To keep silent
These nine words are amongst the most widely quoted in occult circles. One particularly hears them many times as a novice. They constitute a mantra known as the Powers of the Sphinx. References are made in the writings of iconic figures such as Éliphas Lévi and Aleister Crowley. Despite their apparent simplicity, each of the Powers of the Sphinx offers profound guidance for any occultist. Each covers a profound aspect of the practice of magick. This is the first in a series of four articles analysing the possible meaning and then considering the implication of each of these aspects in turn.
What does it mean to know something? When interpreting this first power, reference is often made to the famous inscription from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: “know thyself.” There is obvious virtue in this idea, both in occultism and in life generally. Continue reading
Legend has it that the “Testament of Solomon,” which contains the original text of the Goetia, was left out of the Bible, because it was not considered to be inspired by Jehovah. The “Testament” is accredited to King Solomon, but the real author is unknown.
Solomon is said to have been the wisest person of his time (848-976 BCE). He was powerful, wealthy, and according to the text, was given a magical ring by the archangel Michael that gave him power over demons. When it was time to build the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon needed help, as it was forbidden in the Torah to use certain kinds of materials. His advisers told him to seek the advice of demons, as they were known to hold forbidden wisdom and would be able to give him the knowledge he desired. Continue reading
“The Yggdrasil-Tree is a beautiful symbolical representation of Freemasonry,” says Daniel Sickels in his General Ahiman Rezon. The book, which was intended to be read by Freemasons who wanted insight into their fraternity and its rituals, was published in 1868. Yggdrasil, says Sickels, “illustrates the character of Masonic secrecy.” Yet this was, of course, the world tree of pre-Christian, Norse mythology, and Sickels, who also speaks of the norns (the female figures who predetermine the fates of men), is certainly well aware of its character.
Sickels’ work appeared more than 85 years prior to the publication of Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today — which initiated the birth (or, as some would maintain, revival) of the Pagan religion of Wicca — and just over a century prior to the “revival” of Asatru, the Germanic-inspired, and rune-based Pagan religion which emerged during the 1970s. Yet, some other Freemasons of the 19th century were inspired by northern European, pre-Christian mythology, and absorbed some elements into Masonic, or “fringe Masonic,” ritualism. Continue reading
The Angel and the Abyss: The Inward Journey, Books II and III, by J. Daniel Gunther
Ibis Press, 9780892542116, 399 pp., 2014
In 2009 J. Daniel Gunther published Initiation in the Aeon of the Child, Book I of his Inward Journey series, and it was a great book. (Ed note: See Ges’ earlier review of Initiation in the Aeon of the Child.) Now five years later he releases The Angel and the Abyss, Book II and III of the series, and a more than worthy successor to the original. Continue reading
Tarot Origins is my favourite tarot workshop to teach, because we start right from tarot’s early beginnings, through its history, how it’s been used, the symbolism attached, and how to read the cards.
In this 8 week Tarot Origins workshop series, we’ll look at tarot’s exoteric and esoteric histories: the Dance of Death (not as sinister as it sounds!), the Renaissance, the fin de siecle occult revival, and modern interpretations of the tarot today. We’ll also learn about important figures like Court de Gebelin, Papus, Eliphas Levi, AE Waite, Pamela Colman Smith, Aleister Crowley, Lady Frieda Harris, and more. Continue reading
This question came to in from Richard Phantastica of Phantastica Bricolage:
I was wondering about a general magical ref text… specific emphasis on symbolism (alchemical, hermetic, qabbalistic, etc.) Any recommendations? I was looking at The Complete Magician’s Tables by Stephen Skinner and The Magician’s Companion by Bill Whitcomb. Any idea regarding those? Feedback would be most appreciated!
I’ve not read The Magician’s Companion, so I can’t comment on that, but it really depends on what you’re after as there are several books which might be suitable. Continue reading