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