Saturday, December 31, 2011

Corrected Mazzaloth Polyhedral Qamea

Finally...the corrected version of the Mazzaloth Polyhedral Qamea. Please refer to my earlier post of 9/23/11 to see why it had to be updated to this version.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Book of the Concourse of the Watchtowers

Apologies for the long hiatus. I've been busy working on my Concourse of the Watchtowers book which is nearly finished. I will have more details soon. In the meantime, here is my draft of the cover.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Polyhedral Qamea of Mazzaloth

Chic and I recently wrote an article entitled "Musings on the Magic Squares" for the Hermetic Virtues Magazine (Volume 5, Edition 17 - Autumnal Equinox 2011), In it, we describe some of our own observations and musings about the magical squares, based upon personal meditation gained through Vault meditations. The three areas covered by our "musings" include Geometric Gematria, Polyhedral Qameoth, and Truncated Pyramid Qameoth.

Some  of our "musings" concerns the creation of three-dimensional polygon magical squares that we call Polyhedral Qameoth (polycams for short). By applying the magical squares to the platonic solids and other polygons, we not only create 3-D versions of some of the magic squares, we can also create 3-D versions of the various sigils traced on the traditional planetary Qameoth, traced from number to number and from side to side.



One polycam that did not make it into our article was that of Mazzaloth, the doubly-even magic square of the Zodiac, based on a 12 x 12 grid of numbers, used for making zodiacal sigils. This magic square was first published in the article "Mysteria Geomantia" by Adam Forrest (The Golden Dawn Journal Book 1: Divination, reprinted as Basics of Magic: The Best of the Golden Dawn Series: Book One: Divination).

The platonic solid used for the Mazzaloth square is the dodecahedron or twelve-sided figure. Each line of the magic square is used on one of the sides of the figure. We don't consider it as elegant as the other polycams presented in our "musings" article, but it can be useful for creating 3D zodiacal sigils.



The current issue of Hermetic Virtues Magazine can be found here:

UPDATE 9/23/11:

RE: The Mazzaloth Polyhedral Qamea: We realized that our line division of the Mazzaloth Square needed adjusting. The revised schematic of the polycam is included here. As you can see Line 1 and Line 12 are now at opposite ends of the figure, with Line 2 mirroring Line 11, Line 3 mirroring Line 10, etc. (I will have the full revised polycam posted shortly.)

At the time of this writing I am considering color options for the sub-zodiacal "Units" of the Mazzaloth Polycam:  

(1) Side 1 Unit 1:  Red/Red for Aries of Aries;  Side 12 Unit 144: red-violet/red-violet for Pisces of Pisces   

      OR  

(2) Side 1 Unit 1:  Yellow/Yellow for Leo of Leo;  Side 12 Unit 144: Violet/Violet for Aquarius of Aquarius. (To be accurate on the color wheel, Leo is true yellow and not "yellow-green" or "greenish-yellow.")

The second method would be used to support the Fixed Sidereal method of the Golden Dawn's esoteric astrology (beginning with 0 degrees Leo). HOWEVER, I am much more inclined to use the first method (Aries-Pisces) which employs the connection between the invisible spectrum of colors (infrared and ultraviolet) as the doorway to the unmanifest.





Monday, September 19, 2011

The Great Symbols of the Paths

On her blog, well-known tarot author Mary K. Greer announced a major new discovery of original tarot paintings from A. E. Waite's esoteric tarot. It was reported that "Tali Goodwin of Tarot Professionals and the blog Tarot Speakeasy, through extensive research, has discovered the ORIGINAL Waite-Trinick images that comprised a tarot deck conceptualized by A.E. Waite for the private use of members of his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross." You can find the entire intriguing  post here:

When the Golden Dawn split apart in 1903, Waite became the head of what had been Isis-Urania Temple and it became "The Holy Order of the G:.D:. under the Obedience of The Independent and Rectified Rite." In 1915 he closed down the Rite and established the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross (the FRC). The focus of the FRC was on mysticism rather than magic.

Waite’s collaboration with artist Pamela Colman-Smith, published in 1910 as the Rider–Waite Tarot, is without a doubt the single most popular tarot deck in the world today. However Waite produced that deck for the general public. Waite’s esoteric tarot deck, called "The Great Symbols of the Paths" contained only the tarot trumps. The images were painted by John Brahms Trinick, an Australian artist who was also a member of the FRC. Trinick was an accomplished Art Nouveau  illustrator in watercolor, pencil, pastel and crayon, and a collection of his watercolour copies of European stained glass windows can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

These were not cards for divination, but cards purely for meditation and ritual work within the FRC. The original color paintings, which we saw at the London headquarters of the FRC in 2005, were all framed and used, as they still are used today, in the ceremonies of the FRC. I have to state for the record that members of the FRC to whom I have spoken are not at all happy with the publication of their ritual cards. In their words: "we condemn absolutely the publication, reproduction and indiscriminate use of these sacred symbols, and look upon those who initiate such publication and reproduction as persons who utterly lack integrity and bring shame upon their esoteric communities."

Readers have no doubt read the brief descriptions of two of the cards in the Adeptus Major Ceremony of Waite’s Independent and Rectified Rite, published in The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic by Israel Regardie (Volume Seven, page 140-141), but wrongly attributed to the ceremonies of the FRC. No images of the cards used by the I&R Rite seem to have survived, nor do we know who drew these images, but the descriptions printed by Regardie indicate the way in which Waite was perceiving the symbolism of the tarot trumps. When Trinick produced the “Great Symbols of the Paths” for Waite, significant changes were made, to reflect the changes in the rituals – changes that emphasized their Christian nature and removed all reference to Egyptian symbolism.  Regardie gives what Waite wrote in 1910, for he had never seen the rituals of the FRC:

The Candidate now sees the diagram of the Hanged Man, with a Rainbow above, and the head of the Giant below.)

Chief: [...] "The symbolism with which we are here dealing also recalls the Apocalyptic figure of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and in correspondence with previous explanations, it indicates that the palmary misfortune of the universe, which is exoterically called the Fall of Man, exercised a species of incomprehensible compulsion upon the Divine Nature, so that the scheme of what is familiar to everyone under the name of redemption comes before us in a certain manner as an eternal necessity and as a consequence of the free will rather of man than of God. The importance which has been attached throughout the Grades of our two Orders to Egyptian symbolism should also remind us that Mem, through the sacrifice of Christ , has analogy with the legend of the dead Osiris, one of whose appellations was the shipwrecked or drowned Mariner, even as this terrible Key, which you see now in its true form, represents a drowned giant ."


"The 23rd Key of the Tarot is referred, as you are aware, to the Elemental sign of Water, and in this diagram the drowned giant is depicted reposing on the rocky bed of the ocean with the rainbow at his feet, corresponding to that which has been sunk below the phenomenal world by a sacrifice eternally preordained, which, in one of its aspects at least, is the necessary limitation suffered by the Divine Nature in the act of becoming manifest. The Divine, in a word, is drowned in the waters of natural life; and that which in this respect obtains in the external world, obtains also for humanity, wherein the Divine Spark, beyond all plummets of the sense, all reach of the logical understanding, is immersed in the waters of the material existence. In both cases, the symbol with which we are dealing corresponds to the legend of our Founder, sleeping in the centre of the Tomb, which is encircled by the Rainbow, as in the Sanctuary of Israel there was the abiding Presence of the Shekinah. We must remember, moreover, that the ocean of phenomenal life supports on its surface the mystical Ark of Noah, which, in one of its aspects, is the Vessel of Correspondences, wherein the types of all things were collected from the wreckage of the old initiations for transmission through a new era. In another sense, which is intimately connected with the first, the Ark is the body of man, the ship of humanity, poised on the waters of the world which conceal the divine within them. It is man, collective and individual, man in possession of his senses and also enclosed by his senses. There is that within him which, during this his time of probation is put to sleep as deeply as the symbolical Giant. His originally great nature is restricted in the body after the manner of God in creation. There is yet another aspect in which we may regard the Ark, for by many issues the great symbols open upon the Infinite which they show forth, though it is after the manner of a reversed glass minutely. It is that namely, which for a time suspends the soul's communication with the external that she may receive the influx of the Divine. It is the house of deep contemplation, of fixed, well-directed thought, by which our exit is found for a time, even from thought itself, to the world of true experience. The ceremony of the 6-5 Grade symbolises this indrawn state, in which connection I would ask you to remember that in the roof of the Ark of old there was a window through which the Dove passed and repassed, now in frustrated flight, because many wings are beaters at the Golden Gates; now bearing the olive-branch of peace which for us signifies the suspension of the life of the senses. But, in fine, there came an hour when the dove returned no more, because the aspiration and outreaching of the soul at length attains its term. Beloved brother, we have dwelt at great length upon the import of certain symbols, for albeit the work of detachment may operate scarcely less in suspension from the world, yet it is through many types that we pass ultimately behind the veils."

I first saw these cards by Trinick ("The Great Symbols of the Paths") when author and historian R.A. Gilbert gave  a complete slide lecture on them at the 1998 International Golden Dawn Conference in Bayonne, NJ. With the owner's permission, I have been giving a slide lecture presentation of some of these cards (both black-and-white and color versions) as well as other Pre-Golden Dawn Tarot images, since 2006.  For those who are interested, I plan on giving this same tarot lecture ("Images of Initiation: The Hermetic Tarot") at Pantheacon 2012.

It would certainly be intriguing to discover whether Trinick produced a second set of original watercolor paintings in addition to the ones owned by the FRC. If  so, this discovery is truly a breakthrough in the history of post-Golden-Dawn tarot images. I can't wait to see them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WWCRCD?


In this age of Internet flame wars and perpetual games of spiritual one-upmanship, have you ever wondered: What would Christian Rosenkreutz do?

When I think of what it means to be a Rosicrucian, one phrase springs instantly to my mind.  
"To profess nothing, but to cure the sick, and that freely."

This is the first principle of a Rosicrucian, as given in the Fama Fraternitatis, the original Rosicrucian text. The very first rule. Numero Uno. It seems like a simple exhortation to "be secretive" and try to help others, but it is in fact much more than that. It is also a directive against displays of vanity, arrogance, and self-importance. The primary founder of the Golden Dawn, G.H. Frater N.O.M., clearly understood this.

In his paper on "Christian Rosenkreuz" published in Theosophical Siftings and reprinted in R.A. Gilbert's The Magical Mason: Forgotten Writings of William Wynn Westcott, G.H. Frater N.O.M has an interesting take on this most fundamental of all Rosicrucian tenets. It bears repeating:

"That no public profession of any superior knowledge should be made: but that members should when able endeavor to cure the sick, and that gratis."

In his paper on "Rosicrucian Adeptship" (Flying Roll No. XIX) Westcott compares the feeling and expression of "superior Knowledge" to the Scylla of hypocrisy: 

"...a man is liable to compare himself with his neighbours, and say how much better he is than others. Now self congratulation is second only to open hypocrisy, and we hold that it is just as harmful to spiritual progress."

Humility is the underlying principle here. The term "humility" is related to the Latin adjective humilis which usually translates  as "humble" but has the additional meanings of "grounded," "from the earth," or "low," since it derives in turns from humus or earth. Humility is the state of being grounded in reality. It is a condition of stability and inner strength based upon a sincere appraisal of one's self as compared to the magnitude of the Universal Divine. ("In myself I am nothing. In Thee I am Self.") The polar opposite of humility is hubris which "often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities."

In Flying Roll XV ("Man and God") Westcott was able to convey not only the importance of humility, but the truth that each Initiate is responsible for his or her own spiritual growth: 

"You who are here today to listen to this lecture (or you who read it hereafter), have come to this Hall only to seek from my words further suggestions of thought on Occult teachings, you are well aware that I represent myself alone, in what I say, and that you are each perfectly free to take what seemeth good unto you and to reject the refuse. In my honour to the Order in which I bear a part, I have always made the clearest distinction between the Ancient Ritual and our modern comments, and this distinction you must always bear in mind, for it must not be considered that the doctrines of any single elder or ruler are necessarily all true to the Hermetic faith. All individuals go astray even if some go farther than others. The Order here then has no Pope nor Popess and our Bible at every stage is imperfect; we are fellow students, still crying for the Light; and every lecture given here is but the expression of personal opinion, from someone who has far longer than most trod the path of Hermetic progress, and the proportion of doctrine or fact which you accept must be estimated by yourselves, for yourselves—it is a duty you owe to yourselves to work out your own transmutation—to change the powers of physical sensuous life into the refined spiritual faculties of Adeptship, in truth as well as in name. As senior Adept among you, just now, my duties are to keep you to the doctrines of our Rituals, as far as they go,—to leave you quite free where they do not lead, but to stimulate your efforts in the search for the Philosophic Gold..."
Humility is not only a fundamental Rosicrucian value—it is a prerequisite for all successful workings of high magic as stated in the grimoire The Key of Solomon the King:

"…it is absolutely necessary to ordain and to prescribe care and observation, to abstain from all things unlawful, and from every kind of impiety, impurity, wickedness, or immodesty, [...] and all sorts of vain words, buffooneries, slanders, calumnies, and other useless discourse; but instead to do good deeds, speak honestly, keep a strict decency in all things, never lose sight of modesty in walking, in conversation, in eating and drinking, and in all things."

The concept of humility is clearly emphasized at least eight times in the Golden Dawn's Adeptus Minor Ritual to the prospective Rosicrucian—more than any other single principle:

1) Upon first entrance, the Aspirant is told:

"O Aspirant! It is written that he who exalteth himself shall be abased, but that he who humbleth himself shall be exalted, and that blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not by proclamation of honors and dignities, great though they may be, that thou canst gain admission to the Tomb of the Adepti of the Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold, but only by that humility and purity of spirit that befitteth the aspirant unto higher things."

2) After his knowledge of the Sword and Serpent is tested, the Aspirant is told that his pedigrees mean absolutely nothing:

" Return thou then, and divest thyself of these ornaments. They are not humble enough to entitle thee to be received." A chain is then placed on the Aspirant's neck as a symbol of "repentance and humility" before he or she is lead out.

3) After being brought in for the second time, the Aspirant is told that the Divine is propitious unto  "whosoever humbleth himself in dust and ashes..."

4) Immediately after that, the Third Adept tells the Aspirant:

"Think not, O Aspirant, that the trial of humility through which thou hast passed, was ordained but to jest with thy feelings. Far from us be any such design. But it was intended to point out to thee that the truly wise man is but little in his own eyes, however great his attainments may appear to the ignorant, and that even the highest intellectual achievements are but as nothing in the sight of the Lord of the Universe, for He looketh at the heart. It is written: When I consider the Heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him? And couldst thou even attain unto the height of a God upon this earth, how small and insignificant yet wouldst thou be in the presence of God the Vast One."

5) Immediately following this, the Aspirant is told that he has been "purified by humility." Thus in the Second Order of the RR et AC, the prospective new member is not purified and consecrated by fire and water as in the Outer Order, but is instead solely purified through his or her own humbleness of heart and unpretentious attitude.

6) After this, the Aspirant is clearly told in no uncertain terms not to malign others:

"Boast not thyself above thy brother if he hath fallen, for how knowest that thou couldst have withstood the same temptation. Slander not, and revile not. If though canst not praise, do not condemn."

7) Inside the Vault, the Second Adept recites the "Unto Thee Sole Wise" prayer to the Divine on the Aspirant's behalf:

"Not unto us, but unto Thy Name be the Glory...."  

 Shortly after the prayer, the Aspirant is told to rise and stand "in the symbol of self-renunciation" (i.e. humility).

 8) One of the first warnings given to the Aspirant by the Chief Adept (in the guise of Christian Rosenkreutz himself) is a speech that forbids the maligning and disparagement of others:

"Therefore Thou art inexcusable, whosoever thou art that judgest another, for in that thou condemest another, thou condemest but thyself."

Final thoughts: While studying for a college course recently, one of my instructors told us that in order to make something stick in the memory, a student had to hear it at least three times. 

Humility is the single, overriding principle of anyone who claims to be a Rosicrucian: the Aspirant seeking to become a Rosicrucian in the RR et AC is told no less than eight times that humility is the only way of gaining entrance to (as well as the magical method of purification used in) the Second Order.

So two questions remain—why doesn't this always stick with some people?

WWCRCD?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Trivial Psychic


A few years back, Saturday Night Live did a skit called "The Trivial Psychic" wherein Christopher Walken revived the same character he played in the movie The Dead Zone. But in addition to being a reluctant psychic, he got visions of things that were small and unimportant: he couldn't tell people when disaster was about to strike, but he was able to tell them things like "your housekeeper is annoyed right now because she just washed the floor and your daughter is leaving footprints on it." He was the Trivial Psychic.

There are times when gaining clairvoyant skills enhanced through the practice of magic feels like just that—like you are turning into the Trivial Psychic. Every vision is not necessarily an earth-shattering event. Many visions, though spot on, may simply be about inconsequential events.

As a double Taurus, I don't consider myself inherently more or less psychic than the next person. Skills involving greater psychic awareness don't come naturally to me, and like the vast majority of magicians, I have to work hard at it to make headway.  I am also stubbornly skeptical by nature: I always test my skryings and other astral workings with the standard GD methods. Even then I take nothing for gospel. I don't accept the literal, physical (as opposed to symbolic) truth of a vision just on faith alone. I never wanted to become what Israel Regardie used to call a "cosmic foo-foo." If a vision, divination, or other astral working passes all my tests and exhausts all attempts by my rational mind to find a mundane explanation for it, then I will consider it a true psychic hit, not before. 

I have experienced a number of what I consider psychic "hits." Some of these were very important hits. Others, which passed all my tests, were simply splendid examples of psychic trivia.

My most important psychic "hit" came in February 1985 when we were living in Georgia. I had an overwhelming feeling that we had to get to Sedona as quickly as possible to see Regardie. Although Chic had visited Regardie several times, I had never met him before. There was a urgent alarm going off in my head—a feeling that if I didn't meet Regardie very, very soon. It would be too late. I was in my mid-20's at the time and such pressing thoughts about the mortality of others was just not something I had ever experienced before. We drove from Columbus, Georgia to Regardie's home in Sedona, Arizona. All the while I felt like we were racing against the clock—that Regardie would soon leave us. The feeling would not go away, no matter how many times I told myself that there was no logical reason for my fear. We stayed with Regardie for a week and then left for Scottsdale. We did not intend to go back to Sedona, but as a result of a purely unplanned, unexpected, and unexplained event (one of those "graceful synchronicities" so typical of magic), we ended up back in Sedona visiting Regardie for another week. After we finally left Arizona, Regardie died ten days later. Everything about the incident tells me that this was a psychic "hit"—a very important one at that. I will always be eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to meet Regardie. It probably changed the course of my life.

I have also had experiences with "hits" that definitely fall under the category of psychic trivia: We were driving to the grocery store one day and it occurred to me that I had forgotten my grocery list. An utterly ridiculous curse word formed in my mind—"Oh, Chicken farts!" I thought to myself. Chic was driving and he turned to me with a curious look on his face. "Chicken farts?" he asked. It is an absolute fact that I had not uttered a word, and yet Chic had heard my mental exclamation. Try as I may, I can find no rational explanation for it. It was a true psychic hit—albeit  a trivial and patently absurd one. 

This is just one example of the kind of frivolous psychic "hits" that magicians have on a regular basis. The knowledge they confer may seem downright stupid, but they also serve an important function. They serve to remind us that psychic gifts come in many forms—sometimes they are urgent and transformative. Other times they serve to remind us that such magical abilities are very possible, even if they remain a rare occurrence. It is as if the Divine simply wants to show us skeptics, through visions of events that have no importance, that magic is indeed a real, potent, enigmatic force. These events are magical "carrots" used to give us a glimpse—a sliver or whisper—of what is possible if we persevere in our studies. I also believe that we receive these "minor" visions more often than the important  visions so that we remain humble and don't automatically assume that we have become the world's "Greatest Prophet." I think they are built-in protections against ego-inflation as well as indications that the Divine has a sense of humor. If some of our best psychic "hits" make us laugh, then there is less of a chance that we will take ourselves so seriously that we lose sight of our spirituality in the quest for psychic "powers."

Sometimes you get life-changing visions. 
Sometimes you just get chicken farts.
And that's a good thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Divine and Angelic Names: Common Errors


It is useful to remember that most books, even sacred books, contain errors. As magicians we are taught to examine everything with a discriminating eye. So we should not be surprised to find mistakes that have crept into treasured magical grimoires -- mistakes that have also found their way into the teachings of the Golden Dawn.

One such example is the name Khamael: the Archangel of Geburah, whose name means "the Severity of God". Khamael is the protector of the wronged -- the Avenging Angel who pursues those who break both human and universal laws. He is associated with Divine justice and severity. Khamael is sometimes called "The right hand of God" -- meeting out justice in order to restore a state of balance throughout the Tree of Life. He controls the aspects of burning and destroying in order to purify and preserve. 
 
William Grey erroneously stated that the root of this name was khab, which meant to suffer, to feel pain or make war. However, the original Archangel of Mars was Samael -- a name that MacGregor Mathers changed to Zamael in order to avoid connotations with the Qliphotic Samael. When the Qabalists began to assign Archangels to the Sephiroth, someone attributed a list of Planetary Archangels to their corresponding Sephiroth, and the martial Samael was naturally assigned to Geburah. At some point this list was copied into Greek. In late Greek writing, the letter Sigma (the first letter in Samael) came to be drawn in the shape of a "C." Still later, when the Greek list was copied into Latin, the copist made the error of transliterating the Greek name of CAMAHL as "Camael" rather than "Samael." Even later, someone (perhaps a member of the Golden Dawn) back-transliterated Camael as kaph mem aleph lamed and thus was Khamael born. And although it originated as an error in transliteration, it does help magicians destinguish between Samael, Archangel of Evil, Zamael, Archangel of Mars, and Khamael, Archangel of Geburah.

Other mistakes: The name of the Archangel of Venus, Anael, has often been wrongly given as Hanael through confusion with Haniel, Archangel of Netzach. The name of the Archangel of Sagittarius, Adnakhiel, has been frequently misspelled as Advakhiel, through a scribal error mistaking Hebrew Nun for Vav. The same error also occurred in Renaissance Latin typesetting, where the n of Adnachiel could easily be set upside-down as a u, producing Aduachiel. Finally, the correct name of the Angel of Elemental Fire is Ariel ("the Lion of God"), not Aral. An error in Agrippa was long perpetuated in the Golden Dawn manuscripts, in which the two names Ariel and Aral were swapped. This confusion was perpetuated because the four Rulers of the Elements have generally not been recognized as the names of Orders of Angels. Seraph, Cherub, Tharsis, and Aral (Erel) are simply the singular forms of Seraphim, Kerubim, Tarshishim, and Erelim.

There has also been a lot of confusion regarding the Divine Hebrew names that are to be painted on the Four Elemental Weapons of the Zelator Adeptus Minor. According to Wang's book The Secret Temple, the names on the implements are: Earth Pentacle -- Adonai ha-Aretz, Air Dagger -- Shaddai E Chai, Water Cup -- Elohim Tzabaoth, and Fire Wand -- YHVH Tzabaoth. These are the Divine names given in the Outer Order Grade Ceremonies relating to the Sephiroth of Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, and Netzach, which also have elemental associations. 

However, the correct Divine Hebrew names of the Elements for the Inner Order are actually given in the consecration rituals of these same implements (see Regardie, The Golden Dawn, 324). They are: Earth Pentacle -- ADONAI,  Air Dagger -- YHVH, Water Cup -- EL, and Fire Wand -- ELOHIM. These are the Divine names intoned in the SIRP and they relate to the Sephiroth of Malkuth, Tiphareth, Chesed, and Geburah. They are also the Divine names that should be painted on the four elemental weapons of the Z.A.M. (Kathleen Raine's book Yeats, The Tarot, and the Golden Dawn shows a picture of William Bulter Yeats' Earth Pentacle inscribed with the Divine Name Adonai -- not Adonai ha-Aretz.




Monday, July 4, 2011

Invoking the Seven Lights


"Seven is the height above, seven is the depth beneath."

Apocalyptic movies starring Christopher Walken notwithstanding, the number seven is very important in esoteric lore. Hippocrates tells us: “The number seven, because of its occult virtues, tends to bring all things into being. It is the dispenser of life and the source of all change.” This is confirmed in the Golden Dawn’s teachings wherein the number seven, corresponding to the planet Venus, is the gateway to initiation—as the Venus wall is the actual doorway into the seven-sided Vault of the Adepti.

Not only does the number seven correspond to the seven planets of the ancients, it also corresponds to the Seven Palaces of Assiah. The Golden Dawn's diagram of the Seven Palaces of Assiah provides magicians with an important tool—a way to divide the ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life into seven sections which can then be assigned to the seven planets. 

Golden Dawn students are made aware of the importance of the number seven in a beautiful description of the Seven-branched Candlestick or Menorah in the Zelator Grade. And it is this description which inspired a ceremony I created, called "The Outer Order Ritual of the Seven-Branched Candlestick."

The ritual employs a diagram with planetary-colored candles placed thereon. The heptagram used is the 7/3 heptagram, also called the acute heptagram or the great heptagram. The Golden Dawn describes it as the Star of Venus reflected from every fourth point. The planets are placed around the heptagram in the order of their apparent speed of movement in the heavens, along the unicursal line in the order of days of the week. The Officers invoke the powers of the seven planets by lighting the colored candles on the heptagram diagram following the Hebrew order of the days of the week: 1) Hierophant: Sol.  2) Hegemon: Luna.  3) Hiereus: Mars. 4) Keryx: Mercury. 5) Stolistes: Jupiter. 6) Dadouchos: Venus. 7) Phylax: Saturn. 


 For the purpose of this ceremony the Hierophant represents Sol (the direct light of illumination); Hegemon represents Luna (the reflected light); Hiereus represents Mars (power and severity); Keryx represents Mercury (communication); Stolistes represents Jupiter (water and expansion); Dadouchos represents Venus (fire and passion); and Phylax represents Saturn (limitation and darkness).

At another point in the ritual the officers invoke the Sephirotic Powers associated with the seven Palaces of Assiah. To do this, they each take one of the colored planetary candles and light one of the white candles of the Menorah following the Chaldean or Sephirothic order [the Lightning-flash order] of the Tree of Life: 1) Hierophant: Three Supernals.  2) Stolistes: Chesed.  3) Dadouchos: Geburah. 4) Hegemon: Tiphareth. 5) Phylax: Netzach. 6) Keryx: Hod. 7) Hiereus: Yesod/Malkuth.

The officers chosen to represent the Sephirotic Powers of the Seven Palaces are as follows: the Hierophant represents the Three Supernals (the highest); Stolistes represents Chesed (water); Dadouchos represents Geburah (fire); Hegemon represents Tiphareth (the center, reflecting the Supernal Light); Phylax represents Netzach (the gateway of initiation); Keryx represents Hod (intellect, communication); and Hiereus represents Yesod/Malkuth (manifestation, matter). This arrangement also allows the 3 Middle Pillar Officers to occupy the Pillar of Balance.

"He has loved and blessed the number seven more than all things under His throne."

"The Outer Order Ritual of the Seven-Branched Candlestick" is found in Hermetic Virtues Magazine Special Edition: Book of Rituals