- The author makes no claims to his relative state of enlightenment, nor that he has successfully accomplished the Abramelin Ordeal, or performed Aleister Crowley's Liber Samekh.
- The author makes no claims that in your attempt to gain the assistance of a Good Genius, the HGA, or attract a Daemon, you will be successful. Many have tried. Many have succeeded. Plenty of others have gone insane, gotten lost in the darkness, or fell prey to the illusions of their ego. There is no certain test. Everything is always precarious. The trial is an adventure. It is ultimately your choice on whether or not to attempt such a thing.
- Nothing is ever easy.
“I have a hard time taking you seriously.”
Let's take a moment and assume that “living traditions” do exist. Let's assume this magick stuff actually works, to some degree or another, and that part of the success ratio is the talent of the operator, and part of the success ratio is “something else.” We might call this good advice from proper superiors, dumb luck, a “something” that is looking out for us – whatever, right?
So it works, and the Work somehow finds a way – almost virally – to continue itself in perpetuity. This despite laws, changing outlooks, differing systems, evolving systems, & etc. Despite the fact that there has been a decline in the West in the practice of magick over the years, it's hardly stopped. The fact that you are reading this blog – even if you are insane (which can be good thing, see: The Greeks on this subject) – is part of that.
And generally speaking, most systems (atheists can exempt themselves if they wish from this part of the discourse) suppose that you will turn to an authority of some sort – an authority that supercedes your own, spiritually or otherwise – and that this portion of the work is integral to the continuance of the practice of magick. The reasons for this vary from system to system, and the “end-game” plan of the magician (which s/he always plays out by living) tends to also vary.
Some see themselves as preparing for immortality. Some see themselves as being in a process of self-deification, and on the road to True Sovereignty. Some just want to heal themselves, or feel called to something greater and have no plans whatsoever.
In this game, it helps to have a friend. And that friend has a variety of names, causes, variations, convergences and divergences. Which makes sense, because “living traditions” tend to adapt themselves to changes in culture, methodology, and in any number of particulars.
To the best of my knowledge, the “One True Way” to enlightenment has not been found (much like the Grand Theory of Everything which eludes scientists to this day). Or maybe it has, but the fellow who's decided to open his mouth annoys me so much that I'm going to ignore him and his claims for good. Whatever, right?
The point, though, is that there are actually a number of rituals, “which have survived because they work,” as one blogger recently put it. They are to be found in any number of places, and slews of practitioners can and often will attest that they work – despite being from varying backgrounds, and despite having varying practices and thoughts on any one subject. This entry will list more than a few, as well as quote some comments by Mr. Jake Stratton-Kent in his excellent Geosophia. It is my hope that the individuals who find themselves interested in his comments take a look at his works, as they are well deserving of attention.
“The Stele of Motherfucking Jeu the Motherfucking Hieroglyphicist.”
If we consult Morton Smith's Jesus the Magician, which we ought when discussing the Stele, we will discover some interesting facets to what appears to be a simple exorcism (at least at first). On the subject of magicians and supernatural assistants Smith writes that:
“Nevertheless, the friends of a higher class practitioner would be apt to claim that he was not a magus, but rather, a “divine man.” The “divine man” was a god or demon in disguise, moving about the world in an apparently human body. He could do all the beneficient things a magus could, and he could also curse effectively – though of course he would curse only the wicked. He did his miracles by his indwelling divine power and therefore did not need rituals or spells. This was the critical test by which a divine man could be distinguished from a magician – so at least his adherents would argue. The magical papyri describe a number of rites by which one can obtain a spirit as a constant companion. A magician who has such a spirit at his service can also dispense with rites and spells, he need only give his orders and they will be obeyed. Moreover, there were some magical rites that were supposed to deify the magician, either by joining him with some god in a permanent and perfect union (as Paul claimed to by joined with Jesus), or by changing the form, nature, or power of his soul so as to make it divine. A magician who had been so deified would thereafter be a divine man and would perform miracles by his own power, not by a spirit's. While the theoretical differences between a magus and divine man were thus blurred, there remained important practical differences. The term “divine man” carried none of the unpleasant connotations attached to “magus” - nothing of membership in a secret society, incest, worship of evil demons, human and other repulsive sacrifices, cannibalism, or barbarism. Consequently – and best of all – it did not make the man who bore it a criminal.” (p.74-75)
While it might be easy to laugh off this discussion, it would perhaps be better to suggest that we are seeing a transition. While it took magicians (Goetes, in these case, rather than Magi) to operate the Papyri, one of the reasons that this task was presumably undertaken was to become a “divine man,” or representative of just such a power. As noted, there are several spells and rituals in the PGM which are geared toward just such this task, two of which deserve our attention, in fact Betz's compendium on them begins with one:
PGM I.1-42 (p. 3 in Betz):
“A daimon comes as an assistant who will reveal everything to you clearly and will be your companion and will eat and sleep with you...”
The ritual goes on to list some insane demands, such as deifying a Circaean falcon in the milk of a black cow, and therefore I have never performed it. However, it states quite clearly it's function and what it takes to get the job done.
On page 103 of Betz, there is, however a ritual that I can personally attest which works (again, I do not claim to have divine status in the typical sense of such a statement): The Stele of Jeu of the Hieroglyphicist. The ritual is an exorcism, an evocation, and an invocation (in other words: direct possession is the goal of the ritual, even if it does not occur during the first performance) of what I presume to be the Agathos-Daemon. You may correct me if you believe to be flat wrong.
The Stele thus expels astral nasties in the atmosphere around the magician, conjures the presence of the cosmic or supracosmic entity known as the Agathos-Daemon, and then assumes it's identity in a state of possession. In response, the Agathos-Daemon ties the magician either to another spirit, a god, or itself, and the result is divinity!
Perhaps some more quotes from Smith might be helpful?
“This leads us to consider the extant accounts of how magicians got spirits as constant companions and servants whom they could order about at will so as to perform miracles without elaborate rites or spells. These accounds derive not only from the abnormal experiences of the magicians, but also from their neighbors' expriences of the extraordinary powers of suggestion that certain individuals possess and use to heal or cause sickness, excite love or hatred, instill convictions, or even produce hallucinations and dispel them. Such powers were thought magical, but the “magicians” were known to exercise them without any magical rites. This was “explained” mythologically by analogy from slavery: such magicians “had” spirits as slaves, always on call. Hence grew a thicket of stories about was to get spirits as servants.
These stories can be classified by the sorts of servants promised. One familiar form is that in which a ghost, “the demon of a dead man,” is evoked as Jesus was thought to have evoked the Baptist.” (p.97-98)
At this point I should like to state that the analogy of the spiritual servants to slavery is somewhat one-sided. Classically, many Necromantic spirits would be promised either salvation or some type of spiritually uplifting experience, so that their lot in the afterlife and upon returning to life would be significantly improved. Mr. Stratton-Kent covers these matters in the Geosophia vol 1. on page 90, when he introduces a very interesting ritual taken from Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Despite the Christian flavor of the ritual, the promise remains the same: that the individual magician will aid or bolster the spirit so that at a specific point (either Judgment Day or reincarnation, depending on the time period we're discussing for the ritual) will be able to move on. These promises also have their place in classical (not Grimoire-based) Goetia, when the Goete would make an arrangement with the spirit for their mutual benefit. There appears to be some correspondence with this idea, and Orphism, but I am not sure how deep those associations go. (Yet.)
Back to Smith:
“Most often such demons were employed for single assignments, usually to harm enemies or to bring women to would-be lovers, but the opinion reported by the gospels and the example of Paul indicate that they were also thought to be available as constant attendants and to do miracles like those of Jesus, mainly exorcisms. This indication is confirmed by the Papyri. The “Magical Papyrus of Paris” (PGM IV. 1930-2005) prescribes a prayer to the sun god, Give me the authority over this spirit of a murdered man, a part of whose body I possess … so that I may have him with me as a helper and defender for any affairs in which I need him. The following section (lines 2006FF.) gives more elaborate rituals for calling up such a spirit when one is desired, but concludes: However, most magicians take the equipment (objects inscribed with spells, etc.) home, put it away, use the spirit as a servant (always in attendance), and so accomplish whatever they want with all possible speed. For this method effects its purposes immediately, with complete convenience and without any wordiness” (that is to say, spells). After this come two short recipes and then a long rite including the conjuration of a dead man's spirit to be the servant of an amulet, one of whose many powers will be to drive out demons. Directions of the same sort are given in SHRI.5 and some early Christians said that the Samaritan magician, Simon Magus, did his miracles by such control of the spirit of a murdered boy.
Thus the notion that Jesus “had” the Baptist was not, by ancient standards, an impossible explanation of his powers...” (p.97-98)
“The Magical papyri contain several such rites to get spirits as assistants and belief in this sort of relationship was widespread—for instance, St. Irenaeus, in about 180, explained the miracles of the heretic Marcus by supposing he had “some demon as an assistant.” But all these stories, this type of theory, fall short of the gospel myth in one respect: In them the spirit is merely acquired as an assistant, in the gospels its descent is followed by a voice from Heaven declaring Jesus “my beloved son.” The story strongly suggests that sonship is a result of the descent of the spirit. But what is sonship?
Many would say, the messiahship. Mark equated “Messiah” (= “Christ”) with “Son of God” and “Son of Man”. From then on the equation has been customary. But “Son of God” was not, in Judaism, a customary messianic title, nor a common way of referring to the Messiah. Instead it almost always appears with miracles. As “Son of God” Jesus casts out demons (Mk.3:11;5-7p.; Lk. 4.41), walks on the sea, and knows the Father (Mt. II:27p; 14:33). Because he claims to be “Son of God” the devil demands miracles from him (Mt. 4:3,6p.) and the Jews mock him when he is unable to perform them (Mt.27:40,43). Because he was “a son of god” miracles attended his death (Mk. 15:38f.p.)... This trait probably reflects historical fact, but why did this fact result in Jesus being called “Son of God”? The existence of a title implies a conceptual type – in this case, to judge the usage, a supernatural being in human form who performs miracles by his own power...”
And finally: “In Hebrew and Aramaic “son of” is commonly used to mean “member of a class f”; hence, “the sons of god” is a regular way of saying “the gods” just as “the sons of men” (commonly translated “the children of men”) is a regular way of saying “men.” Thus in Genesis 6:2—“the sons of god saw the daughters of men” means “the gods saw women.” … Thus “son of god” is explicable; it means “god.”...” (p. 100-101)
Obviously not really an easy subject to discuss, now is it? I suppose there is some point to insisting you've found the One True Way: it saves you the trouble of sorting through the multiple categories and thoughts of differing magicians, and trying to sort it all.
“Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...”
On page 187 of Volume One of the Geosophia, Mr. Stratton Kent cites Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft again with a ritual titled: “How to obtain the familiarity of the Genius or Good Angel, and cause him to appear.”
It is worth taking a look at given some of the comments made by various members of the Blogosphere, but I found his concluding remarks to be a bit more important, which I shall quote in brief:
“The concept here differs from that of Agrippa and some modern commentators – for example in taking the Good Angel and Genius as Celestial, rather than Supercelestial. In my opinion the Good Angel of the Gnostics is an astrological force, and indeed has a House specifically allocated to it in the astrology used by the Gnostics and Hellenistic Greeks generally. This is not to say I consider either source or interpretation to be right or wrong, merely that they are finite opinions, whereas the experience (of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel) is innate to us all as human beings, who are prone to interpretation things their own way either before or after the event.
In the past I've written that they HGA is everything we are not – that is, not the sum of our natal chart, but outside our archonic limitations, completing us by complementing every elemental of the natal chart with it's opposite...
There are massive imponderables involved here: for example – aside from personal preference – in reality it is impossible to distinguish results with Abramelin from results with Liber Samekh. We may be inclided to do so, merely because the interpretation or theology differs along with our personal preferences, but that is at the outset, later it becomes irrelevant. Our Angel will freeus from reliance on either Crowley or Abramelin.” (p. 189-190)
I had always thought that was the goal for most, and couldn't agree more.
It's best to end on a high note, I think, rather than continue this discussion into further tedium. The rituals that have survived? Some, if not most, work. Whether some guy on the internet says they work, or not. (For the record, the Magicians who worked the PGM didn't always seem to know what they were doing, either. See Betz.) Work them long enough – and something tends to happen, in the long run. But this means commitment until the omens, events, visions, burgeoning understanding – all commence.
Be seeing you,