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Hiding Magick in Plain Sight, Through the Power of Nature and the Self

There have been numerous attempts at reconnecting with nature, and seeing nature as part of our physicality/psyche, especially when understanding the self and the power of knowledge by allowing our own nature to teach us. The unfortunate rise of dominant religions have forced millions of old religious ideologies to disappear, only to be brought back, more predominantly during the Industrial Revolution. With physics, biology, philosophy and medicine developing into something far greater, and the ongoing feud between religion and science, only a famous few sought the power of Nature in times of need, creativity and devotion. Some people, as I will detail in another essay, hid their ‘pagan and hermetic’ philosophies’ in plain sight, going as far back as medieval Britain, the Renaissance and the period of the Enlightenment. A few poets took a particular interest in writing about Nature as a separate entity, with an emotional tie to every individual who ever lived. William Wordsworth is one prominent writer who often described nature as his lover and teacher, and as I will detail below, his judge. Seeing nature for what is, seeking the emotional power one perceives from it, allowed people to realise their own ambitions once again, as we will see.

It became evident during the Nineteenth Century that people should live regimented lives, according to the government, especially in the UK. This was a time of the Industrial Revolution, and people from working class, or poorer backgrounds were at the forefront of building and maintaining an empire held up by them, for the ruling classes. For a group of artists from all over Europe, and the Americas, came an influx of genius through art, music and poetry. This period is known as the Enlightenment, based on the philosophical wonders of mans’ re-connection to Nature. Nature was vast, and could over rule anyone by reminding them that man did not have control. One example comes from The Prelude, by Wordsworth, where the narrator reflects on a time where Nature was all powerful when he was hoping to laze about relaxing:

'One summer evening (led by her) I found
          A little boat tied to a willow tree
          Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
          Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in             360
          Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
          And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
          Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
          Leaving behind her still, on either side,
          Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
          Until they melted all into one track
          Of sparkling light.'

This short passage, also very well known, details the act of taking a boat out from the shore. This boat does not belong to the narrator, but small amount of guilt he feels does not bother him at all. You could say he had the intention of bringing it back, thus “borrowing” it, and also suggest he knew he had the pangs of guilt, but just didn’t care. You can interpret it in many ways, but you can agree he felt naughty. The idea of being “led by her” is the idea of Nature leading him to the shore, and out to view the stars (mentioned from the next line onwards), because he is drawn to her. Later, his awe and guilt get the better of him, and in a way so does Nature:

‘She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
          I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
          And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
          Went heaving through the water like a swan;
          When, from behind that craggy steep till then
          The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
          As if with voluntary power instinct,
          Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,              380
          And growing still in stature the grim shape
          Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
          For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
          And measured motion like a living thing,
          Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
          And through the silent water stole my way
          Back to the covert of the willow tree;
          There in her mooring-place I left my bark,--
          And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
          And serious mood; but after I had seen                     390
          That spectacle, for many days, my brain
          Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
          Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
          There hung a darkness, call it solitude
          Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
          Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
          Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
          But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
          Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
          By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.’

As you have just read, the power Nature has over the emotions of this young narrator caused him to flee back to the shore and run home. He is haunted by the image of the rocky hill, as if it knew what he had done. The narrator details how Nature can peer right into his soul, and pull out emotions from differing ends of the spectrum, as lust and fear/paranoia. Funny enough, the next stanza beings with, ‘Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!’ – Nature has power, and it’s a matter of recognising it, and working with it, either by science (predicting the weather etc.) or spiritually (by symbolism and philosophy).

Whilst most households during this time were predominantly Christian, this poem reflects the worship and love affair the narrator has with Nature as God. As most Romantics and the Enlightened, found the old classical philosophies about life, death and Nature incredibly inspirational. This is partly why so many classical works have remained today, as there is a valuable and shared truth behind the idea of living a life where you have total control. These ideologies were shared freely from master to student, ensuring the student would later become the master. This idea had caused problems during the destruction and adopted ideals of the pagan world in favour of controlling old religions under one, or several, titles. By taking away the basic rights to individualism, or living will, the modern religions allowed themselves the power of controlling mankind under one shared belief in an all supreme deity, who would/should be far greater than Nature. This idea of “controlling the masses” had become warped, as it was no longer about working together to defeat an enemy or entertainment, it was about actually controlling what people thought, how and who they had to worship (be it God or a priest), and the notion that thinking outside of the box was a wrong. Man slowly became disconnected to nature, and went on living without much hindrance to it, unless it was spoken of with a Christian translation – like I said, feigning the idea the Nature was weaker, and under total control by God.

Referring back to the understanding of the poem, and if you get a chance to read that passage (details and link below), the narrator makes a note of how Nature was, and still is, a part of his human consciousness, or psyche. The fact that a craggy hill, which doesn’t do much besides lay still and erode, has the metaphorical ability to have consciousness and peer into the narrator’s soul, suggests we humans share something with Nature. This thing can be interpreted as magick. As the narrator insists throughout the poem, he sees Nature as a temple, the lover, the teacher and as a Universal deity. Understanding then, that if the Universe (personification of the supreme deity) is a vital part of your psyche, it must then mean that we have the ability to work with, and be part of Nature because we are born with it within. It is tapping into that magick and allowing ego to teach us how to live with it, which causes so much panic and fear in the controlling environment. As long as Nature allows us to think and feel for ourselves, we will ascend from a primitive base to the stage of master.

Sy Calaelen

I will go into further details about how understanding magick, and how to use it at a later date. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay – it is only a small part of something I have been working on for some time now.

The Prelude’ – William Wordsworth, Bartleby.com (scroll down to line 357, beginning with ‘One summer evening’)

William Wordsworth


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I’m Just a Fool Walking These Paths

I had another look at Liber Oz, to see if it had any more ideas to give me. I tend to re-read old passages and study them with a fresh look before reading my old notes. It’s become a bit of a habit for me (do not judge; it’s my revision technique). The middle section of the declaration really stood out to me for the first time in a while, except this time on a personal level. The text I have copied up is only part of the document, and is as follows (hopefully the spelling is correct…):

  1. Man has the right to live by his own law—

to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.

  1. Man has the right to eat what he will:

to drink what he will:
to dwell where he will:
to move as he will on the face of the earth.

  1. Man has the right to think what he will:

to speak what he will:
to write what he will:
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will:
to dress as he will.

  1. Man has the right to love as he will:—

“take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will.” —AL. I. 51

  1. Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.

 

I have always had the idea that you must just let people who they are. If you let them flourish, they will be the best they can when they are with you. At the same time, I saw this as a great form of advice that could be discussed in therapy sessions, in order to show the victim how not to be a victim, and also giving insight into the individual lives, ideals and pains that other people have; as a form of showing you that your pain isn’t just yours, but shared in different ways by all kinds of people. At the same time, it is exactly as it says on the tin – a declaration of man. There are other texts I have sort of “boxed together” that reaffirm my love of this text, such as Liber Tzaddi and not forgetting verses from Liber AL vel Legis, as well as others. Liber Oz is more than that. It’s personal, whilst being extremely universal.

Going back to my original objective, this new lesson has shown me something I hadn’t expected. The other side of the coin is the acceptance that you can’t be a fool and assume you can help people, or share information too freely. Some people are just ignorant, idiotic and rude when they find they are about to embark on a conversation with another person. The one thing that keeps me respectful, yet honest about who I am, is the shared understanding that we are all human. Of course, we are all Stars in the centre of our own universes, constantly colliding or flying into the orbit of other Stars we meet along the way, but for me Liber Oz is showing me the joy of that. Maybe not, it could just be that I’m young and still growing up, and becoming more mature as each day unfolds. Life is just full of surprises, but instead of brushing them off, sometimes it’s nice to say that at some point in your life you met and appreciated a wonderful teacher, or an idiot. I smile knowing I don’t understand people, and I truly refuse to try and wear a façade all the time.

Think of the Fool from the tarot, not in the popular manner of an idiot, but rather the silent master of secrets, the master of knowledge who refuses to share knowledge so openly or freely (for many reasons – most notably, the ideals that have been shared or practiced throughout history have shown that men in power are threatened by a revolt of the proles). Rather, this misunderstood being will show you the way if and when you are ready to embark on the first road. When the timing is right, you will learn things and see other things differently. At the moment the Fool is with me, reminding me that Liber Oz is opening itself in a manner I hadn’t reflected upon. Only the universe, and my silent teacher (my HGA) know what is needed for me to grow.

I wrote the following in my journal:

I have the right to be myself;

To laugh, to smile, to cry and play,

To be wise, intelligent and dull in any way I see fit,

To continue my creative pursuits as I see fit,

And not to let the words of other beings penetrate my shell.

I understand I cannot be nice all the time,

I must be respectful, honest and blunt.

In doing so, focus all of my attention on my true Will,

And complete the Great Work as the individual of my own standing.

(No more strings!)

 

One thing that did trigger off this theory again, was a conversation I had with a buddy. He checks in every so often to find out how my art projects are going, and it was actually quite sad to tell him I hadn’t picked up a sketch book in a very long time. Partly because of how my mind works – I like to draw thoughts if I can’t write them, but this past year studying Thelema has meant I have given up parts of myself in order to be more academic, and to follow suit. These days I am not bothered. Thank you JC.

I am off to doodle; I am the Fool!

496,

93, 93/93

fool


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Four of My Current Magick Journals

I haven’t done an update in years! At least, not on this blog anyway, so I figured I would dive in and briefly present my madness and obsession with organisation with you all. I have kept journals since I was small, ever since I could write full sentences’ without any proper writing style. I used to write made up spells in a made up language, and draw magick circles before I even knew Magick existed. I find journaling to be both therapeutic and educational as they keep me up to date with my living progress. I have many journals for all kinds of subjects from cooking, wine, travel, poetry, tea, herbal stuffs, mantra and dreams. For now, these are my latest editions and current babies.

Below are four Moleskine journals, from left to right: Secret diary, Book of Horus, Book of Thoth/Tahuti and my Book of Conjurations.

Some of Sy Calaelen's  magick journals

Some of Sy Calaelen’s magick journals

Secret Diary

This journal is for my general thoughts, feelings, events and daily creative musings. Some of the entries have a spiritual theme but others don’t, like my shopping lists and haul pages located in the back. Some of the lists are mostly around books I own and have bought, and other titles I need, and other media genres such as CDs, vinyl’s, sewing/knitting supplies and altar supplies. I also include general card readings for myself in which I use to keep my life in sync. I have photos, poetry and short stories inside, alongside my daily emotional issues and feelings of joy. Love letters to men I’ve always wanted to talk to, but never ever have the chance to, so I keep these musings to myself. I’ve always loved the idea of letting my future family read them, just to see what I was like before settling down. This is just a general journal, but a secret one. This current book is Secret Diary #23.

Book of Horus

This journal consists of my personal study of each verse within The Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis). Each verse has a page, written in red, with a running commentary beneath in black. I am precise about the colours I write in as the method of this journal is to update it yearly in blue. Every other year or moment I get after two years I can alternate between black and blue to track my progress. I have a file set up on my computer with the same method, but I prefer the feel of a pen to a page, plus I can add my private thoughts without the worry of breaking the book or having any pages corrupted. A friend did ask me what would happen when I fill up some pages over others and the answer is simple, I would just buy another Moleskine and start again. Other times, especially if it happens to surround one or five particular verses that have a great impact, I will write essays’ on them inside my Book of Conjurations instead and link it as thus at the bottom of those pages.

My exploration of Liber AL has been amazing. Mostly positive and awe inspiring, and other times I feel a sudden charge of emotion just rise up in me. I had suggested purely on a whim to Mr. Vamp that it would be a lovely idea for Weiser Inc to publish greeting cards around Thelemic holidays, and general holidays for Thelemites and occultists. For example, around Valentines you could give your lover a card that reads “Every man and every woman is a star” or at birthdays “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect”. Just a mad idea I may start doing with close friends once I acquire addresses – but one that could be frowned upon.

BoH #1

Book of Thoth/Tahuti

This journal is for my in depth study of Crowley’s Thoth tarot. I must point out, I have read general tarot since I was a pre-teen so I know the difference between general readings and spiritual/psychological readings. I’ve always been more of an amateur psycho-analyser with various decks, and have on many occasions been in situations where people have tried to dissuade me or put me down only to fall onto their own traps. I’m actually not that bad, as far as intelligence is concerned.

There are a few monthly exercises I am currently working on as far as tarot and Qabalah are concerned thanks to Regardie, and a method I came up with. Each page has a date, time of beginning and one card. I will work with that card for a week or so, and then end each entry with the date and time. Working with cards can result in various methods and outcomes, for me I focus on the psychology and visualisation. On some other pages, with code words and the card(s) written in red, I list the message or lesson I am being taught. It’s a pretty basic journal, nothing too exciting, but it keeps me focused on this part of my journey. BoT #1

Book of Conjurations

This journal has a funny name, taken from Book 4 from the chapter about the Book of Conjurations in Part 2. I may come up with another title, but for now it is a constant reminder to stay focused on my path, but it may take a while as I have changed the name of these particular journals too many times. This journal has essays’ written by myself, quotations from book or blogs,  illustrations, formulae, quick notes, talismans and sigils I have used successfully in the past, alphabets, poetry, photos and much more. I treat this journal more like the ‘magickal twin’ of my secret diary, with a lot more emphasis on magick and the occult sciences. This book contains extensions of posts from my videos, or from here, or even entries written in other journals. Again, like my secret diary I have lists upon lists, upon lists, upon lists located in the back, alongside little protective charms drawn on paper in the pocket. I’m sure it sounds funny, but I do put a protective seal in my journals in places people would hopefully skip past without realising. This journal is my baby! Hopefully one of the places I turn to if I finally find a publisher and a new agent, to grab information from for a book on Qabalistic magick and the occult. BoC #8

If you follow me on Instagram, I do post the odd illustration here and there. (Located in the sidebar there).

 

Check out my Holy Calendar – to see a snippet of two or three pages.

A little information on the Moleskine journals

I love my Moleskine journals – yes, I am a huge fan of Moleskine and their products which is why I happily recommend people to at least have a look at a few on their website or at your local book/stationary store. My journals are all Ruled Black/Red Notebooks – Large, 290 pages of acid free paper, cardboard bound cover with rounded corners with an expandable inner pocket with the history of Moleskine. They can be pricey, but for what they are worth, they are a bargain! Of course you can just buy the dupes, or a totally different kind of journal to store your life’s progress. I just love to write, and thankfully it’s a gift I intend to perfect.


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The Golden Dawn | Israel Regardie

Golden1

‘The Golden Dawn’

Published: 1937

6th Edition: 1989

Packed to the brim with a detailed insight into the workings and mystery that was the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. There are so many valuable lessons in each short chapter, deep with symbolism and intrigue ranging from the various sacred alphabets and their symbolic meanings, colour scales, codes and blinds and the various rituals that are to be performed for each adept at each grade. This compendium details ceremonial magick at it’s been from the late Victorian era through the industrial right up to pre-WWII. Full of theories, instructions and notions this book will give you two things, insight into the life and thoughts of these magicians and hopefully inspiration to create your own magickal workings. Some say this book is a wonderful back bone edition that teaches you the very basics of Hermeticism theoretically and practically, but also a book that many found inaccessible. It’s up to you how you would use it. For me, I have had success with many practices and meditations I have put together myself using various tables of correspondence, and this book inspires me enough to delve deep into old mysteries, and even ancient ones too.

As for the H.O.G.D this book is great for the reader to understand their methods, and I believe a lot of the information within is still being performed and taught today by current orders. I found a lot of parallels with modern magick and witchcraft with the current authors being heavily inspired by this book and its methods. A rather chunky tome it can be a bit too bulky for your average handbag, but it is valuable. The front cover design is simple yet meaningful with the hexagram within the circle engulfed by fire and water (red and blue) – colour correspondences’ are detailed within.

There are lots of subjects that covered in each chapter, ranging from the spiritual and psychological study of tarot, Enochian magick, Qabalah, Hermeticism (obviously), Rosy Cross theory and ritual, Qabalistic Cross and the LBRP, altar set ups and much more.

I will score it a three out of five because of how amazing this collection is, but if you aren’t well versed in magick, high magick, Qabalah, Hermeticism or ceremonial magick this can put you off a little. A few folks I know have copies, but have yet to read them and one has told me he wants to cover the basics before tackling this tome. I love this book,  I have used it to create my own simple rituals, so secretly I’ll give it a personal 4.

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Golden2


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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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Book Reviews | Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie, is slowly becoming a beacon within the world of publishing and magick again. I couldn’t tell you how valuable his essays have been for my development within the last year, and even more so as the genius himself died in 1985. Like many writers, he is one those rare lights’ that doesn’t quite go out, and even years after they pass into the otherworld they still help to ignite their readers’ inner flame. I guess from my own understanding, and partly due to being introduced to him years back, and partly picking up his books last year for the first time, I felt he was a severely underrated writer and magician. A friend and student of Crowley for many years, one friendship I have recently discovered to be one of paramount respect and tension (like any true friendship is, at least in my world), Regardie went about teaching outsiders about magick, Qabalah and mysticism – sometimes with support, other times not so much (publication of the Golden Dawn series was a step too far according to Mathers). I love Regardie, and I often find his thoughts run parallel with my ‘yet-to-be-trained’ mind. It’s nice to know, my old ideas and theories have already been solidified thanks to his works – he comes from a line of distinguished magicians, similar to my training as a witch, and that has helped me pull on the most important aspects of my past to a head. The post of my theory of black magick (two or three posts back) actually stemmed from my old journals and his Tree of Life, and boy did it cause issue – to be fair, a lot of the feedback I got, especially on Tumblr was incredibly positive, so it stays.

I have recommended Regardie to a lot of my friends and followers from all paths, whether they are pagans, occultists, witches, Qabalists’, yogis or atheists etc. Most of them have come back to me and said how wonderful his teachings are, simple, mind blowing and practical. I couldn’t agree more. A few have been honest and said they only took aspects of his theories whilst disregarding the rest of the titles, stating they don’t think he is their cup of tea as far as their magick is concerned. He is open, honest and straight talking – maybe that’s just the Londoner in him, we don’t keep unnecessary shit. Some of his theories and claims can shake the reader, but in a beautifully crafted and positive manner. They way he writes can be exhausting to those who don’t have a great use of wider vocabulary, but you should be able to get the gist once you start reading. He has helped me see the world differently as a practitioner.

Now, I’m not sure what other people think of him, that is down to them and their reasoning’s, but I have been cornered a few times about my ideas, theories and practices by strangers and folks close to me, but if there is one thing that has kept my backbone strong it’s magicians like Regardie, Valiente, Mathers and Crowley who have taught me a lot. If their magick and theories worked for them, they may work for me too. They weren’t considered controversial or thought provoking for nothing! Clearly.

Over the next few days I will publish short reviews of the titles I have, the first one ‘Garden of Pomegranates’ will be published within an hour or so. Enjoy =]


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I Water the Cynicism in My Pot

If you spent the most part of your life trusting people, hoping the best for them and yourself. Wanting to relish in the ideology of adulthood and career (regardless of education or not); referring to living life in general, how do you go back to that when you’ve lost faith in people and have grown cynical?

I’m growing more and more cynical as each week passes. I’m sure it’s a natural process people go through. A sort of rite that one must pass in order to define another aspect of their person. It’s fine to be happy, sad, male or female, but what about everything else that accompanies the individual you are supposed to be?

People constantly remind me that we run up against walls and road blocks throughout life. The weaker mind would suggest giving up and just burying your head in the soil. The strong willed continue to jump over the walls and road blocks, ripping them down and not waiting for the next blockage. For me I’m happy to announce I’m not weak (all the time), but not so happy to admit I’m not yet strong enough to sweetly glide over these blocks.

I’ve spent the most part of my childhood being protected from the harshness of adulthood and youth. Loneliness, lack of love and the notion of friendship. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but one thing is for sure, I don’t want to be naïve, but neither do I want to be cynical. Thelema is keeping me aware. Hermeticism is keeping my heart open, so I can’t give up completely on the ideology of the ideal life. I need to focus on myself and continue this existentialist bus ride.

How do you change your mindset from being a cynic to being positive about life again? Bare in mind, I’m more lost than anything. Standing in the midst of a dust storm trying to second guess in which direction I should walk to find my way back home, as it were.

I had a plan to follow through with some wisdom from my Thelemic or Hermetic texts, but instead all I can sum up for this short and strange post is a song and a quote from one of my rediscovered favourite writers. Enjoy.

Run Boy Run – Woodkid (not available on phones, computers only)

“Everybody’s youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sy, x