I was honored to be a guest on Praxis behind the Obscure with Ryan. We had an in-depth discussion about angelic magic, specifically on getting started with Enochian, working with the Holy Guardian Angel, and crossing the Abyss. I hope you can check it out. Enjoy!
1. Learn to discern the value of what you learn. You may see grand things, you may see small things. Both are important. They do not you better or worse than anyone else. They just mean that you have learned something that is right for you.
2. Learn to recognize how quickly or slowly you can integrate what you’ve learned. If, from a newfound perspective, you recognize that you are part of a vast consciousness, and that all is one, then what, pray tell, has this to do with changing your job, or staying with your spouse? It may bring you great comfort, it may not, but it may have very little indeed to do with the nuts-and-bolts of your everyday life. First, see how your insight affects how you relate to other people, and whether those changes are appropriate. Then weigh in your heart whether it’s deep enough to change your whole life over.
3. Remember to work with your body and senses as much as you can; this obviously depends on your ability status, but worlds of insight can be gained from your reaction to your sense input from a single nerve. Pay attention to which parts of your body are tense. Breathwork into tense muscle areas can be especially helpful.
4. Simultaneous to working with your body and sense, work with your own narratives, especially those that are close to your emotions. Question them, pay attention to how they drive your actions, see how coherent they are. If something doesn’t make sense, why is that? If your body tenses as a result of a threat to your narrative, then breathe into that area.
It’s pretty easy to look at Enochian as a religion, and honestly, I am wondering whether it’s time to call it that. Jason Louv certainly concludes that this was the angels’ goal: a one-world religion. It fuses communicating and working with angels (angels themselves working on behalf of God), magick (an ability to manipulate reality, in this case via Divine power), and devotion to the Divine. Via the Aethyrs, ultimately (i.e., in LIL), these all fuse with union with the Divine, forever changing the consciousness of the practitioner.
It is the latter of these–a procedure that provides union (i.e., yoga) with the Divine (and therefore the universe)–that gives Enochian its power. This power is frightening and heretical to most Western Christian denominations (I cannot speak to Eastern Orthodox Churches). After all, Jesus has made humanity right with God, provided we recognize him as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by/through” Him (John 14:6). Note that Jesus uses the present tense–not “no one will ever come to the Father,” but “no one comes to the Father.” Am I stretching too much here, inferring too much about what Jesus says about the relationship with God and when? Read on: interestingly, Jesus goes on to say that He is in the Father and vice versa, that he will provide another advocate (i.e., one like Jesus, whom Jesus calls “the Spirit of Truth,” thought in theological terms by most to mean the Holy Spirit), who will be in the disciples. This suggests, frankly, that the Father continues to be in the disciples, giving them union with God. He then continues to say “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” An awful lot of sharing of this Divinity, wouldn’t you say? It’s almost as if union with the Divine is the whole point here.
The frightening heresy to denominations in these verses is that God is in the heart of a believer, yet we are still human. We should not aspire to be Divine, the thinking goes, but some unclear version of similarity with the Divine. To that I say–that’s not how it works, at least in Enochian. In Enochian, you learn the heavenly and, ultimately, Divine nature we already are, after using each Aethyr to slowly peel back ego-based delusion. It is this delusion of the ego that feeds the dependency upon the hierarchy of authority.
How does Enochian fit into the grand scheme of other religions? It’s a different form of esoteric Christianity from Gnosticism in that there isn’t some grand conspiracy of cosmic beings who are keeping us deluded, but rather, our own thinking and ego- and mind-identification. It certainly has a deity, but this deity is systemic to the universe (as shown through its identification with mathematics; this suggest pantheism or panentheism), and we are a part of the universe. It may be trite to say that everything is divine, but the point of Enochian is to learn exactly what that means. It is a “suchness.” It is Tathata. Understanding (Binah) this means learning to let go of other kinds of thinking and being, and instead become what one truly is: divine, in all the glory of divinity. Enochian cosmology has excellent, but probably not always perfect, complementarity with Buddhism and other Eastern traditions. Regardless, I am of the view that Enochian, and specifically the Enochian language in general prayers and in modifications made to the 19th Enochian Call to the Aethyrs, can be used especially well to produce the esoteric attainments or states of these and likely other religions.
If Enochian is a religion, it’s highly personal. It comes from personal revelation and interaction with the angelic and the Divine. For Westerners especially, it’s about knowing your place in the cosmic order (and probably getting therapy). One becomes better aligned with the world and every realm one interacts with, yet this reflects the changes to perspective and therefore one’s reactions, all due to Divine revelation. In this sense, it’s not dogmatic, but it’s also not a mere spiritual practice. It probably belongs as a course in Universalist religions of all stripes. Obviously, this would mean that it is fundamentally compatible with most other religions.
Let me know your thoughts!
So this is a question I’ve given some thought to: how quickly should one progress in magick? How far, how fast? What should you get into?
Having tried several things in magick, I can recommend the following:
1. Meditation (at the beginning and throughout your journey, perhaps to be foregone towards the end). Vipassana & Raja (one or the other), once or twice a day. I also recommend using simple pranayama techniques to relax one’s mind and emotional state, and then mentally confronting emotional triggers (i.e., “Why do I get angry about this? Is this really me, or am I just attached to [XYZ]? Does my emotional intensity match the situation?”) at least once a week for at least a year. Don’t be afraid to go deep. This will start clearing your mind of identifications that do not match who you are, and the best part is, you’re doing the clearing, so you are in control. It’s also good to talk through your insights with good friends.
Allllsoooo…therapy, especially as you get to the weirder stuff: find a therapist who doesn’t judge the woo.
Congratulations, your mind is now on a path towards healing.
2. Groundedness practice. (added) I recommend also doing some groundedness meditation (such as imagining roots growing from your feet into the earth and drawing in from the infinite amount of energy available that which you need). To complement this, spend time walking outside, gardening, etc., to stay in touch with the real world.
Congratulations, you’re able to live in reality.
3. Hatha yoga. The mind and body are intimately connected. In general, you will want to be in excellent physical shape, so if you can, Hatha yoga regularly, do cardio at least twice a week, and add in strength training (always talk to your doctor about exercise). Give yourself a couple of months to get in good (or better) physical shape. Obviously this depends on whether you are disabled, but think about how you can get in touch with your body.
Congratulations, you’re working on integrating your body and mind.
4. Sigils (as needed). After about a month of meditation, teach yourself to make a sigil (the Austin Osman Spare method is easy to learn, but others exist). They are easy, they are cheap, they will work with beginner’s luck. Start with something simple at the “5% probability” level and charge it the easy way (look at it during the “big O“).
Congratulations, you’re empowering yourself.
5. Learn (and DO) banishing (regularly, but eventually to be largely eschewed). A few weeks after your sigil, note the degree to which it was successful (you can do more, but for serious things). Then learn the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP). After you have started a daily meditation practice, for at least a month, start learning the LBRP. It’s not that complicated. Use flash cards to memorize directions, angel names, and the like.
Then do it for the first time. Don’t be surprised if you experience some clairaudience: I definitely did my first time and I had a huge WTF moment! Once you have it memorized and can perform it fluidly, it should not take more than five minutes. Start off doing that on a weekend, then add it to your “stack” and do it once a day (ideally before a meditation), then twice a day (morning and night). If you’re not in your own place, do it silently. If space is an issue, you can do it imaginally. Later, learn the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram (LBRH).
Congratulations, you’re starting to determine your circumstances.
6. Study the elements and astrology. The classical elements are fundamental to the LBRP, and now is the time to understand what they are about. It’s good to learn about them in conjunction with astrology, because there is some overlap. For that, The Astrology Podcast is excellent. Take their significations of the signs (parts 1 & 2), the planets, the houses (parts 1 & 2), then the ones on sect, essential dignities, and then look into the aspects. This will help you understand the LBRH. It will also help you understand the astrological forces, whether they are “good” for a working and invoked, or whether they are bad and should be banished. This will take some time, definitely no less than three months, probably no less than six.
Congratulations, now you understand how circumstances can arise.
7. Raising & balancing consciousness. (added) At this point, I also would recommend slowly adding in the Middle Pillar Ritual at this point. Once a week, then twice, then daily. The idea is to start raising your awareness. It’s very important to balance this with the groundedness meditation I previously mentioned.
Congratulations, you’re developing perspective on circumstances.
8. Start thinking about your True Will. Your understanding of astrology will come in handy now. Jason Louv offers a course on this, which is excellent.
Congratulations, now you know how you want to change circumstances.
9. Holy Guardian Angel ordeal. By now you should at least have a couple of years into your studies. I really can’t recommend this enough, but I probably wouldn’t recommend this for someone who hasn’t yet had their Saturn return. Knowledge and Conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel is the first great feat of the Western magickian, according to Crowley. I recommend the Abramelin operation (I was told by my HGA to forego the demon-binding portion of the operation, as was James Eshelman). It is an ordeal, and should only be undertaken when you can. Modify it as you can for your circumstances: the original presumed so much wealth but a sincere effort to have the key aspects of the ritual (isolation, prayer, etc.) is vital. Congratulations, now you have an ally in reaching towards your true nature.
10. Enochian. Having done all of this work, you might decide to take up Enochian. It’s complicated. It’s a lot of work. But it’s worth it, soooo worth it. I’ve written before that I consider it the key to plugging in to the great Western and Eastern accomplishments (such as a Chokmah initiation and the rainbow body–a Tibetan Buddhism arising–respectively). Congratulations, you are now on the path to reaching your true nature.
You may be surprised that I have left off this list other things such as talismans (I do them, but these are not necessary), alien contact, past-life regression, and so many others. I just don’t think that they are necessary, and may even side-track from paths to some core insights. I’m willing to change my mind on this, and I’ll let you know if I do.
There are shortcuts to things in life, though shortcuts are not always the best or cleanest way to get things done. Yet when you’re starting from a low point and want to get to a higher point, rather than practicing the same old techniques in drudgery until the slow accretion of effort pays off years later with achievement, or its opposite of a shortcut to the trophy that is devoid of mastery, it’s probably better to use both practice and the occasional shortcut to make your empowerment work faster.
The ascension of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life is the purpose of many magickal orders. While I have no grand techniques for preparation for initiation, and initiation itself (the LBRP or the Abramelin Operation still work as they should!), I have an “all-of-the-above” approach to magick, and believe that cross-pollination has interaction effects. Hence, the shortcut: sigils.
Sure, you may already know about sigils, but why not create a sigil to enable old-fashioned initiation? Sometimes we don’t think to put “new wine into old wineskins,” but we do it all the time, we just don’t think of it that way. Meditation is used in concert with being a good person, magick is used in concert with meditation, and sigil magick can be used in concert with Tree-of-Life magick.
The technique itself is rather simple: create a sigil with the intent along the lines of “I initiate into [name of sephirah, e.g., Yesod].” Charge it, don’t obsess about it, then continue going about your normal efforts to initiate into that same sephirah. What you should find (as I did) is that new techniques to initiate into a sephirah appear, or that your current efforts accelerate. I myself used sigils to assist with initiation into Binah, Chokmah, & Kether.
Get creative and clear with your intent, and don’t be afraid to iterate: “I deepen my initiation into [name of sephirah]” and “I complete my initiation into [name of sephirah]” are wise additional sigils to fire off after you surmise that you have succeeded in your initiation into a given sephirah. You must still do the hard work, but the hard work should pay off more quickly.
Why do people do magick, anyway? Is it to feel re-enchanted with the world after so many Hard TruthsTM whack you over the head? Is it because there is a Vast ConspiracyTM to conceal the forces of the universe in order to keep Ordinary PeopleTM from knowing the Real TruthTM? Is it level up to throw lightning bolts because it’s Badass? Is it to flow in better harmony with forces of Nature? (All trademarks pending my doing something to trademark phrases).
Probably all of these are reasons for magickal practice. Yet within all of these reasons are the same seeds for not doing magick. Hard Truths of the material world must be faced, not shied away from. Any Vast Conspiracy must surely be more powerful than any single Ordinary Person, and even if you’re lucky, how do you know that the Real Truth you discover is the One Real and Ultimate Truth? Throwing lightning bolts is probably doable, but very expensive, and then you’ve spent a lot of money making your whole life about throwing lightning bolts.
I want to dwell on the last point. I think the issue of Nature and the West‘s relationship to it is at the core of why people don’t do magick, and fairly so. As an example, we understand that chemistry is an ordering principle of nature, that it works marvels, but most of us don’t know anything beyond the basics. So few of us understand atomic orbitals, we probably don’t do advanced chemistry at home, and even those of us who know what we’re doing can still make fatal mistakes. Why dabble with something so dangerous? Leave it to geniuses who are also willing to take the risks.
Still, we probably don’t benefit much from not knowing anything about chemistry. It keeps us from poisoning ourselves with household items. It gives us a rationale to eat healthy, to wash our hands, and to be careful with gasoline. Essentially, an understanding of chemistry is important, and we can have a safer and healthier existence with it.
When it comes to magick, I think there’s a vague understanding of it among most people. For Christians (still the most dominant of the religions in the West), there’s an understanding of the value of prayer for protection and development and, if need be, useful goodies. If need be, the usual professionals in the field are (pastors and priests) can be called upon for counsel and to do advanced work. It’s a lot of study and, frankly, we know that those who reach the peak of the field of Christianity, the saints, often suffer tremendously and lead an otherworldly existence that can seem scary. As with chemistry, magick’s power, as with any aspect of Nature, causes reactions in us to protect ourselves (or our loved ones, if we project our fears onto others) from such suffering, and originally the Church stepped in to become a gatekeeper. So while magick is our birthright, it’s something that the West largely accepted as something that needed balance with other parts of our nature, its secrets reserved only for the priestly (and later, pastoral) class. Much as advanced chemistry became reserved for universities and licensed businesses, advanced magick became reserved for the Church.
Yet nowadays, for most (but not all) of us who make it to adulthood, there’s no longer a Vast Conspiracy of the Church to keep us from exploring magick. There’s less trepidation now that people who regularly practice magick have shown that they largely live normal, if not understood, lives.
This means that whatever Truths there are to be discovered must be evaluated by the magickian her- or himself. I can imagine the protest: “That’s no fun! What if I make a mistake?” Good friends who are not magickians can help you talk through your insights, but yeah, adult life is about responsibility, and this means you’re responsible for how to think and what to believe, unless you choose to submit your mind to an authority. This can be okay (lots of people do this), but may I suggest not settling for anything but the Most Universal of authorities, Who may in fact instead want you to play with your share of power?).
Ultimately, after doing magick with patience and wisdom, I can tell you that one of the things you things you can come to better understand is your oneness with Nature/the Universe. In a way … you are the one throwing lightning bolts.
A talisman, strictly speaking, a visual seal (sigil) of magical intent that is energetically charged to bring wanted things toward you; it has typically been contrasted with amulets which repel unwanted things. In Western traditions nowadays, this line is a little blurry, so this post refers to both, but only those related to astrological talismans. Any time is possible to do magick. Elemental magick is always available, no matter the circumstances. Astrological magick is also always available, and can be tweaked via planetary banishing and invoking, but it’s a bit more like playing a game of cards, in which you can discard some cards and draw others.
I start my planetary talisman process based on the desired astrological energy. To do this, you need to have familiarity with basic astrology and what makes a planet’s energy strong as well as harmonious with other planets. Once the dominant planetary energy is selected, I pick the time and the base metal. Paper is fine but not as durable energywise as metal. Classically each astrological planet has its own metal; of the seven planets, only four have metals that are realistic to use nowadays: Saturn’s and Mercury’s metals (lead & mercury, respectively) are toxic, and the sun’s metal, gold, is toxic to your bank account! I substitute silver, the moon’s metal, for these three planets, because the moon is “closest” to the earth in the medieval tradition.
Once I have the metal picked, I begin the design; there’s not much imagination on my part in designing talismans. If a planetary talisman, I begin by looking up the magic square for that planet. This will be the center of the overall design, and also tells me the number of elements to incorporate into the talisman, including the numbers of the square itself (but not the grid). I usually go with the sum of a given row or column.
Once I have the number of elements, I incorporate the names of the selected deities and/or archangels associated with the planet & its sephira. In the Hermetic tradition, these can be found by looking them up ina correspondence resource such as 777, 776_1/2, or Thelemapedia (in the case of a Mars talisman, for example, I use row 27, and perhaps also row 5 for the sephira it rules, Geburah); these are all based on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (which itself is largely based on Agrippa: see below); I have yet to explore other similar orders’ materials such as Aurum Solis but this is forthcoming, I’m sure. I then start counting the letters in the deity names and try to use some combination of them that adds up the the planetary square total (in the case of the Mars talisman, 65). Also, I do one final check for the planetary seal from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 1, Chapter 33. My standard approach is to have the names parallel to each of the four sides of the square (placed according to the Four Worlds associations in the Kabbalah and/or stacked as necessary according to the hierarchy in which they fit; the planetary seal I break into four parts which go at the corners, in a rounded formation of long enough).
Once the design is complete, it comes to a method of charging the talisman. Here you’re asking the deity or angel to do you a solid and please charge your talisman. Angels work in the capacity of their deity, so appeal to that connection, and deities like it when you approach via the things they are connected to (such as the incenses or plants in a correspondence book like 777–the more the better, but there is diminishing returns, so don’t dip into your savings! If money is an issue, cultivate sincerity and it will make up for it). Use a picture of the appropriate animal, a small clipping of the appropriate plant, light the appropriate incense, etc. Next, perform the planetary invoking ritual (I use the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram) to call forth the energy associated with your astrological election. Then I usually will either do an invocation for the deity to temporarily inhabit my body (choose your deity wisely!) and provide a charge to the object, or a call to the angel by appealing to its deity. I will usually modify Liber Israfel for the former; for the latter, it depends on the system. Enochian has specific methods to call upon its angels; similarly, the Shem-Hamphorasch has its own 72 angels and various authors have books on contacting them. Once those methods are done you make your request to the angel(s) that you have called to charge the talisman for you.
One alternative to the entity method is energy work, such as Chi or Reiki (though the latter still accesses divine entities). Reiki is probably better since it explicitly calls on the energy of the heavens (which, you know, where the stars and planets are), but Chi could probably also be used, if you set a strong intention to only use the more terrestrial energy that fully reflects the celestial.
Here we come to a point not to be overlooked: timing is essential. Unlike other astrologers, my view of an event is to look at the definitive “birthing” portion. Just as astrologers typically use a birth time and not a conception time, events or even ideas have to be birthed and not just stirred or conceived. A seed doesn’t count as a new plant just because it’s been planted, or watered, or the like. The seed emerge from its shell and touch the air and light as well as put down its first root. I dwell on this point because, well, you have to time your actions to culminate as closely to the time you’ve elected.
That’s it: you now have a charged talisman!
So I should probably make a monthly(-ish) feature of the favorite memes, many of which are magick- or spirituality-related.
Well, I don’t intend to die; as the late Robert Anton Wilson phrased it, I intend to “live forever, or die trying.
Still, it is of interest is covering one’s bets, as it were, with the latter half of that quote. This got me thinking that, if done well, the dying process could be helped by creating a talisman to assist oneself in the dying process.
The logic behind this one is simple. Find the Arabic lot, or part, of death in your chart, then find an upcoming transit when this part is well-aspected; I managed to find two: the first is in 2024 (with Jupiter conjunct the lot of death by 5 degrees, the sun conjunct by 2 degrees, and Venus conjunct by a handful of minutes). The second of these is in 2026, with a simple Uranus transit over the lot, but many harmonious aspects to it (I’ve found that Uranus does seem to have some association with Kether, the topmost sephirah in the Kabbalah, but I’m not yet confident enough with this association to be certain, so…we’ll see).
The question with this kind of electional astrology is where to put the ascendant. I decided to put it opposite to the lot of death (i.e., the lot of death on the descendant); in so doing, I am using the talisman to relate to my own death. No, I’m not going full comics Thanos, but it’s important to see death as something to try to get on good terms with. Tough to do that if you put the lot of death on the ascendant (which would be saying, “This talisman is going to have the personality associated with my death,”: dangerous to have death in your face like that!). Both talisman elections either have the chart ruler on or in harmonious aspect to the descendant.
The interesting thing about these talismans is that I am not sure whether these will work; only those who survive me can report back on the results! I can only suspect for now, and rely on the I Ching’s preference for the earlier of the two talismans (and so I may not make the second). If it works well and I reincarnate from a rainbow body, I’ll be sure to leave a good review (and perhaps even log in to restart the blog)!
One of the great efforts put forth in recent years is Scott Stenwick’s initiation system into all sephiroth and veils of the Tree of Life. It represents an excellent structure for initiation, and nicely complements his planetary work series on astrological magick. One of the things that a fellow magick.me student’s question (about Lon DuQuette’s Chicken Qabalah) inspired in me is whether or not a practical ritual could be done at the sephirothic level.
The answer is yes. Sephiroth are ruled by planets, after all, but this is not to say that they are ruled in the astrological sense of planetary domicile (wherein the planet is stronger due to zodiacal sign placement), but rather of the sephiroth brought to completeness. Hence, the pleasure or joy of Victory is symbolized by Venus ruling Netzach, and the Understanding of the nature of reality is brought to completeness by acceding to its limitations (i.e., its nature), symbolized by Saturn ruling Binah.
What exactly is accomplished by this? I believe that on some level, the magician is attempting to “correct” the current sephiroth-energetic balance of the universe. Attempts to bring sephiric energy have been done before; Jason Louv, in John Dee and the Empire of Angels, goes into detail about Jack Parsons’ attempt to instill this supernal feminine energy into the world via his Babalon Working. My guess is that for most hermetic magicians who would be interested in a sephiric working, the goal of such working would be to bring Tiphareth energy into the world, in accord with Crowley’s law of Thelema. Crowley himself also elaborated a ritual to bring about the energy of the Aeon of Horus, Liber V vel Reguli (which may have been an attempt to bring in the energy of Geburah, but this seems too broad of an oversimplification). I haven’t worked this ritual because I haven’t fully committed to Thelema, though I recognize it as a viable and important Law: I just prefer my own.
I think one could construct rituals for all of the sephiroth below Kether (I’m not yet sure how one would go about this sephira, but I’m open to suggestions!); Stenwick lays out the components of both planetary and sephirothic invocations; I would simply combine his sephirothic hexagrams, god names, and archangel names with the planetary intelligence and spirit of the planet that rules this sephiroth.
What inspired this post, however, was the question of what the planetary intelligence and spirit would be for Chokmah, and the answer seems to me to be to use the sephirothic invocation that Stenwick lays out, then to simply call on Archangel Ratziel, and rather than the next step of calling a planetary spirit and an intelligence, to instead call on all twelve of the zodiacal angels (see Col. CXLII in Liber 777 or Col. 412 in 776 1/2 (they differ in that Aries & Aquarius are reversed in 777, which Eshelman corrects). One could call each angel twice (to obtain the twoness of Chokmah), or the angel and its assistant (776 1/2, Cols. 412 & 413), or call on the Day & Night triplicity lords (776 1/2, Cols. 414). Further reading on Stenwick’s essay on evoking zodiacal angels is here.
I haven’t tried this but I may do so for my own law later this week and determine whether I see more effects of this law afterward: I will keep you posted.
Update: I did a ritual based on this and rather than try to evangelize, I simply made an Enochian prayer that those who are to hear my law would in fact do so in God’s time and measure. In other words, a prayer that God’s will be done, or put another way, a conscious moving with Universe rather than against It.