Thursday, December 30, 2010

High and Low Magic

It is an unfortunate tendency in Occultism to refer to two types of magic as Low and High. Too often this is interpreted as being a moral judgement rather than a technical descriptor. Low and High do not indicate moral value but technical quality.

We use the terms High and Low to indicate source, yet this is still based on a medieval cosmology rather than true analysis of the energy. High Magic is that which uses pure energy drawn directly through the Source mitigated by very specific forms and ritual in order to shape the force in accordance with the intent of the magician. Low magic draws energy up from the earth, energy which has been softened (for lack of a better word) by existing within the manifest world around the magician. One might better be called "Gaia Magic" or "Earth Magic" and the other "Sun Magic."

In fact this works much better as an analogy. The High Magician draws his force directly from the center of Life and Light which manifests as the Sun in our cosmos. The Low Magician draws on the same energy but after it has been absorbed and mutated within the living earth upon which he stands.

If one takes a sick person and applies Colour-Sound therapy this is High Magic. To make them a draught of herbs and giving them certain stones is Low Magic. Neither of them is better or more effective, they simply work on different parts of the individual in question. One works more directly with his physical vehicle, the other more directly with his Astral and Ethereal vehicles. Would I say one is better than the other? Depends on the ailment. Personally I'd say that both are better than one or the other and that together they have a greater chance of success.

I believe that the problem has originated in the difference in overall approach. The Low Magic is the magic of the common folk. This is the magic of plants and flowers and stones and trees, the magic of the old wise woman or the elderly apothacary. It is common because it is gentle and easy to work with.

The High Magic tends to be the province of the intellectual, the educated, those who are willing to learn the nuances of dealing with direct current power. To modify this takes great concentration and nuance. Not unlike being a low-level computer programmer vs. an apps user.

It also depends on how you define magic. Our tradition uses the definition of "making changes in consciousness at will" which is slightly different than the popular definitions of changing the universe in accordance with one's own Will. With Low Magic the work is very practical, we're dealing with candle magic, herbs, stones, etc... With High Magic we are altering the basic operating code of the Subconscious mind, implanting new programs and even altering perceptions, personalities and reality tunnels.

This has lead to a definite separation between practitioners which I find sad, but too often it is true. Low Magicians see the High Magicians as self important snobs, and many of them are. High Magicians see Low Magicians as hicks and hippies, and there is some truth to this as well. But as with any generalisations, there are always exceptions and the rare individual who is capable of seeing the value in both approaches. Perhaps the stereotypical High/Low magician is what happens early on, when they discover that they are special and have yet to realise that they are more a part of the whole than separate therefrom.

The division is a sad one since it often seems a self fulfilling prophecy. The Low Magician often goes out of their way to be folksy and hip, the High Magician goes out of his way to show off his intellectual prowess and how stunningly appointed is his Ivory Tower with grades and seals and titles. They create these images which are then observed and drive further the separation between the two types.

To my mind Witches and Wizards really should get along better, look for the similarities and see how the different methods can benefit a total person rather than finding ways to drench one another in derision. Legitimate traditions have value, whether they work primarily with Nature Magic or directly with the One Source. One great Adept I once knew said to me that he felt very strongly that the Wiccan and Magician traditions need to be blended into a single working tradition, and that in the distant past, this was the original intent. I have always agreed with him.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Ritual Magic?

I was recently asked the question "why would I be interested in Ritual Magic" by a friend in the Wiccan tradition. This is a very difficult question to answer since Western Occultism as studied by our tradition is not limited to Ritual Magic. Rather this is but one facet of the great jewel that is the Western Mysteries.

It seems to me that there are two ways of interpreting this question. It could mean, "why would I study the tradition which uses ritual magic (including Tarot, Qabalah, Alchemy, Etc...)" or it could mean "for what purpose would you employ ritual magic as a method?" Both of these are very good questions and I will attempt to answer both as well as possible.

For me the tradition we work with is a path of spiritual evolution. It is not simply a way to get stuff, but it is also a way to reshape the consciousness of the individual in question. When visualising an outcome one may use meditation or ritual. Paul Case once described the difference as meditation being like a pencil sketch with ritual being a painting in full colour, at least to the Subconscious into which we are implanting the image.

Others may use ritual magic as a way to contact parts of the subconscious directly through something called Evokation. The Grimoirs of old are examples of this type of magic. In the end, though, the goal is the same, to shape the universe to conform with an image we have constructed on some level. Personally I find that using forms which have negative connotations within the Human/Western egregore is only asking for trouble as they tend to act on their own, often to disastrous results.

Knowing the methods of constructing and executing a ceremonial with reference to the correspondent symbols of your desire can be a very valuable tool for anyone. Subconsciousness can be trained to work with the symbols of a tradition and can cause change in the universe according to the symbols it is given. In fact, it is already doing it, every day. The fact that most minds are undisciplined enough to give often conflicting instructions is what saves us from manifesting every idle whim which crosses our thoughts.

Yet when we want something to stick out, it can be difficult to get the subconscious mind to tell the difference between one thought and the next. This is where Ritual Magic comes in very handy indeed. As you begin to open the circle the subconscious mind is alerted and begins to pay attention. If you have worked with ritual for a long time it knows immediately that the following symbols are important. The following instruction is an expression of the conscious mind's true desire. It makes a greater impact than the stray thoughts that float across the mind from day to day.

As an extension of this, we study and work with the symbols of Qabalah, Alchemy, Astrology and Tarot in order to better understand our Selves, better communicate with the system behind our conscious minds and learn to create changes as we desire. Through these associated disciplines we learn HOW the system works and then we can use Ritual in order to influence that system.

But what of the person who is very Taoist, who doesn't want to influence external systems, who wants to just let it flow. They may find that parts of themselves do not conform to this ideal. Through ritual they may refine themselves, create new patterns of thought and behaviour. Yet as a path it can also teach us about ourselves and that, perhaps, we are not the ideal after all and need to re-adjust our view of ourselves as well as how we interact with the universe. In the end, one may become "most him/her Self" rather than trying to conform to artificial personality constructs.

It may also be that one is seeing the artificial separation which the community has imposed between "High Magic" and "Low Magic" interpreting Ritual Magic as being something entirely separate from the ritual work expressed within the Wiccan traditions. In this case I can only say that our tradition's teachings give one a wide range of tools with which to understand the individual, both the self and others. One who truly pursues these subjects will gain greater insight into the nature of the human mind and the personality masks which it creates making them, in turn, a greater counsellor and Priest/ess. Once one begins to truly know themSelves they also know that everyone else is an expression of that same True Self and therefore can better understand others as well.

Ritual Magic, as a method, is very powerful when it comes to embedding symbols into the subconscious mind. As a part of our great Western Mystery Tradition, it helps form a practical link between the various symbol structures and methods we use. Ritual can open the gateways to meditation, human metaprogramming or just allow us to slip beneath the mask of personality. There are many reasons to consider both aspects of this tool, but in the end, like so many questions worth asking, one must really answer the question themselves.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Meditation is one of the most valuable tools and powers of the Occultist. In the balance of the Three Rays approach to training it is the Love/Devotional aspect of our work. Yet there are many types of meditation and those who have begun training with a school might already have some experience in one or more methods. This may make it difficult for them to approach new methods as they have trained their minds in a specific way.

Most common methods of meditation tend towards the passive. Transcendental and ZaZen meditation tend to empty the self and seek passivity. ZaZen especially allows one to observe without judgement or thought. Some may have experience in guided meditation or Pathworking, but again, in this case the images given are from an external source.

Early in the training of our school one is exposed to a very active method of meditation. This is a focussed meditation often using words, phrases or images as the center of work. For those who are used to totally stilling their minds when they being to meditate this can be difficult at first, especially if one is used to working cross-legged with eyes closed.

Since the instructions, at least in our school, are to assume the God-Form posture when meditating it is an easy thing to change the environment a little in order to aid in this form of meditation. Rather than sitting in an empty room in a chair, add a small folding table to your workspace. On the table place a note-book, pen and the focus of your meditation, preferably on some kind of stand to make it easy to observe while in the God Form posture.

Begin meditating as normal. Breathe as instructed and clear your mind of extraneous thoughts. Once established though, open your eyes and engage the meditation focus. Read the passage over and over. Allow yourself to digest it. You may even read it aloud if you will not disturb others. If it is an image, trace the lines, allow your eye to dance over the image, really look at the different elements and get a feel for what is before you.

Once you have done this, begin to formulate questions in your mind. At this point, begin writing. Write anything, write questions, write out the passage, write something to open the door of the subconscious and say "I am listening." Write what comes to mind. Do not analyse it too much, just let it flow. Whatever it seems good to write, write it down. If it is an image, imagine the figure is speaking to you and you are recording what it has to say.

This may be difficult at first but with practice it will help you to connect to your focus of meditation and not fall into the silent reverie of ZaZen or Transcendental Meditation. You have a pen in your hand, a focus before you and words to record.

I will tell you now, it feels different than passive meditation, yet there is a similarity of consciousness. It is a higher state of vibration, the brain is operating at a different rate than in normal waking consciousness. Engaging the focus feels different than just looking at it or reading the words. There is a sensation of something more.

You may feel that this is strange, or that you're talking to yourself. Well you are. The personality is only one part of the whole. You are trying to engage the focus will your whole Self, not just the part that's conscious most of the day. Project a consciousness, a personality upon images (especially Tarot since these are representations of your Inner Self anyway) and 'hear' what they have to say.

In some ways what you are doing is using a pass-phrase or image to unlock part of yourself which has always been there. The Inner School transmits truths all of the time and there are keys to accessing that information. You are literally accessing parts of yourself which are normally closed off, hidden, buried. You are not "talking to a picture" but using projection to talk to some part of yourSelf which you may not have access to in day-to-day life. It is a very valuable tool to learn.

Hopefully this makes it a little easier to make the transition to focussed meditations. I may update this article based on any questions or comments in order to make it more helpful.

in LVX
Bro Greg

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ethics: Practice

As individuals most Occultists eventually have an experience by which they realize that they are manifestations of the One-Force which we in the West refer to by the unfortunate title "God." Whether or not this has occurred it is very common for magicians to have very highly developed egos which can border on elitist and isolationist. This reaction to the work misses the point of the revelation that "thou art God" by assuming that this somehow applies to us exclusively, even to the exclusion of our fellow workers along the path.

What we should realize is that if we are a manifestation of the Life-Power then so is everyone and everything else. After nearly twenty years as an initiate I have long held the belief that this understanding (intellectual or experiential) should place upon us a great responsibility. We KNOW that we are Divine beings and that others have forgotten, yet are also Divine. As such we are the Priests and Priestesses of the Universe and it is our duty to be the example of ethical behaviour. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the rest of humanity and strive to be the tips of the Hermanubis' ears and not the tips of his toes as he rises upon the Wheel in Key 10.

Now I don't mean that we rigidly follow a specific religion, though we might as individuals. Rather we, as knowing manifestations of the Life-Power need to become the best people we can be and try to help others do the same. We have been given a great gift in our opportunity and ability to study the Great Arcana, but it is not free, for in doing so we are given the responsibility to manifest it in the world, and to fail in that is a very bad Karma indeed.

Most people are so bogged down in their day to day lives, their own dramas, stresses and concerns that they stop seeing other people. The dog-eat-dog world has muddled their brains and they don't have the time nor opportunity to find their way out. They don't even notice other people exist let alone acknowledge them as part of themselves or as part of the One-Force. It is interesting to see how people, when reminded of ethical behaviour, will change their own actions to meet the higher ideal. It is human nature to want to be better people. Circumstances make them forget, society and certain religions have created so much fear and shame that they can't act first anymore, if at all.

An example is the crowded bus, an experiment I've undertaken myself a few times. When sitting on a crowded bus and you see someone standing who really should be sitting down (due to age or infirmary or encumbrance) give up your seat to them and then pay careful attention to those around you. My experience has been that people notice that you have extended a kindness to someone and they will emulate the behaviour. They know that this is the right and compassionate thing to do, but nobody has reminded them, nobody has alerted them that now is a good time to act. Nobody has acted first and given them permission to be good people.

As a magician, as a member of a universal Priesthood, it is incumbent upon you to actually BE your brother's keeper. It is up to you to extend kindness and compassion wherever and whenever you can. It is also important to know when such is beyond your abilities or beyond your rights over another personality. Lending a hand with setup/cleanup at an event is excellent and it may encourage others to do the same. But trying to curb the negative or destructive behaviour of others is only going to cause a backlash on some level. You can express your disapproval, but it is ultimately up to them to make the change. Remember that many of our schools do not even allow us to perform healing work without the consent and request of the individual in question. We can suggest, we can live the example, but we cannot coerce, we cannot crusade.

What I'm saying is that we're more like guides than pontiffs. We're not the Bible Thumping Ministers of the Universe, we're It's Priesthood, It's hands and tongue. It is up to us to point the way towards the mountaintop, not to drag the villagers kicking and screaming along the path. It also means that we have to do a lot of work on our own evolution, our own development, and act accordingly.

Some people seem to think this means a lot of social activism. This is acceptable if you honestly take the time to see both perspectives before joining in on a protest. We do not blindly follow the pack, we really are better than that. If people we know are protesting a seal hunt, then we do research and examine WHY the hunt is allowed, who would be affected by changing it and how would it impact their lives. We live in a world of balance, if we change one thing, something else suffers. If we stop a seal hunt the hunters go hungry, the seals overpopulate and wipe out the fish stocks leaving the people who rely on fish hungry as well. That's a lot of human suffering and that's the opposite of our purpose in this world. In this case the higher standard means making informed decisions, educating ourselves and extending our compassion where we feel it is needed.

This is the lesson given to new initiates in the Golden Dawn ceremonies published by Israel Regardie. Excessive Geburah is not strength but cruelty, excessive Chesed is not mercy but weakness which would allow evil to go unchecked. This is also true of the intellectual Hod and the emotional Netzach. There must be balance in all things, we strive to be the Adepti, the Enlightened and Awakened, not a sheep following the latest trends. We must learn to discriminate, to know when one action is required over another. We need to know when we need to be compassionate and when we need to be severe. We need to know when to share feelings and when to share thoughts, when to guide and when we are an imposition.

The Fama Fraternitatis tells us to wear the habit of the country in which we dwell. We're not an oddity, nor an invader, just one who points the way with a gentle hand and shows the way through their own behaviour. We choose our battles intelligently and give compassion where it is needed. We should be the example of spiritual refinement and personal development and not an Ivory Tower denizen who rains down scorn upon all of those with sincere hearts.

Yet I know of nobody who is perfect. We strive to be the ideal, and that's the important part. We may be disgusted by other people's behaviour (my big trigger is substance abuse and intentional ignorance) but then we need to see how we can be an example in those situations (like abstaining from recreational drugs and being the one who can respond when an emergency occurs, or trying to engage people in a literary or educational activity). It is important, though, not to let them rely on you as the "good guy." (For example, abusing substances to a greater extent because if something happens to the kids, someone gets hurt, etc... you're always there to take responsibility.)

I never said anywhere in this article that living as an ethical example was easy. We are not given the powers and perceptions we have for it to be easy. We are chosen to serve, and that carries responsibility. We cannot rend the veil lightly just as no medieval knight took his vows and swore his fealty without serious consideration of his duty to his Lord. We have taken it upon ourselves to become the Ministers of the Universe, to join the Priesthood of Light, and that makes us the Elder Siblings of humanity. It places us as representatives of the One Light amongst the personality manifestations of this world. We should accept this duty with pride, serve with joy and show others the Way by our own example.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Intro to Ethics

I would like to begin a discussion of Occult Ethics. This is a difficult subject as it seems almost everyone has an opinion on the nature of Occultism. There is a great deal of discussion about White Magic, Black Magic, The Right Hand and Left Hand paths, almost none of which give any indication as to the origin of these terms, simply arguments concerning their meaning or approach. Therefore I feel that it would be valuable to begin by looking at the teachings concerning creation in the mysteries.

Genesis 1 states: "1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. "

In our tradition this is a reference to the Limitless Light flowing into the universe through what we call the Veil of the Absolute. This can also be thought of as Light flowing into Positive Existence, the creation of SOMETHING as opposed to the vastness of NO-THING. This is based on the Qabalistic Veils. Light flows forth and crystallizes into Kether, the Crown. From there it flows out into all of the other Sepheroth via the "Flaming Sword" or "Lightening Flash". This is the beginning of Creation.

This is not a once-off event, the Light eternally creates and sustains the universe. But just as light flows into creation to congeal into matter, so did human consciousness descend into creation.

We will begin by using Key 10 in order to visualize the path of evolution.

In the beginning the vibratory energy of the Human Group Soul descended into manifestation. On the card we see this descent on the Left Hand side of the wheel. During this time humanity was a single consciousness (represented in Genesis by the term HaAdam (The Human). In Qabalistic writing the male represents Selfconsciousness and the female Subconsciousness. Thus The Woman is the generic Subconsciousness of HaAdam, The Human. Not until she is given a name do they have any individual awareness of self.

So it is that the creature representing this descent into matter is a basic creature, a serpent, who also has many other attributions. For it is also the Serpent which guided the Subconscious to create an individual identity which it then passed on to self consciousness. In this way humanity became individual.

This Biblical reference is not an endorsement of a specific religious tradition, but rather a tool for explaining something by referring to something with which most people are familiar. It does, in fact, fit the teachings of the Mysteries regardless of what interpretations have been applied to it otherwise.

The self-conscious humanity, at this point very primitive, began to develop individual thoughts and individual souls. This separation into separate, conscious individuals represents the point at which we reached the bottom of our devolution. At this point we stopped devolving and began the "Path of Return" whereby we will one day return to the Veil and pass beyond.

From this point we began to develop communities, civilizations and religion. For a long time we saw the universe as filled with frightening things and our consciousness was so gross that the only ways to be aware of those entities beyond our physical senses relied on barbaric practices including human and animal sacrifice. It is easy for us to condemn our ancestors today but thousands of years of spiritual evolution has occurred since and, at the time, this was necessary for manifestation of the Gods. Drugs were also part of the more primitive religions as the people using them had not yet evolved enough to make contact without them.

Today we can be aware of advanced entities simply by burning vegetable sacrifices (incense) and working with higher vibratory rates than our predecessors. As we move forward we begin to realize that we are not truly separate entities but individual expressions of a unified whole, separate personalities tied to a collective subconscious. We are the Humanubis rising up the Right Hand side of the wheel towards the infinite.

You will notice, though, that the Humanubis has not yet shed all of his animal heritage. Nor has he risen very far up the Path of Return. His length encompasses the history of our evolution from the very basic near animals who first gained self awareness up to the tips of his ears which just rise above the 90 degree mark (representing those few Adepti who push ahead on the path). Most people are somewhere near the 100 to 110 degree mark.

This is the basis of the terms Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path. The Right Hand Path strives towards the spiritual evolution of humanity. We are climbing the mountain towards true realization and understanding of the Limitless Light. The Left Hand Path rejects the concepts of unity and indulges the individual. Often this devolves further into self-worship and self-aggrandizement. It embraces the illusion of Matter and works against the spiritual evolution of humanity.

The difference is that one seeks the truth of our relationship with the Divine, our connection to the Force, the Life-Power, LVX. The other embraces the lie of separation, feeds on fear and gives in to the animal hind-brain.

In Key 6 we see Self-Consciousness (Man) looking to Sub-Consciousness (Woman) who is now a clear channel to Super-Consciousness represented by the Archangel Raphael who, in turn, is the conduit of the Life-Power represented by a golden sun. In Key 15, however, this conduit is broken and the world seems dark, vile, hopeless. The people in the picture are part animal for they have embraced their base natures rather than seeking to refine themselves into a more perfect reflection of the Life-Power.

The Adepts of our tradition term Evil "that which retards the spiritual evolution of humanity." It is not hard to see how the one who seeks to aid in the union of the Spirit and the betterment of mankind as a whole is different from the one who seeks personal glory and is willing to step on others in order to achieve their selfish desires. On the Right we move towards Understanding, The Light and Union, on the Left we move towards Ignorance and Darkness and Separation. This also gives the names of "White" magic (moving towards the Light) and "Black" magic (moving away from the Light). Though the "magic" part is the same "substance" or "Force" which is manipulated in each, it is the intention which defines it as evolutionary or devolutionary, Good or Evil.

Hopefully this helps to illustrate the basis of Occult Ethics and the roots of its terminology.

in LVX
Brother Greg

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Catching up

I know that there hasn't been a new video. I appologise for that. I've been trying to find ways to make my sad old Quickcam 3000 work with Premier and seem to be having difficulties. Also, I do want to address beginners issues first but am finding that what I want to discuss is far more advanced. Things like the nature of the Divine, how we approach Evil or even discuss the topics that come up on the Probationer's forum. Yet I don't see a lot of people giving good, solid information to start with, so I cannot simply rely on "existing" videos and blogs.

What I may end up doing is a combination. Sometimes I'll do beginners material, and sometimes I'll do more advanced material. This way I can address both types of readers/watchers and discuss things that strike me as needing to be addressed when they come up. Eventually I hope to get a camera that is higher resolution and saves natively in something Premier will actually like. For now, the low res will have to suffice.

in LVX
Bro. Greg

Friday, February 19, 2010

Clarification of Subjects

One of the things new students often have difficulties with is finding Occult subjects in a sea of information. I want to address a few of these subjects to help clarify our work from that of others.


One of the most difficult is the Qabalah. Notice how I've spelt it here. Qabalah. This is because, in Hebrew it is spelt ק ב ל ה Or Qoph, Beth, Lamed, Heh (the letters are read right to left). In Occultism each letter is important because of our work with a system called "Gematria" wherein differently spelled words have different numerical values (because Hebrew letters are also numbers) but I will leave this for another time. What is important is to understand that we spell it this way to clearly represent which letters are being used.

Qabalah, though, is not always spelt this way. In fact it is almost exclusively the Hermetic Qabalah which uses this spelling. There are three main branches which I call Kosher, Christian and Hermetic. Each uses different spellings to make it somewhat easier to identify.

The Kosher Kabbalah is a purely Jewish form of the tradition. It relies solely upon Jewish resources and writings and forms the Jewish Mysticism or Esoteric side of Judaism. This is the ROOT of our tradition and the basic formation of much of our work relies upon the Kosher Kabbalah. References such as the Sepher Yetzirah and the Zohar are Kosher Kabbalah resources.

The Christian Cabala is a variation of the Kosher Kabbalah in which Christian symbolism and doctrine have been placed upon the existing structure. Though a form of Christian Mysticism it does not define their entire mystical tradition. The inner, or esoteric side of Christianity is not always seen in Cabalistic terms. Yet it does appear as though the Christian Cabalist does see how the entirity of their esoteric religion fits into the Cabalistic system.

The Hermetic Qabalah is a culmination of all which has gone before. Using the Tree of Life as a classification system and Jewish Mysticism as a foundation the Hermeticist finds room for almost everything. Truly seeing the Tree as a map of the universe and a path to understanding the Infinite Divine, the Hermeticist uses Qabalah as a basis for everything from Astrology and Alchemy to Tarot, Ritual Magic and Za-Zen Meditation. Upon the tree he can see all religions as expressions of the ONE, all methods as inter-related and all paths leading to enlightenment (eventually).


Next, I want to discuss Alchemy. Now most people think Alchemy is all about getting rich and turning lead into gold. This is only partly true. Turning base metals (usually lead) into gold is a form of symbolic speech (although Nicholas Flemel is said to have physically turned mercury into gold). This goal takes on a whole new meaning when we consider that there are 7 energy centers in the human body which correspond to the 7 sacred planets and the 7 sacred metals. Lead, being at the base of the spine and Gold being at the center of our being, the point at which our "Divine Spark" is considered to reside gives a clue to the real purpose of Alchemy. It also includes healing and the use of physical medicines.


The Tarot, used for centuries as a tool of divination, a use which has entered the mainstream, is a highly symbolic and very powerful set of archtypal images, all of which include complex teachings and a guide to the higher mysteries. Though many Occultists do use them for divination, their real power is in their use in meditation, magic, pathworking and education. Though any deck will work for "doing readings" which is based on intuition (in fact, almost anything will work to stimulate that faculty) I highly recommend the BOTA Deck for your occult work. Not only is it designed to eliminate the blinds of previous decks and works within the structures dictated by the Third Order, but it also requires you to colour the cards which helps to establish the symbolism and teaching internally.


Magic is a complex subject, and though there are hundreds of books on candle magic, spells, hexes, etc... the Occultist takes Magic very seriously. From complex and poweful visualisation to elaborate ceremonial, the Occultist uses this form of personal programming to shape the plastic universe, knowing all the while that there is such a thing as Karma and that working within its laws, one can go a long way.

I realise that this is very brief and there are so many other terms and subjects to cover. Hopefully this will give a fair idea of the differences in approach. Remember that the New-Age movement is not the same as serious Occultism any more than a Twinkie is a hearty, nutritious meal.

in LVX
Brother Greg

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What is Occultism

So, in the interest of starting at the beginning let's discuss the scope of the subject and what it means. As such let's begin with this word "Occult" which is vastly misunderstood and often misrepresented.

Occult is derived from the Latin "Occulta" which means "Hidden" or "Difficult to find". An example in medicine is the Spina Bifida Occulta, or a Spina Bifida which has no symptoms and is only seen as an artifact on radiographs. It does not make its presence known. Occult and Occluta are also related to the word "Occlude" and all have their root in Occulere which means "to hide, to cover over, to block from view".

As you can see, etymologically, Occult is related to the ideas of that which is hidden, unseen, covered up or just unobservable. In our context of Occultism we are referring to the study of that which is hidden or cannot be seen through normal means.

Occult, as a word, is totally unrelated to the word Cult, which comes from the Latin Cultus, meaning a religious organisation dedicated to a single person or deity as well as the rites and observances thereof. Christianity, with its focus on the teachings of a single individual (regardless of whether they are mortal or divine) can, therefore, be classified as a "Cult". Another example is the Isiac Cult which extended throughout the Roman world. As their focus was exclusively to Isis they qualify as a Cult.

The word Cult was badly maligned during the 1970's and 1980's as the media used it exclusively to refer to coercive organisations engaged in Mind Control and other questionable practices. Though, sociologically, many of those organisations were, in fact, Cults, the definition applies because of their theological focus, not because of their immoral and dangerous activities. The word has become so badly loaded with negative connotation that it has become common practice to refer to cults as "New Religious Movements" in sociology and anthropology. Sadly, this term is often an inaccurate description of the subject, and yet it is somehow better than using the word "Cult".

It should be clear, at this point, that the word which defines our work has no connection to concepts of evil or coercion nor is it anti-religious. At best one might make the connection to the idea of darkness in so much as to block from view or to cover over leaves the hidden thing unlit. It is, of course, fallacious to connect darkness with evil but then, most people who speak out the loudest against Occultism and claim that it is evil do so from an uneducated viewpoint. At best their opinion is based on trashy novels and cheap horror movies.

Light and Darkness are not so much opposites as different extremes of the same thing. Like heat, there is a point where we say "it is cold" and a point where we say "it is hot" but it is all temperature. What is dark to a person is perfectly well lit to an housecat. Those who label darkness as evil are those who are afraid of what they cannot see. They don't understand the cyclical nature of life. After all, we have light and darkness every day and each is perfectly well suited to its purpose. In the Bible, one of many valuable textbooks in Occultism, we are told that G-d created both the light and the darkness, so how can anyone claim that either of them is less than holy?

Occultism peers into the dark places, pulls the covers off of that which is hidden and seeks knowledge and understanding. We banish our fear and see the universe from a pantheistic perspective; nothing that is, is not of G-d. Everything in the universe is Divine from the cockroach to the archangel. Evil can therefore be interpreted as our perception of the wrong thing in the wrong place. Grass is perfectly good on the lawn but must be pulled out when it's in with the flowers.

We seek to know ourselves, to know humanity and to understand G-d as much as we can. In order to do that we must push beyond appearances and seek that which is hidden behind the facade. It is for this reason that Occultism is such a vast field. It is part magic, part psychology, part anthropology, part religion, part theology and part science. One organisation put it simply as "The method of science, the aim of religion".

In order to peek under the carpet, so to speak, we use a great many tools. Magic, ritual, alchemy, astrology, tarot, qabalah, and so on are all methods we use to peek through the facade of the manifested universe. These tools all help us to access our higher Self, our subconscious mind and our inner Divinity, all of which are the real tools of self discovery and spiritual evolution.

Which brings us to "why". Why spend years and years in study, meditation and ritual? Why seek the hidden things in the universe to peer upon the Divine? Different people have different reasons. Some seek power, others seek enlightenment while still others seek an escape. Some feel a steady pull at the core of their being which drives them to continue this work even when all else seems lost. As St. John said "The light shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not." We climb the sacred mountain because we must, we see the light upon the summit and hear a voice calling us home.

What is most important to get across here is that there is nothing evil or anti-religious about Occultism. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It is a journey, practical and intellectual, by which we seek understanding and enlightenment. Though many people undertake the work for the wrong reasons, they either reach a point and stick there, quit, spend most of their time complaining that nobody takes them seriously and that all of the schools and orders are worthless or, rarely, find a true spiritual path and undertake the Work in ernest.

In the end, that narrows our definition of Western Occultism: A spiritual path of enlightenment and spiritual evolution based on a study of the ancient and often hidden wisdom of the West.

in LVX
Brother Greg

Friday, February 12, 2010



After years of being told that I should consider starting a blog and YouTube channel on Western Occultism I've decided to make a start. In this introductory post I will cover why I've decided to begin an Internet lecture series, what sorts of tools and approaches I plan to use, and a little background on who I am and why you should bother listening to me anyway.

Like many people I've often falling into the YouTube or Blogosphere event horizon not to emerge for hours. I've found blogs and videos on learning everything from gourmet cooking to Japanese language (written and spoken). Yet most of the material I've found on Western Occultism, Witchcraft and their related subjects are mostly garbage. Often they are the result of zealous newbies who are trying to find ways of expressing their new-found passion.

I have no problem with people trying to express themselves in this way. I myself am a writer and a musician so I understand the need to express one's self in the world. It's a good thing but few, if any of them, actually have the background or understanding to support their sharing of information with the world. Their zeal is often compounded by the fact that those of us who take these studies seriously are few and far between. In a way they are like those people during the renaissance who published small papers trying to get noticed by the large fraternities.

Sadly. they miss the final of the four occult maxims, "To be silent", and speak as though they, themselves were the authority on the subject. That has become the bane of the Internet over the years, anyone can claim to be an expert and anyone can publish whatever they please. I do not believe that the majority of people publishing occult based information on the Internet intend to obfuscate or mislead, it is only that they are inexperienced and have but scratched the surface of so great a field of study.

This, in fact, was a stumbling block for me for a long time. How much can one say without losing that strength and power which comes from silence? Even though I've done live lectures at various universities and have been planning local lectures and workshops the move to the Internet changes my audience drastically. Sadly, the local population of people interested in the subject is smaller than I had hoped and so, in the interests of fulfilling my purpose as an educator I have allowed my friends, colleagues and students to talk me into using this medium for my work.

It is my intent to offer good, solid information and practical instruction from my own perspective and experience in the field. In some cases what you find here will be in opposition to what you have read elsewhere. Many people do claim to be experts and yet have never worked with a contacted order or within a teaching tradition. If your interest is in Chaos Majik or Eclectic Witchcraft you're probably better off going elsewhere. Conversely if you are currently working with an order, fraternity or traditional coven then I am certain that you will find much of value in what I have to offer.

I plan to use text, graphics, audio and video to explain and expound upon concepts and teachings within the tradition. Some of these are difficult to get across using only text based media and occultists as early as Crowley and Regardie have made use of newer technologies to expand understanding of the subjects in question.

I will be sharing essays, images and other resources which will help expound the mysteries and supplement the spoken and written material given here and elsewhere. Although not a replacement for working with a contacted school, it will give valuable information for both the beginner and those looking for more advanced work in the field.

I will, though, be beginning with fairly simple subjects and concepts and move towards more advanced subjects as time progresses. The entire body of this work will, in time, be of use to students of all levels.

I am currently looking into multisymbol options as not all symbols in use in Occultism are available in Unicode or basic fontsets. Sadly their representation will vary widely based on different computers so I may, from time to time, post font-embedded PDF documents which allow much better control over symbol representation.

Finally, a little background on myself. I have been involved in the study of Western Occultism for over twenty years, most of that time has been spent working with a contacted Mystery School. I have taken academic degrees in Religions and Cultures and have spent many years doing field research into religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Witchcraft. In all cases my interest has been in the more Orthodox manifestations as these attempt to preserve the teachings of the past. With Witchcraft it was Alexandrian and Odyssian traditions, with Judaism it was studying under an Orthodox Rabbi and as a youngster it was Anglican and Roman Catholic Christianity.

I have published articles in small trade papers, lectured at the University of Ottawa, and served as a Director of Probationers with the Fraternity of the Hidden Light which has allowed me to work with occult students all over the world. I have edited a number of materials including courses, essays and books on the subject and moderated Internet discussion forums.

In short, I've spent most of my life studying Occultism both academically and practically. I've carried the broom, worn the Yarmalka and waved the wand on this journey and am now ready to start sharing what I've learned with my fellow travellers upon the path.

in LVX