Baptism and sacrifice

So yesterday I took my son camping and fishing…and attempted to take him canoeing. We went with his Grandfather who owned the canoe but had only used it twice on a calm reservoir. We ended up camping next to a sizable creek…more on the size of a river by not deeper than my waist in most parts but moving full and steady due to snow melt and plentiful rain fall.

Perhaps against better judgment both my son’s grandfather and I were eager to set the canoe in near the camp sit and ride the creek down all the way down to the reservoir. We could see it well enough from the road and all seemed easy enough to access. I may be fairly skilled in a rubber raft but in a canoe, well, no one was. We ended up not being able to paddle correctly, sticking the nose into the reeds, and spilling over the side into the freezing water…..It had been a while feeling that sort of cold and my son was not happy at all. Everyone had life jackets on and I was able to hold on to my son but several things ended up getting washed down the river and it took a an hour or so to get the canoe back to land…A fun little adventure and “waker up” but all in all nothing too dangerous or that caused anyone any real harm. My son was back to sitting near the river as soon as he got on dry clothes but uhh…didn’t want “to go fishing in the boat anymore”

imagesThe more interesting part was talking to my house spirit a day later. He went from commenting on my weekend to going into a lecture about baptism.
-According to my spirit, baptism wasn’t undergone quite the way its done or perceived now a days. He said that during its rise in popularity in the middle east, people and holy men (I assumed he met people like John the Baptist and Jesus himself) didn’t congregate around still pools and eddies along the river but considerable strong current areas. The areas themselves sparked a healthy level of fear in people who did not grow up in a culture where swimming and water sports was a recreational norm…at all. He said that most people then had a general fear of water then in that area and few even knew how to swim let alone cross swift rivers safely. Also becoming “submerged” was more synonymous with drowning and death than it was a test on how long one could hold their breath.
The combination of nearing death and entering into an immediate temperature change as well as sensory surroundings can and does have a particular effect on the human psyche. In the absence of sincere spirituality and devotion it can turn such activities into events for thrill junkies who keep going after a “high”. However under the correct circumstances, such an experience can have a profound affect on the persons will, psyche and life path. Thus baptism back in the day really was an experience of life (death) and rebirth for those daring and faithful enough to brave the “waters of death and rebirth”. The look on some of the faces my spirit showed to me in vision reminded me of my own emotions while going on the “Wild Hunt” and HGA spirit journey I describe in the HGA anthology published by NephilimPress.

I never really focused on “fear” being an element in baptism and a sacrifice of self in order to be reborn in faith. Certainly it would have required great faith to begin with as one by one, you saw people willingly submit themselves to the water and reemerged unscathed. A vision which quite possibly was novel and radical back in the day. my spirit reminded me that these activities were going on when showers and “bathing” was not a very widely practice custom or norm by any meaning of the…concept. I wish that I could recall every word he said and exactly how he said it (I was too busy taking in the lesson rather than writing it down) but the message was clear:
First of all, taking oneself out of the norm and comfort zone in order to seek out the unknown- abandoning safety and the familiar in favor of spiritual connection or enlightenment, is a prominent way of experiencing the divine. This aspect combine with all of the vital and mystical correspondences of water being of the underworld, the astral, the emotion and depth of our existence only compounds a truly mystical experience. Thirdly, the added element of “washing” of purifying body AND mind with the shock of immersion, when undergone with proper intent would truly be a rebirth in no subtle or purely symbolic form. These three aspects aided by a truly heavenly attention and support would yield a veritable and true baptism in every sense of the world. How many of us have actually been baptized in this way?
Were you afraid? Excited? In Awe? Shocked? Or was it just a smooth pleasant and familiar custom which became ingrained in our cultural norm centuries ago? Those of you who know me might guess that I’m after the raw and authentic experience. I strive to know the revelation behind the mystery which is transcendent of repetitious ceremony. I love any opportunity to behold aspects of a mystery which requires exuberant faith, trust, and courage to even approach.
What value without fear, risk, trust and devotion…..What better way to know the expression of love from your heart authentic and unbidden.

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Stepping into spirit with keys in hand

 

When your entire being is dedicated to the work of conversing with beings your conscious mind attempts to convince you do not exist, your impassioned -Will- breaks through the mental murk into silence. Here you will behold divine consciousness brought to form. Here you will entreat yourself with angels seen through Gateways of a clear stone, within a circle of unshakable truth…

I’m quite familiar with Joseph C. Lisiewski’s work having read ‘Ceremonial Magic and the Power of Evocation’ several times through during the course of pursuing traditional methods of evoking the Goetia demons. I also have the sequel ‘Howlings’ along with his books on Kabbalah, etc. he definitely does some ground breaking work and has set the tone for the veritable practice of ceremonial magic. Many of his axioms and findings have rung true in my own work with some exceptions… His strict adherence to pseudo-religious dogma and ideals in some instances have created some of the backlash he speaks about not only after magic ritual but in his professional and personal life as well in my opinion.

The author has a determined albeit narrow acceptance of how “things should (or will) work”. In some ways he is the polar extreme to the fluffy “new angers” who have no real experience or know how in magical matters to begin with. I continue to have “mixed” feelings on his works but appreciate his efforts overall and acknowledge the genuine account of experience which seems to coincide with my own.
It’s difficult to find occult books which relate -actual- successful experience working with the grimoires which is why I decided to begin writing. However, excellent and organized works on grimoires are abundant these days with authors like Stephen Skinner and Dave Rankine, Joseph Petterson, Aaron Leitch’s “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires” is a great primer for actually working these historic texts. If you want to read about actual accounts of those who have practiced historical ritual magic, I also suggest reading John King’s Imperial Arts for the Lemegeton’s Goetia, works by Frater MC, and Jake Stratton-Kent for intelligent relation through discerning experimentation. Each author had a differing philosophy and take on ceremonial magic as a whole, but each has valuable insight.
There are many novice magicians who are hoping to simply encounter a spirit or experience one genuinely and are drawn to ritual/grimoiric magic to accomplish this for them. (This was my initial motivation) Although possible, I believe one can and rather should experience the spiritual and/or divine prior to attempting conjuration. There are a few ways to achieve this but each is a locked door that can only be opened under specific circumstances suitable to the mind of the magician.
The dynamic interaction with spirits that are ‘physically’ apparent and audible, etc. is a major metal/emotional/spiritual shock to most adults who have continually structured their reality paradigm (most likely to counter these types of experiences). As a Psychology student and Hypnotherapist, the event is simply not supported well by most individuals and the mind will immediately construct an alternative to such a blatant occurrence. Not only that but I am convinced of a spiritual “moderator” who is able to determine just who and to what degree these spiritual events can actually be witnessed.
Many if not most will never experience what Lisiewski describes even if they follow his instructions to a tee because of these factors that he fails to mention or is simply unaware of. You can only “Subjectively Synthesize” yourself so much. Some simply do not have the capacity/aptitude to behold spiritual phenomena to the degree he describes (Their psyche cannot or will not support such an event). I know this due to my own experiences of trying to include others in events that confused and bewildered them and for which they were unable to process mentally/emotionally. It’s simply not time for some minds to be awakened to the worlds behind the veil.
After some of the more intense encounters, my rational, conscious mind tried to debate and conform my memory of the experience into a more acceptable framework of its constructed reality. I had to meditate often to cease the battle for acceptance going on in my own head.
My experience is such that I can state now that what Lisiewski describes and explains many times does in fact exist and occur. Yet, I also know from not only schooling but from conversations with spirits directly that not everyone perceives them (the spirits) the same way. No matter what the ritual, things still filter through the levels of human consciousness, perception, and frameworks of comprehension.

From the altar space is cast the inner reflection of the divine soul in hope, union, communion, and awareness….. This space, for you my lord, my ascendant, my mind, and heart to the heavens. Let Thy light and mind show the wonders upon this place, …and by this grace be with me always.
The secret does truly lie with the K&C with your HGA.

Nephilim Press will also be publishing my personal experience and take on this matter soon. I hope you who decide to purchase this work will enjoy the revelations shared by me as well as several other great magicians. Without going too far into the subject matter that the book contains, I believe true union and conversation may only occur through a very dynamic and precise magico-religious shock which initiates a dissolving of the ego, and mental perception of reality and self, that allows true awareness of that which is not created in/by the restring mind.
Some of these major locked doors I alluded to previously can only be unlocked in this fashion. Many do not come to opening their eyes to the spiritual after a rather traumatic and intense event which shifted their awareness, and dissolved long held patterns of acceptability. There is no smooth road to this for anyone wishing to step into the unknown.

The purely psychological model concerning the ‘reality’ of spirits was popular for quite some time. Although I understand completely their reasoning behind this theory my experience has shown me otherwise even when I began evocation and ritual magic from this standpoint myself.

Spiritual beings are completely distinct from human consciousness although, human consciousness, and compression are the filters used to perceive them. They have their own motivations, machinations and purposes. Many exhibit knowledge and traits that people do not have (even collectively) and are not simply, “psychological” aspects of the deep human unconscious.
Like I mentioned, I tried to adhere to this school of thought when I began in my teens, but one I was forced to abandon after evoking a spirit to complete manifestation……I realized that my personal psychology was desperately trying to accept and comprehend the reality of the situation, rather than formulate it. I was also completely aware that the actual being before me was beyond my comprehension and complete understanding. I find people of the purely psychological side of the fence have never undergone this type of experience before.

I get rather amused at those who associate the Goetia spirits to “personifications of human dark or instinctive psychological, etc. natures”. The demons are aware and well-disposed if not ‘versed’ in these aspects of humanity but they go quite beyond that. Their abilities and knowledge transcends anything that has to do with any of these simple ideals. Such as causing earthquakes, storms, and other such phenomena.
They definitely affect and move within those passionate and exploitative aspects of humanity however. That’s how spirits and such typically work with us…magic and influence works on each subtle level through the astrally dynamic.

Fairly recently I heard ceremonial magic, ritual magic, and evocation/invocation defined as “artistic self-analysis”.
Psychology was my major in college. I’m a certified hypnotherapist and spent a lot of time in the psychotherapy field. I definitely see how psychology relates in trying to decode magical workings but does not determine them by any means, just as they do not determine the machinations of the spirits.
Our interactions with formless-consciousness (entities/spirits) are always colored by our culture, language, mind, concept perception and framework of reality acceptances which we possess in the mind. Spirits tap into this and relate in ways our minds can actually accept and at least semi-comprehend.
No spirit needs to “look” like anything but they are themselves as real as anything else beyond perception……the psychological aspects placed on them aren’t necessarily false imaginings per say but they aren’t complete either. This is the reason magicians utilize ‘road-maps’ in order to work with the relative or apparent “chaos” of the spiritual world since it is so different than what physical humans perceive it as. These “road-maps” of course, are the tried and tested methods and/or ‘traditions’.

Certain spirits, angels, ancestors, guiding spirits etc, can actually…fine tune (attune) our perceptions and abilities to perceive and converse with them better. Thus we are able to integrate their gifts (shared knowledge) so that we can actually see, comprehend, and do things we were unable to previously. Often, I didn’t notice all I was learning or being gifted with till afterward.

Relationship is a key concept here with many magicians having their own beliefs about what is deemed as “appropriate” or most beneficial.
Working with the Almadel angels, seemed to naturally open up my ability to actually call other angels and spirits into crystals, etc better so I could see and hear them better where I couldn’t before, as well as do this for others…I’m pretty sure they (the angels) did this for me even without me consciously realizing it.

After one of our evocations, my scryer who is not a ceremonial magician, reflected on how he perceived the magic within the magical circle and during the operation. He said, “Once you begin the ceremony, you seem to create some sort of a vacuum, where the very atmosphere changes and whatever you invoke rushes to the circle, in an instant. It’s amazing!” He also spoke about how the structure and timing seems to get everything aligned and working toward the intended purpose. This made me smile, as like with many things, when you’ve been doing it for a while, you tend to forget just how incredible ritual magic is and how well it can work under the right circumstances. Once certain actions “click” on the spiritual as well as physical side of things, the incredible phenomena will be obviously apparent.
As I’ve stated several times now, its been quite enjoyable getting feedback and outside perspective from someone who is not integrated into the mechanics of Western Ceremonial Magick. The magic works whether you believe it will or not or even know what it’s about…
Without acquiring this link or some sort of ‘Spiritual ambassador’, it’s practically impossible to truly be let into the “club behind the veil’. It’s the reason why many if not most people can go about oblivious to an sign of the spiritual, intelligence…pattern, and design. If we find the correct way to ‘ask’, certain spirits can help us find the correct way to ‘see’. Its training the eye to see the 3D picture from a mess of dots…only, in reality, the dots are there to assist, if you ask

The work continues with new lessons and completely amazing achievements through the celestial powers… There is an extension of soul through which the angelic powers clear the way for clearer realization of full and destined potentiality.

I’ve been asked the question: “When angels or spirits, speak to you, what does it sound like? Do you hear them in your mind or are they actually speaking aloud?”

My response is that it seems to be all of the above and will sometimes seem to alternate without warning. 
Indeed the most confusing aspect of hearing spirits (when reflecting on it afterward) is the sense of distance/location when they are speaking. More often than not, when the spirit has either appeared or made it’s presences known, I will hear them in a way comparable to wearing high-grade earphones where no other sound, acoustics of the room, or any other factor seem to affect their voice. At times it sounds as if they are speaking directly into my ear. At other times their voices sound faint and removed as if they were a long way off though appearing right in front of me. Angels especially seem to communicate running words, visions, sensations and images together in a seamless and rather perfect way.

After a successful evocation, I am often confronted with the realization that my limited capacity to understand what was communicated to me is hindering me to comprehend the larger picture. Conversing with intelligences that definitely have higher methods of exchange seem to break things down in order for human (conscious) comprehension. Luckily, I believe human beings (at least certain ones) are able to tune into a wide variety of communication methods depending on their capacity and frequency in exposure. As a combined variable, the disembodied intelligences or powers can assist the mage greatly to bridge this chasm of dimensional communication. Exactly how and in which ways, or under what circumstances this is decided, I’m not completely sure of. It is not solely based on “attitude” or extreme piety/humility though I can say that. I have conducted evocations in sour moods where I practically expected to fail, all to have the spirit (usually angel) surprise me with a remarkable visit that seemed rather ..undeserved.

Tune in this Thursday evening!

This Thursday I will be on the air with Fra. Thabion Carroll “Poke” Runyon of the OTA during the “Hermetic Hour, 9:00 PM Pacific time.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-hermetic-hour/2013/07/12/gateways-through-stone-and-circle-by-fra-ashen-chassan
I had the pleasure of speaking with Frater Thabion earlier last week and enjoyed our conversation. It was interesting speaking with someone I’ve known about for years but never talked to previously.

-Also, If anyone was interested I had an enjoyable interview previously which I failed to post on. It was the first interview I did after the release of my book on Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole” with Andrieh Vitimus and Jason M. Colwell : http://deeper-down-the-rabbit-hole.com/ episode 102. It was fun getting to talk freely and answer questions about my practices and the book.-

Poke Runyon was one of my first exposures to the Goetia and one of the first e visuals of ceremonial magic in action. I credit some of his methods for initiating some of my early scrying experiments and continued interest to experiment with the Goetia myself. In some ways he was an early mentor and figure of respect I looked up to since no one else had stepped up to the plate at that time. Currently, our methods, philosophies, and ideas about ceremonial magic and specifically the Goetia, differ widely but I’ve respect his achievements in the magical community over so many years and also being a pioneer of the occult in many avenues. I hadn’t expected him to read my book and was surprised when he contacted me to tell me he enjoyed it. The very fact that he continues to read and explore the experiences of other magicians that have less than half his years in experience is to me commended.

After our discussion I reflected on how much I enjoyed discussing differences and similarities between us and how I am also continually learning from those who have their own take on magical experiences.

He writes on “Gateways Through Stone and Circle”:

On Thursday July 11th the Hermetic Hour with host Poke Runyon will review the new book “Gateways Through Stone and Circle” by Frater Ashen Chassan. We will have the author as a featured call-in guest. This book is, in our opinion, the best practical “how to do it” book on traditional Western ceremonial magick in the past 16 years. It is also one of the best “why to do it” books also. This is a magical book by a real magician who has studied, lived and mastered the Art. After working his way through the Lemegeton’s Goetia and Almadel, he decided to concentrate on Trithemius’ “Book of Secret Things” or “The Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals” from Barrett’s “Magus” and make this system of Angelic crystal conjuration his special forte. He built his own equipment — graphically detailed in the book — and described all the technical details, rituals and techniques necessary to replicate his experiments. The text is beautifully written in a mature, sophisticated and very readable style. So, tune in Thursday and visit with the Magus from “The Magus.”

His praise for my very first publication was beyond what I feel is deserved but I was very flattered. Hopefully the interview will be stimulating and enjoyable for all! So tune in to the Hermetic Hour.

A mage’s musings


A quick skim through Youtube reminds me that video recording a sincere magical ritual and posting it online is a very bad idea. Not so much for fear of encouraging countless idiotic comments and arguments from the people who have nothing better to do but argue online, or having a foolish person attempt a sincerely dangerous ritual, it’s definitely not for worry of appearing foolish to a wide public audience …but more so for the poor judgment it would be to post anything worth of value or sacredness for public amusement. The very thought of events that would befall such an action made me sick to my stomach when I simply entertained the idea. Although arcane knowledge can be apprehended when it is sought with a disciplined and mature mind, the whole of occult working should be strictly kept concealed from public view (Thus keeping it occult).

People want to be entertained and empowered by promising effects without doing any of the work (a Paramount disposition in the West). All wish to be convinced to try something or believe in something which they have no comprehension of. It’s a good thing the vast majority of attempted conjurations fail since we would have a lot more broken minds as a result.

I usually cannot make it through an entire viewing of one of the countless teenage presentations of ill-informed summoning attempts. Ninety percent are made by fools feigning to be authentic or even knowledgeable about what they are attempting. Everything from the classic Goetia spirits, Satan himself, or beings fashioned from urban legend and fantasy are attempted to be manifested by every sort of dabbler out there. My only pleasure in viewing these complete wastes of time is hearing their disappointment and frustration when the area remains just as still and calm as when they began their “magical-documentary”. Worst are the ones using TV “ghost hunting” tactics and equipment that try to make something from an obvious nothing.

Fortunately, those who have no aptitude for perceiving spiritual phenomena in the first place and no developed framework/blue print to draw from will undoubtedly fail in their attempts to interact with such forces.
(No, reading a ritual from a book a few times and trying out what it says is not what I’m referring to)
Further attempts to contact the spiritual realm will most likely prevent them from encountering anything in the future due to frustration, enforced lack of belief, and an increasing lack of conviction. These people are not magicians.

The curious side of me at one time wondered what apparitions, events, or noises would be captured if I ever video record the entirety of some of my summoning rituals. It would be interesting to be able to see myself at work from an outside perspective, and see if the events captured by camera were the same ones I witnessed with my own senses. However, I loathe the idea of those mentioned above witnessing what I consider some of the most intensely personal and powerful events in my life experience (whether spectacular phenomena was captured or not). The sincere part of me is sickened by the very thought of profane, vulgar, and ultimately idiotic naysayers being audience to one of the rarest and most sacred experiences known to humanity. Personally sacred to me as well, which in all honestly holds more weight. Important points for being highly selective of those you allow to share in magical operations.

There is something ridiculous about the notion of filming a spiritual event/experience no matter how much the entertainment, proof, or fame appeal is. There are many of us, myself included, who enjoy the thrill of possibly seeing a paranormal or spiritual event captured on film. It’s enticing to be able to “share” in extraordinary events from an objective standpoint. Upon further contemplation, I wondered what would appear on camera if someone going through true enlightenment were filmed. Would there be any sights, sounds, or feelings that an onlooker could perceive who had no reference for the experience? Would it even matter if there were? What would be the motivation for trying to convince people who did not believe or had no prior experience with such matters?

I entertained such questions as the above during the earlier times in my magical experiences. I was isolated by the events I had witnessed and greatly wanted others to share in what I was going through. My teenage years brought about many lessons where I attempted to introduce others to the world of magical reality…
Some succeeded where others failed.

I am not sure if others have had similar experiences but I introduced the magical and spiritual world to a few who were obviously not ready for such events in their lives. If someone’s paradigm is not suited to existence of a spiritual world which is dissimilar to the physically tangible and controlled world they are used to, they may have difficulty accepting any manifestations which appear before their eyes.
If some of you are looking for veritable “solid” auditory and visual proof that such and such exists and can be witnessed and recorded in indisputable ways, I am sorry to state that you are not only thinking wishfully, but impractically as well. You’re trying to cram one world (or concept of the “world”) into another world, which was designed specifically different from one another.

Let’s consider a few other points: Human beings as a statistical fact, are very poor observers and worse at recalling events exactly as they happened. One of the main reasons Hypnosis regression recall is seldom used in courts is because it is not an objective account of what transpired but a limited perception that is cataloged within the workings of a human brain. Our brains absorb information through a multitude of different filters which places a heavy slant on holistic comprehension. This fact multiplies many fold when nonphysical elements are included.

Even with various instruments, video, and audio recording, the human brain is still the final perceive and interpreter of the data. Certain spiritual elements might even be captured on video tape, but unless the one watching it has the ability to perceive and comprehend what they are looking at, the occurrences may still go unnoticed.

As I’ve previously written about, in order to behold certain occurrences, there has to be a suitable unconscious frame work or blueprint in which to perceive it with any amount of comprehension. If none exists, then the occurrence will go by unnoticed (invisible/unperceived) or else just case a slight disturbance which will be brushed aside by the conscious mind as unremarkable. Other times, these same people are shocked by occurrences that frighten and confuse them but give no other framework for understanding.
It’s really not a difficult a concept. Through simple hypnotic suggestion, I can make myself seem invisible to the subject, where they simply cannot focus or perceive I am there because their mind tells them not too. If there is a deeply ingrained structure or “suggestion” that states certain beings do not and cannot exist, its going to be very difficult for the conscious mind to be able to see “that which does not exist”. Introducing the presence of spirits or nonphysical beings to an adult (early teenage and older) mind, that had no previous framework or reference for is practically useless and sometimes harmful. By that time the mind has already constructed a fairly substantial grid of what occurrences are acceptable and included and which are not.

In normal circumstances, perceptions of reality are a sounding board against fellow observers (other human beings within the same social structure) who share at least similar concepts of acceptable reality. Anything outside this spectrum is either discarded by the rational mind or causes a disturbance in which “fear” is typically the reaction, as the mind searches for ways to interpret the foreign information/stimuli and fit it into a known frame of reference from which to attempt understanding.

(Also, research the hypothesis of the “quantum field” when dealing with human conceivability.)

Interesting side effects can occur when people undergo something their minds are not ready for. The results may actually have more to do with the witness’ psychology than anything external. When people are not able to accept or process the information they are witnessing a few amusing (and at other times disturbing) reactions can occur.

Some instantly divert their attention and eyes away from whatever it was I was trying to have them see, becoming nervous and seriously uncomfortable. The body makes odd sorts of shivers, and nerves twitching motions as if attempting to divert all sensory perceptions toward something physical and familiar. Even people who seem to be quite lucid and aware of being in the midst of something extraordinary may later seem to forget or totally dismiss what they experienced since the mind has no place to put the information in a rational, systematic place of familiarity.
Occult power and knowledge is occult {hidden} for a reason, and not due to the powerful and gifted magicians wishing to keep it that way. Many people are not meant to explore the realms of the unknown for a variety of reasons. Exposure to such events or entities, even accidentally can cause mental and emotional disturbance in ways not immediately apparent.
True Magic gives “power to the participant” were new constructs, concepts, worlds, and beings become perceivable and even acceptable over time. Magical ritual creates a systematic blueprint and/or foundation upon which we can build a framework for encountering and experiencing all sorts of spiritual phenomena. Psychedelic drugs or chemicals can bypass the conscious mind’s insistent control over permissible perceptions of reality but will typically not allow useful information and experience to be comprehended once returning to familiar states of consciousness. This is not Magic.
Magic requires the successful mediation between the seen and unseen worlds to whatever capacity the magician is able to fathom. Ritual and disciplined preparation create a road map for which the adventuring mind can observe foreign archetypes and circumstance without completely losing the construct of acceptable reality. Ritual creates a separate space, if you will, for the seemingly “impossible” to occur. Ceremonial alteration in mind and atmosphere allow the learning of new ideas and concepts to be assimilated without a paradoxical conflict of differing realities. In lingering between the worlds, the mind will either shut out what I cannot process or become dangerously unbalanced resulting in skewed mental/emotional functioning and perceptions of reality not acceptable to their fellow sounding boards.

I’m convinced that this process cannot be forced artificially, even with discipline. It also cannot be attempted just by “reasoning it out” even by the most gifted of minds. The parts of the brain which control the perceptions and interactions with the ‘unseen’ worlds are not the rational consciousness. Likewise, there is definitely an ‘exterior moderator’ which seems to allow certain individuals to experience these events and others not to. I still do not understand exactly what factors decide what allows a person to experience the dynamic magical, and what completely conceals it from another. It seems to ring true however, that “A magician is brought forth from his mother’s womb…. all others who assume the function are unhappy.”
The argument for particular magical experiences being “in the mind” therefor is a misconception. The mind is the medium the magician explores the magical world through his or her frame of reference. The Spirits, ghosts, demons, Fae, and angels are there regardless, but extend past what the imagination can hope to capture them in.

Hey wizard, What’s your religion?

A few reflections:
“Philosophy: Comparative Religions” was one of the most interesting college course that I ever had the pleasure of taking. That class along with Cultural Anthropology, my multitude of Psychology courses, Ethics, and a few others. The professor of the aforementioned course was one of those rare individuals whom you will never forget and will forever have the utmost respect and admiration for. She was over seventy years old and mentally sharp as a razor blade. She was able to argue intelligently and convincingly from any religious/philosophical standpoint and pretty much own a debate on all ends. She challenged me at the best points of my discussions, making me reconsider statements I made during class which I had the utmost confidence in. I began growing a profoundly richer and more compressive view on what I truly believed, and more importantly WHY I believed. I was also able to release, change, and discard previous “truths” I held on so tightly too and was able to reexamine assumptions I had about the workings of the world. I have found that as I go on through life, I’ve taken the academic and scholarly skills I learned in school and have applied them to my daily work and experience. My wish for everyone is that they find those rare teachers who truly do make a difference.
One of the largest areas my comprehensive learning has changed would be my views of religion and faith. Before my college courses and further learning, I had already abandoned the position of being in the “Singularly correct and one true Christian faith”. I had been raised Methodist which may possibly be one of the “lightest” forms of the Imperialist Monotheistic religion. I actually enjoyed church growing up and engaged the minister after his sermons on points of the various sermons. Religion, faith, scripture, and ethics were never “boring” to me so I never accepted it as passive integration into my life. I actively embraced, pursued, and questioned it. However, by my early teen years, I was having too many personal experiences with the spiritual and supernatural to accept any religious dogma as being anything near “fact” or “Truth”. Eventually after learning the history of my birth religion’s atrocities towards other human beings and faiths, I abandoned it altogether in search of something more agreeable.

I became quickly drawn to Celtic Druidism, (having skipped over the more popular Wicca and Witchcraft movement as being to erratic and popular-media driven) as it contained almost all the aspects I had been looking for and what I also felt intrinsically to be closer to a living “truth”. I researched and studied all I could on the subject, making some very close friends and contacts on the way. Shortly after, a “grove” was formed and I became an active member and leader within its small numbers. I experienced many rituals, gatherings, and events that shaped my life and to which I still hold a dear measure in my heart. My “break” from this path was brought on more so by the people than the philosophy. I enjoyed the wisdom and abilities from a select few but found that many pagans were undisciplined and rather erratic in their approach to spirituality and religion in general. They were angry or dissatisfied with the mainstream religions or culture they were brought up in and still had trouble securing measures of success and balance in their personal lives. “Organized Pagan Religion” was very much a new concept and many groups disbanded not long after they were formed with the leaders often being people of unhealthy physical, social, and psychological standing. Unfortunately, our own group, like many, began being more focused on mundane, social activities and complaints about “The Christians” rather than doing our parts to make the world and ourselves better.

At one point I realized I did not require any specific social group to be convinced that I belonged or which I needed to feel imbued by others with some sort of esoteric importance. I vied to focus solely on personal development in magical and spiritual arts no matter what tradition or religion they stemmed from. Within the past decade or so I returned largely to the Western Esoteric systems of magic which are largely Catholic in nature. The irony of this decision was not lost on me and I found myself mending many broken ties with my former religion as well as having deeper appreciation for the Catholic Church which I previously held just above a level of contempt.
Few people these days will ask about my religion or what I believe, but when they do I will respond according to how I wish to steer the conversation. I will never lie or mislead intentionally but will typically not answer directly for a multitude of reasons.

-If I were to give a direct answer, I would state that my “religion” is Magic. In saying this, one would have to understand what my personal definition and understanding of what “magic” is. The word itself stirs up a multitude of images and labels in our society, even among practitioners. The essence of the word for me is the embodiment of my personal connection to the divine. It is the conduit through which real “truth” may be seen. When it works and is working well, I experience life, and the spiritual in stark clarity and expression. I integrate information and wisdom from a source beyond human relating and simple written words. I experience beings and energies that are dissimilar to any other involvement in the world. The whole spectrum of experiences and sensations that the practice of magic has given me makes up the closest thing I can have to a solid religion. Just like a reasonable Christian would see Jesus/God as being the focus of their faith and not “Christianity” itself, “magic” for me is not the object worshiped but the method, the practice, I utilize to worship. In my case the worship is geared toward whichever aspect of Spirituality I am focused on at that moment, which I all conceive of as being from a Creator who exists beyond the capacity of religious framework or human comprehension. By magical means I can connect to the current of vibrant and living archetypes, spiritual beings of great power and feel some measure of their influence.

Through my magic I can be okay in realizing that my perception and conception of the spiritual/divine is limited by my own psychological, cultural, social, environmental, and genetic variables. Though academic learning, study, and interaction with fellow magicians and thinkers I can appreciate the diverseness of experience and comprehension of the universe. Because of my magic, I can be okay with experiencing the unknown in a particularly unique and individual way because I am actually experiencing it. Through magic, I can study the techniques of priests, healers, seekers, shaman, and wise-people of various cultures and religions try their methods out for myself and see if I can experience a part of their own conception of truth or spirituality. Through magic, and faith in its origins, the unknown is not something to be feared and avoided, its something to be explored and sought. Through experiences by magic, I’ve learned that not all intelligent beings in the world, think and reason as human beings do which has caused me to be more humble and open toward events I don’t understand.

By magic, I can immerse myself in the ecstasy of divine presence without any need of assistance from other human beings. Magic, is indeed my “religion”: The vehicle I use to experience divinity and understand the divinity within me. Through magic, other faiths are not only appreciated, but experienced. Anytime I am present to experience the divinity of nature, the words of truth from another falling upon my ears, while gazing upon the wonderful workings of art, expression, beauty, life in existence, it is magic. Magic is life, magic is constant and pervasive for those who can feel and sense it moving through them. It is beyond the frequencies of human comprehension and sensation, yet can enhance and strengthen each. Beyond any other sensation or physical experience, involvement in magic has taken me to the deepest levels of passion, and the highest states of spiritual bliss.
My view of the Druid, magician, or wizard still remains the same, even after all these years. Beyond the title, they are the ones who stand apart in their journey when compared with the multitudes of humanity and their pursuits. They are the ones who assist those in their community as best as they are able to with the seen and unseen goings on. They are the moderators between the spiritual and physical worlds; those who attempt to have the widest view from as many sides as they can see so as not to be blinded by limiting “human ideals”. Beyond right or wrong, they experience what they believe instead of accepting it from others. Hopefully they/we are the voice of reason when fundamentalists of any standing threaten to become extremists.
Despite the best of intentions and the highest of learning however, the magus will error in his assessments and judgment. We are human after all and cannot see all beyond the filters of our humanity. Even as we stand apart, we are put back in our place by the same works we seek to understand and often control. That’s why the wisest among us will wrap themselves in the mantle of humility and compassion.

Every thing to its season

I took a brief recess from intense magical workings these past few months, with moderate workings, research, and meditations keeping me in the flow. Luckily, with obvious signs boosting me back toward another round of evocations, magical journeys, and discoveries, I have reignited my passion for specific spiritual exploits and intense grimoric undertakings.

 

 

A few months ago, I butted heads with a few respected magicians who I have come to call respected acquaintances more so than simply colleagues. The issue arose when I became disheartened after I read so many magicians downplaying the effects and purpose of the so called “physical manifestation” phenomena which occurs during classical evocation of spirits. At first, many of the arguments were based on semantics where the word “physical” should have obviously been replaced with “visual” as I have yet to read where any magician is convinced that the spirit actually takes on “physical/tangible” form. It may refer also to the actual PHYSICAL effects the spirit or conjuration ceremony has on the physical environment: poltergeist activity, banging on walls, flashes of light, winds in a sealed room, etc.  However the phrase most likely is meant to dictate that the spirit looks solid as if indeed, a physical being was standing before you in the room.

My arguments for the support of and importance of this type of conjuration have already been expressed in a previous posting. My reasons for brining it up again are not to reiterate old arguments but to express a realization I had during contemplation and meditation of my previous experiences and also determination to continue performing these types of rituals.  I really feel that spiritual evocation in this particular fashion is at the Height of magical aptitude for a truly gifted adept. One I’m determined to perfect to the best of my ability. It is not simply another method in the wide array of magical undertakings.  It is not the completed end to means either, but certainly one of the most powerful feats afforded to the western Magus. Allow me to expound on this further:

When done properly, a ceremonial magician engages their highest potential of personal power and will to effectivelypull a non-corporeal entity into/onto the physical word and actively engaging it in visual and auditory conversation. Granted, there seems to be a measure of mental and spiritual exaltation involved for the operator to be able to fully behold the spirit, ( meeting it part way) but the effect is second to none, scans complete and utter possession which is not a personal pursuit of mine.

Arguments about the grimorical importance of classical magicians calling spirits to full blown visual appearance were thrown about as if the textual proof was the final say on the matter. Fortunately (or not) that discussion is solely for magical scholars and researchers who have not experienced the event first hand.  I dare say that every successful magician who has achieved this outcome. ( I know of three that I believe have achieved it) will argue that there is no comparison between evocation to “physical  manifestation” and “other forms of spiritual contact” . The event takes quite a great deal of energy and preparation to perform successfully and furthermore, ability to actually bring it about.

The above realization was made more concrete after years of failure, half-successful attempts and disillusioned acceptances of other modified forms of spirit contact. Luckily never settling for “good enough”, i pressed on. Magic in and of itself is multifaceted, stretching across countless measures and methods, cultural and religious filters for achieving a multitude of ends. However, the degree to which those actions produced effects in the physical world, and to witch degree you can observe and objectively experience these workings are debatable.  Evocation, of what I deem a traditional way hits on multiple aspects of Adepthood despite the intense phenomena which occur as result of a successful operation.

The very time it takes to learn the ritual by heart, create and collect all the necessary and typically rare items, plan out and perform the entire ritual correctly, and work through the rigorous purification process before performing the actual evocation, is a testament to the ability, discipline, willpower, determination, and tenacity of not only the magician, but to to the validity of the ritual. Very few  magical workings can attest to achieving so many dynamic spiritual paradigms . Indeed, few magicians have the desire, or means to even carry out such a task.  It is typically the magicians who never try are the same  magicians who scoff heaviest at such “purest ideals”.

Another reason why I place SO much emphasis on this type of practice is that it a veritable MAGICAL TEST unlike any another. It might be comparative to a full fledged ring fight after years of training, conditioning and working your ass off. You only know if you GOT WHAT IT TAKES, when your finally in the ring (or circle as it were) For the Olympic athlete who dedicates their life to being the best at what they do, the chance to prove themselves at the games is an opportunity of a life time.  There are not many TESTS a magician can put themselves to. How do you REALLY gauge proficiency and level of achievement? If you’re a comfy New Ager, you’ll stick with the folks that assure you that “whatever you do will be fine and that of COURSE your magic/spell worked! Just maybe not how you thought.”

All too often, magicians get swept away in the fluffy, “everyone’s right” and “of course you are powerful” flimflam of the modern, overweight-sloppy, pagan movement which is an embarrassment to the magical community as I view it.

This is not to come off as insulting or even “superior” to others. Far from it, these standards are what I hold myself to. If you find yourself insulted, you may what to ask “why”?

Look, anyone who claims personal power of any degree and leads and unhealthy and unsuccessful lifestyle does NOT have any powerful effect over the real world ( let alone…themselves).  Quite the opposite in fact, most likely they are being consumed by their own disillusioned fantasies and personal justifications. As within so without guys, the circumstances don’t lie.  These types of people have NO REAL MAGICAL POWERS TO SPEAK of.  –Period- I have little regard for the se types of people, and pay no heed when they try to “inform” me of their particular magical quality. I take these hard truths under account myself and see OBVIOUS areas where I need improvement. If I don’t look hard enough at myself, I find myself coming up with self-justifications and excuses….a poor road to magic and development.

SO back to evocation:  Here is my gauge for my magical development since it is extremely difficult in the textual sense. Difficult not only to produce the intended result of “physical manifestation/appearance” but to keep a level head during the entire rite, to stand sometimes over an hour after having fasting and preparing, all the while taking notes and trying to record exactly what the spirit is telling me, word for word without falsely interpreting it. I do this all while trying to maintain a very exalted state of mind/being.

The magic is not just “In the results” guys! It’s just part of the whole process. Since my purpose for magic is not just to get that extra money, extra, influence, power, protection or what have you, its in the very action in and of itself. The “how”. I may be an energy or experience junkie, but this is what fuels me in ceremonial magic; the whole big KABOOM, beginning to end, the intense experience and follow up. If given the choice, I would NOT elect to skip the dramatics and just get to “what I want”. To me that would be missing the whole point.. I realize others don’t feel this way and that is fine. I don’t mean to push my methods on others, just express the passion behind my own. Occult knowledge is not solely gained from the spirit, but from the performance of the evocation itself.

SO needless to say, I am relatively unconcerned with most modern and abridged forms of magical workings and pay them and the magicians who practice them little mind.Granted, a point I agree with is that the physical items and strict ceremonies will not be as necessary as experience and understanding increase. However, I feel this is a justification many people jump to way to early without first really achieving the results I mentioned before.

ON ANOTHER NOTE>…….

Recently a new influx of magical workings and possibilities has been on the table and I’ve been passionately pursuing old passions and abilities. Despite my primary passion for Ceremonial magic in spiritual evocation, I’m once again exploring the astral worlds by heading there myself…..and taking others with me.

When I was fifteen years of age, I learned how to hypnotize people after reading an article about it and trying it out on a close friend. Soon afterword I was hypnotizing my immediate family and close friends. One method which has been quite successful has been assisting others to astral project while under a deep state of hypnosis. So successful was the method that my father who at the time was the biggest skeptic and attributed the phenomena to heightened imagination, came awake shocked after feeling the literal and very real effects of lifting out of his body.

Some experiments are set in place to conduct purposeful projection to locations of the physical nature and then not so physical nature. The purpose: For beginners, it will be a shared knowledge of experience and experimentation…then, who knows. Already, a close friend and magical colleague has experienced a tremendous voyage while having an out of body experience…

In response to “Magic on the small scale”

 Magus Gilbert had an excellent post on his ‘THE OCCULTIST’ Blog

I was unable to post my response on his page due to some technical difficulties, but he wished it posted so here it is:

This is a great topic to bring up. It’s definitely something most of us have gone through, and other magicians have at least pondered. RO can attest to huge changes he underwent with a previous physical location. Although I don’t remember him mentioning so, I imagine he must have lost some magical equipment as well. Regardless, he jumped right back in the game after a very difficult ‘transition.’
I dread having to go through such an experience myself as I’ve amassed such a collection of magical goodies that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. My room is a haven and immediate removal (escape) from the mundane. Complete luxuries but not necessities….Unless I am doing traditional grimoric work that is.
If I had to start all over it would be a while before I’d be doing any Goetia, Alamdel (any Lemegeton work besides the Notary Arts), Solomonic or otherwise. I’ve no real interest in simplified, abridged, forms of these types of magic so it would be heartbreaking for me, I admit.

In this sort of ‘outer temple closing’, I would be forced to really change my magical focus for a time as I could not just start over right away. I wouldn’t have the heart, nor near the money to do so anyway. ::shivers:::

Many times, it’s not just the physical loss of a working space or equipment, but emotional or circumstantial issues which also arise. Situations which take priority for a time and disrupt routine practices are not rare. None of us are monks who have removed themselves from society and social obligations. We each have personal relationships, other employment to attend to, and family to keep in healthy working order. What matters is that we ‘keep going’ and eventually pick up where we left off. A magician is someone who continues to do magic even after a crisis, a dry spell (pun…sorta intended), a physical loss, or a personal upheaval. There’s a breaking down point, but eventually they rebuild. Why? Because magic is in the very nature of the individual. Just like a true athlete or martial artist, they will continue to train even after an injury or even when they felt like they weren’t improving…they keep going. A true practitioner is one who continues on after disaster or failure.

Another phenomena which Joseph L. describes in his book ‘Howlings’ is a period where intense magical practices eventually take a toll on the individual and there is a shut down period. During this time, a person cannot bring themselves to conduct even the simplest of magical exercises. I think I’ve hit that point before earlier in my life when I was doing the same rigorous practice day in and day out. Just like we need sleep, sometimes we need a resting point in our practices to let energies stabilize within, naturally. Apparently, sometimes we need upheaval as well to reset our priorities and manner of working. Life/God/ The universe seem to present situations where they are needed. Not always warranted but sometimes necessary.

During a fairly difficult point in my life, magically and otherwise, I had moved out of my first apartment, had all of my magical gear packed away in a storage unit, and lived at my dad’s cabin. I worked at a lumber yard for about a year while trying to get my life back in order. I had very few possessions which were mine at my Dad’s place. Life seemed rather bland and wearing at that time. I ceased all of my daily exercises and training.
I remember talking to my Sensei around that time, complaining how I didn’t feel like I was “fulfilling my purpose”. He told me to pay attention to where I was so that I didn’t miss the lesson I was currently supposed to be learning. “You won’t be at this job forever Bryan so don’t worry about it, learn what you’re here to learn, then, when you’re ready, you’ll move on.”

I didn’t do much of anything magical during that time, and didn’t experience much of anything either which really made me feel depressed. My whole involvement in the magical arts was inspired from the numerous experiences I had while growing up. All through my adolescence and teen years, things happened to me and my family which didn’t seem to happen to other people. It defined my role in the world early on and continued into my early twenties. Extended periods of not witnessing anything left me feeling ‘cut off’ and ….plain.
I’ve learned to be more patient in my current state as I rarely find myself alone in the deep forests, or examining disturbed houses for local folks like I use to. My wife lets me have my magical lab, make expensive magical implements, and conduct rituals which sometimes drives her nuts. I’m very spoiled in my freedom to explore grimoric arts at the moment.

Nothing ever stays the same though and I’ll have to adapt to whatever lies ahead. {Types this all the while knocking on wood and chanting anti-irony spells}

So to answer more simply to what happens when a true occultist is forced to pack up, and close the outer temple:
They grieve, struggle on, and eventually discover their new arena of working.
To fulfill the “many are called, but few are chosen” axiom, each will be presented with the new way in which their gifts can be utilized, the true occultist decides to act on this discovery. –A priest, still a priest even when his miter is knocked from his head-