upward pointing triangle, like this one is associated with fire. So, this diagram shows us manifesting fire.

The magic words along the bottom are ΧΧΧ ΠΠΠΠ ΦΦΦΦ̣Φ̣ΦΦ̣ ΔΔΔΔ ΛΛΛΛ ΛΛΛΛ.  It would have been pronounced Ch,Ch,Ch; Puh, Puh, Puh, Puh; Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh, Fuh; Duh, Duh, Duh, Duh and Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh, Luh.  The letters are elemental Aquarius (Air), Capricorn (Earth), Fire, Water, Cancer/Sun/Aether. Pedants might wonder why this mantra does not use the obvious elemental letters for the elements instead of χ and π namely ρ for air and γ for earth.  It would be a good question. But one of the answers could be that the system might be suggesting something specific. It could be trying to avoid a fixed earth and wanting the more active cardinal version. The use of the fixed Aquarius sign for Air is a little more problematic for this theory.

In the ball’s first sphere the Ch,Ch,Ch was connected to Aether and yet here it is connected to air. Aether was originally associated with Air but over time had become to be associated with Spirit (and the Stoics also considered it a fiery spirit). It might have been that the associating with Aether on the first circle is incorrect.

The triangle’s base provides the names of power for the four elements. The weight of the mantra is slightly towards Phi (f,fire) because there are more letters connected to this element and lambdas (L, Aether).

The line on the left angle there is a word string which appears to be several words joined together.

ΑΔΑΞΑΞΒΕΝΒΕΝΒΛΩΘΝΩΜΑΖΟΜΟΗΡ (Adaxaxbenbenblothnomazomoer). Benben was one of the most potent symbols of ancient Egypt symbolizing the Primeval mound and housed the spirit of the sun god Ra. The word is ancient Egyptian.  Adaxax might be a fusion of the Greek words ΑΔΑ means “virgin” or “untouched” and ΑΞΑΞ meaning “dry heat.” Blvthvm [but the word is blothnom] is Semitic, possibly corrupted Hebrew, the word appears to be connected to drying out through age although it could also be a root word for “lord. Azomoer, Azo is “dry.”  This would mean that the mantra is about Ra, the Lord of the Benben drying out the waters of creation in the Ancient Egyptian myth.

ΟΖΩΡΟΥΘΕΝΑΑΕΞΑΒΙΟUΡΟ̣ΑΙΛΕΜΒΡΑΕΡ or Ozoroythenaaexabioyroailembraer

ΟΖΩΡ appears in some of the manuscripts as Osiris. My linguist friend suggest ΟΖΩΡΟΥΘΕΝΑ could be a mix between Osiris and Athena. Delattee thinks that that ΟΖΩΡΟΥΘΕΝ might mean the “Sun God Osiris. ΒΙΟU is used the name of the Sun God in the Berlin Papyri (1, 239) and in an invocation to Eros Horus in the Leiden Papyri. ΑΕΞΑΒ is Hebrew Azab which means “abandon” IOY could be the root of “cry” POA is “Pomegranate”, ΛΕΜΒΡ was a ship and AER was Air.  It is an odd collection of words which could mean a lot of things. Pomegranate was a symbol of the underworld, but also a symbol of fertility, death and rebirth and hope all things which are symbolic of the sun. The idea of a boat travelling through the air also describes the sun, something which is connected more to Egypt as the Greeks saw the sun as being drawn in a chariot.  So, what we have here then is the Sun god Osiris rising into the air on his boat into the air bringing power and fertility.


The serpent is coiled in a way to create figure eight in a least part of its body.  The snake could represent the nine-starred constellation of Drago which was an important star system magically because it never sets below the horizon for many observers in the northern hemisphere.

It is probably the solar serpent Agathos Daimon (ἀγαθοδαίμων) who was a snake spirit of good fortune and the husband of Tyche. He was closely associated with the sun and, line in this ball he is associated with a lion or a solar halo.

Along his body are a string of names the first is ΝΧΘΑΝΧΘΩΛΕΚΡΟ (Nchthanchtholekro) the first three letters are transposed hebrew “tchn” which is probably Nechoth meaning “descending” or a corruption of  vxn  meaning “serpent” xna Anach “groaning” diwt Thwd “thanks”, or “choir” and ekro wrka “surely.”  The letters anch could also be connected the to the Egyptian “akh” which means eternal life.

The next word is Anokderfroerai


ΑΝΟΚ appears in the beginning of a lot of Magic Words and correspond to the copitc word meaning “I AM.”  Homer describes Φηραί as a Holy City belonging to Agamemnon. During the period that the ball was made it was famous for its temple of Tyche and it had always been that way. Certainly “I am Fortune” makes sense in association with with  Agathos Daimon

The damaged middle word could really be anything. ΒΛΕΦΑΡΟΖΗ: blefaroze. Blefaros is “eyelid” and “Paroce” could be a corruption of the world Φάρος which means “light-house” a pun mixing the words for sight, protection (as the Eye of Horus) and light.  My linguist friend thinks this is rubbish as the word is actuallly pharoze as there is not the “s” for a Pharos. Equally that prevents it being the word Pharoah  which would give the idea of the eye of the King.

The name at the top of sphere is the word ΙΞ̣ΙΔΕϹΙ. (Ixidesi) which is a word which does not appear to be in any dictionary in Greek and has too many vowels to be Hebrew.  But it is pronounceable and I believe that given its position on the sphere and the fact it is by itself I think it is a name of the Daemon which was meant to reside in the sphere.

 What can we tell about the magician who made the Helios-Apollo ball?

The ball uses the same mix of magical techniques that we see in Alexandria and in the Greek Magical Papyri. Hebrew, Egyptian and Greek words and ideas are mixed together to create a syncretic effect. The ball’s existence suggests that the magical techniques expressed in the Papyri were not restricted to Alexandria but were an influence in Greece too.

The price of the ball and the skill required to make it means that our magician was not poor or using it to perform some low brow form of magic.  There are elements of innovation on the ball which suggest a system and a logic behind its creation.  It emphasises geometric shapes more strongly than other magical objects which would suggest a neo-Pythagorean influence and the elemental connection could be a Stoic influence.  The Stoics saw the Universe as God with fire and the principle of aether being the most important and then elements whose natural state is one of flux and transition, such as water, earth, and air; then the sun, the moon, the stars; and the universal existence in which all things are contained.

Our magician then would have been a rare thing.  A wealthy, educated magician well-versed in two key philosophies of the day.

So what is the Helios-Apollo ball?

The Helios-Apollo ball is no temporary magical object. Carved in marble it is an object which is designed to last a lifetime. It is also not meant to be portable so it is expected to stay in one place and presumably be placed on a tripod – as it is now.

Covered with its solar symbols, if the Helios-Apollo ball were magically charged it would be pulsing with solar force. This solar force could have been used as a talisman for health, protection from evil, prosperity and happiness.  Although fire is a key part of some of the symbolism that is secondary and indeed might have been an afterthought.  The important fire symbolism, such as the torch and the lion are out outside the main three circles.

But the lack of an intention renders it largely useless for this purpose.  If the Helios-Apollo ball were, as Delatte suggests, a talisman to bring luck and ward off evil to the land around the Theatre of Dionisius the papyri would have insisted that intention should have been carved on it.

A general broadcasting talisman against evil would make sense but we would expect to see symbols or words where evil or a threat were mentioned or vanquished. But the ball instead seems more focused on depicting the solar force at its strongest.

But similar concepts can be seen in PGM where a spirit is tied to an object. These magical assistants were tied to stones, and jewels where they would be easily called upon to assist magic.  These were not often very big, but these spirit houses could be theoretically any size. If the magician wanted to attract a powerful spirit, or had a close connection to it, and they had the time and money then an expensive jewel, or, as in this case, a rather nice symbolic statue which represented the spirit would make sense.

If I am correct than the name of this spirit was carved into the crown of the sphere after it had been magically charged –  ΙΞ̣ΙΔΕϹΙ. (Ixidesi). The magician would chant the spirits’ name as a part of an invocation and it would come from the Helios-Apollo ball to provide him with any assistance.

If it were a personal spirit, or Daemon it would be useless to anyone but the owner. In fact, on the owner’s death the Spirit is said to help them move on and become immortal. But there was always a risk that the spirit might remain in the stone or become angry or mischievous now that the magician had departed, or that the empty solar stone might attract a less positive solar daemon.  For any number of these reasons the family or students of the magician would not want to keep it. But equally destroying it was not an option. The sphere had the image of Helios-Apollo on it and its destruction risked angering him. Burying it in sacred ground was the best option and the south side of the Acropolis would have been acceptable.

The Helios-Apollo ball also gives us some clues as to how it was magically created. It is likely that the references to the sun being between the greater and lesser dog stars suggest that it was created during the “dog days” of summer when the sun is at its hottest. The chants on the ball would have been used to attract the elemental forces which would have during the course of the ritual, or rituals, tuned the ball until it matched the frequency of the spirit which the magician hoped to attract. There might have been three main rituals (to match the three circles) and with the spirit arriving and telling the magician his name. This name would have been scratched into the Helios-Apollo ball and the spiritual assistant would take up residence.

The Helios-Apollo  ball contains lots of magical subsystems, which can be adapted and used for other purposes and are hinted at in this article. That said, it would be interesting to find the ball in the Acropolis Museum and see if a solar spirit is sleeping within it.


Further reading

Armand L. Delatte. Études sur la magie grecque: Sphère magique du Musée d’Athènes. Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 1913, Volume 37 Issue 37, pp. 247-278.

The Greek Qabalah, by Kieren Barry

The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation edited by Hans Dieter Betz



Magic, the hero and the others

For a while it has nagged at the back of my mind that the magical path tends to focus on the needs of the individual rather than wider society.   It was not that most magicians did not care, it is just that no-one really came up with a good reason why they did.

Lately though this void of a reason has led some magicians to adopt views which are so individualistic and self-serving that they make Ayn Rand look like Karl Marx. It was often espoused by people who felt that magic groups were evil and you were better off working alone.

It was actually a problem for pagan magic and one which Christianity was able to exploit. The central ‘bible’ of paganism was Homer which embodied the hero, which could be seen as the expression of the individual with a hero only caring for himself and his reputation. A hero could care for the poor but only as much as it helped their reputation.   Christianity came along and provided a layer of social care for the poor and downtrodden.

Magic Hero over the ‘others’

When we look at the debates of the philosophers this was a real issue. When they looked at what made a person virtuous. They suggested obvious things like wisdom, temperance and courage. There were the Homeric views of a hero. But a snag arose when there was the question about justice being a virtue.

Most saw virtues as being something which made a person happy by being. Some philosophers said it could not be a virtue because it might not give the just person any benefit which made them happy. In fact Justice could make a person miserable. It might be fair to turn yourself into the cops every time you parked incorrectly.


The answer to the issue came from Aristotle. Aristotle was one of the more pragmatic of the classical philosophers and he made the observation that humans were social animals and needed other people. Justice then was a virtue because it helped other people, and therefore a person who helps others is helping themselves.

Suddenly this all fitted into place and provides the balance to the magic that the individual does on themselves. Magicians need people as much as any other human, and having identified that need there are philosophical consequences that come with it. Even the staunchest individualist sees the need to care for their family, some even would miss not having friends. That need requires that you have to do things that will make those people happy. Aristotle suggests that is a type of politics by which you get your virtue.

Magic Group

This explains some of the advantages ofmagic  group work. In my now out-of-print-I-must-do-something-about-that-book Gathering the Magic I quoted research from the 1930s which suggested that humans in a group were able to perform tasks much quicker and more efficiently than an individual alone. I have found that group magic is more effective than individual magic for that reason.

If the research, and Aristotle were right, then working magic with in a group or order should do better than one who does not.  While developing their individuality they would be working and helping others who are doing the same thing and thus ending up with a more balanced approach.

Where it would go wrong is if a magic group failed to either uphold the development of the individual (by being autocratic) or focused the group on the needs of the leader. These are group pathologies but are common.

Magical narcissism

However a person operating outside a group will lack any magic social sense and thus fail to develop or encourage their magic virtues.   As a result they could slide into an ego-centred world where they are imprisoned by their own unchallenged narcissism. The only way for a solo magician to balance this aspect would be to work and train in magic on their own but balance themselves by deliberating performing social works which may or may not be to do with magic. It would be harder because the social nature would not be as focused on magic, although it would greatly improve the social welbeing of the world.

Even someone who works within a group must work out ways to earth their magic in a way which is good for humanity.  Whether the individualists like it or not, a key virtue is provided by being good for the soceity in which you live.







The writing is on the wall for Public Occultism.  Its glory days are over and even those who are trying to keep the lights on are finding it hard to pay for the power bill.

I have been quiet lately because I have had a few breakthroughs that have provided me with all the answers I needed to make magic work and why it doesn’t. This is pretty big, but unlike the other revelations which I have tended to share with the wider occult community, I don’t have much impulse to share any of this outside my own magical order. It is the sort of thing I will hint at if I write my books, but I don’t really feel like doing that at the moment either.

The reason is that like many people who followed the occultism during the last century I have worked out that the days of large scale public occultism are over. The “real stuff” might continue but it is going to be even more exclusive than it has been. The great experiment in semi-public occultism which the Order of the Golden Dawn started has been a failure. The idea that if we put information out there humanity will work at it and watch it develop is a fallacy. It turns out, that the magic which is so freely available, is not the real thing at all. All a book, or a webpage can present is a fact, or opinion – a shadow on the wall. It does not make us the singers of the woven words than owning a cookbook makes us a great chef.

Sure, some ideas and techniques of occultism  can be found on the internet, or in books, but the knowledge is scattered, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It takes years of research and dedication to bring them together and even with the help of a good teacher or an occult order we must assemble it blindfolded and wearing oven gloves.

Historically occultism has appeared and then disappeared and the brief flowering which took place in the 20th century is fading. I think it will be gone in two generations. The material might be there, but fewer will be interested, they will be followers of whatever religious movements emerge in the next 20 years.

It is not that occultism is useless, or has nothing to say, it just cannot be popular enough to stay in the forefront of popular fashion. It is too intellectual to be popular, it is too practical to be an intellectual exercise. The fall of occultism will be exactly like it was in the 5th century when philosophical paganism, the mystery schools and theurgists were replaced by a better organised and simpler Christianity.

Cassandra turn from the statue of Minerva — the price for saying that occultism is dying during a Mercury Retrograde.

In the spirit of dumbing down these ideas I have made a list of ten reasons why this is so. They are not in any order:


1. The contamination of occultism by dumbed down “New Age” systems, fantasy and fraud. Occultism and magic cannot be boiled down to seven basic laws or principles or simplified. New Thought, the Secret, NLP, Chaos magic, New Age have all given a completely false impression of what magic is. However rather than resist this, the various occult movements have adopted some or all of these principles. Eastern ideas, such as karma, have been repackaged and placed inside Western occultism to fit New Age thinking. This dumbing down of occultism has made it acceptable to spiritual tourists. They provide a common language between many different shallow occult groups which are about show rather than serious work.

2. Contamination by Intellect. This might appear to be a contradiction to the “dumbing down argument above, but actually is part of the polarity we are seeing within occultism which is killing it off. On one hand we have the new age approach and the other we have those who take teaching and intellectualise it. Some are proud of being armchair occultists who sit, read and pontificate without actually doing. Intellect however is incredibly logical and if you start with one idea it is possible to carry it to a point of absurdity. Instead of practicing to touch the hem of the One Thing, you end up arguing about the correct cabbalistic pronunciation of YHVH. Within the Golden Dawn tradition, this is a major issue.

3. Contamination by Psychology. Psychology coincided with the rise of occultism in the 20th century and both occultism and psychologists borrowed each other’s ideas. However by the 1960s, psychology started to claim that magical (and religious ideas) were all in the mind. To make this work, psychologists dismissed important parts of the magical system as being “extensions of the magician’s unconscious.” This was a shame because psychology was a useful tool to weed out objective from subjective experiences. Now, at its extreme, it declares everything as being subjective. Psychology as an academic discipline requires no occult ability, or understanding. Personally I would like an NLP “expert” to try to explain a real Daemon as an extension of their unconscious as it strangles him or her with his own intestines.

4. Contamination by fundamentalism. The 20th century was crippled by a rise in fundamentalism – a move to purify a religious tradition by a literal interpretation of written teaching. Occultism has been no different and we see people looking for security in written occult teachings. Like the religious fundamentalist movement, occult fundamentalists are selective about what they choose to be literal about. The goal is to freeze a movement within a perceived Golden Dawn (pun intended)  often interpreting material using anachronisms, but always taking the writings literally.

5. Contamination of training systems by “non-occult” leaders. The late 20th century saw the rise of those who saw occultism as a means to make money or get laid. Few managed it, but they did manage to establish groups with poor training and useless students. In doing so they damaged the trust that an order system/and teaching system needs. Students assume that because these people exist ALL orders and teachers must be corrupt scammers.

6. The failure of modern students to study or give the work priority. Modern occultism students are like Google, they collect a lot of facts, teachings and (sometimes) groups. Occultism though requires regular daily practice. It takes a while to develop this as a habit (the lower self will move heaven and earth to stop it happening) and yet at the same time students do not make this practice a priority. There is always something more important to do. Students will not even join a good occult order if it requires them to drive across down or miss initiations because they feel they need to buy a new appliance. Even the idea of buying a book is slipping. Sales of occult books has dropped from tens of thousands (which was always small for the rest of the publishing world) to hundreds.

7. Failure to financially support teachers, writers, or orders. Throughout the 20th century occult orders were supported by their members. The Golden Dawn, Inner Light, BOTA, White Eagle, Theosophy, SOL, AMORC all received rich donations from their members and survived. Their teachers could all write and teach. That stopped in the 1970s and teachers went on a circuit and did ok writing and running workshops. Now that has dried up. Teachers have a choice they either dumb down their message until they are just teaching New Age morons, or “satanise” the message so you are talking to gothic morons who want to scare their parents. Normally the teachers just never teach anyone. Orders find it difficult to get a enough money for candles and are meeting in people’s houses. Those who can meet a rent bill usually have large numbers who pay a tiny amount. Most of them rely on the cash and work of the leaders. Even the idea of buying a teacher’s book is considered an oddity. The numbers of people who have contacted me looking for a free pdf of my titles is legion. What I find is that people who do that never actually read the book anyway – it is just stored in the tablet providing useful information to no-one.

8. The collapse of the Order and Teaching system. Orders and teachers used to be the balance. They provided information, performed magic that assisted a person’s development and forced a student past. For the reasons above that has become difficult as students no longer respect their orders or teachers (or do not even reliably attend meetings). A group collapses if the leader leaves. Orders that survive are too frightened of losing members to actually stand in the way of their student’s poor behaviour as a result the order system crashes and loses effectiveness. Out of fear of being seen as autocratic, teachers allow themselves to be bullied by their ignorant students. It is now possible for a teacher to be told off for daring to point out that a student’s cherished New Age belief is wrong. I have been told online that it is better for a person to be allowed to distribute their ignorant ideas than for me to challenge them.

9. The Internet has made occultism too accessible. If you want information from an occult “personality” you can find them and send them an email. Most of the time they are good people who do reply. However that has given students the concept that they are important and that information from a valued source is just a badly worded SMS away. Some of the questions I get could be found on Google or even by searching this blog. Asking me about the lesser “banishing” ritual of the pentagram, for example, is a waste of my time. Despite what you might read online there is such a thing as a stupid question and in occultism the asking of the “right” question is really important. For example if you had the chance to talk to Mathers or Westcott you would not ask them about the Middle Pillar (for a start they would not know as it was invented after their time).

10. The quality of occult information has become less and not more. It is rare that I buy an occult book these days. Most of the information is dumbed down, stupid, rehashes of older material or just made up. For every Jake Stratton-Kent there are a thousand Necronomicons, for every Cicero book there are tons of GD pastiches, for every Aaron Lietch there are libraries of Dark Fluff. Instead I have been reading about actual historical magical techniques and methods. Some of this has been academic papers and heavy intellectual, but it is from them I found the answers I was looking for.

All of these things have created a slide where the voices of the stupid have the power to shout down those who know what they are talking about. A universe where good occult orders are destroyed because they are unsupported by their increasingly lazier and spoilt students.

The result is that the good orders and schools are smaller and incredibly more selective. They are refusing to allow accelerated or fake grades to allow rapid expansion. They are researching and keeping this generation of occult information to themselves. Perhaps they are writing the odd interesting book to hook in the right sort of people. They will make learners jump through hoops to show their commitment before they initiate them.

As a result the public information on real occultism will slowly disappear. Initially there will be a rise of those with no occult experience who will fill the gap, until they fail to meet the expectations of even more arrogant students. Then the whole thing will fade, with occultism being part of the shadows again. It was a great time in the 80s and 90s and I was lucky to have good teachers and great esoteric experiences. We will not see their like again in our lifetime.


In the Geometric Greek period (8th Century BC), there was an interesting development from Ancestor Worship to the worship of Heroes.  This was inspired by the rise of Homer and other poets.

The belief was that the Heroes had been so significant in life that they could act as go-betweens between the living and the dead.

Despite their often bloodthirsty acts in life, they became  defenders, healers and oracles and guaranteed fertility of the land.  The idea that they had created an access of power by their heroic acts is similar to the idea of Christian saints which came much later.

In this case, they filled a role often associated with stone circle’s as the guardians of the land.  Often they were fixed to a particular region where it was believed they were buried.  This was not always the case as some heroes (particularly Hercules) were worshipped all over the Greek states. Like Catholic Churches different towns claimed they had a particular hero.  There was also not much of a cult of relics associated with the heroes.

Worship of Heroes was less personal than that of ancestor rituals.  It was something carried out for the good of the Polis or the region.  Most of the time worship was centred on old Mycenaean tombs, which were considered the graves of the heroes.  However later heroes could be anyone from founders of cities, top politicians, sporting greats and top poets.  Basically anyone who other people were prepared to worship after they had died.

Ignoring the hero was considered bad as they could cause crops to fail.  Food dropped on the floor was assumed to have been taken by the hero and could not be picked up.

There were cases of anti-heroes.  These were spirits of people who were outright nasty and continued to haunt a particular area. Often these were worshipped whatever their crime because of their ability to do harm and to go into the underworld.

This also made the words of Homer, Hesiod and other the epic poets,  guides to using these spirits.  We can see in the Greek Magical Paprii the words of Homer being used on magical spells presumably to link the talisman or spell to the spirit of the Hero.

Worship continued until Christianity replaced paganism, although curiously the texts of the heroic poets, which were effectively magical texts for this form of spirit work were mostly preserved.

Indeed, the idea of Saints were just Christian heroes replacing pagan ones.

The modern idea of a hero has fallen away from this.  If a famous person dies we do not believe that they will curse or bless us.  In fact ,it is an interesting point that dead modern heroes have the shelf life of fresh milk and are soon forgotten.

It is just as well.  Who the hell would worship Kane West, Steve Jobs or any of the other shallow celebs we have created.  But Military and other heroes names are also forgotten, which means that we might be missing the chance to have an underworld communicator.

Other than that there are long lists of Greek and Roman Heroes who could act as underworld go-betweens.



omen_1976_damienEvery elder thinks that the younger generations fails to respect them.  As I am fast reaching the age where I am one of those “elders” I have started to notice the same irritation.

I started this game young – I was 17 and I irritated my “elders” too. But in a completely different way from the way I am irritated now.  I was the eternal student.  I listened and asked questions and wrote a lot down.  I remembered what was told, often reminding teachers what they had said in the past, or what others had said.  If I struck what I thought was a contradiction I would ask about it.

I did manage to swallow a lot of rubbish from a lot of my teachers, some of it has only be countered recently and there might be other material lying below the surface waiting to be challenged.

But the fact that the information is there at all is a testament to the patience of those who taught me, and might even have been down to my own diplomatic abilities. I might be an arrogant shit but most of the time I knew when to keep my mouth shut and be loyal to who was teaching me.

Sometimes that loyalty was rewarded and other times it was not. Sometimes a teacher would get a bee in their bonnet about me and it was time to exit. It is the way of occult groups and teachers. The most sainted occultist will always have trouble at some part of their magical career.  Teachers can be unbalanced, and you should be prepared to forgive them as you would any friend.  Sometimes you can become dangerous to the political games of people in a group and be knifed in such a way that you have to leave a group.  Other times you have to be the one who takes the teacher to one side and point out they are off the rails (normally when the inner calls upon you for that function, your shelf life in a group is short).

But I was still taught and although I had some bad experiences with teachers there was not a single one who I would have avoided.  So here are ten tips for young occultists to actually learn something. It is going to go down like a lead balloon but when you hit 50 and are still an occultist you will realise that it is right.


  1. Realise you know nothing. No one aged 20 to 30 knows anything about people, life or has put in enough man hours to understand magic.  If you are training at that age you are lucky and have more time to learn. Once you have a few years under your belt you will have stories to tell.  But even then you still know nothing and will have something to learn. Those people you think know nothing actually have pissed off far better people than you and stopped making the same mistakes you are doing 20-50 years ago.  Even Jesus did nothing meaningful before he was 30 and he was supposed to be a god.keep-calm-and-stop-talking-31
  2. Stop talking. Your theories on occultism, magic or anything are not really worth much.  There will be people around you who know much more than you and they will never speak while you are talking.  While you are talking you are only able to express your very limited understanding.Listen_Doctor_Who
  3. Listen. One of the things that are really good about the Internet is that you have access to teachers who know what they are doing. If they are talking listen. When you are listening and I mean really listening, you remember it all.  A “lesson” might be too advanced for you now, but it will go in and not be forgotten.
  4. Do not use questions to assert your own ignorance. Ask real questions related to the subject and its implications. Good teachers allow questions and debates because that is how they learn.  Unquestioned teachers make emphatic statements which will have to be challenged later.322292
  5. Realise that you are unimportant. You and your ideas will only become important when you have refined your ideas and found your “voice.” The world is full of people who think they are teachers – an occult teacher is someone who is forced into the role by circumstance and other people, you shouting “pay attention to me” disqualifies you.  If you want to teach, you should never do it. williamggray
  6. You can learn a lot from some real cunts. One of the thing I noticed that that me and a lot of occultists have been trained by people who have been real arseholes. They may be brilliant magicians but dealing with them requires the patience of Job.  Fighting with such a person is easy – getting on with them is often the challenge of learning.9231ba015fe5c73780c33ceaeda8dee3
  7. A good teacher does not really care what you say, they are more interested in what you do.  They will be looking at your diaries to see what experiences you have had with the system they are trying to teach you.  Work flat out and when you are asked show them your results.wirehangers
  8. You will project your weaknesses onto your teacher. Everyone does this, but the younger you are, the more likely you are going to project whatever you feel about your patents on to your teacher. Occultism is full of people who want a mother or a father figure because the relationship with their parents was so bad.  When you are younger this pain is closer to the surface. If you find that the teacher is suddenly becoming your worst nightmare it might be a good idea to evaluate your relationship with your parents before taking it out on your teacher.beatles-help-image1
  9. Don’t just sit there help.  A teacher can teach but organising an even often requires help. Walking into a room sitting down and saying “teach me” is expected but will not earn any friends from the teacher. You might have come from an environment where you mother did everything for you, but helping put out the chairs, making the coffee, washing up is more likely to attract attention from any teacher.  I don’t mean glamourous stuff, like conduction a lecture or volunteering for a ritual role – I mean the shit jobs.backstab
  10. Never challenge the leader. If a group is bad, having you mouth off about it is not going to help.  If you are unable to quietly take your concerns to the leader then you have to leave.  Even if you take your concerns to the leader, be aware that you might be announcing your own exit. The problem is that when you are young you are going to get hurt and diced by magical group politics by people who are a hell of a lot more clued up than you.  Remember that in games like that, you are just there to make up the numbers or be cannon fodder of more mature and politically clever people – it always ends badly.



Younger people seem more likely to want to change stuff. That would be ok but a lot of it does not need to be changed. If you review all the articles written by those who think there is something wrong with the Lesser Banishing (sic) Ritual of the Pentagram they will usually be under 30.


Occult groups can’t let everyone in. They have to be exclusive clubs and there are good reasons for this.

One of the difficult issues that a modern occult group faces is “who do you let in” which actually comes out as “who don’t you like.” The modern “new age” theory is that everyone should be let in unless you can find a damn fine reason not to.  However his is not entirely true.  There are some people who should not be allowed into an esoteric group until they have mastered some fairly basic skills and some will find the work actually dangerous.

Mental illness

On my Facebook group were talking earlier about being excluded from occult groups for mental illness – and it is true that in some cases there are types of mental illness which will be exacerbated by esoteric techniques. There is no reason if a person is careful (and they are self-aware enough of their problems) that they can navigate through their illness and an occult path.  However they have to be aware of the risks and will sometimes have to rely on others to tell them to back off for a bit. But this applies to so called “sane people” too.

I have worked with people with varying degrees of mental illness, but I have also made the judgement that sometimes some people need a lot more treatment by people better qualified than me before I would want them playing with some of the stuff occultists do.

Social awareness

There are generally bigger problems though and these do not fall into the category of mental illness, although they can at times. In group magic a person has to be able to function at a social level in a reasonable way.  If they cannot then they will cause problems for the group – which is social magic.  What is surprising is that many people coming into the occult believe that they can be self-absorbed neurotics in an occult group, and because “it is all about being spiritual” these antics have to be accepted.  If a group, and particularly a group leader, has to make allowances for your behaviour, they are not focused on the work.  If a group has to sit looking politely while you talk all the time about your latest pet theory, then it is your problem and not that of the group.

A group exists within its own rules.  If it has to bend those rules in any way to accommodate you then you might be a problem.  Being a problem is sometimes a sign of individualisation, but often it is something that you have to deal with.  If those problems are so bad that they appear when you are interviewed, or have just joined then it is clear you are not going to survive in that group.  A group would be wise never to admit you in the first place. The phrase “that is just me, you will have to live with it” is not an answer.

Weapons of Self-destruction

Another issue is one of self-destruction.  Having worked with people with self-destructive streaks before, I think it is something that needs to be tackled by non-magical means before someone can do any serious magical work.  Under self-destruction I bring in addiction  — either drug or otherwise. Curiously it is less the type of the addiction which causes my belief on this.  While I generalise on this, I find that self-destruction and addictive behaviour is a fusion of narcissism in the face of an inability to cope. In the full throws of addiction or self-destruction there is a complete inability to care about others while at the same time screaming for attention. Dealing with that is just too damn complex for an occult group and is best left until a person gets to grips with it.


Connected to this is the question as to whether or not a person will require too many resources to train.  Most occultists when they are start are lazy and a lot of them consider themselves gods gift to occultism.  But there is a breed who are all these things but have completely failed to master their lives in anyway at all.  The magic of the outer order will not be enough to hardly balance them and the only way a teacher can do anything with them is to be an autocratic nutjob screaming at them until they actually do something.  A clue is that their material life is not so much in ruins, but that person has no desire to change it.  Such a personality will come up with some of the “worst dog ate my homework” excuses for not doing things (such as attending meetings) that you will see.  While you might be sympathetic to their material plight, you will find that they will escape any serious work on themselves and be magician only of the “chocolate teapot” variety.

Not one of Us

There is the more contentious reason for rejection – this person will not fit in with the rest of the group. This is completely unfair but totally unavoidable. Ideally people should be able to adapt to different people coming into a group but in fact groups usually end up being similar types of people and those which don’t end up having slanging matches of issues like sexuality and politics – which have nothing to do with the magical work.  A really good magician should be able to mix with everyone. But a group will often have a large number of beginners who do not know when to shut up about things that don’t matter to others in the group.  MOAA makes some of this clear in its oath, which saves us a fair bit of time. The Golden Dawn had to swear to continue to accept equality between the sexes – we have extended this to include issues like sexuality, race, and religion.

Now this would make us “liberal” and we have a wide range of different people in the group.  Someone who thinks that gay people are going to hell will not fit in. We also would think it weird that people want to carry guns everywhere. At the moment Apple users are treated with suspicion, but it is not part of the oath yet as officially it is a religion.

Lastly there is the question about whether or not anyone will actually help the Order or the leaders.  It is not enough to show up and grace a group with your august presence – what can you do to help the group?  Moreover are you the sort of person who actually offers to help or are you just sitting there while the leaders run around and try and do everything.  By this I don’t mean offering to teach…  I mean moving the furniture, helping set up, doing things that no one will notice.

Contact says no…..

If the group is particularly switched on, there are times that the spiritual forces behind the group say that they don’t want that person in there.  Sometimes this is just the group leader enacting their own prejudice, but in a switched on group it is completely valid.

Inner plane spiritual forces can and do chose who they are going to teach and initiate and it sometimes appears completely arbitrary, to outsiders or even the group chiefs.  Sometimes the stay with a group is for a short time, until they learn a lesson and move on to their real contact.  This is why leaving a group, even though it feels like hell, is usually an important step for something else.

But sometimes an inner plane contact will make it clear that a person should not be admitted and there is nothing anyone can do. I have been in a couple of initiations where we admitted people against the contact’s advice. Not only were the initiations dead (or full of accidents) but also the person left fairly quickly.



Earthing that isnt

When you are trained, some things go into your head and you accept them without thinking.  You live them because they provide you with a temporary answer.  Sometimes though the universe moves to challenge your views. The issue of “earthing your magic” has come to the forefront lately and I have discovered that I have changed my view completely.


When I was trained, I was told that it was vitally important to “earth” both yourself and your magic. I was taught to be suspicious of teachers who relied on training for their income and look only to those who participated properly in the material universe. It was claimed that it was impossible to be a full time magician or occultist, because that was unbalanced and your magical life needed to be fully integrated within your material world. There is only problem with that.

It does not work.

Make a list of occultists who were good at what they did. You will find that most of did not have proper jobs, some did not have parental responsibilities; others were really crap at the material world. Many were independently wealthy which means they were living off their parents’ efforts. If people had jobs, they were not regular incomes and few people remember what they were.

Far from being material successes, they were not earthed at all. In fact, they were often in some way dependant on other people so that they could continue to write, teach or work magic.

Going through history, the same thing applies. Once being a magician was a career option and it was often lucrative. Groups of magicians were supported through a temple structure until the Christian period and even then there was talk of some monasteries practicing occultism on the Church’s dime.

While doctors, scientists and lawyers which were all similar careers became lucrative, the magician became a volunteer. It is telling that in English you can practice law, or medicine, but you can only dabble in the occult.

Those who took magic seriously and made it their life in the late 20th century had two choices – they wrote books or ran workshops. Although a workshop might appear expensive, a teacher would not do that many of them. The rest of their time was spent actually doing the magical work which makes up a lion’s share of the time and training other people.

However, they had to run up against students who felt that the teacher should be doing this for free.

I have been trying to find where this idea came from, it does not come from the East where gurus are financially subsidised and it was not part of western ethics which always suggested payment for work done.


What it appears to have come from is a misappropriation of a Christian idea that money is evil and therefore there was something wrong with charging for spiritual training.  Instead the teacher should be working at a regular job.

Ironically, all this attitude is the opposite of being earthed.

The demand is that an occult teacher should stop doing something that they are good at to work at a job that they are not because the material world is evil and a good teacher has no truck with it.  Yet these anti-materialistic students do not suggest how their teacher eats. Instead, they piously claim that they should be properly earthed in careers which should express their magical lives.

I have a job (in fact I have three) because I am pretty good at writing, however I would be able to write a lot more, train a lot more people if I did not have to spend nine hours a day writing about technology or translating. No one is spiritually moved by my anti-Apple rants or looks at the latest AMD hardware. I might be ok at it, but that is not what I get the most out of writing. Magic cannot be part of my career and neither can it be earthed in anyone’s life.

To make a life magical it means a commitment to do everything in a magical way, based on a magical philosophy.  It is not putting a sticker with “Hekate Rocks” or “witches do it with broom sticks” on your computer.  Once you decide to live a magical life then a lot of the sorts of material decisions which are so important for ordinary people become less of a priority. Chosing between the latest television, and finding some weird ebony to build a Thoth wand would not be an issue for 21st century couples.  In a magical couple, the wand wins. Books that improve your magical practice become far more important than a shelf full of DVDs. A house selection is not based on children’s schools, but whether there is room to install a temple or a vault.

This sort of thinking is not earthed… nor can it be. In fact, if I was thinking about those things I would not be doing the magical side of things properly.

The same applies to relationships. You will often find non-magical couples saying about their partner, “oh they are really good they keep me earthed.” To be fair I have said the same thing twice. But in practice the magical path is hard enough without a partner who understands magical decisions may not be earthed.  Both sides often end up pissed off that the other does not understand them.  Magical couples have other problems but if they have that in common, it is a big plus.

Instead of being earthed, the question should be can I be who I am, live life in the way I like, and do what I do best.


“Everybody’s born to do a certain thing
and if you’re dead jammy you’ve found it.
And if you’re good at something,
just keep doing it
until you’re fed up…then do something else.”

Billy Connolly

What I find faintly hypocritical about the “flat earthers” is that they do not make the same demands of themselves or other careers. We will see people extolled to develop their artistic gifts for example and if someone makes money on it there is no problem.  No one asks a doctor, or a lawyer, or any other career choice that requires training or skill to do something else while making their services available for free, so why should a magician?


This is not an attempt to mix science and magic. I have to admit my knowledge of scientific ideas connected to time are very limited. I tried reading Stephen Hawking once and was only able to finish it when I saw it as a magical book rather than a scientific text.  As a result I would have missed a lot of what he was really trying to say.


The magical tradition since the Neo-Platonists has started with the idea of a No-Thing – a divine being which is entirely without explanation and can only be defined by what it is not. Such a being was seen as infinite and totally above time (or duality). That is all very well, but there is no way for such a being to create. The children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth pointed out that no one liked to live in infinity because it was a place where it was difficult to make ends meet.

The Kabbalah talks about a focusing of the limitless into a single point where it could create image of itself. This concentration was infinitely dense and was the basis of matter. Obviously, this is not a perfect image, because it too would be infinite and unknowable. Even in this state of concentration (the Kabbalists call it Kether) we have no rules and no way of measuring anything. Then the beginning of everything began with an explosion and then a limitation.

This limitation was Time and the two Gods connected with it were Chronos and Rhea and from that duality was born Zeus – who created the universe. In other words once the reign of Chronos was established, Creation could begin. Time provides a frame in which the One Thing can study itself.

Ancient Civilisations saw Time as something inevitable.  Our universe was as regular as the ticking of the clock. In fact, when there were attempts to reform the calendars when they had slipped out of cinque with the seasons, people rioted because they felt such a move limited their lives by a few months.

However, there were hints that not everyone thought this. Thoth who was the Egyptian god of Time was also a god of Magic, so the idea was that Time could be as flexible.

Then in modern times, we realised that Time was entirely relative to the person doing the timing. Time speeds up or slows down depending on the location or focus of the timer. Christmas dinner with the in laws is always longer than an evening out with your friends. With your friends you are not focused on the events around you, you are listening to stories, chatting, and time flies. Christmas dinner drags because you are bored and are focusing on the minutiae of your surroundings (rather than listening to your Aunt’s long descriptions of her spleen operation while your nephew runs around breaking things).

Scientifically (I guess) this means that Time is a little like gravity and it slows around denser physical or mental states.

When you meditation on a “higher spiritual” object time should pass slower (if measured by an outsider), whereas if you head to the underworld, time will pass faster. A serious of experiments I did with a group a few years ago tried to prove this. Each person was given a pathworking and were asked how long they were out. Pathworkings which involved gods and angels were always seen as being only a few minutes long, while those to the underworld were thought to be much longer. The problem is that much depended on the meditation experience of the people in the test and their ability to get into that state.

The British occultist Marian Green did a good test for this. She got a group together and told them to get into a meditative state and then stand up when they felt five minutes had past. The less experienced came out of it after a couple of minutes. I got into the state and started to count one-iggly oggly, 2-iggly olgly etc. After I had counted to 300, I stood up. I had been out for 15 minutes. Someone had to wake Elliot James up after half an hour because we wanted to get lunch (he is a water sign poor thing).

What this suggested to me at the time was that although we see things in linear time actually this is part of Chronos’s illusion. The closer we get to a state of unity the less control has over us. What this practically means is that the infinite One Thing sees everything happening at once.  All of Time, Past, Present and Future is happening at the same time.

Once you realise that Chronos’ illusion is just to help you piece together reality and understand it not actually “real” it answers many questions about issues like Re-incarnation (no), heaven and hell (no) , Divine punishment, (no), Past life experiences (no it is happening at the same time), Destiny etc.