Once we have spent a considerable amount of time at the edge of Abyss a few things become incredibly clear. They become obvious not like a truth derived from philosophical speculation or from scientific hypothesizing, testing and retetesting. They become obvious like a truth that is part of who we are, of our own being, our very own flesh. We cannot call it faith, because we have seen it with our own eyes.
Everyone of us is forced to learn how to live life before we die. What as a toddler seems like constant play and discovery over the years turns into a raw and essential struggle. A struggle for one's own place in this maddening world. A struggle for a clear image in that mirror of knowing who we have become. A struggle of balancing what we want for ourselves with what we want to be remembered for by others. The difference for magical adepts lies in a simple choice. It lies in the choice that on top of learning how to live life they also choose to learn how to die before dying.
(...) Since the publications of Wilhelm Quintscher and Franz Bardon these spirits have come to be known as the ‘360 Genii of the Earthbeltzone’ (die 360 Genien der Erdgürtelzone). Unfortunately outside of the tight boundaries of the German speaking countries, they remain almost unknown to this present day. This is even more surprising considering that the first mentioning of their 360 names stems from one of the original manuscripts of the infamous ‘Book of Abramelin’.
Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to someone whose magical work - as well as hermetic worldview - is very dear to me. Through my conversations with him as well as through experiencing his magical amulets firsthand, he offered me a completely fresh perspective on what it truly means to walk the hermetic path and to master magic. Even if few of us will ever be able to follow him in his footsteps, it is all of us who we can ensure it's genuine adepts like him who leave a deep mark on our Western Mystery Tradition.
(...) Now, to make this project happen everyone's contribution is required. Whether you want to help through pre-ordering your copy now or instead through a crowdfunding donation - every little helps! This project has been carried for years by very few people, they have brought it a huge way - and so close to its realisation. I truly hope in the next 21 days we can bring it over the finishing line jointly.
The following is a message I received after burying all of my ritual tools in a remote Bavarian forest. To me it's very little of my own voice and a lot of what the spirits I worked with and the ones I asked to accept my tools answered in return. I was quite surprised about a few of the things they had to say? Yet, in letting go of all of the magical artefacts I had accumulated, charged and created over many years, this is what they needed me to understand - and I believe to pass on. (...)
(...) Magical paraphernalia are like four-dimensional recordings of a ritual event. Think of a sacred space filled with a handful of such implements - and now switch positions and look through the eyes of the spirits: Can you see how incredibly busy and noisy this place is? Because from the spirit’s viewpoint these implements, these material tools of spiritual recordings, are in constant playback mode. Without ever stopping they express the rhythms, utterances, forces and living beings recorded into them.
(...) what I had misunderstood is what the term ‘work’ actually stands for. The Latin word ‘producere’ can be translated literally as to ‘bring forth’ or ‘draw out’. So in my simple Western mind ‘work’ was something that flowed from the inside outwards. From intend to action and from action to result. I understood work as the process of achieving a state of change by means of applying ourselves to the world. May it be through the help of our hands, of our minds or words. Whatever interface between us and the world we choose to use, work was an active noun, the opposite of death almost, and altogether a pretty safe sign for being alive.
'What becomes important in the end only, should create the beginning: The magical awakening! Book-spectre and ritual-larvae otherwise find a welcome sacrifice in any student, and associations will begin to serve nothing but the life force-hungry group egregore as well as their own leaders - most of which ultimately live on the breadline themselves and keep above water by offering pseudo-positive thinking, knowledge and imagining of various configurations. The history of magic has proven it over many centuries - what comes out at the end is mostly wasted and precious life time, without having enriched one’s own life or the world. The institutionalising of magic is a delicate matter indeed.' -- Walter Ogris
Over the last months Josephine McCarthy and I have been working quietly on a project we called 'Quareia'. This Medieval Latin term refers to 'a place where stones are squared'. It seemed a fitting metaphor for a place where also we are shaped and born as magicians. And that is what Quareia is meant to become: a new and completely open magical school - without fees, structures of hierarchy or imbalances of power between students and teachers. A place to be shaped for every magical practitioner who is searching for a new way of learning, integrating and practicing magic. All the way from beginner to adepthood.
"Magic and training? Are these two not contradictory and incompatible concepts? Are the two terms not mutually exclusive? Can you be trained in something that according to the general conception and representation is a discipline of self-responsibility, of active self-awareness and thus a process of self-knowledge par excellence, that defies any specified instructions or even preconceptions?" -- Agrippa
Whenever the topic of magical titles or grades comes up I felt pretty divided. On the one hand I couldn't care less about symbols of hierarchy invented by humans and labeled onto other humans. At the same time, the way my mind worked for the first decade of magical training I really needed something that acted as milestones to map out the magical path I was following. At IMBOLC we used the classical 10° system mapped onto the Tree of Life. I remember the first three years, practicing daily for at least an hour and probably having done about 16 practical and theoretical exams before I was granted the grade 1°=10 Zelator... -- So what does it mean to me today, if someone calls me an Adept? Is this a title I should accept or refuse?
Josephine and I have been collaborating on various magical projects for several years now. A side effect of this partnership is that I receive wonderful lessons from a true adept and she gets a brick wall to bang her head against. Or almost. At least it's fair to say that initially our approaches to magic were diametrically opposed: Josephine teaching a very organic, though incredibly pragmatic approach to visionary magic - and me having just emerged from more than a decade of rigorously structured ritual work and occult philosophic studies. So when we first met it could have easily been the perfect clash of paradigms. Yet, it turned out to be the opposite.
It's been five years since a close friend and I entered into the 'Arbatel Cycle' in 2009 and decided to complete all seven stages of this ritual work. Since then a lot has happened and step by step I have added detailed ritual accounts for each rite completed on this site. With one more ritual remaining and a few significant spirit-induced crises behind me, I decided to write a slightly longer introduction to this work. It is both because it has turned into a significant part of my magical life - and because I am beginning to see its limitations, costs and imbalances clearer and clearer.
In spring of the same year Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa was born - 1486 - a mysterious scholar, forgotten by the Western Magical tradition and remembered only by academic history, explained the key concepts of Jewish Kabbala to a young Italian philosopher and squire. The latter was called Pico della Mirandola and became world-renowned as the founding father of Christian Kabbala and remembered until today as a pivotal force in the emergence of Renaissance philosophy and Hermetic magic. The former, however, vanished with little traces into the mists of our Western occult memory...
Here is what I think I missed to call out in the previous post on faith - and what Hanegraaf’s wonderful chapter helped me realise: As a gnostic you are faced with the essential fact that all of your faith’s ties to the past need to cease to exist - for any true experience to come to life. Walking the path of the gnostic takes courage more than anything. Because what it takes is exactly what the Neoplatonist Porphyri had suspected: Each one of us needs to ‘cut out for themselves a new kind of track in a pathless desert’.
Whenever life turns truly practical and concrete all scientific knowledge and ratio begin to fade into the background. What takes the limelight instead is a Pandora’s Box: What is inside nobody will ever know. All we know is it is a box that will be eternally closed to the hands of knowledge and science. Yet, we also know the very same box will open almost effortlessly to the touch of faith. At the same time nothing can be said about the inside of this box objectively, yet it presents its content devotedly to the subjective view of our senses...
Let’s begin with a very simple thought: There is a man inside of us and a man outside of us. Both of these men are not us. The one outside of us is marked by our skin, the bones and blood and nerves we are clothed into. He - or she - is what the Gnostics called the living grave. Nothing could be more misjudging of its possible power and beauty and divine alignment. The man inside of us on the other hand often remains buried and un-contacted until the day the man outside of us dies.