AE Waite’s “Ceremonial Magic”

The language alone is just fantastic, I’m hoping the rest of the book holds up:

Behind this Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King–which is so like the eye of the needle–there is the concealed tradition in and behind the mysticism of Christian Times. About this it is scarcely possible to speak here, and it will require some care not to confuse the image with which I have opened my statement. The Open Entrance of course leads to the Palace, but at a certain point there is found an exceedingly hidden postern and a path beyond, which is absolutely unattainable except through the lawful entrance, because, although the Kingdom of Heaven tolerates a certain quality of enlightened and loving violence, the sanctuary of all its sanctuaries responds only to the violence of that man who knows how to lay hands on himself, so that he may carry none of his extrinsics to the most intrinsecus place in all the world of God. This postern is hidden deeply on the deepest side of tradition, but by what can be traced concerning it, I think that there has been such a going to and fro upon the Ladder of Jacob that something more of the states which are not the term, but are perhaps penultimate thereto, has been brought back by those who have accomplished the next but one to all of the Great Work. I think further that they have gone so far that they have seen with their own eyes some intimacies of the term itself–being the state of those who go in and do not evermore come back.

These are aspects of the Secret Tradition in so far as it has declared itself on the side of God. It remains now to be said that there is a tradition à rebours, and though it may seem very hard to put it so roughly and frankly, I have not taken all the consciousness of the inward man for my province to smooth or reduce any of the distinctions between the loss and gain of the soul. The tradition a rebours is definitely and clearly that of miraculous power in the quest and attainment thereof. It is summarised by the ambition of the Magus in its contrast with the desire of the eyes and the hope which fills the heart of the true mystic. I am not intending to suggest that the Magus as such is of necessity at issue with the decalogue, or that he is under judgment by this sole standard, whether for vengeance or reward. As the position is capable of dogmatic statement, and as such is without any subjection to vicissitude, I will express it in dogma as follows: Whosoever goes inward to find anything but the Divine in his centre is working on the side of his own loss. As there is the height of Kether in Kabalism, so there is the abyss which is below Malkuth, and those who are seeking to exercise the powers of the soul apart from its graces are treading the downward path.

From the Book of Ceremonial Magic. This is one of the more annoying problems with Western (Occidental) thought – there’s really a golden thread in the religious text be it dealing with Sufi Islam or Abrahamic Judaism. In the west, of course, we worship money and consumption. We ignore the sublime and the inspired because we have access to every satisfaction. When we do that two things happen – we lose sight of what is in ourselves versus what is outside of ourselves and we can no longer experience exaltation. As a people, we have lost sight of the idea that every rainstorm is the Great Rite, and every loaf of bread to a starving child is nothing less than communion itself because it nourishes the body just as much as it encourages the soul to go on with life.

And what of the mysteries? How many churches teach esoteric Christianity? Has anyone studied Kabalah outside of the synagogue? Does Christ get mentioned in the mosque except as the scourge of the temple? (Seriously, post in the comments because I’m guessing even people who consider themselves “religious” and attend church weekly don’t study this stuff). Because we no longer dirty our hands in the business of living, we forget the divine inheritance. We, as people, have been given a terrible and divine responsibility: As above, so below. As without, so within. Do we sit here and let our lives pass us by or do we experience the world as it is and reflect on our experience?

Multiple Divinities: Thinking about Thinking

I love everything Polyphanes writes. I was going to comment on this post on his blog but in typical fashion it turned into a much longer rant. I think we’re in the same headspace but I also don’t quite like how he crouched it (working up) when in my mind the flow is the opposite direction (emanating from or working down). It doesn’t mean we disagree. He is after all an all around awesome young guy.

My personal goal is to reconcile science and religion and through that I’ve fairly comfortably settled on hermetic thought, which is really classical philosophy. As above, so below is the axiom.

Because I believe we have a reductionist philosophy, it’s not OK to start at the bottom and work up, it’s much better to start at the top and go down. Things flow out, they expand, and they emanate and therefore to magic, we do have to climb the tree. On the other hand to grasp what the road looks like, it’s better to actually ride the road out. I think it’s also better to try to pick neutral names to explain these ideas.

The One Thing, which I label the Godhead, was everywhere and nowhere at once. This is impossibly hard to explain except that in a space where there is no-thing (nothing), that single little particle would be everything and everywhere. This idea is intentionally supposed to invoke the idea of the Big Bang. That original particle was the source of the big bang, but where did it come from? Kabbalists would point to the idea that to create, an infinite godhead first had to withdraw. The godhead decided that it wasn’t going to occupy all the space, and by doing this it created the difference between itself in density and itself in sparseness. It withdrew to the point and than exploded. Science minded readers will see allegories to the expansion of the universe – if the previous universe collapsed, then this universe exploded from that point.

Now because of the difference between sparseness and fixity, the universe expands outward. Remember what the first matter was – the godhead itself – so the godhead expands outwards. Also because of sparseness and density we have frequency and motion. Things can now be one place or another, and things can now be more or less dense. This primitive energy then has frequency, which at an extremely high pitch are things like radiation and light and at extremely low pitch condense into matter. The less abstract minded example is taking CO2, which is normally a gas, and condensing it into a liquid and eventually a solid. We get ahead of ourselves.

From fixity and sparseness, frequency and motion we come to actual matter. The universe at this point is made mostly from concepts and forms of energy (light, radiation, etc) and at some point the energy ends up in a state where two bits of it cannot occupy the same place at once. In the sparser parts of space this is OK, but back towards the middle things get compressed and therefore condensed and eventually fall out of being energy and end up in matter. This new plane has plenty of space and while it is adjacent to the previous plane including some crazy Higgs stuff going on, it’s a separate form of being.

The process repeats itself all over again. Matter can be one place, and not the other. Matter can vibrate like the string on a violin. Matter is never completely divorced from energy and has qualities we might know as hot and cold which, through the properties of sparseness and fixity, determine how warm or cold something is (how much energy it has compared to some baseline) and how that energy wants to flow (resistance and conduction).

A special hat tip to the Higgs Boson here. People call it the “God Particle”. It’s not. It might not even be the smallest unit of matter there is. If it is, then the Higgs Boson is the smallest unit of matter before pure energy. However, it’s not the God Particle, it’s just the smallest unit of condensed energy there is. The universe will remain a zero sum game until we figure out how to actually create energy. Once we do that, if we can figure out how to condense it into parts of atoms, then atoms, then molecules, then… CHOCOLATE – we will truly be free.

But wait, this was supposed to be about religious stuff! The mind! Philosophy! All you’ve done is link the big bang to making chocolate from scratch!

People familiar with Kabbalistic thought and LMD’s Chicken Qabalah will hopefully have enjoyed the post thus far. To go back up to the godhead, the most abstract thing, we can use the four worlds. You really should read the Chicken Qabala if you’re enjoying this so far. But to paraphrase the chapter as it applies to our big bang universe, things are things (chairs, apples, stars), unformed matter, energy, and then finally the big bang itself. In our philosophical four worlds universe, things are things (a specific chair), the plans to build the chair, the idea of a chair, and then needing a place to sit. As science acquires more and more control over the finer parts of matter the four worlds becomes more and more important.

This is really how we apply the process – how do we avoid grey goo of discarded stuff? We need to work, as a people, to identify our actual needs versus our actual wants. Everyone wants a Ferrari. Everyone needs a mode of transportation. In fact, a lot of people end up getting Ferraris and then don’t realize it needs and oil change every 1000 miles and there’s no drain bolt on the oil pan. People needed transportation, they wanted the flash, and they became trapped in a money abyss. Whether we’re designing software or we’re trying to assess what we need out of life, we have to go up (or down) through the four worlds and make sure we perceive each one clearly.

Why then does it matter by what name we call God(s)?  We’ve just put faces to emanations of the divine and it doesn’t matter if we call him Odin or Mercury or Granny Smith or Red Delicious. These things have common qualities they share through time and space and just as they are all selfsame with one another, they are all selfsame with the parts which comprise them.

Philosophical problems:

“You’re confusing the machine with the godhead.” Much in the same way people write crap software, their creation carries their own mind. A Picasso would not be confused with a Warhol and we shouldn’t embrace mediocrity or pictures of soup.

“You can’t prove any of this!” We don’t need to prove any of it. Science is merely flailing around in the darkness without inspiration. To run this process in reverse, we must seek to add to our knowledge and apprehend or reconcile each division of the whole. Where does inspiration come from?

“What did the philosopher order at the pizza shop?” Make me one with everything.

On Mysticism or The TechnOccult – Modes of Thought

Yes recently the blog has been on what most people would call a jewish mysticism kick. I find as I get older I end up going through these periods where I think about things, then I think about how I think about things. What does the mirror see when it looks into itself? These rants are inspired by the format of The Whiskey Rant. It might not be right, but lets entertain the thought.

Eventually, we decide we need to understand the structure of how we think.

While I’ve played around quite a bit with philosophy, it’s lacking. There never has been any sort of thinking where man does not look at the universe and consider it’s parts. Eventually anyone who seriously puts any time into it comes to mysticism. I think it’s a travesty we don’t teach “The Mysteries” or even civics class. Somewhere, we ended up so politically correct that we couldn’t teach these things because of the fear of indoctrination. The worst part is, institutions of indoctrination (religious schools) don’t present things as mysteries anymore, they’re concerned with putting people onto the path of salvation or somesuch. Some people want the answers. Some people (me) want to learn modes of thinking to more clearly perceive things. This doesn’t say I’m right. This just means if you haven’t gone into any sort of classical thinking and ended up at occultism, give it a try.

People tend to take it too seriously, I think. The rabbis have been kibitzing about kabalah for literally ages and I think people have the right thinking for this problem: You can reduce the process of magical thinking down to “a very small shell script”. This is a particularly sticky wicket to the believer and a nail on the cross for people who would rather see spiritual thought written off entirely. The first google result will figure out any correlation you could possibly want. Want magic squares? We do that too! (Also CPAN whores – add internationalization to author names so you can credit this module).

But that’s not the point. We can literally rip out the values of entire languages in seconds now. In the case of that last CPAN module, we’re ripping out the values of languages which aren’t even formalized (Ethiopian). Why bother? It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the modes of thinking.

Modes of thinking? Yes. I recently read The Chicken Cabalah. It’s a typical DuQuette book where it’s written lightheartedly but more importantly the joke is occasionally on the reader. (Don’t worry, you’re let into the luls later). People talk about it being a useful introduction to cabalah. It’s not. What the book provides is a good introduction to the application of the modes of thought present in classical thinking. Specifically addressed are fundamental questions about identity. Identity? Identity is how we frame ourselves in reality. What is reality? Now we’re in the thick of it. (The dry, unentertaining version is the four worlds, but I suggest you read DuQuettes book for the humorous, playful version about reality being an armchair). They start out in a room full of chairs. They  move up and they end up in a factory cutting out parts for a chair. They move up and they have the IKEA plans for a chair. They move up and they find… nothing. What does the notion of something to sit on look like?

This is really a neat model of thought, or I think it is at least.

More importantly, we have another interesting idea we can apply here – the physical world is going away. What does that mean? We’re losing the strong identity of things and we’re moving into a space where things don’t physically exist. The movies we watch are delivered digitally, “filmed” digitally in a computer, we watch them on screens we don’t own, and billions are fought over “rights” and “distribution” of something which doesn’t exist in terms of 1s and 0s. I don’t mean this to be an anti-capitolism rant. I strongly feel that artists should get paid something for their work. On the other hand, owning things keeps becoming more and more of an abstract concept. At what point do we get issued a food replicator and a laptop at birth? Probably around the time when Apple decides it makes more money selling you “media” than it does selling you hardware. The future looks amazing. It will be glorious, we return to the godhead. It will be our undoing as we indulge our fetishes. “Kurt Cobain, shotgun mouthwash, daily at 3pm ONLY ON FOXNEWS”.

We are forever parodies of ourselves – the mirror looks into the mirror. Science has been “finding the resolution of reality” with the large hadron collider for how long now but we still can’t put a number on the resolution of the spirit.

What do we do now? Today? Our torah is a blog. Our kabalah is ascii. Our holy script is whatever our default font is for the paragraph tag. Mine is courier new, 10 point. It was transmitted to our prophets at 9600N81.

Of course, this got me thinking about math, and what’s our new math? Maybe we are ready for new math. The old hebrew was written right to left, in one long line, which is pretty much the reason why people have been doing crosswords on pie plate liners ever since. What would the old rabbi have done? Would they have assigned a value to right to left? Every punctuation mark? Every space? Well, if we think yes, we find some interesting places to look for inspiration.

We think about the famous first verse in the bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. Running this through our electric rabbi, we have some real insights! “Kept in balance by the wisdom”, “Jesus Christ the Groom, I am that I am”, “The biggest douche in the universe” (not kidding). Well if we convert to ascii, and add up all the numbers, letters, whitespace and punctuation, we get 4808. What is 4808? In Hebrew notation: “And He Opened His Mouth In Blasphemy Against God, To Blaspheme His Name, And His Tabernacle, And Them That Dwell In Heaven”.

And that folks, is why I only use EBCDIC.


Magic, Magick, Magi and Me

I’ve been taking notes on what I like and don’t like out of Michael Kraigs Modern Magick while at the same time reading Aaron Leich’s Secrets of Magical Grimoires. Aaron is an anthropologist and Michael Kraig speaks 10 different classical languages. Between the two of them it’s my favorite topics times 10. It’s a wonderful mix of psychology, classical thinking, mysticism and naval gazing. There’s literally enough material here to smoke all the cigars in hell and still have stuff to talk about.

I had written up the daily ritual (which I frankly get into and out of depending on how I feel) and mailed it out to a group of friends interested in this topic.

Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram & Kabbalistic Cross

Touch forehead – Ah-tah
Point down – Mahl-Koot
Right Shoulder – Vih-Gboo-Rah
Left Shoulder – Vih-Gdoo-lah
Fold Hands – Lih-oh-lahm Ah-men

LBRP – this represents the wheel of the universe:
Face East – Pentagram – Yuh-Heh-Vavh-Heh
South – Pentagram – Ah-doh-nye
West – Pentagram – Eh-hah-yeh
North – Pentagram – Ah-Glah
Carry line into the east, completing the circle.

Before Me: Rah-fay-el (God Heals)
Behind me: Gahb-Ray-El (Gods Stregnth)
Right hand: Mih-chai-el (Who is like God)
Left Hand: Ohr-Ree-El (God’s like or emination)
About me flames the pentagram, within the six rayed star
(About me flames the perfection of the elements, within me shines the light of the true god)


Middle Pillar
Eh-heh-yah and see the light in the heavens (or crown)
Yud-heh-vahv-heh el-oh-heem – Neck
Yud-heh-vahv-heh el-oh-ah v’dah-aht – chest
Shah-dai El Chai – Genitals
Ah-doh-nye Ha-ahr-etz – feet
(middle piller riff – breathe while sending energy up and down one side of your body, front, back, right, left, wrapping around).

KC, LBRP to close.

This of course generated more confusion than answers and I was asked to provide commentary. Where do we start? Commentary on this sort of thing is entirely personal and even things like godnames are hotly debated from blasphemy to objections on framework and entomology alone.  The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Literally. If it speaks to you and it works, then use it. To wit, you can’t move mountains, you can stack the die. Thusly, the commentary follows with the omission of the adressees:

We recently made prosperity candles. Someone was offered a full time position out of the blue. I got a six figure offer from Comcast which bought me out of ebay. Mostly this is commentary on the difference between Wiccian rituals and how I prefer to do things. This does not mean one way is right and the other way is wrong. The proper way to execute this is a hack – just do it.
Step zero – YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT WORKS. Wicca occupies low magic territory and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I don’t feel like it’s the best screwdriver in the threads-of-fate drawer, so we make new screwdrivers as they suit us.  I feel like the fundamentals of wicca are flat out wrong – “To the harm of none” simply refuses to acknowledge the zero sum universe. You got that full time position because someone else didn’t, etc.

Alright so the question is “WTF is the daily ritual?” It’s a really long answer.

The problem I have with the wiccian version is you ask any of them the important questions and they have no idea. The important questions are “What is eko eko azarak?” and “who are the guardians of the quarters?” Basically questions about why they’re saying what they are saying – and they don’t know.
If you read The Black Arts, eko eko azarak is flat out bullshit Gerald Gardener came up with:
Sorcery has a tradition of “Barbarous names”. They’re traditionally riffs on godnames. So in most traditional magic which has the angelic name which rules the hour of the day, ( and instead of mars, jupiter, etc you would have either the names of angels of the traditional greek/roman gods. Dee got the brilliant idea to mess around with the form of the name where an angel rules the day, but a variation of the angel name rules the hour ( – ANGELORUM BONORUM 49). This is not entirely unheard of in grimiore magic and it serves two purposes – when should you do stuff and if you know which spirit you want to interact with you can chant the names until you’re in the appropriate mental state of focus and intent…
So if you have no idea who you’re addressing with eko eko, you have no idea who rules what where for the quarters. So as not to spoil the ritual for you, it’s still all about intent. If you don’t feel strongly about it, it doesn’t matter.
All of this sounds fucking gay, the bottom line is that we have a microscope which determines how much mystical crap we want to pack into the ritual. It’s not always useful to use an electron microscope to look for tadpoles, is the idea. Traditional heathenry only concerned itself with the phase of the moon. Wicca adds full and dark moons to that. Solomonic magic has the ruler of the day. Renascence magic adds the angel of the hour. If you’re saying “WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS” the answer is “yes”. The candle is green. Money is green. Basil is green. We made the candles on a day when Jupiter was in a waxing position (SEE WHAT I DID THAR?). The moon was waxing…
What does this have ANYTHING to do with the reworked daily ritual? I wanted to come up with something extensible. Basically, idling the car in the driveway. You use the machines of magic without doing magic. Since magic is all about intent, WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING? The idea is to do stuff and observe how we feel, then use the framework for spells, and use the observation about how we feel to validate the operation of the spell.
The reading of the ritual is headers in italics, actions in font, names (or vibrations) in bold. To vibrate a name, you “sing” it per syllable and it’s written phonetically. To do it “correctly” it should feel like your head or heart is ringing. Pick a name and just say it while breathing out, or sing it, until you find a tone and breathing which seems to jive with you.
The Kabbalistic Cross is therefor what we replace eko eko with. It’s the gateway to enter the mystical state and tell our brains ITS TIME FOR MAGIC. (If anyone wants to know, it’s Matthew 6:13 in Hebrew. Why Matthew 6:13? A better question is “Why did Jesus pray?”).
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is stolen out and out from Crowley ( It does two things – it prepares the space as a “Clean” space and it serves to link us to the divine for part 1. The divine is the sum of the universe. If we subscribe to the idea of the Ain Soph, the unknowable god, the universe was created by his word and therefor we cannot understand him with names or concepts in this universe. To call the names of god in each corner is to acknowledge the sum of creation as the entire universe. The names: The circle itself represents the zodiac and therefor you’re literally including or excluding forces from your universe when you stand in the circle.
Don’t like it? The guys over at are just sweeping the floor and breathing with each sweep of the broom. So long as the intent is “clean”, that’s about all that’s required.
So then why the names of the angels? In short because the universe defines how we relate to god, the angels are how the universe relates to us. The traditional role of angels is to act as lawyers in the court of god, or the traditional role of spirits is to effect change in forces just out of your control. You could substitute names of familiar spirits, if you wanted, or names of different gods. Frankly this is the part of the ritual I am least comfortable with, and it’s a holdover of the idea that we can’t know god, but we have the authority to command spirits or fates, so what gives us the authority?
Finally the kabbalistic cross again – we’re separating the cleaning from the operation itself.
The middle pillar some people will probably recognize, it’s walking the chakras from yoga. It’s perfectly serviceable as either a prelude to magic or simply filling in the space the heart of the ritual would occupy. Me being an idiot lost where this came from and therefor what the hebrew expands to.
From there, LBRP to close and go.