Saturday, June 24, 2017

Getting Back Into the Game

One of the problems about getting old is that sickness and infirmity can intervene and completely disrupt one’s magical plans and ambitions. When I was in my 20's, I had the stamina to work magic all weekend long with minimal sleep and not feel the physical effects. Even 10 years ago, I was still able to work magic for long periods of time without feeling too tired or lacking in energy to complete what I started. The years of 2009 and 2010 were filled with many magical accomplishments. Just five years ago I had completed my own talismanic version of the Portae Lucis and was looking forward to working on some other projects that were on my list of important magical ordeals to accomplish in the coming year. However, my health problems intervened and I wasn’t able to continue any further major workings until the present time. The year 2013 was something of a lost year for me, considering all of the problems that I faced, and the next two years were also filled with health issues that I had to somehow resolve. The latest event was some needed eye surgery that took place a few months ago, but now that event has made it important to get further medical help for my eyes.

Of course, all the while I was dealing with these issues, I was also having to put in a lot of extra time into my job, thus ensuring that I had even less time to devote to my magical work and practices. Now, some five years later, I want to pick up where I left off and continue with my magical work. It’s a good thing that I wrote down what my objectives were in some of my blog articles, so all I have to do is to examine and ponder over them because they are already written up. I have found that a particular blog article that I wrote around 4 years ago has all of the occult issues that I wanted to address and tasks that I wanted to work, unfortunately none of which saw any activity since they were written. I haven’t been completely neglectful, particularly in the area of my studies and writings, but I also have been unable to begin any new magical work since that time. You can find that blog article here, written at the start of the New Year for 2013. Little did I realize then that I was about to undergo some really difficult times regarding my health and my career.

My temple area has seen the greatest extent of neglect, since I haven’t worked any magick since completing the seventh and final planetary talisman. Things have been just too busy for me to even contemplate another magical project. I have made offerings of incense to the Gods and my ancestors, but not much beyond that. However, I have decided that the time is right to start picking up the threads of my magical practice and start engaging in some of the projects that I had to postpone. I also need to reconnect and align myself to my personal Deities and my pagan spirituality on a deeper and more profound level than what I have been doing in the last several months.”

I have added an occasional Mass rite and periodic meditation sessions to what I have been doing in my temple as of late - at least until this latest working.

As usual, I begin each year by putting together a list of things that I would like to accomplish. I might not succeed in completing all of the tasks, but if I can manage a few of them, then I consider that year to be successful. That list starts out containing the things that I didn’t get around to doing the previous year, if I consider them to be important and relevant. High on that list is my desire to complete the workings associated with what I have called the Portae Tenebris working, which is the opposite of the Portae Lucis. I have placed my seven talismans on my central altar protected by a veil with the intention of doing these sets of rituals, and I found no time to actually perform them. The talismans are still sitting there where I last left them, waiting for me to engage with this magic. I have decided that even though the Winter Solstice has come and gone, we are still in the great period of winter darkness. I am planning on picking up the threads of this working in the next week or so, and thereby bring it to completion.”

This rite, the Portae Tenebris, will require some work on my part. Today, I have no idea how this ritual will look except for a vague sense about the broad outlines. I am not even sure that it is necessary, although it does seem interesting to speculate about it.

Another pair of magical challenges are for me to invoke at least four of the spirits of the Theurgia-Goetia using the new ritual lore that I developed and wrote some time ago. I would also like to perform some invocations of the ha-Shem angels and some Goetic demons. I am hoping to achieve these workings between now and the end of April, when winter begins to recede from the northern Midwest. If I get to perform some of these workings, then I will have quite a bit to report about my experiences, and I will be able to say that the new ritual lore has been thoroughly vetted.”

This was some important magical work that I also had to put on hold, but I hope to re-engage with it this coming autumn. The list of things that I need to do has become quite large, as I peruse my plans from over four years ago.

So, that was what I was writing back in early 2013, but what I didn’t know is that a series of health issues hit me, one after another, that pretty much put all of plans in limbo. I had accomplished quite a bit up to that point in time, but now it was time to deal with the fact that I was aging and dealing with age related illnesses. I caught a really vicious flu in May of that year, and I was so debilitated that it took me a couple of months to fully recover from it.

Then as the year progressed, I discovered that I had a serious sleeping disorder, called sleep apnea. I got hooked on a prescription drug called Ambien, a sleeping aid, and had to wean myself off of it. Towards the end of the year, I started using a C-PAP breathing machine to assist my breathing and avoid succumbing to apnea related sleeping issues. I had to adjust to this contracption, learn all about sleep hygiene and I am continuing to monitor my sleep to ensure that I get enough rest each day. I also had a cataract removed from my left eye and now need the one on the right removed as well. I got Lyme’s disease from a tick bite in my yard in August 2015 and managed to recover from that bout of illness. I had surgery to correct the tracking of my eyes this last January, and I lost a molar, soon to be replaced with an implant crown. Yeah, I seem to be slowly falling apart, perhaps more so in the last few years.

These are just symptoms of old age catching up with me. I have had a great run of good health with little pain, sickness or difficulties my whole life, and now I have to be careful what I eat, how much I eat, what I drink, that I get more exercise, be more active, and ensure that I get to bed early enough to get enough sleep each night. This is a strange world to suddenly have to accommodate myself, but it is typical of a person who is getting older and undergoing the slow decrepitude of advanced age. My health issues are minor inconveniences when compared to the debilitating and painful medical conditions that some who are my age are experiencing. I am, so far, lucky that what I have undergone has had some ready medical solutions. Someday, I will likely start to really experience some of the more unpleasant and unhappy occurrences that happen to all mortal men and women as they undergo their final decade or so of life. Hopefully, I can keep that from happening for another twenty years or so.

Anyway, once a series of distractions occur, it can be difficult to break the ice and get back into the game of working complex and involved magical ordeals. I decided that I would do something this late spring to accomplish that goal, so I set about trying to picking up the thread of where I left off in the late autumn of 2012. Since I had completed my own talismanic version of the Portae Lucis for the Summer Solstice of 2012, I decided that I had to do something for the Solstice of 2017, which was the fifth year anniversary. I set out to, in some way, repeat what I had done back then, and I began to plan out my working.

One thing I want to make clear to my readers is that a magical ordeal is not the same as just working some magical rituals to achieve a very specific and short-term end. An ordeal, as I define it, is a transformative initiation. It operates using the power of ecstasy and also exaltation. It is highly empowering, very deep and it can be dreadfully painfully, because it changes one’s mind and being at the very deepest level. Transformation can be something that causes the magician to feel momentarily transcendent, but it also unleashes the realization of truths and insights that are humbling and even humiliating, especially if they are resisted. Transformation, when it occurs within a magical field, forces the magician who is undergoing it to see the truth about themselves and their place in the world at that moment, and this can be quite sobering and even traumatically distressful.

Transformation cuts through personal bias, hubris, self-delusion, and personal fantasies like a hot knife through butter. A self that is defined mostly by self-deceit and delusion will not withstand this potent realization of truth. Therefore, transformation can also be dis-empowering and even self-destructive to a magician undergoing a profound ordeal, particularly if he or she has a proclivity for delusion and falsehood. The most important rule that any magician can follow when undergoing such a massive and potent change is to be flexible, completely open and willing to change and adjust all of his or her ideals and beliefs when the truth is realized. Failure to change when presented with the truth is the painful moment when a magician catastrophically fails to grow or evolve. Personal momentum and the magical process itself are halted and short-circuited. The issues thereby uncovered remain unresolved, and they stay that way until the magician is finally able to see and act on the truth so revealed. Such a refusal to apply truth to self belief will stunt a magician’s growth, and over time, cause his or her being to regress.

Because transformative ordeals cannot be forced or deliberately manufactured, it would seem that a deliberate magical working targeting an ordeal process wouldn’t be able to cause such an ordeal to occur. However, if the internal state of the magician is ripe for such an occurrence then performing an ordeal based magical working will certainly trigger one to happen. I believe that was the case for me when I performed the talismanic version of the Portae Lucis. I experienced a great deal of emotional disruption and even health issues in the years following the performance of this ordeal. It was more powerful and far reaching than anything I had previously undergone, and aside from the momentary glory I achieved, I also realized the truth of the diminishment of my vitality associated with aging. I also learned that I couldn’t take my health or material privileges for granted.

Anyway, since I had finally made it through this long period of five years and I had restored, to some extent, my health and vitality, I decided to get back in the game. I determined that I would revisit my Portae Lucis working, which I performed five years ago, and do some kind of working that would pull the threads left off then and bring them into the present. I began to meditate on this task and try to figure out exactly what I would do. As I said, I had completed that ordeal back in June of 2012, but then continued to produce the semi-precious metalic talismans for the three planets not covered in that working so that I would have the complete set of seven. The talismanic Portae Lucis working only focused on the planets of the Moon, Sun and Saturn, with Mercury being the place-marker for the magician, and this was also how the original Portae Lucis was constructed. Therefore, to celebrate this accomplishment, which was my last major working, I had decided to perform the last part of it once again. You can find the blog articles where I have posted my magical diaries from that time here and here.

Additionally, I wanted to attempt some other magical workings during this time frame to experiment with the efficacy of two new rituals that I had recently written. I recently wrote the Egyptian Underworld Ascension rite, which eliminates any kind of obstruction or “crossing,” and the Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual, which employs the seven metalic planetary-talismanic devices as a magical machine. Both of these new rituals were envisioned by me a few years ago, but I didn’t have the inspiration or insight to write them up. That changed over the Winter Solstice, and in performing these rites as part of the Portae Lucis commemoration I would be bringing my continuing magical working regimen into this current renewed period of my life. This new working would forge a bridge from 2012 to 2017, and hopefully, it will help me to forge ahead with additional and new workings.

As a sign of these times, I have already managed to put together a mechanism that will allow me to build up a grimoire based on the fallen angels of the Nephilim. In the next couple of months I hope to have contacted all 20 of the chiefs of the Nephilim instead of just the principal 4. Having evoked and established a bond with the four principals of this group, I will seek to contact the other 16, and entreat them to give me pertinent information about them and also their missing magical seals. To assemble all of this information together into a grimoire will make these spirits fully accessible to the magical public, something that they have been urging me to do for quite sometime now. I had started the book of the Nephilim decades ago, but I have only managed to produce two volumes, but nothing that would actually assist someone in being to follow in my magical footsteps. That will change, hopefully this year. It is one of the legacy items that I want to leave to the occult magical posterity.

I assembled a plan or sequence of magical workings that I would perform in order to complete the five year commemoration and bring my magical process into the present. Here are the sequence of dates that I planned on doing these workings. Of course, what actually happened was quite different, which is not too unusual for a planned series of magical workings.

April 22 - Saturday: Egyptian Underworld Ascension rite. First time shakedown performance of this rite. Started at around 9 pm after dark. This rite is used for ritual magical uncrossing and internal/external issue resolution. My intention was to eliminate obstructions that have kept me from performing magical ordeal workings and break the ice of over 4 years of dormancy - if such obstructions exist. New Moon was on April 26, so this working would be performed as the moon is waning towards the new phase. This timing seemed to be auspicious.

[Notes: The ritual was performed, but the magical working was awkward because of a lack of practice and problems with focusing. However it did indeed work and produced some immediately amazing experiential results. I felt like a burden was removed from me and that I experienced a greater free flowing influx of spiritual and magical insights and communication than previously. Like the beginning of a work-out regimen, I started out weakly and had problems with the ritual. The directions were not easy to understand and I had not actually studied the ritual before the working, having assumed that I wouldn’t need to do this kind of preparation. I was wrong, but despite these problems, the imagery that the ritual produced was quite amazing. I have gone over the ritual and modified the directions so that it is more clear. I also feel that I should perform this rite again in the near future so see if it can be performed more smoothly and therefore have a greater impact. My lady attended this rite and she also found the imagery to be quite fascinating. We went over some of it together after the rite was completed.]

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the rest of this well planned out schedule, since other things intervened and forced me to change my plans. Here is the rest of the plan as I had intended to execute it.

May 13  - Saturday: Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual. This ritual will set in motion the magical machine consisting of the seven metallic planetary-elemental talismans. This is a working that I had planned to do sometime in 2013, but I didn’t get around to doing it. While I have felt the impact of all seven of these metallic talismans in my temple, and I believe that I have benefitted because of them, this working will forge them into a proper magical machine. I will use the inauguration of this rite to set in motion some Mercury based aspirations, such as success in my IT business endeavors and further insights in the area of magic and occultism. I also want to charm my future writing projects, most notably, my new book proposal “Magical Power for Witches” that I will assemble this summer and submit to for publication in the autumn. Full Moon is on May 10, so this working will be within the orb of full to the gibbous waning moon.

May 27 - Saturday: Invocation of Hermes Thoth Trismagistos - using the Enochian Planetary Vortex rite, I will reconnect with Hermes Thoth as a precursor to the Talismanic Portae Lucis. The moon is New on May 25, so this just past the dark of the moon as it begins to wax towards full. Because this is a Memorial Day weekend, I could also attempt to perform the Egyptian Underworld Ascension rite on Friday or Sunday evening.

June 10 - Saturday: No Working Planned - this is the night immediately following the Full Moon, and as such, it is the last full moon before the Summer Solstice. It might be a good time to perform some kind of working, perhaps even another attempt at the Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate working.

June 20 - 21 - Tuesday and Wednesday: Talismanic Portae Lucis fifth anniversary re-enactment. Perform the last steps of the Talismanic Portae Lucis working. Summer Solstice for CDT at 11:24 pm Tuesday. On June 17 - 18, preparation work for the ordeal: Eneagram rite for Sephiroth, and Double Tetrahedral Gate for pathworking. Take Tuesday and Wednesday as vacation days, perform the Portae Lucis rite on Tuesday evening. Morning salutation of the Sun’s rising on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Target rite is the Triple Tetrahedral Gate ritual, to be performed on or near the evening time of the advent of the Summer Solstice.

I had planned on performing the Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual as a preparation working to the actual re-doing of the Portae Lucis ordeal. However, when the date came due, I had other things to occupy my time and I stopped following my well structured plan. I felt that something wasn’t quite right and that what I had planned on doing wouldn’t accomplish what I wanted it to. It was frustrating and I felt like I was losing the magical grove that I had attempted to established by building up a time-table and a planned sequence of events. I did perform a short-hand invocation of Hermes Thoth, but that was at the request of my wife, even though it did fit one of the items that I had on my check list. That working was performed in an ad hoc manner on Sunday evening on May 14. Still, I felt indecisive and incapable of moving forward. It seemed that my plans were going to end in failure. The days for the individual workings passed with nothing being accomplished and I felt no inspiration to do any of things that I had planned, as the Summer Solstice grew ever closer.

One evening, a week or so before the Summer Solstice, as I was falling asleep I felt a presence and heard a voice say in my mind, “You have performed this ordeal previously, so it isn’t important to redo or revisit it. What you need to do is to perform the Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual as the final piece of this working.” When I heard this voice and sensed this presence, it was like a light went off in my head. This was the answer that I was looking for! I felt a potent affirmation, but I also felt silly for not realizing that this was the missing piece that I had been searching for all along. A few days later, while exploring this possibility, I realized that not only could I just perform this ritual, but that I should also perform section 4 - Erecting the Ascension Gate as found in the Triple Tetrahedral Gate ritual. I would perform that section once the magical machine had been fully activated and I had placed within it the sigil that I would craft and consecrate. I planned on taking Tuesday afternoon off from work and all of Wednesday, so I would be free to begin the working Tuesday evening just after sunset.

In the afternoon of June 20, I performed all of the preparatory work and drew a set of three sigils on a piece parchment that represented what I wanted to accomplish in the next couple of years. I set up the temple so that I could perform a Mass and charge the sigil parchment with the consecrated wine from the Mass. Then I ate a light meal and did some miscellaneous and mindless tasks until the appointed time. I felt really excited and also very calm at the same time.

At just before 9 pm, I performed the final set up preparations and I was ready to begin the working. I erected and consecrated the magic circle at 9 pm when the sun had just set, and then I proceeded to perform the Mass of the Goddess. While I was performing this rite I briefly wondered if I would have the stamina to get through all of the work that was planned for that evening, thinking of what I had experienced back in April. However, I was very focused, energized and felt very good, so what doubts I may have had were quickly dispelled. I got through the Mass, charged the sigil and then set things up for the next rite. Even though I have never performed the Talismanic Septagramic Vortex Gate ritual before that evening, I went through it without any difficulties - my execution of that rite was smooth and efficient. When I got to the ritual climax and set the charged talisman into the septagramic trigon and drew the angles for the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury, I felt or sensed a distinct resonance, as if the etheric “gears, cogs and wheels” of a magical machine were set into motion.

I then performed the Ascension Gate ritual part from the  Triple Tetrahedral Gate ritual and I saw the same strange prismatic equilateral triangle gateway energy field, reflecting and refracting light as if it were a piece of glass as previously. I saw ghostly visual images appear and disappear on the surface of that mirror gate and I felt it resonate as if it were giving off deep tones that were below my threshold of hearing. I sensed them more than heard them. Then I sat down and meditated in this amazing energy field, realizing that I had indeed tapped into the ordeal working that I had performed nearly five years ago. It was as fresh and alive as if I had just performed the entire ordeal from scratch. I was amazed at this revelation, and I exulted in it for a while. I also heard or sensed a voice speaking to me, and this is what I heard. “The Portae Lucis, once opened, is never closed. It is always there, within your heart, mind and soul. While you were distracted for years, it continued to be active and it only required you to focus on it for this anniversary in order for you to be reawakened to its power and majesty.” The words were repeated several times and I felt them reverberate within my deepest and innermost self. I was truly grateful that I had so successfully reconnected to this magical process.

As I sat in deep meditation, I felt a deep level of fulfillment and clarity. I knew that whatever happened to me, I would always have this connection within me. Perhaps all I needed to regain what I had achieved was to become deeply aware that all of the magic that I have performed is concentrated within my very soul, and it is that source to which I must turn as age and the diminishment of mortality takes its toll on my body and mind. Perhaps this is why I have ardently studied Zen Buddhism for the last nine months, because I needed the triple wisdom of Samadhi, Sila and Prajna to help get me to that wondrous state of imperturbability, and then achieving that state on a periodic basis has allowed me to listen and be mindful of what I have already achieved throughout my magical practice.

After meditating in that state for a while, I came to normal consciousness and decided to bring the working to a close, so I sealed up the gateways and performed the final Eastern gateway passage into the waking world of light. As I finished up, I noticed the time was right around 11:30 pm, which was exact moment of the Summer Solstice. I had completed this working in the exact timing necessary and had accomplished all that I set out to do. I was highly energized and felt exalted. I stayed up for while and then prepared for bed, which I entered and fell deeply asleep, dreaming of the dawning of the longest day of the year.

Just before I retired for the night, I went outside for a bit and watched the stars twinkling distantly over my head. I noticed that the constellations of summer were now apparent, and that the evening was buzzing with a specialness and importance that seemed to augur a new beginning for me and my occult work. Time will tell whether this was just a fluke or the beginning of something big, but I did feel that the biggest and greatest discoveries were yet in the future instead of being the relics of past glory dimly remembered in my past.

A few days later and I am still feeling very blissful and happy about this latest working. I am amazed at how it proceeded, and how it took a very circuitous but creative detour. I never really lost faith that I would somehow find a way to complete this work and pick up the threads. Now what I need to do is to work with what I have started and perform other workings as the year progresses. It would seem that 2017 is for the dawning of a new cycle, and it is my hope that there will be more interesting events to report to you, my readers.

Frater Barrabbas

Monday, March 13, 2017

Paganicon 2017 Lecture and Other Stuff

We are fast approaching the Vernal Equinox, and once again, I will be giving a lecture at the Minneapolis Paganicon convention. This time I will be giving a presentation entitled “Egyptian Mysteries: Am Duat and the Cycle of Life and Death.” I have put together a PowerPoint presentation deck and will be doing both a lecture and presentation about how the Egyptian Book of the Amduat was the unwitting precursor to the Tarot Trump based Hero’s Journey, not be confused with the Fool’s Journey.

I have long stated that the Hero’s Monomyth, based on Joseph Campbell’s book “Hero with a Thousand Faces” is the pattern for all transformative initiations, and that it aligns with the Cosmogonic cycle. The Monomyth has 17 stages, and the Cosmogonic has five, and that when jointed together it becomes the consummate transformative cycle that can profoundly change an individual as well as an entire society. The merging of the Hero’s individual cycle and the Cosmogonic cycle (17 + 5) is also represented by the 22 Trumps of the Tarot. The Egyptians proposed this joining of the individual and cosmogonic cycles in the Book of the Amduat, which they graphically illustrated in New Kingdom sarcophagus chambers of the Pharaohs, starting with Thutmose III, the first of the great empire building pharaohs.

While it is probably unlikely that this book, in its various renditions and versions, found its way into the occultism of Europe, it is intriguing to speculate whether or not the idea of the merging the individual cycle of transformation and the cosmogonic cycle may have had an Egyptian source. These underworld books continued to be a part of the mortuary literature even up to the Ptolemaic period, and could have been incorporated into the Isian Greco-Roman cult. There is no evidence for this claim, so we can’t make it. However, it is interesting to see this as a possibility, thereby making true Aleister Crowley’s claim that the Tarot was actually the mythic “Book of Thoth” whose magic and revelations of the mysteries of life and death would given immortality to whoever possessed it and knew how to employ its magical powers.

I will be giving this presentation on Sunday, at 2:45 pm at Paganicon. The actual room is to be determined, but if you are in town you might want to attend this presentation. I think that it is a good and thought provoking lecture. We will also take a tour through the 12 hours of the Book of Amduat as it is depicted in Thutmose’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. I was also lucky enough to see a mock up of this section of the tomb at a traveling museum show at the Milwaukee County Museum back in 2004. I have been deeply fascinated and intrigued with this graphic presentation of the Amduat ever since I saw it in that traveling show.

Additionally, I have recently written up a ritual that uses the transformative theme of the 12 hours of the Amduat to enact a powerful and decisive uncrossing ritual. The idea is that to undergo the transformation of the sun god Ra and his regeneration through the power of Osiris, the magician can break through any blockages or resistance to achieving a specific goal in one’s life path.

Here is the preamble to the ritual text.

“This ritual is powerful enough to overcome all obstructions (intimate and external) and thereby performs a kind of grand uncrossing spell that helps the practitioner to break free and to see his or her way to a final resolution of any matter. Therefore, this rite should be performed only after much soul-searching and internal investigation, and then the celebrant would be advised to put as much preparation and effort into the rite as possible.

However, it would also be wise to thoroughly understand the nature of the blockage and then to encapsulate it with a consecrated and charged sigil, which would be taken with the seeker through the ritual passage. This rite uses the Egyptian underworld passage of the 12 hours of the Amduat, which is a simultaneous merging of the cosmogonic and individual transformative cycle. It is the mythic theme used to break through any and all obstructions to achieve its goal, just as the Sun God Ra does every evening when he seeks to be reborn and regenerated to bring forth a new day. This theme was the basic pattern of the underworld passage whereby an individual could become one of the divine ancestors by following the pattern of the Sun God himself.

The Egyptian Underworld Ascension rite is divided into three basic sections. The first section is a simple Western oriented gateway consisting of three points that opens the celebrant to the underworld. The second section consists of an inverted pyramid representing the five trials of the underworld that must be overcome so that a successful regeneration and rebirth might occur. The inverted pyramid is a vortex structure, since all four nodes of the four watchtowers are joined together at the nadir/infrapoint, and the structure is built using a widdershins transit.

The third and final section is the Eastern Gate, which represents the hours leading up to the ascendancy of the Sun and the ‘coming forth by day.’ The Eastern gateway has four points instead of three, with the zenith/ultrapoint functioning as a tetrahedral gate where the sunrise appears at the apex. There are 3 points in the first section, 5 in the second and 4 in the last, representing a total of 12 points, which allots one point for each hour of the Amduat.

Each of the Amduat hours is characterized by the hours of the thematic passage along with 16 of the 32 decan gods. Since a decan hour lasts approximately 40 minutes according to ancient Egyptian night-time stellar plotting, each Amduat hour has at least one decan, and every other hour has two. Thus, three decans together equal two hours exactly (40 * 3 = 60 * 2 = 120). This also means that the even numbered hours have two decan godheads, and the odd numbered hours have just one, making for 16 overall. Double decans use a pylon structure to unite them, thus producing a very interesting and elegant ritual structure.

The western gateway has one pylon in the West, the inverted pyramid has three pylons - the East, West and center. And the tetrahedral Eastern gateway has two pylons in the Southwest and Northwest angles, respectively. The pylons add a certain elegance to the overall ritual structure, allowing for the unequal proportion of decan hours to actual hours.”

I haven’t had a chance to work this ritual, but it is on my list to perform in the very near future. Things have been so very busy for me since the Solstice holiday that I haven’t had a lot of time to engage in my magical work. While that might be so, I have been involved with some very heavy and intense training classes on Zen Buddhism given at the local Zendo by two individuals who I have come to see as quite brilliant and accomplished in their own path. They have between them around 90 years of experience, and had studied and worked closely with the Zen master Dainin Katagiri Roshi while he was alive. I am, to say the least, quite impressed with both of these teachers, but I will write more about them and my studies in a future article.

Anyway, if you can get to Paganicon and attend, then I hope to see you there. I will have copies of my newest book, and you can purchase an autographed copy from me there.

Bright Blessings

Frater Barrabbas

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Book - Spirit Conjuring for Witches

Now that I have more or less recovered from my eye surgery, I can finally get back to the business of writing articles in my blog. I have been absent since late December, and quite a lot has been going on since then, both from the standpoint of the occult, politics and my life situation. Hopefully, I will have time to write up on these and many other topics in the weeks to come. Not being able to read for more than a week, and not being able to perform much in the way of extracurricular writing (outside of work) has been quite difficult for me to manage and quietly accommodate. I love to read and write, but for nearly a month I had to keep my writing to a minimum to give my eyes a chance to fully recover, and not subject them overly to eye strain. Now that I have passed that period of recovery, I can fully pursue my writing tasks.

After the holidays, and in the middle January, my book project, “Spirit Conjuring for Witches: Magical Evocation Simplified” was at long last published. I got my printed copies around that time, and the book was released a week or so later, well before the February 8 launch date. I have been quite pleased with the book so far, and so have others who have read it and posted reviews. You can find this book on Amazon here.

The user named Jeannot left a very helpful and good review on Amazon, and it was the very first review. Here is what she had to say:

“Let's start off with a basic preliminary statement: this book is not for beginning magical practitioners in the way of providing magical tech; in that sense, it is geared more for intermediate practitioners. That said, this book is excellent at giving beginners goals to aspire to.

Frater Barrabbas does a fascinating and excellent job of reintegrating the concept of the witch's familiar into modern practice, putting it in a modern context with roots going back beyond Medieval and Early Modern European incarnations of the spirit helper. He relates it to the "head gods" of African Traditional Religions (ATRs) and the various spirit helpers of the PGM, or Greek Magical Papyri. For those who are willing to put in the work, I'm sure this book will provide much fruit.

This book stands with the work of Gordon White, Jake Stratton-Kent, and Peter Grey. Frater Barrabbas provides a witchcraft that is vital, active, and local, capable of functioning in the witch's immediate environment.”

Being compared to Gordon White, Jake Stratton-Kent or Peter Grey is quite complimentary, although I consider them to be authors who have written books quite beyond what I set out to do with this book. I guess the most important question that one might have about this book has less to do with the material within than for the motivation for me to write it. Why did I write this book? Is it yet another book proposing that Witches adopt the practices and methodologies of the Ceremonial Magician? Well, the answer to that is no, it was not my intention to sell the techniques and methodologies in use by either ceremonial magicians or traditional practitioners of magic as found in the old grimoires. This book was written by a Witch, practicing ritual magic, for other Witches who would wish to also practice this kind of magic. It was not written for either ceremonial magicians nor was it written for the traditional magicians who utilize the old grimoires.

What I am proposing in this book is a system of magic that is distinctly Witchcraft based and not outside of what might be considered the magical practices of that modern tradition. I wrote this book for modern Witches and Wiccans, and my purpose was to introduce to them the practices and techniques already inherent in their traditions to formally summon and manifest spirits. My aim was to help Witches adopt the spirit model of magic and fully develop it as a mainstay of their tradition. It is my hope that this book will start a new wave of Witchcraft magic that will stay abreast of other cutting edge magical traditions. I wanted Witches to expand beyond thaumaturgy and using the simple constructs of the energy model of magic to reach their true potential as magical practitioners, emulating the capabilities and legendary deeds of the mythic Witches of folklore and antiquity. However, I wanted them to use the features and components of their existing traditional modern lore to accomplish this end.

As an observer of modern Witchcraft and Wicca magic, I have noted that these traditions relied too much on one or two models of magic, and that the spirit model was only partially active in these magical practices. One of the reasons that I gave for this lack of a formal system of performing an invocation or an evocation is that such rites and techniques are not to be found in the traditional Book of Shadows, as witnessed by my own Gardnerian third generation BoS. While it is true that old Gerald, to a lesser extent, and Alex Sanders, to a greater extent, practiced grimoire based magic, none of that lore was ever formalized to become part of the tradition of Witchcraft. The closest thing that I have found so far that approached a grimoire based magical type of working was the Vassago goetic demon evocation and scrying session found in the book “Mastering Witchcraft,” and no where else it is so plainly promoted. I had once thought that Paul Huson’s book would have become the basis or the foundation for a deeper form of magical workings, but if it did, that fact was not absorbed into the tradition and passed on. It remained, like the grimoire workings of old Gerald and Alex, an outlier to the practice of modern Witchcraft.

Needless to say, the book “Mastering Witchcraft” and others like it didn’t propose a comprehensive and formal system of invocation and evocation, so the spirit model of magic was never really a part of traditional modern Witchcraft. It never really caught on, probably because in order to be adopted, it would have required some rather major changes to the practice and celebration of Witchcraft. As a system of magic, the spirit model doesn’t lend itself easily to coven based magic. For instance, if a coven were to perform a goetic evocation then only one individual would actually do the work and the others would function as helpers or just witnesses. Since everyone who practices magic has different capabilities, it is possible that while the leader performing the rite would be in full possession of her skills and abilities as a Witch, others might not get as much out of the rite. Being able to translate and assimilate spirit contact is something that has to be learned and mastered over time with lots of experiences. Certainly, it wouldn’t be a good idea to expose newly initiated or uninitiated members of the coven to this kind of working, so it would be something to which only a more experienced or mature group should be exposed. That is because the key to controlling and mastering the encounter with spirits is the active godhead assumption, and without this mechanism to guide and protect the practitioner, spirit conjuring could be considered a hazardous operation.

Perhaps one of the most important contributions that my book makes is to equate the familiar spirit of antiquity with the modern day godhead assumption of practical magic. That this practice found its way into the BTW and Wiccan traditions as a major liturgical rite from a basic exercise in the Golden Dawn system of magic shouldn’t be too surprising. What is surprising is that such a liturgical rite in Witchcraft has an ancient pedigree going back into antiquity, as the Greek Magical Papyri has amply shown. It was an important and pivotal rite in antiquity, where a magician sought and achieved a spirit mediator to assist in his magical workings. Those who practiced magic in antiquity, and even more recently as the 16th and 17th centuries believed that human nature, without the aid of a spirit helper or some other supernatural assistance, was quite helpless, defenseless against spirits and deities and incapable of producing magical or miraculous effects. It was only in the 19th century that the belief in the power of untapped human potential became an important theme in magic and occultism. That theme went on to produce the energy model of magic, and it supplanted many of the other systems of magic until the last twenty years or so. We who practice magic now realize that a greater capability lies in the use of all of the models of magic simultaneously, but in the traditions of Witchcraft, formal adoption of the spirit model still lags the other techniques.

Making the godhead assumption, called the "Draw" in Wiccan-speak, into a personal ritual of self-empowerment seems like a profanation of the liturgical nature of this rite. However, it isn’t a profanation, it is an obvious magical expansion of a mechanism that is used to facilitate communion with the covenstead godhead to one that elevates the individual, temporarily, to the level of an earth-bound and incarnated deity. Performing this rite continually over time will dramatically impact and affect the consciousness of the practitioner, transforming and empowering them over the long course of a magical practice. Additionally, such a rite is more suited to working alone or with only the most intimate group, since the celebrant is sharing something that is extremely personal and private, so that it remains detached from any kind of egoic corruption. There is nothing quite like the ego trip of someone who forces his or her group to engage in worshiping them as they assume the simulacrum of some godhead. Godhead assumption must be balanced with a great deal of humility and service to the deity so that it doesn’t regress into a form of unearned ego-based self glorification. 

Another mechanism that has to be altered is the covenstead magical circle and the invested dual deities and dread lords of the four quarters that ward and protect what transpires within it. Certainly, in order to take full advantage of working within a magic circle that represents the boundary of all that is sacred and spiritual, a Witch has to deliberately thwart the inherent protective measures that such a mechanism provides. Opening up the magic circle to the whole of the spirit world (instead of the covenstead protected simulacrum) is an important first step, since by crossing the circle watchtowers, making therein a cross-roads, will open that sacred space to everything that is within the spirit world. Someone who deliberately performs this act must first adopt a personal godhead assumption in order to protect themselves from negative, hostile or callous neutral spiritual encounters.

Anyway, these topics and many others are discussed in detail in my book. These are not new ideas, because I have written about them previously, but now I have collected them altogether into a single, concise book. I think that you will find this book to be useful and hopefully, it will have an impact on the greater world of Modern Witchcraft.

Frater Barrabbas

Some minor errors found in the current edition.

After carefully reading over my copy of the book, I have found a few errors in the book, particularly Appendix 2, p. 234. The actual date of the Grimoirum Verum is likely to be the early 1600's, and not the 1500's as I had written. According to Joseph Peterson, the direct precursor to the Grimiorum Verum was a book entitled "Clavicula Solomonis De Secretis" and the extent copy of this book is a Polish Leipzig version dated around 1620's. It is likely that the Grimoirum Verum was produced not long after that time, but it still predated the Goetia, probably by a couple of decades. While I had submitted edits that would have corrected these dates, for some reason that didn't get installed, perhaps because they might have been confusing to the editor who had recourse to my emails but not to me directly. Anyway, this is minor point, but I felt the need to clarify in this article. I am sure that there are probably other inaccuracies, but overall, I feel that the editing and writing for this book is one of the best that I, in combination with the Llewellyn team, have produced so far.