Friday, November 30, 2007

Review: Enochian Initiation by Frater W.I.T.

Originally posted on 11/2/2006 on the previous version of this blog. It's good publicity for a fellow OTO brother who self-published this excellent piece of magical work.

I just finished Enochian Initiation by Frater W.I.T. and found it to be a fascinating piece of magical work. It is exactly the sort of magical research that I have contended for years that our community should be publishing. Except under certain specific circumstances (like initiation rituals that are designed to surprise the candidate in some way) secrecy is not terribly useful in magick, despite a great deal of prejudice in favor of keeping magical teachings hidden throughout the history of the Western Esoteric Tradition. If even a dozen or so magicians a year could publish a collection of magical diaries like this every year we would be well on our way to building a collection of techniques and practices that would be effective for many people.

The book is made up of two sections. The first is a collection of magical journal entries spanning five years, from 1999 to 2004. During that period the author invoked all of the Kings and Seniors who inhabit the Watchtowers of John Dee and Edward Kelly's Enochian system of magick twice. The first round of invocations was done quickly, more to get a feel for the nature of the energies involved, and the second was slower and more deliberate, done with the intention of fully assimilating and integrating the nature of each King and Senior. The second section of the book consists of the temple rituals used in the invocations along with commentary on them.

The author works from the perspective of the Golden Dawn elemental mappings for the four quadrants of the Watchtowers, and uses the Golden Dawn order for the Angelic Keys or Calls. I've explained some of my concerns about those attributions in other articles, but it is also true that a number of modern magicians have observed that the Enochian system adapts well to various symbolic mappings. Whatever intellectual criticism can be leveled against the Golden Dawn system, it is basically coherent and has been used for many years. From the journal entries in the book, it clearly works, at least for the author. Many of the visions described are quite profound and seem to follow the general order of unfolding realization described in many spiritual systems, not just Western Esotericism. Looking at the cover of the book I also realized that if you place the quadrants of the Reformed Tablet as they appear in Dee's 1587 diagram and use the Golden Dawn elemental attributions for the Kings, they follow the order of the points of the pentagram. I spent years studying the Reformed Tablet and never made that connection.

As an interesting observation, here is another magician who has figured out the Operant Field. The author uses Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to open his rituals and moves on to the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram rather than the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram recommended by Donald Michael Kraig and many other modern magical writers. In my experience, following the LBRP with the LIRH is much more effective for any sort of practical magical work, and most of the skilled magicians that I know use the invoking form of the Lesser Hexagram as well. Also, the author went ahead and developed his own Thelemic keyword analysis, which is a step that our ritual group took as well. It's helpful to do that because the standard Golden Dawn version represents the aeonic formula of Osiris while Thelemites work with that of Horus.

The only real criticism of the book that I can put forth is that I would have liked to see more examples from the author's life that could clarify how well these rituals actually worked. Especially toward the beginning of the book the author keeps talking about how he invoked one angel or another "to excellent effect." In my experience, it is not that difficult to perform a magical ritual that "feels good." To be sure that a ritual is working, you need to look at your life and see if unlikely things that support the objective of the rite or are in some way related to it are really happening. Of course, since the author published the book under a pseudonym he probably wants to remain at least somewhat anonymous, and that would preclude the inclusion of detailed personal information beyond the workings themselves.

In short, the book is excellent and I recommend it to any serious ritual magician, especially anyone interested in the Enochian system. At some point in the future my magical working group may try working through the Kings and Seniors and see if we get similar results.

Want to buy your own copy of Enochian Initiation by Frater W.I.T.? Order from my Books and Media page and you can help support Augoeides.

The Operant Field

I am currently in the process of trying to get my first book published. It is entitled Operant Magick and is essentially a textbook on ritual magick incorporating some of my own personal theories and research along with key concepts from the Western Esoteric Tradition. One of the key concepts that I introduce in the book is the operant field. I use this term all the time when discussing ritual work and it appears nowhere in any other published source on ritual magick, so here's a basic overview of the idea.

UPDATE: Operant Magick turned out to be a bust. First Weiser and then another publisher basically jerked me around for years. Weiser finally rejected it on the grounds that it was "too advanced" and they didn't think it would sell. I was upset about this at the time, not only because they had wasted so much of my time mulling the thing over but also because the focus on "beginner books" means that nothing "more advanced" ever gets published. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The thing is, statistically speaking, nobody is interested in magick. What I didn't understand then that I understand now is that if you can't get beginners to buy your book, it's very likely that almost nobody will.

Anyway, much of the material from the book has wound up on Augoeides since then. I've included some of this material in my published books on Enochian magick as well, since the method appears to be generally applicable to all forms of magick. In fact, I'm now convinced that one of the reasons the grimoire movement happened at all is that opening and closing Golden Dawn rituals with the LBRP/LBRH combination is ineffective because you basically kneecap your spirits the moment you shut down the ritual. Since working with your own power in addition to that of spirits is a more effective way to do ritual, the grimoire folks found that by eliminating the banish-banish they got better practical results. But the operant field method is the best of both worlds. It allows modern methods like those of the Golden Dawn and Thelemic schools to coexist with more traditional conjuring techniques.

The rest of the original article follows:

Most Western ritual magicians use variations of the pentagram and hexagram rituals. In the Golden Dawn tradition you have the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, in the Thelemic tradition you have the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire, in the Aurum Solis tradition you have the rituals for raising the Wards of Power, and so forth. The normal way this is taught is as it appears in Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick, one of the most popular and widely available books on Golden Dawn magick. Kraig says that you start off just using the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and then move on to using the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram at the beginning of every ceremonial ritual. The Golden Dawn taught both banishing and invoking forms of these rituals, but Kraig sticks to the banishing versions and a lot of ritual magicians are taught to do the same.

I started researching these ritual forms years ago and was confused by how little material was available on the invoking versions and when they should be used. In Aleister Crowley's Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae it is kind of a curious fact that he covers the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by an explanation of the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram. I went ahead and decided to try this combination out even though most writers will tell you that you shouldn't use the rituals that way. I was absolutely blown away by the result - all of a sudden my practical magical work got a whole lot better. I set up a number of objective tests and, sure enough, the LBRP/LIRH was amazing. I couldn't get anywhere near the same result with the LBRP/LBRH - even though the only difference between the banishing and invoking forms is the direction in which the hexagrams are traced. When I discovered this I asked around and, sure enough, most of the magicians who I knew who were able to get good results using the Golden Dawn forms had figured out the same thing. Other skilled magicians I know have tried the combination at my suggestion and also found that it just works better.

So what is going on here? I think that most modern writers don't understand how to use these rituals. From a Hermetic perspective the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram represents the psychological realm or microcosm and the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram represents the physical realm or macrocosm. Together the rituals set up a space in which the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm is defined that I call a field. The four combinations of the banishing and invoking forms of the two rituals set up four different fields that are useful for specific magical operations.

Banishing Field (LBRP/LBRH): This is how most magicians begin their rituals when working with the Golden Dawn forms. It is, in effect, the "full shutdown" - it clears mental and spiritual forms from both the interior and exterior worlds. In can be used to completely cleanse a temple, banish spirits permanently, or neutralize a magical effect that is targeting the magician. What it also does, though, is shut down any ongoing spells that the magician has running unless they are bound to talismans or some anchor other than the magician's consciousness. If you are casting a spell that you want to work over the next week, don't end the ritual with this combination under any set of circumstances unless you're convinced you made a mistake and want to stop the spell. The effect that you just set in motion will be negated when the field goes up.

Invoking Field (LIRP/LIRH): This combination energizes all ongoing magical effects, and can be used to begin a ritual that you want to operate in both the interior and exterior worlds. A good example of this is a spell to get a good job. You want the spell to affect your psyche in such a way that you seem more confident and capable, but you also want it to shift probabilities in the material world so that the right opportunity will come your way.

Centering Field (LIRP/LBRH): This combination sets up a field in which the interior world is engaged while influences from the exterior world are neutralized. This field is ideal for exclusively psychological magical work of all sorts.

Operant Field (LBRP/LIRH): This is the one that I use the most. The field clears the interior world and then merges it the with the exterior world, setting up a space in which thought can more easily become material reality. All of the energy of a spell cast within this field is targeted on the macrocosm and the resulting probability shifts show that magick done this way just influences the outside world better - significantly better.

If you would like, try it out and see, and let me know how it goes. I think you'll be impressed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tweaking the Newsreel

One of the things that I like about the blogspot system is that you can integrate headlines from Google News into the page more easily than you could do something similar on Scoop. I used to go through Google News searching for articles on magick, witchcraft, and the occult to comment on and it's kind of cool to be able to bring them up automatically. That being said, you will notice that every so often something will show up there that really doesn't belong. The biggest offenders for "magick" are bands, some of whom like to use the Elizabethan spelling to make their album titles more interesting. I can't put "magic" in at all, because the top stories tend to be about the Orlando Magic and I have no interest in basketball. It would be nice to add a feature where you could exclude certain categories or subjects, but so far the Newsreel seems to be limited to simple keyword searching anywhere in the article.

Here's also a chance for me to point out that Aleister Crowley was way ahead of his time in suggesting that the spelling "magick" be used "to distinguish the science of the Magi from its counterfeits." Obviously, as the Ipsissimus he foresaw the rise of World Wide Web and the need for a specific term that would make keyword searching a whole lot easier. Do you buy that?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The New Augoeides?

The Scoop version of Augoeides has now been offline for several months, and I've decided to try blogging here. Eventually I hope to get either the Scoop system back up and running or find a suitable replacement, but for now this is relatively easy to get up and running and I'm hoping that it will work well. I found that was already in use, so I went ahead and used Ananael for the URL instead.

For those of you unfamiliar with my previous blog, Augoeides is dedicated to "Spiritual Technology for a New Aeon." I am a Thelemite and practicing ritual magician with a degree in experimental psychology and a career in software design and development. For most of my life I have been interested in consciousness, metaphysics, spirituality, and various phenomena normally classified as paranormal. Philosophically, I believe in the existence of paranormal phenomena but not "the supernatural." Instead, I consider the spiritual dimension of reality part of nature, just like the material dimension.

"Spiritual technology"is an allusion to the motto of Aleister Crowley's A.'.A.'., "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion." Many of my posts address using ritual magick to achieve practical, measurable results, and I welcome comments from other practicing magicians regarding their own successful techniques. Magick is very much a fringe area of study at this point, but by publishing my own rituals and results I hope to contribute to the general knowledge of the subject and allow others to take advantage of my own experience, which spans more than twenty years of serious practice.