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Abramelin series of articles

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Subject: Abramelin series of articles
Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick, 1994 and 1995

March 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
               with visits to roadside attractions along the way
                          and sundry personal advice.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick


   A class on "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage" was
requested by Thelema Lodge members and friends.  At the time of presentation,
there were two or three editions of the book in print, including a Dover
paperback.  The book itself is ostensibly derived from a 14th century source.
There are several manuscripts of some age.  One or more of the inferior MSS is
in the Bibliotecque d'Arsonal in Paris.  There are other manuscripts in London
which were not mentioned by the so-called translator, Mr. McGregor Mathers.
He asserted that he translated it out of the old French edition in Paris, but
he was a frequenter of the place where the manuscripts were kept in London.
One of the London MSS is in English.  Gershom Scholem mentions a translation
into Hebrew.  Our favorite plagiarist of the last century, Mr. McGregor
Mathers, put a little bit of a shine on his work.  He published a lot of
magical books in the last century and co-founded the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Most of his books were sold as translations for fee, and virtually all of them
were copied out of English sources.  We read pompous stories about the
difficulty of the translation in many of Mathers' books.  Perhaps he should
have complained instead of "how bad the handwriting was."  Mathers' notes to
the names of the spirits in the Abramelin Book were probably copied or adapted
out of the Hebrew manuscript in London.  He only got half way through the
notes on the spirits and then probably got an advance from his publisher.  The
antecedents of the book are clouded for that reason.  There are false
statements made about the source MS.


   It does appear that "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage"
is a 14th century work.  The book is divided into three parts.  There is a
narrative part, probably fictitious: a story about where this Magick
originated, why it is important, and why it was written down.  There is a
portion of the book with strange squares and notes about their significance
written below them.  The middle part of the book has a rather interesting
description of how to go about learning to work Magick.  The Abramelin
approach is almost unique in that it's written to enable students to pick
their own method.  The 14th century context creates problems for modern
readers.  We don't have much stuff around here like they had then.  To bring
this book up to date, these questions need to be addressed:  How can you apply
these things?  What are the limitations?  Where can you find equivalent
things?  14th century Europe was quite sparsely populated by modern standards.
There were many cities and villages, but life then was very different from
modern life.  You could live outside the town.  It would cost next to nothing
to find a piece of land that was no good for farming.  Maybe someone would
offer you a place to stay.  No one would bother you.  You could set up a
little house and be by yourself for an indefinite period.  You wouldn't have
to worry about hiring servants; they were inexpensive.  Feed them, and that's
pretty much it.  All essential things could be taken care of without any
complications: no tax forms, no television, no radio, no temptations.  It
takes too long to travel anywhere, so there would be few interruptions by
   In the magical portion of the book, there are many strange diagrams and a
lot of moral remarks along the lines of:  "This is evil."  "This is
ambivalent."  "This is dangerous."  "This is safe."  A person reading that
would tend to think the notes are simple and understandable warnings.  It's
not that way.  Cultures set definitions as to what is proper and improper in
the general sense of Good and Evil.  Just a few centuries ago, ordinary things
that we now do would be considered capital offenses.  It was even questionable
to own a mirror.  A mirror could be an instrument of Black Magic.  It shows
something that isn't really there.  The reflection in the mirror is not right.
There's nobody back there.  It's an illusion, and illusion was considered evil
magic.  So, modern television is black magic.  Movies are black magic.  Make-
up is black magic.  A lot of the moral qualifiers in the Abramelin book are
based on that sort of thinking.  On the other hand, dealing with the Devil, by
the Christian definition of such a thing, was not always thought to be black
magic.  It's perfectly natural.  If a creature is evil, it must obey God.
Holy people can control it, and they should.  That's 14th century thinking.
It was considered ordinary that certain religious practitioners, priests and
the Pope, should have the power to command the Devil and make him do works.
There are legends from that time held up as moral examples that suggest such
practices (see "The Golden Legend").  Realize, when reading these older books,
that quite a bit of explanation of terms and usage is needed.  Some things
that look terribly arcane and impossible to do are not that at all.  What's
virgin parchment?  It's just unused paper.  Paper in those days was mostly
animal parchment, made of treated leather.  Later centuries used a variety of
vegetable fibers, and now we commonly use wood pulp.  "Virgin parchment"
simply meant that nobody had used it for something else and later erased it or
scraped it.  With virgin parchment there are no half visible remains of funny
   The story of the book makes an interesting bit of mythology, very like that
of the Rosicrucians in that the author claims to have learned the magical art
in Arabia from a wandering sage named Abra Melin.  The Abramelin book is
supposed to have been written by a person named "Abraham the Jew".  Nowadays
we don't like to talk about people in such an ethnic way, or perhaps don't
notice it when we do.  The intent in this book was to say that the author was
very special, perhaps because Abraham was the legendary precursor and
patriarch of all sorts of modern religions, including Judaism, Islam and
Christianity.  I say "legendary" because there are odd stories about Abraham
in the Old Testament.  Consider the story of the sacrifice of a ram in place
of his son, Issac -- that was how the god Marduk was worshiped, not Jehovah.
Marduk required his worshippers to pass a male child through the fire, usually
the first born, or, in this instance, the first born to a wife as contrasted
to an earlier child of a concubine.  Terah, Abraham's father, is said to have
come with Abram (Abraham) from the city of Ur of the Chaldees, a Babylonian
city state.  Terah was simply a Babylonian who couldn't get along in Ur.  He
wandered off in the wilderness with his family and continued doing whatever he
used to do.  Maybe he had a falling out with the neighbors and their gods.
Abraham's father left Ur and ultimately settled in the land of Haran.  He may
have gotten down to just one god, because it's impractical to travel with a
bunch of them.  Gods in those days weighed up to 40 or 50 pounds, for a good
one.  The small ones could break if bundled all together in a bag.  They were
comforting to talk to and would keep you company, but it's nice to have some
room for food in your backpack.  Abraham (Abram was his name at first) had his
own time of wandering, and any spare gods his father may have managed to keep
were evidently too much to carry.  Perhaps Abram just inherited one idol from
Terah with the others divided among the family.  Anyway, "Abraham" had only
one god and his name was quite a good one to drop, being the Great Patriarch
and all.  In case they missed the point, it was "Abraham the Jew" -- That one!
Heavy duty Abraham.  Later on the book disclosed that this wasn't old Abraham,
but a modern one, a typical 14th century wandering Jewish person.  That's not
to be confused with "The Wandering Jew", an entirely different Christian


   The Author begins by dedicating the book to his second son, Lamech, another
biblical name.  He goes on to say that his first born son received his best
inheritance, following a simplified tradition based on the more complex story
of the patriarch Abraham in the Bible.  That earlier Abraham had several boys.
The sons of his concubines were to get second best and Isaac, son of Sarah,
the prime heritage.  The best was usually supposed to go to the eldest son of
the chief wife.  Our Abraham's oldest son got the Sacred Qabalah by which the
World may be made and unmade.  All things may be changed, created, destroyed,
given mastery of the powers above the earth and below the earth.  That's not
just a vague reference, but a part of Qabalah called M'asseh Merkabah, older
than the Christian period and possibly older than the Jewish ancestors.


   Here's our first "road-side attraction".  We will return to the main
subject in later installments of this "Ramble."  It will be useful to learn
something about magical books and the Sacred Qabalah before we return to this
particular magical book.  Merkabah is not the familiar sort of thing usually
discussed in books about Qabalah with numbers and all.  M'asseh Merkabah is
quite something in itself.  There are evidences of it in the Egyptian "Book of
the Dead".  The same kind of stuff is in there, the same kind of rituals, same
kind of descriptions.  If there was a historical Moses or Mosha, M'asseh
Merkabah may be what was brought over from Egypt through the wandering in the
wilderness.  According to the Qabalistic legend, there was first the Torah
before the creation of the World, the Torah of the Void.  It was not a written
book.  It was the Living Spirit.  Christianity may have used this idea and
called it "The Word" or "Logos", but it seems to have been a common conception
among ancient people.  In the stories of Qabalah, the Torah contained all that
could be, would be, will be, was.  All these things existed as thought exists
in the mind.  This is said to be the content of the mind of the creator, the
primordial pattern, similar in some ways to the archetypes of Plato.  "The
Invisible Torah" is the term used in modern and Qabalah.  This Invisible Torah
contains the utterance that issued forth to create all things in the Universe.
It was called a book, because it holds knowledge.  If you can gain a bit of
that knowledge, you have that much power.  Moving around, thrashing about,
howling in the wind or checking the motion of the planets and all such is
unnecessary.  It just takes knowledge, "no touch necessary".  Take that idea,
generalize it a little bit and modernize it.  There's always a tendency to put
down these stories as: "Oh yeah."  "Back when."  "Wonder what it would be
like."  "Isn't that marvelous," and other rationalizations to avoid serious
consideration.  The concept is perfectly valid and perfectly modern.  What do
you think science is?  In this way of speaking, one can say that it is simply
the attempt to recover the language of the Invisible Torah, the ways of
thinking and knowing that can create and uncreate the world.  A Hydrogen Bomb
is the same thing that happens in the Sun, not something vaguely like that.
It is the same thing.  The only difference is size.  The people who developed
the Hydrogen bomb learned the word for "sun" in the Invisible Torah.  They
learned the word for the power of that.  One of the scientists watching the
first explosion of a nuclear weapon was minded to quote from the "Bhagavad
Gita", and said; "Now I am come, the destroyer of worlds".  These things are
the true magical book.  The language in which that book is written is not any
one human tongue, but the pure language of thought.  A principal purpose of
magical training is to acquire facility in that language, the language that is
spoken in appearance of things, in ideas and in what is truly seen, rather
than in sounds and writings.

April 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter
                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                      PART II -- Books Alive continued.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

   To continue the tradition forward, it was said that the Torah, the
Invisible Torah, the archetype of all things that are, remained with the
Creating Deity.  Down into the world where the first human beings were made
there was another thing, as it were an abstract, a shortened version.
Qabalistic Tradition calls this "Sepher Ha-Adam", the Book of Man or the Book
of Adam, the knowledge whereby any human being could learn to command all
forces on earth and out as far as the moving stars, the planets.  One thing
that man could not do with this book, would be to command forces beyond the
planets, from the fixed stars.  That would not belong in the Book of Man, but
in the book of the "Torah", the Book of the Word of Truth beyond this world.
Some legends of "The Fall" suggest that improper mastery was attempted by man,
and the Book of Adam was taken away in consequence.  Legends in the "Talmud"
and elements that became attached to Qabalah recount that in the course of
time a man named Enoch or Hanoh walked the Earth.  He's also mentioned in the
Old Testament.  It's said of Enoch that: "He walked with God and was no more."
It's also said of Ezechial that: "He walked with God and was no more."  It's
never said that either one died.  Much is made of this.  According to the
legend, when the primordial Man and Woman lost their great powers and were
sent out into the world, they were given another book.  This book conferred
power over many of the things of this world, the things below the layer of
cloud, and influence on the things that in the sky.  It was not power, but
influence only.  This book was called "Sepher Raziel", which literally
translated means: "The Book of the Secret of God."  That brings us to actual
written books on magic.  There are many books, some going back almost to the
Roman period but most from the last 1500 years, that are called "Sepher Ha-
Raziel".  When such books first appeared, Qabalah was called "Raz" or "Sod",
both words meaning a mystical or holy secret.  Such a book was said to have
the powerful part of Qabalah.  That part of Qabalah is called Ma'asseh
Merkabah or "The Way of the Chariot" because of Ezechial and the flaming
chariot.  The direct, non mythical books of Ma'asseh Merkabah are called
"Hekhaloth" literature, and often pre-date the Christian era.
   There is also a story about Enoch, that he had a book called "Sepher Ha-
Enoch".  There are ancient surviving "Books of Enoch".  This fellow Enoch
really had a friend in a high place.  He got to talking with God.  Consider
the Yeminite Jewish people; there are places in Israel where the Yeminites
settled.  An old man will sometimes go out in front of his tent, and just have
a conversation with God in the morning.  That's his morning prayer, not the
standard Jewish prayers.  He says; "Hello God, how are you?"; and he gets
answers!  There's a conversation going on.  It looks an awful lot like the
descriptions in the Bible, the Torah.  Maybe Enoch was like that; but the
story goes on to say that he was given a book.  Remember that the word "book"
in this context means "knowledge".  This "book", reasonably enough, was called
"Sepher Ha-Enoch", the Book of Enoch or the "Enochian Book".  It was written
in the language of the Angels and restored most of the powers that had been
removed from the book of Raziel, to the level of the Book of Adam.  Enoch was
so powerful that he was like legend said of the first Man and Woman.  He was
not the size of a normal human being, but something like 12 feet tall.  When
he walked, the earth shook.  Sometimes he could be seen, and sometimes he
couldn't.  When he became angry, his anger leveled a mountain, not by touch
but by the anger alone.  This is the background of magical books.  It later
became what we see now.  There are books called "The Greater" and "Lesser Keys
of Solomon."  It's the same sort of tradition.  Solomon was said to have power
over the king of the demons.  Obviously he had knowledge of this kind.  Spell
books that give power over demons are often called "Keys of Solomon", the keys
whereby Solomon unlocked or controlled the powers of these great forces.  In
the "Arabian Nights", there are genies, Jinn and Marids.  These are strange
spirits who either do or do not believe in Allah.  They all have terrible
powers.  Those are just the words used in Arabic to refer to these kinds of
spirits.  Realize that Hebrew and Arabic are similar languages; when we say
Solomon son of David, Hebrew sources say Solmon ben David and Arabic sources
say Suliman bin Daoud.  In the "Arabian Nights", everywhere you go there are
Genies popping up and wondering if Suliman bin Daoud is still around.  The
last time, he jammed them in a bottle!  The Book of Solomon, the "Key of
Solomon", the tradition of the magic of the "Arabian Nights", are all from the
same stories.  Many of these magical books derive from the influence of the
Islamic culture in Europe.  Islamic occupation of Western European land didn't
end until 1492 e.v., the same year Columbus made famous.  That was the year of
the fall of Grenoble, the last Moorish center of learning and outpost in
Western Europe, 100 years after the Abramelin book was allegedly written.
   There are two principle works in common circulation called the "Key of
Solomon".  One is called "The Greater Key of Solomon", and the other is called
"The Lesser Key of Solomon" or "Lemegeton".  The "Greater Key of Solomon"
gives detailed instructions on how to make things: magical circles,
implements, clothing, right times to do things during the week; all that sort
of thing.  It has a few interesting rituals in it.  It also has a lot of
rather nice Talismans, most of them derived from traditions common in the
middle ages.  A few are older, like the SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS square
that's on the cover of some editions.  That square was actually found etched
in the wall of a public lavatory in Pompeii.  It's just pure luck that
archaeologists happened to dig up a public john in Pompeii where somebody had
long ago decided to offend everybody by drawing a sacred thing on the wall --
the equivalent of a telephone number under a scurrilous remark.  The earliest
depiction thought to represent Jesus Christ is also on a bathroom wall in
Pompeii, a crucified jackass.  It probably isn't Jesus Christ but Mithras and
might even be related to Venus, who was associated with making asses of
people.  There is a marvelous book by Lucius: "The Golden Ass", called that
because it's got an ass in it and good books should be thought of as golden.
That book describes the mysteries of the goddess Venus.  Returning to the
Solomonic Keys, or Clavicals as they are sometimes called; they have turned up
in very odd places.  Ben Johnson was an Elizabethan playwright.  He wrote the
first musical, the "Beggars Opera", and was a contemporary of Shakespeare.
There exists in the British Museum a copy of the "Greater Key of Solomon" with
Johnson's signature on it.  Jacques Casanova was another student of magical
books.  There's a movie about Casanova, but it's marred.  They cast a white
man in the role while Casanova was black.  He was imprisoned by the Council of
Ten in Venice, under the roof of the Doge's palace, and the record of his
imprisonment survives.  The charge on which Casanova was imprisoned was
possession of these magical books.  Casanova's memoirs detail workings with
Solomonic evocations, alchemy, numerology, the transfer of souls from one
living person to another and work with his own Holy Guardian Angel.  Some
years ago somebody finally came out with a facsimile full version of the
"Lemegeton" or "Lesser Key of Solomon", but usually you only find a little
part of it, one chapter call the "Goetia".  It  was supposed to be everything
the "Greater Key of Solomon" wasn't.  "The Greater Key of Solomon" is a nice
handbook, more classical with less Christian influence.  The "Lesser Key" or
"Lemegeton" is a collection of damn near everything, including a lot of
corruptions and poor quality late material.  The "Goetia" just deals with the
5 degree divisions of the Zodiac into 72 parts, and only the evil or
destructive aspect of that.  Consider Astaroth in the "Goetia", a terrible
demon, one of those imprisoned in the brass bottle by Solomon.  There is a
design for a ring to be worn to protect yourself from his evil breath.
Actually, "Astaroth" is one of the Near Eastern words for "goddesses", in
particular, goddesses of beauty.  Another cognate name is "Astarte".  "Ishtar"
and "Isis" are dialectical variations on the same name, "Asha".  These things
degenerate after illiterate copying and ignorant addition of sectarian
opinion.  Such books don't help much.  They give general instructions along
the lines of, "Ok, now do this"; but they don't explain in detail.  It's rare
to get instruction like: "If you can't find parchment, skin a sheep, get a big
crock, fill it full of lime, thrown in some water, throw in the sheep skin,
fish it out of there after a while when it stops stinking and bubbling, dry it
out, pound on it a while, put it back in ..."  The Abramelin book starts with
the assumption that you know nothing.  It explains how to use any popular
method to attain the goal of learning magick.  That is the main value of the
Abramelin book, but also where it has problems.  All the helpful suggestions
are for the 14th century.  They've stopped making a lot of that stuff.


May 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter
                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                        PART III -- On the Road Again.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick


   In the 19th century, Mathers published "The Book of the Sacred Magic of
Abra-Melin the Mage".  An illustration by Mona Mathers decorates the title
page of the first edition.  The Mathers had what was called a "chaste
marriage."  Avoiding sex apparently kept them busy with small projects into
the later hours of the night.  On one evening, Mona did a sketch for hubbie's
book.  They got up in the morning and took a look at the sketch.  The figure
of Abra Melin was shown, bearded and with his initials in Hebrew on his chest.
A spirit held a little box out to him.  That little box wasn't in the drawing
when they went to bed, but it was there when they got up.  At that point, the
Mathers realized that they had something, although they might have done better
to consider that they were holding out on each other too much.


   The Abramelin book was considered by Aleister Crowley to represent the
proper approach to learning Magick.  According to the book, the work is "to
seek the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel".  The
instruction goes more or less like this ... Do you want to learn this stuff?
First a word of discouragement, its not easy.  1,000 people try; maybe one
succeeds.  Here is the rule.  Get yourself a place to be private for maybe six
months or more.  Six months is the minimum, not necessarily the best time, not
necessarily the proper time.  Begin it at the time of quickening in the year,
Passover or Easter.  Remember, you've got to go six months, and it's nice to
have decent weather.  Spring is traditionally the time of all beginnings in
many religions, the season when the life of the Earth renews.  It's the true
New Year, whether it's called March, April, the beginning of Aries, or the
first appearance of growth in the fields.  Passover represents the passing
over of the angel of death during the ten plagues in Egypt, but most cultures
celebrate a time of escaping the dead time of the year.  The angel of death
passes by in one night.  Night could be Winter.  When the angel of death went
by at the eleventh hour of the night, that could simply be a reference to the
darkest time of the year when there is no food, just great cold and privation.
People die then for no good reason, as though the hand of the angel of death
touched them.  Just after that is the time to begin a magical working.  There
are other times fixed by particular theories; but, for a good start, consider
Easter, Passover, some time in March, April or thereabouts.


   It's better not to change, if the worker can cope with his or her original
Religion.  For those who can't stay with their childhood faith, something else
will have to be used that suits them better.  Modern ideas of religion are
different from those in the 14th century.  Long ago, intellectual acts were
religion.  Anything that didn't involve working with the hands was prayer, or
something very like it.  To read a book, to study a mental discipline, meant
to pray.  This categorization is still common in the orient.  Discipline is
always part of religious practice, mental and otherwise.  In modern times, the
study of mathematics might be considered a sort of religion.  Some
mathematicians do relate it to their religion as an effort to view the
perfection of the greater universe.  Music can be the form of religious
expression.  Art and many other creative expressions are essentially
religious.  When a book is involved there's usually a narrower expression of
religion, perhaps more mystical, formulary, or theoretical: a "read it in The
Book and say these prayers" kind of religion.  Whatever it is, the one you
have is the one you use.  That's it, no matter what it is.  The actual type of
religion doesn't matter.  Neither does the background or experience.  This is
a way to do things, to proceed with learning the Sacred Magick.  Such
flexibility is partly why Crowley was so turned on to the book.  Here's an
author who wasn't caught in a cultural trap, writing a basic outline.  If you
take the six months, you will probably fail.  He says that up front.  He
doesn't say why.  One reason for failure in six to nine months is simple lack
of enough time to do it.  Western culture is usually superficial, confusing,
and lost in small detail.  There is not much tendency to get very deeply into
things.  In this culture, accomplishing the work of the Sacred Magick in six
to nine months is not very likely.  To the extent that one is distracted, it's
harder and should take longer.   Six months, a year, maybe even ten years,
might not be enough time.  A magical retirement isn't just a time without
distraction.  After this kind of retreat, a person has to be permanently
changed, not merely relaxed.  To proceed with such a course, it's necessary to
have something to do.  The book explains how to use anything, but it doesn't
supply that thing.  The subject study should have an elaborate structure, but
it's important to choose a study that isn't tied up with too many knots of
worldly concern.  In the middle ages religion was a good thing to choose
because religion talked about a world so far removed from the physical that
nobody had any real problems with the place.  Nowadays, we have many immediate
interests quite beyond the imagination of most intensely religious people in
the middle ages.  We don't have as clear a division between the sacred and the
profane as people did in ancient times.  We must find something that hasn't
been poisoned by being too involved with mundane existence, something that
seems isolated from the world of day to day matters.  Mathematics is very good
for that, as long as it isn't accounting, surveying or engineering.  Pure
mathematics, without application, may be quite adequate.  Certain special
areas of math may be better, including group theory, set theory, anything to
manipulate and combine ideas.  What's needed is something with structure, and
it has to be a structure that doesn't get depressing.  This discipline might
be challenging, even difficult; but it shouldn't be something that makes one
say, "Oh God, I hate this!"  Many people feel that way about arithmetic.
Arithmetic isn't serious mathematics.  Arithmetic is the feces of mathematics.
If you hate arithmetic, you needn't worry.  You can still go on to higher math
concepts unfettered by grammar school trauma.


   Prepare for an extended time without unnecessary complications.  Avoid
distractions.  Grocery shopping and similar tasks should be minimized or done
quickly and efficiently.  The worst distractions are conversations that
involve the lives of other people.  The object is to change yourself.
Personal conversations tend to keep us unchanged, that's what they are for,
among other things.  When friends or acquaintances talk and share aspects of
their life with one another, most of the conversation isn't about a problem
and interests.  Most of that sort of communion is for keeping each other on
the same mental and emotional plane, smoozing a friendship, keeping mutual
influence and interdependence going.  It's the stuff that monkeys do to remain
a monkey crew, primate instinctual behavior.  Wolves and dogs bite each other
on the nose or smell the other end.  Monkeys giber a lot and scratch each
other.  People shake hands and giber a lot.  It's the same principle.  This
behavior interferes with changing.  It keeps people the same; safe,
predictable and reliable to others in the social group -- insuring safety of
the community.  In some cultures, instead of "I understand you" people say "I
see you".  Talking with a person makes a mental image of that person.  All the
people around you automatically try to either change you to their way or keep
you the same.  That's part of being human.  It's one of the reasons we gather
together and form cities.  It's how our families exist.  If it wasn't for
that, we wouldn't be here, even in the most simple way.  Without this ability
to keep one another locked into a pattern, people wouldn't be able to raise
children.  Our children take years to get self sufficient.  Most animals can
put up with the little creep for six months to a year and then its gone, get
out of here, you smell bad!  With us, the rug rat has to grow into something
independent over a couple of decades.  It is necessary to separate yourself
from most human contact to effect change.  There are families where "he beats
her up" or "she beats him up", and nobody can figure out why the family
doesn't break up.  They just keep patterning themselves into the same mold.


   Before taking the next point, here's a particular problem.  It sometimes
occurs that a couple, man and wife or less formally joined, will compact to do
the Abramelin work.  Perhaps one will offer to take care of mundane affairs
while the other takes the magical retirement.  After that is accomplished,
they will change places and the other will do it.  This rarely works.  If the
odds are 1,000 to one against for a person attaining this, the odds against
two particular people succeeding are 1,000,000 to one against!  Remember that
many aspects of the personality will change if the retirement is successful.
Other factors may arise which could be very disruptive to a marriage or
partnership.  A magical retirement of this magnitude, especially if forced
into a short time like six months, is very risky for marriages.  It's better
to consider this effort either before settling down or after raising a family,
like the Hindu rule to become a Sadhu.  It isn't impossible to accomplish the
Abramelin work while married, but it requires either an arranged marriage of
convenience like the sort common in the middle ages or considerable maturity
in both parties to the marriage.


   The environment is next.  A different place is needed for the work.  If
it's done at home, a part of the home must be dedicated to this purpose.  A
room should be set apart.  In some ethnic traditions, some religions, people
who can afford it have rooms just for meditation, just for prayer like a
little chapel.  If that's not practical, a desk, a corner, even a closet can
be used.  To do it cheaply, run a drapery around a room to close off
everything.  Draw the drapes in front of the book cases, doors, windows and
side furniture.  That will change the room into a little world.  The idea is
to set up something different.  It doesn't much matter what.  If there are a
lot of things in the meditation place, they should not distract or interfere.
They shouldn't be things that have memories attached to them.  Nothing there
should evoke memories of relatives, friends, childhood, what grandpa was like,
the taxes, or the ever dwindling supply of toilet paper.  Even incidental
shapes that evoke such thoughts should be removed.  All that's really needed
is an untrammeled field of view.  One piece of cloth hanging down can do it,
if it's possible to get close enough so that nothing else can be seen.  The
Abramelin book assumes that the student will find a place in the wilderness
and that somebody will look after ordinary needs without talking or otherwise
distracting.  Variations, like Crowley's "China Walk", can also work if the
circumstances are culturally isolating and there is lots of time for
reflection.  The book makes much about minimizing all human contact but makes
exception for servants.  In the 14th century, common chores were pretty
demanding.  Such common chores are not distraction in themselves, but only
because we remember doing them with our parents.  Daily chores are family

stuff.  All of those things have memories and emotional reflexes associated
with them.  It is difficult to do ordinary chores without distraction from the
goal of the magical retirement.  The same language that keeps you the same
kind of person extends into the things you learned as you were growing up.  If
you are in a place like that where you grew up, you will think like you did
then.  It's so insidious that if you get drunk on something that you haven't
gotten drunk on in ten years, you will think the way you did ten years ago.
This is part of being human.  It's helpful in the work to avoid these kinds of


   The next step is self-discipline.  The book says to start easy and get
progressively more severe.  Cut back the ordinary things.  Don't talk to
people, or keep it simple if it can't be avoided.  The first third of this
time of retirement may involve minor efforts.  Don't worry about doing it
right.  The Abramelin book gives some instructions which may or may not make
sense nowadays, including how to purify the place of retirement.  Those are
mostly pretty good instructions.  They are not too hard to follow.  Orisons or
prayers are required.  Orison is speech to the deity.  A prayer is often a
memorized orison.  Rituals are another form of prayer.  Do this for a while to
work up a consistent practice.  Then comes the middle part.  Do more, increase
it, add more things of that kind.  In the third and final portion, go at it as
hard as possible.  Get as crazy as a monk with six life-times of novinas to
get through in a week.  Go full blast.  At that time the details of the
procedure work themselves out.  In time you will achieve the experience called
"The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel".  Other ways of
saying it include; "contact with the Higher Self", "attaining a Master".
Socrates would have said: "discovering the Daemon".  It's said that Pythagoras
had such a personal spirit.  One day he went to a seer whose job it was to
tell people what their soul or spirit was like.  The seer looked at
Pythagoras, went dead pale and freaked.  He didn't see a spirit.  He saw a
god.  This is the tradition: There is something that is part of you and yet
not part of you.  Some of you dies, some of you doesn't.  We have nice simple
ways of passing that off in this day and age.  Most of these plastic, ready-
to-go religions come out with: "O that's your immortal soul!"  "It can burn in
hell or live happily in heaven."  "Don't forget to donate" (Don't let me jinx
passing the hat.  Your donation is welcome at all O.T.O. events.).


June 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter
                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                      PART IV -- Picnic on Bald Mountain

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick


   A daemon is an intelligence that doesn't require a body, but finds one
convenient sometimes.  There's a lot of ignorance about these friendly
creatures.  Most popular religious stuff has been canned for years and has
gone bad on the shelf.  It's lost all its flavor and nutrition.  People who
are physically hungry will do anything, and you can bribe them to forget their
religion for awhile, because it isn't doing them any good.  Which is more like
"demon worship": selling out your god for a sandwich or being different
because you have a real thing going?  Most other religions haven't gone
through the mercantile sea-change that happened with Christianity.  It used to
be a nice little Jewish religion.  It was kind of heretical; but nobody was
interested in it other than Jewish heretics, so who cared outside Palestine?
After the Diaspora it got commercialized into a brand-X -- just like frozen
food or bottled gefilte fish.  Some preserved foods are advertised with pride
in the fact that they are bland.  That goes right on the label.  Sadly, most
Christianity is that way too.  People can't thrive on such stuff unless they
put something more into it.


   Standard Christianity uses the guardian angel to explain how a kid lives
through childhood.  God knows that little kids are likely to totally destruct
any minute, so each of us is born with a nice little guardian angel.  It's
sometimes depicted on nicknacks, e.g. a little switch cover with a picture
molded on it for the child's bed room.  Click on the switch and it's belly-
button lights up.  That's tasteless, but cute.  Cute can really get out of
hand if it proliferates.  Such a guardian angel guides and protects in
childhood.  It leaves at the age of reason.
   Sometimes the guardian angel is identified with the idea a conscience.
Freud calls it the "super-ego".  This is the part that says: "Mmm..., are you
sure you want to do that?  You could get caught."  or "That's stupid!"
There's this little thing inside that keeps telling you things that restrain
you.  That's about as far as most people get with the idea of "conscience".
   The more educated Christians realize that such ideas aren't adequate.  A
conscience doesn't have to "just say No."  The guardian angel doesn't have to
limit itself to watching during the age of chronic danger of self-destruction.
It may be a part of you.  It may be somebody who is in some way related to
you; alive once, but not of this world any more.  Nearly all religions are
based on dead people, so that possibility should be no surprise.  It may be a
spirit that is a part of you in another world.  Perhaps there really are
angels, and the things Greeks called Daemons really exist.  The Greeks and
Romans believed that a Daemon attaches to each of us as we come into the
world.  It's like a marriage or like twins, a physical twin and a spiritual
twin.  All kinds of theories abound.
   Find something inside that you can listen to without fretting over having
enough toilet paper, whether the flashlight is about to run out of batteries,
or whether you paid that bill.  Perhaps it's nothing more than a part of you
that is just a little bit out of it when it comes to the Earthly plane but is
very together otherwise.  Whatever you want to call this thing, it isn't a
concept that is met with very often in popular Christianity.  It's been pretty
well buried.  You can think of it as a soul, but you might need some help with
that idea.


   Modern Christianity in the last few hundred years, certainly no more than
the last thousand years, has come up with very unwholesome ideas.  The Devil
is only one of them.  Another of these ideas is the doctrine that you've only
got one soul.  What nonsense!  What absolute foolishness!  Have you only one
arm?  Some people do, but most have two.  Have you a pair of eyes?  Yes.  You
got only one eye?  Not if you are lucky.  Why would you have only one soul?
   In certain of the older cultures, medical practice assumes that there are
various intelligent little souls or chakras living in different parts of the
body.  A lot of healing simply consists of communication with these various
parts.  Meditate or use massage to wake them up and say; "Really, do you want
to leave us this way?  This part is your job.  You live there.  Fix it."  That
sort of thing works, and it's not at all difficult once you get over the
simplification problem.
   In Qabalah there is a series of souls.  There's even a soul for the
physical body that IS the physical body.  Wonder of wonders, it's called the
"Goof" -- whence we derive our word "goofy".  Then there is the Nephesh, which
is what keeps the Goof running.  That's in animals too.  A Nephesh sometimes
lingers after death.  When the body drops, this soul tries to look for another
one.  That's the ghost.  It's not particularly intelligent.  It's just able to
hold the pattern it had.  A wandering Nephesh will generally look like the can
it was in.  Electrical, who knows?  It may have an explanation, and it may
not.  It's there.  It doesn't seem to require an explanation to exist.  Beyond
the Nephesh is the human identity, something called the Ruach, the intelligent
or human soul.  This is the "somebody in there."   Look at people.  Maybe they
are just not into looking back, but quite a lot of people appear to be like
what Castenada and Don Juan would call elementals.  There may be something in
there, but there sure isn't anything looking out.  Other people seem to be
home, as it were.  That's the Ruach.  It's seen in people's eyes.
   The Holy Guardian Angel is deeper.  In Qabalah, it's called the Neshamah.
It's the first immortal part of the soul, or the first immortal soul.  Calling
these entities parts or souls doesn't matter.  If you insist on having just
one soul, call them parts.  If you don't have a problem with that, call them
souls.  The Egyptians had a group of terms for them.  The Neshamah is the
first immortal part of you.  Your body will rot, smell bad and become a mess
some day -- unless you are weird enough to have it stuffed.  Neshamah is not
like that.
   Nephesh, the animal principal, is corruptible.  The Nephesh is the memory
people have of you as though you were in the room.  It's the thing that makes
friends think your ghost is present when they feel some intangible thing and
suddenly see it as you.  When a friend dies, a week or a year later, you may
see that friend walking down the street.  You hurry to catch up, because you
don't understand what is going on.  Suddenly, it's somebody who doesn't look
at all like that person.  For a moment it did.  That's the ghost.  Shade is
another word just as good.  The Nephesh eventually will die.  When the last
person who sees you in things or remembers you in mind passes away, when the
last person who has heard stories about you goes, your Nephesh dies.  There
are ways to keep it alive independently for a time.  Some theories of Magick
describe how to make a house for the soul or help it live in a tree.  That can
be done, but many people doubt whether those things work in themselves or only
because the person who performed the appropriate ritual made a conscious
effort to keep this spirit around.
   If you write a book or leave a journal, it's possible to call your Nephesh
back from the dead.  A sympathetic person may read your literary effects.
It's not enough to imagine seeing a person or to imagine what they are like.
That won't bring back the Nephesh.  The person must be seen as though
physically present.  It's quite a spooky thing to start thinking someone's
thoughts and later see that person.  Another way to approach this idea: to
understand what life was like 300 years ago in some other part of the world,
reading a book or visiting a place isn't enough.  It's necessary to
hallucinate what it would have smelled like.  The impressions must be more
real than imagined.  It's one thing to read a book and imagine the life of
some famous person.  It's quite another matter to read the same book and begin
to think like that person.
   The Ruach survives well in books, buildings and works of art.  That's the
next soul after the Nephesh.  If you don't smell the animal soul, you can
still get ideas from the intellectual soul.  Things that a deceased person
left behind still function in the world as products of the personality.  The
Nephesh and the Ruach can be kept alive, but they will pass away if not
deliberately kept alive.  They depend on physical things or people still
living.  The Neshamah doesn't.  The Neshamah is immortal by itself.  It always
existed.  It always will exist.  In a sense it is divine.  That's where the
idea of a Holy Guardian Angel comes in.
   Consider the concept of reincarnation: you're born and born and born again
until finally you get it together with your Neshamah; finally the part of your
that's immortal unites with the part of you that's mortal.  After that occurs,
you don't have to be born again.  Ultimately freedom from the wheel of
incarnation is attained.  In one-chance-only types of religion, there's less
to talk about and the single incarnation is thought to pass more quickly.  The
same idea is there.  You must unite with the immortal part of yourself or you
will go to Hell and cease to have the quality of immortality, at least in a
desirable way.


   Qabalah is a big subject, lots of tradition going back more than a couple
of thousand years.  Some of the theories disagree with other theories, so
don't think there's just one.  When one theory makes perfect sense, something
else about it will make perfect nonsense.  In Qabalah there is a particularly
chauvinistic tradition that says that all souls begin as the souls of men (I
wouldn't sell this to anybody, but it is a historical view).  If you don't
have a son while you are alive as a man, you will be born next as a woman.  If
you don't have a son as a woman, you will be born next as an animal.  After
that, it's true death!  Don't get caught and think something like that is the
only theory there is.  Another theory from Qabalah, quite different, is that
souls come from roots.  There is a root soul, usually identified with a famous
person in the Old Testament, or one of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended
from one person.  Just as bodies descend from ancestors, so souls descend from
other ancestors.  Your soul is from that other person.  You are not that other
person born again.  It's just that the Neshamah is the same.  Neshamah, in a
higher sense, is said to have three parts.  In its higher parts, especially in
the highest part called the Yehidah, it is the same for everybody.  The Chiah,
or second part, can be shared by many.  The lower form of the Neshamah is just
your own part, and is simply called your "Neshamah".  That's your part of the
root of the full Neshamah soul.  That lower Neshamah joins with the Chiah of
many and all such "roots" unite in the divine tree of the Yehidah.  Chiah
means "life".  If there were just as many souls as living things, that would
present quite a confusing situation.  But, the individual Neshamah, the lower
part of the three-fold Neshamah, is divided out of the Chiah.  It's immortal
in the sense that it's characteristics will never be lost, but it's not quite
as immortal as the Chiah.  The number of the manifestations of the Chiah does
not change, no matter how many living creatures exist.  There are crops of
these things seasonally.  When bug spray happens a lot of the really cheap
ones "go home".

   There's something going on involving souls or parts of the soul.  That's
what this whole operation is about.

   Next month: Care and feeding of Angels, or: How to paper train the H.G.A.


July 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                PART V -- How to find & care for your Adonai.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick


  The key to working the Abramelin system is to isolate yourself so that you
can change yourself, so that you are not kept unchanged by the pressure of
social interaction.  Once isolated, proceed with the discipline and increase
it gradually.  Depending on the success that you have with these things, it
will take more or less time.  There is no upper limit to the amount of time.
The beginning of this process must be very tight.  It commences with light
discipline, neither complex nor onerous; but what little there is must be
rigidly maintained.  That's quite important and not well emphasized in the
book.  The Abramelin book lays out a simple instruction.  Since most of us
would have to go at the task in a more round-about way, there is a problem.
Once you have attained the Knowledge and the Conversation, once the "voice"
that's has always been there for you suddenly becomes something realized and
recognized, then you have begun in earnest.  This is not something you get.
This is something to which you awaken yourself.  In many cultures a big thing
is made of attracting a spirit of this kind.  In the rite of Confirmation used
by some forms of Christianity, a saint's spirit is attracted to the person to
be confirmed.  The newly confirmed Christian is given the name of that saint.
Other cultures say that a god is attracted.  A Christian saint is a god.  It's
amazing what people do with words, isn't it?  Words and cultural taboos about
words can distract.  It's all the same sort of approach.  The Guardian Angel,
or Neshamah as it's called in Qabalah, is part of you.  This whole process is
a waking up to the fact that you've always had such a thing.  There has always
been the voice that advises, the voice to which you have been too frightened
or too busy to listen.  It's always there.  It will always be there.  This
communication needs tuning.  The voice doesn't know how to talk to you.  You
don't know how to listen to it.  You've got to fix that.  You will have to
isolate yourself and regularize your thinking.  You can make it easier for the
spirit to adapt to you.  You need to adjust yourself so that you are not
distracted.  Then you may hear the spirit that is part of you or attached to
you, whatever you want to call it.


   Be careful.  The spirit appears unsophisticated when it comes to mundane
things.  The Holy Guardian Angel doesn't come from here.  It does not speak
worldly language very clearly.  You may find that this spirit acts hastily.
It discovers ways that it can get your attention, like having your car rear-
ended or causing an arm to be detached.  You need to inform the spirit that
such methods are not desirable.  In many ways this relationship begins like a
new friendship between children.  Children are pure, beautiful and deadly.
They don't know when to quit or what they mustn't do.  They haven't been here
long enough to find out.  You have to occasionally say to children; "Stop
that!"  Try not to dislocate an arm or fracture an emotion when you assist
their understanding.  It's the same with the Guardian Angel.  This is a part
of you that you have shut off from the day-to-day world.  It doesn't know how
things go here.  If you tell it, it'll catch on real quick.  If you say: "No,
I don't need to learn by catching the Hong Kong flu every second week.  I
realize that this makes me real quiet so that I can listen to you; but this
does not really serve the purpose that you seek.  Let's try to work out
something better."  A person can get the impression that this is some horribly
dangerous thing.  It is possible, by prejudicing yourself, to get that effect.
If you think you are trying to conjure up the very Devil, whatever the Hell
that is, your Holy Guardian Angel is going to think: "Well, I guess that's
what he wants me to do."  Maintain a positive outlook in these proceedings.
You are training yourself as well as your spirit.  This spirit will never do
anything to harm you, if you tell it what doesn't work.  If you ask it to
protect you, it will.  In the process of asking, you open yourself up and the
parts of you that have been separated are able to work together.  There is a
passivity in that form of request.  If it is made without reservation, the
mind communicates what is needed.  If you demand and compel, or say: "Give me
this!".  You will get what you ask, not what you need.  The fine print won't
be right if you don't open up enough to provide detail.  In working by
traditional methods with demons (horrible imaginary things with terrible teeth
and bad breath) you need all kinds of protection.  If you relax that
protection for a moment, you have big problems.  Those problems come from
working with some part of yourself that doesn't hook up very well.  That's
what most of these negative demons are.  They are parts of you, parts of the
culture, and things in the world that don't get along very well.  Demons (not
the classical Daemons), terrible monsters or whatever you find in these old
books, are of that nature.  They represent sickness.  They represent mental
disorder.  They represent pain, suffering, fear, all those negative emotions.
That's why they are called devils.  Work with them very, very carefully.  It's
sometimes convenient to go through an elaborate change of things, a magical
circle, rituals performed just for this sort of purpose, special tools and so
forth.  When you cease doing such an evocation, you do not want to have
anything around that can bring the accompanying thoughts back again.  Don't go
to the Holy Guardian Angel as though it were that kind of thing.  You will
have enough trouble with this klutz.  The gods have big feet and know not
where they step.  They don't notice things until after they have stepped on
them and say: "Ulp, did I un-create something?  Oh', I'm sorry.  What were
you?"  Don't get into that kind of thing.  Housebrake the Holy Guardian Angel,
so that it no longer messes up your mundane life to get your attention.  If
you get too eager, you may loose connection a little bit.  You can't get
everything: "I want lots of money!".  "Money?  I don't know money.  We don't
have that here."  You have to use something that's within you, and you have
got to open up to communicate it.


   Once you have this much worked out, you've got the knowledge.  You've got
the conversation; you've worked out a way to get along.  Now it's time to take
a better look at the problems.  What are they?  They are the needs that made
you do this cockamamy thing in the first place.  Maybe there's somebody that's
beating you up all the time.  Maybe your family is in trouble with back-taxes.
Maybe you would like to learn something or improve your love life.  Whatever
it is, those aren't things that are proper to the Holy Guardian Angel.  The
Whole Thing is proper to the H.G.A.  Details are work for secondary spirits.
You can say that they are part of you too, or you can deal with them as
separate things.  That doesn't matter.  Once you have something going that you
can trust, the Holy Guardian Angel, you can command any needful spirit.  The
tradition is to go after the worst ones first: the Kings of the Four Quarters,
the terrible things that bring death and destruction in the world in the form
of storms and all the ills that can come from the four quarters of the earth.
If you read the old books closely, you will find that the four demon kings of
the elements usually relate to the four directions.  Some of their names are
old terms from maps, referring to north, south, east or west.  These things
are the next to master.  You use the connection that you have developed with
your Holy Guardian Angel to compel the great terrors of the world to heel.
After that you don't want to deal with them much any more.  Once you have
conquered the terrors of the world, you ask them to send more mild spirits.
Something like the damagers of the world, not the terrors, please.  These are
lesser spirits.  You master them and go on down the line.  The Abramelin book
says you can ultimately get four servants.  These aren't particularly nasty,
but they are in the chain of command.  You have established that chain of
command.  They can go and fetch bigger things as needed.  These are four
elemental servants that will attend you.


   These things are abstractions.  The higher up the line you get, the more
abstract they are.  The further down the line you get, the more they are like
a busted foot, one of the least abstract things you're likely to find short of
a stomach ache.  An archangel is the next thing to a god.  An archangel
commands great things.  Detroit might have an angel.  A family might have a
spirit.  A nation might have an archangel.  In that way, an archangel is a
spirit common to all the people in a nation.  An angel corresponds to a
smaller class, like a few people, an extended family, village or city.  For an
immediate family, especially in the sense of the way things are done and
believed in such a family, there is a spirit of that family.  What's the
spirit of the family?  "Gens" is used in anthropology to refer to a group of
related people.  It is also a word meaning a daemon.  "Genius" is a word for a
person who's intelligence influences large numbers of people.  "Genius" is
also a word meaning a particular and personal "Spirit" or "Daemon", in the
sense of the guiding intelligence inside a person.  The higher up we go, from
spirit to angel to archangel, the more powerful they are.  It's like the idea
of soul as root and tree.  A tree divides near the trunk; that's solid, the
archangel.  When it divides again into smaller parts that correspond to
angels.  The rootlets and foliage of a tree are groups of spirits.  Beyond
that, there are tiny little things in the ground that don't look like much of
anything, places where roots died, demons.  Fallen leaves are the same.
Disease is part of life.  It's the most tangible part because it's the hardest
to overlook.  Ultimately, you want to go out from your center, the Holy
Guardian Angel.  Find the great divisions of pain in your life, and master
them.  This is described in a way that seems an allegory or myth, but actually
is not.  People are conditioned to view this approach in that way.  There's no
reason on earth why you can't personify things.  Maybe they have "Person".
Animals don't have souls; or do they?  If you have a pet, you may find


   It's possible to make a mistake and pick the wrong spirit, instead of the
Holy Guardian Angel.  The H.G.A. is something that you can release yourself to
completely and still end up being the same individual you were in the
beginning.  People tend to get a little weird doing a magical retirement, so
it's a good idea to keep a diary.  With a diary, you can read old entries and
figure out how you got to where you are now.  If necessary, you can go back
again.  My favorite test is to take a break once in a while and go into a
Safeway or something like that.  If you can stand it, you're still sane.
That's the definition of sanity in this culture, able to take care of the
minimum.  Being able to endure a supermarket long enough to harmlessly obtain
food is pretty minimal.  There is a thing called a lemure or Larva.  You can
attract a hungry spirit, usually a wandering Nephesh, something that is
dependent on somebody else to stay around.  You're "it"; you've volunteered as
life-support.  Such a spirit is willing to pretend to be anything in order to
keep on sucking.  That's not the H.G.A.  That's just a trap that people fall
into, because they have been told that's all there is.  The majority of those
cases are what the Romans would call lemures or larvae, the Tibetans hungry
ghosts, and the Hassids  Dibukim.  Such spirits need attention to live.  It is
just like a failed relationship with a mate.  If that other person is
dependent on you for shelter and food or for some important but less tangible
thing, they'll do anything up to the limits of their nature to keep you the
way you are.  If you want them to be something, they will turn into it.  If
you are angry, you will tend to evoke greater anger from them, resulting in
passive reaction on your part.  The partner in such a dysfunctional
relationship may realize: "if this guy gets out of hand, all I have to do is
yell at him.  All I have to do is hit 'em once and 'es just as quiet as
anything."  People will usually do the things that get them what they want.
Not every one, sometimes people are remarkably stuck in one track.  These are
lesser spirits, whatever you want to call them, hungry ghosts, vampires...
that's what the word "vampire" really meant.  It was a member of the family
who hung around after he died, as long as you gave him useful things to do
that weren't too difficult.  Vampires aren't always considered to be monsters
who make life terrible for you; they can be good to have around.  They chase
off peddlers, robbers, whatnot.  When a stranger comes to the house, the
vampire will feel very protective of the family.  A "vampire" will pick up on
it if a person doesn't like them: "O'h, 'don't like' means I get attention!"
Then they will proceed to do more irritating things to that person.  Keeping
peace with the spirits of the ancestors is very important in cultures around
the world.  The Romans called the friendly ancestral spirits Lares and the
pesky ones Larvae.  You want Great Grand Mother's ghost to bark at strangers,
not at reasonably behaved family members.  This kind of thing isn't the Holy
Guardian Angel.  This kind of thing is what happens when something eats off of
you.  A certain amount of this is harmless, but you want to make sure that you
are in charge.  In some states of mind people leak like a sieve.  A lot of
life is being generated, not being used by the person generating it, and it's
there for the taking.  Something comes and says: "This is lunch.  How do we
make this a 24 hour diner?  Very simple.  Every time this person thinks; 'O'h
God if I haven't ...!', he turns loose all this energy.  So, let's see: 'Hay!
God I haven't!' or 'Why did I do that!' -- that's a new one.  That tastes
better.  'Your such a bummer' -- works too.  Hot damn!  'You hate hating
yourself, don't you!'  More food!".  If you ever get really depressed, between
sobs, wrenches and tremors, pick up on what you are saying to yourself.  Maybe
it isn't you talking.  Maybe it's some astral clown saying: "Watch him go!"
This kind of thing is often marked by painful ideas that relay back inwardly
to create more painful ideas.  In order to get rid of a depression feedback
loop, you've got to realize that this isn't you.  The destructive voice is not
really rational.  Jokes and humorous self-observations, the more tasteless and
jolting the better, will break this sort of cycle.  If you get that kind of
thing going, realize it isn't the Holy Guardian Angel.  That is a wrong turn.
Go back and try again.  That is a demon, and that is one of the things that
the Holy Guardian Angel is supposed to help you with.  It's probably a very
stupid demon, who is only good at picking up on things to say.

   Next month: A bit more on dealing with vampires and then on to some sight-


August 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                 PART VI -- Pedigrees & Egg Suckers. Onward.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick


   If you keep getting the same thing over again and over again, you haven't
got the Holy Guardian Angel.  You may have something useful, or you may not.
One mark of the Holy Guardian Angel is that it leads to life.  It enhances; it
adds variety; you get high.  If you feel lousy, including hangover after too
much fun, it's not the right thing.  You have heard of war?  All the miseries
in the world are some such thing as this.  As far as finding money is
concerned, if you can catch one that really can be convinced that's the only
way you will feed it, then it'll go out and find money.  Most of them, dumb as
they are, aren't that dumb.  Most of them realize that if you think that you
have money or you think that you can get money, then you'll feed them.  They
don't need to do more, and they won't.  It's very simple to think of these
other things as parasites.  As long as you provide attention, they will feed.
There are certain types that take pieces out of you when they eat, but that's
not because anything that they devour of your attention is lost.  You don't
really give anything when you feed these spirits.  What you lose is what they
do to you to get you into a feeding trough, what they have to do to you to
make you give them attention.  The Holy Guardian Angel is somewhat like this
in a superficial way; but it will listen to your complaints and try something
else.  These destructive spirits don't have that capability.  The way it was
put to me by my own father, if you find a dog that sucks eggs, you better
shoot it.  There's no way you are going to stop that dog from breaking into
your hen house and sucking eggs.  It's the same thing with a sheep killing
dog.  Once they start that, they will never quit.  If you got a dog that damn
near kills you, get rid of it.  If you got a dog that makes the neighbors so
pissed that they want to shoot you after they shoot the dog, you better do
something about that dog.  If you depend on those eggs in that chicken house
for your breakfast, which is more important, the breakfast or the dog?


  Actually, there are two useful things about depression, one rather less
useful than the other.  You can get on SSI if you are sufficiently depressed.
The other use for depression is part of the Kundalini process.  It's a way you
can develop power in the Muladhara Chakra.  Instead of just letting it spin
around in there forever, once it builds up an enormous amount of power,
realize that you are not really depressed.  You have simply turned in on
yourself over and over again.  That's why this state of mind is associated
with Saturn and melancholy.  Crowley includes such methods under the formula
of NOX.  It can be a pretty dangerous business.  Don't mess with that until
you have a good general grip on your emotions.


   As to the rest of the Abramelin procedure or process, start by finding a
subject, religious or something similar, realizing that religion doesn't have
to be the narrow thing that it is defined to be in our culture.  Next, achieve
solitude.  That is best if it's solitude with support, so that you don't have
to worry about anything.  Failing that, you can have a room in a house.
Failing that, you can have a hanging on a wall or something similar.  You can
even have a floor cloth or small carpet that you spread and sit on.  Anything
of that kind will do.  If worse comes to worse, you can invent a symbol for
yourself, something simple that you can draw on a piece of paper.  Such a
symbol can be a place, but not everyone can accomplish the work with only a
symbol as an astral temple.  Doing it with a symbol alone is a little like
trying to live off one peanut a day.


   Proceed with a three-stage process.  The first stage is: "I don't know what
I'm doing, and gradually I will learn."  That's where rigid but simple
discipline is most important.  At that stage I recommend two performances,
either one at dawn and one at sunset or at 6AM and 6PM.  Unless you go outside
a lot or live in a place exposed to the natural course of the day, you're not
going to think in terms of sunrise and sunset as much as time on a clock.
Separate your meditations by a good piece of the day, not just a few hours.
Twelve hours will do nicely.  Be very strict.  Do not miss one meditation.  If
it's to be at 6AM and 6PM, no matter what else goes on, do your meditation at
those times.  This takes planning, since the practice should be kept up
without significant failure for about three months, certainly not under three
weeks.  Do it for three months, and chances are it will take.  Once you've
gone through that, you will find that your meditation has grown more
elaborate.  You will get ideas as you are sitting and staring at a Tarot card,
picturing a flower or looking into a mirror, whatever your meditation is.  You
will spontaneously come up with ways to enhance your meditation.  About the
middle of this period, start using some of these things.  After testing such
innovations, make a selection and use the best of them consistently.  Develop
a system.  The middle part uses this system.  The end part comes when you
reach the point of listening to the inner voice.


   If you try all this without preparation, you will get lemures or depression
inducing things.  That comes of being a mental bunch of pieces with no regular
pattern.  You can't attract the one big piece that fits everything until you
are more unified in yourself.  Such a regular practice acts like bio-feedback.
With bio-feedback, the machine "beeps" wrong if you are wasting mental time.
Once you have gotten regular practice well established, it will carry on
without special effort.  You may find that after the first three weeks, you
are getting more and more done each time.  Don't expect such results after
only three weeks.  Three months of meditations twice a day is more likely to
produce such things.  Write down your experiences immediately after each
meditation so that you are able to figure out what's happened to you.  Review
your journal or diary for guidance.  Whatever this experience may be, you are
going to have to figure it out for yourself.  If somebody else gives it to
you, it's not going to be as good.  You would be constantly thinking: "I'm not
getting this right."  Develop the method yourself, and you will get it right.
It's yours.  It comes from you.  No outer standards are needed.  You're the
standard.  You are making it better as you go.  Trust no external measurement,
take no concern with somebody else's idea of what needs to be accomplished.
That's very important.


   Eventually you will get to the point where you don't have to meditate at
regular intervals.  Maybe you can skip a day and get right back into it.
After a while you may be able to skip a week.  You may skip a little bit more
time.  Instead of doing three meditations to resume where you left off, it may
only take a second meditation.  Maybe instead of six, it takes three.  These
things vary.  Numbers don't matter.  Change and proportion matter.  After a
while you may be able to put years between these meditations and take no more
to get back into them than in the first year you were doing them.  A week's
break can then be a year's break.  What's happening is this:  First of all
there is the superficial matter of conditioning.  You learn how to do it like
riding a bicycle.  It takes practice.  It takes time.  Eventually you can re-
learn it very easily.  It's not like languages.  Some ways of learning
languages can be transitory, readily forgotten.  You will reach a level that
transcends mere habituation.  Whatever your meditation, if it has pattern to
it, a strange thing will begin to happen.  Have you ever noticed that when
somebody you haven't seen in years meets you or calls you on the telephone, a
lot of times it's as though no time had gone by at all?  You might continue a
conversation you had with that person five years ago and broke off suddenly.
We live at many different rates of time.  We live conceptually, not by the
ticking of a clock.  Some things seem to have stopped.  Some things seem to be
going on.  Then an event will occur and one of those things that seemed to
stop a long time ago will continue where it left off.  It never did stop.
Some things happen in their own time.  What may have been literally three
years by the calendar amounted to no time at all in another part of you.
That's where you have to get with these meditations before you can be cut free
from the time problem.


   You must to be very disciplined to get to that place.  Discipline requires
regularity; twice a day, 6AM and 6PM.  Discipline also requires definite
things to do, with no short-cuts allowed.  There should be a pattern, a system
to your meditations, so that you are, in way of speaking, living the next one
after you have done the last one.  For example, if the meditation is to pick
up individual stones from one container and put them in another, the next
stage of that meditation is to pick up the next stone.  It doesn't matter when
you do it.  As you do it, you will have one event immediately connected to the
next, foreshadowed, foreknown and no questions.

Next month, Squaresville.


September 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                PART VII -- Flatland, Revenge of the Squares.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

  In the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin" are strange
squares made up of Latin or English letters.  To approach these, just take up
a good Hebrew lexicon.  A dictionary wouldn't help.  A lexicon gives you the
roots of words.  A dictionary may say: "In Hebrew, in order to say 'Hello',
say 'Sholom Aleichem'.  In order to say 'Hello' back, say 'Aleichem Sholom'."
Bull!  "Sholom Aleichem" is "Peace be with you".  It's just used like "hello"
in English.  A dictionary doesn't need to go further.  A lexicon always does.



The Abramelin book says: "to discover any magic" and shows this grid of
letters.  That's nice, but rank superstition.  There's this little thing full
of letters in the book.  What the hell do you do with it?  I suppose you draw
it on paper and jump around screeching a while, burn incense on it and stick
it in your pocket or something.  That's not particularly helpful.  Since the
book claims to be Qabalistic, try to figure these squares out as Hebrew words
or roots.  Hebrew spelling is more flexible than modern English spelling, and
chances are the original author was playing with word roots rather than true
words a lot of the time.  The top line is HORAH, in English.  There are a lot
of ways for transliterating from English to Hebrew.  Also, Hebrew is written
right to left, opposite to English.  When transliterating between the English
and Hebrew alphabets, Those first two letters, "HO" can be transliterated into
eh-Vau, the definite article, "The".  "RAH" is one of many words which mean a
"Mother", "Woman".  This first line can mean: "The Mother".  The second line
"OSOMA" can be transliterated as, Vau-Shin-Vau-Mem-Aleph.  Make guesses at the
letters and look in the lexicon for words that make sense.  "VaShem" ---
"Shem" means "name", especially "divine" or "holy name".  Next, take the
middle line: "ROTOR".  There are a couple of words vaguely like that in
Hebrew.  One of them means "to shape" and another means "to enclose" or "to
fence about".  Try an educated guess: "trembling enclosures".  Now, consider
the second line from the bottom "AMOSO" --  Aleph-Mem-Vau-Shin-Aleph,
transliterating English into Hebrew.  That line probably refers to "night";
there's a Hebrew word similar to this spelling.  Hebrew is flexible because it
has so many short words.  You will find almost any three letter combination if
you fish a bit.  Finally, the bottom line "HAROH" is very close to a Hebrew
word meaning "to increase" or to "wax" as the moon does, "to grow more".  What
do we have here?  If you treat this square as though it's badly spelled Hebrew
or Hebrew that's altered to make nice symmetrical patterns, you can get: "The
Mother names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase".  That didn't
come out in the first draft, but it got that way with a little effort.  What
does it mean, "the Mother"? The Abramelin book has the traditional four major
"demon" princes but also includes one more section just for Kore.  Kore is
Diana.  That's a goddess.  Interesting.  So "the Mother" might refer to Kore.
"... names the trembling enclosures of the night's increase".  This goddess
tells you about those mysteries of the night that become strong.  It sounds
like a poetical reference to the idea of Magick.  That's why it's "to discover
magic."  It's a little prayer or affirmation made into a pattern.  They're all
like that.


   This one's "to obtain the friendship of some particular person."  Some
letters are easy.  "L" is always the letter Lamed.  "A" may be Aleph; chances
are it is, but it may not mean anything.  "I" is most likely Yod; so is "Y".
With a little experience, it's not too hard to figure it out.  Taking some
liberties with secondary words, this square yields: "Divine Maid, beautiful of
breath, grant us the lordly pearl.  Protect us from harm.  We exclaim at Thy
Holy Breath."  It looks like praying to some goddess and asking her not to
give you bad breath.  You have to think, this was done in the 14th century.
People didn't take too many baths.  They sure didn't have tooth paste.  Most
couldn't even afford salt for mouth wash.  When somebody in that age opened
his mouth, you knew what he ate ten years ago.  It was quite important to be
relatively attractive to people, even if it was only to do business with them.
If people couldn't stand being near you down wind when you talked, you had a
serious economic problem.  There's a certain amount of common sense to that
square.  Another person could pick up another Hebrew lexicon or some other
approach and get an entirely different result for this square.  The results of
such work are products of meditation, not true translation of the squares.
With meditation, somebody else would get something different and both versions
would be absolutely correct.  With translation, there would be a more narrow
objective constraint on accuracy.  The process of doing this is intoxicating.
If you keep at it, you always get something interesting.  Those who devote
themselves to the symbolism of the Hebrew letters can see the letters and
their combinations as sacred things, as magical things.  To a student of
Qabalah, study of this kind actually consecrates the talisman automatically.
   Check symmetrical squares and the ones that are asymmetrical.  Experiment
by completing ones that are incomplete in the book.  Finally, try making some
of your own, using the mental states acquired through meditation.  Sit down
with a blank grid and think: "that's an 'A', that's a 'G'..."  If you work at
it, you can get way out there.  Start by writing down what you want the square
to do.  Although it's not described as part of the Abramelin system, you can
then decide on the size of the square by the system of the Olympic seals,
where 3 is for Saturn, 4 is for Jupiter, 5 for Mars, 6 for the Sun, 7 for
Venus, 8 for Mercury, and 9 for the Moon.  Make a square of that many on a
side, depending on whether the question is more appropriate to Venus or the
Sun or whatever planet.  For the Moon, you will need a lot of language, since
lunar squares are nine on a side.

Next Month: Son of Square, the Sequel.


October 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                   PART VIII -- Son of Squares, the Sequel.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

   One of my students knew somebody who had gotten into magic and hurt
himself.  That called for a new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit
of Magic".  I went home, decided the appropriate size for the square, did my
meditations and drew out a grid.  I stared at the empty spaces until I could
see what letters had to be where.  Then I wrote them down.  Testing was then
required.  Treat new squares with English letters written at random as though
they are squares from the Abramelin book.  Go back to the Hebrew lexicon and
decode as before.  Here is the new square "To heal one afflicted in the
pursuit of Magic".


The first line is an acceptable Hebrew spelling of a word meaning "good" or
"beautiful" (HB:Tet-Heh-Vau-Bet).  There is an extra vowel letter in it, but
that's alright in the manner of Hebrew spelling.  The next line is a over-lap
between two words: "Hol" (Heh-Lamed), which means "bright" and the next three
letters, using one of them twice, mean "a gathering together".  That line can
mean "Bright Covenant".  For the next row: (Yod-Bet-Lamed-Heh) Tough one.  Try
every sequential combination to see if Hebrew can be found that makes sense.
Yod-Bet can mean "wealth".  Bet-Lamed can be "Bal", which means "Lord".  "Lah"
is the negative, "without".  So: "wealth, Lord, without".  That could mean
either that you are dead broke or you aren't going to loose your money; one or
the other.  Try the positive, but that isn't necessarily the best meaning.
For the bottom line: Bet-Vau-Heh-Taw.  By the same methods, combining those
letters in order and using some of them more than once, you can get "Enter the
shining light".  Altogether: "Beauty in the bright covenant, wealth of the
Lord fails not, enter the shining light."  That's a bit euphemistic.  Beneath
the surface you have a second meaning.  Instead of interpreting "wealth of the
Lord fails not", consider that the wealth does fail.  This then is a
prescription.  "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of magic," tell the
person that everything that he got into is fundamentally a thing of beauty.
He doesn't have to fear loss of things.  He must look again into the beauty so
that all will be wealth.  There is another way of reading the square to the
effect that the person was a dead drunk and that was why he was in such bad
shape (if the Bet's are taken as Resh's, this meaning would emerge).  When
you come up with these things on your own, it's weird that they mean anything.
It's doubly weird that the meaning relates in a fashion to what you intended.
Previous familiarity with Hebrew can create a sort of virtual lexicon in the
back of one's mind that will choose meaningful patterns of letters for these
squares without conscious intervention.  That may be how these things were
developed in the first place.
   This method of analysis is only one way of approaching the material in the
back of the Abramelin book.  If you happen to be into the mysticism of the
Hebrew letters, you can use it.  If not, not.  These squares are supposed to
be a test, but it is presumed that you are studying something like Qabalah.
If you are studying something else, you'll have to test yourself another way.
Many of the squares in the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin
the Mage" are incomplete.  It's like a school work-book.  The incomplete
squares are there to meditate upon and complete.  You are told what they are
supposed to do.  You will probably find that the results of completing and
studying the squares will not be quite the same as the descriptions, but you
are not the person who originally came up with them.  The new ones that you
get will have a different quality, related to your experience in the world.

Next month, Playing in the Sand.


November 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                   PART IX -- Whip Me Daddy, 4 to the Bar.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

   The first step in the Abramelin working is to find a place to do the
working.  Next, you need a method of divination.  You can use Tarot cards,
astrology, or anything like that.  The Abramelin book mentions white river
sand.  That's a tip-off.  The form of divination that this particular author
used was geomancy.  More than that, it was probably a bit like foxmancy.
Foxmancy is a practice of divination used in Africa.  You put little bits of
food in circles traced in sand or dirt.  Each circle has one of the 16
geomantic symbols in it (vertical figures composed of four lines of dots, one
or two dots per line).  You are supposed to look for the prints left by a fox
the next day, after the fox has had a chance to come by and check out the food
during the night.  Where the fox stepped, that's what you've got.  For modern
apartment dwellers, roachmancy would be workable, but probably a little too
talkative.  Older apartments dwellers may also wish to consider ratmancy.
There are other methods of getting and using the geomantic symbols.  You will
find them written up in a number of books: "A Rectification of the Oracle of
the Yoruba" by Judith Gleason, Crowley's "Liber Gaias" (Liber XCVI) or
"Handbook of Geomancy" in the "Equinox".  The geomantic signs are related to
Astrology and have names like "Vir" for "Man", "Puela" for "Girl" and so
forth.  There are elaborate ways of working the oracle.  One method of
obtaining the geomantic symbols is to take a stick, supposed to be a camel
switch about five to eight feet long, thin and whip-like.  People often don't
understand the principle and just pick up a short stick or even a pencil
<>.  It should be a camel switch
because such a stick is long enough to vibrate.  You can get it going in a
rhythm that continues after you have stopped shaking your hand.  It won't quit
when you do.  Get a long, slender switch vibrating up and down, bring it near
the ground and move it along.  Count the number of times it hits the ground
before you lift it up again.  This trick is intended to prevent unconscious
manipulation of the number of strikes and "cheating" the divination.  If the
switch strikes an odd number of times, that's one dot.  If makes an even
number of strikes, that's two dots.  Do this four times for each geomantic
sign you need to make a complete divination.  Crowley apparently thought that
you just hit the ground until you felt like stopping.  If you do that with
direct hand motion, you don't have the element of independence that a
vibrating switch would have.  That's alright.  He learned it in England.
There aren't too many camels in England.  There's another sort of Geomancy
where you take a sand table and just go crazy in there with your hands.  It's
like finger-paints, only with sand.  Smash it, bash it, kick it about.  When
you are done, you look at it.  "Looks like a frog", whatever.  Cloudmancy
works too: "Looks like a man eating a fish".  Plastermancy -- use the sort of
plaster walls that have a complex texture, not the modern type with the little
pimples all over but the kind that looks like somebody skipped the trowel
every so often.  If you can find old fashioned linoleum, do linoleum-mancy,
(they don't sell proper linoleum for floors anymore, try to find really nifty
looking linoleum with a random pattern.  It doesn't matter what method you
use, as long as you have some way of doing divination.  You are going to need
it.  Lintmancy, TV-snowmancy, there is nothing so degrading that you can't use
it for divination.  Recall that the official way of doing divination in the
Roman State, required of certain elected officials, was augury, reading fresh
bird guts.  The famous Cicero, who wrote all those essays and was too noble
for Caesar to execute, was the official auger of the City of Rome.  Cicero's
principal job was to stick his hand up a bird's ass, pull it out and say "it's
gonna rain tomorrow."  Me, I'll take Tarot!  Divination is intended to give
you information that isn't just from you talking to yourself.  There are
levels that aren't verbal.  Those are the ways you can reach this Knowledge
and Conversation most quickly.  Verbal consciousness is tied up in social
conceits and beliefs fostered in childhood.  You need a method of divination,
like one of the ways described, to get to the next thing.

   It's good to have unusual garments.  Something comfortable, not too
distracting --robes are traditional.  As long as you aren't into expensive
cloth and things that form-fit, a robe is cheap and easy to make.  If you are
into good looking robes, you probably don't need them for this.  The basic
idea is to have some kind of clothing; it doesn't have to be robes.  You can
decorate and embroider a pair of pants and a coat to match.  Those will do
just as well.  You can also use ready-made things.  Perhaps a Japanese robe.

Next month, Interlude of This and That.


December 1994 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter
                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                       PART X -- Maps and travel games.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

   In this culture it's helpful to occupy your mind.  We have so much going on
to distract us that we have to keep the thing busy.  You can always try
standard things like Zen meditations.  You might feel better.  You might have
an experience.  If you are going to take yourself apart and put yourself back
together, you will have to have a substantial battery of these things.  Zen
meditations can do that, but they are a lot more than they seem.  For example,
the sound of one hand clapping isn't accomplished by snapping the out-
stretched fingers of your right hand to your right palm.  That's just a joke
to frustrate a Zen master.  The sound of one hand clapping is symbolized by
holding the right hand vertically before the body, parallel to center line and
palm to left.  Combine that with the sudden sense of sound where there is no
sound.  Each separate Koan will produce another thing that can't really be
described in words.  You must discover these meanings within yourself.  There
are systems of koans.  Koans are brief verses of apparent paradox, either by
internal contradiction or irrelevancy to context.  Koans are intended to
produce conceptual stress for resolution by sudden insight.  If you have a
book that says: "Try this one", you are being entertained.  A teacher can tell
you which one to do next and say: "Ok, you've got that one.  Move on."  You
can try Alan Watts' books: "The Spirit of Zen and The Way of Zen.  You need a
system because you are doing something more than one little thing.  Most of
these little meditations are sold for a buck as entertainment.  Some of them
are better than that.  In this culture you need such things.  In some cultures
it is sufficient to have chants and koan-style meditations.  The problem with
those is the need for a teacher.  With the Abramelin approach, you are the
starting teacher; and you are seeking the ultimate teacher, called the Holy
Guardian Angel, or the Higher Self, &c.  You can do this sort of thing here
with a human teacher or a book, but the chances of it working are less than in
some other places.  This culture is full of yammerings and "belief that you
know things".  In many other cultures, family can be a major problem.  In this
culture, family tends not to be quite what it is elsewhere.  Here, family is
often as not people you pick deliberately and have a hard time finding.  In
other cultures family is what you were born into.  You have no choice, and you
are not leaving.  That goes for whom you marry too; and, oh yes, you are going
to marry.  The names of your kids were figured out 30 generations before you
came along.  In such an environment, you need to get away before you can do
much, but you still need things that are familiar to you.  In the West,
intellectual things may be very much more familiar than human things.

   Consider the ancient map carved on a rock in the Camonica valley in the
Alps, one of the earliest maps known.  Now you can drop a buck at a gas
station and pick up a map, all the while complaining that they used to be
free.  In those days, the idea of shaping a picture of something that you can
never see but only walk was quite an outstanding leap in ideas.  That
principle has been used in a lot of cultures.  Some of them go hog wild and
make giant shapes, like Von Daniken tried to sell to people as landing fields
for space ships.  Why would anybody do that?  The Cerne Abbas Giant is a thing
like that in England.  It's an enormous figure of a man with a club and a
prodigious hard-on carved in the chalk on a hillside in Dorset.  In South
America you find some giant figures laid out in desolate places, but this
thing was definitely maintained for 1500 years or more.  Every few years
somebody had to go over it and re-cut the sod to keep the exposed chalk
outline visible.  People thought it was some Celtic relic.  Then somebody took
an infrared photo from an aircraft and realized that the arm holding a club
originally also had a rug-like drape.  Evidently that part had been abandoned
over the centuries while the main figure was re-cut and renewed.  The drape
positively identifies the figure as Hercules, with club and lion skin.  A
bunch of home-sick Romans carved it there, and it's been kept up ever since.
It must have impressed people.  The Giant can be seen poorly from the ground,
but some of these great figures are only visible from the air.  Such figures
are examples of order.  It can be a valuable initiatory exercise to trace
ancient mysteries "on the ground" while formulating an image in the mind,
comprehending in toto what the "eyes" can see only in part.

   The method I chose to organize my own work was the 231 gates.  They
comprise all the combinations of pairs of Hebrew letters.  You can
systematically arrange them.  I meditated on each of them twice in a standard
pattern.  That was done at 6AM and 6PM for a month or two.  Then I had a one
day break and resumed.  Finally, I got to the point that it didn't matter how
long the break took.  An example: the thirteenth pair of Hebrew letters is
HB:Aleph-Nun.  I wrote down their numerical working-out.  You add fifty for
Nun, one for Aleph, normally not using the final values of the letters, to end
up with 51.  You can reduce that to 6.  That's 6 on the Tree of Life for
Tipheret.  Also, the Hebrew letter Vau is 6.  Aleph in the Golden Dawn system
corresponds to the Fool in Tarot and Nun to Death.  That's two Tarot trumps
from the two Hebrew letters.  If you look up in the Sepher Yetzirah, 777 or
Paul Foster Case's little book, Highlights of the Tarot, you can find other
stuff.  Aleph and Nun have their name spellings, which can yield other numbers
and correspondences.  Those names mean "Ox" and "Fish".  Tipheret means
"beauty".  That gives you two or three words for meditation.  You can take the
astrological correspondences: Air for Aleph, Scorpio for Nun and Sun for
Tipheret.  There are directions in space associated with the letters: Aleph is
a vertical central line above to below.  Nun is the direction to the
Southwest.  That may seem strange, so try sitting down and imagining a line
straight down through the middle of your body.  Then imagine another line
paralleling that first one to the Southwest.  Just think about it.  It's very
abstract, no conditions, no complications, not a lot of stray associations.
It's a simple and pure meditation.  There are traditional things associated
with the letters.  Aleph is sometimes thought of as the Breath of Life,
Spirit, Ruach.  Nun sometimes has the qualities of change and motion
associated with it.  These are interpretations that are given to those
letters.  You can say "Life moves", "Life changes" -- that's Aleph and Nun.
The main thing is to have a system that yields a lot of compound subjects for
meditation.  Each individual subject fans out into many other subjects, some
very abstract and some very simple.  There are other things that are
associated with these letters, e.g. "Intelligences", somewhat later than the
old Sepher Yetzirah, but associated with the letters and Sephirot.  In one
variation of that tradition, Aleph is called the "Fiery" or "Scintillating
Intelligence", Nun the "Imaginative Intelligence".   Meditate on that:
thinking that is fiery or scintillating, thinking that's imaginative and
brings out new things.  Paul Case liked to associate the 12-tone scale of the
piano keyboard with Hebrew letters.  If you are into Music you can play E-
natural against G-natural for Aleph and Nun to meditate on that sound
combination.  The Golden Dawn had four colors for each.  If you are artistic,
you can meditate on those colors.  If you are not presently musical or
artistic, here's a reason to explore those interests.  All Hebrew letters are
classified into several groups.  Aleph is called a Mother Letter.  Nun is the
sixth Single Letter.  There are properties and traditions that apply to them.
The Mother Letters are the primal sounds.  The Single Letters are compounded
of those sounds.  The Double Letters are variations on those sounds.  Here is
a primal thing giving an issue, Aleph a Mother Letter and Nun a Single Letter.
  Look up these Hebrew letter pairs in a dictionary or lexicon.  It turns out
that there are a lot of two-letter words in Hebrew.  Aleph and Nun can go
either frontwards or backwards.  Once you have words to play with, you can
figure out what they mean.
   Sit down.  Take every one of these combinations of correspondences and
write down the result of thinking or meditating about them.  Do that even if
it doesn't make sense.  Examples for Aleph-Nun: "The Ox falls past the Sun.
The Ox is stuck tight in the spinning rounds of the Fish who chases his tail."
Well, you've obviously got to do something more than just saying "Ox", "Sun"
and "Fish".  Taking the elemental and astrological: "Air blows past the sun.
The maddened bull rushes into the nest of scorpions (scorpio)".  Play with
these things.  This is the first pass.  A nice thing about the 231 gates;
there are two ways of organizing them.  You can hit each gate twice without
having to do it all in the same succession.  The first pass runs through
Aleph-Bet, Aleph-Gemel, Aleph-Dalet, Aleph-Heh, Aleph-Vau, and so on.  The
next time it's Bet-Aleph, Bet-Gemel, and so on.  Each time that you start with
another letter, repeat as many of the previous gates as there have been
letters before that current one.  The second time around, instead of just
lining them up and checking them out with simple meditation, sit and try to do
automatic writing.  After meditating once on a particular pair of letters,
mechanical comparisons of correspondences won't be necessary.  Just get into
it.  In the case of Aleph-Bet, there are 21 meditations before you hit it
again as Bet-Aleph.  Write down the feelings and thoughts: Nun-Aleph -- "The
son of the sun enters the world but to die and to rise again.  You Oh Lord,"
&c., &c.  Eventually this will evolve out into something more, one way of
working with the Abramelin system.

Next month: On your own.


January 1995 e.v. Thelema Lodge Calendar/Newsletter

                             An Abramelin Ramble,
 with visits to roadside attractions along the way and sundry personal advice.

                    PART XI -- Junk behind the back seat.

           Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
                         Copyright (c) Bill Heidrick

Some scraps of travel notes and we are done:

   In order to make use of any system, you have to learn the system and get it
working.  The 231 Gates of the Yetzirah is the system I've used.  I extended
that working considerably, just by taking more time as it became possible.
The present one I am meditating on is Shin-Bet or Bet-Shin.  Crowley
took his Abramelin meditation system from the work of John Dee.  There are a
series of Calls, organized and progressively difficult.  Crowley was able,
after a couple of failures, to make a go of that.  He tried it in Scotland
with the Golden Dawn "Shin of Shin" ritual, and it petered out.  He tried it
in Mexico and only got a little way.  He went into the Arabian desert, paraded
Victor Neuburg around in fancy dress and got side-tracked briefly, but he
managed to accomplish the thing, as any can see in "Vision and Voice".
   The main thing that you need in this world is to learn how to use what you
already have.  It works that way in meditation as well.  If you take an old
system and don't pay too much attention to an old teacher, then you might
develop a light of truth in that old system that no one ever knew before.
That's new.  Or perhaps, something of it was forgotten, and rediscovering the
forgotten part is what you need to do.  In this work, it is necessary that
everything be new.  Yet, the pattern will always be old.  That is not a
contradiction.  Everything that you do from the pattern is new to you.  By
using a preexisting pattern, something old in that sense, you don't have to
start from scratch.  If you want to make a drawing, you get a piece of paper.
You can make the paper yourself, an entertaining thing that one might like to
try; but that is not the best way to make a drawing.  It's the same here.  You
need a paper, a piece of paper to write yourself upon.  That "paper" should be
an existing system.  If you originate that system yourself, it may or may not
work; but you will be certainly wasting a lot of precious time.  You will also
likely end up with an experience that you can't explain to anybody.  The
biggest problem for people who get deeply into these things, as I have found
and seen, is that they get so far removed that they can't communicate their
experiences to others.  Such folk get very very lonely and seem very very
strange.  Why stand on the sea-shore and reach as high as you can?  Why not
stand on a mountain top and reach higher?  The mountain top is there already.
You don't have to make your own mountain of sand.  That's the principle.

   There are various rituals and things to get into.  Consider John Dee's
original version of the Enochian Squares.  That's a magical procedure worked
out in Elizabethan times.  He even called it "Enochian" from the legendary
Book of Enoch.

   If you can get situated in a little hut in the wilds, you have it made.
But if you can't find a lovely sylvan setting out of a Chinese or Japanese
dream, you are just going to have to lump it with a corner of your apartment.

   Crowley had a bit of a sense of humor.  Consider the Abramelin square
printed in the "Equinox" just in front of his article on Geomancy.  That one
is titled "To undo Magic".  Also, there is a similar square placed just behind
the title page of "The Goetia", a portion of the "Lesser Key of Solomon".
It's another one of the Abramelin squares to undo magic.  Tasteless trick, I
call it.

   If you get into some method of art, by all means incorporate it into this.
Embroidery of magical squares is perfectly workable.

   You will get pretty pictures if you can meditate enough.  They don't mean
anything?  Maybe they do.  In the 231 gates method, it is common to draw
elaborate diagrams or mandalas, such as a combination of all of the other
letters placed between the two Hebrew letters, e.g. Tzaddi and Hay.  Every
other letter is there, so in a sense this shows all the things that pass
between the gates of Tzaddi and Hay, between the Star and the Emperor Trump.
Such talismans and power drawings proliferate with this method.


   S  A  T  O  R                Sow
   A  R  E  P  O                and reap
   T  E  N  E  T                hold to
   O  P  E  R  A                the work
   R  O  T  A  S                of the cycle

To know all things Past and Future in general.

   M  I  L  O  N        a night's lodging or rest
   I  R  A  G  O        to alarm, terrify tremble
   L  A  M  A  L        "to God" a name of Solomon
   O  G  A  R  I        to cry, chatter
   N  O  L  I  M        the soiled ones

   In a place of rest, tremble before the God of Solomon and strangely utter
concerning mortal things.

To know things past regarding Enemies.

K  O  S  E  M   Qof-Shin-Mem        oracle, divination
O  B  O  D  E   Ayin-Bet-Dalet-Heh  servants
S  O  F  O  S   Samekh-Vau-Pehfinal to be fulfilled
E  D  O  B  O   Dalet-Vau-Bet Bet-Ayin-Vau  pine away; prayer
M  E  S  O  K   Mem-Samekh Ayin-Qof-Chet    pining;oppression

   Take an oracle about servants who were sent away; about the purpose of
death bringing prayers that make the miserable more miserable.
   Discover one who serves harm and thievery; weaken away concealment.

To cause any spirit to appear, and take ... the form of a Bird.

(In Hebrew, English direction)

    Shin  Aleph Tet   Aleph Nun          The adversary
    Aleph Dalet Aleph Mem   Aleph        of man
    Tet   Aleph Bet   Aleph Tet          becomes pleasant
    Aleph Mem   Aleph Dalet Aleph        in a garment
    Nun   Aleph Tet   Aleph Shin         extended.

Diary of the square:  While finishing this, a call from M-A.  She was sitting
at a resort, by a pool.  A sudden gust of wind and the large umbrella
sheltering a table by her chair was caught up.  She rose from her seat and
took a couple of steps.  The aluminum shaft of the umbrella struck down into
the chair she had just vacated, piercing the back at the level her heart would
have been, had she not left the spot.

To be beloved by a Woman:

(In Hebrew, English direction)

     Ayin  Heh   Dalet Yod   Dalet Aleph Heh
     Heh   Zain  Yod   Resh  Vau   Chet  Aleph
     Dalet Yod   Lamed Aleph Qof   Vau   Dalet
     Yod   Resh  Aleph Chet  Aleph Resh  Yod
     Dalet Vau   Qof   Aleph Lamed Yod   Dalet
     Aleph Chet  Vau   Resh  Yod   Zain  Heh
     Heh   Aleph Dalet Yod   Dalet Heh   Yod

   The beloved shines forth her living breath as the burning scent of cinnamon
bark.  She is shy and white as the moon.  Behold the tree of striving
penetrate the whiteness deeply.  Sing out in strength at fulfillment.

From Yod-Dalet-Yod-Dalet-Heh, Zain-Resh-Chet, Resh-Vau-Chet, Dalet-Lamed-Qof,
Qof-Dalet-Heh, Yod-Resh-Heh, Dalet-Vau-Qof, Dalet-Qof-Lamed, Chet-Vau-Resh,
Chet-Resh-Zain, Heh-Dalet-Dalet, Dalet-Yod.

New Square:  To send away afflictions that come from pets.

(In Hebrew, English direction)

Chet  Yod   Yod    Mem   Vau   Shin  Mem    Yod   Shin
Aleph Chet  Aleph  Dalet Bet   Heh   Nun    Yod   Mem
Qof   Aleph Koph   Heh   Mem   Heh   Peh    Aleph Taw
Nun   Aleph Tzaddi Yod   Aleph Lamed Ayin   Dalet Heh
Vau   Aleph Taw    Aleph Tet   Aleph Dalet  Aleph Vau
Heh   Dalet Ayin   Lamed Aleph Taw   Tzaddi Aleph Nun
Taw   Aleph Qof    Heh   Mem   Heh   Koph   Aleph Qof
Mem   Yod   Nun    Heh   Bet   Dalet Aleph  Chet  Aleph
Shin  Yod   Mem    Shin  Nun   Mem   Yod    Yod   Chet

   Live each day in the Sun.  Join in kinship with the Sea.  Abandon sadness
and noise --speak the sign.  A blooming shoot, divine adornment.  A mist
conceals the sickness.  Shout joyfully, in the World delight at plenty.  Bring
this sign to the noise amid sounds of beauty.  All kinds of falsehood flee the
friend.  A gift deals with smell by the sign of the Most High.

(In Hebrew, English direction)

    Heh   Ayin  Resh Aleph Heh        The Mother
    Vau   Shin  Vau  Mem   Aleph      names the
    Resh  Vau   Tet  Vau   Resh       trembling bound
    Aleph Mem   Vau  Shin  Vau        of the night's
    Heh   Aleph Resh Vau   Heh        increase.

  To Discover any Magic, [To be done on red satin with green grid, letters in
black; attached in yellow.]



                                 7/22/71 e.v.

     Upon the plane a thousand teachers.  Each is true.  Each says all the
others lie.  Each teaches a tale of unraveled thread.  Each speaks of warp and
woof.  Each casts a net to catch souls.  Each tells truth with lies.
     Find a faith.  Stand firm in it.  Be baptized with water and with fire.
Affirm the opposite of the faith.  Then you shall baptized with piety and
     Seek ever the opposite in every thought.  Only through negation may truth
flow.  Set two legs upon the ground.  Raise two arms to heaven.  Thus you
burrow and fly.

     A child sits in the temple.  Learned men ask patronizing questions.

     How old are you?

How young are you?

     Who is your father?

My child.

     Who are you?

Who am I not?

     Whence did you come?

Where I am going.

     What do you know of the Law?

Only what I Will to Know.

     The doctors of the place are confused.  They cry aloud: "Who has taught
such devilish lies to a child?  Who has schooled such insolence?"
     The child, thinking the questioning still proceeding, points to an empty
room behind a veil and says: "He taught me!"
     Since the shedding of blood in the sanctuary is forbidden, the elders
tell the child that he is holy and that he should depart.  This seems the only
     The child walks out of the temple and journeys back to his village.  His
home is poor.  He enters an empty room after lifting a bit of cloth which
serves as a door.
     The priests of the temple go on worshiping outside their Holy of Holies.
The Child dwells in His.


Page 44

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