Monday, July 1, 2013

An Interview With Sucae Sounds



I am pleased to offer my lovely readers the newest addition to my magical interview series here at Flight of Hermes. Today I am blessed to share the musings of someone who has touched my life, heart, mind, and soul since the genesis of my humble blog. Many of you may already know him from his own blog Suecae Sounds. Robert is an exquisitely talented musician, photographer, and philanthropist. Whenever I need a little boost of inspiration I often find myself listening to his new musical creations or pursuing through the many nature inspired photos he has posted to his site. I even have the honor of owning one of these lovely pieces (and if you're looking for a unique and uplifting gift, I suggest shopping Sucea Sounds!). But, as much as I love his art work...I love his mind and soul even more. Robert and I have shared many conversations over the years and his incredible depth as a person and enlightening thoughts are like a blossoming lotus bursting from the dark waters. I believe this interview offers a nice glimpse of him and a reflection of his new album Alpha 3...a gorgeously dark symphony of electronic music....think Angels sweeping through stormy, electric  clouds! And if I may be so bold...great album to play in the background if your doing any type of Lunar work.... Yes, of course I will post the link!     Here it is 

Now, without further adieu....

1.) Some of our readers may be familiar with you already from the blogosphere, especially from your own blog Suecae Sounds and from your various musings on others' music, photography, and magical/spiritual based blogs. Has magic/spirituality inspired your photography and art or vice versa? If so could you allow us to peek inside the veil as to how they may work together in your mind/soul to create a completed work?
To me, art is about craftsmanship – a careful process in which the artist continuously realizes his or her possibilities to partake in acts of creation. You train, practice and work your way to master your instruments – you learn to distinguish and see the hurdles and struggles not as a burden, but rather a process of joy. Art has taught me to see life in a less mechanic way, I believe it has made me kinder. In one of the aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche, he claims: ”Art makes the sight of life bearable by laying over it the veil of unclear thinking.” (My emphasis)

I think this has a truism in it, but rather than seeing art as a force of unclear thinking, I think it is a cry of the soul to render life into what it could be. True art is a transformative force that challenges us at the very core of being, it asks us questions about existence. Great art can move us beyond our lifeless systems of thought, beyond ourselves, and makes us known to ourselves!

Also, spirituality has definitely influenced me, in a number of ways – to me it comes forward in its most profound in seemingly simplistic acts. In the Christian communion, the short poems of the Taoists, the Sufis of world religions, the easy going playfulness of children. My motifs, music and images draw inspiration from all of this. Even when I am portraying what could be considered the anti-thesis to these aspects of existence. When I write music I attempt to reflect the underlying currents of life, create pieces that move me. I believe this can be apparent in my musical creations.

But it is important to note that spirituality is a vague term that can range from everything from a belief system to certain types of practices. When it is used to describe something that is not transformative, it becomes something which is all too common; ideological makeup. I believe it is important that whatever practices you do, you should do it in order to celebrate the holies. And perhaps more importantly, it can bring a redeeming and redemptive quality to existence which makes destructive conditions we find ourselves in, loosen its grip over the mind.

2.) You just released a new album...can you tell us a bit about it and its deeper meaning to you?
On the outset, I think most may feel that Alpha 3, the short album in question, has a certain amount of emotive songwriting in it – and this is certainly true. To me, it was very challenging to write, I pour myself into what I do, and I wish for my work to reflect a wordless state of depth. There are deeper layers that are meant to create such an impact as to render me, and hopefully others, sensible towards underlying themes of life. The overarching goal is for my art to be authentic. I created it to learn to know myself, following the old maxim, and the remarkable thing – is that when others tell me how it impacts them, it deepens my understanding of myself as well.
3.) Sometimes when I listen to your music I get a sensation of floating in the darkness, almost as if I'm experiencing the beginning of creation, or the Holy Womb energy. I'm sure each person has their own experience with your music, but please tell us what message would you like your listener's to come away with?
I'd like the listener to create their own worlds with the aid of my music. When you really listen, you create music with me. Saying that, hearing you say this confirms my own wishes, most readers here should be aware of the Hebrew concept of G-d and what predates the tree of life. Not using the specific terms of that system, I believe music could be seen as a re-imagining of the beginning and what came before. I’d like to propose the idea that music is one of the ultimate ways of connecting to not only our potential, but also remind us of that which is sacral, that which we cannot conceptualize through the written language can be performed through melodies and rhythm.
Even if we accept the materialist notion that anything beyond ourselves, in the physical sense, are fantasies, which I personally don’t - the bios, life, our eros sublimated as a longing for agape still demands us to move beyond ourselves. I’d like my listeners through the act of experiencing music to become more themselves then what they were.
4.) What are your future artistic plans? Where do you feel that artistic evolutionary energy is bringing you?
The currents are high, the sea doesn’t allow for clear vision. Still, I think most know that there is a joy in going into the unknown. Alpha 3 is out there. I cannot control how people will react to it, although I am very happy to see that it has found a few hearts until now. Recently, I've made some changes to my studio that may alter some of my working methods musically, perhaps this will be reflected in future works. Consciously I am trying to move into a place in which I relate to my own creative process, and also listening, in such a way that it doesn’t become mechanistic. Having said that, art continues to be both a place for discipline as well as freedom to me.
4.) You are also involved in quite a few humanitarian/social reform efforts. Can you share with us some of the issues that your passionate about? Do you feel as if your spiritual/magical life has anyway affected your motivation to go forth and be involved in these efforts?
If you are serious about life, and look at our common potential, I believe you may come to the natural conclusion that both economic and political dimensions that impacts life needs to be reformed. For a long time I’ve been engaged in a collaborative political projects. This being said, I don’t believe in reducing the political process to argue about which party to cast one’s vote for.

The natural sciences are quite clear in terms of the threat man made pollution is posing to the biosphere. It is also becoming increasingly clear that “business as usual” is not a viable option. I consider this not a “natural” process, an unavoidable turn of events, but a willful movement that is considered natural because to many leaders do not want to take responsibility for their actions.

This is, for me, a depressive insight at times. But still it is important to remind oneself that there are people who do great things. Grassroots political campaigns, social support-structures and communities are there and can be seen as a constant reminder of what needs to be done, and also, what actually Is done. I know of the emotional impact of a few people expressing support for their favorite artist, can have. Similarly, I believe people in general have more power then what they sometimes choose to acknowledge or exercise.

I work on maintaining a very calm relationship to what I view as holy. Maintaining a center when you are taken in by a storm can make all the difference to the outcome, or at least, it serves as an ideal to me. Down deep, the way we more commonly looked on the heart before it became reduced to a physical machine, makes sense to me. I have to remind me to let it; the heart and its hopes, be the motivator behind my actions. 

5.) Lastly, an old tradition here on the Flight of Hermes is to offer a free-flowing moment where you can share your life wisdom with the rest of us. What important lessons do you feel as if you learned up to this point in your life...if you could share any knowledge or opinion with the rest of us, what would it be?

I am a literary person. I could share a few quotes. But I choose rather to speak a little about life.
The age old divide between body and soul is pretty much dead in the western world, but the divide hasn't been bridged, or replaced with something better, we have reached a point in which the spirit, psyche or soul is denied its existence, aside from recognizing it on a purely instrumental level. For some, I believe the experience of being confronted with this social truth, could be very painful.

Also, there is a strong appeal in what could be seen as abstraction run amok, reducing life into theory. This will most likely not give us the existential understanding of life that we so clearly seek. It can rather be seen, perhaps, as a way to keep life at a distance. But Ethics starts with Bios. Understanding is experiential. Life is dynamic, it changes, and we probably shouldn’t reduce our “maps” in which we help to guide ourselves in life, to canonical law in the fundamentalist sense. Also: be humble and try to be kind. Find people in which you can engage in dialogue, look for friendship. Perhaps our idea of community, of friends, can yet again become a force for recovering lost meaning.

At least, that is one of my hopes… 

Thank you so much for taking your time to share your thoughts with us Robert. I am already looking forward to hearing more thoughts and music.

Nosce te Ipsum

Soror FSO

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls!


Avete FOH Readers,

I am pleased to announce the release of the new book Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls When first asked to participate in this project I was unsure of where this journey would take us. The range of Orders, personalities, and knowledge from which these commentaries would be made was sure to make for an interesting outcome, and one I can say I am very proud to have been a part of !

What makes this book so unique is that it offers a glimpse at the evolution of the modern Golden Dawn. Once a completely secret Order, the Golden Dawn, through the facilitation of modern day culture and  technology has developed into a system of great breadth, elegance, and knowledge. Arguably we could say that this has always existed within the seed form of Golden Dawn Tradition, but just as modern day science continues to grow and develop with increased experience and experimentation, so does that of the magical sciences.

One of the beautiful things about the Golden Dawn that I have come to love and find of great import is that it generally attracts free-thinkers. Because of this quality of many a GD mage we have been able to experience a veritable freedom of information that has become accessible through books, magazines, and the internet so that even the solitary practitioner can find a plethora of knowledge to support his spiritual path. On a side note, I do not believe that true spiritual paths are stagnant, but have the ability to grow and change in application with the development of society so as to stay pertinent to the contemporary spiritual seeker. Thus, I think that it is only natural that the fundamentals of the GD system have become available outside of the traditional Temple setting in the modern era.

I have come to find throughout my time as a GD student and Adept that the summation of the effects of this freedom has resulted in more of a spiritual boon than a degradation to the Tradition. Honestly, this was not something I always believed, but as a scientist by trade I find the power of observation is quite effective in leading one beyond spiritual prejudice. It is said..."You know a tree by its fruits", and I have witnessed two things concerning this 1.) fundamentalism and isolation breeds hatred, contempt, and chaos 2.) tolerance and collaboration cultivates innovation, learning, and non-attachment. If one is to truly lead a spiritual life one must use the power of spiritual and intellectual observation to eliminate falsities in ones consciousness. If the techniques available to the public through books, articles and respectable sources are practiced correctly than one will benefit a great deal from these teachings and have the ability to gain the deeper knowledge they seek and develop true mental discrimination. Now that being said, I support whole-heartedly the joining of an Order and the use of initiation if available... and the hope is that the information that is readily available will encourage one to do so. Being a part of an Order with a functioning Temple/Temples not only allows one to receive feedback on their progress through a trusted mentor but accelerates growth through community, physical initiation, and access to information that is not publicly available. also warms my heart to know that the true Seeker almost anywhere in the world can have the ability to follow the Golden Dawn tradition even if a Temple or mentor is unavailable to them. 

Concordantly, the effects of such accessible knowledge has been to lead the development of the Golden Dawn to a point where a variety of Orders are available with slightly varying approaches that allow for anyone of any background, ethnicity, and religious/spiritual education to find an Order they feel comfortable joining and which engages them in a manner that best .fits their personal development.  No, I may not believe nor follow the precepts of all Orders represented in this book, but I relish in  seeing a community of people genuinely following the path in a manner that is right for them and will lead them to enlightenment quickly and efficiently. The Mount of Abiegnus is tall and wide, but the summit is acuminous i.e. at the base there is room for many paths, but for the true Seeker they all lead to the same place.

This then leads me back to the allure of this newly published book. Each contributor is representative of a different Order with different, but similar training, allowing for a vast representation of perspective. Unlike the vast majority of previous GD books that have come from the viewpoint of a certain Order, this book offers a variety of spiritual vistas from which to draw from. Each contributor has proven themselves as a vast storehouse of knowledge and magical experience. Each is a noted mentor, writer, and contributor to the GD community via various fora and each has gained the respect of the Orders and their contributing authors thus making this book an excellent representation of the modern GD current.

What I truly like about this book however is that it is a testament to the true brotherhood that has existed for many years in the GD but has often been overshadowed by in fighting between certain groups which unfortunately left a bad taste in many an initiates' mouths. The truth however always overcomes and the great deal of love and devotion shared between Orders shines through in this collection of commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls. In summation, this is the most unique book on Golden Dawn teachings to date and will, I believe, live on in posterity for many years to come. I only hope that this will be the first of many collaborations expanding and offering the unique viewpoints of the many Orders which exist today.

Thank you to those who facilitated this great project, to those who took their time to contribute their ideas, and to those who take the time to read it and utilize it to expedite their spiritual growth. My hopes is that you, the latter whom I speak of, will begin/continue to lend your thoughts to the community on the various blogs and fora for which this book will be discussed and continue this new found tradition of collaboration for the benefit of future generations. And, if you happen to come across a commentary that you truly connect with and are not currently a part of an Order, I urge you to seek out the information via the websites available to see if that Order may be a good fit for you!

Find the book here!

Coming Soon!...look forward to a most exhilarating interview with mage and artist Sucae Sounds!

Nosce Te Ipsum,

VH Soror FSO

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Special Thanks to the HOGD and The Ciceros's my favorite time of year. The Summer Solstice is upon us and love and hope are in the air. During the month of June, many of us in the Golden Dawn celebrate the aspirations of the Adept, the Light of the Divine, and the giving of thanks for the work we have been able to accomplish through the rights of Corpus Christi. This year many of us would like to extend a special thanks to some special members of our community...the HOGD and Chic and Tabitha Cicero for their constant dedication, hard-work, love for the community, and continuous dedication to helping the spread the Light of the Golden Dawn amongst the true seekers of Light.

Although my name is on the list below I would like to extend a personal, heart-felt thanks to the HOGD, and the Ciceros, especially Tabitha as she has been a beacon of Light to so may women in the modern Golden Dawn. Thank you for your constant inspiration.

Here's to another amazing year of magic!

Nosce te Ipsum,

V.H. Soror FSO

Monday, May 21, 2012

To Infinity And Beyond!

(Picture by person's fractal art is awesome! buy some!)

In my last post I discussed the ramifications of separating science and mysticism and its effects on contemporary society. Today I would like to offer an interview with my good friend, fellow mage, and fellow blogger Frater J.C. one of the contributors over at The Rosicrucian Vault. I have the pleasure to have personally known him for many years and not only does he posses and deep and fruitful knowledge of The Royal Art, but is one of the most learned and intellectual people I have met. He also has his degree in mathematics and wrote his senior dissertation on the  famous mathematician Georg Cantor who I am slightly obsessed with due to his research into infinity and his work and discoveries with the transfinites (the hyper-link will take you to a nice over-view). My interview with J.C. covers some of these concepts and their links to magic, mysticism, and The Golden Dawn as well as one of my favorite subjects Sacred Mathematics. Enjoy!

Nosce Te Ipsum,

VH Soror FSO

                    Interview With VH Frater J.C.

FSO: Sacred Mathematics is an integral part of the language of many esoteric/mystic traditions and especially in the Golden Dawn. When did you first start to make connections between the intricacies of mathematics and magic? How has your relationship with mathematics and magic matured over time?

J.C.: Sacred Geometry permeates every corner of our tradition.  You and I see it, others may or may not.  I like your use of the term “Sacred Mathematics” as it lends itself to concepts that are outside the scope of, yet include, Sacred Geometry.  Quite frankly, my interest in sacred mathematics has run parallel to my work in the occult.  I can’t think of a time I was interested in one and not the other.  When I was a teenager, my focus was on Golden Dawn work and at the same time I had an obsession with Hebrew Gematria.  My relationship with Sacred Mathematics has been nurtured each step of my personal progression in this work, but it is really the last five years that I have really begun making what I would consider useful, practical use of the concepts of Sacred Mathematics.  Prior to this I was immersing myself in the symbolism looking for something.  Part of the problem is that there is little to nothing on the practical use of most of the theoretical ideas of Sacred Mathematics available.  What I have been able to make use of has been through a lot of work and testing of certain applications.

FSO: As a scientist/magician and someone who has studied her fair share of math I have often though to myself that mathematics has an extremely elegant way of expressing universal ideas that are on the border of being able to be expressed intellectually and also living in that abstract world. A world it seems, above the intellect that connect us to higher states of consciousness as if it is a doorway into a higher realm. Can you speak on this a bit. Do you agree/disagree...what has been your experience?

J.C.: Well, mathematics is a language.  And just as any language is meant to be able to order thoughts and communicate them to other sentient beings, mathematics does this in its own way.  Mathematics can explain what the English language cannot, what Hebrew cannot, what any other language cannot.  It can be used to explain everything from the mundane to the abstract, from things that exist in the material plane to things that very clearly cannot exist in Assiah.  The great thing about mathematics is that if there is no known jargon or formula to explain something, some mathematician will add to the corpus of mathematical concepts, and thereby add to the language of mathematics.  In that respect, mathematics is a language that is constantly growing and evolving. As with meditating with any symbol, color, energy, one can meditate upon any mathematical concept.  This is particularly natural to do with mathematical models.  Meditating upon, say a square, or even something like a system of ideas such as Calculus can lend itself to comprehending the natural ideas to which those systems or models correspond to in the world around us, and even in higher dimensions.

FSO: Do you think that the study of mathematics can deepen our skills in magic? Do you think that this lies only in the area of Sacred Mathematics, or do you think this extends into the more mundane aspects of math?

J.C.: Sacred Mathematics is practiced by everyone in the Golden Dawn tradition whether they are aware of it or not.  Every time someone performs a pentagram ritual, a hexagram ritual, a qabalistic cross, among other things, they are engaged in Sacred Mathematics.  When one meditates upon the point, line, cube, and beyond, they are engaged in Sacred Mathematics.  These practices certainly are employed by many effectively, so that is evidence Sacred Math can indeed enrich the experience in this tradition.

FSO:What areas of mathematics do you think are indispensable to magical training? What areas of mathematics do you think someone could study in order to deepen thier knowledge and understanding of magic?

J.C: I think there is a lot of work that can and should be done in the area of Sacred Geometry.  It is a virtually dead art because so few are engaged in it.  Constructing and meditating upon mathematical figures is a powerful method for gaining deeper insight into the nature of these figures which are prevalent in our tradition.
As far as the study of mathematics, I think only those with the inclination toward mathematics are going to pursue such studies to a degree that they can generate something useful.  However, just because it takes a mathematical mind to construct, say, a complex geometric figure such as a icosahedron, that doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t gain something from the work and research of someone that can construct and immerse their mind in such a figure. Aside from the specific subject at hand, I think the greatest benefit from the study of mathematics in this area is the corresponding cultivation of the mind.  The lack of a well developed intellect, in my opinion, lends itself to poorly constructed thoughts and ideas (which often leads people to form false beliefs) that seem to stereotype of what is called “new age.”  Truth is important, and the study of mathematics is a historically effective method for cultivating the mind to be able to derive truth from any study, including esoteric subjects.  This is largely why so many important philosophers, and even occultists, had a relationship with mathematics.

FSO:  Now, there is a very interesting mathematician by the name of Cantor whose theorems you have studies in great detail. He postulated that not only does infinity exist it exists in different measures, i.e. that there are larger and larger infinities that exist (at least in mathematical terms) Have you found there to be any connections between these ideas and magical theories? Do you think the knowledge that there progressively larger infinites could alter or change our understanding of magic in anyway?

J.C.: The work of Cantor might be significant to me, it might be significant to you, but they are rather advanced mathematical ideas that probably won’t fit into the tradition as a whole, as only those who study the subject in depth can really think about and meditate on the spiritual significance such ideas.That being said, I think meditating on infinity as a simple idea is useful and would recommend it to anyone.  You don’t have to study Set Theory and the Transfinites to get something out of a meditation on the infinite.For me, meditations on the concepts and models of infinity has had an impact on my mind, creative thinking, and my personal connection with the Quintessence.  That connection it fostered with spirit also seemed to feed back into my connection with being able to have a deeper conceptual understanding of the infinite and the transfinite numbers.On the flip side, there is evidence that practices of mysticism have actually had a direct impact on the development of this specific branch of mathematics.  There was a specific practice of “Name Worshipping” that flourished in Soviet Russia, which served as a simple, private form of Christian worship as publically practicing Christian worship was met with severity, up to and including death.  The practice of Name Worshipping had a influence on the philosophy of existence for certain Russian mathematicians, which had an impact on their work and development with the concepts from Cantor’s theory of the infinite. 

FSO: What would you say are the differences and similarities between the ideas of infinity expressed in mathematics and those which we contemplate in esoteric thought? For example do you think that we are dealing more with the concept of Absolute Infinity in our magical studies? Do you think that the ideas of the transfinites can be used to explain things such as the realms of the Sephrioth which are infinite worlds unto themselves which in some opinions become more and more vast as you ascend up the Tree of Life?

J.C.: I wouldn’t draw any connection between the Sephiroth and the infinite, as the Sephiroth are specifically defined to be the numbers 1 through 10.  This is not just through arbitrary correspondence, but to say that the Sephiroth are those numbers.  I would attribute the concept of infinity to realm of the veils of negative existence, particularly to Ain Soph (“without limit,” or infinity). Numbers are numbers.  However, in academic mathematics the focus seems to just be on the quantitative aspect of a number, whereas in esoteric studies there is more of a focus on the qualitative aspect to a number.  Historically these two halves of a whole used to be as one, but I don’t foresee them becoming reunited any time in the near future, with the exception of the few who have an interest in both.

FSO: Lastly, I like to leave this last question open to those whom I am interviewing to take some time to share their own personal wisdom about The Great Work. What have been the most important lessons that you have learned on your there any knowledge that you think is important for others to know or to contemplate?

J.C.: Learn your basics, learn them well, and then find something that you can be passionate about, master that subject, and take it in new directions.  Reworking and rediscovering old papers, lessons and works will only carry us so far.  What is important, particularly in the Golden Dawn, is the development and establishment of further expressions of the tradition.  Make it fun, and make it meaningful to you, but do it in a way that will be useful to the progress of the tradition.  Otherwise, why bother being a part of a magical Order?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Separation of Science and Mysticism: A Detriment To All?

As many of my treasured readers may know I have been taking an abundance of mathematics and physics courses over the past two years while getting my Master's degree in bio-medical engineering. I am pretty sure at this point, that the ghost of Sir Isacc Newton has begun haunting my brain, scraping his chains through the halls of my cerebellum. For anyone who has taken at least Physics I and II and Calculus I and II, you will know that Newton pretty much has his named stamped on everything from his "Three Laws of Physics (which form the foundation from which most other physical laws/theories are defined) to "Newton's Method" ( a method for finding successively more precise approximations for the zeros of real functions in Calculus). For all intensive purposes we could say that Newton for the most part, invented Calculus ( although this is highly debated as another scholar during his time was working on the fundamentals of Calculus but from a different perspective). However, in terms of what we as students learn in university it is Isaac Netwon's principles in both mathematics and physics that govern the majority of material that is taught. But what is never spoken about is that Newton was also a famous alchemist and mystic. In fact, the majority of what we study in science and mathematics today were discovered by great intellects who were also mystics, alchemists, and magicians...Giordorno Bruno, Pythagoras, Plato, Poincare, Einstein, Descartes, Kepler, Bach, Roger Bacon, Pascal, Copernicus, Albertus Magnus, Geber, Paracelsus. This list is far from complete and leaves out the many mystical thinkers who have made great contributions to other important areas such as literature, music, and art that so highly influence us today.

Contemplating this and studying the universe from both a magical and scientific perspective it seems obvious to conclude that humans are functioning with limited knowledge on both sides of the fence. Limited because these famous scientists and mathematicians combined their work with techniques, and teachings that gave them a more complete understanding of the nature of reality which has now been separated from thier discoveries. Where they were praying, meditating, and connecting with the Spirit to uncover the mysteries of the universe and nature, we are left with the bare-bones of what they percieved. Where they were eating the hot, sumptuous pie just barely cooled from the oven, we are left with the crust (which is exceptionally tasty), but not the filling or its freshness. These masters were getting in touch with higher states of consciouness that helped them to uncover some of the many wonderful principles that we exploit today in our inventions, studies, experiments, and discoveries.

Albert Einstein for example, used to use a personal technique that he uncovered when he was working on the Special Theory of Relativity. He would sit in a chair with a metal ball and a metal bowl. Thinking of his question or what he was working on he would let himself drift off to sleep. Just before he would fall asleep he would enter that state of consciousness between waking and sleeping which is totally unbounded by the intellect, this is known by some to be transcendental consciousness, the dialectic, hypnogogia. In this state he would uncover the answers to the mysteries that he contemplated, unrestricted by the intellect, emotions, and sensations and attachments to the physical world. When he began to transition into the sleep-state the ball would drop into the bowl and wake him up so that he remembered what he uncovered. Although one of the world's greatest physicists, Einstein believed he could get in touch with the underlying unity of existence to unveil its true nature and make some of the most important discoveries to physics since Newton himself.

The seperation of science and mysticism didn't happen during the Age of Enlightenment, but has been a part of intellectual thinking since antiquity and has affected our studies of mathematics and science from its inception. Pythagorean cults are a perfect example. Although no writings exist from Pythagoras himself (he beleived in the concept of "mouth to ear" that still lives in the Golden Dawn tradition today). We do know by cross-referencing the writings of his students that Pythagorous was a mystic, mathematician, musician, and astronomer who did not see the seperation between these subjects but instead viewed them as being bound by a unifiying principle. He taught unification with the Spirit though harmony, humility, honor, and the contemplation of the infinite through numbers and music. It wasn't until after his death that two "Pythagorean Schools" emerged, one that focused soley on his mathematical and scientific teachings and the other which focused soley on his spritual teachings. It seems that the separation of holistic knowledge into bits and pieces was fated from antiquity.

If we begin to research and study the life-works of many of the scholars listed above, it becomes quite clear that the physical knowledge that we have obtained from their works is but a mere reflection of the spiritual principles that they uncovered simultaneously. "As Above, so Below" is the great spiritual edict, or as many a Golden Dawn magician may say, "Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether". If we contemplate these teachings of pure math or physics or chemistry from the view point that there is a reflective side of these subjects, a new world, a more complete world, begins to open itself up to us.

The next thing that we may deduce (or debate) is that not only is the corpus of out scientific knowledge incomplete, but possibly the corpus of our magical teachings. Is it so far fetched, to look at the study of something such as electro-magnetic fields and associate them with the way that magical current flows during hand-on healing techniques? Chapter X of The Kybalion concerning polarity begins, "Everything is dual, everything has poles, everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same, opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree..." For those of you who may have studied electricity, current, and electric fields this may sound similiar to you. Protons and electrons have an equal but opposite charge. Protons having a positive 1.67*10^-19 charge and electrons having a negative 1.67*10^-19 charge. These elementary particles are governed by Newton's "Third Law of Action and Reaction" which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Not only does this govern the movement of objects in the macroscopic realm but also the behavior of particles in the microscopic realm. The fact that these two particles are equal and opposite are the reason that atoms are held together and that molecules are made.Next comes what is known as an electric field where a distribution of charge (a bunch of charges bundled up together) causes what is known as an electric field. A single particle has an inner or outer pointing electric field, but it is the distribution of charge that causes things such as electric current.

Now let's look at this from an esoteric point of view. How many of you have under-taken the study of an energy healing technique or been the recipient of one and thought "Wow, I can feel this energy flow out of my hands" or "I can feel you touching me even though you are inches away from my body"? Is is so hard to make the connection that these energies may behave similarly to what we study in science? That there may be some type of energetic current or distribution of energetic particles causing this flow and that we may turn it on and off by at will? We spend a great deal of time honing our magical will in order to control these energies.Combined with a more specific understanding of how these energies work we could allow our will to turn into a sharply honed knife. And what about distance healing? Could quantum physics govern the principles of healing from far away? What about the discussions of the astral plane, where things such as time have no meaning? In the realms of quantum physics time is totally transcended, in fact the results that we receive from our experimental studies in quantum mechanics are totally dependent upon how we observe them because they deal with a plane of existence that is nothing but potential. Does this sound familiar?

Now this post is not meant to prove the connection between science and magic. I think that has been well written and well documented. The point that I am trying to make is that not only are we as a species of intelligent beings doing ourselves a great disservice by poo-pooing time honored and proven techniques (meditation, yoga, magic, etc..) that can help us to gain greater physical knowledge, but that we as magicians may not be utilizing all the knowledge that is available to us either. (Yes, I believe a physics book could be part of your grade material if used in the proper way) I have often heard it said by modern day mages that if science was only willing to take on the studies of esotericism our discoveries would grow exponentially. But I have rarely heard it spoken of the other way. However, over the past two years I have come to believe that when the separation of science and mysticism of an individual's teachings and discoveries takes place not only does the scientific community suffer, but spiritual community does as well. It makes complete sense that one should study chemistry along with alchemy, or physics along with ritual magic and meditative techniques. Knowledge is universal. It is one, it is not meant to be separated from itself into pieces. You cannot bake a pie with just a crust or just a filling, you need both. Please tell me your thoughts...

Nosce Te Ipsum

VH Soror FSO

Friday, September 30, 2011

Presenting: The Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

The Initiate’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Written by: Rachael Walker, Peregrin Wildoak, Samuel Scarborough, and Nick Farrell


The following is a document entitled The Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Its purpose, to open perspective to the needs of individuals, organizations, and mentors in the esoteric community as well as to offer some food for thought to the individual regarding various experiences they may have on their magical and spiritual path. It has been written by representatives and leaders of a variety of Golden Dawn organizations with the input and suggestions of people from the esoteric community. Due to the vast number of such organizations, not all, course, could be represented, and it is of the understanding of those who worked on this project that the breadth of the needs of every individual organization or person could not be met in a succinct Bill. There is also the understanding that everything included in this Bill may not be agreed upon by all, as each person has their own experiences and opinions to draw from. Instead, we hoped to make the “Bill” as universal as possible, and furbished in a way that would inspire those on a magical/spiritual path to travel it with common sense, contemplation, and guidance from the Divine at each turn. Truly, this “Bill” is merely a document of suggestions, based on the experiences of contributing individuals to help one to be aware of the various personal, political, social, and spiritual intricacies that may present themselves on the path of the initiate. I would like to thank all of the individuals who put their time and effort into helping me write or review this document, Peregrin Wildoak, Samuel Scarborough, Nick Farrell, Xandyr Walker, Nineveh Shadrach, J. Randich, and all of those in the esoteric community who chose to come forth and make suggestions on various fora, networking sites, and the blogosphere during this process. As of this publishing there are a few Orders who have chosen to ratify this Bill or parts of it into their by-laws or constitutions. It should be made clear that this document is meant to be a service for the community, to be used by individuals and organizations as an inspiration to help better the lives of others. If you have a group or organization and believe that this document or its ideas will be of a benefit to you, please use it as you see fit. Although intellectual property rights are maintained on this document, its ideas belong to the community.

On a personal note, I would also like to especially thank the individual who first recommended this idea. Unfortunately, his suggestion came in the form of an anonymous commentor on one of my blog posts...none-the-less, it's a perfect example of the power that each one of us has in this community to bring forth positive changes every day in ourselves and in the community.

Rights and Responsibilities in the Practice of Magical Spirituality


We as followers of the magical way, profess that no magical path is the same, nor is any individual Lodge, Order, Group, Initiate or person who chooses to follow a magical or spiritual path. We do recognize that as followers of various mystical traditions we share a common ground based on the right for each person to follow his/her particular spiritual calling and for each individual to have their basic human rights respected while engaging in such practices alone or with others who have chosen to follow the most honoured and illustrious methods of the Spirit. We understand that as humans we posses human faults and that no man or woman however seemingly elevated is beyond risk of the temptations of the ego or flesh and that these temptations should they overcome any one of us can and may put others at risk. Therefore we present this Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as a service to the magical and spiritual communities so that in times of confusion a person or group may have access to a resource which may provide guidance to them during times of need. This Bill is not put forth by any one person or group, but instead at the request of the magical community and with input of various traditions, teachers, students, and organizations. We recognise and respect the incredible blessings we have been given by the Divine and seek to honour the Immeasurable One through our efforts to cultivate a magical society that is based in love, respect, equality, and the promotion of human rights and actions that are becoming of our most perfect and unblemished souls. To this end we claim, that regardless of tradition or path we:

Value and hold dear all magical symbols and paths, for they are the bridge between our limited self and the Unborn, Real, and Eternal Truth.

We consciously cultivate respect for the magical way of life and the avenues whereby we may walk along it – the various teachers, Orders, teachings, books and wisdom so freely given to us.

We understand that Magic will transform us and that as we practice our path we will change completely. We consciously choose to live with change, recognising also that only that which is born can change or die. The unborn, uncreated aspect of the Self never changes nor does it ever die. Magic guides us more and more to identify with the True Self.

We recognize that the magical path is one of relentless honesty. We understand that as beings who may have not yet become one with our True Natures we are rife with resistance to change and are imbued with negative, self-serving patterns of action and behaviour. We do not deny our addictions to the lower or ego-self, but seek to change them in accordance with the higher or Divine Will.

We know that spiritual unfoldment takes place inwardly and has no unique outer sign recognized by our finite consciousness, other than Truth, Love, and Compassion. We also recognize our own self identified egos are sources of delusion and that we must refrain from consciously and irrecoverably judging another, but seek to engage with all people in the spirit of genuine fraternity.

Based upon these edicts we therefore present this Initiates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as an honour to the Divine, our Souls, to the Masters who have gone before us, and to each person who has been brave enough to choose the Noble Path.

Section I: The Rights and Responsibilities of the Candidate
Section II: The Rights and Responsibilities of the Initiate
Section II: The Rights and Responsibilities of Leaders, Teacher, and Mentors
Section IV: The Rights and Responsibilities of Orders, Lodges, and Magical Groups

Before Joining A Spiritual Organization A Candidate Has the Right To:

· Know the purpose for why the Order or group exists
· Know the oaths, obligations, and by- laws he/she may be responsible to make and adhere to upon initiation as well as what will be expected of them in terms of time, finances, resources, and loyalties
· Have any general questions regarding the group, its history, its workings, its materials, and its beliefs fully answered before initiation or admittance.
· Take as long as one requires before committing to join
· Be given proper reasoning in a compassionate manner if one is refused admission
· Have any financial obligations handled appropriately before joining

The Candidate Has the Responsibility To:

· Accept that certain information, including but not limited to the exact name of the group, is not available to non-initiates
· Fully understand that if one joins a secret, occult, or magical group that his/her involvement including the possible requirement of maintaining certain secrecies or obligations may affect one’s personal life, as well as others who are a part of one’s life outside the group such as spouses or children
· Understand all of the requirements of membership before joining (and ask for assistance if required in gaining this understanding)
· Engage in all appropriate research of the group and it's history so as to have an appropriate understanding of it's full reputation, purpose, and goals
· Gain a general understanding of the broader magical traditions through published literature and internet content to understand the many options available to one seeking a spiritual path and to use this knowledge to make an informed decisions about which magical/spiritual path to follow and/or which group may best serve the purpose of one’s path
· Inform, upon request, the history of one’s spiritual work thus far, so that one’s future mentors may have a better understanding of one’s level of understanding of the mystery traditions
· Take care of any financial obligations before accepting membership
· Begin to address any culturally instilled fear of magic or ‘the occult’ which may impede his/her connection with the group or one’s spiritual practice
· Fully contemplate the nature of following a magical path, living a magical life, and the responsibilities of being a part of a magical group

As a Member of a Spiritual Organization an Initiate Has the Right To:

· Be treated with respect and integrity, regardless of grade or background, as a member of the fraternity
· Fair and equal treatment regardless of age, race, religion, sexual preference, lifestyle, gender, disability or other difference in life circumstance
· Follow one’s religious path and private spiritual practice, and to develop themselves individually where desired and work beyond the set curriculum of the Order and to pursue complimentary paths of magical/spiritual practice as long as it does not violate the natural progression of the system one has chose to follow nor one’s oaths or obligations
· Know that the institution is functioning with financial and legal integrity, and know where any monies donated or requested are going, as well as to be given proof of such upon request
· Be given a copy of the group/Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws and other information concerning the administration and rulership of the Order, and to be informed promptly of any changes to these
· Be able to vote as an equal on Order matters as outlined in the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws
· Have one’s personal, familial, work/school, or religious responsibilities and the required time needed for such outside of the group respected
· Have one’s level of comfort in ritual involvement, or level of service outside of what was informed of them upon entering the Order or group respected
· Autonomous decision making with respect to any ‘higher’, ‘received’ or ‘Third Order’ teachings
· Be free from sexual, spiritual, mental and financial abuse, bullying, exploitation or manipulation
· An Order free from the promotion of leaders’ or members’ business, politics, financial interests or promotion of lifestyle, sexual preference, religion or other spiritual group
· Be told and given the outline of training and method of progressing within the Order and the requirements for progress
· Raise objections and questions regarding leaders’ decisions they think are unethical or against the good of the Order, and to receive an answer in a timely and fraternal manner
· Have the ability to suggest changes to the method of Order administration, the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations and by-laws and have those changes discussed and voted or acted upon at the appropriate venue and time
· An Order free of slander, defamation, verbal and other abuse directed at members of the group or other Orders or magical groups or their leaders
· An Order that is free from activities that are illegal; nor should there be suggestions from Order leaders or members to engage in any illegal activities in the privacy of their own home
· An Order free of magical attempts to harm, hinder, control, dominate or attack any other person
· To uphold their Oaths and Obligations made to any Order or group, and never to be asked by the leadership of an Order or group to do anything contrary to those Oaths and Obligations. These are not limited to, but include, being asked or commanded to violate the Religious, Moral, or Civil Obligations of the Initiate

The Initiate Has the Responsibility To:

· Respect the Order, its members, teachers, symbols and teachings and to follow all requirements set forth and agreed upon before initiation
· Support other Order members in following their own religious and spiritual paths
· Request access to Order records only for genuine and serious reasons
· Read and study the Order’s constitution, rules, regulations, by-laws and other information concerning the administration and rulership of the Order
· Vote with consideration based on the ‘good of the Order’ and not upon the notion of fear or favour in regards to gaining or losing position, title, access to higher grade materials or personal gain in any other terms
· Be open to the Order’s teachings and those of individual teachers, evaluating them without bias or prejudice
· Support other member’s choices regarding any ‘higher’, ‘received’ or ‘third Order’ teachings.
· Treat other members with fraternity and love regardless of age, race, religion, sexual preference, lifestyle, gender, disability or other difference in life circumstance
· Protect other members from any sexual, spiritual, power or financial abuse, bullying, exploitation or manipulation
· Accept and welcome their group leaders as human and imperfect
· Contribute to the upkeep of the Order through equally shared resource and financial contribution to the best of one’s ability and to help support members of the fraternity on their path of spiritual development
· Refrain from judging other member’s level of ‘spiritual development’
· Keep secret and confidential all information they have obligated and agreed upon
· Work through the spiritual practices and lessons set by their teachers with respect, dedication and honesty and to not request advancement beyond what one has received until all obligations of one current and past grades or positions have been fulfilled
· Refrain from using magic to harm, hinder, control, dominate or attack any other person
· Not teach other members material or knowledge outside of their particular level of advancement nor share with them secret knowledge obtained in confidence
· Not engage in slander, gossip, or action against a brother or sister
· Understand that although one has the right to study complementary spiritual paths and practices that when being a part of a magical group, one may be required to fulfill particular obligations before becoming privy to higher teachings and, to know that if one should seek out these teachings before the allotted time, one may find themselves at spiritual risk of not fully understanding the consequences of working with more advanced levels of magics and entities involved.
· To apply common sense to any and all situations, both within and outside of the Order or Group that they are a member, and to have one’s decisions respected
· To pursue the Work with integrity, discrimination, patience, diligence, moderation, responsibility, self-sacrifice, and service to others
· To report any criminal offense should it be witnessed or brought to light that anyone within the group including its leadership is or has engaged in violations concerning theft, sexual misconduct, extortion of finances or otherwise and to request that if a person be proven guilty that he/she be appropriately reprimanded
· To honor and respect the Sacred Tradition and one’s True Self by behaving in a manner that is becoming of the Sacred Traditions not only in an Order setting, but also in one’s private and public involvements.
· To understand that the members of the Order or group including other members, leadership, mentors, or officers of the Temple have other obligations outside of the Order that may affect their own involvement and ability to perform duties

When Leaving an Order An Initiate Has the Right To:

· Leave freely at any time, for any reason
· State freely to the leaders why they are leaving
· Have their decision to leave met with respect by Order leaders and members and be free from any verbal or other retribution or malice directed at them, nor to be inappropriately pressured to stay
· In cases of great concern, to have their views relayed to the entire Order at the appropriate time and through the appropriate media

When Leaving an Order the Initiate Has the Responsibility To

· Accept the Order may wish to conduct an ‘exit interview’ or questionnaire to ascertain reasons for leaving, and to honestly answer these questions where possible
· Try and find replacements or alternatives for any duties the Initiate may have committed to in the near future and to appropriately resolve any financial obligations agreed upon by the Initiate
· To return to the Order any property, manuscripts, tools, rituals, robes, implements of office etc, that were loaned to the Initiate, and to destroy any items that the Initiate committed to destroy via oath or obligation, including any Order rituals the Initiate was obligated not to copy.
· To refrain from slander, defamation, verbal and other abuse directed at the Order, its leaders or members
· To maintain the oath and obligation of secrecy regarding the Order as laid out in the oath or obligation in the section pertaining to leaving the Order
· To act with integrity upon leaving by not revealing the identities of the members of the Order or group, not engaging in destructive acts upon its materials, instruments or places of worship or sacred spaces, not stealing or committing crimes against the institution, nor distributing on the internet or otherwise its teachings, grade materials, pictures of members, events, ritual tools, regalia, or places of sacred ground

A Teacher, Leader, or Mentor of an Order has the Right To

· Be treated with respect by all students and members of the Order
· Have responsibilities and a life outside of the Order and their teaching obligations, as well as to have their time and responsibilities respected
· Be given appropriate time to respond to student requests or questions
· Continue to be trained and taught by their mentors.
· Be given the needed materials and lessons needed to teach others in light of the Tradition of the group or Order.
· Be supported in their mentorship by other mentors and leaders.
· Be seen as another human being who still has faults and treated with compassion and support should he/she succumb to these faults
· Refuse advancement to students who have not met the requirements set forth by the organization or present and past grade levels and to ask for assistance in responsibilities given if one is unable to fulfil or complete them

A Teacher, Leader, or Mentor Has the Responsibility To

· Inform their students and their organization of time constraints , and the best or preferred way of contacting them when outside of Order functions
· Inform a student honestly if one’s knowledge in a certain area will not answer or fulfil their educational needs and to take the time to research to the best of their ability the answer to the question.
· Interact with all students and members in an appropriate manner, and with the highest sense of integrity never engaging in gossip, improper sexual advances, or other actions that would break the bonds of the sacred student-teacher relationship.
· Step down from position if displayed or un-displayed faults begin to interrupt the spiritual development of others or in any other way cause serious harm

An Order Has the Right To:

· Have its teachings and rules followed by members who have been properly informed of them and who have agreed and given oath to do so.
· Have its teachings, materials, secrecies, workings, members, and rituals protected.
· Have autonomy and not be controlled, threatened or defamed by another Order/Lodge or group or person within or without the Order.
· Not recognize grade, position, or title given to an Initiate by another group or Order nor is required elevate them to such position if an Initiate seeks admission into their Order.
· Ask that all responsibilities that were agreed upon before admission be fulfilled by the members of the group so that it may maintain proper functioning as an institution.
· Have the ability to reject membership by any person, or remove any member should they violate their oaths, engage in poor behaviour toward the Order, its’ Temples, or members, or engage in illegal activities which may harm the Order or any of its members.
· Create its own rules, regulations, by-laws, offices, and voting structure and to require that these guidelines be followed in agreement for admission.

An Order Has the Responsibility To:

· Maintain behavioural and legal integrity to its members as well as to other groups and Orders.
· Respect the teachings of other groups, even if their chosen beliefs or practices are not agreed with.
· To keep detailed records of finances, and distributions of monies and to share them with the members upon request if it is believed that ill practices regarding them are being set forth.
· Not claim to be the only path to salvation, enlightenment, the Mystery Traditions, spirituality, nor the only beneficiary of certain Currents, Energies, Knowledge, or Lineage that is known to be shared among the practices and beliefs of other groups.
· Not to engage in “member-poaching”; which is defined as the active recruitment of another Orders’ or groups’ members.
· Not misrepresent the functioning or purpose of an Order to those outside or seeking admission, to appropriately and honestly answer all questions pertaining to the Orders functioning and rule, and to bestow knowledge of vows, oaths and obligations that will be required of a candidate before admission into the group takes place.
· Not function as a business used for economic or personal gain of an individual or persons but instead to function as a school of spiritual enlightenment designed for the improvement of its members, unless otherwise stated to the members before admission takes place.
· Not to use threat or promise of elevated or demoted status, grade-advancement, secret teachings, defamation, or otherwise to manipulate, coerce or control a member or members to engage in any actions that are against his/her personal beliefs, vows, integrity, or outside responsibilities.
· Not to proclaim seniority or lineage over another group or Order, nor publicly defame or slander another group or organization or person’s within.
· Not to interfere with the internal workings of another group or organization nor attempt to create schism.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Ninevah Shadrach Part One

I am happy and honored to present this wonderful interview with Ninevah Shadrach author of the newly released Encyclopedia of Magical Squares. Nineveh is an accomplished scholar,mage, and author. In this interview we discuss the ancient traditions of the Ruhaniat and it's influences on the Western Mystery traditions.

You have been a practitioner of Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn, as well as a priest in the Order of Melchizedek and Marduk (Osiris). For those who may be unaware of what Ruhaniat is can you give us a brief description?

Ruhaniat is taken from the Arabic root Ruh, which means Spirit. Ruh is the exact same as the Hebrew word Ruach. Ruhaniat basically means all that pertains to the spiritual arts. This covers all kinds of familiar topics such as astrology, theurgy, geomancy, alchemy, and so forth. English has multiple words to describe the various kinds of magic out there. Arabic isn’t as precise. The word Sihr is used for everything from stage magic to the darkest form of the craft. This is why instead of using Sihr most Arabs prefer to use the word Ruhaniat to describe the esoteric field in general and that includes more positive approaches to magic.

What is the main force or principle behind Ruhaniat?

The main active agent in Ruhaniat that allows for metaphysical things to happen is identical in many ways with the Greek idea of pneuma or Hindu concept of prana. Everything in the universe is part of a great universal spirit. Each thing possesses its own Ruhaniah or spiritual emanation or intelligence. Often, these Ruhaniah are seen as both integrated with the thing as well as distinct. They have an intelligence to them that can be called forth, communicated with and enlisted to bring about effects. Doing so requires knowledge of the sacred properties of letters, numbers, planetary movements and even stones and plants to create a harmonic connection. This is why Ruhaniat often has a complex system of planetary and elemental correspondences. Ruhaniah stands often as a separate category from arwah or spirits, which can be either ghosts or disincarnate beings, jinn, an independent semi-physical race that competes with humans, or angels, beings of light operating as agents of the Creator. Ruhaniat has its roots in pre-Islamic Near Eastern mysticism and esoteric lore, which covers a tremendous amount of influence from the Babylonian (Sabian cults) and the Greek and Persian schools of thought. This is partly due to the translation of texts from pre-Islamic societies, as well as to the fact that many of the masters of this tradition either resided in North Africa or were originally from Mesopotamia or Persia.

Is there any relationship between Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn?

From my study of Western literature, I would say that Ruhaniat has had an impact on the streams that formed the Golden Dawn and it isn’t as unfamiliar as most people suspect. Think of the Picatrix as a prime example of an important text through Western esoteric history, which is part of the corpus of Ruhaniat. Some of the influences are a bit more under the radar. For example, the word "Armadel" is a corruption of the Arabic "Almandel", a methodology of evocation and scrying. The number of Arabic grimoires on magic exceeds the Hebrew and English ones by at least ten fold. You can also see parallels and influences when looking at the adoption of the names of spirits. "Amaymon" the Goetic king is an easily identified corruption of the Arabic "Maymon", the jinn king of Saturn.

Geomancy is part of Ruhaniat, correct? How different is this from the Golden Dawn version?

It goes without saying that Geomancy, which originated in Arabia and North Africa, has found its way into Golden Dawn teachings, albeit in fragments. Comparing notes between classical variants and the version that the Golden Dawn uses, I found enough variations in correspondences, structure, and interpretation method. The figures are the same, but that is about it really. Based on what is available, I can’t imagine anyone getting that excited with Geomancy compared to the Tarot. The accuracy of Geomancy is totally underrated. I have seen a method in an Arabic source where a Geomantic reading was cast, the figures were converted to letters, and that answer spelled out the location of a missing person whose body was fished out from the Nile based on that info. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the Golden Dawn for this. On the contrary, I am thankful to them for keeping the basic principles alive in Western occult literature by integrating it into their system. They simply didn’t have much to work with from the original sources and had to rely on European literature like Agrippa’s.

It sounds like you are seeing a cultural barrier of some sort.

I think there does exists a kind of bias and blindness due to political, religious, and historical divide between the Muslim world and the Western world. The work of famous medieval Arabic astrologers has also had an impact on Western astrology and its development. Astrology seems to be more open about its influences and, like a football, keeps getting thrown from one culture to the next in its developmental states and everyone is just fine with that. There is the old Babylonian phase, the Hellenic phase, the Arabic phase, and so on.The same can’t be said for magic and other branches of the esoteric field. You don’t often see acknowledgement of the Arabic influences, which creates the sense of separation and distance and unfamiliarity. I remember someone drafting a history of magic and suffering from a 500-600 year empty space. He counted all kinds of various cultural influences on Western esoterica, but had this gap. I tried to explain to him there was no gap. That period was when the Muslim world had the magic ball and was expanding on its development before passing it on. Let’s take a look at planetary magic squares introduced in Agrippa’s book and then in various grades in the Golden Dawn. There is rarely mention of one of the oldest published sources on them, which is the work of Ahmed al-Buni in the early 12th century. In the end, the issue goes beyond the matter of acknowledging the contributions of another culture. It is about pointing students toward the source so they can go further than the fragments that made its way into their corpus. If al-Buni’s influence had been recognized, it would have led to more interest in the rest of his work; that would have even further enriched the Western Mystery Tradition and further empowered the magic of Western practitioners over the span of hundreds of years.

Do you really believe the Arabic influence has had such an impact on the Western Mystery Tradition?

I believe the impact varied over time. Obviously, there has been little direct influence for a long time. However, this has been changing and there has been a shift more and more toward exploring this stream as of late. Yet, historically this influence was present. This influence is acknowledged and given credit as far back as the Rosicrucian story, in which Christian Rosenkreuz studies under the wise men of Fez and Damkar and takes an Arabic master with him to found the society in Europe. We see this story play out again in the Golden Dawn. Even if people today were to ignore the narrative, it is still there like the story of Genesis in the Bible.
Later on the idea of the Arabic Master had its impact on Felkin of the Stella Matutina with his contact with the Arabian master Ara Ben Shemesh.

Here is what we know:

• Felkin came under influence of the “Sun Masters”, the fabled Secret Chiefs
• Around 1908 he came in contact with Ara Ben Shemesh (“Lion son of the Sun”)
• Ara Ben Shemesh belonged as one of the “Sons of Fire” inhabiting a Near Eastern “temple in the desert”, who had been given permission to contact and teach Western students.
• His appearance to Felkin was a shadowy presence and was later described by a clairvoyant as being in Arabian dress.
• He described himself as a Chaldean
• He was seeking someone to help him in uniting Eastern (Ruhaniat) and Western teaching.
• He promised to appear physically later and Felkin and his brethren waited for years for this master to show up in New Zealand and teach them great wonders. According to people familiar with the story, he never did.

Beside a historical anecdote about astral encounters, what does that mean to the average student of the Golden Dawn? There has been criticism of Felkin over this incident.

Let me defend poor Felkin’s reputation. He is often maligned for this particular incident by those that are overly dismissive or ignorant of the symbolism in question. I will now shed some light on this from the perspective of both Ruhaniat and Near Eastern mystery tradition. At its heart, the Golden Dawn is an Osirian order. As you correctly identified earlier in one of your questions, Osiris is the Egyptian rendition of the Akkadian Marduk, associated with the constellation of Orion. However, it dates back much farther. The Osiris cult was an importation of an older Sumerian religion. The mystery of the son of Enki known as Dumuzidabsu or Asari Murdug gave rise to Asar Unefer in Egypt. By the time of the Akkadian period, Asar remained as Asarluhi and, based on Semitic language rules, Murdug was transformed to Marduk (K in Akkadian was a substitute for the Sumerian G).

Why is this important?

For one, the title of Marduk was Mariutu (Son of the Sun). This wasn’t just his title, but the title of many of the old priests of Uruk. For example, Enmerkar, the builder of the temple of E-anna, was called Mariutu (son of the Sun) just like his father Ara Ben Shemesh being a Chaldean (another name for the Babylonian era) wouldn’t have had a Hebrew name. It would make sense that he was speaking to Felkin in a language that he himself understood as a mystical language. It is more likely that his Chaldean title was Mariutu. "Ara" means lion and in old Babylonian motifs, we see the powerful Goddess Ishtar riding on a lion. The metaphorical lion is none other than the mystical son figure whose identification as the lion makes its way later into the Christian religion with the conversion of the Assyrians into Christianity and, of course, is mentioned in the Old Testament. On the surface, the title “sons of fire” is a reference to the jinn, but there is more to it than that. Marduk’s alternate name is Gibil, which translates as Fire God. However, the word for fire and light here is the same. "Aur" means both fire and light. The narrative of the “children of fire” (Beni Aur) also appears in apocryphal literature in Israel, where it is translated as children of light. The double connotation of fire and light has its direct connection with the emanations of the Sun. All of this brings us right to the “secret chiefs” of the Golden Dawn, the Sun Masters. I have seen no compelling evidence to believe in the existence of “secret chiefs” specific to the Golden Dawn, human or otherwise. Of course, this in itself doesn’t negate their existence.Having said this, I do believe in the existence of “secret chiefs” of the entire spiritual teachings of humankind, esoteric and exoteric. This isn’t something that started with channeling in the early 1900s. Ruhaniat text dating to the Middle Ages makes mention of “asyad al-ruhaniah” (Masters of Ruhaniah). One such master is no other than Metatron, known in Arabic as “Sayed Metatron” or Master Metatron. Metatron is a later rendition (attribute wise) of Nabu, the son of Marduk, whose temple in Sumerian is called Ezida (House of Righteousness) connecting him directly with the Akkadian Kittu (Righteousness) the son of Shamash (Sun), in later Babylonian theology. There is another layer to this mystery, when you consider the belief in the Near East that stars are bodies of angels and a less known mystery connecting the souls of all living things emanating and returning to the vault of souls, which are part of the Ruhaniah of stars.I think if Felkin failed to understand something, it is that Ara Ben Shemesh, whoever he is really, was guided by the "Sun Masters" to use the GD as a vehicle, but that should the situation change, that vehicle would be abandoned and another found. Assuming, indeed, that Ara Ben Shemesh intended to return physically, since he was seen as a shadowy apparition, it is likely what Felkin saw was a jinn announcing or heralding the arrival through incarnation. In Ruhaniat, each human has a jinn qareen or companion from birth. These jinn often appear as shadowy figures. Of course, if such an incarnation was to occur, it would have been futile for Felkin to wait, since he couldn’t know when it would happen and the child still would have to grow up.
I want to emphasize that I am not a member of Whare Ra, nor affiliated with any of its members. I just wanted to show how understanding Ruhaniat can shed some light on such experiences within the Golden Dawn.

Can you tell us a little about the differences between Ruhaniat and the Golden Dawn?

This is a tough question as I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I can say that the aims are the same, many of the methods are in harmony, and that while Ruhaniat isn’t the father or mother of the Golden Dawn, it sure is it's distant uncle. However, where the familial lines break has less to do with the Golden Dawn itself, but more with the cultural situation as it exists in the world today compared to the ancient world. In other words, it is between Ruhaniat vs modern new age thinking, or modern magick.

Can you tell us a little about the differences between Ruhaniat and modern magick?

Another difference between old and new is the idea that all power comes from within. You see more and more people basically pushing the Creator out of the picture altogether and making it all about us manifesting our own creation. Many old teachers of Ruhaniat argued that this was the danger of sorcery or association with the lower world denizens. One sign they warned against was that of letting power get into your head and feeling like you’re on equal footing with the Creator and attributing all gains to your own personal power. They saw that more with sorcerers and less with Ruhaniat practitioners and noted that. I should mention that I am using sorcery here in the Arabic sense to identify those who work with lower world denizens and seek to gain power over others. In Ruhaniat, the powers were always seen as having come from the Creator as a gift and blessing to help one spiritually and to benefit one’s community.There are differences between Ruhaniat and the styles of magic strongly influenced by Crowley. Crowley’s Aiwass would have been identified easily as an Ifrit (a class of jinn) by most practitioners of Ruhaniat, and the message and teachings he infused into magic bear hallmarks of that influence and not just Crowley’s own genius. In modern times, magical practices and objectives are considered more and more to be primarily a combination between mental imagination and pure human will unified to cause reality to conform to one’s personal will.This flies in the face of the teachings of Ruhaniat, which sees the craft as a direct tool to unveiling the barriers between the human consciousness and the realm of pure spirit. It was likened to soap, a tool to purify and cleanse the human soul and psyche and bring it to a state of spiritual perfection.The practitioners of Ruhaniat were also practical people and used their craft to help others on a physical level. The idea of high and low magic didn’t exist as it is understood today. There was nothing unspiritual about improving your life materially. High and low were associated in older Arabic literature with the realm of the Gods (angels, heaven, etc.) and the realm of the underworld (dead, lower jinn, demons, etc.)
This brings me to another point, which I think is becoming exceedingly unpopular in today’s pop-occultism world. You didn’t dance between both worlds back in the day. You chose to align yourself with either. Psychologically, we all want to balance and deal with our shadow self and not suppress it, but transmute it. However, Ruhaniat deals with objective spirits and, as such, they advised shifting back and forth. The lower jinn were harmed or made uncomfortable by the presence of the upper world denizens. Contrary to modern conceptions of banishing at will and evoking at will, you always had one or two such beings as your companion to help you out once you got started. The opposite side is that celestial or upper world beings required a certain level of purity elevation and were turned off by regular companionship with beings from lower worlds. Finally, Ruhaniat makes no distinction between magic and mysticism. In Ruhaniat mystical practices were often integrated into all facets of the craft ranging from prayer and fasting, to solitary retreats in darkness, engaged in chanting hymns and mantras. Ruhaniat is also strict about its dietary requirement of veganism during spiritual practices and admonishes its practitioners to even avoid looking at meat and slain animals when going through extended meditations. You don’t need to be a vegan all the time of course, but I know for me, my spiritual practices lead me to vegetarianism as a daily life choice. The re-integration of mysticism and spiritual discipline of a devotional level with magic and esoteric thought is what often gets most modern Western practitioners to experience a kind of mental computation error. Many have come to think of magic as a form of mental creation backed by will and most prefer not to have structure in their styles of magic; instead they like to create their own rituals. Ruhaniat would be a challenge as it requires consistent structured practice and discipline.

Can you give me an example of how a Ruhaniat ritual would differ from more modern methods?

Sure! Let’s say you want to consecrate a talisman. It takes time and preparation to just figure out the proper square that goes on it, the planetary timing (not just day and hour), and the consecration can take up to 40 days. You don’t project your own energy at it, but bring the energy from the macro universe and animate it like a golem. You want it to give you what you don’t possess, so you attract forces greater than yourself to it.

So, what makes this a better path for the average person?

It all boils down to efficacy. In the more popular modern methods, you often have to rely on faith that your work has done something. Frequently, the talisman is infused by your own will and energy, so it doesn’t have any more than what you can produce. If you are good, it may have energy, but it requires that you be psychic or intuitive to know that it has anything to it. In the Ruhaniat method, the talisman is placed on a tripod, and then it spins on its own – yes, on its own - and once it’s charged its energy is often physically tangible to random people. Some might report a feeling of their hand on fire or outright electrical shock from touching it. These are not the reactions of occultists, though I have had occultists have equally shocked reactions, which always amuses me, because they should know better. I’ve had family members visit where I asked them to close their eyes and first placed magical talismans on their hands and then normal objects without telling them what I was doing, and their reaction was amusing to behold.

This was part one of my interview with Nineveh...stay tuned for part two!