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The Tree of Life | Israel Regardie

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‘The Tree of Life – An Illustrated Study in Magick’

Published: 1932

3rd Edition: 2011

By far one of my favourite books written by Regardie. He really takes the student into account and does his upmost best to educate green minds. Some of the concepts within the book are already familiar to me, others presented in a manner that made you really aware of unknown or misunderstood forces around you. This book deepens the mind so much, or at least it did me, I have had to read the book again! This time making even more notes than before.  This book is wonderful. If you own the other books I have reviewed, including one title I won’t ‘How Make and Use Talismans’ you will be surprised by how much you learn from this one man. If there is any book I would recommend to anyone first it would be this one just to kick-start your Regardie education into Magick, Hermetic Qabalah and Alchemy.

This book is fairly thick, similar to ‘A Garden of Pomegranates’ but full of astounding knowledge, but the gift Regardie has is his writing. The expressive language he uses really draws the reader in, similar to the style of Game of Thrones author G. R. R. Martin – he just sucks you in, and before you know it you’ve read most of part one. Regardie talks briefly about the difference between magick, mysticism and witchcraft, and also includes his theory of “black magick” which is a theory I fully support. There is information on deity, and how to explore them with psychology and magick, and many other subjects expected of any magician. His theorising is explored in a manner that is ideal in this day and age; lot’s of precision, and I don’t think he knew how amazing he was.

I thoroughly enjoyed this title. Lots of people have enjoyed this book too.

Mind blowing

My rating: ★★★★★

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Garden of Pomegranates | Israel Regardie

Garden of Pomegranates, ‘Skrying on the Tree of Life’ – exactly as it says on the tin.

Published: 1931-32

2nd Edition (edited with notes by Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero – Llewellyn): 1970

Garden of Pomegranates - Contents

Garden of Pomegranates – Contents

This book is theoretical, but in Regardie style he gets you thinking and putting the theory into practice. The first part of the book, titled “A Garden of Pomegranates – An outline of the Qabalah” deals with magick, Qabalah and understanding. Each chapter deals with important aspects of history, the Sephiroth and the philosophy. He also includes the odd lesson here and there on the Hebrew alphabet and the spiritual meanings behind each letter and word, considered to be important to Qabalah. You get an all round view, or introduction, to the world of Qabalah, with current editions that include pages of endnotes and further knowledge. The second part of the book, titled “Skrying on the Tree of Life” – A textbook for practical work with the Qabalah” is full of practical information with visualisations, meditations and skyring (known today as ‘pathworking’). Each of the 32 paths on the tree and the ten Sephiroth, are dealt with particular lessons to aid further understanding. He includes the spiritual aspects of various deities from Zeus, Horus, Pan, Hermes, Khamael and many others. I’m still working within lower third of the tree myself, and I am benefitting a great deal. Regardie prepares you before hand with a small list of materials you will need to start Skrying. As with part one, in which he arms you with deep knowledge, with this part the knowledge creates a spiritual understanding and reverence. A truly exciting book, and just like the back page quotation states “The Best Single Introduction to Qabalah for Magicians”.

If you are looking to understand the Qabalah, and how to apply it to your daily meditations or practice this book is ideal as a start point. It arms you with so much deeper understanding, which makes the whole experience of living as a magician or spiritual individual all the more intimate and personal.

My rating: ★★★★★

Just a little insider goodness

Just a little insider goodness


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A Mad Theory About Black Magick and Malkuth

The term “black magick” has always been on my mind; what does it mean? What is considered black, and is magick truly black at times? The one thing I’ve recently taken upon myself is the understanding, and misinterpretation of language and words. In this case I will discuss two words, often mistaken as having the same meaning, “Witchcraft” and “magick”. I won’t go into my theory of each word until tomorrow, but hopefully this short post will give you an idea.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

If you ask anyone within the pagan world what they consider to be black magick, many would agree it is the performance of negative witchcraft. Whilst this holds true to more nature based paths, or modern eclectic strains of pagan spiritualism, this definition is unofficial and too flexible. This is the reason why I have asked it, and pondered about it for over a decade. If a term needs constant revision, or modifying to fit a mould it clearly does not fit, then it can’t be a solid base to gain any further knowledge or understanding from. For me, I used to follow the guidelines about its definition from various authors and folks online. All, but a small few would argue over what the correct terminology is, and how their personal and spiritual view is more important than the other. Over the last few years with my shift into general witchcraft and the occult sciences my understanding of black magick has changed. My first idea followed the theory of nature being both good and bad, making sure to drop the Christian coding system of placing things into the two columns’ good and evil. I remember studying something about deities of Kemet who have a bad reputation, and the author expressed how these deities, including Kemetic demons were actually seen as vital morals for a practitioner. After a storm (bad) there is always new growth on the land (good). Good and bad are in constant flow with other; you cannot have one without the other. This was enough to help me understand the importance of Yin and Yang in nature and the Universe. I believe this is the natural flow with normal contemplation.

Lately my idea of black magick has extended even further. Magicians refer to black magick as witchcraft that is used for good or bad reasons, but that witchcraft won’t help to accomplish the Great Work. For example, a friend is sick and you perform healing witchcraft (spells) to help shift the sickly energy around her. Ask yourself, how has that taught you anything spiritual? How does that bring you closer to Kether/Universe/Godhead? At this moment in time I don’t see anything that spiritually beneficent for me? Maybe I’m just not seeing it. I’ve used witchcraft to help her magick flow properly, but that is all I recognise. I have given into the definition of the word black, and then applied it to my magick.

Black – adjective, black·er, black·est, noun, verb, adverb, adjective

1. Lacking hue and brightness; absorbing light without reflecting any of the rays composing it.

2. Characterized by absence of light; enveloped in darkness: a black night.

 

The “absence of light” and the first definition implies you need light to see through blackness. From the spectrum of magick, one must find the inner blackness to find the light – or accept the blackness in your life in order to fully appreciate the light. Witchcraft is about spells and rituals, symbols and practice, whilst magick is a type of inner yoga that resides with the soul; it is not physical. Therefore “black magick” should be categorised as non-spiritual and materialistic, whilst “black witchcraft” is the use of spells, rituals and manifesting magick for either good or bad means. Agree to disagree? It is still and undefined theory of mine… I could be wrong. The Tree of Life supports my theory.

The other day I asked this on my page, and got the following response from the ever inspiring Mr. Theli:

“I’ve been wondering recently, has anyone ever considered spells, whether they are for good health or strength, or even spells to make someone happier/sad, could be seen as “black/materialistic magic” purely on the basis that these acts don’t do anything to enlighten you?

“My point, I see Magick and witchcraft as two different tools. Magick is to empower and enlighten; witchcraft is merely a materialistic tool for everyday life (or living in Malkuth and never moving up).”

 

“93, Sy!

Let’s suppose you and I are enrolled in advanced humanities course at Gaia University entitled “Life, Health and Paradox – H303” lead by professor Raph A. El.

You’ve had some difficulty with a recent exam, so I heist the professors grade book and bump you up a grade point, just so you can keep your head above water, so to speak. Well, we both just failed the class.

This would be a brief insight as to how I believe incautious healing may be considered “black”.

Karmic lessons can be very convoluted, and intervening in another’s lessons, while of admirable intent, may in fact be theft.

Ultimately we are left with Knowledge, Understanding and Will. We use our knowledge to make our decision, then apply our will with full understanding of possible consequence, in pursuit of wisdom.

93, 93/93.”

 

It felt so good to know a few folks understood what I said, but I loved this response because he took my theory right out of my head (and he wrote it in a Crowley/Thelema manner; with the rather flowery tone in text), and managed to still touch upon Malkuth. Malkuth is the sphere or Sephirot at the base of the Tree of Life. Usually seen with four colours, the black quarter is at the very base. This Sephirot is known as the “materialistic” or “non-spiritual” centre. It’s the micro representation of the Universe, the beginning, the Bride. All magicians start their path within the sphere of Sephirot, they become the Bride as it were, face their demons (ego, animalistic urges and darkness) and marry it to become akin with Yesod, the Groom. Seeing as my magick is growing more and more Hermetic as each day passes, it only makes sense to apply my theory of “black magick” as purely non-spiritual. See my point now? Do ya? Yeah? No?

I don’t mean to scare any of you, or confuse or even offend you, but I think I’ve hit something, and I need to investigate. I’ll go into my understanding of Malkuth soon! Malkuth is very personal to me at this stage in my life.

Sy, 93s