2ND DRAFT on 11/1/93 OF 7/22/87 ABRAMELIN LECTURE by Bill Heidrick Many comments and quest

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

2ND DRAFT on 11/1/93 OF 7/22/87 ABRAMELIN LECTURE by Bill Heidrick Many comments and questions of the participants in the class have been retained, along with digressions and off-the-cuff remarks. Grammar has only been slightly adjusted. Use of 1st and 2nd person pronouns has been retained to conserve the flavor of an informal class. Some material has been added to this draft. This file is not suitable for publication in print, but electronic media circulation is permissible under the conditions set forth below. At some future time, this file may be expanded and edited into a larger work by the author, together with other material. Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick, Treasurer General of O.T.O.. All rights reserved. Bill Heidrick Ordo Templi Orientis P.O.Box 430 Fairfax, CA 94978 USA Phone: (415) 454-5176 (messages only) LIMITED LICENSE The text in this file down to the row of asterisks must accompany all copies made of this file. In particular, this paragraph and the copyright notice are not to be deleted or changed on any copies or print-outs of this file. With these provisos, anyone may copy this file for personal use or research. Copies may be made for others at reasonable cost of copying and mailing only, no additional charges may be added. This text must not be modified. Modification of this text with subsequent circulation voids this limited license and is a violation of civil copyright law. ************************************************************************* Thelema Lodge Class: ABRAMELIN WORK by Bill Heidrick 7/22/87 e.v. for O.T.O. -oOo- This class on "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" was requested by Thelema Lodge members and friends. At the time of presentation, there were two or three editions of the book in print, including a Dover paperback. All in-print editions were copied from the same source. The book is ostensibly derived from a 14th century source. There are several manuscripts of some age. One or more of the inferior MSS is in the Bibliotecque d'Arsonal in Paris. There are other manuscripts in London which were not mentioned by the so-called translator, Mr. McGregor Mathers. He asserted that he translated it out of the old French edition in Paris, but he was a frequenter of the place where the manuscripts were kept in London. One of the London MSS is in English, this English, I presume. Gershom Scholem mentions a translation into Hebrew. Our favorite plagiarist of the last century, Mr. McGregor Mathers, put a little bit of a shine on his work. He published a lot of magical books in the last century and co-founded the Order of the Golden Dawn. Most of his books were sold as translations for fee, and virtually all of them were copied out of English sources. We read pompous stories about the difficulty of the translation in most of Mathers' books. Perhaps he should have complained instead of "how bad the handwriting was." Mathers' notes to the names of the spirits in the Abramelin Book were probably copied or adapted out of the Hebrew manuscript in London. There are some additional speculations. He only got half way through the notes on the spirits and then probably got an advance from his publisher. The antecedents of the book are clouded for that reason. There are false statements made about the source MSS. It does appear that "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage" is a 14th century work, and that's an interesting era. It will help somewhat to understand a little bit about that time. The book is divided into three parts. There is a narrative part: a story about where this Magick originated, why it is important, and why it was written down. That is probably fictitious, but there might be something in it. There is a portion of the book with strange squares, drawings, magical diagrams and notes about their significance written below them. The middle part of the book has a rather interesting description of how you go about learning to work Magick. It's not the kind of thing we see in How-to-do Books. It's literally how you prepare yourself, what you have to do and all of that; but not in detail. The Abramelin method is almost unique among Magical books in that it's written to enable you to pick your own method. This is a "Meta" approach, an over and above way of doing. The problem with the book in modern times is the 14th century context. We don't have much stuff around here like they had then. I will try to help you bring this book up to date by addressing these questions: How can you apply these things? What are the limitations? Where you can find equivalent things? 14th century Europe was quite sparsely populated by modern standards. There were many cities and villages, but 14th century life was very different from modern life. You could live outside the town. It would cost next to nothing to find a piece of land that was no good for farming. Maybe someone would offer you a place to stay. No one would bother you. You could set up a little house and be by yourself for an indefinite period. You wouldn't have to worry about hiring servants; they were inexpensive. Feed them, and that's pretty much it. You could have all essential things taken care of without any complications: no tax forms, no television, no radio, no temptations. It takes too long to travel anywhere, so there would be few interruptions by visitors. People will look after you, and it's nothing out of the ordinary. {Comment: It sounds too good to be true.} It was pretty terrible. There was virtually no minimum wage. No wage at all was the minimum, unless you wanted to get into a serious profession, in which case YOU PAID to work. Be it ever so humble, life without toilet paper has its drawbacks. We'll get into ways of bringing that up to date. In the magical portion of the book, there are many strange square diagrams and a lot of moral remarks. "This is evil." "This is ambivalent." "This is dangerous." "This is safe." A person reading that would tend to think either that the book is "Bull" or the notes are simple and understandable warnings. It's not that way. Cultures set definitions as to what is proper and improper in the general sense of Good and Evil. You will be quite surprised, if you haven't thought of it, to discover that just a few centuries ago, ordinary things that we now do would be considered capital offenses. It was even questionable if you owned a mirror. A mirror is an instrument of Black Magic. It shows something that isn't really there. The reflection in the mirror is not right. There's nobody back there. It's an illusion, and illusion was evil magic. So, television is black magic. Movies are black magic. Make-up is black magic. It's interesting. A lot of the moral qualifiers in the Abramelin book are based on that sort of thinking. On the other hand, dealing with the Devil, by the Christian definition of such a thing, whatever the Hell that is, is not black magic. It's perfectly natural. If a creature is evil, it must obey God. Holy people can control it, and they should. That's 14th century thinking. It was considered ordinary that certain religious practitioners, priests, the Pope, whatever, should have the power to command the Devil and make him do works. There are legends from that time held up as moral examples that suggest such practices {see "The Golden Legend"}. You must realize when reading these older books, that quite a bit of explanation of terms and usage is needed. That may not be obvious. Some things that look terribly arcane and impossible to do are not that at all. You see "Virgin parchment" and try to look it up. What's virgin parchment? Perhaps you come across some ding-a-ling's idea: "It's obviously parchment made from the skin of an unborn sheep, whose mother was a VIRGIN." Virgin parchment is just unused paper. Paper in those days was usually animal parchment, made of treated leather. Later centuries used vegetable fibers, and now we use chewed-up wood. "Virgin parchment" simply meant that nobody had used it for something else and later erased it or scraped it. There are no half visible remains of funny writing that you don't know about. There are a lot of little things like that, but the big question is what do you do when you haven't got 14th century style privacy? We'll get into that below. The story of the book makes an interesting bit of mythology, very like that of the Rosicrucians in that the author claims to have learned the magical art in Arabia from a wandering sage named Abra Melin. The Abramelin book is supposed to have been written by a person named "Abraham the Jew". Nowadays we don't normally talk about people in such an ethnic way, or perhaps don't notice it when we do. The intend in this book was to say that the author was very special, perhaps because Abraham was the legendary precursor and patriarch of all sorts of modern religions, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity. I say "legendary" because there are odd stories about Abraham in the Old Testament. The business of sacrificing a ram or his son as the first fruits --- that was the way you worshipped the god Marduk, not Jehovah. You were supposed to pass your first male child through the fire. Abraham is said to have come from the city of Ur of the Chaldees, a Babylonian city state. If you read the early descriptions of Abraham in the Old Testament, you find out that he's not even Jewish. There was no Jewish race at the time. The man was simply a Babylonian who couldn't get along. He wandered off in the wilderness, or the woods, or what have you. There were woods in those days where there's just dirt now. People do chop things down if you don't have laws, and there have been some lawless periods out there. He simply did whatever he used to do. He had a different god, that's all. Maybe he had a falling out with the neighbors. Their gods were stronger, so he had to wander around. He was down to one god, because you can't carry a bunch around with you if you are out there without a house. Gods in those days weighed maybe up to 40 or 50 pounds, if you had a good one. Even the small ones could break if you bundled them all together in a bag. They were comforting to talk to. They would keep you company, but it's nice to have some room for food in your backpack. If you really want to read some weird stuff, take a look at the stories from the "Talmud". There are all sorts of things there. Anyway, the name "Abraham" was quite a good one to drop. In case they missed the point, it was "Abraham the Jew" --- That one! Heavy duty Abraham. Later on the book disclosed that this wasn't old Abraham, but a modern one, a typical 14th century wandering Jewish person. That's not to be confused with "The Wandering Jew", an entirely different Christian story. The Author begins by dedicating the book to his second son, Lamech. That's another biblical name, one of the descendants of Cain or somebody. He goes on to say that his first born son received his best inheritance, following right along with the story of Abraham in the bible. Abraham had two kids, a young one and an older one. The young one was to get second best and the older one the prime heritage. The best was supposed to go to the eldest. This Abraham's oldest son got something different, according to the introductory material, the Sacred Qabalah by which the World may be made and unmade. All things may be changed, created, destroyed, given mastery of the powers above the earth and below the earth. That's not a vague reference. That's a part of Qabalah called M'asseh Merkabah, older than the Christian period and possibly older than the Jewish ancestors. Merkabah, the Qabalah that he's talking about here, is not kind that you're familiar with if you have read books about Qabalah with numbers and all. M'asseh Merkabah is quite something in itself. There are evidences of it in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The same kind of stuff is in there, the same kind of rituals, same kind of descriptions. If there was a historical Moses or Mosha, M'asseh Merkabah may be what was brought over from Egypt through the wandering in the wilderness. It will fill in a little background on this book to describe it. According to the Qabalistic legend, there was first the Torah before the creation of the World, the Torah of the Void. It was not a written book. It was the Living Spirit. Christianity may have used this idea and called it "The Word" or "Logos", but it seems to have been a common conception among ancient people. In the stories of Qabalah, the Torah contained all that could be, would be, will be, was. All these things existed as though in the mind. One might think of it as the content of the mind of the creator, the primordial pattern, similar in some ways to the archetypes of Plato. "The Invisible Torah" is the term used in modern and somewhat older Qabalah for this. This contains the utterance that issued forth to create all things in the Universe. It was called a book, because it holds knowledge. If you can gain a bit of that knowledge then you have that much power. Moving around, thrashing about, howling in the wind or checking the motion of the planets and all such is unnecessary. It just takes knowledge, "no touch necessary". Take that idea, generalize it a little bit and modernize it. There's always a tendency to put these stories as: "Oh yeah." "Back when." "Wonder what it would be like." "Isn't that marvelous," and other vague sorts of "you don't have to think about it anymore". The concept is perfectly valid and perfectly modern. What do you think science is? In this way of speaking, one can say that it is simply the attempt to recover the language of the Invisible Torah, the ways of thinking and knowing that can create and uncreate the world. If you think that isn't possible, do you know what a Hydrogen Bomb is? It's the same thing that happens in the Sun, not something vaguely like that. It is the same thing. The only difference is size. The people who developed the Hydrogen bomb learned the word for "sun" in the Invisible Torah. They learned the word for the power of that. If you think that the scientists who worked with such things were not mindful, consider this. I'm not sure who first used this language, it might have been Oppenheimer or someone else. There was a book published that referred to the phenomenon in its title: "Brighter than a Thousand Suns". That's quite accurate. When you set this force loose on the surface of the earth you don't have the dimming effect of distance. One of the scientists watching the first explosion of a nuclear weapon was minded to quote from the Bagavidgita, and said; "Now I am come, the destroyer of worlds" -- the words attributed to a great deity of the Hindu pantheon when he assumed his terrible form. These things are the magical book. The language in which that book is written is not any one human tongue, but in the language of thought. One of the principal purposes of magical training is to acquire facility in that language, the language that is spoken in appearance of things, in ideas and in what you see rather than in sounds and writings. To continue the tradition forward, it was said that the Torah, the Invisible Torah, the archetype of all things that are, remained with the Creating Deity. Down into the world where the first human beings were made there was another thing, as it were an abstract, a shortened version. Qabalistic Tradition calls this Sepher Ha-Adam, the Book of Man or the Book of Adam, the knowledge whereby any human being could learn to command all forces on earth and out as far as the moving stars, the planets, but not the fixed stars. One thing that man could not do with this book, would be to summon something from beyond the moving stars, beyond the planets, from the fixed stars. That would not belong in the Book of Man, but in the book of the Torah, the Book of the Word of Truth beyond this world. Various theories of "The Fall" suggest that such improper mastery was attempted by man, and the book of Adam was taken away in consequence. Later legends in the Talmud and later elements that became attached to Qabalah recount that after time had passed, a man named Enoch or Hanoh walked the Earth. He's mentioned in the old Testament. This legend is found even there. It's said of Enoch that; "He walked with God and was no more." It's also said of Ezechial that; "He walked with God and was no more." It's never said that either one died. Much is made of this. It is said that, when the primordial Man and Woman lost their great powers and were sent out into the world, they were given another Book; a smaller edition conferring power over many of the things of this world, the things below the layer of cloud, and influence on the things that you see in the sky. Not power, but influence only. This was called "Sepher Raziel", which literally translated means: "The Book of the Secret of God." That brings us to actual, written books on magic. There are many books, some going back almost to the Roman period but most from the last 1500 years, that are called "Sepher Ha-Raziel", the "Book of the Angel Raziel." When such books first appeared, Qabalah was called "Raz" or "Sod", both words meaning a mystical or holy secret. Such a book was said to have the powerful part of Qabalah. That's called Ma'asseh Merkabah or "The Way of the Chariot" because of Ezechial and all that business of flaming chariots and so forth. The direct, non mythical books of Ma'asseh Merkabah are called "Hekhaloth" literature, and pre-date the Christian era. There is also a story about Enoch, that he had a book called "Sepher Ha-Enoch". This was special, and there are ancient surviving "Books of Enoch". Enoch was not just your average "OK" fellow that can walk around with the knowledge that ordinary people have and special knowledge that only the priests have. This fellow Enoch really had a friend in a high place. He got to talking with God. If you go among the Yeminite Jewish people, you find that they still do that. There are places in Israel where the Yeminites settled. An old man will sometimes go out in front of his tent, and he'll just have a conversation with God in the morning. That's his morning prayer, not the standard Jewish prayers. He just says; "Hello God, how are you?"; and he gets answers! There's a conversation going on there. You only hear half of the conversation~, of course. But, you may wonder about that. I've had this described to me by Israelis who sometimes got a little leery of these Yeminite places where these people live in tents. It looked an awful lot like the descriptions in the Bible, the Torah. These old guys that looked like pictures of Moses would go out and talk to God in the morning, and get answers. Maybe Enoch was like that; but the story goes on to say that he was given a book. Remember that the word "book" in this context means "knowledge". This "book", reasonably enough, was called "Sepher Ha-Enoch", the Book of Enoch or the "Enochian Book". It was written in the language of the Angels and restored most of the powers that had been removed from the book of Raziel, to the level of the Book of Adam. Enoch was so powerful that he was like legend said of the first Man and Woman. He was not the size of a normal human being, but something like 12 feet tall. When he walked, the earth shook. Sometimes you could see him, and sometimes you couldn't. The story goes on to say that when he became angry, his anger leveled a mountain, not by touch but by the anger alone. That fits with this tradition. According to the tradition, he had that power. This is the background of magical books. It later became what we see now. There are books called "The Greater" and "Lesser Keys of Solomon." It's the same tradition. Solomon was said to have power over a demon, the king of the demons. Obviously he had knowledge of this kind, and spell books that give you powers over demons are often called "Keys of Solomon", the keys whereby Solomon unlocked or controlled the powers of these great forces. It's easy to overlook some of the instances of this sort. If you read the "Arabian Nights", you'll find genies, Jinn and Marids. These are strange spirits who either do or do not believe in Allah. They all have terrible powers. Those are just the words used in Arabic to refer to these kinds of spirits. Realize that Hebrew and Arabic are similar languages; when we say Solomon son of David, Hebrew sources say Solmon ben David and Arabic sources say Suliman bin Daoud. In the "Arabian Nights", everywhere you go there are Genies popping up and wondering if Suliman bin Daoud is still around. The last time, he jammed them in a bottle! This is the same tradition, "The Book of Solomon", the "Key of Solomon", the tradition of the magic of the "Arabian Nights", all the same thing. Many of these magical books derive from the influence of the Islamic culture in Europe. Islamic occupation of European land didn't end until 1492, the same year Columbus made famous. That was the year of the fall of Grenoble, the last Moorish center of learning and outpost in Western Europe. That brings us to 100 years after the Abramelin book was allegedly written. There are two principle works in common circulation called the "Key of Solomon". One is called "The Greater Key of Solomon", and the other is called "The Lesser Key of Solomon" or "The Lemegeton". The "Greater Key of Solomon" gives detailed instructions on how to make things: magical circles, implements, clothing, right times to do things during the week, that sort of thing. It has a few rituals in it, but not much. It also has a lot of rather nice Talismans, most of them historical ones derived from traditions common in the middle ages. A few of them are older, like the SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS square that's on the cover of some editions. That square was found etched in the wall of a public lavatory in Pompeii, but people thought it had been invented in the middle ages. Of course, Pompeii was inhabited during the beginning of the modern era. --- {Question: What about the magical word "ABRACADABRA"? Isn't that a medieval talisman?} There is a method of writing out ABRACADABRA by dropping letters and making a triangle. Start with the whole word, then drop a letter and write the result below for the next line. Keep doing that until you are down to one letter in the middle. The resulting figure is an upside-down triangle of letters, used as a talisman to ward off the black plague. There might be something else in it since ABRA means a lot of things in a lot of contexts, and ABRAC looks like it might be derived from the old Mithraic worship of ABRAXAS or ABRASAX. Of course we have the word "ABRA-MELIN". In other parts of the ancient world that would have meant Father of a Queen or something similar. ABRACADABRA is an example of something that resembles the SATOR square slightly. Maybe it has ancient roots, but no one has found anything that old of it yet. --- It's just pure luck that people happened to dig up a public john in Pompeii where somebody had long ago decided to offend everybody by drawing a sacred thing on wall. It's probably the equivalent of a telephone number under a scurrilous remark. The earliest depiction thought to represent Jesus Christ is also on a bathroom wall in Pompeii, a crucified jackass. It probably isn't Jesus Christ but Mithras, who is sometimes associated with the Ass. It might even be related to Venus, who was associated with the making asses of people. There is a marvelous book by Lucius: "The Golden Ass", called that because it's got an ass in it and golden because good books should be thought of as golden. That book describes the mysteries of the Goddess Venus. It was written by a Roman at the time that Romans were still hot stuff for being Romans instead of being whatever the hell else they turned into. It details the significance of that symbol. Lets get back to Solomonic Keys, or Clavicals as they are sometimes called. They have turned up in very odd places. Those of you who are familiar with the local Renaissance Pleasure Faire may recall a theater there, an open air place where they have a lot of things going on, called the Ben Johnson Theater. Ben Johnson was an Elizabethan playwright. He wrote the first musical, the "Beggars Opera", and was a contemporary of Shakespeare. There exists in the British Museum a copy of the "Greater Key of Solomon" with his signature on it. These people got around. Jacques Casanova, was another student of magical books. There's a movie about Casanova, but it's marred. They cast a white man in the role while Casanova was black. He was imprisoned by the Doge of Venice, rather the Council of Ten in Venice, under the roof of the Doge's palace and escaped. It's quite famous, and the record of his imprisonment survives. The charge on which Casanova was imprisoned was possession of these magical books. He made good use of any chance he got with the fair sex and actually invented a type of condom and a diaphragm (a half lemon). Casanova was very into these traditional and classical forms of magical working. His memoirs detail workings with Solomonic evocations, alchemy, numerology, the transfer of souls from one living person to another and work with his own Holy Guardian Angel. In the last few years somebody finally came out with a facsimile full version of the "Lemegaton" or "Lesser Key of Solomon", but usually you only find a little part of it, one chapter call the "Goetia". It was supposed to be everything the "Greater Key of Solomon" wasn't. "The Greater Key of Solomon" was a nice handbook. The "Lemegaton" was overkill. If you want to know what to invoke for positive or negative -- two different entities, no waiting -- or perhaps the influence for a particular degree of the Zodiac, look it up in the "Lemegaton". The name, the method, the details, the picture to draw, all 360 of them are there, twice for good and bad spirits. The "Goetia", that you see most often, just deals with the 5 degree divisions of the Zodiac into 72 parts, and just the evil or destructive aspect of that. These things came to be compendia of magical rituals of all sorts. The "Greater Key of Solomon" is more classical, and doesn't have much Christian influence. The "Lesser Key" is a collection of damn near everything, including a lot of corruptions and late poor quality late material. For example, consider Astaroth in the "Goetia", a terrible demon, one of those imprisoned in the brass bottle by Solomon. There is a design for a ring to be worn to protect yourself from his evil breath. "Astaroth" is one of the Near Eastern words for "Goddesses". In particular, goddesses of beauty. Another cognate name for Astaroth is "Astarte". "Ishtar" and "Isis" are dialectical variations on the same name, "Asha". These things do degenerate after illiterate copying and ignorant addition of sectarian opinion. These books don't help much. They give you general instructions along the lines of; "Ok, now do this", but they don't tell you in detail how to do "that". None of these books say; "Ok, to begin, this is what you do to get from being a total idiot on this subject to someone with style and good appearance." One or two of them will aid with a remark like; "If you can't find parchment, skin a sheep, get a big crock, fill it full of lime, thrown in some water, throw in the sheep skin, fish it out of there after a while when it stops stinking and bubbling, dry it out, pound on it a while, put it back in ..." They will help you with a couple of other details. The Abramelin book starts with the assumption that you know nothing. It advises that you can use any of the methods, any of the other books. Anything you want. You can make it up as you go along. It then tells you how to use any method to attain the goal of learning magick. That is the main value of the Abramelin book. That is also where it has problems. How are you going to do this work when all the helpful suggestions are for the 14th century. You can't find that stuff anymore. They've stopped making that. Like I was telling you about the virgin parchment. It's hard enough to find a virgin, let alone somebody with a skin condition. {Various remarks of disgust from audience}. In the 19th century, Mathers published "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage". An illustration by Mona Mathers decorates the title page of the first edition. The Mathers had what was called a "chase marriage." Avoiding sex apparently kept them busy with small projects into the later hours of the night. On one evening, Mona did a sketch for hubbie's book. They got up in the morning and took a look at the sketch. The figure of Abra Melin was shown, bearded and with his initials in Hebrew on his chest. A spirit held a little box out to him. That little box wasn't in the drawing when they went to bed, but it was there when they got up. At that point, the Mathers realized that they had something, although they might have done better to consider that they were holding out on each other too much. The Abramelin book was considered by Aleister Crowley to represent the proper approach to learning Magick. Taking the language from the book, the work is "to seek the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel". The instruction goes more or less like this ... Do you want to learn this stuff? First a word of discouragement, its not easy. 1,000 people try; maybe one succeeds. Here is the rule. Get yourself a place to be private for maybe six months or more. Six months is the minimum, not necessarily the best time, not necessarily the proper time. Begin it at the time of quickening in the year, Passover or Easter. That's when you should start. Remember, you've got to go six months; and it's nice to have decent weather. Spring is traditionally the time of all beginnings in many religions. The life of the Earth quickens. It's the true New Year, whether you call it March, April, the beginning of Aries, or the first appearance of growth in the fields. It's said that Passover represents the passing over of the angel of death during the ten plagues in Egypt, but most cultures celebrate a time of passing beyond the dead time of the year. The angel of death passes by in one night. Night could be Winter. When the angel of death went by at the eleventh hour of the night, that could simply be a reference to the darkest time of the year when there is no food, just great cold and privation. People die then for no good reason, as though the hand of the angel of death touched them. Just after that is the time to begin a magical working. There are other times fixed by particular theories; but, if you want a good time, consider Easter, Passover, some time in April or thereabouts. The thing to do is to take off where you left off. Begin with whatever you are doing now, whether it's religion, philosophy, the kind of thing you were brought up in, or something you got well into later. It's better if you don't have to change, if you are able to cope with your original Religion. If you didn't stay with your childhood faith, if it didn't work for you, you will have to take something that suits you better. Our idea of religion is different from that in the 14th century. It's the first big thing to catch on to. In those days any intellectual act was religion. Anything that didn't involve working with the hands was prayer, or something very like it. To read a book, to study a mental discipline, meant to pray. This is still common in the orient. Discipline is always part of religious practice, mental and otherwise. In modern times, you might consider the study of mathematics as that type of religion. Some mathematicians do relate it to their religion as an effort to view the perfection of the greater universe. You might find music to be the way you express yourself religiously. Art and many other creative expressions are essentially religious. When a book is involved, there's usually a narrower expression of religion, perhaps more mystical, formulary, or theoretical: a "read it in The Book and say these prayers" kind of religion. Whatever it is, the one you have is the one you use. That's it, no matter what it is. It doesn't matter what religion you've got. It doesn't matter what background you've got. This is a way you do things, and this same way you proceed with learning the Sacred Magick. That is partly why Crowley was so turned on to the book. Here's an author who wasn't caught in a cultural trap, writing a basic outline. If you take the six months, you will probably fail. He says that up front. He doesn't say why. One reason for failure in six to nine months is simple lack of enough time to do it. If you come from a culture like that of the West, where things are superficial, confusing and lost in small details while all sorts of odd things are going on all the time, it's not very human. There is not much tendency to get very deeply into most things. In this culture, accomplishing the work of the Sacred Magick in six to nine months is not very likely. To the extent that you are distracted, it's harder and should take longer. Six months, a year, maybe even ten years, might not be enough time. A magical retirement isn't just a time without distraction. When you come back from this kind of retreat, you have to be permanently changed, not just relaxed. To proceed with such a course, you must have to something to do. The book tells you how to use anything, but you've got to supply that thing. A piece of advice, don't take something you've been struggling with. Take something that you don't consider important. It should have an elaborate structure, but we will get back to that point toward the end of this presentation. Choose something that you haven't already tied up with too many knots of worldly concern. In the middle ages religion was a good thing to choose because religion talked about a world so far removed from the physical that nobody had any real problems with the place. Nowadays, we have many immediate interests quite beyond the imagination of most intensely religious people in the middle ages. We don't have as clear a division between the sacred and the profane as people did in ancient times. We must find something that hasn't been poisoned by being too involved with mundane existence, something that seems isolated from the world of day to day matters. Mathematics is very good for that, as long as it isn't surveying or engineering. If it's pure mathematics, without application, that may be quite adequate. Certain special areas of math may be better, including group theory, set theory, anything to manipulate and combine ideas. What's needed is something with structure, and it has to be a structure that doesn't get you down. Your discipline shouldn't involve anything you spent a lot of time being terribly bothered by. Maybe it was challenging, maybe it was difficult; but it shouldn't be something that makes you say, "O'h God, I hate this!" You can say that about arithmetic. Arithmetic isn't substantial mathematics. Arithmetic is the feces of mathematics. If you hate arithmetic, you needn't worry. You can still go on into the higher concepts of mathematics unfettered by grammar school trauma. Prepare for an extended time without avoidable complications. Make sure that you are not distracted any more than necessary. The more you are distracted, the more you have to go out and buy things in the grocery store, the harder it will be to succeed. It's worst of all if you talk to people and get caught in the kind of conversations that involve you with somebody else's life. You are trying to change yourself. Personal conversations tend to keep you unchanged, that's what they are for, among other things. When friends or acquaintances talk and share aspects of their life with one another, most of the conversation isn't about a problem and interests. Most of that sort of communion is for keeping you on the same plane with your friend, smoozing a friendship, keeping that person's head where you can get at it, and vice versa. It's the stuff that monkeys do to remain a monkey crew. It's a primate tendency. Wolves and dogs bite each other on the nose or smell the other end. Monkeys giber a lot and scratch each other. We shake hands and giber a lot. It's the same principle. It interferes with changing. It keeps you the same, so that you are safe, predictable and reliable to others in your species. This instinctual behavior arises out of an evolutionary process of insuring safety of the community. {Comment by student: When you start changing yourself and you're no longer safe, you tend to irritate an awful lot of people, get them pissed off or make them break your heart}. That's the same mechanism. In some cultures, instead of "I understand you" they say "I see you". Talking with a person makes a mental image of that person. All the people around you automatically try to either change you to their way or keep you the same. That's part of being human. It's one of the reasons we gather together and form cities. It's how our families exist. If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't be here, even in the most simple way. Without this ability to keep one another locked into a pattern, people wouldn't be able to raise children. Our children take years to get self sufficient. Most animals can put up with the little creep for six months to a year and then its gone, get out of here, you smell bad! With us, the rug rat has to grow into something independent over a couple of decades. You have to separate yourself from most human contact or you can't change. There are families where "he beats her up" or "she beats him up", and nobody can figure out why the family doesn't break up. They just keep patterning themselves into the same mold. Before taking the next point, I should mention a particular problem. It sometimes occurs that a couple, man and wife or less formally joined, will compact to do the Abramelin work. Perhaps one will offer to take care of mundane affairs while the other takes the magical retirement. After that is accomplished, they will change places and the other will do it. This rarely works. If the odds at 1,000 to one against for a person attaining this, the odds against two particular people succeeding are 1,000,000 to one against! In addition, remember that the personality will change if the retirement is successful. Other factors may arise which could be very disruptive to a marriage or partnership. A magical retirement of this magnitude, especially if forced into a short time like six months, is very risky for marriages. It's better to consider this effort either before settling down or after raising a family, like the Hindu rule to become a Sadhu. It isn't impossible to accomplish the Abramelin work while married, but it requires either an arranged marriage of convenience like the sort common in the middle ages or considerable maturity in both parties to the marriage. The environment is next. You have to have a different place for the work. If you do it at home, you must dedicate a part of your home to this purpose. You should have a room set apart. In some ethnic traditions, some religions, people who can afford it have rooms just for meditation, just for prayer like a little chapel. If you can't afford that, get desk, get a corner, get a closet. To do it cheaply, run a drapery around your room to close off everything. Draw the drapes in front of the book cases, doors, windows and side furniture. That will change the room into a different little world. The idea is to set up something different from what you have now. It doesn't much matter what. If there are a lot of things in your meditation place, they should not distract or interfere. They shouldn't be things that have memories attached to them. Nothing there should remind you of your relatives, your friends, when you were a kid, what grandpa was like, the taxes, or the ever dwindling supply of toilet paper. Even incidental shapes that evoke such thoughts should be removed. All you really need is an untrammeled field of view. One piece of cloth hanging down can do it, if you can get close enough so that you don't see anything else. {Question: How was Crowley able to finish the work in his walk across China?} In China, Crowley didn't see familiar sights and didn't hear familiar conversation in English. The Abramelin book assumes that you are going to find a place in the wilderness and that somebody will look after your needs without talking to you or otherwise distracting you. The book makes much about minimizing all human contact but makes exception for servants. In the 14th century, common chores were pretty demanding. Such common chores are not distraction in themselves, but only because you remember doing them with your parents. {Comment: Go down to Mexico.} That might not work. Unlike this part of the world, where people have convinced themselves that ignorance of the past and indifference to neighbors is a sign of dignity, people in Mexico behave more sensibly. Folks there have direct ways of dealing with things they don't like or don't understand. That's true in other places as well. Among the Masai in Africa there are old men in dignified retirement. If the young men do something wrong, they are brought before the old men. An old man might say, "look, I've got only one eye. Things you have done have taken my eye from me. If you aren't better, I'll take your eyes from you." The young miscreant believes the old man, but also knows he doesn't mean he's going to do it with his hands or send anybody to do it. They get even heaver, they say: "Look, I'm an old man. I was once young like you. Just as you are doing, I took the life of my father. Gradually the life of my father passed into me when I was a young man. Now you're a young man. Don't be bad. You're wasting the lives of your parents." There's no natural death in that part of the world. People are always killed. We would say it's natural death of old age or illness or whatever, but they say it's either a curse or because there is only just so much life. There are only so many lives of a particular kind. The old must give it if the children are to survive. Growling old is equated to the children of the community growing up. The bigger they are, the weaker the old get. This is used as a social pressure and a threat. If you aren't good, I'll stop giving you my life. If you get bad, I'll take it back. This is real. {Question: How would that work in going to Mexico.} The Curanderos are no problem. The Curanderos make little things and put this here and that there and you'll be healthy. Other people may think you are a Bruhjah. You know why there aren't so many pueblo indians in the Southwest as once lived there? They had witch trials. When the Spanish came in, they had a tradition of witch trials too. The Pueblo Indians saw all these Spaniards squirling around and they said: "See, those people have witches too. This is much more serious than we thought." Then they proceeded to kill many people for no greater reason than a bad look, a remark that was overheard, a bird's feather found in their house. That's why those people came very close to extinction. {Comment from student: The Masai have that sort of manner. An insult, a criticism, even a joke could be a significant harmful magical attempt. That's how the entire language became guarded. The Masai tradition has a lot more defense against curses, so witchcraft trials to death were a lot less common than in some other cultures.} There are some older African cultures that became so sophisticated that it is now impossible to say anything directly in their language. The only way you can speak is by poetical allusion. You don't say it's raining, you might say grass is good for cattle. Your arm may be hanging by a shred, but you don't want to tell anyone that you arm is hanging by a shred. You just, if you can still talk, complain about something else. Richard Burton (not the actor, the explorer), while trying to reach the head waters of the Nile, found places where the big thing to do was to buy an ox and butcher it. Everybody would then have a feast. It was expensive, and people couldn't afford it very often. Whenever this was done, the idea was to get the one with the most fat, because that what everybody liked, lots of flavor and very special. It was a requirement of everyone attending the feast to be very critical and to say things like: "this thing is scrawny, diseased, half jerky already. It's garbage, trash". The guests carried on like they do at a comic roast, a time of friendly abuse at a special dinner to honor someone. I don't know if the idea and term "roast" comes from that in English, but it may. If you said one good thing about this wonderful meal, and some of these people didn't believe that there was anything that good on earth, you would cause bad luck to the host. The person who provided this dinner might die if they were complimented instead of complained at. These things are common throughout the world. You must realize that we have things as weird in this culture. It's just that people don't recognize the odd practices that have always been around them as they were growing up. Daily chores are family stuff. All of those things have memories and emotional reflexes associated with them. You can't do ordinary chores like a modern person might in this culture without distraction from the goal of the magical retirement. The same language that keeps you the same kind of person extends into the things you learned as you were growing up. If you are in a place like that where you grew up, you will think like you did then. It's so insidious that if you get drunk on something that you haven't gotten drunk on in ten years, you will think the way you did ten years ago. This is part of being human. It's helpful in the work to avoid these kinds of things. {Question: What if you were to try a Zen process for making things different.} That would be fine, if you didn't come from Japan. {Comment: Jerry Brown did that. I remember from a picture: over his shoulder when he was inaugurated Governor ... in a book case ... the titles of the books over his shoulder. One of the titles ... was "The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage". Jerry Brown about six months later went to a Zen monastery for a period of time, getting away ...} He also had the common good sense to not go into that over-grown concrete mansion that Reagan built. We don't want to get side-tracked on favorite opinions of California politicians, because there is no end to that. As a matter of fact, this little diversion is exactly the sort of thing that would be a problem in an Abramelin working. If you have a place of retreat and can free yourself from distractions, you may be able to accomplish the work in shorter time. The next step is to discipline yourself. The book says to start easy and get progressively more severe. Cut back the ordinary things. Don't talk to people; or, if you do, you keep it simple. The first third of this time of retirement may involve minor efforts. Don't worry about whether you are doing it right. The Abramelin book gives some instructions which may or may not make sense nowadays, including how to purify the place of retirement. Those are mostly pretty good instructions. They are not too hard to follow. Orisons or prayers are required. Orison is speech to the deity. A prayer is often a memorized orison. Rituals are another form of prayer. Do this for a while to work up a consistent practice. Then comes the middle part. Do more, increase it, add more things of that kind. In the third and final portion, go as hard as you can at it. Get as crazy as a monk with six life-times of novinas to get through in a week. Go full blast. At that time the details of the procedure work themselves out. In time you will achieve the experience called "The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel". Other ways of saying it include; "contact with the Higher Self", "attaining a Master". Socrates would have said: "discovering the Damon". It's said that Pythagoras had one of these personal spirits. One day he went to a seer whose job it was to look into you and tell you what your soul was like, what your spirit was like. The seer looked at Pythagoras, went dead pale and freaked. He didn't see a spirit. He saw a god. This is the tradition: There is something that is part of you and yet not part of you. Some of you dies, some of you doesn't. We have nice simple ways of passing that off in this day and age. Most of these plastic, ready-to-go religions come out with: "O that's your immortal soul!" "It can burn in hell or live happily in heaven." "Don't forget to donate" {Oops! Don't let me jinx passing the hat. Your donation is welcome at all O.T.O. events. Back to the lecture...} {Question: So it is possible to confuse one's holy guardian angel, so to speak, with this demon.) It is a daemon. A daemon is an intelligence that doesn't require a body, but finds one convenient sometimes. You have to remember that, in this abbreviated version of things that we live in nowadays, there's a lot of gross ignorant simplification going on. People unthinkingly speak as some of the more ardent "Christians" do. There are very fine examples of Christianity, but you don't see them much any more. Don't get me wrong and think that's all it is. Most of popular religious stuff has been canned for years and has gone bad on the shelf. It's lost all its flavor and nutrition. Christianity never had much luck in India or in the Orient. People who are hungry will do anything, and you can bribe them to forget their religion for awhile, because it isn't doing them any good. That's one of the reasons that so many charities are out there with "Christian" at the front. You can bribe people. Which is more like "demon worship": selling out your god for a sandwich or being different because you have a real thing going? There is a common, simple, stupid fribble type of religion running on theory like: "You don't have to worry. This world is just a test. After we die we will go to heaven or hell and other fellow's in purgatory and he'll get out of that if he works it right." The Christians used to sell indulgences. That's what started Martin Luther. Some Papal salesman would walk up with a big chest full of paper indulgences. You put in your money and take out your indulgence. You can even buy one for somebody who's already dead~. After the scandal got too much, they cleaned it up and made certain prayers good for forgiving a certain number of years in purgatory. On special occasions, like the anniversary or somebody or other, you can clean it all out. Don't miss the day! {Question: I'm not sure what you mean by indulgences.} Indulgences are forgiveness of time in purgatory, before you can go to Heaven. The theory is this. "Ok, you're going to go to Heaven. That's set. But you got to pay for the damage you did first." You're going to have to be purified --- that's a more rational way to put it, but not exactly the concept of indulgences. Indulgences allow you to commit a sin and pay a fine in money or an act of devotion. You can pay for someone you never knew. You can't buy forgiveness, but you can buy indulgences. It's a weird as hell. There's also a Latin word "Simony", meaning the selling of religious things. Martin Luther protested. {Question: So you could pay for sins you haven't committed yet, and then go out and commit those sins?} That wouldn't get you into Heaven. You have to get forgiven to get into Heaven. If you do get the sin forgiven after the fact and you have bought an indulgence either before or after committing the sin, you in effect have paid the damage in the bar. It will not be necessary to spend hard time in purgatory, an unpleasant place where you are working through pain and suffering to "pay off the damage in the bar, replacing the broken glasses" or what have you. It's a very strange attitude, and I think it reflects a fundamental problem of modern Christianity. Most other religions haven't gone through this mercantile sea-change that happened with Christianity. It used to be a nice little Jewish religion. It was kind of heretical; but, then nobody was interested in it but Jewish heretics, so who cares? It got commercialized into a brand-X --- just like frozen food. Some frozen foods are advertised with pride in the fact that they are bland. They put it right on the label. Sadly, most Christianity is that way too. The problem with Christianity is that we have all been loaded with it whether we have been into it or not. {Question: can't you use that tho'?} Not as given, you have to work on it a little bit. You can't eat that stuff unless you put something more into it. Here's a thought that will help. The standard version of Christianity uses the guardian angel to explain how a kid lives through childhood. God knows that little kids are just plain likely to totally destruct any minute, so each of us is born with a nice little guardian angel. It's sometimes depicted on nicknacks, including a little switch cover with a picture molded on it for the child's bed room. Click on the switch and it's belly-button lights up. That's sort of tasteless, but cute. Cute can really get out of hand if it proliferates. This thing is supposed to leave you when you come to your senses, around the age of seven. You are responsible for your own mistakes after that age. That type of guardian angel guides you and protects you in childhood. It leaves you when you reach the age of reason. Sometimes the guardian angel is identified with the idea a conscience. Freud calls it the "super-ego". This is the part that says: "Mmm are you sure you want to do that? You could get caught." or "That's stupid!" There's this little thing inside that keeps telling you things that restrain you. That's about as far as most people get with the idea of "conscience". Some people, including the more educated Christians, realize that such an idea isn't adequate. The conscience doesn't have to just say "No." The guardian angel doesn't have to limit itself to watching you only while you are in chronic danger of self-destruction, like all children, priests and politicians. It may be a part of you. It may be somebody who is in some way related to you; alive once, but not of this world any more. All of our modern religions are based on dead people, so that possibility should be no surprise. It may be a spirit that is a part of you in another world. It may simply be that there are angels, that the things Greeks called Daemons really exist. The Greeks and Romans believed that a Daemon attaches to each of us as we come into the world. It's like a marriage, like twins, a physical twin and a spiritual twin. All kinds of theories abound. Find something inside that you can listen to without fretting over having enough toilet paper, whether the flashlight is about to run out of batteries, or whether you paid that bill. Perhaps it's nothing more than a part of you that is just a little bit out of it when it comes to the Earthly plane but is very together otherwise. Whatever you want to call this thing, it isn't a concept that is met with very often in popular Christianity. It's been pretty well buried. You can think of it as a soul, but you might need some help with that idea. For some reason, modern Christianity in the last few hundred years, certainly no more than the last thousand years, has come up with some very unwholesome ideas. The Devil is only one of them. One of these ideas is the doctrine that you've only got one soul. What nonsense! What absolute foolishness! Have you only one arm? Some people do, but most have two. Have you only one pair of eyes? Yes. You got only one eye? Not if you are lucky. You got only one hair? Why would you have only one soul? In some of the older cultures medical practice assumes that there are various intelligent little souls or chakras living in different parts of your body. A lot of healing simply consists of communication with these various parts. Meditate or use massage to wake it up and say: "Really, do you want to leave us this way? It's your job. You live there. Fix it." It works. That sort of thing works, and it's not at all difficult once you get over the simplification problem. In Qabalah there are a series of souls. There's even a soul for the physical body that IS the physical body. Wonder of wonders, it's called the "Goof" -- whence we derive our word "goofy". Then there is the Nephesh, which is what keeps the Goof running. That's in animals too. A Nephesh sometimes lingers after death. When the body drops, this soul tries to look for another one. That's the ghost. It's not particularly intelligent. It's just able to hold the pattern it had. A wandering Nephesh will generally look like the can it was in. Electrical, who knows? It may have an explanation and it may not. It's there. It doesn't seem to require an explanation to exist. Beyond that is the living being, the human identity. There is something called the Ruach, the intelligent or human soul. This is the one that means "there is somebody in there." You look at people. Maybe they are just not into looking back at you, but quite a lot of people appear to be like what Castenada and Don Juan would call elementals. There may be something in there, but there sure isn't anything looking out. Other people seem to be home, as it were. That's the Ruach. You see it in people's eyes. Beyond that there is something which matches the Holy Guardian Angel. In Qabalah, that's called the Neshamah. It's the first immortal part of the soul, or the first immortal soul. Whether you call these parts or souls doesn't matter. If you insist on having just one soul, call them parts. If you don't have a problem with that, call them souls. The Egyptians had a group of terms for them. The Neshamah is the first immortal part of you. Your body will rot, smell bad and become a mess some day --- unless you are weird enough to have it stuffed. Your Neshamah is not like that. Your Nephesh, animal principal, is corruptible. The Nephesh is the memory people have of you as though you were in the room. It's the thing that makes your friends think your ghost is present when they feel some intangible thing and suddenly see it as you. When somebody dies, a week or a year later, you may see them walking down the street. You hurry to catch up, because you don't understand what is going on. It's somebody who doesn't look at all like that person. For a moment it did. That's the ghost. Shade is another word just as good. The Nephesh eventually will die. When the last person who sees you in things or remembers you in mind passes away, when the last person who has heard stories about you goes, your Nephesh dies. There are ways to keep it alive independently for a time. Some theories of Magic describe how to make a house for the soul or help it live in a tree. That can be done, but many people doubt whether those things work in themselves or only because the person who performed this ritual made a conscious effort to keep this spirit around. The little part of William Shakespeare that was the play-write is still around, but the rest of him is probably dead. Certainly old Will is dead. {Comment from class: As long as his papers are in the British Museum he isn't}. Well, yes, but you have to read them to bring him back. That's another curiosity. If you write a book or leave a journal, it's possible to call your Nephesh back from the dead. A sympathetic person may read your literary effects. It's not enough to imagine you see a person or imagine what they are like. That isn't enough to bring back the Nephesh. You have to actually see the person as though they were physically present. It's quite a spooky thing. Start thinking someone's thoughts and later see that person. Another way to approach this idea: If you want to understand what life was like 300 years ago in some other part of the world, you don't achieve that by simply reading a book or visiting the place. When you can hallucinate what it would have smelled like, then you have acquired adequate understanding of how things were back then and at that place. The impressions must be a more real than imagined. You can read a book and imagine the life of some famous person. It's quite something else to read the same book and begin to think like that person, whether you want to or not. The Ruach survives well in books, buildings and works of art. You don't have to have a sense of presence for that. That's the next soul after the Nephesh, the one I started talking about before I got to talking about what places smell like. If you don't smell the animal soul, you can still get the ideas from the intellectual soul. Things that a deceased person left behind still function in the world as the products of the personality. The Nephesh and the Ruach can be kept alive, but they will pass away if not deliberately kept alive. They depend on physical things or people still living. The Neshamah doesn't. The Neshamah is immortal by itself. It always existed. It always will exist. In a sense it is divine. That's where the idea of a Holy Guardian Angel comes in. Consider the concept of reincarnation: you're born and born and born again until finally you get it together with your Neshamah; finally the part of your that's immortal unites with the part of you that's mortal. After that occurs, you don't have to be born again. Ultimately you attain freedom from the wheel of incarnation. In one-chance-only types of religion, there's less to talk about and the single incarnation is thought to pass more quickly. The same idea is there. You must unite with the immortal part of yourself or you will go to Hell. You will cease to have this quality of immortality, at least in a desirable way. {Comment: There are also some Tibetan theories that say the amount of you that reincarnates increases. First it's only your Neshamah that reincarnates. Then your Neshamah and your Nephesh reincarnate until you begin to look like you used to look like every time you reincarnate. ... you can recognize who the Dali Llama is, for instance, from certain traits.} There is no end of theories, and it is marvelous to pursue them. Qabalah is a big subject, lots of tradition going back more than a couple of thousand years. Some of the theories disagree with other theories, so don't think there's just one. You will find something that makes perfect sense, but you'll also find something that makes perfect nonsense. In Qabalah there is a particularly chauvinistic tradition that says that all souls begin as the souls of men (I wouldn't sell this to anybody, but it is a historical view). If you don't have a son while you are alive as a man, you will be born next as a woman. If you don't have a son as a woman, you will be born next as an animal. After that, it's true death! Don't get caught and think something like that is the only theory there is. Another theory from Qabalah, quite different, is that souls come from roots. There is a root soul, usually identified with famous people in the Old Testament, or the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from one person. Just as bodies descend from ancestors, so souls descend from other ancestors. Your soul is from that other person. You are not that other person born again. No, it's just that the Neshamah is the same. Neshamah, in a higher sense, is said to have three parts. In its higher parts, especially in the highest part called the Yehidah, it is the same for everybody. The Chiah, or second part, can be shared by many. The lower form of the Neshamah is just your own part, and is simply called your "Neshamah". That's your part of the root of the full Neshamah soul. That lower Neshamah joins with the Chiah of many and all such "roots" unite in the divine tree of the Yehidah. Chiah means "life". If there were just as many souls as living things, that would present quite a confusing situation. But, the individual Neshamah, the lower part of the three-fold Neshamah, is divided out of the Chiah. It's immortal in the sense that it's characteristics will never be lost, but it's not quite as immortal as the Chiah. The number of the manifestations of the Chiah does not change, no matter how many living creatures exist. {Question regarding multiplication of souls, absorption into the higher Neshamah and a cycle on the material scale. Discussion fragments:} There are crops of these things seasonally. When bug spray happens a lot of the really cheap ones "go home". {Comment: On that note -- a member of the class rises to go home.} I'm glad you made that note. I certainly wouldn't have. Suffice it to say that there is something going on involving souls or parts of the soul. That's what this whole operation is about. The key to working the Abramelin system is to isolate yourself so that you can change yourself, so that you are not kept unchanged by the pressure of social interaction. Then, proceed with the discipline and increase it. Depending on the success that you have with these things, it will take more or less time. There is no upper limit to the amount of time. The beginning of this process must be very tight. It begins with light discipline in the sense of not complex or onerous, but what little there is must be rigidly maintained. That's quite important and not well emphasized in this book. The Abramelin book lays out a simple instruction. Since most of us would have to go at the task in a more round-about way, there is a problem. Once you have attained the Knowledge and the Conversation, once the "voice" that's has always been there for you suddenly becomes something realized and recognized, then you have begun in earnest. This is not something you get. This is something to which you awaken yourself. In some cultures a big thing is made of attracting a spirit of this kind. In the rite of Confirmation used by some forms of Christianity, a saint's spirit is attracted to the person to be confirmed. The newly confirmed Christian is given the name of that saint. Other cultures say that a god is attracted. A Christian saint is a god. It's amazing what people do with words, isn't it? Words and cultural taboos about words can distract you. It's all the same sort of approach. The Guardian Angel, or Neshamah as it's called in Qabalah, is part of you. This whole process is mainly a waking up to the fact that you've always had such a thing. There has always been the voice that advises, the voice to which you have been too frightened or too busy to listen. It's always there. It will always be there. This communication needs tuning. The voice doesn't know how to talk to you. You don't know how to listen to it. You've got to fix that. You will have to isolate yourself and regularize your thinking. You can make it easier for the spirit to adapt to you. You need to adjust yourself so that you are not distracted. Then you may hear the spirit that is part of you or attached to you, whatever you want to call it. Be careful. This spirit is dumb when it comes to this world. The Holy Guardian Angel doesn't come from here. It does not speak this language very clearly. You may find that this spirit acts hastily. It discovers ways that it can get your attention, like having your car rear-ended or causing an arm to be detached. You need to inform the spirit that such methods are not desirable. In many ways this relationship begins like a new friendship between children. Children are pure, beautiful and deadly. They don't know when to quit or what they mustn't do. They haven't been here long enough to find out. You have to occasionally say to children; "Get out of here". Try not to dislocate an arm or fracture an emotion when you assist them. It's the same with the Guardian Angel. This is a part of you that you have shut off from the day-to-day world. It doesn't know how things go here. If you tell it, it'll catch on real quick. If you say: "No, I don't need to learn by catching the Hong Kong flu every second week. I realize that this makes me real quiet so that I can listen to you, but this does not really serve the purpose that you seek. Let's try to work out something better." A person can get the impression that this is some horribly dangerous thing. It is possible, by prejudicing yourself, to get that effect. If you think you are trying to conjure up the very Devil, whatever the Hell that is, your Holy Guardian Angel is going to think: "Well, I guess that's what he wants me to do. I'm not sure, but we'll give it a try. Let's see, this thing is supposed to ....", then that's jolly well what you will get. Maintain a positive outlook in these proceedings. You are training yourself as well as this spirit. This spirit will never do anything to harm you, if you tell it what doesn't work. If you ask it to protect you, it will. In the process of asking, you open yourself up and the parts of you that have been separated body and soul are able to work together. There is a passivity in that form of request. If it is made without reservation, the mind communicates what is needed. If you demand and compel, you say: "Give me this!". You will get what you ask, not what you need. The fine print won't be right if you don't open up enough to provide detail. In working by traditional methods with demons (horrible imaginary things with terrible teeth and bad breath) you need all kinds of protection. If you relax that protection for a moment, you have big problems. Those problems come from working with some part of yourself that doesn't hook up very well. That's what most of these negative demons are. They are parts of you, parts of the culture, and things in the world that don't get along very well. As far as people are concerned, a bob cat (a type of American wild cat) is a demon. Brother Ebony could tell you about a bob cat that was quite a nice kitty, though very impressive. You have to treat that kind of kitty a little differently. If the kitty wants something, the kitty gets it. There are those slight adjustments to make. What do you do with it? Anything it wants --- that sort of thing. Demons, terrible monsters or whatever you find in these old books, are of that nature. They represent sickness. They represent mental disorder. They represent pain, suffering, fear, all those negative emotions. That's why they are called devils. Work with them very, very carefully. It's sometimes convenient to go through an elaborate change of things, a magical circle, rituals performed just for this sort of purpose, special tools and so forth. Such elaborations are intended to be strange. When you cease doing such an evocation, you do not want to have anything around that can bring the accompanying thoughts back again. Don't go to the Holy Guardian Angel as though it were that kind of thing. You will have enough trouble with this klutz. The gods have big feet and know not where they step. They don't notice things until after they have stepped on them and say: "Ulp, did I un-create something? Oh', I'm sorry. What were you?" Don't get into that kind of thing. Housebrake the Holy Guardian Angel, so that it no longer messes up your life to get your attention. If you get too eager, you may loose connection a little bit. You can't get everything: "I want lots of money!". "Money? I don't know money. We don't have that here." You have to go on something that's within you and you have got to open up to communicate it. Once you have this much worked out, you've got the knowledge. When you suddenly realized what is happening, then you've got the conversation, you've worked out a way to get along. Now it's time to take a better look at the problems. What are the problems? They are the problems that made you do this cockamamy thing in the first place. Maybe your family is dead broke. Once you have the channel of communication, you can deal with that, if that's what interests you. Maybe there's somebody that's beating you up all the time. Maybe your family is in trouble with back-taxes. Maybe you would like to learn something or improve your love life. Whatever it is, those aren't things that are proper to the Holy Guardian Angel. The Whole Thing is proper to the H.G.A. Those details are the work of various secondary spirits. You can say that they are part of you too, or you can deal with them as separate things. That doesn't matter. Once you have something going that you can trust, the Holy Guardian Angel, that's all set and you can command any spirit. The tradition is to go after the worst ones first: the Kings of the Four Quarters, the terrible things that bring death and destruction in the world in the form of storms and all the ills that can come from the four quarters of the earth. If you read the old books closely, you will find that the four demon kings of the elements usually relate to the four directions. Some of their names are old terms from maps, referring to whether a directions is north, south, east or west. These things are the next to master. You use the connection that you have developed with your Holy Guardian Angel to compel the great terrors of the world to heel. After that you don't want to deal with them much any more. Once you have conquered the terrors of the world, you ask them to send more mild spirits. Something like the damagers of the world, not the terrors, please. These are lesser spirits. You master them and go on down the line. The Abramelin book says you can ultimately get four servants. These aren't particularly nasty, but they are in the chain of command. You have established that chain of command. They can go and fetch bigger things if they're needed. These are four elemental servants that will attend you. {Question: I always wondered what are appropriate reasons to call down certain levels of spirits. When would you call an Archangel, when an angel...?} These things are abstractions. The higher up the line you get, the more abstract. The further down the line you get, the more they are like a busted foot, one of the least abstract things you're likely to find short of a stomach ache. An archangel is the next thing to a god. An archangel commands great things. Detroit might have an angel. A family might have a spirit. A nation might have an archangel. In that way, an archangel is a spirit common to all the people in a nation. An angel corresponds to a smaller class, like a few people, an extended family, village or city. An immediate family, the way things are done and believed in such a family, is the spirit of that family. What's the spirit of the family? "Gens" is used in anthropology to refer to a large group of related people. It is also a word meaning a demon. "Genius" is a word for a person who's intelligence influences large numbers of people. "Genius" is also a word meaning a particular and personal "Spirit" or "Daemon", in the sense of the guiding intelligence inside a person. The higher up we go, from spirit to angel to archangel, the more powerful they are. It's like the idea of soul as root and tree. A tree divides near the trunk, that's solid, the archangel. When it divides again into smaller parts, that corresponds to angels. The rootlets of a tree are a group of spirits. Beyond that, there are tiny little things in the ground that don't look like much of anything, places where roots died, that's demons. Disease is part of life. It's the most tangible part because it's the hardest to overlook. Ultimately, you want to go out from your center, the Holy Guardian Angel. Find the great divisions of pain in your life, and master them. This is described in a way that seems an allegory or myth, but actually is not. We are conditioned to view this approach in that way. There's no reason on earth why you can't personify things. Maybe they have "Person". Animals don't have souls, or do they? If you have a pet, you may find otherwise. Some people can get sense out of a snake, although snakes are a little slower than we are accustomed to. Snakes are intelligent, but they tickle themselves to distraction from the way they move. Lame joke. Let's move on. {Question: When you get to the point with the Holy Guardian Angel... if you were to just start addressing it whenever things went wrong, wouldn't that tend to make more things happen wrong?} There's a different kind of thing. It's possible to make a mistake and pick the wrong spirit, instead of the Holy Guardian Angel. The H.G.A. is something that you can release yourself to completely and still end up being the same person you were in the beginning. People tend to get a little weird doing a magical retirement, so it's a good idea to keep a diary. With a diary, you can read old entries and figure out how you got to where you are now. If necessary, you can go back again. My favorite test is to take a break once in a while and go into a Safeway or something like that. If you can stand it, you're still sane. That's the definition of sanity in this culture, able to take care of the minimum. Being able to endure a supermarket long enough to harmlessly obtain food is pretty minimal. {Question: Establish with the Guardian Angel and not something else...?} There is a thing called a lemure or Larva. That is mostly what you see kicking around in the budget version of magical training; el'cheepo, get magic quicko. You can attract a hungry spirit, usually a wandering Nephesh, something that is dependent on somebody else to stay around. You're it; you volunteered as life-support. Such a spirit is willing pretend to be anything in order to keep sucking. People get into things like: Jesus has told them this, Jesus has told them that; or God had told them this or God has told them that; or suddenly there is Aunt Mabel come back from the dead telling them this and that and the other thing. That's not the H.G.A. I'm talking about. That's just a trap that some people fall into, because they have been told that's all there is. The majority of those cases are what the Romans would call lemures or larvae, the Tibetans hungry ghosts, the Hassids Dibukim, and other things like that. Such a spirit needs your attention to live. It is just like a failed relationship with a mate. You may find yourself living with someone of the same or opposite sex, doesn't even have to be a sexual relationship, just a particularly dysfunctional one. If that person is dependent on you for shelter and food or for some important but less tangible thing, they'll do anything up to the limits of their nature to keep you the way you are. If you want them to be something, they will turn into it. If you are angry, you will tend to evoke greater anger from them, resulting in passive reaction on your part. If that's the case, the partner in such a dysfunctional relationship may realize: "if this guy gets out of hand, all I have to do is yell at him. All I have to do is hit 'em once and 'es just as quiet as anything." People will usually do the things that get them what they want. Not every one, sometimes people are remarkably stuck in one track. These lesser spirits, whatever you want to call them, hungry ghosts, vampires... that's what the word "vampire" really meant. It was a member of the family who hung around after he died, as long as you gave him useful things to do that weren't too difficult. Vampires weren't always considered to be monsters who made life terrible for you; they are good to have around. They chase off peddlers, robbers, whatnot. When a stranger comes to the house, the vampire will feel very protective of the family. They will pick up on it if a person doesn't like them: "O'h, 'don't like' means I get attention!" Then they will proceed to do more irritating things to that person. Keeping peace with the spirits of the ancestors is very important in cultures around the world. The Romans called the friendly ancestral spirits Lares and the pesky ones Larvae. You want Great Grand Mother's ghost to bark at strangers, not at the reasonably behaved family members. This kind of thing isn't the Holy Guardian Angel. This kind of thing is what happens when something eats off of you. A certain amount of this is fine, but you want to make sure that you are in charge. There is a classic explanation of insanity, that something dangerous can be attracted to a particular mental or emotional state. In some states of mind people leak like a sieve. A lot of life is being generated, not being used by the person generating it, and it's there for the taking. Something comes and says: "This is lunch. How we keep it open? How we make this a 24 hour diner? Very simple. Every time this person thinks; 'O'h God if I haven't ...!', he turns loose all this energy. So, let's see: 'Hay! God I haven't!' or 'Why did I do that!' --- that's a new one. That tastes better. 'Your such a bummer' --- works too. Hot damn! 'You hate hating yourself, don't you!' More food!". If you ever get really depressed, between sobs, wrenches and tremors, pick up on what you are saying to yourself. Maybe it isn't you talking. Maybe it's some astral clown saying: "Watch him go!" This kind of thing is often marked by painful ideas that relay back inwardly to create more painful ideas. {Question: Can banishing get rid of it?} A good laugh will get rid of it. In order to get rid of a depression feedback loop, you've got to realize that this isn't you. The destructive voice is not really rational. Jokes and humorous self-observations, the more tasteless and jolting the better, will break this sort of cycle. If you get that kind of thing going, realize it isn't the Holy Guardian Angel. That is a wrong turn. Go back and try again. That is a demon, and that is one of the things that the Holy Guardian Angel is supposed to help you with. It's probably a very stupid demon, who is very good at picking up on things to say. Sometimes marriages turn into that. I don't know it was such a good thing in the long run, but some friends of mine once called to say that they were in the hopeless last stages of a deteriorating marriage. Maybe it would have been better if it had gone over, but I listened to them. I said: "You are running tapes on each other. He says this, then you say that. Then he says this and you say that. You don't listen to each other. You are just saying the same thing over and over. No wonder you are bored. No wonder you are yelling at each other. Each sees that the other is obviously not listening. No wonder they aren't listening, because you keep saying the same damn thing over and over again. Find some new ways to be offensive, if nothing else works." That's another point to watch. If you keep getting the same thing over again and over again, you haven't got the Holy Guardian Angel. You may have something useful, or you may not. One mark of the Holy Guardian Angel is that it leads to life. It enhances, it adds variety, you get high. If you feel lousy, including hangover after too much fun, it's not the right thing. {Question: How much influence would you say a lesser attention grabber has? Would it be able to influence things like finding money?} You have heard of war? All the miseries in the world are some such thing as this. As far as finding money is concerned, if you can catch one that really can be convinced that's the only way you will feed it, then it'll go out and find money. Most of them, dumb as they are, aren't that dumb. Most of them realize that if you think that you have money or you think that you can get money, then you'll feed them. They don't need to do more, and they won't. {Question: Your car doesn't work and you get depressed. You loose your job and you get depressed about life. How does that differ from your will not being in what you are doing?) There isn't any difference, if you are in that state. As long as you keep getting worse, something gets more food. It's very simple to think of these things as parasites. As long as you provide attention, they will feed. There are certain types that take pieces out of you when they eat, but that's not because anything that they devour of your attention is lost. You don't really give anything when you feed these spirits. What you loose is what they do to you to get you into a feeding trough, what they have to do to you to make you give them attention. The Holy Guardian Angel is somewhat like this in a superficial way; but it will listen to your complaints and try something else. These destructive spirits don't have that capability. The way it was put to me by my own father, if you find a dog that sucks eggs, you better shoot it. There's no way you are going to stop that dog from breaking into your hen house and sucking eggs. It's the same thing with a sheep killing dog. Once they start that, they will never quit. {Student comment: What about the dog that always wants to go out and chase rabbits when you are trying to get it to chase coyotes? You get a dead rabbit and tie it around the dogs neck for a while ...} I saw a lady try something like that with her kid once. This little kid about three feet tall was made to eat a pound and a half of chocolate. Didn't faze him at all. Solid chocolate too. Wanted more. The next day and the day after. Wanted more. Did not work. Doesn't always work. Sometimes it does. It's a matter of proportion. If you got a dog that damn near kills you, get rid of it. If you got a dog that makes the neighbors so pissed that they want shoot you after they shoot the dog, you better do something about that dog. If you depend on those eggs in that chicken house for your breakfast, which is more important, the breakfast or the dog? There's lots of dogs. There's only one breakfast a day. {Q. We were given a dog and a couple of weeks later it was wetting all over the place and so my mother said "NO"! And it would go like this... like it was ready to attack. So she went for it's throat, got straight with that dog... Every time it did that, she would go right for it's throat.} Some of these things can be trained. That's an example of a demon that would be useful if you had something to do with it. If you don't, obviously you don't want that any more. There is a useful thing to being depressed. It may seem strange. Actually, there are two useful things, one rather less useful than the other. You can get on SSI if you are sufficiently depressed. The other use for depression is part of the Kundalini process. It's a way you can develop power in the Muladhara Chakra. Instead of just letting it spin around in there forever, once it builds up an enormous amount of power, realize that you are not really depressed. You have simply turned in on yourself over and over again. That's why this state of mind is associated with Saturn and melancholy. Crowley includes such methods under the NOX principle, the formula of NOX. It can be a pretty dangerous business. Don't mess with that until you have a good general grip on your emotions. As to the rest of the Abramelin procedure or process, the basic approach is as I have described. Find a subject, religious or something similar, realizing that religion doesn't have to be the narrow thing that it is defined to be in our culture. Next, achieve solitude. That is best if it really is solitude with support, so that you don't have to worry about anything. Failing that, you can have a room in a house. Failing that, you can have a hanging on a wall or something similar. You can even have a floor cloth or small carpet that you spread and sit on. Anything of that kind will do. If worse comes to worse, you can invent a symbol for yourself, something simple that you can draw on a piece of paper. Such a symbol can be a place, but not everyone can accomplish the work with only a symbol as an astral temple. Doing it with a symbol alone is a little like trying to live off one peanut a day. It's too hard. Proceed with a three-stage process. The first stage is: "I don't know what I'm doing, and gradually I will learn." That's where rigid but simple discipline is most important. At that stage I recommend two performances, either one at dawn and one at sunset or at 6AM and 6PM. Unless you go outside a lot or live in a place exposed to the natural course of the day, you're not going to think in terms of sunrise and sunset as much as time on a clock. Separate your meditations by a good piece of the day, not just a few hours. A good twelve hours is best. Be very strict. Do not miss one. If it's to be at 6AM and 6PM, no matter what else goes on, do your meditation at those times. This takes planning, since the practice should be kept up without significant failure for about three months, certainly not under three weeks. Do it for three months, and chances are it will take. Once you've done that, you will find that your meditation has grown more elaborate. You will get ideas as you are sitting and staring at a Tarot card, picturing a flower or looking into a mirror, whatever your meditation is. You will spontaneously come up with ways to enhance your meditation. About the middle of this period, start using some of these things. After testing such innovations, make a selection and use the best of them consistently. Develop a system. The middle part uses this system. The end part comes when you reach the point of listening to the inner voice. If you try all this without preparation, you will get lemures or depression inducing things. That comes of being a mental bunch of pieces with no regular pattern. You can't attract the one big piece that fits everything until you are more unified in yourself. Such a regular practice acts like bio-feedback. With bio-feedback, the machine "beeps" wrong if you are wasting mental time. Once you have gotten regular practice well established, it will carry on without special effort. You may find that after the first three weeks, you are getting more and more done each time. Don't expect such results after only three weeks. Three months of meditations twice a day is more usual. Write down your experiences immediately after each meditation so that you are able to figure out what's happened to you. Review your journal or diary for guidance. Whatever this experience may be, you are going to have to figure it out for yourself. If somebody else gives it to you, it's not going to be as good. You would be constantly thinking: "I'm not getting this right." Develop the method yourself, and you will get it right. It's yours. It comes from you. No outer standards are needed. You're the standard. You are making it better as you go. Trust no external measurement, take no concern with somebody else's idea of what needs to be accomplished. That's very important. Eventually you will get to the point where you don't have to meditate at regular intervals. Maybe you can skip a day and get right back into it. After a while you may be able to skip a week. You may skip a little bit more time. Instead of doing three meditations to resume where you left off, it may only take a second meditation. Maybe instead of six, it takes three. These things vary. Numbers don't matter. Change and proportion matters. After a while you may be able to put years between these meditations and take no more to get back into them than in the first year you were doing them. A week's break can then be a year's break. What's happening is this: First of all there is the superficial matter of conditioning. You learn how to do it like riding a bicycle. It takes practice. It takes time. Eventually you can re-learn it very easily. It's not like languages. Some ways of learning languages can be transitory, readily forgotten. You will reach a level that transcends mere habituation. Whatever your meditation, if it has pattern to it, a strange thing will begin to happen. Have you ever noticed that when somebody you haven't seen in years meets you or calls you on the telephone, a lot of times it's as though no time had gone by at all? You might continue a conversation you had with that person five years ago and broke off suddenly. We live at many different rates of time. We live conceptually, not by the ticking of a clock. Some things seem to have stopped. Some things seem to be going on. Then an event will occur and one of those things that seemed to stop a long time ago will continue where it left off. It never did stop. Some things happened in their own time. What may have been literally three years by the calendar amounted to no time at all in another part of you. That's where you have to get with these meditations before you can be cut free from the time problem. You must to be very disciplined to get to that place. Discipline requires regularity; twice a day, 6AM and 6PM. Discipline also requires definite things to do, with no short-cuts allowed. There should be a pattern, a system to your meditations, so that you are, in way of speaking, living the next one after you have done the last one. For example, if the meditation is to pick up individual stones from one container and put them in another, the next stage of that meditation is to pick up the next stone. It doesn't matter when you do it. As you do it, you will have one event immediately connected to the next, foreshadowed, foreknown and no questions. In the back of the Abramelin book are strange squares made up of Latin or English letters. It's said that this is a test of the book. I won't go at great lengths into this with you now. I'll just give you an insight as to how this kind of thing is done. In the Abramelin book these squares are printed in English letters, regular capital letters. What you have here {slide picture of an Abramelin Square in Hebrew shown} are Hebrew letters. These are examples from that book. When I pursued this particular course of study, I chose the 231 gates of the Yetzirah as my pattern of meditations. Those are all the combinations of Hebrew letters, taken two at a time. I will show why that isn't quite as meaningless as it sounds toward the end of this presentation. That choice of the 231 gates made me very comfortable with the mysticism of the Hebrew alphabet. I just looked at these Abramelin squares and said; "why don't I look these strange texts up in a good Hebrew lexicon." A dictionary wouldn't help. A lexicon gives you the roots of words. You get a lot more fluid use out of a lexicon than you do a dictionary. A dictionary may say: "In Hebrew, in order to say 'Hello', say 'Sholom Aleichem'. In order to say 'Hello' back, say 'Aleichem Sholom'." Bull! "Sholom Aleichem" is "Peace be with you". It's just used like we would use in English "Hello". A dictionary doesn't need to get into that. A lexicon always does. I got a lexicon. The square was in English letters, but I tried to look up the lines of the square as though they were in Hebrew letters. I couldn't always figure out exactly what I was looking at. In this example, the square is called: "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic". Some of these examples are new and not in the Abramelin book {see Heidrick: "Magick and Qabalah #1" booklet}. Let's take another one and come back to this example later: H O R A H O S O M A R O T O R A M O S O H A R O H In the Abramelin book, it says "to discover any magic" and shows this grid of letters. That's nice, but rank superstition. It says: "This helps you discover magic" --- stop. There's this little thing full of letters in the book. What the hell do you do with it? I suppose you draw it on paper and jump around screeching a while, burn incense on it and stick it in your pocket or something. That's not particularly helpful. It occurred to me that, since the book claimed to be of a Qabalistic origin, I should try to see if I could figure these squares out as Hebrew words or roots. They are mostly symmetrical. You have to really twist word spelling around to get much of that. Hebrew spelling is more flexible than modern English spelling, but chances are the original author was playing with word roots rather than true words a lot of the time. So, I looked it up. The top line is HORAH, in English. There are a lot of ways for transliterating from English to Hebrew. Also, Hebrew is written right to left, opposite to English. When transliterating between the English and Hebrew alphabets, don't forget to reverse the direction of the words. Those first two letters, "HO" can be transliterated into Heh-Vau, the definite article, "The". "RAH" is one of many words which mean a "Mother", "Woman". I decided this first line means "The Mother". The second line "OSOMA" can be transliterated as, Vau-Shin-Vau-Mem-Aleph. I got to the Hebrew by making guesses at the letters and looking in the lexicon for words that made sense. "VaShem" --- "Shem" means "name", especially "divine" or "holy name". Next, take the middle line: "ROTOR". There are a couple of words vaguely like that in Hebrew. One of them means "to shape" and another means "to enclose" or "to fence about". I wasn't too comfortable with that, but I wrote down the best guess I had: "trembling enclosures". Now, consider the second line from the bottom "AMOSO". Aleph-Mem-Vau-Shin-Aleph is what I got transliterating English into Hebrew. That line probably refers to "night"; there's a Hebrew word similar to this spelling. Hebrew is flexible because it has so many short words. You will find almost any three letter combination if you fish a bit. Finally, the bottom line "HAROH" turned out to be very close to a Hebrew word meaning "to increase" or to "wax" as the moon does, "to grow more". I looked at that and said; "Well, now let's see. What do we have here? If you treat this square as though it's badly spelled Hebrew or Hebrew that's spelled so that it makes nice symmetrical patterns, you can get: 'The Mother names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase'." That wasn't the first draft, but it got that way with a little effort. What does it mean? "The mother" -- I was surprised. Then I realized; the Abramelin book has the traditional four major demon princes and then it includes one more section just for Kore. Well, Kore is Diana. That's a goddess. Interesting. So "the Mother" might refer to Kore. "... names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase". This goddess tells you about, identifies, those mysteries of the night that become strong. It sounds like a poetical reference to the idea of magic. That's why it's "to discover magic." Somebody wrote down a little prayer or affirmation and made a pattern out of it. They're all like that. I A L D A H A Q O R I A L O Q I R E D R I I D E A I R D R O H A F E O N This one's "to obtain the friendship of some particular person." Get your Hebrew lexicon out and try to make sense of these things. Start by attempting to transliterate from English into Hebrew. Some letters are easy. "L" is always the letter "Lamed". "A" may be "Aleph"; chances are it is, but it may not mean anything. "I" is most likely "Yod"; so is "Y". With a little experience, it's not too hard to figure it out. When I tried that here, I got: "Divine Maid, beautiful of breath, grant us the lordly pearl. Protect us from harm. We exclaim at Thy Holy Breath." I took some liberties with secondary words. It looks like praying to some goddess and asking her not to give you bad breath. You have to think, this was done in the 14th century. People didn't take too many baths. They sure didn't have tooth paste. Most couldn't even afford salt for mouth wash. When somebody in that age opened his mouth, you knew what he ate ten years ago. It was quite important to be relatively attractive to people, even if it was only to do business with them. If people couldn't stand being near you down wind when you talked, you had a serious economic problem. There's a certain amount of common sense to that square. Another person could pick up another Hebrew lexicon or some other approach and get an entirely different result for this square. The process of doing this is very intoxicating. A cross-word puzzle has a lot words and facts you just don't know. With this, if you keep at it, you always get something interesting. If you devote yourself to the symbolism of the Hebrew letters, studying Qabalah or what have you, you can see the letters and their combinations as sacred things, as magical things. To a student of Qabalah, study of this kind actually consecrates the talisman automatically. {Comment: ... some of the squares are intricate and symmetrical and some are not ...} I checked symmetrical squares and the ones that were not. After that I did some experimenting by completing ones that were incomplete in the book. Finally, I tried making some of my own, using the mental states acquired through my meditations. I sat down with a blank grid and thought: "that's an 'A', that's a 'G'..." If you work at it, you can get way out there. I'd write down what I wanted the square to do. Although it's not described as part of the Abramelin system, I would then decide on the size of the square by the system of the Olympic seals, where 3 is for Saturn and 4 is for Jupiter, 5 for Mars, 6 for the Sun, 7 for Venus, 8 for Mercury, 9 for the Moon. I'd make a square of that many on a side, depending on whether I figured on my question being more appropriate to Venus or the Sun or whatever planet. If you had something for the Moon, you'd get a lot of language, because lunar squares are nine on a side. {Question: How much does personal introspection take in the translation of this?} That has to be there. Magick doesn't work if it's not perfect. That's not a translation. That's a meditation. With meditation, somebody else would get something different and both are absolutely correct. With translation, there would be a more narrow objective constraint on accuracy. {Question: Do you ever write anything out in English and then translate it into Hebrew to make one of these?} That's what I'm getting to. I decided, what the heck! --- I talked myself into it. I'd try this. At that time I taught a class on a similar subject, but not quite the same as this present class. I thought; "Alright, I'll only do this if I really stick myself." After giving the first run-down in the class, I said: "I'd like you to give me ideas. Give me things that you'd like a magical square written about. I'll make a couple of them and bring them back." One of my students knew somebody who had gotten into magic and hurt himself. We decided to obtain a new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic". Another student said; "There are not enough people here. We need more people at the next meeting." So we decided to make another square "To gather seekers to the covenanting." I went home, decided the appropriate size for the squares, did my meditations and drew them out. I stared at the empty grids until I could see what letters had to be where. Then I wrote them down. You have to test these things. Treat these new squares with English letters written at random as though they are squares from the Abramelin book. I got out my Hebrew lexicon and checked to see if the new squares made any sense. Sometimes it was harder and sometimes easier. Here's the new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic: T H O B H L B I I B L H B O H T The first line is an acceptable Hebrew spelling of a word meaning "good" or "beautiful" (Tet-Hay-Vau-Bet). There is an extra vowel letter in it, but that is alright in the manner of Hebrew spelling. The next line is a over-lap between two words: "Hol" (Hay-Lamed), which means "bright" and the next three letters, using one of them twice, mean "a gathering together". I figured that meant "Bright Covenant". For the next row: (Yod-Bet-Lamed-Hay) --- I had to really fight. I took every sequential combination to see if I could find Hebrew that made sense. Yod-Bet can mean "wealth"; two letter combinations form the Hebrew roots and you can usually get something there. Bet-Lamed can mean "Bal", which means "Lord". "Lah" is the negative, "without". So: "wealth, Lord, without". That could mean either that you are dead broke or you aren't going to loose your money; one or the other. I took the positive, but that isn't necessarily the best meaning. For the bottom line: Bet-Vau-Hay-Tet: by the same methods, combining those letters in order and using some of them more than once, I was able to get "Enter the shining light". Altogether, I got this: "Beauty in the bright covenant, wealth of the Lord fails not, enter the shining light." That's a bit euphemistic, and I realized it at the time. I looked for another meaning. I said, ok, that's just a blessing. Beneath the surface you have a second meaning. Instead of interpreting "wealth of the Lord fails not", consider that the wealth does fail. This then is a prescription. "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of magic," tell the person that everything that he got into is fundamentally a thing of beauty. He doesn't have to fear loss of things. He must look again into the beauty so that all will be wealth. There was another way of reading the square to the effect that the person was a dead drunk and that was why he was in such bad shape (if the Beth's are taken as Resh's, this meaning would form). When you come up with these things on your own, it's weird that they mean anything. The doubly weird part is that the meaning relates in a fashion to what you intended. This positive outcome may certainly be induced by previous meditation on two-letter Hebrew word combinations. Somewhere in the back of your mind is a virtual lexicon that will choose meaningful patterns of letters for these squares without conscious intervention. That may be how these things were developed in the first place. This method of analysis is one way of approaching the material in the back of the Abramelin book. If you happen to be into the mysticism of the Hebrew letters, you can use it. If not, not. These squares are supposed to be a test, but it is presumed that you are studying something like Qabalah. If you are studying something else, you'll have to test yourself another way. Many of the squares in the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" are incomplete. It's as though the Abramelin book is a school work-book. The incomplete squares are there to meditate upon and complete. You are told what they are supposed to do. You will probably find that the results of completing and studying the squares will not be quite the same as the descriptions, but you are not the person who originally came up with them. The new ones that you get will have a different quality, related to your experience in the world. That's the approach. If you really have money, you might build yourself a fancy temple. The first step in the Abramelin working is to find a place to do the working. Then, something I didn't mention earlier, you need a method of divination. You can use Tarot cards, astrology, or anything like that. The Abramelin book mentions white river sand. That's a tip-off. The form of divination that this particular author used was geomancy. More than that, it was probably a bit like foxmancy. Foxmancy is a practice of divination used in Africa. You put little bits of food in circles traced in sand or dirt. Each circle has one of the 16 geomantic symbols in it (figures composed of four lines of dots, one or two dots per line). You are supposed to be looking for the prints left by a fox the next day, after the fox has had a chance to come by and check out the food during the night. Where the fox stepped, that's what you've got. {Question: what about roaches?} Roachmancy would be workable, but probably a little too talkative. Besides, some roaches are too light to leave tracks. There is another method of getting these same symbols. You will find them written up in a number of books: "A Rectification of the Oracle of the Yoruba" by Judith Gleason, Crowley's "Liber Gaias" (Liber XCVI) or "Handbook of Geomancy" in the "Equinox". The geomantic signs are related to Astrology and have names like "Vir" for "Man", "Puela" for "Girl" and so forth. There are elaborate ways of working the oracle. One method of obtaining an oracle with the geomantic symbols is to take a stick, supposed to be a camel switch about five to eight feet long, thin and whip-like. People don't understand the principle and just pick up a stick (or even a pen, like that used by a lawyer to check the pending verdict in the William Kennedy-Smith sexual battery trial in Florida some years after this presentation. Anyone watching CNN as the end of the trial was televised could see one of the lawyers for the defense tapping a pen on a piece of paper rapidly in lines. He counted the taps and made notes --- that's classic Western Geomancy!~ He probably picked it up in a Yale fraternity. There are tables of interpretation for this type of Geomancy which concentrate on trials and imprisonment.). It should be a camel switch because such a stick long enough to vibrate. You can get it going in a rhythm that continues after you have stopped moving your hand. It won't quit when you do. Get a long, slender switch vibrating up and down, bring it near the ground and move it along. Count the number of times it hits the ground before you move it up again. This is intended to prevent unconscious manipulation of the number of strikes and "cheating" the divination. If the switch strikes an odd number of times, that's one dot. If makes an even number of strikes, that's two dots. Do this four times for each geomantic sign you need to make a complete divination. Crowley apparently didn't think of this when he described the process, because he said it was too easy to cheat. If you use a long switch, you are less likely to cheat since you are not depending on how many times you deliberately hit the ground. Crowley apparently thought that you just hit the ground until you felt like stopping. If you do that with direct hand motion, you don't have the element of independence that a vibrating switch would have. That's alright. He learned it in England. There aren't too many camels in England. So how would he know? He learned other things and went on without researching this method. I think Crowley got his geomancy through a book by Hargrave Jennings, or Jennings got it from the same source as Crowley. There's another method of Geomancy where you take a sand table or something like that and just go crazy in there with your hands. It's like finger-paints, only with sand. Smash it, bash it, kick it about. When you are done, you look at it. "Looks like a frog", whatever. Cloudmancy works too: "Looks like a man eating a fish". Plastermancy --- you know the sort of plaster walls that have a kind of texture, not the modern type with the little pimples all over, but the kind that look like somebody skipped every so often --- you can look at that. Linoleum, if it's sufficiently like old fashioned linoleum, they don't sell proper linoleum for floors anymore, but that really nifty looking linoleum with all the random patterns --- you can do linoleum-mancy. It doesn't matter what method you use, as long as you have some way of doing divination. You are going to need it. Lintmancy, TV-snowmancy, there is nothing so degrading that you can't use it for divination. Always remember the official way of doing divination in the Roman State, required of certain elected officials, was augury, reading fresh bird guts. The famous Cicero, who wrote all those essays and was too noble for Caesar to execute, was the official auger of the City of Rome. This man could stand up, and unlike me making it up as I go along, could deliver a lecture word for word from memory for hours. Cicero's principal job was to stick his hand up a chicken's ass, pull it out and say "it's gonna rain tomorrow." ... Divination is intended to give you information that isn't just from you talking to yourself. There are levels that aren't verbal. Those are the ways you can reach this Knowledge and Conversation most quickly. Your verbal consciousness is all tied up in social conceits and beliefs fostered in childhood. You do need divination, something like one of the ways described, to get to the next thing. It's suitable to have unusual garments. Something comfortable, not too distracting --- robes are traditional. As long as you are not into expensive cloth and things that form-fit, a robe is cheap and easy to make. If you are into good looking robes, you probably don't need them for this. The basic idea is to have some kind of clothing, it doesn't have to be robes. You can decorate and embroider a pair of pants and a coat to match. Those will do just as well. You can also use ready-made things. Perhaps a Japanese robe. You should have a practice; perhaps like Frater Achad you can do yoga asanas. You could get a little fancier with Liber Reguli or Liber Samekh. Consider the ancient map carved on a rock in the Camonica valley in the Alps. It is one of the earliest maps known. Now you can drop a buck at a gas station and pick up a map, all the while complaining that they used to be free. In those days, the idea of shaping a picture of something that you can never see but only walk was quite an outstanding leap in ideas. That principle has been used in a lot of cultures. Some of them just go hog wild and make giant shapes, like Von Daniken tried to sell to people as landing fields for space ships. Why would anybody do a thing like that? The Cerne Abbas Giant is a thing like that in England. It's an enormous figure of a man with a club and an enormous hard-on carved in the chalk on a hillside in Dorset. People kept saying; "that's one of the Celtic mysteries". Finally somebody took a good look at this old thing, at least 1500 years old from records mentioning its existence. Every few years somebody had to go over it and re-cut the sod to keep the exposed chalk outline visible. For 1500 years people have been keeping the thing there. In South America you find some that are laid out in desolate places, but this thing was definitely maintained for 1500 years or more. Nobody knew how long. People just thought it was some Celtic relic. Then somebody took an inra-red photo from an aircraft and realized that the arm holding a club originally also had a rug-like drape over the same arm. Evidently that part had been abandoned over the centuries while the main figure was re-cut and renewed. That drape positively identifies the figure as Hercules, with club and lion skin. A bunch of home-sick Romans carved it up there and it's been kept up ever since. It must have impressed people. The Giant could only be seen poorly from the ground and some of these great figures can only be seen from the air. That is an example of order. It doesn't matter what it is. It has to be order that's new, not old. It has to be innovated. It can derive from something that's old, but it has to be yours. There are various rituals and things to get into. {Illustration in class on slide:} Here's John Dee's original version of the Enochian Squares from a manuscript in his own hand. That's a magical procedure worked out in Elizabethan times. He even called it "Enochian" from the legendary Book of Enoch. {Illustration in class of an oriental print, with hermitage in mountains.} If you can get situated like that, you have it made. But if you can't, if you can't find a lovely sylvan setting out of a Chinese or Japanese dream, you are just going to have to lump it with a corner of your apartment. {Illustrations in class of typical squares, completed and partial from the back of "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage."} {Illustration in class of the square "To undo Magic" as printed by Crowley in the "Equinox" just in front of his article on Geomancy.} Crowley had a bit of a sense of humor. {Illustration in class of a similar square placed by Crowley just behind the title page of "The Goetia", a portion of the "Lesser Key of Solomon."} It's one of the Abramelin squares to undo magic. Tasteless trick, I call it. {Illustrations in class of embroidered work for clothing.} If you get into some method of art, by all means incorporate it into this. Embroidery is perfectly workable. The method I choose to organize my own work was the 231 gates. They comprise all the combinations of pairs of Hebrew letters. You can systematically arrange them. I meditated on each of them twice in a standard pattern. That was done at 6AM and 6PM for a month or two. Then I had a one day break and resumed. Finally, I got to the point that it doesn't matter how long the break takes. An example: the thirteenth pair of Hebrew letters is Aleph and Nun. I wrote down their numerical working-out. You add fifty for Nun, one for Aleph, normally not using the final values of the letters, to end up with 51. You can reduce that to 6. That's 6 on the Tree of Life for Tipheret. Also, the Hebrew letter Vau is 6. Aleph in the Golden Dawn system corresponds to the Fool in Tarot and Nun to Death. That's two Tarot trumps from the two Hebrew letters. If you look up in the "Sepher Yetzirah", or "777" or Paul Foster Case's little book, "Highlights of the Tarot", you can find other stuff. Aleph and Nun have their name spellings, which can yield other numbers and correspondences. Those names mean "Ox" and "Fish". Tipheret means "beauty". That gives you two or three words for meditation. You can take the astrological correspondences: Air for Aleph, Scorpio for Nun and Sun for Tipheret. There are also directions in space associated with the letters: Aleph is a vertical central line above to below. Nun is the direction to the Southwest. That may seem strange, so why don't you just sit down and imagine a line straight down through the middle of your body and figure you are facing East or something. Then imagine another line paralleling that first one to the Southwest. Just think about it. It's very abstract, no conditions, no complications, it's not going to have a lot of stray associations. It's a simple and pure meditation. There are traditional things associated with the letters. Aleph is sometimes thought of as the Breath of Life, Spirit, Ruach. Nun sometimes has the qualities of change and motion associated with it. These are interpretations that are given to those letters. You can say "Life moves", "Life changes" --- that's Aleph and Nun. The main thing is to have a system that yields a lot of compound subjects for meditation. Each individual subject fans out into many other subjects, some very abstract and some very simple. There are other things that are associated with these letters. There are "intelligences", somewhat later than the old "Sepher Yetzirah", but they did get associated with the letters and some other things. In one variation of that tradition, Aleph is called the "Fiery" or "Scintillating Intelligence", Nun the "Imaginative Intelligence". Thinking that is fiery or scintillating, thinking that's imaginative and brings out new things: you can meditate on that. You don't have to have logic in your meditation, but that's available too. Paul Foster Case liked to associate the 12-tone scale of the piano keyboard with Hebrew letters. If you are into Music you can play E-natural against G-natural for Aleph and Nun to meditate on that sound combination. The Golden Dawn had four colors for each. If you are artistic, you can meditate on those colors. If you are not presently musical or artistic, here's a reason to explore those interests. All Hebrew letters are classified into several groups. Aleph is called a Mother Letter. Nun is the sixth Single Letter. There are properties and traditions that apply to them. The Mother Letters are the primal sounds. The Single Letters are compounded of those sounds. The Double Letters are the elements of multiple variation that you can get with those sounds. Here is a primal thing giving an issue, Aleph is a Mother Letter and Nun is a Single Letter. --- {Question: Is it important to have some system that you can be actively involved with in line with trying to find these correspondences that --- or something --- Zen ---?} In this culture it's helpful to occupy your mind. We have so much going on to distract us that we have to keep the thing busy. You can always try standard things like Zen meditations. You might feel better. You might have an experience. If you are going to take yourself apart and put yourself back together, you will have to have a substantial machine going. Zen meditations can do that, but they are a lot more than they seem. For example, the sound of one hand clapping isn't that {demonstrates by snapping out-stretched fingers of right hand to right palm}. That's a nice joke to frustrate a Zen master. The sound of one hand clapping is that {demonstrates by holding right hand vertically before body, parallel to center line and palm to left.} and the sudden sense of sound where there is no sound. Each separate Koan will produce another thing that can't really be described in words. You must discover within yourself. There are systems of koans. Koans are brief verses of apparent paradox, either by internal contradiction or irrelevancy to context. Koans are intended to produce conceptual stress for resolution by sudden insight. If you have a book that says: "Try this one", you are being entertained. If you have somebody who can tell you which one to do next and say: "Ok, you've got that one. Move on." or {slaps book cover suddenly} who can do something to shock you and make you move on, you have some system. You can try Alan Watts' books "The Spirit of Zen" and "The Way of Zen". Maybe he'll give you enough to work 90% of the time, whatever. You need system because you are doing something more than one little thing. Most of these little meditations are sold for a buck or an entertainment. Some of them are better than that. {Question: You need something that involves your conscious mind in a way that's not --- just sitting there}. In this culture you do. In some cultures it is sufficient to have chants and koan-style meditations. The problem with those is that you need a teacher. You come to depend on your teacher knowing what to do next. With this, you are the teacher and you are going at the ultimate teacher, called the Holy Guardian Angel, or the Higher Self, or what have you. {Question. --- about finding a teacher in this culture}. You can do this sort of thing here with a teacher, but the chances of it working are less than in some other places. This culture is full of yammerings and "belief that you know things". {Comment: With the Indian culture, even more so...} Oh, well, they commercialized religion before anyone else even had it. You are talking about the people who knew how to do it and forgot to do it. The yammering is there in all cultures, but in some the yammering is very different. In this culture, the yammering is almost a mechanical thing. It isn't personal so much as it convinces you that it is personal. In many other cultures, you have family. In this culture, family tends not to be quite what it is elsewhere. Here, family is often as not people you pick deliberately and have a hard time finding. In other cultures family is what you were born into. You have no choice, and you are not leaving. That goes for whom you marry too; and, oh yes, you are going to marry. The names of your kids were figured out 30 generations before you came along. In such an environment, you need to get away before you need anything else. In such an environment you need things that are familiar to you. In this environment, intellectual things may be very much more familiar than human things. --- Look these letters up in a dictionary or lexicon, that's a traditional way of meditating on them anyway. You might as well do it. It turns out that there are a lot of two-letter words in Hebrew. Aleph and Nun, it can go either frontwards or backwards. Once you have words to play with, you can figure out what they mean. Sit down. Take every one of these combinations of correspondences and write down the result of thinking or meditating about them. Do that even if it doesn't make sense. For example, here's one that's easy to recognize: "The Ox falls past the Sun. The Ox is stuck tight in the spinning rounds of the Fish who chases his tail." Well, you've obviously got to do something more than just saying "Ox", "Sun" and "Fish". Taking the elemental and astrological: "Air blows past the sun. The maddened bull rushes into the nest of scorpions (scorpio)". You play with these things. This is the first pass. A nice thing about the 231 gates, there are two ways of organizing them. You can hit each gate twice without having to do it all in the same succession. The first pass runs through Aleph-Bet, Aleph-Gimel, Aleph-Dalet, Aleph-Hay, Aleph-Vau and so on. The next time it's Bet-Aleph, Bet-Gimel and so on. Each time you start with another letter, you repeat as many of the previous gates as there have been letters before that current one. The second time around, instead of just lining them up and checking them out with simple meditation, sit and try to do automatic writing. After meditating once on a particular pair of letters, you no longer have to do mechanical comparison of correspondences. You just get into it. In the case of Aleph-Bet, you have done 21 meditations before you hit it again as Bet-Aleph. Write down the feelings and thoughts: Nun-Aleph --- "The son of the sun enters the world but to die and to rise again. You O'h Lord," etc., etc. Eventually you will evolve out into something more. This is a way of working with the Abramelin system. You get pretty pictures if you can meditate enough. They don't mean anything? Maybe they do. This {illustration shown of an elaborate example diagram} is a combination of all of the other letters placed between the two Hebrew letters Tzaddi and Hay. Every other letter is there, so in a sense this shows all the things that pass between the gates of Tzaddi and Hay, between the Star and the Emperor Trump. In order to make use of any system, you have to learn the system and get it working. This is the system I have used and am still using. I've extended that working considerably, just by taking more time as it became possible. The present one I am meditating on is SeB, Shin-Bet or Bet-Shin. Crowley took his Abramelin meditation system from the work of John Dee. There are a series of Calls, organized and progressively difficult. Crowley was able, after a couple of failures, to make a go of that. He tried it in Scotland, and it petered out. He tried it in Mexico and only got a little way. He went into the Arabian desert and paraded Victor Neuburg around looking funny and got side-tracked briefly, but he managed to accomplish the thing. The main thing that you need in this world is to learn how to use what you already have. It works that way in meditation as well. If you take an old system and don't pay too much attention to an old teacher, then you might develop a light of truth in that old system that no one ever knew before. That's new. Or perhaps, something of it that was forgotten, and rediscovering the forgotten part is what you need to do. In this work, it is necessary that everything is new. Yet, the pattern will always be old. That is not a contradiction. Everything that you do from the pattern is new to you. By using a pre-existing pattern, something old in that sense, you don't have start from scratch. If you want to make a drawing, you get a piece of paper. You can make the paper yourself, an entertaining thing that one might like to try; but that is not the best way to make a drawing. It's the same here. You need a paper, a piece of paper to write yourself upon. That "paper" should be an existing system. If you originate that system yourself, it may or may not work; but you will be certainly wasting a lot of precious time. You will also likely end up with an experience that you can't tell anybody about. The biggest problem for people who get deeply into these things, as I have found and seen, is that they get so far removed that they can't explain themselves to anyone. They get very very lonely and seem very very strange. Why stand on the sea-shore and reach as high as you can? Why not stand on a mountain top and reach higher? The mountain top is there already. You don't have to make your own mountain of sand. That's the principle. ---------- Bill Heidrick


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank