I have used the AI system Dall-e to create magical images for the last few days. Some people were upset when I showed some examples on social media.
They claimed that a computer created them, and they were weaker. They do not understand magical images. They believe that they are holy, and adepts created them.
Magical books from The Picatrix to Agrippa only described magical images by their symbols. They rarely drew them (and when they did, they were slavishly copied by the pendants of their era). The adept had to draw their images containing these symbols.
The Sacred Book of Hermes gave a magical image for the second decan of Leo. It was a man wearing a loincloth. He held a sceptre in his right hand and a whip in his left. He had a lunar crescent crown on his head. That was the only information available, and some people have created rough drawings based on these images, but they are no more or less powerful than what I got AI to draw for me.
Agrippa gave another magical image of Leo ascending with the Sun. “It was a king crowned, sitting in a chair. He had a Raven in his bosom and a Globe under his feet. He wore Saffron-coloured clothes.” Here is what I got AI to draw, and it is a lot better than anything I could manage with my School Certificate Art.
These images were designed to provide talismans or meditations with Hermetic signatures. They could contact the force behind them. This became hugely important in the 19th Century when occultists started using tarot cards as magical images. But the Golden Dawn had another important technique for seeing beings without a magical image.
Angels were such beings. Angels appear like geometric patterns or shapes with Inner Sight. They are made of energy, after all. However, that is not very useful to us. We find it hard to communicate with something that abstract. It also gets confusing.
I remember doing an Enochian work once. I spent a long time talking to something I thought was an Angel. I did not get much of a response. Another angel showed up later. He was more communicative. He revealed that I had been talking to a pot plant on that level. It was generally better to create a form that we could relate to. It should be packed with symbolism that connected to the being.
The Order of the Golden Dawn called these forms TELESMATIC images. Samuel Mathers explained how to build one in Flying Roll 12.
Flying Roll XII TELESMATIC IMAGES and ADONAI
By G.H. FRATER D.D.C.F.
Now there is also a mode whereby, combining the letters, the colours, the attributions and their Synthesis, thou mayest build up a telesmatic Image of a Force. The Sigil shall then serve thee for the tracing of a Current which shall call into action a certain Elemental Force. And know thou that this is not to be done lightly for thine amusement or experiment, seeing that the Forces of Nature were not created to be thy plaything or toy.
Unless thou doest thy practical magical works with solemnity, ceremony and reverence, thou shalt be like an infant playing with fire, and thou shalt bring destruction upon thyself. See well also that thou makest the Image as pure and beautiful as possible, for the more impure or common the figure, the more dangerous is it unto thee.
Write upon the breast its Sigil, upon the girdle its Name, and place clouds below the feet. And when thou hast done this with due solemnity and rigid correctness of symbolism, shunning as thou wouldst shun death any suggestion of coarseness or vulgarity in an Angelic symbol, then hear what it shall say unto thee.
Seraphim will give thee an Angelic Figure like a Warrioress with Flame playing about her, and a countenance glorious like the Sun, and beneath her feet the stormy Sea and thunder clouds, and lightning about her, and a glow as of Flame. She has a triangular helmet or headdress of Flame like the symbol of Fire. Graphiel will give thee a Great Angel like a Female Warrior with a most glorious countenance, crowned with the Crescent and flashing with light, and surrounded by Flame and Lightning and with Four Wings.
The termination EL always gives to Angelic Forms the Wings and Symbols of Justice. The ending YAH will make the Figures like enthroned Kings or Queens with flaming glory at their feet. In vibrating the Divine Names, the Operator should, first, rise as high as possible towards the idea of the Divine White Brilliance in KETHER — keeping the mind raised to the plane of loftiest aspiration.
Unless this is done, it is dangerous to vibrate only with the astral forces because the vibration attracts a certain force to the operator, and the nature of the force attracted rests largely on the condition of mind that the operator has.
The ordinary mode of vibrating is as follows: Take a deep and full inspiration and concentrate your consciousness in your heart, which answers to Tiphareth. (Having first, as already said, ascended to your Kether, you should endeavour to bring down the white Brilliance into your heart before centring your consciousness there.)
Then formulate the letters of the Name required in your heart, in white, and feel them written there. Be sure to formulate the letters in brilliant white light, not merely in dull whiteness as the colour of the Apas Tattwa.
Then, emitting the breath, slowly pronounce the Letters so that the sound vibrates within you, and imagine that the breath, while quitting the body, swells you so as to fill up space.
Pronounce the Name as if you were vibrating it through the whole Universe and as if it did not stop until it reached further limits. All practical occult work which is of any use, tires the operator or withdraws some magnetism, and therefore, if you wish to do anything that is at all important, you must be in perfect magnetic and nervous condition, or else you will do evil instead of good.
When you are using a Name and drawing a Sigil from the Rose, you must remember that the Sephirah to which the Rose and Cross-are referred, is Tiphareth, whose position answers to the position of the heart, as if the Rose were therein. It is not always necessary to formulate before you in space the telesmatic angelic figure of the Name. As a rule, pronounce the Name, as many times as there are letters in it.
TELESMATIC ATTRIBUTIONS OF THE LETTERS OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET
ALEPH. Spiritual. Wings generally, epicene, rather male than female, rather thin type.
BETH. Active and slight. Male.
GIMEL. Grey, beautiful yet changeful. Feminine, rather full face and body.
DALETH. Very beautiful. Feminine. Rather full face and body.
HEH. Fierce, strong, rather fiery; feminine.
VAU. Steady and strong. Rather heavy and clumsy, masculine. ZAYIN. Thin, intelligent, masculine.
CHETH. Full face, not much expression, feminine.
TETH. Rather strong and fiery. Feminine.
YOD. Very white and rather delicate. Feminine.
CAPH. Big and strong, masculine.
LAMED. Well-proportioned; feminine.
MEM. Reflective, dream-like, epicene, but female rather than male.
NUN. Square determined face, masculine, rather dark.
SAMEKH. Thin rather expressive face; masculine. AYIN. Rather mechanical, masculine. PEH. Fierce, strong, resolute, feminine.
TZADDI. Thoughtful, intellectual, feminine.
QOPH. A rather full face, masculine.
RESH. Proud and dominant, masculine.
SHIN. Fierce, active, epicene, rather male than female.
TAU. Dark, grey, epicene; male rather than female. (These genders are only given as a convenient guide.)
Mathers uses the letters to give magical images to divine names, but these could easily be applied to angels, something I did in my Shem Grimoire following a plan outlined by Tabatha Cicero in her Tarot Talismans book. This is based on the Golden Dawn attributions to the Hebrew letters. Heh, for example is associated with symbols like rams, fire, red hair, aries symbols etc.
In addition to the symbols, we could use Golden Dawn colours (including their complementary) for each path associated with the letter. So in Shem angels where there are three main letters (and two final letters) you get three colours you have to make predominant.
If we were to create a magical image of the Shem Angel Heaeaeiah. She is one of the angels of Sagittarius. The GD gave her the title of Lord of Swiftness. The description is that she is standing on clouds, holding a rose and is comprised of fire. The colours would be blue, orange and violet.
AI presented all those symbols here and made it dramatic. She is still a Yetizaratic image. In other words, she is not Heaeaeiah but a way to get to her. Magical images tend to act like phone numbers. If a person were to invoke her using this image, she would initially appear in this form but transform into something else.
AI images have limits and are fiddly at the moment, but they will eventually reach to the point where magicians can use traditional descriptions to build their magical images (which they can keep secret).