Tag Archives: israel regardie

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude Lecouteux

By Freeman Presson | June 30, 2014 | 2 comments

The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude LecouteuxThe High Magic of Talismans and Amulets, by Claude LecouteuxThe High Magic of Talismans and Amulets: Tradition and Craft, by Claude Lecouteux
Inner Traditions, 264 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography, and index), 2014

The first part of The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets goes into the traditions related to amulets and the natural magic thereof, and also examines the tension between established Christianity and the long-standing tradition of magick, especially of the apotropaic (evil averting) sort. One is strongly reminded of the generations of priestly execrations of goddess worship in the Bible, which similarly told us how long the practices persisted, and some details of them which we would not otherwise have had.

The priests inveighing against these charms were particularly intent on discouraging the use of magical characters (alphabetic or sigilic writing that conveys spiritual power). They sometimes waxed poetic: “The demon slithers in the characters like the serpent beneath the flowers.” This ties nicely into his statement that “the unknown always inspires the Church with fear.”

Lecouteux summarizes part of this history thus: “Implicit in the background are notions of natural, licit magic and illicit black magic,” ((p. 30)) after giving one of many examples of a churchman condemning the talismanic art as being an implicit pact with a demon, a pattern which, as he points out, is “commonly repeated throughout the sixteenth century.” What this means to me is that the Faustian current which arose in early modern magick didn’t just appear without help. Apparently, it is as possible to call an egregore into being by constant execration as by constant evocation! Continue reading


Review: What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn, by Francis Israel Regardie

By Psyche | October 6, 2006 | 1 comment

What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn, by Francis Israel Regardie, forward by Christopher S. Hyatt
New Falcon Publications, 1561840645, 233 pp. (incl. appendix), 1936, 2006

Seventy years later, Francis Israel Regardie’s works remain today a principal source of information regarding the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He believed that the Golden Dawn was “the sole depository of magical knowledge” and “the only Occult Order of any real worth”. While this may seem slightly exaggerated, it certainly was at the forefront of the scene at the time.

While he may have believed in the order’s practical and mystical methods, he no longer believed the Golden Dawn was the ideal medium to transmit this knowledge. As others (primarily Crowley) had already disclosed some of it, he thought it prudent to reveal all its teachings to the public to ensure its preservation.

However much he believed in the order, he also offered some harsh criticisms against its Chiefs, leaders, and members primarily in regards to grade-lust. Regardie touched on the order’s various complications and its complex history, believing that “[t]he root of the trouble, quite apart from the grade misconceptions as well as the curse of vanity, was of course that the work was only cursorily performed. No one really cared a fig for Magic and spiritual development. No one really strived for mastery of any technique. Grades, and grades alone, were the goal”. This may remain familiar to many currently practicing in various orders or groups. Unfortunately, no obvious solutions are forthcoming, at least not for ‘saving’ or ‘curing’ the order itself.

Regardie presents a more or less balanced view of his experience with the order, pointing out its faults, while continuing to revere its teachings. He received flack for the publication of this, and other Golden Dawn material, however he believed he was acting in accordance with the Work itself. Indeed, he rather boldly states: “If I am guilty of treachery and have mistakenly worked against the intent and purpose of the true occult forces behind the Golden Dawn…then willingly I open myself to the avenging punitive current…if my present act be contrary to the true intent of whatever divine powers may be, willingly let my “Rose be blasted and my power in Magic cease”. Evidently the powers that be did not take offence.

He gives an overview of the order’s grades and basic theory, as well as an outline of its syllabus. Further commentaries from other authors are tacked on to the end, as well as additional documents supporting Regardie’s claims.

It seems almost gossipy at times, however reservedly presented. The use of magickal mottos or their initials in lieu of mundane names may be a term of respect or to preserve member’s privacy, but it may seem difficult for those not already acquainted with the subjects to keep track of who’s who, and the fluctuation between mundane and motto may further flummox the reader.

This presents an interesting perspective and personal history of the Golden Dawn, and should prove a fascinating read for anyone considering joining or learning more about their teachings.