The Theban Oracle, by Greg Jenkins, PhD
Weiser Books, 978-1-57863-549-8, 237 pp, (incl. appendix and bibliography), 2014
There are effectively three books within The Theban Oracle: an introduction to what the author calls “Medieval Metaphysics,” including the few references to the Theban alphabet; a method for divination using the alphabet and correspondences created by the author, which requires the reader to make a casting set using the instructions included; and examples of spell-casting with the support of the Theban letters. Continue reading
“No spiritual development begins without that person having a mystical experience,” claimed my friend Hans in recent conversation. We had been discussing mysticism and he made a few points that made me pause. He continued, “Mystical experience connects a person to the higher states of being. Without this, no one make any serious progress on the spiritual path.” I thought this was a rather provocative statement and asked him to clarify. He said that only once someone has tasted the ultimate can they really begin to direct themselves and their actions towards it. Until then it is like trying to create a trail with no guide or point of reference in sight.
I must admit I was taken aback by such a frank assertion, one he was quite adamant was universal. Additionally, I take seriously Aleister Crowley’s warning about the ways mysticism can delude a person and have thus always been suspicious of it. I pointed out how Crowley noted that mysticism was all subjective and lacked any kind of objectivity. Hans countered that this is wrong and that all true mysticism connects to a universal higher reality to which all humans share access. Humans, he claimed, were “wired” for these mystical states. He then pointed to all the great religions and mystics and said they all went up different paths to the same mountain peak.
I asked then, why did each of these mystics have such different responses to the same experience. Why did Jesus appear as the sole son of God after his time in the desert while the Buddha, Mohammed, Theresa Avilla, and so many others had different responses? Continue reading
Enochian Vision Magick: An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley, by Lon Milo DuQuette
Weiser Books, 9781578633821, 261 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography and index), 2008
Lon Milo DuQUette is the author of more than a dozen books on esoteric subjects, and has served as the OTO’s United States Deputy Grand Master since 1994 This is his second book on Enochian magick, his first being Enochian World of Aleister Crowley: Enochian Sex Magick, co-written with the late Christopher Hyatt.
Enochian Vision Magick opens with an introduction by Clay Holden founder of the John Dee Publication Project, an online archive whose “major purpose of this site is to distribute primary-source materials relevant to the “Enochian” work of John Dee and Edward Kelly”,. Two prologues follow by DuQuette outlining his interest in and involvement with Enochian magick for the past thirty years. Continue reading
John Dee’s Occultism: Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs, by Gyorgy Szonyi
State University of New York Press (SUNY), 0791462234, 362 pp. (incl. notes, bibliographies and index), 2004
In John Dee’s Occultism Szyoni argues that, contrary to popular sentiment, Dee’s interest in occultism was not separate from his scientific investigations, but a logical extension of his philosophical studies.
The book is arranged in three parts, with the Part I provides an overview of Dee scholarship and perspectives on occultism in the Renaissance from Frances Yates to the modern era, contextualizing the various historical interpretations in their periods, concluding with the angle Szyoni is pursuing with the present text – a fascinating study in how the lens of history is focused at various points. Part II looks to Dee’s influences, relying heavily on catalogues of Dee’s vast library, and inferring other texts not mentioned, but with which he would have likely been familiar, from the Corpus Hermeticum to Paracelsus to various medieval texts. Part III examines Dee’s output, the books he wrote, diaries and letters, and the public opinion of the time. Continue reading
Numerology,was invented to quantify, tabulate and create concepts to be applied at useful purposes. The role of numbers in esoteric studies was largely originated from and developed by Pythagoras in the fifth century BC from maths developed first by the Babylonians.Pythagoras believed the secrets and real nature of the world could be arrived at by finding the real nature of numbers. Using fractions and ratios Pythagoras invented a system of musical notation from ratios of sounds represented by mathematical symbols. Pythagoras also studied geometry and originated a mystical philosophy that incorporated math that spread to areas as far and diverse as Western Europe and India.
In the fourth century BC Aristotle who had had instruction in Pythagorean concepts as well as from Plato and Socrates before him and pre Socratic cosmogony before them, taught that numbers were the only ideas that had no existence in the physical world but only in the universal mind. This teaching was contrasted from Plato’s teaching that everything has a higher existence as an eternal idea af of which the corporeal thing is a mere imitation. Aristotle believed numbers were derived from number one and that the numbers that followed after started with the dyad which allowed for expression of the plural from unified being after the first multiplicity. Like numbers planes and solids had no existence in the form of physical objects but could be used in ways of thinking about physical bodies. The infinite unity of the cosmos bestowed existence to unequal, finite numbers in the act of creation from an infinite being that could have no parts divisibility or differentiation since these could not have arisen from or predicated as distinct from an infinite unity. Homologies from Plotinus to Lao Tzu give account of plural modes of existence or a manifestation of being producing new realms in the manner of “the one becoming two, the two becoming three” and so on. The view of more modern philosophy that number is a primary as opposed to a secondary quality, since as Aristotle himself held that a thing could not both be and not be, is consistent with more modern views on how we perceive.
Geometric ratios which can be used to calculate cosmological, and religious meaning in the construction of ancient monuments like Soloman’s temple or the great Pyramids is also used in astrology to measure geometric relations between astral and celestial bodies from the location of these bodies relative to each other to a measure of so many degrees on an astrological chart, which allows the astrologer to read the positions from the information available to him or her. The constant ratio Phi or “Golden mean” is useful for studying the proportion of geometric shapes when in cosmic relation and for plotting terms in a geometric system which may involve aspects of a religious system like the tree of life better known as the Kabbala. The use of geometric symbols in representing the composition of matter involved cubes, pyramids, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron as symbols for earth, fire, air, water and cosmos or ether. The triangle was considered as the fundamental shape of all matter being the most basic stable shape. Familiar geometric shapes composed of triangles include the star of David, consisting of two triangles brought together symbolizing personal power. The cube is composed of six sides that can be broken into twelve equilateral triangles, unfolding int a cross shape and with similarities in dimensions to Soloman’s temple in Jerusalem.The pentacle is a configuration if pentagram and isosceles triangle that can be shown to be be extended infinitely inwardly and outwardly even simultaneously in macrocosm and microcosm. When circumscribed by a circle the pentacle takes up exactly half the area of the circle, to name a few of the many, some of the inverse relations to this shape which symbolizes a perfectly balanced person.
Geometric shapes of the symbols for the sun, moon and planets were expanded only by John Dee in his Mona Hydroglyphica which involved analysis and combination of these symbols and their components. The circle sometimes containing the symbol meant the monad that generated the worlds and continue to do so as part of the motion of each planetary sphere in a fully ordered solar system. Combinations of these symbols combined their power to form talismans. A renaissance philosopher and scientist Dee was an personal astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I.
As a point when extended becomes a line, a line a plane, a plane a solid and as some say the motion of a body through space; time arising as a consequence of something in motion. But to infer too much from what can be shown with geometrical concepts can give rise to fallacies . These pure concepts cannot form the basis of knowledge and serve at least partly the framework of experience.