Abramelin series of articles. Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick, 1994 and 1995
March 1994 - January 1995 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter
An Abramelin Ramble,
With Visits to Roadside Attractions Along the Way
And Sundry Personal Advice.
Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick
Converted to HTML by Daffyd ( email@example.com, http://www.crl.com/~daffyd/SongbladeNew4.htm)
History of the Work
Part II -- Books Alive continued.
Part III -- On the Road Again.
Part IV -- Picnic on Bald Mountain
Part V -- How to find & care for your Adonai.
Part VI -- Pedigrees & Egg Suckers. Onward.
Part VII -- Flatland, Revenge of the Squares.
Part VIII -- Son of Squares, the Sequel.
Part IX -- Whip Me Daddy, 4 to the Bar.
Part X -- Maps and travel games.
Part XI -- Junk behind the back seat.
A Scrap of Meditation Wedged Under the Seat
A class on "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage" was
requested by Thelema Lodge members and friends. At the time of presentation, there were
two or three editions of the book in print, including a Dover paperback. The book itself
is ostensibly derived from a 14th century source. There are several manuscripts of some
age. One or more of the inferior MSS is in the Bibliotecque d'Arsonal in Paris. There are
other manuscripts in London which were not mentioned by the so-called translator, Mr.
McGregor Mathers. He asserted that he translated it out of the old French edition in
Paris, but he was a frequenter of the place where the manuscripts were kept in London. One
of the London MSS is in English. Gershom Scholem mentions a translation into Hebrew. Our
favorite plagiarist of the last century, Mr. McGregor Mathers, put a little bit of a shine
on his work. He published a lot of magical books in the last century and co-founded the
Order of the Golden Dawn. Most of his books were sold as translations for fee, and
virtually all of them were copied out of English sources. We read pompous stories about
the difficulty of the translation in many of Mathers' books. Perhaps he should have
complained instead of "how bad the handwriting was." Mathers' notes to the names
of the spirits in the Abramelin Book were probably copied or adapted out of the Hebrew
manuscript in London. He only got half way through the notes on the spirits and then
probably got an advance from his publisher. The antecedents of the book are clouded for
that reason. There are false statements made about the source MS.
It does appear that "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage" is a 14th century work. The book is divided into three parts. There is a narrative part, probably fictitious: a story about where this Magick originated, why it is important, and why it was written down. There is a portion of the book with strange squares and notes about their significance written below them. The middle part of the book has a rather interesting description of how to go about learning to work Magick. The Abramelin approach is almost unique in that it's written to enable students to pick their own method. The 14th century context creates problems for modern readers. We don't have much stuff around here like they had then. To bring this book up to date, these questions need to be addressed: How can you apply these things? What are the limitations? Where can you find equivalent things? 14th century Europe was quite sparsely populated by modern standards. There were many cities and villages, but life then was very different from modern life. You could live outside the town. It would cost next to nothing to find a piece of land that was no good for farming. Maybe someone would offer you a place to stay. No one would bother you. You could set up a little house and be by yourself for an indefinite period. You wouldn't have to worry about hiring servants; they were inexpensive. Feed them, and that's pretty much it. All essential things could be taken care of without any complications: no tax forms, no television, no radio, no temptations. It takes too long to travel anywhere, so there would be few interruptions by visitors.
In the magical portion of the book, there are many strange diagrams and a lot of moral remarks along the lines of: "This is evil." "This is ambivalent." "This is dangerous." "This is safe." A person reading that would tend to think the notes are simple and understandable warnings. It's not that way. Cultures set definitions as to what is proper and improper in the general sense of Good and Evil. Just a few centuries ago, ordinary things that we now do would be considered capital offenses. It was even questionable to own a mirror. A mirror could be an instrument of Black Magic. It shows something that isn't really there. The reflection in the mirror is not right. There's nobody back there. It's an illusion, and illusion was considered evil magic. So, modern television is black magic. Movies are black magic. Make- up is black magic. A lot of the moral qualifiers in the Abramelin book are based on that sort of thinking. On the other hand, dealing with the Devil, by the Christian definition of such a thing, was not always thought to be black magic. It's perfectly natural. If a creature is evil, it must obey God. Holy people can control it, and they should. That's 14th century thinking. It was considered ordinary that certain religious practitioners, priests and the Pope, should have the power to command the Devil and make him do works. There are legends from that time held up as moral examples that suggest such practices (see "The Golden Legend"). Realize, when reading these older books, that quite a bit of explanation of terms and usage is needed. Some things that look terribly arcane and impossible to do are not that at all. What's virgin parchment? It's just unused paper. Paper in those days was mostly animal parchment, made of treated leather. Later centuries used a variety of vegetable fibers, and now we commonly use wood pulp. "Virgin parchment" simply meant that nobody had used it for something else and later erased it or scraped it. With virgin parchment there are no half visible remains of funny writing.
The story of the book makes an interesting bit of mythology, very like that of the
Rosicrucians in that the author claims to have learned the magical art in Arabia from a
wandering sage named Abra Melin. The Abramelin book is supposed to have been written by a
person named "Abraham the Jew". Nowadays we don't like to talk about people in
such an ethnic way, or perhaps don't notice it when we do. The intent in this book was to
say that the author was very special, perhaps because Abraham was the legendary precursor
and patriarch of all sorts of modern religions, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
I say "legendary" because there are odd stories about Abraham in the Old
Testament. Consider the story of the sacrifice of a ram in place of his son, Issac -- that
was how the god Marduk was worshiped, not Jehovah. Marduk required his worshippers to pass
a male child through the fire, usually the first born, or, in this instance, the first
born to a wife as contrasted to an earlier child of a concubine. Terah, Abraham's father,
is said to have come with Abram (Abraham) from the city of Ur of the Chaldees, a
Babylonian city state. Terah was simply a Babylonian who couldn't get along in Ur. He
wandered off in the wilderness with his family and continued doing whatever he used to do.
Maybe he had a falling out with the neighbors and their gods. Abraham's father left Ur and
ultimately settled in the land of Haran. He may have gotten down to just one god, because
it's impractical to travel with a bunch of them. Gods in those days weighed up to 40 or 50
pounds, for a good one. The small ones could break if bundled all together in a bag. They
were comforting to talk to and would keep you company, but it's nice to have some room for
food in your backpack. Abraham (Abram was his name at first) had his own time of
wandering, and any spare gods his father may have managed to keep were evidently too much
to carry. Perhaps Abram just inherited one idol from Terah with the others divided among
the family. Anyway, "Abraham" had only one god and his name was quite a good one
to drop, being the Great Patriarch and all. In case they missed the point, it was
"Abraham the Jew" -- That one! Heavy duty Abraham. Later on the book disclosed
that this wasn't old Abraham, but a modern one, a typical 14th century wandering Jewish
person. That's not to be confused with "The Wandering Jew", an entirely
different Christian story.
The Author begins by dedicating the book to his second son, Lamech, another biblical
name. He goes on to say that his first born son received his best inheritance, following a
simplified tradition based on the more complex story of the patriarch Abraham in the
Bible. That earlier Abraham had several boys. The sons of his concubines were to get
second best and Isaac, son of Sarah, the prime heritage. The best was usually supposed to
go to the eldest son of the chief wife. Our Abraham's oldest son got the Sacred Qabalah by
which the World may be made and unmade. All things may be changed, created, destroyed,
given mastery of the powers above the earth and below the earth. That's not just a vague
reference, but a part of Qabalah called M'asseh Merkabah, older than the Christian period
and possibly older than the Jewish ancestors.
Here's our first "road-side attraction". We will return to the main subject in later installments of this "Ramble." It will be useful to learn something about magical books and the Sacred Qabalah before we return to this particular magical book. Merkabah is not the familiar sort of thing usually discussed in books about Qabalah with numbers and all. M'asseh Merkabah is quite something in itself. There are evidences of it in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead". The same kind of stuff is in there, the same kind of rituals, same kind of descriptions. If there was a historical Moses or Mosha, M'asseh Merkabah may be what was brought over from Egypt through the wandering in the wilderness. According to the Qabalistic legend, there was first the Torah before the creation of the World, the Torah of the Void. It was not a written book. It was the Living Spirit. Christianity may have used this idea and called it "The Word" or "Logos", but it seems to have been a common conception among ancient people. In the stories of Qabalah, the Torah contained all that could be, would be, will be, was. All these things existed as thought exists in the mind. This is said to be the content of the mind of the creator, the primordial pattern, similar in some ways to the archetypes of Plato. "The Invisible Torah" is the term used in modern and Qabalah. This Invisible Torah contains the utterance that issued forth to create all things in the Universe. It was called a book, because it holds knowledge. If you can gain a bit of that knowledge, you have that much power. Moving around, thrashing about, howling in the wind or checking the motion of the planets and all such is unnecessary. It just takes knowledge, "no touch necessary". Take that idea, generalize it a little bit and modernize it. There's always a tendency to put down these stories as: "Oh yeah." "Back when." "Wonder what it would be like." "Isn't that marvelous," and other rationalizations to avoid serious consideration. The concept is perfectly valid and perfectly modern. What do you think science is? In this way of speaking, one can say that it is simply the attempt to recover the language of the Invisible Torah, the ways of thinking and knowing that can create and uncreate the world. A Hydrogen Bomb is the same thing that happens in the Sun, not something vaguely like that. It is the same thing. The only difference is size. The people who developed the Hydrogen bomb learned the word for "sun" in the Invisible Torah. They learned the word for the power of that. One of the scientists watching the first explosion of a nuclear weapon was minded to quote from the "Bhagavad Gita", and said; "Now I am come, the destroyer of worlds". These things are the true magical book. The language in which that book is written is not any one human tongue, but the pure language of thought. A principal purpose of magical training is to acquire facility in that language, the language that is spoken in appearance of things, in ideas and in what is truly seen, rather than in sounds and writings.
To continue the tradition forward, it was said that the Torah, the Invisible Torah, the archetype of all things that are, remained with the Creating Deity. Down into the world where the first human beings were made there was another thing, as it were an abstract, a shortened version. Qabalistic Tradition calls this "Sepher Ha-Adam", the Book of Man or the Book of Adam, the knowledge whereby any human being could learn to command all forces on earth and out as far as the moving stars, the planets. One thing that man could not do with this book, would be to command forces beyond the planets, from the fixed stars. That would not belong in the Book of Man, but in the book of the "Torah", the Book of the Word of Truth beyond this world. Some legends of "The Fall" suggest that improper mastery was attempted by man, and the Book of Adam was taken away in consequence. Legends in the "Talmud" and elements that became attached to Qabalah recount that in the course of time a man named Enoch or Hanoh walked the Earth. He's also mentioned in the Old Testament. It's said of Enoch that: "He walked with God and was no more." It's also said of Ezechial that: "He walked with God and was no more." It's never said that either one died. Much is made of this. According to the legend, when the primordial Man and Woman lost their great powers and were sent out into the world, they were given another book. This book conferred power over many of the things of this world, the things below the layer of cloud, and influence on the things that in the sky. It was not power, but influence only. This book was called "Sepher Raziel", which literally translated means: "The Book of the Secret of God." That brings us to actual written books on magic. There are many books, some going back almost to the Roman period but most from the last 1500 years, that are called "Sepher Ha- Raziel". When such books first appeared, Qabalah was called "Raz" or "Sod", both words meaning a mystical or holy secret. Such a book was said to have the powerful part of Qabalah. That part of Qabalah is called Ma'asseh Merkabah or "The Way of the Chariot" because of Ezechial and the flaming chariot. The direct, non mythical books of Ma'asseh Merkabah are called "Hekhaloth" literature, and often pre-date the Christian era.
There is also a story about Enoch, that he had a book called "Sepher Ha- Enoch". There are ancient surviving "Books of Enoch". This fellow Enoch really had a friend in a high place. He got to talking with God. Consider the Yeminite Jewish people; there are places in Israel where the Yeminites settled. An old man will sometimes go out in front of his tent, and just have a conversation with God in the morning. That's his morning prayer, not the standard Jewish prayers. He says; "Hello God, how are you?"; and he gets answers! There's a conversation going on. It looks an awful lot like the descriptions in the Bible, the Torah. Maybe Enoch was like that; but the story goes on to say that he was given a book. Remember that the word "book" in this context means "knowledge". This "book", reasonably enough, was called "Sepher Ha-Enoch", the Book of Enoch or the "Enochian Book". It was written in the language of the Angels and restored most of the powers that had been removed from the book of Raziel, to the level of the Book of Adam. Enoch was so powerful that he was like legend said of the first Man and Woman. He was not the size of a normal human being, but something like 12 feet tall. When he walked, the earth shook. Sometimes he could be seen, and sometimes he couldn't. When he became angry, his anger leveled a mountain, not by touch but by the anger alone. This is the background of magical books. It later became what we see now. There are books called "The Greater" and "Lesser Keys of Solomon." It's the same sort of tradition. Solomon was said to have power over the king of the demons. Obviously he had knowledge of this kind. Spell books that give power over demons are often called "Keys of Solomon", the keys whereby Solomon unlocked or controlled the powers of these great forces. In the "Arabian Nights", there are genies, Jinn and Marids. These are strange spirits who either do or do not believe in Allah. They all have terrible powers. Those are just the words used in Arabic to refer to these kinds of spirits. Realize that Hebrew and Arabic are similar languages; when we say Solomon son of David, Hebrew sources say Solmon ben David and Arabic sources say Suliman bin Daoud. In the "Arabian Nights", everywhere you go there are Genies popping up and wondering if Suliman bin Daoud is still around. The last time, he jammed them in a bottle! The Book of Solomon, the "Key of Solomon", the tradition of the magic of the "Arabian Nights", are all from the same stories. Many of these magical books derive from the influence of the Islamic culture in Europe. Islamic occupation of Western European land didn't end until 1492 e.v., the same year Columbus made famous. That was the year of the fall of Grenoble, the last Moorish center of learning and outpost in Western Europe, 100 years after the Abramelin book was allegedly written.
There are two principle works in common circulation called the "Key of
Solomon". One is called "The Greater Key of Solomon", and the other is
called "The Lesser Key of Solomon" or "Lemegeton". The "Greater
Key of Solomon" gives detailed instructions on how to make things: magical circles,
implements, clothing, right times to do things during the week; all that sort of thing. It
has a few interesting rituals in it. It also has a lot of rather nice Talismans, most of
them derived from traditions common in the middle ages. A few are older, like the SATOR
AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS square that's on the cover of some editions. That square was
actually found etched in the wall of a public lavatory in Pompeii. It's just pure luck
that archaeologists happened to dig up a public john in Pompeii where somebody had long
ago decided to offend everybody by drawing a sacred thing on the wall -- the equivalent of
a telephone number under a scurrilous remark. The earliest depiction thought to represent
Jesus Christ is also on a bathroom wall in Pompeii, a crucified jackass. It probably isn't
Jesus Christ but Mithras and might even be related to Venus, who was associated with
making asses of people. There is a marvelous book by Lucius: "The Golden Ass",
called that because it's got an ass in it and good books should be thought of as golden.
That book describes the mysteries of the goddess Venus. Returning to the Solomonic Keys,
or Clavicals as they are sometimes called; they have turned up in very odd places. Ben
Johnson was an Elizabethan playwright. He wrote the first musical, the "Beggars
Opera", and was a contemporary of Shakespeare. There exists in the British Museum a
copy of the "Greater Key of Solomon" with Johnson's signature on it. Jacques
Casanova was another student of magical books. There's a movie about Casanova, but it's
marred. They cast a white man in the role while Casanova was black. He was imprisoned by
the Council of Ten in Venice, under the roof of the Doge's palace, and the record of his
imprisonment survives. The charge on which Casanova was imprisoned was possession of these
magical books. Casanova's memoirs detail workings with Solomonic evocations, alchemy,
numerology, the transfer of souls from one living person to another and work with his own
Holy Guardian Angel. Some years ago somebody finally came out with a facsimile full
version of the "Lemegeton" or "Lesser Key of Solomon", but usually you
only find a little part of it, one chapter call the "Goetia". It was supposed to
be everything the "Greater Key of Solomon" wasn't. "The Greater Key of
Solomon" is a nice handbook, more classical with less Christian influence. The
"Lesser Key" or "Lemegeton" is a collection of damn near everything,
including a lot of corruptions and poor quality late material. The "Goetia" just
deals with the 5 degree divisions of the Zodiac into 72 parts, and only the evil or
destructive aspect of that. Consider Astaroth in the "Goetia", a terrible demon,
one of those imprisoned in the brass bottle by Solomon. There is a design for a ring to be
worn to protect yourself from his evil breath. Actually, "Astaroth" is one of
the Near Eastern words for "goddesses", in particular, goddesses of beauty.
Another cognate name is "Astarte". "Ishtar" and "Isis" are
dialectical variations on the same name, "Asha". These things degenerate after
illiterate copying and ignorant addition of sectarian opinion. Such books don't help much.
They give general instructions along the lines of, "Ok, now do this"; but they
don't explain in detail. It's rare to get instruction like: "If you can't find
parchment, skin a sheep, get a big crock, fill it full of lime, thrown in some water,
throw in the sheep skin, fish it out of there after a while when it stops stinking and
bubbling, dry it out, pound on it a while, put it back in ..." The Abramelin book
starts with the assumption that you know nothing. It explains how to use any popular
method to attain the goal of learning magick. That is the main value of the Abramelin
book, but also where it has problems. All the helpful suggestions are for the 14th
century. They've stopped making a lot of that stuff.
In the 19th century, Mathers published "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin
the Mage". An illustration by Mona Mathers decorates the title page of the first
edition. The Mathers had what was called a "chaste marriage." Avoiding sex
apparently kept them busy with small projects into the later hours of the night. On one
evening, Mona did a sketch for hubbie's book. They got up in the morning and took a look
at the sketch. The figure of Abra Melin was shown, bearded and with his initials in Hebrew
on his chest. A spirit held a little box out to him. That little box wasn't in the drawing
when they went to bed, but it was there when they got up. At that point, the Mathers
realized that they had something, although they might have done better to consider that
they were holding out on each other too much.
The Abramelin book was considered by Aleister Crowley to represent the proper approach
to learning Magick. According to the book, the work is "to seek the Knowledge and
Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel". The instruction goes more or less like this
... Do you want to learn this stuff? First a word of discouragement, its not easy. 1,000
people try; maybe one succeeds. Here is the rule. Get yourself a place to be private for
maybe six months or more. Six months is the minimum, not necessarily the best time, not
necessarily the proper time. Begin it at the time of quickening in the year, Passover or
Easter. Remember, you've got to go six months, and it's nice to have decent weather.
Spring is traditionally the time of all beginnings in many religions, the season when the
life of the Earth renews. It's the true New Year, whether it's called March, April, the
beginning of Aries, or the first appearance of growth in the fields. Passover represents
the passing over of the angel of death during the ten plagues in Egypt, but most cultures
celebrate a time of escaping the dead time of the year. The angel of death passes by in
one night. Night could be Winter. When the angel of death went by at the eleventh hour of
the night, that could simply be a reference to the darkest time of the year when there is
no food, just great cold and privation. People die then for no good reason, as though the
hand of the angel of death touched them. Just after that is the time to begin a magical
working. There are other times fixed by particular theories; but, for a good start,
consider Easter, Passover, some time in March, April or thereabouts.
It's better not to change, if the worker can cope with his or her original Religion. For those who can't stay with their childhood faith, something else will have to be used that suits them better. Modern ideas of religion are different from those in the 14th century. Long ago, intellectual acts were religion. Anything that didn't involve working with the hands was prayer, or something very like it. To read a book, to study a mental discipline, meant to pray. This categorization is still common in the orient. Discipline is always part of religious practice, mental and otherwise. In modern times, the study of mathematics might be considered a sort of religion. Some mathematicians do relate it to their religion as an effort to view the perfection of the greater universe. Music can be the form of religious expression. Art and many other creative expressions are essentially religious. When a book is involved there's usually a narrower expression of religion, perhaps more mystical, formulary, or theoretical: a "read it in The Book and say these prayers" kind of religion. Whatever it is, the one you have is the one you use. That's it, no matter what it is. The actual type of religion doesn't matter. Neither does the background or experience. This is a way to do things, to proceed with learning the Sacred Magick. Such flexibility is partly why Crowley was so turned on to the book. Here's an author who wasn't caught in a cultural trap, writing a basic outline. If you take the six months, you will probably fail. He says that up front. He doesn't say why. One reason for failure in six to nine months is simple lack of enough time to do it. Western culture is usually superficial, confusing, and lost in small detail. There is not much tendency to get very deeply into things. In this culture, accomplishing the work of the Sacred Magick in six to nine months is not very likely. To the extent that one is distracted, it's harder and should take longer.
Six months, a year, maybe even ten years, might not be enough time. A magical
retirement isn't just a time without distraction. After this kind of retreat, a person has
to be permanently changed, not merely relaxed. To proceed with such a course, it's
necessary to have something to do. The book explains how to use anything, but it doesn't
supply that thing. The subject study should have an elaborate structure, but it's
important to choose a study that isn't tied up with too many knots of worldly concern. In
the middle ages religion was a good thing to choose because religion talked about a world
so far removed from the physical that nobody had any real problems with the place.
Nowadays, we have many immediate interests quite beyond the imagination of most intensely
religious people in the middle ages. We don't have as clear a division between the sacred
and the profane as people did in ancient times. We must find something that hasn't been
poisoned by being too involved with mundane existence, something that seems isolated from
the world of day to day matters. Mathematics is very good for that, as long as it isn't
accounting, surveying or engineering. Pure mathematics, without application, may be quite
adequate. Certain special areas of math may be better, including group theory, set theory,
anything to manipulate and combine ideas. What's needed is something with structure, and
it has to be a structure that doesn't get depressing. This discipline might be
challenging, even difficult; but it shouldn't be something that makes one say, "Oh
God, I hate this!" Many people feel that way about arithmetic. Arithmetic isn't
serious mathematics. Arithmetic is the feces of mathematics. If you hate arithmetic, you
needn't worry. You can still go on to higher math concepts unfettered by grammar school
Prepare for an extended time without unnecessary complications. Avoid distractions.
Grocery shopping and similar tasks should be minimized or done quickly and efficiently.
The worst distractions are conversations that involve the lives of other people. The
object is to change yourself. Personal conversations tend to keep us unchanged, that's
what they are for, among other things. When friends or acquaintances talk and share
aspects of their life with one another, most of the conversation isn't about a problem and
interests. Most of that sort of communion is for keeping each other on the same mental and
emotional plane, smoozing a friendship, keeping mutual influence and interdependence
going. It's the stuff that monkeys do to remain a monkey crew, primate instinctual
behavior. Wolves and dogs bite each other on the nose or smell the other end. Monkeys
giber a lot and scratch each other. People shake hands and giber a lot. It's the same
principle. This behavior interferes with changing. It keeps people the same; safe,
predictable and reliable to others in the social group -- insuring safety of the
community. In some cultures, instead of "I understand you" people say "I
see you". Talking with a person makes a mental image of that person. All the people
around you automatically try to either change you to their way or keep you the same.
That's part of being human. It's one of the reasons we gather together and form cities.
It's how our families exist. If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't be here, even in the most
simple way. Without this ability to keep one another locked into a pattern, people
wouldn't be able to raise children. Our children take years to get self sufficient. Most
animals can put up with the little creep for six months to a year and then its gone, get
out of here, you smell bad! With us, the rug rat has to grow into something independent
over a couple of decades. It is necessary to separate yourself from most human contact to
effect change. There are families where "he beats her up" or "she beats him
up", and nobody can figure out why the family doesn't break up. They just keep
patterning themselves into the same mold.
Before taking the next point, here's a particular problem. It sometimes occurs that a
couple, man and wife or less formally joined, will compact to do the Abramelin work.
Perhaps one will offer to take care of mundane affairs while the other takes the magical
retirement. After that is accomplished, they will change places and the other will do it.
This rarely works. If the odds are 1,000 to one against for a person attaining this, the
odds against two particular people succeeding are 1,000,000 to one against! Remember that
many aspects of the personality will change if the retirement is successful. Other factors
may arise which could be very disruptive to a marriage or partnership. A magical
retirement of this magnitude, especially if forced into a short time like six months, is
very risky for marriages. It's better to consider this effort either before settling down
or after raising a family, like the Hindu rule to become a Sadhu. It isn't impossible to
accomplish the Abramelin work while married, but it requires either an arranged marriage
of convenience like the sort common in the middle ages or considerable maturity in both
parties to the marriage.
The environment is next. A different place is needed for the work. If it's done at
home, a part of the home must be dedicated to this purpose. A room should be set apart. In
some ethnic traditions, some religions, people who can afford it have rooms just for
meditation, just for prayer like a little chapel. If that's not practical, a desk, a
corner, even a closet can be used. To do it cheaply, run a drapery around a room to close
off everything. Draw the drapes in front of the book cases, doors, windows and side
furniture. That will change the room into a little world. The idea is to set up something
different. It doesn't much matter what. If there are a lot of things in the meditation
place, they should not distract or interfere. They shouldn't be things that have memories
attached to them. Nothing there should evoke memories of relatives, friends, childhood,
what grandpa was like, the taxes, or the ever dwindling supply of toilet paper. Even
incidental shapes that evoke such thoughts should be removed. All that's really needed is
an untrammeled field of view. One piece of cloth hanging down can do it, if it's possible
to get close enough so that nothing else can be seen. The Abramelin book assumes that the
student will find a place in the wilderness and that somebody will look after ordinary
needs without talking or otherwise distracting. Variations, like Crowley's "China
Walk", can also work if the circumstances are culturally isolating and there is lots
of time for reflection. The book makes much about minimizing all human contact but makes
exception for servants. In the 14th century, common chores were pretty demanding. Such
common chores are not distraction in themselves, but only because we remember doing them
with our parents. Daily chores are family stuff. All of those things have memories and
emotional reflexes associated with them. It is difficult to do ordinary chores without
distraction from the goal of the magical retirement. The same language that keeps you the
same kind of person extends into the things you learned as you were growing up. If you are
in a place like that where you grew up, you will think like you did then. It's so
insidious that if you get drunk on something that you haven't gotten drunk on in ten
years, you will think the way you did ten years ago. This is part of being human. It's
helpful in the work to avoid these kinds of things.
The next step is self-discipline. The book says to start easy and get progressively more severe. Cut back the ordinary things. Don't talk to people, or keep it simple if it can't be avoided. The first third of this time of retirement may involve minor efforts. Don't worry about doing it right. The Abramelin book gives some instructions which may or may not make sense nowadays, including how to purify the place of retirement. Those are mostly pretty good instructions. They are not too hard to follow. Orisons or prayers are required. Orison is speech to the deity. A prayer is often a memorized orison. Rituals are another form of prayer. Do this for a while to work up a consistent practice. Then comes the middle part. Do more, increase it, add more things of that kind. In the third and final portion, go at it as hard as possible. Get as crazy as a monk with six life-times of novinas to get through in a week. Go full blast. At that time the details of the procedure work themselves out. In time you will achieve the experience called "The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel". Other ways of saying it include; "contact with the Higher Self", "attaining a Master". Socrates would have said: "discovering the Daemon". It's said that Pythagoras had such a personal spirit. One day he went to a seer whose job it was to tell people what their soul or spirit was like. The seer looked at Pythagoras, went dead pale and freaked. He didn't see a spirit. He saw a god. This is the tradition: There is something that is part of you and yet not part of you. Some of you dies, some of you doesn't. We have nice simple ways of passing that off in this day and age. Most of these plastic, ready- to-go religions come out with: "O that's your immortal soul!" "It can burn in hell or live happily in heaven." "Don't forget to donate" (Don't let me jinx passing the hat. Your donation is welcome at all O.T.O. events.).
A daemon is an intelligence that doesn't require a body, but finds one convenient
sometimes. There's a lot of ignorance about these friendly creatures. Most popular
religious stuff has been canned for years and has gone bad on the shelf. It's lost all its
flavor and nutrition. People who are physically hungry will do anything, and you can bribe
them to forget their religion for awhile, because it isn't doing them any good. Which is
more like "demon worship": selling out your god for a sandwich or being
different because you have a real thing going? Most other religions haven't gone through
the mercantile sea-change that happened with Christianity. It used to be a nice little
Jewish religion. It was kind of heretical; but nobody was interested in it other than
Jewish heretics, so who cared outside Palestine? After the Diaspora it got commercialized
into a brand-X -- just like frozen food or bottled gefilte fish. Some preserved foods are
advertised with pride in the fact that they are bland. That goes right on the label.
Sadly, most Christianity is that way too. People can't thrive on such stuff unless they
put something more into it.
Standard Christianity uses the guardian angel to explain how a kid lives through childhood. God knows that little kids are likely to totally destruct any minute, so each of us is born with a nice little guardian angel. It's sometimes depicted on nicknacks, e.g. a little switch cover with a picture molded on it for the child's bed room. Click on the switch and it's belly- button lights up. That's tasteless, but cute. Cute can really get out of hand if it proliferates. Such a guardian angel guides and protects in childhood. It leaves at the age of reason.
Sometimes the guardian angel is identified with the idea a conscience. Freud calls it the "super-ego". This is the part that says: "Mmm..., are you sure you want to do that? You could get caught." or "That's stupid!" There's this little thing inside that keeps telling you things that restrain you. That's about as far as most people get with the idea of "conscience".
The more educated Christians realize that such ideas aren't adequate. A conscience doesn't have to "just say No." The guardian angel doesn't have to limit itself to watching during the age of chronic danger of self-destruction. It may be a part of you. It may be somebody who is in some way related to you; alive once, but not of this world any more. Nearly all religions are based on dead people, so that possibility should be no surprise. It may be a spirit that is a part of you in another world. Perhaps there really are angels, and the things Greeks called Daemons really exist. The Greeks and Romans believed that a Daemon attaches to each of us as we come into the world. It's like a marriage or like twins, a physical twin and a spiritual twin. All kinds of theories abound.
Find something inside that you can listen to without fretting over having enough toilet
paper, whether the flashlight is about to run out of batteries, or whether you paid that
bill. Perhaps it's nothing more than a part of you that is just a little bit out of it
when it comes to the Earthly plane but is very together otherwise. Whatever you want to
call this thing, it isn't a concept that is met with very often in popular Christianity.
It's been pretty well buried. You can think of it as a soul, but you might need some help
with that idea.
Modern Christianity in the last few hundred years, certainly no more than the last thousand years, has come up with very unwholesome ideas. The Devil is only one of them. Another of these ideas is the doctrine that you've only got one soul. What nonsense! What absolute foolishness! Have you only one arm? Some people do, but most have two. Have you a pair of eyes? Yes. You got only one eye? Not if you are lucky. Why would you have only one soul?
In certain of the older cultures, medical practice assumes that there are various intelligent little souls or chakras living in different parts of the body. A lot of healing simply consists of communication with these various parts. Meditate or use massage to wake them up and say; "Really, do you want to leave us this way? This part is your job. You live there. Fix it." That sort of thing works, and it's not at all difficult once you get over the simplification problem.
In Qabalah there is a series of souls. There's even a soul for the physical body that IS the physical body. Wonder of wonders, it's called the "Goof" -- whence we derive our word "goofy". Then there is the Nephesh, which is what keeps the Goof running. That's in animals too. A Nephesh sometimes lingers after death. When the body drops, this soul tries to look for another one. That's the ghost. It's not particularly intelligent. It's just able to hold the pattern it had. A wandering Nephesh will generally look like the can it was in. Electrical, who knows? It may have an explanation, and it may not. It's there. It doesn't seem to require an explanation to exist. Beyond the Nephesh is the human identity, something called the Ruach, the intelligent or human soul. This is the "somebody in there."
Look at people. Maybe they are just not into looking back, but quite a lot of people appear to be like what Castenada and Don Juan would call elementals. There may be something in there, but there sure isn't anything looking out. Other people seem to be home, as it were. That's the Ruach. It's seen in people's eyes.
The Holy Guardian Angel is deeper. In Qabalah, it's called the Neshamah. It's the first immortal part of the soul, or the first immortal soul. Calling these entities parts or souls doesn't matter. If you insist on having just one soul, call them parts. If you don't have a problem with that, call them souls. The Egyptians had a group of terms for them. The Neshamah is the first immortal part of you. Your body will rot, smell bad and become a mess some day -- unless you are weird enough to have it stuffed. Neshamah is not like that.
Nephesh, the animal principal, is corruptible. The Nephesh is the memory people have of you as though you were in the room. It's the thing that makes friends think your ghost is present when they feel some intangible thing and suddenly see it as you. When a friend dies, a week or a year later, you may see that friend walking down the street. You hurry to catch up, because you don't understand what is going on. Suddenly, it's somebody who doesn't look at all like that person. For a moment it did. That's the ghost. Shade is another word just as good. The Nephesh eventually will die. When the last person who sees you in things or remembers you in mind passes away, when the last person who has heard stories about you goes, your Nephesh dies. There are ways to keep it alive independently for a time. Some theories of Magick describe how to make a house for the soul or help it live in a tree. That can be done, but many people doubt whether those things work in themselves or only because the person who performed the appropriate ritual made a conscious effort to keep this spirit around.
If you write a book or leave a journal, it's possible to call your Nephesh back from
the dead. A sympathetic person may read your literary effects. It's not enough to imagine
seeing a person or to imagine what they are like. That won't bring back the Nephesh. The
person must be seen as though physically present. It's quite a spooky thing to start
thinking someone's thoughts and later see that person. Another way to approach this idea:
to understand what life was like 300 years ago in some other part of the world, reading a
book or visiting a place isn't enough. It's necessary to hallucinate what it would have
smelled like. The impressions must be more real than imagined. It's one thing to read a
book and imagine the life of some famous person. It's quite another matter to read the
same book and begin to think like that person.
The Ruach survives well in books, buildings and works of art. That's the next soul after the Nephesh. If you don't smell the animal soul, you can still get ideas from the intellectual soul. Things that a deceased person left behind still function in the world as products of the personality. The Nephesh and the Ruach can be kept alive, but they will pass away if not deliberately kept alive. They depend on physical things or people still living. The Neshamah doesn't. The Neshamah is immortal by itself. It always existed. It always will exist. In a sense it is divine. That's where the idea of a Holy Guardian Angel comes in.
Consider the concept of reincarnation: you're born and born and born again until
finally you get it together with your Neshamah; finally the part of your that's immortal
unites with the part of you that's mortal. After that occurs, you don't have to be born
again. Ultimately freedom from the wheel of incarnation is attained. In one-chance-only
types of religion, there's less to talk about and the single incarnation is thought to
pass more quickly. The same idea is there. You must unite with the immortal part of
yourself or you will go to Hell and cease to have the quality of immortality, at least in
a desirable way.
Qabalah is a big subject, lots of tradition going back more than a couple of thousand years. Some of the theories disagree with other theories, so don't think there's just one. When one theory makes perfect sense, something else about it will make perfect nonsense. In Qabalah there is a particularly chauvinistic tradition that says that all souls begin as the souls of men (I wouldn't sell this to anybody, but it is a historical view). If you don't have a son while you are alive as a man, you will be born next as a woman. If you don't have a son as a woman, you will be born next as an animal. After that, it's true death! Don't get caught and think something like that is the only theory there is. Another theory from Qabalah, quite different, is that souls come from roots. There is a root soul, usually identified with a famous person in the Old Testament, or one of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from one person. Just as bodies descend from ancestors, so souls descend from other ancestors. Your soul is from that other person. You are not that other person born again. It's just that the Neshamah is the same. Neshamah, in a higher sense, is said to have three parts. In its higher parts, especially in the highest part called the Yehidah, it is the same for everybody. The Chiah, or second part, can be shared by many. The lower form of the Neshamah is just your own part, and is simply called your "Neshamah". That's your part of the root of the full Neshamah soul. That lower Neshamah joins with the Chiah of many and all such "roots" unite in the divine tree of the Yehidah. Chiah means "life". If there were just as many souls as living things, that would present quite a confusing situation. But, the individual Neshamah, the lower part of the three-fold Neshamah, is divided out of the Chiah. It's immortal in the sense that it's characteristics will never be lost, but it's not quite as immortal as the Chiah. The number of the manifestations of the Chiah does not change, no matter how many living creatures exist. There are crops of these things seasonally. When bug spray happens a lot of the really cheap ones "go home".
There's something going on involving souls or parts of the soul. That's what this whole operation is about.
The key to working the Abramelin system is to isolate yourself so that you can change
yourself, so that you are not kept unchanged by the pressure of social interaction. Once
isolated, proceed with the discipline and increase it gradually. Depending on the success
that you have with these things, it will take more or less time. There is no upper limit
to the amount of time. The beginning of this process must be very tight. It commences with
light discipline, neither complex nor onerous; but what little there is must be rigidly
maintained. That's quite important and not well emphasized in the book. The Abramelin book
lays out a simple instruction. Since most of us would have to go at the task in a more
round-about way, there is a problem. Once you have attained the Knowledge and the
Conversation, once the "voice" that's has always been there for you suddenly
becomes something realized and recognized, then you have begun in earnest. This is not
something you get. This is something to which you awaken yourself. In many cultures a big
thing is made of attracting a spirit of this kind. In the rite of Confirmation used by
some forms of Christianity, a saint's spirit is attracted to the person to be confirmed.
The newly confirmed Christian is given the name of that saint. Other cultures say that a
god is attracted. A Christian saint is a god. It's amazing what people do with words,
isn't it? Words and cultural taboos about words can distract. It's all the same sort of
approach. The Guardian Angel, or Neshamah as it's called in Qabalah, is part of you. This
whole process is a waking up to the fact that you've always had such a thing. There has
always been the voice that advises, the voice to which you have been too frightened or too
busy to listen. It's always there. It will always be there. This communication needs
tuning. The voice doesn't know how to talk to you. You don't know how to listen to it.
You've got to fix that. You will have to isolate yourself and regularize your thinking.
You can make it easier for the spirit to adapt to you. You need to adjust yourself so that
you are not distracted. Then you may hear the spirit that is part of you or attached to
you, whatever you want to call it.
Be careful. The spirit appears unsophisticated when it comes to mundane things. The
Holy Guardian Angel doesn't come from here. It does not speak worldly language very
clearly. You may find that this spirit acts hastily. It discovers ways that it can get
your attention, like having your car rear- ended or causing an arm to be detached. You
need to inform the spirit that such methods are not desirable. In many ways this
relationship begins like a new friendship between children. Children are pure, beautiful
and deadly. They don't know when to quit or what they mustn't do. They haven't been here
long enough to find out. You have to occasionally say to children; "Stop that!"
Try not to dislocate an arm or fracture an emotion when you assist their understanding.
It's the same with the Guardian Angel. This is a part of you that you have shut off from
the day-to-day world. It doesn't know how things go here. If you tell it, it'll catch on
real quick. If you say: "No, I don't need to learn by catching the Hong Kong flu
every second week. I realize that this makes me real quiet so that I can listen to you;
but this does not really serve the purpose that you seek. Let's try to work out something
better." A person can get the impression that this is some horribly dangerous thing.
It is possible, by prejudicing yourself, to get that effect. If you think you are trying
to conjure up the very Devil, whatever the Hell that is, your Holy Guardian Angel is going
to think: "Well, I guess that's what he wants me to do." Maintain a positive
outlook in these proceedings. You are training yourself as well as your spirit. This
spirit will never do anything to harm you, if you tell it what doesn't work. If you ask it
to protect you, it will. In the process of asking, you open yourself up and the parts of
you that have been separated are able to work together. There is a passivity in that form
of request. If it is made without reservation, the mind communicates what is needed. If
you demand and compel, or say: "Give me this!". You will get what you ask, not
what you need. The fine print won't be right if you don't open up enough to provide
detail. In working by traditional methods with demons (horrible imaginary things with
terrible teeth and bad breath) you need all kinds of protection. If you relax that
protection for a moment, you have big problems. Those problems come from working with some
part of yourself that doesn't hook up very well. That's what most of these negative demons
are. They are parts of you, parts of the culture, and things in the world that don't get
along very well. Demons (not the classical Daemons), terrible monsters or whatever you
find in these old books, are of that nature. They represent sickness. They represent
mental disorder. They represent pain, suffering, fear, all those negative emotions. That's
why they are called devils. Work with them very, very carefully. It's sometimes convenient
to go through an elaborate change of things, a magical circle, rituals performed just for
this sort of purpose, special tools and so forth. When you cease doing such an evocation,
you do not want to have anything around that can bring the accompanying thoughts back
again. Don't go to the Holy Guardian Angel as though it were that kind of thing. You will
have enough trouble with this klutz. The gods have big feet and know not where they step.
They don't notice things until after they have stepped on them and say: "Ulp, did I
un-create something? Oh', I'm sorry. What were you?" Don't get into that kind of
thing. Housebrake the Holy Guardian Angel, so that it no longer messes up your mundane
life to get your attention. If you get too eager, you may loose connection a little bit.
You can't get everything: "I want lots of money!". "Money? I don't know
money. We don't have that here." You have to use something that's within you, and you
have got to open up to communicate it.
Once you have this much worked out, you've got the knowledge. You've got the
conversation; you've worked out a way to get along. Now it's time to take a better look at
the problems. What are they? They are the needs that made you do this cockamamy thing in
the first place. Maybe there's somebody that's beating you up all the time. Maybe your
family is in trouble with back-taxes. Maybe you would like to learn something or improve
your love life. Whatever it is, those aren't things that are proper to the Holy Guardian
Angel. The Whole Thing is proper to the H.G.A. Details are work for secondary spirits. You
can say that they are part of you too, or you can deal with them as separate things. That
doesn't matter. Once you have something going that you can trust, the Holy Guardian Angel,
you can command any needful spirit. The tradition is to go after the worst ones first: the
Kings of the Four Quarters, the terrible things that bring death and destruction in the
world in the form of storms and all the ills that can come from the four quarters of the
earth. If you read the old books closely, you will find that the four demon kings of the
elements usually relate to the four directions. Some of their names are old terms from
maps, referring to north, south, east or west. These things are the next to master. You
use the connection that you have developed with your Holy Guardian Angel to compel the
great terrors of the world to heel. After that you don't want to deal with them much any
more. Once you have conquered the terrors of the world, you ask them to send more mild
spirits. Something like the damagers of the world, not the terrors, please. These are
lesser spirits. You master them and go on down the line. The Abramelin book says you can
ultimately get four servants. These aren't particularly nasty, but they are in the chain
of command. You have established that chain of command. They can go and fetch bigger
things as needed. These are four elemental servants that will attend you.
These things are abstractions. The higher up the line you get, the more abstract they
are. The further down the line you get, the more they are like a busted foot, one of the
least abstract things you're likely to find short of a stomach ache. An archangel is the
next thing to a god. An archangel commands great things. Detroit might have an angel. A
family might have a spirit. A nation might have an archangel. In that way, an archangel is
a spirit common to all the people in a nation. An angel corresponds to a smaller class,
like a few people, an extended family, village or city. For an immediate family,
especially in the sense of the way things are done and believed in such a family, there is
a spirit of that family. What's the spirit of the family? "Gens" is used in
anthropology to refer to a group of related people. It is also a word meaning a daemon.
"Genius" is a word for a person who's intelligence influences large numbers of
people. "Genius" is also a word meaning a particular and personal
"Spirit" or "Daemon", in the sense of the guiding intelligence inside
a person. The higher up we go, from spirit to angel to archangel, the more powerful they
are. It's like the idea of soul as root and tree. A tree divides near the trunk; that's
solid, the archangel. When it divides again into smaller parts that correspond to angels.
The rootlets and foliage of a tree are groups of spirits. Beyond that, there are tiny
little things in the ground that don't look like much of anything, places where roots
died, demons. Fallen leaves are the same. Disease is part of life. It's the most tangible
part because it's the hardest to overlook. Ultimately, you want to go out from your
center, the Holy Guardian Angel. Find the great divisions of pain in your life, and master
them. This is described in a way that seems an allegory or myth, but actually is not.
People are conditioned to view this approach in that way. There's no reason on earth why
you can't personify things. Maybe they have "Person". Animals don't have souls;
or do they? If you have a pet, you may find otherwise.
It's possible to make a mistake and pick the wrong spirit, instead of the Holy Guardian Angel. The H.G.A. is something that you can release yourself to completely and still end up being the same individual you were in the beginning. People tend to get a little weird doing a magical retirement, so it's a good idea to keep a diary. With a diary, you can read old entries and figure out how you got to where you are now. If necessary, you can go back again. My favorite test is to take a break once in a while and go into a Safeway or something like that. If you can stand it, you're still sane. That's the definition of sanity in this culture, able to take care of the minimum. Being able to endure a supermarket long enough to harmlessly obtain food is pretty minimal. There is a thing called a lemure or Larva. You can attract a hungry spirit, usually a wandering Nephesh, something that is dependent on somebody else to stay around. You're "it"; you've volunteered as life-support. Such a spirit is willing to pretend to be anything in order to keep on sucking. That's not the H.G.A. That's just a trap that people fall into, because they have been told that's all there is. The majority of those cases are what the Romans would call lemures or larvae, the Tibetans hungry ghosts, and the Hassids Dibukim. Such spirits need attention to live. It is just like a failed relationship with a mate. If that other person is dependent on you for shelter and food or for some important but less tangible thing, they'll do anything up to the limits of their nature to keep you the way you are. If you want them to be something, they will turn into it. If you are angry, you will tend to evoke greater anger from them, resulting in passive reaction on your part. The partner in such a dysfunctional relationship may realize: "if this guy gets out of hand, all I have to do is yell at him. All I have to do is hit 'em once and 'es just as quiet as anything." People will usually do the things that get them what they want. Not every one, sometimes people are remarkably stuck in one track. These are lesser spirits, whatever you want to call them, hungry ghosts, vampires... that's what the word "vampire" really meant. It was a member of the family who hung around after he died, as long as you gave him useful things to do that weren't too difficult. Vampires aren't always considered to be monsters who make life terrible for you; they can be good to have around. They chase off peddlers, robbers, whatnot. When a stranger comes to the house, the vampire will feel very protective of the family. A "vampire" will pick up on it if a person doesn't like them: "O'h, 'don't like' means I get attention!" Then they will proceed to do more irritating things to that person. Keeping peace with the spirits of the ancestors is very important in cultures around the world. The Romans called the friendly ancestral spirits Lares and the pesky ones Larvae. You want Great Grand Mother's ghost to bark at strangers, not at reasonably behaved family members. This kind of thing isn't the Holy Guardian Angel. This kind of thing is what happens when something eats off of you. A certain amount of this is harmless, but you want to make sure that you are in charge. In some states of mind people leak like a sieve. A lot of life is being generated, not being used by the person generating it, and it's there for the taking. Something comes and says: "This is lunch. How do we make this a 24 hour diner? Very simple. Every time this person thinks; 'O'h God if I haven't ...!', he turns loose all this energy. So, let's see: 'Hay! God I haven't!' or 'Why did I do that!' -- that's a new one. That tastes better. 'Your such a bummer' -- works too. Hot damn! 'You hate hating yourself, don't you!' More food!". If you ever get really depressed, between sobs, wrenches and tremors, pick up on what you are saying to yourself. Maybe it isn't you talking. Maybe it's some astral clown saying: "Watch him go!" This kind of thing is often marked by painful ideas that relay back inwardly to create more painful ideas. In order to get rid of a depression feedback loop, you've got to realize that this isn't you. The destructive voice is not really rational. Jokes and humorous self-observations, the more tasteless and jolting the better, will break this sort of cycle. If you get that kind of thing going, realize it isn't the Holy Guardian Angel. That is a wrong turn. Go back and try again. That is a demon, and that is one of the things that the Holy Guardian Angel is supposed to help you with. It's probably a very stupid demon, who is only good at picking up on things to say.
If you keep getting the same thing over again and over again, you haven't got the Holy
Guardian Angel. You may have something useful, or you may not. One mark of the Holy
Guardian Angel is that it leads to life. It enhances; it adds variety; you get high. If
you feel lousy, including hangover after too much fun, it's not the right thing. You have
heard of war? All the miseries in the world are some such thing as this. As far as finding
money is concerned, if you can catch one that really can be convinced that's the only way
you will feed it, then it'll go out and find money. Most of them, dumb as they are, aren't
that dumb. Most of them realize that if you think that you have money or you think that
you can get money, then you'll feed them. They don't need to do more, and they won't. It's
very simple to think of these other things as parasites. As long as you provide attention,
they will feed. There are certain types that take pieces out of you when they eat, but
that's not because anything that they devour of your attention is lost. You don't really
give anything when you feed these spirits. What you lose is what they do to you to get you
into a feeding trough, what they have to do to you to make you give them attention. The
Holy Guardian Angel is somewhat like this in a superficial way; but it will listen to your
complaints and try something else. These destructive spirits don't have that capability.
The way it was put to me by my own father, if you find a dog that sucks eggs, you better
shoot it. There's no way you are going to stop that dog from breaking into your hen house
and sucking eggs. It's the same thing with a sheep killing dog. Once they start that, they
will never quit. If you got a dog that damn near kills you, get rid of it. If you got a
dog that makes the neighbors so pissed that they want to shoot you after they shoot the
dog, you better do something about that dog. If you depend on those eggs in that chicken
house for your breakfast, which is more important, the breakfast or the dog?
Actually, there are two useful things about depression, one rather less useful than the
other. You can get on SSI if you are sufficiently depressed. The other use for depression
is part of the Kundalini process. It's a way you can develop power in the Muladhara
Chakra. Instead of just letting it spin around in there forever, once it builds up an
enormous amount of power, realize that you are not really depressed. You have simply
turned in on yourself over and over again. That's why this state of mind is associated
with Saturn and melancholy. Crowley includes such methods under the formula of NOX. It can
be a pretty dangerous business. Don't mess with that until you have a good general grip on
As to the rest of the Abramelin procedure or process, start by finding a subject,
religious or something similar, realizing that religion doesn't have to be the narrow
thing that it is defined to be in our culture. Next, achieve solitude. That is best if
it's solitude with support, so that you don't have to worry about anything. Failing that,
you can have a room in a house. Failing that, you can have a hanging on a wall or
something similar. You can even have a floor cloth or small carpet that you spread and sit
on. Anything of that kind will do. If worse comes to worse, you can invent a symbol for
yourself, something simple that you can draw on a piece of paper. Such a symbol can be a
place, but not everyone can accomplish the work with only a symbol as an astral temple.
Doing it with a symbol alone is a little like trying to live off one peanut a day.
Proceed with a three-stage process. The first stage is: "I don't know what I'm
doing, and gradually I will learn." That's where rigid but simple discipline is most
important. At that stage I recommend two performances, either one at dawn and one at
sunset or at 6AM and 6PM. Unless you go outside a lot or live in a place exposed to the
natural course of the day, you're not going to think in terms of sunrise and sunset as
much as time on a clock. Separate your meditations by a good piece of the day, not just a
few hours. Twelve hours will do nicely. Be very strict. Do not miss one meditation. If
it's to be at 6AM and 6PM, no matter what else goes on, do your meditation at those times.
This takes planning, since the practice should be kept up without significant failure for
about three months, certainly not under three weeks. Do it for three months, and chances
are it will take. Once you've gone through that, you will find that your meditation has
grown more elaborate. You will get ideas as you are sitting and staring at a Tarot card,
picturing a flower or looking into a mirror, whatever your meditation is. You will
spontaneously come up with ways to enhance your meditation. About the middle of this
period, start using some of these things. After testing such innovations, make a selection
and use the best of them consistently. Develop a system. The middle part uses this system.
The end part comes when you reach the point of listening to the inner voice.
If you try all this without preparation, you will get lemures or depression inducing
things. That comes of being a mental bunch of pieces with no regular pattern. You can't
attract the one big piece that fits everything until you are more unified in yourself.
Such a regular practice acts like bio-feedback. With bio-feedback, the machine
"beeps" wrong if you are wasting mental time. Once you have gotten regular
practice well established, it will carry on without special effort. You may find that
after the first three weeks, you are getting more and more done each time. Don't expect
such results after only three weeks. Three months of meditations twice a day is more
likely to produce such things. Write down your experiences immediately after each
meditation so that you are able to figure out what's happened to you. Review your journal
or diary for guidance. Whatever this experience may be, you are going to have to figure it
out for yourself. If somebody else gives it to you, it's not going to be as good. You
would be constantly thinking: "I'm not getting this right." Develop the method
yourself, and you will get it right. It's yours. It comes from you. No outer standards are
needed. You're the standard. You are making it better as you go. Trust no external
measurement, take no concern with somebody else's idea of what needs to be accomplished.
That's very important.
Eventually you will get to the point where you don't have to meditate at regular
intervals. Maybe you can skip a day and get right back into it. After a while you may be
able to skip a week. You may skip a little bit more time. Instead of doing three
meditations to resume where you left off, it may only take a second meditation. Maybe
instead of six, it takes three. These things vary. Numbers don't matter. Change and
proportion matter. After a while you may be able to put years between these meditations
and take no more to get back into them than in the first year you were doing them. A
week's break can then be a year's break. What's happening is this: First of all there is
the superficial matter of conditioning. You learn how to do it like riding a bicycle. It
takes practice. It takes time. Eventually you can re- learn it very easily. It's not like
languages. Some ways of learning languages can be transitory, readily forgotten. You will
reach a level that transcends mere habituation. Whatever your meditation, if it has
pattern to it, a strange thing will begin to happen. Have you ever noticed that when
somebody you haven't seen in years meets you or calls you on the telephone, a lot of times
it's as though no time had gone by at all? You might continue a conversation you had with
that person five years ago and broke off suddenly. We live at many different rates of
time. We live conceptually, not by the ticking of a clock. Some things seem to have
stopped. Some things seem to be going on. Then an event will occur and one of those things
that seemed to stop a long time ago will continue where it left off. It never did stop.
Some things happen in their own time. What may have been literally three years by the
calendar amounted to no time at all in another part of you. That's where you have to get
with these meditations before you can be cut free from the time problem.
You must to be very disciplined to get to that place. Discipline requires regularity; twice a day, 6AM and 6PM. Discipline also requires definite things to do, with no short-cuts allowed. There should be a pattern, a system to your meditations, so that you are, in way of speaking, living the next one after you have done the last one. For example, if the meditation is to pick up individual stones from one container and put them in another, the next stage of that meditation is to pick up the next stone. It doesn't matter when you do it. As you do it, you will have one event immediately connected to the next, foreshadowed, foreknown and no questions.
In the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin" are strange
squares made up of Latin or English letters. To approach these, just take up a good Hebrew
lexicon. A dictionary wouldn't help. A lexicon gives you the roots of words. A dictionary
may say: "In Hebrew, in order to say 'Hello', say 'Sholom Aleichem'. In order to say
'Hello' back, say 'Aleichem Sholom'." Bull! "Sholom Aleichem" is
"Peace be with you". It's just used like "hello" in English. A
dictionary doesn't need to go further. A lexicon always does.
The Abramelin book says: "to discover any magic" and shows this grid of
letters. That's nice, but rank superstition. There's this little thing full of letters in
the book. What the hell do you do with it? I suppose you draw it on paper and jump around
screeching a while, burn incense on it and stick it in your pocket or something. That's
not particularly helpful. Since the book claims to be Qabalistic, try to figure these
squares out as Hebrew words or roots. Hebrew spelling is more flexible than modern English
spelling, and chances are the original author was playing with word roots rather than true
words a lot of the time. The top line is HORAH, in English. There are a lot of ways for
transliterating from English to Hebrew. Also, Hebrew is written right to left, opposite to
English. When transliterating between the English and Hebrew alphabets, Those first two
letters, "HO" can be transliterated into H eh-Vau, the definite article,
"The". "RAH" is one of many words which mean a "Mother",
"Woman". This first line can mean: "The Mother". The second line
"OSOMA" can be transliterated as, Vau-Shin-Vau-Mem-Aleph. Make guesses at the
letters and look in the lexicon for words that make sense. "VaShem" ---
"Shem" means "name", especially "divine" or "holy
name". Next, take the middle line: "ROTOR". There are a couple of words
vaguely like that in Hebrew. One of them means "to shape" and another means
"to enclose" or "to fence about". Try an educated guess:
"trembling enclosures". Now, consider the second line from the bottom
"AMOSO" -- Aleph-Mem-Vau-Shin-Aleph, transliterating English into Hebrew. That
line probably refers to "night"; there's a Hebrew word similar to this spelling.
Hebrew is flexible because it has so many short words. You will find almost any three
letter combination if you fish a bit. Finally, the bottom line "HAROH" is very
close to a Hebrew word meaning "to increase" or to "wax" as the moon
does, "to grow more". What do we have here? If you treat this square as though
it's badly spelled Hebrew or Hebrew that's altered to make nice symmetrical patterns, you
can get: "The Mother names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase".
That didn't come out in the first draft, but it got that way with a little effort. What
does it mean, "the Mother"? The Abramelin book has the traditional four major
"demon" princes but also includes one more section just for Kore. Kore is Diana.
That's a goddess. Interesting. So "the Mother" might refer to Kore. "...
names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase". This goddess tells you about
those mysteries of the night that become strong. It sounds like a poetical reference to
the idea of Magick. That's why it's "to discover magic." It's a little prayer or
affirmation made into a pattern. They're all like that.
This one's "to obtain the friendship of some particular person." Some letters are easy. "L" is always the letter Lamed. "A" may be Aleph; chances are it is, but it may not mean anything. "I" is most likely Yod; so is "Y". With a little experience, it's not too hard to figure it out. Taking some liberties with secondary words, this square yields: "Divine Maid, beautiful of breath, grant us the lordly pearl. Protect us from harm. We exclaim at Thy Holy Breath." It looks like praying to some goddess and asking her not to give you bad breath. You have to think, this was done in the 14th century. People didn't take too many baths. They sure didn't have tooth paste. Most couldn't even afford salt for mouth wash. When somebody in that age opened his mouth, you knew what he ate ten years ago. It was quite important to be relatively attractive to people, even if it was only to do business with them. If people couldn't stand being near you down wind when you talked, you had a serious economic problem. There's a certain amount of common sense to that square. Another person could pick up another Hebrew lexicon or some other approach and get an entirely different result for this square. The results of such work are products of meditation, not true translation of the squares. With meditation, somebody else would get something different and both versions would be absolutely correct. With translation, there would be a more narrow objective constraint on accuracy. The process of doing this is intoxicating. If you keep at it, you always get something interesting. Those who devote themselves to the symbolism of the Hebrew letters can see the letters and their combinations as sacred things, as magical things. To a student of Qabalah, study of this kind actually consecrates the talisman automatically.
Check symmetrical squares and the ones that are asymmetrical. Experiment by completing ones that are incomplete in the book. Finally, try making some of your own, using the mental states acquired through meditation. Sit down with a blank grid and think: "that's an 'A', that's a 'G'..." If you work at it, you can get way out there. Start by writing down what you want the square to do. Although it's not described as part of the Abramelin system, you can then decide on the size of the square by the system of the Olympic seals, where 3 is for Saturn, 4 is for Jupiter, 5 for Mars, 6 for the Sun, 7 for Venus, 8 for Mercury, and 9 for the Moon. Make a square of that many on a side, depending on whether the question is more appropriate to Venus or the Sun or whatever planet. For the Moon, you will need a lot of language, since lunar squares are nine on a side.
One of my students knew somebody who had gotten into magic and hurt himself. That
called for a new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic". I went
home, decided the appropriate size for the square, did my meditations and drew out a grid.
I stared at the empty spaces until I could see what letters had to be where. Then I wrote
them down. Testing was then required. Treat new squares with English letters written at
random as though they are squares from the Abramelin book. Go back to the Hebrew lexicon
and decode as before. Here is the new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of
The first line is an acceptable Hebrew spelling of a word meaning "good" or "beautiful" (HB:Tet-Heh-Vau-Bet). There is an extra vowel letter in it, but that's alright in the manner of Hebrew spelling. The next line is a over-lap between two words: "Hol" (Heh-Lamed), which means "bright" and the next three letters, using one of them twice, mean "a gathering together". That line can mean "Bright Covenant". For the next row: (Yod-Bet-Lamed-Heh) Tough one. Try every sequential combination to see if Hebrew can be found that makes sense. Yod-Bet can mean "wealth". Bet-Lamed can be "Bal", which means "Lord". "Lah" is the negative, "without". So: "wealth, Lord, without". That could mean either that you are dead broke or you aren't going to loose your money; one or the other. Try the positive, but that isn't necessarily the best meaning. For the bottom line: Bet-Vau-Heh-Taw. By the same methods, combining those letters in order and using some of them more than once, you can get "Enter the shining light". Altogether: "Beauty in the bright covenant, wealth of the Lord fails not, enter the shining light." That's a bit euphemistic. Beneath the surface you have a second meaning. Instead of interpreting "wealth of the Lord fails not", consider that the wealth does fail. This then is a prescription. "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of magic," tell the person that everything that he got into is fundamentally a thing of beauty. He doesn't have to fear loss of things. He must look again into the beauty so that all will be wealth. There is another way of reading the square to the effect that the person was a dead drunk and that was why he was in such bad shape (if the Bet's are taken as Resh's, this meaning would emerge). When you come up with these things on your own, it's weird that they mean anything. It's doubly weird that the meaning relates in a fashion to what you intended. Previous familiarity with Hebrew can create a sort of virtual lexicon in the back of one's mind that will choose meaningful patterns of letters for these squares without conscious intervention. That may be how these things were developed in the first place.
This method of analysis is only one way of approaching the material in the back of the Abramelin book. If you happen to be into the mysticism of the Hebrew letters, you can use it. If not, not. These squares are supposed to be a test, but it is presumed that you are studying something like Qabalah. If you are studying something else, you'll have to test yourself another way. Many of the squares in the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" are incomplete. It's like a school work-book. The incomplete squares are there to meditate upon and complete. You are told what they are supposed to do. You will probably find that the results of completing and studying the squares will not be quite the same as the descriptions, but you are not the person who originally came up with them. The new ones that you get will have a different quality, related to your experience in the world.
The first step in the Abramelin working is to find a place to do the working. Next, you need a method of divination. You can use Tarot cards, astrology, or anything like that. The Abramelin book mentions white river sand. That's a tip-off. The form of divination that this particular author used was geomancy. More than that, it was probably a bit like foxmancy. Foxmancy is a practice of divination used in Africa. You put little bits of food in circles traced in sand or dirt. Each circle has one of the 16 geomantic symbols in it (vertical figures composed of four lines of dots, one or two dots per line). You are supposed to look for the prints left by a fox the next day, after the fox has had a chance to come by and check out the food during the night. Where the fox stepped, that's what you've got. For modern apartment dwellers, roachmancy would be workable, but probably a little too talkative. Older apartments dwellers may also wish to consider ratmancy. There are other methods of getting and using the geomantic symbols. You will find them written up in a number of books: "A Rectification of the Oracle of the Yoruba" by Judith Gleason, Crowley's "Liber Gaias" (Liber XCVI) or "Handbook of Geomancy" in the "Equinox". The geomantic signs are related to Astrology and have names like "Vir" for "Man", "Puela" for "Girl" and so forth. There are elaborate ways of working the oracle. One method of obtaining the geomantic symbols is to take a stick, supposed to be a camel switch about five to eight feet long, thin and whip-like. People often don't understand the principle and just pick up a short stick or even a pencil <<Note: Sometimes a pen is used, like that used by a lawyer, apparently to check the pending verdict in the William Kennedy-Smith sexual battery trial in Florida some years after this presentation. Anyone watching CNN as the end of the trial was televised could see one of the lawyers for the defense tapping a pen on a piece of paper rapidly in lines. He counted the taps and made notes -- that's classic Western Geomancy! He probably picked it up in a Yale fraternity. There are tables of interpretation for this type of Geomancy which concentrate on trials and imprisonment.>>. It should be a camel switch because such a stick is long enough to vibrate. You can get it going in a rhythm that continues after you have stopped shaking your hand. It won't quit when you do. Get a long, slender switch vibrating up and down, bring it near the ground and move it along. Count the number of times it hits the ground before you lift it up again. This trick is intended to prevent unconscious manipulation of the number of strikes and "cheating" the divination. If the switch strikes an odd number of times, that's one dot. If makes an even number of strikes, that's two dots. Do this four times for each geomantic sign you need to make a complete divination. Crowley apparently thought that you just hit the ground until you felt like stopping. If you do that with direct hand motion, you don't have the element of independence that a vibrating switch would have. That's alright. He learned it in England. There aren't too many camels in England. There's another sort of Geomancy where you take a sand table and just go crazy in there with your hands. It's like finger-paints, only with sand. Smash it, bash it, kick it about. When you are done, you look at it. "Looks like a frog", whatever. Cloudmancy works too: "Looks like a man eating a fish". Plastermancy -- use the sort of plaster walls that have a complex texture, not the modern type with the little pimples all over but the kind that looks like somebody skipped the trowel every so often. If you can find old fashioned linoleum, do linoleum-mancy, (they don't sell proper linoleum for floors anymore, try to find really nifty looking linoleum with a random pattern. It doesn't matter what method you use, as long as you have some way of doing divination. You are going to need it. Lintmancy, TV-snowmancy, there is nothing so degrading that you can't use it for divination. Recall that the official way of doing divination in the Roman State, required of certain elected officials, was augury, reading fresh bird guts. The famous Cicero, who wrote all those essays and was too noble for Caesar to execute, was the official auger of the City of Rome. Cicero's principal job was to stick his hand up a bird's ass, pull it out and say "it's gonna rain tomorrow." Me, I'll take Tarot! Divination is intended to give you information that isn't just from you talking to yourself. There are levels that aren't verbal. Those are the ways you can reach this Knowledge and Conversation most quickly. Verbal consciousness is tied up in social conceits and beliefs fostered in childhood. You need a method of divination, like one of the ways described, to get to the next thing.
It's good to have unusual garments. Something comfortable, not too distracting --robes are traditional. As long as you aren't into expensive cloth and things that form-fit, a robe is cheap and easy to make. If you are into good looking robes, you probably don't need them for this. The basic idea is to have some kind of clothing; it doesn't have to be robes. You can decorate and embroider a pair of pants and a coat to match. Those will do just as well. You can also use ready-made things. Perhaps a Japanese robe.
In this culture it's helpful to occupy your mind. We have so much going on to distract us that we have to keep the thing busy. You can always try standard things like Zen meditations. You might feel better. You might have an experience. If you are going to take yourself apart and put yourself back together, you will have to have a substantial battery of these things. Zen meditations can do that, but they are a lot more than they seem. For example, the sound of one hand clapping isn't accomplished by snapping the out- stretched fingers of your right hand to your right palm. That's just a joke to frustrate a Zen master. The sound of one hand clapping is symbolized by holding the right hand vertically before the body, parallel to center line and palm to left. Combine that with the sudden sense of sound where there is no sound. Each separate Koan will produce another thing that can't really be described in words. You must discover these meanings within yourself. There are systems of koans. Koans are brief verses of apparent paradox, either by internal contradiction or irrelevancy to context. Koans are intended to produce conceptual stress for resolution by sudden insight. If you have a book that says: "Try this one", you are being entertained. A teacher can tell you which one to do next and say: "Ok, you've got that one. Move on." You can try Alan Watts' books: "The Spirit of Zen and The Way of Zen. You need a system because you are doing something more than one little thing. Most of these little meditations are sold for a buck as entertainment. Some of them are better than that. In this culture you need such things. In some cultures it is sufficient to have chants and koan-style meditations. The problem with those is the need for a teacher. With the Abramelin approach, you are the starting teacher; and you are seeking the ultimate teacher, called the Holy Guardian Angel, or the Higher Self, &c. You can do this sort of thing here with a human teacher or a book, but the chances of it working are less than in some other places. This culture is full of yammerings and "belief that you know things". In many other cultures, family can be a major problem. In this culture, family tends not to be quite what it is elsewhere. Here, family is often as not people you pick deliberately and have a hard time finding. In other cultures family is what you were born into. You have no choice, and you are not leaving. That goes for whom you marry too; and, oh yes, you are going to marry. The names of your kids were figured out 30 generations before you came along. In such an environment, you need to get away before you can do much, but you still need things that are familiar to you. In the West, intellectual things may be very much more familiar than human things.
Consider the ancient map carved on a rock in the Camonica valley in the Alps, one of the earliest maps known. Now you can drop a buck at a gas station and pick up a map, all the while complaining that they used to be free. In those days, the idea of shaping a picture of something that you can never see but only walk was quite an outstanding leap in ideas. That principle has been used in a lot of cultures. Some of them go hog wild and make giant shapes, like Von Daniken tried to sell to people as landing fields for space ships. Why would anybody do that? The Cerne Abbas Giant is a thing like that in England. It's an enormous figure of a man with a club and a prodigious hard-on carved in the chalk on a hillside in Dorset. In South America you find some giant figures laid out in desolate places, but this thing was definitely maintained for 1500 years or more. Every few years somebody had to go over it and re-cut the sod to keep the exposed chalk outline visible. People thought it was some Celtic relic. Then somebody took an infrared photo from an aircraft and realized that the arm holding a club originally also had a rug-like drape. Evidently that part had been abandoned over the centuries while the main figure was re-cut and renewed. The drape positively identifies the figure as Hercules, with club and lion skin. A bunch of home-sick Romans carved it there, and it's been kept up ever since. It must have impressed people. The Giant can be seen poorly from the ground, but some of these great figures are only visible from the air. Such figures are examples of order. It can be a valuable initiatory exercise to trace ancient mysteries "on the ground" while formulating an image in the mind, comprehending in toto what the "eyes" can see only in part.
The method I chose to organize my own work was the 231 gates. They comprise all the combinations of pairs of Hebrew letters. You can systematically arrange them. I meditated on each of them twice in a standard pattern. That was done at 6AM and 6PM for a month or two. Then I had a one day break and resumed. Finally, I got to the point that it didn't matter how long the break took. An example: the thirteenth pair of Hebrew letters is HB:Aleph-Nun. I wrote down their numerical working-out. You add fifty for Nun, one for Aleph, normally not using the final values of the letters, to end up with 51. You can reduce that to 6. That's 6 on the Tree of Life for Tipheret. Also, the Hebrew letter Vau is 6. Aleph in the Golden Dawn system corresponds to the Fool in Tarot and Nun to Death. That's two Tarot trumps from the two Hebrew letters. If you look up in the Sepher Yetzirah, 777 or Paul Foster Case's little book, Highlights of the Tarot, you can find other stuff. Aleph and Nun have their name spellings, which can yield other numbers and correspondences. Those names mean "Ox" and "Fish". Tipheret means "beauty". That gives you two or three words for meditation. You can take the astrological correspondences: Air for Aleph, Scorpio for Nun and Sun for Tipheret. There are directions in space associated with the letters: Aleph is a vertical central line above to below. Nun is the direction to the Southwest. That may seem strange, so try sitting down and imagining a line straight down through the middle of your body. Then imagine another line paralleling that first one to the Southwest. Just think about it. It's very abstract, no conditions, no complications, not a lot of stray associations. It's a simple and pure meditation. There are traditional things associated with the letters. Aleph is sometimes thought of as the Breath of Life, Spirit, Ruach. Nun sometimes has the qualities of change and motion associated with it. These are interpretations that are given to those letters. You can say "Life moves", "Life changes" -- that's Aleph and Nun. The main thing is to have a system that yields a lot of compound subjects for meditation. Each individual subject fans out into many other subjects, some very abstract and some very simple. There are other things that are associated with these letters, e.g. "Intelligences", somewhat later than the old Sepher Yetzirah, but associated with the letters and Sephirot. In one variation of that tradition, Aleph is called the "Fiery" or "Scintillating Intelligence", Nun the "Imaginative Intelligence".
Meditate on that: thinking that is fiery or scintillating, thinking that's imaginative and brings out new things. Paul Case liked to associate the 12-tone scale of the piano keyboard with Hebrew letters. If you are into Music you can play E- natural against G-natural for Aleph and Nun to meditate on that sound combination. The Golden Dawn had four colors for each. If you are artistic, you can meditate on those colors. If you are not presently musical or artistic, here's a reason to explore those interests. All Hebrew letters are classified into several groups. Aleph is called a Mother Letter. Nun is the sixth Single Letter. There are properties and traditions that apply to them. The Mother Letters are the primal sounds. The Single Letters are compounded of those sounds. The Double Letters are variations on those sounds. Here is a primal thing giving an issue, Aleph a Mother Letter and Nun a Single Letter. Look up these Hebrew letter pairs in a dictionary or lexicon. It turns out that there are a lot of two-letter words in Hebrew. Aleph and Nun can go either frontwards or backwards. Once you have words to play with, you can figure out what they mean.
Sit down. Take every one of these combinations of correspondences and write down the result of thinking or meditating about them. Do that even if it doesn't make sense. Examples for Aleph-Nun: "The Ox falls past the Sun. The Ox is stuck tight in the spinning rounds of the Fish who chases his tail." Well, you've obviously got to do something more than just saying "Ox", "Sun" and "Fish". Taking the elemental and astrological: "Air blows past the sun. The maddened bull rushes into the nest of scorpions (scorpio)". Play with these things. This is the first pass. A nice thing about the 231 gates; there are two ways of organizing them. You can hit each gate twice without having to do it all in the same succession. The first pass runs through Aleph-Bet, Aleph-Gemel, Aleph-Dalet, Aleph-Heh, Aleph-Vau, and so on. The next time it's Bet-Aleph, Bet-Gemel, and so on. Each time that you start with another letter, repeat as many of the previous gates as there have been letters before that current one. The second time around, instead of just lining them up and checking them out with simple meditation, sit and try to do automatic writing. After meditating once on a particular pair of letters, mechanical comparisons of correspondences won't be necessary. Just get into it. In the case of Aleph-Bet, there are 21 meditations before you hit it again as Bet-Aleph. Write down the feelings and thoughts: Nun-Aleph -- "The son of the sun enters the world but to die and to rise again. You Oh Lord," &c., &c. Eventually this will evolve out into something more, one way of working with the Abramelin system.
In order to make use of any system, you have to learn the system and get it working. The 231 Gates of the Yetzirah is the system I've used. I extended that working considerably, just by taking more time as it became possible. The present one I am meditating on is Shin-Bet or Bet-Shin. Crowley took his Abramelin meditation system from the work of John Dee. There are a series of Calls, organized and progressively difficult. Crowley was able, after a couple of failures, to make a go of that. He tried it in Scotland with the Golden Dawn "Shin of Shin" ritual, and it petered out. He tried it in Mexico and only got a little way. He went into the Arabian desert, paraded Victor Neuburg around in fancy dress and got side-tracked briefly, but he managed to accomplish the thing, as any can see in "Vision and Voice".
The main thing that you need in this world is to learn how to use what you already
have. It works that way in meditation as well. If you take an old system and don't pay too
much attention to an old teacher, then you might develop a light of truth in that old
system that no one ever knew before. That's new. Or perhaps, something of it was
forgotten, and rediscovering the forgotten part is what you need to do. In this work, it
is necessary that everything be new. Yet, the pattern will always be old. That is not a
contradiction. Everything that you do from the pattern is new to you. By using a
preexisting pattern, something old in that sense, you don't have to start from scratch. If
you want to make a drawing, you get a piece of paper. You can make the paper yourself, an
entertaining thing that one might like to try; but that is not the best way to make a
drawing. It's the same here. You need a paper, a piece of paper to write yourself upon.
That "paper" should be an existing system. If you originate that system
yourself, it may or may not work; but you will be certainly wasting a lot of precious
time. You will also likely end up with an experience that you can't explain to anybody.
The biggest problem for people who get deeply into these things, as I have found and seen,
is that they get so far removed that they can't communicate their experiences to others.
Such folk get very very lonely and seem very very strange. Why stand on the sea-shore and
reach as high as you can? Why not stand on a mountain top and reach higher? The mountain
top is there already. You don't have to make your own mountain of sand. That's the
There are various rituals and things to get into. Consider John Dee's original version of the Enochian Squares. That's a magical procedure worked out in Elizabethan times. He even called it "Enochian" from the legendary Book of Enoch.
If you can get situated in a little hut in the wilds, you have it made. But if you can't find a lovely sylvan setting out of a Chinese or Japanese dream, you are just going to have to lump it with a corner of your apartment.
Crowley had a bit of a sense of humor. Consider the Abramelin square printed in the "Equinox" just in front of his article on Geomancy. That one is titled "To undo Magic". Also, there is a similar square placed just behind the title page of "The Goetia", a portion of the "Lesser Key of Solomon". It's another one of the Abramelin squares to undo magic. Tasteless trick, I call it.
If you get into some method of art, by all means incorporate it into this. Embroidery of magical squares is perfectly workable.
You will get pretty pictures if you can meditate enough. They don't mean anything?
Maybe they do. In the 231 gates method, it is common to draw elaborate diagrams or
mandalas, such as a combination of all of the other letters placed between the two Hebrew
letters, e.g. Tzaddi and Hay. Every other letter is there, so in a sense this shows all
the things that pass between the gates of Tzaddi and Hay, between the Star and the Emperor
Trump. Such talismans and power drawings proliferate with this method.
|R||O||T||A||S||of the cycle|
To know all things Past and Future in general.
|M||I||L||O||N||a night's lodging or rest|
|I||R||A||G||O||to alarm, terrify tremble|
|L||A||M||A||L||"to God" a name of Solomon|
|O||G||A||R||I||to cry, chatter|
|N||O||L||I||M||the soiled ones|
In a place of rest, tremble before the God of Solomon and strangely utter concerning mortal things.
To know things past regarding Enemies.
|S||O||F||O||S||Samekh-Vau-Pehfinal||to be fulfilled|
|E||D||O||B||O||Dalet-Vau-Bet Bet-Ayin-Vau||pine away; prayer|
|M||E||S||O||K||Mem-Samekh Ayin-Qof-Chet||pining; oppression|
Take an oracle about servants who were sent away; about the purpose of death bringing prayers that make the miserable more miserable.
Discover one who serves harm and thievery; weaken away concealment.
To cause any spirit to appear, and take ... the form of a Bird.
(In Hebrew, English direction)
|Aleph||Mem||Aleph||Dalet||Aleph||in a garment|
Diary of the square: While finishing this, a call from M-A. She was sitting at a resort, by a pool. A sudden gust of wind and the large umbrella sheltering a table by her chair was caught up. She rose from her seat and took a couple of steps. The aluminum shaft of the umbrella struck down into the chair she had just vacated, piercing the back at the level her heart would have been, had she not left the spot.
To be beloved by a Woman:
(In Hebrew, English direction)
The beloved shines forth her living breath as the burning scent of cinnamon bark. She is shy and white as the moon. Behold the tree of striving penetrate the whiteness deeply. Sing out in strength at fulfillment.
From Yod-Dalet-Yod-Dalet-Heh, Zain-Resh-Chet, Resh-Vau-Chet, Dalet-Lamed-Qof, Qof-Dalet-Heh, Yod-Resh-Heh, Dalet-Vau-Qof, Dalet-Qof-Lamed, Chet-Vau-Resh, Chet-Resh-Zain, Heh-Dalet-Dalet, Dalet-Yod.
New Square: To send away afflictions that come from pets.
(In Hebrew, English direction)
Live each day in the Sun. Join in kinship with the Sea. Abandon sadness and noise --speak the sign. A blooming shoot, divine adornment. A mist conceals the sickness. Shout joyfully, in the World delight at plenty. Bring this sign to the noise amid sounds of beauty. All kinds of falsehood flee the friend. A gift deals with smell by the sign of the Most High.
(In Hebrew, English direction)
|Aleph||Mem||Vau||Shin||Vau||of the night's|
To Discover any Magic, [To be done on red satin with green grid, letters in black; attached in yellow.]
Upon the plane a thousand teachers. Each is true. Each says all the others lie. Each teaches a tale of unraveled thread. Each speaks of warp and woof. Each casts a net to catch souls. Each tells truth with lies.
Find a faith. Stand firm in it. Be baptized with water and with fire. Affirm the opposite of the faith. Then you shall baptized with piety and apostasy.
Seek ever the opposite in every thought. Only through negation may truth flow. Set two legs upon the ground. Raise two arms to heaven. Thus you burrow and fly.
A child sits in the temple. Learned men ask patronizing questions.
How old are you?
How young are you?
Who is your father?
Who are you?
Who am I not?
Whence did you come?
Where I am going.
What do you know of the Law?
Only what I Will to Know.
The doctors of the place are confused. They cry aloud: "Who has taught such devilish lies to a child? Who has schooled such insolence?"
The child, thinking the questioning still proceeding, points to an empty room behind a veil and says: "He taught me!"
Since the shedding of blood in the sanctuary is forbidden, the elders tell the child that he is holy and that he should depart. This seems the only course.
The child walks out of the temple and journeys back to his village. His home is poor. He enters an empty room after lifting a bit of cloth which serves as a door.
The priests of the temple go on worshiping outside their Holy of Hollies. The Child dwells in His.
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