Philosophy Behind The Images
What follows is a presentation I gave to the Minneapolis Thosophical Society in November 2005. I have included it here because I feel that it describes in concise language my philosophy as is represented by the images of The Tarot of the Morning Star.
Riding Lightening, Adventure, Life and Magick
Listening to this presentation you might feel that it doesn’t relate to its title, Angel of Light. However, I consider the Angel of Light, Lucifer, to be a dynamic life principle and not a historical or mythological figure. To me Lucifer is a geometric function, a life principle which we all possess, it opens the door to other realms of reality encouraging us to lead fuller and more creative lives.
My background is one of ceremonial magic as practiced by the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 was in some ways a reaction by its founders to Eastern Philosophy flooding into England at the time by its citizens returning from the colonies. The founders of the Golden Dawn wanted to offer a western tradition to balance this influx from the East.
The core of the Golden Dawn system is the Hebrew QBL. QBL is a Hebrew word that translates as “to receive”. It is a system of attainment that classifies diverse forms of energy. It is a vehicle for obtaining altered states and for communicating with entities which may not be of this earth, universe or dimension. There are many who believe that the origin of the QBL has its roots in Egypt and the Tigress and Euphrates valley, places visited by the Hebrews in the course of their history. It is therefore an eclectic philosophy thanks to its diverse roots.
One might be encouraged to believe that the QBL, because of its Hebrew origins, has religious correlations and to some practitioners it does. The magician however sees it as a classification system composed of 10 spheres and 22 connecting paths. The magician, because of his understanding of these spheres and paths can be energized by their essence. The QBL is a reference system that can explain the transition from concept to conclusion of any idea. This can be the concept of God as non-being becoming existence, or of an idea becoming a conclusion in three-dimensional reality. It is also an ideal tool for individuals of different doctrines to discuss in a common language the interpretation of their beliefs. The QBL used in this way, as a vehicle of reference, can help us escape the pitfalls of righteousness and exclusivity, and give people of different belief systems a basis for the exchange of concepts and an understanding of the interrelationship of their philosophies.
The Golden Dawn was greatly influenced by the Rosicrucian Manifestos published anonymously by Johann Valentin Andreae between 1610 and 1612, the works of Dr John Dee, court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth the first of England, the works of Eliphas Levi the French Magus who claimed to have summoned to visible appearance the spirit of Apollonius of Tyana, Francis Barrett the author of the Magus, a compendium of magical technique and philosophy published in 1801, and Lord Bulwar Lytton, the author of Zanoni who had the reputation of being a Rosicrucian. Added to this were their translations of medieval grimoires and diverse forms of divination. All of these traditions were fused into a coherent system using the QBL as its unifying structure. Golden Dawn work in its most basic overview consists of 2 functions, ritual and astral workings. The ritual creates the gateways into other dimensions, earths the energies of these dimensions, and makes them tangible. It is from these other dimensions, astral realms that are wells of power, that the magician/shaman derives his/her empowerment. These astral realms have a very ethereal, plastic nature, much like a dream, and so gleaning coherent substance requires a reliable structure of reference for the testing and clarification of its experiences. This is the role of the QBL. This conscious ability to tap diverse forms of energy, be empowered by them and to cleanse our sense of perspective, I call magic. In my own work I replace the word ritual for that of machine to remove the technique from religion. A machine is a system that converts energy from one form into another; a vehicle of transformation. Machines can be used to transport people or things from one place to another, communicate with other life forms and shape or transmute materials. Magic is a machine that is used to transport you from one place or dimension to another, communicate with other life forms and shape and transmute you.
There is, therefore, a clear distinction between magic and religion. Religion is what happens to magic when its disciplines are neglected.
If we observe the different systems of religion we can see they are centered on the experiences and revelations of an individual, a shaman, a person who has had direct contact with worlds other than their own. However, I believe revelations are only for the person experiencing them. What is important is for us all to have these experiences and then to assist others in obtaining their own and equally valid revelations. Through these revelations we learn to become self empowered and accountable for our actions because we learn to believe in ourselves. In magical philosophy the technique is passed on to another who could have their own and equally valid experiences. The magicians at the source of major religions have failed from a magical point of view. Instead of passing on the technique, those after became followers, not companions, and, they built institutions around the experience of the one who became their founder. These institutions are more concerned with propagating themselves at the expense of providing the truth, the original ideal of their formation.
It is these organized and hieratical systems that removed individuals from personal contact with energy and endeavored to keep it in the hands of a privileged few. I believe truth is found within each of us and we need to learn to quest and trust our own inner voices and intuitive faculties. Just because you are the only person that believes something does not mean that you are wrong.
By learning to trust ourselves we become empowered, we are no longer the minions of an agenda that desires we become automatons to maintain its rule.
Magical philosophy is not concerned with telling people what to believe or how to live their lives. The magician influences others by the power of example. If you feel that you should be encouraging another in life’s journey then you should start by asking yourself, how do I conduct myself? Self assurance and security come from within and not from the dogma of some religion that has its own agenda for the control of others.
Magical philosophy is a desire for experience to gain knowledge, a correspondence with the principle of Lucifer.
The magician creates his/her own universe. Our lives are only as we choose to perceive them. How we react to situations is our choice.
Magical ability is not given or passed on. It is earned through hard work. Initiation is not given or passed on. It is earned through an individual’s ability to confront and overcome crisis when presented with it. The degree of initiation received is proportionate to an individual’s ability to deal with the crisis presented. Magic is not a religion. Magic is the practice of developing individuality and self-empowerment in order to become more than what we presently are. It is a living technology.
Western ceremonial magic, as practiced today, has its roots in the civilization that flourished in the Nile valley many thousands of years ago, the area known today as the country of Egypt. Through the centuries, the topographic area of Egypt has been perceived as the cradle of magical practice. Even the word alchemy is said by some authorities to originate from this region, it being derived from the word Khem meaning “Black Land,” the ancient name for Egypt. It was given the title “Black Land” because of the fertile black silt brought down by the Nile at the time of its inundation. The fundamentals of this magical practice are related to the forces of nature operating in the environment of the Nile valley during the course of a year. Ceremonial magic practiced today is directly related to the cycles of nature experienced in the Nile valley. They are directly cognate to the action of natural phenomena experienced in this area. These aspects include the star of the pole, the constellations that surround it, the star Sirius, the inundation of the river Nile, the black silt deposited by the inundation, vegetation, the desert, the moon, the sun and wholeness that is the cycle of the year. By using natural phenomena as symbolic representations of inner processes, we can re-integrate ourselves into the fabric of the universe from which we have exiled ourselves. Once integrated, we will again be able to understand the music of the spheres and to comprehend the language of their transmissions. Using geometric functions that are the basis of natural growth, we open ourselves up to original states of consciousness and new life situations. This will ultimately lead to a re-evaluation of our life circumstances. With all forms of magical practice, it is important that they become part of our everyday lives; otherwise, the practice is useless and we would be better off finding an alternative form of recreation. Magic is about changing and experiencing life, not escaping change or life experiences. Magic offers the reward of the unlimited territory that is the Adventure Zone.
The validity of a system can be judged by observing the creativity of its participants. Individuals involved in accessing and channeling primal energy are driven to express, externalize and reveal these energies. It could be said that it is a form of exorcism, a throwing up and manifestation into our realm of reality ideas and concepts from another. The magician is a conduit of energy that unites the essences of two or more realms of reality and by so doing enriches not only him/herself but the dimensions that come together. A magical community encourages individuality, a belief in self and the concept of accountability. Meaning we, and not others, are responsible for our lives. We need to cleanse our sense of perception to take control over it. Our lives are then how we consciously choose to perceive them. When we achieve this we find that there is no longer a need to blame others for our circumstances, we have become accountable, creative and god like.
Again, what is important is for us all to have these inner or other worldly experiences and then to assist others in obtaining their own equally valid revelations. Through these revelations we learn to become self empowered and accountable for our actions.
Humanity has a desire for the big picture. It wants to see where it fits in a universe that it desires to experience as cohesive and rhythmic. The intuitive faculty is the key. Intuition is the ability to take diverse and apparently unrelated material and weld it into an interrelated system.
We are immersed in a sea of invisible worlds that generally go undetected by our senses. The limited range of our everyday faculties gives only an infinitesimal vision of the energies that share the universe with us. Gods, angels, ghosts, phantoms and alien intelligences are incessantly issuing from the invisible void of the infinitely large and the infinitely small to converse with us. In dreams and emotions we are spoken to by these energies but seldom do we give ourselves the time to translate these messages from the void. But in quiet moments and during sleep, these worlds have a louder voice as they attempt to make contact to re-integrate us into the fabric of the universe where all is interconnected. Our deeper selves, now also invisible to most of us, struggle to respond and react to the transmitted messages of the void.
In response to this frustration, our bodies and minds revolt in anger, sickness, mental instability and other myriad forms of physical and psychiatric complaints. Daily, we now give ourselves to the messages of man instead of to the forces of our inner-selves. We have sacrificed our individuality and sense of self for the reward of comfort and a false world of safety. Our society promises a condition that does not exist. In giving ourselves to this falsehood, we have relinquished our will and severed ourselves from the current of life that is adventure. As a species, and as individuals, we are losing our ability to adapt to the new and original situations that life offers us as tests to our continued existence as vehicles of its expression. We now tend to view these new life situations as hostile instead of challenging.
This attitude is not a modern phenomenon but has been developing since the emergence of the so-called “civilized man.” To our ancestors, communication with invisible realms was a source for gathering knowledge. This can still be witnessed today by observing nomadic tribes. Those we like to call “primitive” people, are able to find the location of game and water for their needs without any apparent logical method. They can also heal the sick and can predict the unfolding of future events. These people are a closer part of the great cycle of existence. They know its laws and they know these laws are the laws of nature. This is not to say that our technological achievements do not have a place in our lives. On the contrary, they do. Unfortunately, these external achievements, instead of working with our inner world, have usurped it and cut it off. Observation of humanity’s evolution shows a drive toward creating more comfortable and safe surroundings for itself at the expense of individuality and selfhood. We need to learn that the inability of an individual or species to confront and adapt to challenging situations will eventually lead to its demise.
Humanity’s obsession with safety has even been introduced into our myths. The forces of life, symbolized by the figures in myth, are now personified as good and bad instead of whole or challenging qualities. Such images as Cain and Set have become something to be abhorred instead of being seen as dynamic powers of change and transforming principle. These energies are the driving force of life and to deny them reduces our potential to live. Through their intervention we achieve wholeness, seen as good, but by the same token, they change wholeness by metamorphosis into another form. This action is generally seen as bad because it is the loss of what we presently possess.
The vast majority of humanity today has bought into a make-believe world of safety with the currency of individual will. We allow ourselves to be kept within certain limits and to sacrifice our dreams. It is easy therefore to understand the emergence of conspiracy theories that suggest there are elite groups attempting to control the vast multitude of humanity by the promise of this illusion of safety. However, I believe these restrictions are brought on more by a part of the human condition than by a deliberate conspiracy. Therefore, it should be the work of each of us to develop and overcome the limitations imposed on us by our own species. The adversity we need to overcome is that of complacency.
Prevention is better than cure; but unfortunately, as a species, we have not taken the preventative measures required to insure our healthy, continuing contact with the force of life. It is time for us to make a shift in perspective and to realign our attitudes to the gift we have been given, life. We need to experience the adversities life offers as opportunities so that the dormant fire of our limitless possibilities may be reawakened. Look at yourself and ask, “What am I doing with the gift I have been given?” Our attitude to life’s new and original situations is the key. All our endeavors need to be focused on cleansing our attitudes of negativity so that we may better interact with life. Negativity is the quality of wholeness that fears to lose what it has achieved. When presented with a situation that is challenging, consider how you might unlock its puzzle instead of slipping into the despair of having to work. There are many systems now available that offer enlightenment and self-empowerment. Each in its own right is as good as any other. However, if the system you are practicing is not impacting on your everyday life, then it is an entertainment only.
The terms creation and destruction can be misleading until they are understood as being one energy, the current of life. When the life force is observed as creative, we are witnessing its restriction in manifested forms that limit and restrict its flow, so destroying it. What is commonly referred to as destruction is the escape and expression of the life-force from the confinement of a form. However, by escaping, it creates. Construction and destruction are the same single energy divided only by our perspective on how it impacts upon our lives. An act of construction to one individual may be viewed as destructive by another as illustrated by the expression, “One man’s sunset is another man’s sunrise.”
We give the elemental energies of nature forms to rationalize their qualities; but, we need to remember that they are without form because they are generative powers through which forms appear and change into other forms. They are dynamic functions forming links between heightened states of being, in constant interaction and process, and the actual world of three-dimensional reality. When giving energy form, we appear to kill it but it is captured. It is within form that it incubates awaiting its time of liberation.
We, as humans, are temporary expressions of the life-force, vibrations and ripples across the ocean of the infinite, just like anything else which exists. We are no better and no worse. When we are no longer able to change and adapt, life has no further use for us. Life will then depart to find a more adventurous and plastic medium to express itself. We will die to return to the reservoir from which life draws the material for the phases of its manifestations.
Creation, destruction, birth and death are all functions that can be represented in the symbol of the gateway. It is through this gate that we step into the unknown future to be devoured by the universe. In nature, we witness this in the dramatization of the eater and the eaten, where the eaten is assimilated into the body of the eater and becomes a part of that larger existence.
Originally, the qualities of creation and destruction were represented by the basic elements of nature: fire, water, wind, earth etc., emphasizing their non-human character. In time, they took animal form, zoomorphic images as tribal totems, and finally, were reduced to human aspects with human frailties and personalities.
You have only to read any of the Greek myths to discover this transformation, where they are reduced to their lowest factor. The energies of life, represented by the Forces, should not be emotionally conditioned as good or bad. They are the raw drive of life pushing outward toward achieving new phases of synthesis. We, however, have made these forces of nature symbolize our emotions and then have projected these emotions back on to nature with the qualities of good and bad.
What we have intentionally or unintentionally endeavored to do is de-vitalize the forces of nature to create a make-believe universe, a safe place to live. This is in direct opposition to the attitude of the magus who creates a universe in which to be challenged and grow.
Life does not seek preservation. It seeks expression. We, with our human frailty, seek to turn this around. We seek security in preservation. Security, however, comes not from preservation but from learning to ride the current of life, dealing with new and original circumstances. Life is the moment. It is now. Each instant we are alive we are at the threshold of a gateway that opens before us offering original life situations, and behind us are the memories of our past experiences. We should learn from the past in order to impact on the future and be ready to invest what we have achieved to vitalize the unfolding drama of our lives. This act of investment is called sacrifice. It is our readiness to give up our achievements so they may provide us with a vehicle to transport us into the future. A rocket launched into space uses this principle by shedding its boosters to obtain altitude and free itself from gravity. A snake emerges with a new skin that will be shed or sacrificed when it has outlived its usefulness. The farmer must take part of what he has accumulated and plow it back into the earth to provide the vehicle for what he will reap the following year. He knows he does not own what has been harvested; it is only on loan and must be returned. By watching nature we can learn how to live.
For our ancestors, the forces of nature were neighbors and family, all cohabiting and interacting with one another. All were seen as a part of one great universal energy. As we evolved, it became apparent to certain individuals that the elemental forces of nature directly impacting on their lives had regular periods of action. In observing the night sky these individuals deduced that specific periods of elemental force corresponded to the rising and falling of specific astrological bodies and constellations. These intuitive ancestors then became empowered with the ability to predict future events by synthesizing the movement of the heavens to the actions of elemental energies operating in their environment. With the passing of generations, the actions of elemental forces became transferred to the constellations and planets that announced them. The origin of astrology born.
Intuition is the ability to assimilate and make cognizant diverse pieces of information into a synthesized pattern. This intuitive ability made certain individuals the magicians of their tribes. Because they understood time, the regular recurrence of events, they appeared to have a command over natural phenomena. The forces of the sky, astrological bodies, spoke to the intuitive and alerted them to the coming arrival of elemental forces. By understanding the cycles of time, which is rhythm, we gain greater command over our destinies. If we know the powers that are coming into play, we are better able to choose how we will react when confronted with them. An understanding of time, the ability to recognize rhythm or cycles, is the basis of magic which is a system of self-empowerment. By interpreting rhythms, we are better equipped to make decisions regarding the course of our lives. In many magical practices, for example, voodoo, rhythm is the fabric of the philosophy translated through the medium of drumming. Intoxicated by rhythm, we can be thrown into our subconscious minds; untapped memory banks, and receive from our ancestors memories of primordial cycles of nature.
The greater our understanding of the rhythms of nature of which we are a part, the better able we are to follow our true life course which is expression of the life force. Rock and roll was called the devil’s music by established society because of its basis, which was beat. The phenomenon of rock and roll is an example of the escape of energy from restriction that threatened the established order. It was an expression of energy releasing itself from the restriction of a Victorian mindset. Intoxication, induced by rhythm, released individuality and individuality is not what established society seeks. Individuality is following your true life’s course, unimpeded by your ego, society, religion or other restraints developed by so-called “civilized” society.
To discover our true life course, we need to delve into ourselves and discover what we really are so that we can discern where we should be going. Introspection returns us to our origins and the elemental energies that made us in the crucible of creation. By tapping primal elemental energy, we discover the grail that will refresh our restricted bodies with freedom of individuality and crown us with the knowledge of what we truly are. We discover the grail in the achievement of adjusting ourselves to the current of life, to once again walk amongst the forces of elemental energy.
I believe it is also a possibility that this faculty of ours, intuitive cognizance, could be the result of some form of other dimension or alien interface.
I offer this concept because of the many accounts of individuals throughout history who have claimed to converse with Gods, angels, demons, spirits, faeries, little people, aliens and on occasion being abducted by them. I believe there is a relationship between all of these experiences. What determines the image of an experience is our sense of perspective, determined by the time we live in. Today there are many who perceive the gods and spirits of earlier times as aliens in the guise of super scientists because of our present world view which in many cases has replaced the gods with science.
I feel that our tolerance of diversity offers a path of opportunity for those who are seeking personal experience with energy to discover for themselves what is true for them. We return to our roots through personal experience of other worlds as shaman, medicine men and women and magicians. Through these techniques we discover our primal roots which draw on the nutrition provided by our ancestral memories reaching back to the dawn of time. It is these memories that fuel and propel us into an exciting and exhilarating future.
Today there are so many individuals who are thirsting to become reunited with mystery. We should assist this search by being available to others in their quest for the path that resonates for them. We need to be open to the ideas they bring, even if contrary to our own. We must refrain from being judgmental about another’s quest when it does not fit into our paradigm. If we wish to influence, then let us influence by example.
Any relationship is a two way street. The beauty of a relationship between opposites is that the universe for each becomes twice as big.
It’s all too easy when observing human history and present day events to believe that diversity breeds conflict.
However, diversity can be harmonious if we respect and are sensitive to other points of view even if they are contrary to our own.
We all have a piece of the map. Maybe, as more of us exchange our experiences with each other, the map will one day be complete like a mosaic or mandala where each piece finds its point of resonance to add to the whole which is greater that its parts.
Our strength as magicians is our diversity. It offers an alternative to main stream society that has a problem with diversity, ambiguity and mystery. I believe it is mystery that gives life meaning and keeps it interesting. We need to learn to enjoy the journey and its winding path and not be so obsessed with arrival which is only gratification, the death of desire. When we learn to enjoy the journey, we realize that we are alive.
So we have a choice, we can interrelate and work in harmony with each other like the organs of a living body that create and maintain something greater than themselves; or, we can be fanatical about a part, become like cancer, and make the body sick. The choice is ours.
Diversity is a two edged sword which can be destructive or constructive. Constructive diversity of ideas can combine and create a pulsing vibrant system, enriching each of us, to create ever greater achievements.
I believe if we take the harmony of our diversity as an example, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t endeavor to experience, communicate and harmonize with other life forms which may be as different from us as are our own ideas from each other. If we achieve this, then how much larger our visions and life experiences will be.
I remember having a conversation with a friend over 30 years ago who believed that sci-fi movies and stories were the result of alien intelligences’ subtle messages for preparing us for eventual contact with them. I use the word alien to embrace intelligences that are non human which inhabit our universe and for beings that may inhabit other dimensions with which we are in communication with on some level.
Humanity may have been experiencing these entities for millennium as Gods, angels and spirits. There is a clear distinction between how these entities are observed from the magical standpoint and the religious standpoint. The magician experiences these entities as equals as one would when visiting the inhabitants of another country. They are no better and no worse than we are. Religion, on the other hand classifies these entities into groups of hierarchies that mirror its own organization where there are those who rule and those who serve. They worship some and abhor others.
There are those who are of the opinion that these entities are a lower order of being because of their shallowness of personality. I would argue that the shallowness is not the fault of the entity but of ourselves. Our conversation with them is no different than attempting to converse with someone from another country. If you don’t speak their language then conversation will be shallow. If, on the other hand you take the time and trouble to learn their language, then conversation can become rich and rewarding. This means that these other worldly entities encourage our development and reward those who work.
If we believe in the interrelatedness of all things then what has traditionally been regarded as fantasy and fiction in art may be a form of revelation. This I believe is why it’s important for individuals to have personal contact with energy and be encouraged to express these experiences creatively as we each have a part to some degree of the picture.
It is also possible that works of fiction, fantasy, poetry and art may be equally as valid forms of revelation as so called holy books, the Bible, the Koran, Vedas and Egyptian Book of the Dead etc. These may all be our feeble attempts at translating the communications of other world entities. When we find it so difficult to communicate concepts between our own species how much more difficult is it going to be when attempting to communicate with life forms which are not human. There needs to be a universal language and I would suggest that this language is mathematics, the model upon which the universe is created. Observation of nature clearly shows that its order of division and duplication is constructed upon mathematical and geometric principles.
Lucifer as a geometric principle is therefore not only the formula upon which the universe is built but also the universal language between its diverse parts and species.
Some traditional ancient languages such as Hebrew are based on numbers with each letter having a numerical value. Names and words therefore can be considered as mathematical formula. Traditional names of Gods which could also be names of alien intelligence, may be nothing more than mathematical formula the understanding of which can unlock specific energies through which we can become empowered.
Whatever these life forms may be, the chances are, they are not human; but, by working on the astral plane and assuming animal insect or plant form to communicate with species that are non human may be another form of preparation for contact.
Think of the possibility that belief systems are the result of diverse alien intelligences attempting to use humanity as a means to experience and incarnate into our world. Each of our belief systems may be nothing more than the consciousness of a particular alien race. It is also conceivable that what we view as holy wars are in fact the conflicts between alien races using humanity to settle its conflicts in the arena of our Earth as each group is encouraged to fanatically follow its God’s will. Religious groups maybe nothing more than alien intelligences incarnating onto our planet without the need for their physical bodies. In magical philosophy time and space does not exist, we can be anywhere, we can be anything. It is possible we may be the unconscious victims of alien intrusion by the entities who have harnessed this concept.
However, with the help of magical technique and astral projection it is possible to reverse the process. In magical evocation we consciously summon, abduct, into our realm of reality an entity from another realm, commanding it to do our will. We are literally ripping it out of the fabric of its world and constraining it through pain in ours. This appears to me to have close parallels to accounts of those claiming UFO abduction.
To the entity evoked we are playing the role of God. When we visit their realm of reality through astral projection we are able to assume the forms of animals and perform miraculous feats at will. This is no different to what has been recorded throughout history as the quality of Gods by our ancestors.
From this perspective, there is two way communication taking place where all are becoming empowered and woven into a fabric of multidimensional existence to be fed by its juice.
I believe that this leads us to realize that all is perspective. Again our lives are as we choose to see them. Any experience can be judged as positive or negative. It is our reaction to an experience that determines whether we learn from it or are tormented by it. It’s our choice.
There are messages continually being transmitted from the void. Like radio waves, they invisibly permeate all things.
By using the system known as the QBL, we can construct a mechanism to receive and translate these messages. The better the QBL is understood, the better able we are to tune ourselves into the forces of nature and translate their messages with greater clarity and accuracy. This also enables us to transmit our own messages.
With this system we can construct vehicles to transcend time and space, so that we may travel between differing realms of reality, the vacuum of inter-galactic space, and to communicate with the denizens who inhabit these realities.
We live in an infinite and multi-dimensional universe where anything is possible and everything is true.
 A Hebrew word that translates as, “to receive”. It is a system of attainment that classifies diverse forms of energy and is the language of Western Ceremonial Magic. Depending on the translation it is spelt in numerous ways such as Cabala, Qabalah, Kabbalah. The spelling QBL has been used through out this text as being more in line with the texts philosophy.