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Diana Hignutt
09-07-2005, 03:41 PM
I've been very busy at work in my other life as a business executive, but I've been determined to find a way I can contribute more at AW. I have considerable knowledge on various mystical and magical systems earned from my lifelong researches into these areas. It seems to me that I can put that knowledge to use here. Many people who write fantasy (or occult based) novels may not have the extensive background that I have, and I offer my accumulated wisdom to assist them in telling their stories, or at least point them in the right direction. So basically, I'm offering to answer questions on magic and mysticism, or to suggest references to use for writers tackling these subjects. There are many different ways to make an omelet, and some folks are perfectly happy inventing their own magic systems, but if you want to base your magic on the magick of history, of various world traditions, ask me what you will. I'll try to help you.

I'll probably take a little time to get back to you, since my time is very limited, but if you ask, sooner or later, I will answer to the best of my ability. and, if I don't knoiw then I bet somebody else around here probably does...

In the meantime, I'm going to recommend that everyone interested in this thread go rent the movie, "What the (BLEEP) Do We Know?" which provides a scientific basis for the existance of magic and spirituality.

Diana Hignutt

zornhau
09-07-2005, 05:51 PM
Are you familiar with the Greek Magical Papyri?

azbikergirl
09-07-2005, 06:23 PM
Interesting that you mention that documentary, Diana. It was just recommended to me yesterday by another writer friend. I have it in my blockbuster queue. Maybe I'll move it up. :)

I've started a story in which a healer uses smoking herbs to envision a broken bone sort of like seeing an xray. Do you know of any magic system like that? I like to base my magic on historical systems, but add my own twist. Drugs have been used by cultures to seek truths and communicate with gods, but to perform real magic -- I don't know.

lxstanto
09-08-2005, 06:24 AM
Wonderful movie.

I still hope one day some one will make a database just with magick systems in it. It would be a nice reference, anyway.

Diana Hignutt
09-08-2005, 01:27 PM
Zornhau,

The Greek Magical Papyri? Are you referring to the Greek Gnostic scriptures, or is this something different? I have some knowledge of Greek Gnosticism.

Axbikergirl,

Okay, I'll be spending sometime on this, but a great resource for you would be the Don Jaun books by Carlos Castaneda, beginning with The Teachings of Don Jaun, then A Separate Reality, and then several more books. I'll go into more detail on this tomorrow...

Ixstanto, maybe we can do that with this thread...we'll see...

Thread Disclaimer:

This thread is for literary purposes only, and is meant solely as a resource of writers...

azbikergirl
09-08-2005, 06:36 PM
Okay, I'll be spending sometime on this, but a great resource for you would be the Don Jaun books by Carlos Castaneda, beginning with The Teachings of Don Jaun, then A Separate Reality, and then several more books. I'll go into more detail on this tomorrow...

I've read every last one of them. :) However, as Don Juan once told Carlos, the only reason he pushed Carlos to use peyote was because Carlos was too dumb to 'get it' otherwise. Other students of Don Juan's didn't need the peyote, and at some point, neither did Carlos.

VERY interesting books.

Diana Hignutt
09-09-2005, 01:47 PM
At the heart of all magickal beliefs (of which for the sake of what we're doing here I am including all aspects of religion, metaphysics and mysticism) is the very basic assumption that we exist in a universe which we can change in fundementals ways. That is to say that there exists some mechanism of reality that through some means can be affected. Aleister Crowley, a major proponent of Western Occult revival, defines magick as "the science and art of causing change in conformity with the will." So, the essense of magick is simple, we exist in a universe that we have the power to change, either through our own direct efforts, entready to the powers that be, or through some combination.

In the movie I mentioned above, they do a wonderful job of explaining that we do, in fact live in a universe that is built on endless probability at its most fundemental levels--the level of quantum mechanics. Many people have believed many different things in different places and different times--it all boils down to the same thing. I want to do X, which may or may not be something that is generally considered possible, so I need to resort to magick. What then is magick? It is a system that allows the user to do something by working with the fundemental essense of reality, not merely the essense that we can see or touch. All systems of magick begin with the assumptions that the universe is more complex than it appears to be, that simple cause and effect are not so absolute in nature, and that through knowledge of the invisible laws of the universe changes can be wraught in the everyday world.

I probably wouln'd have begun with the Yaqui belief system, if Azbikergirl, hadn't brought up the use of herbs and drugs in magickal systems. But, it isn't a bad place to start. Carlos Castaneda wrote extensively about a Yaqui man of knowledge named Don Jaun. Castaneda was doing research on the Native American tradition of using peyote and other mind-altering susbstances. An acquaintance of Castaneda introduces him to a Yaqui sorcerer named Don Jaun. Don Jaun then goes about making Castaneda his apprentice. The first book, The Teachings of Don Jaun: A Yaqui Way of Knowldege, deals with how Don Jaun uses peyote and other drugs to introduce Carlos to the otherside of reality. In his other books, less pharmacological means are used to similar effect. I will say that I have used the magical system put forward in Castaneda's books as a large element in my druids' herb use in my two fantasy novels.

Darn the time...more on this next time...

DaveKuzminski
09-09-2005, 06:21 PM
Spelling magic with the k added on only makes it more difficult for me to follow any serious discussion. While it might be nice in books meant to be sold and meant to add an essance or other nuance to the reader's pleasure, in these discussions, it's a pain in the backside and causes me to lose the line of logic every time it's encountered. It's similar to when a reader gets kicked out of a story.

Please, learn when to use such writing tricks and when to avoid them.

Phoenix Fury
09-09-2005, 06:43 PM
Spelling magic with the k added on only makes it more difficult for me to follow any serious discussion. While it might be nice in books meant to be sold and meant to add an essance or other nuance to the reader's pleasure, in these discussions, it's a pain in the backside and causes me to lose the line of logic every time it's encountered. It's similar to when a reader gets kicked out of a story.

Please, learn when to use such writing tricks and when to avoid them.

Amen.

P.F.

Pthom
09-10-2005, 12:01 PM
Careful, Phoenix and Dave. Diana began this thread to offer us the benefit of her knowledge about magical systems and beliefs. As she says, in part: "This thread is ... meant solely as a resource [for] writers." Use the information presented here or not; it's your choice. Whether or not you agree with her spelling, this isn't the place to discuss it. If it's too difficult for you to read a thread where the main term is spelled differently than you expect (or prefer), then just don't read it.

Alphabet
09-10-2005, 12:14 PM
DaveKuzminski and Pheonix Fury you will each write

'I will not needlessly point out spelling errors' x10

font and size choices at your discretion, but we want to SEE it!

Phoenix Fury
09-10-2005, 12:28 PM
Oh for heaven's sake...I don't know how my one word response to Dave's comment suddenly established me as a spelling prude along with him (though, to be honest, I think proper spelling is critically important in a general sense, and pointing out an error, politely, is seldom a bad thing to do). :) It's just that like Dave, the spelling of the word "magic" with an extra "k" is a little pet peeve of mine--why adopt it just because Crowley felt he needed to distinguish his version from others? But anyway, I don't want to hijack the thread, and Diana, no offense meant at all. Thank you for offering your expertise on the subject of magic, and I'm happy to read it regardless of how you want to spell the word...even if it makes me wince a bit to see that extra "k"... :Shrug:

P.F.

Diana Hignutt
09-11-2005, 12:40 AM
Wow, I guess some people just don't like the letter "k" where they aren't accustomed to it... I would recommend that people who don't like "k's" in their magic avoid my books. The letter "k" was introduced into the spelling of magick at the turn of the century (19th to 2oth) by many occultists to distinguish it from the tricks of conjurers and for Qabalahistic reasons (which we'll get to later). I like the spelling, even in my fiction, to let the reader know that when I write about magick, it's mysterious, authentic, and ancient. I use a few archaic spellings in my fantasy novels to set mood and imply different ways of looking at the words. Faerie is another spelling that annoys some, that I like. I hope my use of the spelling "magick" is not so troublesome to keep you from reading.

Now, back to the Yaqui way of knowledge. The more I think about it this is a really good place to start because their system, like all the systems we will eventually talk about begins and ends with the belief that the world we know is only part of the universe. That at its most fundemental level the universe is an entirely different place than it appears to out normal senses, than we believe it to be. When Don Jaun begins to teach Castaneda, the first step is to shake his awareness out of the ordinary world. The Yaqui use hallucengenic drugs like peyote or mushrooms as one way to acheive this.

(As an aside, there is a story (which they talk about in "What the Bleep") about how when Columbus first arrived in the New World the Native Americans were unable to see his ships in the ocean because they had nothing like them in their experience. The Medicine Man (or whatever you want to call him) noticed that the ocean water was doing strange things. He studied the area until he was able to see the ships. He then explained what he saw to the others and they were then able to see the ships for themselves.)

The Yaqui use of drugs in their magick is one way they perceive the fundemental nature of reality...or as Castaneda calls it "the Separate Reality." There are other techinques (lots and lots of them) which can be empoyed to shake one out of the ordinary state of perception, but sometimes the use of drugs was found to be expedient, or if the level of "Second Attention" which a task required was too great to achieve without the use of drugs. Don Jaun claimed that Castaneda was too stupid to "SEE" at first without the use of drugs. The very Yaqui idea of "SEEING" is to see the separate reality with the second attention. What the Yaqui believe, and what Castaneda experienced, is a universe made of waves of energy where people appear as luminous egg-shaped energy fields interconnected with everything, emerging from and returning to one source, which they call the Eagle. The first part of a Yaqui sorcerer's training is to learn how to "see."

I would at this point recommend a book called the Tao of Physics, which does talk of interesting parallels between the views of modern physics and of the Yaqui beliefs presented by Castaneda's books.

Next time...INTENTION, or how the Yaqui sorcerer uses the power of seeing to manipulate reality.

PattiTheWicked
09-11-2005, 01:00 AM
As regards to the spelling of magick with the K on the end -- it has nothing to do with it being a writing device or a cutesy-poo spelling thing. Many people who practice magicK prefer to use that to distinguish it from rabbit-outta-the-hat magic. I know one famtrad witch who spells it magique -- just because that's the way her family has spelled it for a century.

Phoenix Fury
09-11-2005, 04:35 AM
As regards to the spelling of magick with the K on the end -- it has nothing to do with it being a writing device or a cutesy-poo spelling thing. Many people who practice magicK prefer to use that to distinguish it from rabbit-outta-the-hat magic. I know one famtrad witch who spells it magique -- just because that's the way her family has spelled it for a century.

For one last comment on this subject, we might want to refer to this:

http://sacred-pathways.com/magic.html

This about summarizes the "c" vs. the "k" argument as far as I am concerned. But again, no offense meant to anyone, and I now return you to your normally scheduled thread...:)

P.F.

pickman
09-11-2005, 12:57 PM
Many people who write fantasy (or occult based) novels may not have the extensive background that I have, and I offer my accumulated wisdom to assist them in telling their stories, or at least point them in the right direction. So basically, I'm offering to answer questions on magic and mysticism, or to suggest references to use for writers tackling these subjects. There are many different ways to make an omelet, and some folks are perfectly happy inventing their own magic systems, but if you want to base your magic on the magick of history, of various world traditions, ask me what you will. I'll try to help you.

This looks like a good place to ask something that has been bugging me for a while.

The first two books I wrote were horror novels based on real-world occult traditions. I wanted to do what Dennis Wheatley did with The Devil Rides Out. Unfortunately, both of my books were rubbish because I simply could not write about people practicing certain rituals without baffling a readership who may not be familiar with occult tradition.

I have long-since given up on occult fiction, but I am curious to know if there is a certain way that you can get occult fiction to work without boring your readers with long passages explaining the origins of The Goetia, the Golden Dawn, Crowley, etc.

I have come to the conclusion that magical/mystical elements should come into a story of its own accord, instead of being forced in as as necessary part of the plot. I have heard other writers who are also occultists say that occult fiction is rarely decent, and that stories about magic/k or mysticism do not work, whereas stories with occult elements in can work. Would you agree? Or is there a specific technique in which stories about ritual magick can work?

Also, are there any decent occultist writers who I can check out for tips? I have been thinking about checking out Crowley's novels for ideas.

Diana Hignutt
09-11-2005, 03:38 PM
Pickman,

First, though I do love Crowley's wit and literary style in non-fiction, his fiction is just not as good. I would think that readers without a basis in metaphysics probably don't understand his fiction. Moonchild is readable, but it does bog down, because of both esoteric reasons and because he uses the novel as a device to lampoon some of his former colleagues in the Golden Dawn. Oh, I can hardly wait until we get to the Golden Dawn. Many, many members of the Golden Dawn (a semi-secret mystical society that flourished in Victorian England) were writers, many wrote fiction with much occult material. Poet W. B. Yeats was a high ranking member, Charles Williams, novelist, was another, Bram Stoker was rumored to have been a member, Oscar Wilde's wife (whose name escapes me at the moment) was a member, Dion Fortune was a later memeber and her occult novels are as unreadable as Crowleys. Even fantasy greats Tolkien and Lewis were close friends with Charles Lewis and A. E. Waite (famous for his contribution to the Tarot deck) and much valid occult material can be found in their works, despite their strong Christian backgrounds.

From a literary standpoint any forced device will be awkward, be it occult content or whatever. Everything in a story should flow from the needs of the story, or it will feel forced. Novelists or short story authors write stories about people. All stories are about people (even books about rabbits are about people--as in Watership Down-- because the rabbits are people in the books). The occult content or the fantasy content, for that matter, are always secondary. Only inferior stories will start with the idea of stuffing the tale full of fantasy or occult content. Such devices must flow out of the story naturally.

Let me think of stories that, in my own humble opinion (and that's all it is) make good use of the occult. Hmmm?

The first book that comes to mind (and maybe it is because I was on a Native American kick) is Frank Herbert's Soul Catcher--which I just loved. The book is full of Native American mysticism, but it's just a great book about a reluctant kidnapper and the young innocent boy he must sacrifice.

Okay, I'm having trouble this morning thinking of more. I would like to think that my own writings make good use of occult content to further the story.
Here's an excerpt from my novel, Empress of Clouds (Behler). Here the druid priestess, Brythia needs to traverse a great distance immediately and has to resort to the druids' Flying Smoke, which is largely influenced by Castaneda's writing and so helps us get back to our Yaqui friends:

She exhaled deeply and brought the lit pipe to her lips. She inhaled vigorously, drawing the flying smoke into her lungs. She continued inhaling until her lungs burned. She held her breath, holding the smoke tightly inside her. She removed the pipe from her face and blew out a sizeable cloud of smoke, coughing as she did so.

Immediately she repeated this procedure, holding the hot and bitter smoke in even longer each time she did so. The entire time she held a vision of the palace of Lorm in her mind. She visualized the outer fortress walls, the great towers, the gates. She held the image firmly in her imagination as she began to feel light-headed. Shapes seemed to move vaguely in the surrounding darkness of the wooded circle. The air seemed comprised of tiny particles which fluttered and flickered about, and then everything began to move in waves. The blackness of the night sky blended into the tops of the trees which seemed to melt into the grass. A dizziness and vague feeling of nausea took hold of her. Still she did not allow herself to be distracted by the effects of the flying smoke; she kept the picture of the palace there vividly as possible before her mind’s eye.

A strange humming noise came slowly in the background of her attention, growing louder and louder with each passing moment. Now everything was swirling around her, jumbled waves of energy which were once the trees and the sky seemed to lap like water at her feet. Was she standing now? Or no, had she fallen down? Was that the cold earth she felt all about her now? She was having difficulty breathing. The air that poured into her lungs stung and tasted foul. Was she still smoking? She could not be sure. She hung on to the image of the palace; it was her only anchor to sanity. Her regular vision was lost in blurs and a crashing hum of deafening ferocity raged so that all other sound was drowned out. Now there came a sensation of movement and something raced just below her, rapidly, but nebulous.

Then there seemed to be a figure moving towards her in the blurred landscape that surrounded. It stuck her as an entity of some sort, but one which possessed no measurable characteristics which she could hold in her affected mind. It possessed color and movement, but nothing even approaching shape. It flashed brilliantly across her awareness.

"Who are you?" popped up in her mind. Did she ask it or did the entity ask her? She could not be sure. She attempted, at first, to ignore the presence and return her concentration wholly to the palace, but again the question moved across her mind. "Who are you?"

And then another question followed instantly. "Why do you wish to go to this place, this palace?"

She attempted to move her lips to answer, but she found that she could not. If she was making coherent sounds they could not be heard over the din of the incessant humming.

The palace. Ignore the voice in your head and think only of the palace.

"Why? Why? Why?"

The strange voice in her head almost devoured her in its questioning. The humming became the question repeated at an incredible roar. Brythia formed an answer in her mind, and it was shouted with everything she had, "For Tolian."

Her answer now echoed in the humming. She remembered to bring her attention back to the palace. "The palace, the palace, the palace, the palace, the palace" she screamed over and over again.

And then that was all there was. The words ringing throughout eternity. There was nothing else.

The palace. The palace. The palace. The palace. The palace. Her mantra rang over and over again.

A barrage of quick images danced across her consciousness. A rolling sea of clouds stretched out in the darkness below her. A carpet of trees. A flash of light.

Suddenly she felt tears on her check. She felt her foot on solid ground. The screamed mental mantra faded with the sound of a twig snapping under her. The crackle of leaves beneath her feet. The blur of her vision shifted into uncertain shapes before condensing into trees all around her. It was still night. She became aware of the cold wind rushing down on her. She stepped, from the midst of the tall barren oak trees which surrounded her, onto a paved road. She turned right on to the path and continued walking. Her head still spun and a violent wave of nausea took hold of her. She had to stop and vomit.

******

My novel Moonspell, which will be released by Behler in 2006 has my very favorite use of ritual magick in my work. It's too long to excerpt here, maybe some other time.

I'll try and think of other works of fiction with good use of the occult in them, but I certainly welcome anyone else's suggestions.

Okay, next time, we'll return to our Yaqui friends and learn about allies and intention, unless anyone has any other questions, which we will happily address.

Thread Disclaimer: The information provided in this thread is for literary purposes only. It in no way endorses the use of drugs or occult practices.

Diana Hignutt
09-12-2005, 01:21 PM
don Juan tells us: "For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel, looking, looking breathlessly."

The proper term for the Yaqui sorcerer is Nagual. He (or she) is a warrior. When a nagual is ripe for an apprentice, the Spirit brings him (or her) a likely canditate. Usually, some form of trickery is utilized to bring this apprentice under the nagual's fold.

Once the apprentice learns to "SEE," it is then that he learns of the world of spirits. Spirits in the Yaqui tradition are beings who live in the world just as we do, but they live in another part of it. They can on occasion interact with our normal world. Spirits that are willing to help the nagual are called allies.

The nagual must master the art of INTENTION. The idea of intention is identical to the idea of WILL that will be so important when we get to the Western Occult tradition. It is through INTENTION that sorcerers make changes to reality. It is a technique of sharping the will, focusing the will upon one idea or activity and bringing about the desired effect.

I really only wanted to present the very basic outline of Yaqui knowledge, so it will be there as a backdrop for our future discussion. One thing you will quickly see, is that almost all magickal traditions have the same basic aspects. We will see the same themes emerging through many cultures.

At this point, I should recommend Sir James Frazer's classic work, The Golden Bough, as required reading on comparative studies of magick and religion.

Okay, next time we'll start at the beginning...the creation of the universe and the Qabalah...

Diana Hignutt
09-14-2005, 01:52 PM
There are several stories of how the Qabalah came to man. It is said by some that an angel taught Moses shortly after he got the Ten Commandments, others say that Moses had learned it in Egypt. What we do know is that the Qabalah (Kabbalah, Cabalah, Cabala) was the essential mystical theory behind Judaism, and later Christianity and Islam. What I shall give the basics of here, as a benefit for writers who want to little authenticity in their fantasy, is the Qabalah as understood in the Western occult tradition, which is a bit different (especially spellingwise) from the Jewish tradition from which it derives. Once again, widespread interest in the Qabalah can be traced to the efforts of members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The order's founder S.L. Macgregor Mathers' The Kabbalah Unveiled is among the first books to delve into the mystical science in modern times. Another memeber, Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabalah is the best book out of the bunch to come out of the Golden Dawn. Israel Regardie's, Garden of Pomegranates is probably my favorite. Understand that Qabalahistic theory is the basis of Western Occult Philosophy and that it is tied to every aspect of it, in one way or another. I don't know if this is the version that Madonna studies or not, but it is very close.

The Qabalah is a theory of creation, of how how the universe works, and a map of everything. The basic glyph is the Tree of Life. At it's most basic the Tree of Life is made up of ten sephira (plural of sephiroth) or spheres. But before we get to that point, we have to start at the very beginning. Or before that really. The Veils of Negative Existence.

Ain Soph Aur = 000 = Limitless Light
Ain Soph = 00 = Limitless
Ain = o = Nothing

The concepts behind the veils of negative existence are very advanced. Just know, for now, that there are levels behind Nothingness.

Next time, we'll talk about Nothingness and how everything emerged very naturally and logically out of it.

Diana Hignutt
09-16-2005, 01:48 PM
I see that people are reading this thread, so I'm going to assume that there is an interest in this material here (despite being a mostly silent interest recently). I do want to reiterate that questions are welcome, though, it is entirely possible that I won't have a good answer. Maybe someone else will...

Yeah, I know I said we'd talk about nothingness next, but you can't talk about nothingness without invoking existence. Fans of mathematics will understand this in terms of set theory, fans of philosophy and logic will understand this in a similar way. In order to talk about something, we require a separate dimension from that thing. To examine a thing, we must step away from it, separate ourselves from it. To examine a set in mathematics, we must step outside that set, and thereby create another set from which to view it. As soon as we talk of this set, we create another set. Get it?

It is in this way that the number one emerges naturally from zero. The concept of nothing is something in and of itself. Get it, yet?

The first spehira on the Tree of Life is Kether (Kesser, Keser). The concept is one of Absolute Unity. Imagine a point that contains within itself all possiblity of everything. White Brilliance.

Gotta dash, more on Kether, next time.

anabellatrix
09-21-2005, 04:29 PM
Hi there Diana
I'm Amanda (anabellatrix) and I was wondering if you knew of any fictional books about witches set in the modern world? I have just got Kelley Armstrongs Dime Store Magic but I am really looking for a book about a witch living in the real world hiding her craft. I know there is always Charmed but I really wanted something a bit more specific to the world of witches and covens etc. Any suggestions gratefully received!! Thanks.

Pthom
09-21-2005, 11:57 PM
Darnit. Doncha just hate it when someone asks if you know of a book about [something] and you know you've read a book that deals precisely with the [something] but can't for the life of you remember the title, author, or when it was you read it even? I read such a book, had witches and time travel and really bad guys (the witches were the good guys in this story), but I can't for the life of me remember who, what, where or when. Well where's easy: I read it in my house once.

sigh.

Sorry. Maybe someone who's better at recalling such goodies can come up with the title.

Rabe
09-22-2005, 02:58 AM
Hi there Diana
I'm Amanda (anabellatrix) and I was wondering if you knew of any fictional books about witches set in the modern world? I have just got Kelley Armstrongs Dime Store Magic but I am really looking for a book about a witch living in the real world hiding her craft. I know there is always Charmed but I really wanted something a bit more specific to the world of witches and covens etc. Any suggestions gratefully received!! Thanks.

You could always plague publishers with requests to put out my Eagle Ridge series. It's got *witches* AND a *sorceress* set in a modern world and interacting with a deputy who isn't quite human.

Or failing that, you could try "Good Omens" by Pratchett and Gaiman, the aforementioned Charles de Lint (oops, maybe in another thread) novel Moonheart. I recall a pulp paperback I once got that was title simply "witches" that started out with a modern witch that went back into time and got to see the legend born of her ancestress who was hanged as a witch.

Hrmmmmm....I don't know if it would necessarily count, but Nest Freemark would be considered a 'witch' by "Charmed" standards in Terry Brooks's "Word/Void" series (staring with 'running with the demon').

I'm sure you've already thought of and discluded Harry Potter so much for the fact that it's really set in the world of witches and wizards, even though they hide it from the muggles.

Okay, maybe some of the Charles de Lint collections, also has witches and most are set in the modern world.

Okay, staring at my bookshelves isn't helping that much anymore. Oh, there's the Mayfair Witches from Anne Rice (beginning with "The Witching Hour" feel free to skip the middle five hundred pages, you won't miss anything ;)) Gaiman's "Neverwhere" probably doesn't fit exactly what you're looking for as the main character is never really called a 'witch'. She's a magical creature from London's fairytale gone wrong Underground.

I don't recall the author and I'm *not* recommending the book necessarily, but there's one called Circle of Light, Circle of Dark (I believe) that has various fantasy elements colliding with the modern world. The Harry Dresden series centers around a wizard - close enough? But it's in the same vein as the Laurell K. Hamilton novels.

That's all off the top of my head (and several long glances at the bookshelf) for now. If I think of others, I'll try to post them.

Rabe...

anabellatrix
09-22-2005, 04:13 AM
Thankyou so much Rabe for taking the time to answer meand I gotta say I was chuckling away at your message as you definitely write exactly what your thinking in your head ! lol! its nice to know I'm not the only one who talks and writes like that!! I will definitely check out your recs in the hope that at least some of them will be the type i am looking for! My main reason for searching - apart from the obvious I just love reading - is that I have a real humdinger of a story about modern day witches flying round my head and although I'm not at the stage yet where my imagination capacity has caught up with my ability to write cohesively, concisely and with total Booker/Pulitzer/Nobel Prize winning prose and talent lol!! I would rather know now if there are others on the market and whether they actually sell and who they appeal to more. I mean while I love the Harry Potter world and all Sci-fi fantasy in general I'm actually in the minority amongst my friends and family so while I really want to write for adults I am prepared to aim my Novel at children if I thought it would be better received. Just don't want to go down the J K Rowling road as I would just look like a wannabe and my whole idea is really really good and I want to get it right. Sorry I'm a complete waffler!! I'll go now!
P.S. I would read your Eagle Ridge stories and its ok my story is not anything like what yours sounds like so you would be safe to show me if you wanted to. In fact I would be chuffed to bits to read even an extract!
Going now. Man I can really talk (sighs) gotta go no really I'm off so I'll see you then. Once again thanks.

Rabe
09-22-2005, 07:48 AM
Annabella -

Because you asked so nicely and because I can't resist the urge to shameless self-plug my work, the following is an excerpt from one of them:

"There are small gods and big gods, gods everywhere. That's who we pray too," she said, stepping closer to him and setting her hand on his cheek. Despite the heat of the day and the exertion, her flesh was still cool against his skin. Her index finger lay across the top angle of the faded scar, scraping against the jagged edge. Most days he could almost forget it was there, it'd been some time since he had stood in the bathroom, the mirror coated in foggy mist except for the dewdecked circle he cleared from it - and stared at the white line. The reminder left to him of his near fall into bestiality and the souvenir of what Eagle Ridge was.

Underneath her finger, the scar burned like it had when he was first inflicted with the festering, infected wound that caused it. The other scars, slash marks from the claws of teufel, began to warm as well, spreading fire into his blood from the slashes across his chest and back.

He stepped closer, pressing his cheek into her hand, placing his own over hers. His hand felt rough to him, like sandpaper and he worried about scraping the smooth silk of her skin. Dark brown eyes, almost black, stared at him, watching without judging. The seriousness of her voice hadn't made it to her eyes. They still danced with some inner mirth, some detachment from all that was happening. Uncluttered because of the childlike innocence still inside her.

"They're the gods we pray to, the ones we ask to make us braver than we are," she said, her voice low and whispery, but infected with the wonderment in her eyes. It was as if he were a child and she were trying to explain a too difficult concept. "But they can't make us braver than we are. They can't make us anything we aren't already. All they do is put us into the fire until all that isn't who we are is burned away. Refining us and leaving us what we were meant to be. But we don't always burn, sometimes we put the fires out and then we can't be what we are, what we should be."

In her eyes he saw himself, not as he was, but how he should have been. How only one other person had alway seen him. In her eyes, he burned like the molten heart of the sun. Fire burned in his cheek and through the scars on his body - the slashes and then the stab wound from the sword hanging still in the cavern below his house.

Esme, he thought, only Esme had ever saw me like that. The fire in his body was nothing compared to the burning in his heart and he had to pull away, pull away from the quenching coolness of her hand, away from the sustained belief in her eyes and away from what she was saying. He wasn't an angel. Not anymore. He gave it up, stopped doing it. Being what he was only reminded him of what he lost. Still now, three years later. Standing next to this girl, this slip of a thing that lived in her own little world and had somehow dragged him into it, he wondered why they had sent her back. Why now and why like this?

I hope that this isn't a board NO-NO! And if it is, I offer advance profuse apologies to the moderators!

(also, I'll give an incredibly cheap prize to whomever can name the inspiration behind the girl's dialogue!)


If you want more here are some more links: (warning, all of these are from first drafts!)

Excerpt One (http://www.rabephillips.net/excerpt1.html) - this is the opening (currently) of the second in the series.

Excerpt Two (http://www.rabephillips.net/excerpt2.html) - same novel, further in. BTW...the Elizabeta character is the sorceress.

(oh and if you want to be honest with your thoughts on the above...feel free. I'm a big boy, with thick skin. I can take it. Besides, you'll never see me cry anyway! ;))

Rabe....

P.S. I wouldn't worry so much about having a 'market' for what you write, I would worry more about writing it the best you can and being happy with the story. If you do, then you've already pleased your #1 fan.

Diana Hignutt
09-22-2005, 01:30 PM
Sorry, I've been busy! My thanks to those who offered good suggestions to Anabella.

I love Anne Rice, and I loved The Witching Hour, but... her witches aren't based on any real knowledge of witchcraft. She just made stuff up. Don't skip 500 pages though, it's really good stuff story-wise, IMO.

there's good little book by Mary Steward whose name I just can't remember...crap.

I like the excerpt, Rabe...thank you for sharing...

anabellatrix
09-22-2005, 03:49 PM
You know I think I like you already!!!! lol !!!!
Thanks for sharing you have an excellent descriptive way of writing and I like it. Of course, without knowing more about the characters I would be very rude to make any negative comments - not that I have any to make - so I will follow your links and read more before telling you what I think. So far I'm intrigued to know why he seems so tortured and despairing of life so you have already managed to hook me!! I'll reply again when I've read more. And thanks for your very supportive comments it is nice to have some advice from other writers. Thanks!!

Rabe
09-23-2005, 02:29 AM
Sorry, I've been busy! My thanks to those who offered good suggestions to Anabella.

I love Anne Rice, and I loved The Witching Hour, but... her witches aren't based on any real knowledge of witchcraft. She just made stuff up. Don't skip 500 pages though, it's really good stuff story-wise, IMO.

Respectfully, I disagree. Those five hundred pages are nothing but retelling and rehashing of the family history from several other viewpoints. While maybe fascinating, still, ultimately, the same old thing over and over and over again. It'd be a much stronger book if you took the *little* nuggets hiding in all that slop and put them where they can really shine. Namely, somewhere other than buried in five hundred pages of nothing.

(and I may exaggerate - slightly - about the actual number of pages...but that's what it feels like)



I like the excerpt, Rabe...thank you for sharing...

thank you.

And to Anabellatrix as well.

Rabe...

Diana Hignutt
09-24-2005, 02:28 PM
Fisrt off, I'm pretty sure the Mary Stewart book I was thinking of was Thornyhold, but she has a couple of books that deal with modern witches (not to mention her wonderful Arthurian/Merlin series).

Okay, back to our little discussion on the Qabalah, if anyone is still interested.

The sphere of Kether, of the essential unity of the universe, encompasses the entire Tree of Life. At this point I should mention that in the western occult tradition the Tree of Life can be looked at as a mystical filing cabinet where every concept has a place. Every diety from any pantheon, every color, every concept, everything has a place on the Tree of Life. Each sephira has a large selection of mystical and magickal attributions. Each has a holy name of god, a ruling archangel, a set of colors, a planetary relationship, a numerological attribution. I think for our purposes it is enough to know this.

The Egyptian concept of the birth of Harpocrates (Haar-ru-poor-kraat) gives a great myth to view Kether. At first there is nothing. All encompasing darkness over dark water. A lotus flower unfurls like the sun at the first dawn. Sitting in the center of the lotus flower sits the infant god of silence, his finger over his mouth.

Next time...the second sephira, Chokmah, duality, movement.

Diana Hignutt
09-25-2005, 03:01 PM
Perhaps, I should have noted that Kether stands atop not only the Tree of Life, but also the Middle Pillar of the tree. Just below Kether and to its lower right (looking at the Tree) stands Chokmah, the second sephira and the top of the Pillar of Mercy. Chokmah emerges from Kether, just as Kether emerges from Ain, or the initial Nothingness. This force of continued evolution of the universe that we looked at as a natural function of set theory can also be viewed as the work of consciousness, certainly divine consciousness at this point. Just as in Buddhism, once the unity becomes aware of itself, the separation of subject and object creates duality. You might need to look back over our first discussion of the emergence of Kether if this isn't clear.

Mathematically, Chokmah is two points, where Kether was one. Two points makes a line, which suggest motion. Hence in Chokmah we have the swirling force of creation. The concept is of the highest aspect of male creative energy, of pontency. The color is grey. Gods that correspond to Chokmah include: The Egyptian gods Ptah, Khem, and the highest aspect of Thoth (as he who spoke the word of creation, other gods include Uranus, Zeus (as father of the gods), and Odin.

Diana Hignutt
09-30-2005, 01:37 PM
Binah sits to the lower left of Kether (looking at the tree) atop the Pillar of Severity. It completes the triangle of Supernals (along with Kether and Chokmah). Three points make a plane in mathematics and this gives us the basic concept of Binah. It represents the highest concept of femininity, of the ultimate womb of manifestation. The astrological attribution is that of the planet Saturn, ruler of time and space. The color is black.

The Three Supernals represent the highest ideals in their most spiritualized forms. We can speak of approximations of these concepts, but they are beyond human understanding without mystical experience. The way to truly grasp the nature of these forces is mystical experience. The Supernals are separated from the rest of the Tree of Life by an Abyss called Daath. They cannot be perceived by reason alone.

Diana Hignutt
10-02-2005, 03:03 PM
Below Chokmah on the Pillar of Mercy is Chesed. Chesed represents the building force of the universe. The modern concept of Synergy perfectly captures the essence of Chesed. It is the organizing principle. It is the divine presence behind random numbers, luck, if you will. The color is blue and the astrological attribution is the planet Jupiter.

Below Binah on the Pillar of Severity, and even with Chesed, is Geburah. Geburah represents the tearing down force of the universe. The modern concept of Entropy perfectly captures the essence of Geburah. It is the breaking down principle. Before you dismiss this as an evil sephira, remember that old forces and structures must be removed so that new things can be built in place. Therefore, Chesed and Geburah work together. Geburah is not the home of evil, we will come to that place soon enough, but it is important to make the distinction. The color of Geburah is red and the astrological attribution is the planet Mars.

Next time, we'll address the synthesis and balance of both of these forces in the sixth sephiroth.

Diana Hignutt
10-06-2005, 01:21 PM
Below both Chesed and Geburah, but on the Middle Pillar, stands Tiphereth, which means "harmony." Tiphereth balances the energy of all the sephira. It is where the highest aspect of human consciousness meets the divine. It reflects the light of Kether down to the lower planes. The astrological attribution is the Sun. Gods attributable to Tiphereth include: Osiris, Adonis, Apollo, Bacchus, Baldur, etc. The color is yellow (or gold).

AnnaWhite
10-07-2005, 01:04 AM
I read all the Carlos Castaneda books about 20 years ago, and reading your posts here is making me want to read them again!

One thing I remember is the mischievous and baffling nature of the Yaqui teachings... unless I dreamt it of course.

HConn
10-07-2005, 01:09 PM
Weren't Castaneda's books revealed to be fiction?

I thought it was pretty much settled that he made Don Juan up, that the ethnography was faulty and the events described in his books contradictory.

Diana Hignutt
10-07-2005, 01:20 PM
Anna White, I'm glad I've reminded you of Castaneda's wonderful books. No, you do remember correctly, you didn't dream it.

HConn, I read a book a few years ago that made the same argument that you present here. I don't think the issue is completely settled. In any case, whether there really was a Don Jaun is largely irrelevant, Castaneda's books do contain vast amounts of well researched material, much of which can be verified. If he made stuff up, he did a good enough job on his research that I beleive we still have enough quality info on Yaqui mystical systems in his books as a result.

sassandgroove
10-07-2005, 11:12 PM
Hi Diana, THanks for all the great info. I am printing it out and I think it will really help me with my novel. I have the basic story, but this will help me fill in some details and make the magic and religions believable.

HConn
10-08-2005, 04:11 AM
In any case, whether there really was a Don Jaun is largely irrelevant, Castaneda's books do contain vast amounts of well researched material, much of which can be verified. If he made stuff up, he did a good enough job on his research that I beleive we still have enough quality info on Yaqui mystical systems in his books as a result.

Actually, it's my understanding that the teachings of Don Juan Matus bear little resemblence to actual Yaqui beliefs. That's one of the major indicators that the books are fiction.

It's not all that important for the purposes of fiction writers, of course, as long as you don't hang a Yaqui label on Castaneda-inspired magic systems.

In the spirit of helpfulness, here's a useful link:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm

fallenangelwriter
10-08-2005, 05:58 AM
Thanks for the Sephirot, Diana- i'd been wondeirng about cabbala for a while.keep it coming!

Diana Hignutt
10-08-2005, 02:29 PM
Netzach lies below Tiphereth but on the Pillar of Mercy, and Hod lies below Tiphereth (and even with Netzach) but on the Pillar of Severity. In Netzach, we have the sphere of force and in Hod, form. Netzach is the seat of victory, of passion, of gravity, or love. The planet is Venus, the color green, the gods include: Aphrodite, Hathor, Freya, etc. The elemental attribution (the lowest four sephira have elemental energies as well) is fire.

Hod is the house of the intellect, or reason. The planet is Mercury, the color orange, the gods include: Thoth, Hermes, Loki, etc. The elemental attribution is water.

Next time, we'll see how Netzach and Hod work with the next sephiroth... Yesod.

Diana Hignutt
10-08-2005, 10:46 PM
Yesod is located below Netzach and Hod, but on the Middle Pillar. If Netzach represents force, Hod is form, then Yesod is substance. It is the astral. Yesod receives the energies of all the spheres and reflects them down to earth (Malkuth). The planet is the Moon, the color is purple, gods include Artemis and Diana, the element is air. It is the sphere of transformation, of life.

Malkuth is the last sphere. It lies below Yesod on the Middle Pillar. It represents the physical world, the world of creation, the universe of manifestation. It receives the energies of all the spheres. The planet is Earth, the colors black, olive, brown and rust, the element is earth.

Next time...more to it than just the Sephiroth...

Diana Hignutt
10-11-2005, 01:28 PM
I've been thinking for a few days how best to tackle the next major portion of the Qabbalah, and I haven't really decided yet.

So, today, I'll give you the very basics of the Paths and throw some references at you while I decide how much detail to go into.

The Paths connect the Sephira to each other. There are twenty-two paths and each is named after a Hebrew letter and possesses a unique numeric value and various other attributions. For example the first path, Aleph connects Kether to Chokmah. The numeric value is one, the Tarot card is Trump 0, The Fool.

The best and most accessible books on the Qabbalah (in my own humble opinion) are:

Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabbalah
Israel Regardie's A Garden of Pomegranates
Aleister Crowley's 777
Aleister Crowley's Eight Lectures of Yoga

Now, I've got to figure out what you really need to know about this...

Thread Disclaimer: The information in this thread is provided soley for the use of writers and is not intented for any other purpose.

Diana Hignutt
10-13-2005, 01:49 PM
Okay, I've figured out how I'm going to do the paths. Today's my birthday and I'm going camping over the weekend in New Jersey's mysterious Pine Barrens (home of the Jersey Devil), but next week I will post a table with each Path (Hebrew letter), it's English Equivalent, it's numeric value (for gematria), it's Tarot card, and the spheres it connects. I think this could be of potential value for a variety of reasons...

Diana Hignutt
10-23-2005, 04:09 PM
Aleph - English letter = A. Meaning = Ox. Numeric value = 1. Tarot Card = The Fool (0). Joins Kether to Chokmah. Astrological = Air.

Beth - English letter = B, V. Meaning = House. Numeric vale = 2. Tarot Card = The Magician (1). Joins Kether to Binah. Astrological = Mercury.

Gimel - English letter = G, J. Meaning = Camel. Numeric value = 3. Tarot Card = The High Priestess (2). Joins Kether to Tiphereth. Astrological = Moon.

Daleth - English Letter = D. Meaning = Door. Numerica value = 4. Tarot Card = The Empress (3). Joins Chokmah to Binah. Astrological = Venus.

He(h) - English Letter = H. Meaning = Window. Numeric value = 5. Tarot Card = The Emperor (4). Joins Chokmah to Tiphereth. Astrological = Aries.

Vau - English Letter = V, F, U. Meaning = Nail. Numeric Value = 6. Tarot Card = The Hierophant (5). Joins Chokmah to Chesed. Astrological = Taurus.

Zayin - English Letter = Z. Meaning = Sword. Numeric Value = 7. Tarot Card = The Lovers. Joins Binah to Tiphereth. Astrological = Gemini.

Cheth - English Letter = Ch. Meaning = Fence. Numeric Value = 8. Tarot Card = The Chariot. Joins Binah to Geburah. Astrological = Cancer.

Teth - English Letter = Th, T. Meaning = Serpent. Numeric Value = 9. Tarot Card = Strength. Joins Chesed to Geburah. Astrological = Leo.

Yod - English Letter = Y. Meaning = Hand. Numeric Value = 10. Tarot Card = The Hermit. Joins Chesed to Tiphereth. Astrological = Virgo.

Kaph - English letter = K, Ch. Meaning = Spoon. Numeric Value = 20 (500 at the end of a word or final value). Tarot Card = The Wheel of Fortune. Joins Chesed to Netzach. Astrological = Jupiter.

Lamed - English Letter = L. Meaning = Whip. Numeric Value = 30. Tarot Card = Justice. Joins Geburah to Tiphereth. Astrological = Libra.

Mem - English Letter = M. Meaning = Water. Numeric Value = 40 (600 final). Tarot Card = The Hanged Man. Joins Geburah to Hod. Astrological = Water.

Nun - English Letter = N. Meaning = Fish. Numeric Value = 50 (700 final). Tarot Card = Death. Joins Tiphereth to Netzach. Astrological = Scorpio.

Samech - English Letter = S. Meaning = Prop. Numeric Value = 60. Tarot Card = Temperance. Joins Tiphereth to Yesod. Astrological = Sagitarius.

Ayin - English Letter = O. Meaning = Eye. Numeric Value = 70. Tarot Card = The Devil. Joins Tiphereth to Hod. Astrological = Capricorn.

Pe - English Letter = P, F. Meaning = Mouth. Numeric Value = 80 (800 final). Tarot Card = The Tower. Joins Netzach to Hod. Astrological = Mars.

Tsaddi - English Letter = Ts. Meaning = Fish Hook. Numeric Value = 90 (900 final). Tarot Card = The Star. Joins Netzach to Yesod. Astrological = Aquarius.

Qoph - English Letter = Q. Meaning = Back of Head. Numeric Value = 100. Tarot Card = The Moon. Joins Netzach to Malkuth. Astrological = Pisces.

Resh - English Letter = R. Meaning = Head. Numeric Value = 200. Tarot Card = The Sun. Joins Hod to Yesod. Astrological = The Sun.

Shin - English Letter = Sh, S. Meaning = Tooth. Numeric Value = 300. Tarot Card = Judgement. Joins Hod to Malkuth. Astrological = Fire.

Tau - English Letter = T (soft). Meaning = Tau Cross. Numeric Value = 400. Tarot Card = The World. Joins Yesod to Malkuth. Astrological = Saturn, Earth.

Christine N.
10-24-2005, 12:18 AM
I adore you, Diana, but I just can't take Anne Rice. I've tried. Numerous times. But I get halfway through the book and I skip to the end to see how it all turns out. Really. Too much... book there to hold my interest. Too much backstory, too much description, too much something.

Sorry I missed your birthday!!

Diana Hignutt
10-24-2005, 01:09 PM
I adore you, Diana, but I just can't take Anne Rice. I've tried. Numerous times. But I get halfway through the book and I skip to the end to see how it all turns out. Really. Too much... book there to hold my interest. Too much backstory, too much description, too much something.

Sorry I missed your birthday!!

Christine, Hey, it's no big deal to me if you don't like Anne Rice. Really. I just love her prose. I eat it right up. And, she's always been very nice to me.

And, no big deal on the birthday thing, either.

diana

Diana Hignutt
10-25-2005, 01:37 PM
Gematria is the practice of Qabalahistic numerology. It is the study of the inner, mystical meaning of words. If you will briefly refer back to the table of the Paths of the Tree of Life (above) you will find the numeric value of each Hebrew letter and their English equivalent. By adding the numeric value of each letter in a word or phrase you can find the essential Qabalahistic value.

Just for fun:

AW

A = Aleph = 1
W = Vau (trust me) = 6
1 + 6 = 7

So, we find that our standard abbreviation for our favorite web forum reduces through Gematria to seven, the number of Netzach, (love, gravity, friendship, etc.)

Gematria is used to discover the essential nature of words, and in the practice of magick, the essential magickal nature of words. When combined with the forces represented by, and the spheres joined by, the paths, the Qabalahist uses gematria to discover magickal formula for any purpose. That, and it's fun to reduce all your friends and family names to their numeric values.

Diana Hignutt
10-26-2005, 01:38 PM
Okay, you've got the Sephiroth, you've got the paths. That's the basics of the Tree of Life and the Qabalah. Now, it's time to tell you that there are actually four of everything. According to the teachings of the Qabalah, everything exists in four different worlds:

Atziluth - The World of Archetypes (Spiritual)
Briah - The World of Creation (Mental)
Yetzirah - The World of Formation (Astral)
Assiah - The World of Action (Physical)

Next time, we'll end our introductory series on the Qabalah with the place of evil...

sassandgroove
10-27-2005, 12:13 AM
Diana, thanks again for posting this thread, you are opening my eyes to things I never knew I wanted to know!

I am writing a story that deals with traveling between worlds via a portal. Rather than being like Stargate, with the science, I wanted it to have more of a magical feel. I have the first draft written, but I am now aware of how much it is lacking, especially in the world building, (esp the relgion), and in how the portals work. I have been referring to the portals in my notes as The Web of the Worlds, and using a lot of weaving and fabric references. The women weave to get into a meditative state, then weave a path between the worlds, the weaver serves as an anchor for the travelor, so the path remains and they can come back home. This is all part of their religion. (Which I still need to fill out how all that works, too.)

My question to you is this. I was reading about the Tree of Life glyph in your lessons, and I really like that idea. It is a universal image/idea. I was thinking about using that idea for the portals: That travel between worlds, you follow a branch, but you have to know which way to go, so you don't go to the tip and reach nothingness, but instead go to the trunk and then find the new branch to the new world.

Do you think this sounds like a viable idea that would sound believable in my novel? I will keep reading on this, thanks again.

Silverhand
10-27-2005, 12:39 AM
This is a very interesting post series.


After reading it, I have found out that I inadvertantly based my magical system on what is being described.

My world works like this:

Wizards are miracle workers of sorts.

The gods create random probabilities....the God of Fate choses which one of these branching probabilities is 'real'.

Now, anything that Wizards do, is simply manipulating the countless probbilities in the unknown universe.

However, in my world there are drawbacks to using magic. #1 - The gods dont really like mortals messing with things. #2 - Becuase of #1, the gods suck the life force out of the Wizard upon completion of the more powerful miracles.

Anyways, not to hijack the thread, it was just REALLY interesting that I was using something that closely resembled my own way of doing things.

Diana Hignutt
10-27-2005, 01:27 PM
Sassandgroove, Yes, I really love your idea. It sounds very well grounded in historical mysticism. I just love the weaving. As a repetitive, focusing aid to reach the meditative state, and it ties in so well with the Tree of Life. I think it would work very well in the way you are suggesting. Bravo.

Silverhand, I like your idea very much, as well. I am reminded (slightly) of The Scarlet Witch from marvel Comics' The Avengers (whose mutant ability was to manipulate probability). She was the daughter of Magneto and sister to Quicksilver, if I recall. As to the gods not liking people mucking about with their universe and sucking the energy out of your wizards, there are traditions that suggest this is the case. It is suggested in a book I read years ago that many members of the Golden Dawn (which we will eventually get to in this thread) developed asthma or similar health problems as a result of their own mystical workings. The greatest wizard (if you will) from the G.D., one Allan Bennett, was so debilitated from his occult workings that his declining health forced him to leave Britain for more hospitable climes. He gave up magick and took up Buddhism and his health recovered completely. Aleister Crowley developed asthma as well. Of course, on the other hand, they did live in the most industrially developed and polluted nation of their day. But yes, to manipulate reality takes energy...lots of energy.

Thanks for the positive feedback for the thread. It is my pleasure, really.

SeanDSchaffer
10-27-2005, 07:22 PM
I was wondering about the spelling of the word 'Magick'. I've seen it spelled that way before, but was curious if there was a major difference between the definition of 'Magic' and 'Magick'. I cannot find 'Magick' in my dictionary, and thus it's a curiosity of mine that I cannot otherwise figure out. Some might say it's a misspelling, but I've seen at least one magician use that spelling when writing about it. As I write Fantasy, I think if such differences in definition exist, they could be very relevant to the telling of my stories.

I really appreciate any information you might be able to give. Thank you kindly, in advance.


:Sun:

Kasey Mackenzie
10-27-2005, 07:56 PM
Er...if you go back and read the first page of the thread your question is addressed. It's towards the middle or bottom half of that page.

SeanDSchaffer
10-28-2005, 04:13 AM
I noticed only a bunch of arguments given as to whether or not Magick is even a word, and whether or not to use it in a story. I did not, however, see on the first page an answer to the question I posed.

My question, paraphrased, is "What is the difference between Magic and Magick?" I've seen people refer to both as though they had separate meanings. All I'm asking is, what are those separate meanings?

It was a simple question, nothing more; and was in no way meant to seem as though I were rehashing old subjects. I simply did not see an answer to my question on the first page of this thread.

Kasey Mackenzie
10-28-2005, 07:23 AM
I wasn't annoyed with you or anything, but there are a couple posts that mention spelling magic with a c as opposed to ck. Diana herself had this to say:


Wow, I guess some people just don't like the letter "k" where they aren't accustomed to it... I would recommend that people who don't like "k's" in their magic avoid my books. The letter "k" was introduced into the spelling of magick at the turn of the century (19th to 2oth) by many occultists to distinguish it from the tricks of conjurers and for Qabalahistic reasons (which we'll get to later). I like the spelling, even in my fiction, to let the reader know that when I write about magick, it's mysterious, authentic, and ancient. I use a few archaic spellings in my fantasy novels to set mood and imply different ways of looking at the words. Faerie is another spelling that annoys some, that I like. I hope my use of the spelling "magick" is not so troublesome to keep you from reading.


What I interpret this to mean is that many occultists use magick spelled with a ck to differentiate it from conjurer's tricks i.e. Houdini and David Copperfield type magic. Of course, some people feel that spelling it with the ck is an attempt to be pretentious, which is where part of the debate arises I assume.

If this doesn't answer your question what the difference between the two is, I'll leave that to Diana as she certainly knows much more than I do and it's possible I'm not interpreting her description of the difference correctly. =)

SeanDSchaffer
10-28-2005, 09:59 AM
I wasn't annoyed with you or anything, but there are a couple posts that mention spelling magic with a c as opposed to ck. Diana herself had this to say:



What I interpret this to mean is that many occultists use magick spelled with a ck to differentiate it from conjurer's tricks i.e. Houdini and David Copperfield type magic. Of course, some people feel that spelling it with the ck is an attempt to be pretentious, which is where part of the debate arises I assume.

If this doesn't answer your question what the difference between the two is, I'll leave that to Diana as she certainly knows much more than I do and it's possible I'm not interpreting her description of the difference correctly. =)


....If I seemed irate in my previous post. I must admit, I haven't been myself lately.

Thank you kindly for pointing out what Diana had to say. I'm sorry to say I hadn't read that post very thorough. When I saw a bunch of posts dealing with the idea that 'magick' was somehow a bad spelling, well, I basically shut that part out. I did read a few places but because I was rather annoyed by what looked like an argument, I didn't read the whole first page.

So basically, then, if I understand correctly, 'magic' is the stuff you see in shows: people being sawed in half and things of that nature. But 'magick' is, on the other hand, more on the realm of what many call sorcery or possibly witchcraft (Not 'Bewitched' style.)

I think I get it. Thanks again for helping me out with this. And again, I offer my humblest apologies if I overreacted in my previous post.


:)

Diana Hignutt
10-28-2005, 01:52 PM
It's okay, Sean. And my thanks to Kasey. At this point, we've learned enough about the Qabalah to get a tad further into understanding the reasoning behind the "k" at the end of magick. Based on the Tree of Life, we know that the numbers 1 through 10 represent the created universe. Therefore, to some, like Crowley, the number 11 represents that which is beyond the created universe, or the place of magick. Remembering from our earlier discussion that magick requires a separate dimension beyond the physical world, we can see the number 11 holds a special meaning. And don't forget that Kaph (the letter K to us) is the 11th letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Remember that in the Qabalah, letters and their numeric meaning are all important to understand the essential nature of words.

Well, I'll leave you to decide if using the "k" in a work of fiction is pretentious or not. You've read my reasons for using it. It is not widely used in fiction, and some editors almost certainly won't like it, though my books have been reviewed by some industry biggies, who had no problem with my use of the "k" spelling at all.

As in all things in life...you must make your own decision.

Now, the number 11 has a darker meaning too, but I'll give that its own post...

Diana Hignutt
10-28-2005, 02:05 PM
Every thing in the universe has its lighter side and its darker side. You may have noticed that there really is no place on the Tree of Life for Evil. This certainly does not mean that evil does not exist in the Qabalah. When the universe was created, energies that had a purpose in its design and formulation, but no room in its manifestation, fell to the wayside. Below Malkuth lies the Qliphoth. Once humanity arose in creation their lofty thoughts and ideals rose up (and they still rise) into the Tree, rising as high as Tiphereth. However, the base thoughts, the unkind thoughts, the dark and evil thoughts fall from the Tree and enter the sphere of the shells of thought, of demons, and fuel and inhabit those cast aside energies left over from creation. Thus is evil attributed in the Qabalah. Since they are not on the Tree of Life, some also attribute the number 11 to the forces of evil. Hence, the very danger of magick, that the forces of chaos and evil may be drawn to the practicing magician (more on this latter). In my novel, Moonsword, my villain, the Demon, is described in this same way.

It is said to be unlucky to talk about the Qliphoth. so we'll leave it there...

Kasey Mackenzie
10-28-2005, 08:42 PM
Just to clarify cause I don't want anyone to misunderstand...I wasn't saying _I_ found it pretentious, just that it seems some people do. I have no problems with spelling it either way and can understand why some people choose to spell it with the ck. =)

And no worries, Sean. I just didn't want you to think I was berating you or anything. Maybe it was the fact I included the "er" in there, but that was more me trying to jog my own memory.

mdmkay
10-28-2005, 09:02 PM
I normally don't post when I haven't had time to read the whole thread completely but I'm sort of time right now and do have a question so if it has been answered earlier just ignore this and I'll come back to read everything when I have more time. I'm interested in the herbs, "drugs", or chemistry that certain "cults" use in the bonfires that cause or have an effect on the whole group not just certain individuals (if that makes any sense at all.)...i.e. calming, hallucinogenic,...etc type properties. I'm asking what type of herbs or chemicals... etc did they use?

Diana Hignutt
10-29-2005, 02:20 PM
I normally don't post when I haven't had time to read the whole thread completely but I'm sort of time right now and do have a question so if it has been answered earlier just ignore this and I'll come back to read everything when I have more time. I'm interested in the herbs, "drugs", or chemistry that certain "cults" use in the bonfires that cause or have an effect on the whole group not just certain individuals (if that makes any sense at all.)...i.e. calming, hallucinogenic,...etc type properties. I'm asking what type of herbs or chemicals... etc did they use?

I suspect that cults/groups would use the same sorts of drugs/herbs that individual practioners would have used. This obviously depends on the geographic area if we are dealing with a cult in the past, but thanks to the good old black market, less so nowadays.

I do use a fair amount of hallucinogenic herbs in my fiction as many of my magick-using characters are druids. Although not a lot is truly known about druidry, it stands to reason that a nature-centered religion would utilize natural means to alter the mind (and jar the second attention-much like the Yaqui did-see page one of this thread for a little more on this). Also, European witches (many of whose traditions derive from those of the druids) used a "Flying potion" composed of some hallucinogenic herbs (they didn't actually fly--it just felt like they did to them).

Here is a list of some natural hallucinogenic herbs that I know about that have been utilized for this purpose (if not burned in a fire then passed out among the participants).

Mushrooms: Some species of mushrooms contain a powerful hallucinogen--which can cause a "LSD"-like effect. but for a shorter period of time (usually).

Peyote: Contains mescaline (may not be spelled right). Generally more intense effects than mushrooms.

Marijuana: Effects generally much more mild, usually no visual hallucinations.

Hashish: Essentially a more processed and more potent form of marijuana.

Aconite: (Wolf's bane) This herb can be poisenous in the wrong hands, but was the presumed active ingredient in the witches' flying smoke.

Obviously modern cults could use modern drugs like LSD or ecstasy, or who knows what.

Some good books that deal with the ritual drug use:

Doreen Valentine's ABC's of Witchcraft
Israel Regardie's Roll Away the Stone
Carlos Castenada's The Teachings of Don Jaun
(sort of) Kensley's The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test
Aleister Crowley's novel The Dairy of a Drug Fiend
My own novels

I'm sure there are many other, better books, but these I have read and can recommend.

I hope that helps.

Thread Disclaimer: The information in this thread is intended for the use of writers only, and in no way endorses the use of drugs or occult practices.

Diana Hignutt
10-29-2005, 02:26 PM
I beg your forgiveness, kind readers of this thread. It has been a very long time indeed, since I have practiced any sort of Gematria, and I forgot something. Some Hebrew letters have a different glyph and numeric value if they appear at the end of a word. For example, if the letter Kaph appears at the end of a word, its numeric value is 500, not 20. I am editing the table on page two, to include this information. Also, some of the numeric values I just plain screwed up. That's the downside of doing this at five in the morning most days. Sorry 'bout that. The corrections have been made and the table is correct now.

mdmkay
10-29-2005, 06:18 PM
Thank you so much Diana. This was info I could really use if you know what I mean. I'm trying to say I've been trying to figure out nature based herbs and drugs that could be distributed by smoke and fire throughout a group (don't worry have no plans to do any "real" life research on it. More than happy to just take your word for it). I imagine that indulging in alcohol and other such "spirits" would also intensify the expeience and that could also be at the root of the brainwashing among other things (man, I'm scaring myself here). This is for modern day I'm afraid and some of these practitionors can be ruthless (and nuts) but I'm still considering doing this story if I don't end up scaring the pants off myself or making myself a target for some really scary folks.

SeanDSchaffer
10-30-2005, 12:18 AM
Thank you all for the good information. I have to admit, this is an interesting subject.

Now, I have another question, if I may.

In many Fantasy stories, I see widespread use of Sorcerers and Wizards as characters. The question I have is, does the average use of a 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' in Fantasy measure up to reality? Also, do the sorcerers themselves measure up to the reality of Magick?

A good example of what I am talking about is the issue with a lot of people about Harry Potter. Some say it is filled with real Magick. I honestly don't know what to think about that, as I know next to nothing about the subject.

That is why I ask this question. I hear these things from people all the time, but I am curious to hear it from someone who knows what they're talking about.

I appreciate any answers you might give. Thanks.

Diana Hignutt
10-30-2005, 05:21 PM
In many Fantasy stories, I see widespread use of Sorcerers and Wizards as characters. The question I have is, does the average use of a 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' in Fantasy measure up to reality? Also, do the sorcerers themselves measure up to the reality of Magick?

A good example of what I am talking about is the issue with a lot of people about Harry Potter. Some say it is filled with real Magick. I honestly don't know what to think about that, as I know next to nothing about the subject.

That is why I ask this question. I hear these things from people all the time, but I am curious to hear it from someone who knows what they're talking about.


Sean, Great question, though likely to earn me some enemies here. Well, the best way to answer this question, in my opinion, is to continue to provide information about real Sorcerers and Wizards, and let those who are avid (or casual) Harry Potter readers make their up their own minds on this. In part, this is because I've only read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and seen the movie adaptations up to The Prisoner of Azkaban. Based on that, I would say that Rowling didn't do too much research on historical magick systems.

I would point out that Harry Potter seems VERY similar to the character Tim Hunter from DC Comic's Vertigo line. I young lad, presumbably in foster care, dark hair and glasses, who discovers that he is a powerful sorcerer with an important destiny. Could be a coincidence, though.

Well, lets look at a few Harry Potterisms just for fun.

IT'S IN THE BLOOD.

Harry and his friends come by their magical powers (no "K" for them) in two ways. A) They must have wizard blood or else they are merely muggles. And B) They have to go to wizard school (ala Hogworts) to make use of their genetically inherited powers.

Okay, let's look at this. The fact the magic powers are genetically passed on is commonly used in fiction. However, the historical tradition of magick is open to anyone with the will, and the opportunity. Everyone, by virtue of being human, has the built in ability to exceed the restrictions of reality by use of will. Being a "muggle" if you will has much more to do with social and environmental circumstances. The inability to believe in magick is what prevents people from the ability to work magick.

WIZARD SCHOOL.

Wizard School. Harry's Hogworts is clearly more based on the British tradition of boarding school than it's nearest historical counterpart--The Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn and its predecessors. Magickal forces are not for children. They are dangerously powerful psychological forces. Historically the teaching of magick is done in one of three ways. 1) The Secret (and or Religious) Society - The Rosicrucians, and their descendants. Perhaps this early mystical society is derived from the Templars or even the druids. 2) The Solitary Practioner. This one was usually rich enough to afford books. This person taught themselves the mystical arts. 3) The Apprentice. Almost every craft or trade was passed on by means of the master-apprentice relationship. In occult workings, there was usually only one apprentice per master (how, Sithy if you think about it). Okay, you decide which of those sounds the most like Hogworts. None, really? Well, you said it, not me.

MAGIC POTIONS AND WANDS.

The magic I have seen demonstrated in Harry Potter doesn't seem related very directly to magick in the way I understand it. Historically, no one takes a potion and turns instantly into the likeness of someone else. No waving of the magick wand and saying the right magick word would make someone spit out slugs or whatever. To understand the way magick works in the world is to see the Rowling presentation as very simple, childlike, and unrealistic. There is so much more you need to understand before this will be obvious to you. We'll occasionally tackle this question more fully down the road, but first, there is more you need to learn. I would rate the Harry Potter mythos a D+ in accuracy of magickal system. You will see why over time.

TeddyG
10-30-2005, 07:44 PM
I beg your forgiveness, kind readers of this thread. It has been a very long time indeed, since I have practiced any sort of Gematria, and I forgot something. Some Hebrew letters have a different glyph and numeric value if they appear at the end of a word. For example, if the letter Kaph appears at the end of a word, its numeric value is 500, not 20. I am editing the table on page two, to include this information. Also, some of the numeric values I just plain screwed up. That's the downside of doing this at five in the morning most days. Sorry 'bout that. The corrections have been made and the table is correct now.

Diana:

All the below applies ONLY to the Jewish concept of kaballah, and since I have no clue where you are getting your information from, I have to make that point clear.

I have been lurking in this thread for awhile listening to your thoughts and explainations of Kabballah and the ten sefirot. Some of what you posted I assume is what is in the popular literature these days about Kaballah and its inner machinations. However, the letter "kaf", meaning 500 in gematria, is something that is mistaken. The Hebrew letters reach Taf the last of the letters, whose numerical amount is 400. There is no "special" numerical amount in gematria for the end letters such as kaf sofit, mem sofit or nun sofit. I have no clue where you took that from unless it is an addition on to the Hebrew letter numerology from an outside source. It certainly is NOT used within any type of gematria in Jewish legend or lore.

Until this very day numerology on letters .. e.g. gematria, is looked at by many. Indeed, one commentator on the OT, filled his commentary with gematria. The more "logical" commentators such as Maimonides steered clear of it.

Now as to the Sefirot. Well, just a little.

The Zohar, which is the original source of the Kaballah, and thus the sefirot, which are used during the Counting of the Omer which takes place between Passover and Pentacost (Shavuot) a period of 50 days, was a compedium which is highly argued as to its original source. Again, I know of no legend that says Moses recieved the Kaballah at Mount Sinai. You may be referring to the traditional belief that Moses recieved the Oral Torah at Mount Sinai, which is NOT the kaballah. (I could be mistaken but I would love to see the source of this Midrash.)

Indeed, there is also an injuction as you must know, from the Mishnah, and repeated by Maimonidies, that one does not study Kaballah until the age of 40 which is considered the age of Wisdom.

Kaballah itself is divided in Judaism into two parts. One is the Maaseh Bereshit - the Acts of Creation and the other is Maaseh Merkaveh - that Acts of the Chariot (that which deals with God himself).

As to the Zohar. Tradition states that when Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was in the cave hiding from the Romans, the angels came and taught him the kaballah, the secrets of the creation and the universe. He wrote this down in the Zohar. However, historians have traced it back to Rabbi Moses De Leon who lived in the Middle Ages, and claimed to have found the Zohar. In either case, the Zohar is considered the root of mystery in Judaism.

Just one small caveat. The Talmud tells us the famous story, of the Four Sages that entered the "Pardes" (which means Orchid) and here refers to the study of the mysteries of creation. (It also is an anagram in Hebrew as well). And it tells us that only one went in with peace and came out with peace.

The sefirot are a very intricate part of the Kaballistic system, and cannot be divorced from the description not only of the duality of good and evil but from "Zimzum" which basically means "implosion".

The Kaballah faced a serious problem in defiing creation. In very very simple terms the question was if everything is the place of God than how did God make room for creation? Thus the Kaballah came up with zimzum, an implosion if you will, where the Universe rested within this space. To divorce an explaination of sefirot from zimzum is only presenting one small facet of the diamond. For the sefirot only came into being as a result of zimzum, and only exist as a way to understand our reality vis-a-vis the reality of the Ain-Sof which is "that which has no end nor beginning".

This is getting complicated, and I did not mean to type so much and I beg your forgiveness. However, I just thought some points did need clarification or more muddling as it were.

a great deal more to say but I have to start getting ready for a Bar-Mitzvah (but of course I will continue to lurk at this interesting thread)

Teddy

SeanDSchaffer
10-30-2005, 08:38 PM
I kind of figured as much. I didn't think that the Harry Potter issue was an accurate explanation of Magick, but I've only heard spiels about it from preachers and theologians, not from people who truly knew what they were talking about.

I love your last post, which is probably the most calm-toned explanation of this subject I've ever read. It's such a shame to hear people crying out about it as though a fantasy book for children were more than a fantasy book for children. Being a Christian, I find myself embarrassed to tears by people preaching against things they know very little--if anything--about.

A good example of this is a friend of mine who, when I tell him I'm writing Fantasy, tells me that fantasizing can lead to bad thoughts. I try to explain to him that Fantasy is a sub-genre of F/SF, but he cannot comprehend it. I respect the man highly, but the fact he does not understand what Fantasy writing is, makes it difficult to have an intelligent discussion about my work with him. It's a shame, really.

Anyway, thanks again, Diana, for your answer. I had been wondering about this for the longest of times.


:)

TeddyG
10-30-2005, 09:02 PM
Diana:

One other small point by the way.
The word Kaballah in Hebrew means "receive" or "to receive" in this case from the root "kabel"

Now as to your spelling "Qabalah"

Transliteration rules from Hebrew to English work like this:

If the "Kuf" is in the beginning of the word or in the middle it is transliterated into a "K", if it is at the end of the word it is transliterated into a "q". However, even the "q" at the end is often substitued for the "k".

For instance the equivalent of AT&T in Israel is Bezeq. "q" at the end and not
"Bezek". Though there are companies called Bazak, (k at the end, which is actually accepted.)

Thus since the KUF is at the the beginning of the word, it is Kaballah and not spelled "Qabalah" but "Kaballah" or with one "l" Kabalah.

Actually the Q in English would give it a different type of sound then the word is pronounced.

Thought I would bring that to your attention, as these are specific rules used everyday in transliteration of words from Hebrew to English.

Teddy

Diana Hignutt
10-31-2005, 02:07 PM
Teddy, As I mentioned in my opening remarks about the Qabalah, the version that I have rendered (very roughly) here is not that of the Jewish tradition. It is the version that was first presented to the Western Occult readership via members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It is very much a Westernized, bastardized version. There are claims that it is derived from the Rosicrucian teachings or that it is closer to the "Egyptian" version that Moses learned in Egypt (by another story). It is, however, what I was taught. It is the version that is taught in occult circles. Thank you for pointing out the differences between the traditional Jewish version and the version presented in the "Western Occult Tradition." The books that I referenced previously on the subject will demonstrate the validity of my sources. There are scores more, which contain this version of the Qabalah, that I have read. I am therefore sticking to my guns on this one.

Diana Hignutt
10-31-2005, 02:25 PM
Oh, just a note about Harry Potter, first. I do want to be clear that just because the magic in the books isn't consistent with historical magick, in no way means that those books are not completely worthwhile as fantasy fiction. There is no reason to make YA fantasy authentic. I'm not a big fan of Rowling, but that doesn't mean anything.

Much of the modern magickal tradition (and historical) owes a large debt to our pagan ancestors and their traditions. The ancients celebrated eight main holidays: the solstices, the equinoxes, and the cross quarter days. The cross quarter days are days of power that fall in between the solar holidays. The tides of power are strongest on these days, the doors between the worlds are said to be open. Imbolc (FEb. 2), Beltane (May 1), Lammas (Aug 2), Samhain (Nov. 1). The Kelts' holidays began on the eve of the day. Samhain (our Halloween, of course) was the Keltic New Year. The ancients held two seasons, summer and winter. Samhain was the line between the two (it means "summer's end"). At midnight on Samhain, it was the between time: neither summer nor winter, neither one day nor the next. It was the between time, when anything was possible.

On ancient hill sides, bonfires were lit to scare away evil spirits and fuel hopes for the new year.

TeddyG
10-31-2005, 02:38 PM
Teddy, As I mentioned in my opening remarks about the Qabalah, the version that I have rendered (very roughly) here is not that of the Jewish tradition. It is the version that was first presented to the Western Occult readership via members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It is very much a Westernized, bastardized version. There are claims that it is derived from the Rosicrucian teachings or that it is closer to the "Egyptian" version that Moses learned in Egypt (by another story). It is, however, what I was taught. It is the version that is taught in occult circles. Thank you for pointing out the differences between the traditional Jewish version and the version presented in the "Western Occult Tradition." The books that I referenced previously on the subject will demonstrate the validity of my sources. There are scores more, which contain this version of the Qabalah, that I have read. I am therefore sticking to my guns on this one.

Open Forums are open forums...and all are entitled to their opinons ideas and thoughts. Was not the point. There are though so many references to transliterated terminology from Hebrew in your posts, and you do speak of Gematria. Certain things are simply plain out and out taken from the original Hebrew sources.

Kabalah or Kabbalah or Kabalah is a Hebrew word. Whatever source you take it from. If you insist on using the Q then it is either due to what you say, that you are not talking about the real source of Kabalah, and thus are creating a different system or following a different system that was created, or you are simply applying whims of transliteration. That is fine by the way. However, one should know that you are NOT following any system of the original Kaballah.

However, what you have espoused in this thread in many places, the 10 sefirot, the AinSof, the Kelipot etc. etc., are all DIRECTLY derived from the Zohar. And this is the FIRST recorded instance of the mention of these "ideas" and "terms" that we know of in Human History. There is NO reference to the term Kelipot or Sefirot before the Zohar, unless you are dealing with some specific Talmudic dictums which hint to them, and then you are still within the same source of reference. That is simply a matter of scholarship. Thus I too am sticking to my guns.

Please just make it clear in your posts that you are NOT describing any intracacies of Kabalah but Qabalah (or however you choose to spell it.)

Additionally, it is quite easy to say that Moses learned something in Egypt. The source for that should also be presented. You use the Zohar for sources, so post where this Western Occult Tradition, knows that Moses recieved the system of mysticsm from the word of God? Since we are dealing with an incredibly ancient system of knowledge, sources, and not modern ones, would be warranted.

I just posted because I thought it was incredibly important to make it clear that the system you are describing, while derived from Kaballah, is by no means an explaination of the Kabalah, as is seriously implied within your posts.

I do not say you are wrong. I only say what you have described is a description of some terminology in Kaballah. Indeed, some of what you have posted almost begs for a rebuttal.

As to the numerology. Well then call it numerology. To tell the readers of this post that a Kaf-sofit is equivalent to 500 in gematria, where gematria is not only a Hebrew term, but a talmudic term, is bordering on fallacious.

Rather say, in Western Occult Numerology, the equivalent of 500 was given to the kaf-sofit. Certainly not in Gematria. 500 does NOT exist nor ever existed in Gematria.

Teddy

Diana Hignutt
10-31-2005, 02:54 PM
What I shall give the basics of here, as a benefit for writers who want to little authenticity in their fantasy, is the Qabalah as understood in the Western occult tradition, which is a bit different (especially spellingwise) from the Jewish tradition from which it derives.

Once again, from Page 1 of this thread. Please understand, Teddy, that I value your input here, and that I consider your posts extremely helpful. I am in no way devaluing what you are saying. However, I stated very clearly that what I am presenting is NOT the Jewish version, but a bastardized version of much later antiquity. Claims have been made about its ancient authenticity, but not my me. Still, I insist, that the version (which I call Qabalah as much to distinquish it from its source as for any other reason) is the valid understanding of the mystical science AS IT PERTAINS to the historical Western Occult Tradition. I am sorry if you are offended in any way. That is, most certainly, not my intent.

Luckily, our next concepts will deal with magick proper, and we can leave this debate for a little while...

TeddyG
10-31-2005, 02:57 PM
Diana:

Please do not confuse the term "Jewish" with the language of "Hebrew".
Whereas you may or may not be taking things from the Jewish sources,
you are still using transliterated Hebrew terminology.

Thus Jewish or not, the rules of transliteration as in all language must apply.
If you choose not to apply them, that is your decision. However, these terms are all Hebrew in nature, and thus the spelling would be dictated by rules of transliteration.

Teddy

TeddyG
10-31-2005, 03:22 PM
Once again, from Page 1 of this thread. Please understand, Teddy, that I value your input here, and that I consider your posts extremely helpful. I am in no way devaluing what you are saying. However, I stated very clearly that what I am presenting is NOT the Jewish version, but a bastardized version of much later antiquity. Claims have been made about its ancient authenticity, but not my me. Still, I insist, that the version (which I call Qabalah as much to distinquish it from its source as for any other reason) is the valid understanding of the mystical science AS IT PERTAINS to the historical Western Occult Tradition. I am sorry if you are offended in any way. That is, most certainly, not my intent.

Luckily, our next concepts will deal with magick proper, and we can leave this debate for a little while...

Diana:

I don't offend easily. And whatever you do - do NOT read this as my being offended or an attack or something you believe in. Perhaps when it comes to certain things, I get a bit "irked" ... but I do respect and was quite impressed with your knowledge. Actually very impressed, and that is not something I will often say to anyone.

I just wanted those who read this thread to understand that what you have espoused as Qabalah, is not say, the Kaballah that seems to be popular today amoung many groups. (Madonna etc.) and certainly does not come near the original Kabalah.

Addtionally, you did offer descriptions in seperate posts about the 10 Sefirot and their adoption within the Tarot system of cards. Again, it is important to note to the readers of this thread, over and over again, that what you have described, defined, explained is Western Occult tradition. Whatever that tradition is.

What does irk the old "yeshiva student" in me though, (I must admit) is the borrowing of these terms and ideas in their original and applying what you call the "bastardized version" to it. To me that is kind of trying to give legitmacy by resting upon an ancient system. Protestants are not Catholics. Reform Jews are not Orthodox Jews. Hasidim are not Misnagdim.

If the "real" terms are used than one should also present the original definition and then go on and explain how that changed and evolved through the years into the system that you adopted. To give lessons on the Ten Sefirot, hell then those are the Ten Sefirot.

"To talk about Kelipot is unlucky", (am not sure what you were referring to except the fact that Kelipot are "kernels" of the source of Good, which then cause evil) is directly derived from the Zohar.

(You see I did read what you posted!)

But much of this is NOT for a forum board in fantasy though it makes for great background to a fantasy.

So you stick to your guns, I will stick to mine, and we will agree to disagree. And you can discuss Magick with a "k" as much as you want!!!!!!!

Teddy

Diana Hignutt
11-01-2005, 02:08 PM
Just to be totally clear. The Mystical Qabalah of the Western Occult Tradition is absolutely derived from the Hebrew Kabalah. However, centuries of study by non-Hebrew scholars (Islamic, Christian, Pagan and Mystic) has resulted in a time honored tradition of value. Yes, since what survives today was passed down largely through secret societies (often with questionable pedigrees) and not put down in books until the Great Magickal Revival of the late Victorian period in Britain, genuine sources are hard to pin down.

That does, once again, in my opinion not devalue the system herein described.

Also, Teddy, I appreciate your compliments regarding my knowledge. My best to you.

Diana Hignutt
11-01-2005, 02:12 PM
The Powers of the Sphinx are fourfold and essential to all works of magick.

To Know
To Dare
To Will
To Keep Silent...

How they got their name? Beats the crap out of me. I've just always heard them called the powers of the Sphinx. Think about them a little.

Diana Hignutt
11-02-2005, 02:03 PM
To Know: The first step is knowing what to do in any magickal operation. This seems rather obvious.

To Dare: Next, one must summon one's courage to face the inherent danger of working with powerful unseen forces, with the consequences of changing reality in some way.

To Will: Here's the real trick. The development and focus of the will is the true work of the magician. We will be going into this in great detail, since it is the crux of magick.

To Keep Silent: The wise know this to be of great importance. Much like one doesn't reveal the nature of a birthday wish, the magician keeps his/her mouth shut regarding the use of the mystic arts. Not all historical magicians have done this very well...hence our knowledge of their art and science. This adjuration is considered so important that the Oath of Secrecy is one of the main elements in the aspirant's oath when they first step on the path of occult learning. More on this later...

Diana Hignutt
11-03-2005, 02:46 PM
Everyone has read about wizards, their robes with mystical glyphs all over, their pointed hats, their wands, their talismans, their magick circles, their incantations, etc. Each piece of mystical apparatus has a powerful symbolic function, which over the next few weeks we'll discuss, but ultimately it's all just smoke and mirrors.

What did she just say? (I hear you out there).

Yeah, you heard me right. Smoke and mirrors. All of these tools of the magician serve only one purpose--to focus the mind on the magickal operation--to induce in the the mind the necessary state to alter reality. Energized Enthusiasm. This is the only thing that is truly necessary for the success of any magickal operation. To perform works of magick the magician must reach this mental state--a state in which the focused will has sufficient energy to achieve the desired result--everything else is just a tool to get one to that point. This state is not readily entered into. The purpose of the robes, the circle, the barbarous words of evocation, is simply to take one out of one's normal mental state (to kick one into one's second attention where intention (will) can be applied - remember this from our discussions about the Yaqui Nagual?) It is the ultimate secret of magick. Everything else is stylistic. Or smoke and mirrors designed to trick, not audience members, but the magician him(or her)self.

Okay, I've got a busy few days coming up, culminating in the Delaware Book Fair on Saturday, so I'll meet you all back here next week.

Thread Disclaimer: The information in this thread is intented as a research tool for writers of fiction, and in no way endorses occult practices.

Diana Hignutt
11-06-2005, 04:19 PM
First, I want to say "you're welcome" to everyone who has written me recently to thank me for this thread. It means a lot to me that people are enjoying this thread and learning a few things (perhaps) that may help them in dealing with magick in their fantasy novels. I wanted to give something back to AW, because this forum does mean a lot to me, because I have received a lot of support here, and because Jenna has shown me great kindness.

Few writers would ever sit down and begin writing a novel or story involving dentistry or astronomy, and simply make-up facts or procedures pertaining to those fields. Yet, fantasy authors do this routinely when it comes to the use of magick. It is common practice to act as though a field of study older than any other has no historical or factual component. Whether one believes in the reality of supernatural powers is irrelevant. In my opinion, it is the height of folly to neglect the beliefs, traditions and experience of historical wizards when writing about their fictional counterparts. And this, my friends, is the purpose of this thread.

Phoenix Fury
11-07-2005, 12:41 AM
First, I want to say "you're welcome" to everyone who has written me recently to thank me for this thread. It means a lot to me that people are enjoying this thread and learning a few things (perhaps) that may help them in dealing with magick in their fantasy novels. I wanted to give something back to AW, because this forum does mean a lot to me, because I have received a lot of support here, and because Jenna has shown me great kindness.

Few writers would ever sit down and begin writing a novel or story involving dentistry or astronomy, and simply make-up facts or procedures pertaining to those fields. Yet, fantasy authors do this routinely when it comes to the use of magick. It is common practice to act as though a field of study older than any other has no historical or factual component. Whether one believes in the reality of supernatural powers is irrelevant. In my opinion, it is the height of folly to neglect the beliefs, traditions and experience of historical wizards when writing about their fictional counterparts. And this, my friends, is the purpose of this thread.

Though it should be said, I think, that it is also perfectly all right to make up entirely new principles and functions of magic, so long as such ideas are internally consistent. There is a reason we write "fantasy," after all, not non-fiction how-to books. Since I'm not writing historical fantasy, I feel no compunction whatsoever to follow any preset rules concerning what "should" be the conditions of magic in my world...other than to make sure that I establish not only what the rules of magic are in my world, but to stick by them consistently. (For instance, spelling the word "magic" properly...:) KIDDING, kidding, we've already agreed to disagree about that one.) I'm sure Diana wouldn't disagree with this idea, but I just wanted to emphasize it here.

P.F.

Diana Hignutt
11-07-2005, 01:05 AM
Though it should be said, I think, that it is also perfectly all right to make up entirely new principles and functions of magic, so long as such ideas are internally consistent. There is a reason we write "fantasy," after all, not non-fiction how-to books. Since I'm not writing historical fantasy, I feel no compunction whatsoever to follow any preset rules concerning what "should" be the conditions of magic in my world...other than to make sure that I establish not only what the rules of magic are in my world, but to stick by them consistently. (For instance, spelling the word "magic" properly...:) KIDDING, kidding, we've already agreed to disagree about that one.) I'm sure Diana wouldn't disagree with this idea, but I just wanted to emphasize it here.

P.F.

Oh, absolutely, some of my favorite books have their own internally consistent rules of "magic". Look, it is fantasy after all...

Diana Hignutt
11-08-2005, 02:38 PM
Few tools of the magician are as famous as the magick wand. The wand is one of the Elemental Weapons.

To the ancients there were four elements: earth, air, water and fire. Nowadays, people look at the periodic table of elements just brimming with all kinds of different elements and then over at the four elements of the ancients and roll their eyes scornfully and then think how stupid people used to be. However, people meant something different by the term element than they do today. In fairness, if you compare the elements of the ancients with modern science's states of being, you will find a closer cousin to the ancient idea: solid, liquid, gas, energy (yeah, yeah, and semi-solids).

Anyway, the wand is the elemental weapon of fire. In general, the elemental weapons symbolize the magician's power over the elements, or over the physical world. The wand represents the will of the magician. It is the primary tool used in invocations. Symbolically, it is phallic in nature and can be seen as a means of bringing the higher will down to earth via its shaft. In this way, the magician equates his/her own will with the higher will of the universe, or with the god he or she is invoking.

The wand must be cut from a single piece of wood, which in turn should be cut from a living tree.

All of the elemental weapons provide a means of actually controlling the element in question. Wood burns, therefore, the wand could be used to transport fire, if necessary--therby bringing the element of fire under the control of the magician. Though, this was never done to my knowledge, the symbolic importance is the key here. Fire represents the magician's will, and the wand is the tool used to control (and focus) the will.

It is said that the magician should endeavor to make his own weapons, and in no case is this more important than the wand. Other weapons require much skill and tradesmanship, and are not as easy (or frankly possible for the magician to make), but the wand must be made by the magician. If the magician must buy cups or swords, or whatever, he/she must buy items that have never been used, and he/she is enjoined to do so without haggling.

Next time... The Cup.

triceretops
11-09-2005, 01:48 PM
Here's the setup:

It's an urban/contemporary fantasy about a guy who gets a visit by two very strange women almost at once--but these women are diametrically opposed to each other--they are both mythological goddess: The Greek goddess of bad luck, Beshaba, and the Roman Goddess of luck, Fortuna. Only they are drop-dead gorgeous sirens and must fight it out to take control over my MC's destiny.
Kind of like Bedazzled. You see, the world is REALLY populated by muses, nymphs, sirens and goddesses, and man/woman kind gets a scheduled visitation by each and everyone of these figures in their existence, and it's up to the individual who receives these gifts, on how they recognize and use them. But it just so happens that Lady Luck (Fortuna) has been sick on the job, so her visit to my MC correspondes at exactly the same time that the lady of bad luck is required to visit him. So it turns out to be a fantasy cat-fight in hell between the two. Meanwhile my MC is tugged in every emotional and spiritual direction possible--one minute he's winning a fortune at roulette, and a few minutes later he's losing all his winnings in the parking lot (robbery), via the influence of of the bad goddess.

I'll do a lot of reseach on mythology for this and I think it can be hilarious and fun, especially when my MC falls in love with Felicity Fortune, but realises that he can't claim her as a physical female, because she's immortal and has a great responsibility having to attend to the rest of humanity forever. Kind of a bitter sweet ending. Oh yeah, Felicity kicks the other goddess's azz at the end, but it's a tough fight.

I want to do something like Xanadu, only better with a twist and more conflict.

Here's my question: I want to know which female goddesses to use in this story. They must be opposed to each other. I was thinking of using Fortuna, the Roman Goddess, who tries to help my MC. I was thinking about her opposition to be Beshaba (maid of misfortune), who was one of the bad twin daughters of the Greek goddess (of good luck) Tyche.

I figure a Roman goddess and a Greek goddess fighting it out for the destiny of one man might be a pretty interesting, if not a halarious scenario.

Which goddess's would you use? I want to use Lady Luck (fortuna), but I am also aware that there is another Roman goddess in charge of good luck, and she's called Felicitas. Now who in the heck is Felicitas? Why are there two Roman goddess's of luck? I don't understand this. I want the most popular one.

Any help from anyone would be appreciated.


Yours

Tri

Diana Hignutt
11-09-2005, 02:17 PM
Tri,

The Romans had a lot of overlap of gods and goddesses. In some cases there were slight differences of specialities within their divine fields, in other cases the differences were simply geographic areas having different gods of the same thing.

I am certainly more familiar with Fortuna, but give me a couple of days to go through some of my books on Roman mythology and I'll get back to you. In the meantime, my gut says go with Fortuna.

I like your concept.

Diana Hignutt
11-09-2005, 02:36 PM
The cup is the elemental weapon of water. It represents the magician's control over his/her emotions. The magician must have complete mastery over all aspects of his/her self, and emotional stability is a prerequisite for successful magickal working. The primary use of the cup in magick rituals is purification, or cleansing of the temple, the altar, talismans, etc. Remembering that cleanliness is next to godliness, we understand that purification is analogous to the calming of the emotions. Just as in meditation, wherein the mystic has no hope of reaching a meditative state until the emotions are completely calm, until a state of peaceful tranquility has been achieved, the magician can not hope to master the forces of reality until the wild horses of emotion have been tamed. It is said that "the lust for result" will prevent any magickal operation from being successful.

In a broader sense, the magician must become a fit vehicle for the higher powers to be filled with the divine energies. In this sense the cup's power of perfect tranquility must be mimicked by the magician. A study of the legends of the Holy Grail will lend more insight into the powers of the cup, as do the myth of the magick pot of Cerridwen.

SeanDSchaffer
11-10-2005, 02:15 AM
Diana,

When you were talking about the Cup, a question came to my mind (and I'm not sure if it even has anything to do with the Cup.)

But the question I have is, is there a 'Graduation' ceremony one would have to attend before using their magick? Is there a 'Certificate' or 'Diploma' someone would have to attain before being able to use their skills?

Again, I know it doesn't have much to do with the Cup, but for some reason, your post about the Cup made me think about this question. I think it's because of the 'Mastery of the Emotions' that you spoke about in that particular post.

Does a Magician have to have a 'Diploma', or do they just start practicing their Craft without one?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Diana Hignutt
11-10-2005, 03:37 PM
Diana,

When you were talking about the Cup, a question came to my mind (and I'm not sure if it even has anything to do with the Cup.)

But the question I have is, is there a 'Graduation' ceremony one would have to attend before using their magick? Is there a 'Certificate' or 'Diploma' someone would have to attain before being able to use their skills?

Again, I know it doesn't have much to do with the Cup, but for some reason, your post about the Cup made me think about this question. I think it's because of the 'Mastery of the Emotions' that you spoke about in that particular post.

Does a Magician have to have a 'Diploma', or do they just start practicing their Craft without one?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Sean,

I'll start off with a big 'ole "that depends." As we discussed early, there are historically three ways to learn magick: a) secret, or religious society (I would include Wiccan covens in this category), b) solitary practioner, c) the master-apprentice relationship.

Most occult societies have different grades or levels that the aspirant passes through. In Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (which claims to be directly descended from the Rosicrucians) the student of the mysteries progresses through grades, learning different material and attaining mastery of various occult disciplines. Once his/her superiors feel the student has qualified they are initiated to the next level. The levels are based on the Tree of Life; each grade being equated to a Sephira. A mystical ceremony (or graduation, if you like) takes place before one makes the next grade.

Neophyte (Malkuth) - "Long hast though wandered in darkness, quit the Night and seek the Day."

Zelator (Yesod)

Practicus (Hod)

Philosophus (Netzach)

Adeptus Minor (Tiphereth) - It is the duty of the Adeptus Minor to attain the "conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" or union with the higher self.

Adeptus Major (Geburah) - This is considered a very high level of attainment and marked the movement from the Outer Order, to the even more secret Inner Order.

I don't remember off the top of my head the next two grades, but the utlimate grades are:

Magus (Chokmah) - the person who has attained this level is a living mystical saint, capable of incredible feats and powers.

Ipissimus (Kether) - Completely beyond human understanding. This is the level of the legendary "secret chiefs", discarnate, formely human intelligences.

When, I actually get around to talking about the Golden Dawn, I'll talk more about this.

Other societies and groups have their own levels, etc.

As far as solitary practioners go, they graduate when their magick works.

And when the master feels that the apprentice is ready, appropriate initiations occur.

Hope that answers your question.

SeanDSchaffer
11-11-2005, 12:09 AM
Your post answers my question perfectly. Thank you, Diana.

:)

Diana Hignutt
11-12-2005, 03:21 PM
Here's the setup:

It's an urban/contemporary fantasy about a guy who gets a visit by two very strange women almost at once--but these women are diametrically opposed to each other--they are both mythological goddess: The Greek goddess of bad luck, Beshaba, and the Roman Goddess of luck, Fortuna. Only they are drop-dead gorgeous sirens and must fight it out to take control over my MC's destiny....

Here's my question: I want to know which female goddesses to use in this story. They must be opposed to each other. I was thinking of using Fortuna, the Roman Goddess, who tries to help my MC. I was thinking about her opposition to be Beshaba (maid of misfortune), who was one of the bad twin daughters of the Greek goddess (of good luck) Tyche.

I figure a Roman goddess and a Greek goddess fighting it out for the destiny of one man might be a pretty interesting, if not a halarious scenario.

Which goddess's would you use? I want to use Lady Luck (fortuna), but I am also aware that there is another Roman goddess in charge of good luck, and she's called Felicitas. Now who in the heck is Felicitas? Why are there two Roman goddess's of luck? I don't understand this. I want the most popular one.
Tri

Tri,

I've spent a little time looking through my fairly considerable library on classical mythology, etc. Not too much on either of your Lady Lucks, I'm afraid. In fact, nothing whatsoever on Felicitas. To be completely honest, the only reference to either of them comes from my 1966 edition of the Encyclopedia Americana. Here's a brief passage on your girl:

"FORTUNA, in Roman religion, the goddess of fortune. She corresponds to the Greek Tyche, but her cult was introduced into Rome from elsewhere in Italy, where she was probably not a deity of good luck, but rather of fertility. Servius Tullius built a temple to her in Rome, and four feast days were dedicated to her during April, May, and June, where she was venerated as Fortuna primigena or publica. As the goddess of fortune she was called Fors Fortuna, as the goddess of women, Fortuna muliebris; and as the patron of newly married girls, Fortuna virginensis. She was represented with a double rudder, and later, with wings or with bound eyes, standing on a ball or wheel, sometimes with a ball on her head or a cornucopia in her hands."

From this I gather that my initial comments weren't that far off. Evidently, Fortuna wasn't originally the goddess of good luck, but got the job by the time her cult was introduced in Rome. Possibly, she displaced you Felicitas, for the job. In any case, if you want the most popular goddess...go with Fortuna.

Diana Hignutt
11-12-2005, 03:40 PM
The sword (or dagger) is the elemental weapon of air. It can cut through the air without resistance. In many cultures, the air or breath represents the life force (Prana, Chi, spirit, etc.). The sword's ability to end life further reinforces this idea. It is the tool the magician uses in banishings and in magickal defense. Symbolically, it represents the magician's mastery of the intellect, of the mind. It is the skepticism of the magician, the intellectual discernment, a tool of paramount importance. To succeed in any magickal working the magician's intellect must be sharp as the sword. There is no room for fanaticism, ignorance, or stupidity in magick.

The ultimate magick that true adepts work towards is the union with the Higher Self. Everything else is either preliminary, or a distraction from this goal. With this idea in view, we can see the broader application of the magician's sword: to cut away every idea that gets in the way of the utlimate goal. In this regard, the sword is very similar to the quieting of the intellect in meditation or yoga. The sword of the adept cuts away all distraction until all that is left is the unity of Kether.

While there is no doubt some similarity with the magick sword of heroic tradition, we must be careful not to confuse the magician's sword with that of the warrior's.

Some magicians prefer to use a fan as the elemental weapon of air.

triceretops
11-13-2005, 02:33 PM
Thanks, Diana--that's about what I've found. I'll use Fortuna in my capacity. Beshaba will be her rival (the bad Greek version)


Thanks for your help.

Tri

Diana Hignutt
11-13-2005, 04:13 PM
(You're very welcome, Tri, sorry I couldn't be more help)

The Pentacle is the elemental weapon of earth. If you have ever seen a Tarot deck you know what a pentacle looks like (more or less)--a disk usually with a five pointed star, os some other representation of the magician's power of the world. That is the meaning of it right there. On another level the pentacle represents the magician's physical body and environment. It represents the fact that the magician must be in top physical condition, for magick rituals can be quite grueling and require great amounts of stamina and endurance. It represents the fact that the magician's everday life must be arranged in such a way to allow him or her the privacy, and place to perform magick. It represents every physicaly condition required for magick. It represents the magician's will over the material universe.

Diana Hignutt
11-14-2005, 02:16 PM
The Altar is a small table that the magician puts his/her tools and weapons on. It represents the universe. The elemental weapons are arranged as follows:

East: Sword
South: Wand
West: Cup
North: Pentacle

Other tools and weapons are, of course, arranged on the altar as is practical.

The Altar goes in the center of the Magick Circle, which is what we'll discuss next time...

Diana Hignutt
11-22-2005, 02:11 PM
First, I'd like to apologize for the post on the altar--it was fairly lame. I've been battling a sinus headache for days now, it's just about gone but still lingering a little. Anyway...

Circles have always been magickal things in and of themselves. So many things in nature are based on circles--time, seasons, etc.

The magick circle is the insulator of magick. It holds the force of the magician's energy in, while holding at bay other, conflicting energies. The circle needs to be big enough to hold the magician, the altar, and provide amble room for circumambulation. At it's simplest, a single chalk circle drawn on the temple floor can be used, or oftentimes double circles are employed in colors complimentary to the magickal forces to be invoked, with the appropriate divine names and magick words inscribed between the two circles, and punctuated by candles of appropriate scent, number and color. Symbolically, a magick circle designed for a specific magick working represents the magician's immersion in that force. The magician is making his or her universe filled with only the appropriate engery, concentrating that energy, and keeping out all other types of energy, so that there is only the force desired within the circle. A proper circle insures the magick circuit, if you will. If the circle is broken, the magick will not work, and worse, the magician may be attacked (or obsessed) by conflicting energies. The circle protects the magician in operations of evocation.

Diana Hignutt
11-22-2005, 02:12 PM
Okay, I'm still a dash under the weather, so I'm cheaping out today. Here's a brief excerpt from my screenplay Aleister Crowley, dealing with Crowley's initiation in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It gives a very good idea what their rituals were like...we'll resume our regularly scheduled stuff later...

INT. -- LONDON, 1998, GOLDEN DAWN TEMPLE -- NIGHT.

The Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is subtly illuminated by oil torches arranged along the marble walls. Intricate symbols are carved into large tablets and banners.

JONES, twenty-five, robed and wearing a jackal mask, circles the temple. He carries a long staff and lantern.

Crowley is wearing a black robe and is blindfolded. He is kneeling between two pillars, one black and one white.

FLORENCE FARR, thirty-two, beautiful, and confident, wears a white robe and holds a two-headed wand. She stands behind Crowley. The Anubis-like Jones passes them.



INT. -- TEMPLE-SOUTH -- NIGHT.

WAITE, fifty-two, robed in red and filled with pompous authority, holds an incense burner. Jones passes him.



INT. -- TEMPLE-WEST -- NIGHT.

YEATS, forty-six, robed in black, wears a black mask carved with a frightful face. He sits upon a throne and holds a sword. Jones passes him.



INT. -- TEMPLE-NORTH -- NIGHT.

MRS. MATHERS, thirty-six, wearing a blue robe, stands holding a silver cup. Well behind her are about twenty other GOLDEN DAWN MEMBERS, barely visible in the dim light. Jones passes them.



INT. -- TEMPLE -- NIGHT.

MACGREGOR MATHERS, mid-forties, a man of mystery and authority, in a golden robe and Egyptian headdress, walks up to Crowley.

MATHERS

Inheritor of a Dying World, why

seeketh thou to enter our Sacred

Hall? Why seeketh thou admission

to our Order?


Farr answers for Crowley.


FARR

My Soul wanders in Darkness and

seeks the Light of the Hidden

Knowledge, and I believe that in

this Order, Knowledge of that Light

may be obtained.


MATHERS

I ask you now, are you willing to

take a solemn oath in the presence

of this Assembly, to keep the secrets

and Mysteries of our Order inviolate?


Farr gently touches Crowley on the shoulder.


CROWLEY

I am.


FARR

Inheritor of a Dying World, we call

thee to the Living Beauty.


YEATS

Wanderer in the Wild Darkness, we

call thee to the Gentle Light.


Farr removes Crowley's blindfold.



MATHERS

Long hast thou dwelt in Darkness--

Quit the Night and seek the Day.


FARR, YEATS & MATHERS

Aleister Crowley, We receive thee

into the Hermetic Order of the Golden

Dawn.


MATHERS

(To Jones)

Take him.


Jones comes forward toward Crowley.

Diana Hignutt
11-28-2005, 02:17 PM
Placed some distance from the circle, usually in the East (or North, or Northeast, depending on who you listen to) the triangle is used for operations of evocation. The purpose of the triangle is to provide a basis of manifestion of the spirit. The three sides of the triangle suggest Binah, the beginning of manifestion. The idea is to concentrate the energy of the spirit to allow interaction with the magician. Oftentimes, an incense burner is placed inside the triangle to further provide a vehicle for manifestation of the evoked spirit.

Next time...Invocation Vs. Evocation...

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2006, 02:28 PM
Hey, sorry about the lack of posts here...I've been uber busy. Looks like that will change soon (I'm transitioning to working from home--which will also mean more writing time--yeah!). In any case, I just wanted to remind you that this resource is here, if anyone has any questions in the meantime...just ask.

Diana Hignutt
02-17-2006, 04:50 PM
Hey gang! Okay, as I round out my first week at my new schedule, I finally have a dash of time for this thread. It seems to be working fairly well...I go into the office on Monday and Thursday mornings, and every other Saturday, otherwise I work form home. The work is getting done and I'm getting more research done for my next book, too.

I think I had promised to write about something else here next, but frankly a lot of people were more interested in the Qabalah, and I've got at least one more major point to make about it ...that the Qabalah offers a shockingly accurate picture of the universe from a scientific perspective. And, yes, you're right...such a topic probably doesn't even belong in this thread, but, hey... it's my thread.

First, the big picture. In the Qabalah, as you may recall, everything eminates from a point of complete unity (Kether)...the modern concept of big-bang theory comes to mind at first (and rightfully so). But, remember too that all the spheres have colors attirbuted, with Kether's light being pure white. Kether contains all the other Sephira. Here we see, now the first concept of optics, that all the colors of the spectrum are contained in white light.

Okay, so perhaps, I have not convinced you how utterly cool and all-encompassing is the sacred science of creation, called the Qabalah. Okay, let's try something else. It has been said that the Qabalah is a map of the universe. Let's look at the fundementals of this concept. Remember what the glyph of the Tree of Light looks like (also see note below). We have ten spheres (eleven if you count Daath, the invisible Sephiroth). In the middle of the tree we have Tiphereth, which represents the Sun. Around that we have ten spheres (which all have planterary coorespondences). Below the sun, we have Hod (Mercury) and Netzach (Venus) and Malkuth (Earth) with Yesod (the Moon) directly above Malkuth. Above the Sun (Tiphereth)--or on the otherside of it--we have the outer planets: Geburah (Mars), Chesed (Jupiter), Binah (Saturn), Chohmah (Uranus), Daath (Nepturne), and Kether (PLuto). So, we have a near perfect representation of our solar system as the symbolic representation of the Tree of Life, a fairly accurate picture of our solar system. All this conceived long before any sort of scientific theory imagined such a situation with any such accuracy.

Convinced or not...you have to admit that there is something to this (or maybe you don't...that's okay too).

Note: I would like to post a picture of the Tree of Life on this thread, but I have no idea how to do it. If anyone would be willing to handle this chore for me, I'll happily scan my favorite Tree of Life picture (in full color) and send it to you. PM me and I'll arrange to email the file to you. Thanks.

Next time ... I'll post sooner (if people still have an interest in this material). Also, I'm here for questions of any kind about magic systems, real or fanciful.

Rambling
02-17-2006, 06:44 PM
We have ten spheres (eleven if you count Daath, the invisible Sephiroth). In the middle of the tree we have Tiphereth, which represents the Sun. Around that we have ten spheres (which all have planterary coorespondences). Below the sun, we have Hod (Mercury) and Netzach (Venus) and Malkuth (Earth) with Yesod (the Moon) directly above Malkuth. Above the Sun (Tiphereth)--or on the otherside of it--we have the outer planets: Geburah (Mars), Chesed (Jupiter), Binah (Saturn), Chohmah (Uranus), Daath (Nepturne), and Kether (PLuto).

Hi Diana - I must admit I get lost quite often in this thread, so I expect my questions will seem a little naive, sorry about that!

Could you provide a little more detail about the link between the ten spheres and the solar system? Is it astrological is nature? (that is, is there more destruction occuring when Earth nears Mars, and so on?)

(To give you an idea of where I'm at, a whole list of things that I find strange - Why does earth's moon rate a sphere, but no other moon does, not even Ganymede (which is bigger than either Pluto or Mercury)?
- Why is Mars included under the outer planets instead of the inner planets?
- Where do the asteriod belt, Kuiper belt, Oort Cloud, and centuars like Chiron fit in?
- Do Daath and Kether swap planets for the twenty years when Pluto comes in closer to the sun than Neptune?
- what was linked to the last three spheres before the discovery of their planets?)

If this system was moved to a solar system with five planets and two moons orbiting the inhabitable second planet, would there be seven Sephiroth, or would the ten Sephiroth be linked to the ten most important astrological bodies?

Thanks!

Kevin Yarbrough
02-18-2006, 01:19 AM
Hello stranger. Long time no see. Just thought I would say hi. No questions, yet, but I am working on a book where I might need some of your info. Take care.

Diana Hignutt
02-18-2006, 04:05 PM
Hi Diana - I must admit I get lost quite often in this thread, so I expect my questions will seem a little naive, sorry about that!

Could you provide a little more detail about the link between the ten spheres and the solar system? Is it astrological is nature? (that is, is there more destruction occuring when Earth nears Mars, and so on?)

(To give you an idea of where I'm at, a whole list of things that I find strange - Why does earth's moon rate a sphere, but no other moon does, not even Ganymede (which is bigger than either Pluto or Mercury)?
- Why is Mars included under the outer planets instead of the inner planets?
- Where do the asteriod belt, Kuiper belt, Oort Cloud, and centuars like Chiron fit in?
- Do Daath and Kether swap planets for the twenty years when Pluto comes in closer to the sun than Neptune?
- what was linked to the last three spheres before the discovery of their planets?)

If this system was moved to a solar system with five planets and two moons orbiting the inhabitable second planet, would there be seven Sephiroth, or would the ten Sephiroth be linked to the ten most important astrological bodies?

Thanks!

Before I get to Rambling's questions, I want to say "HEY!" to my friend Kevin. "HEY KEV," long time no see; hope to see you around here more often...there is a lot more to this place than that thread up there in the Bewares Board. Thanks for popping by.

Now, good Rambling, onto you. Sigh, okay, so you're telling me that an ancient mystical system that describes a cosmology, a structured solar system remarkably similar to the one we inhabit, and one that did so without the benefit of telescopes, gives us a picture of the basic solar system which our science did not have until the 1930's, isn't a little bit cool?

You ask if the system describes is more astrological or astronomical in nature ...well until fairly recently (the last 600 years or so) there was no difference between those sciences. Astrology was astronomy.

Then you get a bit more specific with your questions.

-Why does the moon rate a sphere? Seriously, you may have seen our moon in the sky once or twice, right? Yeah, so did the ancients. Obviously, a system describing the heavens would have to consider the moon. The other planets moon's are considered part of the planetary system in astology, wereas our moon has a distinct effect on our little planet.

-Why is Mars considered an outer planet? Well, that may have just been bad wording on my part. Remembering the ultimate importance of the earth to the ancients, perhaps the tree of life placement of Mars represents the fact that the red planet (Geburah's color is red too) is outside the earth's orbit whereas the other planets (Mercury and Venus) are inside it.

-Now you are asking about asteroid belts our science didn't discover until fairly recently...but there are certain "veils" in the Qabalah, perhaps there are representative of the asteroid belts...I'll have to check up on that.

-Neptune and Pluto were recent discoveries to begin with, our science has only recently recognized the orbit criss-cross of the farthest planets...was our science just bullsh&t until it made this discovery?

-The last three spheres were like the undiscovered elements on the periodic table...they were there because they had to be there...

Hope that helps.

Kevin Yarbrough
02-20-2006, 08:50 PM
They also just discovered a tenth planet past the asteroid belt after Pluto as well, Diana. Just a little FYI.

I do more than post in the bewares section, but I never really posted in the sci-fi forum until I began working on my new series. I browsed it, just never posted in it very much. I'll keep you in mind when I need some questions answered for my new book. You know a lot about angels and demons?

Diana Hignutt
02-21-2006, 04:55 PM
You know a lot about angels and demons?

More than I'll admit in public.

Diana Hignutt
02-21-2006, 05:08 PM
At long last...I return to the topic I promised to address months ago...

Many writers use these words interchangeably, yet their meanings are diametrically opposed. In evocation, the magician "calls out" elements, spirits, demons, angels, lesser intelligences, etc. In invocation, the magician "calls in" archangels, gods, the powers of the Sephiroth, etc. The difference may not seem like much on first consideration, but is fundemental in point of fact. In most magical systems, there exists a hierarchy of magical beings. Those beings that are considered "lesser" than humans are evoked, those that are considered "Greater" than humans are invoked. In a more pyschological approach, the lesser spirits represent parts of the magician that are "called out" of his/herself for the performance of a particular task, but with the higher beings the magician "call into" his/herself the very essence of potent spiritual force from the summoned gods, etc. I'll dig up some examples for next time...

sassandgroove
02-22-2006, 08:50 PM
HI Diana,

I really like this thread. I wanted to do some more reading. You may remember my post explaining how I have the travel between worlds work in my novel,
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=374300&postcount=49

What I want to ask, you listed some books about the Qabalah: The Mystical Qabalah, The Kabbalah Unveiled, and Garden of Pomegranates. which one would you suggest for me to gain more insight for my novel? Or is there another one that would be better?

THanks soooo much for all your posts, they are very appreciated. I print them out and put them in a binder and read them and make notes and stuff.

Jennifer

Diana Hignutt
02-23-2006, 02:25 PM
HI Diana,

I really like this thread. I wanted to do some more reading. You may remember my post explaining how I have the travel between worlds work in my novel,
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=374300&postcount=49

What I want to ask, you listed some books about the Qabalah: The Mystical Qabalah, The Kabbalah Unveiled, and Garden of Pomegranates. which one would you suggest for me to gain more insight for my novel? Or is there another one that would be better?

THanks soooo much for all your posts, they are very appreciated. I print them out and put them in a binder and read them and make notes and stuff.

Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,

Though, I'll say for the record that Dion Fortunes' Mystical Qabalah is probably best, and Isreal Regardie's Garden of Pomegranates fills in the points that the former book misses. For your book, I would also consider reading Alesiter Crowley's Eight Lectures on Yoga (it's really about the Qabalah) and his 777 which is filled with Qabalahistic correspondences: animals, mystical creatures, gods, angels, metals, colors...for each Sephiroh and path. I consider these to be the most accessible works with the most information. Regardie's Tree of Life is another choice...a bit dry for my tastes, and rather too comphrensive for one volume. I'm also reminded of a short story of Crowley's, The Wake World which is in his collected works...read the other books first and if you want to... PM me and we'll see about lending it to you or something...

Hope that helps..

Diana Hignutt
03-03-2006, 05:12 PM
As promised...what seems like aons ago...here is an example of an invocation. This particular one comes to us from the Egyptian Book of the Dead...

"O Thou Majesty of the Godhead, Wisdom-Crowned Tahuti, Lord of the Gates of the Universe, Thee, Thee I invoke!

"O Thou whose head is as an Ibis, Thee, Thee I invoke!

"Thou who holdest in Thy right hand the magic wand of Double Power, and who bearest in they left hand the Rose and Cross of Light and Life, Thee, Thee I do invoke!

"Thou whose head is as Emerald, and whose Nemyss as the Night-sky blue. Thee, Thee I do invoke!

"Thou whose skin is of flaming orange as though it burned in a furnace: Thee, Thee I do invoke!"

"Behold, I am yesterday, Today and the brohter of the Morrow! I am born again and again. Mine is the unseen force wherefrom the Gods are sprung, which giveth life unto the dwellers in the watch-towers of the Universe."

...

"I am Thoth, the perfect scribe, whose hands are pure. I am the Lord of purity, the destroyer of evil, the scribe of right and truth, and that which I abominate is sin.

"Behold me, for I am the writing reed of the god Neb-er-tcher, the lord of laws, who giveth forth the word of wisdom and understanding, and whose speech hath dominion over the double land.

"I am Thoth the lord of right and truth, who maketh the feeble one to gain victory, and who avengeth the wretched and the oppressed on him that wrongeth him.

"I have scattered the darkness!"

"I have driven away the storm, and I have brought the wind to Un-Nefer, the beautiful breeze of the north wind, even as it come forth from the womb of his mother.

"I have caused him to enter the hidden abode, and he shall vivify the soul of the Still-Heart, Un-Nefer, the son of Nuit, Horus triumphant!"

Diana Hignutt
03-04-2006, 03:58 PM
The previous invocation brought to mind a very important concept. I'll let Dr. Israel Regardie handle this one (excerpted from his Tree of Life):

"One of the most potent adjuncts to invocation, and an essential to all successful magical work, is the astral assumption of the form or mask by which a God has come to be known conventionally and pictorically portrayed. Monsieur Francios J. Chasbas in his now (VERY-dth) out-of-print book Le Papyrus Magique Harris presents the highly significant information, hardly to be found elsewhere in definite form, that the most powerful magical formula known to the priests of the sacerdotal castes of ancient Egypt was the indentification of the Ritualist in imagination with the divinity he was invoking. Iamblichus presents the statement that 'The priest who invokes is a man; but when he commands power it is becasue through arcane symbols he, in a certain respect, is invested with the sacred Forms of the Gods.' Scattered here and there throughout the Book of the Dead, in some rituals and hymns to the Gods, once ascertains that the scribe of that book indentifies himself with them. There are numerous examples of separate verses confirming this belief. 'I have united with the divine Apes who sing at the dawn and I am a divine being amoung them.' In Chapter One Hundred the verse, 'I have made myself a counterpart of the goddess Isis and her power (khu) hath made me strong,' would appear most definitely to countenance this view, which also obtains additional confirmation from other sources, that the assumption of the God-from constitutes one of the most important fiactors to be noted in the Magic of the Egyptians."

This concept, the Assumption of God-forms is vital to understanding the Egyptian Mysteries, which have formed the basis of virtually every mystery school since. We'll get to this more later, but after the Invocation to Thoth, it seemed necessary to mention it. This idea formed the basis of the transformation of my character Prince Tolian into the Moon-Goddess in my now out-of-print (as of 2/27/06) novel, Moonsword.

Shadow_Ferret
03-07-2006, 10:26 PM
Diana, thank you for this thread. It couldn't have come at a better time. :)

Occult is very prevalent in my current WIP.

In my current WIP -- it is set in modern day in our reality -- except occult is real, werewolves, vampires, demons, etc. are real. Real people don't know they are real. So to ordinary people these things aren't real. With me so far?

The background is that all beliefs co-exist. As my MC explains it to his daughter:


After a moment she said, “How can they all be right?”

How could I explain multi-dimensionalism so a 12-year-old would understand it? Actually, a 12-year-old would probably accept it easier than an adult who’s been indoctrinated for years with the beliefs of their religion.

I got up and waved her over to the kitchen window. “OK, you look out this window.”

She gave me a puzzled look.

“Humor me,” I said with a smile.
I walked to the den and looked out the back window. She was looking south and I was looking east.

“What do you see out your window?” I asked.

“I see the side yard. Bucky’s kennel. The Peterson’s house. I see a chipmunk harassing Bucky,” she said with a laugh.

“OK,” I said. “I see out of my window, the backyard. It needs mowing. Maybe after dinner you can . . . .”

“Dad.”

“Right. I see the woods. There’s a blue jay on our feeder. I see a couple of squirrels chasing each other through the trees. Beyond the woods I can see the Menomonee River.”

I turned to look at Kali. “We’re both looking out windows, right?”

“Right.”

“We each see different things, right?”

“Right.”

“Which of us is right and which of us is wrong?”

“We’re both right,” she said without hesitating.


(from the first chapter of The Protector, currently available in Sci-Fi/Fantasy of Share Your Work -- shameless plug)

So that's the foundation belief behind my story and I think it gives me ample opportunity for mining ideas from all occult beliefs.

You know, I had a question when I started this post, but now it's gone.

Anyway, my character, a sorceror, uses all disciplines. He's multi-cultural, taking what he needs from Eastern disciplines, Western discliplines, Native American, African, Haitian, etc. etc.

THis is going to require a lot of ongoing research on my part as I delve deeper into the character and things. Are there any multi-cultural occult books available? Something that describes a little bit of each in usable detail? Just enough to give me a comfortable background from which to launch into more indepth research.

(For instance, I love my Dictionary of the Occult & Supernatural by Peter Underwood)

Thanks.

Shadow_Ferret
03-08-2006, 01:15 AM
Oh, and what is the oldest occult "order?" I mean like the Order of the Cross (Knights Templer), Fraternity (Brotherhood) of the Rosy Cross (Rosicrusian), the Freemasons, etc.


Are there any ancient ones, from BC times, for instance?

Diana Hignutt
03-08-2006, 04:46 PM
Shadow Ferret,

I enjoyed your excerpt, and strongly approve of your concept of looking out a window and seeing different things, and how it relates to an occult infested world.

First, you ask about multi-cultural occult elements. That is something I hope to explore thoroughly on this thread, but it will take a great deal of time and patience to get that far. That is to say, of course, I hope to talk about a great many different cultures' views of magick, I certainly don't know them all... but I suspect that basically they maintain the same aspects. I think the old reference series, Man, Myth and Magic would be of great help to you...most libraries still have it. Also, there is no better book on comparative religion and magical theories than the first, Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough. Otherwise, any sort of general reference book on the occult should help, there are gobs of them out there.

Your second question. You ask about the oldest magickal society or order. I'll answer with the classic...that depends on who you ask. The Rosicrucians claim descent from the mystery schools of Egypt. The nice folks who claim to be the Rosicructions nowadays (the AMORC) claim their traditions come from the Egyptian Pharoh Ankh-An-Aton (Double check my spelling on that one). For the record, I do not believe that the AMORC folks' pedigree is genuine. If, in fact, the Rosicrucian Order still exists today, I would believe that they move in secret as of old. The Knights Templar have the historical edge on the Order of the Rose and Cross' formal announcement of existance (around 1400 to 1500 AD), but then again, they probably learned their stuff in the East, at a mystery school descended from the Egyptians. The current Druidic Order claims direct descent form the ancient druids, and they have records dating back pretty darn far (William Blake was proported to be their leader at one time.) The Freemasons appear to be descended from the Knights Templar. So, in other words, most of the major mystical societies all claim ancient descent...mostly from Egyptian mystery schools. How much is hogwash, I will not speculate. I hope this offers some sort of help to you...

Diana Hignutt
03-10-2006, 02:33 PM
In keeping with our discussions on invocations, I thought we'd take a look at the magickal formula of the Tetragrammaton. The Tetragrammaton is the secret Hebrew Four-lettered name of God. It is often given as: YHVH.

Yod
Heh
Vau
Heh

The formula is elemental in its symbolism. A study of the Gematria will yield much to those interested, but we're after the easy stuff that relates to invocation today.

Yod = Fire = Active
Heh = Water = Passive
Vau = Air = Active
Heh(final) = Earth = Passive.

The practicality of this formual as regards to invocation is as follows:

Yod. In the first part of the invocation the magician actively calls on the higher power...reciting attributes, and special symbolism of the god, archangel, or whatever.

Heh. The second part is reflective. The magician speaks the next part of the invocation as though he/she were hearing the words of the god in the distance.

Vau. More active calling of the god. It is more of a personal entreaty than the more formal first phase. The magician calls the god as a lover more or less.

Heh (final). The magician completely identifies his/her self as the god. Feeling the divine power within.

Look back over the Thoth invocation ( a few posts back) and see how it fits with this formula.

***Thread Disclaimer: The information in this thread is presented for literary purposes only, and does not represent an endorsement occult practices

Diana Hignutt
03-11-2006, 03:57 PM
Not all invocations use the Tetragrammaton formula. There are many types of magickal formulae. Here's one that comes to us from the Rosicrucians, first published by the French occultist, Eliphas Levi in his Transcendental Magic (a recommended classic). This particular invocation is The Prayer to the Sylphs:

"Spirit of Light, Spirit of Wisdom, whose breath gives and takes away the form of all things; Thou before whom the life of every being is a shadow which transforms and a vapour which passes away; Thou who ascendest upon the clouds and dost fly upon the wings of the wind; Thou who breathest forth and the limitless immensities are peopled; Thou who drawest in and all that which came forth from Thee unto Thee returneth; endless movement in the eternal stability, be Thou blessed forever!

"We praise Thee, we bless Thee in the fleeting empire of created light, of shadows, reflections and images; and we aspire without ceasing towards Thine immutable and imperishable splendour. May the ray of Thine intelligence and the warmth of Thy love descend on us; that which is volalitle shall be fixed, the shadow shall become body, the spirit of the air shall receive a soul, and dream be thought. We shall be swept away no more before the tempest, but shall bridle the winged steads of the morning and guide the course of the evening winds, that we may flee into Thy presence. O Spirit of Spirits, O eternal Soul of Souls, O Imperishable Breath of Life, O Creative Sigh, O Mouth which dost breathe forth and withdraw the life of all beings in the ebb and flow of Thine eternal speech, which is the divine ocean of movement and of truth!"

There are similar prayers to all the elemental energies of the divine. I find them quite beautiful and insightful. They can also be found in Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn, as well as his Ceremonial Magick

Diana Hignutt
03-17-2006, 05:04 PM
I could fill pages and pages of this thread with examples of invocations and the different formulae employed. I'm not sure that would really accomplish very much towards the stated purpose of this thread. I'm sure down the road I may find something that I just can't pass up posting, but for now, I'm going to leave this subject after this post, to take up invocation's cousin, evocation.

The important thing to take away from this discussion on invocation, is that through the practice, the magician forms a link and brings down into his/her own being the higher energy of the gods. This is the very secret of the philosopher's stone, so listen up. In the Golden Dawn, and any mystical society worth its salt, the true purpose of adeptship was the Union with the Higher Self, or as they liked to call it, the Holy Guardian Angel. This is the highest purpose of magick. Everything else, is either preparatory, or distraction.

Here is an extract from a ritual to invoke the Holy Guardian Angel performed by Alan Bennett, one of the greatest Adepts from the Golden Dawn, before he travelled into the East, entered a Buddhist monestary and became Bhikkhu Ananda Metteya:

"Adoration be unto Thee, Lord of my Life, for Thou hast permitted me to enter thus far into the Sanctuary of Thine Ineffable Mystery; and hast vouchsafed to manifest unto me some little fragment of the Glory of Thy Being. Hear me, Angel of God the Vast One; hear me, and grant my prayer! Grant that I may ever uphold the Symbol of Self-sacrifice; and grant unto me the comphrehesnion of aught that may bring me nearer unto Thee! Teach me, starry Spirit, more and more of Thy Mystery and Thy Mastery; let each day and hour bring me nearer, near unto Thee! Let me aid Thee in Thy suffering that I may one day become partaker of Thy Glory, in that day when the Son of Man is invoked before the Lord of Spirits, and His Name in the presence of the Ancient of Days!

"And for this day, teach me this one thing: how I may learn from Thee the Mysteries of Higher Magic of the Light. How I may gain from the Dwellers in the bright Elements their knowledge and Power: and how best I may use that knowledge to help my fellow men.

"And finally, I pray Thee, to let there be a link of Bondage between us; that I may ever seek, and seeking, obtain help and counsel from Thee who art my very selfhood. And before Thee do I promise and swear; that by aid of Him that sitteth upon the Holy Throne, I will so purify my heart and mind that I many one day become truly united unto Thee, who art in Truth my Higher Genius, my Master, my Guide, my Lord and King!"

Okey-dokey then, next time, we'll talk about a few things I skipped regarding purifications and banishings in perparation for our study on evocation and the calling forth of spirits both light and dark to do the bidding of the magician...

Diana Hignutt
03-24-2006, 06:42 PM
Most magickal ceremonies begin with these same procedures, but they are never more vital then when the magician is preforming a ritual evocation. Once the magician has his/her temple set up, everything must be purified (of all extraneous energies) and consecrated (towards the ritual's purpose). It may be helpful to go back a few pages and review where we discussed the apparatus of the magician. In many cases, the water of the Cup is used to symbolically purify the temple, and special oils or incense is employed to consecrate the temple. These procedures are done prior to the ritual proper and are not to be confused with Banishing.

After the purification and consecration, the ritual proper begins with the Banishing. There is one method of Banishing that is used by most practitioners, and has been for at least three hundred years. Some very similar methods to the one I'm about to describe are used by pagans, Wiccans, Rosicrucians, Black Magicians, Druids, etc..

This method, called in most references, "The Bansihing Ritual of the Pentagram" can be found in most occult texts, particularly those of Golden Dawn members. Even books designed for lay people, such as Dion Fortune's Psyhic Self-Defense, contain this ritual. It's application is universal, and it contains a Qabalahistic formula of the highest and most sublime order. According to Aleister Crowley, those "who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to posess it. Properly understood it is the Medicine of Metals, and the Stone of the Wise."

I'll take this from Regardie's Tree of Life, mainly because, it happens to be lying on the floor right by my foot, from a few weeks back when I quoted from it (organization is not my best thing). He begins by discussing the tracing of pentagrams in the astral...

"...the sign of the Pentagram, the symbol of the four elements surmounted by the crowning and conquering flame of the Holy Ghost, it owes it incomparable efficiency and power to subdue all astral opposition and cast out gross substance from the being of the Magus."

"Depending entirely on the direction towards or away from any of the five points in which this figure is traced by the Magician, so will the result be. Proceeding from the topmost point and descending in a straight line to the lower right-hand point, the powers of Fire will be invoked. On the other hand, if the Magician traces with his wand the figure from the left-hand corner to the top he will banish Earth. It may also be remarked that it is this latter type of Pentagram which is used in the Pentagram ritual, it usually sufficing to banish all beings of whatsoever class. And the sword to represent the dispelling critical faculty of the Ruach is usually the instrument employed in this connection."

1. Touching the forehead, say ATOH (unto Thee-- in Hebrew).
2. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (the Kingdom).
3. Touching the right shoulder, say Ve-Geburah (and the Power).
4. Touchinn the left shoulder, say Ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
5. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say Le-Olahm, Amen (for ever, Amen).
6. Turnign to the East, make the Earth Pentagram, with the wand or sword (or finger) and say (vibrate) YHVH.
7. Turning to the South, the same, but say, ADNI.
8. Turning to the West, the same, but say, AHIH.
9. Turning to the North, the same, but say, AGLA.
10. Extending the arms in the form of the cross, say:
11. Before me Raphiel.
12. Behind me Gabriel.
13. On my right hand Michael.
14. On my left hand Auriel.
15. For about me the Flames of the Pentagram.
16. And in the column stands the six-rayed Star.
17. Repeat 1 to 5. the Qabalahistic Cross."

Okay, wow, huh? The magician is visualizing the pentagrams glowing in astral fire in the air, and various other aspects of the ritual, including the gigantic forms of the Archangels standing in the Four Points. Since, I'm not providing this information for the benefit of teaching people how to be magicians, I will not go into much more detail here.

The idea employed here is one of an extreme state of spiriutal purity, so that the magician's temple is as clean as an operating room or a scientific clean room. It is now that the magician begins his/her operations...

Thread Disclaimer: The purpose of this thread is to share information with writers, relevant to fantasy or occult-based novels or stories, for literary uses only. This thread is NOT intended to endorse occult practices of any kind. A further warning is given: Do not attempt to use the information in this thread to preform occult rituals, the information here is woefully insufficient to that purpose, and the uninitiated may find themselves in dire circumstances if they disregard this warning.

Diana Hignutt
03-28-2006, 05:45 PM
It has been suggested that I post on this thread primarily to assuage my colossal vanity, to amaze you good people with my astounding wisdom, to show how really smart I am, and otherwise masturbate my ego all over this forum.

I am truly sorry if that's what this seems like. This was never my intention. About 80-100 people currently read this thread after each of my posts. I would like to hope that they feel they are learning something of value that can be of literary use to them.

As a writer, I can not shrug off those charges that have been lain at my feet so easily. Don't we all write for vanity? Isn't that what writing is? Or do we write to share our experience, our unique POV, our imagination? I don't know.

Frankly, I expected the first real criticism of this thread to be about the occult content, not about me.

Most people read this thread in relatively anonominity, only a few people have asked questions or comments openly. And so I ask you readers, and you can PM me, if you like...Do you consider this thread worthwhile, or am I just taking up bandwidth or whatever?

I'm fairly under the weather, and no doubt, a dash more sensitive than normal. But I ask you, am I wasting my time here?

I would appreciate an answer.

Thank you for your time.

triceretops
03-28-2006, 05:52 PM
Heck, Diana, I'm still subscribed here, and you did help my with my fantasy novel. I've learned a lot since I've been here. I am occult stupid, so that's why I check in. Certainly if I write another paranormal, or something involving magic, I'd like to know I can stumble this way and ask some questions.

Like any thread, you have more readers than participants. But I like it, and I'm glad we have someone of your knowledge and education with this field.

I don't think you've ever wasted your time enlightening people.

tri

Branwyn
03-28-2006, 07:54 PM
It has been suggested that I post on this thread primarily to assuage my colossal vanity, to amaze you good people with my astounding wisdom, to show how really smart I am, and otherwise masturbate my ego all over this forum.

I am truly sorry if that's what this seems like. This was never my intention. About 80-100 people currently read this thread after each of my posts. I would like to hope that they feel they are learning something of value that can be of literary use to them.

As a writer, I can not shrug off those charges that have been lain at my feet so easily. Don't we all write for vanity? Isn't that what writing is? Or do we write to share our experience, our unique POV, our imagination? I don't know.

Frankly, I expected the first real criticism of this thread to be about the occult content, not about me.

Most people read this thread in relatively anonominity, only a few people have asked questions or comments openly. And so I ask you readers, and you can PM me, if you like...Do you consider this thread worthwhile, or am I just taking up bandwidth or whatever?

I'm fairly under the weather, and no doubt, a dash more sensitive than normal. But I ask you, am I wasting my time here?

I would appreciate an answer.

Thank you for your time.

No you are not. I love to learn. I don't know much about the Kabbala or true ceremonial magick and enjoy reading your posts.

Diana Hignutt
03-29-2006, 04:35 PM
my thanks to tri and baywitch...

Pthom
03-29-2006, 09:28 PM
The only reason I can see to claim it is vanity to first begin a thread and then be primarily the only contributor is jealousy.

Personally, I am not terribly interested in the subject of this thread; I am more into space opera and hard science fiction. But I read this thread each and every time there is an addition (I do that with any thread in here, actually...it's my duty). And what I see is that Diana has obviously devoted more than just hours assembling the information presented here. Were I to require any information on the occult or magic, I would begin my research here...and would likely inundate Diana's inbox with PMs requesting further clarification.

I think we are fortunate to have someone such as Diana in our midst. Diana, ignore anyone who claims your efforts here are just a lark...and keep on keeping on. Thanks.

Shadow_Ferret
03-29-2006, 10:16 PM
I read with facination, too, and look forward to each of your posts, Diana. Those who would say you are doing it for your own vanity are small, jealous pitiful people.

Diana Hignutt
04-01-2006, 04:16 PM
Yeah, I'm over it. I'll get back to posting on the thread next week. But, I would really love to get more participation going here. Pthom has asked me about doing a live chat on the thread's topic sometime. Before I'd consider it, I'd like to feel that I wouldn't be sitting around for an hour talking to myself...

Would anyone be interested in a monthly live chat on magick, the supernatural, and mysticism in history and literature?

Pthom
04-01-2006, 11:25 PM
Okay, folks.

You've read it from the "horse's pen" as it were: Diana is willing lead a discussion in one of our live chats...IF you guys promise to show up.

There are SF/F regulars pretty much every Thursday in the AW chatroom -- sometimes more, sometimes fewer -- so it's really just dependent on the rest of you to NOT FORGET THE TIME AND DATE.

I'm looking forward to it. Anyone else?

ps: Diana, if you like, we can arrange the particulars via PM.

triceretops
04-01-2006, 11:48 PM
I'll see if I can make it.

Tri

Pthom
04-02-2006, 02:35 AM
Great, Tri, but the date hasn't been confirmed yet. But do check in here, or on the AW calendar (link at top of most pages in AW forums).

Zonk
04-02-2006, 03:35 AM
It has been suggested that I post on this thread primarily to assuage my colossal vanity, to amaze you good people with my astounding wisdom, to show how really smart I am, and otherwise masturbate my ego all over this forum.

I am truly sorry if that's what this seems like. This was never my intention. About 80-100 people currently read this thread after each of my posts. I would like to hope that they feel they are learning something of value that can be of literary use to them.

As a writer, I can not shrug off those charges that have been lain at my feet so easily. Don't we all write for vanity? Isn't that what writing is? Or do we write to share our experience, our unique POV, our imagination? I don't know.

Frankly, I expected the first real criticism of this thread to be about the occult content, not about me.

Most people read this thread in relatively anonominity, only a few people have asked questions or comments openly. And so I ask you readers, and you can PM me, if you like...Do you consider this thread worthwhile, or am I just taking up bandwidth or whatever?

I'm fairly under the weather, and no doubt, a dash more sensitive than normal. But I ask you, am I wasting my time here?

I would appreciate an answer.

Thank you for your time.

You would probably call me a fundamentalist, I think, so we presumably have several areas where we may simply have to agree to disagree...http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/tongue.gif

If you want to share your particular area of interest, (particularly since it's apparent you've spent a great deal of time studying it), go ahead. Your posts have never struck me as egotistical, and this thread will no doubt prove useful as a starting point for those wanting to get their facts right in constructing a scene, or character, in a WIP that involves occult practices, etc.

I know how I cringe when I read books that have caricatures of evangelicals, or fundamentalists, that are all wrong, that portray them believing things or doing things that make it evident the author did no research at all (This is apart from whether or not the character is fraudulent, or simplistic, or whatever).

It's interesting that you thought you might catch more flak for the content than for your (perceived) intent.

On another forum I posted a list of 'practical jokes' for writers to use if they needed something a character could do for revenge, etc. I didn't recommend that the writers actually go out and do them. Boy, did I catch smoke on that one. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteShrug.gif

The long and the short of it: as a Christian, I will no doubt find issue with many of the practices outlined here; as a writer, I appreciate your willingness to take the time to educate people in an area where most writers admittedly are ignorant.

And if we disagree, we can go to TIO to do it. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/tongue.gif


http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Diana Hignutt
04-02-2006, 06:03 AM
Our theoretical magician has already set up his/her temple, has everything all purified and consecrated, and has just completed the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Okay? Cool.

There are several ways, as always, to effect the evocation of a spirit, but most come down to this: the magician establishes his/herself has having the authority to command the spirit to appear and to do his/her will. Basically the magician works the appropriate invocations and once invested with the higher power bosses the spirit around. For example, an evocation to summon Taphaphtharath (I spelled that wrong on purpose), planetary spirit of Mercury could go like this:

-Invocation to the Highest
-Invocation to Hod
-Invocation to Mercury (or Thoth, or Loki, or...)
-Once the magician is identified with the God-
-Call to the Spirit
-Charge of the Spirit -Statement of purpose of ritual
-License to Depart
-Banishing ritual of the Pentagram once again

More Medieval grimoires often have the magician invoking and evoking every Holy Name of God, every Archangel, every Angel, etc. in hierarchical order before summoning the spirit they want. Often these rituals begin with really long prayers, orations and invocations.

Sometimes, a spirit's energy is summoned into a talisman.

Evocation is also known as Goetia, which means howling. The philological concept comes from the barbarous word of evocation used. More specifically these days (and for the last couple of centuries) when someone talks about Goetia they are talking about the specific formula for summoning demons found in The Sacred Magic of Abramelin, or the Lesser Key of Solomon (trans. in the late 1890's for modern use and edited by S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley). This is considered very powerful magick, and make no mistake, and heed no pretensions of the magician, this is black magic, and the Goetic spirits/demons summoned are either powerful beings, or represent powerful pyschological forces depending on your point of view. The book, after describing all sorts of preliminary procedures...finding the right spot, fasting, prayers, invocations, contains a catalog with artist renderings of many Goetic demons along with their specialities: some can render the magician invisible, find treasure, defeat enemies, etc.

Diana Hignutt
04-04-2006, 03:54 PM
To demonstrate a Goetic evocation, in highly abbreviated form, I once again quote from my screenplay, Aleister Crowley. Crowley's friend, mentor and roommate, Allan Bennett was desparately sick with asthma and chronic bronchitis. Together with another Golden Dawn member they preformed a ritual to evoke a specific Goetic spirit, whom, for the purposes of this thread, we'll just call XXXX. I hope you will forgive my superstitous reluctance to mention the daemon's name here...




INT. -- CROWLEY'S FLAT -- NIGHT
Crowley, Bennett and Jones, robed, are in the middle of the magick circle, which is drawn in chalk upon the carpeting and marked with four candles in the cardinal points. In the very center of the circle stands an altar, on which are placed: a wand, a dagger, a cup, a pentacle, a book, and a small incense burner. Outside the circle a brazier of incense billows smoke from a triangle drawn in chalk with three candles marking its angles on the carpet.

Bennett is seated next to the altar, attempting to stiflehis cough. Jones stands behind the altar with his arms crossed over his chest, while Crowley takes the dagger from the altar and walks to the east. He traces a pentagram in the air with his dagger. It is subtly visible, as a glowing afterimage which flickers in and out of perception. All three of the magicians’ faces are intent on their magical working.


INT. -- THE MAGICK CIRCLE -- NIGHT.
The three of them are circumambulating the inside perimeter of the circle. They maintain a proportional distance between each other as they walk. When each passes the eastern most candle they project their arms forward, palms out.

INT. -- THE TRIANGLE -- NIGHT.

The incense smoke continues to billow up.



INT. -- THE MAGICK CIRCLE -- NIGHT.

Crowley is standing behind the altar now, with Jones and Bennett circumambulating. Crowley holds a mystic talisman with the spirit's seal upon it in one hand and the wand in the other.

CROWLEY

(powerfully)

We do invoke, conjure and command thee, Oh thou Spirit, XXXX and to show thyself visibly unto us before this Circle in fair and comely shape, without any deformity or evil appearance. Appear before us.

JONES & BENNETT

XXXX. XXXX. XXXX.

Vague, mysterious lights appear throughout the room. They swirl and blend with the smoke from the incense. The magicians take notice of these phenomenon, quickly checking their excitement and concentrating their efforts.

CROWLEY

Appear to us now.



INT. -- TRIANGLE -- NIGHT.

A form begins to become semi-visible.



INT. -- MAGICK CIRCLE -- NIGHT.

The three magicians watch in silence.



INT. -- TRIANGLE -- NIGHT.

The spirit, XXXX, slowly manifests, vaguely appearing in the form of a centaur. He regards them for a moment, points to Bennett and then to the East. Buer then fades into the incense cloud. Jones and Crowley look at each other confused, Bennett just stares off.


INT. -- CROWLEY'S FLAT -- NIGHT.

Crowley and Jones are cleaning up the chalk circle off the carpet with sponges. Bennett is sitting on the couch in a heroin induced lethargy.

JONES

Very impressive visual phenomena for a first Goetic operation, Aleister. Wouldn't you say, Allan?

Bennett continues simply staring into space.

JONES

See, Allan agrees.

CROWLEY

Visual phenomenon are all very well and good, but what about results? What about Allan? We've accomplished nothing useful.

Bennett speaks mysteriously from his trance-like daze.

BENNETT

XXXX says that everything shall be taken care of.

JONES

What?

BENNETT

I heard his voice. He spoke right to me.

JONES

I see. What did he say, then?

BENNETT

I must leave England. Go to the Far East. My health will improve away from the damp climate here.

CROWLEY

That's common sense, not magick. But if you like, I can easily loan you the money for the trip.

BENNETT

You mustn't. XXXX has assured me that the funds will be forthcoming.

Crowley and Jones look at each other in doubt.




The money for Allan's trip did mysteriously appear. He moved to Rangoon, joined a Buddhist monastary and his health cleared up completely.

Medievalist
04-04-2006, 06:55 PM
Rather than looking to the Roman gods, one might look to the genii loci, the spirits attached to a specific place, who could influence one's actions.

Diana Hignutt
04-04-2006, 07:25 PM
Rather than looking to the Roman gods, one might look to the genii loci, the spirits attached to a specific place, who could influence one's actions.

Oh, I had just used Mercury as an example earlier, as it is far easier to determine the correct correspondences for incense, colors, and most importantly that beings' sphere of influence,etc. The use of the genii loci would require far more research on the part of the magician, and what invocations, powers, sigils would the magician use to call or bind that spirit?

Branwyn
04-04-2006, 07:33 PM
Lunar Crone
Dark Moon

In ancient times, the moon was revered as a goddess, and each of her lunar phases - new moon, full moon, and dark moon - was said to correspond to the three phases of a woman's life: maiden, mother, and crone. The moon has long been associated with our power within, and you do not have to be a woman to connect with the moon's power. The dark moon, which is associated with the crone phase, appears in the sky during the last three days of every lunar cycle. It cannot be seen with the human eye, but it is the dark moon that presides over the sky until a new 28-day cycle begins and a new moon is ready to appear. Often referred to as the "dead moon," the dark moon doesn't necessarily represent death. It is, however, a time for life-enriching endings and a prelude to new beginnings.

When the dark moon appears, it becomes easier for us to shed unnecessary emotional baggage and free ourselves of people and ideas that no longer serve us or add value to our life. It is a time to cleanse ourselves and create space so that what is new can enter. For many people, the dark moon is a time to rest, be introspective, and replenish their energy. Powerful, healing dreams have been known to take place during the dark moon, and you may discover that it is during the dark moon that you are most driven to meditate, explore your intuitive abilities, retrieve past life memories, or delve more deeply into your psyche.

One way to harness the energy of the dark moon is to perform a ritual where you light a black candle. Call forth and visualize the different parts of your life that you are ready to let go of. Through visualization, bind these parts together with light and imagine this bundle moving toward the candle. Watch these old parts being devoured by the flames, and let the candle burn out. Trust that what you've released has left you. You are now ready to welcome the new into your life.

Medievalist
04-04-2006, 08:11 PM
Oh, I had just used Mercury as an example earlier, as it is far easier to determine the correct correspondences for incense, colors, and most importantly that beings' sphere of influence,etc. The use of the genii loci would require far more research on the part of the magician, and what invocations, powers, sigils would the magician use to call or bind that spirit?

The ones preserved in the various papyri; there are quite a few. They were more than likely derived from early Etruscan practices, given some of the names etc. which are derived from Etruscan, and likely "borrowed."

Diana Hignutt
04-04-2006, 10:51 PM
Lisa, you bring up a great topic. My first answer was quite hurried as I'm in the midst of helping to prevent an environmental diaster. We'll talk more about genii loci next... Gotta go...

Diana Hignutt
04-05-2006, 10:26 PM
First, a shout out to Baywitch. Thanks for your contribution. Great post on the Lunar Crone!

Now, as readers of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough know, genii loci, or spirits of a specific location were among the first to be worshipped by ancient man. These spirits usually resided in wells, springs, streams, lakes, caves or very old trees. Most people are familiar with the Roman myths of dryads and nyads, but such beings were petitioned for favor many thousands of years earlier. People would sing, pray and leave small gifts to the spirits of specific spots. The custom of the wishing well is derived from this. Even people who believed in greater gods would still go the the little gods of the brook and grove for earthy matters.

In my mind the concept of genii loci explains (or further mystifies) the modern phenomenon know as "diabolical hauntings" attached to a specific place. Among the most famous occurred in the early 19th century. A man named John Bell moved his family from the city to some land he purchased in Kentucky (it maight have been TN). There were caves on this land that were allegedly sacred to the Native Americans. Bell left the caves alone, but cleared enough land for a modest house and farm. The first year the Bells were very happy. Soon after they began to hear what sounded to be loud claps of thunder coming from under ground. Then the sound moved into the walls of the house. Next, diabolical laughter issued from a disembodied female voice all over the house. Furniture moved around on its own and, the children were assaulted by an invisible assailant. The Bells brought in the local preacher for help. He attempted an exorcism and established communication with the entity, who claimed to hate John Bell. The exorcism didn't go well and the preacher ran screaming from the house. Joh Bell was too stubborn to allow the spirit to ruin his new home, and did his best to ignore the almost constant abuse the Bell Witch (as it came to be known) dealt him. Fame of the Bell Witch spread and curiosity seekers visited the house by the droves, among them, then General Andrew Jackson (later president). Jackson wrote of his encounter with the Bell Witch in his journal. He heard the evil laughter and curses as soon he entered the house. He heard a voice of singular malevolence say, "Who do you think you are?" He left immediately, later writing, "I would rather have faced the whole of the British army than spend one more minute in that house." Eventually the Bell Witch actually killed John Bell. At his funeral the Bell Witch's triumphant laughter drowned out the preacher's service. Bell's family abandoned the property, though people claim to hear strange sounds coming form the caves on the land. Could this be a genii loci gone bad? Hmmm?

Shadow_Ferret
04-06-2006, 08:02 PM
Quick question, then I'll get back to reading what I've missed.

Conjuring a demon, that is called invoking? An invocation? Evoking? An evocation?

What then is banishing a demon? And I don't mean through exorcism, I mean through ritual magic (ala AE Waite) with magic circles and the like.

Thanks.

Diana Hignutt
04-06-2006, 11:02 PM
Quick question, then I'll get back to reading what I've missed.

Conjuring a demon, that is called invoking? An invocation? Evoking? An evocation?

What then is banishing a demon? And I don't mean through exorcism, I mean through ritual magic (ala AE Waite) with magic circles and the like.

Thanks.

Conjuring a demon is evoking...you can only invoke the higher powers. You could also call it an evocation if you like.

Usually the ritual magician only banishing the demon after he evokes him, but I suppose if you had a troublesome demon kicking about the 'hood, you ought banish that little sucker too...

But, not to put too fine a point on it...exorcism is banishing, its just the Catholic way of doing it, and the usage of the word generally refers to banishing a demon from someone or something that is possessed.

BTW, A.E. Waite was a high ranking Golden Dawn member...

Shadow_Ferret
04-06-2006, 11:07 PM
Well, in my story, someone else invoked the demon and now it's my job, my MC's job, to banish it.

I was curious, if a demon is invoked, do you have to know the method used to invoke it to banish it? That is my MC's dilemma, he doesn't know how the demon was invoked because the original invokee was killed.

For instance, if the demon was invoked through say Hebrew ritual magic, would Christian (or Hindu, or whatever) magic banish it? Or just make it angry?

Diana Hignutt
04-07-2006, 03:48 PM
Well, in my story, someone else invoked the demon and now it's my job, my MC's job, to banish it.

I was curious, if a demon is invoked, do you have to know the method used to invoke it to banish it? That is my MC's dilemma, he doesn't know how the demon was invoked because the original invokee was killed.

For instance, if the demon was invoked through say Hebrew ritual magic, would Christian (or Hindu, or whatever) magic banish it? Or just make it angry?

Okay, one more time for the record...demons are evoked, not invoked.

You raise a good question, and it reminds me of vampire movies. Would a Hindu vampire be bothered by a cross? In the Necronomicon, a book of seriously dubious authority, but nonetheless based on ancient Babylonian myths and magick, the warning is given to the would-be magician that there exist no formula for banishing its spiritual creatures. A suggestion of using whatever the religious system of the practitioner's family tradition to banish such creatures is offered, with a hardy good luck.

In many texts it is suggested that the magician must know the demon's name or sigil to have complete power over it. I would think that that pantheon of origin would be required information for any but the most advanced adepts. Adepts of the highest order would have no trouble banishing any being, but such adepts are very hard to come by. You premise sounds good, and yes, is on solid historical tradition as foundation, based on my research.

Shadow_Ferret
04-07-2006, 05:25 PM
Sorry. Evoked. :Headbang:If I had had any religious training I'd realize that invocations are things they do in church. :)

And oh good, we know his name and his sigil. :)

Diana Hignutt
04-07-2006, 05:44 PM
Sorry. Evoked. :Headbang:If I had had any religious training I'd realize that invocations are things they do in church. :)


SF, don't beat yourself up too much for that. BTW, they do invocations at lots of places besides churches. Look back to the last page to see examples of a few different kinds of invocations that have little to do with church.

HConn
04-11-2006, 01:47 AM
I'll pass out a recommendation for Alan Moore's Promethea --http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1563896672 --
a collection of comics about magic and magical/symbolic systems. It's beautiful, funny and very interesting, if a little esoteric.

I've taken the first three volumes out of the library. They're good stuff.

(Hope I'm not repeating something from earlier in the thread.)

Diana Hignutt
04-24-2006, 04:58 AM
The concept of spirits coexisting with humanity on this plane of existence poses a number of natural questions to the magician's understanding. In the magical system of Abremelin, the magician first obtains Union with his/her Holy Guardian Angel and then proceeds to evoke and subjugate a great series of spirits and demons, thereby obtaining mastery over the created world. Since the adepts of the Golden Dawn were using this system, they had to reconcile their modern scientific views with the supernatural concept of spirits.

Aleister Crowley, in his Magick explains and reconciles this dilemna: "Anyone who teaches a new world must conform with all the conditions of it.* It is true, of course, that the hierachy of evil appears somewhat repugnant to science. It is a very hard fact to explain what we mean by saying we evoke Paimon, but, to go a little deeper, the same remark applies to Mr. Smith next door. We do not know who Mr. Smith is, or what is his place in nature, or how to account for him. We cannot even be sure that he exists. Yet in practice, we call Smith by that name and he comes. By the proper means, we can induce him to do for us those things which are consonant with his nature and powers. The whole question is therefore one of practice; and by this standard we find that there is no particular reason for quarrelling with the conventional nomenclature."

Dr. Isreal Regardie takes another view in his Tree of Life:

"The rationale of the powers conferred by Evocation and the reality of the spirits is not very far to seek, if one glances at pathological psychology for a brief moment. The phenomenon of Evocation may be compared to a subtle neurosis or complex present in our minds, which we find ourselves unable to throw off or dispose of unless by some means we are enabled to define it clearly and ascertain its cause. This knowledge gives it a precise conscious and rational form, which may then be frankly faced and banished for ever from the mind as a persecuting and troublesome impulse... The same objective rationale may be extended to the Goetia aspect of Magic... For spirits may rightly be likened to the idea-content or the subconscious-thought-content of the mind. The bestowing upon them tangible form by an imagination propelled into a prodigious activity by the process of Evocation, enables the Magician to subdue the incholate horde of undisicplined thoughts, passions and memories which they are, thus bringing form and order to the hieracrhy of spirits, and subordinating the wealth of their particular knowledge and energy to his Will."


I'll dig out some more old books by G.D. members, and we'll check out some other theories, for next time.

*This statement is of utmost practical importance to writers of fantasy novels or stories.

Diana Hignutt
04-25-2006, 04:17 PM
I turn to Golden Dawn member Dion Fortune's Applied Magic for this post:

"Taking the broad question of other phases of evolution, there is no reason why there should not be other forms of existence than dense physical matter. To the untrained person, nothing is real but the material things he can bump into and fall over. But anyone with any experience in scientific work knows that there are unseen forces of existence on the level next removed from dense matter which we get at with absolute certainty. Why should there not be others just a little further on? Are we to limit ourselves to that we can see, or are we to say that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy?"

In this same book Dion Fortunes (who's real name was Violet Firth) goes on to discuss the inhabitants of the Unseen:

1) The Souls of the Departed. Fairly self-explanatory.

2) Projections of the Living. Those humans travelling astrally.

3) The Angelic Hierarchies. The Qabalah lists ten archangels and ten orders of angelic beings. "Buddhist, Hindo and Mohammedan theology are equally explicit....It is said by the rabbis that these beings are perfect, each after their kind; but they do not evolve, and it is noticeable that they are non-intellectual. One might almost call them divine robots, each strictly conditioned by its own nature perfectly to fulfil the office for which it was created, free from all struggle and inner conflict, but changeless, and therefore unevolving."

"The functions of the angels are diverse...They are each according to his office and rank. God's messengers of things of the spirit, but they have no direct contact with dense matter. That office is performed by another order of beings altogether, the Elementals.

4) Elementals. "Elementals are the thought-forms generated by co-ordinated systems of reactions that have become stereotyped by constant and unchanging repetition."

"Elementals are 'the creations of the created,' that is to say, they are developed out of the activities of the material universe."

"Of the Elementals thus evolved there are many types. Firstly, the four great divisions of the Elemental spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, known respectively to the Alchemists as Gnomes, Sylphs, Salamanders, and Undines. These really represent four types of activity arising our of four types of relationships. In solids (the Earth element), the molecules adhere together. In liquids (the Element of Water), the molecules are free-moving, in gas (Air), they repel each other and therfore diffuse to their uttermost limits. And in fire the essential property of its activity is to change plane, or transmute. The primary Elementals...represent the co-ordinated, purposive, and intelligent action of these properties of matter--the mind-side of the material phenomena, to be precise."

"Whenever a system in nature reacts as a unit, a mountain, a dell, a wood, you have the same system of co-ordinated stresses in the background, and thus come the little nature spirits, or Devas, or gods of the localities, which our ancestors worshipped"

Other types of elementals are created through any sort of repeated reactions, and so artificial elementals are created through human interactions.

5) The Qliphoth. We've touched on these before, but we'll give Dion her shot. "These are demoniacal, dwelling in the Kingdom of the Unbalanced Force, which came into existence before equilibrium was established; different types of inharmony, reinforced by the mass of evil thoughts ever since."

According to Dion, and by correlation the Golden Dawn, only adepts should attempt to interact with any of these types of beings, but...

"Haphazard communication is more or less of a crime and the consequences can be diastrous. Then why not keep this knowledge secret? Because there is so much of it about that is better, probably, to see what is going on. If you bump into things in the dark, it is better to have a light to see what is happening and to bring control. These forces exist. They can be dealt with. It is well to know this, as there is already so much knowldege about."

Thank you, Dion... I feel much better now...

sunandshadow
04-25-2006, 07:11 PM
I was at a library booksale this past weekend and picked up a book called Man and Magic by Benjamin Appel. I was a bit dubious because of the psychadelic art on the cover and the 1970 publication date, but it seems like a good introductory survey of magic in different historical cultures including Greece, Australia, Egypt, Native America, etc.

Diana Hignutt
05-02-2006, 03:58 PM
Happy belated Beltane!

First, to sunandshadow, I'm not familiar with the book you are referring to, but it sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Okay, I'm back from my research trip to Monticello for my WIP. I plan on having the first draft of the book finished by Mid-Summer's Day. My will is fixed on it. To achieve this goal, I will have to banish many competing activities for a little while. One thing I learned on my trip was that in 1820 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter, asking the public to excuse him from answering correspondence--a duty he took very seriously. In that vein, I am taking a little leave from AW in general and this thread in particular. I will not initiate any new posts for the next six weeks, however, I will not abadon you. If anyone has any questions on magick, mysticism or comparative religion, ask it here. I'll check the thread once or twice a week, and I'll happily answer any questions that come up. If you ask a question, be patient, and the answer will be forthcoming. I will resume my willy-nilly posting schedule on the thread once my draft is complete. I would also like to encourage other posters to take up my slack here and post tid bits of appropriate knowlege here and there.

In the meantime I'll leave you with the advice to read Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough (yet again), Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabalah, Aleister Crowley's Magick, and my novel, Empress of Clouds, to see how real magick and mysticism can be readily used in the context of a fantasy story.

If you need to get in touch with me for some other reason...PM me ...or my email addy is very easy to find with google.

I may still try to do a chat sometime in the next few weeks, if that is still something that people are interested in.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Talk to you all soon.

Best,

Diana Hignutt

Shweta
05-04-2006, 06:12 AM
Couple comments to Diana.

One is, I was reading your Crowley play, and as an asthmatic I was going "eeep, incense" :)
This isn't a value judgement, just a thought: the magic may have helped his friend but I really doubt the lung irritant did!

The other is, I really appreciate the work you've put into this thread. I've done a fair amount of quote-unquote occult study m'self, but very little on ceremonial magic, and I'm finding the differences interesting. I can see how the more ceremonial methods would make for much more readable fiction than, for example, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants shamanism.

I'm not writing either, currently; I'm writing vaguely Vedic semi-ceremonial magic; but these views are really good to read.

One request for branwyn:

I wonder if you could cite sources? I am leery of statements about "ancient times" that come without source material, and besides, when ideas are interesting I like wandering off to read more.

Diana Hignutt
05-05-2006, 03:22 PM
Thanks, Shweta. I have put a lot of time into this thread, and I will again. For what it's worth, I've been writing like crazy this week, like I haven't ever done before really. The writing started off a dash stiff, but I'm getting back into my "Awards" calibre writing that I had with Empress of Clouds, probably better and way faster.

Oh yes, on the subject asthma, your comment made me laugh, as I have a fairly debilitating case of asthma myself, and I can't tolerate insense anymore. Nonetheless, insense has been used for millenia as a substance for manisfestation of spirits, usually on altars or in magic triangles.

Gotta go write, now. Thanks for reading this thread!

triceretops
05-06-2006, 05:06 AM
Way to go Diana--damn glad you're hitting your stride in your work. I'm still keyed into this thread and watching. Know that you're appreciated.

Tri

Shweta
07-02-2006, 02:27 PM
Diana, I can save them from cache.
Do you have anything after this last one?

Diana Hignutt
07-02-2006, 02:42 PM
Diana, I can save them from cache.
Do you have anything after this last one?

Nope, you'd think I'd be smart enough to save this crap. If you could, I would appreciate it. You're the best!

Shweta
07-02-2006, 02:54 PM
Here's what I do have:
EDIT: This is just what's left of page 6. Page 7 in the next post.




Break Over! Eliphas Levi. Part 1
First, I want to say how delighted I am to be back here once again. I did get a lot of writing done, about 130 pages in three weeks, and my WIP is well on its way. I'm not going to make my original goal of completing my rough draft by mid-summer's day, but hey, that's life. I'm happy enough with where I am, and after the recent events here at AW, and the importance that some people attached to this thread, how can I not renew my work here? Someone mentioned to me that there just wasn't anything else like this thread on the internet. I don't know if that's true or not, but it feels true enough to me. I'll try to post at least twice a week, and I am, as always, available to answer questions. I really do like answering questions.

I think that I'm going to make another pass over the subjects we have already dealt with here, but I intend to go deeper, touch more on the historical, and then spread out further on this pass through the occult sciences.

The first, great classic of "modern" occultism, Eliphas Levi's Dogme de la Haute Magic ( The Doctrine of Transcendental Magic) was published in 1855 in Paris. Levi, whose real name was Abbe Louis Constant was born in 1801, expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1825 and began his journey to become a master of the Rosicrucian interpretation of the Qabalah. Along this path, in 1839, he became acquainted with a man named Ganneau, "a distracted prophet of the period, who had adopted the dress of a woman" and who "abode in a garret and there adopted a species of political illuminism." (The quotes here are from A.E.Waite's introduction to his translation to Levi's masterpiece). Constant originally visited Ganneau to scoff him, but eventually fell under the sway of his eloquence and became his disciple. After this earned Constant a stint in prison, he dropped the political aspects of his teacher and delved more deeply into the more occult aspects. After years of study, and obviously, initiations into the even then splintered Rosicrucian Order, Constant adopted the pen name of Eliphas Levi and wrote one of the most powerful and informative books on the occult.

It seems fitting to me that we should undertake our new beginning with the words form his introduction to this most important book on occult philosophy:

"Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx,...in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed. Occult philosophy seems to have been the nurse or god-mother of all intelectual forces, the key to all divine obscurities and the absolute queen of society."

"Does Magic Exist? Is there occult knowledge which is in truth a power and works wonders compareble to the miracles of authorized religions? To these two palmary questions we make answer by an affirmation and a book. The book shall justify the affirmation, and the affirmation is this: There was and there still is a potent and real Magic; all that is said of it in legend is true after a certain manner, yet--contrary to the common course of popular exaggeration--it falls below the truth. There is indeed a formidable secret, the revelation of which has once already transformed the world, as testified in Egyptian religious tradition, summarized symbolically by Moses at the beginning of Genesis....Here I must pause, and I fear that already I have said too much. I testify in fine that there is one sole, universal and imperishable dogma, strong as supreme reason; simple, like all that is great, intelligible, like all that is universally and absolutely true; and this dogma is the parent of all others. There is also a science which confers on man powers apparently superhuman. They are enumerated thus in a Hebrew manuscript:

'Hereinafter follow the powers and privileges of him who hold in his right hand the Clavicles of Solomon, and in his left the Branch of the Blossoming Almond. ALEPH - He beholds God face to face, without dying and converses familiarly with the seven genii who command the entire celestial army. BETH - He is above all griefs and fears. GIMEL - He reigns with all heavan and is served by all hell. DALETH - He rules his own health and life and can influence equally those of others. HE - He can neither be surprised by misfortune nor overwhelmed by diasters, nor can he be conquered by his enemies. VAU - He knows the reason of the past, present and future. ZAIN - He possesses the secret of the resurrection of the dead and the key to immortality.'

'Such are the seven chief privileges, and those which rank next are these--
CHETH - To find the Philosophical Stone. TETH - To possess the Universal Medicine. IOD -- To know the laws of perpetual motion and to prove the quadrature of the circle. CAPH -- To Change into gold not only all metals but also the earth itself, and even the refuse of the earth. LAMED -- To subdue the most ferocious animals and have the power to pronounce those words which paralyse and charm serpents. MEM -- To have the ARS NOTORIA which gives the Universal Science. NUN -- To speak learnedly on all subjects, without perparation and without study.'

'These, finally are the seven least powers of the Magus: SAMECH -- To know at a glance the deep things of the souls of men and the mysteries of the hearts of women. AYIN - To force Nature to make him free at his pleasure. PE - To forsee all future events which do not depend on a superior free will, or on an undiscernible cause. TSADE - To give at once and to all the most efficacious consolations and the most wholesome counsels. KOPH -- To triumph over adversities. RESH -- To conquer love and hate. SHIN - To have the secret of wealth, to be always its master and never its slave. To enjoy even poverty and never become abject or miserable. TAU -- Let us add to these three septenaries that the wise man rules the elements, stills tempests, cures the diseased by his touch and raised the dead!'

'But certain things have been sealed by Solomon with his triple seal. It is enough that the initiates know; as for others, whether they deride, doubt or believe, whether they threaten or fear, what matters it to science or to us?'"

Next time, we'll go into a little more detail on the actual occult doctrine of Eliphas Levi and see how it lead to the establishment of the Golden Dawn ...

*****Thread Disclaimer: The information in this thread is intended solely for the informational and inspirational use of writers, and is not intended to promote the occult in any way.





Eilphas Levi Part II
Levi's Doctrine of Transcendental Magic is largely a revelation of the Qabalah of the Western Occult Tradition (almost universally disseminated through Rosicrucian derived secret societies until the publication of this book- beginning what would bring about a larger movement toward the spread of these ideas, first through a new secret society, and than through the publications of its members--bringing to us the vast wealth of knowledge hitherto unavailable to the masses).

I shall let Levi give you the basics of the system of the ten SEPHIROTH, or spheres of emination of creation (you might want to refresh in your minds the Qabalah as I have explained it earlier to get the most out of this):

"...the Kabalah is the groundwork of all religions and all sciences--a triple triangle and a circle, the notion of the triad explained by the balance multipied by itself in the domains of the ideal, then the realization of this conception in forms. Now, the ancients attached the first notions of this simple and impressive theology to the very idea of numbers, and qualified the figure for the first decade after the following manner: (Diana's note-sorry A. E. Waite's translation isn't that great):
1. KETHER--The Crown, the equilibrating power.
2. CHOKMAH--Wisdom, equilibrated in its unchangeable order by the initiative of intelligence.
3. BINAH--Active Intelligence, equilibrated by Wisdom.
4. CHESED--Mercey, which is Wisdom in its secondary conception, ever benevolent because it is strong.
5. GEBURAH--Severity, necessitated by Wisdom itself, and by goodwill. To permit evil is to hinder good.
6. TIPHERETH-- Beauty, the luminous conception of equilibrium in forms, intermediary between the Crown and the Kingdom, mediating principle between Creator and creation--a sublime conception of poetry and its sovereign preisthood!
7. NETSAH--Victory, that is, eternal triumpth of intelligence and justice.
8. HOD--Eternity of the conquests achieved by mind over matter, active over passive, life over death.
9. JESOD--The Foundation, that is, the basis of all belief and all truth--otherwise, the ABSOLUTE in philosophy.
10. MALKUTH--The Kingdom, meaning the universe, entire creation, the work and mirror of God, the proof of supreme reason, the formal consequence which compels us to have recourse to virtual premises, the engima which has God for its answer--that is to say, Supreme and Absolute Reason."

On the Great Work:

"The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will, assuring him unvierseal dominion..."

"To separate the sublte from the gross, in the first operation, which is wholly inward, is to liberate the soul from all prejudice and all vice, which is accomplished by the use of Philosophical Salt, that is to say, wisdom; of Mercury, that is, personal skill and application; finally, of Sulphur, representing vital energy and fire of will. By these things we are enabled to change into spiritual gold things which are all least precious, even the refuse of the earth..."

On The Astral Light:

"All that is proceeds from what has been, and consequently nothing that is can ever more cease to be. The succession of forms is produced by the alternatives of movement; they are the phenomena of life which replace without destroying one another. All things change; nothing perishes. The sun does not die which it vanishes form the horizon; even the most fluidic forms are immortal, subsisting always in the permanence of their raison d'etre, which is the combination of light with the aggregated potencies of the molecules of the first substance. Hence they are preserved in the astral fluid, and can be evoked and reproduced according to the wil of the sage."

A Last Word from Good 'Ol Eliphas:

"And now a final word to recpitulate this entire introduction. If you be blind like Samson when you cast down the pillars of the temple, its ruins will crush you. To command Nature we must be above Nature, by resistance of her attractions. If your mind be perfectly free from all prejudice, superstition and incredulity, you will rule spirits. If you do not obey blind forces, they will obey you. If you be wise like Solomon, you will perform the works of Solomon; if you be holy like Christ, you will accomplish the works of Christ. To direct the currents of the inconstant light, we must be established in the constant light. To command the elements, we must have overcome their hurricanes, their lightnings, their abysses, their tempests. In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL, we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire and to reign we must BE SILENT."

I do apologize that is material is rather stiff, if not without poetic resonance. Next time, we will venture forth to the formation of the Golden Dawn which began the Great Occult Revival...

Shweta
07-02-2006, 03:26 PM
OK, even with it saved to disk I'm getting a bit nervous. So I'm going to repost here, and if there's a better way I can delete those posts.



The Golden Dawn, Part I
In 1887 three men, Dr. William Woodman, Dr. William Wynn Wextcott, and S.L. "MacGregor" Mathers, obtained, they claimed, permission from a certain continental Rosicrucian adept, a Fraulein Anna Sprengel, to form a new temple of Rosicrucian initiation, and the Isis-Urania Temple of Hermetic Students of the Golden Dawn began. Woodman was the leader of a Freemason organization of which the other two men were members. Whether there really was an Anna Sprengel is not certain. They further claimed direct descent from the Rosicrucian Order from the original creation of the order by Christian Rozenkreutz in 1398 in Germany. There exist no real facts to back up these claims. However, the level of mystical scholarship of these men was enormous, and in particular, Samual Liddell Mathers, who had adopted the nickname "MacGregor", a fake Scottish accent, and pretended descent from Scottish kings, was clearly a genius in this area.

The debate continues to this day upon whose authority, if anyone's, the Golden Dawn was truly derived. I will say that it is largely irrelevant in my opinion. If all of the order materials had not come from original Rosicrucian sources, then the difference was made up by massive scholarship, and the brilliance of Mathers' mind. Mathers claims that the rituals were those originally handed down through Rosicrucian sources, and who are we to doubt a guy who spoke with a fake Scottish accent?

The crux of the Golden Dawn's work was initiation and instruction in the mystical arts, particualarly those of Alchemy, the Qabalah and Magick.

Members were sworn to absolute secrecy.

From the Neophyte Ritual:

"I ...., in the Presence of the LORD of the Universe, Who works in Silence and Whom naught but Silence can express, and in this HAll of the Neophytes of the STELLA MATUTINA, regularly assembled under Warrant from the Greatly Honoured Chiefs of the Second Order, do, of my own freewill, hereby and hereon, most solemnly promise to keep secret this Order, its Name, the Names of its Members and the proceedings that take place at its meetings, from every person in the world who has not been initiated into it; nor will I discuss them with any Member who has not the Pass-word for the time being, or who has resigned, demitted or been expelled.

"I undertake to maintain a kindly and benevolent relation with all Fratres and Sorores of the Order.

"I solemnly promise that any Ritual or lecture placed in my care or any cover containing them, shall bear the official label of this Order.

"I will will neither copy nor allow to be copied, any manuscript, until I have obtained permission of the Second Order, lest our Secret Knowledge be revealed through my neglect.

"I solemnly promise not to suffer myself to be placed in such a state of passivity, that any uninitiated person or power may cause me to lose control of my actions.

"I solemnly promise to perservere with courarge and determination in the labours of the Divine Science, even as I shall perservere with courage and determination through this Ceremony which is their Image -- and I will not debase my mystical knowledge in the labour of Evil Magic at any time tried or under any temptation....

"Furthermore, if I break this, my Magical Obiligation, I submit myself, by my own consent, to a Stream of Power, set in motion by Divine Guardians of this Order, Who live in the Light of their Perfect Justice, and before Whom my Soul now stands.
They journey as upon the Winds--
They strike where no man strikes--
They slay were no man slays--
and, as I blow my neck under the Sword of the Hiereus, so do I command myself unto their Hands for vengeance or reward.
So help me my Mighty and Secret Soul, and the Father of my Soul Who works in Silence and Whom naught but Silence can express."

Luckily for us, enough people completely disregarded this obligation and hence derives most of the occult knowledge of the present.

I'll end this little post with the names of a few people who were known to be members of the Golden Dawn (some of them became quite famous for literary reasons):

W. B. Yeats, A. E. Waite, Charles Williams, Florence Farr, Algernon Blackwood, Aleister Crowley, Allan Bennett, Oscar Wilde's wife (whose name I just can't remember this morning), oh crap, my brains not working right this morning, I'll dig through some more books later, and come up with some more people... oh, and Brahm Stroker was said to be a member too...





Wow, that's an eye-opener. Great work, Diana. Had no idea it had such membership.

Tri




Golden Dawn, Part II: W. B. Yeats
I thought we should start the next phase of our Golden Dawn discussion with the different members. Since our interests are primarily literary, who better to begin with than the strongest literary light of all the members, William Butler (W.B.) Yeats. Yeats is far better known for his work as a poet, yet Yeats was fascinated by the occult and became a high ranking adept in the Golden Dawn. His magical motto, or name by which he was known in the order was Demon Est Deus Inversus (The devil is the converse of God). His poems ooze with his mysticism. In 1925 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the leading figure in the Irish Renaissance. He possessed a keen interest in Celtic Mysticism in addition to the magick he learned in the order. Eventually, he was to side against Mathers on the question of Crowley in the argument that was to splinter the Golden Dawn (which we'll talk about later).

Here are just a couple of my favorite Yeats passages:

From: Fergus and the Druid:

"I see my life go drifting like a river
From change to change; I have been many things--
A green drop in the surge, a gleam of light
Upon a sowrd, a fir-tree on a hill,
An old slave grinding at a heavy quern,
A king sitting upon a chair of gold--
Ans all these things were wonderful and great;
But now I have gorwn nothing, knowing all.
Ah! Druid, Druid, how great webs of sorrow
Lay hidden in the small slate-coloured thing!"
(1892)

From: Into the Twilight:

"Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight,
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.

Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shifting and twilight grey;
Through hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.

Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;

And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the grey twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn."
(1893)

And my personal fav, From: The Wild Swans at Coole

"The tress are in their autmun beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have lloked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lakes's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?"
(1917)

Nest time, Arthur Edward Waite...




The Golden Dawn, Part III: A. E. Waite
Arthur Edward Waite joined the Golden Dawn in it's early years (as did Yeats). He quickly rose through the ranks. He has been called pompous and obtuse by some of his comtemporaries, but, in fairness, he has delivered to us a great amount of occult information. His scholarship was first rate and his books, if a little wordy and difficult are packed with solid information. Among his greatest achievements was the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, which is the most common deck available today. Waite teamed up with artist Pamela Coleman Smith (I'm pretty sure that's her name, I'll double check that later) and together they designed a powerful Tarot deck filled with occcult symbolism and archetypes of power. To supplement this he wrote the book, The Pictoricial Key to the Tarot. His Book of Black Magic and Pacts was, in fact, the book that set Aleister Crowley on his occult quest. Waite was friends with Charles Williams, C. S, Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkein (the famous Inklings), and it is clear that he taught them some of his occult knowledge. Now, to give Waite his due, he was devoutly Christian, and his mysticism is in no way "black magic." He also sided against Mathers in the Crowley controversy which splintered the order (yeah, yeah, I'll get to it soon). Waite wrote dozens of books, and translations of older occult masterpeices.




The Golden Dawn, Part IV: MacGregor Mathers
I've already talked a little about Samuel Liddel "MacGregor" Mathers, but there are a few other points to make about this most extraordinary man. He was absolutely brilliant. Despite his claims to the otherwise, he most likely wrote every scrap of Golden Dawn knowledge lecture, every ritual, virtually every essay, though based on unrivalled occult scholarship. The book, The Golden Dawn, edited by Dr. Israel Regardie (another, later G.D. member) contains every piece of official order material.

Here's the Golden Dawn Prayer of the Undines or Water spirits from the Practicus initiation:

"Terrible King of the Sea, Thou who holdest the Keys of the Cataracts of Heaven, and who enclosest the subterranean Waters in the cavernous hollows of the Earth. King of Deluge and the Rains of Spring. Thou who openest the sources of rivers and of the fountains; Thou who commandest moisture which is, as it were, the Blood of the Earth, to become the sap of plants. We adore Thee and we invoke Thee. Speak Thou unto us, Thy Mobile and changeful creatues, in the Great Tempests, and we shall tremble before Thee. Speak to us also in the murmur of the limpid Waters, and we shall desrie Thy love."

"O Vastnass! wherin all the rivers of Being seek to lose themselves -- which renew themselves ever in Thee! O Thou Ocean of Infinite Perfection! O Height which reflectest Thyself in the Depth! O Depth which exhalest into the Height! Lead us into the true life, through intelligence, through love! Lead us unto immortality through sacrifice, that we may be found worthy to offer one day unto Thee, the Water, the Blood and the Tears, for the Remission of Sins! Amen."

Beautiful stuff, IMO. Was the work of ancient Rosicrucians, or of Mathers? Modern opinion suggest Mathers.

Mathers contibutions to the occult literature include his very difficult The Kabbalah Unveiled, and translations of The Lesser Key of Solomon and The Sacred Magic of Abramelin. But, his influence can be seen in the works of every Golden Dawn member.

W. B. Yeats told the tale of the time he and Mathers were walking and talking down a wooded trail. They came upon a small herd of dear. Yeats was astounded when Mathers got down on all fours and walked right up to the dear and mingled amongst them. Mathers later explained that he had assumed the magical form of a dear and had become one in the astral. Yeats claims this to be a true story.

Mathers developed a characteristic common to many magicians, a lust for power, at least according to his enemies. He was imperious. He was alcoholic. He spoke with an assumed Scottish accent. He did descredit Westcott, his co-leader of the order, by leaving documents with his name on them in a cab. Westcott was forced to leave the order and Mathers assumed full control. We'll talk more of MacGregor Mathers in the course of our discussions, but I wanted to emphaze his importance.


And that really is all I have.

Diana Hignutt
07-03-2006, 12:55 PM
And that really is all I have.

I'm pretty sure that's all there was. Thank you so much. From now on I'll save these on my copmputer. Shweta, you are the very best!

We'll start on Crowley next time...

Diana Hignutt
07-07-2006, 03:14 PM
Edward Alexander Crowley was born in 1875 to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family. The Plymouth Brethren were (are, they could still exist, beats me) a fundamental Christian sect. Crowley's father was a brewer who had amassed a considerable fortune. By all accounts he was a decent chap, and his death left a young Alec in the clutches of his mother and uncle who were religious fanatics. Whenever young Alec did something wrong, his mother would call him the "Great Beast 666" and his uncle would beat the crap out of him. Nice. Not surprisingly, Crowley rebelled against his strict upbringing, and he did it in a big way. Rigorously exploring his sexuality was his first form of rebellion. At fifteen he bedded the maid in his mother's bed and made a point to tell her all about it. This was only the very beginning of Crowley's sexual exploits, which were to become an important part of his magick and his philosophy.

He was a brilliant student at Cambridge, with a great talent for languages and linquistics. He also developed a love of mountain-climbing as a great passion during his late teens, which he developed throughout his adult life. Many of his mountain-climbing records still stand. Alec, now Aleister, Scottish for "Solitary Wanderer" discovered his destiny while reading A.E. Waite's Book of Black MAgic and Pacts, which suggested that a secret society of magical adepts existed. Crowley wrote to Waite, only to receive a polite reply with no further information. So, Crowley set out to become an expert on all things occult on his own. He read. He studied. He wrote poetry. And he travelled the world climbing mountains.

One day he met Cecil Jones, a London chemist who claimed to be an alchemist. Jones revealed that he was a member of the Golden Dawn, and Crowley immediately begged to be allowed to join. Based on his already impressive knowledge of the occult, Jones submitted Crowley's petition. The heads of the Order permitted him entry and in 1898 Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn.

Then things got interesting.

More, next time...

Diana Hignutt
07-14-2006, 03:58 PM
Crowley got on well enough with his superiors in the Golden Dawn at first. His classical scholarship and previous occult learning gave him a tremendous edge. Mathers considered him someone of great potential and took him under his wing. But Crowley's biggest advantage in the order was the friendship he struck with Allan Bennett, considered the most powerful magician in the order, certainly the most mysterious and feared. Bennett's magickal skills, however did nothing for him economically, and he was reduced to sleeping at the Golden Dawn headquarters in London. Crowley insisted that Bennett moved in with him, and in return Bennett taught his new friend everything he knew about the occult. With Mathers, Jones and Bennett in his corner, Crowley flew up the grades of the Golden Dawn. (Bennett moved to Rangoon for health reasons and become a Buddhist monk-costing Crowley an important ally in the order).

Crowley's bad boy reputation (writing pornographic poetry, seducing the daughter of an order member) brought him into conflict with Waite and Yeats, who led a powerful faction of the order. When Mathers left London to begin a new temple in Paris, he left Yeats, Waite, and actress Florence Farr in charge. Yeats and Waite refused to allow Crowley access to the inner order (higher ranks). Yeats claimed that Crowley was a "juvenile deliquent" and not a serious student of the occult. The Golden Dawn was "an occult society and not a reformitory." Crowley took his case to Mathers in Paris. Mathers initiated Crowley into the second order in the Paris temple. I'll excerpt from my screenplay Aleister Crowley to continue the story:



INT. -- THE LONDON TEMPLE -- DAY.

Yeats and Waite are seated at their table. Crowley comes
in, bearing a letter. They look up as he enters, displeased
to see him.

CROWLEY
Good Day, gentlemen. I bear a
letter, signed by the head of
this Order, demanding that you hand
over to me the documents pertaining
to the Grade Adeptus Minor.

YEATS
Let's see that.

He pulls the letter from Crowley's hand. Crowley stands
there smugly as Yeats glances at the letter. Waite leans
over to read the letter over Yeats' shoulder.


EXT. -- OUTSIDE THE LONDON TEMPLE -- DAY.

Crowley is thrown out into the street.


INT. -- MATHERS' APARTMENT -- DAY.

Mathers is dressed in full Scottish Highlands regalia. He
is furious. Crowley stands there before him.

MATHERS
This is rebellion! Yeats has
gone mad! Aye, we'll show them.
I have a bit of a plan.

INT. -- MATHERS' APARTMENT, FURTHER -- DAY.

Mathers is assessing Crowley, who now also wears a Scottish
costume, though, somewhat self-consciously.

CROWLEY
You're sure about this, then?

Mathers pulls a black mask over Crowley's head.

MATHERS
I'm sure lad. This will put the
fear in them. Here, take your
sword.

He hands Crowley a long sword.


EXT. --OUTSIDE THE LONDON TEMPLE -- DAY.

Yeats unlocks the door to the temple.


INT. -- THE OUTER ROOM -- DAY.

Yeats, whistling, walks across the room and opens the door
to the actual temple chamber.


INT. -- THE TEMPLE ROOM -- DAY.

Yeats enters into the temple. Crowley is dressed in mask
and kilt and bearing a sword. He steps out of the shadows
screaming a war cry. Yeats is shocked and horrified. He
drops his keys and flees.


EXT. -- OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE -- DAY.

Yeats walks up to the temple, this time surrounded by the
POLICE SERGEANT and three other POLICEMEN.


INT. -- THE TEMPLE ROOM -- DAY.

Crowley brandishes his sword as the policemen enter,
followed by Yeats. The policemen spread out carefully,
flanking Crowley.

CROWLEY
This temple is the property of
the Secret Chiefs. The uninitiated
are not permitted.

The police sergeant steps forward.

POLICE SERGEANT
All right, sir. I'm afraid you're
going to have to come along with
us, now.

CROWLEY
But I represent the rightful
owners of this property.

Crowley indicates Yeats.

CROWLEY
This man is trespassing.

POLICE SERGEANT
That's not our problem at the
moment, sir.


EXT. -- OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE -- DAY.

The policemen lead an unmasked Crowley out into the street,
his hands handcuffed behind his back. He scowls in
contempt.


I find the story funny. Anyway, that was the beginning of the end for the Golden Dawn. The order was split.

Crowley left England and his occult studies behind to join in the expedition to climb the famous mountain K-2, which ultimately ended in failure.

Crowley then bought a house in Scotland, and set about to begin the magickal operation of the Converstation of the Holy Guardian Angel described in the medieval grimoire, The Sacred Magic of Abramelin.

But then he met and fell in love with Rose Kelly (sister of the famous artist Sir Gerald Kelly). They got married and Crowley once again put his occult work on hold, this time for his honeymoon. And then things got really weird...

Next time: The Book of the Law...

Diana Hignutt
07-18-2006, 03:35 PM
Okay, back up a little. I forgot to talk about Crowley's drug experimentation. When he and Bennett were living in Crowley's London flat, they began some extreme drug use. Initially, it was probably begun to find something to relieve Allan's asthma, however, it quickly veered over to downright drug abuse. Cocaine, opium (and deriviatives), hashish, etc...

I bring this up because Crowley and Rose began to use drugs quite extensively on their honeymoon. Crowley's novel, Dairy of a Drug Fiend, describes this period. Also, Somerset Maughm's The Magician is based on Crowley and Rose's early marriage (loosely) with the evil Oliver Haddo using his dark powers to seduce the innocent girl.

During their honeymoon they traveled from Scotland to Paris and from Pairs to Cairo. Rose asked Crowley to show her a little something of his magic (no "K" yet), and to oblige his new wife Crowley took her to the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid one night and performed an evocation to the Slyphs, or elemental spirits of the air. Rose reported that the air in the chamber became brilliantly alive, glowing, and that she could see small winged objects flying in the air about them. They moved on the go big game hunting in the jungles of Asia (Burma, I think, but I don’t remember for sure). Upon discovering that Rose had become pregnant, they decide to return to Cairo in route to Europe. Almost immediately upon returning to their rooms in Cairo, Rose fell into a trance and advised Crowley that, "They are waiting for you." She told Crowley that if he would sit at this desk on noon of April 8, 9, and 10 of 1904, he would be given incredible information from the gods themselves.

He took her up on it, and at exactly noon, a strange disembodied intelligence (named Aiwass) dictated what would become The Book of the Law to Crowley. Each day, Crowley received a different book, the first day the book of Nuit, the second, the book of Hadit, and the third, the book of Ra Hoor Khut. Here are some excerpts:



Had! The Manifestation of Nuit
The unveiling of the company of heaven.
Every man and every woman is a star.
Every number is infinite, there is no difference.
Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.




Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Love is the Law.
Love under will.




Nu! The Hiding of Hadit.
I am the flame that burns in the heart
of every man, and in the core of every star.
Remember all ye that existence is pure joy...




Beware! Hold! Raise the spell of Ra Hoor Khut!
Now let it first be understood that
I am a god of War and Vengeance.
Worship me with Fire and Blood!




O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing.
I see thee hate the hand and the pen; but I am stronger.
Each man and woman that thou meetest, it is the law to give.
I am the Hawk-headed Lord of Silence
and of Strength.
The Book of the Law is Written
and Concealed.
Aum. Ha.


Crowley wrote to Mathers that the "Secret Chiefs" of the Golden Dawn had placed him in charge of the order, and Crowley had big plans for fulfilling his charge to spread the word of the law, but when they returned to Scotland, and Rose gave birth to their daughter, Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith Crowley, Crowley once again set aside his occult interests and concentrated on his family. Rose wanted to travel again, and so with their infant daughter in tow, they headed off to China.
However, the forces of the "Aeon of Horus" were not so easily ignored, and Crowley’s domestic happiness was soon to come to and end...

Diana Hignutt
07-21-2006, 05:22 PM
Sorry about the postings coming a little slower than normal here. I've been very busy at work, trying to clear my desk so I can vacation with a clear conscience in a couple of weeks. It will be mid August before I can post more than once a week here most likely. However, as a special bonus to readers of this thread in particular and AW members in general, I have decided to give a free pdf format ebook copy of my 2004 Spectrum Award nominated novel, Moonsword, to anyone who wants one. Just send me your email addy by rep point comment or PM, and I'll send it to you. I am the sole holder of all rights for the book, previously published by AmErica House (PublishAmerica). Once I discovered how disreputable and dishonorable they were I fought for and regained my rights to the book. The sequel, Empress of Clouds (2005 Spectrum Award nominee, 2004 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Finalist, 2005 Independent Publisher IPPY Award Semi-Finalist) is available from Behler Publications and whereever books are sold. Both books stand alone and do not require reading the other book.

I have reached this decision after countless submissions to agents have gone unanswered. Clearly there is little interest in a previously badly published Book I of a trilogy where another company holds the rights to Book II. Perhaps one day, when I get lucky with another, unrelated project, will I be able to find a publisher interested in my entire trilogy.

This is a limited time offer. Valid through September 1, 2006 or thereabouts) ...

Next time, more Crowley hijinks...

triceretops
07-22-2006, 04:17 AM
Diana, I have no doubt whatsoever that those three books are going to get picked up. Do not be discouraged over this--you're too bright and talented to go unoticed. That is a wonderful offer you're proposing.

Hope to see you soon, and the best of luck.

Tri

Zonk
07-23-2006, 03:38 AM
Edward Alexander Crowley was born in 1875 to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family. The Plymouth Brethren were (are, they could still exist, beats me) a fundamental Christian sect.

We do still exist, Diana. :)

The moniker 'Plymouth Brethren', however, is what others have called us, and not one we use, or even like. I myself am a Nassau brother, and intend to remain so :tongue.

Your summary of Crowley's life is interesting, and accurate as far as I can recall the details, but I would like to add one caveat.

The group into which Crowley was born was one of the most extreme, and severely legalistic, offshoots of the early movement. Splintered from what later became known as the 'Exclusive Brethren', they were Pharasaical, insular, almost cult-like, oppressive, and controlling. Crowley's early escapades were designed to mock certain specific beliefs and practices of his family.

I have been told by some who knew his family that Crowley actually believed himself to be the AntiChrist. Maybe he really did, or maybe that was his family's perception. Or maybe he just told them that to offend their sensibilities, who knows.

Certainly the group did not represent the beliefs of men like Darby, Kelly, Tregelles, Groves, MacIntosh, et al., who, beginning in the 1830's, broke away from what they considered to be a moribund Anglican faith, in an attempt to follow the New Testament solely in matters of both faith and practice, without regard to either ecclesiastical hierarchies or synods.

I personally regard Crowley as a great loss; and a sobering reminder of the dangers of using man-made rules and disciplines in the vain attempt to live righteously without the power to do so. The questioning mind naturally rebels, as Crowley did.

The question of what Rose may or may not have seen during Crowley's evocation is an interesting one; by her own admission they were using drugs known to alter perceptive faculties.

I await your next installment...

:D:D:D

Diana Hignutt
07-23-2006, 04:22 PM
We do still exist, Diana. :)

The moniker 'Plymouth Brethren', however, is what others have called us, and not one we use, or even like. I myself am a Nassau brother, and intend to remain so :tongue.

Your summary of Crowley's life is interesting, and accurate as far as I can recall the details, but I would like to add one caveat.

The group into which Crowley was born was one of the most extreme, and severely legalistic, offshoots of the early movement. Splintered from what later became known as the 'Exclusive Brethren', they were Pharasaical, insular, almost cult-like, oppressive, and controlling. Crowley's early escapades were designed to mock certain specific beliefs and practices of his family.

I have been told by some who knew his family that Crowley actually believed himself to be the AntiChrist. Maybe he really did, or maybe that was his family's perception. Or maybe he just told them that to offend their sensibilities, who knows.

Certainly the group did not represent the beliefs of men like Darby, Kelly, Tregelles, Groves, MacIntosh, et al., who, beginning in the 1830's, broke away from what they considered to be a moribund Anglican faith, in an attempt to follow the New Testament solely in matters of both faith and practice, without regard to either ecclesiastical hierarchies or synods.

I personally regard Crowley as a great loss; and a sobering reminder of the dangers of using man-made rules and disciplines in the vain attempt to live righteously without the power to do so. The questioning mind naturally rebels, as Crowley did.

The question of what Rose may or may not have seen during Crowley's evocation is an interesting one; by her own admission they were using drugs known to alter perceptive faculties.

I await your next installment...

:D:D:D

Wow, that's great stuff, Zonk! Thank you so much! I find your assessment of Crowley's tale quite profound. In my screenplay, Aleister Crowley, I describe his history through the device of a reporter doing a profile story, interviewing his past associates. In the end my reporter interviews Crowley himself and I present his early years of childhood and his rebellion as formative, just as you suggest. His is, absolutely, a cautionary tale, and one of extreme rebellion.

I just loved your post! Thanks again! :)

Next installment coming soon!

Diana Hignutt
07-23-2006, 06:38 PM
Okay, time to back-up yet again. I’ve talked about Crowley’s mountain climbing, but I left out a major mentor of his, Oscar Enkenstein. Not only did Enkenstein teach Crowley the art of climbing, he taught him how to focus his mind. This skill was to serve Crowley well his whole life. After, the failed K-2 expedition, Crowley went to visit his friend Allan Bennett, who was then living as a Buddhist monk in Rangoon. Crowley stayed at the monastery with Allan, and Bennett taught his former magickal pupil the rigors of meditative practice. Those little pieces of information are important to understanding Crowley.

Now, jumping forward again. Crowley and Rose traveled through China, with their infant daughter, Lillith in tow. On the way, Crowley used visualization techniques he learned from Enkenstein and Bennett to perform the Abramelin ritual of Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel in his head while he walked. Crowley claims to have completed this task and achieved his union with his higher self in this way, in China, and thereby earned the grade of Adeptus Major (the next grade of Rosicrucian initiation).

Crowley had some business to attend to in New York, so he cuts their trip through China short, and leaves Rose and Lillith in Burma, so they can return home to Scotland. A few months later, when Crowley gets home, he discovers that Lillith died of a fever in Burma, and Rose has become severely depressed and alcoholic. Crowley did every thing he could think of to help his beloved wife, but to no avail. He finally threatened to divorce her, if she refused to stop her drinking. They divorced shortly thereafter.

Crowley was miserable in the wake of the divorce. To help him get his mind off things, Cecil Jones, his old friend from the Golden Dawn, suggested that since Crowley claimed to have been given control of the order from the secret chiefs, they should together create a completely new occult order. Thus, the A.A. or Order of the Silver Star was born. This new order combined the traditional Western occult training with the Eastern mystical techniques Crowley learned from Bennett and his other travels. It was then that Crowley did the unheard of. He published every single piece of Golden Dawn material, lectures, practices, rituals, everything. Every piece of occult and mystical information that Crowley possessed, he published. He also rediscovered The Book of the Law, and published that. Crowley quickly gained a sizable following, including a young man named Victor Newburg, who would become the quintessential sorcerer’s apprentice...

And then things went all sour again...

Zonk
07-25-2006, 07:19 AM
You're welcome, Diana.

If you're interested, the Wiki entry for us is here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Brethren)

And BTW, Ozzy Osbourne was raised as one of us too...

:D:D:D

Diana Hignutt
07-26-2006, 05:59 PM
Crowley was rummaging through his closet in Boleskine, his house in Scotland, looking for his skis, when the Book of the Law came tumbling down on him, literally. He and Jones had been in the early days of working on their new order when he rediscovered the book. Upon finding it, he shaved his head and declared himself the prophet of the New Aeon, the Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child. Not that Crowley wasn’t a dash flamboyant before, but now, he took it to a new level. He had accepted the precepts of the Book of the Law, which espoused a sort of moral relativity, captured by the phrase, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the Law. Love under will." Although, Crowley claimed that this was not intended as universal license to do whatever one pleased, he behaved that way. His sexual escapades, his wild drug use (for the Book of the Law also said: "Partake of wine and strange drugs, for they will not hurt you" and "The word of sin is restriction") led to his falling out with Cecil Jones, who did not share Crowley’s exuberance over the Book of the Law. At that point, it really didn’t matter anymore, Crowley had plenty of followers.

Crowley began referring to himself as the Great Beast 666 at this time. He also dubbed whichever woman who was his current sex magick partner, The Scarlet Woman, a title pulled from the Book of the Law.

Enter Victor Newburg. Victor was a young student, a promising poet, with a quiet disposition. He was intrigued with the occult and begged Crowley to allow him to become his student. Crowley accepted Victor, and preceded to drag him through hell. He abused the young man physically, sexually, and psychologically.

To get the A.A. some attention, Crowley decided that they would perform the Rites of Eleusis, a series of planetary rituals, at Caxton Hall in London. The extreme (for the time–1909) sexual nature of the rites, which combined music, ritual, dance and mock sex acts, raised an incredible scandal. Crowley was forced to leave England. He fled to Tunisia with Victor, and without Victor’s knowledge ransomed the young man to his parents, took the money and fled to America. He left Victor sick and alone in Tunis, and Victor remained a broken man for the rest of his life.

Crowley’s exploits and publishing ventures had exhausted his considerable fortune, and thereafter he survived on money from his followers.

Next time, Crowley founds his infamous Abby of Thelema...

Ralph Rinklemann
07-30-2006, 10:16 AM
W. B. Yeats, A. E. Waite, Charles Williams, Florence Farr, Algernon Blackwood, Aleister Crowley, Allan Bennett, Oscar Wilde's wife (whose name I just can't remember this morning), oh crap, my brains not working right this morning, I'll dig through some more books later, and come up with some more people... oh, and Brahm Stroker was said to be a member too...

TS Eliot and Evelyn Underhill to name two better known ones. Auden (the poet) also came close to joining until Charles Williams talked him into joining the Church of England instead.

His Book of Black Magic and Pacts was, in fact, the book that set Aleister Crowley on his occult quest. Waite was friends with Charles Williams, C. S, Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkein (the famous Inklings), and it is clear that he taught them some of his occult knowledge.

I disagree with this. He was friends with Williams for more than ten years. It was through the FRC however, not the GD. Waite never met Lewis or Tolkien either one as far as I know. (I'm less sure concerning Tolkien). It would have been difficult to be a young person in Great Britain during the 1920's though and not have a few friends who were involved in Spiritualism. Yes, there were a large amount of authors involved back then. And many people belonged both to the Church of England and a Spiritualist group. Williams was actually introduced to Waite by the pastor of his church. Williams, Eliot, Underhill, and several other Christian members of both the GD and the FRC jumped ship around the same time in the late 20's but no one ever talked about why. They seemed to drop all contact with Waite too. This may be wild speculation but... I have a friend whose getting up in years that used to be the Yeats family archivist. He's also a Mason himself. He's been trying to put a book together for many years that concerns certain people back at that time who were Masons that were involved in some very dark stuff. This group included at least 3-Oxford professors along with Waite (who my friend has always referred to as a "dark") and Jessie Weston, (you mentioned Frazer's "Golden Bough" so maybe you're familiar with Weston's, "From Ritual to Romance" too). I think he's probably off-base with some of his conclusions and accusations but there are others that are spine tingling.

Lewis was well-versed in occult literature as a young man while searching out his own means of faith and answers to life's metaphysical questions, but mostly his interest even then was in the field of Christian Mystical writing when it comes to esotericism. And remember some of his best friends were under the influence of Rudolf Steiner. He loathed all of Steiner's nonsense but would never be so rude in front of his friends. Its also been said that Lewis read everything ever written by an English author in the 16th century while writing his chapter for O-HEL (Oxford History of English Literature). Just think of how much of the foundation of Masonic literature would have been involved in that feet. And of course he was a professor of Medieval Literature and had read a ton of Neo-Platonic literature as well. But he had an almost unique gift for being able to separate the merely enticing rubbish (such as some of Waite's more double-speak oriented work or Blavatsky's many plagiarized falsehoods) from that which was sort of heaven sent. Perhaps his greatest gift was in knowing when to leave something alone. For what its worth, I believe Lewis, Williams, Hugo Dyson, and a couple of lesser known members of The Inklings knew more about the wheels that turn the universe than anyone else ever did. Read Lewis', "That Hideous Strength" sometime, and when you do, bear in mind that Arthurian literature was a strong link of interest between all of the people I have so far mentioned, including the friendship between Williams and Waite. There's so much I could say here but I'll bite my tongue.

Now, to give Waite his due, he was devoutly Christian, and his mysticism is in no way "black magic." He also sided against Mathers in the Crowley controversy which splintered the order (yeah, yeah, I'll get to it soon). Waite wrote dozens of books, and translations of older occult masterpeices.

You'd be surprised how many old timers in the Masons think Waite was the devil incarnate. Have you read Williams' "War in Heaven"? Many people believe that the character of Gregory (the publisher who practiced black magic and basically turned himself over to the devil) was based on Waite. The scuttlebutt has always been that Waite used people, charmed the pants off them while developing the FRC, and then later turned on them in some way that people simply will not talk about.

From That Hideous Strength:

"It all began", he [Dimble] said, "when we discovered that the Arthurian story is mostly true history. There was a moment in the Sixth Century when something that is always trying to break through into this country nearly succeeded. Logres was our name for it—it will do as well as another... We discovered the haunting."

"What haunting", asked Camilla.

"How something we may call Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres. haven't you noticed that we are two countries?... a nation of poets, a nation of shopkeepers: in the home of Sidney—and of Cecil Rhodes..…

A Logres Behind Britain, a more real Narnia behind the old Narnia, etc., is a theme that comes up again and again in Lewis' work. A world behind the world was something he was well-versed in. His literary hero, George MacDonald, did this too in the extreme, especially in Lilith.

If you're interested I have a Charles Williams picture page up here:

http://deep.phpwebhosting.com/~hackett/cw_pics/charles_williams.html

And a short article on the war between Lewis and Barfield concerning Steiner's Anthroposophy here:

http://deep.phpwebhosting.com/~hackett/rc/great_war.html

And if you're a Yeats fan (I'm not really) I've got a recording of him speaking along with a couple of unpublished photos I found of him at the Library of Congress:

http://deep.phpwebhosting.com/~hackett/rc/wb_yeats_speaks.html

And:

http://deep.phpwebhosting.com/~hackett/rc/loc_photo_page.html

Diana Hignutt
07-30-2006, 03:00 PM
I said:


His Book of Black Magic and Pacts was, in fact, the book that set Aleister Crowley on his occult quest. Waite was friends with Charles Williams, C. S, Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkein (the famous Inklings), and it is clear that he taught them some of his occult knowledge.

Ralph said:

I disagree with this. He was friends with Williams for more than ten years. It was through the FRC however, not the GD. Waite never met Lewis or Tolkien either one as far as I know. (I'm less sure concerning Tolkien).

Ralph, I just loved your post. Great insights. I had read two books that asserted this; though, frankly, I can't recall either book's title. Nonetheless, it's clear that particularly Tolkein had some Rosicrucianism at the heart of his wizardry. It is possible that they got it indirectly through Charles Williams. I'll try and see if I can't find some references to support the Waite connection. In any case, an order of wizards, based on color ranks, and talking about the "Secret Fire" seems strongly G.D-based to me.

But, in any case, thanks so much for posting here, Ralph. Any attempts to keep me honest, I do appreciate.

Ralph Rinklemann
07-31-2006, 04:39 AM
I wasn't trying to keep you honest. You know more about this stuff than I do. I was just spouting off what little I knew. And my friend, Roger, could be way off base in his notions too. Sometimes I think he's getting a little goofy with age. But he was a fountain of knowledge at one time. He's edited books by Arland Ussher that explain the Arthurian motifs in Yeats' poetry that were hitherto incomprehensible. I know someone just last year wrote a book on Shakespeare and dedicated it to him. He was a real mover and shaker once upon a time.

Diana Hignutt
07-31-2006, 01:05 PM
[quote=Ralph Rinklemann]I wasn't trying to keep you honest. You know more about this stuff than I do. I was just spouting off what little I knew. quote]

And I truly appreciate that. As much as I know (no modesty here), there's always a few details that can be clarified. I found your post to be wonderfully informative, and I hope you'll keep contributing...:)

Diana Hignutt
08-01-2006, 05:06 PM
Actually, let’s save Crowley’s Abby of Thelema until I get back from vacation. We should probably back up just a dash and revisit our friends in the Golden Dawn. The London Temple was split from the Paris Temple which was still under Mather’s control. In London, Yeats, Waite and Florence Farr were still in charge. Yeats felt that Crowley had "bewitched" a young female member of the Golden Dawn. This resulted in a magickal battle between Crowley and the G.D.. The incident formed the basis of Crowley’s novel Moonchild. It’s rather stiff to modern readers (unlike his non-fiction) but Crowley has a good bit of fun lampooning Yeats (the drunken and bungling Gates in the book) and Waite (the pompous windbag Arthwaite). The adepts of the London Temple of the G.D gathered and ritually summoned the astral form of the young woman in and, according to Yeats’ account of the events, freed her from Crowley’s thrall.
Eventually, Waite split from Yeats, and carried on with a more Christian-based order (check back to Ralph’s post for more info on this).

The Mathers (MacGregor and his wife Moina) returned to London. It is alleged by Crowley that they became possessed by a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Horus. Mathers died shortly thereafter, leaving Moina in charge of what was left of the Golden Dawn. This is the order that Violet Firth (AKA Dion Fortune) belonged to. She tells a story of her falling out with Moina Mathers and the magickal battle which ensued. In 1920 Fortune met the widow of MacGregor Mathers when she joined the order and the two women became friends. However, when Fortune discussed plans for the creation of a new, more public order and began publishing "order secrets" (much like Crowley had done), Mrs. Mathers took a hard line, and launched a magickal attack against her former friend. Fortune reported that the first salvo of the battle between them left her house full of black cats, which mysteriously invaded for weeks. One morning she saw a giant black cat descending the stairs, but it suddenly vanished. Fortune decided to gather her followers (her new order was called the Society of the Inner Light) and travel astrally. She placed her followers around her in a circle and used a sigil from the G.D. as an entrance point (we’ll talk more about this when we get to astral travel). Almost immediately she claims to have encountered Mrs. Mathers wearing her ceremonial robes and barring her way. A battle of wills ensued, and since Mathers was of a higher rank, she won. Fortune regained her normal perceptions to find her circle scattered and that she had been doing somersaults across the room. She called upon the Secret Chiefs of the Rosicrucian Order to aid her, went back, kicked Mather’s astral butt and was never bothered again.

The order was further splintered, and continues in many forms to this day.

Okay, that’s my last post until after I get back from vacation. I’m off to Brant Beach in Long Beach Island, NJ. Mostly, I’ll be sitting around on the beach, reading (yes, yes, with plenty of sunscreen, a big floppy hat, and an umbrella). We rent the upstairs of a place for a week. I love it there. If you sit on our balcony, you can turn your head East and see the mighty Atlantic, look West and there’s the bay (it’s a very narrow island). If I see any pirate ghosts, or anything of supernatural interest, I’ll report on it when I return to the boards in a couple of weeks. Later...

Diana Hignutt
08-15-2006, 03:38 PM
Okay, I'm back from my little vacation. Recharged, renewed, revitalized, and tired as all get out. I thought that before we get back to Crowley and his antics, we would learn just a dash more Qabalah, which may lead us to some interesting conclusions when dealing with personalities of historical occultists. You might want to back up to our earlier discussions (beginning on page two of this thread, I'm pretty sure) to refresh your Qabalah.

In the Qabalah, the souls of humans are divided into three Principal parts:

1) Neschamah: The Highest part of the soul, on the Tree of Life, the Three Supernals, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. This represents the higher aspirations of the Soul.

2) Ruach: The Middle Part, consisting of the Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod. The Ruach represents mind and the reasoning power.

3) Nephesch: The lowest part, answering to Malkuth and the animal instincts.

The Neschamah pulls us upwards, and the Nephesch pulls us downwards, the Ruach gives us the freedom to choose which inclination we shall follow...

Okay, back to Crowley next time...

Shweta
08-17-2006, 03:28 PM
Welcome back!

Random babble on the subject of the Quabalah -- there's a tree of life smack dab in the middle of the University of California, Berkeley campus. The Tower (I forget the names!) is actually the campus bell tower, and the lowest of the sefirot, below it, is represented by a sundial that is totally shaded by trees. And right next to a big clock.

A friend of mine was once really confused as to why they'd put a sundial there of all places, and that's what led her to figuring it out.

Do you know of any other places where that kind of symbolism is hiding in plain sight? Apart from US currency... :D

Diana Hignutt
08-18-2006, 03:57 PM
Do you know of any other places where that kind of symbolism is hiding in plain sight? Apart from US currency... :D

Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head. But, that head is still filled with vacation cobwebs which the incredible amount of work I came home to has yet to clear. I can't believe how crazy busy I am right now. They should outlaw vacations. They aren't worth it.

Anyway, as an introduction to the Abbey of Thelema, here's another excerpt from my screenplay on Crowley:



EXT. -- CEFALU, SICILY, 1922, ROAD ALONG THE COAST -- DAY.

A taxicab drives down the road. It passes a poor fisherman's house, weathered and in disrepair.


INT. -- BACK SEAT OF TAXICAB -- DAY.

RAOUL LOVEDAY, thirty-one, and his wife, BETTY MAY LOVEDAY, twenty-nine, are a good-looking, wealthy, British couple.

BETTY MAY
This is nothing like Naples, Raoul.

RAOUL
I think it's quaint.

BETTY MAY
Quaint?

RAOUL
Well, we're not here for the scenery, dear.


EXT. -- THE ABBEY OF THELEMA -- DAY.

The cab pulls up to the Abbey, a rural villa on the coast. It is run down; the plaster is peeling off the building's face. The grass is overgrown and the small garden is wild and unkempt.


INT. -- TAXICAB -- DAY.

The CAB DRIVER stops the taxi. Both Raoul and Betty May look at the building. Raoul has hope in his eyes, Betty May is horrified.

BETTY MAY
(to the cab driver)
This can't be the right place.

RAOUL
This is it, dear.

He opens the door of the cab.


EXT. -- ABBEY OF THELEMA -- DAY.

Raoul steps out of the cab. The cab driver opens the door for Betty May. She gets out and casts her gaze about disdainfully. The cab driver begins taking their luggage off the rack of the cab.


EXT. -- FRONT DOOR OF THE ABBEY -- DAY.

Raoul and Betty May approach the door. Betty May reads the writing painted on it.

BETTY MAY
Thelema.

RAOUL
It's Greek for will.

He knocks. The door swings open.


INT. -- THE ABBEY -- DAY.

LEAH HIRSIG, thirty-four and very attractive, is wearing a magickal robe. She greets Raoul and Betty May as they enter. The main room is large with unlit, half burned candles, empty bottles, discarded robes, old newspapers, scattered over the floor. Colorful murals are painted on the walls. On the nearest wall is a depiction of the horned god, Pan.

LEAH
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Raoul and
Betty May, I presume. I'm Leah.

Raoul nods cheerfully, Betty May scowls.

BETTY MAY
(sarcastically)
What a pleasure.

Just then two small CHILDREN, their clothing in ill repair, run past them playing.

BETTY MAY
How charming.

Betty May then notices the painting of the phallic goat god and gasps.

BETTY MAY
The Devil?

Raoul smiles.

RAOUL
No. It's Pan, the God of Creative Force. He represents
the male energy of the Cosmos.

She doesn't appear convinced.

BETTY MAY
He looks like the Devil to me.

LEAH
Come along, the Magus is expecting you.

She leads them across the room. A DISCIPLE is sitting in the middle of the floor meditating. They walk past him.


INT. -- HALLWAY -- DAY.

They walk down the hallway. The walls are decorated with more of Crowley's magickal paintings. Two LOVERS, both wearing robes, are in an embrace and kissing with no regard to those around them. Betty May is shocked. Raoul is amused. Leah turns to them.

LEAH
Love is the Law.

RAOUL
Love under Will.

Betty May is surprised by Raoul. Her eyes narrow. Leah smiles.

LEAH
Come.


INT. -- OUTSIDE CROWLEY'S ROOM -- DAY.

They stop before the door. It is ajar. Through the crack in the door, ALEISTER CROWLEY. forty-eight, can be seen sitting at a desk. He is overweight, wears a dirty magickal robe and has a shaven head. He is snorting heroin.


INT. -- CROWLEY'S ROOM -- DAY.

Crowley finishes his line before turning towards them. His eyes, though red, stare at them with power and intensity.

CROWLEY
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


INT. -- OUTSIDE CROWLEY'S ROOM -- DAY.

Betty May hides behind Raoul.


INT. -- CROWLEY'S ROOM -- DAY.
Crowley gestures for them to enter.

CROWLEY
Come in, come in. I'm sorry.

Raoul and Betty May enter, with Leah coming in behind them. Crowley holds up a dish of heroin, offering.


CROWLEY
Would you like some? It's heroin. There's some cocaine over there,
if you prefer.

He indicates a small table across the room, where sits another plate containing a large quantity of white powder. Betty May's look of shock increases and Raoul politely shakes his head negatively.

RAOUL
No thank you.

CROWLEY
No? Ah well.

Crowley gets up with a little difficulty from his chair and extends his had in greeting.

CROWLEY
Raoul, it's good to see you. Welcome, both of you, to the
Abbey of Thelema.

Diana Hignutt
08-26-2006, 04:28 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to business here on the thread. My dad's been sick and I've been extra, extra busy at work. I'll try and post more soon...

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2006, 04:53 PM
In the early 1920's Crowley came into the possession of a small legacy of $12,000 and decided to use the money to create a college of magick for serious students of the occult. He decided on Sicily for the climate. He claims that he and his current Scarlet Woman of the time were guided by his Holy Guardian Angel Aiwass to a small farm compound in Cefalu.

Crowley envisioned a grand experiment in the education of adepts in the mystical arts. This, my friends, is the closet correspondent to Hogwarts in reality, a place where students of the occult lived, ate, and breathed magick. However, although there were children present, only adults were trained in the mystic arts. Now, the reality of the situation was somewhat divorced from Crowley’s original vision. Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema was, in fact, an unsanitary hovel, unkept, unmaintained, decorated with demonic and obscene wall paintings and murals. Virtually limitless quantities of drugs were available to the students, and free love was the law of the place. Nonetheless, Crowley seems to have loved the place at first. There he wrote his novel, Dairy of a Drug Fiend, his autobiography, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, and his masterpiece, Magick. Many students of the occult were drawn to the abbey in its short-lived day.

All "good" things must come to an end, and deaths marked the beginning of the end of Crowley’s beloved Abbey of Thelema. Crowley’s new born child, Poupee died of disease, as did the young disciple, Raoul Loveday. Raoul’s widow, Betty May claimed that her husband died from drinking the blood of a cat in one of Crowley’s bizarre rituals. This claim seems to be unfounded, but in any case, Betty May sold her story to the British Press, who dubbed Crowley the "Wickedest Man in the World." Musolini quickly kicked Crowley out of Italy and so ended Crowley’s experiment in magickal education.

SeanDSchaffer
09-06-2006, 12:34 PM
I always wondered why Crowley is so hated by many Christians. I feel mighty bad for the man.

A couple quick questions, if I may, Diana:

I've noticed a number of parallels between Magick and Christianity/Judaeism. Is there a reason for this? Is Magick based in part on the Bible? It would be interesting to me to know this, as I have never been given any information from preachers. Mostly only scare tactics to keep me from studying this subject.

It would be interesting to find out how the two different practices would be able to work together, as I find myself almost always inserting magic of some sort into my Fantasy works.

It's basically a curiosity to me.


And BTW, thanks for continuing your work on this thread. I find it very informative, and overly enjoyable. I feel like a kid with a new toy whenever I am able to learn something new.

Your work is highly appreciated.

Diana Hignutt
09-06-2006, 03:28 PM
I always wondered why Crowley is so hated by many Christians. I feel mighty bad for the man.

A couple quick questions, if I may, Diana:

I've noticed a number of parallels between Magick and Christianity/Judaeism. Is there a reason for this? Is Magick based in part on the Bible? It would be interesting to me to know this, as I have never been given any information from preachers. Mostly only scare tactics to keep me from studying this subject.

It would be interesting to find out how the two different practices would be able to work together, as I find myself almost always inserting magic of some sort into my Fantasy works.

Your work is highly appreciated.

Sean, don't feel too bad for Crowley; he wouldn't want you to. Much of Crowley's dreadful behavior, he later claimed, was designed so that when Crowleyanity, or Scientific Illuminism, or Thelema (whatever you want to call the "religious" aspects of his teaching) took off, people would be unable to worship him. He claimed he wanted the content, the message to be delivered without the distraction of a personality cult attached to him. Or, he was just so f-ed up by his rigid upbringing, he couldn't control himself. We'll look more at that later.

But, more to your questions. Absolutely, much of Magick is derived from the Qabalah which is the central mystical theory behind Judaeism and Christianity. They spring from the same source. The Practical Kaballah of the Rabbi Masters is one of the major source components of Western Occultism. And if you ever see old grimoires from the Middle Ages, you'll see tons of Christian symbolism used to bind and control conjured spirits. (I'll try and dig up so examples so time). Many of your Medieval mages considered themselves Christians first and foremost, though the Church did not consider them to be so, for the most part. So, yes, to answer your question with complete directness, both "Magick" and Christianity are derived from the mystical traditions of Hebrew Kaballah, and much of the symbolism is identical.

Thanks for your appreciation :) ....

Shweta
09-06-2006, 04:02 PM
Well, unless it's the "Magick" that means neo-pagan ritual/belief, at which point it's not :D
Just nitpicking.

Diana Hignutt
09-06-2006, 05:09 PM
Well, unless it's the "Magick" that means neo-pagan ritual/belief, at which point it's not :D
Just nitpicking.

Yes, yes. I was oversimplifying and using the word "Magick" in the sense I perceived Sean was using it, as a synonym for Western Occult Tradition. Sorry. I am duly chastised. How about if I say that all mystical experiences have the same root, and that all magickal traditions are ultimately derived from that root. See William James' Varieties of Religious Experience for more on this, or better yet, do what Crowley did, master various mystical techniques, and see the similarity of the experience for yourself...

Keep on nitpicking. This thread needs more nitpicking...

SeanDSchaffer
09-06-2006, 06:11 PM
Yes, yes. I was oversimplifying and using the word "Magick" in the sense I perceived Sean was using it, as a synonym for Western Occult Tradition. Sorry. I am duly chastised. How about if I say that all mystical experiences have the same root, and that all magickal traditions are ultimately derived from that root. See William James' Varieties of Religious Experience for more on this, or better yet, do what Crowley did, master various mystical techniques, and see the similarity of the experience for yourself...

Keep on nitpicking. This thread needs more nitpicking...


My Emphasis.


Actually, that is what I was using the term 'magick' for. I think I misspelled it, though. But your answer was in fact what I was hoping it would be. Not because I plan on practicing any of this--because I don't--but rather because I find it liberating, in a way, to know how the medieval mages looked at themselves and how they considered their magick. I've always wanted to meld something like that into my works, much like I'm doing with Promised World right now--my present and almost-completed Work-in-Progress.

But I never really felt comfortable doing this, for the simple reason that how I was raised, forbade me from learning this stuff. For many years, I have wondered if what I was raised in (specifically fundamental Baptist doctrine) might have been considered not right somehow with the rest of the people of my faith. The churches I went to held a very hard-line stance against so many things that appear to be sensual or otherwise fleshly. I began to challenge much of this belief when I took up playing the drums, because in the church I went to, drums were of the devil.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, I have been examining my own beliefs as of late, and finding the truth has not been easy for me. It's kind of like telling a child there's no Santa Claus....after they've been told there is one for several years by their parents. Whether there is a Santa Claus or no....even as an adult I'm not totally willing to dismiss the idea....there are ideas that I was raised with that were quite mistaken. If this new knowledge helps me to better understand my own heritage, both as a Christian and as a descendant of European (specifically Prussian) people, then great. I think this will give me a deeper understanding of my own roots and give me a greater ability to tell a more convincing--albeit Fantasy--story.

Diana Hignutt
09-08-2006, 05:11 PM
In Colin Wilson's nifty little mini-series on the occult, The Supernatural, Mysterious Powers, he adds this little tid-bit about the fate of the Golden Dawn:

"On the face of it, the Golden Dawn should have been a wholly beneficial and healthy influence. Unfortunately, too many of its leading figures were driven by the craving that has been the downfall of so many magicians: the will to power, not only over themselves but also over everyone else."

Gerald Yorke, a friend of Crowley's determined that the Golden Dawn showed that, "the majority of those who attempt to tread the occult path of power become the victims of their creative imagination, inflate their egos, and fall." I think his words may well describe his friend's behavior as well.

Looking back on the Golden Dawn, one of the few exceptions to this rule was Allan Bennett, who, you will recall, left the Golden Dawn to study Buddhism, where the reduction of the ego is the mystical aim.

Just something to chew on. There's an important lesson there.

triceretops
09-08-2006, 11:15 PM
Just wanted you to know, Diana, that I'm following this thread and find it very interesting. My next book is going to incorporate the divinity, Janus, and I'm currently researching that end of it right now.

Cheers,

Tri

Shweta
09-09-2006, 01:34 PM
Gerald Yorke, a friend of Crowley's determined that the Golden Dawn showed that, "the majority of those who attempt to tread the occult path of power become the victims of their creative imagination, inflate their egos, and fall." I think his words may well describe his friend's behavior as well.

Looking back on the Golden Dawn, one of the few exceptions to this rule was Allan Bennett, who, you will recall, left the Golden Dawn to study Buddhism, where the reduction of the ego is the mystical aim.

Just something to chew on. There's an important lesson there.

There's also a plot hook there. :D

Not a unique one by any means, but that corrupting influence of power on everyone, and not just the Evil Magicians, is an interesting one. Good fantasy magicians often just... stay good, and aren't tempted by any of this, and ...hm, that really could be played with more.

Diana Hignutt
09-09-2006, 04:59 PM
There's also a plot hook there. :D

Not a unique one by any means, but that corrupting influence of power on everyone, and not just the Evil Magicians, is an interesting one. Good fantasy magicians often just... stay good, and aren't tempted by any of this, and ...hm, that really could be played with more.

One of the few places I've seen that done, and only as a very slight aside, is the description of the magician in C.S. Lewis' classic The Magician's Nephew. It's just the character's description, if I recall, but Lewis makes this point, if subtly.

It would certainly make a fine theme for a plot hook. You should go for it!

Shweta
09-10-2006, 01:59 AM
Oh yes, I'd totally forgotten that.
I'm going to consider this in future stories. Thank you for getting me to think about it :)

SeanDSchaffer
09-10-2006, 02:14 AM
This thead has got me thinking:

I've been debating on how to work a WIP I have the first draft completed on, for some months. To give a quick description of the basis of the story: a man kills his daughter in a fit of rage and decides he wants to bring her back to life using his knowledge. I've been, for the last several months, thinking in terms of modern science as a means to bring his daughter back. But this just does not inspire me as much as the rest of the story does.

So I got to thinking, literally just before I wrote this post, why not use Magick instead of Modern Science to bring his daughter back to life? For one thing, my book is a Fantasy, not SF. For another thing, Mages can do things that scientists can neither do nor explain. I think this might be the best way to prepare a convincing story. If someone is involved in Magick when they resurrect their daughter, it might sound more plausible--at least in my own mind--than if he were involved in Science.

What thinkest thou, Diana? Would a Mage on another world be more able to get away with bringing someone back to life, than would a Professor?

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 02:31 AM
I do not want to nitpick here in your discussin of Magic...but I am going to say this again, as I once did in this thread.

Since I posted a long long time ago, Diana made it clear that her traditions for discussing "kaballah" (and I have no clue why you insist on the Q - but that is not my problem) - is not derived from Judaism. I have read these descriptions again on the previous page, and I can only say that whatever you are calling Jewish Mysticsm, is just NOT correct.

You can and may call your mystical sources whatever you please, but for the sake of intellectual honesty here, it is kind of annoying to find these definitions being posed as "jewish mystical" ones. They are really way way WAY off from what the original Kaballah is, and certainly your using the same terminology does not help matters.

So I am just making it clear that whatever is being defined as Kaballah here, may be from works that have nothing to do with Judaism, or from the junk that comes from the practical Kaballah sites that all the rage these days and are just not correct. If you want historical and intellectual and religious sources may I humbly suggest that you begin by reading Gershon Sholem who after all was the world reknowned expert on Kaballah and its history. You can find his works at Amazon including a small work called "Zohar" which should initiate the uninitiated.

I am sorry, but this stuff being quoted here with terminology from the Zohar and Midrash, and with some really ludicorous definitions, is just not correct nor intellectually honest. Call it whatever you like it is NOT Jewish mysticsm. All I ask is that you do NOT present it as such. Which is what I asked a while back. Using the terminology does not make the definitions correct. Indeed from a Jewish scholarly or religious point of view...they are so way off base I cannot even figure out how anyone got to these definitions.


MHO

Diana Hignutt
09-10-2006, 03:55 PM
This thead has got me thinking:

What thinkest thou, Diana? Would a Mage on another world be more able to get away with bringing someone back to life, than would a Professor?

Either way can work, Sean. It really depends on the kind of story you want to tell. In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, it's not really all that clear how the good doctor resurrects his monster. There are passages that suggest he made him from scratch using occult principles as much as scientific ones.

Diana Hignutt
09-10-2006, 04:05 PM
I do not want to nitpick here in your discussin of Magic...but I am going to say this again, as I once did in this thread.

Since I posted a long long time ago, Diana made it clear that her traditions for discussing "kaballah" (and I have no clue why you insist on the Q - but that is not my problem) - is not derived from Judaism. I have read these descriptions again on the previous page, and I can only say that whatever you are calling Jewish Mysticsm, is just NOT correct.

You can and may call your mystical sources whatever you please, but for the sake of intellectual honesty here, it is kind of annoying to find these definitions being posed as "jewish mystical" ones. They are really way way WAY off from what the original Kaballah is, and certainly your using the same terminology does not help matters.

So I am just making it clear that whatever is being defined as Kaballah here, may be from works that have nothing to do with Judaism, or from the junk that comes from the practical Kaballah sites that all the rage these days and are just not correct. If you want historical and intellectual and religious sources may I humbly suggest that you begin by reading Gershon Sholem who after all was the world reknowned expert on Kaballah and its history. You can find his works at Amazon including a small work called "Zohar" which should initiate the uninitiated.

I am sorry, but this stuff being quoted here with terminology from the Zohar and Midrash, and with some really ludicorous definitions, is just not correct nor intellectually honest. Call it whatever you like it is NOT Jewish mysticsm. All I ask is that you do NOT present it as such. Which is what I asked a while back. Using the terminology does not make the definitions correct. Indeed from a Jewish scholarly or religious point of view...they are so way off base I cannot even figure out how anyone got to these definitions.


MHO

Teddy,

I'll do this one more time, then I'm finished having this fight with you. Yes, the Hebrew Kabbalah is the original basis of the Qabalah of the Rosicrucians and the Western Occult Tradition. However, it contains adaptations and additions by scholars and mystics Christian, Muslem, Pagan and Rosicrucian. It is as valid as the original. I'm absolutely not making this up, there is a legitimate tradition here that has value. I'm asking you to discontinue your obviously predjudiced renunications against the sacred beliefs of others, even if they were derived from your sacred beliefs--it does not lessen the rights of others to take part in such a discussion. I'm sorry you don't like it, but this is legitimate information of much use to writers of fantasy. I'm hopeful you will get over this. My best to you...

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 04:39 PM
Teddy,

I'll do this one more time, then I'm finished having this fight with you. Yes, the Hebrew Kabbalah is the original basis of the Qabalah of the Rosicrucians and the Western Occult Tradition. However, it contains adaptations and additions by scholars and mystics Christian, Muslem, Pagan and Rosicrucian. It is as valid as the original. I'm absolutely not making this up, there is a legitimate tradition here that has value. I'm asking you to discontinue your obviously predjudiced renunications against the sacred beliefs of others, even if they were derived from your sacred beliefs--it does not lessen the rights of others to take part in such a discussion. I'm sorry you don't like it, but this is legitimate information of much use to writers of fantasy. I'm hopeful you will get over this. My best to you...
Actually NO I WONT. I will say this ONE MORE TIME. Call your method whatever YOU LIKE...do NOT call it Jewish Mysticsm. That is simply WRONG. CATEGORICALLY WRONG. For my part you can call it Diana's Qabalah. It is NOT Jewish Mysticsm.

I simply question, and yes after reading your definitions question, the actual background knowledge you can possibly have in Jewish Mysticsm to present definitions of it here. I really take offense to it. You want to make up a system of mystical idea....THAT IS COOL.

JUST DO NOT CALL IT JEWISH. That is wrong. I repeat CATEGORICALLY WRONG.

This is so NOT about belief you have no idea. This is about Intellectual honesty. About knowledge being presented as something it is not. Diana's Qabalah system is NOT Jewish mystical ideas.

As to its validity. I am not arguing that. I will not argue it, cause it is an argument doomed to failure. You are welcome to believe in any system you feel is right for you. I have NO problems with that.

BUT what I will stand up for, and what I will demand is INTELLECTUAL HONESTY. Calling your system as you did a few posts before, Jewish, and then describing something so out in left field to Jewish Mysticsm it just does not exist ANYWHERE in Jewish mystical thought...is NOT intellectually honest.

For the sake of clarity of those reading this thread I am stating. What you have been presenting as Jewish ideas - is just so not right, so wrong actually, that it demands someone to speak up and say, okay where are you getting this from?

You get it from wherever you like. Just PLEASE dont call it Jewish Mysticsm. When you desist from using that term, I will desist from these comments and let you go on your merry way.

Shweta
09-10-2006, 04:46 PM
Teddy,

I realize you're upset about this, but is it any more intellectually honest for you to call it "Diana's mystical system" when she's just said that she's explaining something that is not her own, but has its own history?

I don't have an opinion on the argument because I don't know the historical background on this.

But as someone reading it, someone who thinks highly of you both, I just think intellectual honesty has to go both ways.

TeddyG
09-10-2006, 04:56 PM
Teddy,

I realize you're upset about this, but is it any more intellectually honest for you to call it "Diana's mystical system" when she's just said that she's explaining something that is not her own, but has its own history?

I don't have an opinion on the argument because I don't know the historical background on this.

But as someone reading it, someone who thinks highly of you both, I just think intellectual honesty has to go both ways.

Your point is made. Diana's point is made. And my point is made. As long as you call it Diana's Mystical system - then all is cool. Anything else said now is superfluous.

Shweta
09-10-2006, 05:18 PM
Now I'm confused.
I think I just said that all is not cool if you call it that.

I think if we allow that spelling can change meaning, then calling it Quabalah -- and not Kaballah -- is in fact making a distinction, and not just mis-spelling something. And so, she's not talking about what you're talking about, and all's good?

Is it that she says Jewish? Jewish is one of several influences on the Quabalah; you're objecting to the implication that it's the only one? I read that as a shorthand, but perhaps if we think of it as "Rosicrucian Quabalah" then all will be good?

Diana Hignutt
09-10-2006, 05:26 PM
It's not my mystical system. And, if you would bother to look back at when I originally began posting on the Mystical Qabalah, would would note that I said it is NOT the Hebrew system, but something derived, in part, from it. I have NEVER said that the Rosicrucian system is Jewish Mysticism. NEVER. What you are doing now is disrepecting a belief system that has many adherents and has for hundreds or years. Your predjudice is disgusting to behold. Get over yourself.

I leave it to the readers of this thread to make their own determinations.

I have listed dozens of books on the Rosicrucian version of the Qabalah as references. I am absolutely not presenting my own system. Frankly, you owe me an apology.

Shweta
09-10-2006, 08:28 PM
Oog. This reader thinks it's a misunderstanding, and each of you is feeling like the other is stomping over their beliefs, so you're both getting angry.

Which is natural, but from what I read, I don't think either of you intends to disrespect the other's beliefs, or -- to be a little more general -- anyone's.

Teddy, I think Diana's made it clear that she's not talking about what you're talking about, and I think there's no real confusion in the minds of most readers. And Diana, I think (though I admit I haven't gone back to check) that you have used "Jewish mysticism" as a shorthand a few times, and that's what Teddy's picking up on.

Edit: I think it's not a shorthand, but when you talk about the Kaballah as a source of the Quabalah, it is possible to misunderstand that as saying they're the same thing, possibly.

Teddy, about that, I think that I should say -- [edit, even if she were] that particular shorthand is a common one in parts of the occult community; while I see that it's a misrepresentation that upsets you, I think you're shooting the messenger. None of this is Diana's own-personal-made-up system. She's telling us about stuff that many other people have said, and in some places she might well be falling back on shorthands that her community as a large holds.

Please calm down, guys?

Diana Hignutt
09-11-2006, 01:15 PM
Diana:

... but I do respect and was quite impressed with your knowledge. Actually very impressed, and that is not something I will often say to anyone.

Teddy

Okay, well, just so people will not think that I know nothing about the things I've been talking about, above please find Teddy's original compliment about my Qabalistic knowledge from earlier in this thread.

I have complained to the moderator of this forum about his outburst, his display of complete disrespect for the beliefs of others, and his inability to understand that is what he was doing. The moderator politely told me to get over it, and let it go. This is about as close as I can come to that. If it's not close enough, then I'm done here. I've been told over and over again to "respect your fellow writer," but apparently people here aren't required to respect me. I don't think I need that.

Shweta
09-11-2006, 01:26 PM
We all know you know an awful lot, Diana. It's what keeps us coming back and reading. I certainly know... just enough to be very aware how very much deeper your knowledge and understanding is than mine here.

And I think a lot of people greatly appreciate the work you've put into this, into helping us understand something that is by its nature very hard to get a grasp on. It's extremely valuable, and I know that it's a lot of work.

Many of us respect you a great deal. In addition to the work you've put in, you're tackling religiously sensitive material here -- no other way, when it's about religious beliefs that are inspired by but not accepted by the canon of another religion. I think it's incredibly brave of you to do that.

I also think that ruffled feathers are kind of inevitable with this topic, and I hope you won't let that get you down.

SeanDSchaffer
09-11-2006, 06:44 PM
Diana, I'll second what Shweta said about ruffled feathers. There are many people in the world trying to 'protect', if you will, the public from the knowledge you have of this particular subject. I personally think Teddy might be one of those people. His tactics are those of bullies who don't get their way.

Do not give in to him, Diana. Whether he knows what he claims to know or not, he is bullying you here, and the only reason I've ever seen someone resort to bully tactics in a case such as this, is when the bully in question is afraid of certain information getting out.

This is just my personal opinion, mind you, but I believe Teddy is deliberately trying to steer people away from this thread. Why, I could not say. But please do not give in to his bullying tactics. Your thread has been very helpful.


However, I might point out that he does have a magic thread of his own going in the Jewish section of the Spiritual Writing forums. Maybe he sees you as competition?

triceretops
09-11-2006, 11:55 PM
Diana, I've never seen you disrespect anyone in this forum, for any reason. In fact, Teddy seems to have scribbled some kind of line in the sand...and it came right out of the blue.

Ignore, continue on.

Tri

Saint Fool
09-12-2006, 12:18 AM
I"ve often thought that many of the Golden Dawn members suffered from the Lord Byron Syndrome: They all wanted to be "mad, bad, and dangerous to know."

Diana Hignutt
09-12-2006, 03:09 PM
First, the apologies...

I've already apologized to Peter, now, it's time to apologize to you good people. What can I say? The guy got to me and I went off the deep end. I'm human, really I am. I do not claim to be some mystical adept who has obtained complete mastery over my emotions, and I think I've demonstrated that point nicely. I'm sorry for my unprofessional outburst in response to a certain poster. I'll try to not let it happen again. Likewise for my immature threatening to leave. It ain't happening, folks. No, you're stuck with me for a while.

Now, back to business...

BTW, I like your Lord Byron Syndrome concept, S'Fool...:)

Diana Hignutt
09-12-2006, 03:33 PM
Okay, so far, I've given you a very ugly picture of Aleister Crowley. If I were you I'd be wondering why I've devoted so much time to the swine. Before I make him look even worse (***gasp***) I thought we had ought to look at some of the stuff he did right. And there's a lot of stuff. Few people have had the complete grasp of magick and mysticism that Crowley had. No where is this better evidenced than his magnum opus, Magick, also known as Book Four, and Magick and Theory and Practice. I propose to spend a little time studying this work here on this thread. I promise you will come away with the most thorough understanding of Crowley's universe ever distilled online, and you will find much that will inspire your fiction and perhaps, even, make you go "Wow, I've never thought of anything like that before..."

And so we begin, as Crowley does with his part of his poem, 'Aha' originally published in The Equinox, vol. I, no. III, 1919.



There are seven keys to the great gate,
Being eight in one and one in eight.
First, let the body of thee be still,
Bound by the cerements of will,
Corpse-rigid; thus thou mayest abort
The fidget-babes that tease the thought.
Next, let the breath-rhythm be low,
Easy, regular, and slow;
So that thy being be in tune
With the great sea's Pacific swoon.
Third, let thy life be pure and calm,
Swayed softly as a windless palm.
Fourth, let the will-to-live be bound
To the one love of the profound.
Fifth, let the thought, divinely free
From sense, observe its entity
Watch every thought that springs; enhance
Hour after hour thy vigilance!
Intense and keen, turned inward, miss
No atom of analysis!
Sixth, on one thought securely pinned
Still every whisper of the wind!
So like a flame straight and unstirred
Burn up thy being in one word!
Next, still that ecstasy, prolong
Thy meditation steep and strong,
Slaying even God, should He distract
Thy attention from the chosen act!
Last all these things in one o'erpowered,
Time that the midnight blossom flowered!
The oneness is. Yet even in this,
My son, thou shalt not do amiss
If thou restrain the expression, shoot
Thy glance to rapture's darkling root,
Discarding name, form, sight, and stress
Even of this high consciousness;
Pierce to the heart! I leave thee here:
Thou art the Master. I revere
Thy radiance that rolls afar,
O Brother of the Silver Star!

Shweta
09-12-2006, 03:43 PM
No, you're stuck with me for a while.

Yay!

Diana Hignutt
09-13-2006, 04:21 PM
Crowley begins his masterwork with his preliminary remarks on religion and mysticism. Highlighted remarks are Crowley's.



Existence, as we know it, is full of sorrow.

We all are going to die. That's the sad fact, folks. Most religions, says Crowley, begin with this premise and go on to promise the reward of immortality to their believers.



No religion has failed hitherto by not promising enough; the present breaking up of all religions is due to the fact that people have asked to see the securities...

Let us begin by doubting every statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of the various religions? Let us examine the question.


The problem here is that there is just too much information to sort through. Religions require faith. All have dogma, much of it contradictory from faith to faith.



What is there that is common between Christ, Buddha and Mohammed?
Buddha was born a Prince, and died a beggar. Mohammed was born a beggar, and died a Prince. Christ remained obscure until many years after his death.


Crowley finds that the one thing these men have all had in common in their life stories is one thing -- an omission.



We hear nothing of Christ between the ages of twelve and thirty. Mohammed disapeared into a cave. Buddha left his palace, and went for a long while into the desert. Each of them, perfectly silent up to the time of the disappearance, came back and immediately began to preach a new law.



Making every possible deduction for fable and myth, we get this one coincidence. A nobody goes away, and comes back a somebody.


Crowley goes on to say that each of these men, and others such as St. Paul and Moses had spiritual experiences that changed them. He proposes to investigate what happened to these people.



The only one who explains his sytem thoroughly is Buddha, and Buddha is the only one that is not dogmatic. We may also suppose that the others thought it inadvisable to explain too clearly to their followers; St. Paul evidently took this line.


The methods advised by all these people have a startling resemblance to one another. They recommend 'virtue' (of various kinds), solitude, absence of excitement, moderation in diet, and finally a practice which some call prayer and some call meditation. (The former four may turn out on examination to be merely conditions favourable to the last.)

In considering what is meant by these two things (prayer and meditation) Crowley finds they are essentially the same thing.



It is the restraining of the mind to a single act, state or thought.

It is by freeing the mind from external influences, whether casual or emotional, that it obtains power to see somewhat of the truth of things.


Crowley goes on to give a brief description of the various meditational practices and how they affect the mind. We'll discuss these things later on. Bottom-lining it:



For the moment let it suffice to say that this consciousness of the Ego and the non-Ego, the seer and the thing seen, the knower and the thing known, is blotted out.



It is an aboslute knock-out blow to the mind.



By its light all other events of life are as darkness.


Crowley then makes the point that this meditational state, called in Buddhism Samadhi is the same thing as the "vision of God' or "Union with God."

In summation on this:



We do not believe in any supernatural explanations, but insist that this source may be reached by the following out of definite rules, the degrees of success depending upon the capacity of the seeker, and not the favour of any Divine Being. We assert that the critical phenomenon which determines success is an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting the subject and object.


Next time, folks, Uncle Aleister will begin to teach us the 'how to's' of meditation.

(BTW, Chris, I'll dig through some resources on Janus for you and post stuff soon.)

Diana Hignutt
09-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Crowley begins:


A man wishes to control his mind, to be able to think one chosen thought for as long as he will without interuption.

The first problem, Crowley tells us, that the student of meditation will encounter will come from the body. The body will assert it's presence by causing the student to itch, to want to stretch, sneeze.



The word Asana means posture.


Patanjali says, "Asana is that which is firm and pleasant." Sankhya says, "Posture which is steady and easy; there is no other rule."

Crowley points out that any posture will, in the course of time, become uncomfortable. Different postures have been described by the Hindus and the Buddhists; you no doubt have seen many examples of these. For beginners, perhaps the best thing is to sit in a chair, back and shoulders straight, feet flat on the floor. Perhaps, if you prefer, the classic lotus position would do nicely, as well.



There is a sort of happy medium between rigidity and limpness; the muscles are not to be strained; and yet they are not allowed to be altogether slack...A sense of physical alertness is desirable.



After a little while there will be cramp and fatique. The student must now set his teeth, and go through it. The minor sensations of itching, etc., will be found to pass away, if they are resolutely neglected, but the cramp and fatique may be expected to increase until the end of the practice. One may begin with half an hour or an hour.


Me, if you're thinking of trying this, I'd suggest starting with twenty minutes. Crowley recommends this daily, and assures the reader that if the pain and discomfort don't start immediately, they will within a few days.



The disinclination to practice at all may become almost unconquerable....Perhaps the reward is not so far distant; it will happen one day that the pain is suddenly forgotten, the fact of the presence of the body is forgotten, and one will realize that during the whole of one's previous life in the body was always on the borderland of consciousness, and that consciousness was a consciousness of pain; and at this one moment one will further realize with an indescribalble feeling of relief that not only is this position, which has been so painful, the very ideal of physical comfort, but that all other conceivable positions of the body are uncomfortable.


Only when this practice is mastered to success will the student be ready for the next step...

Diana Hignutt
09-15-2006, 03:59 PM
I'll get more from my mythology sources when I get a little time, but in the meantime, I thought I'd give you something to chew on. In Crowley's 777, his book of comparative religion based on the Qabalah of the Rosicrucians (and for the sake of very picky readers when I say Qabalah, I mean the Qabalah of Western Occult Tradition of the Rosicrucians--okay?:) ) he lists Janus as the Roman god best represented on the Tree of Life by Chokmah. You'll want to look back over our previous discussion on Chokmah. In general it is the beginning of the concept of duality. In Hebrew it means Wisdom. In the Qabalah it represents the Sphere if the Zodiac. In the King Scale of Color (more on this later) it is Pure Soft Blue. Man is the correspondent animal, Amaranth, the plant. Musk is the perfume.

More later...

Shweta
09-15-2006, 09:24 PM
I have an interesting note to share from a psychology of buddhism class I took (and I see it in my own personal experience too).

There's some similarity between the meditative state Crowley's describing and one in which visual art, at least, happens.
Possibly things like improvisational music, too, and... maybe writing, but I dunno there, my subjective experience of writing is a bit different.

When you start drawing, you have to wait through the same experience of the brain going "I don't wanna, my hand hurts, my nose itches, this sucks"...
-- and if you stick with it, at some point it all gets forgotten and you are utterly in the moment of the art, and often surprised by what you come up with afterwards.

Same with musicians who are jamming; they talk about how there's a flow that they go with. And they have to do a lot of practice to get there.

I just think it's an interesting similarity. All these things need BIC time :D

Ordinary_Guy
09-16-2006, 12:20 PM
Nice to know there's a good source of magical lore on the boards...
...In the meantime, I'm going to recommend that everyone interested in this thread go rent the movie, "What the (BLEEP) Do We Know?" which provides a scientific basis for the existance of magic and spirituality.
Saw the film. I thought it was well intentioned but I remember picking out several factual and teleological errors. I wish I could point to specifics but I only saw it once and that was some time ago. Apologies there...

Ironically, it was my mom (conservative Christian) that got me (lapsed agnostic) to watch it. I think she had high hopes that couching mysticism in the language of science would make it more appealing. I had to bite my tongue in several places. Our discussion afterward took some... diplomacy.

I think magic (or the belief in it) has a definite place in the history of man, and it's a wonderful tool for the imagination, but I wonder why the real-world belief in it persists. Forgive me if this is at all a sensitive spot (I'm just getting started on this thread), and note that I'm coming from the POV of an open-minded skeptic. Is it just the need for the comfort of a spiritual routine? One that breaks from the conventions of traditional religion? Is there a belief that there is actual power in magic? Something else perhaps...?

Shweta
09-16-2006, 12:41 PM
I struggle with this one. I consider myself a scientist, an empiricist -- and I also believe in magic. Far too much happens to me that's just plain weird to really explain away as coincidence. I started out a skeptic and ended up unable to hold onto my skepticism.

It doesn't make sense in terms of a materialistic, scientific viewpoint (materialism as in there is only the physical world).

But then, neither does consciousness. Cognitive scientists hate mentions of consciousness, and treat it pretty much as being in that "weird subjective stuff" realm. It's quite possible that consciousness and free will are simply illusions, and magical phenomena are simply other illusions on that level, but until I figure it out, these all are dumped together in "unexplained phenomena that I still have a fair amount of evidence for" in my head.

Other people have different reasons. In my case it's just being smacked across the head often enough to either believe that the phenomena I experience are real, or believe that I am highly delusional in a way that is coherent with some friends' delusions, across continents. I prefer the former.

Shweta
09-16-2006, 12:53 PM
Diana, forgive me for temporarily hijacking your thread. I seem to be doing that a lot lately on various threads.

Ordinary Guy, it's probably worth mentioning confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias) here. This is "a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. "

Happens in everyday life, happens throughout the sciences. Makes me very leery of trusting anything, including what's in my head... but there's only so far you can take that kind of questioning before going really nuts, so I try to restrict my soul-searching to once every few months. :D

On a larger scale, this means people who do believe in magic, or in religious structures, and such, focus on information that supports their beliefs. And it also means that scientists focus on information that supports their beliefs (it's also true that the scientific method only gets us so far, much as I am a fan of it; it's deliberately limited in the questions we can ask). The data is messy and subject to multiple interpretations, and people are being human on both sides.

Diana Hignutt
09-16-2006, 03:02 PM
Nice to know I've got Shweta watching the shop for me. I would not have answered Ordinary Guy's concerns any better. Nice work.

I don't have an unshakable belief in anything. I have faith in many things. In my heart, I beleive that everything must be questioned, nothing accepted at face value. Even, as Shweta pointed out, our science is contaminated with bias. What then are we to do? I also have a largely scientific brain; I'm also a very empirical person. However, I have experienced mystical states that seemed to transcend reality. I have witnessed what seemed to be the workings of magick, and the thousand synchronicities that swirled around them. The only thing we know for sure, is that the universe doesn't really look anywhere near like we think it does--and that ultimately everything is theoretical. As individuals, experience is our only true guide, and that is filtered through our highly subjective perceptions. One day, I will tell my story, but today is not that day...

Skepticism is most welcome here...

Thanks again to Shweta :)

Diana Hignutt
09-16-2006, 04:53 PM
Crowley reviews a little to get going:



The ultimate idea of meditation being to still the mind, it may be considered a useful preliminary to still consciousness of all the functions of the body...(the beginner) will endeavor to make the breathing very slow and regular.


One way to do this, (with a watch or clock to help guide you for best results) is to breathe in for ten seconds, hold for ten seconds, and exhale for ten seconds. This should be done deeply and thoroughly and all of the student's concentration should go into this task. There are lots of different practices of pranayama (control of the breathing). Another way is to simply concentrate on the breathing, and while doing so, saying mentally "the breath flows in" and "the breath flows out."

Crowley suggests, however, that mantrayoga is the best way to control the breathing.



The mantra acts on the thoughts very much as Pranayama does upon the breath. The thought is bound down to a recurring cycle; any intruding thoughts are thrown off by the mantra, just as pieces of putty would be from a fly-whell; and the swifter the wheel the more difficult would it be for anything to stick.




This is the proper way to practice a mantra. Utter it as loudly and slowly as possible ten times, then not quite so loudly and a very little faster ten more times more. Continue this process until there is nothing left but a rapid movement of the lips; this movement should be continued with increased velocity and diminishing intensity until the mental muttering completely absorbs the physical...continue for as long as possible, and then reverse the practice by reversing the process...


And on the selection of a mantra:



The ideal mantra should be rhythmical, one might even say musical; but there should be sufficient emphasis on some syllable to assist the facualty of attention...Here are some useful mantras:

1. Aum
2. Aum Tat Sat Aum.
3. Aum mani padme hum.
4. Aum shivaya vashi.
5. Allah.
6. Hua allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua.


However, anything can be used as a mantra. Magicians often use magickal phrases and such.



You have not even begun to master a mantra until it continues unbroken through sleep. This is much easier than it sounds.


I can vouch for Crowley here. It is certainly possible to acheive this. I have done so on numerous occasions.

Anywho, Crowley winds his way back to pranayama:



Pranayama is notably useful in quieting the emotions and appetites; and, whether by reason of the mechanical pressure which it asserts, or by the thorough combustion which it assures in the lungs, it seems to be admirable from the standpoint of health.


Personally, if you are playing along at home, stick with the first two examples of Pranayama before you try anything else. Pranayama should be done in your Asana for best results. However, this seems like a good time for our old friend, the "Thread Disclaimer"...


*****Thread Disclaimer*****
The information in this tread is provided soley for the purposes of writers as useful background information, and is not intended to endorse any practices of occult or other nature.

Shweta
09-17-2006, 04:16 AM
Oh yeah, the disclaimer!

Though I think so long as you don't hyperventilate, there's nothing harmful about Pranayama. My parents used to get me to do it as a kid to help with the asthma.

It might even be a good way to clear out day-job thoughts before writing.

Ordinary_Guy
09-17-2006, 07:51 AM
Shweta, this is fascinating stuff. Diana, please forgive this minor threadjacking...

RE: Magic

I struggle with this one. I consider myself a scientist, an empiricist -- and I also believe in magic.
Okay, so you have a belief in the supernatural, but I have to ask: why qualify it as magic? I've known plenty of folk that believe in ghosts without believing in any form of magic. To me, at least, "magic" connotes arcane rituals intended to tap energies unknown – and do so with a specific goal in mind. The supernatural seems a much larger umbrella description for things unknown.

Diana (name of a Goddess of Magic, isn't it?), please feel free to chime in here...

Far too much happens to me that's just plain weird to really explain away as coincidence. I started out a skeptic and ended up unable to hold onto my skepticism.
I've gone the opposite direction. I was raised a Christian Scientist, but it self-diluted to Methodist by high school. I was sort of non-denominational pseudo-Christian philosopher by college to my current state of lapsed agnostic.

I've had a few odd things happen to me in my lifetime but nothing so astounding as to warrant granting mysticism any significant amount of time or energy.

...It doesn't make sense in terms of a materialistic, scientific viewpoint (materialism as in there is only the physical world).

But then, neither does consciousness. Cognitive scientists hate mentions of consciousness, and treat it pretty much as being in that "weird subjective stuff" realm. It's quite possible that consciousness and free will are simply illusions, and magical phenomena are simply other illusions on that level, but until I figure it out, these all are dumped together in "unexplained phenomena that I still have a fair amount of evidence for" in my head.
There's plenty we don't yet know – and the more we learn, the more find we don't know. OTOH, there's only so much the universe can pack into any given system and from what I've been following, we're closing in on the nature of consciousness. Between the pathology of consciousness and medical/military brain-machine interface research, I'd venture a guess that in a hundred years or so, we'll have made all possible headway (so to speak) on the nature of consciousness.

...Other people have different reasons. In my case it's just being smacked across the head often enough to either believe that the phenomena I experience are real, or believe that I am highly delusional in a way that is coherent with some friends' delusions, across continents. I prefer the former.
Note that while I don't put a great deal of stock in the supernatural, I'll be the first to admit we don't know it all. In that wide expanse of yet-to-be-discovered science, there may well be phenomena that we'd currently class as "supernatural."

...But based on the definitions I'm familiar with, that's a far cry from "magic."

Shweta
09-17-2006, 08:07 AM
Shweta, this is fascinating stuff. Diana, please forgive this minor threadjacking...

RE: Magic

Okay, so you have a belief in the supernatural, but I have to ask: why qualify it as magic? I've known plenty of folk that believe in ghosts without believing in any form of magic. To me, at least, "magic" connotes arcane rituals intended to tap energies unknown – and do so with a specific goal in mind. The supernatural seems a much larger umbrella description for things unknown.

I call it magic because not only do things happen to me, I seem to be able to make things happen.
Which makes no sense, but does seem to happen. :shrug:


I've had a few odd things happen to me in my lifetime but nothing so astounding as to warrant granting mysticism any significant amount of time or energy.

And if I were in your boat, I would still be a skeptic :D


There's plenty we don't yet know – and the more we learn, the more find we don't know. OTOH, there's only so much the universe can pack into any given system and from what I've been following, we're closing in on the nature of consciousness. Between the pathology of consciousness and medical/military brain-machine interface research, I'd venture a guess that in a hundred years or so, we'll have made all possible headway (so to speak) on the nature of consciousness.

Hm.
I suspect you're overly optimistic on this one, my friend. Yes, we know a lot about the pathology of consciousness now, but as I understand it, we still have no idea how to start getting a handle on things like "I want my hand to move, and so it does". The wanting part, and the I part. There are plenty of people who argue that all of that subjective stuff is simply epiphenomenal, and the sense we have of "being" individuals and "making" anything happen at all is just an illusion.



Note that while I don't put a great deal of stock in the supernatural, I'll be the first to admit we don't know it all. In that wide expanse of yet-to-be-discovered science, there may well be phenomena that we'd currently class as "supernatural."

Yeah, I dunno. For the most part we seem to have a very good handle on physics, and the stuff we're talking about here makes little or no sense in terms of physics as I understand it. And yet.
Drives me up the wall. :D


...But based on the definitions I'm familiar with, that's a far cry from "magic."

As far as I can tell, the difference between "supernatural" and "magic" is how you're looking at it; the terms cover the same overall set of phenomena.

Ordinary_Guy
09-17-2006, 09:05 AM
RE: progress on consciousness


Hm.
I suspect you're overly optimistic on this one, my friend. Yes, we know a lot about the pathology of consciousness now, but as I understand it, we still have no idea how to start getting a handle on things like "I want my hand to move, and so it does". The wanting part, and the I part.
The "wanting" part isn't too hard to decipher: you've got a thousand concurrent impulses, some rise to conscious level but most don't – but most of those are simply driven by the body taking care of itself and floating suggestions toward the conscious, decision-making levels.

The "I" part is definitely trickier but its losing some of its veil. I can't quote studies off the cuff but it shouldn't take much to google research into memory, perception and sense of identity (where I get my own updates). From pathology of mechanical neural trauma to studies of personality change during Alzheimer's or various drugs, there are definite neurological anchors for some very fundamental aspects of personality. They've even been able to replicate the feeling déjà vu in the lab (think I read that one in the NYT, if anyone's interested).

Don't underestimate the motivation of science to figure out consciousness. Just beware of the potential disappointments as we figure out that our aspirations may have some fairly banal roots.

There are plenty of people who argue that all of that subjective stuff is simply epiphenomenal, and the sense we have of "being" individuals and "making" anything happen at all is just an illusion.
True – and that possibility is something to be aware of. By that same token, we should hope folk don't make causal* jumps where there are only coincidental correlations – which, not ironically, also usually creates a self-reinforcing belief system (sort of a confirmation bias for "conventional wisdom").

Then again, epiphenomenology of identity is, well, goofy. It is what it is: a sense of self exists at the level of our perceived consciousness no matter what some may claim is the root cause. In the same fashion, you could argue that nothing in the universe truly moves because of the inherent logic of Zeno's Paradox... yet stuff still moves. Just because something might look logical from one point of view doesn't validate it as actually true.

FWIW, I'd be curious to know what kind of phenomena you'd observed and experienced and if there was some way we could test it. Granted, it wouldn't be under any kind of control, but if there is something to it, perhaps we could get some insight to the nature of it.


****
* For folk that are just skimming, there's a bit of a difference between "causal" and "casual"...

Shweta
09-17-2006, 09:24 AM
Good questions and thoughts, OG.
I remember the deja vu study; it has to do with coding to long term memory normally having some lag. But it doesn't explain why some people I know have managed to describe something that was going to happen before it did.

And yes, we have lots of pieces; but none of them that I know of get at either qualia (the subjective nature of experience) or identity, except to make them more confusing. Andy Clark calls Consciousness the "meta-hard problem" and I think he's right. We don't even know if what we're doing will ever get us an answer.

Anyway, happy to talk about phenomena I've experienced, big and small; but I think if we want to talk the science it should go to another thread, as we've hijacked this one quite disgracefully :D

Diana Hignutt
09-17-2006, 04:00 PM
But, first, folks...thank's to O.G. and Shweta for the very interesting discussion. I absolutely don't mind the tread hijacking one bit. One day I will talk about the things that have lead me to a believe in magick and mysticism, but no time real soon...it will have to get very personal, and any good scientist will still doubt what I say, and maybe that's the whole thing. There's always room for disbelief in any set of data or circumstances, and frankly, no matter what I say, if you don't want to believe, you will find a way to confirm your bias. However, my time here is limited and I've been promising Chris, info on Janus for a couple of weeks now...

Our dear friends at the Encycopedia Americana offer a few things:



JANUS, an ancient Latin divinity after whow the first month of the year was named. Presiding over gates, doors (janus) and passages (janua), he was the protector of entrances and departures....he is sometimes represented as a porter or doorkeeper with a staff in the right hand and a key in the left...More commonly, he was depicted...with two faces, usually bearded, looking in opposite directions. Gradually he was vested with more attributes and was worshiped as god of beginnings, of the beginning of the year and of the month; of the beginning of the day, opening the gates of heaven to let out the morning, and clsoing them when day returned, at dusk....


He was often invoked as 'Father" at the beginning of all solemn sacifices, and was also considered the god of the beginning of time and the world.

In Frazer's classic study of comparetive religion, The Golden Bough, he spends some time on the etymology of Janus, and suggest that he began the same diety as Dianus and Jupiter, and that:



the names of the divinities being identical in substance, though varying in form with the dialect of the particualr tribe which worshipped them. At first, when people dwelt near each other, the difference between the dieties would be hardly more than one of name; in other words, it would be purely dialectical. But the gradual dispersion of the tribes, and their consequent isloation form each other, would favour the growth of divergent modes of conceiving and worshipping the gods...


Frazer offers further etymological study on Janus and I would recommend taking the book out of the library, though all students of mythology would do well to own a copy. Here's a little more on an interesting Roman custom related to Janus from Frazer:



When it had become customary to guard the entrance of houses and towns by an image of Janus, it might well be deemed necessary to make the sentinel god look both ways, before and behind, at the same time, in order that nothing should escape his vigilent eye...


I hope this helps...

KimJo
09-17-2006, 07:02 PM
Pranayama is an integral part of most yoga practices, and is also very helpful for things like asthma and stress relief. I've been following this thread and was very excited to see pranayama and mantra mentioned, since those are two things that I do as regular practices.

Shweta, I've had a lot of "magical" or "supernatural" things occur in my life as well; I know what you mean :)

triceretops
09-18-2006, 02:50 AM
Thanks, Dianna, that helps a lot. You've found information that has escaped me. I want to use Janus in a fantasy where he comes to the aid of an innnocent woman on death row. He promises her a new beginning and that she will have the opportunity to confront her false accuser. Via passing through a mystical doorway, he impregnates her in the jail facility, and nine months later she dies in childbirth on the grounds, but at that instant, gives birth to herself. The baby is adopted by the brother in-law (the man responsible for murdering her husband), and she grows up with terrible nightmares about her own death. When she reaches 21-years of age, Janus revisits her again and tells her what her purpose is--she must set up her murdering step-father, to see that he is accused of a murder he hasn't committed--thus bringing revenge around full circle.

That's as far as I've got with it. My new incarnated MC will also be able to phase in and phase out of the dimension, since she has gained the attributes of Janus, but this will terrify her at first. Her boyfriend will use her in his magic act, until one day she truly disapears on stage and it's not part of the act.

Anyway, that's where I'm (roughly) going with it.

Tri

Diana Hignutt
09-18-2006, 01:05 PM
Kimjo, I'm glad you're enjoying the thread.

Tri, your welcome! If I stumble upon anything else, I'll let you know.

Next time, Yama and Niyama...

KimJo
09-18-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks, Diana. I've learned a lot from it! I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say about yama and niyama as well, as I've been learning about those in my studies. :)

Ordinary_Guy
09-19-2006, 05:24 AM
RE: science peering in on human stream of consciousness...


I suspect you're overly optimistic on this one, my friend. Yes, we know a lot about the pathology of consciousness now, but as I understand it, we still have no idea how to start getting a handle on things like "I want my hand to move, and so it does". The wanting part, and the I part. There are plenty of people who argue that all of that subjective stuff is simply epiphenomenal, and the sense we have of "being" individuals and "making" anything happen at all is just an illusion.
As a little food for thought, here's a recent story (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-09/uosc-bac091506.php) that's right up your alley (particularly with the language connection):

Brain's action center is all talk

Collaboration between USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley and Italian University finds strong mental link between actions and words

Neuroscience is tackling a problem that obsessed Hamlet: What is the difference in our minds between talk and action?

Less than you would expect, an international research group reports in the Sept. 19 issue of Current Biology.

The brain's premotor cortex shows the same activity pattern when subjects observe an action as when they hear words describing the same action, the study's authors said.

"If you hear the word 'grasp,' it's actually the premotor cortex that's active, not just a separate, abstract semantic area in the brain," said lead investigator Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, assistant professor of occupational sciences with a joint appointment in the Brain and Creativity Institute of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The premotor cortex has long been identified as a center of activity for actions. The notion that it could also process verbal descriptions of those actions has met some resistance.

"Neuroscience is coming around to this idea, but there hasn't been much data supporting it," Aziz-Zadeh said.

To change that, Aziz-Zadeh recruited 12 volunteers and used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the same areas of the premotor cortex in the same subject as the person observed an action and heard language describing the action.

The premotor area involved during observation of a specific action, such as kicking, also lit up when the subject heard the corresponding word. This was the first study to make such a direct comparison, Aziz-Zadeh said.

Other studies found activity in the same areas during execution of an action, Aziz-Zadeh added, offering indirect evidence for the existence of "mirror neuron" systems that activate both when a person performs a task and when the person watches someone else perform the task.

"The study does demonstrate the intimate linkage between the way we talk about actions and the neural machinery that supports those actions. That's very intriguing," said USC University Professor Michael Arbib...
The article goes on and it's worth a read (especially for a linguistically oriented person such as you).

For SF writers, it brings machine-brain interface a little closer to reality and that's pretty cool. It's also pretty scary... as it means that in the future, your innermost thoughts might not be able to hide in the sanctum of the mind.

Shweta
09-19-2006, 12:59 PM
Ha.

I know Lisa. She's cool.
I'm glad the experiment worked out; they've been hit and miss for scanning studies on language effects and I haven't talked to her for a while.
I have a study that shows something similar (we work in the same area) but it's a reaction-time study, not an imaging one.

Anyway, I suggest this might fit better on my thread than Diana's? Not wanting to steal the cool stuff, but it seems less hijacky there.

Diana Hignutt
09-19-2006, 03:48 PM
If everyone's okay with it, I'm back to distilling Crowley's masterpiece Magick.

Two attainments are most important in Yoga: Yama and Niyama.



They are 'moral qualities' and 'good works' which are supposed to predispose to mental calm.

Yama consists of non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving any gift.


In the Buddhist system, Sila, or Virture is very similar. You'll recognize the Ten Commandments as another moral guide in a like vein.



The real point of the Hindu 'Yama' is that breaking any of these would tend to excite the mind.


Crowley feels very strongly that subsequent theologians have embraced these guidelines for their own sake, rather than for their benefits of keeping the mind and emotions calm.



(They) have given a sort of mystical importance to these virtues, they have insisted upon them for their own sake, and turned them into puritanism and formalism. Thus 'non-killing,' which originally meant 'do not excite yourself by stalking tigers,' has been intrepreted to mean that it is a crime to drink water that has not been strained, lest you should kill the animalcula.


Crowley claims, however, that this constant worry is worse than the very excitement that such systems are trying to protect the adherent from.



If the barking of a dog disturbs your meditation, it is simplest to shoot the dog, and think no more about it.


Remember, gang, this is Crowley's version and he's into moral relativity. He sends off Yama and Niyama with this advice:



...let the student decide for himself what form of life, what moral code, will least tend to excite his mind; but once he has formulated it, let him stick to it, avoiding opportunism; and let him be very careful to take no credit for what he does or refrains from doing--it is a purely practical code, of no value in itself.


He finishes the chapter with a hardy "DO WHAT THOU WILT shall be the whole of the Law," and:



...the whole object of Yama and Niyama is to live so that no emotion or passion disturbs the mind.


Next Time, Pratyahara...

Shweta
09-19-2006, 03:54 PM
Yama consists of non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving any gift.

See, this must be why the faeries don't like being given gifts. It messes with their magic :D

...though they're supposed to be tricksy critters, so that might not work. Though some can grant the ability to speak true, as Thomas the Rhymer learned, I guess. Hm.

KimJo
09-19-2006, 09:46 PM
Diana, since I've missed something and can't find the answer scrolling back through, are you referencing yama and niyama solely as a continuation of your discussion of Crowley? I ask because if it's okay, I'd like to add a little to what you've said, but if you're only talking about Crowley's writings on it, I won't. (I don't want to hijack either.)

Diana Hignutt
09-19-2006, 10:00 PM
Diana, since I've missed something and can't find the answer scrolling back through, are you referencing yama and niyama solely as a continuation of your discussion of Crowley? I ask because if it's okay, I'd like to add a little to what you've said, but if you're only talking about Crowley's writings on it, I won't. (I don't want to hijack either.)

No matter how I approach a subject here, I want you to throw your two cents in. I like learning too, and your input on yama and niyama would interest me very much. Go for it!

Diana Hignutt
09-20-2006, 04:44 PM
We've been examining Aleister Crowley's Magick, as it is arguably the single most important work of Western Occultism. The work also has the unique distinction of bringing the traditions of the East and West together into a cohesive system. We've begun our study of magick with the techniques of Yoga, as explained by Crowley. Highlighted remarks are Crowley's.



Pratyahara is the first process in the mental part of our task. The previous practices, Asana, Pranayama, Yama, and Niyama, are all acts of the body, ... Pratyahara is purely mental.

(Pratyahara is) ... introspection, a sort of general examination of the contents of the mind which we want to control: Asana having been mastered, all immediate exciting causes have been removed, and we are free to think what we are thinging about.


Crowley points out that just as the student learned by mastering Asana just how restless is the body, Pratyahara does the same thing with the mind.



As soon as the body was accurately observed it was found to be terribly restless and painful; now that we observe the mind it is seen to be more restless and painful still.


Pratyahara is the attempt to control the mind, to study it's contents and limit thought. Once the student begins:



It is only then that we discover what we thought was a school of playful porpoises is really the convolutions of the sea-serpent. The attempt to repress has the effect of exciting.


The main thing here is to develop an inhibitory power over the thoughts.



It is postively amazing with what persistence a thought, even a whole train of thoughts, returns again and again to the charge... It is intensely annoying too, to find that one does not become conscious that one has got on to the forbidden subject until one has gone right throught with it.


Crowley tells the tale of a young pupil who approaches his Guru and asks for magical powers. The Guru tells the student that he can gain these powers if he will but wash seven times in the Ganges for seven days without thinking about a certain spot on his body.



Of course the unhappy youth spends a disgusted week thinking of little else.


Once the student has obtained, through the practice of Pratyahara, the power of checking the rise of thought he may move on to the next stage, Dharana...

KimJo
09-20-2006, 11:21 PM
Thank you, Diana. I'll post it as soon as I have time, in the next day or so.

Shweta
09-21-2006, 12:11 PM
What Crowley thinks of as inhibition, I believe Eastern mysticism thinks of as more of a gentle, passive letting-go. There's Buddhist teachings on this that say don't try and stop thinking about anything; if you're thinking about it, let yourself be aware of that thought, then let it go when it's ready.

This is, I think, possibly the fundamental difference between how I understand hindu and buddhist mysticism, and how I see Crowley understanding it; and I think that has a lot to do with the culture he grew up in.

Diana Hignutt
09-21-2006, 01:19 PM
What Crowley thinks of as inhibition, I believe Eastern mysticism thinks of as more of a gentle, passive letting-go. There's Buddhist teachings on this that say don't try and stop thinking about anything; if you're thinking about it, let yourself be aware of that thought, then let it go when it's ready.

This is, I think, possibly the fundamental difference between how I understand hindu and buddhist mysticism, and how I see Crowley understanding it; and I think that has a lot to do with the culture he grew up in.

You may well be right, but keep in mind that there are differing versions of Yoga and that Crowley learned his from Buddhist monks in a Buddhist monastary in Ceylon.

Also, as a precursor to Dharana (the holding a single thought in the mind), Crowley's method may instill more discipline to assist the student. Or maybe not.

Shweta
09-21-2006, 03:07 PM
You may well be right, but keep in mind that there are differing versions of Yoga and that Crowley learned his from Buddhist monks in a Buddhist monastary in Ceylon.

Of the philosophy, and of the practice, yes.

Wandering into Tarot terms, I think of Crowley's approach as the Magician's, and the ones I've learned as being better represented by the High Priestess. If that makes any sense at all.

So, I think of Crowley's take on it as rather western, and rather... magicianly; I could just be misreading him there. But I do wonder if he misunderstood the notion of letting-go, and lack of attachment, especially considering the rest of his life.


Also, as a precursor to Dharana (the holding a single thought in the mind), Crowley's method may instill more discipline to assist the student. Or maybe not.

Might be.
I personally find that this is easier to do when I am "letting" it happen, rather than when I am "making" it happen; but perhaps that's just because I lack the latter discipline. I really don't know; I'm just throwing my thoughts in :)

Diana Hignutt
09-22-2006, 04:17 PM
So, I think of Crowley's take on it as rather western, and rather... magicianly; I could just be misreading him there.


Okay, I was misunderstanding you before. Yes, I would agree absolutely.

Onward.

Dharana is the focusing of the mind on a single thought. Crowley recommends that the student begin with a simple object. Once the student begins to do this:



...he will find that it is not so much his creature as he supposed. Other thoughts will invade the mind, so that the object is altogether forgotten, perhaps for whole minutes at a time; and at other times the object itself will begin to play tricks.




You are not to practice at first for more than ten mintues at a time, so as to avoid the risk of overtiring the brain. In fact you will probably find that the whole of your will is not equal to keeping the subject at all for so long as three minutes...


Crowley recommends that the student count the number of breaks, either on his fingers or with beads.

The breaks that one will encounter during the course of this practice:

1. Physical breaks. Your Asana should have overcome these.
2. Breaks dictated by events prior to meditating.
3. Reverie, or 'day-dreams.' The mind may wander without the student even realizing it.



Fourthly, we get a very high clas of break, which is sort of aberration of the control itself. You think, 'How well I am doing it!' or perhaps that it would be rather a good idea if you were on a desert island, or if you were in a sound proof house...


5. Hallucinations, particularly auditory.



There is a further kind of break, which is the desired result itself.



Next time, Dhyana...

Also, I'd like to wish our pagan friends reading, a very joyous Equinox!

Diana Hignutt
09-22-2006, 04:34 PM
We seem to have picked up a few new readers on the thread lately, and I thought I should explain, well, what exactly it is we're doing here.

First, I'd like to say that Absolute Write is my home on the internet. If I'm online, I'm probably here, somewhere on the forum. I found this forum whilst going through some tough literary times, and I found the people here to be wonderfully supportive. I wanted to give something back. I thought long and hard about it and decided that this thread would be a way to do that.

In my mind, the purpose of this thread is to provide background and reference material on magick, mysticism, mythology and, to some extent religion (mainly comparative religion) for use of writers working in fantasy or paranormal genres. Whereas, it is perfectly acceptable to completely create your own rules of magic for your fictional world, it doesn't hurt to have some sort of background in historical systems. And that's what we're doing here.

Occasionaly, I remember to post a 'Thread Disclaimer' reminding people that I am not, in any way, endorsing or encouraging people to engage in occult or other practices. I should probably do this more often, but, hey, when I think of it, I post it.

I'm always happy to try and answer questions. I like to encourage more participation here on this thread, so jump in at any time. Sometimes I get busy in my real life, and I disappear for a few days. Don't worry, I've always come back so far.

Anyway, that's what we're doing here. Have fun...

Ardellis
09-23-2006, 02:34 PM
I wanted to give something back. I thought long and hard about it and decided that this thread would be a way to do that.

This is a fabulous way to do just that, Diana! Thank you for it!


I like to encourage more participation here on this thread, so jump in at any time.

I'd be thrilled to, if you ever get to a topic I actually have anything to add anything to. ;)

Seriously, I tried to read Crowley years ago and just couldn't wrap my brain around him. Maybe I was too young (late teens/early twenties), or maybe it was his writing style. Either way, you're encouraging me to go look for the copy of Magick that's stuffed somewhere in my closet and give it another try one of these days.

Diana Hignutt
09-23-2006, 02:51 PM
Seriously, I tried to read Crowley years ago and just couldn't wrap my brain around him. Maybe I was too young (late teens/early twenties), or maybe it was his writing style. Either way, you're encouraging me to go look for the copy of Magick that's stuffed somewhere in my closet and give it another try one of these days.

He's a tough read, but once you get into his very tongue-in-cheek style (and this does take some effort) you can get going. It took me about three reads (starting at age 18) and lots of other reading to really understand what he was talking about. That said, there's still a bit that goes over my head, here and there...

Diana Hignutt
09-23-2006, 03:08 PM
Last night we watched the new version of the movie I talked about on page one of this thread, "What the bleep do we know?" The new version is titled, "What the Bleep. Down the Rabbit Hole." and it's the neatest darn thing. The movie changes everytime you watch it. They've added tons of new interviews and graphic segments that randomly play for a different experience with each viewing. In the version we watched last night, a couple of the physicists were expanding and trying to better expalin the things they may not have expressed exactly right the first time.

If Ordinary Guy is still reading this thread, I'd love it if you could check it out and tell us were the problems are. That way we could discuss the parts that you claimed they had supposedly gotten wrong. My feeling is that after editing the film the first time, some concepts were not be expressed correctly, and they attempted to correct that.

Anyway, I definitely recommend the new version of the film.

Next time, I swear, we finally get to Dhyana...

Diana Hignutt
09-24-2006, 03:57 PM
After a brief discussion on philosophical objectivity Crowley gets going:



It will have been understood that Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi form a continuous process...

In the course of our concentration we noticed that the contents of the mind at any moment consisted of two things, and no more: the Object, variable, and the Subject, invariable, or apparently so. By success in Dharana the object has been made as invariable as the subject.

Now the result of this is that the two become one.


The is a tremendous shock to the person experiencing it.



All of the poetic faculties and all the emotional faculties are thrown into a sort of ecstacy by an occurrence which overthrows the mind, and makes the rest of life seem absolutely worthless in comparison.


If I may step in here for a moment with an observation of my own, in terms of modern physics, Dhyana may be seen as the perception of entanglement. If you don't understand quantum mechanics, this probably will make no sense. Eventually, I will get there in the thread, so don't get too worried about it.

In any case these experiences can bring a person to the conclusion that they have seen God, and they proceed through the world with this conviction.



He proclaims his ideas without the restraint which is imposed upon most persons by doubt, modesty, and diffidence...

The power of the orator over the mob is well known. It is, probably, for this reason that the prophet has been able to constrain mankind to obey his law. It never occurs to him that any one can do otherwise.


So begin, according to Crowley, religions.


The most important factor in Dhyana is, however, the annihilation of the Ego.

Next time, Samadhi...

KimJo
09-24-2006, 05:49 PM
I've been a student of yoga, including the philosophy of it, for about a year, which means that I don't know a whole lot... ;) I hadn't been aware that Crowley had done anything on yogic philosophy, and I thank Diana for sharing that information here. In reading through Crowley's writings about yama and niyama, I spotted a couple things that were slightly different from what I've learned, and wanted to share what I've learned for those who are interested. The following information comes from Christopher Harris, who has studied yoga for over ten years and has been a certified instructor for five, and has given me permission to use his as-yet-unpublished writings on the subject. He teaches and studies Astanga Yoga, which is believed to be the oldest form of yoga and is the one referenced in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (an excellent book on the philosophy of yoga; if you can find an easily-digestible translation of it, I highly recommend it). Astanga means "eight limbed", so Astanga Yoga is the eight-limbed philosophy of yoga.

Yama and Niyama are the first and second limbs of Astanga. The Yama are guides to our interactions with others; the Niyama are guides to our personal lives.

The Yama are considered societal restraints, set out to help us interact kindly and gently with others and to overcome our ego and attachment in those interactions. The five yama, in the original Sanskrit, are Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya, and Aparigraha, which roughly translate to non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, abstinence from indulgence (particularly sexual), and non-taking (different from stealing in that stealing involves taking what does not belong to us, whereas Aparigraha refers to being non-greedy and not accepting anything we haven't earned).

In Astanga, Ahimsa refers to abstaining from all forms of violence, in thought, word, or deed. It is considered as violent to wish someone harm as to strike them. It is equally violent to judge someone as it is to stab them. Those who follow the principles of Astanga seek to eliminate all types of violence from their lives. It isn't easy... It also refers to being gentle with ourselves, treating our own minds and bodies with care and respect.

Satya begins with being honest to ourselves, and extends to being honest, again in thought, word, and deed, with all others. At times, Satya and Ahimsa interfere with each other; how can one speak a truth that may hurt another? It is up to the individual to judge which course is the least harmful to themselves as well as the other involved.

Asteya and Aparigraha, while not the same, are closely tied. Asteya refers to refraining from taking what does not belong to us. This includes using another's idea without their permission or taking credit for what someone else has done, as well as stealing another's property or money. With Aparigraha, in addition to not taking something that does not belong to one, one also does not accept something one has not earned. This relates to what Diana mentioned in Crowley's writings about not accepting gifts, but there are slight differences. In his writing, Christopher Harris uses the example of the yoga class he teaches. In the past, students have tried to give him gifts at Christmas or his birthday. If his only interaction with the student is in class, he doesn't accept the gift; their relationship is not such that he has earned the gift, since they have paid him for his instruction and therefore he has earned nothing beyond that payment. However, although I'm one of the students in his class, he and I have a friendship aside from the instructor-student relationship, and we do exchange gifts; the friendship is the basis for his accepting gifts from me. One who practices Aparigraha, therefore, does not need to turn down all gifts, only those which have not been earned in some way.

Brahmacarya is a difficult concept to translate into English. Sexual continence is only part of it. Some people interpret that to mean celibacy; it doesn't, necessarily. Sex isn't believed to be "wrong" or "unhealthy", as long as it's practiced with respect between both people and with mindfulness as to how much. With Brahmacarya, one abstains from casual sex, choosing to have sex only with a committed partner, and in a committed relationship, one does not have "too much" sex. Too much is a very subjective thing, but if one constantly thinks about sex to the point where one thinks of nothing else, or if sex leaves one feeling tired and depleted, it's too much. Sex should be used as an expression of the mutual love and respect of the partners, not as a replacement for or escape from other things in one's life. Brahmacarya also refers to moving toward the essential, ultimate Truth of existence, a journey which takes many lifetimes.

This post ran longer than I expected, so I'll put Niyama in a separate post...

KimJo
09-24-2006, 06:24 PM
While the Yama are societal restraints, the Niyama are personal observances. There are five: Sauca, Samtosa, Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Isvarapranidhana.

Sauca is cleanliness of the body, internally and externally, including proper hygiene and a healthy diet. Samtosa means modesty and contentment; being modest in our behaviors and content with what we have; releasing any concerns about past and future and trusting that whatever happens, happens, and being content with the present.

Tapas refers to purification through heating the body. This heating in yoga is done through the practices of asana and pranayama, as well as other techniques. Svadhyaya means, roughly, self-examination, including learning about oneself, including the soul, as well as self-guided learning and study in other areas.

The final Niyama, Isvarapranidhana, means laying one's actions at the feet of whatever higher power one might believe in. It leads to Vairagya, nonattachment, in which one feels nothing at the results of one's actions, good, bad, or indifferent. Vairagya goes beyond choosing not to feel; for one who has surrendered to vairagya, emotions and attachments to one's actions or to others simply do not exist. Vairagya leads to enlightenment and ascension, to reunion with the Divine Source of creation. However, since nothing's easy, there are five Klesa, or afflictions, which seek to prevent us from attaining Vairagya. I'll discuss those in the next post.

KimJo
09-24-2006, 07:08 PM
In yoga, there are believed to be five Klesa, or afflictions, that prevent us from attaining enlightenment, enlightenment being the ultimate goal of the practice. The Klesa are Asmita, Avidya, Abhinivesa, Raga, and Dvesa.

Asmita is perhaps the most pervasive of the Klesa. It's what most of us might term the "ego", but it goes beyond the Western psychological concept of ego. Asmita is what makes us feel pain or anger at something another has done; what makes us feel like we're never good enough; what makes us feel like we must be better than everyone else. Because of asmita, we may feel isolated from everyone around us, may suffer depression or similar conditions, and may lash out at others because of our own feelings of self-consciousness and self-judgment.

Asmita both flows from and contributes to Avidya, which means incorrect comprehension or incorrect perception. Avidya is supported by all the other Klesa, which makes it the most subtle and difficult to counter. It interferes with our correct viewing of ourselves, others, and the nature of the Universe itself, and causes us to fall out of balance and harmony with the essential principles of existence.

Abhinivesa, put simply, is fear. It is omnipresent in our lives, manifesting as uncertainty and doubt about ourselves as well as about others in our lives. It often works hand in hand with Asmita, but while Asmita is generally quite blunt, Abhinivesa is more insidious, hiding its actions and making us believe it is the truth. It is also the fear of our own mortality and death. Asmita wishes to survive at all costs, and to prevent all change in our lives. Abhinivesa is the fear of not surviving and the fear of change, which often paralyzes us into choosing not to take action that would ultimately benefit us, because we are afraid it will have unpleasant consequences.

Raga is attachment. Raga causes us to want what we don't have and to cling to what we do, no matter how damaging that item might be to us. It is from Raga that addictions arise, to substances, to emotions, to experiences, and to suffering. When Raga is active, the absence of something in our life causes false pain; we can live without that item, but Raga causes us to believe we cannot. Likewise, Raga causes false joy when we have an item we believe we must have; at first we feel that we are complete because we have that item, but the satisfaction is illusory and temporary. Raga causes us to focus outward for satisfaction and contentment, instead of recognizing that those things come from within us.

The final affliction, Dvesa, is refusal and hatred, directed at others as well as to places or things. When a teenager hates his parents for placing restrictions on him, that's dvesa. When the same teenager finds his parents ignoring him or releasing the restrictions, he resents their inattentiveness; this too is dvesa. Dvesa causes us to reject responsibility for our actions and their consequences, feeding into asmita, which wants us to believe that only others, not us, have responsibility.

Shweta
09-25-2006, 04:33 AM
Very cool, KimJo, thank you.

I think it'd be useful to throw in a little linguistics on the first two Klesa. Intended as complementary to what you've said.

In Sanskrit, the prefix A- is a negative. It changes the meaning of a word to its... opposite.
But there are several types of opposite. The one here is specifically lack. Like English moral/amoral. Not like English moral/immoral. I think. (Anyone who's taken more than a semester of sanskrit, do feel free to chime in and tell me how I'm wrong!)

So... let's see. As I understand it, Smita is something like "smile", with connotations of joy. Popular girl's name. Asmita then, is lack of joy. By the philosophy, here, you can really only get joy through lack of attachment, because life is sorrow, etc.

Vidhya (however you spell it) is wisdom. Avidhya, then, is lack of wisdom.

Anyway! That's my 2c.

Diana Hignutt
09-25-2006, 12:51 PM
Wow! That's great stuff, KimJo. A lot of that was completely new to me. Thank you so much!

KimJo
09-25-2006, 11:47 PM
You're welcome, Diana :) Thanks for allowing me to post it!

Shweta, thanks for sharing that :) I love linguistics, and I'm studying Sanskrit on my own. From my sources, vidya means correct sight or perception, so avidya means incorrect sight, though "wisdom" or "education", as another source defines it, would be a similar concept. I didn't know that about "asmita"; the dictionary in which I looked it up says it means "egotism" or "self-righteousness". Your translation makes sense :)

The prefix "a" also appears in some of the yama: "ahimsa", which means "non-violence" or "lack of violence"; "himsa" is "violence" in Sanskrit; "asteya"- "steya" is "stealing"; and "aparigraha"- "parigraha" means "hoarding", according to one of my sources. (The sources, by the way, are Christopher Harris's book and the Faithweb.com online Sanskrit dictionary.)

Shweta
09-26-2006, 05:36 AM
Yeah, I'm not entirely sure of my definitions, but I think Vidhya means more than just clear sight; though in the philosophy I think clear sight is equated with wisdom, some.

What I was trying to do was ... to break the words down a bit in order to get away from defining them in purely English terms, because there is no one English term to cover the Sanskrit concept.

KimJo
09-26-2006, 04:24 PM
I think you're right, Shweta, that clear sight and wisdom are equivalent terms. It was very useful to have the words broken down as you did; like you say, Sanskrit concepts don't always translate smoothly into English :)

Diana Hignutt
09-30-2006, 02:54 PM
Sorry, gang, I've been a little ill. I'm starting to feel better. Tomorrow we'll get back on track with Samadhi...

Diana Hignutt
10-01-2006, 03:52 PM
Crowley begins by saying that there is more nonsense written about Samadhi than not.



The most remarkable statement, of any acknowledged authority, is that of Yajna Valkya, who says: 'By Pranayama impurities of the body are thrown out; by Dharana the impurities of the mind, by Pratyahara the impurities of attachment; and by Samadhi is taken off everything that hides the lordship of the soul.




There are many different kinds of Samadhi. Some authors consider Atmadarshana, the Universe as a single phenomenon without conditions, to be the first real Samadhi. If we accept this, we must relugate many less exalted states to the class of Dhyana.




In Samadhi the Many and the One are united in a union of Existence with non-Existence.


Crowley then talks about the rightful objects of meditation:

1) various parts of the body (including the seven Chakkras).
2) objects of devotion (like a deity).
3) your dreams.
4) anything that especially apeals to you.



The Hindus assert that the nature of the object determines the Samadhi; that is, the nature of the lower Samadhis which confer so-called 'magic powers.'


Bhikku Ananda Metteya (Crowley's Guru Allan Bennett) said of Samadhi: 'Every atom of the body comes into contact with every atom in the Universe all at once.'



In Atmadarshana the All is manifested as the One: it is the Universe freed of its conditions. Not only are all forms and ideas destroyed, but also those conceptions which are implicit in our ideas of those ideas.


Ultimately there is even a higher state of Samadhi:



Shivadarshana, of which it is only necessary to say that it is the destruction of the previous state, its annihilation; and to understand this blotting-out, one must not imagine 'Nothingness' (the only name of it) as negative, but as positive.

Diana Hignutt
10-04-2006, 03:51 PM
First, just a little note that we've had over 7,000 views on this thread. Honestly, when I started this thread, I wasn't sure it would last more than a week. I wasn't sure that anybody would really be all that interested. Well, at least a few of you are.

My regular job has reared its ugly head, and I'm going to be very busy for the next few days. I also have to give a little more thought to what I'm going to tackle next in Crowley's Magick. So, I'm hopeful that I'll post more on Friday, but honestly it will most likely be on Sunday or Tuesday.

As a last little note, if anyone will be in the South Jersey area this weekend, stop by and see me at the Collingswood Book Festival, where I'll be talking with readers and signing copies of my most recent novel, Empress of Clouds. For more information visit: www.collingswoodbookfestival.com (http://www.collingswoodbookfestival.com)

And don't forget, the 'LOST' season premiere is tonight!

Later...

KimJo
10-04-2006, 09:56 PM
Diana, how great that the thread has had so many views! I hope you have a great time at Collingswood.

Diana Hignutt
10-10-2006, 04:42 PM
First, I had fun in Collingswood, except it was a cold and rainy day, so they moved the six block event into the school. And that would have been fine, but they set me up three feet from the open door and I spent all day in the damp cold breeze, and am battling a minor flair up of my chronic bronchitis. Anyway, you don't read this thread to follow my little life, so back to work.

Crowley's Magick or Book Four was intended to consist of four sections: Mysticism, Magick, Magick in Theory and Practice, and a Commentary on the Book of the Law. Crowley never finished the last part. We've tackled the section on Mysticism in some depth, however, I am disinclined to spend that much time on the section on Magick. We've spent most of the thread talking about precisely that, though Crowley has much to offer, and his insight certainly far surpasses my own. What I really want to spent time on is the highlight of the book, the section on Magick in Theory and Practice in which he explains in detail how magick works. That is the essential material that will be of most use to writers of fiction.

What I will do on the section of Magick is to talk very briefly about the synthesis of Mysticism and Magick that Crowley first suggests there. The mystical practices that Crowley outlined in the first part of his masterpiece are difficult to keep at. Most students do not possess the will to really progress along the mystic path. Crowley then goes on talking about an ancient science for strengthening the will, that of magick. Crowley believed that the practice of magick aids in the practice of mysticism, and that the practice of mysticism aids in the practice of magick, hence in his teachings students had to master both aspects.

Next time then, Magick in Theory and Practice...