Friday, December 16, 2011

Enochian Synchronicities

Back in the late 1990's there was something of a shift in the approach taken to Enochian magick. Up until that time most practitioners had pretty much accepted the Golden Dawn approach as published by Israel Regardie and articulated by Gerald Schueler, who had at that time written several introductory books on the system. One of the big points of contention when working with the Golden Dawn system was the elaborate pronunciation system believed to have been developed by Wynn Wescott. This pronunciation system linked the Angelic language to Hebrew by inserting Hebrew vowel sounds into difficult-to-pronounce clusters of consonants. In the late 1990's, though, a number of authors came to the conclusion that the best pronunciation system was that recorded by John Dee himself during his scrying sessions with Edward Kelley. Today Dee's pronunciation is used by most of the practitioners I know, which is quite different from the situation a decade or so ago. There is still some disagreement regarding how to read Dee's notations for particular words, but the insertion of Hebrew vowels is for the most part a complete non-starter.

Over the past few years it seems like another shift is on its way. The rise in popularity of grimoire magick has renewed interest in studying Enochian magick as a grimoire-based or at least grimoire-influenced style of magick. The Golden Dawn system relied on an elaborate series of Qabalistic associations to link Enochian into the order's version of the Tree of Life, and in fact there are still quite a few magicians who have found that dialect of the system useful. On the other hand, it seems like these days more and more people are working "old school" and many of the recent books on the system reflect this approach. These include Aaron Leitch's The Angelical Language Volume I and Volume II, Stephen Skinner's Practical Angel Magic of John Dee's Enochian Tables, and of course my own Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy, which includes modern ritual forms but still preserves the original structure of the system for those who would rather work with it that way. In addition, one of the first books published based on the original approach, Geoffrey James' The Enochian Evocation of Dr. John Dee is still in print. It was first published in 1983, so it seems to have predated the recent trend by almost thirty years.


I mention this more grimoire-based approach in reference to two recent posts by Frater AIT, a Golden Dawn initiate, who has started working with a more stripped down originalist approach to Enochian and is publishing his results. You can find those posts here and here, and while his results are somewhat preliminary they are nonetheless quite interesting. If we really are seeing another shift in Enochian studies back toward the original source material that strikes me as a pretty cool thing. Back when I first started working with the system I adored James' book (back then, the Heptangle edition, which I still use from time to time) and felt a lot more lukewarm about Schueler and even Aleister Crowley's Liber Chanokh, which essentially summarizes the Golden Dawn approach. It's very clear to me that while Qabalistic associations can be found within the Enochian system, it's essentially a more complex and sophisticated version of grimoire magick rather than a fundamentally Tree-of-Life-based cipher with questionable Egyptian attributions. That's not to say anyone who's getting good results with Golden Dawn methods should nonetheless stop working that way - far from it! It's more to suggest that anyone who has found the Golden Dawn methods lacking like I did should take a look at the grimoire approach and see if it works better for them.

So does all this really constitute a new trend? I certainly hope so, and not just because I want to sell a lot of books. Unlike any of the other grimoire systems that have survived, with Enochian we have transcripts of the original sessions that led to its creation. In effect, this provides ritual hackers like myself with the "source code" to delve much more deeply into the system and perhaps even shed more light on the inner workings of the entire grimoire magick approach to ritual work. As I see it, the people who are out there conducting similar experiments to mine the better, especially if like Frater AIT they are willing to share some of their results with the community at large.

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2 comments:

Soror A.I.D. said...

In the few getting my feet wet experiments I have done so far, I felt a lot more magic/spirit/energy than I did in the GD type rituals. And I was one that just did the GD as stage directions, I tried to move and stir as much energy and connect to as many entities as I could. It pretty much has changed my mind about going down the GD road.

I also would be happy to throw away all the hebrew and associations. That never felt right, especially knowing hebrew isn't a special language as one can trace it's entomology from a Proto-Canaanite/ Proto-Sinaitic alphabet to the present. It didn't come to us intact from the angels all tied up with special meanings and numerology.

I would like to see if there was an angelic tree of life. The obvious link to the language would be through the 7 planetary spheres in 3 different realms. Is there such a thing? And is there a forum somewhere we can talk about the rituals in your book?

Ananael Qaa said...

That was pretty much my experience as well in terms of working with the GD Enochian system. Staying closer to a grimoire structure makes the rituals feel more powerful and also seems to produce bigger probability shifts.

Hebrew as a "privileged symbol set" is something that Dee was trying to get beyond in his Angelic work. That's part of the reason that he was so interested in learning the language of angels, because he figured that he would then have a real privileged language to work from. So to try and link the Enochian system back to Hebrew is a little like working backwards from where Dee was trying to go.

In my experience the Heptarchial planetary spheres can certainly be related back to the Tree of Life on the basis of the planetary powers and attributions themselves. The Tree of Life arrangement used by the GD and Crowley maps the planetary spheres in the order of perceived astrological motion, so the structure does tie back to the natural world and is not arbitrary. I would think you could therefore work with Heptarchial angels in the same way as the angels of the Qabalistic spheres.

I don't currently have any sort of forum set up to discuss these rituals aside from this blog. It's a good idea, though. Until I have one, feel free to ask questions here or contact me via e-mail.