Magick & Theurgy
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the Wise and Volatile God
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MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
M AGICK & T HEURGY
The Naxos Sphinx
and the Delphi Sanctuary By Myriam Rotzetter.
The Wise and Volatile God By Sophie Watson
The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis
Interview By Martin Béliard
From the Calyx to Hermes
By Jean-Louis De Biasi
Body, Mind & Soul
By Patricia Bourin
Symbols of the Great Work
The Mercury of the Wise By Martin Béliard
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EDITOR ’ S LETTER
he Western Tradition has a long and respectable history at the origin of many of the spiritualities existing all around the world. Many studies, to this day, testify of this importance seen, for example, in the Chaldean and Egyptian origin of Astrology before its spread to the East. However, during long periods of time, this sacred knowledge and theurgic practices have been hidden by initiates, lost or destroyed by fundamentalists, twisted by religious translators, etc. Fortunately, the Light of this Tradition was reactivated in Renaissance Italy through translations of ancient texts, art, philosophy, private rituals, etc. From this time onward, the Golden Chain of Hermetists remained powerful, active and discreet. New research from scholars allows for a deeper understanding of the roots of this inheritance. These new elements, when associated to the inner teachings transmitted by initiates, give wonderful opportunities for this new century. During the Ptolemaic Period in Egypt, the Golden Age of this civilization, Greeks and Egyptian religious and philosophers united their traditions to create an original syntesis. It was sometime called “Religio Mentis.” This “Religion of the Spirit” was a balanced combination of science, philosophy, spirituality, and religion. All beliefs and theories were welcome as new perspectives capable to improve the common knowledge of humankind. But it is important to not be mistaken. This attitude does not mean that all things are equivalent and can be accepted as true. Do not forget that the essence of the world (macrocosm) and of any Human being (microcosm) should not reduced to the texts who tried to explain them. Texts, theories, and spiritualities are just maps. They are not the truth. If you plan to visit a city or country you will have to choose a map. There is not just one representing the territory. You have to find the best for you and your own experience will help you for this choice. We have to be prudent with a country hiding maps only authorizing a single one. The same thing applies to Religion, and esotericism. It is good to remember that there is not just one representation of the Cosmos. Science has to be present in this explanation, and so is initiation. A true Hermetist and theurgist, according to the Western Tradition, is someone eager to understand the visible world and the invisible one. This is someone who knows that it is possible to enjoy both life in this world and perform inner practices revealing the inner planes. You are not alone in this quest. Wise Masters initiated in this Tradition have written several books in the last four thousand years. All have useful insights capable to bring a new understanding of our essence and destiny. This magazine is here to bring you this heritage enlightened by the Hermetic Initiatic Tradition.
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In the Light of the Great Star,
Jean-Louis DE BIASI Editor in Chief
By Julien Larche
North America (USA): Minnesota State Capitol
North America (USA): Ceremonial drum
THE GLORIOUS STAR AROUN
South America (Brazil): Traditional handcrafted box.
Europe (Portugal): Monastery of Alcobaça
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
Europe (France): Medieval bishop’s shoes
Middle East: Rug (Detail)
Central Asia: Rug
Europe (Spain): Medieval Windows
Africa (Egypt): Medieval door.
by Myriam Rotzetter
mong the numerous votive offerings scattered over the most famous sanctuary of ancient Greece, the temple of Apollo in Delphi, one stands out: the sphinx offered by the inhabitants of the Aegean island of Naxos. The sphinx is considered as having been “the most remarkable monument of the sanctuary at the time of its offering” .
Origins of the Sphinx figure In Greek mythology, the sphinx was a single being, a demonic and merciless figure of destruction. Unlike its Egyptian counterpart, the Greek sphinx was a female. It was introduced in Greek art in the Archaic period through Oriental influences. In his Theogony, Hesiod says the beast was born of Echidna and her dog son, Orthron. According to ancient sources, she had the body of a lion inherited from her sister Chimera, the head of a young woman from her mother Echidna, and the wings of a bird of prey from her ancestresses the Harpies. Her genealogy links her to the chthonic figures
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
from early Greek myths, before the Olympian gods’ Laius. Another version relates that it was Dionysus who sent her to punish the Thebans for neglecting his worrule. ship. In any case, she was standing on a high rock near “In the ancient Greek imaginary, hybrid creatures the city gate and asked all travellers her notorious quessuch as the sphinx or sirens symbolised the uncontroltion, "What creature with one voice walks on four legs lable forces which governed man’s destiny. The sphinx in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs was very often associated with funereal art and, like in the evening — and is weakest when it has the most other fantastic creatures coming from the Orient, she legs?" No one could answer, and she strangled and dewas the recipient of a sacred power” . voured all those who failed. It took Oedipus to find the The sphinx remains famous in Western culture for its solution and free the Thebans from the monster. Upon riddle. It is said that Hera sent her from Ethiopia – as hearing Oedipus’ answer, “Man, who walks on all fours the Greeks never forgot the foreign origin of the sphinx in infancy, walks upright on two legs in the midday of - to punish the city of Thebes for the crimes of its King, his life, and hobbles about with a staff in old age,” she
threw herself from her rock and died. The Naxos Sphinx The sphinx measures 2,32 m and 1,35 m in width and sits on an Ionic column about 10 metres tall. It was discovered in pieces in 1861, and is dated circa 570-560 BC. Given the impressive size of the work, the sculptor was able to work its features in quite some detail in spite of the coarse texture of the Naxos marble. Unlike the sphinxes placed on top of funereal monuments, with their head turned sideways to frighten strangers, this one looks straight ahead. Sphinxes in sanctuaries were “perhaps the guardians of a hero’s tomb placed in the sacred soil – in Delphi it was Dionysus’, patron-god of Naxos.” Dionysus is of heroic nature as he was killed by the Titans, and then resuscitated to become immortal. He may have had a tomb next to the ditch above which Apollo’s priestess channelled his oracular replies in the adytum, the temple’s forbidden inner sanctum. The sphinx has a woman’s head, oval and elongated, a feline body with the front legs ending in eagle claw, and big wings starting on the shoulders, mounting in a sickle form to end over the head. Over the forehead, the hair locks take the form of a semi-circle. Sphinxes always have long plaits Today, its enigmatic framing their face, and a headband. aspect and impressive The chest is garmented with incisize makes it one of the sions, which give a feathers-like immost popular artefacts in pression. The wings are divided in the Delphi Museum. three parts with different decorations. These nuances emphasise the sculptor’s dexterity and underA Brief History of the line the decorative function of Delphic Oracle votive sculptures. Although we Many legends surround the are used today to seeing them origins of the Delphi sanctucolourless, ancient sculptures ary. According to H. W. Parke, “the foundation of Delwere actually painted and the different colours certainly phi and its oracle took place before the times of recorded underlined the subtleties of this work. history.” The site was originally devoted to the worship “This ex-voto offers us one of the most ancient rep- of the Earth goddess Gaia, mother of all gods. She was resentations of this legendary demon, which has inspired the first to give oracles, succeeded by her daughter many Greek artists, especially in the Archaic period. Themis. The Homeric hymn to Apollo relates how the They had to come a long way to produce such a master- god took over the site and erected his first temple after piece; the harmonious use of curves vouches for a long having killed Python, the giant snake guardian of Gaia’s experience and a refined sensitivity. This monument sanctuary. Following his killing of Python, Apollo conalso vouches for the piety and wealth of Naxos’ inhabi- demned himself to eight years of exile in accordance tants, as well as well as the supremacy in the art of mar- with the divine sanction befalling on assassins. He then ble sculpture in the Archaic period.” returned to Delphi and became the master of the site.
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
Another story says that Zeus, wishing to know where the centre of the Earth was, sent two eagles from the two corners of the world. The eagles met in Delphi, and thus it became the navel of the Earth. Zeus marked the site with the omphalos ("navel") stone. Pilgrims from all over the ancient world gave offerings of umbilical form, as the fame of the Delphic oracle went far beyond the frontiers of Greece, up to far away countries. A Roman or Hellenistic copy of the omphalos is exhibited in the museum.
fall by misinterpreting Apollo’s message: the god told him he would destroy a great kingdom if he went to war against the Persians. Croesus didn’t understand it meant he would destroy his own kingdom.
The fame of the oracle lasted for centuries and influenced the development of the Hellenic world in many ways. Offerings from pilgrims made it fabulously wealthy, even if from the 3rd century BC, offerings had more to do with kings’ showing off their wealth than piety. Its decline started in the 1st century BC. In 83 BC, The authority and prestige of the Delphi sanctuary Thracians sacked the sanctuary and “according to tradicame from its oracle, one of the oldest in Greece. An- tion, the sacred fire went out for the first time after havcient sources cite it numerous times. Different tech- ing enlightened the Greeks and barbarians for niques of divination were centuries.” used, but the most famous was The sanctuary remained in functhe oracle given by the Pythia, tion under Roman rule, but the the woman chosen by Apollo death knell of paganism sounded to speak under his direct inspiwhen Roman Emperors became ration. According to Plutarch, Christian. Pagan cults had to disthe Pythia was in her fifties, an appear from their empire, although advanced age at this time. She they had no qualms about pillaging had to leave husband and chilsacred sites. For instance, Nero dren to serve her function. took 500 statues from Delphi to When she sat on Apollo’s saRome in AD 51. Julian the Aposcred tripod, hidden from view, tate, the last pagan Emperor she fell into ecstasy and (reigned AD 355-363), tried to reshouted the divine message. vive ancient traditions and cults. Priests interpreted and transHe sent a messenger to question lated her cryptic words for the Pythia, who gave this last those consulting her. “Until the prophecy foretelling the end of her Classical era, no one quesoracle: tioned how came the Pythia suddenly spoke the god’s Tell to the king that the carven words. It is only when the behall is fallen in decay;Apollo has lief that cold reason could exno chapel left, no prophesying plain everything, divine bay,No talking spring. The stream messages included, started to is dry that had so much to say. supersede faith that different Theodosius I, Emperor AD 379possible explanations were 395, proscribed the practice of pagiven, such that it was the inganism. In AD 380, he declared halation of telluric vapours Christianity the official religion of emanating from a crevasse that the Roman Empire and refused to set her in trance, or the leaves give funds to maintain pagan temshe chew or the water she ples. In AD 381, the Christian persecution of paganism drank.” No proof of such telluric vapours having ever began. The etymology of paganism shows how “the emanated from the ground has been found though. Christians’ rejection of polytheism was encapsulated in The Delphic oracle was notorious for its ambiguous their argot for heathen cult and myth: “paganismus.” A messages. One well-known anecdote relates that Croe- “paganus” in Latin was either a country sus, the wealthy Lydian king, provoked his own down- (continued on page 12)
Hymn to Eros
English translation by Martin Beliard
O Eros, I invoke you ! You are great, pure, desirable, sweet, impetuous, skilled and cunning. You are the powerful archer, winged, agile, running in the fire and playing with Gods and mortals. The keys of the aether, of the heavens, of the sea, of the Earth, and of winds are yours. The fruit bearing Goddess nourishing mortals and the master of the Tartar and of the raging seas recognize your kingship; you alone are the mover of the course of all things. O blessed God, come to your initiate with a sacred voice and disperse away unworthy desires.
(Continued from page 11) peasant or, in the language of the army, a civilian.” The Delphi sanctuary was closed in AD 395, and remained in abandon for nearly a century until the arrival of Christian settlers. Today, the breath-taking beauty of the site, as well as the aura of mystery still surrounding the ruins of the sacred site, make it the most popular destination in Greece after Athens’ Acropolis. The remains of the temple visible are from the one built in the mid-4th century BC. Small groups of people, who still have faith in the ancient gods, even discreetly meet at times by the sacred Kastalia spring, nearby Apollo’s temple, to honour the deities from the past. And indeed, if you visit the site in the middle of winter, away from the crowds, and are lucky enough to wander among the ruins undisturbed, you get the impression that above the remains of his sanctuary, on Mount Parnassus, Apollo himself is smiling upon you. Find the Bibliography online at:http://www.magick-theurgy.com
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
AN INTRODUCTION TO HELLENISTIC ASTROLOGY
AN ONLINE COURSE
Hellenistic astrology is a tradition that originated in Egypt in the 1st century BCE. The astrologers of this time period commonly attributed the creation of the system to Hermes Trismegistus, and the astological motifs that permeate the philosophical Hermetica are rooted in this tradition. The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth introduction to the history, philsophy and techniques of ancient astrology. The course is geared towards those who wish to become familiar with the practice of ancient predictive astrology, although the philosophical and cosmological implications of this material are addressed as well. The course contains over 20 hours of audio lectures, a detailed course manual, guided readings of ancient astrological texts, and much more. For more information please see: http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/courses/
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- The full color Tarot Deck - The booklet - A die AVAILABLE AT: - And more
The Wise and Volatile God
by Sophie Watson
Myths and Folklore: Hermes is the messenger of the Gods. A trickster and a thief, he is also the Divine patron of healers, wise men and women, and of the Hermetic Tradition.
considered his offspring, as are many local heroes across Greece. Myths tell us Hermes was born in Arcadia on Mont Cyllene. On the day of his birth, he killed a tortoise and made a lyre with its shell. Later on the same day, he secretly stole fifty cows from Apollo in order to make offerings to the Immortal Olympians. Apollo later found out, but Hermes gave yths and Folklore: Hermes is the mes- him his tortoise lyre to appease him. Recognizing Hersenger of the Gods. A trickster and a mes’ wits and talents, Apollo bestowed great powers thief, he is also the Divine patron of upon him. healers, wise men and women, and of A popular myth featuring Hermes in classical times the Hermetic Tradition. He is the son of Zeus and Maia, is the story of the murder of Argus. The nymph Io, who and the father of Hermaphroditus and Pan. Keryx, the was loved by Zeus, had been changed into a heifer. The first herald of the Mysteries at Eleusis, is sometimes
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
Father of the Gods transformed her so as to protect her from the wrath of Hera. However, Zeus was later tricked into giving the heifer to his wife. Hera decided to put Io in Argus’ care. The latter was a herdsman with a hundred eyes all over his head. Argus never lost sight of the nymph. Displeased at his beautiful lover’s captivity, Zeus asked Hermes to kill Io’s monstrous keeper and free her from Hera. The messenger of the Gods, equipped with winged feet, a helmet, and his caduceus, went in search of Argus. On the way he stole a herd of goats to disguise himself. Walking by with his caduceus as a shepherd’s crook, and playing the reed pipe, he found Argus on the slopes of a hill. Hermes tried to charm Argus to sleep with his music, but it was of no use as the herdsman resisted every song he knew. As Hermes was singing about the invention of the reed pipe, Argus finally drowsed, and Hermes cut off his head. Free, Io wandered to Egypt where Roman poets claim she became the great Goddess Isis. As for Argus, Hera took his hundred eyes and put them on the peacock’s colourful tail. The latter part of the story has since been understood by alchemists to signify the extraordinary succession of colours crowning the Great Work. The name ‘Hermes’ most probably comes from ‘herma’, a very old Greek word meaning ‘pile of stones’. Piles of stones assembled in various ways were used early on in ancient Greece to mark important social and religious spaces. In Plato’s time, one would often encounter later versions of such markers. Rectangular stone pillars decorated with an erect phallus and a sculpted head of Hermes could be seen at crossroads, in the agora, next to doors, in a house’s vestibule, and on the threshold of sacred spaces (sanctuaries, temples, and cemeteries). Such pillars were called ‘Hermae’, and were mostly used as boundaries and markers of space they were thought to magically protect. From the Ptolemaic era onward, especially in Khmun (Hermopolis), Hermes was identified with the Egyptian God Thoth with whom he had much in common. Not only was Thoth the messenger of the Gods and Goddesses, but he ruled over the magickal and sacerdotal arts, and was the God of understanding, language, and the judgement of individual souls. Works with Hermes in the Ogdoadic Tradition carry, to this day, this important association between Egyptian religion and Greek Mysteries. Invokation: Hermes is the wise and volatile God aswww.magick‐theurgy.com
sociated with Mercury. He is the patron of magick, prophecy, divination, alchemy, the healing arts, and secrecy. He is also associated with speech, music, numbers, good luck, travels, exchanges, transmissions, translations, and mediations, be they inside one’s being (the nervous system), with other individuals (communication and affects), or between the physical and the spiritual realms (in theurgy).
Hermes should be invoked in matters connected to the learning, teaching, and practice of magick and theurgy. The same could be said of alchemy and astrology. His influence is paramount in matters of divination and healing, but also, in any work involving passages from the visible to the invisible and vice versa. Hermes’ influence should be sought in all matters related to intellectual and mental activities and processes as well as the transmission of knowledge. Hermetists wanting to develop their focus, a clarity of mind, wit, memory, vision, and awareness should work with him. He can also be invoked, along with Selene, to develop dream-consciousness and empathy in general.
or anise scented liquors such as Arak Razzouk, are the best all around beverages used in rites and prayers to the God. The burning of perfumes should precede offerings when working with the divinities. You can either use a thurible or a cauldron for these incense offerings. You can experiment with the perfumes of some of the plants and seeds mentioned above (be careful to distinguish between roots and leaves in your notes), but should also familiarize yourself with age-old perfumes associated with Mercury: mastic, liquid storax, spikenard oil, lavender flowers and oil, poppy seeds, and yellow sandal, either as wood or oil. I personally use a mix of mastic, oliban, and lavender for works with Hermes as the Divine Patron of Hermetism, and a recipe with fair Symbols: You can decorate your lararium (a tradiamounts of spikenard oil and poppy seeds for works intional altar to the divinities and to one’s ancestors) acvolving Hermes’ proximity with death, dreams, and the cording to certain symbols when invoking Hermes. A pilgrimages of the Soul. list is given below. These symbols can also be used when making talismanic images, furniture, or jewellery With time, your relationship with Hermes will defor the God. Drawing from these specific symbols in velop, and allow you to properly recognize the perfumes your work will ensure harmonious and propitious con- associated with him. You will then be able to explore tacts with Hermes. They can be used as materials (wood, and discover new perfumes related to Mercury, and try rocks and gems, magical objects), or as images. The out different incense recipes of your own creation. Symshapes, patterns, and colours of leaves, fruits, rocks, and bols, offerings, and perfumes are gems should inspire your creations: there for you to discover the God’s role in nature, as well as in yourself. In the vegetal realm: Angelica, anise, basil, buttercup, Have fun experimenting with these, carrot, celery, citronella, coltsfoot, dill, endive, fennel, and discovering your own divinity. fern, flax, garlic, gentian, harefoot, hawthorn, hazel, hop, lavender, liquorice, magnolia, mandrake, marjoMay Hermes be with you. n ram, mercury flowers, mint, mulberry tree, myrtle, oak tree, oats, orange, oregano, parsley, parsnip, pistachio, poplar tree, poppy, valerian, and wormwood. In the animal realm: Baboon, birds in general, cheetah, fox, gazelle, giraffe, ibis, jackal, mule, rooster, snake, wolf, zebra and from mythology: Sphinx, unicorn, winged snake, three-headed snake, and hermaph- Beverage suggested for the offerings: rodite. - Red beer, American Indian Pale Ale In the mineral realm: Abalone shell, banded agate, - Orange and Mango juice alexandrite, cinnabar, opal, rhinestone, quicksilver, and topaz. Other symbols include coins, shells, pebbles, dice, Personal Harmonization with Hermes: winged hat, broad-rimmed felt hat, winged boots, caBentley cocktail duceus, syrinx (reed pipe), lyre, shepherd’s crook, sandals, sacred wand, papyri, stylus, hood, and alchemist’s On ice, stir 1 1/2 oz brandy or calvados, 1 oz vervessel. mouth, add 1 twist orange or lemon peel and serve. Offerings and perfumes: When working with Hermes, one should draw from the symbols of the vegetal realm above for food offerings. Beer, and in some cases mead,
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
Everywhere in the world women are still persecuted for not being men! Keeping this in mind, it is interesting to read an excerpt from a book by Apuleus, a Master of the past initiated to the Ancient Mysteries. See for yourself how far the Western Tradition is from a fundamentalist attitude against women!
“Lastly, most women, in order to exhibit their native gracefulness and allurements, divest themselves of all their garments, and long to show their naked beauty; being conscious that they shall please more by the rosy redness of their skin, than by the golden splendor of their robes. But (though it is a thing not lawful to speak of, and may there never be so dire an example of such a thing) if you deprive a woman of the most surpassing beauty of her hair, and strip her face of its native elegance; though she were sent from the heavens, produced from the sea, and nourished in the waves; though, I say, she were Venus herself, surrounded by all the Graces, and attended by the whole family of Loves, girded with her cestus, fragrant with cinnamon, and dropping balsam as she moves; yet if she were bald, she would not be able to please her own Vulcan. How beautiful is the hair, when it is of a pleasing color, shines with a glittering light, is vividly refulgent when opposite to the rays of the sun, or is more mildly resplendent, and varies its appearance in a different gracefulness ; at one time emitting a brightness like that of gold, it sinks into a slender shade of the color of honey; at another, with a blackness like that of a crow, it emulates the azure flowers of the neck of doves; or now, anointed with Arabian drops, [i.e. the tears of myrrh] separated by the slender tooth of a sharp comb, and tied behind the head, it presents itself to the eyes of the lover,—it then, like a mirror, reflects a more pleasing image. How beautiful, when being thick, it is agglomerated with prolific abundance on the crown of the head, or extended in a long series flows down the back! Lastly, so great, is the dignity of the hair of the head, that though a woman should be adorned with gold, rich garments, precious stones, and every other ornament, yet she would not seem to be decorated, unless her hair was gracefully divided.” Apuleius, The Metamorphosis, Book 2-9.
artin Béliard – In your new book, The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, you unveil the Aurum Solis’ use of ancient Hermetic Arcana at the origin of Modern Tarot’s major trumps. As Grand Master of the Order, why did you choose to first write on the Tarot instead of other elements of the Hermetic tradition?
Jean-Louis de Biasi – The Tarot has an amazing history. It is impossible for someone interested in the Western Tradition not to be aware of it. Books on this subject However, it is important to note that the “modern” are countless and so are Tarot decks. In fact, the Tarot is Tarot is a later occult system indirectly inspired by the a tool for divination and, at the same time, a book of original Hermetic system of theurgy. The Hermetic Trasymbols. This combination makes it a unique and fruitdition, which is also called the Ogdoadic Tradition, is ful set of Arcana to explore. Now is not the time to derooted in the deepest sources of Humanity, a part of the
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
velop the history of the Tarot at length, but it is important to highlight elements of its history. The modern Tarot occult system was mainly created by three French occultists: Comte de Mellet, Etteilla, and Eliphas Levi. The Golden Dawn made extensive use of the correspondences created at this time. They developed these symbolic representations and system according to their own tradition and creativity. As you will learn in my book, these developments had some productive effects, but also produced mistakes. Today, usual Tarots derived from the “Tarot de Marseille”, or even from the earlier “Visconzi-Sforza Tarot”, have become the source of great artistic inspiration and symbolic studies. This is beautiful and undoubtedly a great way to approach this aspect of the Western Tradition.
world which was the place where humanity created the first languages, religions, philosophies, and magickal systems. The Hermetic Tradition took form at the end of the Egyptian civilization in Alexandria and gave birth to something you can call an Alexandro-Egyptian Hellenism. It was usual at this time to study and represent the cosmos through divine powers called Gods. The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis is composed of divine representations which were progressively chosen by initiates to synthesize their understanding of the cosmos on the material and spiritual level. As such, every Arcanum is clearly and precisely linked with a Divinity and associated with his/her sacred names so as to enable the practice of theurgy. Several architectural monuments, artifacts, and writings were
by Martin Beliard
The Divine Arcana
of the Aurum Solis
An interview with the author
used in Italy and other countries to keep these hidden hermetic keys alive. In Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, I investigate, among other things, a number of roman artifacts as well as a strange pagan church in the North-East of Italy. These are just a few examples of the rich heritage of this Tradition. Coming back to your question, it seems logical to begin by speaking about the Hermetic representations of the macrocosm and microcosm. Doing so, I am providing keys for the readers which will enable them to immediately start working at the theurgic level.
M.B. – Why is the Aurum Solis Tarot using 24 Arcana instead of 22 like other Tarot decks? Moreover, why are its Arcana representing divinities instead of allegorical figures, or events, like Modern Tarot trumps? JL. DB. – As you can imagine, I cannot properly answer this question here. You will find a detailed answer in my book as well as in an article entitled “did you miss something?” published on the Llewellyn website (http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2230). A few elements, however, could shed lights on your question. Sometimes Traditions carry both great insights and profound mistakes in their teachings. A Tradition, as a family, is a very powerful and useful element. You can receive teachings,
Throughout history there has been many representations of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Even if the number of spheres is very often the same, you can see on these qabalistic documents that the paths can be very different. Their number and, their positions is not the expression of an absolute and defintive revelation. We are far from the dogmatic representations of some modern magical Orders.
The Sephirotic Tree according to Rabbi Isaac Luria.
This Hermetic Tree of Life in Sub Rosa Nigra mode is the result of inner research conducted for many years by the Grand Officers of the Aurum Solis.
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
rituals, a magickal link with an egregore, and much more from it. In different situations, a Tradition can also become an obstacle when dogmas begin to constitute its main element as well as what keeps it alive. Sadly, this is the case of a number of initiatic Orders. The reason I am saying this is easy to understand. Everyone learning or practicing the Western Tradition is accustomed to the number 22. Have you ever asked yourself why? From the 16th century onward, Christians interested in the Western Tradition have been learning Hebrew Qabalah. They discovered this biblical esoteric tradition and used it in their own research and religion. Later in the 19th century, French occultists were also focused on what they called the “esoteric” aspect of Catholicism. Eliphas Levi (who was a Christian priest) developed in his books the links between Christianity, Qabalah, esotericism and the Tarot. The result was the association between the Hebrew Alphabet (22 letters) and the number of Major Arcana of the Tarot. As I already mentioned, these correspondences were progressively emphasized by well known British initiatic groups. The Western Tradition, however, is not restricted to Qabalah and the Biblical Tradition. As I wrote in a blog (http://goo.gl/tn6kb) philosophy, theurgy, rituals, etc. existed before Qabalah was invented. At that time, the sacred languages of Hermetists were Chaldean, Egyptian, and Greek. Greek was the language used during the Ptolemaic period to develop the Hermetic teachings. There are 24 letters in the Greek Alphabet. As I explain in my book, this number also corresponds to the Hermetic representation of the cosmos: 4 elements (plus one: the Ether), the 7 planets and the 12 astrological signs. From the beginning, the Masters of the Ogdoadic Tradition always maintained this knowledge, root of all Hermetic practices and rituals. Even if they used some elements from Hebrew Qabalah, it was always according to Hermetic teachings and cosmology. Regarding the representations of the trumps, you have to understand that symbols change through time. The first Tarot play cards used allegorical figures the way people were used to in the Renaissance. Allegory was used to entertain through various references to society, class, stages in life, etc. Of course these cards were not connected to any numbers or letters. Later, when psychics used these trumps for divination, they started adding increased interpretation to these various figures. Occultists then connected the trumps to numbers and
One of the earliest Tarot, the Tarot of Mantegna is composed of a set of 50 engravings. Several are precisely connected to the Immortal Divinities and to the hermetic representation of the cosmos. The system of 22 major trumps derives from the Hebrew Qabalah, and the mid-nineteenth century French Occult revival. It was especially disseminated by Eliphas Levi and, later, incorporated in the teachings of Westcott, Mathers and Waite. Hebrew letters. Under their influence, the many figures started to change. Symbols which could be connected to Qabalah, alchemy, and magic were emphasized, and others reduced. Different books combined with the influence of modern initiatic groups increased this “natural selection” to obtain a sort of “Dogmatic Tarot” considered to be the true representation of the original teachings of the Western Tradition. To this day, modern artists and authors interpret with their own talent the same structure. It is always pleasant to see pagan, and magickal interpretations of the Tarot rooted on a Hebrew Qabalistic system, which is very different from Hermetism. They have very different philosophical and esoteric representation of the Cosmos!.. Maybe it is time to simply ask yourself: if the Tarot gives essential keys I can use for rituals and divination, do I need to use a hidden Qabalistic egregore in order to be efficient, or should I draw from the clarity and precision of the original hermetic Tarot system? I am sure my book will give
you several elements to decide by yourself without hid- kind of group magical work one can do with these den dogmas. Hermetic Arcana? JL. DB. – Of course yes! This is an important question. In initiatic Orders like ours there are always two levels of group rituals. One is accessible to everyone, the other one is generally restricted to initiates and performed under the protection of the egregore of the Order. So it is not necessary to be initiated in order to begin your group rituals. However, it is important to have someone experienced to teach and supervise this kind of group work. This is what I do during seminars or workshops open to everyone. You have a large practical part in the book and you will be able to read and try individual rituals. All individual rituals can be practiced in group. As I said, each Arcanum is linked to a divine power. In a group ritual performed in workshop, you can see how the energies are organized in your inner and invisible bodies. You can find what planet, sign, etc. is an obstacle (or help) for you. After that, and this is something which is peculiar to theurgy, you can re-balance these powers by an immediate use of the Arcana. All members of the group focus their energies in a ritual dedicated to one of them. The power of the Divine Arcana associated with the power of the group gives a very efficient result. This is a simple example of what is practiced in a workshop.
M.B. – Can the Aurum Solis Tarot be used as any other Tarot deck? How is it related to the theurgical work of the Ordo Aurum Solis? JL. DB. – First of all, just reflect on how you can use usual Tarot decks? Symbolic study and meditation could be the first answers. As training, this is really useful, and something akin to what you will be able to do with alchemical or astrological figures. But after that you can ask yourself: how I can use these trumps for inner practice and real rituals? Are they really useful? Take a few seconds to answer. As you can see this is not so easy because the real keys are hidden and sometimes the correspondences used on the trumps are wrong. So yes, what you called “the Aurum Solis Tarot” (but it is best to call it “the Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis”), can be used for symbolic and mythological study. It can be used for meditation, visualization, inner practice, magick and theurgy. You can also use it to have an action on different situations in your life. Various charts in the book give you a very precise list of qualities and psychological functions, and the rituals and divinities you can draw from to better your life. As you can see, its uses are far more deeper than what you can imagine. I know that for many people, theurgical work seems very similar to a magickal work. You can find in this issue of the magazine a short FAQ about this question. But in few words, I can say that according to Iamblichus, theurgy is the use of symbols and rituals in order to engage with various levels of consciousness and raise your soul to the most divine realities. Theurgy can be seen as a magickal system founded on spiritual development. In this case you can easily understand that the modern Tarot decks are not very efficient for that. When you will see the Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis you will be able to understand that you can use it instantaneously to invoke inwardly and outwardly the Divine powers. The hermetic sacred names, the divine figures and the original correspondences will allow you to work theurgically.
M.B. – This book is your second at Llewellyn Publication in less than a year. Do you plan on publishing any other soon? Can you tell us a bit about your forthcoming projects? JL. DB. – Yes, I do! First of all the full colored Tarot Deck of the Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis has been released One month ago. As for books, I am working on a book entitled Becoming Gods. The subtitle says a bit more about its topic: “Invoking the Powerful Divinities to Transform and Enjoy your Life.” The next one will be “The Couple’s Magickal Path .” It is important not to unveil every details immediately. The content of these two books will be released progressively. Thank you for your questions. n
M.B. – Can the Aurum Solis Arcana be used in group rituals? Could you give us an example of the
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
MARSILIO FICINO’S NATAL CHART
by Frater Jovis
tified himself to the qualities of Saturnus. The 2nd lord, Saturn, in the 1st house gives knowledge of different languages. All odd signs are afflicted by the Rahu-Ketu axis, and the 8th lord, the Sun, is placed in the 10th house. These factors are probably what drew the native close to God (Ficino became a priest in 1473 during his Rahu/ Moon period, Vimsoothri dasa system). The 9th lord (religion and philosophy) in the 11th house (gains) suggests Ficino gained OCTOBER 28 1433 (GREG) 13:26 LMT through knowledge and philosophy (Mercury gives inFIGLINE VALDARNO, Italy tellect and to know by reason). The 7th lord in the 12th 11E28 43N37 house gives litigation through partners as can be shown when he was subject to the inquisition (6th house is litSun 18 55′12″ Libra Swati igation but both 6th and 12th houses are afflicted). He Moon 26°45′16″Sagittarius U.Shadha was described as mild, refined and gentle, though with Mars 13°49′14″Capricorn Sravana possible flash of anger. Content with a simple dress and Mercury 12°08′14″Scorpio Anuradha lifestyle, he was conscientious and frugal. His quick Jupiter 02°37′59″Leo Magha Venus 04°09′04″Virgo U.Phalguni flash of anger is apparently due to Mars in the 1st house. Saturn 26°04′42″Capricorn Dhanista The 10th lord (occupation) is placed in the 9th house Rahu 18°14′15″ Sagittarius P.Shadha (religion). Ficino did indeed have his priesthood orKetu 18°14′15″ Gemini Ardra dained by fate. This chart shows that he overcame his Ascendant 20°56′06″ Sravana hardships in life by embracing religion and philosophy. Saturn in the 1st house gives an austere and hermit- Saturn in the 1st house gives a renunciation attitude tolike outlook on life; it is the reason why Ficino took the wards material and sensual pleasures.n name "Saturnus" within the Careggi Circle; Ficino idenwww.magick‐theurgy.com
phy,” Volume 3.]
he Calyx is a fundamental technique of the Ordo Aurum Solis sometimes compared to the Qabalistic Cross you can find in the Golden Dawn Tradition. Its general structure and goal is very well described in the book “Magical Philosophy” and we will begin with this analysis. [The quotations below are from “The Magical Philoso-
“The Calyx is a fundamental technique of Art Magick, which both aligns the practitioner with the forces of the cosmos, and awakens awareness of the counterparts of those forces with the psyche. It can thus be said to encapsulate in brief compass the chief method and purpose of all workings of High Magick. The Calyx is variously employed as a psychic energizer, as a mode of adoration, or as a preparatory formula for the bringing through of power.” This last sentence has to be read carefully to be fully understood. The two authors hid several keys here. Obviously, the first step is related to the magick level which consists of
From the Calyx
by Jean-Louis De Biasi
working on your inner psychic abilities. The second plane concerns the spiritual level which will be developed later in this article through the Sacred Gesture of Hermes. The third level is related to Theurgy. When you are aware of your inner abilities your consciousness is open to the spiritual levels and, as a result, it becomes possible for you to build a strong link inwardly and outwardly with the Divine powers. “It forms, for example, an integral part of the rites of the Setting of the Wards (Papers III, IV, and V follow below), where its primary function is to imbue the operator with the power necessary to establish a sealed and sanctified environment, and a vibrant astral matrix, in which to conduct his work.” It is important to remember that such ritual work is performed on the inner plane first. Gestures and vibrations can have an effect only if you intend to do this practice on the invisible level. If you do not use a proper visualization or do not know which aspect you have to be focused on, the practice will only be a physical exercise. You really have to build a precise invisible environment. To accomplish this, the first step is to learn how to visualize. Later on, other keys are necessary to learn how to “seal” this sacred space in order to
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
perform strong and efficient spiritual whether to enhance their personal psychic energies in work. This is usually passed on preparation for another activity (ritual, meditative, or through oral teachings. other), or as mode of attunement to the great forces of life, or for the sheer joy of the work, or for bliss of “At the conclusion of some of the being.” Ritual Formulae, the Calyx is employed as a gratulatio, a magical This is a great aspect of the Ogdoadic Tradition, - the thanksgiving. In this context, the Aurum Solis always helps student connect their self-defunction of the Calyx is twofold: in velopment with their spiritual life. the ambience of an achieved rite it “In the text of the Calyx, the Words of Power are honors the sublime reality of the given in both Hebrew and Greek forms.” forces of cosmos and microcosmos, and it affirms and establishes Thanks to the former Grand Masters of the Aurum the equilibrium of potencies within Solis, the Calyx is not limited to words taken from Hethe psychic organism of the opera- brew as you can see in the Golden Dawn tradition. The tor.” Greek vibrations (Sub Rosa Nigra mode) and Latin names are provided in order to give you the opportunity Again it is essential to remember to experience another kind of energy. It is important for this necessary connection between you to realize that the sacred names always connect the microcosm and macrocosm. A practitioner to a certain quality of energy. CorresponTheurgist must perform rituals by dences between names do not mean they are equivalent! choosing the symbols and different The results of using Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or Egyptian elements according to the law of are not identical. Of course the main goal and the correspondences, but also with his essence of the practice remain the same. However, the mind focused on the highest spiricharacter and the tone of the work on the spiritual level tual levels. Having this as his goal are not the same. If you want to turn a light on, the makes a fundamental difference. process is simple. Just flip the switch. However you can This is an important part of the easily understand that even if the power is the same, the safety of the entire process. As the light will be different if you use different colored lamps. quotation reads, the use of the Consequently your feeling will also be different if you Calyx allows you to balance the are under the influence of a red light, as opposed to a energies in your aura. In order to green, black or natural light. It is the same when you are achieve this result, you can simply using vibrations from different origins and this is why follow the directions, as presented you have to choose them very carefully. You must also in the book. The results will come consider that theses sacred languages are associated with (depending on the regularity of special cultures and, therefore, with specific egregores. your practice). However, if you Again, the powers with which you would be connected use the description of the process with if you act without being aware of the occult issues on the invisible level, your work will have a very different impact on your psyche. All will be more efficient and your these elements have to be enlightened in order for you progression much more faster. to understand the consequences of these issues on your The awareness of this occult life. I had the opportunity to write an article about this process will always help you to subject and you can find it at: http://goo.gl/CJAdp. better understand what you are doing. Consequently, it will affect If you consider these aspects in relation to the Qabalthe success of your entire work. istic map, we could say that the Magus restores the true balance between Binah and Chokmah. At this moment, “Although relatively simple, “his is the mind now in truth of the all-potent Father and the Calyx is a complete spiritual of the Bright Fertile Mother: he is the Right Hand and "toner" in its own right, and the the Left Hand both upheld in the Gesture of the Calyx: student should use it frequently: and above and between them shines the Illimitable Brilwww.magick‐theurgy.com
Repeatedly used in the ancient Mediterranean Traditions, winged snakes can be found in many places and symbols..
liance of the Primal Glory.” (Magical Philosophy, Vol- and its potency. ume 2, Chapter IV) Before I describe the Calyx, It is very important to point out again THE PROCESS ON THE INVISIBLE PLANES that the Calyx may Now let us take a closer look at the Calyx ritual. Some be performed in people have erroneously reduced the Calyx to a modidifferent lanfied form of the Qabalistic Cross. This failure to invesguages, and that tigate and understand the deeper meaning of the Calyx the language used has led to a complete misunderstanding of its most imhas an effect on portant characteristics. I will repair some of that damage the practitioner. here by offering more information about its purpose and You can listen to meaning. the correct proCalyx is a Greek word meaning “cup” or “shell.” The nunciation of the meaning of this word reveals the receptive essence of words used in the Calyx on the Aurum Solis Website at: your being as you perform this ritual. In the Calyx, the http://goo.gl/cggDf to help the reader understand this, I focus is on our complete receptivity to the Divine forces will describe the occult process of these different forthat ennoble us. Therefore, the Calyx can be a “stand mulas of the Calyx. alone” ritual, which is both intellectually and emotionAt the first moment of the ritual, the Magus concenally profound. trates on his/her Corona Flammae (Kether) before beTo understand the meaning and the symbolism of this ginning the breathing sequence; this stimulates a kind practice, and to avoid mistakes, you must understand of vibration in the aura. We might compare this effect what happens on the different planes (at the levels of to the moment before a storm bursts, when we feel the your invisible bodies) during the ritual. The best way to electric tension building in the air. At the first inhalation, understand this is for me to describe this ritual and what an intense white sphere appears just above your head. is happening internally, and for you to follow the The most advanced teachings of our Order explain the process by enacting it (at least mentally). This way you connection between this sphere and the seven planetary will have a much clearer idea of the power of the Calyx spheres, but I will not develop this aspect here. Next, a
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
rippling, undulating movement appears inside the sphere. A kind of flame (similar in shape to the Hebrew Letter Yod) appears and begins to manifest itself as a pulsating sphere of light, -increasing in diameter as you visualize it.
on the shoulders. If the inner work is properly performed, several phenomena will occur within the invisible body. First, this is the moment when the Magus crosses the barrier between Atziluth and Briah. Wisdom (Chokmah) connects to Strength, and Mercy connects to Hod (the Intellect). This action creates the two pillars This divine flame is called from the highest planes of that are on the two sides of the central column (present the Magician’s psyche. This little flame (visualized in the spinal column). above your head) represents the Supreme Power, the source, the origin of all magickal power, the sacred fire When your hands are brought in contact with the two which enables us to practice divine Magick (Theurgy). centers associated with your shoulders, you will see the The localization of this flame above the head specifies light increasing that it originates far from the profane being, the physical in these two body and its surroundings. This manifestation helps the spheres: (GeduMagus make contact with the powers used to perform lah/Chesed at the the rituals that follows. left shoulder and Geburah at the As the Magus inhales, he/she attracts the light down right shoulder). through and into the spinal column, so that it travels easAn intense influx ily down to the Instita Splendens (Malkuth) where this of light moves power has its roots. If you watch carefully as the light down through descends through the central column, during its moveeach column, acment you will see the seven colors that are associated tually creating with the seven planets. After the light is rooted in the Inthree columns in stita Splendens, the light in the spinal column becomes your invisilike an intense white hot magnesium flame surrounded ble body. A very interesting bronze ring from by little red flames. The shape of this light is very speAt this mo- Ancient Egypt, with the crowned cific and can be likened to a tube. ment, the Snake rising to the sun. If you look carefully at what is occurring in the Instita light in the Splendens, you will see the seven prismatic colors be- central column becomes very intense and it is quite imcoming a rainbow, which gives birth to a spiral shape. possible to hold it in your mind. You will simply feel The movement is completed as they fuse into a dark, vi- the verticality of this link between the sky and the earth. brating color. Even though this deep color is dark and We may be surprised by this astral process, but it is imearthy in appearance, it is not associated with a heavy portant to clarify that there really is no “cross” in your feeling at all. aura here. The concepts related to any mystical practice that comes from the Christian ‘sign of the cross’ are not The arms are raised. They are on the horizontal connected to the process of the Calyx. The Aurum Solis plane, parallel to the floor, palms up. The Calyx (or cup) Calyx is definitely connected to a more ancient Heris then created in the mind. This is a major point of difmetic practice of Aurum Solis called the “formula of the ference between the Calyx and the Qabalistic Cross, Porch of the Temenos” (“Temenos” meaning “Temple”). demonstrating the inaccuracy of any comparison beThis is a very accurate empowerment of your invisible tween them. Without revealing the inner teachings of body that helps to rebalance your inner energies into the the Aurum Solis, I can highlight that there is a relationshape of the three columns. As Denning and Phillips ship between the position of the hands, and the spheres have previously remarked, it is profitable for the student Chokmah and Binah (on the Tree of Life). There are also to understand the relationships between the porch, the specific movements and visualizations that can be used superstructure, the vault and the manifestation of the in order to increase the power of the Calyx in more adGrail. vanced forms of the ritual. During this process the Flos Abysmi (Daat) becomes the central focus. An intense Your entire aura is now full of bright, luminous rivers hub of energy suddenly appears in Tiphereth. One after of energy. An intense solar light radiates at the center of the other, the left hand and then the right hand is placed your body, in the Orbis Solis (Tiphareth); it begins to
crackle like a fire and radiates energy like the warmth of the rising sun. This occurs at the moment you enter into the Yeztiratic plane. The two columns on either side of the spine receive the same influx of light, and enjoy the same experience as the central column (spine). Then they gradually begin to disappear from the mind of the Magus. Only the radiance of the aura continues to be felt. Completely balanced and fully aware of his/her inner abilities, the Magus is now able to continue his/her magical work.
FROM THE GRAIL TO THE HERMES FORMULA
n Volume 3 of “Magical Philosophy,” the authors wrote “In some measure, it may be said that the Calyx foreshadows the Formula of the Grail.” This reference leads us back to the dawning of the Western Tradition. At first glance, we will be tempted to associate the Grail to the medieval Christian Tradition. However the books of the “Magical Philosophy” create a clear and immediate relation to the pre-Christian Celtic Tradition. “The Grail is in some aspects closely related to the ancient Cauldron of Regeneration which appears in Celtic mythology. This is represented as an actual magical vessel, from which (after certain operations) the subject emerges renewed in life and in youth. Its archetype is nothing less than the "Cauldron of Annwn." (Magical Philosophy, Vol. 1 - Chapter VII) Philosophy, Vol. 3, p. 114)
“It [the Grail] is also the specific and sacred symbol of the Goddess in her Binah Aspect, as receptacle of the power of the Supernal Father. The Grail thus represents a high spiritual reality: one of its co-symbols is the Universe. To raise up a magical instrument, as has been said, is to bring it into manifestation and into operation. He who elevates the Grail in solemn ritual, therefore, is making offering so far as he is able, of the universe itself as a receptacle and instrument of Divine Power. Not only that: he is also whether explicitly or implicitly of“Tat: Why then did God, O father, not bestow on all fering himself as an instrument of that Power. Even thus does the Grand Master make offering of the Order, and of us, the Noûs (the Divine inside us)? of himself its representative before the Gods.” (Magical Hermes: He willed, my son, to have the Noûs pre28
We will have the opportunity to talk about the important Celtic tradition in another issue of the magazine, but it is interesting to emphasize this reference as a major key for the understanding of the Hermetic concept of the Calyx. First of all, as the last sentence states, the Grand Master has an essential Theurgic work in connection to the Immortal Divinities: “the Gods.” This high spiritual work connects the egregore of the Aurum Solis to the divine founders of the Tradition by the observance of advanced rituals. For the good of everyone, it is essential that this channel stays powerfully alive in order to give its power (through initiation, which creates a link), and, as Proclus said, by the consecration and blessing of ritual materials received through the Magus and Officers at this special moment. The safety of the individual spiritual practices is one of the consequences of this aspect of the Calyx. The Ecclesia Ogdoadica, which is the religious part of the Hermetic Tradition, reveals this relationship in an aspect which is more focused on the field of Adoration. As I previously stated, the Grail is also the Cauldron of Regeneration. As you might expect in a Hermetic Tradition like Aurum Solis, other evidence supporting this fact can be found in the sacred text “Corpus Hermeticum” which is also called “The Cup or Monad.” (The relationship becomes clear.)
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
sented to the souls, just as if it were a prize. Tat: And where hath he it set up? Hermes: He filled a mighty Cup with it, and sent it down, joining a Herald [to it], to whom He gave the command to make this proclamation to the hearts of men: “Immerse thyself in this great Cup, thee who want to walk on the sacred way of the return and want to know for what thou didst come into being!” As many then as understood the Herald's tidings and doused themselves in Mind, they became partakers in the Gnosis; and when they had "received the Mind" they were made "perfect men." But they who do not understand the tidings, these, since they possess the aid of Reason [only] and not Mind, are ignorant wherefore they have come into being and whereby. [...] That is Tat, the science of the Noûs: contemplate the Divine essences and understand God. That is the wholesomeness of diving into the Divine cup.” The connection between Thoth-Hermes and the essence of the Cup is obvious. This large cup is a Divine emanation which contains the Noûs, the Divine substance which helps us to become Gods, to realize our own divinity and to reveal the desire to come back to the origin, which is the Divine world. So more than the Cup itself, it is what the Cup contains which is essential, as well as the consequence of using the Cup. This is a Cup of regeneration of the soul, and, at the same time, it is a reminder of your own origin and Divine nature. Now, you can understand why there is a connection between the Calyx and the large cup from the Hermetic Tradition. Obviously this name “Calyx” contains more than expected. This is also why other formulations of the Cup have been developed in order to increase the connection to this Hermetic origin.
In the sacred gesture of Hermes used by initiates and non initiates, the Hermetic archetype is used to raise your soul and enable you to undertake your ascent to the divine Cup. This is how you can proceed: 1- You are standing, your arms naturally relaxed. 2- Extend your arms in front of you, raised to approximately 70º above the horizontal plane, palms up (supine). Maintain this position while visualizing the descent of the spiritual light. Holding this position, says: EI 3- Lower your arms with your palms down. Bring them parallel to the floor. The palms are level with your hips. Holding this position, says: HE BAZILEIA 4- Simultaneously raise your arms. Cross
The manifestation of inner energy can be seen as the rise of the winged serpent: Agathodaimon!
them on your chest, right over left. Holding this position, once more, says: KAI HE DUNAMIS Holding this position, once more, says: KAI HE DOXA 5- Extend your arms in front of you, raising them as you open the wings of
Hermes, palms up (supine). Your arms should be wide Divine in you. When you feel this contact, this magneopen and your eyes should be lifted to the heavens. tization, vibrate the first sacred sound. The movement Maintain this position says: EIS TOUS AIONAS of energy will be activated and the movement of descent will begin. This flow of energy (which is at the same time subtle A few indications of the occult process of this gesture and powerful) penetrates you and descends to your solar may be useful. plexus using the channel created at the beginning by the The first step is intended to give you the opportunity energy from the earth. As soon as you feel this presence, to balance your inner energies. Your mind has to be go immediately to step 3. Move your palms so they are empty of any thoughts. You have to feel your feet on the facing the floor and allow the energy to continue to floor, the temperature, the nature of the ground, etc. progress up through your feet to create this bridge of Breathe in silence. This is the moment when your own light. The second vibration will reinforce this vertical energies are connected to the powers of the earth. Your axis, which rises up your spinal column. body begins to be an extension of the earth. A flow of The following steps are related to the revelation of subterranean energy comes to your feet and penetrates your own divinity with the help of the Hermetic process. up through your feet as an inner vibration. When you At this point your desire has to be crystal clear: increase feel this vibration in your feet, turn your consciousness the awareness of your own divinity and ascend to the in the direction of the upper levels, and raise your arms. highest spiritual levels by raising your soul through the This movement will give a direction to the flow of earth celestial spheres. energy which will rise up your spinal cord. When the energy ascends toward your head, a kind of tube of enThis desire has to remain in your mind as you simulergy is created. This channel seems empty because the taneously raise both arms. Breathe in as you visualize energy is very subtle. This is the essence of the earth en- the first aspect of the serpent, the good spirit Agathodaiergy which activated this bridge between earth and sky. mon, rising up around you, encircling you clockwise. When his head has reached the level of your shoulders, When your arms are extended in the direction of the vibrate the sacred word. Do the same for the second assky, this original energy (which has reached your head) pect of Agathodaimon, who encircles you anticlockwise. shines forth in the direction of the sky, in the shape of a As you can see in the illustration, two powerful currents very thin string of light. of energy surround you filling your aura with a bright This is the moment to turn your mind in the direction golden light. of the original fire, the highest Divinity, without shape, Now perform the last step, opening your arms in the which is above all other Demiurges, Gods and Goddirection of the sky. The divine wings of the caduceus desses. In specific rituals, the Aurum Solis Tradition of Hermes open widely. There is a kind of explosion of uses a prayer saying: fire inside your aura, and your soul can use this celestial “I call upon you, and inner fire to undertake the sacred way of the return. You, the Secret Flame who resides in the luminous This occult process unveils for you another underand sacred silence! standing of what is usually called the “Calyx.” As you now realize, Hermeticism is not a simple word. These You, the Light of the Great Gods, and the Life of the exercises and Theurgic practices can be used with as Worlds! much success today as they were at the beginning of this You, the Powerful, the Resplendent, whose Spirit fills Tradition. n everything! You the sanctified Fire who is called upon in each sanctuary of the skies!” A golden-yellow energy is attracted by this adoration. This is an act of love, a desire to see this source of all life descend into your body as a true revelation of the
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
BODY, MIND and SOUL
Can the body become the most precious ally we have to ascend to the Divine?
by Patricia Bourin
s many people, I believe it is important to have a good balance in life. Especially when you want to have greater awareness of yourself and, at the same time, increase your quality of life and your spirituality. So I would like to share some thinking about life and balance with you. We live in a visible world which is linked to an immeasurable invisible world (the spiritual world) in many ways. As a human being, the first step – as for a house- is to build our body, and to discover and learn how to use it. Indeed, our body is physical, material and as a baby we can discover it and use it, even before the age of selfawareness. We develop our mind step by step in parallel to this initial physical discovery. We learn to speak, and to understand our native language. Later, we start to think, to be aware of ourselves and of the world around us, and so on. We learn, and experience life. These steps are a lesson for one’s whole life, one’s body changes, but mind, and the world, change too. I think it is important to be equally interested to these two levels: the invisible and the visible. However, finding a balance between mind and body can be a challenge for most of us. Why?
Why are people not paying attention to their body? Is it because they are working at a spiritual level? But the mind is inside the body. If the body is a vehicle, why should it be left in a bad shape, or neglected? The body partially reflects our mind and our life. Our body is not only muscles, bones and flesh; it is also flexibility, endurance, and breathing. Some of it is innate, and some of it we learn and develop along the way. However, as human beings, we also have mind (i.e. such as in the rhythm of a voice, a music or a noise). Since we are not alone on Earth, our body lives with the rhythm of the world around us: the seasons, weather, and other people. Our body reacts with feelings and reason. There is a link between words and feelings, like between feelings and reason. If we cut these links, we will be off balance, and sometimes, even get sick. We can find a lot of examples of mental or physical illnesses caused by imbalance between mind and body. Obesity, diabetes, anorexia and so on, but also sadness and anger; for some people this lack of balance is not visible, it is deep inside. People can have strange feelings too, as a hole inside them, and anxiety, simply because they forget their mind and only pay attention to their body, or vice versa. As many physicians know, to be off balance has negative consequences in life.
Everyone has a different perception of his body acMaybe it is because we do not really pay enough atcording his taste for sport, dance, hiking, meditation, tention to our whole being? Or because religion has, in etc. So according to the lifestyle we have, our body is the last centuries, always insisted on mind and soul more or less important. Of course, for some people it while forgetting about the body? could be just about satisfaction; everybody knows that
bodies need rest, water, and food (I am hungry so I eat. I am tired so I go to sleep). The amount of food can be important for balance; some people can only eat a little quantity of food per meal, while others need a large quantity. For other people, eating is not enough; it needs to be pleasurable, as when you enjoy a good dinner with family or friends.
negative consequences on one’s health. In the latter case, we are far away from balance and harmony!
The most important thing is to learn how to live with the minimum, but also, how to appreciate the best. It sounds simple but it is far from being easy to do. One day to enjoy a luxurious dinner with sophisticated meals and wines. The day after to be able to be satisfied with Of course, every person has a different perception of a few olives, a piece of bread and fresh water. his body, and of the mind too. However, it is always imSo, to work in order to have healthy body and mind, portant to increase the quality of our life at the intellecto reach a good balance between body and mind, what tual, spiritual and material levels. To achieve this goal do we need? In my opinion, we need to pay attention to we cannot put away a part of ourselves and work only both parts, something that is not obvious for most of us. on the other part. So we need to be aware of our body as well as of our mind. The possibility for harmony in In different ways and at different times, each of us deour life arises from the care of our whole being. cided to work about our spiritual development. We have the desire to work at the invisible level and we want to I am writing about balance, but for me balance is neccontinue to develop the spiritual aspect of our self. It is essarily linked to freedom. To some extent, it is our a natural reflex to put first what we want to increase the choice to decide the way we live, whatever the level. most: the mind. For different reasons, some people experiment with A good way to set a regular routine is to start with a fasting, or fast for periods of time. Usually, they do so few simple things: eat well (quantity and quality), do for spiritual reasons. some physical exercise you like, a meditation, a ritual, It is important to say here that the Ogdoadic Tradition relaxation, and reading. does recommend fasting. If you do so, please keep in It is only then we can pay more attention to our Soul, mind to drink water as often as you want. It is also imthis invisible part of our being many people do not portant to be aware of the risks you take when you exspeak about. periment with fasting for more than 1 day. In this case, it is important to talk to your doctor first. Good morality can be the origin of a good health for the spiritual body. This level makes the difference. PayWhy do people fast? The primary goal is to clean the ing attention to the spiritual level means we already esbody, but also, to increase the distinction between mind tablished the connection between our mind and the Soul. and body, and This connection allows us to know what balance is, and the self-awarehow we can achieve it. ness of their relation. This We will have the opportunity to develop more about experience can the Soul in the next issue of this magazine. help us underSocrates' guiding rule was, "Know yourself (Thystand the links self)." These words are of eternal significance. No better between the advice has ever been given to man or woman. body and the world around To learn and know about ourselves is the foundation us, but also, of our work. It is really difficult to work and increase discover the the spiritual part of our being if we are too concerned i m p o r t a n t with our material life. Too much is never good, but it is power of the also necessary to sufficiently work in through material mind. On the life... We are not only spirit. n other hand, this kind of experience can bear
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
SYMBOLS OF THE GREAT WORK:
THE MERCURY OF THE WISE
by Martin Beliard
Emphasis was made in Alexandria, on theurgical works with the great solar snake-God Agathodaimon.
rom the earliest times Hermetism developed a philosophy along with its rituals and ceremonies. Concepts specific to Hermetism appeared, or were redefined by early initiates. It is the case, for example, of concepts such as Gnôsis (Divine knowledge), Noùs (Mind), and Heimarmenê (Fate). In relation to such concepts emphasis was made, especially in Alexandria, on theurgical works with the great solar snake-God Agathodaimon. In the Corpus Hermeticum, Noùs, says Hermes Trismegistus teaching to his son Tat, is what can bind mortals to Gods and Goddesses. Noùs, he adds, ‘(…) is the Agathodaimon’. The snake-God is one of the most important key to the mysteries of Regeneration. It is my argument that this important idea barely changed over time. The cult of Agathodaimon went into secrecy along with the Hermetic Tradition on the threshold of the Middle Ages, but the occult principles conveyed by the God endured. It took, among other things, the form of a symbol called the ‘Mercury of the Wise’. In effect, it found its way in the Renaissance through a
Wise’, especially among French authors. Paracelsus sees this Mercury as that which gives virtues and powers. It is the ‘Arcana’, or ‘key’, of one’s being; what gives movement to life, and rouses it upward. It’s association in the Renaissance to the Christian concept of Spiritus, although incomplete, is not accidental at all. In alchemical iconography, this Mercury can take many forms. One sees it, among other things, as dry water, Neptune, caduceus, Hermes, hermaphrodite, snake, winged snake, threefold snake, Ouroboros, unicorn, dragon, and rooster. The Mercury of the Wise’s relation to snakes in alchemical imaginary testifies of deep rooted and ancient associations between this Renaissance Hermetic principle and Agathodaimon.
burgeoning European alchemical and magickal Tradition nourished by local developments, interactions with Ottoman and Arabic cultures, and the re-discovery of ancient Hermetism. As with the Raven which was the object of last issue’s Symbols of the Great Work series, the Mercury of the Wise is both a multifarious symbol, and a principle of occult philosophy. It is just waiting to be rediscovered in light of ancient Hermetism. It is common knowledge alchemists posit there are three principles guiding their work. Following Paracelsus, everything has form (Salt), life (Sulfur), and essence (Mercury). Of course, these terms are not literally related to the chemical body they refer to in Modern chemistry. Salt is fixed and solid, Sulphur is rich and oily; it binds the Salt to the Mercury, whereas Mercury is aerial, volatile, and liqueur-like; it is both an essence and what allows an individual, plant, animal, or mineral, to relate to the Cosmos. Compared to Salt and Sulphur, Paracelsus notes that Mercury is not specific to a given being, but universal; it is the principle by which sympathies and antipathies are created with the visible world and beyond. He sometimes call this Mercury ‘Mercury of Life’. Others after him used the term ‘Mercury of the
As you might already know, alchemical language can be rather abstruse. It is not my intent to dwell upon it at length, but students of alchemical symbolism should be aware of two things. First, alchemical language is a tool; it is not an end in itself, and alone it is rather insignificant. It becomes fruitful when it allows one to effectively understand, translate, and communicate with clarity one’s theurgical experiences. This comes with time when one has been immersed in these symbols, and has connected to their ‘reality’. Sadly, however, centuries of armchair commentators obscured this fruitful language and mystified its concrete uses. Secondly, if one is able to read between the lines, alchemical symbolism is capable of great malleability and precision. As such, one can be confronted, for example, with many types of ‘Mercuries’, either because symbols are used differently by various authors, or because they signify the action of one principle at different stages of the Great Work. Allegories, for example, where one finds either a rooster and a fox, a unicorn and an elk, or a single snake coiled around a staff most probably refer to Mercury as
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
one of the two dynamic natures of the Great work mentioned in last issue’s Symbols of the Great Work series. A crowned hermaphrodite, a winged snake, or a wise man with a caduceus generally refer to the Mercury of the Wise. The two Mercuries are related, but different. The occult philosophy of traditional Hermetism sheds light on the matter. The Mercury of the Wise’s relation to snakes in alchemical imaginary testifies of deep rooted and ancient associations between this Renaissance Hermetic principle and Agathodaimon. Most of the Mercury of the Wise’s various symbols can be related to the snake-God. The Mercury of the Wise’s watery form also echoes ancient Hermetism. As that which creates, renews, and regenerates all things according to their own essence, the Mercury of the Wise is reminiscent of Nun, the Egyptian God of the primeval ocean. Nun was sometimes seen as the Father of the Gods. According to ancient papyri, Ra went in Nun’s waters every night to be rejuvenated. Popular lore had it that human beings too, when sleeping, dwelled in Nun’s waters. Belonging-to and individuation-from appear to be profoundly related here. The Mercury of the Wise is the crowned agent of the work, the caduceus as a whole. Noùs, according to the Corpus Hermeicum, is the Agathodaimon. The snake-God of Alexandria is a rather volatile God/principle to grasp. In its forms, it is nonetheless closely related to the Mercury of the Wise taking shape in the teachings of Renaissance initiates. In Greece he was evoked by Socrates in Plato’s dialogues, but also, used as an epithet to Zeus, Dionysus, and Helios. In ancient Egypt, he had his cult in Alexandria, and was associated with Serapis, Ra, Thot, and Khnum. Moreover, he was related to Kmeph, a demiurgic serpent-form of Osiris and Atum. This winged serpent form also appears in the Orphic Hymns where Protogonos, a primeval God associated with Dionysus, is said to be the ‘two-natured’, ‘ether-tossed’, and ‘golden-winged’ creator of light, Gods, Goddesses, and mortals. The snake and winged-snake forms of these Gods, and their obvious solar and mercurial overtones, give us a fair idea of Agathodaimon’s form, and his place in Hermetic cosmology. In its association to Kmeph, Thot and Hermes, in addition to being demiurgic, Agathodaïmon was seen by ancient initiates as the great principle distributing individual Souls through incarnation, but also, presiding at their judgement in-between lives.
The relation we see here between a Renaissance symbol and the cosmic signification of Agathodaimon in ancient Hermetism is not be understood as the approximate equation of two unrelated notions, a reflex common to many uncritical publications on the Western Tradition, but rather, as the persistence, both in spirit and in the historical works of various initiates, of a fundamental principle of Hermetic philosophy: Mind (Nous). This not only testifies of the continuity of the Hermetic Tradition, but of its coherence over time for those who are able to perceive its signs and symbols. Greater efforts should be made to uncover the essential principles governing our works. Centuries of developments in the Western Tradition has given Hermetists a wealth of resources, but it has also veiled our language and our philosophy. Why not claim this ancient heritage again under the protection of the Immortal Divinities?n
& the Mysteries of Isis.
story, but also, a great source of knowledge on the cults he following is an excerpt from Apuleius and mysteries of the Queen of Heaven. of Madaurus’ novel The MetamorFor more information on Isis, and on The Metamorphoses. It is the second of three parts to phoses, see ‘Apuleius and the Mysteries of Isis’ in the appear in Magick and Theurgy. Written first issue of Magick and Theurgy. The excerpt below in the 2nd century CE, The Metamor- was taken from the Gutenberg Project phoses is also known as The Golden Ass. It is the story (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page), and of a man named Lucius who, after having been trans- slightly modified to suit modern sensibilities. Enjoy, and formed as an ass, travels to a temple of Isis to pray the may this inspire you to joyfully worship the Great GodGoddess for a cure to his curse. The novel is a wonderful dess.
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
He then commanded me, as well as the other religious, to fast for ten days without eating any meat, or drinking any wine. I observed these things with consistency. Then, behold the day approached when the sacrifice should be done. Night came, and there arrived on every coast a great multitude of Priests who according to their order, offered me many presents and gifts. Afterward, all the laity and profane people were commanded to depart as the Priests put on my back a linen robe. Following this, they brought me to the most secret and sacred place of the Temple. You would peradventure demand (you studious reader) what was said and done there. Verily, I would tell you if it were lawful for me to tell. You should know if it were convenient for you to hear. However, both your ears, and my tongue, incur the pain of rash curiosity. Howbeit, I will content your mind for this present time, which peradventure is somewhat religious and given to some devotion, listen therefore and believe it to be true. You shall understand that I approached near unto Hades, even to the gates of Proserpine, and after that, I was ravished throughout the Elements. I then returned to my proper place. At about midnight I saw the Sun shine, and I saw likewise the celestial and infernal Gods before whom I presented my self, and worshipped them. Behold now have I told you, which although you have heard, yet it is necessary you conceal it. This have I declared without offence, for the understanding of the profane.
by Irene Craig
The Metamorphoses This done [an Initiation], I gave charge to some of my companions to buy whatsoever was needful and convenient for the Priesthood. Mithra then brought me to the baths accompanied with all the religious sort. There, he demanded pardon to the Goddess while washing me and purifying my body according to custom. After this, when noon approached, he brought me back again to the Temple, presented me before the face of the Goddess, and unveiled certain secret things unlawful to be uttered.
When morning came, and the solemnities were finished, I came forth sanctified with 12 consecrated robes whereof I am not forbidden to speak, considering that many profanes saw me at that time. There I was commanded to stand upon a seat of wood, which stood in the middle of the Temple, before the figure and remembrance of the Goddess. My vestment was of fine linen, covered and embroidered with flowers. I had a precious cape upon my shoulders hanging down to the ground, whereon were beasts wrought of diverse colours as Indian dragons, and Hyperborean griffins, whom in form of birds the other world do engender. The Priests commonly call such a habit, a Celestial Robe. In my right hand I carried a light torch, and a garland of flowers upon my head, with Palm leaves sprouting out on every side. I was adorned like unto the Sun, and made in fashion of an Image in such sort that all the people assembled about did behold me.
They began to solemnize the feast of the nativity, and the new procession with sumptuous banquets and delicate meats. The third day was likewise celebrated with like ceremonies with a religious dinner, and with all the consummation of the order. While I was there, I felt a marvellous pleasure and great consolation in beholding ordinarily the Image of the Goddess. The Goddess admonished me to depart homeward. Upon hearing this I gave pious thanks to her, which although it were not sufficient, yet they were according to my power. Howbeit I could be persuaded to depart, before I had fallen prostrate before the face of the Goddess, and wiped her steps with my face whereby I began so greatly to weep and sigh that my words were interrupted, and as devouring my prayer. I began to say in this sort: ‘O holy and blessed Queen, the perpetual comfort of human kind, who by your bounty and grace nourishes all the world, and hears a great affection to the adversities of the miserable. As a loving mother you take no rest, neither are you idle at any time in giving your benefits, and protecting all men, as well on land as sea; you are she that puts away all storms and dangers from man’s life by your right hand, whereby likewise you restrain the fatal dispositions, appease the great tempests of fortune, and keep back the course of the stars. The Supernal Gods honour you. The Infernal Gods have you in reverence. You who moves the World, give Light to the Sun, and govern the Cosmos, you who treads on the power of Tartarus, by your means time returns, planets rejoice, and the elements serve. At your command the winds blow, the clouds increase, the seeds prosper, and the fruits prevail. The birds of the air, the beasts of the hill, the serpents of the den, and the fishes of the sea tremble at your majesty, but my spirit is not able to give you sufficient praise; my belongings are not enough to
satisfy your sacrifice, my voice has no power to utter that which I think, not even if I had a thousand mouths and so many tongues. Howbeit as a good religious person, and according to my estate, I will always keep you in remembrance and close within my heart’.
When I ended my orison, I went to embrace the great Priest Mithra, my spiritual father, and to demand his pardon, considering I was unable to recompense the good which he had done to me. After great greeting and thanks I departed from him to visit my parents and friends. I made up my bag, and travelled toward the city of Rome, where with a prosperous wind I arrived about the 12th day of December. The greatest desire that I had there, was daily to make my prayers to the sovereign Goddess Isis, who by reason of the place where her Temple was built, was called Campensis. She was continually adored by the people of Rome. Her minister and worshipper was I, howbeit I was a stranger to her Temple, and unknown to her religion there. When the year ended, the Goddess warned me again to receive a new order and consecration. I marvelled greatly what it should signify, and what should happen, considering that I was already a consecrated person. It fortuned that while I partly reasoned with my self, and partly examining the thing with the Priests and Novices, there came a new and marvellous thought in my mind: I was only religious to the Goddess Isis, and was not sacred to the religion of the great Osiris, he who is the sovereign Father of all Goddesses. Between Isis and Osiris, although there was religious unity and concord, there was a great difference of order and ceremony. Because it was necessary that I should likewise be a minister unto Osiris, there was no longer any delay in my consecration. On the following night appeared unto me one of the order of the God. He was covered with linen robes, and held in his hands spears wrapped in ivy, and other things not convenient to declare. He left these sacred objects in my chamber, and sitting in my seat, recited to me such things as were necessary for the sumptuous banquet of my Initiation. So that I might recognize him again, he showed me how the ankle of his left foot was somewhat maimed, which caused him to limp. To be continued…
A montage featuring the worship of Isis.
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
DO SPIRITS EXIST?
by Ian Elliott
If you say you believe in spirits these days, people look at you funny. Spirits are regarded as relics of old ways of looking at the world that have been superseded by the scientific outlook. A certain latitude is granted us to continue to believe in persons and free will, but any other entities that cannot be seen, weighed and measured in the laboratory are discounted. Effects from the unseen world are assigned to impersonal forces, as if humanity consisted of 6 billion ghosts wandering through an otherwise uninhabited machine.
and states of unusual happiness and inner peace from other beings called angels, or directly from a transcendent creator called God (a name derived originally from one of the titles of Thor, meaning `the handy one'). The Church governed access to these angelic or divine beings, and forbade traffic with the others. The Church, in Where are spirits? Well, if there are any, they are right effect, was like a huge tourniquet on humanity's experihere. Then why can't we see them? Because, under nor- ence of spirits. mal conditions, they inhabit wavelengths or energy freThe scientific revolution against the Church re-asquencies that fall outside our range of perception. We serted humanity's freedom to investigate all phenomena, can only see 7/100,000ths of an ångstrom of the total by denying the existence of spirits and insisting that it energy spectrum. Infrared and ultraviolet vibrations lie was only investigating impersonal forces that could be just beyond our ability to perceive, yet we know they understood in solely mechanical terms. This meant that are there by their effects. The same is true of radio approaching anything other than other humans on a perwaves and gamma radiation. If some of these energy sonal basis was out; manipulation, not dialogue, was the flows are organized into persons, that is more than sci- approved method. Some leeway was allowed to animal entists know, and, ordinarily, it is more than we can researchers to approach their subjects on a simplified know about it. People who claim to talk to spirits are personal level, but the reports they drew up had to be considered either mentally ill or at least weak-minded. totally impersonal and concerned only with details of This attitude can be traced historically. Science had time and circumstance, presented in terms of measureto struggle against the power of the Church for the in- ments. Behavioral psychology even extended this imdependence to conduct research and report discoveries. personal approach to the study of fellow human beings. The Church taught that psychological urges that were The researcher had to alienate him or herself from his hard to control came from spiritual entities called devils, or her own personal feelings and only report what could
be detected by a third observer. The criterion of repeata- sons. He chuckled in response (the philosopher R.G. bility demanded that all observations be confined to the Collingwood once remarked that people tend to be tickrealm of publicly verifiable statements. lish in their absolute presuppositions). So dialoguing with inner `drives' (mechanical metaphor) and `urges' as The rubric of science that excludes spirits is called if they were persons simply amounted to dialoguing `Occam's Razor,' named after the medieval philosopher with them. It was a distinction without a difference. This William of Ockham. It states that `entities should not be suggests a refinement to Occam's Razor: "Entities multiplied beyond necessity.' Respectable tracts written should not be multiplied beyond, nor subtracted within, by scientists or research scholars, when encountering necessity." We need as many entities as are necessary to accounts of spirits, always refer to such as employing deal with the world, including ourselves, but no more superfluous explanations. Yet there are areas of experithan that number, and no less as well. ence that require the use of personal knowledge, of communication of subjective experience, which is excluded Nevertheless, in dialoguing with inner forces, I found from the canons of laboratory research. Science makes I was not employing `entities' (that is, assumptions as to allowance for this in its place, which is always limited existence) at all. I was simply engaging in the act of dito interpersonal transactions. Anything private, however, alogue. An inspection of ancient religious psychology, is merely subjective, and nothing noetic or effective is once we strip off modern bias on these points (see e.g. to be expected from talking to oneself. The Greeks and the Irrational, by E.R. Dodds, Ch. 1, for both the data and the bias) reveals that the act of diaNow, the interesting thing is that certain schools of loguing, or engaging in what the later Church would call therapeutic psychology depart from this model. They `traffic with spirits,' was the sole concern of the ancients. advocate dialoguing with one's inner impulses, as if they If challenged as to whether the gods actually exist or were persons inhabiting one's inner mentality. Is the as not, they would probably answer that the question, beif thrown in to ensure that the patient does not fall into sides being unanswerable, was irrelevant, since prayer the error of schizophrenics, who regularly hear voices and offerings were found to be effective most of the time and respond to them as though they were other entities anyway. It was the act of interaction with these `forces' inhabiting their minds? If so, it would seem curious that (modern mechanical metaphor) that counted, not what cognitive therapists (as they are called) think that the adone believed about them. Bringing the question of belief dition of two little words would be sufficient to guard into these studies is anachronistic, since the emphasis against this happening. Schizophrenia, as we are coming on belief only arose with the advent of Christianity and to understand increasingly, is a biochemical condition, the subsequent defensive reaction against it among the and perfectly healthy, `normal' people can talk to themlate pagans. selves without any danger of falling into that condition. Small children and isolated old people, for instance, talk The better studies in their better moments will admit to themselves frequently, as do people of intermediate that these questions simply `never arose' for the people age when they want to `see what they think' about a of those `primitive' times, but always regard such nongiven subject. questioning as a defect of pre-philosophical understanding, but this is nonsense. Plenty of evidence exists that If, then, the as if is unnecessary from a therapeutic people three thousand years ago and earlier questioned point of view, what purpose does it serve? It is, I hold, the existence of the gods, and we have the Memphite a sop thrown to our culture's mandate that `entities Theology from Egypt as an example of the philosophishould not be multiplied beyond necessity,' and taking cal sophistication of deep antiquity. So it is at least posthe notion of spirits seriously is regarded as exceeding sible that the reason the question of independent the bounds of necessity. Yet here we see that the interests existence did not arise for people of those times was that of resolving inner conflicts call for such dialogue, the question, if considered for a moment, was dismissed though only as if we were talking to someone else. I as irrelevant. pointed out to my last therapist (the insurance rules changed shortly thereafter, ending some twenty years of The question of whether there are spirits, then, therapy and workshops for me) that, since we are not changes into "Are there circumstances in which it is efprivy to each other's mental processes, we are already fective to regard certain situations as calling for a perspeaking to each other as if we existed as separate per- sonal approach in order to cope effectively with them in
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
Someone might say at this point, "Oh well, if that is all you mean by spirits, I am not very impressed. Do you mean we can never see one, or that they never take the By Martin Béliard initiative to appear to us?" I can only give a personal answer to this question: "Yes, on rare occasions; and when they do, you will probably wish they hadn't!" To be continued
Next part: A personal Encounter n shared religious trends across Greece from Homer to the last Mysteries of the Roman Empire. Price does, but he refuses to give precedence to any particular myth, festival, or ritual when studying Greek religions. The author, for instance, highlights the fact that even if many myths and stories were shared across Greece, Greeks themselves knew, and generally accepted, the existence of multiple versions of any given myth. Orpheus, Homer, and Hesiod were all seen as divinely inspired poets, and even if these poets sometimes revealed apparently conflicting stories about the Gods, these were all thought as being true. Similarly, Price notes that villages in the vicinity of Athens, although participating to great Athenian religious festivals such as the Panathenaia, had their own religious calendars. These calendars were filled Price, Simon. Religions of with local festivals celebrating divinities in diverse famthe Ancient Greeks. Cam- ily and communal rituals often unknown outside of the bridge, UK : Cambridge Uni- village. Such particularities, and the multiplicity of perversity Press, 1999. xii + 217 spectives on Greek religious myths and practices, are pp. $32.99. ISBN: 978-0- raised again and again in many sections of Religions of the Ancient Greeks. In chapters on religious architec521-38867-2. ture, on rites of manhood and womanhood, and on mys‘Ancient Greece’ has often been an umbrella term for tery cults, the author shows how Greek religions were scholars arguing for the uniformity and continuity of a varied and original. There was a ‘larger Greek world’ single Greek culture spanning from the 8th century BCE for Price, but Greek religious experience was first and to the 5th century CE. In such a perspective, religion, foremost instituted through local myths and ceremonies. culture, knowledge, and politics are not only seen as unReligions of the Ancient Greeks will be of great inchanging over a given geographical space – Greece and its colonies – but also, over 13 centuries of Greek civi- terest to modern practitioners of the ancient mysteries lization. It implies that there was, in Ancient Greece, one for its wide array of resources and references to a great religion, one set of myths and stories, one type of phi- variety of myths and festivals. It will also be of interest losophy, and one way to govern a polis. Simon Price’s for its insistence on the importance of understanding Religions of the Ancient Greeks argues otherwise. En- Greek religions on their own terms instead of doing so gaging with a wealth of archaeological and written through our modern religious perspectives. Traditional sources, Price traces a subtler portrait of Greek culture Theurgy as it is practiced in the A.S. and E.O. is founded and religion as he shows the richness and diversity of on ancient religions. Magi who cultivate deep relationGreek religious myths, theories, and practices. This re- ships with the Immortal Divinities are well aware of ligious plurality invites him to talk about Greek ‘reli- this. Polytheism, however, is not an easy notion to understand for beginning students of Hermetism and gions’ instead of ‘religion’. Theurgy. Price’s Religions of the Ancient Greeks gives This, of course, does not mean the author fails to see the reader a lively and fruitful account of ancient Greek
religions, and an estranging look into ancient men and especially along the Nile Valley. women’s relations with the Divinities. I strongly advise Hermetists who are not already familiar with Fowden’s The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind to read it. Of course, as any book, it should not be read alone; students of Hermetism should multiply their research on various aspects of our Tradition inspiring them. Nevertheless, it is a productive stepping stone to start your study as it investigates the main texts of ancient Hermetism, sketching a portrait of late Antiquity often unknown to Fowden, Garth. The Egyptmodern practitioners. n ian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. xxv + 244 pp. $30.95. ISBN: 0-691-02498-7. Garth Fowden’s The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind, has a rather different mission than Price’s Religions of the Ancient Greeks. It is more clearly defined as a work of intellectual history than one of religious history. By ‘Late Pagan Mind’, Fowden refers to the theories, teachings, and perspectives of various ancient intellectual milieus – especially Hellenised Egyptian ones – on Hermetic philosophy. His study, initially published in 1987, shook the landscape of scholarly research on Hermetism and called for a more social-historical approach to the Hermetic texts, or Hermetica. Not confined to academia, The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind also has much to offer to practising Hermetists in want of a better understanding of the philosophical and religious origins of their Tradition. Fowden’s initial breakthrough mostly came from his approach to Hermetism. Not only did he draw on a vast number of texts related to this Tradition, but he interpreted them in relation to the various milieus where they appeared, engaging with the philosophical, magical, and religious practices connected with the Hermetica. Doing so, the author bridged ‘philosophical’ and ‘technical’ texts. Speculative texts such as the Corpus Hermeticum, the Chaldean Oracles, Iamblichus’ De Mysterii, and various neo-platonic exegeses are not only read side by side, but also, put in relation with practical texts such as the Papyri Graecae Magicae, alchemical fragments by Zosimus of Panopolis, and ancient astrological manuals. The result is a rich and refreshing account of the milieus where Hermetism flourished in late Antiquity. Moreover, it gives the reader a clear understanding of the relation between Hermetic philosophy and its practice,
MAGICK & THEURGY ‐ October/November/December 2011
THE GOLDEN CHAIN
The Chain of the Adepts
The Aurum Solis tradition comes from a very ancient lineage of Masters and Initiates. All of them were a living link, passing over to us these initiatic Mysteries. These Masters were the true founders of the Ogdoadic Tradition. Strongly connected to the Pythagorean, Platonist and Neoplatonist schools, these initiates constituted the Hermetic Mysteries. Many know the names of Plato, Iamblichus, Plotinus, Proclus. For our Order, paying due respect to the Masters who gave the light of this Tradition to our Order is of paramount importance. May their memory, always and forever, be honored under the auspices of the Immortal Divinities! Read more at:http://goo.gl/CnxaU
Uncover the Hermetic Qabalah
with a series of posters
Connect to the Immortal Divinities through the Hermetic Tree of Life.
Create your own natal chart using the Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis.
Discover a rare illustration of the Hermetic Macrocosm which summarizes what Theurgists call "The Sacred Way of Return." Every Element, every Planetary Sphere, every Zodiacal Sign is shown associated with the Immortal Divinity which is its Traditionnal Ruler.