Friday, November 30, 2012

Calends November and Thoughts About the Masonic Model

So, here it is, the last day of November and just a few weeks before the solstice holidays. My eye is healing up nicely, although it will take me some time to get both of my eyes functioning as a unit. Hopefully, that process will quicken once I get a new pair of glasses. I am still quite busy with my day job, although all of the work that I am doing at this stage is helping to get other parts of the project to completed. I have just another week or so of work and then my long period of paid winter vacation begins. For most of the year I was unable to take much in the way of vacation time, so I have to take as much of it as I can at the end of the year, or lose it as the next year begins. I will, therefore, be taking nearly a month off, and I will be able to focus on lots of other things that I couldn't engage in because of my work schedule.

My girlfriend is also quite busy completing her last semester of class work and exams for her master’s degree, and she will also get a much needed respite from the arduous schedule imposed by a graduate degree and its scholastic regimen. We will be able to function as a normal couple instead of sneaking in moments together between work and study. Although the winter up here in the tundra precludes one from doing very much outside except winter sports (especially since there is now snow on the ground and the temperatures at night are quite frigid), there are plenty of things to see, people to meet, places to go and food to eat, and generally much to engage in for our entertainment.

I am planning to focus on some social events, going out with my girlfriend to some movies, plays, feasting on exotic foods and just having time to ourselves by the fire place. I am also planning on doing more magick since I will not only have the time but also the overall energy to do some special workings. Another area that has been neglected somewhat is my many writing projects, and in fact, I might be able to get some of that completed over the holidays. I am really looking forward to this long period of rest and relaxation and personal enjoyment. I have earned it, and it will be wonderful to actually get to have my cake and eat it, too.

That being said, I did want to write up a few paragraphs clarifying my last article on the merits of self-direction and self-initiation. I was a bit put out by what Nick Farrell wrote in his blog article about “Playing At Magic” and I felt that it was kind of insulting to all of those individuals who just didn’t have the opportunity or the desire to gain their knowledge and experience of ritual and ceremonial magick through the guidance and direction of a magical lodge. I feel that the attitude of “I got my initiatory pedigree and the hell with you” attitude that some individuals espouse is pretty toxic. Some may have taken my opinions in that article to mean that I don’t like traditional occult lodges or mainstream occult organizations, and this is untrue. I just don’t tolerate elitists of any kind, and I consider it an archaic and doomed mind-set amongst those traditional occultists who espouse it.

Masonic Model for Occult Lodges

One of the problems for anyone who is self-taught, self-directed and self-initiated as I am is that very few organizations take prior experience and knowledge into consideration. If you have been studying and experimenting for the last decade or two, why would you want to join an organization where you would be relegated to the most rudimentary studies and practices? Also, if you happen to have developed your own way of achieving a certain goal through ritual or ceremonial magick, why would you want to throw all of that away just because the organization that you are thinking of joining does something differently?

If someone has been spinning their wheels for a few years and making no progress with their studies and work, then it might make sense to adopt the techniques and methodologies of a competent and tested magical discipline offered by a legitimate occult organization. However, if you are already an advanced student with your own tested system of magic, then such an option is less appealing and would normally preclude someone from either seeking or gaining admission to a traditional organization, at least in most cases.

One of the problems that I have with many western occult organizations that promote ritual or ceremonial magick is that they are based on the Masonic model. Now, I have nothing against the Masons, and in fact my family has been steeped for generations in Masonry. A pure blue lodge based Masonic model is completely democratic, where all of the members are given the same power and collective authority (regardless of social class), and the roles in the lodge hierarchy are regularly rotated. However, the basic assumption is that despite any candidate’s previous experience, they all enter into the lodge at the same level of Entered Apprentice and then go through the degree structure just as all the previous members have done. These expectations and regulations are acceptable for a purely social or fraternal organization, but when occultism and magic are thrown into the mix, then it becomes much more complex. A candidate with prior experience and already developed capabilities should be selectively examined, and then given a degree or grade commensurate with his or her experience.

However, occult lodges have yet an additional hierarchical structure of a chief adept, and typically this individual or individuals are not elected and rule the group without the typical checks and balances, or for that matter, accountability to the other members. Where the pure Masonic model was democratic, the occult lodge model can become autocratic and suffer the same problems and issues associated with any human being who acquires absolute power over the others within a group. While this might be mitigated if there was a grand chapter or body of higher adepts to whom the lodge chief must answer, these individuals have been (in the case of the Golden Dawn) completely veiled in secrecy.

It becomes something of a problem for any individual under the authority of the chief adept to have recourse to the higher adepts to resolve any issue or alleged injustice, particularly if the chief adept is the only one who is the contact and spokesperson for those higher adepts. Therefore, this model of the occult lodge with its chief adept will cause groups that adopt it to rise or fall based on the singular capability or failings of the chief adept, and not the group as a whole. We need only to be reminded of Robert Zink and the fate of his organization, the EOGD, to realize the precariousness and pitfalls of this model.

It seems plain, at least to me, that there are some good points and bad points when considering the Masonic model for an occult lodge led by a chief adept. These good points can be summarized quite easily in the following four bullets.

  • Mostly democratic, although the chief adept can over-rule the consensus of the lodge.

  • Structured and organized - ritual and official roles are determined and responsibilities are assigned based on those roles. In many cases these roles (with the exception of the chief adept) are rotated. Typically, such an organization also has an extensive library of rituals and documents as well as training documents. In some cases the lore can be completely outside of the known and publically available occult knowledge.

  • Levels of ability are organized into degrees, and training is broken up into grades, making for  a step by step forward progress through the massive and confusing array of overall available occult lore. In some cases the organizing and structuring of grades is so complete and thorough that it resembles a graduate level college curriculum. This is probably one of the greatest legacies that such an organization has given to occult seekers, particularly when it has been inadvertently made public like the Golden Dawn material.

  • Peer group and occult sodality - this is where the candidate is taught and judged by more experienced members of the lodge. Peer group review is very important as a means to judge a candidate’s worthiness for higher degree. There is also the possibility of temporary bonds of mentoring and apprenticeship being formed between a junior and senior member.

As you can see there is much to be admired and celebrated regarding the structure and sodality of an occult lodge. However, there are also problems that can defeat even the best ideals and intentions of such an organization. These can be summarized as:

  • Chief adept becomes an autocrat and establishes a cult of personality,

  • Organization succumbs to bureaucracy and resists any kind of transformative change (this is also known as the tenacious bubble creating mind-set of “group-think”),

  • Incapable of being flexible in regards to rules and procedures so that all new candidates are treated as inexperienced beginners and that lower level initiates are given little consideration or respect,

  • Cliques form within the lodge organization and power struggles ensue between them,

  • Elitism - higher level adepts rule over lower level initiates, therefore stifling the influx of new members and new ideas,

  • Static hierarchies - roles become frozen and individuals in roles of authority vest themselves with a permanent group power.

It would seem that the possible pitfalls of an occult lodge led by chief adepts are too numerous to make such an organization either desirable or even relevant to the self-taught, since they are characterized by the personality and ability of just one or a few individuals. If the chief adept is a truly gifted occultist and a gracious leader, then the organization will flourish as long as that leader guides the lodge in a just and honorable manner. Since human nature is anything but perfect, even a gifted leader has the possibility of succumbing to hubris, abuse of authority and the illusion of personal power.

Other types of organizations can take the good attributes of an occult lodge and avoid the bad by vesting the authority of the group within the membership of the group, making consensus the only governing principle. Such a group has divested any one individual or role of any actual power, and instead loads it with responsibility and full accountability to the collective group. I have described this kind of organization previously, and I have called it a Star Group. Still other kinds of organizations would be a college of adepts, a sorcerer’s guild or a loose sodality or fellowship, or even a kind of magical apostolic succession (of the wandering autocephalous bishop type). The important factor here is personal autonomy, responsibility and self-direction.

Anything that abrogates these very important attributes represents a possible blockade or barrier to higher achievement that the seeker will have to overcome at some point. While it is necessary for a body of practitioners to act as a peer group to mitigate the excesses of the solitary practitioner, they can also suggest a possible pathway or curriculum for personal occult or magical achievement. Experienced individuals can function as temporary mentors or guides to those who are starting out or those who wish to acquire a greater expertise. However, the will and necessary freedom of the individual is sacrosanct and should not be abrogated under any condition. The individual seeker is ultimately responsible for his or her own successes and failures, and sometimes it is necessary for a seeker to fail utterly in order to ultimately realize their path to success.

If I have painted the traditional occult lodge as an organizational structure that is archaic or unnecessary, I would like to make certain that I am understood as perceiving these organizations as important but only in the present time. I also see them as a transitional social mechanism which will ultimately be replaced by other more loosely structured organizations. The emphasis of such an organization will therefore be on the individual seeker rather than the organization or the leaders, and everyone will be accorded the same respect and consideration regardless of their history or their accomplishments. We are in a transitional time in regards to occult social organizations, and those groups that are able to change will become part of the future wave, and those that can’t or don’t will likely pass away in a few decades hence.

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Plug for the Self-Directed and Self-Initiated

Recently, Nick Farrell has written up an article on his blog (Playing At Magic) complaining about New Age seekers who eschew traditional occult organizations and attempt to master the art of magick by dabbling with it. Of course, to embellish his arguments he has created an inept straw man analogous to Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice to target his complaints - a person so naive and foolish as to be nothing short of a cartoon. You can find his article here, but still, I feel it’s important to respond to what he wrote, since I am indeed self-taught, self-directed, and therefore, self-initiated. While I don’t believe that his article in anyway describes who I am and what I have done over the previous decades, I find that by behaving as an elitist he is missing a very important point about how things are changing in the world of magick and the occult. Mr. Farrell is on the downward path to becoming a dinosaur, an irrelevant anachronism simply because the math doesn't favor his opinions or his vaunted initiatory pedigree.

Those who are members of Golden Dawn temples or initiates in one of the many occult organizations that seek to promote the traditions of ritual or ceremonial magick are the blessed and lucky few, while the rest of us have had to make due with what we can. The amount of written material on the subject of magick which can be found on the internet and in books is already quite voluminous, and it is quickly growing even as I write this article. There is a vast body of information available to anyone who is either curious or who desires to engage in the magician’s avocation. The number of available temples and organizations is still quite small, and I might add, fairly exclusive.

What this means is that the probability of someone acquiring their knowledge and experience of magick by reading and experimenting is much more likely to occur, in other words, by being a dabbler. As time goes on this disparity will only continue to grow until the population of initiate members of these exclusive groups and organizations will be tiny compared to the population of self-taught and self-initiated magicians. Such a course of self-determination and directed learning even has a fancy label - it is called heutagogy.

So, it would seem that the future of ritual and ceremonial magick belongs to the masses of dabblers and dilettantes rather than to the so-called properly initiated members of occult organizations and formal traditions. Similar to what has happened to the formal traditions of Witchcraft over the last few decades, vastly more individuals are seeking to engage with paganism and witchcraft without either joining a coven or getting initiated into a tradition. Eventually, such formal traditions will be something of a fading anachronism, and I believe that newer and more dynamic sodalities will take their place. The same thing will happen to magical lodges and traditions unless they open up and place themselves in the midst of the wave of change that is enveloping the practice of ritual and ceremonial magick as well.

There are a lot of self-trained magicians out there in the world today, and in fact, most of the magicians that I know, even including those who belong to occult organizations are mostly self-taught and self-directed. This is because competent magicians have achieved their results due to their own personal efforts, discipline, experimentation and individual accomplishments. I have also met individuals who were spoon-fed and supposedly trained by some lodge or another and who were actually quite incompetent. What makes someone a good magician has a lot to do with individual initiative, inspiration, and steadfast application of a foundational discipline. There is no guarantee that a Golden Dawn or Thelemic magician will be competent just because he or she received extensive training. This is why I feel that such exclusive organizations are on the brink of being buried in a deluge of dabblers and dilettantes unless they, too, change with the times.

When we consider that William Gray, one of the great occult and magical luminaries of the recent past, was completely self-taught, self-directed and self-initiated, it poses the argument that perhaps magical orders, temples and traditions are not as important as the various members of these groups seem to believe. I wrote an article a while back celebrating those steadfast and stalwart individuals who have blazed the trail of self-made magicians and occult masters, and you can find it here. While Mr. Gray was a unique individual in his time, he represented a new path and possibility to many who didn't have recourse to a traditional lodge. Now, many decades later, there are many who are following this insular path. I suspect that the path that Mr. Gray forged will soon become the major way of mastering magick, if that event has not already come to pass.

Some have said that I am, as a model of the self-taught and self-initiated, not a good representative of this population because I did receive an initiation into a witchcraft tradition. I have also received other initiations in other organizations as well, but the system of magick that I use and have promoted through the Order of the Gnostic Star is mostly my own. Whatever claims I can make about what I have achieved over the last forty years is due to my own work and initiative. No one taught me how to work magick - I learned it from books and mostly from a lot of experimentation. I may have taken this work to its logical conclusion over many decades of time, but I don’t believe that such as what I have accomplished has made me unique or different from the mass of other seekers and dabblers.

In fact, the whole premise of the Order’s method of teaching and initiating is based on the continuous process of transformative ordeals. A student is given the rituals and lore, and then challenged to use them to achieve a given end, the details of such a working are to be determined by discovery and personal insight. Once the ordeal is complete, then the members of the temple confer an initiatory elevation as a kind of collective recognition, but the work has already been done. This is indeed a form of self-initiation, but it is one that is quite effective and proven over time.

I also think that it’s disingenuous to compare self-direction and self-initiation in occult, spiritual and magical studies to that of an engineering, medical or other professional occupation. While it might be optimal to actually have access to an occult and magical college, it isn’t a requirement for a practicing magician. Plenty of competent and capable magicians exist who have not had that kind of training or instruction. There isn’t a board exam for ritual or ceremonial magicians nor do such individuals require any kind of licensing. The evaluation of magical, spiritual or occult competency is actually quite subjective, and like any art form, it requires a certain consensus of peers. Also, getting a group of magicians to agree on anything might be a bit of a stretch, too.

What is required for anyone to master the art of magick is nothing short of a practical and rational approach to mastering anything. It requires persistence, experimentation, constant research and sometimes leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of operational knowledge. Thus, sane and rational experimentation, building a loosely defined peer group and developing a consistent and continuous spiritual and magical discipline is the real key to a mastery of magic. This is true regardless of whether or not the magician received training within an organization. Learning to be creative and "thinking outside of the box" are techniques that can't really be taught to anyone. They must be individually mastered and thereby incorporate certain innate talents. Not everyone who is persistent will produce remarkable results, but they will produce some kind of results none-the-less.

Few Golden Dawn organizations appear to be doing anything about the fact that people are acquiring first class publically available information and engaging in a certain amount of dabbling. Many seem to be condescending towards the masses of the uninitiated and act more less as entitled elitists, an attitude that will guarantee a relative future morbidity. What is needed is some kind of outreach, since the population of the self-taught far exceeds the population of the traditional initiates. I look at what Jason Miller is doing with his online classes as representing the cutting edge in disseminating a practical knowledge of magick. David Griffin and his organizations of the HOGD and the A+O have put together an outreach program called the “Thousand Points of Light” which can somewhat mitigate the lack of resident temples available to aspiring initiates. My magical order is taking this approach as well with the affiliate member program.  

While I applaud the outreach that some organizations are undergoing for those many thousand points of light, there must always be a place at the table for the self-made magician as well, and in fact, they will soon be far more numerous than a thousand points of light; more like a sky brightly illuminated with a myriad of stars. The best thing that can be done for these so-called dabblers (I prefer to call them experimenters) is to make more foundational lore available to them either through published materials or online articles.

I believe that I have and continue to engage in both of these efforts, and so do many other groups and organizations. However, publishing books and making information available online will only increase the supposed problem. What we all have to realistically do is to make the information and contacts available and let nature take its course to sort out the truly determined from the curious and half-hearted dilettante. In time those who are gifted or just passionate in their pursuit will float to the top of the wave, and they will justifiably demand to be given a certain amount of respect. We can already see some of those individuals now, writing blogs and even publishing books. As a member of their loose sodality, I salute them.

After considering these important points we can now examine the claims and complaints written by Nick Farrell in his article. I find his arrogance, hubris, and condescending attitude to the self-taught and self-directed to be quite obnoxious. It is, in word, the smirking, sneering face of the entitled pedigreed snob whining and complaining about the unwashed masses. Yet I have found much of Nick Farrell's writings to be quite lacking in accuracy and insight, all despite his supposed training and guidance by the hands of superior adepts. It makes his arguments hollow and irrelevant. Even so, his vaunted place in the corridors of the occult elite is a precarious and even delusional imposture, one that we will proceed to quickly ignore and forget.

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Vision Renewed

Dear reader, if you are wondering why I haven’t been posting articles as I have usually done in the past it is due to the fact that I am recovering from my cataract surgery last Thursday. Even though my eye is healing steadily, my vision is still adjusting and I all too easily suffer from eye fatigue. I have to avoid any heavy lifting and I need to apply three sets of drops four times a day. I have noticed some other peculiarities with the vision in my left eye, such as a rippling effect on the left corner of my eye and occasionally seeing halos when I look at points of light in the darkness. These anomalies will slowly disappear as my left eye heals, but the resultant clarity of vision (almost perfect vision unaided) is more than worth the troubles that I am undergoing right now.

I will most definitely need to get a new prescription for my left eye, since my glasses are actually complicating my overall eyesight. I am also going to have to work on getting both eyes working together again, something that I haven’t been able to do for nearly a year or more. This period of re-adjustment will take some time, but right now my eyes are too tired after a day at work staring at my computer monitor. I am also finding that closing my eyes for half an hour also helps to alleviate eye fatigue, but a short nap is even better.

Despite these drawbacks, I have quite a number of articles planned, but I am unable to work on them after my work day is done. Hopefully, this period of transition will change soon, but right now, I am way behind in my writing assignments. I hope that you understand this unplanned negligence on my part, and that as soon as my eye heals and my vision re-adjusts, I will get back to cranking out eight articles per month.

Anyway, have a good holiday weekend (for my U.S. readers, Thursday is Thanksgiving) and stay safe and well. I have a number of things that I am certainly thankful for to meditate upon over the long weekend, and the restoration of my vision through modern medicine is one of them. I am also thankful that I have the medical benefits necessary to pay for this service. There is much to think about and consider as I rest and recover, but I am mending well and will hopefully be much more focused on my writing in the near future.

Frater Barrabbas

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heptarchia Mystica and Septagramic Vortex Gate - Part 2

Continuing with the second part of this series on the Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual, I wanted to share the edited journal of that working which I performed nearly 20 years ago.

Notes from the Invocation of Carmara

On the 18th Day of January, 1992, the Septagrammic Gate Vortex was performed. This consisted of joining together the prior seven invoked Binary Planetary Intelligences into a single matrix. In addition to the above structure, an invoking vortex was established to invoke the spirit of Carmara, the ruler of the Heptarchia Mystica. Once invoked, the celebrant was to establish the trapezoidal gate within the center of the seven-fold spiritual matrix, so establishing the septagonic gate vortex. The invocation of the Grand Threshold was the final act which opened up the Gate Threshold of the Inner Planes.

Each step of the Septagrammic Gate Vortex produced a powerful manifestation of spiritual influences that caused the most powerful mind altering phenomena that I have ever experienced in my many years of practicing magick. Yet by the time I reached the stage for opening the Inner Planes, I was completely incapacitated and I was not able to proceed with the working. It became necessary to carefully seal the completed working and make a second attempt during the following evening. My basic assumption was that because the planetary hour had been locked with the circle consecration ritual, and that the planetary hour was also sealed when the complex vortex structure was sealed, it was kept intact for future work. Therefore, after the circle was re-consecrated and charged the next evening, and the target vortex was unsealed, the Septagrammic Gate could be re- opened and explored as if the delay had never occurred.

During the second evening, I witnessed the revelations of Carmara along with the second exposure to the emanations of the Inner Planes. However, this time I was able to remain quite conscious and noted down everything that transpired.

While I was undergoing the ordeal of the first evening, I managed to record a few words before passing out. I was probably unconscious for a few minutes, since the candles were at approximately the same length that they had been before I lost consciousness. Yet I couldn’t verify that fact, since my mental sense of the elapsing of time has played strange tricks on me before. The following is all that I wrote that first evening.

“I am Carmara, Lord of the Seven Rays! And my word is truth, therefore always seek the truth, in all of one's pursuits, the truth!

“Behold, for the truth is Aleithea, beloved of God and Humanity, and she is the perfect Goddess mate through whom one could experience unity, in this sign:

“The initiation of Chenok is the union of Aleithea; the Truth. And this rite shall be revealed at a later time....”

The above three paragraphs were all that was recorded for that evening. Still, the concepts contained within them were quite profound. It would seem to suggest that Carmara was promoting some kind of ecstatic union and subsequent rebirth through the womb matrix of the Goddess of Truth. This was quite a startling revelation, and it seemed to indicate this was to be the initiation of the Chenok, fostering spiritual union and divine truth.

The second evening, the 19th day of January, 1992, was used for continuing the above revelations, and also to gain some deeper explanation of the concept of becoming one with the Feminine Spirit of Truth.

The spirit of Carmara revealed itself on the second evening in a form that was more easily perceived; since my senses, this time, were quite sharp and clear. The image that I sensed coming from the spirit was that of an ancient man with a long white beard, wearing dark blue robes. But this image was fleeting, however, the presence of Carmara was very benign and kindly, as if to indicate that the more difficult process was behind me and now all was available for revelation. I had apparently passed the tests and now Carmara came forth not as an overpowering guardian, but as a guide and teacher. I noted down the words which that spirit spoke to me, and this is what it said.

The Edge of the World, and the Age of Transition

The Greater Abyss is rimmed by the Mythic Images of the Apocalypse, the archetype of the Aion in transition and the turmoil of the establishment of a new age.

A Magus may declare the Spiritual Age, but it represents the archetypal spirit of the time of his or her lineage. To those who are not of the level of the High Adept-hood, the Great Age continues its normal span: One degree each 72 years, one Zodiacal sign every 2,160 years, and one complete revolution of the wheel of time every 25,920 years. Yet the Great Age is currently in transition and shall soon change (at the approximate date of 2014 CE). All that anyone needs to do in order to verify this statement is to glimpse the world with an open mind and see the collapse of all political institutions and spiritual ideologies, and the corresponding affirmation of Western Esotericism.

Therefore, a truly creative spiritual era is now in full transition. It is time for the old order to die; Babylon and the Beast have become relevant symbols for the current decay of Western civilization. Seven Horns, seven trumpets, and seven bowls represent the process of transformation, symbolized as the Age in Transition, forever changing and never the same ever again. It is the death of the familiar and the rise of the dreaded unknown and unfamiliar. The time for change has begun its fateful toll, so the myths of the Apocalypse are applicable to today’s tumultuous times. The association between this mythic image and the real world is allegorical, though the end truly represents the dawning of a new beginning. Yet first, we must witness the fall of the old order.

The Enochian System of Magick has its genesis with the decay and fall of this present era. This is because the current age began with its suppression and subsequent obscurity. So with the terrible demise of the tyrant who has suppressed progressive occultism for this entire age, this esoteric belief system will be renewed and given new life in a more modern form.

What follows the upheaval and the formation of new orders is the establishment of a long period of peace, where the problem places of the world find their own resolution, and thereby allow for a normal and peaceful existence, devoid of hatred, fear, death, and anarchy.

I will define for you what shall yet occur in this process of World Transformation.

1. Democracy will grow and pluralism will become the norm, so it will not only be tolerated, it will be highly encouraged. Through the crucible of terrible experiences, people will seek peace, and succeed in living in peace with their neighbors.

2.   The market shall prevail over all ideologies, free-trade will ultimately enrich both first and third worlds, eliminating world hunger and starvation.

3.   The phenomenon of World Government will become the ultimate authority, along with global enterprises.

4.   A renewal of space exploration will cause humanity to conquer the immediate solar system, and the resultant technological gains will be quite profound: Space age solutions for the Earth's problems, pollution, ozone depletion, energy needs, information networks on a
global scale and the ultimate erasure of national boundaries.

These are the phases of the future, and yet there is no fear of nuclear devastation or Armageddon in these visions. There is only the profound challenge to change, adapt, grow, and progress on all levels instead of succumbing to hate, war, destruction, and death, as found in the myriad of ethnic and nationalistic struggles.

The use of these visions is in their amalgamation in a Vision-Image which becomes the Key to the Spiritual Dimensions of the Inner Planes. This Vision-Image corresponds to the symbolic progression of the Theme of the Apocalypse, a mythic theme of Society in transformation. Because the Great Age is truly in transition, the Inner Planes are opening up, revealing ever more spiritual attributes which profoundly alter the spirits and minds of the common folk. However, the magician adept is aware of this process and can control and manipulate it to a certain degree. Thus it is a great time for major magickal workings, because there are more spiritual emanations in times of transition that can be used and channeled. It is a time of great destinies, especially for the Master Magician who knows the Age in which he or she was born.


Of course these visions occurred at a time when the U.S. would experience a long period of peace and prosperity, to be broken up with the advent of the 21st century, a terrorist attack and a new (and highly flawed) president. I would say that the period of change is now upon us, and that the cataclysm that prompted these changes has already begun. Climate change, peak oil, the war on terror and many other issues have come to the fore, but back in the early 90's things were actually progressing quite well, and so the words of the spirit Camara reflected more the times than what was to come later.

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heptarchia Mystica and Septagramic Vortex Gate - Part 1

A dusting of snow now covers the ground this morning, indicating that winter is now officially here in the Midwest tundra. Winter began a few weeks early this season, and hopefully it will end early next spring. I am currently in the implementation phase of my work related project and it seems that there is still one major challenge to overcome before it’s finally completed. Instead of pivoting to other work I have found myself engaged in helping to resolve a number of final issues. It seems to be that this project that has no end, even though it will indeed hopefully end soon.

I am also contemplating undergoing cataract surgery later this week, and I am looking forward to having full use of both of my eyes. (I am not, however, looking forward to allowing my left eye to be cut, so it is a matter of personal stoicism to see it through.) At the present time, I can only read and see detail images with my right eye. The vision in my left eye is clouded and indistinct, and during the night, bright lights such as the headlights of on-coming cars produce a cloudy streaking glare that interferes with my night vision altogether. For the last three months I have avoided driving long distances during the night and that has certainly made me less available to friends and associated in the local community.

As all of these various minor details conspire to take my time away from me as the year dwindles down to nothing, I do have some cheerful things to look forward to beside having the full use of both of my eyes. I will be spending four weeks on vacation starting in the second week of December and lasting until after the first week of January. I am planning on traveling to Milwaukee to see friends and family and I also have a number of magical operations planned during that period as well. One operation that I have put to a date is where I will employ the seven newly generated metallic talismans that I had created in a spell that is used to open the threshold of the Inner Planes - I have referred to this ritual as the Septagramic Vortex Gate.

To illustrate how this ritual works, in regards to its function and purpose, I thought that I would write up some paragraphs that succinctly explain the nature of this ritual. I have taken the liberty of pulling text from the ritual itself and also from one of the unpublished “Books of the Nephilim.” I also wanted to share with my readers the magical journal that I wrote after I had performed this rite for the first time, back in January of 1992.

The Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual is used at the culmination of invoking seven spirits of the Heptarchia Mystica, also known as the Bonarum. I have already written an article that explains how I work with the 49 spirits from this Enochian magical system, contrasting it to the classical manner of planetary magic espoused by others. I look at these spirits as binary planetary spirits, since a matrix of seven by seven would naturally (in my opinion) combine two planets into a synthesis. You can find that article here, and I will also quote from it a useful definition of how I would define the spirits of the Bonarum.

“To me, a matrix of 49 spirits would obviously represent a symbolic table consisting of a base planet that is qualified by a second planet. In other words, I saw these spirits as a kind of binary planetary intelligence.”

I also perceive the seven planets of antiquity in a different manner than is traditional, seeing them also as a kind of seven rays, as associated with the planetary Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Combining the attributes of the seven planets and the seven planetary Sephiroth as they are defined in the Qabalah produces a much more powerful definition of each of these domains. It is for this reason that I refer to them as the Seven Planetary Rays or Seven Rays. It is not my intention to conflate these Qabalistic elements with the Theosophical notion of the Seven Rays, since I am still working strictly within the Qabalah and I have not ventured into writings of Alice Bailey and others of that tradition. In other words, my nomeclature might be similar, but it represents a completely different factual basis.

My work with the Bonarum of the Heptarchia Mystica consisted of seven specific ordeals where I performed an invocation of one of these spirits for a period of seven consecutive weeks. I also chose one of the spirits to represent the base for each of the seven planets so that all seven of them would be represented through the overall ordeal. After the seven spirits are invoked over this period, a final working is performed to draw them all together into a septagram device, with the eighth spirit and ruler (Carmara) in the center. The whole reason for this combined working, which would take two months to complete, is to activate the seven rays and pull them into an independent matrix that represents all 49 of the Bonarum. My reasons for performing this long working was explained quite adroitly in my second Book of the Nephilim, and I should therefore just quote from it.

“These Seven Enochian Rays are revealed so the magician may comprehend and assimilate them into his or her consciousness. The Rays are made manifest through the invocation of each of the seven binary planetary intelligences. Their mysteries represent the core of the celestial consciousness of this specific current of magick. Each spirit invoked represents the complete archetypal mystery of one of the Seven Rays, so when the entire ordeal is completed, the seven-fold mystery (Heptarchia Mystica) is joined into union, unlocking the internal essence of the Enochian magickal current. The holistic mythic image established through the interlocking of the seven rays as expressed by the Heptarchate becomes the singular source of all that is comprehensible as Enochian, i.e., it becomes the meta- symbol of the Enochian System of Magick.”

Once these seven Bonarum have been invoked and fully experienced by the operator, then the final rite, called the Septagramic Vortex Gate, can be performed. The text that appears in the header of the rite give a succinct explanation of the purpose and function of this ritual, so let me just quote that and comment on it as necessary.

“The Septagrammic Vortex Gate ritual is utilized to invoke and direct the Spirit of Carmara, ruler of the Heptarchia Mystica. This ritual consists of two parts; the first invokes all the Zodiacal Elementals, and the second invokes all Planetary Intelligences. These two structures are brought into fusion through the Gate Trigon and the resulting combination generates the Spirit Heptarchate (which is the combination of all of the seven Planets with all of the 12 Zodiacal signs). The quality of the sentience of this Spirit differs from that of the Spirits Heptarchate in the same manner that the Absolute differs from all manifestation.

The Spirit of Carmara is the union of the 49 Good (Bonarum) Spirits, and thus it represents the Multifaceted Intellect of the Universal Mind. It is the supreme achievement for magicians in our Order to invoke this being, for thus they will experience a most profound spiritual reflection of their spiritual light. This ritual also functions as an initiation rite since the entity Carmara holds the secrets of all Inner Plane revelations, revealing them through its invocation. The Threshold Gate, which is a feature of this working, also functions as the entrance to the higher spiritual dimensions, and as such, it serves as the primary method that the Higher Adepti enter into those worlds.”

Since performing this rite many years ago, the combination of the seven spirits that I originally chose has been used in my rendition of the Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual ever since. In order to perform this rite, I have to retrieve the consecrated sigils from my Liber Spiritus folder and employ them at each strategic point of the rite, where the zodiacal pyramid of power is joined with the western aligned triangular gateway. My intention for this future working of this rite is to place the seven metallic planetary talismans at those strategic points and thereby greatly empower this rite far beyond what I had ever experienced previously. I will certainly write up my experience of this working in my magical journal and post an edited version for my readers to peruse once I have completed it. I will perform it during the orb of the next Full Moon, and the date that I have selected is November 25.

Finally, I wanted to share with my readers the magical journal that I wrote following the first time that I performed this working so many years ago. This edited journal was taken once again from the second Book of the Nephilim.

(To be continued...)

Frater Barrabbas

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Tale of Distorted Realities

An election night has come and gone in the U.S., and as usual, there were victories and defeats. This is the nature of politics, and it is the factual reality that everyone who participates (or not) in this hallmark of representational democracy must grasp. Despite the rhetorical differences and the sometimes stark differences between policies, visions and ideologies, the results of an election are, for the most part, an indisputable fact. Barrack Obama has won reelection for another four years, but none of that was surprising, since this victory was amply predicted by a number of pole analyzers, such as the NYT website “Fivethirtyeight.”

Yet what I have seen in this election cycle has given me considerable pause and concern, since it would appear that one side in this ideological dispute has become the proponents of a seemingly artificial reality not at all based on facts. I am, of course, referring to the various right-wing pundits and their puling followers who have maintained factually challenged beliefs and perspectives throughout this election period, and perhaps even previously. A single look at Redstate dot com pretty much shows that there are some citizens in our country who can’t accept any factual point that argues against their passionately held beliefs. Some if not all of these beliefs are profoundly incongruous with reality. Let me list some of these strange beliefs and comment on them, since my point in writing this article is that in order to retain a certain degree of objectivity we must balance scientifically determined facts with our faith and our subjective experiences. We cannot allow our beliefs alone to determine who we are and the nature of the world we live in.

A list of factually challenged political tropes where the opposite is true.

President Barrack Obama wasn’t born in this country and is illegally posing as a citizen and as an elected official. (This is known as the birther conspiracy.) He was also the product of affirmative action and didn’t deserve the honors and accolades that he received while attending various first-rate universities. All of these claims are obviously baseless.

President Barrack Obama is an extreme socialist, Muslim fundamentalist (who is attempting to impose Sharia law on the citizens of the U.S.), a closet dictator, a highly partisan politician who is responsible for the divisiveness in the nation’s electorate, incompetent, lazy, inarticulate, an angry black man who hates white people, hates the U.S., is a world apologist and appeaser, a weak world leader, a secret terrorist, liberal spendthrift, etc. - the list is almost endless and equally ridiculous. All of these accusations are mutually exclusive!

Obama-Care (actually, the AHCA) will institute death panels, cause employers to cut healthcare benefits (due to the associated expense of having to cover everyone) and bankrupt the nation.

The mainstream media is highly liberal and has the power to skew election poles to favor their own interests, as well as constantly show Obama and the Democrats in a positive light. It is a powerful propaganda tool analogous to the old Soviet newspaper Pravda. Needless to say, this tool is wholly responsible for making conservative ideas look bad. (Of course, there is no "liberal" media, since commercial media is owned and operated by large corporations with their inherent interests.)

There is wide spread individual based voter fraud (ala ACORN) that is stealing elections for Democrats. Hundreds of thousands of non-white voters are being bussed to the pols in various localities to skew the election results.

Democrats are wholly responsible for the 16 trillion dollars of U.S. debt, and that they are seeking to fiscally destroy our country with extremely high taxes, too many corporate regulations, too many entitlement programs that coddle the poor at the cost of the middle class.

Gays and lesbians are pushing marriage equality to destroy the moral fabric of our country, since their real purpose is to impose their life styles on the rest of the unwilling country.

Sexual liberalism is also to blame for the moral decay of the nation. Those women who have elected to participate in unsanctioned sexual relations should be punished and forced to give birth to their illicit progeny regardless of their desires or the circumstances of the pregnancy. A woman’s body is not her own to make decisions regarding fertility (i.e., birth-control) or even health. True rape (whatever that is) never produces any progeny and a woman’s health is never compromised by giving birth to a child.

Climate change is a myth being pushed by liberals who want to shackle U.S. industry, and that there is no scientific proof that any climate anomalies are caused by human activities.

Our energy problems can be easily solved by doing more drilling, fracking, and generally using abundantly local fossil fuels. Green energy and using renewable resources are nothing more than a liberal pipe dream that is expensive and will never work.  

All we need to greatly improve our economy is give more tax breaks to the wealthy and allow unfettered capitalism to do its thing.

That 47% of U.S. citizens don’t pay any taxes and are living off of the hard work and labor of the middle class and the wealthy. (They should be forced to pay their fair share.)

The wealthy 1% of Americans are paying far too much in taxes and that the U.S. is becoming a welfare state tyrannizing its wealthy elite like the various socialistic countries in Europe.

America is greatest nation on the planet and excels all other countries in every possible category, and that anyone who disagrees with this statement is an unpatriotic traitor who should be either deported or imprisoned. (This is known as American Exceptionalism, and it might be acceptable perhaps if it didn't also ignore all of the known and verifiable problems, too. Such a view-point disallows for any thoughts or considerations on how to improve the quality of life in our country for the average individual.)

I could go on and on, but this list represents just a small sample of some of the strange rhetoric and passionate beliefs that appear to infect the cadres of the ultra-conservative punditry and followers alike. Watching the FOX news channel for any length of time is like walking into an alternative reality. They are reporting the supposed facts like other media outlets, except many of those facts have no basis in physical reality. It would seem that the FOX news channel celebrates and lionizes the masses of poorly informed and low-information viewers with motivational reasoning and baseless propaganda instead of offering any kind of thoughtful or critical reasoning, and it therefore leaves behind all of those problematic facts that get in the way of ultra-conservative themes.

The one glaring fact that this election has shown us (and conservatives seem to ignore) is that our national electorate is dramatically changing. Soon, we will no longer be a country where white people will hold a commanding majority of the population. We are becoming more and more diverse, and as the “baby-boomers” retire and begin to die off, that diversity will become ever greater. Our president is a man of mixed heritage, and I suspect that future leaders of this country will also be non-white as well. That would mean that the future belongs to the Democrats, since they seem to be more willing to support and embrace diversity. It also means that the Republican party is doomed if it doesn't change its course and alter its beliefs.

Some see this as our greatest strength, while others fear and loath it. It is the reason that some conservative politicians are seeking to disenfranchise voters who are not white instead of adopting and celebrating diversity. Whether we like it or not, the changing demographics of our country are already changing the political dynamics of our nation, and will continue to do so in the near and far future. The fear that many white middle aged folks are experiencing over this impending change is likely what is fueling the delusions of the ultra-right political discourse. It must be overcome, but it probably won’t change until the xenophobic part of our nation’s population either dies off or has an epiphany.  

What we have here is a rejection of scientific fact, rational analysis, critical thinking and even self-doubt. It would seem that there is now little difference between the ultra-conservative creed and the religiously fundamentalist. I find this evolution to be both troubling and alarming because I am not wedded to either the liberal or conservative viewpoint, but at least liberals rely on facts and critical thinking, and they have moments of self-doubt, too.

The reason that I have brought up these points is that this is exactly the kind of totalitarianism of belief over experience that is so dangerous in the practice of applied occultism and magick. I have personally known a few individuals who succumbed to their ardent belief in delusions while practicing magick, and they didn't come out of that trap unscathed or undamaged. While some might dispute my opinion, I do believe that it is possible to make yourself crazy by not using objective measures to reign in delusions and erroneous beliefs about oneself and the greater world. Objectivity is so important that I urge my magical associates to have at their disposal a peer group who can judge their work, especially when that work produces results that seem too good to be true.

What America needs more than anything else right now is some consistent and potent objectivity. A better way to phrase that would be quote the Joker in the first Batman movie: “What this [country] needs is an enema!” It would really help a sizable portion of the population to get past their delusions and baseless fears by merely doubting and questioning their beliefs. Yet I doubt that such a transformation is even possible at this time, so it is likely that a certain part of the population of my country may yet advance to the stage of being certifiably insane.  I hope that I am wrong, but the grueling political polarization that I have witnessed over the last decade has made me somewhat cynical and dubious about the rational capabilities of many of my fellow citizens.

Frater Barrabbas

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day of the Dead - Unveiling and Visitations

Now the shift in weather and climate up here in Minnesota becomes frigid, shadowy and grim, and winter’s long reign is just about to begin its triumphant coronation. It is the Day of the Dead, and I waited until this moment to unveil all seven of my metallic talismans and group them into a septagram array. Yet I had not planned on doing this specifically on this date. Since November 1 came on a weekday, just like Halloween, I had little planned for either day. Despite having completed my own project work for my job, I had to help others with their work as well. It was, therefore, yet another busy work week for me. Still, this impromptu working was precipitated by a rather strange visitation, since it was also the first anniversary of my mother’s death.

While my girlfriend and I were watching television together during the evening after dinner, a strange occurrence happened, and we both witnessed it as it occurred. All of a sudden, the stereo system that is hooked up to the television began to diminish in audible volume. I quickly looked over to the stereo amplifier and noticed that the numbers associated with the volume control were quickly dropping down to zero! This happened without anyone apparently working the controls (there is no remote control for the volume, I have to turn the volume knob to do that) and it seemed as if the stereo system was dropping down the volume automatically. To this date, I have never seen my stereo amplifier behave in this manner until that evening.

This phenomenon sure got my attention, and also the attention of Grace, my lady. I had initially thought that she was mischievously turning the volume down from her laptop, since she was multitasking - watching TV and doing her homework. When I asked her if she doing something, she smiled and told me “No, it’s not me, but perhaps it’s your mother paying us a visit.” I had forgotten the anniversary date of my mother’s death and the thought that she was doing this was the furthest thing from my mind. We both looked at each other, and I felt that what Grace had said was correct. I then noticed a subtle feeling of “otherness” that tingles through my body whenever something strange or possibly paranormal happens. I then thought aloud that I should probably go into the temple this evening and commune with my Mother’s spirit. It seemed like the right thing to do. So after turning the volume back up, we watched our program and then turned everything off for the evening.

One thing that had occurred to me while thinking about this odd phenomenon is that in years past, my mother would turn down the volume of the TV set to get my attention when she wanted to speak to me. I had the usual lazy demeanor of a youth who would ignore everything and everyone while intently watching the TV, and so to counter that, my mother would turn down the volume and stand in front of the television to get my attention. Perhaps, wrapped in her ghostly form, my mother was doing something that was her motherly prerogative from years past when I refused to pay attention to her. Well, it worked! She certainly got my attention, and at that moment, I sensed her presence.

Now perhaps this belief that my mother was making a ghostly appearance that evening was nothing more than purely a subjective sentiment on my part, maybe even being a form of suggestion first proposed by my girlfriend. There are probably a number of explanations for the stereo suddenly dropping its volume level. It could have been an electronic fluke or some other scientifically explainable phenomenon. Still, I believed that it was a message from my mother and a bit of ghostly poltergeist activity, even though it was subtle and could have multiple explanations. Yet experiencing this odd occurrence caused me to visit the temple and perform some minor workings that I had been intending to do for the last few days but had so far failed to do. So when my girlfriend retired for the evening, I went straight into the temple and lit some candles and ignited some incense.

I took out the seven metallic talismans that I had generated over the period of the last nine months, all of them safely ensconced in their velveteen bags, and pulled each one out and carefully placed it on my septagram trigon. This was the first time that I had arrayed all seven of these talismans, and after placing all of them on the septagram, and then making some invoking passes over them with my transmutar wand, I felt the array of planetary powers sync up to generate a kind of unified field. That energy which I sensed coming off of the talismanic array was far more powerful than I had thought it might be, and I was greatly impressed with the result. Without even consecrating the magic circle, I felt a sphere of magical energy fill the temple. I was quite impressed, since here before was the very magical machine that I had been previously writing about, and it was indeed simultaneously full of the entire spectrum of planetary possibilities. I now had my empowered and sacred space ready, and I began to commune with the spirit of my departed mother. It took a bit of discipline to wrench my attention away from the talismans, but I also found that the energy field that they created greatly assisted my attempt to contact my mother. It was as if she was already there, and her presence was subtly but fully tangible to my senses.

My mother, whose name was Arlene, talked with me for several minutes, and I could hear her voice in my head and see her in my mind as she looked some years ago, in the grace of her autumn years. I also saw her memories of her youth, her long dead parents, and the home that she grew up in. She told me about her last days and that she sought and embraced death, so that on the Day of the Dead, she was able to pass from her dying and nearly unconscious mortal form to one of spirit, and that moment was not one of fear, but of joy and release. Even though the link between us lasted only several minutes, what was passed between us seemed like an enormous discourse filled with memories, thoughts, regrets and moments of acute happiness. It was as if I had been given a tour of her life. She made certain to tell me that we are forever linked by the fact that she gave birth to me and raised me up to adulthood. All I needed to do was to focus on that link and she would appear to give to me whatever she was able to give me, which would be, in a word, her undying love and nurturing. I felt blessed by this knowledge, and it brought tears to my eyes.

She also spoke at length about my father, who is still alive, and also that she has sought to contact my brother and sister in the same manner that she has contacted me, but without as much success. Since I was the youngest, my mother, for whatever reason, had talked a lot to me after I had become an adult, seeking encouragement, advice, and often, just a patient ear (qualities that my father truly lacked or was incapable of giving her). Then my mother’s spirit slowly slipped away, but I now had a truly ancestral ally to contact and to venerate. My mother had never been against my spiritual and occult pursuits, unlike my father and my close relatives. She had always insisted that I find happiness and fulfillment wherever that might lead me. Arlene wasn't very religious or very spiritual, but she never went against the social consensus, taking a balanced and sensible approach to nearly everything. She was nominally a Christian woman, but she went to church to sing in the choir (not to save her soul), since music was her greatest inspiration and pleasure. My hope is that she is able to indulge in her musical passion now that she is unfettered by a frail and aging human body. It was odd that during my encounter with her spirit, I didn't hear any music. Maybe, next time I will provide her with some of her favorite church music just to see if it will get her to musically respond.

After the visitation was over, I focused for a while on the septagram array of metallic talismans and reveled in their powers and possibilities. This was just my first taste of how this magical machine might function, and I was quite impressed and pleased with the results. I am definitely looking forward to all future workings with these devices, and in fact, I am preparing a revised version of the Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual to inaugurate a truly inner plane expositions, powered and inspired by these seven wonderful talismans.

Frater Barrabbas