Love and do what thou wilt

“Love, and do what thou wilt.” It is a saying that I am familiar with from Aleister Crowley, the famous occultist. But it turns out the saying has a much more ancient and surprising origin. It comes from Saint Augustine in fact, from his Seventh Homily on the Letter of John. Here is the context: … Continue reading Love and do what thou wilt

The Grimoire of Armadel

Of all the old grimoires of ceremonial magic I have read, the Grimoire of Armadel strikes me as the most Christian influenced. By way of example, consider this preparatory instruction: Before invoking the Spirits it is necessary to make a (Magical) Circle, and place thyself in the midst thereof after having sprinkled the same with … Continue reading The Grimoire of Armadel

Angel magic and the grimoire tradition

I've been observing that a lot of the medieval and renaissance grimoires basically boil down to angel magic. Whether we’re talking Kabbalistic, Solomonic, Enochian, or other systems it’s much the same: it’s about summoning and seeking the aid of a plethora of angels by the power of the One who is above all. This gets … Continue reading Angel magic and the grimoire tradition

A spotters guide to alchemical symbols

These are some of the most common symbols in Alchemy and consequently the ones you’ll most likely encounter, if you keep your eyes open. In my experience they come up, not only in explicitly magickal contexts, but also in movies, gaming, music videos, and other expressions of pop culture. It is worth noting that the … Continue reading A spotters guide to alchemical symbols

The Seven Seals by Eliphas Levi

"Apocalyptic Key - The Seven Seals of St John" from Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie by Eliphas Levi The seven seals referenced here originate from a vision in the Revelation of John, the last book of the Bible. In it the seer writes, "I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the … Continue reading The Seven Seals by Eliphas Levi

What is the difference between mysticism and magic?

Here's an interesting perspective from Evelyn Underhill (Mysticism, 12th ed, p.70-71): "The fundamental difference between the two is this: magic wants to get, mysticism wants to give —immortal and antagonistic attitudes, which turn up under one disguise or another in every age of thought. Both magic and mysticism in their full development bring the whole mental … Continue reading What is the difference between mysticism and magic?

What is esotericism?

Here is a summary from the Encyclopedia of Religion. ESOTERICISM. Esotericism has several meanings. After presenting a list of them, this article deals with the use of the term in scholarly parlance and with the various approaches toward this academic speciality in religious studies. A VARIETY OF MEANINGS. The substantive esotericism seems to have first … Continue reading What is esotericism?

What is the difference between invocation and evocation?

This definition from Wise Geek explains it fairly succinctly: Invocation and evocation are English words that are often used interchangeably. They are both derived from the Latin word vocare, which means to call forth. Both words can deal with summoning interaction with non-human entities. Yet, many people, especially those with knowledge of the occult, believe … Continue reading What is the difference between invocation and evocation?

Can Evangelicals Learn from Occult Traditions?

Several years ago, evangelical author Gerald McDermott wrote a superb book entitled, “Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?” The text explored the ways theologians of the likes of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin had historically engaged with Pagan philosophers of the likes of Plato and Aristotle and asked what a similar exercise might look … Continue reading Can Evangelicals Learn from Occult Traditions?

The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic

If any of you would be interested in engaging with the Hermetic Qabalah from a critical but sympathetic Christian perspective I would recommend "The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic" by Anthony Duncan as a fine place to start. Here are a few comments that struck me while reading the book: Light and fire feature very prominently … Continue reading The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic

The Six Signs: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Occultism

"Seven Governors" by Jakob Bohme Surely one of the most useful definitions of Western esotericism I have ever come across (also Western occult tradition, Western hermetic tradition, Western mystery tradition) is that of Antoine Faivre, the first to define Western esotericism as a field of interdisciplinary academic study. In his book Western Esotericism, Faivre listed … Continue reading The Six Signs: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Occultism