Monday, July 4, 2016

Elie Wiesel Ancestor Work

Stolen from 'Rare View' Blog, sorry
While by no stretch of the imagination is a first generation, white, lower middle class, Catholic son of a Forgotten Australian and a Dutchwoman from the eastern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia a descendant of the tower of literature that is Elie Wiesel. I would like to remember his pivotal contribution to the examination of the Human Soul that is an outgrowth of his Nobel Prize winning autobiography, "Night". I will work to remember him in my deeds as a Shoah Educator, passionate advocate for Civil and Religious Rights and future Gur.

Vale Elie Wiesel, ancestor.

In memory of his work and the delicious irony that is an American War Office Propaganda film;
"Don't Be a Sucker" was posted by The Magpie Mason recently, and sits perfectly.
Once we are divided, we fall.

I close with the sobering knowledge that over 33,000 Western Australians voted for the Right Wing, Xenophobic 'One Nation' Party in this weekends Senate election; the fourth largest primary vote in the State...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Re-approaching the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram


(This is an ironic post. A group I am a member of just did a training session on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram last week. I started this post in March, 2016).

My personal religious views have changed over the last few years; with this is mind I have decided to re-approach my magical work with my new religious point of view consciously part of the procedure. This has been both confronting and illuminating to my growth.

This post is bitsy and relies on expressing things that are difficult to express. The post is a whole, to be read as parts and whole (if that made sense to you, then the post will work for you).

In particular I have found the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (LRP) to be a very powerful study of the changes to my magical process. In particular, the power of the names being invoked, my deeper understanding of Hebrew (still terrible though!) and the role that the Spheres, Angels and humans are to play in the Universe as Hashem has decided. The LRP names the forces that are to be invoked and are involved in the ritual. They are not really forces per say, but are part of, and an expression of, Hashem's will to align the universe with Hashem's will.

When pronouncing the Hebrew names of the Archangels; the El at the end of each name is particularly important. El refers to Hashem and denotes the role that each Archangel plays in maintaining creation in alignment with Hashem's will. The flow from this understanding is key to implementing the pentagrams in their side of the ritual space. The first sound of the name is their designation and reason for creation. You link the names of the Archangels to the name of Hashem that is allocated to that direction.

The LRP has an elemental focus that contains an allocation of the cardinal directions with the four Archangels and builds within their forms symbols of the elements. This indicates the importance of working with the elements within Malkuth. The elements make up and are essential to Malkuth as part and whole. Malkuth should not be disdained, but accepted as part of the whole.

Separation of the Archangels from Hashem is impossible, identifying the Archangels as Hashem is impossible, the six rayed star is key...

This is a complex issue, the LRP cannot be ignored for it's importance and relevance to practice. I can see why it was the only magic that members of the original Golden Dawn practised for years in some cases.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Magic in being Mystical

Hasidism is not traditional Judaism as recorded in the Torah.

It is a system created by the Hasidic revolution that swept across Eastern Europe due to the inspirational and almost Messianic efforts of the Baal Shem Tov, Israel ben Eliezer (1698-1760). It was born in a time when Judaism in Eastern Europe was at a low spiritual ebb and needed mystical support.

Ongoing pogroms (Cossack Uprisings 1648-1654) in Russia and violent unrest in Poland, the invasion of the Ottoman Empire of 1672-76 and the ongoing conflict over large areas of Poland by the Russian Empire lead to a chaotic and dangerous time for minorities in Eastern Europe. The influence of local strongmen and vast military campaigns tore up the contract of normality that had existed in Jewish Eastern Europe for over 100 years.

At the same time as this physical danger, spiritually rocking the Jewish world was the failed Messiah and apostasy of Sabbetai Zevi; the Messianic and eventually anti-Jewish movement of Jacob Franks and conflict between different schools of thought over Kabbalah and mysticism during the 17th and 18th Centuries. All of this lead to a chaotic and spiritually draining time for Yisrael in Eastern Europe.

Hasidism is at its core a Ashkenazim movement; as the rest of Yisrael did not experience the same pressures and situations. It is the result of the unique conditions, culture, language and experiences. The most obvious thing that non-Hasidic Jews point out as the difference between Orthodoxy and Hasidism is the role of the Rabbi, or Rebbe as he (always a he!) is called in Yiddish. These men are almost revered as living links to Hashem and provide spiritual, financial, personal and all types of advice to their followers.

One of the core lessons and skills of the Tzaddik's was the telling of profound and intensely deep lessons within the provision of stories. Stories of the activities of the Rebbes, stories of miracles they had performed, lesson they had given and conflicts with the sins of Yisrael. These stories are told, retold and examined for their spiritual and religious lessons. I am currently taking a course in the stories of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov run by his Hasidism. Many of these stories are very complex, many are simple. Some of them can even be as short as a few sentences or chapters in length. I have a number of collected sayings in my library and I'll often spend a lot of time reading through them, trying to find the core of their teachings.

By spending time with the Rebbe's and trying to reconstruct their lives and teachings we are projected into a time where Torah became part of everyday life. Instead of the complex theological and dry debates of the establishment, Hasidism gave ordinary uneducated and poor Jews the opportunity to engage in the bringing of Mosiach and the end of suffering on Earth. Hasidism emphasised the presence of Hashem in the everyday. Simple daily chores and actions became mystical when imbued with the theories and mystical attitudes of the Rebbes, recalling Hashem and dedicating everything to contemplating Hashem. The act of working a field or another trade were thus filled with a mystical power that connected the Jew to Hashem and his plan for the world. Charity was a key, in thought and deed, Joy was another and was the watchword of many Hasids. By joyously following the Halakha and rulings of their Rebbe; Hasids were able to cleave to Hashem in a mystical, almost magical relationship that gave them hope and purpose in life. The presence of Kabbalah and other magical formulas were inherent to the Hassidic way of life. Rebbe's were capable of great miracles, could ascend to the Holy Seat and beg on behalf of lost Jewish souls. They could identify souls that had returned to Earth to fulfil a certain role or perform an act that was essential to Hashem's plan. Rebbe's could open the gates of Heaven to allow the blessings of Hashem to descend on their congregations. They could say a word to an individual and change their whole life journey and purpose. They were magical because of their intense cleaving to Hashem and understanding of his plan and Creation. Many of the miracles that Rebbes and their followers have attributed to them can be moved into and likened to ceremonial magic. Rituals, prayers, working with aspects of creation that are behind the scenes, linked to specific ceremonial dates, festivals and astronomical events. Their miraculous relationship can be linked to that intricate life long commitment to trying to focus all of their acts to Hashem and giving thanks for ALL situations no matter whether they are good or bad, feast or famine.

Modern Rebbe's are not always considered in the same way as the original Rebbes as many scholars track a decline in the quality of Rebbes equal to the increase in quantity of Rebbes over time. Stratification, splits, conflict and an increasing authoritarian approach by some Rebbes has caused a decline in the overall appreciation of Hasidic life by non-Hasidic Jews; but this is not necessarily true for all Hasidic Dynasties (and many of them are dynasties with formal Courts similar to autocratic rulers of the 'old country). There are still true Tzaddik's building their communities links to Hashem and being real leaders of Hasidic thought.

My favourite story collection is a relatively new text of Hasidic tales from the Shoah (the Holocaust) and how the faith and miraculous works of Tzaddik's managed to help carry and support many of the Hasidic believers through this event. Some of the greatest stories (in my opinion) are about Yisrael Spira z'l the Bluzhever Rebbe. He observed such great power amongst Jews in the camps that he had to tell their stories as testaments to their lives and belief. He was a true Tzaddik.

The Baal Shem Tov, the Arizal, DovBer, Nachman of Breslov, the Angel there are hundreds of individuals with amazing lives and relationships with Hashem.

Also, a modern approach to this idea is examined in Radzyn which is an amazing combination of art, animation, storytelling and mysticism staged at the start of WW2 and the Shoah. Please, visit this site and explore. The stories of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in any form are too amazing to ignore, especially the annotated versions available through the Breslov Institute.

Please, please, please spend the time to explore these amazing individuals and their stories.



Monday, February 8, 2016

Hasids got me trippin'!

When I was a younger man, my father told me (in between swigs of his 16th beer of the evening) that I should always try to cut out the middleman. It's probably one of the very few good pieces of advice he ever gave me, it took me a long time to realise this particular gem but now; I'm a regular at our local fruit wholesalers, buy in bulk from friends and I can be found at warehouse sales every now and then.

The same can be said for my spiritual journey. It has taken me years to get to where I am now. I've spent that time looking, exploring and investigating. But returning to the Source over time.
There has never really been a time where I have not acknowledged and believed in who I now refer to as Hashem.

My Masonry has given me a great foundation (ha) in symbolism, ritual and seeing the power (Hashem) behind what we physically see. It has opened me up to occult thought and brought me to some amazing depths and horrific highs.

My magical journey has been guided by my contact with individuals and non-individuals as well as the steady rhythm of Masonry in the background. I have turned more to the Golden Dawn system of magic as it relies heavily on the Jewish thought pattern and religious thinking. The Cabbalistic Cross and the LBRP/LIRP carry aspects of the Mincha (afternoon prayers) and Psalm magic is literally 70% of the contents of the Siddur (Jewish Prayer book). While this may be due to the appropriation of Hebrew as a magical language due to the nature of Hebrew itself (numerology and the symbolism of every letter); Iit may have more to do with a saying that the sages gave us: There are 70 facets to Torah. This means that every chapter, every verse, every sentence, every word and every letter can be viewed and explored in 70 different ways. With this multitude of ideas and occult ways of thinking, Judaism offers a surprising amount of territory to explore.

I have been delving into the sayings, stories and lives of the Rebbe's of the Hasidic revolution in the 1700's to today. The Hassidic movement changed the focus of Judaism away from the legalistic and complex wrangling between scholars to something that would appeal to the Jew of the street. There was a renewed focus on putting Hashem before you in all things, from doing your day job, eating, talking playing suffering and rejoycing. They also added in a massive dose of Mysticism and Kabbalistic teachings as well as a helping of practical self help and care for Yisrael; all Jews no matter who they where and where they were on the road towards Hashem.

This is an indication of where my magic is going and has made significant impacts on my ritual and areas of interest.

The most interesting thing that I have found is that the sayings and stories of the Rebbe's possess something that is eternal and ineffable. One of  the introductions to their stories begins with this statement; "These stories are not necessarily true, but no one could ever agree that they were false".

I'll finish this quick update with the final words of Zusha z'l.

The story is told of Zusha, the great Chassidic master, who lay crying on his deathbed. His students asked him, "Rebbe, why are you so sad? After all the mitzvahs and good deeds you have done, you will surely get a great reward in heaven!"
"I'm afraid!" said Zusha. "Because when I get to heaven, I know God's not going to ask me 'Why weren't you more like Moses?' or 'Why weren't you more like King David?' But I'm afraid that God will ask 'Zusha, why weren't you more like Zusha?' And then what will I say?!"



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Is it on your side?

Torah, read it.

Well I have been dealing with some pretty significant things over the last few months. I apologise for the lack of posts (my 2 wonderful followers!) but I have been struggling with the only eternal issue that matters (at least to me) the drive towards the divine.

My intense time overseas at the start of the year; at the heart of humanities holiness; while dealing with the most destructive period of time in history has raised significant doubts in my fight to become closer to the divine.

I have embraced a stronger relationship with G-d, by which I mean the G-d of Abraham and Issac, Moses and Samuel. I have been reading the Torah daily, arguing with my more knowledgable friends and attempting to get to Shule when I can. I have found the words of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Abraham Kook and the Psalms to be where my heart is focussed these days. This has not really changed my approach to my Masonic system; the removal of the Saints John from my liturgy has not really been a problem. I have not replaced them with a Torah equivalent, I am waiting to see what manifests through my research and meditation on the issue.

I am not 'going Jew', even though I have been asked that in recent history (said like it was a bad thing? I'm pretty sure it's not a bad thing). I am a Noahide. I take the seven commandments to Adam and Noah from G-d as my guide. I contemplate the Unity of G-d and the majesty of his unity. I revere the mystical connection between my creator and I through prayer, ritual and action. I have discovered a stronger link between my Masonic system and my faith now. It feels as though I have swept away a whole facade that got in the way of my interaction with my system and G-d.

I love it and life is better for it.



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Walking Away From the Big JC


I've been a busy boy over the last 6 months. I realise I haven't written anything in a while, this is mostly because of the business of family life, having to work and trying to maintain my personal practice. While I usually try to commit some of my thoughts into writing at least once every three weeks, well it's been really hard keeping up with my previous schedule.

So, I sit here with my (truly awful) lukewarm cup of tea in a post winter cold room (chilly tiles=cold feet) trying to shake a sense of despondency. I have been spending a lot of my time reading through some of my earlier notes and a massive change has occurred in my personal magical practice, it has been a slow thing, but viewed over the long term it is a significant shift. While I have always worked within a Christian framework (it is the culture I have grown up in, live in and to a great extent, think in) I have been finding more and more of my personal religious beliefs moving away from the Christian-ness of its past. If something leaves and creates a vacuum, something will come in to fill that space to ensure it is full. What is the replacement? I haven't quite figured that out. I have been focusing on Hebrew and my daily practice so far.

I have the feeling that this change in my feelings comes from a few different things.

  1. My travels around the place and some time I spent in Jerusalem
  2. My initiation into a new order and the changes it has wrought
  3. The normal stresses and everyday pressures that influence thought and interactions
  4. Doing some Biblical work and coming away unconvinced 
I have encountered some major flaws in my previous understanding and I have found that I have been unable to find the glue to put my knowledge back together. I have been unable to make the same leaps I used to, and I have found that no matter where I look and who I speak to to discuss the issue I am unable to get back to my previous mindset.

I have been exploring the Noahide Laws and B'nai Noach and regularly spend time reading through Torah and discussing Torah and Talmud with my Jewish friends, I may actually be trending towards Judaism as a future life path.

Anyway, enough for now. I've had a big day discussing the role of Jesus as the Passover offering with my students...



Monday, May 26, 2014

Simple is as simple does

One of the problems with Magical Orders and Magicians is we constantly desire more knowledge. Generally I believe enquiry is a good thing, but often I find myself not achieving mastery of a skill before moving on to something more complex. This is, in my opinion, a symptom of our current state of generational affairs and an issue which will cause many problems in the future. I can use the example of the original Golden Dawn order as a great example. Minimal Magic in the beginning, minimal magic in the middle, some more at the top, but not much more.

Mastery of a skill is essential to evolve and incorporate that skill into your 'normal' sphere of experience. Using Martial Arts as an example, the grooving of action in certain situations is an essential part of training. Working to step a certain way, move your body a certain way or respond appropriately to aggression need to be experience over and over again. Repetitive, mind numbingly repetitively occurring actions. Step, block punch, step, block punch, step, block punch. Finally the reaction becomes normal and part of the way you react and interact with/to the world.

Magic should be this way too. I don't care if you just did a powerful grimoire based evocation of the seventeenth demon of the outer gap using Selibus the Heretics fourth method. Is the BRP and the Middle Column part of your existence. Do you know intimately the basics? Can you perform the Cabalistic Cross correctly with evocations and inner work fully aligned? Does the Hebrew sing to you? Is it part of your existing mind? Can you elevate yourself using these simple tools? Is it a snap to drop into your meditative/magical state?

If you can, then, you, are, awesome!

If you cannot, well, maybe drop all that other "higher" magic and BECOME magical in the everyday using basics that alter you. Magic is not a weekend only thing. It is 24/7, 365 trying to become more than the lame meatbag yu used to be. Yes. It is hard graft, but hey, it is more than worth it.