Ten Tips of Frater Michael Sebastian Lux

A week has passed since the flare up over the initial ‘Ten Tips for Young Occultists’ debacle with many prominent and up and coming occultists putting their own lists up. I think by and large this has been a valuable exercise and in some ways shows where many contemporary occultists are coming from.

About mid-way through the week, Ultraculture posted another interesting list titled, ‘3 Ways to Become a Magician by a 16th Century Alchemist‘ based on suggestions by Giambattista della Porta. This article struck me in particular as it could have just as well have been my own list as well. Brother B.J. recently put up his own commentary on the same which I highly recommend. In keeping, however, with the ‘Ten Tip’ trend, I present now my own list in that form.

minervalChurch1. First, the candidate ought to have familiarity with the Liberal Arts:

While this may come off as a particularly classist statement, I do believe that having a foundational education in the liberal arts is essential to being able to understand from where our historical predecessors were coming. I’m not saying that an individual necessarily needs a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, but merely be acquainted with them. Historically this would have included the verbal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric; and in the quadrivium—the numerical arts: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (I would also add here biology as well as chemistry). While I would never persuade someone from going to college, the reality is, is that that’s not always possible. Good news! However expensive going to college may be, the aspiring candidate has a world of resources at their fingertips whether it be simply going to the local public library or enrolling in online classes such as those found at Wikiversity.

2. Secondly, know thyself:

The famous magician Israel Regardie, himself a therapist, insisted on the necessity of psychotherapy for candidates as well as students of the occult. While this would be great for everyone to have access to, sadly it is not always the case. The candidate should be able to know their limits, be able to set boundaries, as well as know their own personal integrity. Many people come to the occult as a form of escapism and end up getting overwhelmed. Having a strong, but flexible idea of who the candidate is him or herself will set a very powerful stage for being a great student.

3. Thirdly, should familiarize themselves with warning signs:

There are a lot of unscrupulous charlatans out there hoping to make a quick buck or engage in a power play – there are also a lot of very knowledgeable people out there who can really take you to the next level even if it’s your first step. In my previous post I pointed out the Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Form as one possible tool to use in identifying potential dangers. Other possibilities when the candidate is ready would be to find magical forums on the intranet or other social media. There they can get to know who’s recommended and who to avoid. As always, caveat emptor! A good teacher should be able to provide a statement of principles and expectations.

4. Fourthly, the candidate should not be afraid to speak and communicate:

While this should go without commentary, the reality is, is that many students feel overwhelmed either by the personality of their teacher or by the unfamiliarity of the world into which they have just been cast. This is entirely understandable, but that should not preclude them from being able to ask questions as well as occasionally contradicting their teacher in a respectful manner that generates dialogue. In this, questioning is also a form of communication. Never accept “it’s just always been this way” as an answer until your teacher provides you a comprehensive bibliography where they’re coming from and what they know.

5. Fifthly, the candidate should strive for excellence and expect the same from their teacher and peers:

While everyone has their own unique learning and teaching styles, the candidate shouldn’t be content sitting on their or their teachers’ laurels. Arete, in its basic sense, means “excellence of any kind”. The term may also refer to “moral virtue” as well and is ultimately bound up with the notion of the the act of living up to one’s full potential. Here, studying virtue ethicists, aesthetic and moral philosophy as well as the classics as a continuation of the first suggestion may be of help. While we may study what is “hidden” it is equally important that we realize that we don’t just stand on the shoulders of giants, but should bravely go forth with their knowledge and take this knowledge to the next level.

6. Sixthly, the candidate should be mindful of what they project on their teacher and peers:

As eloquently stated by Mr. Hillier in his work, “All beings project their minds on to the world, your teacher included, its a rule of consciousness and part of what we are exploring.” It’s very easy to fail to notice this and, in relation to part two, it’s the student and teacher’s obligation to be able to see when this is happening. A number of years ago, a wonderful essay titled ‘Magusitis: A Hydra in Sheep’s Clothing‘ was written giving the warning signs and symptoms of this particularly strange phenomena – this article may well be of use for both personal reflection as well as striving for the excellence of both teacher and peers and be engaged in contributing the process in an equal and dynamic way.

7. Seventh, the candidate should not be afraid of making mistakes:

Magic can very quickly become competitive – that’s the nature of the beast. A good teacher will provide foundational exercises that will ground and balance the candidate in their tutelage – this may be in the form of a number of types of meditation, purification, prayer, et cetera. As often quoted in Buddhist Lojong manuals: “practice the preliminaries”. This will give you a little bit of extra padding should something go wrong and the knowledgable teacher will recognize when it has and be able to assist in some way. Nobody comes out of this unscathed or slightly burnt.

8. Eighth, the candidate should exercise their imagination:

The 20th Century occultist, Aleister Crowley, defined magic as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”. Whereas above I have suggested highly technical suggestions of study, the candidate will be working with a very broad set of symbols eventually which will require creativity. Whether one is predisposed toward poetry, dance, music or the visual arts; the candidate should strive to seek beauty and the truth that lies within it. Maybe they like cooking: they can examine the magical applications of ingredients and apply it; maybe they like art: they can try a new mode of painting or drawing; maybe they’re not artistic at all: perhaps taking a trip to the museum or an art gallery or reading about cross cultural art theories may help them.

9. Ninth, the candidate should cultivate awareness that the map is not the territory:

This concept occurs in the discussion of exoteric and esoteric religions. Exoteric concepts are concepts which can be fully conveyed using descriptors and language constructs, such as mathematics. Esoteric concepts are concepts which cannot be fully conveyed except by direct experience. For example, a person who has never tasted an apple or made love will never fully understand through language what the taste of an apple is or the feeling of skin against skin in intimate embrace. Only through direct experience (eating an apple or making love) can that experience be fully understood. It’s all too easy to confuse abstracts such as numbers in resulting from gematria for concrete realities.

10. Tenth, the candidate shall not neglect their own physical needs:

Many disciplines in the esoteric and occult community tend to generate a lot of mental and spiritual energy. A good teacher will prepare the student by admonishing them to pay attention to their physical needs; eat well according to their means, get adequate sleep, exercise if possible, perhaps learn some form of budgeting so they’ll be able in the future afford a more comfortable life, and lastly ground their work in the physical reality in which they live.

SPIIn closing, I understand that much of this may seem like a handful to apply all at once. I’m personally of the school of thought now that I’m a little older and have definitely done made my fair share of mistakes as well as my fair share of successes that practicing magic isn’t something that comes out of a box, but rather is cultivated carefully as one might cultivate a topiary or bonsai. The better our foundations are in the real world, the better our successes will become as we advance along the path. All teachers started out as students and all teachers are still students learning now in their own way and this itself is part of the mystery of engaging in the Mysteries themselves.


Remember that You are Dust

You are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Genesis 3:19c

Today in the Western liturgical calendar we now embark into Lent, explained in the previous post as a period of forty-six days of fasting, prayer, repentance, and reflection. As we step into the desert, I suppose I should explain the choice of readings I’m providing. While I’m a member of clergy in the Apostolic Johannite Church, an inclusive, sacramental, esoteric, and mystical denomination with valid apostolic succession; I’m choosing explicitly to draw readings from what other gnostics may term, ‘the outer church’ – that is to say, the canons used by most Western and Orthodox liturgical Christian denominations. Why is that? Part of it is to be relatable.

As we enter into our pilgrimage this season, I join with Christians from around the world of various different heritages and backgrounds – not just my fellow Johannite and gnostic sisters and brothers. Another part is, is that it’s often all too easy to let one’s mind wander while reading the more esoteric texts when, at this time, we should be focusing on making straight the way for the Divine to enter into our hearts. I’ll largely be using the Revised Common Lectionary and following the suggested readings as laid out by the Episcopal Church in the United States from their Daily Office. While this differs somewhat from the readings found in the Roman Catholic Breviary, I have equal respect for both and, as posted in one of my blogs, I will be attending services this season at the local Episcopal Cathedral in addition to my community and the local Ecclesia Gnostica parish.

Probably the most defining feature of Ash Wednesday is the imposition of ashes which were made from the palm fronds blessed on the previous Palm Sunday. These ashes are placed on the foreheads of the congregation with the accompanying phrase, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” To be sure, it’s a rather strange custom to many outsiders but to the faithful, it is a reminder of our sinfulness and mortality – something that we often forget in our daily lives.

At risk of being repetitive to my readers who follow me on Facebook, a new acquaintance of mine on Facebook posted this rather timely quote from one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway,

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

For me, immediately, it called to mind the nature of the season of Lent which begins today, particularly from a gnostic context.

As one may recall, one of the processes that we work on during Lent is that of learning humility – one need not go much further than the parable of the Pharisee and Publican in Luke’s gospel. When, today, we receive the imposition of ashes we’re engaging in something that is simultaneously a very public act marking us as elect, yet at the same time, the symbol used is that of debasement and, recalling the popular Orthodox icon, ‘Extreme Humility’.

The quote by Hemingway, in many ways, could be said to be a proper quote to a gnostic understanding of the season or repentance (metanoia) and the value of the role of remembrance (anamnesis) in the spiritual process of purification, illumination and perfection. We must descend and experience the bewildering confusion of being fully immersed in nature, while at the same time recognizing the need for our own inner purification in the process.

When we remember, as Epiphanes speaks that the ‘righteousness of God is a kind of sharing along with equality’, we can come to a gentle understanding of how we all as a species sharing in a common parent all are engaged in this process, which is ultimately redemptive and arrive at gnosis. We share in one another suffering and learn compassion, that we are all suffering with, sharing in that sympathy with the Divine Light.

This three-fold process can be viewed in many ways: spiritually, psychologically, dialectically, qabalistically, and even alchemically. Explained beautifully in his essay, The Hermetic Problem of Salt, my friend Aaron Cheak, PhD writes the following which could illustrate part of the process which we undergo at this time:

“In Paracelsus’ writings, the tria prima are often compared to the three aspects that are present during the process of combustion (i.e. fire, smoke, ash): ‘Whatever burns is sulphur, whatever is humid is mercury, and that which is the balsam of these two is salt’. Paracelsians also employed the tria prima to represent the composition of the human microcosm: spirit (mercury), soul (sulphur) and body (salt), and this correlation was extended to some extent to the Christian trinity: father (sulphur), holy spirit (mercury), son (salt).‘In this manner’, states Paracelsus, ‘in three things, all has been created […] namely, in salt, in sulphur, and in liquid. In these three things all things are contained, whether sensate or insensate […] So too you understand that in the same manner that man is created [in the image of the triune God], so too all creatures are created in the number of the Trinity, in the number three’.”

One may recall the words in the Gospel of Mark which says:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

Salt, here, stands as a figure of power which counteracts corruption, and preserves in a sound condition – the effect which salt has upon water, meat, and many other things. As living witnesses to the gospels we are urged to communicate divine truth to oppose the spiritual corruption of our selves and others as well as to act in such a way as to preserve the good. On another level, however, salt is used in the preservation of the dead – probably a good example would be the thirty to forty days in which many Egyptian mummies were preserved in natron (a type of salt) prior to burial – thus it becomes a reminder of our mortality.

Similarly, while a reminder of our mortality, salt also becomes a symbol of our ultimate reward in perseverance, our living salary as it were. The word salary, which comes to us via Anglo-French salarie, the Old French salaire “wages, pay, reward,” and from Latin salarium “salary, stipend, pension,” originally meant quite literally “salt-money, or soldier’s allowance for the purchase of salt”. While it may seem somewhat strange to use such militaristic terms which are seemingly opposed to the best exoteric as well as esoteric aspects of Christianity, we have to be on guard for ourselves at this time in the same way that Christ himself remained vigilant against the accuser during his period in the desert.

Within each of us stands an accuser. It can be a voice from the past which reminds us of how worthless we are when we know we’re not. It can come from obsessing over failures we’ve made however big or small. It can come from school or work in failing to uphold a passing grade or review. It can also come from our spiritual family as well. Lent is such a time, then, to drop the burden of what we’ve been carrying for the past weeks or even years and is an invitation for us to start out on a new adventure of forgiving ourselves and others as well as seeking the forgiveness of God for the barriers that we have placed in our hearts in mind which prevent him from coming to us more clearly.

Now that we have begun Lent, let us take that time to do more. To examine ourselves deeper. And remind ourselves of the healing and transforming power of the divine.

What makes us free is the gnosis, of who we were, of what we have become, of where we were, of wherein we have been cast, of whereto we speed, of what we are being freed, of what birth truly is, and what rebirth Truly is.

– Exerpta Ex Theodoto

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The Voice Crying in the Desert

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’”as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Today ends the last day of the Epiphany Season, commonly called Shrove Tuesday ,or, as familiar to most in North America Mardi Gras. A moveable commemoration is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “to absolve”. While many in the United States and elsewhere are enjoying the final night of the Carnival or Mardi Gras season, tonight is the night where we hear the call of John the Baptist saying, ““I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord!” Tonight we are called toward repentance.

It may seem strange to some, so close after the joyous celebration of the Epiphany season, to be called into repentance. It wasn’t two months ago that we witnessed the full presence of the Lord amongst us: the honoring of the Lord by the Three Magi, His baptism in the river Jordan by his cousin; Christ selecting Philip to join amongst the apostles, the beginning of his Galilean ministry and the subsequent selection of the other apostles, the casting out of the unclean spirit by the possessed man in the synagogue, and many other miraculous events.

During this time, we are drawn into the narrative of Jesus, an accomplished and evangelical preacher and miracle worker. We follow him as he selects his disciples and starts his earthly ministry. We walk with him, sharing in the wonder and awe of this charismatic who touches us to the core.

This past Sunday, we beheld him in full glory, climbing the mountainside with John, James and Peter to pray and meditate. After what would have been at least half a day’s trek. While climbing up this steep and dangerous mountainside, far removed from civilization as they know it, possibly praying along the way or talking about their ministry, Jesus stands before them glowing with a supernatural whiteness – at his side the great patriarch Moses and Elijah at his side. These sons of thunder and Peter struck down in awe before Jesus suddenly appears again as himself, the poor preacher from Nazareth. And now, the light grows dim, just a flash before our eyes before we are invited into the desert once again.

The period of Lent which starts tomorrow is a period of repentance. Now, for many this conjures images of self-denial, fasting, or at the very minimum just giving up some kind of enjoyment or vice. The Greek term often used for repentance in the Greek gospels is metanoia. Metanoia, far from covering one’s self in sack cloth simply means, ‘to change one’s mind’. After the holiday season and throughout Epiphany we’re focused on the external appearances of things and external activities. In the reading for today, John calls us to make straight the way of the Lord into our hearts and minds. Yet, how do we do this and what does it mean?

On an external level, moderate fasting can be healthy, yet when taken to extremes it puts us out of touch with our own bodily needs – the body in which the Spirit comes to sit. Anyone who’s been involved in heavy academic pursuits, long and irregular work schedules, or athletics knows how hard it can be to balance things – especially their spiritual life when things are too busy and one hasn’t eaten properly. It can also be a symptom of what some have termed spiritual pride – a self-righteous sense of being more holy than one’s neighbor well illustrated by the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector in Luke’s Gospel. If one is going to fast, how will it turn one’s focus on the path you’re making straight for the Lord to enter?

Another traditional practice is alms giving. Since the time of the apostles and to the present day charity is a great practice whether it be giving one’s time in volunteering or money to the church or organizations. Yet, if one feels compelled to give – especially in this tough economic climate where money and time are concerns- and can’t, that doesn’t help them set clear their path but can actually make a person feel worthless and like they’re not able to participate alongside their sisters and brothers.

While abstinence, fasting, prayer, repentance and service are all traditional Lenten practices, I would like to suggest something perhaps less traditional that is still in the spirit of the Season. Do something more and fine tune what you’re doing.

From birth until death each of us carries within themselves something to offer the world. For some, this is a propensity for music. If that’s the case, take this time to fine tune your talents, offer each practice session to God and your community. If it’s athletics, maybe work out a little bit harder or perhaps invite a friend who’s interested for improving their game or whatever physical activity they do. If it’s finances, maybe dedicate time to learning how to best use your money to benefit someone other than yourself and maybe teach others to do the same. If you’re a deeply spiritual person, maybe re-examine what’s working and what’s not in your practice, streamline it or find a new way to express your devotion and support others spiritually. There are many other examples that with a little bit of thought can be put into practice.

It is important, though, to also add a spiritual dimension to your activities. If you can, take some time for daily prayer and attend services with your own or other spiritual communities. Pay attention to what the Spirit is saying whether at work, in personal reading, or at church and see how you can make it apply to your life in this period and see if can be carried through the rest of the year. And, most importantly, be good to yourselves – don’t make comparisons between what you’ve chosen to do or not with that of other people, instead, rest in the knowledge of the transforming power of the Divine Beloved.

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The Divine Feminine in Johannine Scripture

This morning I finally had a moment to read my colleague Rhyd’s most recent post for the Wild Hunt titled, The Multitude and The Myriad. It’s truly an amazing text for many reasons, particularly his survey of the philosophy of thought in post-pagan civilization. I say post-pagan, largely because I don’t think the treatment of so-called monotheistic thought is entirely all that it’s cracked up to be. Naturally, writing for a pagan and polytheist audience, I can’t really take much offense to what he had to say mostly because it’s true.

What I thought most interesting in his article was the following:

A popular reading of the re-introduction of “The Goddess” into modern religious thought (not just Pagan, but also some strands of Christian ‘Theology’) is that it’s a necessary correction of two millennia of male-centered, Monotheistic thought. This is a fair reading, and one can certainly point to all sorts of social and religious tendencies which, through a belief in an a male-gendered Only-god, contributed to the systematic degradation of a full half of humanity. That there was only one god, and that this only-god was male, is certainly peculiar and suspicious, particularly considering the patriarchal succession of priesthoods of this only-(male)-god.

While some who chose a more literal interpretation of Christian texts may be content to suppose that the One is One and the various messengers (typically male) have somehow removed the feminine from religion. My tradition has something quite different to say.

In my tradition, I find it particularly interesting the role to which the feminine is emphasized, often eclipsing the male in some regards. Following the historiola of the Gospel of John, commonly considered the first chapter of John, the first person introduced who speaks is Jesus’ mother who mentions to Jesus that the wine has run out at the wedding they were attending in Cana. John, or the Beloved Disciple, recounts this episode emphasizing the deeds of Jesus starting with the miracle where Jesus has the servants or hosts fill six stone pots with water and has them deliver the pots to the head waiter who tastes the water which has miraculously become wine.

Now, some may ask what this particular scene has to do with the divine feminine implicit in Johannine thought. The wedding is said to take place in Cana on the third day (2:1), a note that connects this story with those in 1:19-51. Many see this inititial period as a seven-day cycle symbolizing the dawn of the new creation. John says the mother of Jesus was there at the wedding and when Jesus’ mother says They have no more wine (2:3) it’s only after her statement that the disciples take initiative in speaking to Jesus. While his mother’s statement doesn’t dictate what he is to do about it, in conventional translations of John, Jesus replies, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” (ASV 2:4), noticeably in the Evangelikon as found by Bernard-Raymond Fabre-Palaprat, this verse is noticeably missing. Why is that?

The role of time in the Second Chapter is rather extensive, the detachment Jesus shows toward his mother is anything but cold, particularly when one considers the intimacy implied in the Fourth Chapter with the Samaritan woman (who by all accounts would have been considered ‘other’) and the closeness he feels toward the Mary of Bethany in John 12:1-8, and then finally the Mary who witnessed the resurrection in John 20 – a scene also noticeably missing from the Evangelikon gospel which ends with Jesus being laid in the tomb after telling his mother “Do not weep, for I return to my Father and eternal life. Behold, your son; he will take my place. ”

Distinct from exoteric scripture, the Johannine scriptures – in particular the Gospel of John – focus on a sense of other-worldliness and intimacy and the dynamics between self and other. It is in the Gospel of John that we encounter a Jesus who probably has the most concrete sense of self – being part of this world, but not of it. It’s also in this text that we find him having the most positive and inclusive treatment of women. I think, perhaps, that this is intentional – calling to mind the first interaction he has in the Gospel of John and the interaction he has with Mary Magdalene in the twentieth chapter, perhaps one can say that Jesus’ entire ministry in some respect was a rite of katabasis. We see this for sure in the interactions he has with Martha and Lazarus, but the revealing aspect of the Gospel of John according to the Evangelikon is his descent into the feminine in order to attain to the supernal.

The first katabasis in the Gospel of John isn’t a journey to the underworld, as would be commonly considered, but the descent of the Spirit (Gk. Pneuma Agion, fem.) into the world of the material Jesus:

“I did not recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me: He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” (1:33)

In Gnostic thought, the material world, was considered to be intimately feminine. Valentinus, the great gnostic bishop, often spoke of it in highly sexualized terms as a fullness or Pleroma, in addition to entering the Bridal Chamber – perhaps a symbolic experience more than an external ritual or sacrament – of joining with the divine.

The katabasis of Lazarus was also very clearly an intimate experience that shows a very human Jesus coming to terms with the death of his friend Lazarus:

“So the sisters sent word to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. But when Jesus heard this, he said: This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (11:3-5)… So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said: Remove the stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her: Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes, and said: Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them: Unbind him, and let him go. Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what he had done, believed in him.” (11:38-45)

The scene of Lazarus’ katabasis is very clearly an intimate one, yet what I find interesting is the degree of genuine love, or agape, that is the cause of Lazarus’ resurrection – something that according to some gnostic thought, happen while one is physically living and how, in each case in John’s Gospel it is urged by the feminine – you can also see a glimpse of this symbolism with the woman at the well – the well being intimately linked to the concepts of baptism or dying to the self and rising in Christ. The feminine in many of these cases could be linked symbolically to the Jewish concept of the Shekinah, a word meaning dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the Divine Presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Palaprat’s Evangelikon gospel is as fascinating in this regard in its additions and omissions as the conventional Gospel of John is radical in its own special way of inclusion with the Divine Feminine. I would like to propose, in this case, that the omissions of the resurrection of Jesus in the Evangelikon gospel is not an omission of a miracle, but a sign pointing us to the eternally present Divine Feminine which, as the German romantic poet Goethe wrote: the eternal feminine [that] draws us upwards.

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Mixed Qabalah and American Conjure

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Of the Circle, and the Composition Thereofe

As pseudo-D’Abano states in the Heptameron, or Magical Elements:

“The form of Circles is not alwaies one and the same; but useth to be changed, according to the order of the Spirits that are to be called, their places, times, daies and hours. For in making a Circle, it ought to be considered in what time of the year, what day, and what hour, that you make the Circle; what Spirits you would call, to what Star and Region they do belong, and what functions they have.”

For the purposes of this experiment, one will need a place on the floor that will provide the working space for the conjure lamp, ideally no less than three and a half feet, though modifications can be made. While it is preferable that one be able to draw this with chalk on a bare floor, this is not always possible so some modifications such as purchasing a piece of wood large enough on which to draw the circle, or a piece of fabric or paper where it can be drawn in blessed ink. Since this methodology is highly syncretic, one may use Dragon’s Blood or Bat’s Blood ink if this is to be drawn on fabric or paper.

Since this ritual will be dealing with the conjuration of Samael, the Angel of Tuesday and Mars, one will make the following considerations in the construction of the circle[1]:

  1. Create three concentric circles, the largest being about three feet, the second about two and a half feet and the third about a foot and a half.[2]
  2. In the middle circle, write the name of the hour in which you work. In this case it would be “Thanu”, followed by Michael, next his sigil, then his ministers Carmax, Ismoli, and Paffran; then the name of the present time which here is Casmaran; then the spirits ruling in this time which would be Gargatel, Tariel, and Gaviel; then the head of the time which here is Tubiel, the name of the earth which here is Festivati; next the Sun which is Athemay and the Moon which is Armatus.
  3. In the outermost circle, going clockwise, write Samax Rex (or King) at the 12 o’clock point, then Carmax at the three o’clock point, Ismoli at the six o’clock point, then Paffran at the nine o’clock point. Since the wind to which the angels are subject is East, the circle should be facing that direction.
  4. In the third circle, the Heptameron advises one to write, “four divine names with crosses interposed in the middle of the Circle; to wit, towards the East let there be written Alpha, and towards the West let there be written Omega; and let a cross divide the middle of the Circle.” The implication in the text is that one is to write Adonay in the upper right circle; Eloy in the lower right; Agla in the lower left corner, and Tetragrammaton in the upper left corner. While personally I tend to stick with those directions, there’s no particular reason that it couldn’t be substituted with the names found in Agrippa, the Golden Dawn or elsewhere.
  5. In the innermost circle, where traditionally the magician would stand with his or her company, one quarters this area into an equal armed cross with “Alpha” written at the top and “et ω” at the bottom.
  6. Outside of the circle Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest portions of the circle, draw four pentagrams. These don’t need to be anything more elaborate than simple, five-pointed stars.

Naturally, the above directions concerning the specific names will change throughout the course of the year or the time chosen to perform the ritual, but these can be easily figured out beforehand and drawn out on a separate piece of paper to help with the construction during ritual.

The Consecrations and Benedictions: and first of the Benediction of the Circle, The Benediction of Perfumes, & The Exorcisme of the fire upon which the perfumes are to be put.

After completing the construction of the circle, one goes through the consecrations and benedictions of the working area and tools to be used. The procedure is familiar enough to those who have some degree of experience in Solomonic magic (who may already have most of these tools at their disposal), however for others who may be unfamiliar I highly recommend Aaron Lietch’s Secrets of the Magical Grimoires as a comprehensive starting point.

In the meantime however, let’s look at how we can approach this with the bare minimum of materials. For the aspergillum, which you will use for aspersing the various items and working space, one can easily use an evergreen branch of some kind or, following the Greater Key of Solomon, one can make a sprinkler of vervain, fennel, lavender, sage, valerian, mint, garden-basil, rosemary, and hyssop, in the day and hour of Mercury or, at minimum, in the hour of Mercury. Next you will need some holy water either procured from a Church (Catholic and Episcopal Churches generally have a ready supply) or make your own following the instructions in chapter five of the Greater Key of Solomon, which is readily available online, concerning the baths and how they are to be arranged.

With this, asperse the circle reciting the versicle from Psalms, “Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” While it’s not implicit in the text, there’s no reason necessarily that one couldn’t take the time to asperse all the working implements for this particular working.

Next, one will need the perfumes as listed in the text. The Heptameron, being somewhat simplistic, suggests pepper as the incense for Mars. While this is certainly not without precedent, even burning small portions of pepper can have quite the effect on one’s mucous membranes. For a much less harsh suffimigation, I suggest Aaron Leitch’s recipe found on his blog entry on planetary suffumigations[3]:

“1 part Pipe Tobacco (or, my favorite, “Black and Mild”)

1/2 part Cinnamon

1/8th part Crushed Red Pepper”

As he advises, and I reiterate, DO NOT use too much pepper. It can burn. One could feasibly substitute ground black pepper which, while potent, doesn’t have as harsh of an effect.

Once you have made or prepared the incense, make the sign of the cross upon yourself, and recite the following and sprinkle a little more holy water on the incense:

“The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, bless here the creatures of these kinds, that they may fill up the power and virtue of their odors; so that neither the enemy, nor any false imagination, may be able to enter into them: through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.”

Next, having lit the charcoal in your censer (which could just be as simple as a soup bowl used specifically for this purpose), recite the following:

“I exorcise thee, O thou creature of fire, by him by whom all things are made, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasm from thee, that it shall not be able to do any hurt in anything. Bless also, O Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctify it, that it may be blessed to set forth the praise of thy holy name, that no hurt may come to the Exorcist (or Magician) or Spectators: through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.”

While the traditional text implies that one can and should have special garments set aside for the working, this is not strictly necessary. It’s more than enough to wear clean clothing or, drawing inspiration from African Diasporaic traditions, all white clothing may be considered as a viable alternative. These can be sprinkled with holy water prior to being put on while saying:

“Ancor, Amacor, Amides, Theodonias, Anitor, by the merits of thy Angel, O Lord, I will put on the Garments of Salvation, that this which I desire I may bring to effect: through thee the most holy Adonay, whose kingdom endureth for ever and ever. Amen.”

The Heptameron suggests working when the moon is increasing and equal, effectively during the waxing period of the moon or on the Full Moon itself. In my opinion there’s no reason this can’t be worked with in such a way as utilizing the increasing of the moon cycle for beneficial or positive purposes or the waning cycle for bindings or other such operations.

Here is where we depart from the traditional text.

Of the Lampe of the Arte

At this point in the Heptameron, the magician would enter the circle and begin a long cycle of prayers and conjurations of the spirits, but piggy backing off the inspiration of Chad Balthazar, its at this point that the magical lamp takes out place. Up to this point I’ve established the more or less traditional procedures for creating the temple and arranging the basic items, but here is where we enter into American folk tradition. These items, like the above, can be arranged in the same way as the others or blessed and consecrated as in the Greater Key of Solomon. I don’t particularly place priority on one or the other as it’s primarily a matter of aesthetic. What you will need for your Martial lamp are the following objects:

  • An small iron cauldron or black, fire-proof bowl.
  • At least 12 oz, or about .35L of mustard oil
  • Enough aluminum foil to cover ¼ to ½ of the container
  • Wormwood, licorice root chips, and asafetida powder (hing) [4]
  • Dragon’s blood oil[5] or Fiery Wall of Protection
  • Coffin Nails
  • Graveyard dirt from a soldier, police office, or judge.
  • A natural cotton ball rolled out into a wick shape or a floating wick
  • A piece of parchment or paper bag for your petition
  • Optional, beeswax for a poppet of the individual(s) you wish to work on or their pictures which could be found in a newspaper or social media.

To prepare the lamp, you can purify it with holy water as in the above or, if you’re inclined, you can clean it with Florida Water, War Water, Peace Water or the like depending on your purpose. Next you can bless the herbs by reciting the above prayers over it or use traditional Psalms. In this case one could use, Psalm 3:2-9, Psalm 133, Psalm 71, Psalm 121, and/or Psalm 100 for justice or victory. After you pray the Psalms over each of these herbs individually you place them in the container. The same can be done with the physical objects such as the small poppets with the offending person’s name written on it while anointing them with the intended oil and being placed in the container.

If you are using a poppet, construct them in the appropriate gender of the given person and write the person’s name on their back. You can also add appropriate herbs or oils to them after “baptizing” them in the name of the person. From here it can also be pierced with nails, pins, glass or bound to effect what your desires are.

On the piece of parchment, write the person’s name five times (relating to the number of Mars) and turning it clockwise for protection write over it: “Deliver from Evil” or, for coercive magic, write: “Punish for their Crime”. On the back of the paper, you can draw the sigil of Samael and Machen as given in the Heptameron and then anoint the paper with the condition oil and place at the very bottom of the container before adding the herbs or place under the physical container.

Next, pour the mustard oil into the container while reciting a personal prayer or statement of intent for this lamp. For something coercive you can pray something along the lines of:

“In the name of God the Father Almighty, Samael, Michael and all the hosts of heaven, upon the Earth and under the Earth; I call upon you to bring justice and persecute [Name of Person] until they are brought to true Justice. May they may never know peace or quietude until they stand before Judgement. I ask this in the name of Christ your Son, the Just Judge, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”

For a protective operation, one may recite something like the following:

“O Lord, you who protected the people of Israel as they were enslaved by Pharaoh and brought them out of Egypt. Look kindly on [Name of Person, Activist Organization, or General People] your sons and daughters who cry to you for Justice and Relief. Grant thou that their prayers be heard and effective and lasting Justice reign over all. I ask this in the your Name, through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

Finally, make a small hole in the aluminum and place the rolled up wick into it, allowing it to soak up all the oil. If you’re so inspired you may also add some conditioning oil to it in order to increase the connection between all the objects. At this point you may also anoint four red candles and situate them in the pentagrams outside the circle itself. Having prepared the lamp, placed it in the middle of the Circle. You may begin the conjurations as outlined in the text.

An Exorcisme of the Spirits of the Air.

First, kneel, facing East and pray the following:

“O Angels of the Lord, come to my aid and aid me in the petitions I’m about to make.”[6]

Next, repeat the following at each of the four directions:

“I adjure thee to come and bear witness, by the seat of Adonai and by these other names: O Theos, Ischuros, Athanato, Paracletos, Alpha and Omega; and by the secret and ineffable names: AGLA, ON, TETRAGRAMMATON, that you come at once and fulfil what I most desire.”[7]

Next, perform the exorcism of the Spirits of the Air, saying:

“Imbued and made in the image and likeness of God after His Divine and Most Powerful Will, and by the name of God, EL, strong and wonderful, I exorcise thee by the one who spake and it was done, and by all the names of God, and by the name ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOEH, SABAOTH, ELION and ESHERCHIE; and in the Name of JAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, the Spirit of the Lord Most High, do I exorcise thee and command you to appear in a fair and comely form without any tortuosity or deformity. I call you in the name of this seal and by the name of YOD which Adam heard and was made sensible; and by the Name of God, AGLA, which Lot heard and was saved together with his family, and by the name JOTH which Jacob heard from the angel wrestling him and was delivered from the hand of Esau; and by the power of Thy Name: ANAPHEXETON, which was spoken and Aaron heard and became wise; and by the name SABAOTH which Moses spake and the rivers and marshes in Egypt became blood; and by the name ESCHERHIE which Moses spake and the banks became infested with mice and frogs which went into the houses of the Egyptians; and by the name ELIONAS, which Moses spake and there was a hail such as which had not been since the beginning of the World; and by the name ADONAI which Moses spake and caused locust to appear over the face of Egypt and consume all the grains; and by SCHEMA AMATHI which Joshua called and the Sun delayed its course; and by ALPHA and OMEGA which Daniel spake and caused Ba’al – that great dragon – to fall asunder; and in the name EMMANUEL, which being spoken saved the three children Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago from the furnace of burning fire causing them to flee singing; and by the name HAGIOS, and by the seat of ADONAI, and O THEOS, ISCHUROS, ATHANATOS and PARACLETOS; and by these three names AGLA, ON, TETRAGRAMMATON, I adjure you spirits to testify before Lord, the Almighty, Ever Living and True; you, O Spirits, who fell from heaven, who had been cast into hell, I exorcise you by him who brought it all to pass, to whom all creatures obey, who created the awe inspiring sea, and sits above the Earth with the Four Mighty Spirits before His Throne, and by all the holy angels of Heaven, and by the Church of God and by the sum of [8]His Almighty Wisdom do I potently exorcise thee that you may appear and fulfill our will and that of all men of good will; and by Seat BALDACHIAE, and by His Name PRIMEUMATON, which Moses named and swallowed the Dathan, Korah and Abiram into the Deep; and by the power of PRIMEUMATON, which the unleashed the hosts of heavens to curse and deprive you of your duties, bound you in the depths of the Abyss until the Day of Be With Us, and dispatched you into the Eternal Fire, and threw you into the lake of fire and brimstone, and call you by ADONAI SABAOTH, ADONAI AMIORAM, to come! Come! Come thou in the name of ANONAI, SHADDAI, King of Kings, EL, ATY, TITEIP, AZIA, HYN, JEN, MINOSEL, ACHADAN: VAY, VA, EY, HAA, EYE, EXE, A, EL, EL, EL, A, HY, HAU, HAU, HAU, VA, VA, VA, VA!”

The above is addressed to the spirits of the air or aerial daemons who according to classic thought could appear in several forms and imitate other spirits. Naturally, by medieval times, their identity switched from daemonic to demonic.

A Prayer to God, to be said in the four parts of the world, in the Circle.

Next, say this prayer to the four directions:

“A Morule, Taneha, Latisten, Rabur, Taneha, Latisten. Escha, Aladia, Alpha & Omega, Leyste, Oriston, Adonay: O my most merciful heavenly Father, have mercy upon me, although a sinner; make appear the arm of thy power in me this day (although thy unworthy child) against these obstinate and pernicious Spirits, that I by thy will may be made a contemplator of thy divine works, and may be illustrated with all wisdom, and alwaies worship and glorifie thy name. I humbly implore and beseech thee, that these Spirits which I call by thy judgement, may be bound and constrained to come, and give true and perfect answers to those things which I shall ask them, and that they may declare and shew unto us those things which by me or us shall be commanded them, not hurting any creature, neither injuring nor terrifying me or my fellows, nor hurting any other creature, and affrighting no man; but let them be obedient to my requests, in all these things which I command them.”

Then:

“I do invocate and conjure thee, O Spirit, N. 1; and being with power armed from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by BERALANENSIS, BALDACHIENSIS, PAUMACHIA, and APOLOGIAE SEDES; by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Liachidæ, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode; and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion, I do invoke thee, and by invocating conjure thee. And being armed with power from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by Him Who spake and it was done, and unto whom all creatures be obedient. Also I, being made after the image of GOD, endued with power from GOD and created according unto His will, do exorcise thee by that most mighty and powerful name of GOD, EL, strong and wonderful; O thou Spirit N. And I command thee and Him who spake the Word and His FIAT was accomplished, and by all the names of God. Also by the names ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOHI, EHYEH, ASHER EHYEH, ZABAOTH, ELION, IAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, SHADDAI, LORD GOD MOST HIGH, I do exorcise thee and do powerfully command thee, O thou Spirit N., that thou dost forthwith appear unto me here before this Circle in a fair human shape, without any deformity or tortuosity. And by this ineffable name, TETRAGRAMMATON IEHOVAH, do I command thee, at the which being heard the elements are overthrown, the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembleth, and all the hosts of the celestials, terrestrials, and infernals, do tremble together, and are troubled and confounded. Wherefore come thou, O Spirit N., forthwith, and without delay, from any or all parts of the world wherever thou mayest be, and make rational answers unto all things that I shall demand of thee. Come thou peaceably, visibly, and affably, now, and without delay, manifesting that which I shall desire. For thou art conjured by the name of the LIVING and TRUE GOD, HELIOREN, wherefore fulfil thou my commands, and persist thou therein unto the end, and according unto mine interest, visibly and affably speaking unto me with a voice clear and intelligible without any ambiguity.”

After this you likely won’t have much need for the pentacle as described in the original text so the conjurations concerning that are omitted in this particular case. If you should choose to use the pentacle, you may draw it on a piece of paper or parchment and wear it around your neck or as your waist level.

Conjuration for the Day of Tuesday, and Visions and Apparations

Next, light the lamp and place incense in the charcoal and repeat the following which is the Conjuration for the Day of Mars:

“I invoke and conjure you, O Spirits, by the hosts and legions of angels and saints, and by these names: Ya, Ya, Ya, He, He, He, Va, Hy, Hy, Ha, Ha, Ha, Va, Va, Va, An, An, An, Aie, Aie, Aie, El, Ay, Elibra, Elohim, Elohim and by all the names of the Lord Most High who caused the waters to quit and dry land appear, who didst bring forth the trees and herbs from the Earth and found it to be Good; and by His Name and the angels who rule in the Fifth Heaven and do Serve thy Holy Angel, great, powerful and honored above, and by the name of your planet Mars, and by the above names, do conjure thee, Samael, angel of Greatness, who art chief ruler of the day of Mars and by the name Adonai, the true and living God, that thou wilt heed my petition that I present before you.”

Because this operation is somewhat different from the traditional conjuration, wait for a few moments until you sense the presence of the angel. Signs that he might be present are that the flames of the candles burn more brightly or taller or that you feel a sudden wave or heat. Be patient. If the angel does not immediately make himself known, repeat the above up to five times.

When you sense his presence, you may make your petition known to the angel as you would during any other standard invocation. You may also consider inquiring the names, order, and sigils of the angels of Samael that would be best suited to your needs. Naturally, since this isn’t a formal conjuration, his presence may not be felt that strongly or visibly, in which case you may ask that he send you a vision in a dream of the sigils and appropriate information of the spirits you may wish to conjure yourself and put into your employment.

Once you are done with communicating with the Angel and his attendant spirits with your request, you may politely thank them for their assistance and bid them license to depart by saying:

“+ In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the +Holy Spirit, go in peace back unto your abodes and habitations and may there be peace between us until I call again.”

 

Following this operation, you may consider burning the lamp for a period of nine days as one would a novena candle. Every day, preferably in the hour of Mars; you may refill the oil lamp, trim or replace the wick, and maybe add a drop or two of the conditioning oil while reciting the conjuration for the day of Tuesday.When the nine day period is over or when you, may thank Samael once again either through conjuration or through performing an action de gras[9] or some other formal offering.

 

Magus_Circle1
Also, one should not, not use this in an applied manner such as bringing justice people who systematically oppress others, like this person here, here, or here.

[1] This article, being written in August for the third hour of Mars, I discuss the circle as it would be made in this season. Minor alterations will need to be made to account for various seasonal patterns.

[2] 91.44, 76.2, and 45.72 centimeters, give or take.

[3] http://aaronleitch.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/planetary-suffumigations-incenses/

[4] For coercive workings to bring justice: Valerian root, whole red pepper, knotweed

[5] For coercive workings one may consider oils such as Victory oil, Crossing Oil, or Commanding Oil

[6] In the Heptameron, “O Angels supradicti, estote adjutores meæ petitioni, & in adjutorium mihi, in meis rebus & petitionibus”, paraphrase mine.

[7] O vos omnes, adjuro atque contestor per sedem Adonay, per Hagios, ò Theos, Ischyros, Athanatos, Paracletos, Alpha & Omega, & per hæc tria nomina secreta, Agla, On, Tetragrammaton, quòd hodie debeatis adimplere quod cupio.

[8] Sophia?

[9] An act of thanksgiving, usually performed in vodoun to petition or thank a spirit for its aid.


Light and Dark

Last night, I celebrated the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified at my apartment and gave Eucharist to a brother in Gnosis. What struck me during the service, in light of recent happenings, were the words spoken during the introductory rites where we declare ourselves united as one sacred communion where, together with the Most High, we raise a temple of living stones from the myriad with which we have been blessed, bothe light and dark.

It may seem odd for many to consider the blessings of the negative things in our lives. Often, we don’t want to acknowledge them and more often we deny them even when they’re standing right under our noses. Yet, the more we push them away, the more sinister they become — yet they can be transformed.

In 2001 I was living in Dresden, Germany; the site of one of the most devastating events of the 20th Century. While I was there, I would frequently pass construction being done on the Frauenkirche which was utterly destroyed during the Allied Firebombings, which you can read about in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”.

The Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, was built between 1726 and 1743 — beginning in the year that Sir Isaac Newton published his thesis on gravity and ending with the year in which Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin was born. The period of the Enlightenment represented the largely free and unchecked progress of humanity however, this progress and spirit of emancipation would similarly carry many darks events: the Battle of Nations, the Napoleanic Wars, the French Revolution and the start of the Industrial Age.

The Church stood as a symbol of beauty and pride for the people of Dresden who, like us, marveled at the beauty of their amazing city and didn’t address the darker elements of their society. Of these darker elements would be the slow and gradual rise of nationalistic pride and antisemitism; culminating in the events which would mark the rise of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.

In 1945, two centuries after the beginning of construction of this great edifice, the Allied Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city over the course of two days during which the entire city and a quarter of a million people were killed. After the end of the war, Dresden became the center of the East German Republic and all religious edifices that were destroyed lay fallow, including the Frauenkirche.

In 1989, after the reunification of Germany, a 14-member group of enthusiasts headed by Ludwig Güttler, a noted Dresden musician, formed a Citizens’ Initiative that would lead to rebuilding this symbol of the people of Dresden. This initiative would not only lead to the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche, but also the Great Synagogue of Dresden which was likewise destroyed. The foundation stone of the Frauenkirche was laid in 1994, the crypt was completed in 1996 and the inner cupola in 2000.

Sadly, I never got to see the completion and opening of the cathedral but what struck me as I walked past it regularly was how the architects incorporated the original stones – now blackened from years of acid rain as well as the original incendiary bombings in 1945 – on top of new, beautiful pink limestone.

Years later, reflecting on this, I’m led to wonder how we can come to terms with our own dark stones in the midst of our light. It’s not easy and I don’t have any answers, but when reflecting on this building, which incorporates a history of reason gone awry and turned violent alongside communal efforts out of love, I think we owe it to ourselves to consider the delicate balance and impact all our actions and words have not only for how they will impact others and ourselves now, but how they will survive us and influence others in the future.

320px-FraunkircheSouth


Weaving Webs of Belief

In a recent article by doctoral candidate Samuel Webster, he proposes the suggestion that belief is a mental illness. While making some interesting observations, it is unfortunate that his own personal biases against minority beliefs in Christianity have created a problematic logic in his thesis, namely that faith is first the sole central component to Christianity (and I’d presume by extension Judaism and Islam), and that faith itself is irrational and somehow counter to reason. In omitting definitions of belief, he seemingly exempts his coreligionists from having some form of belief, as well as creating a rather messy category of the subject matter. To this end, I am led to the following conclusions.

First, I propose we look at some definitions of faith in order to address some of the misconceptions of this article. According to Protestant, existentialist philosopher and systematic theologian, “[Faith] is the state of being ultimately concerned”[1], “being” in this case referring to the Dasein or principle of humanity at its most genuine state. He continues in stating that as a centered act, faith is the movement of being toward the sum total of being itself – one here may make the argument that this sum total could be referred to as God, or in the case of Neoplatonic philosophy, the noetic One that exists from the sum total of the henadic worlds. Less philosophically, faith is a duty of fulfilling one’s trust[2], or confidence based on reason in that being ultimately concerned.

Belief, then, is the trust in which we are concerned with the sum total of being in contrast to the state of being which is faith. How then do we rest our trust on things that are purportedly immaterial[3]? Belief becomes the element of faith in the self-affirmation of one’s being in spite of the powers of non-being. In his discourse, Fear and Trembling, Søren Kierkegaard suggests that faith is not an aesthetic emotion, but something higher because it has resignation as its supposition; paradoxical to be sure, however affirmative of Being in that it is entirely rational and capable of apprehension by the aesthetic person, perceivable by the ethical person, and experiential by the religious self. In the his classic Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas even states, “Science begets and nourishes faith, by way of external persuasion afforded by science; but the chief and proper cause of faith is that which moves man inwardly to assent.” [4] Here, we approach the threat of non-being through discursive measures to arise at a faith that itself is entirely rational and founded on experience as the core of humanity’s nature.

Arguments that faith is the result of some psychosis, are clearly unfounded even at a basal etymological level describing derangement[5]. Since faith is rational it cannot be the result of psychosis, however that does not excuse the reality or possibility of actions that are affronts to faith on the part of believers and may sometimes be irrational as well as rational. Affronts to faith, in this case, could also be considered affronts to reason itself since they indicate either a form of willingness against the objects of faith or they concern the rejection thereof either out of ignorance or spite and are therefore more appropriately acosmic in their natures as they themselves are concerned with an element of non-being.

To illustrate a point, belief is fundamental to religious activity is predicated on the a priori acceptance of a superior ontology of Being. An individual engaging in religious activity is operating in the realm of faith. Were one, for example to build an image some deity, engage in operations dedicated to that deity such as prayers and offerings, yet not believe in the reality of that state of being, then they are merely engaging in pantomime. For the religious person, who may believe in a manifestation of the divine, consecrate it and make offerings, they are necessarily engaging in the activity of faith and, as would happen, believe in that manifestation of Being, a good example would be the affectionate titles of that deity, such as κύριος (Gk. Lord) as well as σωτήρ (Gk. Savior) – epithets of divine affiliation common from the Ancient Greek deity Hermes as well as Jesus the Christ.

Faith is real in every period of history regardless of the symbols associated with the varieties of faith from history to the common era and cannot be discredited by superstition or authoritarian distortions. The denial of faith, in this sense, if indicative of its triumph as it is itself an expression of faith as that movement toward the ultimate concern. If there is a problem with faith in the modern age, it is that the concepts of faith and belief have been reinterpreted as “faith/belief in something unbelievable”. Empirical and epistemological inquiry does nothing to harm faith, instead it is reason and this self-criticism that provide validity to the emblems contained within each faith.

Raphael-Plato-and-Aristotle

 

[1] Tillich. Dynamics of Faith.

[2] faith (n.) mid-13c., “duty of fulfilling one’s trust,” from Old French feid, foi “faith, belief, trust, confidence, pledge,” from Latin fides “trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,” from root of fidere “to trust,” from PIE root *bheidh- (source also of Greek pistis; see bid). For sense evolution, see belief. Theological sense is from late 14c.; religions called faiths since c.1300.

[3] https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

[4] Aquinas. Article I. Faith. Secunda Secunae Partis.

[5] psychosis (n.) 1847, “mental derangement,” Modern Latin, from Greek psykhe- “mind” (see psyche) + -osis “abnormal condition.” Greek psykhosis meant “a giving of life; animation; principle of life.